Challenger Deep- Book Review

Cover of the book Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Review by laurae87

Caden Bosch thinks too much. As a fifteen-year-old struggling with schizophrenia and anxiety, life is one confusing mess of hallucinations and worried thoughts. With the growing concern of his family, Caden takes too many painkillers, eats too little, and paces around the house in a dissociated state. At school, his test scores are dropping, and his paranoia is rising. School becomes a place that triggers panic, so Caden starts skipping classes, and instead, walks around town. His “thought-voices” torment him and make him think unpleasant thoughts. Caden is slowly losing his grip on reality. His parents notice his unusual (and worrying) behavior and admit him into a psychiatric ward. There, he meets other teens who are battling their own mental illnesses. He slowly becomes friends with some of the teens, and tries to help them with their struggles, along with getting better himself. However, one situation that occurs is so shocking that Caden doesn’t know if he will be swallowed whole by the gaping jaws of schizophrenia, or if he’ll manage to get out alive. Will Caden have the courage and strength to battle his mental illness and win, for now? To find out and follow Caden through his journey, read Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman. This novel is about courage, self-reflection, and mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, psychosis, paranoia, mania, and anxiety. Challenger Deep lets people who have been there know that they are not alone in their struggles. In the last pages of the novel, Shusterman provides resources and help for those dealing with mental illness.

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The Elementals- book 1 -How it all Started

Image of sphere broken into four elements.

By: sharkgirl25

Chapter Four – Her Bark is Worse than her Bite

“Oh. My. Gosh!” Marina yells in astonishment. “I cannot believe that we have powers!”

“Okay, okay! Calm down, Marina! It’s not like we just won the lottery or something!” Earth says.

“Actually, Earth, it’s just like winning the lottery! Just think of what we can do!” Inferno says.

Earth thinks of the possibilities. Well, she thinks, I can always grow a tree and tie Shatcene the drama queen to it, and then have poison grow out of her sock. And I can make lots of trees grow, so that way the loggers don’t have to cut down the rainforests, and I can turn dry, dead grass into fresh, new green grass! 

“Well… WHO THE POMEGRANATE AM I KIDDING?! THIS IS SO AWESOME!” Earth yells, startling her friends.

Eliza walks by, and purposefully knocks Earth to the ground, shoving Inferno and Marina as well. When Earth’s hands touch the ground, two flowers pop up. She realizes what she did and points her hand toward Eliza’s feet, and poison ivy slinks its way up her leg, tightening its grip. She goes to take another step, and falls, smearing mud all over her pink dress.

“Auuuuuugghhhhh!” she screams, realizing that poison ivy was holding her down, and that she got mud smeared along the front of her new dress.

Vines wrap around her, pinning her to the ground, which Earth had coated with a fresh layer of mud. Earth, still on the ground, laughs so much she turns into a hyena. Earth the hyena rolls on the ground, laughing, and then springs up and runs circles around Eliza, laughing. Inferno and Marina stare at Eliza, who is on the ground, struggling, and then at Earth the hyena, who is running circles around Eliza, still laughing. Marina can’t stand Earth’s laughing, and Eliza’s screams, so she yells,

“STOP! IT’S TOO ANNOYING!”

Earth changes back into a girl, but still has a hyena tail. The vines and poison disappear, and so does the mud on her dress. Earth’s hyena tail vanishes, and she stands up, saying,

“What. The pomegranate. Just. Happened?”

Eliza stands up and says,

“Ewww! What was I doing on the ground?! And why are you guys here? Get out of my way!” She walks away, clearly having no memory of the previous events. Earth, however, remembers it all.

“One thing’s for sure,” Marina says.

“What’s that?” Inferno asks.

“Earth’s bark is worse than her bite!”

Earth laughs. “Depends on what type of tree it is!”

 

“See Me” by Nicholas Sparks Book Review

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Review by: dancingforever27
This month, I read the novel See Me by Nicholas Sparks. Sparks has published around twenty books, and ten of them have been produced into movies such as The Notebook. This book surely does account to the exquisite love story of those other pieces of literature.

This narrative focuses on two characters through alternating third-person omniscience that varies each chapter.

Colin Hancock is the leading male character with a history of impulses that have gotten him in trouble with the police. He has been granted, by the authorities, five year probation to erase all of his criminal records, but a single petty offense could have him locked up for all of his charges.

Maria Sanchez, on the other hand, is a working daughter of a family that immigrated from Mexico. Speculated, everything in her life is met with awards, recognition, and success. She works at a law firm in Wilmington, North Carolina. Eventually, the reader comes to find out that this job has caused her trauma with their brutally aggressive cases.

In the first chapters, the reader is able to observe how the characters come to find one another, simply described as quite standoffish. The scene is set to be a rainy night where Maria has a flat tire on a stretch of road with little to no cars. Colin approaches Maria, tattoos and bruises laced across his body, offering assistance.She is immediately frightened as she suspects he could take her life without anyone knowing out in the middle of nowhere. Colin notices her terror and allots a large space in between them for her comfort, which helps her later trust him.

Shortly enough, the two twenty-eight year olds meet again and their love story begins. They are able to test how horrid tragedies, mainly involving a stalker, can either bring them together, or make them part ways.

All in all, this story has a roller coaster of a plot line, where every chapter has a new addition to the mystery of who is leaving mysterious signs for Maria.

This book also demonstrates consistency in many cases, especially through characters’ actions, to make it more compelling to the readers. Barney, one of Maria’s bosses, always stands or sits up straighter when he is feeling nervous or on the wrong side of an accusation. Colin frequently says “Okay.” whenever there is an open ended statement requiring advice or further explaining. This tells the readers that he does not provide life assistance or advice, is always honest, and excepts the limits of what people will confess to him.

With the fact that Sparks used great character development, made careful decisions when choosing what actions those people would perform that stay true to their identity, and provides a love story while menacing messages are  produced, I would absolutely rate this book 10/10.

(This book will be rated for somewhat older audiences for intimacy. However, nothing is ever described in detail and is mainly only referred to.)

Ages 14+

Giant Days Series

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Review by: laurae87

Giant Days, an on-going comic book series by John Allison, Max Sarin, and Lissa Treiman, follows Esther, Daisy, and Susan throughout their journey of interesting college situations.

The three college freshmen, although having vastly different personalities, end up becoming close friends due to being assigned in adjacent residence hall rooms. Esther de Groot enjoys listening to black metal, boxing, and dressing in gothic fashion, all while emitting a “drama field” and trying to recover from a recent relationship breakup. Daisy Wooton is an innocent, loving, and trusting optimist who tries to resolve problems with pacifism. Susan Ptolemy is a realist medical student who is trying to forget her ex. All three girls have very different backstories and dispositions, but they share three main things in common: friendship, attempts at self-discovery, and relationship problems. Once the girls are finally done settling in to college life, though, everything changes. Esther gains a secret admirer, Susan’s ex comes back into her life, and Daisy finds a love interest that might just turn her world upside-down! Find out what happens next in Giant Days!

I recommend this series to teens and college students. While high-school-age teenagers may not relate to the troubles of college life, they will, however, relate to the main characters and the crazy (but realistic) ordeals that everyday life manages to throw at them. Overall, this is my favorite comic book series and I enjoy reading it due to its relatability, comedic elements, art style, and interesting character development.

 

The Leaf Reader (Book Review)

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Review by: apiazza4

The day Andrea Quinley went missing, all of the problems started. The town Colesbury didn’t think much of the disappearance. After a few months without finding anything they concluded she was gone for good and stopped the search. Some people like Matt Cotrell don’t want to give up that easily, so as a last resort he has his fortune read to find out where Andrea is.
Marnie Wells has been a fortune teller ever since she found a tea leaf reading book on her grandmother’s shelf. Marnie has fun doing the readings and she knows they aren’t real, but her customers start to believe in her abilities. When Matt comes to her seeking answers, she assumes he is just there to make fun of her, but when his reading comes true he keeps coming back for more. Matt shows Marnie some e-mails he received that say they are from Andrea, and soon they are trying to solve this mystery together.
Matt gets a tip in an e-mail and they find a body, but now they are more confused than ever. Together Matt and Marnie uncover more and more secrets about what happened. When they figure it out, the criminal is someone no one expects.
I liked The Leaf Reader by Emily Arsenault because it was full of surprises and I couldn’t put it down. I recommend this book because it was a great mystery that left me guessing. until the end.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

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“Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
                                                                                                                                                          The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: be a weapon. Or be a warrior.”

Continue reading

Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally

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Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt – with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

 Review by: fmarie0112
        When I first started reading this book I instantly though I wouldn’t like it. The main character, Kate, was judgmental and got on my nerves. It was obvious that some of the other characters in the book felt the same way and many times I found myself cringing because of what she had said. I just kept thinking about how embarrassed I would be if I had acted that way. After a few chapters of this I almost wanted to stop  reading the book, but I continued to read the book and I’m glad that I did. As the story progresses you get to see Kate grow and become more understanding, while not letting go of her personal beliefs.
        Kate grew up in a very conservative Christian church and she followed the rules set forth by her religion very strictly. Initially this was one of the things that bothered me because she did not only followed the rules but she also acted as if she was forcing her belief upon others. When her friend Emily got an abortion due to an unexpected pregnancy she was practically shaming he for her decision. Ultimately, this caused Emily and Kate to get into a fight that resulted in them not talking for most of the summer.
        When Kate goes to camp she is faced with many fellow counselors who also don’t follow her strict beliefs-here are boys are girls sleeping in the same cabins! A counselor lying and breaking the camp rules! As the story continues Kate is faced with these many dilemmas and she struggles to understand how she could be friends with people who do not share the same beliefs as her. Should she just say quiet and let others live their lives as they please or should she voice her beliefs as she always has? This is a constant struggle for Kate as she exits her sheltered life and enters the real world. I enjoyed watching Kate grow as the story goes on (despite how frustrated I was with her in the beginning) and I grew to respect her for staying true to her herself, not giving into peer pressure and not abandoning her beliefs.