Tag Archives: Book Review

Of All the Stupid Things: Movie clichés with some important themes

of all the stupid thingsTitle: Of All The Stupid Things

Author: Alexandra Diaz

Summary: This is the high-school-story of three best friends: Tara, “Pinkie” (whose real name is we find out later), and Whitney Blaire, who everyone calls Whitney Blaire and who is referred to as such virtually every time her name appears in the book. Each girl has her struggles: Tara is training to run a marathon amidst troubling rumors about her boyfriend, Pinkie is worrisome and overbearing due to the early loss of her mother, and Whitney Blaire’s affluent parents are never home. Then… a new girl arrives! Will their friendship prevail?

I started reading it because: it had cute cover art (I like cherries) and I wanted a “girly” book.

I kept reading because: as much as I hated the writing and plot development in some places, I wanted to know what happened in the end. Also, I really liked Tara.

This book reminded me of: an oversimplified, badly described version of real life? This book could potentially have turned out to be really insightful, but there were so many unrealistic transitions/plot developments that it kind of ruined it.

Six-word-review: Movie clichés with some important themes.

I would recommend this to: anyone who likes their books easy, fast, and simple, and who isn’t a stickler about the “realistic” in “realistic fiction.”

–Hannah, 17, Greenwood Teen Blogger



Teen Reviewed: The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the RyeThe Catcher inThe Rye, by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in The Rye is about a boy named Holden Caufield. He is sixteen and is a junior in high school. He comes from a fairly wealthy family. They put him in a private school, and he skipped classes and periodically stopped coming to school. He is an alcoholic and he smokes.
He is constantly changing schools, he barely trusts anyone, and he doesn’t admire a lot of people. In the book, Holden compares adulthood to a cliff. He imagines that he is in the park and he has to catch all the little kids and protect them from fallng off the cliff. Then later when his little sister Phoebe is on the carousel, she falls off and he realizes that she needs to learn from her mistakes and if he stops her from making them she will never learn.

Personally, I think Holden has a poor aspect on life. He should grow up and start being responsible for all of his reactions, because they will have a great effect on his future life. He is a bad example for his little sister because he does all these things such as drinking, smoking, and not doing the right thing in school. But overall, I think the book is pretty well written when it comes to writing from a teen’s perspective.

–Ray, Teen Center Adviser


Cracking the Hub: Girlchild

Hub Reading ChallengeI’ve been reading steadily through The Hub Challenge.  I just finished my tenth book, Girlchild, by Tupelo Hassman.

Girlchild was one of the Alex Award Winners for 2013.  Girlchild is definitely an adult novel with mature and troubling content.  Rory lives in a trailer park in Nevada where a code of silence prevails despite alcoholism, domestic disputes, and abuse.  Rory’s mom clearly wants something better for her daughter, but her habit of trusting the wrong people have damaged Rory the most.  The writing style is unique – chapters are just a few pages long and provide a glimpse into Rory’s life jumping forward and backward in time.  Other chapters contain passages from social worker reports, portions of books, and in some cases are completely blacked out.
This book is described as heartbreaking.  It delivers “heartbreaking” in spades.  Readers meet a child full of life and personality and watch as she’s ground down by the cycle of abuse, addiction, poverty, and tragedy.  The ending is somewhat open to interpretation.
Have you read Girlchild?  What did you think about this Alex Award Winner?

Cracking the Hub: One Shot at Forever

Hub Reading ChallengeI’m a few weeks into The Hub Challenge and have just finished my second book: One Shot at Forever by Chris Ballard.

One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, An Unlikely Coach, and A Magical Baseball Season is about a baseball team from a tiny town in Illinois that had a fantastic season.  They beat teams from schools larger than the population of their entire town.  The book is as much about the players as it is about their coach Lynn Sweet.  Sweet had an unconventional teaching and coaching style.  He seemed to take great pleasure in tweaking the system, whether by throwing out the English curriculum (that was normally all about grammar) and letting kids read whatever they wanted without concern for fundamentals, to letting the baseball players decide when and how they wanted to practice.  In a league of coaches straight out of the military who expected their players to act like army recruits, Sweet – with his hippie style and team that warmed up for games by listening to Jesus Christ Superstar – was an oddity and was ridiculed by coaches and townspeople.
The writing is excellent, and I love a good underdog story, but what I most liked about this book is how it showed the various personalities of each person involved with the team.  In many ways this baseball season guided the rest of the players’ lives.  They were heroes to the town, and that legacy haunted one player for forty years afterwards.  Then there was Sweet – unconventional to the end – who always marched to his own drummer and refused to be pigeon-holed by someone else’s version of success.  Although I usually read fiction, this is one non-fiction book that I would highly recommend, although be warned, it’s an adult title so there are some adult themes to this book.

Cracking the Hub: Under a Meth Moon

Hub Reading Challenge

I’m a few weeks into The Hub Challenge and have just finished my first book: Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson.

As you can tell by the title Beneath a Meth Moon, this is a book about a girl who gets hooked on meth by her boyfriend and how it completely dismantles her life.  I finished the book on a bus going to a meeting downtown.  Not a good plan.  The ending got me a bit emotional, and I felt like the guys sitting across from me were looking at me in horrified fascination as I fought back the tears.  This book should come with a warning – don’t read in public unless you feel comfortable with P.D.E. (public displays of emotion).  Other than the near miss with crying on a bus in public, I’d call this book a sure winner.
I’m getting a slow start, but I still think I can finish the challenge!

Teen Review: The Lover's Dictionary

Lover's DictionaryTitle:  The Lover’s Dictionary

Author:  David Levithan

The Lover’s Dictionary is a love story told out of sequence in dictionary entries. It’s confusing and thought provoking and takes an interesting twist on stream-of-consciousness. You learn the end of the story before the beginning, but you don’t quite know how it all comes together until the last page.

If I were trying to get a friend to read this book, I’d be sure to mention:  The way the words he uses are defined by a short story. An example he used was:

Misgivings, n. Last night, I got up the courage to ask if you regretted us.”There are things I miss,” you said. “But if I didn’t have you, I’d miss more.”

If I could give the main character some advice, I’d tell him:  Be honest and tell her what he’s thinking. It’s so frustrating to read because you just want him to TALK but he mopes instead.If I were stuck with the main character on a deserted island I’d probably scream after a few days….I would especially recommend this book for readers who like interesting formats and to read books in one sitting.

The cover was awesome because it has all of the words he uses arranged into a heart and I didn’t realize that until the end of the book.

The bonus factor of this book is definitely its format.

Theresa, 16, Teen Center Adviser

Book Shorts: Cinder

CinderTitle:  Cinder

Author:  Marissa Meyer

Summary:  As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

I started reading it because… A Student Assistant at my library recommended it to me!

I kept reading because… how in the world is the author going to pull this all together, and how is Cinder going to make it to the ball?

Main character(s): If they were in a yearbook, they would be voted Most Likely To:  become a future high school auto shop teacher?

Six Word Recap: Cyborg mechanic Cinderella fights lunar plague!

This book reminded me of me because…​umm, it’s kind of ‘out there.’  🙂