Tag Archives: realistic fiction

Eleanor & Park – honest and real

Eleanor and ParkTitle: Eleanor & Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Rating: 10/10 stars. Yes, it was that good. Rarely do I rate books 10/10, so this one is definitely special.

Gut reaction: I loved the honest, real characters. They were so well developed and the romance was sweet and believable. This book was also great because it ended on a hopeful note. As I got closer to the end, I thought it would have a sad closing, but I was not disappointed, and you won’t be either. Go put it on hold at your library right now!

Summary: Eleanor is the new girl on the bus, at school and in the neighborhood. She lives with a creepy, abusive stepdad, her emotionally bruised mother and 4 younger siblings in a cramped house. On the bus, she is taunted for her eclectic style of dressing, her bright red hair and being overweight. Park on the other hand, comes from a stable home, but being a half Asian kid in a predominately white area, he feels like an outsider. He has a group of friends, but he’s wary of acting too different. Park reluctantly gives Eleanor a place to sit on the bus and isn’t welcoming, but he acts a little better than the other students. Soon though, he notices her reading over his shoulder on the bus, and they begin a friendship over shared interests in comic books and alternative music. Slowly at first, then faster and faster like a snowball rolling down a hill, they fall in love. But their romance is bittersweet and it seems like fate is against them. Will they be able to persevere and stay together against the odds?

I’ll let you read it and find out for yourself!

-Gabriella, Ballard, Teen Blogger

BAL

Thirteen Reasons Why – Filled with suspense, good life lessons

Title: Thirteen Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher

Summary: No one expected Hannah Baker’s death, but thirteen people would soon find out how their actions and words pushed Hannah off the edge. Clay Jensen is determined to listen to Hannah’s thirteen tapes to figure out her story, and why he is in it. These tapes show a side of Hannah that no one saw, and the truth about who she really was.

Gut Reaction: Filled with suspense, good life lessons.

I would give this book 8/10 stars because it was detailed and had a good plot, but was slow at times.

What I loved: I really liked how the book took the image of a perfect girl in high school and showed the reader that she has feelings and is just like everyone else.

Why: This book always keeps you guessing what will happen next and surprises you with each new tape. The characters are all distinct and have intriguing personalities that draw you in.

Websites of interest:

Thirteen Reasons Why website

-Afsara, Greenwood, Teen Adviser

GWD

Fangirl – a tale of fiction, family & love

fangirlTitle: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Summary: Cath is a Simon Snow fan (a spoof of Harry Potter) and for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, surrounded themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

Six Word Review: A tale of fiction, family and love.

I started reading because: It caught my interest with its relatable story line and I fell instantly in love. I feel as if I am a part of Cath because I am so much like her.

I kept reading because: I was taken in by her story and I couldn’t put it down until the end.

I would give this book 9/10 stars because it’s interesting and unique. I feel as if this is the perfect tale for anyone to read because it’s so relatable. I loved the snippets of her fan fiction story that the author puts in her story. The only things that hung on me were some of the characters.

I loved the fan fiction stories that Cath wrote. I don’t usually like fan fiction but something about her writing felt fresh and original. Packed with action and romance I couldn’t turn away from them.

I hated the way some of the characters were established. Some of them started out in the book with good intentions but ended as nothing more than selfish pricks.

If the lead character was in a high school yearbook, they would be voted Most Likely To:    Write Fan Fiction.

– Rachel, Green Lake, Teen Volunteer

GLK

The Well’s End – extremely inventive and action-packed

The Well's EndTitle: The Well’s End

Author: Seth Fishman

Summary: The Well’s End follows the perspective of a 16-year-old girl named Mia Kish.  Mia is like a typical high schooler (albeit in a ridiculously fancy, upper class prep school) except for her earliest memory, falling down a well as an infant, which earned her the nickname Baby Mia. However, when her school comes down with a virus that ages its victims to death in just days and the school is quarantined by soldiers in hazmat suits who aren’t afraid to shoot children, she and a handful of others, including her best friend, Jo, and a mysterious new transfer who knows things like the distance that gunfire travels, must follow the directions that her father left her to get to safety from the plague.

I loved that his novel is extremely inventive and action-packed.  This book is the definition of a page-turner.  The virus is a suitably terrifying threat, capable of aging a healthy adult to death in just hours.  Mia is an ideal protagonist – she is smart, capable, and despite the immense amount of suffering that she undergoes, stays likable and lucid.  The interactions between the characters is one of the strong points of the book, as they support each other and keep each other sane throughout.  Overall, the book is primarily plot-driven, but the characters are deep enough to be interesting in their own right. I really liked how the characters fit into both the “realistic” and “science-fiction” elements of the story.  I think one of the signs of good characters is if they can be likable heroes, able to think more clearly, recover more quickly, and keep fighting longer than most of us, while still retaining their unique personality and staying relatable.  These characters definitely achieved that. Continue reading

Cut the Lights: Compromise and Artistic Vision in Theatre

Cut-the-Lights-CoverTitle: Cut the Lights

Author: Karen Krossing

Gut Reaction: An enjoyable and relatable book, but lacks depth.

You must read this book because… This novel explores the art of theatre through the lens of aspiring director Briar as she set out to produce her very first play, Wish Upon a Star at her performing arts high school. Along the way she must manage an unruly cast, a lethargic stage manager, and hostility from a fellow director, as she quickly discovers that the reality of her production may be very different from her original vision of the “perfect” play.

Cut the Lights is a novel heavily geared to the teenage demographic, even more so than your typical Young Adult book. The characters, setting, and primary conflict are all designed to revolve around one’s life in high school. The novel itself is written in realistic fiction format and as such intends to make the issues it addresses as relatable to the reader as possible. In that aspect the novel is quite successful as the author depicts believable characters facing problems and exhibiting emotions that appear genuine, thus allowing for greater empathy with the protagonist. The beginning of each chapter reads like a play and even includes a series of stage directions. These quirks along with the general humor scattered throughout the novel both add to its appeal.
The glaring issue with the novel lies in its attempt to cover too many issues. The novel is only a short 129 pages, yet introduces topics ranging from difficulty in compromising one’s own ideas to suicide. This causes the novel to seem overly simplistic and superficial. The author brings so much subjects into her novel, yet fails to sufficiently develop and maintain them throughout the novel. A secondary problem stemmed from the sections in the book where the author seems to have fallen into using clichés. The overarching story arc that Krossing utilizes in which protagonist receives challenging task, protagonist endeavors to succeed in their task, everything falls apart and it seems the situation is hopeless, but then the protagonist miraculously succeeding and pulls everything together, is in my opinion, a bit trite and made the ending all too predictable.

Despite its shortcomings, I did find Cut the Lights to be an interesting read. I recommend the novel to anyone looking for a light and quick read, though as I mentioned previously the book is clearly written with teenagers in mind.

Read this if you like…

–Ziqi, Greenwood, Teen Blogger

GWD

I’ll Give You the Sun – own this book & never put it down!

I'll Give You the SunTitle:  I’ll Give You the Sun
Author:  Jandy Nelson

Summary: Twins Noah and Jude are extremely close.  Noah is a shy artist who is quickly falling in love with the charming boy next door.  Jude, on the other hand, is a popular party-goer.  Three years later, when the twins are 16, Noah has become the extrovert while Jude has retreated inside herself.  Something has torn the twins apart and they barely speak to one another.  Yet their sibling bond is still present.  They just need each other to complete their stories.

Gut reaction: I need to own this book and never put it down.

I would give this book 10/10 stars.  It is written in the perspectives of both twins, Noah when he is 13 and Jude when she is 16.  It is extremely captivating.  I loved this book so much, wow.

I started reading it because… I loved Jandy Nelson’s first book The Sky is Everywhere.

I kept reading because… As a twin myself, I could relate to Noah and Jude and their inner feelings.

What you loved/hated/couldn’t get enough of… I loved the setting.  I’ll Give You the Sun is set in the small fictional town of Lost Cove, California.  Sometimes the fog in Lost Cove grows so thick that parents must put leashes on their children so as not to lose them.

–Laura, 16, Greenwood 

GWD

5 Book reviews from Emily…3/5ths John Green (lol)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneOh Harry Potter, it’s a classic. If you haven’t read it, then who are you. This book is about a wizard who doesn’t have parents and lives under a staircase, um let’s name him Harry Potter? Well Harry Potter is a wizard, but his aunt and uncle don’t know that, they’re just rude people who assume horrible things, gross. But Harry and his crew go to this wizard school and they do a bunch of amazing things together and it’s basically like your friendship goals. But then there’s an evil guy, of course. Well he and his squad try to kidnap Harry and ruin his life because it seems like they’re jealous of him and his awesome wizard skills. Or his parents just did something bad and he’s trying to get revenge. But really, you need to read this, not because it’s a classic. But because it’s just a great series that includes adventures and great friendship.

maze runnerHave you ever had a dream where you’re stuck in a white room and there is no end?  Well, I recommend the book, The Maze Runner. You might’ve seen the movie and thought “That was amazing!” But once you read the book you’ll think “Oh my goodness, that was like watching the Super Bowl last year!” This is a book that has a BUNCH of mysteries. Why are there cement walls trapping them? How did they lose their memory? It’s all so confusing! But that’s what makes it so good. I recommend the book AND the movie, they’re both amazing. So in the book, Thomas gets sent to a village and has no memory from his past life. He is sent to survive there with other boys around his age. There’s also a maze that has weird robot killer bug thingy and the maze runners go in to see what the maze looks like, but if they don’t make it in time for the doors to close…then something bad happens. Go read it to find out, if you like mystery books and adventure books, this is a great book for you!

 

papertownsDo you ever wonder if there’s a guy thinking about you day and night? Or boys, do you ever think about a girl all the time? Or do you ever think about running away from home? Well, in Paper Towns all of those things happen! You have Margo Spiegelman, a girl who just runs away from home whenever she feels like it. You also have a guy named Quinten, also known as Q, who has fallen in love with Margo. He misses his graduation just to find Margo, because that’s his childhood love. I recommend this book because it’s not only a love story, but it has adventures and mysteries. Also it’s funny, it has a lot of adult humor, which is the best. Oh yeah, they’re also making a movie based off of this book, SO JUST READ IT..

 

The_Fault_in_Our_StarsEveryone wants a perfect relationship and to grow old together, but we all know that might not happen. In The Fault in Our Stars, it’s soooooo not like that. There’s a girl, named Hazel Grace she has cancer and she has always had it. There’s a guy, Augustus Waters who meets her at the cancer support group and says a funny joke. Then they go on romantic trips together and start to love each other, and everything seems perfect! But it’s not; this story WILL make you cry. This book will make you as bright as then sun, and at the end as sad as the time you found out Santa wasn’t real. But I recommend it because it’s such a good book and you can’t miss out on it!

 

Looking for AlaskaI know I’m doing another John Green book, but he’s just so talented. Looking for Alaska is my 2nd favorite book, he isn’t actually looking for the state Alaska but if he was, then it would be pretty tricky. And he isn’t actually trying to find her, he just likes her. *Tries to be sarcastic* But guess what you aren’t going to believe it, SHE HAS A BOYFRIEND. This is so not like every love story. I’m serious, it’s not. In the middle of the book, something goes wrong, like you wouldn’t even expect it. I was so surprised myself. You, whoever is reading, you need to read this. It’s like a life lesson to never drive home drunk. It’s just so good, you need to read it.

–Emily, 7th grader, West Seattle

WTS

May Book Horoscopes!

IntroWhy hello there, all you Push To Talk readers! The Greenwood Teen Advisory Board is proud to present you with this month’s issue of the Monthly Book Horoscopes, which are book recommendations based on YOUR Zodiac sign!

It’s May, and that means that the end of the school year is finally within reach. We thought we might take a look back and celebrate what school is actually all about (and no, it’s not torture)… learning! Each year we read a lot of great books in school, so this month’s issue consists of books which we were forced to read for school and ended up loving. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did! ❤ 🙂

haroun and the sea of stories

Aries Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

This beautiful story tells the tale of Haroun, a boy who, in telling his own story, discovers what exactly makes stories and storytelling so important. The book is full of adventure and fun magical realism!

 

 

great expectations

Taurus Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

We know what you’re thinking. “Seriously? That book sounds soooo boring…” Not so! Great Expectations is fun, and nowhere near as dry as you may expect. It’s a classic… you HAVE to read it! 😉

 

 

madame bovary

Gemini Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Originally published in 1856, this groundbreaking novel sent major, scandalous waves crashing through French society. It cleverly satirizes society in a way that is also quite dark, intense, and somewhat sad.

 

 

night

Cancer Night by Elie Wiesel

This book is a tragic and important memoir. Elie Wiesel describes his experience as a Jewish prisoner in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Though it is short, it is well-written and very meaningful.

 

 

as i lay dying

Leo As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

This book is told from the perspectives of members of a poor southern family when their mother dies, leaving them questioning the value of their existence and relationships with others while their family begins to fall apart.

 

joy luck club

Virgo The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

This book tells about the lives of four Chinese immigrant families in San Francisco. It tells about the struggles of living as an immigrant in America, and the story is centered on the game of mahjong, which they play together.

 

 

1984

Libra 1984 by George Orwell

If you haven’t read 1984 yet, you should, because it is essentially the prerequisite to all those fun YA dystopian books we are seeing so much of today. The thrill and caution of this classic will haunt you for a while. Remember, Big Brother is always watching so he will know if you don’t read it!!

 

raisin in the sun Scorpio A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

This is a raw and moving play about an African American family living in the 1950s. They not only struggle to prosper in a discriminatory society and to coexist with one another in a difficult environment.

 

 

pride and prejudiceSagittarius Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Do not dismiss this novel based purely on its reputation as a “romance novel.” Give it a read and you will be blown away by the hilarity and brilliance of Jane Austen’s wit as she satirizes the society of Regency England.

 

legendCapricorn Legend by Marie Lu

Legend takes place in the Republic, the dystopian remnants of the western United States. Day is 15 and has failed his Trial, making him the most wanted criminal in the Republic, and June, another 15-year-old, is commissioned to hunt him down and kill him. Nobody expected what happens next…

 

little princeAquarius The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

While this book is intended for a younger audience, it has a beautiful message that is prevalent to people of all ages. This little prince will remind you to live life with an open imagination and a kind heart.

 

 

running in the familyPisces Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje

This autobiographical novel explores many different writing styles and methods as Michael Ondaatje retells his own story along with that of his family. This book is full of beautiful imagery and careful examination of the relationships we have with other people.

 

Thank you so much to everyone who has been reading these Horoscopes so far this year. We hope we’ve taken care of you and that you’ve found something good to read every month. We love you (almost as much as we love books)!! Happy reading!

Greenwood Teen Advisers

GWD

 

April Book Horoscopes!

Book logoHi there, readers!  We promised you a special horoscope surprise this month, and the time has come to unveil it.

As you may know, April is National Poetry Month.  So, in honor of this event, our teen astrologers have carefully selected a phenomenal collection of poetry as your suggested reading material this month. It’s time for you to find out which poetry is best suited for YOUR Zodiac sign. 🙂

AriesAries  Pushing Through Solid Rock” by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Rainer Maria Rilke was a poet from Austria who wrote hundreds of beautiful, lyrical poems in different languages like German and French. To read more, check out Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, an eBook compilation of his work.

It’s possible I am pushing through solid rock
in flintlike layers, as the ore lies, alone;
I am such a long way in I see no way through,
and no space: everything is close to my face,
and everything close to my face is stone.

I don’t have much knowledge yet in grief
so this massive darkness makes me small.
You be the master: make yourself fierce, break in:
then your great transforming will happen to me,
and my great grief cry will happen to you.

 

TaurusTaurus  “A Suggested Campaign Song” by Alice Duer Miller

Alice Duer Miller was a feminist writer and poet who wrote satirical poems for the women’s suffrage movement in the early 1900s. You can find more of her work by following this link or by checking out one of her books, such as Women Are People!, from the library.

We are waging-can you doubt it?
A campaign so calm and still
No one knows a thing about it,
And we hope they never will.
No one knows
What we oppose,
And we hope they never will.

We are ladylike and quiet,
Here a whisper-there a hint;
Never speeches, bands or riot,
Nothing suitable for print.
No one knows
What we oppose,
For we never speak for print.

Sometimes in profound seclusion,
In some far (but homelike) spot,
We will make a dark allusion:
“We’re opposed to you-know-what.”
No one knows
What we oppose,
For we call it “You-Know-What.”

Continue reading

Hate List – Fitting in can be very hard

Hate ListTitle:  Hate List

Author:  Jennifer Brown

Summary:  After a tragic school shooting, Valerie Leftman is a complete outsider who is either seen as a hero or villain.  After writing a “hate list” with her boyfriend that was never meant to cause any harm, she will go back to face all the people she hurt and work towards solving the mystery of who she really is, and how she fit into what occurred that day.

Gut Reaction:  Compelling action, easy to connect with characters.

Stars:  8/10 stars because of the descriptive characters and suspense.

What I loved:  It is easy to relate to how the characters are feeling, and there is always a new part coming up that you didn’t expect. This book keeps you thinking and makes you feel like you are facing the obstacles along with Valerie.

Why:  Fitting in can be very hard at times, and this story shows that you never really know what people are going through. This book also shows how one careless action can lead to a lot of harm if you don’t think before you act which is a good lesson to learn.

Websites:  Hate List book trailer

–Afsara, Greenwood, Teen Adviser

GWD