Tag Archives: tragedy

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


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


Dogs, Seattle… what’s not to love?

Art of Racing in the RainTitle: The Art of Racing in the Rain

Author: Garth Stein

Summary: Enzo is a golden retriever belonging to Denny Swift, a race car driver and employee at a high-end car dealership in Seattle. Enzo is a very observant dog and he understands more than people think he does. After learning about reincarnation, Enzo aspires to become a human in his next life. The novel follows Enzo as he accompanies Denny in the various situations life brings. Enzo learns what he can from these experiences and shares his wisdom with us, the reader.

Six Word Review: Dogs, Seattle… what’s not to love?

I started reading because: I love dogs and I think it’s kind of cool when stories are told from a dog’s point of view. Very different perspective to explore.

I would give this book 7/10 stars because while it was an interesting story because it questioned what it really means to be human, I had to power through some slow parts to get to the good stuff.

I loved that one of the characters attends Holy Names Academy (my high school) and that the story was set in Seattle. I hated that the character that went to Holy Names was one of my least favorite characters because of her poor choices and immoral actions.

If Enzo was in a high school yearbook, he would be voted Most Likely To: Be The First Dog To Attend High School

Anything else we should know? The book was inspired by a Mongolian documentary titled State of Dogs as well as the poem The Revenant by Billy Collins which is told from the perspective of a dog.

–Regina, 17, West Seattle


Regina raves on Wide Sargasso Sea

TWide Sargasso Seaitle: Wide Sargasso Sea

Author: Jean Rhys

Summary: Antoinette Cosway, known as Bertha Mason in the novel Jane Eyre, spends her childhood in the Caribbean during a socially tumultuous time. Antoinette is a white Creole meaning some of her ancestors were slaves but her appearance is different from her origins. Her mother is mentally unhealthy, her brother is mentally delayed, and her father is dead. Antoinette narrates the first half of the novel, and then the story shifts and a young English gentleman named Edward Rochester narrates after their marriage. The next half of the novel describes the ups and downs of Antoinette and Rochester’s marriage as well as the factors that led to Antoinette slowly losing her sanity.

Six Word Review: An interesting read with vivid imagery.

I started reading because: I liked Jane Eyre and was interested in getting to know Bertha’s character better.

I would give this book 10/10 stars because the motifs, themes, imagery, juxtapositions, and other literary devices are abundant.

I loved that Jean Rhys explored multiple character perspectives. The story is narrated by Antoinette, Rochester, and even briefly by a minor character. I hated that the description of the time at Thornfield was so brief. It makes sense because the author is demonstrating Antoinette’s mental instability, but it still would have been cool to know more about what that time was like for Antoinette.

If Antoinette was in a high school yearbook, she would be voted Most Likely To: Have A Hard Time Fitting In.

Anything else we should know? The movie adaptations are more overly romanticized and don’t provide an accurate portrayal of the author’s intent.

–Regina, 17, West Seattle


If You Like Fault in Our Stars…

…then you may love the titles on Eric’s list below (originally published on Shelftalk, our blog for adults).  Also, you’re probably aware that the movie is opening TONIGHT!  We really want to know what y’all think about the movie…or the book.  Drop us a line in the Comments or write us as much as you want…raving or venting, we want to know!

John Green’s popular and acclaimed novel The Fault in Our Stars gets the big screen treatment this week! Here are some books that form a complementary reading constellation.

The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenSomebody Up There Hates You by Hollis SeamonThe Summer I Found You by Jolene B. Perry

Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon

On the surface this story of cancer-stricken teens seems very similar to Green’s novel, but this humorous, moving story stands on its own. The snarky narrator Richard doesn’t have long to live, but is making the most of his remaining days in the hospice wing with Sylvie, another teen awaiting the same fate.

The Summer I Found You by Jolene B. Perry

After returning from Afghanistan with a disability, former soldier Aiden finds support in Kate, a high school senior recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Though this novel lacks the terminal illness present in the previous two titles, it explores the reality of disabilities and the unique challenges they can present in both planning for the future and falling in love.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie PerkinsAmy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan MatsonThis Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

For fans of the star-crossed romance element in Green’s novel, Perkins’ story of an American teenage girl finding unexpected love in a Paris school should hit the spot. This is a light, lovely story in the lovely City of Light.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

If you like that many of John Green’s plots involve the characters taking a transformative trip, check out Matson’s cross-country summer love story. Guilt-stricken after a car-accident claimed her father’s life, Amy gets on the road to healing with Roger, who is enlisted by Amy’s mother to get Amy safely to Connecticut from California.

This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl

John Green dedicated his book to the late Esther Earl, who passed away in 2010. This collection of various stories and journal entries chronicles her short but extraordinary life.


Sarah's Top 11 Books of All Time!

So I read A LOT.  In the 6th & 7th grade I was really into sci-fi/ fantasy and then I went into a crappy realistic fiction phase and then I found Harry Potter and then the good realistic fiction. I’m pleased to present: My Top 11 Favorite Books of ALL Time!

The whole list can be found on the library’s catalog here!

11. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
This is an amazing love story and in my opinion the best Nicholas Sparks book (and I’ve read ALL of them.) I love the 1950s back drop, I love Jamie and Landon, I love their love, I love that they get married even though they’re still kids, and I love that their love changed each other for the better.

10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
So I was required to read this book my freshmen year and I thought I would hate it but I ended up falling in love with it. It’s a classic and there isn’t one specific reason why I love it I just love all of it.  And I am Scout; I was exactly like her as a kid.

9. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
This is QUALITY realistic fiction. Sara Zarr is an AMAZING realistic fiction author. I love this book because I felt raw when I finished it. The love and the characters in this book felt so real that I could not stop thinking about it even weeks after I’d finished the book. Continue reading

Book Shorts: Orchards



Title:  Orchards

Author:  Holly Thompson

Summary:  Sent to Japan for the summer after an eighth-grade classmate’s suicide, half-Japanese, half-Jewish Kana Goldberg tries to fit in with relatives she barely knows and reflects on the guilt she feels over the tragedy back home.

I started reading it because… It is in verse, so though it is a longish (327 pages) book it is a very fast read.

I kept reading because… I grew to like the main character Kana very much and wanted to see how she coped living in a very traditional Japanese family, and because I wondered how much she was really responsible for what happened to her classmate. I also really liked the black and white line drawings.

Main character(s): If they were in a yearbook, they would be voted Most Likely To:  Join the Peace Corps or otherwise Help Others.

Six Word Recap:  Mean girl grows oranges in Japan.

This book reminded me of  Thirteen Reasons Why because I wish Hannah could have met Kana after her time in Japan. I think they would have been friends.

Christiane @ Queen Anne Branch