Tag Archives: West Seattle

The Stellar Six of Gingacho – Please bring the good old days back!

ssog1Title: The Stellar Six of Gingacho

Author: Yuki Fujimoto

Summary: A girl tries to reunite her childhood friends

Gut reaction: I love this!

Why: As a nostalgia addict, I can deeply connect with Mike’s struggle to get her friends back together and into a close group once more. The desire for things as they were is both impossible and human nature. The characters are mostly solid, although a few are flimsy, and the setting is very heart-felt. I immediately empathized with the characters and cheered them on in their struggles. I hope it ends well, because I’m too focused on the past to predict where it’ll end up in the future. Please bring the good old days back!

Who would like this book: shoujo fans, slice-of-life fans, shounen fans, other nostalgia addicts. I, of course, will doggedly follow it until the end.

–Lexie, 16, West Seattle

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Paper Towns – Romantic, mysterious, suspenseful; I love it.

PaperTowns2009_6ATitle: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

Summary: Q has known Margot since they were little kids. She lives right next door to him and they used to be best friends, but things changed over time and they drifted apart a bit. However, just as Q is getting sick of the routine of school, Margot whisks him away on an adventure that involves catfish, spray paint, Nair, and sneaking into Sea World through a snake-infested moat in the middle of the night. The morning after, Q hopes that this means he and Margot can be friends (or maybe even more than friends), but instead of seeing her at school, he discovers that Margot has run away again. He’s discouraged until he notices that Margot has left a series of clues that lead to where she’s run away. He spends the rest of the story trying to piece it together. You’ll have to read the book to find out whether he finds her or not.

Six Word Review: Romantic, mysterious, suspenseful; I love it.

I started reading because: I liked John Green’s other books so I knew it was likely I’d enjoy this one as well.

I would give this book 8/10 stars because the story-line can fall a bit flat in parts. I felt like there needed to be something to spice it up a bit in the middle.

I loved that one of the main messages of the story was that perceptions can be different from realities. I hated that Margot wasn’t in the story more. She was a great character.

If Q was in a HS yearbook, he would be voted Most Likely To: Be Loyal

Anything else we should know? It’s a relatable story that demonstrates that how we think about people isn’t always how they actually are.

Regina, 17, West Seattle

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Tangerine: Simultaneously Enchanting and Chilling

tangerine Tangerine, by Edward Bloor

Tangerine is a book about oranges and lies.  Set in and around Tangerine County, Florida, it’s the journal of 12-year-old Paul Fisher.  Paul is distinguished from others his age by his glasses, which he says would have survived to be unearthed by archaeologists if the dinosaurs had worn them at the time of their extinction.  He’s been told his entire life that he is a walking cautionary tale: don’t stare too long into a solar eclipse or you will go blind.  Oh.  Hold on a second.  He can see just fine. What’s up with that?  He does not remember a solar eclipse happening in his lifetime, and he is certain that he would have known not to look at it.  There are many things he doesn’t remember.  It is almost as if the memory is there, but he simply cannot see it in his mind’s eye. Continue reading

Speak: Important lesson about rape culture

speak–Title: Speak

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Summary: Melinda is a new freshman in high school. This year should be about a fresh start and new beginnings, but an event that happened over the summer is keeping Melinda from enjoying high school as much as she should. She was invited to her first party and after trying a drink and becoming a bit unsteady, a boy takes advantage of her and rapes her. She doesn’t tell anyone at first. She isn’t even able to name the event or admit it to herself. She spends the year contemplating the event and trying to come to terms with what happened. The ending is powerful.

Six Word Review: Teaches important lesson about rape culture.

I started reading because: The cover really caught my eye. It has a tree on it. Melinda is good at art and she spends the year working on a project that depicts a tree. It’s very fitting because her personal growth coincides with the growth of her art tree.

I would give this book 10/10 stars because it was so good I couldn’t put it down. I read it all in one sitting. The message is so powerful and especially relevant to our culture today.

I loved Melinda’s hippie art teacher. The things he tells Melinda are some of the most quotable lines of the book. I hated that not everyone in the entire world had read this book.

If the lead character Melinda was in a high school yearbook, he/she would be voted Most Likely To: Become A Famous Artist

Anything else we should know? There’s a movie based on this book, but I think it’s really important that you read this book just because so much of the story is told through Melinda’s inner thoughts. It’s titled Speak because Melinda becomes so quiet after being raped and finally speaks out at the end of the book. It’s a powerful component of the story and it’s lost in the movie.

–Regina, West Seattle

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Let It Snow – So many stories, all very cute.

let it snowTitle: Let It Snow

Author: Maureen Johnson, John Green, Lauren Myracle

Summary: Three holiday romances packed into one book.

The first story, The Jubilee Express, tells the story of Jubilee, a teenage girl stuck alone on Christmas Eve because her parents were arrested for being a little too excited about collectible miniature decorative houses and being involved in somewhat of a riot related to the release of another collectible. She is taking the train to her grandparent’s house in Florida when the snowstorm stops the train. As she ventures out to get to a payphone to call her grandparents, Jubilee runs into her classmate Stuart. Stuart invites her to come over to his house for Christmas so she doesn’t have to spend it alone. Jubilee has a boyfriend, but Stuart’s offer is as a friend. However, the events that follow could change that.

The second story, A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle, is about a group of friends: two boys, Tobin and JP, and one tomboyish girl, the Duke (aka Angie). Tobin and the Duke are best friends and that’s all they’ve ever been, but when they go on a journey to a waffle house during a snowstorm, their relationship changes.

The third story, The Patron Saint of Pigs, Addie, who regrets having recently broken up with her boyfriend, begins to realize how self-involved she is. In an effort to show how much she cares about others, she offers to pick up a teacup pig for her friend Tegan who ordered the pig weeks ago. Addie tries to remember, but she inevitably forgets to get the pig for her friend. Luckily, a “Christmas angel” helps her out and Addie learns a valuable lesson.

Six Word Review: So many stories, all very cute.

I started reading because: I was browsing through a library looking for a cute romance novel.

I would give this book 8/10 stars because all the stories are very sweet. It’s a fun read.

I loved how the stories crossed over with each other. It makes you very aware that everyone is the main character in their own lives and we’re just background characters to them while they’re background characters to us. I hated that there weren’t even more stories to be interwoven.

If the lead character Stuart was in a high school yearbook, he/she would be voted Most Likely To: Be The Sweetest Person Alive.

Anything else we should know? The summary doesn’t tell the whole of all the stories because there are three stories and it would be, like, three pages long if I did summarize it all in-depth. It may sound sort of shallow, and it kind of is, but sometimes shallow is good. It’s really a cute book and it describes the excitement of a snowstorm perfectly.

Regina, West Seattle

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The Shadow of the Wind: captivatingly descriptive

TheShadowOfTheWindTitle: The Shadow of the Wind

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Summary: Daniel, a young boy growing up in post-war Barcelona, selects a book called The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax when his father brings him to a place called the Cemetery of Forgotten books. Daniel reads the entire book in one night and is completely captivated. He searches for other books by the author, but discovers that someone has been systematically destroying all novels by the author Julián Carax. Daniel is sent on an adventure discovering the history of Carax. The novel becomes a story within a story as Daniel uncovers more and more about the life, love, and mystery of Julián Carax.

Six Word Review: Written beautifully, captivatingly descriptive, creative storyline.

I started reading because: I was looking for a longer novel that had historical elements.

I would give this book 10/10 stars because it’s a thrilling story with complex plots and fascinating characters.

I loved the way the author described things and constructed the story. I hated how complicated the plot was. I read it during the school year so I wasn’t able to read it in lengthy sittings and it sometimes weeks passed before I was able to pick it up again so I kept forgetting important details.

If Daniel was in a high school yearbook, he would be voted Most Likely To: Become A Private Investigator.

Anything else we should know? If history and english are two of your favorite subjects, this book is for you.

 ​–Regina, 17, West Seattle

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Jane Eyre – Early feminism, dense but compelling.

jane_eyre_largeTitle: Jane Eyre
Author: Charlotte Bronte

Summary: A young girl by the name of Jane Eyre is an orphan without any family as far as she knows. The closest thing to family she has is her abusive aunt and bratty cousins. Jane is a passionate girl and she is very deeply affected by injustice. Because her aunt wants to get rid of her, she sends Jane to school. Lowood isn’t the most ideal school, however. It is lorded over by a strict religious man named Mr. Brocklehurst and Jane can’t stand him. Jane is intelligent, though, so after many years at the school Jane is hired as a governess at a place called Thornfield. She meets Mr. Rochester here, a man whom she grows to love, and she tutors a young French girl by the name of Adele. While here, Jane notices strange occurrences in the house. These strange occurrences increase as the mystery of Thornfield unfolds.

I started reading because: I was interested in reading British literature written by a woman in Victorian society.

I would give this book 8/10 stars because it’s really really slow to pick up and get interesting, but once you finish the story you’re glad you did because it becomes rather compelling.

I loved that Charlotte Bronte originally published the book under a male pen name because of the gender prejudice of the time, let the book get really popular, and then revealed that it was written by a woman. The book also contains feminist elements. I hated how dense it was at times. The settings’ descriptions can be a bit too wordy as well.

If Jane was in a high school yearbook, she would be voted Most Likely To: Sit In The Corner At A Party.

Anything else we should know? The main chunk of the action and astonishing reveals are towards the end of the novel. I didn’t want to spoil anything in my summary.

–Regina, 18, West Seattle

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