How I Live Now

By: Meg Rosoff

I would recommend this book for ages 15 and up.

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Summary

“Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way. (Goodreads)

My Review

How I Live Now is by far one of the strangest books I have ever read. It is also one of the best. With that being said, I could see why a vast majority of people would not like it.

I found out about this book through the movie. I heard that Saoirse Ronan was going to be starring in it and I was immediately interested. This book deals with some hard topics that not many people like to talk about but that need to be discussed. Meg Rosoff manages to balance these complicated ideas without making them the center of attention. The plot of this book is surviving a World War and the characters trying to find their way back to each other. It just happens to include, anorexia, extreme PTSD, and incest between cousins.

The writing style in this book is extremely different and a little hard to get into. There are no quotations marks, many run on sentences, and very little punctuation. Without spoiling it, the reasoning for this style of writing is explained near the end of the book and it makes the story that much better and even more heartbreaking. Even though the writing was strange, that didn’t stop Meg from being able to write some beautiful passages and quotes through out the book.

Most books about wars are action packed and fast paced because they usually take place in the worst part of the war. How I Live Now took place at the very beginning of it. It was a very slow build, which I loved, and the main characters were left unaffected for quite a while. It reminded me of if you were to read a book about the very start of a zombie apocalypse. It would take a very long time for the virus to start affecting everyone in the world.

The characters in this book were all very distinct, different, and realistic. It was interesting to see how the four siblings, ranging from ages nine to sixteen, shared many of the same ideas and also disagreed on many. They each dealt with the war in four very different ways. Then, there was Daisy. She started as a negative, spoiled kid from New York and she had to learn how to fit in with a bunch of positive, nature loving siblings who lived in the country side of England.

I have yet to watch the movie, but I would love to do so soon. I know that it is very different from the book when it comes to characters and character deaths, but I’ve heard many positive things about it.

This book was absolutely incredible and probably one of my favorites of the year. It is definitely a book that I have thought about constantly since I finished it and I wish that more people, teens especially, would read it. I feel like it would be a good book to have on a required reading list for school.

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Violence: 4/5               Stars: 4/5

Sex: 2/5                        Pages: 194

Language: 2/5             Buy Book Here: Amazon

The Forbidden Wish

By: Jessica Khoury

Hello, I am finally back! I have been crazy busy with planning/attending BEA. Sadly it’s over, but now I can get back to posting on a regular basis!

 

I would recommend this book for ages 13 and up.

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Summary

She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world…

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury. (Goodreads)

Review

I met Jessica two years ago at a book event and she mentioned that she was just coming up with the idea to do an Aladdin retelling. I was so excited because the story of Aladdin is one of my favorite things ever. It took me a while to get around to reading this book, but I had heard that this wasn’t exactly a retelling. While it definitely has aspects of Aladdin, it was a very loose retelling. I ended up enjoying the book more because of that. I absolutely loved this book and read it in under two days.The characters were fleshed out extremely well, which is usually my main complaint with stand alone books. Zahra is now easily one of my favorite female characters.

What surprised me was this book had quite a few things in it that I usually don’t like, but Jessica pulled them off really well. Two things in particular were the writing style and the abilities that the Jinni had. The writing was a mix between a poetic style and a modern style. At times the writing would be beautiful and lyrical and then it would change and the characters would be talking like “normal teenagers.” Usually I don’t like it when authors try to use an over the top modern style of writing, but it was done very well in this book. The ability that I was talking about was that Zahra can shape shift into anything she wants. Normally, this feels like it is used as an easy way out when things get too complicated for the characters. Once again, that was not the case with this book and it was pulled off beautifully.

The world building was amazing. There was a section of the book where the castle was being described and it was so easy to imagine everything that was going on. It also felt very true to the setting of the story. At one point, Jessica was describing how there were animals that wandered around in the castle, especially peacocks. It was really interesting to think about kings and queens going about their day with peacocks walking around with them.

My only complaint with this book is that I got bored at the climactic section of this book and I felt like it dragged on a little bit.

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Romance: 1.5/5                       Stars: 5/5

Language: 0/5                      Pages: 340

Violence: 2/5                        Buy Book Here: Amazon 

All the King’s-Men

I recommend this book for ages twelve plus.

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The third book in Adam Dreece’s Yellow Hoods series follows all of the plot points that were opened up in the first two books. Although the overall main character is still Tee, there are many different story lines that are taking place both in the past and the present.

While I have enjoyed the rapid pacing of the developing plots in the first two books of the series, the third book took a bit of a breather, but still impressed me with how the story boldly moved forward. Since this is the middle book in the series I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. There was more “traveling” and getting from point A to point B in this book, as the characters adventure moved them into strange and fantastic new places.The slightly slower pace of the book allowed the author to build fresh and deeper perspectives that brought the characters new life as the story unfolded through their eyes. Every single one of the characters have come extremely far from the first book, and it is incredible to see. One of the most fun things when reading one of Adam Dreece’s books is seeing how he intertwines fairytale characters into his books. I have read many “fairytale retellings,” but this series is probably the best I’ve read when it comes to how fairytales are used. Sometimes the character will blatantly be a representation of a fairytale, and some can only be figured out by a certain sentence or quote. Another amazing yet frustrating thing about this books is how they all seem to have the most amazing cliffhangers, making you impatiently excited for the following book.

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My favorite character(s) are Gretel, Hans, and Saul. I think they are my favorites because there is so much that could be done with their characters. I’m very excited to see where Adam ends up going with them.

This book had no swearing, extremely mild romance, and minor violence.

Five out of five stars

Author: Adam Dreece

Pages: 238

Buy Book Here: Amazon

The City of Ember

I think that this book would be fine for ages ten plus.

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This book is an action story with some mystery mixed in there too.  The main character are Lena and Doon.  Lena and Doon, and everyone they know live in an underground city called Ember.  The kids soon begin to realize that Ember is in trouble.  They are running out of food, and the electricity is starting to fail.  Lena finds some clues of how to get out of Ember, but doesn’t even know if there is a world to go to above Ember.  Doon decides that they need to try, because if they don’t they are going die down in Ember, but how can two kids lead an entire city to safety?

 

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four out of five stars.

I really liked this book and both of the characters. I didn’t give it five stars because I feel like there could have been a little more added to the story, but it was still very good.

There is practically nothing wrong with this book, and kids under ten could probably read it.  The only issue with this book, would simply be making sure that your kids can understand what is going on in the story.

 author: Jeanne Duprau

pages:270

Buy Book here:  Amazon

The Red Pyramid

I would recommend this book to anyone ages 11 and up.  This series is written by the same author of the Percy Jackson series, and is appropriate for the same age group.

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Carter Kane travels the world with his dad who is an Egyptologist, while his sister, Sadie, was forced to live with their grandparents in England after their mom died.  They see each other on Christmas Eve, but after living apart for six years, they really have nothing in common, and they argue a lot.  Their dad takes them to a  Museum promising that he will make things right by doing this.  The kids watch as their dad summons a horrible creature, then see him disappear completely.  The siblings soon find out that everything their dad has been studying is real, Egyptian gods and goddesses exist.  The kids soon are told that two important gods/goddesses have inhabited them in order to get what they need.  Now, because of this Sadie and Carter can do things that people could only dream of, but will it be enough to save everyone they love?

 

This book is very hard for me to review, because Percy Jackson is my favorite series ever, but I really am not a huge fan of this series. For whatever reason I just could not get into it. The pacing in this book, wasn’t very good, and the characters were very hard to connect too. If you are looking for a Rick Riordan book, definitely go for Percy Jackson.

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three out of five stars

I don’t have a favorite character in this book, none of them really stuck out to me.

This book was pretty good, but not near as good as Rick Riordan’s other series Percy Jackson.

This book was very appropriate, with no language and romance to very mild. The violence was also mild.

author: Rick Riordan

Pages: 514

Buy book here:  Amazon

Between the Lines

I would recommend this book for anyone ages twelve plus.

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This book is about a girl named Delilah who loves to read, especially her favorite fairy tale book. Delilah keeps re-reading her fairy tale book until she senses something strange about it.  After looking around and doing some research, she realizes that the characters in the book are real; trapped in the story.  Every time she opens the book, the characters have to act out the story page for page and word for word.  Then she meets the stories Prince Charming, who wants to get out more then anybody else.  Delilah decides that she is going to help him, but how can she prove to people that the characters in the book are real?

 

My favorite character was Delilah, because she has the same personality that a lot of book readers have.

This book was very fun to read, but not a book that will stick with me forever.

Three stars

This book had no bad language, mild romance (some kissing) and mild to medium violence, including pirates and killer mermaids.

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Authors: Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

pages: 352

Buy Book Here:  Amazon

Nine Days

This book should be fine for anyone ages twelve and up.

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This book is a true story about a boy named Ethan and his friend Ti-Anna who are thirteen years old.  Ti-Anna tells Ethan that her father was kidnapped by soldiers and was put in a prison in China. Ethan decides that he is going to help Ti-Anna save her dad, and says that he is going to take her to China. Ethan steals his moms credit card and takes Ti-Anna to the airport, where they fly across the world all by themselves.  Once they make it to China, they have to find a hotel and try to look for anyone who may know anything about Ti-Anna’s dad.  Ethan tells her that if they don’t find him within seven days they will have to give up and go back home.  After days of searching they find someone who claims they know exactly where her dad is, but he says that he will only tell them what he knows if Ti-Anna comes back later, alone.  At first Ethan refuses, but he eventually agrees, promising that he will stay close enough to still see her.  Ethan watches as Ti-Anna talks to the man for a while, until he sees the man drug and kidnap her. Now Ethan has to find Ti-Anna alone, and he has no idea where to go.

I don’t really know who my favorite character would be, but if I had to pick one, I would say Ethan.

This was a very good book, and knowing that it was a true story makes it even better.

four and a half out of five stars 

If this book had any language at all, it was very minor along with the romance and violence. Over all this book was very clean.

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author: Fred Hiatt

Pages: 256

Buy Book Here: Amazon

Tuck Everlasting

This book is good for any age really, but probably starting at ten so that it can be fully understood.

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This book is about a girl named Winnie Foster.  Winnie is ten years old, and she lives with her family, who own some acres of woods behind their house.  One day Winnie is walking in her back woods, when she says a boy named Jesse drinking from a spring.  She walks up to the boy, and asks him if she can have some of the water.  He quickly says no right as his brother Miles and mom come up. The family kidnaps Winnie and take her back to their home.  They tell her that they didn’t want to kidnap her, but they didn’t know what else to do.  Tuck, the father, comes out to see Winnie, and the family quickly explains what happened. They say that if you drink the spring water in the woods then you will become immortal.  Jesse explains that he is actually over 100 years old, but will always look as if he is 17, because that is when he first drank the water.  Winnie spends some time with the family and eventually falls in love with Jesse.  Jesse gives her a vile of the water, and tells her that when she turns seventeen she needs to drink it so that she can get married to Jesse.  Now Winnie has a choice, live forever with Jesse and his family or live and die just like the rest of the world.

I absolutely loved this book, and it was of my all time favorites. I just recently read it for my fourth time.

This book has mild to no language and romance.  There is very minor violence, but over all this book is very clean.

five out of five stars

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Author: Natalie Babbit

pages: 139

Buy Book Here: Amazon 

The Host

I think that this book would be appropriate for ages fifteen and up.

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This book is about a world that has been taken over by aliens.  The aliens take over human bodies and control them. The aliens think that the world has become to violent, and they want to set the humans on the right path.  This book is in the perspective of an alien named Wanda.  She is in the body of a girl named Melanie.  Melanie is not leaving her body though, so now it is kind of like having to people in one body.  Melanie wants to find her brother Jamie and her boyfriend Jared, and eventually leads Wanda to the cave that they are hiding in.  Jared and Jamie want nothing to do with Melanie because, they think that she has left her body.  How can Melanie prove to them that she is still there?

My favorite character was Jared, because he was very understanding.

I liked this book, but the romance kind of ruined it for me.

This book had minor/medium language, medium violence, and heavy romance.  I would not recommend this to anyone under fifteen.

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Four and a half out of five stars

Author: Stephanie Meyer
pages: 619
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The Knife of Never Letting Go

I think that the age for this would be good for thirteen plus.  The main problem in this book is the violence, so if that does not bother you then it could be good for twelve plus too.

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The Knife of Never Letting Go is about a twelve year old boy named Todd.  Todd lives in a town called Prentiss Town.  In Prentiss Town, there are no girls, only boys, and at the age of thirteen, a boy becomes a “man,” and must complete a task to be accepted as a man.  Todd is the last boy and is one month away from becoming a man.  Years before a sickness called the noise came to Prentiss Town.  The people of the town are led to believe that that is what killed all the girls.  The men did not die, but the sickness left them with the ability to constantly hear each others thoughts.   Then Todd’s dad Benjamin tells Todd that he has to leave Prentiss Town, because something terrible will happen when the last boy becomes a man. Todd leaves the town along with his dog Manchee, and plans to run into the woods, to try to escape, but one of the men of Prentiss Town, named Aaron is following them, and is determined to turn the last boy into a man.  That is when Todd finds a girl in the woods named Viola, and he takes her with him, to try to find a safe town to live in, but Todd can’t stop wondering why is she the only girl in the town, and how did she survive? Todd and Viola start to uncover some of the mysteries of Prentiss Town, until they find out, that maybe the noise wasn’t the thing that killed the girls after all.

I loved this book, because it was something totally new and different.

My favorite character was Benjamin, because he really cared for Todd.

There is a lot of violence in this book, and I did skim over some of the detail.  This book has minor romance, and medium cursing.  Although the characters do not usually curse outright, the do use other words as a stand in for cursing.

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five out of five stars

Author: Patrick Ness
Pages:479
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