The Way I Used to Be

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The Way I Used to Be, written by Amber Smith is an incredible novel that takes you through the life of a girl named Eden, who was raped right before the start of her freshman year in high school. Throughout the novel, you vividly experience her struggles and hardships after what happened to her. She experiences major PTSD, stemming from the fact that she is afraid to tell anyone that her older brother’s beloved best friend has raped her.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is willing to experience Eden’s emotions and experiences through her eyes. Although, if this type of thing is a trigger for you, I would not recommend reading it. This book gave me a lot of insight and helped me understand the life of someone who has experienced something as serious as rape. I hope you read this book because it is truly the best book I have read!

-Dylan Wiley

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

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I highly suggest this book written by, Jesse Andrews. I really enjoyed this book because it was extremely humorous yet so real and life-like at the same time. If you do not like stories with cancer then this may not be the book for you. It’s not all focused on cancer but one of the characters in the book does have cancer.  It’s unfortunate that kids and people get cancer but not all cancer stories need to be heavily depressing. This was a story where a guy named Greg gets back in touch with a girl from hebrew school that he knew when he was a little kid. He is forced to hang out with her because she has cancer and the mom wants the girl to have some friends. The girls name is Rachael.  Greg finds it difficult and very awkward at first but the more they hang out together the more of a bond they develop.  The main character, Greg, is really humorous in his way of thinking.  He is blunt and does not have too much of a filter on his thoughts or his mouth.  The book is a heartwarming story and written uniquely and funny.

-Alex Toy

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The Old Man and the Sea (Lorenzo Angeles)

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The Old Man and the Sea was a beautifully and descriptively written story, a fantastic metaphor for the struggles of a writer, and the harshneess for critics. Published by Ernest Hemingway in 1952.

The Old Man and the Sea tells the tale of an elderly fisherman named Santiago. Santiago has gone almost two months without catching a fish, but luckily Santiago has Manolin, his young attendant. Manolin encourages Santiago to go back into the ocean, and catch fish, as well as provide Santiago with food.

The old man eventually goes off into the sea alone, where he encounters a powerful marlin. For a long section of this book, Hemingway describes the battle between Santiago and the fish. The description is often very gruesome. Hemingway is trying to describe how difficult it is to appeal to critics. Santiago tries very hard to reel the fish in, as Hemingway tries very hard to write good books.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this short book. The imagery was vivid, and the metaphors were very thought-provoking.

 

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Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, written by Sherman Alexie is a heartwarming young adult fiction book. It’s the diary of 14-year-old Arnold Spirt Jr., or Junior living on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington. He is bullied by his peers and tribe members because of his large head, thick glasses, and lisp. Junior enjoys learning, so he decided to transfer to Reardon outside of his reservation, where he is the only non-white person. He is condemned by his tribe for attending a school not on their reservation and that makes him feel even more like an outsider. Throughout his year at Reardon, three people Junior is close with end up dying from alcohol related deaths.

I enjoyed this book because for the most part, it was light hearted and dealt with real and relevant issues. It had its share of humor and heartbreak which honestly had me on the edge of tears.

-Skye Wright

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The Call of the Wild

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The Call of the Wild, written by Jack London and published in 1903 was the author’s most famous work. The story from a different perspective than we’re accustomed to reading about. The book is told through a dog’s, Buck’s, perspective.

My dad has been telling me to read this book for a long time now, and I’m glad I finally got around to reading it. I’ve always loved the outdoors, especially when I was little. Reading this book brought up a lot of fond memories from when I was only eight or nine years old fishing and backpacking with my dad and so this was a lot of fun for me to read.

In the novel, the protagonist is a half St. Bernard and half sheepdog named Buck that lives in the Santa Clara Valley in California. The gold rush up north, in parts like Alaska and Canada, create the plot of the story. The gold rush creates a need for sled dogs and Buck is kidnapped and shipped to the Klondike region of Canada to become one.

When he arrives in Klondike, he is shocked by the brutality of life there. The Californian is used to a very leisurely and safe life (like most of us in California). He learns to hunt, fight and fend for himself and becomes closer to his wild ancestors while doing so. The life he has is now kill or be killed, but he’s becoming very good at it. In fact, He kills off the other lead dog and becomes the sole leader of his pack.

Buck and his team of sled dogs bounces from one master to the next. The first two, Francois and Perrault, two mail carriers, were good owners. The next mail carrier however overworks the dogs and eventually has to shoot one that becomes ill. Next, they’re handed over to American gold hunters named Hal, Charles, and Mercedes. These guys are complete idiots and cruel on top of it. In the midst of their trek, the gold hunters run out of food. Nine dogs die of starvation by the time they reach John Thornton’s camp. Thornton cuts buck loose when Hal begins to beat him, and Buck and Thornton become inseparable.

Thornton and Buck’s relationship is truly special. They go through everything together and have some amazing adventures. Thornton and Buck go with a group of people into the forest in search of a lost gold mine. While searching Buck feels “the call of the wild.” He begins a new life in the wild, but always comes back to visit Thornton. One day when he comes back to the camp to visit, he finds that Thornton has been killed by Yeehat Indians. Buck goes off on the Indians and kills many of them, becoming a great leader of wolves in the wild.

 

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The Hunger Games

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The Hunger Games was writen by Suzanne collins and published on September 14, 2008.  The book is about the Capitol of Panem and its hold on the 12 districts.  From each district one boy and one girl is chosen to fight for their life in an event called the Hunger Games.  Here they fight against 23 other kids,  all under the age of 18.  The last child alive is crowned a victor and receives a new and wealthy life.   The main character in the book is Katniss Everdeen.  She is a small town girl from District 12.  Katniss volunteers to take her sister’s place as the female tribute from District 12.   Throughout the book Katniss grows close to the male tribute from her district.  The two fight for their lives while also sorting out their feelings for each other.

Being almost halfway through the book, I can easily say that this book is a must read.  I have been absolutely glued to the book and unable to put it down.  The author uses great diction and syntax to carry the story along without any awkward breaks or pit falls.

I finished the book and loved every word of it.  Hands down this is my favorite book.   It has a perfect mix of romance, and action and that keeps you on the edge of your seat.  The book has excellent diction and syntax all the way to the last page.  I would rate the book five out of five stars.

-Lauren Smart

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Taken

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Taken, By Erin Bowman was an amazing book! It was published in 2013 and it is now my all time favorite book. It is about a boy named, Grey Weathersby who lives in a place called Claysoot. In this place every boy on their 18 birthday at midnight dies. They call this the Heist. Claysoot is surrounded by a big wall and anyone who tries to go over it dies too. The people there aren’t very wealthy, and in this place girls and boys are matched so they can make babies because they don’t have enough time for boys to only have babies with one woman before they die or none. One day he finds a note from his dead mother that makes Grey start to question everything. It’s almost is time to turn 18, but now he questions whats across the wall, if you really die, about the heist, everything. His brother is dead and the girl he likes is just realizing she likes him too. Now he has to decide whether to wait for the heist and probably die or risk going across the wall. I would give this book a 4 because I loved it so much. It was exciting, romantic, and with adventure. I would definitly recommend this to people.

-Sophia Dolberg

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