Student Book Reviews Updated September 2012 title / Author / Rating

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HALF MOON Eoin Colfer ****

This book is easy and fun to read and has many good plot twists.



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HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS J.K. Rowling ****

This book is very well-written but does not use a lot of difficult language, so younger readers will understand it as well. It has more mature content, such as death, torture and other things. I believe the author made this book more PG-13 rated because the audience of the Harry Potter series has “grown up” as well. The story has many twists in the plot. However, the ending is very predictable, and I believe the author could have come up with a better ending.



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HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE J.K. Rowling ****

Now that Harry and his friends are older, much more cool stuff is happening at Hogwarts, the school of magic. The novel is interesting and I couldn’t put it down. Rowling does a great job story-telling in this sixth-in-the-series novel.

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THE HARVEST GYPIES John Steinbeck****

This book may be short, but the way Steinbeck is so passionate about creating a better life for migrants of the Great Depression draws one into the book. It not only creates entertainment but his style gives examples form his experience and is extremely informative. It is easy to read but powerful and gets the point across.

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HAUNTED Chuck Palahniuk*****

Like most of Palahniuk’s books, HAUNTED is a psychological thriller not a horror book like most people think. Other books by Palahniuk include FIGHT CLUB, DIARY, LULLABY, CHOKE, SNUFF and many more award-winners. HAUNTED is by far one of the best books I have ever read.

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HEIR APPARENT Vivian Vande Velde*****

This is an amazing fantasy book meant for those who love comedy and a bit of the medieval times! The main character is a teenager in our modern world playing a virtual game and so this is a book that other teenagers can relate to and understand. The sarcastic thoughts of this main character only add to the awesomeness of the book, making this the most enjoyable book I have ever read!

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THE HELP Kathryn Stickett****

I loved this book. It had amazing lessons and was very well written. I learned a lot. Plus, it was very interesting. The author is very good and made the book a quick and easy read. It held my attention and kept moving. It was written from different points of views which made it unique. A great book!


****I really enjoyed this book because I thought the storyline was really easy to follow and I thought that throughout the book there were interesting things going on. It never jumped from being boring to interesting. Overall I thought the storyline was really good because it reminds us how far our nation has come in terms of civil rights.

****The Help was a great book. The plot went places and kept me interested the whole way through. The author changes the point of view between the three main characters which kept it very interesting. She also includes the different accents and a lot of the personal opinions. It was a great read, and taught me a lot about the blacks and the way they were treated. It was a great eye-opener.

*****The Help is an extremely well written novel with many hidden meanings. This piece of historical fiction follows two maids, Aibileen and Minny, and one socialite, Skeeter Phelan, as they deal with segregation in Jackson, MI in the mid 1960’s.

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HERE BE DRAGONS Sharon Kay Penman****

The book has a lot of excitement and tension, so it’s really easy to get hoked. The author gives a new perspective on the failings of human nature. She illustrates the cycles between war and peace, and shows how greed and ambition and insecurity lead to reoccurring conflicts. The only problem with this novel is that it becomes too predictable in the second half.

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THE HIDING PLACE Corrie Ten Boom *****


This book really grips the reader. It is a truly touching story with a strong message. Whoever reads this will love it.

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HIROSHIMA John Hersey ****

This book gives you a different view of the bombing of Hiroshima. It tells the stories of six different people who experienced the bombing. You see in detail the horrors they had to experience. It’s a very informative story. If you are interested in learning about the bombing, this story teaches you about what really happened in a non-boring way. The vivid details help bring you into the story and teach you about what the people of Hiroshima went through.

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HIS DARK MATERIALS: THE TRILOGY Philip Pullman *****

This trilogy includes The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. These books create a rich fantasy world that all of us can somehow relate to. The plot is constantly moving and has many dynamic twists throughout the course of the story. There are many great morals and lessons that apply to life, and the themes in all three books are profound and universal.

HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY Douglas Adams

****Seconds before the Earth is destroyed to make way for a galactic freeway, an earthman is saved by his friend, and together they travel the galaxy. Cool writing style, but inconclusive. A bit confusing in some parts, but a very comical book. A quick read.


*****This is a great book in which the author describes detailed and ridiculous things in such a way that if you pick up this book, you will become booked for life. This is a great book and I recommend this to everybody who is willing to read it.

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HOLES Louis Sachar ****

A very clever and interesting novel. It is a neat story about a curse and treasure, and boy’s detention in a hellish desert correctional camp in Texas, which will make you think and wonder. It is for about ages 8+, not necessarily freshman reading level.

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HOOT Carl Hiaasen *****

Newcomer Roy becomes involved in a young boy’s attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site in a small Florida community. This is a great book for people who love animals and the environment. It shows that if one is persistent enough, he or she can do anything. It also teaches the value of standing up for what’s right.

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HOUSE OF THE SCORPION Nancy Farmer *****

Matteo Alacran was not born; he is a clone of El Patron. Although he is loved by El Patron, he is viewed as a monster by many, including El Patron’s money hungry family. This is a great book full of adventure and surprises! The protagonist, Matt, will share his adventures with you. You will feel as if you were there with him.

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HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS Isabel Allende *****

This book gives the reader a unique perspective of Chilean life and teaches about political problems and the effects that they can have on not only a nation, but the individuals.

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THE HUNGER GAMES Susanne Collins *****

I really liked this book because it had such an intense story-line. I was never at any point bored with this book, and the intense drama kept me riveted. The story was totally unpredictable from the beginning to the end. The reader never knew who would survive. I would also recommend the sequel, Catching Fire because it is an equally fascinating book. Both books reveal aspects of human nature that only come out in a battle to the death. Although the book was somewhat disturbing at times, it was an amazing story.


****This is a very exciting book that shows life in districts controlled by a monarchy. The plot is very different from other books and will make you want to keep reading more. There are exciting things that happen during the “game” part of the book. It shows challenges a girl and a boy must face to survive. The book will keep the reader hooked. It has a lot of suspense and some romance.

***Not currently available in LGHS library

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THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER Tom Clancy ****

Somewhere under the Atlantic, a Soviet sub commander has just made a fateful decision. The “Red October” is defecting to the West. A touching and interesting story with good strategies.

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I AM THE MESSENGER Markus Zusak****

A powerful novel about helping others. I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak is a great read, with a hero that changes as he helps others and finds his place in the world. The novel has a huge impact on all who read it. I highly recommend it.

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INFINITE JEST David Foster Wallace *****

Unbelievably brilliant, a bit turgid for some but ultimately technically and emotionally outstanding. Wallace emphasizes the amount of detail put into it and despite the odds, he is able to not make a mess of it. Wallace was suffering depression at the time (he committed suicide in 2008), and the novel has moments of unbound sadness, but this is balanced by his quirky use of black humor. It is an excellent book.

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INSIDE DELTA FORCE Eric L. Haney ****

This book is very interesting to read, but it requires knowledge on the Special Forces of the U.S. Army. I found this book to be interesting because it is written by an ex-member of the unit. Haney’s experience allows him to write with great detail and bring the story to life. Haney writes in a way that can pull the reader in. The book has great flow to it and requires little effort to comprehend. This book tells of action in a way I’ve never seen. It describes scenes that are real, yet provides little detail on some parts to protect the unit from too much exposure. The absence of detail leaves the reader to recreate the battle or event in his head. On the other hand, you’re reading this book as if you were right there with him. In the first half, you get into his thoughts and emotions in situations as if you are a blind man, and he is your eyes.

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THE INSIDERS J. Minter ****

This is a good book about the inner-city life of teens living on a rumble ground divided between two groups. A cool New York group of guys are having the time of their lives until a new girl, Kelli, arrives and crashes the party. She won’t be content until she conquers their world.

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INTO THE WILD John Krakauer*****

This is a good nonfiction book, it’s an amazing story about what one human being did. This book tracks the story of Chris McCandless from leaving his wealthy family and his college education behind to live as a hermit. The author tried to live as Chris McCandless did to experience the same hardships, however, Chris ended up dead and the author was still alive at the end of the book. Krakauer supports and disagrees with some of the choices Chris made for his life but he leaves the reader to decide what they think of his life. An interesting book.

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INVISIBLE MONSTERS Chuck Palahniuk *****

Dark and twisty, and definitely not for the squeamish, this book is the story of Brandy Alexander, Plumbago/Rusty Rose/Burning Blueberry/Aubergine Dreams Queen Supreme and a nameless-ever-changing-name model whose future was eaten away by birds. The person you love and the person who loves you are never ever the same!

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IT Stephen King *****

This descriptive thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire ride. King’s characters seem so realistic that you might begin to believe that they are, in fact, real. You will be obsorbed into this book, unable to put it down. The suspense will kill you! Anyone looking for a horror story should definitely read this book!

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IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY Ned Vizzini****

I really liked this book because it was funny while addressing the serious topic of depression. Most of the characters are really well described, but there isn’t that many characters so the story isn’t confusing. The plot is really straight-forward. Overall I really liked the book.

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IT’S NOT ABOUT THE BIKE Lance Armstrong & Sally Jenkins*****

This is an outstanding book because it is not a book that you simply read the words; but rather, you feel them. It is definitely a moving and inspirational book, and I am not afraid to admit that I did tear up a few times throughout the book. It has a number of valuable life lessons, along with a little bit of information relating to the medical field; mostly prostate cancer. This book is definitely one should consider reading because it did indeed change my outlook on life forever.

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JANE EYRE Charlotte Bronte***/****

A suspenseful book written in the old English style with advanced vocabulary. This story line is innocent and complex with romantic connections.




JITTERBUG PERFUME Tom Robbins*****

The language and the vocabulary are challenging. However, it is beautifully written and hilarious! This book is definitely worth reading!

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JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN Dalton Trumbo *****

This is a great and thought-provoking anti-war novel, full of horror and hurt. The book gives a very interesting perspective of war as a wasteful, wicked gruesome business. Not a very easy read. I recommend reading it twice. ______________________________________________________________________________________


JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH Jules Verne ****

A band of explorers go down the funnel of a volcano in Iceland and are ejected near Stomboli in the Mediterranean after journeying through the subterranean regions where they find animal and vegetable production akin to past geological periods. Excellent plot, good conflict resolution. The author allows the reader to get inside the heads of the characters.

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THE JUNGLE Upton Sinclair ****

This book follows a Lithuanian family who comes to America with the hope of the American Dream. I found this book to be very sad because this family never seems to have any luck, always misfortune. It is also a good book because it describes the way meat was made in factories. It explains the lousy meat inspections as well as poor sanitary conditions. Reading this book will open your eyes to the corruption of America, while still showing you the hope of one family to overcome obstacles for a better life.

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JURASSIC PARK Michael Crichton*****

Very interesting book that will tickle the brain of any genetics, biology or even science nerd. This book may also attract history fanatics, as there is much prehistoric information within the book. There are many twists throughout the book that kept my attention through the plot filled and action filled parts of the book.



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JUST IN CASE Meg Rosoff*****

Full of figurative language and mixing reality with fantasy, this book portrays a particular teenager’s life with a twist. David Case, the main character, is becoming more aware of his own mortality and his own role in life. With anew name, he tries to outrun fate and the inevitable. This book has a great, interesting writing style and a good amount of metaphorical ideas to analyze for book reports or reading logs. It is also relatable to people of our age group.

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KEEPING YOU A SECRET Julie Anne Peters ****

Holland has a very tough senior year, and her mother keeps shoving the top colleges toward her. But when Holland finds herself in love with the “wrong” person, her life is turned inside out and upside down.

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THE KITCHEN GOD’S WIFE Amy Tan *****/****/***

A great book that travels from the horrors of life in China during World War II to the struggles during the Communist revolutions. It also portrays how a modern woman must learn of her mother’s past to understand her present days.

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THE KITE RUNNER Khaled Hosseini *****

If you loved Slumdog Millionaire, you will like this book. It really shows life in the outside world. The story is about a boy who grows up in Afghanistan. He grows up rich, however, he makes the terrible mistake of betraying his best friend who is poor. This changes his life forever. He goes through some harsh conditions after losing his riches, and betraying his best friend always haunts him. This may not sound like a good book, but it’s a lot more interesting if you actually read it.


*****It was a great book. I liked the plotline and the characters. A must read for anyone! It was a really exciting book.

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KON-TIKI Thor Heyerdahl ****

I thought KON-TIKI was an interesting, well-described book about six men on a small raft who sail four thousand miles across the Pacific Ocean from the Polynesian Islands to Peru, recreating old voyages of their ancestors. The descriptions were very good and there was a lot of action. I didn’t like how it slowed down and got kind of boring in the middle of the book, but overall it was good.

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THE LAST JUROR John Grisham ****

This is a fantastic book that starts off with a bang and keeps you guessing the whole way through. It is an extremely suspenseful thriller that won’t let you put down the book. There are tons of twists throughout the book that keep you surprised and guessing. This story of a young journalist trying to start up a local paper is a bit graphic. The story is action-packed and contains all the elements of a great story. Even though there is plenty of action, there is also a heartwarming story to go along with the action. The main point of the book is to find justice. Overall, it is a fantastic book that will not disappoint those who read it.

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LES MISERABLE Victor Hugo ****

This book is a long French play that incorporates romance and thrill into one novel. The protagonist, Jean Valjean, is an exconvict who must constantly evade the police. Valjean appears to be a hardened criminal initially; however, his heart softens when he adopts an orphaned child, Cosette. Cosette falls madly in love with a boy, Marcus Pontemercy, which saddens her father greatly. The play also incorporates history into it; it takes place during the time of the French Revolution.

P.S. If you have Mr. Garrett for honors English, then I highly recommend you choose this book! It is 5 points and 1200 pages, so you only have to do ONE written reading log.

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LESS THAN ZERO Brett Easton Ellis ****

It is similar to “Catcher in the Rye” but with drugs. The main protagonist of this story returns to L.A. continuing his old High School party life. The protagonist loses faith in his friends and to all of them life and death is a game. It is an extremely interesting book watching the main character struggle with life, however it is graphic. Highly recommended.

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A LESSON BEFORE DYING Ernest Gaines****

I thought the book was very good because of the idea of teaching prisoners to walk to the electric chair as a strong man. It was short but sweet. I like the transformation that both of the main characters went through. It has a great message.


****I really liked this book. It was interesting to read, despite being slow at times. It was about a black man trying to survive in the 1940’s south. It kept me interested throughout the book. I didn’t like the main character in the beginning, but other than that, I really liked it.

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THE LIGHTNING THIEF Rick Riordan

****This was a good book because the author balanced all the elements well. If you hate Greek mythology don’t read this book, but if you take an interest in Greek mythology then keep reading. There was a lot of action in this book including battles with mythical creatures. There was also a love story that helped shake things up. The best part of the story was that it brought Greek mythology into our modern world. This included minotaurs, snake women, goatmen, hopolites, demigods, and, my favorite, the gods themselves. The most intriguing part of the book was how the author described some of the famous Greek icons such as Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Athena, Olympus, the Underworld, and many more places and gods. It was also challenging yet fun to imagine how these mythical elements fit in to our modern world. I gave it a “good” and not “outstanding” because the author had a cheesy sense of humor that I personally did not enjoy, although some may like this. Overall, this is a great book balancing action, mystery, suspense, love and imagination.

P.S. The movie is coming out soon so read it fast and you won’t regret it. Also, this book is the first of an amazing series called – Percy Jackson & the Olympians.
*****This book is for people who love a good story line. With good well developed characters and learn stuff on the side, such as Greek mythorogy.



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