Reading for a Lifetime Together


April 7, 2013, 2:13 am
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I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Hazel has cancer that was supposed to kill her two years ago. Amazingly a medicine shrunk the tumors in her lungs. Every week she goes to a cancer support group. One week she meets Gus who actually lost his leg. She and Gus become friends and eventually turn into more than friends. Gus and Hazel begin talking about their “wishes” from The Genies. The Genies is a group that grants wishes to kids that are really sick. Gus hasn’t used his wish so he decides to use it to take Hazel to Amsterdam, Netherlands to meet Peter van Houten the author of her favorite book, “An Imperial Affliction.” When Hazel meets him it doesn’t go as she hoped it would, but she’s still thankful Gus used his wish for her. Later on that day Gus tells her that his cancer is back and he’s dying. It comes as a shock to Hazel because she always worried about hurting Gus when she died, she had no idea he would die first. At the end Gus dies after a few weeks of suffering. The book was really touching. It had both funny and sad parts. I enjoyed reading it even though it made me cry at the end.

–Carissa Bell



April 7, 2013, 2:12 am
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I read the Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen. Jessica runs it’s always been her favorite thing to do. On the way home from a track meet, the bus she is on is in an accident. One girl dies and Jessica loses one of her legs. Jessica can’t run anymore, at least for the time being. Her doctor tells her she can get a prosthetic but she won’t be able to run on it very well. The one she needs to run costs twenty thousand dollars. Jessica’s track team decides they are going to raise the money so she can run with them again. In the meantime Jessica is in a wheelchair so she can’t sit in a normal desk. In math she sits with Rosa who has cerebral palsy and she gets to know her. Rosa wishes she could run but because of her disability she has to stay in a wheelchair. Jessica decides she is going to push Rosa in a wheelchair for five miles in a race while on her prosthetic leg. Everyone thinks she’s crazy but she begins training and when the race comes she does push Rosa the entire five miles. I really liked this book, it was inspiring. I don’t personally know anyone with a prosthetic limb but I imagine it’s hard to live with at first. This book made me realize how lucky I am to still have all of my body and that it’s functioning properly.

–Carissa Bell



April 7, 2013, 2:12 am
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I read Unwind by Neal Shusterman. In America, in the future, parents can “unwind” their kids. Unwinding is where all the body parts are taken and sent to donation banks; it’s an alternative to killing your child. Connor is being unwound because he’s a troublemaker. Risa is being unwound because she’s a ward of the state and has no promising talent. Lev is a tithe, a child born just to be unwound as an offering to God. When Connor is trying to escape being captured he kidnaps Lev and Risa joins him. The three of them begin traveling together. Lev tries to tell on them but Risa and Connor get away leaving Lev by himself. Luckily, Connor, Risa, and Lev end up at the Graveyard together, a refuge for runaway unwinds. Later on all three of them end up at the same harvesting camp as well. Connor is the first one due to be unwound but an explosion happens and he and Risa are able to get back to the Graveyard to run things there. The book overall was good, I liked reading it for the most part. The whole unwinding thing was a little weird so I don’t think I’m going to finish the series.

–Carissa Bell



Between Shades of Gray
April 2, 2013, 6:24 pm
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The year is 1941. Lina Vilkas is a 15-year-old girl, excited for the upcoming fall so she could go to the elite art school. But suddenly, the NKVD burst into her home and rips her and her family away from their lives. The Soviets take her, her little brother Jonas, and her mother, put them in cattle cars, and ship them all across Europe and Lithuania. During her travels, she meets the handsome 17-year-old Andrius. Together, Andrius and Lina suffer through the Baltic Genocide. 

I absolutely loved this book. Once I began, though awful and tragic, was very hard to put down. It has this sort of magic that Holocaust books have: it’s tragic, but you can’t help but be sucked into this universe. I also wonder why so many people know about the Holocaust, but they know not of the genocide of Baltic peoples. In my opinion, it’s just as tragic, if not more because no one else knows about it. So if you like Holocaust stories, with a small hint of tragedy and an ever smaller hint of hope, you’ll love Between Shades of Gray.

–Anabel Gonzales 



The Fault in Our Stars
April 2, 2013, 6:10 pm
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Hazel Grace Lancaster a 17-year-old girl diagnosed with Stage 4 Thyroid cancer. A natural introvert, Grace stays at home and just reads her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction by Peter van Houten. Then at her cancer support group, she meets the handsome, post-cancer, amputee: Augustus Waters. The two have instant chemistry because they both had battles with cancer. Then one day, Augustus reveals that by using his cancer Wish, he’s taking Hazel to Amsterdam to meet Peter van Houten. After learning this, Hazel confesses that she fell in love with Augustus, also called Gus, “…the same way you fall asleep: slowly at first, and then all at once.” But when both Hazel and Gus’s health take a turn for the worse, they will rely on each other and their love to get through it. 

Like previous comments have said, The Fault in Our Stars is a “chick-flick book.” Not that I’m complaining or anything, I love chick-flick books. But once you get over that initial fact and get down to what the author, John Green, is trying to tell you, this book is truly wonderful. One of my friends said that after reading this, he put it on his list of “books that will change your life.” I absolutely agree with this statement. Once I began reading, I couldn’t put it down. I related with this book in many ways: my grandmother had cancer, so I know what Hazel’s struggles are like and I have a boyfriend, so I know how Hazel feels when she said that she fell for Augustus. I believe everyone–young and old, men and women alike–could read and relate. 

–Anabel Gonzales 

 



The Art of Racing in the Rain
March 29, 2013, 2:54 am
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            This is not your average dead dog novel. The very first chapter starts with the dog’s death but then the next chapter starts with his birth. Enzo the pup was picked up by Denny the mechanic who picked Enzo out of the litter at a farm. They immediately connected and they both knew they would be bonded for life. The entire story is told from the perspective of Enzo who comes to believe he is really a human trapped in a dog’s body. He has elaborate, intelligent, meaningful thoughts that he is unable to convey with anyone. He and Denny are close as can be and then Eve comes into the picture. Enzo seees Denny bring her home one night and soon the two of them are married, have a daughter, and move out an apartment to a house. Life is perfect except Denny’s constantly absence as a semiprofessional racecar driver. Then tragedy after tragedy begin to roll out and their lives are turned upside down.

 

 

 

            This book takes two things I don’t particularly like, dead dog books and racing, and turns them into a masterpiece. I was almost reluctant to even begin reading it, but once I started I couldn’t stop. I will remember this book out from all the sad and depressing dog stories. With some explicit language and scenes this is no children’s book, but a fantastic read for any high schooler.

Christian Burton

 



Unwind
March 18, 2013, 12:46 am
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      Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice for abortion, you have to agree unwinding is wrong. In the distant future, after a second civil war in the United States, the Bill of Life has been signed. The Bill of Life states that abortions are illegal but it is ok to unwind your child. Unwinding is a process when the parents send their child of thirteen to eighteen for them to be harvested of every part of them and be used in someone else with the reasoning that they are still alive, but alive in separate parts. Kids might be unwound after some kind of crime or trouble, while others have been preparing it their entire life and are called tithes. Naturally some kids don’t like the idea of being unwound so many of them run away which brings us to the story of Connor. Connor makes plans as soon as he finds out he is being unwound. In the beginning of his escape he causes quite a ruckus and ends up getting away with a tithe and an orphan girl being unwound. Now they just have to make it till they’re eighteen.

           

            I have been looking for a good series to get sucked into and I think I finally found it. Neal Shusterman already has released the second novel in the series called UnWholly, which I can’t wait to read. Unwind started off a little slow like any other book, but accelerated very quickly. It keeps you thinking the entire time and I recommend it for anyone.

Christian Burton