Reading for a Lifetime Together

The Fault in Our Stars
March 17, 2013, 11:54 pm
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        This is essentially a teenage love story but with a twist. The main protagonists have cancer. Most high school kids have a sense of invincibility, but the characters are all too familiar with death. Hazel Grace was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at thirteen and has excluded herself from many of her peers over the course of three years. Then one fateful day she meets a healthy boy who has recovered from cancer himself. They begin hitting it off immediately. Most people do not know what it is like having cancer but they understand each other perfectly. They really come together by a book called An Imperial Affection because it is a fiction novel about a girl with cancer and has an identical story to Hazel’s life. I am not one to like these kinds of books (too chick-flick-like) but once I started reading it I finished it in about two days. It was impossible to put down. This was definitely a chick flick novel but something about it made it enjoyable for manly men as well. Anybody could read this and connect with it since most of us have dealt with cancer in some way, whether with family or friends.

Christian Burton


March 7, 2013, 12:53 am
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Image    Unwind follows the story of three kids who are to be “Unwound”, a process created after the second civil war, which was fought over abortion. The end result was the creation of the Bill of Life. This bill made life protected from conception until the child reaches the age of thirteen. From thirteen to eighteen, the child may be unwound. This means that every single part of the child’s body is harvested and placed inside of the bodies of other people to serve as transplants. The child does not technically die, so the bill of life is satisfied. These three children must work together, and then split apart, but reform to ensure their safety. Two of them befriend an old navy admiral who owns a plane graveyard, saving children. The two slowly fall in love, and face other demons. The other child befriends a boy on the run, and eventually joins a terrorist organization, which ultimately saves his friends. The main boy, Connor ends up receiving the arm of a demon from his past, but it is all right, and he comes to terms. The main girl, Risa, remains in a wheelchair. The both of them take over the graveyard, saving children. The other boy, Connor, became famous. Officers placed him into a padded cell in a jail as the “clapper who didn’t clap”, a terrorist that did not blow himself up. Instead, he went into the blown building to save his friends.

This was such a fantastic novel that I just could not stop reading. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, as it kept me in suspense. I finished it very quickly, and I would gladly read it again. I would recommend this story to anyone.

                                                                                Austin Branson

Papers Covers Rock
February 17, 2013, 9:09 am
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Paper Covers Rock

        Paper Covers Rock is a novel about sixteen year old by the name of Alex. Alex lives in all male boarding school in North Carolina during the early 1980’s. Haunted by the tragic death of his friend  Thomas, Alex finds it hard to adjust to life without the companionship of his best friend. Glenn  who was present when Thomas died, is determined to keep what happened on the day of  Thomas’ s death secret. When Miss.Dovecott arrives to teach at the all-male boarding school, she seen walking by the cliff where Thomas died. Glenn becomes convinced that Miss.Dovecott saw them with Thomas the day he died. Suddenly Glenn tries to convince Alex that Miss.Dovecott is trying to frame them for Thomas’ s death. Eventually Glenn begins to plot the demise of  Miss.Dovecott career as a teacher, by forcing Alex to seduce Miss.Dovecott.

Alex is already attracted to Miss.Dovecott but he doesn’t want to resort to unorthodox methods to uncover the truth about how much Miss.Dovecott knows about the day Thomas died. He resists Glenn’s unreasonable suggestions for uncovering the truth by gaining Miss Dovecott trust. Without realizing his power over Miss.Dovecott he seduces her without much effort on his part. He writes the most eloquent poems during her class without much effort. Alex knows that there’s an undeniable attraction between him and his teacher but questions whether to use this opportunity to uncover what Miss.Dovecott knows about Thomas ‘s death and blackmail her for her silence. Jenny Hubbarb has written a complex novel about the psyche of a boy dealing with the implications of the loss of a friend.

 By: Lindsay Young

Between Shades of Grey
February 17, 2013, 8:02 am
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    Between Shades of Gray is an emotional novel set during the holocaust,and told through Lina’s perspective. Lina is an exuberant  fifteen year old Lithuanian,  until the Soviet’s rip everything she holds dear. Constantly Lina realizes her misfortune of being a prisoner of war for the soviet’s,  but simultaneously her luck. Throughout her endless trek, Lina is dragged through numerous pit stops that mentally and physically drain her will to live. Each stop could potentially be the end for her and the other passengers abroad the train wagon. I think the fear of dying drove Lina, her mother Elena, and her younger brother Jonas to keep fighting for the hope they would one day be reunited as a family back in their native  Lithuania. The tantalizing dream of one day being reunited as a family begins to look more impossible, as disease and death slowly pull their dream to shreads.                                                                                                                            When Lina befriends Andrius she never thought that the friendship would lead to a serious romantic relationship. While waiting for the war to end, she began to lean on Andrius more and more for survival. Andrius seems to be Lina rock in many situations, but their intial courtship was a bit shaky. Lina and Andrius butted heads about certain issues, but as the emotional climate around them began to thicken they were irrevocably drawn to each other. The couple endured the worst situations with their head held high together. Although Lina could never be back in Lithuania with her  whole family alive, she understood she would walked back with a new family and an enduring memory of what happened to enrich her future. Between Shades of Grey is a great novel to read and I recommend the novel to anyone want to cry and smile at the same time.

By: Lindsay Young

A Prayer for Owen Meany
February 13, 2013, 7:57 am
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John Irving created a complicated world in “A Prayer for Owen Meany” encompassing both politics and an emotionally gripping tale . Set in a traditional New Hampshire town seemingly boring to outsiders, but filled with salacious gossip to keep the modern day gossip-mongers on the edge of their seats was a treat to read.   Also, I enjoyed Irving’s style because  he didn’t impress his views , he simply gave you the information to draw your own conclusions. Then, I learned a lot about New England sentiments, and far more about Owen Meany’s presence in the lives of the traditional New Hampshire townspeople. Owen’s voice and size set Owen apart from the rest of his peers but he makes up for his physical setbacks with his immense intelligence and wit. Owen is a charismatic guy that feels compelled by god to help the people around him including John Wheelright.

 Although the narrative is told through John Wheelright’s perspective, the story is mainly about Owen Meany and the effect his presence has on the lives of the people around him. Only after reading the novel did I realize that John Irving crafted an expertly hidden philosophical narrative about theology. I viewed Owen’s presence in the lives of people around him as Jesus’s presence in his disciples lives. Throughout the narrative I began to compare Owen’s plight with Jesus’s plight. Both were alerted by god the day they would die and how they would die, both were conceived through immaculate conception, and both were sacrificed for the sins of others.  I believe Irving story was his version of the second coming or how it would be orchestrated. I strongly urge anyone willing to commit to 617 pages of text and possess a willingness to think deeper than the text will say will love Irving’s novel.

 By: Lindsay Young

Before I Die
January 31, 2013, 11:19 pm
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I read Before I Die by Jenny Downham. This novel was a short read, but it was very powerful. It follows the tragic story of a young girl suffering from cancer. She was diagnosed 4 years ago and has now discovered that she is terminal. Throughout the novel, her illness becomes worse and she begins to slip away. However, this isn’t just the story of some girl dying. 17 year old Tessa Scott has dropped out of school several years ago, and she has a list of 10 things she wants to do before she dies. Starting on the first night of the book, she goes out to do number one, and have sex. She does so by going out with her friend, Zoey. They go back home with some guys and Tessa loses her virginity. She cries after and goes home. Later, she meets a boy by the name of Adam. She does drugs with him and he helps her with her list. Several months later, we come to learn that one of the boys got Zoey pregnant. Zoey wants to get rid of the baby, but then changes her mind to name it after Tessa. Unfortunately, Tessa would not get to live to see what was number 10, to meet Lauren’s baby. However, she did fall in love, and eventually, everyone was there with her when she passed away.

 This book was just fantastic. I thought maybe I wouldn’t like this book so much, but it was just the opposite. I liked it so much that I finished it in three days, because I could just not stop reading it. I loved the book and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. I had to fight back tears at many different parts, and I became so attached to the characters that it felt like I was there with them in the story, talking to them. Before I Die truly is a very powerful story that truly will stick with you forever, as the cover says.

Austin Branson


January 22, 2013, 1:38 am
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Chime is a novel written by Fran Billingsly. It is set in a little town called “Swampsea” in England in the early 1900s. However, this is no ordinary town, as the people there are haunted by Old Ones, which are horrors that live in the swamp and feed off of the energies of people, driving the swamp folk insane and taking their lives as well. To combat this, the people must carry a bible ball with them, which is a ball of paper inscribed with bible verses. With these in hand, the Old Ones cannot harm the people. This story follows Briony Larkin, whose mother died when she was born. She is the daughter of the clergyman, and she has a twin sister, and she had a stepmom. But she also has a secret. Her stepmother noticed how jealous Briony was of Rose, and how Briony could run through the swamp without a bible ball. Briony had the second sight and wrote the stories of the Old Ones. Her father beame ill and distanced himself from the family. Then, the girls became ill. However, her stepmother had died, and their illnesses disappeared. Stepmother, however, told Briony that she was a witch and that that was why she had the second sight. She also said that it was Briony’s fault that Rose fell off of the swing and hit her head on the stone, causing her “wits to be broken”. Then, a stranger comes to town. Eldric. Briony and Eldric form a relationship that Briony thinks is lust. Eldric came to the Swampsea with his father, from London. Their job was to drain the swamp of its water to build a railroad track going through the swamp. The spirit of the swamp , The Boggy Mun, gets angered by this, and he sends the swamp cough to claim the lives of the infected. There is no cure, and death is certain. Rose becomes afflicted with this illness, and Briony risks her life to save her. She confesses that she is a witch and tries to get everyone to stop draining the swamp. She is to be hanged, but for once, she doesn’t care. She stops hating herself. She realizes that she loves Eldric. In the trial, Rose finally lets out her secret, that Briony isn’t a witch. Briony has the second sight because she was born at midnight, during the chiming of the church. She was the next Chime Child, blessed with the second sight. She would write the Old Ones’ stories again, and she would live her life happily with Eldric.

ChimeThis novel had me reading eagerly. I could not put it down. It made me laugh and smile, and it was just terrific to read. I loved it and I would definitely recommend it for anyone. I actually had to force myself to stop reading. I just could not stop reading. So, anyone should pick up a copy of Chime and start reading!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Austin Branson