|Student Book Reviews
Updated September 2012
TITLE / Author / Rating
1984 George Orwell *****
Although it is somewhat depressing, it is quite easily the best book I have ever read. It is a warning of what will happen almost everywhere in the future, if actions are not stopped. Characters are beautifully described.
THE ADVENTURES AND MEMOIRS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES Sir Arthur Conan Doyle *****
At first, I thought this book would be very boring and hard to read. But when I finally started reading it, I realized that the stories were actually very interesting. Some of the old British words are hard to understand, but you can understand what they mean by looking at the context. The main character, Sherlock Holmes, is pretty awesome. I really enjoyed his methods of reasoning, and found myself using his methods to solve some of the cases. The cases themselves are unusual, but that just adds interest to the plot. For example, in one mystery, a man thinks he sees his wife’s ex-husband, but it turned out to actually be the daughter wearing a mask. I thought that the characters were very realistic, even though they did amazing things. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an interesting, well-written and well-thought-out classic.
ALANNA: THE FIRST ADVENTURE Tamora Pierce ****
A good fantasy book, and the first in a series of teen fantasy adventures by a good fantasy author. It is the story of a young girl who wants to be a knight.
ALICE COOPER, GOLF MONSTER Alice Cooper *****
This book is an autobiography of the creator of “Shock Rock!” Alice Cooper. As a big Alice Cooper fan, I enjoyed reading this book a lot. From the first chapter I was hooked and couldn’t put it down. Alice tells the story of how he became one of rock and roll’s achieving rock stars and he tells what inspired him to write songs such as “School’s Out”, “ I’m Eighteen” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy”. He also summarizes how he replaced his alcohol addiction with a golf addiction. Alice mentions how he shared a house with Pink Floyd and the Doors in his early days of being a rock star.
ALICIA: MY STORY Alicia Appleman-Jurman *****
This book was like a diary in novel format. It is the story of how a young girl lived her days during WW II. Her struggles contrast sharply with the ease and comforts of life in the 21st Century.
ALONG THE WAY Ishmael Bell*****
This book tells the true story of a young boy during a war in his country. The story is very interesting and inspiring. The things that this boy goes through are unbelievable. While I was reading this book I never wanted to put it down. There was always something happening and the book always kept me entertained. Ishmael Bell tells his own story, which is unlike any other.
AND THEN THERE WERE NONE Agatha Christie *****
I would recommend this book to anyone because it is so good and exciting. It always keeps you guessing and is exciting to find out what happens next. It is a murder mystery, and the author is very good at telling you just enough to formulate a guess, but then she puts in a plot twist that you will never see coming. ______________________________________________________________________________________
ANGELA’S ASHES Frank McCourt*****
A hilariously pitiful autobiography, by Frank McCourt, which covers his live in America and Ireland during the Great Depression. Extremely funny but thought provoking at the same time. Frank’s father is addicted to the drink, while his mother, whom the book is named after, must care for Frank and his younger brothers. From starvation, to disease, to cruel hearted teachers and clergy, McCourt writes a poetic tale of his life from the New York slums to the downpours of Ireland.
THE ANGEL FACTORY Terrence Blacker *****
Spurred on by his best friend, 12-year-old Thomas uncovers two family secrets: that he was adopted, and that his seemingly family is part of an other-worldly organization.
ANGELS AND DEMONS Dan Brown *****
This is a very good book if you like mystery murder thrillers. The story involves the murder of a world famous physicist, which raises fears that an extreme religious group, the Illuminati, is operating again after centuries of violence, and a religious professor is called upon the solve the murder. It is about 500 pages and would be a good book for English outside reading. It has many vocabulary words.
THE ANGEL’S GAME Carlos Ruiz Zafon*****
This book is one of, if not the, best book I have ever read. It is a deep mystery thriller that takes place in a dark Barcelonian setting. It is full of suspense with interesting and eclectic characters. Some parts are creepy, but this is a fantastic book.
THE ARTEMIS FOWL SERIES Eoin Colfer*****
These books (I’ve read the first five and I believe there are two more out now) are very creative and paint a beautiful picture of a fantasy world where sophisticated fairies live underground. I recommend these books to everyone, but start with the first one.
****The second in the “Artemis Fowl” Series, written by Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident is sure to please. The story, about a teenage criminal mastermind whose father was kidnapped, is fast-paced with creative humor. The main characters in the story are Artemis who is a teenage criminal mastermind, Butter who is his personal body guard and Molly who is a member of the LEP unit. The main idea of the story is saving Artemis’ father, however, in order to do so, they must prevent all out warfare in the heven. The writing of the book may seem some what easy, but the story line makes up for that. Overall, the book is exciting with bits of witty humor strewn throughout.
ATLANTIS FOUND Clive Cussler *****
In this thriller, an aged-wreck full of priceless treasure is found in the Antarctic, a deliberately set explosion buries a team of anthropologists, and a ship lost 56 years ago reappears.
BEACH MUSIC Pat Conroy****
I thought this book was very good. It was challenging because it was long and deep. I cried a few times because I felt attached and sympathetic towards Conroy’s characters. The complicated family history made for an interesting and constantly progressing plot. I would especially recommend this book for a report or reading log because its deep characters make interesting, easy-to-come-up-with essays.
THE BEAN TREES Barbara Kingsolver *****
The sarcasm in this book makes it hilarious. The characters really come alive and seem like people you could actually meet. There are so many twists and turns that this book never gets boring!
BEAUTIFUL BOY: A FATHER’S JOURNEY THROUGH HIS SON’S ADDICTION
David Sheff ****
This is a true story, written by a father about his son’s addiction and how it affected him and the rest of the family. I first read the book, TWEAK, which is written from the son’s point of view, so it was interesting to hear the story from the father’s perspective.
BEGGARS IN SPAIN Nancy Kress ***
A science fiction novel - similar to THE DISPOSSESED. I would recommend this book if the reader likes science fiction.
THE BEST LITTLE GIRL IN THE WORLD Steven Leven Kron ****
This book is a true story dealing with real-life facts. It is the story of Kessa Kietrich, and her obsession with being thin.
BEYOND BELIEF Josh Hamilton ****
This is a really good autobiography about a baseball player who was the #1 draft pick at one time. The baseball player gets hooked on drugs and has a difficult time admitting to himself that he is an addict. The book then goes on to tell how Hamilton gets off drugs and back on track with his baseball career. The book had many challenging themes and I found myself often either agreeing with, or arguing with the author.
***Not currently available in LGHS library
BLACK HAWK DOWN Mark Bowden *****
This book is action packed. It is about the battle of Somalia in 1993. The rangers and delta force were sent to find the leading war lord. This is a very intense story, but amazing some of the characters are a little confusing.
BLACK LIKE ME John Griffin ****
A white novelist changes his skin tone temporarily to black and travels through the South to experience the hate, fear and hopelessness felt by Southern blacks. It shows students another kind of life that they may not have learned about, and deals with the subject of racism in the south in the 1960s. This is a well-written book, but perhaps a little too long.
****I really enjoyed this non-fiction read. The diary style is full of details, easy to follow and kept me interested. The story does a good job of showing the denial of whites in the south concerning prejudice. I would definitely recommend this easy, quick read.
THE BLIND SIDE Michael Lewis *****
It’s a great story how a young man on the street became an all star lineman who also eventually started for the Baltimore Ravens, a professional football team.
BLINK Malcolm Gladwen *****/****
The book is a great inside look into our subconscious, but at times it strayed away from the main topic. The book discusses how we make decisions without thinking at all. At times the book gave so much information, often confusing the reader as to what the main topic was. All in all, it was a great read and delved into a topic I had never even thought existed.
BLOOD MEMORY Greg Iles*****
BLOOD MEMORY is about a girl who comes from a wealthy family and works as a crime scene investigator for the police. When she comes home to visit her mother and grandfather, the maid accidentally spills some of her crime scene chemicals on the carpet in her bedroom. The chemicals indicate there’s dried blood from her father on the carpet. Her father was murdered many years before. The novel is about a girl’s quest to solve the mystery of her father’s death and all of the problems she encounters along the way. It was a very quick read that captivated my attention the entire way.
BLUE LIKE JAZZ Donald Miller*****
This book is very well-written and can be read by anyone of any age. The author uses many different stories to get his point across and he tells the stories in an engaging and powerful way. When I’m reading a book, I highlight important passages in the text and in this book I didn’t put my highlighter down for three straight chapters. This book made me think and takes a different perspective about many things, which helped me grow and learn so much. It is definitely a great book and I would suggest to anybody.
THE BOOK THEIF Markus Zusak*****
This book has the most beautiful combination imaginable of style, storyline and themes. The author is completely original by telling the story of a German girl in WWII from the point of view of God. I love the way the story is written and found myself wanting to continue reading every time I had to put the book down. This is my favorite book.
BRANDON SANDERSON *****
Brandon Sanderson is an outstanding epic fantasy author akin to Jim Butcher.
BRAVE NEW WORLD Aldous Huxley*****
Huxley takes readers to a foreign and alien world where “logic” dominates all aspects of life. Conveniences make natural emotions a thing of the past. Despite the rigorous way of life, a few “savages” continue to live an unadulterated life of abstinence away from technology. Only when a savant ventures into the “New World” does friction heat up the rationale between what seems right and what is peace and stability. This novel pits two so-called utopias against each other in the clash for truth and happiness.
BRISINGR Christopher Paolini ****
‘Brisingr’ by Christopher Paolini is an amazing fiction book for those who like a mix of adventure, romance, and mystery. It is also for people who enjoy magic and dragons. Although anyone can read this book, I would recommend that kids under the age of 10, to not read this book. ‘Brigingr’ is packed with action, such as sword fighting and dragons fighting. An although there are many fighting, there are a few times in the book were a reader may slow down to fully understand what is being said and to understand what was being said.
BUD, NOT BUDDY Christopher Paul Curtis *****
This is an excellent book for anyone reading from young to old. It teaches life lessons while telling a story of a young boy living almost on his own, trying to find out who his true father is. As the story progresses, more and more about the character and his life is revealed, along with who his real family is, while keeping the reader hooked on an adventurous story which will keep everyone wondering what will happen next.
***Not currently available in LGHS library
THE CALL OF THE WILD Jack London ***
This is a good book about the story of a dog that is forcibly taken to Alaska and eventually becomes the leader of a wolf pack.
CAUGHT Harlan Coben ****
This is a very good book. Quite thrilling! The action is continual. I think a lot of people will enjoy the book. The book is long, however the reading is easy.
CATCHER IN THE RYE J.D. Salinger ****
A very well-written book that makes the reader think. An ancient child of sixteen leaves his prep school and tries to survive on his own in New York City.
CAT’S CRADLE Kurt Vonnegut *****
Cat’s Cradle is one of the most thought provoking reads I’ve ever laid my eyes on. The characters in this novel are real, which helps the plotline be more believable. Overall, this witty and sarcastic book is wonderful.
THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING Laura Moriarty ****
The people of Kerville, stuck at once in the middle of nowhere but also at the center of everything, are the source that Moriarty uses to explore the universal dilemmas of love and belief.
THE CHILD CALLED “IT” David Pelzer *****
This is a heartbreaking, heartwarming and unforgettable true story about a young boy who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable and alcoholic mother.
CHIMERA Walter Shetterly *****
This story takes place in the future where DNA manipulation has allowed scientists to create half-human, half-animal creatures called chimeras or “critters.” These creatures, though human, are treated as slaves. In this setting, a mystery emerges over the death of a famous scientist and the accused chimera’s role in the murder.
THE CHOCOLATE WAR Robert Cormier ****/***
This is a humorous tale with a creative storyline. It portrays the harsh actions of a group of powerful boys called the Vigils at a high school and the relationship between the Vigils and the weak freshmen. When one freshman stands up to the Vigils, the school’s chocolate sale goes crazy, creating confusion and disorder throughout the school.
CHRISTINE Stephen King *****
Great book and easy to follow. Good story line. Crazy cars are cool.
CHRISTY Catherine Marshall *****
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is very interesting and even though it is long, the story moves along fast. The story takes place in the early 1900s. A young girl travels from the comforts of her home to the Great Smokey Mountains to teach the poor children there.
CITY OF DREAMS Beverly Swerling ****
A very interesting, descriptive book that gives the reader a good picture of life in the 1600s, while being action-packed and fast-moving. Two siblings endure a long journey by ship to a Dutch settlement to start a new life, but soon lust, betrayal and murder make them and their descendants’ mortal enemies.
CITY OF THE DEAD: RESIDENT EVIL S.D. Perry *****
Good for people who enjoy gory books with lots of cursing. Overall an excellent book with side stories of other people. It involves a rookie cop and young woman in search of her brother, who ventures into Racoon City on the night of a horrifying viral outbreak that infects everyone in the city and turns them into the living dead
______________________________________________________________________________________A CLOCKWORK ORANGE Anthony Burgess *****
It was a really good book. I could not put it down. The plot was exciting. The book is short but filled with ideas. Really deep book.
THE COLLECTOR John Fowles ****
The setting for this story is a lonely part of the English countryside. The main character, Ferdinand Clegg, is a brutal and tormented man. Ferdinand has captured a beautiful and aristocratic young woman named Martha. Ferdinand captures Martha because of his undying love for her. He wishes that she would love him the way he loves her, and that she would come to love him enough to marry him someday. Martha feels that he cannot really believe that anyone would fall in love with a person who had abducted them. I will not tell the ending of this novel, but it is suspenseful and dramatic. The story is filled with adventure that leads the reader to continue reading. THE COLLECTOR is a great story and I would recommend it to all types of readers.
COMPLETION Mercedes Lackey ****
I think these are pretty good. The story and it’s world are interesting and have good characters. They don’t take themselves too seriously either.
A CORNER OF THE UNIVERSE Anne M. Martin ****
This book is really touching. Characters were naïve, yet wise in so many ways. Made mercy, laugh, etc. was a great book to read.
CONGO Michael Crichton *****
This is a very good book. The suspense never went down from the second chapter; instead, it grew. It was very easy to figure out what was going on in the book after reading the first 20 pages. The mystery, action and tone are what makes this such a great book, and it is what makes Michael Crichton a great author. During every chapter from the halfway point onward, the reader thinks, “This chapter has to be the climax!”, but it never is because the book continues to get better with more thrills, more action and more military technology.
COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO Edward Dumas *****
This book may look long at first, but once you start reading, you will not want to put it down. Upon finishing, you may even feel that it is too short, or not enough.
CRAZY IN ALABAMA Mark Childress *****
This book is very entertaining and very funny but it also has a very good and strong message. When the book starts to become too heavy, it switches the point of view of characters to become more light. It had a really good balance.
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT Mark Hadden *****
Although I am not the greatest reader, this book is very interesting and easy to read and understand. The plot and characters are very interesting. I loved reading it.
DAGGERSPELL Katharine Kerr *****
This book is the first of a series featuring sorcerers, elves, dwarves and dragons in a world entirely different from our own.
DANDY IN THE UNDERWORLD Sebastian Horsleg ****1/2
It was similar to “ Running with scissors” in how it is a memoir about someone with a ridiculous past. It’s funny and enthralling on what’s going on in his life. It’s a good book but not outstanding.