The original book that started it all: Ender’s Game. It tells the story of Ender Wiggin, who’s the best of the best in a school that’s designed to train children to become military commanders. But what Ender’s Game does not tell is the story of Ender’s partner, strategist and best friend – Bean. In the companion novel Ender’s Shadow, Bean’s childhood is unwrapped to reveal his horrifying ancestry and his life growing up homeless. I really enjoyed Ender’s Shadow because while the novel took place at the same time as Ender’s Game, the story was seemingly different because of the different perspective and angle. While Ender’s Game made Ender sound like a kid simply trying to make it through Battle School, Ender’s Shadow depicted Ender as a god, with all the students practically worshipping him for his feats. Ender’s Shadow provides an insanely fresh new outlook on the story of Ender’s Game.
By Aaryaman Akhouri
Have you ever read a book that is so good that the moment you finish it, you want to read it again? Have you ever read a book that constantly surprises you with writing as sharp as a tungsten needle? If you haven’t, then I would like to introduce Gone Girl. Before I talk about why Gone Girl is one of the best books ever published, I will go over some background information. Gone Girl is a neo-noir thriller written by Gillian Flynn that was released in 2012.
The book is about the sudden disappearance of the main character’s wife, and how the media and people react to the disappearance. Gone Girl is a book with dark and complex characters, a sophisticated story with many twists and turns, and a jaded tone that acts as icing on a cake. Out of all the modern themes in the book such as deceit, the largest one is gender equality. It gives an ugly yet cerebral portrayal of both men and women. Also, it provides a brilliant satire of the media and the news. Gone Girl is a book that plays with your feelings and consistently makes you feel jumpy and jittery. I’ve said it before, and I’m happy to say it again, Gone Girl is one of the best books ever written and published. I would give it a rating of 9.6/10.
By Ashley Huang
Kami Glass is your average British teenager. She has a best friend named Angela, writes for the school newspaper, and has two rowdy younger brothers who keep her busy after school. But, what makes Kami stand out is that she loves a boy who doesn’t even exist. Jared is a voice that has been in Kami’s head since birth. The pair grew up sharing secrets and telling each other jokes without even knowing what the other looked like. Everything changes the day a strange family from America moves into town, and Kami finds out that Jared is her new neighbor. Now, Kami isn’t sure if she likes Jared anymore. He’s the exact opposite of what Kami thought he’d look like. To make matters worse, Jared and his family radiates an eerie magic that casts fear upon the entire town. Finally, Kami and her best friend Angela team up to write an article that delves down deep into the reason why Jared’s family is so strange, and in the process, Kami learns the deepest, darkest secrets about Jared ever imaginable.
By Arpan Nambiar
During my christmas vacation, I travelled Italy and the United Kingdom. In U.K., my dad and I travelled to Scotland to visit my uncle. After that, we went to Rome and visited the Basilica Church, the Pantheon, and the Colosseum. During a guided tour throughout the Colosseum, I learned a little bit about the history of the Colosseum. However, I learned a lot more about the Colosseum by buying a book about Ancient Rome.
We went to Vatican City the next day. After visiting a museum in Vatican, we moseyed on over to Florence, which is known as Firenze in Italian. After arriving at Florence, we dropped by at Pisa and took a look at the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Then we traveled back to Florence. After that, we swung by Venice.
I was amazed by the fact that there were only boats in Venice. No cars or trucks. In Venice, we went on a gondola ride. Two days later, we went back to Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital. In Edinburgh, we toured Edinburgh museum. It had some pretty cool stuff, such as a late sheep that had gotten cloned (Dolly), and a game where you could create and customize your own Formula One car. About a day later, we went to London.
I loved London! It was the best. We noticed the interior of Madame Tussauds, which is a wax museum that houses statues of famous personalities there, including film actors, superheroes, and Star Wars characters! There are Madame Tussauds museums active in New York and D.C. as well. After that, we walked round the Tower of London, rode the London Eye, and saw the Big Ben.
After spending a few days in London, we went back to Scotland, to spend a few days in my Uncle’s place before coming back home, to my beloved United States.
By Ashley Huang
Are you tired of reading Harry Potter for the umpteenth time? Craving a new story of another young British boy who discovers he possesses magic power? Look no further! In The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman, 12-year old Timothy Hunter meets a mysterious man who takes Tim on a journey through the past, present and future. Through this journey, Tim learns that he is destined to be a powerful lord in the realm of magic with potent and forceful powers. My most favorite part of the book, however, is the art style. Which each part of the graphic novel, the art style changes dramatically, which plays well with the flow of the story. From splotches of watercolor paint to outlined, whimsical and comical characters, this graphic novel has nearly every type of art style to choose from. If you’re the kind to stare at displays at an art museum for hours on end, I recommend you read this novel!
By Ashley Huang
16-year old Mim Malone has gone through a lot in her life. She’s blind in one eye from looking into a solar eclipse, she vomits uncontrollably due to a “misplaced epiglottis,” her parents are divorced, and she has an unclear psychiatric diagnosis, according to her therapist. Could it get any worse?
When Mim hears that her mother is sick, she runs away from her father and stepmother’s house to make an epic journey from Mississippi to Cleveland, where her mother is. Through the journey, Mim survives an exploding bus, befriends a sweet old lady, and feasts on cans of ham. It’s not until she meets a homeless boy with Down Syndrome and a handsome college dropout named Beck, when Mim realizes the power of love and loyalty which will ultimately spur her on to finish her journey.
By Ashley Huang
Graphic novel lovers, unite! The Plain Janes is a quick read which took me about an hour to finish. Short, sweet, and simple. Jane is forced to move from the city to the suburbs, which turns her universe upside down. Everything she’s ever known – gone. What group will she fit in? The popular girls? The jocks? The nerds? Turns out, Jane finds herself surrounded by the “rejects.” Three other Janes, each with their own unique personality that makes them stick out. Main Jane befriends and convinces the Janes to team up and, and together they begin to express their feelings through art. The Jane tribe begins to “attack” the neighborhood with sculptures, garden plant creations and positive notes. Throughout the journey, the tribe meets a shy guy, a popular girl with a soft side, and the only gay student at school. While the characters were diverse, accepting, and celebrated differences, I found the plot to be generic, and it barely any character development. Every piece of the plot happened before I realized it, which meant to me that nothing actually contributed to the big idea of the book – there was no building up of tension. But, in a quick read like The Plain Janes, the visuals of the graphic novel were most appealing, and I really love the incredibly diverse characters in the story. If you’re in middle-school and you want to find something “finishable” in a day because longer novels take too much commitment, The Plain Janes would be a great read!