Book Review: All We Can Do Is Wait

All We Can Do Is Wait

Richard Lawson

 

On a cloudy morning in Boston, the Tobin Bridge collapses. The whole city is shaken, and family members’ phones start ringing to deliver the news. Four teenagers meet in the Boston General Hospital waiting room, desperate to hear news of their loved ones. Jason and Alexa wait to hear about their parents. Scott is waiting to hear news about Aimee, his girlfriend. Skyler waits to hear about her sister Kate, who is more like the mother she never had and is the one person Skyler knows she can depend on.

With tensions high, everyone is ready to explode, including Morgan, who isn’t actually there because of the collapsed bridge, but because of other devastating news that was delivered that day. These 5 teenagers lean on each other and they finally start hearing news. They each receive news, whether it’s good or bad remains unseen. When only Alexa and Jason haven’t heard anything yet, they start confiding in each other, and when the secret that Jason has hidden comes out, it may just cause the biggest accident yet.

All We Can Do Is Wait is a heart-wrenching story of what it feels like to wait to hear if your life will be torn to pieces. In chapters revolving through all five perspectives, and alternating between past and present, All We Can Do Is Wait shows you how important family and friends are, and you will learn that whatever you do, make sure you have someone you know you can lean on.

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Book Review: The Alchemist

The Alchemist {The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel}

Written by Michael Scott, reviewed by Jocelyn Bliton

 

When an immortal being comes for an archaic book from a store that Josh works in, both he and his twin Sophie discover that magic is far more real than they thought. They must run from place to place, person to person as they inevitably become caught up in a web of magic, danger, ancient beings, and a prophecy from a book made before humans. They must learn to trust each other, and themselves in a tale filled to the brim with deception and betrayal.

There are many explosions, fights, kidnappings and traps in the first chapter alone. If you want adventure and scary situations, this should be your go-to book.

It seems like a classic story: A pair of twins going on a magical adventure. However, it is not.

Every character has a unique agenda and personality. Every decision is gray, never black or white. When all of these mismatched characters are put into a story, it becomes organized chaos. To make this book even better, it is based on history; the legend of the famous Nicholas Flamel. It truly makes you wonder whether Nicholas Flamel was indeed immortal and whether everything in the story came to pass.

This magical world was well-created, and it is delightful to learn how everything works. You will enjoy watching the story unfold from every viewpoint.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants a quick escape to another world. It will bring you in and keep you there until you feel at home with the dark ways and ancient magic. You never know what will happen next in this wonderful tome.

I love it especially for its ability to be read and re-read without losing any of its appeal.

 

Book Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Mary E. Pearson

 

Jenna Fox is the survivor of a horrible accident, or so she’s been told. Jenna can’t remember anything from before the accident. All she has to piece her life together is the word of her parents and grandmother. She starts to remember flashes, but she still doesn’t know who she was before her accident. When Jenna finally gets to adventure into the world outside her house, she meets four people who are as strange as her. Allys, Ethan, Gabriel, and Dane help her survive in this new world.

When Jenna discovers a secret, she realizes that all of her new life has been a complete lie. She starts remembering more and more and ends up unearthing what her parents have been hiding. With only her grandmother and Ethan on her side, Jenna must make a quick decision that could put her whole family and countless people at risk, but may end up saving a friend and herself.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox is a gripping story of a girl trying to find out who she is pretty much the whole world in her way. Many people struggle to find themselves, but this book takes a whole new twist on the journey of self-discovery. When you read The Adoration of Jenna Fox, you will find yourself rooting for Jenna the whole way, and maybe you will find yourself too.

Book Review: Heartless

Heartless

Marissa Meyer

 

“Murderer, Martyr, Monarch, Mad.” Which will you be? Lady Catherine Pinkerton is the most beloved girl in all of Hearts. She is admired by the whole court and the King himself. Although Catherine has all she could ever need, she wants more. You see, Cath’s passion is baking. Her dream is to open a bakery with her faithful maid and friend Mary Ann. Sweets and Tarts: The Most Wondrous Bakery in All of Hearts. Then life throws Cath a major curveball. A new Joker arrives in court. Cath is immediately taken with Jest, and after an unconventional meeting in the palace gardens, Cath can’t stop thinking about him.

When Jest takes Cath to a real tea party, she discovers what her life could be if the King wasn’t so set on marrying her. Her magical night is ruined when the Jabberwock attacks. The Jabberwock is a mystical creature that has not been seen for generations and seems to be fascinated with Catherine. After a third attack from the Jabberwock, Jest takes Cath to the treacle well, another supposed myth. The aftermath of this trip causes Jest to become a wanted man, and Lady Catherine to grudgingly accept the King’s proposal. That is until Jest comes to the rescue again. With a trip through the Looking Glass, Cath has the choice: have the perfect life, or save her best friend.

Heartless is the story of how the Queen of Hearts became heartless. The Queen of Hearts wasn’t just born that way, she was turned into the unfeeling person she is today. It might have something to do with a certain joker, mad hatter, and treacle well. When you read Heartless, you will be on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what happens next. Lady Catherine will enchant you with her delicacies, and stun you with her actions. Read Heartless to complete the Wonderland story.

Book Review: All Four Stars

All Four Stars

Tara Dairman

 

Gladys Gatsby’s dream job is to be a food critic. She cooks every day after school….without her parent’s knowledge.  When Gladys makes Crème Brulee one day, she almost burns down the kitchen, resulting in her being grounded and banned from the kitchen. With nothing else to do, Gladys spends all of her time working on a class essay. An essay that ultimately gets her hired by the country’s most prestigious newspapers – The New York Standard. Little does The Standard know, Gladys is only eleven!

Gladys’ first assignment is to review the newest dessert restaurant in New York City, Classy Cakes. Gladys must rely on her next door neighbor, Sandy Anderson and her arch nemesis, Clarissa Bentley to get her to Classy Cakes without her parents knowing. When an opportunity to go to New York City arises, Gladys and Sandy form a plan to get to Classy Cakes. When everything goes wrong, will Gladys get to keep her jobs and her new friends?

All Four Stars is the charming story of Gladys Gatsby, a brilliant baker who just has the worst luck. You will cry and cheer for Gladys, and by reading All Four Stars, you will realize that sometimes things don’t go as planned, but its usually for the best.

Book Review: Gracefully Grayson

Gracefully Grayson

Ami Polonsky

Grayson Sender is a boy. Or at least that’s what everybody else sees. Inside, Grayson is a girl. Ever since she was a child, she’s known that she wasn’t who everyone thought she was. She pretends that her sweatpants are skirts, and draws princesses in her notebooks with glitter pens. Grayson is desperate to not let anyone know her secret, and it’s not very hard. You see, Grayson has no friends. She spends all her time either in thrift stores or in her own room.

When the school play auditions start, Grayson tries out for the lead. The female lead. And she gets it. Of course, because Grayson looks like a boy to everyone else, this poses some issues, issues that end up breaking Grayson’s arm. When the PTA considers firing the teacher that gave Grayson the part she has dreamed of, she knows this has gone too far. Once she gets on stage for that final performance, she shows them all that who you are on the outside doesn’t match who you are on the inside.

Gracefully Grayson is a beautiful story that will drag you along with it, making you pull for Grayson, and soon you will fall in love with the amazing character that Ami Polonsky has created. Gracefully Grayson will teach you that it’s OK to be yourself, that what you look like doesn’t define who you are, and that if you reach out to someone, you can change their world.

Book Review: The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir

Book Review by Ashley Huang

In its essence, The Martian is a tale of survival. A tale of survival on an icy desert with no capability to sustain complex life, that is. When most people hear The Martian, they think of the 2015 film starring Matt Damon. What’s less known is that the film is actually a film adaptation of the 2011 novel by Andy Weir. To skim, The Martian tells of the tale of abandoned crewmate and astronaut Mark Watney from the Ares 3 mission. Stranded on Mars, and believing that the entire Earth thinks he’s dead, Watney must use his wits and problem-solving skills to survive on the hostile planet. Throughout The Martian, Watney encounters numerous setbacks and struggles, but he persists and continues to find a way around the problem. From figuring out how to make water, to tending a potato farm, to finally contacting NASA, Watney amazed me throughout the entire novel. In my opinion, The Martian is just 369 pages of one big, nerdy adventure that will guarantee to make anyone laugh, then cry, then cheer.

What I first noticed about The Martian was its humor. Thinking back to when I watched the movie a few years back, I recall laughing my guts out at how hilarious it was. Turns out the book is just as funny. The very first page brings you RIGHT into the action, and you’re immediately drawn into the story. I believe for those who likes fast-paced novels, The Martian is perfect for you!

A warning: This book is for nerds and geeks! I’d say an entire quarter of the book is spent explaining math and scientific concepts. Weir has considered his audience and indeed dumbed down most of the science, but nevertheless, there were always big words floating around and briefly explained concepts that, I can imagine, won’t make perfect sense to your general reader. For example, when Watney begins tending his successful potato farm, Weir explains the mechanism and logic behind how Watney derived the water for the plants, as well as the biological need for bacteria in the soil. With my general high school education, I didn’t have too much of a problem following along with the math. But towards the end of the book, during (spoiler alert) NASA’s attempt to rescue Watney, a lot of talk on astrophysics is utilized, and I had a harder time following along. Although the “astronaut-lingo” used in the novel gives off a realistic vibe, I didn’t know what half the jargon meant! But I suppose the realistic aspect of The Martian plays a big role into its appeal. Mark Watney didn’t get blasted by giant meteors or abducted by aliens; his problems were very real and very realistic: accidently wiring up/plugging in the wrong tools/cords, unknowingly releasing a massive cloud of (highly flammable) hydrogen into his shelter, and being faced with the looming threat of a sandstorm, just to name a few. I am thoroughly impressed by the wit of Weir, him being able to cook up such impeccably accurate scenarios and solutions!

Overall, I loved this book. I love Mark Watney, who is now my new role model. Hilarious and smart, he will surely charm many readers to come. The heavy science did not make me feel like I was in a science-fiction novel, rather, I felt like I was in a nonfiction novel! I will remember The Martian when, years from now, a manned mission to Mars finally becomes a reality.