The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood Book Review

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Set in a present-day dystopian society, the United States underwent a regime and was renamed Gilead; the purged country became a theocracy, a society ruled by religion, and the entire country has to abide by God’s laws. In what used to be near Boston, a Handmaid named Offred experiences dark thoughts about society and observes and recalls her story of living in the terrifying society. Throughout the book, Offred tells shocking moments that could indicate her rebellion against such a totalitarian society.

The Handmaid’s Tale was published in 1985 and has hints of Fahrenheit 451 and George Orwell’s 1984; all of them resembling an almost unrealistic future dystopian society, but still seems scarily accurate. Made into a Hulu TV show just last year, the Handmaid’s Tale is an excellent read and a great show to binge-watch. Atwood does a great job of writing a novel in her own style. With a lot of proverbs and wise sayings, she creates a sense of a sort of “propaganda” by incorporating religion greatly. I would highly recommend both the book and the show- they’re both outstanding!

Book review by Diana Ho


Upcoming TAB Meeting!

Fellow teens-

Come to Thursday’s meeting on October 25th to get some service hours, hear up on community service opportunities, and a chance to hear Mr. McCarthy, an astrophysicist who can answer your questions about NASA, space, and possibly the universe around you.

Thursday, October 25th from 7:00pm to 8:30pm, be there!

Spooky, Scary Books for October!

With Halloween coming up, it’s time for things to get spooky! Here are a few horrifying, scary, spooky books for teens!

  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Made into a Netflix movie, this book starts off with a Dr. John Montague, who studies the paranormal. He finds Hill House and conducts a study to analyze the paranormal. While he conducts his study, he needs assistants and ends up writing to the characters: Theodora, Luke Sanderson, and Eleanor Vance. From there, all of the characters experience horrifying paranormal activities from the terrifying house, which by the way, strangely urges its inhabitants to mysterious deaths and suicides.

  • Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

Hannah, plagued with hallucinations, a cabinet full of pills, and a closet of violet dresses- is tired of being the outcast of her town, so she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home. Though, the town is just as crazy as she is. Meaning, all things are possible and that no one is safe.

  • Carrie by Stephen King

A high school teenage girl named Carrie, equipped with telekinetic powers, is constantly abused by her extremely religious mother and her peers at school. When she arrives at prom, a deadly prank is pulled on her, but Carrie, with her powers, decides to kill everyone at the prom. Later on in the story, she continues to kill anyone who stands in her way.

  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Young thirteen-year-old Connor O’Malley is struck with horrible nightmares every night, that result in him screaming in terror. Each night he is visited by a monster, who tells him that he will tell Connor three true stories. If Connor does not tell a true one, the monster will eat him. Though as the monster visits Connor every night, things start to fall apart in Connor’s life. The book does not specifically name the hero or the villain, but it definitely portrays a description of the complexity of human nature.

By Diana Ho


Brazen by Penelope Bagieu Book Review

Book review by Diana Ho

Brazen, a graphic novel about rebel ladies who rocked the world, is beautifully illustrated and hilariously written by Penelope Bagieu.

The book encapsulates the lives of twenty-nine different women from different backgrounds, cultures and time periods, but all share one similar thing: they were brazen. Brazen, meaning bold and without shame, is only one of the many words to describe the lives of these women!

A few of my favorite biographies from the book were of Hedy Lamarr, a beautiful actress known for her looks in the mid 1900’s, is also an intelligent inventor that proved society and the government wrong, another being of Nellie Bly, a woman in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, who steps up to abandon the role of a housewife and becomes a controversial writer through a fascinating piece of living in an insane asylum, and another favorite: Wu Zetian, a beautiful and intelligent woman of the Chinese empire in the 600’s, who rebelled against her family to become the empress of ancient China.

Not only is this book knowledgeable and fascinating, but the graphic novel also has aesthetic drawings, easy-to-read blurbs, and is a fast read for those who like short books. I would recommend this book to any girl (or boy!) who wants to feel empowered by women’s history, with an interesting and short read.

Related imageImage result for brazen by penelope bagieu

The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls Book Review

The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood

One last summer together. Des, Bea, Kat, and Vi are the Garrett sisters. These four girls
are very close, having been raised by their grandmother in a small town where everyone knows everything. They have always told each other everything, but there are more than a few secrets being kept this summer. These quirky, beautiful, red-headed sisters are about to find out what true loyalty is.

Bea has been with Erik for five years. They had planned out their whole future. Now
they are getting ready to go to Georgetown together, but Bea’s having second doubts. She
doesn’t want the same things she did when she was 13, but how does she tell Erik – not to
mention her whole family? Kat is an actress. Her boyfriend recently broke up with her, so she has devised a plan to get him back. A plan that may or may not include a fake relationship with another recently broken up with teen. Mase is bisexual and was devastated when his boyfriend broke up with him. When Kat finds herself actually falling for Mase, her life gets a little more complicated.

Des is the oldest and has always been in charge of keeping their family together. The
thing is, she feels like she’s being taken advantage of. Her whole family depends on her, but they never do anything to help. Is it wrong to want to change that? Vi is the youngest out of the sisters, and she is a proud lesbian. Vi has had a huge crush on the waitress next door – Cece. The only problem is Cece isn’t gay…. Or so Vi thought.
By the time all of the sisters think that they have figured out the solutions to their
problems, the town gossip has as well. With all of their secrets exposed, the Garrett Girls must figure out a way to keep their family together. The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls is a beautifully written story about family, love, and secrets. Always remember that you can trust your family with your life.

TAB Recommends

TAB Recommends

Here are some books our TAB members have read and loved recently. We’ve included the call number so you can come and get them at Reston Regional Library! All summaries are taken from Novelist unless otherwise noted.

Twilight, Stephanie Meyer (YFIC MEY)

When seventeen-year-old Bella leaves Phoenix to live with her father in Forks, Washington, she meets an exquisitely handsome boy at school for whom she feels an overwhelming attraction and who she comes to realize is not wholly human.

Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys (YFIC SEP)

Titanic. Lusitania. Wilhelm Gustloff. All major maritime disasters, yet the last is virtually unknown. Ruta Sepetys changes that in her gripping historical novel. Told in short snippets, Salt to the Sea rotates between four narrators attempting to escape various tragedies in 1945 Europe.

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (SF BRA)

A totalitarian regime has ordered all books to be destroyed, but one of the book burners, Guy Montag, suddenly realizes their merit.

Crazy Rich Asians, Kevin Kwan (FIC KWA)

Envisioning a summer vacation in the humble Singapore home of a boy she hopes to marry, Chinese American Rachel Chu is unexpectedly introduced to a rich and scheming clan that strongly opposes their son’s relationship with an American girl.

If Beale Street Could Talk, James Baldwin (FIC BAL)

When Tish’s boyfriend is jailed for rape their families unite to prove the charge false.

Once and For All, Sarah Dessen (YFIC DES)

Cynical about happy endings, Louna, the daughter of a wedding planner, initially holds Ambrose at arm’s length, but Ambrose has finally found someone to save him from his serial dating ways, and he’s not about be discouraged.

Little & Lion, Brandy Colbert (YFIC COL)

Returning home to Los Angeles from her New England boarding school, Suzette considers staying home for good so that she can be near her friends, her crush, and her recently diagnosed bipolar brother, a situation that is complicated by her growing feelings for the girl her brother loves.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald (FIC FIT)

Newly rich Jay Gatsby tries to recapture the past and win back Daisy Buchanan, his former love, despite the fact she has married.

A Long Walk to Water, Linda Sue Park (JFIC PAR)

When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan.

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott (JFIC ALC)

Chronicles the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young women in nineteenth-century New England.

The Iliad, Homer (883 H)

Recounts the triumphs and defeats of the Greek and Trojan heroes during the Trojan War and the destruction of Troy by combined Greek armies.

The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien (FIC OBR)

A collection of award-winning and utterly moving stories about the madness of the Vietnam war.

YA Books with People of Color Leads

Here are a couple of books with POC Leads!

The Hate U Give

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

More Happy Than Not

2.  More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.

Sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto is struggling to find happiness after a family tragedy leaves him reeling. He’s slowly remembering what happiness might feel like this summer with the support of his girlfriend Genevieve, but it’s his new best friend, Thomas, who really gets Aaron to open up about his past and confront his future.

As Thomas and Aaron get closer, Aaron discovers things about himself that threaten to shatter his newfound contentment. A revolutionary memory-alteration procedure, courtesy of the Leteo Institute, might be the way to straighten himself out. But what if it means forgetting who he truly is?

When Dimple Met Rishi

3.  When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.



By Nitu Girish Mohan