Book Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Reviewed by Gabi L.

Image result for to all the boys i've loved before book

What if all your crushes you’ve ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once? Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean has never openly admitted any of her crushes to anybody. Instead, she writes a love letter to each boy, seals it, and keeps them all hidden in a box under her bed. One day, Lara Jean finds out that all five of her secret letters have mysteriously been mailed out to every one of her crushes. With her love letters out in the open, she is confronted by all of her past crushes about the letters, including her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, and her sister’s ex-boyfriend. Lara Jean learns to face her emotions and this awkward, complicated situation head on as her love life suddenly goes from imaginary to out of control.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a book for the hopeful romantics out there. Lara Jean’s crazy life is filled with energy, laughs, and even a few tears. Author Jenny Han creates likable, relatable characters as Lara Jean tries to find a reasonable way to handle all of her past crushes at once. This is a fun, enjoyable the read for those who love romance, comedy, and drama.

Advertisements

Book Review: The Lean

The Lean by Kathy Freston

Reviewed by Gabi L.

Image result for the lean book freston

The Lean offers valuable advice on leaning into a new healthful lifestyle. Whether your goal is to lose weight or to adopt healthier habits, Freston provides simple tweaks to add to your daily routine that gently nudges readers into a healthy direction. The Lean is a simple step-by-step guide that encourages the audience to move away from animal products and towards plant-based food. There are thirty chapters in this book and every chapter is based on a daily tweak that you that over time can yield incredible results. These daily tweaks help readers reach sustainable, healthy, long-term weight loss one day at a time.

I have struggled with my weight for years. As a kid, I grew up being close to 20 pounds heavier than friends and the other students in my class. A few years ago I stumbled upon this book and it changed my life. From day one, as soon as I started incorporating Freston’s tips I noticed that I was eating less junk food and that my portions had become much more normal. My skin cleared up, I dropped multiple dress sizes, and my confidence levels were through the roof! This book is arguably the best, most helpful book I have ever read and I 100% recommend The Lean to anybody wanting to shed excess weight or just adopt some healthy habits.

Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Reviewed by Gabi L.

Image result for Never let me go book

Never Let Me Go begins by looking at the life of Kathy, a thirty-one-year-old carer, who is about to become a donor herself. As a “carer”, Kathy’s job is to look after the health of “donors” until they mysteriously die or “complete”. While caring for one of her last patients, Kathy tells the story of her childhood and relives her memories with her dearest friends Ruth and Tommy. Ruth is a leader and center of attention, while Tommy is the school’s outcast, and Kathy is the glue keeping the three together.

In this alternate universe, scientists in England are cloning human beings and harvesting the clones for their organs. Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy are all clones who attend Hailsham, a boarding school for clones where they are students from ages zero to sixteen. Hailsham is known to be one of the more humane schools for the clones as other, less prestigious schools are rumored to abuse the students. In Never Let Me Go society must decide if the cruelty of cloning is worth the consequences.

Ishiguro’s dystopian world is set in the late 1990s and keeps you on the edge of your seat, eagerly flipping pages. Never Let Me Go is a story that will make you question society and your own morals. Should clones be treated equally to humans? Do clones have emotions? Can they feel pain? Never Let Me Go reveals horrific truths about human nature and the consequences of turning a blind eye to serious issues.

 

Book Review: The Sixth Man by John Feinstein

The Sixth Man by John Feinstein

Review by Aarya Kumar

The Sixth Man is a realistic fiction novel about freshman Alex Myers and his quest through high school and the Lion’s basketball season. The setting is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Alex faces many troubles throughout the season as his dad and mom get divorced and Alex has a new coach, Coach Archer, who is very strict. In addition, a new kid from Detroit moves into town. The kid, Max Bellotti, turns out to be a basketball phenom and he soon plays a pivotal role in the rest of the book. Meanwhile, Max is receiving a lot of unwanted publicity and he is being covered by news stations around the country. One day at lunch, Max reveals a surprising secret that is gay. Max soon opens up publicly about his secret and many people are taken aback. Soon, the semifinals of the basketball championship roll around. The game goes down to the wire and eventually Max hits a game-winning shot, however, Max is hit in the head with a baseball thrown by an anti-gay supporter. Max recovers, however, the principal decides it is unsafe for Max to play in the finals. The ruling is overturned and Max gets to play and the Lions end up winning the championship.

TAB Recommends, 1/24

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.

 

Small Steps, Louis Sachar – YFIC SAC

Three years after being released from Camp Green Lake, Armpit is trying hard to keep his life on track, but when his old pal X-Ray shows up with a tempting plan to make some easy money scalping concert tickets, Armpit reluctantly goes along.

 

And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie – MYS CHR

Ten houseguests, trapped on an isolated island, are the prey of a diabolical killer. A famous nursery rhyme is framed and hung in every room of the mansion: Ten little Indian boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine–When they realize that murders are occurring as described in the rhyme, terror mounts. Who has choreographed this dastardly scheme? And who will be left to tell the tale?

 

The War Outside, Monica Hesse – YFIC HES

Teens Haruko, a Japanese American, and Margot, a German American, form a life-changing friendship as everything around them starts falling apart in the Crystal City family internment camp during World War II.

 

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte – FIC BRO

Heathcliff, an orphan, is raised by Mr Earnshaw as one of his own children. Hindley despises him but wild Cathy becomes his constant companion, and he falls deeply in love with her. When she will not marry him, Heathcliff’s terrible vengeance ruins them all – but still his and Cathy’s love will not die…

 

The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah – FIC HAN

Leni and her troubled family embark on a new way of life in Alaska’s wilderness in 1974 – hoping this is finally the solution for her troubled, POW father. In Alaska, Leni and her family are tested and when change comes to their small community her father’s anger threatens to explode and divide the town. This is a beautifully written novel, descriptive and engaging with well-developed characters and a strong sense of place.

 

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee – FIC LEE

Scout Finch, daughter of the town lawyer, likes to spend her summers building treehouses, swimming, and catching lightning bugs with her big brother Jem. But one summer, when a black man is accused of raping a white woman, Scout’s carefree days come to an end. In the county courtroom, she will join her father in a desperate battle against ignorance and prejudice.

 

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. Powerful and haunting, heartbreaking and hopeful–a must read.

 

Simon vs. the Homo-Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli – YFIC ALB

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

 

Mockingbird, Kathryn Erskine – JFIC ERS

Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father.

 

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer, James Swanson – 973.7 S

Based on rare archival material, obscure trial manuscripts, and interviews with relatives of the conspirators and the manhunters, CHASING LINCOLN’S KILLER is a fast-paced thriller about the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth: a wild twelve-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia. – from goodreads

 

Warriors Don’t Cry, Melba Beals – 370.19 B

The landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, brought the promise of integration to Little Rock, Arkansas, but it was hard-won for the nine black teenagers chosen to integrate Central High School in 1957. They ran the gauntlet between a rampaging mob and the heavily armed Arkansas National Guard, dispatched by Governor Orval Faubus to subvert federal law and bar them from entering the school. President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded by sending in soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division, the elite “Screaming Eagles” – and transformed Melba Pattillo and her eight friends into reluctant warriors on the battlefield of civil rights. – from goodreads

 

Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro – FIC ISH

A reunion with two childhood friends–Ruth and Tommy–draws Kath and her companions on a nostalgic odyssey into the supposedly idyllic years of their lives at Hailsham, an isolated private school in the serene English countryside, and a dramatic confrontation with the truth about their childhoods and about their lives in the present.

 

The Iron King, Maurice Druon – FIC DRU

Set in the year 1314, the story takes place during the reign of despotic French King Philip the Fair and focuses on disenfranchised Lord Robert of Artois, whose attempts to reclaim his birthright ignite a conflict that will engulf all of France and destroy a dynasty.

TAB Recommends, 12/13

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.

 

One of Us is Lying, Karen McManus (YMYS MCM)

When one of five students in detention is found dead, his high-profile classmates—including a brainy intellectual, a popular beauty, a drug dealer on probation and an all-star athlete—are investigated and revealed to be the subjects of the victim’s latest gossip postings.

 

A Mercy, Toni Morrison (FIC MOR)

In exchange for a bad debt, an Anglo-Dutch trader takes on Florens, a young slave girl, who feels abandoned by her slave mother and who searches for love–first from an older servant woman at her master’s new home, and then from a handsome free blacksmith, in a novel set in late seventeenth-century America.

 

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins (YSF COL)

In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss’s skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place.

 

Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt (JFIC BAB)

A family accidentally stumbles upon a spring with water endowing them with the gift of eternal life. Seventy years later, without having grown a day older, a young girl discovers them and learns their secret.

 

Roller Girl, Victoria Jamieson (JFIC JAM)

A graphic novel adventure about a girl who discovers roller derby right as she and her best friend are growing apart.

 

Uprooted, Naomi Novik (SF NOV)

Once every ten years, a powerful wizard known as the Dragon chooses one young woman from Agnieszka’s valley and spirits her away to his enchanted tower. Agnieszka expects him to take her best friend, Kasia, who’s beautiful, clever, and brave. However, when Agnieszka is chosen instead of Kasia, she discovers untapped talents, challenges the Dragon’s rules (and patience), and battles the malevolent influence of the nearby enchanted Wood in order to save the people she loves. Based on Polish folklore, this stand-alone novel by Temeraire series author Naomi Novik, is a fantastical coming-of-age tale combining magic, warfare, politics, and romance. — Description by Gillian Speace.

 

All Out, editor Saundra Mitchell (YFIC 808.83 A)

A collection of historical fiction featuring a transgender soldier, two girls falling in love while mourning Kurt Cobain, and forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent.

Book Review: Hearts Unbroken, Cynthia Leitich Smith

Hearts Unbroken

Cynthia Leitich Smith

 

Everyone has their thing. Being a football player, an all A student, a baker, whatever it is, you’re proud of it. For Louise, it’s being a Native American journalist. She is very conscious of the fact that she is Native in an almost all white community. So when her boyfriend Cam makes fun of Native people, she’s had enough. Louise barely misses him. She has her new group of journalist friends, and there’s that one boy who catches Louise’s eye: Joey.

When their drama teacher casts the spring musical – The Wizard of Oz – colorblind, the whole community is in an uproar. Joey and Louise go around town and capture different sides of the story for their school newspaper. In doing so, they spend a lot of time together. As the controversy of the play rises, so does the heat between Joey and Louise. Although, maybe dating isn’t the best thing to do at the moment…

Follow the story of a brave young lady fighting for what she thinks is right. Cheer Louise on as she helps her society think differently and as she discovers what’s right for herself in the process. Hearts Unbroken is a beautiful story of turning a public scandal into something to be proud of. Reading this book, you will learn how to fight against controversy and how to be proud of who you are, no matter what anyone says.