Start of the year book review

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Olivia Starke

Finding a good book to read can sometimes be a difficult task. Lucky for you I have a list of books with my review so you have a list to go off. If any of these suggestions made your ears perk up then I hope you find yourself on the way to the library to check them out (figuratively or literally haha).

  1. “In Darkness”, written by Nick Lake, flows in a way that carefully uncovers the main character Shorty. On just the first page, Shorty wakes up in darkness, remembering only snippets of his former life as they come. Set a few feet under the violent, drug-run land of Haiti, Shorty is left with nothing to do but dream and remember. The memories, however, uncover his violent separation from his twin sister years ago, bringing Shorty to question if he ever found her or not. Yet this is not the only thing he is left to question- where exactly is he and how can he get out?

This novel was made for any and every person. It relates to many different interests and is written in a very intriguing way, obtaining a tone that unusually relays the characters feelings in a blunt yet detailed perspective so that the reader can understand fully.

  1. Citra and Rowan grow up in a world that has evolved to accommodate almost every need a human could have. Their reality, in fact, depicts a life which is no longer stung by death. However, in the midst of this accomplishment, not even the greats have found a way to keep the stream of resources (needed for this luxury) running, thus a new lifestyle is created for a select few people, that they may contain the power to glean (kill). These people in particular are referred to as scythes, and one such scythe chooses both Rowan and Citra as his apprentices. All in all, the novel “Scythe” by Neil Shusterman questions the reality we, as people, relate ourselves to.

For the people who’s thought process materializes in terms of deep, ethical reasoning, Shusterman depicts the society for you. In this story, the setting stands out just as much as the characters. Overall, it forces you to question, ‘what the heck is this place?’ and makes you ask yourself ‘what if I was there?’ Also, the plot twists in the exact opposite direction you expect.

  1. In a poetic, basketball-focused novel, “The Crossover”, by Kwame Alexander, twin brother Josh Bell paints his experiences with a jazzy style. In Josh’s life, change constantly shakes up his middle school life and through fights with his brother, good lookin’ girls, and a supportive father battling a few issues of his own, Josh makes for a very relatable character. A fast-pace and easy to read novel “The Crossover” describes the ups and downs of your average, basketball-playing middle school boy.

Bam, sizzle, pop, this — draws you in and is a super short read. In a poetic way it reels you in to the basketball scenes while still being able to compose a more serious tone at the same time. Another component that makes this novel stand out includes the connection the characters share with the reader, in a middle school mindset it still manages a realistic touch.

  1. Eishes Chayil creates a novel in which revolves around the different stages of a girl’s life in the Chassidim community (a Jewish denomination). Through her innocent eyes, Judy plays through life without a care, mischievously skipping  down her community with her best friend Gittel tagging along behind her. But when Gittel abruptly hangs herself, and the community refuses to acknowledge the incident, Judy is left to sort through the truth of what really goes on in the community. When the perspective suddenly changes, how Judy decides to react pushes the people around her to accept the truth for what it is.

If you are interested in delving into the cultural aspect of a story, this would be the ideal book for you. You do need some perseverance while reading this book (“Hush”) because it contains higher level reading. For me personally, this book was totally worth the longer reading time because it made me aware not only of the mindset this culture maintains, but of the desperate need for people to make their actions count.

  1. Lastly, the novel “Wild”, by Alex Mallory, draws two really different characters into a subtle, romantic relationship. Considering that one of the main characters (Cade) has lived in the woods all his life, no one even knowing he existed, this book brings such opposite mindsets and mashes them in a beautiful way. When, on a camping trip, Cade saves two people from a bear and is brought to a hospital, he meets a girl (Dara) who helps introduce him to society. Throughout the book, many conflicts rise up, leading to the questions where does Cade really belong and why his parents raised him like they did.This book was a super fast read with a sweet, mellow tone and really made the interactions between characters pop. If you are looking for something relaxed that still has an appealing hook I would strongly suggest you read this book.

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