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Teen Blogger: Stargirl Review

bookcover

Today I will be reviewing Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. This is the first book in a set of two books, but it can be read as a standalone novel. Overall I did enjoy this book, but if you are looking for a more in depth review you can read below.

Characters

The two main characters of this book were lovable and quirky. Leo, the main character felt a bit bland to me at first, but after the plot picked up I did enjoy reading about him. While most of the book focuses on Stargirl, I really loved his character. Stargirl (yes, her name is actually Stargirl) was really unique and fun character. Her quirkiness might have been a little overplayed, but I loved her message of being your own person. I give this area an 8/10.

Setting

I loved the fact his book took place in the desert instead of the typical Midwest town or city. The parts that were the most descriptive, like the part about the desert flowers or the large cacti, were interesting because you don’t normally hear about that kind of beauty in a desert. I do wish the school was described more. I am going to give this area a 7/10.

Plot

This book was simply heartwarming. There wasn’t any epic quest or week-long journey across the US.  It was simply a book that made you feel happy on the inside. Plus, the book was so short, (180 pages) I don’t think there could have been a long, involved plot. Normally I don’t enjoy plots lacking complexity, but this book was really sweet and satisfying. I am giving this area an 8/10.

Writing Style

I did enjoy the author’s writing style. While the book wasn’t very long, he did manage to make each and every one of those pages meaningful. I zoomed through the book, and dreaded every moment when I had to put it down. I though overall the writing was pretty good, though it did have a few small issues. I am going to give this area a 9/10 because I did enjoy his style.

The Final Verdict

Once the scores are tallied up, I get a 7.5/10!  I agree with that score, as the book did have a few problems, but overall was put together well. If you enjoy books with a heartfelt message, you will most likely enjoy Stargirl! My one warning is that for some Stargirl might feel too quirky. Please know these are just my opinions. I respect yours too, so why not leave a comment?  Please mark spoilers for new readers.

Happy Reading!

-Laurel

Riptide With Bubbles

Laurel is an overly creative person that is looking for good books to read. While she fills her spare time with crocheting, filming, editing, drawing, sewing, writing, and crafting, she always has a little time to read. She enjoys books that have an intricate plot and fresh new characters, but does not like books with a lot of romance. Hopefully she will find what she is looking for.

Teen Blogger: Life of Pi Review

LifeofPi

The Life of Pi is a movie that came out last year.  It is based on a book of the same name by Yann Martel.  The movie is basically about a teenage boy who is the only one who lives after his boat crashes.  He has to try to survive by floating on a lifeboat.  Except he is not by himself.  There is a tiger on the boat with him!!  This sounds crazy, but the tiger was being sent to a new zoo and was on the same ship.  Pi has to learn to deal with both the tiger and the rough ocean weather.

I really enjoyed this movie and is showed how friendships can survive anything even tragic accidents.  It is a good movie for the whole family, and I would recommend it to all of my friends and anyone who enjoys movies.

Aaron is a seventh grader at Langley.  He enjoys playing video games, drawing and sports.

The Selection

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Today I will be reviewing The Selection, Book One of the Selection Series by Kiera Cass.   Here is a summary of the book for anyone curious:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime.  The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth.  To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels.  To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.  But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare.  It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her.  Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want.  Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.  Then America meets Prince Maxon.  Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.”

Characters

This book combined stereotypes with a breath of fresh air. I really loved America, Maxon, and Marlee.  My one complaint is that some of the characters do lack a developed personality and backstory, but this is the first book in a trilogy.  This book was jam packed with interesting character relationships. A secret love interest is unveiled early on, which definitely complicates the plot. I very much enjoyed the relationship between Maxon and America, but you will have to read to see how that plays out. The relationships between America and the other Selected really was intriguing. While some simply don’t get along with her, she instantly makes a few friends. At the same time America is technically competition, so we are never too sure about how things will end up. I really enjoyed this element of suspense.

Setting

The setting of this book at first confused me.  After a bit of investigating I learned that this books takes place in America.  While we don’t know how far into the future this book takes place, it seems like it has been at least a hundred years.  Now royalty is the main form of government and rankings determine your income, social class, and job.  It‘s very interesting to read about.  At the same time this author didn’t elaborate on the surroundings well.  It might just be me, but I like a very vivid setting to think about.  I like to know the colors of the walls, the little flaws in the architecture, and that sort of thing.  While we did get small descriptions of the setting, I just feel it could have been stretched out more, especially with the castle.

Plot

The plot of this book took old clichés and made them new.  I enjoyed discovering the little details of the government, and trying to figure out what would happen next, yet parts of the book seemed so close to many other dystopian novels.  Mainly the book reminded me of The Hunger Games.  Take out the death in The Hunger Games and replace it with broken hearts, and you have the majority of this plot.  I am not going to complain about this more than I need to, as there were plot twists, original characters, and many events that were completely original, but you might get the same feeling I did when I read it.

The Final Verdict

I really enjoyed the authors writing style!  I thought dialog was realistic and humorous.  The actions the characters took were interesting to read about, and were described in a way that I felt like I was witnessing them.  My one complaint was sometimes it was hard to figure out who the speaker was.  I get a 7.5/10!  This falls right in-between decent and good for me, but you should make up your mind for yourself.  I recommend this book to anyone looking for a book that has interesting characters and plot, with the warning that any Hunger Games fan might find themselves bored with the story.  And if you like love stories, you will like this much more than I did!  The book itself isn’t all that long (only about three-hundred pages) so I recommend you get at least halfway through before you decide.  The beginning can be hard to follow, but it picks up towards the start of the actual Selection.  Thankfully the library systems has lots of copies in print and digitally.  Please let me know what you thought of it! I’m always interested in hearing opinions.  But please, mark spoilers for anyone trying to see if they are interested.

Happy Reading!

-Laurel

Laurel is an overly creative person that is looking for good books to read.  While she fills her spare time with crocheting, filming, editing, drawing, sewing, writing, and crafting, she always has a little time to read.  She enjoys books that have an intricate plot and fresh new characters, but does not like books with a lot of romance.  Hopefully she will find what she is looking for.

Teen Review: Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

My name is Jenna. I go to a high school where I’m part of the marching band and the cheerleading squad. I’m pretty busy, but I always find time to read. I’m also very creative and I like doing little crafts out of random things I find.

Chain Reaction by Simone ElkelesChain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

Already a lover of the Perfect Chemistry novels, I knew I would love this conclusion to the trilogy. Keep in mind that you could understand the plot of Chain Reaction without reading the first two novels.

Luis Fuentes comes from a family of gang members. His two older brothers, Alex and Carlos, were both involved in the Latino Blood, but the LB is a Chicago gang and Luis now lives in Colorado for the sole reason of avoiding the gang. Luis thought he was safe, but when his mother forces him to move back to Chicago, Luis knows that involvement in the gang is inevitable, despite his family’s protests and his new girlfriend, Nikki’s, love.

This novel is told between two perspectives, Luis’ and Nikki’s, and readers will experience unexpected surprises in both of these young people’s lives. Nikki is falling in love again and Luis discovers the true reason why it seems he has a deep connection with the Latino Blood. The climax of this book will shock everybody. Also, if you were a reader of the previous novels, the epilogue to this book will satisfy and give closure.

If you like a forbidden love story and acceptance of others and yourself, Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles is the novel for you.

Teen Review: The Legend of Zelda™: Symphony of the Goddesses at Heinz Hall

Hi, I’m Henry. Since I was born 16 years ago, my biggest claim to fame has been winning the state geography bee in 2009. I run cross country and track for Seton-La Salle High School. I play trombone in the school’s marching band and am a member of the Mock Trial and Academic Games teams. I like to read the Greeks and Romans, and I love opera.

Heinz Hall: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

As I arrived at Heinz Hall Friday evening, I couldn’t help noticing a number of things I normally do not see here. One of the most conspicuous of these was the select number of the audience who arrived dressed for the occasion in green caps that made them look like as if they were decorations in the spirit of the music we were to hear. All in all, the crowd generally seemed to have been drawn more by the “Zelda” in the title than the “symphony.”

The stage was dominated by a very large screen suspended over the orchestra’s chairs. When the conductor, a Ms. Eí mear Noone began the music, the screen showed screenshots from different games of the Zelda franchise. The images on the screen evoked laughter from time to time among the audience in general, but I, having never played a game in the franchise, was not sure when and why to laugh.

At the beginning of the symphony, I resented the screen as an unnecessary distraction; by intermission, I was curiously mesmerized by it. It was a very different experience from when I’ve been there for more conventional works. I think it would be detrimental to some works whose music is attractive enough to sustain interest (in my case, music of Mozart and his generation); for others which I do not care for as much (e.g., Bruckner, Debussy, Wagner, etc.) it would almost certainly hold my attention better.

The music itself presented, I think, did not need such sideshows. It was, as is much video game music, catchy and facile (in the best sense of that word). The main theme was repeated innumerable times, but not ad nauseam. The style of the music defied categorization, but I would call it modern if I had to call it anything. My personal favorites were the first two movements, which were respectively descriptive of a dungeon and a pastoral village in the universe of Link and Zelda.

In its entirety, I thought the show was better than average, and not merely for the novelty of the staging or the unusual music (or, perhaps, in spite of them). The quality of the music was overall very good, and, as usual, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra showed us the reasons why it is so highly acclaimed.

Teen Review: Perfect by Ellen Hopkins

My name is Clara, and I am 14 years old. I go to Science And Technology Academy and I am in the 10th grade. In my spare time when I’m not reading a good book, I dance in competions, do cheerleading, and play sports.

Perfect by Ellen Hopkins

Hello fellow readers! I just finished reading Perfect by Ellen Hopkins, and I wanted to tell you how great the book is! The book is all about the struggles that teens in everyday life face, with trying to please their parents, trying to fit in, and mostly tring to be perfect in the eyes of others.  In the story, four high school seniors struggle with trying to be perfect and the problems they encounter from these struggles.   The poetry in the book only make the book easier and more fun to read, and lets you veiw the characters through different eyes. I would recomend this book to anyone who likes reading edgy teen books, and wouldn’t mind opening their eyes to something new.

Teen Review: After by Amy Efaw

My name is Jenna. I go to a high school where I’m part of the marching band and the cheerleading squad. I’m pretty busy, but I always find time to read. I’m also very creative and I like doing little crafts out of random things I find.

After by Amy Efaw

As a reader, this novel will challenge your beliefs and your character. It has the ability to make you think twice about the kind of person you are.

After by Amy Efaw is about a girl named Devon Davenport who seemed to be perfect. She was a class A babysitter, had a 4.0 grade point average, and had insane soccer abilities that would soon take her to the Olympics. Meanwhile, Devon was holding a very big secret. She was pregnant.

Or was she holding a secret? Devon claims that she had no clue that she was pregnant. She did not recognize the symptoms and she was essentially clueless to what was going on in her body. When the baby was born, Devon stuffed the baby into a trash bag and threw the bag into a trash can outside of her apartment.

Now, Devon is in a juvenile court system, being charged with multiple offenses, but the most severe is murder.

This novel is similar to a mystery novel. Readers do not know if Devon is telling the truth or not about being oblivious to the pregnancy. Personally, there were moments in the novel that I wanted Devon to be innocent and I was rooting for her, but when you take a step back, you remember the ugly and horrific act she committed and then wonder how you could support her.

This heartbreaking novel has so many different layers that are explored from cover to cover and it is almost impossible to put down.

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