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  NEW REVIEWS
the selection book cover 

 The Selection
by Kiera Cass

 

America Singer is a Six – two castes (a social order that divided the people of the country) up from being homeless, hungry and penniless. She and her family live in a town in Carolina and don’t have much themselves. When the opportunity to become Prince Maxon’s wife, is brought upon every girl between the ages of 16 – 20, America’s mother is quick to ask her daughter to join. Eventually, after much pestering, not only from her family but from others in the community as well, she agrees to enter, doubting her odds. She doesn’t see herself as princess-material and neither does she want to be a royal anyway. Surprisingly enough, America is one of the 35 girls chosen for The Selection and will live with the Prince and his family in the palace until a wife is chosen. Cass brings us on America’s journey through the transition from living a life of almost poverty to being a One (in a palace nonetheless). Through the violent attacks by the rebels and the tension between her and the other girls fighting for the crown all the while trying desperately to forget something...or someone...she has left behind in her hometown…. The romance, suspense and unique plot make this a great, light read for lovers of The Hunger Games and other dystopian novels.

Reviewed by Carolina

I AM THE MESSENGER BOOK COVER  I Am The Messenger
by Marcus Zusak

Ed Kennedy is going nowhere fast. In fact, he's been nowhere his entire life and has never really planned to go anywhere. And why would he want it any other way? He has a good enough job as a cabman, a coffee-drinking dog, and great friends (one of which he may or may not be utterly in love with); nothing much happens, and his life is good. Until, that is, he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That's when the first card arrives in the mail, the ace of diamonds, with a message to deliver. A gem I found in one of my wanderings through the library, I Am the Messenger is a thought-provoking read that grips you emotionally. It touches on so many parts of life, but for me it was about human kindness and doing what you believe to be right, while still keeping a humour and realism I appreciated. I will recommend this book to anyone and everyone who has the ability to read (although it is worth noting that there are a few scenes in it that could be considered sensitive. But the book is still amazing.

Reviewed by Amanda
  
Girl in the arena book cover Girl In The Arena
by Lise Haines

 I picked up this book thinking it would be a cool, gladiator-era story. It turned out to be set in the future, which was surprising, but still had the potential to be good, even with a weak opening chapter. So I kept reading, hoping it would get better. Maybe she would fight. Maybe she would set her family free from Ceasers Inc. and be able to live life normally.

What happened was there was a lot of tragedy and nothing to balance it out. I'm not really into tragedy books, but if it had really touched me and made me cry, it would have made me feel like the book didn't waste my time. Spoiler alert.

Reviewed by Amanda 
battle royale book cover
  Battle Royale
by Koushan Takami
 

Blood, gore and destruction; this is what makes a good thriller. Filled with action and suspense, this psychological joyride keeps on delivering until you left are begging for more.  This is not a book fit for the faint of heart as the scenes are graphic, and the terror is very much real. Set in an authoritarian style alternate universe, we follow the plight of forty-two kids who are forcefully pitted against each other in a fight to the death. In this dog-eat-dog existence, each person’s true nature is forced to light; it isn’t long before lines are crossed, boundaries are destroyed, and everything transforms into hell on earth.

 

Personally, I found this book to be one of my favourites. When reading it, I found myself drawn into the chaos and madness that existed within the confines of each chapter.  I could feel the desperation the characters felt- their pain and their anguish- and above all, I too felt trapped in the hopelessness that overshadowed their will to survive.  The story itself is rather haunting and well-paced, and the development of each of the characters is well thought out.  My greatest concern going into the book was having to keep track of the sheer number of names that existed in the story , however, luckily for me, the story ran smoothly whether or not I remembered the name of a character, as the main focus lay primarily on three students. The fact that the book was also translated from Japanese to English also was a major concern of mine; however, I found that the storyline still flowed and was understandable. I still feel as though there is an essence of the story that is lost due to the translation of the book, however, I found that it is made up for by the story’s sheer originality and level of insight. Overall, I would say that if you are a fan of the psychological thrillers like I am, and you’re not afraid to dive into some gore, then this book is a must read for you.   

Reviewed by Chalisa

  
 the scorpio races book cover  The Scorpio Races
by Maggie Stiefvater

The water horses are dangerous and deadly, but if you can manage to tame one, it will make a steed like no other. On the island of Thisby, the Scorpio Races come at the beginning of each November, blood falls onto the beach. Riders die on the backs of the water horses, sometimes devoured by their very own mounts; the winner of the races is showered with fame and money. A story told from the perspective of two racers: Sean Kendrick, the returning champion, and Kate “Puck” Connolly, the lone girl whose participation in the races is one part accident, one part desperation.

This is a very good book. I really like this author, she had a gripping plot, interesting characters, and bits of romance. That were written well and intertwined in the action of the book. Also worth noting, this is fantastic in audio book form. I found the performers to be much better than average (and also British, which was a nice fit).

Reviewed by Amanda
  
a great and terrible beauty book cover  A Great And Terrible Beauty
by Libba Bray

It was just an illusion, just a strange jumble of pictures and events brought on by the heat of the Indian sun; her mother could not be dead, she could not have had a vision of her murder. Except it is all too true, and Gemma Doyle is sent to England to live with her grandmother. Upon demonstrating that her upbringing in India had been far from proper, she is promptly sent to Spence, a girls' finishing school with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There, the visions continue as she finds herself in a clique with the powerful Felicity, the beautiful Pippa, and the frumpy Ann, breaking rules the way only girls who know their future will be those of Victorian wives can.

 

Mysteries unfold, magic is revealed, and terror and treachery follow Gemma as she discovers that not all fantasy worlds are as happy as they appear.Being the first book in the series, it is dark and even when the scene is one of the girls playing with butterflies and dancing in fields, there is an undercurrent of something sinister and terrible. It’s a book that rests comfortably between genre, and it pulls it of beautify but is not one of my favourite. 

Reviewed by Amanda
  
 i am not a serial killer book cover  I Am Not A Serial Killer
by Dan Wells

Everyone knows that there are ways to spot a serial killer before they kill someone. You know them, those traits and behaviours that 99% of murderer’s exhibit: pyromania, dissecting animals, sociopathic tendencies, etc., etc. John Cleaver knows them too, very well. So well, in fact, that he lives them. He’s basically a serial killer waiting to happen, even though he hasn’t killed anyone. Yet. He has certain rules and rituals to keep him on his path of not committing horrendous crimes, but when a serial killer (who isn’t him) appears in his small town, he can’t help but border on being gleeful. I would recommend this book for those individuals who like the show Dexter and others who enjoy reading.

Reviewed by Amanda
  
the book thief book cover  The Book Thief
by Marcus Zusak

The first book Liesel Meminger steals is from the snow that sits atop her brother's grave; the second, from a pile of books being burned in the middle of town.

It is 1939 in Nazi Germany, and from the cynical perspective of Death, it is a very busy time indeed. Young Liesel is taken in by the Hubermann family, and with them she begins her life on a street mistakenly called "Heaven". Her accordion-playing foster father, with his fourth-grade education, teaches her to read and gives her the gift of words. The words become everything, and between stealing books and growing up during a time of war, she shares them; with her neighbours as they hide in a bomb shelter, and with the Jewish man that hides in her basement.

  

This book is utterly beautiful and heartbreaking. I didn't know something could simultaneously rip your heart to shreds and yet make everything in the world feel like it's OK, but the book thief managed it. I would be hard pressed to find anyone who has the ability to read this book without feeling moved by it; the characters, the events, the depth that every word and action seems to carry, it wraps around you like a comforting blanket and makes you want to never put it down. "I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right." ― Markus Zusak, the Book Thief

Reviewed by Amanda
  
the fear book cover  The Fear
by Charlie Higson

This book is so well written it got into my head completely and terrifyingly. It doesn’t matter what you’re afraid of: drowning, fire, suffocation, abandonment, being eaten alive, having your head used as a centerpiece, Charlie Higson brings it to life plus twenty million fear points. This is a zombie novel about a world where the parasite that causes zombie-dom only affects adults and teenagers, leaving children behind to fend for themselves. It definitely has action and gore, though I found it to be largely a psychological scare. The perspectives are really raw and emotional, and you can just feel how hopeless the kids are as they live and die in the world gone insane. I recommended this book to braver folks than I, although I don’t recommend reading it alone at night.

Reviewed by Amanda
 book cover   Ghost Camp 
by R. L. Stine

Ghost Camp is a book in the Goosebumps series written by R. L. Stine. It is about two brothers, Harry and Alex, going to a summer camp called Camp Spirit Moon.  It is not like a normal camp because the other campers are ghosts. 

 

My favourite part was when a camper named Lucy tried to take over Harry's body.  It is my favourite part because it is tense and they battle.  The battle reminds me of when Voldmort tries to kill Harry Potter at the end of Harry potter Philsopher's Stone. 

 

I recommend this book to people who like to be afraid. I was anxious at the end of the story.  I would also recommend this book to those who like first person writing.  Make sure you have lots of time though, because you will not want to put it down. 

Reviewed by Eryn 

 

 

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