The Freedom Writers Diary

By Erin Gruwell

9/10 Stars

12+

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Idealistic, new teacher Erin Gruwell faced a classroom of “unteachables” & bad kids. Determined to get through to them, Ms. Gruwell tosses her previous planning aside, and focuses on stories & assignments that are personal to them. Inspired by Anne Frank & Zlata’s Diary, her students start diaries of their own, compiling their shocking stories & amazing transformations. 

This book was an eye-opener for me. Ms. Gruwell’s students have gone through so much pain & anger that it is heart-breaking. However, every one of them wants to change and live a great life; they just don’t think they are capable. Ms. Gruwell opens their eyes to the possibilities in the world & truly changes their lives. This is an incredible story that will inspire parents & teachers, along with students and creating role models for high schoolers everywhere. I highly recommend it.

9.29.14. Nonfiction,Popular Books,New York Times Bestseller,

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The Here and Now

By Ann Brashares

9/10 Stars

Prenna comes from the future. She and the other travelers are back before the world went wrong to try to stop the bleak future ahead of them. The rules from the leaders are for her protection, and for the world’s. Don’t accept medical attention from anyone except the travelers medics. Don’t stand out and don’t tell any of the time natives about who you really are. And most importantly, don’t fall in love.

Prenna is an amazing protagonist. She is relatable, developed, and interesting, along with being a character you admire. The time travel and future ideas were the best I’ve ever read. They are very realistic & understandable. This book warns us what will happen if we don’t change our ways. A must read for everyone.

8.31.14. Fantasy Books,Science Fiction Books,Romance Books,Popular Books,

5

Son of Sobek

A short story involving the characters from Heroes of Olympus & the Kane Chronicles

By Rick Riordan

7/10 Stars

Carter is just trying to kill a pesky monster when another guy shows up with a glowing sword and an arrogant attitude. Percy doesn’t understand what type of demigod this guy is and why he is jabbering about Egyptian myths. The Egyptian & Greek world collide as two talented heroes face off to fight a great monster, and get into a whole lot of trouble.

This was great, and hilarious, but I wish it was longer! I loved the ending, and how it leaves possibilities for a new Egyptian-Greek connection to come out in Rick Riordan’s future books! I highly recommend it to any fans of Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus or the Kane Chronicles. 

8.14.14. Fantasy Books,Popular Books,Boys Books,

1

Lean In

By Sheryl Sandberg

9.5/10 Stars

Roughly thirty years after women became 50% of college graduates, men still hold the majority of leadership roles in our society. Sheryl Sandberg, a highly successful businesswoman (and mother), tells us why women’s voices aren’t being heard enough in leadership. She explains solutions, tells examples, and tells her own funny stories. She describes specific steps we can all take, and explains how men will benefit by helping women in the workplace.

This book is must-read for everyone in my opinion. I also recommend the audiobook, it has an excellent reader. Sheryl Sandberg is an excellent writer who manages to explain how feminism has become a dirty word, and make you crack up in the next paragraph. This book is idea-sparking, humorous, and informative. I highly recommend it (for women AND men!).

4.21.14. Popular Books,Self-Help Books,Non-Fiction,

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Smoky Mountain Tracks

Book 1 of the Raine Stockton Dog Mystery series

By Donna Ball

9.8/10 Stars

Raine Stockton is the daughter of the judge and ex-wife of the sheriff. She also works as a search-and-rescue worker sometimes with her inexperienced, but lovable dog, Cisco. She is reluctantly thrust into a search for a six year old girl & her mother, kidnapped and somewhere in the wilderness. Suspecting there is more to the case than what meets the eye, she does some investigating of her own, while she slowly learns to trust Cisco and herself.

Oh my goodness, this series is completely amazing. Full to bursting with adorable dog details, scary police scenes, rocky self-discovery, and a necessary bit of romance, it is entertaining from beginning to end. I loved every bit of it, and I confess that I’ve already read the entire series. I highly recommend it!

4.07.14. Realistic Fiction,Mystery Books,Popular Books,

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Delirium

Book 1 of the Delirium series

By Lauren Oliver

9/10 Stars

It’s hard to imagine that people thought love was a good thing. Now that scientists have found the cure, there isn’t pain or hatred in the world, and everyone’s happy. And Lena is anxious for her procedure, coming up at the end of the summer. Then she’ll go to college, be matched, live happily ever after..and not turning out like her mother. But, she falls in love, and finds out that the disease is a beautiful thing. 

I adored this book! Amazingly written with a thought-provoking concept, it has excitement, mystery, and romance. I highly recommend it.

4.06.14. Popular Books,Popular Teen Books,Romance Books,Realistic Fiction,

2

Adulting

9.5/10 Stars

By Kelly Williams Brown

13+

Just because you don’t feel like an adult, it doesn’t mean you can’t act like one. This book is an incredible guide to all the nitty-gritty parts of being an adult, including what to look for in an apartment, what to put in your apartment once you have one, how to stay away from your co-workers, and so much more. From work, to cooking, to family and dating, this book can teach you everything about being an adult. Whether you just need a few tips, or you’re completely clueless and need the whole book, buy & read this book.

I LOVE THIS BOOK. It’s written superbly well, with great humor and even better tips. This author isn’t afraid to tell her embarrassing, trying-to-be-an-adult stories and amazing other adults have chipped in with advice. I highly recommend this book. Oh, and check out her blog too..adultingblog.com.

2.24.14. Self-Help Books,Nonfiction,Adult Nonfiction,Popular Books,

1

Silent Night

Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries #5 (to be read in no serious order)

By Donna Ball

9/10 Stars

Raine Stockton has three dogs. Two Aussies, Mischief & Magic, and her sweet, search-and-rescue trained golden retriever, Cisco. With Cisco by her side, she has solved many mysteries in her picturesque small town in North Carolina. When a newborn appears in the place of a toy Jesus in a Nativity festival, Raine’s festive night goes awry. An abandoned box of golden retriever puppies, disappeared baby Jesuses all over town, and missing girl just add to her problems. And then she hears of the murder.

Oh, my gosh. This series is the best thing that’s ever happened to me in mysteries. Heart pounding mystery plots, combined with adorable doggie moments & descriptions, with a tinge of romance, this series is a must-have! I actually started with this one, since it was the Christmas one, not realizing it was a series, but I was just fine. The author did an excellent job explaining it all! Well written, thrilling and adorable, with great characters, this is a must-read for any that love reading, mysteries, and/or dogs. I highly recommend!

1.11.14. Mystery,Mystery Books,Action/ Adventure Books,Adventure/ Action Books,Romance Books,Popular Books,Adult Fiction,

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Life As We Knew It

By Susan Beth Pfeffer

8/10 Stars

Everyone is talking about the meteor that will be passing by. Miranda’s teachers are assigning projects and essays about it. But everything goes wrong in a split second..the meteor hits the moon. Miranda quickly learns that in this new world with the moon so close to their planet, it’s survival of the fittest. Her family piles the food, and already begins the rationing, and when people start dying, it just gets worse. The temperatures drop and Miranda and her family shelter in their home squished & starving. While earthquakes rock the world, dormant volcanoes explode and tsunamis drown the coasts, Miranda is forced to adapt to a world much different than her past one.

This book freaked me out! The whole time reading it my heart hammered and I planned what I would do if the world became Miranda’s. It was scarier than a horror book for me, because it felt like this situation could actually happen. I hope we are more prepared if it ever does! This is a really well written book, and includes snatches of love, teenage difficulties, and interesting takes on the world. I highly recommend it- if you are looking for a thriller to keep you on the edge of your seat.

10.14.13. Popular Books,Thrillers,Realistic Fiction,

4

Confessions of a Shopaholic

By Sophie Kinsella

9.5/10 Stars

Becky Bloomwood has big dreams. Unfortunately, her bank account isn’t quite as big, and whenever she receives that news she treats herself with a little something. Just a little something. She is a writer, but a writer for a financial magazine. How boring can it get? But as Becky’s world comes crashing down and she hits rock bottom, Becky hears a story she wants to write, and the world starts to realize that maybe Becky has something to say too.

Oh, my gosh. This is such a great book, full of humor and sadness, shopping, and bank account warnings. The author puts such a spin on the situation that I felt like Becky was real the whole time, and I was worrying right with her. I highly recommend this to all women, especially those with shopping love and money problems. 

9.05.13. Realistic Fiction,Movie,Humor,Popular Books,Girls Books,

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The Fault In Our Stars

By John Green

8/10 Stars

Ages 13+

Hazel was supposed to die before now, but thanks to a tumor shrinking miracle, she is still alive. Hazel has always known she will die sometime. Walking around with the machine that lets her breathe, Hazel is not so loving of her life until she meets Augustus Waters at Cancer Kids Support Group, and everything changes.

An immensely powerful book covering hard subjects such as cancer, real life, etc. No sugar coating or hopeful kids. A love story wrapped in tragedy, literature, and humor, this book is one where everyone doesn’t want it to end. I highly recommend it to those at a level where they are ready to read real-life truths.

8.04.13. New York Times bestsellers,Realistic Fiction,Romance Books,Tragedy,Popular Books,Popular Teen Books,

2

Little Women

By Louisa May Alcott

4.5 Stars

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are four ambitious women with not quite enough money to satisfy them. Their father is in the war and their mother is struggling to keep them happy, to help those less fortunate around her, and to prevent her worrying about her dear husband. The girls fight boldly with their jealously of richer girls and with their silly wishes, determined to follow their strong mother’s lead in the world. Jo meets a kind boy next door with a great family, and the girls & Laurie and many others have many glorious adventures you can’t stop reading about.

One of the sweetest classics, Jo’s adventures and her family’s love is always pleasing and fun to read and reread. With amazingly real-like characters and hard situations they admirably defeat, this classic is always a must-read for everyone.

4.30.13. the Classics,Realistic Fiction,Historical Fiction,Popular Books,Girls Books,

1

When You Reach Me

By Rebecca Stead

4 Stars

"Book, bag, pocket, shoe."

It all started when Sal got punched in the face for seemingly no reason. Then Sal starts ignoring Miranda and she doesn’t know why. And she finally has to walk by the crazy, laughing man under the mailbox all alone. Suddenly, the hidden spare key to her apartment is stolen, and she starts receiving strange notes. They are urgent, telling her that a life is in mortal danger. But who’s life? And can Miranda really save a life before it’s too late?

Wow. Yes, I’m starting this review again with wow. This is another fabulous book, with a detailed plot and woven thread of mystery. This author is incredible. The time traveling concepts and world concepts are amazing. I loved this book, and highly recommend it to every reader out there, boy or girl, kid or adult.

12.30.12. Popular Books,Popular Kid Books,Fantasy Books,Science Fiction Books,

2

Call of the Wild

By Jack London

3 3/4 Stars

Buck lives with a nice owner, in a warm place. Then the gold rush starts, and a huge demand for strong dogs arrives. So Buck is stolen from his home and thrown into the primitive world. And as Buck slowly adapts to his surroundings  the cold Yukon seems familiar. Strange instincts return to him. Buck is fighting a war of mind against his tamer, dog side, and his past, a wild wolf. 

The Call of the Wild is written amazingly well. I didn’t particularly like it, even though I love dogs. Everything was described well, and the characters were all pretty great, though some were stereotyped. Like I said, I didn’t love it. This is because Buck would finally have a victory, or a place he loved and belonged, then something would happen, and he would go ridiculously wild again. What I loved was that Buck didn’t die at the end! All the dogs die at the end of famous dog books, right? Well not in this book! Thank you, Jack London. 

11.07.12. The Classics,Historical Fiction,Adventure/ Action Books,Action/ Adventure Books,Popular Books,

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

By Stephen Chbosky

4 1/2 Stars

Charlie isn’t special. He blends in with the scenery, watches and thinks. Until one day he steps out of his comfort zone and up to Sam and Patrick. And just like that, Charlie has friends, and he is being challenged in ways he didn’t think possible. Inside, he is fighting a mental battle started when a family member hurt him beyond repair. This story is told with letters to an unknown person, and the story is the story of high school. Of the battle we face, alone, and together.

Now a movie, this New York Times Bestseller is a heart wrenching, addicting story I read with passion and curiosity. The characters were full and developed, and walked right off the page. When I was reading, I couldn’t help but feel their emotions and wonder at their questions. I highly recommend it to mature audiences.

11.07.12. New York Times bestsellers,Popular Books,Popular Teen Books,Realistic Fiction,

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