Friday, June 10, 2011

Book Review: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Th Kite Runner: Book Review by Allison T.
Release Date: April 27th 2004
Publisher: Riverhead Trade
Age Group: Fiction
Pages: 372
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Source: School Library
Series: Standalone
GoodReads Summary:

"The Kite Runner" tells a heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between Amir, the son of a wealthy Afghan businessman, and Hassan, the son of his father's servant. Amir is Sunni; Hassan is Shi'a. One is born to a privileged class; the other to a loathed minority. One to a father of enormous presence; the other to a crippled man. One is a voracious reader; the other illiterate.

The poor Hassan is born with a hare lip, but Amir's gaps are better hidden, deep inside.

Yet Amir and Hassan live and play together, not simply as friends, but as brothers without mothers. Their intimate story traces across the expansive canvas of history, 40 years in Afghanistan's tragic evolution, like a kite under a gathering storm. The reader is blown from the last days of Kabul's monarchy -- salad days in which the boys lives' are occupied with school, welcome snows, American cowboy movies and neighborhood bullies -- into the atrocities of the Taliban, which turned the boys' green playing fields red with blood.

Review: This book was outstanding. I loved every second of it. At first, I thought that it was a memoir because it was written so well.

I liked learning about Afghanistan and customs in this novel. I was given a new perspective of the world. Also, the secondary characters were well developed and I formed a connection with all of them. Even though I liked everyone in this book, I would have to say that Hassan was my favorite. He was very loyal to Amir and was full of integrity.

Hosseini's writing was very descriptive and I could imagine the characters very clearly. He did a good job with the flow. In addition, he kept me curious until the last page of The Kite Runner.

I think that the theme of this novel was the class structure of Afghan society. Hassan was treated poorly just because he was Hazara. People should have been more equal and fair between the class. This theme applies, mutatis mutandis, to our society today. Just because someone might be poorer than me, I should not judge them because of that.

The one thing that I did not like about this novel was that it was a bit slow. Usually, I finish books of this length in two days, but it took me a week to finish this one. But with all the good things in The Kite Runner, this issue was a minor one.

In conclusion, I would recommend this novel to people over the age of 12. There are a few mature scenes scattered throughout the book, but if you are mature enough, they are not as bad. I am looking forward to reading more of Hosseini's work.


Friday, March 11, 2011

She's So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott

She's So Dead to Us: Book Review by Allison T.

Release Date: May 25th, 2010

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing

Age Group: Young Adult

Pages: 278

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Source: County Library

Series: First in a trilogy

GoodReads Summary:
Perfect, picturesque Orchard Hill. It was the last thing Ally Ryan saw in the rear-view mirror as her mother drove them out of town and away from the shame of the scandal her father caused when his hedge fund went south and practically bankrupted all their friends -- friends that liked having trust funds and new cars, and that didn't like constant reminders that they had been swindled. So it was adios, Orchard Hill. Thanks for nothing.

Now, two years later, Ally's mother has landed a job back at the site of their downfall. So instead of Ally's new low-key, happy life, it'll be back into the snake pit with the likes of Shannen Moore and Hammond Ross.

But then there's Jake Graydon. Handsome, wealthy, bored Jake Graydon. He moved to town after Ally left and knows nothing of her scandal, but does know that he likes her. And she likes him. So off into the sunset they can go, right? Too bad Jake's friends have a problem with his new crush since it would make Ally happy. And if anyone deserves to be unhappy, it's Ally Ryan.

Ally was hoping to have left all the drama in the past, but some things just can't be forgotten. Isn't there more to life than money?


I was sucked into this book the moment I picked it up. This is one of the exceptions where you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. I thought it was going to be some girly, frilly read, but She's So Dead to Us completely blew me away.

This book is told in two points of view: Jake and Ally. I really liked both of their characters because they acted like teenagers should. Ally was cool, confident, and didn't let things hurt her. Jake, even though he was arrogant, sounded really cute and he gets nicer by the end of the novel. Their romance was believable, and wasn't just about physical attraction.

The teens acted like teens: some girls were mean, some boys were nerds, and other people are popular. There wasn't too much partying or drinking, which pleased me. Also, I loved Annie. She was very unique and it was funny that she took notes on the Cresties. I thought that the "rivalry" between the Norms and the Cresties was a bit much. If the Cresties hated the Norms that much, why didn't they switch to a private school? Who knows?

There were two things that I didn't like in She's So Dead to Us. First, Jake did not have a backbone. He did what his friends told him too and was not very smart. I don't understand why Ally was so attracted to him. Second, the ending took me by surprised. I would have thought that the story could have been wrapped up in one book, but, no, there is going to be a trilogy.

Even though there are two more books coming, I plan to read them because the first one was just so darn good. I give this book 4 stars!

Runaway by Meg Cabot

Runaway: Book Review by Allison T.

Release Date: April 20th, 2010

Publisher: Scholastic

Age Group:Young Adult

Pages: 310

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Source: County Library

Series: Third in Airhead Trilogy

GoodReads Summary:

Emerson Watts is on the run: from school, from work, from her family, from her friends, from herself.

With everyone she loves furious with her for something she can't explain, and nothing but the live Stark Angel fashion show on New Year's Eve to look forward to, Em's reached the end of her rope.... what's the point of even going on?

But when she discovers the truth about Nikki's secret, she knows there's only one person she can turn to.

Will Christopher be able to put aside her personal feelings and help her expose her employer to the world? Is it even fair to get Christopher involved- since if he agrees, there's every chance that Stark Enterprises will try to have them both killed- this time, permanently?

Maybe it would be better for Em to just keep on running....


This is third, and final book in Meg Cabot's Airhead series. I was very pleased with how it ended because the final few chapters caught me completely off guard. The secret was evil, but so simple that I don't know how I could have missed it. Meg Cabot is wonderful at creating a believable teenage voice, which is challenging to do.

Runaway got rid of all the loose ends. I knew what happened to all of the characters and wasn't left wondering, What if? It really annoys me when books do that, so I was glad that the Nikki Howard series didn't.

The one thing that I didn't like about this book was Nikki, or Em. She seemed a lot more bossy and commanding. Em also had the mindset of a girl that could do anything she wanted to and not get in trouble for it. Before, she was shy and didn't have self-confidence, but now she has too much of it. Even though this happened, there were some parts in the book that lived up to Em's original character.

Still, Lulu and 'the secret' made this book worth my while. It kept me interested, even though I was annoyed with Nikki's behaviour.

If you have read the first two books in this trilogy, then I would definitely recommend Runaway for you. If you haven't, read Airhead and Being Nikki first because you might get a bit confused if you start with Runaway. I give this book 4 stars!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz

The Unidentified: Book Review by Allison T.

Release Date: October 5th, 2010

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Age Group: Young Adult

Pages: 336 (hardcover)

Rating: 3/5 stars

Source: County Library

Series: Stand-alone (I think)

Back of the Book Summary:

Fifteen-year-old Katey (aka Kid) goes to school in the Game- a mall converted into a "school" run by corporate sponsors. As the students play their way through the levels, they are also creating products and being used for market research by the sponsors, who are watching them 24/7 on video cameras.

Kid has a vague sense of unease but doesn't question this existence until one day she witnesses a shocking anticorporate prank. She follows the clues to uncover the identities of the people behind it and discovers an anonymous group that calls itself the Unidentified. Intrigued by their counterculture ideas and enigmatic leader, Kid is drawn into the group. But when the Unidentified's pranks and even Kid's own identity are co-opted by the sponsors, Kid decides to do something bigger- something that could change the game forever.

I have had this book on my to-be-read pile ever since my school librarian talked about it during school. She gave it a very high rating, so right off the bat, I had very high expectations for The Unidentified. Because of this, I was let down when I finished this novel.

The one thing that i liked about this book was Kid. She was very true to herself and did not act fake just to be popular. She is not obsessed over getting Branded and doesn't own the latest fashions. The only thing that she loves is her music, which she makes with her two best friends, Mikey and Ari.
I thought that this story could have been more edgy, or it could have explored the negative effects of consumerism. I was very interested after I heard the summary, but I kind of knew that I would be disappointed, especially after I saw the reviews on GoodReads and Amazon.

In addition, there is not very much action in the book. Kid finds out who the Unidentified are very easily and does not do anything clever with her knowledge. Also, the rest of the book is not very interesting.

Next, even though the Unidentfied were supposed to be a really big part of the novel, they only did a couple things over the course of the story. The thing (no spoilers here) they did at the end was pretty blah as well.

Also, I expected the ending to involve more fights with the government or maybe have Kid realize something important about the society that she lives in. When I reflected on what happened over the course of the book, I realized that it was basically nothing.

In conclusion, even though I thought that this book was just OK, other people will like it, and others will hate it. I suggest you to try it out, but check it out at your library first to make sure that you like it.

-Allison T.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

Rebel Angels: Book Review by Allison T.
Release Date: December 26, 2006
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 548 (Paperback)
Rating: 5/5
Source: Borders Book Store
Series: Book 2 in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy
Back of the Book Summary:
It's the end of the year, and Gemma's looking forward to living it up in London. Balls, fancy gowns and dancing with the handsome Simon Middleton beckon. Best of all, it's time away from Spence Academy - and from the realms. But the lure of the enchanted world is strong, and the magic flows freely. Gemma's visions intensify - visions of three girls all dressed in white, suffering horror and menace. Clearly all is not well in the Realms - or out of them. -From the back of the book.
OH MY GOSH!!!! This book was so amazing. I loved every minute of it: the characters, setting, and pretty much everything else. Rebel Angels is the second book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy. The first book was A Great and Terrible Beauty. The only thing I didn't like about this book was that Gemma always traveled to the insane asylum, and the creepy people scared me because I read this book before I went to bed.
First off, the romance was spot-on. I loved Gemma with Simon, even though most people would probably disagree with me. They were a cute couple and had lots of witty lines with each other. Kartik was great too. I know, I sound like a crazy fan-girl, but this trilogy is so wonderful!
I could not stop reading because Libba Bray's writing was so smooth and descriptive. I never got bored, unlike when I was reading another historical fiction novel, The Luxe. The font was probably a contributor to my love of Rebel Angels. When I don't like a book's font, I tend not to like the book. Ha ha.
This review is being written at school, so I'll just finish up by saying: READ THIS BOOK!!! YOU'LL THANK ME FOR IT! Everything about it was 5 stars.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Hush by Eishes Chayil

Hush: Book Review by Allison T.

Release Date: September 14th, 2010

Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Rating: 4 stars
Source: County Library
Series: Stand-alone
Buy the Book:
Goodreads Summary:

Inside the closed community of Borough Park, where most Chassidim live, the rules of life are very clear, determined by an ancient script written thousands

of years before down to the last detail and abuse has never been a part of it.
But when thirteen-year-old Gittel learns of the abuse her best friend has
suffered at the hands of her own family member, the adults in her community try
to persuade Gittel, and themselves, that nothing happened. Forced to remain
silent, Gittel begins to question everything she was raised to believe.
A richly detailed and nuanced book, one of both humor and depth, understanding and
horror, this story explains a complex world that remains an echo of its past,
and illuminates the conflict between yesterday's traditions and today's reality.


This book was so interesting and it was almost like a breath of fresh air compared to all of the other books that I have been reading lately. I think the thing that drew me into the story most was how the book was separated into the past and the present. I would get to read about Gittel as a child, teenager, and adult. This helped to explain the story a bit better and made it have more depth. If Hush had only depicted Gittel as an adult, then I would never have known how she felt when she saw Devory, her best friend, hanging in the bathroom, dead.

Eishes Chayil (a pseudonym for "woman of strong valor") is a wonderful writer. She showed me a world completely different from mine. In the Chassidic community, everything is a lot more strict. This meant that even though Devory killed herself because she got raped, no one wanted to alert the news or draw any attention to the story. Hush opened my eyes to a different lifestyle of arranged marriages and not getting to watch any television.

Kathy, Gittel's friend, was very funny and insightful. Even though she was different, Gittel still loved her for who she was. Kathy let Gitel watch t.v. even though she wasn't allowed to and came to her wedding later on

Gittel was a great character that had many dimensions because of her refusal to let Devory's tragic story go untold. At times, she was hilarious, and at other times, she was wise. I think that she was very realistic.

The last thing that I thought was well done was the Jewish terms. Since I'm not Jewish (Christian), I felt that the glossary at the back of the book was very helpful. Also, if I was too lazy to flip all the way to the back, most terms were explained right on the page.

I gave this book only 4 stars because the writing was a bit confusing at times. It was hard to tell what just happened in some parts. Finally, the ending was a bit too perfect. I would have liked to know what happened to Gittel afterwards.

I advise everyone to read this book, even adults. Hush brings a challenging reality to the forefront. Even though something horrible is going on, families or communities will still hide the truth. But, no one can forget things as tragic as rape or suicide. It is a bit more challenging but very good for anyone who is interested in tough issues such as sexual abuse. I give Hush 4 stars.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

In My Mailbox

I got lots of great books this week: some that I won, and others that I bought from the AWESOME Borders sale. Even though I had to drive out to go to the closing stores (my local store is still open), it was worth it to save money.

1) Deception, by Lee Nichols
2) Plain Kate, by Erin Bow
3) The Demon Trapper's Daughter, by Jana Oliver
4) The Education of Hailey Frederick, by Eileen Cook
5) Dear Pen Pal, by Heather Vogel
6) Ice, by Sarah Beth Durst
7) Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind, by Suzanne Fisher Staples
8) Delirium, by Lauren Oliver (Won)


Friday, February 11, 2011

Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Publishing Date: April 10, 2008
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 336
Rating: 4.5/5
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Library
Interest: Part of Vampire Academy Series
Frostbite starts where Vampire Academy left off. Lissa and Christian are dating now and Rose still loves Dimitri, her teacher.When there is a huge strigoi attack, everyone from St. Vladimir gets to go to a fancy ski resort in Idaho, which is where a lot of royal Moroi go.
Mason still has a big crush on Rose, and she is starting to think that she should give up on wooing Dimitri. Rose's mom comes into her life out of thin air, and Rose thinks that Dimitri likes Tasha, Christian's aunt. Meanwhile, the Strigoi are still wreaking havoc on Moroi.
Mason, Mia, and Eddie decide to hunt down the Strigo before anyone else gets hurt. When Rose realizes this, she and Christian set off to find the three and end up in big trouble.
What will happen next?
Here is my review:
I loved this book!!!! It took me a few days to read, but it only took me that long because of homework. Richelle Mead is a genius when it comes to her writing, her character development and production, and her plot ideas. In this book, I just kept guessing (and usually got things wrong, haha). Rose is a great role model, because she is learning how to have self-control and not attack other people when she gets angry. She inspires me to try harder. There is a lot of humor and action in Frostbite. Mason was a bit annoying, but cute at the same time. Also, this story was a bit boring at times, but usually I went right through it. I think I actually enjoyed this book more than Vampire Academy. Even though I started reading this vampire series later than most other people, it is still one of my favorite series thus far. (My other favorite is the Pretty Little Liars Series). Right now, I am currently reading Shadow Kiss, so I will put my review up soon.
Allison T.

Glass by Ellen Hopkins

Date Published: April 7, 2009

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Age Group: Young Adult

Pages: 704

Rating: 4/5

Source: Library

Interest: Series


Glass is the sequel to Ellen Hopkin's first novel, Crank, so
do not read this review if you have not read the first book yet. In this book,
Kristina has had her baby boy and is trying to stop using drugs. But she can't.
The monster is too strong for Kristina to fight. She finds a new dealer in
California, and once her mom notices that Kristina is hooked on drugs again, she
gets kicked out, without Hunter, her baby.
This book shows what addiction is like and how it affects people mentally and physically. It is told in verse and is for mature readers, so I wouldn't recommend this book to another 12-year-old unless I knew that they could handle it.
First, I like the covers in this trilogy. At first, the title looked like glass, but upon further inspection, I saw that it was actually the type of drugs that Kristina took. The cover design conveys that these books are edgy, which I agree with.
This book is quickly paced and I just swept through it since there were not that many words on each page. Glass would be great for slow readers or people who don't like long books. Even though this book looks like it would take forever to read, it only took me a few days.
I thought Kristina was stupid for leaving her baby and going back to the monster again, but I guess that's what happens to people who take drugs. It feels like it is impossible for them to quit. Throughout the book, I found myself wondering what Kristina looked like. Even though a lot of guys said she was "hot", she was on drugs, which make you look a lot worse than you usually do.
The scenes with Trey were...... interesting. The same goes with Brad. It didn't seem like the two (Trey and Kristina) had anything in common besides the fact that they took drugs.
Overall, I think I would rate this novel four out of five stars. I rated it this way because even though the writing was great and the novel didn't drag, I thought that the characters made a lot of bad decisions (like dealing drugs) and did not make taking drugs seem that bad. Still, read Glass if you liked the first book. I will definitely be reading Fallout once I get through my tower of books. Hehehe.
Allison T.

Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin

(This was for my school book talk.)

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be poor and hungry? Do you like touching stories about achieving your dreams? Does ballet interest you? Would you like to learn about China and its government? Well, if you said yes to at least one of these questions, Mao’s Last Dancer, by Li Cunxin (Chuen-shing), might be just the book for you.
Li Cunxin is very kind and loves his family. He is a great friend and works hard to get things done. Mao’s Last Dancer is set in China and America in 1960 to about 2009.
This novel begins with Li and his family, who are just barely getting by. During class one day, representatives from Madame Mao’s Dance Academy come, looking for dancers. All the selected kids had to take tests of flexibility until there were only a few children left, one being Cunxin. Next, Cunxin began his training. After years of dancing and hard work, Li finally started to love dance. He got to train in Houston, Texas for the summer and went back again for a year, where he met his first love, Elizabeth, and secretly, they eloped without telling Ben Stevenson, choreographer of the Houston Ballet.
What will happen next? Will the Chinese try to stop Li? You’ll have to pick up this fascinating book to find out yourself. Prepare to be surprised, humbled, and shocked along the way as you read about Li’s life story in his autobiography.

The Starlight Prince by Borislava Borissova

I recieved this book for review from the author, and I am glad I did, because I hadn't heard of it before. In this book, there is a boy called the Starlight Prince. Basically, he is trying to find a friend, and is a bit clueless about how to make them. The boy travels to Earth and other planets on his journey to find a friend. He gets stuck in a volcano and almost freezes in a castle, but he keeps going.
This book was interesting because I got to expand my knowledge of Greek gods and what they were gods of. I am learning about that in school right now, so that helped me out. The Starlight Prince is a good book for all ages and is very sweet and cute. I felt bad for the prince since he was not very good at making friends, but you'll have to read this book to see if he finally finds a friend.
I would rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars, and only because there were a few grammatical errors. Also, I recommeded it to a few of my friends who also share my love of reading.
Read on!
Allison T.
(This is my review from amazon)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Summer I Turned Pretty: book review

The Summer I Turned Pretty: Book Review by Allison T.

Release Date: May 5th, 2009

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Age Group: Young Adult

Pages: 288

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Source: County Library

Other books in series:It's Not Summer Without You

Buy the Book: amazon

"The Summer I Turned Pretty" is about a girl named Belly who goes to the beach every summer with her mom, her mom's friend, and her two sons. But this year, things are different. Belly has turned pretty. Belly must face three love interests. Who will she choose? This book is a great beach read. I read it in the winter, and it took my mind away from all of the snow and ice that's covering the ground. Here's my review.
The setting was great, since it describes the beach and the places that Belly goes to very well. I also liked the flash backs to when Belly was a kid. Jenny knew how to make the readers question about things but then reveal it just before they start to get annoyed. It helped me to relate because Belly felt that she got left out.
A thing that I didn't like was how Belly acted towards the boys once she became "pretty". She was rude to Connor and Jeremiah and was not acting like her character that was depicted in the flash backs. She seemed really cocky and whiny. Also, the boys pretty much started liking her just because she got pretty. If Belly had never changed, they wouldn't have acted this way towards her. It shows how shallow they are because it seems that all the two brothers care about is looks.
Savannah and Belly's mom, Laurel, were cute friends and I liked the dialogue between them.
The Summer I Turned Pretty is the first book in Jenny Han's Summer series. I definitely will read the second one when I can get my hands on it. I hope you enjoyed the review.
-Allison T.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book Review: Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales

Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales
Release Date: October 5Th, 2010
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4.5/5
Source: The Library
Buy the book:

This book is one of my new favorite reads. It kept me up at night turning the pages because of the author's writing style. When I first saw that this book was coming out, I thought I wasn't going to like it but put it on my wish list anyways. But when I was at the library, I saw Mostly Good Girls on display in the teen area. I read the summary and LOVED it. I could relate to it easily. This is Leila's debut, so I'll be very excited when her next books come out. She has a very promising career ahead of her. Before I tell you what I liked and didn't like about this book, here's the summary.
The higher you aim, the farther you fall….

It’s Violet’s junior year at the Westfield School. She thought she’d be focusing on getting straight As, editing the lit mag, and figuring out how to talk to boys without choking on her own saliva. Instead, she’s just trying to hold it together in the face of cutthroat academics, her crush’s new girlfriend, and the sense that things are going irreversibly wrong with her best friend, Katie.

When Katie starts making choices that Violet can’t even begin to fathom, Violet has no idea how to set things right between them. Westfield girls are trained for success—but how can Violet keep her junior year from being one huge, epic failure?

My favorite character in this book was definitely Violet. She always tried her best and studied hard. She was also very supportive of her friends and I think that this will show readers to be nice to others even though they're not nice back. Violet had a good "voice" and she made me laugh out loud at times. I thought that Violet's best friend, Katie, was just ok. She was very smart, but didn't even try hard. Katie had a lot of things going for her, but then she just doesn't want to do them anymore. In my mind, she made some very poor decisions.
I liked how this book was more of a book about friends than a romance. It made the book unique to me and showed me and maybe others how to be a good friend (in Violet's case). There was a good message in this book. It was, even if you feel worthless or like they can't do anything sometimes, but you shouldn't let that stop you.
I could relate to this book because I go to a private all girls school and the academics are very challenging. I can see how Katie was feeling so stressed out and decided to just stop.
I am looking forward to readng more books by Leila Sales in the future.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Another contest! You can win a gift card!