Category Archives: Book Reviews

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars.

Is it every gay guy’s duty to get out of the closet? Rafe doesn’t want to deceive people, but he hates being “that one gay kid” back in his hometown. When he moves from Boulder, Colorado to an all-boys’ boarding school in New England, he keeps his homosexuality a secret and pretends to like girls – soon enough, he’s part of the jock pack, and he really likes it. But being openly straight isn’t as easy as Rafe thinks, and he feels the pressure when he develops feelings for his teammate Ben, who might be the only guy who really understands him. Continue reading

13 Comments

Filed under 4.5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

Here’s a secret: when I was 13, I wrote Naruto fanfiction. Even though it was pretty bad – and mildly inappropriate – one of my stories garnered over 600 reviews and hundreds of thousands of hits. Reading Fangirl flew me to my past life as an avid fanfic writer while reminding me of my present position as a college student.

Cath writes, reads, and breathes Simon Snow. Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

As someone who wrote an entire research paper on the importance of YA fiction and the genius of Laurie Halse Anderson, I own up to my bias. The Impossible Knife of Memory captures so much of what I love about young-adult contemporary and realistic fiction. It possesses a witty and cynical narrator, it delves into a real and painful issue, and it offers a nuanced yet meaningful message of hope.

Hayley Kincaid divides the human race into two types of people: the freaks and the zombies. Continue reading

11 Comments

Filed under 5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Cover via goodreads.com.

Cover via goodreads.com.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

I literally gave myself a pep talk to prepare for this book. I looked at myself in the mirror and and whispered “Okay, Thomas. As someone who gets extremely and unnecessarily attached to fictional characters, all you have to do is turn off your empathy. Everyone knows that everyone dies in this series. Just force yourself not to care.” This dialogue took place after a shower, so I even wrote “no more caring” on the fogged-up glass.

And, yes, I still shed a tear at the end. Continue reading

39 Comments

Filed under 5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thomspon Walker

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 3/5 stars.

The Age of Miracles details eleven-year-old Julia’s coming of age in a California suburb amidst the decline of the earth. The planet spins slower and slower, leading to gravity sickness, shortages of energy, dead birds, and more. In the middle of the chaos Julia comes to terms with the imperfections of her parents, the pains of an awkward adolescence, and her feelings for Seth Moreno, the boy down the street.

Karen Thompson Walker does not focus so much on the science behind the earth’s slowing or the slowing’s disastrous consequences. Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under 3 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 3/5 stars.

After finishing Lauren Oliver’s Requiem and Marie Lu’s Champion, Allegiant marks the third final installment I’ve read in terms of YA trilogies as of late. While none of them inspired me as much as Suzanne Collin’s Mockingjay, each showed the writer’s growth and the development of his or her characters – though with Allegiant, I was left disappointed, more than I was with the others.

As many other reviewers have stated in passionate terms, the plot of Allegiant was its main pitfall. Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under 3 stars, Book Reviews, Books

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

We despise spoilers. We avoid them at all costs, cover them with spoiler tags, and castigate those who share them. But a great book is one that we can appreciate even when we already know the ending. That’s how it was with The Song of Achilles: I knew the fates of the characters beforehand, but no matter how much I tried to brace myself, the last few chapters still broke my heart in the best possible way. Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under 5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Cover via amazon.com.

Cover via amazon.com.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn revolves around Francie Nolan, a young girl growing up in a poor neighborhood in New York. The plot of this novel does not drift from event to event, at least not in a way that fits standard plot summary – rather, it flows like fine water, split into five sections that match the stages of Francie’s coming of age. With warm prose Betty Smith addresses themes such as poverty, loss of innocence, and gender roles in a book she claims to have written without any intended message for society.

I loved two aspects of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, one of which was experiencing Francie mature from a tiny girl to a mature woman. Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

Voice. That makes this book about the 2002 Beltway Sniper Attacks come alive. Told through the alternating perspectives of Cody and Lio, two boys trying to find their place in this world, Gone, Gone, Gone will cause you to squeal in delight even as it sucker punches you in the stomach. Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under 5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Where You Are by J.H. Trumble

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 3/5 stars.

Robert Westfall has never had it worse – his father is terminally ill, his aunts are cruel and unsupportive, and the life he always envisioned for himself seems less and less appealing every day. Only in Calculus do his fears fade, and it’s mostly because of his kind teacher, Andrew McNelis. Mr. McNelis watches Robert flail from afar and with time offers a guiding hand. But what happens when Mr. McNelis’s role in Robert’s life changes from that of a confidante, to a friend, to something more…? Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under 3 stars, Book Reviews, Books