• The Secret Life of Bees

    Kidd, Sue Monk

    Reviewed: October 21, 2021

    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd is an amazing coming-of-age fictional novel. It’s set in 1964 and follows the struggles of a 14-year-old girl named Lily Owens whose life has been built around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. She runs away from her abusive father with her nanny Rosaleen on her fourteenth birthday after personal and societal troubles consume her life. They go on a quest to Tiburon, South Carolina to discover what truly happened to Lily’s mother when Lily herself was only 4 years old. It focuses on the racism that occurred during... Read Full Review


  • The Last Wish: Introducing the Witcher

    Sapkowski, Andrzej

    Reviewed: October 5, 2021

    The Last Wish is a short story collection and the first book in Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher series. The Witcher is probably a familiar name to those who are a part of the video game community. The Witcher games are well-renowned for having excellent narratives and beautiful regions to explore. The most recent release, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, won the 2015 Game of the Year Award. Now, this may come as a surprise to some, but The Witcher books are not spin-offs of the games; rather, the games are sequels to the books. The novels... Read Full Review


  • Scythe

    Shusterman, Neal

    Reviewed: September 28, 2021

    Scythe by Neal Shusterman is a good book for a lighter read. Scythe follows the story of two teenage apprentices, Citra and Rowan, as they compete to become a "Scythe" (killers who keep the population in check), although neither really wants to win. I really enjoyed the world-building of Scythe and all of the layers Schusterman created as if it could become a reality for our current world. This created a sense of perfection at the beginning but, as you read more, you realize how flawed their society truly is. As I read, I found myself switching sides between what... Read Full Review


  • Dune

    Herbert, Frank

    Reviewed: September 15, 2021

    Thousands of years in the future, the life-lengthening ‘spice’ is the most valuable substance in the universe and its only source is the extremely inhospitable desert planet known as Arrakis. The Duke, Leto Atreides, and his family are sent to this planet by the imperial emperor to replace the Harkonnens as the resident vassal house. Once there, the Atreides family enters a fierce battle of political intrigue to keep control of the planet.

    Dune, authored by Frank Herbert, is a very big name in the science fiction genre. The book is indeed worthy of high praise. It’s a... Read Full Review


  • Renegades

    Meyer, Marissa

    Reviewed: September 2, 2021

    Renegades by Marissa Meyer is an action-packed, riveting book. The first in a three-book series that takes place in a high-tech dystopian city called Gatlon. It is full of crime-fighting superheroes, morally grey villains, and all those who fit in between. The story focuses on Adrian, the son of two of Gatlon’s most notorious heroes, and Nova, the niece of Gatlon’s most infamous evil-doer and leader of the villain gang called the “Anarchists”. When Nova, a.k.a. “Nightmare”, decides to infiltrate the superhero team known as the “Renegades'', she starts to doubt what she has been... Read Full Review


  • They both die at the end

    Silvera, Adam, 1990-

    Reviewed: August 24, 2021

    What if you got a phone call that told you that today is your last day alive? In They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera, two boys, Mateo and Rufus who live completely different lives receive a phone call from a company called Death-Cast, who calls you on the day you’re going to die. But with this knowledge of only having 24 hours to live, they ultimately cross paths on Last-Friend, an app where people who have received a phone call from Death-Cast can find a friend to make their last day special, and decide to live their last day to the fullest together. On their last day,... Read Full Review


  • The Dead and the Dark

    Gould, Courtney

    Reviewed: July 27, 2021

    To start off, I think this quote summarizes some of the book pretty well: “Maybe Bug was right. Either way, if she wanted her old life back, she needed to end this. She needed to find Tristan, find the killer, and find the old Ashley who didn’t spend every day afraid of the dark. She wanted the old Snakebite back one way or another. No more ghosts; she wanted this to end.”

    The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould is a mystery/thriller young adult novel that follows a queer family and ghosts! Yes! Queer! All of Them!

    When this family of three (Logan the daughter and... Read Full Review


  • The Boy Who Followed His Father Into Auschwitz

    Dronfield, Jeremy

    Reviewed: June 1, 2021

    This story is very powerful in showing the struggles many people faced during the Nazi regime. Gustav and Fritz, father and son survive the horrible events that took place in the different concentration camps for more than four years. Gustav and Fritz give each other hope and strength to survive these challenges and wait until the day they are liberated. This book gives a detailed understanding of what it was to live in this time period through the eyes of a father and a son.

    Review by: Andy Garcia

    Andy is a virtual volunteer at Sylmar Branch Library. He is a... Read Full Review


  • Walden and Civil Disobedience

    Thoreau, Henry David

    Reviewed: May 19, 2021

    The book Walden and Civil Disobedience is a biographical novel by Henry David Thoreau which follows the writer's life reflections. Thoreau emphasizes themes like individuality and anti-materialism which compels the reader to reflect on the life they are living. Not only does the book follow the growth and reflection of the writer but the reader follows the journey of the writer and unconsciously implements changes in their life based on the book.

    Review by: Britney C

    Britney is a volunteer at Sylmar Branch Library. She is an 11th grader at Sylmar... Read Full Review


  • The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora

    Cartaya, Pablo

    Reviewed: May 6, 2021

    Arturo Zamora a 13-year old boy with plans to spend his vacation at his local beach, helping at his family's restaurant, and spending time with his two best friends Mop and Bren. However, Arturo realizes that his life will change as his summer he is faced with multiple challenges: his family's restaurant is in danger of going out of business, Carmen a childhood friend who comes to visit that gives him butterflies every time she talks to him, and a mysterious businessman named Alfredo Pipo. Arturo now has to confront these challenges all while trying to enjoy his summer break.

    ... Read Full Review


  • Gone

    Grant, Michael

    Reviewed: April 7, 2021

    The novel Gone by Michael Grant is a fascinating and world-building book in which teenagers no older than fifteen are trapped within their own community without the supervision of any adults. Now, many would think how amazing it’d be to be a kid without any adults, however, like Lord of the Flies, it quickly turns into a grim nightmare. The teenagers trapped within their community, a barrier blocking them from the outside world, quickly realize they’re not the only ones inside and comprehend what it truly means to fight for their survival. While I was reading this book I... Read Full Review


  • Burned

    Hopkins, Ellen

    Reviewed: March 24, 2021

    The novel Burned by Ellen Hopkins is part of a two-book series that revolves around a teen protagonist dealing with an abusive father and finding love along the way. One of the main reasons I chose to read this book is because it’s formatted in the style of a poem. I am a fan of poems, so reading a poem-based book with a plot and characters was truly enjoyable. The poems are mysterious; they don’t give a lot of detail but you can understand and imagine the scenario in your head. The wording and pacing between each stanza are what developed the story and characters so the reader... Read Full Review


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