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Read + Review: Elon Musk: A Mission to Save the World by Anna Crowley Redding

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The book is a biography of the famous entrepreneur, inventor, billionaire, and celebrity Elon Musk. This book describes Elon Musk’s life in great detail, starting from his childhood, to how he moved to Canada and finally to America to pursue his dreams. As a child, he always wanted to improve the society, with space exploration, banking, electric cars, and energy. This book is full of twists, turns, and innovative ideas. I recommend this book for 4th to 8th grade readers, not only because it is about Elon Musk, but also because of the way the author described his life in a gripping style.

I liked this book because of the way it explains Elon Musk’s life. With many quotes from Elon himself, his childhood and early adulthood was described in an interesting way. Since he was a kid, he would always understand things faster, but he got bullied a lot too. The book describes Elon Musk’s life in chronological order, and his move to Canada and America is also detailed. The author wrote this book very detailed, but not too much that it got out of hand. The author used multiple real quotes of Elon Musk from interviews and tours. This book never got boring, as you would always want to see what happened next. So much was going on in his life, and that kept the book interesting.

One memorable thing about this book is how they described Elon Musk as Tony Stark (Iron Man), because they are both very similar in being very smart, being entrepreneurs, inventors, celebrities, and having an ambition to save the world. By trying to compare the two characters, the author successfully made the book interesting for big group of people. Another thing memorable was how when Elon first came to America, how broke he was, living off a dollar a day, but now, he is a billionaire, and owns and co-owns multiple companies like Zip2, Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company, PayPal, and many others.

Reviewed by Siddharth, Twin Hickory Library

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Read + Review: When the Ground Is Hard

When the Ground Is Hard

In the Keziah Christian Academy, one’s social status means everything. This social status can mean a seat on the bus, a place in the line for the bathroom, and even servants. Located in the middle of Swaziland, a patch of Europe in South Africa, status is often based upon wealth, something that most of the native Africans don’t have. This creates a strong divide between the rich white farmers and the native African villages. The protagonist, Adele Joubert, is proud of living life with a rich white father and a kind African mother. However, she does not have everything, a luxury that most other rich students take for granted. Her former friend, Deliah, abandons her for the more wealthy and higher class children. In turn, she is forced to live with a girl named Lottie, known for being aggressive and getting into fights. With no other option, Adele spends the school year with someone almost completely opposite to the polite and rich white girls that Adele aspires to be with. Isolated on the social spectrum, Adele finds herself cut off from her friends and her status.

As the story continued, I could feel the characters develop further. Problems Adele faced and her entitled attitude slowly fade away as she grows as a character and person. The decisions she makes in the future fervently contrast her past self. It genuinely felt like Adele grew a lot by the end of the book. Adele learned subtly and slowly through actions and experiences, with just enough realism for the relationships and experiences to work. It feels real and the transition between the new and old Adele is smooth. I noticed it immediately as something the book did right among other novels. Other than that factor, the story was relatively wholesome. The characters feel consistent and the conflict between them is realistic.

The story’s setting as a large factor felt compelling. Swaziland is a place where both African and English people are mixed together. As known from history, this often never works out, which is exactly what happens. The richer white folk often harass the poorer natives, something that plays a part in the relationships of many students. This complex form of conflict allows the setting to have a large role in the story, instead of a theme that becomes irrelevant.

Reviewed by Jaewon, Twin Hickory Library

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Read + Review: Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

Eve of Man (Eve of Man, #1)

The main character of this story is Eve, who is the first female born on Earth in the past fifty years. With the survival of the human race on the line, she has been kept away from seeing any males until she turns sixteen. At this age, she will make a decision: to choose one male out of three that will assist her in creating the next generation of people to populate the earth. Things don’t work out, however; during an unfortunate series of events, she meets another male named Bram. Bram is not one of the three that was chosen for her, so it is against the rules for them to fall in love. After this initial encounter, Eve tries to see him anyway she can, and Bram does the exact same, causing the suspicion around them builds to extreme heights. Eve gradually grows tired of having all of her decisions made for her by her superiors, so she will try her hardest to gain her freedom, which will allow her to fall in love with the man she truly wants.

There were many things that I really enjoyed about the novel. I felt that it was relatively easy for me to picture the events that occurred in my head because the characters, setting, and actions were described so well. The setting of this novel greatly resembled what I’d imagine a futuristic world to look like, and the fact that action occurred in many different locations also made the story interesting. Another thing I enjoyed was how alternating series of chapters were written from different perspectives. I personally find books in which multiple characters’ stories are intertwined fascinating, so I had a great time reading this book.

The most memorable thing that I learned about was how powerful an emotion love can be. Throughout the novel, it was evident that both Eve and Bram put so many things on the line in their pursuit of staying together. Love is an emotion that can break down any barriers that are placed in front of it; this was a concept that was exemplified numerous times in the book and translates to real life as well.

Reviewed by Griffin, Gayton Library

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Read + Review: Heartwood Box by Ann Aguirre

Heartwood Box

Araceli is a high school senior who is moved by her parents to live with her great aunt, Ottilie, in a small town located in New York. When she enters the house, she gets a strange feeling that somebody is watching her. The feeling dies down as she gets more comfortable living with her aunt. At school, people tell her stories about people disappearing and never being found. Curious, she digs into it and more people tell her that there is a secret lab deep into the woods. It is top secret and nobody knows what they do there. Araceli isn’t that concerned about it until her new friend, Eunsoo, goes missing while she is on her way to her house. She and her friends all investigate the lab and find some unpleasant information.

I liked the plot and suspicion. Araceli is an outgoing and extroverted person. She would do anything and everything to save her family and friends. Ottilie is caring. She isn’t fully aware of what Araceli is up to, but she does the best she can to care for her. Araceli’s friends were all helpful, but some of them did get in the way sometimes. I do wish I could get to see how Araceli’s life goes after this crazy experience.

I liked being able to see into Araceli’s mind and feel what she felt. There were some scary moments in the book that got my blood pumping. In the beginning, I didn’t like how Araceli was falling in love with someone from 1917. In the end, however, I loved how the author played it out!

Reviewed by Janie, Glen Allen Library

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Read + Review: Destroy All Monsters by Sam J. Miller

Destroy All Monsters

This book is about a boy named Solomon and a girl named Ash. Ash lives in the normal world, the world with no beasts, no monsters, and no magic. Solomon lives in a world called “Darkside.” He has a pet dinosaur and in Darkside, monsters are very common. Some citizens even have magical abilities. However, in Darkside, some strange and violent things are rising up against the royal monarchy. Also, serious acts of vandalism have occurred in Ash’s town. The two need to figure out how to deal and solve all of their problems, but many surprises and lost memories await them.

This book has a very original plot, I haven’t read or seen anything like this ever. It’s very memorable seeing the two overcome the challenges, it’s also very interesting seeing the uprising in Darkside and seeing all of the betrayals. However, reading some of the chapters can be a bit confusing for the reader. Every few pages the perspective changes from Ash to Solomon and so on. Because of this it’s hard to know where the setting is and whose perspective I’m in. However, I like this structure of the book because it reminds me of another story called, “The Help”. The Help is an outstanding book and it has won 3 awards, and both of these books have a narrative change, which is sometimes confusing, but is very nice to see the different characters’ point of view.

A memorable moment in this book is how much Ash and Solomon care for each other. Even when it’s potentially dangerous or illegal Ash would do anything to protect Solomon. It’s like they are partners until the very end. The twist is also a shock when they find out about Ash’s true identity, but you’ll have to read the book yourself to find out!

Reviewed by Gabriel, Tuckahoe Library