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Read + Review – The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

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The Forgetting is about a girl named Nadia. She lives in a city named Canaan. Canaan is a large city, surrounded by tall walls. Inside it’s walls people live a near normal life, except for something dreadful. Every twelve years, the whole city goes through something called the forgetting, during which everyone’s memories are erased. They start life again as blank slates, and know nothing about their previous life. To prevent major confusion, everyone has a book. Your book is your life, literally. You write down truth in your book, and you must write in it every day. This is so that, after the forgetting, you learn who you are. But, Nadia is different. She remembers everything. With the help of Gray, she tries to figure out why the forgetting occurs and how to stop it before the next forgetting, which is only coming closer.

I really enjoyed the book. I especially enjoyed all of the surprises it threw at me. It was funny and entertaining, and I couldn’t put it down. It was extremely detailed, and it was almost as if I was a part of all the action. I felt like I was in Canaan itself. The only thing I disliked was the end of the book. The climax was pretty rushed, and so was everything after it. Other that that, it was one of the best books I’ve read.

One memorable thing from the book was Nadia’s little sister, Genivee. Genivee is a twelve year old girl, and she is my favorite character. She is sweet, kind, funny, and artistic. She is one of the few people that will listen to Nadia, and is always extremely energetic. She is a really good sister, and always keeps Nadia in her mind.

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Reviewed by Pranithi, Grade 6, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Teen Reviews

Read + Review – The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, 50th Anniversary Edition

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This novel encompasses the famous, classic, rivalry of the Greasers and Socials in rural Oklahoma. The two groups are on opposite ends of the social hierarchy of the town and this opposition leads to many brawls. In the incident that provokes the turning point of the story line, Greasers Ponyboy and Johnny get involved in a fight that results in turmoil. To avoid any further accidents, the two are forced to go into hiding. The rest of the story unravels in terms of the Greasers choosing a life of positivity through redemption or facing brual consequences.

This novel appeals to the tribal behavior and formation of social cliques that teenage life is engrossed with. Instead of implicating cliches, Hinton approaches this natural stigma of teenage life with a unique twist by highlighting the consequences of social segregation. In addition, there is a 90s-esque vibe associated with the novel which is really appealing and the usage of Greasers can symbolize the modern hipsters and edgy teens while the usage of Socs can symbolize upper-class preps. This symbolic characterization, even though it is dramatized, it is very eye-opening in terms of potential consequences of violence and social segregation.

Johnny says “Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.” This quote is very powerful because it symbolizes the importance of childhood innocence and purity.

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Reviewed by Zainab, Grade 10, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Teen Reviews

Read + Review – Mayday by Karen Harrington

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Wayne Kovok was a seventh grade fact-absorbing nerd who used his voice and his facts to shield himself from awkward silences. His words allowed him to cruise smoothly through uncomfortable conversations. An unexpected plane crash left him with damaged vocal cords and without a voice. With he absence of his shield-like voice, Wayne thought he had no way of filling in all of the blank spaces in his life. As he slowly regains his ability to talk, he meets new friends, encounters new problems, and discovers new ways to overcome the difficulties that his life had thrown at him.

I thought that this book was very moving. The journey of how Wayne’s almost normal life suddenly morphed into something with such a diverse mix of positive and negative experiences shows how life is never predictable. I liked how Wayne took on problem after problem and kept persisting to solve each one. This book is an example of what reality is like for some people and that we can overcome it in many different ways.

One thing that was memorable about this book was how Wayne had a continuous line of facts through the whole book. I found most of the facts that he mentioned to be very interesting and amusing. I definitely learned a couple of new things that I had not known before.

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Reviewed by Gayatri, Grade 6, Tuckahoe Library

Books, Teen Reviews

Read + Review – What The Dead Want by Norah Olson

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When her Great-Aunt Esther told her to come to the Axton mansion, Gretchen never expected what she found. Ever since her mother, who was fascinated with pictures of ghosts, had disappeared years ago, Gretchen had clung to the hope she’d find her mother alive. Now here Gretchen was, at the Axton mansion, a rotting and falling apart house that was hundreds of years old. Equipped with a high-quality camera, Gretchen soon discovers the ghosts and history of the Axton mansion. After a startling series of events, Gretchen, her friend Simon, and the siblings Hawk and Hope must race to get rid of the restless ghosts. Will Gretchen find her mother? Will she stop the ghosts?

In general, this book was filled with a haunting combination of ghost photography and ghost encounters. Every detail included seemed purposeful, from Fidelia’s accounts to the wasp nest and the mirror. Each was delicately woven into the plot and utilized to make the story seem complete and exciting. I was grateful that the book was full of adventure, surprises, and suspense, making it a truly thrilling tale. The characters were realistic, and Gretchen kept diving into her past to add a backstory to the events.

It’s hard to forget the scene when Gretchen fell asleep at the piano and was bitten by the ghost of a little girl. This scene was slightly terrifying and definitely surreal.

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Reviewed by Ashley, Grade 8, Libbie Mill Library