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Read + Review: Black Panther: long live the king by Nnedir Okorafor

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This book has a total of three stories in it that are all set in the Black Panther universe. The first story is about a mysterious creature that causes havoc and destruction in the kingdom by disabling Vibranium, the substance the whole kingdom runs on. The king, T’Challa, must figure out how to stop the creature and where it came from. The second story is about the White Gorilla Cult, which threatens the crown and T’Challa’s position as king. T’Challa and his friends must stop the cult. The third story is about a wedding in Nigeria that is disrupted. This angers the new Black Panther. Her anger causes her powers to go out of control and she must figure out how to them.

The first two stories in the book take place in Wakanda, a fictional kingdom. The last story takes place in Nigeria. The main characters of the first story include T’challa, Chief Ikoko, the creature, Bukola, and Jidenu. For the second story, the main characters include T’Challa, Kantu, Shuri, M’Baku, and Baron Macabre. In the third story, the main characters are Ngozi aka Uzaru, Olu aka Nepa, and Ngozi’s big brother. I really liked the ways the characters were developed in the story. Despite each story not being very long, I left each one understanding the characters. This is a very difficult task to do and I feel that it was executed well in this book.

I enjoyed this book and thought that the short stories were well-written and unique. One critique I do have, however, is the length of the stories. While I do understand that this is a graphic novel, I feel that each story was a bit too short. One of the most memorable things about this book is the way you feel when you read it. While reading each story, I truly felt that I was there with the characters. Their pain was my pain and their joy was mine as well. This created a unique experience for me and I greatly enjoyed it.

4-stars

Reviewed by Anika K., Twin Hickory library

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Read + Review: Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner

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AJ is a shy boy starting sixth grade, and he has a crush on a girl named Nia. AJ wants to get her attention and talk to her, but there’s only one thing she’s interested in, and that’s vampires. After suggestions from his friends, Ivy and Hunter, he tries to dress and act like a vampire to draw her attention to him. Except maybe it was the wrong type of attention. At the same time, AJ also suspects something off about his new sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Niles.

It was full of unexpected plot twists, that really surprises the reader at every turn. AJ’s group of friends show real connections and problems that can occur in real life. While AJ strives to draw attention from Nia, his relationships with his friends took a turn for the worst. He learns how to balance his relationships in the end, which was amazing character development. Other than that, the humor tied in with vampires is an interesting combo that makes the book fun to read.

The book takes a modern twist to the idea of vampires and also displays a humorous approach to dealing with vampires. The author also incorporated the idea of how your actions affect your relationships with others, by showing us realistic friendships and connections.

4-stars

Reviewed by Suchanya L., Libbie Mill library

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Read + Review: The house in Poplar Wood by Katie Ormsbee

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The House in Poplar Wood by K. E. Ormsbee tells the story of two brothers: Felix and Lee Vickery. However, because of an Agreement made by the Shades (personifications of ideas like memory, death, and passion), the brothers are eternally kept apart. In the west side of the house, Lee and his mother work for Memory. In the east side, Felix and his father work for Death. The brothers can only leave the house together on one day: Halloween. However, on one particular Halloween, Gretchen Whipple, daughter of the town’s Summoner, comes to them with a simple request. She wants them to investigate the murder of Essie Hasting, who works for Passion in exchange for her breaking the Agreement. As the trio venture deeper into the investigation, unpleasant secrets are revealed about the true motive of the Shades. Will Felix, Lee, and Gretchen discover why Essie died and break the agreement before it’s too late?

I liked this book a lot, and though that its plot and characters were both amazing. The premise of the book was quite fascinating, and it called me to pick it up and read it. I have always liked the concepts of personifying concepts like memory and death ever since I read The Book Thief. This concept of the Shades was masterfully executed and provided an interesting layer to the book’s plot. The characters all seemed to emote like real people, especially Gretchen. Her plea to do something important despite the fact that she wasn’t the firstborn seemed very real to me. Overall, the entire story was beautifully written and I recommend it for anyone who likes fantasy- and adventure-type books.

One particularly memorable part of the book was that each of the brothers could sense the Shades in their own way. Lee is half deaf, but he can hear the Shades speak in his deaf ear. Felix is half blind, but he can see the Shades in his blind eye. It was very fascinating to see that they can both sense the Shades, even if they can’t notice them entirely.

5-stars-1

Reviewed by Sanika R., Twin Hickory library

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Read + Review: The Waning Age by S. E. Grove

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This book takes place in America, far in the future. Adults are emotionless and children wane at the age of 10. In this book, waning is a phenomenon that happens when the children in the book turn 10. Waning causes children to become emotionless, which happens slowly. They start to lose emotions and empathy, and become logical and reasonable. This turns them into people who never do things based on emotion and only make decisions based on how logical the situation is. Rich adults take synaffs, which are basically emotion supplements, to try and regain emotions. Natalia Peña and Calvino Peña are inseparable. Even though Natalia has fully waned, she still loves her brother, which is unusual. Her brother is an extremely expressive boy, and he is 10, right at the waning age. However, the principal at his school notices that Calvino is not waning in the way he is supposed to. He still has all of his emotions, and it is very unusual for any children to wane later than 10. When Calvino is taken for testing by a synaff manufacturing company, RealCorp, Natalia fights to get him back from the company’s clutches. Along the way, she encounters dangerous thugs called Fish, and does whatever it takes to rescue the most important person in her life. She dodges many obstacles along the way, and finds herself in a lot of trouble. She has to fight to get him back, and the book is very exciting with lots of twists and turns.

I liked this book. It was very exciting, and always had you on the edge of your seat. The main character, Natalia, had such an attitude and wit that it was hard not to like her. She was very keen and calculating, and you could really tell how much her brother meant to her. I also love how much action this book had. There were twists and turns, and I often found myself reading as fast as I could to see what happened next. The author has a great writing style, and the book is very easy to read and understand. However, I sometimes felt myself getting lost in some parts because there were so many characters and situations to keep track of.

One memorable thing about this book is how descriptive it was. Right off the bat, I could tell that the author was a “show, not tell” writer. However, sometimes she did interrupt the book to describe the situation, and it kind of messed up the flow. I did really like how much she described things, though. It made it really easy for me to picture and feel exactly what was happening.

3-stars

Reviewed by Prachi S.,  Twin Hickory library

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Read + Review: Hate Crimes by Hal Marcovitz

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This book was about hate crimes, or crimes committed against people because of their race, ethnicity, or religion, and how these crimes have increased in the US. It talks about who these crimes are targeted at, and the whopping statistics associated with them. It also talks about how people are hurt by these hate crimes and why it’s bad for our country because many laws aren’t very sufficient to deal with this problem. The book provides a good insight into how we can bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent hate crimes. There is really no setting or main characters, as this book covers many people’s experiences they have had with hate crimes.

I thought that the author chose a really good topic to write the book about. Hate crime is something which is only recently increasing and this book is advocating and educating against the cause. I thought the author also provided good detail into what happens as a result of hate crimes, compared to how we would just read about a crime not knowing how bad it really was.

Something I liked was the author’s writing style. He told people’s experiences like a story where it seemed like it was actually happening while reading it. It was also divided into sections pretty well so you could understand what you are reading and how it relates. Something I disliked about the book was that it was kind of jumping all over the place regarding problems. Also, many of the words in the book are just describing people’s stories and there are less actual opinions and facts.

3-stars

Reviewed by Aaryan A., Twin Hickory library