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Read & Review: Game Changer by Neal Shusterman

Ash Bowman is just a normal high school student who lives in an average house with an average family and goes to an average school. His passion for football has led him to be the defensive tackle on his school’s football team, the Tibbetsville Tsunamis. However, as the football season starts, Ash notices that his tackles seem to change the world. Soon, he learns that he has become the center of the universe and that he can control events in the past and even shift time. Through his transformations between parallel universes, he becomes humbled and gains awareness of many societal issues when the societal opinion on segregation, his sexuality, and even his gender changes. However, his clueless and reckless utilization of his power at first leads to a possibility of a correction by the universe, which would result in a cleansing of life from Earth. With interdimensional beings and his friends, whose proximity effect allows them to retain some memories of what had happened in previous universes, he must return the universe to its original state and revert his blind mistakes.

The book created a good mix of moods, being hilarious at some points, while also being very intriguing at other points. The details that patched up the switches between the universes was excellently written and appealed to me the most. Ash’s narration made him sound like a friend, which draws in the reader further. Most of all, I thought that Neal Shusterman had a very original concept for the book, which had a huge potential. I personally feel that such a short book does not and could not possibly encapsulate so many controversial social issues that Neal Shusterman was trying to create awareness of, though the attempt was admirable. Despite this, the book is entertaining nonetheless and I strongly suggest this book!

For me, this book is memorable due to its one-of-a-kind idea of alternate universes. While this idea might seem elementary to this book as science fiction, the author did a splendid job designing details that all connect together like an intricate web. Most of all, the book provoked thought, and readers were encouraged to take away important lessons from the book.

Reviewed by Qingyuan, Twin Hickory Library

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Recommended for you by Laura Silverman

Shoshanna Greenberg loved working at Once Upon, a local bookstore. While her moms are fighting a lot more and her beloved car is on the verge of dying, the store has always been a welcoming getaway. When her boss announces a holiday bonus to the person who sells the most books, Shoshanna sees a solution to fix her problems. She has everything in place until a new hire came in her way. Jake Kaplan. Jake is everything Shoshanna isn’t, other than being Jewish. He works in a book store but doesn’t even read books. But somehow his sales start matching hers. Shoshanna really likes Jake, but in the end, she knows he is an opponent and should be ready to take him down. But as the competition escalates, Shoshanna and Jake get closer and realize their stories are alike.

I really enjoyed this book because it exhibited that one person can’t do everything, and everyone needs to contribute to achieve a successful result. I really liked the writing style as it was understandable and witty. Shoshanna’s character was very different from anyone else. She is straightforward, dorky, and humorous. The Jewish background was also a great touch as it added more culture to the story. The twist toward the end of the story was unexpected but exceptional. I liked the plot overall and how each character was developed. The author took great care while writing about each different lifestyle and background.

One memorable thing from this book was the diversity shown. In the story, the author wrote about so many different backgrounds and cultures, but she gave each one its own importance and uniqueness. Everyone supported one another persistently throughout creating an amazing friendship between them.

Reviewed by Vidhi, Twin Hickory Library

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Read + Review: Influence by Sara Shepard

[Cover]

You can place a hold on a print copy of this book.

Influence is a book about 4 influencers, who are living picture-perfect lives, at least on social media. In reality, however, nothing is as flawless as it seems online. After saving a puppy from a burning shed and recently moving to LA, Delilah starts to become a popular figure, and wants to dive headfirst into the world of influencers. But without knowing how to properly navigate this unknown environment, the tides might just sweep her away. Jasmine, who became famous as a young actress, is known for her classic Lulu C. rainbow skirt, and is a popular figure in the public eye. But on the inside, she doesn’t want to be all rainbows and sunshine, and is dying to be her true self. Fiona is a cheerful, lively person who is adored by her fans, and is someone everyone wants to be with. But with her OCD and guilt for an event that happened a long time ago, Fiona’s world feels like it is crumbling. Scarlet is the definition of perfection, from her outfits to her boyfriend. But Scarlet has numerous different layers, and truly understanding her is next to impossible. Each of these girls come from different backgrounds, but are entwined in an engaging story that will have readers begging for more. Everything seems to be going well for these 4 influencers, but with one tragic event, they might have to kiss their perfect lives goodbye.

I really liked the overall plot and style of Influence. The character development was really nice, and made the lives of Delilah, Jasmine, Fiona, and Scarlet very realistic. This book started off on a pleasant note, but took a sinister, dark turn in between, completely changing the mood of the book. It was also really interesting to see the different aspects of each of the characters, and getting to know who they really were. As the book went on, the reader could see the characters grow into mature people, while not losing their spirit. One thing I didn’t like about this book was the inconsistency. While the book was written well for the most part, there were certain parts of the book where details on varying levels of importance weren’t completely clear. Additionally, there were some areas where the topic abruptly changed, leaving the reader somewhat confused and unsure.

One memorable thing about this book was the different topics and questions it discussed. Throughout the book, Shepard addressed things such as OCD, anxiety, sexuality, eating disorders, and how one sees themselves. This really made it a well-rounded book, and gave important lessons to the reader while they read an engaging, well-thought-out story.

Reviewed by Heena, Twin Hickory Library

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Read + Review: Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights by Karen Blumenthal

Amazon.com: Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive  Rights (9781626721654): Blumenthal, Karen: Books

You can reserve a print copy here, an eBook copy here, or an eAudiobook copy here!

Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights by Karen Blumenthal discusses how reproductive rights came to be. The book informs the reader of the history of contraceptives and abortion, starting from the 1800s to the present. It also addresses the women and men who’ve supported or opposed contraceptives and abortion, why they supported or opposed them, and what they did for and about women’s reproductive rights. It provides statistics and facts about abortion and tidbits of information previously provided to give the reader more insight.

This book was informative for me, seeing as I didn’t know much about abortion or Roe v. Wade until I read it. This book informed me about the history of reproductive rights, Roe v. Wade, and what women had to go through back in the day. While reading, I felt many emotions, especially sadness and anger. I liked that the book was in four parts with subsections in each, and after a subsection, there would be a page or two examining a specific topic that was in a subsection, which helps readers, and me, to understand that topic.

The most memorable thing about the book is that it details what went on in the courtroom during Roe v. Wade. It showed me how each side presented their case and how they defended it. It also showed me how the justices asked questions and how they came to a decision after the hearings. Blumenthal gives the insight of not only the advocates for abortion but also the opposers of abortion. It helped me to understand why they were opposed to it, whether it was a moral or religious reason. Furthermore, this book also helped me to understand why the topic of abortion and contraceptives is so controversial.

Reviewed by Roopa, Tuckahoe Library

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Read + Review: The Friend Scheme by Cale Dietrich

Amazon.com: The Friend Scheme (9781250186997): Dietrich, Cale: Books

You can reserve a print copy here and an eBook copy here!

Matt Miller is a high-school student with a big secret: his father is the head of one of the biggest mobster families in the city. His secrets don’t stop there. Matt grapples with the fact that he will never live up to the son his father has raised him to be, a ruthless and cold killer who hates the Donavans’ his family has been fighting with for years. With these doubts in mind, he ends up meeting a boy named Jason who begins to see Matt as the person he really is. This connection between the two boys turns from romantic to dangerous as new plots and secrets reveal themselves and Matt must make a choice to stay loyal to his family or to reveal who he really is.

I found myself relating to the main character, Matt, a lot of times when reading the book. I think the author did a great job narrating his feelings and writing his journey. The book goes into detail the inner crisis he has within himself and the struggle between making his family proud or choosing his own path in life. The plot reminded me of Romeo and Juliet as it was about two boys from opposite sides of a war who fall in love with each other. I appreciated how Matt was able to finally find himself and figure out what he wanted to do with his life. I felt proud in the end when he realized that a life of crime wasn’t permanent for him and that he could stand up to his father and choose his own destiny.

A thing I found memorable about the book was the plot twists that had me gripping the edge of my seat. I also appreciated how the relationship between Jason and Matt wasn’t rushed at all and was taken slowly. One thing I did dislike though was that it felt as if it was too fast paced and lacked emotion at some point. Especially towards the end when the biggest conflict of the book gets quickly resolved, I wanted more detail going into that. I also wanted Matt to spend more time trying to fix his strained relationship with his father. The dialogue also seemed awkward in some parts, as it went over the same point multiple times.

Reviewed by Tasnia, Libbie Mill Library