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The Pearl

The Pearl

Steinbeck, John. The Pearl. The Penguin Classics. Print.

ISBN: 978-0-14-018738-0

The Pearl

Written By: John Steinbeck

Reviewed By: John Dang

Recommended Audience: High School

In The Pearl, it shows us how greed could take over someone. In this story, Kino and his wife, Juana live happily with their son, Coyotito. That is until Coyotito gets bitten by a poisonous scorpion. After Kino realizes that he does not have enough money to pay the doctor for Coyotitos medications, he goes fishing for oysters. after scavenging  through many empty shells he comes across an unusual shell that lied the biggest pearl anyone have ever seen. That was when everything changed.

         After finding the pearl Kino became greedy. Leading him to encounter horrible events. Although Kino found the biggest pearl ever to be seen, it does not end well for his family.

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The Things They Carried


O’ Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. 1st. 1st.
New York: Houghton,Mifflin Press, 1990. 1-273.
ISBN: 9780618706419

 The Things They Carried

Written By: Tim O’Brien

Reviewed By: Hussein Imreish

Recommended Audience: High School

      The outside reading book I chose to review was, The Things They Carried.The Things They Carried, in my opinion was a fascinating book. It was about the Vietnam War.The book is written as a narrative in which the author shares the stories with his granddaughter back home. The book contained many war stories. Each story shared a unique message. All the stories originated from his friends and colleagues in his squadron. As well as strange or unusual events .

  Some of these stories were very descriptive. This allowed the audience to fully understand what the Vietnam War was really about. The Vietnam War was all about harsh living conditions,ambushes,and traps. The Vietnam war involved so many different situations.

  One of my favorite stories was when one of his colleagues from his squadron told him about how when he was stationed in a medic station one of the other medics brought his long time girlfriend to Vietnam to stay with him. The story describes how war can change an individual. After the war the young lady was transformed from a cute,clean,happy girl into a tough,unhygenic,serious girl in just a matter of two months. If I could rate this book I would give it a five star rating. I would like to give this book a high rating because it has a lot of action and suspense.

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The Contest

Reilly, Matthew. The Contest

New York, New York: Pan Macmillan, 2003. 424. Print.

The Contest

Matthew Reilly

Jacob Sheldon

Recommended age: Older Teenagers, and Adults

     The Contest, by Matthew Reilly is a novel that features a competition, know as the Presidian. The Presidian is a competition between six different species. Ultimately, a fight to the death. Competitors are trapped in a library, also known as the Labyrinth. The only way to win is to survive until everyone else dies, or kills each other. Also, that is the only way to make it out alive.

    The story follows the main character, Swain, and his experience. He is human, and was chosen against his will. Being human, he is the least evolved being in the contest. Other beings are from other planets. To put it simply, it is the battle for the supremacy of the universe. If Swain loses, he will be leaving behind a catastrophe. He has a young daughter, and his wife was hit and killed by a drunk driver. The sadness of the situation creates a feeling of suspense. For that feeling, I would highly recommend this novel.

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UnEnchanted: An Unfortunate Fairy Tale

Hahn, Chanda. UnEnchanted, An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Fantasy

Chanda HahnPublishing 2011

ISBN: 1475070306

UnEnchanted, An Unfortunate Fairy Tale

Written by: Chanda Hahn

Reviewed by: Angela Bowen

Recommended Audience: High School

Mina is just like any other high school girl.  Her family is not very wealthy though.  Sara, her single mother, has to work three different jobs to support her 2 children.  Mina’s brother, Charlie, has never talked before.  When Sara was pregnant with Charlie, Mina father unfortunately died.  The doctors said that they think when Sara was going through all the stress of her husband’s sudden passing, Charlie somehow felt her stress from in the wound.  The doctors don’t know for sure but that was their guess.  Nan is Mina’s best friend.  Nan is that girl that you see that never puts down her phone.

The book starts out with Mina and Nan heading to Babushka’s Bakery where Mina sees her long time crush.  Brody Carmicheal.  Mina is very shy so she has never gotten the courage to talk to him.  During the field trip, all the students were on a catwalk.  One thing led to another and both Brody and Mina are hanging off of the catwalk.  Nan carefully pulled them up and in order to save her best friend, Nan accidentally throws her phone off the catwalk.  This shows how important Mina is to Nan.   Mina didn’t like the attention she was getting from saving Brody’s life.  The next day, her school has an assembly about her and how she saved Brody.  After school she dropped off a package at the  Carmicheal’s house.  She parked her bike in the middle of the driveway where Brody ran it over.   Mina was so embarrassed that she ran.  When she got home her mom was packed and ready to move but Mina refused and wanted an answer why everytime something huge happens  to her.  Sara told her that they have a family curse that came from Mina’s dad’s side.  The curse is fairy tales.  Her father survived 20 tales before his death and it was time for Mina to survive all of the them to stop the curse.  In the morning, Mina started to walk t school when all of the sudden a car pulled up to her and called her name.  To her astonishment it was Broby was in the car.  She got in and he apologized for what had happened.

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That Was Then, This Is Now


Hinton, S.E. That was Then, This is Now. New York: Penguin Group , 1998. Print.

ISBN 978-0-14-038966-1

That was Then, This is Now

Written By: S.E. Hinton

Reviewed By; Savannah Kleschka

Recommend Age: High School

The book I am reviewing is, That was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton. The main characters of the story are Mark and Bryon. Mark and Bryon have been best-friends since they were young. When they were around the age of nine Mark moved in with Bryon and his mom. They grew up in a run down neighborhood full of drugs, alcohol, and gangs. Mark and Bryon are now sixteen and are starting to change. Bryon is starting to grow up and realize that some of the things he did in past were stupid. He no longer finds joy and them and wants nothing to do with his old habits. However, Mark still enjoys the activities he has participated in since he was young and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

As the story goes on Bryon starts to put his thoughts into action. He starts dating his friends, M&M, older sister, Cathy. Cathy is a good girl and is just what Bryon is looking for. Now that Bryon is dating Cathy, Mark begins to feel jealous. Mark feels like Cathy is taking Bryon away from him and changing him into a goody two shoes. Bryon and Mark try their very best to save their friendship, but are fighting more and more. In the end both Mark and Bryon make life changing decisions that they may regret for the rest of their lives.

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The Last Song


Sparks, Nicholas. The Last Song. 1st ed. New York and Boston: Grand Central Publishing, 2009. 1-413. Print.

Written by: Nicholas sparks

Reviewed by: Madi Haney

Recommended audiences: High School

14 year old Veronica, or “Ronnie” has the perfect life. She is an amazing student, pianist, and the perfect daughter. Yet her life takes a turn when her parents divorce. Ronnie stays with her little brother and mom in busy New York City, while her dad moves to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

3 years later, now 17 years old. Ronnie has completely isolated herself from her parents, brother, and old friends and has replaced them with partying, stealing, and not the best people. She has also given up her talent for piano. Ronnie has changed they way she looks and acts, so her mom decides it’s a good idea for her and her brother to get away for the summer. She sends them down to their fathers. Ronnie’s attitude was negative from the beginning. But soon Ronnie meets Will, and slowly feels herself falling for him. During this time she is finally rebuilding her relationship with her father. But, Summer was coming to an end and her dad told her what was going wrong with his health. Although she finds love, she has pain on her way, and she finally realizes how important family is.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


Rowling , J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2003. Print.

Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix

J.K. Rowling

Taylor Matney

Ages: All ages

Harry Potter is a special boy with a scar that goes along with a story that every witch and wizard knows. Everyone may know his story and how his parents died but what they don’t know is that Harry has been having a hunting dream about a door at the end of a corridor. What might be even more terrifying than Harry’s dream is the socking pain in his scar that follows causing him to wake up in the middle of the night yelling in pain. As Harry enters his 5th year at Hogwarts school for witchcraft and wizardry he pushes his dream and his pain to the back of his mind thinking it is the least of his problems. Harry along with his pals Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger are excited to began this school year knowing that Ron and Hermione are now perfects which is a special honor given to very few students and as Harry a star Quidditch is now the Quidditch captain.

After a few short months of the new school year Harry, Ron, and Hermione find themselves with a problem and the problem’s name is Professor Umbridge. Professor Umbridge is from the Ministry of Magic which is a place that controls unprofessional, dark magic, or underage use of magic. And because of problems in the past at Hogwarts and long periods of time with out headmaster Dumbledore the Ministry of Magic puts Professor Umbridge as the new headmaster. As Professor Umbridge comes to Hogwarts the fun leaves. Umbridge writes a long list of rules in which students must follow and if they don’t they must serve a detention by writing sentences with a special pen. This pen has a special twist it uses students blood to write with leaving scars on the back of their hand of what they are writing. Along with Umbridge, Harry, Ron, and Hermione also have to deal with passing their O.W.L.S which stands for Ordinary Wizarding Levels. They must past their O.W.L.S to determine they classes that they will take next year.

As Harry deals with Umbrige and his O.W.L.S his dream becomes more detailed and the pain in his scar grows deeper. He starts to wonder if it had anything to do with the Dark Lord Voldemort, he begins to question it more but later pushes it to the back of his mind. Harry and his friends plan to get rid of Umbridge because of her ridiculous rules she gets rid of Qudditch team taking absolutely all of Harry’s fun out of his 5th year. As friends say that they will help get rid of Umbridge Harry takes time to focus more on his studies and the cause of his dream. He then realizes that it is time to take this problem the Dumbledore, Dumbledore says that it is simply nothing Harry should worry about and to focus on his studies but Harry cant help but to think other wise. Harry can’t help but to take things into his own hands and figure things out like how get rid of Umbridge and pass his O.W.L.S and how to fight his dream and his pain. To find out how Harry deals with everything you will just have to read “Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix” By J.K. Rowling.  

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Little Brother

ISBN: 978-0-7653-1985-2

Cory,Doctorow,little Brothers, New York: Tor Books, 2008, print.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Reviewed by Caleb Nguyen

Recommended Audience: middle school and high school

Mark Yallow is a 17 year-old senior who is a tech geek and a leader of 3 friends. His tech name is W1nston which later changes to M1K3Y.  He attends Cesar Chavez high school. One day Marcus gets accused by the principle of hacking into the school. The principle threatens to call the police but Marcus isn’t scared because he knows there isn’t evidence against him. Due to the lack of evidence he is let go free of charge. Later however, Marcus, Jolu, Vanessa, and Darryl ditch school to go play an online role  playing game that involves quest. While on the quest the worst terrorist attack has happened and everyone runs to shelter. While they are overrun by the crowd  of fleeing citizens Darryl gets stabbed so the four friends flee to find an ambulance. Instead of an ambulance coming a military looking vehicle arrives and they were caught at the wrong time at the wrong place.

Three men come out and put bags over the kid’s heads. The men were part of the Department of Homeland Security. A woman described as severe haircut lady interrogates Marcus. Even though they said they would release him if he unlocked his phone he kept claiming to see his lawyer. Because he was caught at the wrong place at the wrong time they were suspected of the terrorist attack. Marcus gets tested 6 times before he is released because he finally tells them his phone password. Later that day he pees his pants. After 6 days of interrogation everyone but Darryl is released. When they are released Marcus is told that he will be monitored at all times because he is still a suspect. Marcus is furious that they ignored his right so he plans to seek revenge against the Department of Homeland Security. Marcus holds a meeting for anyone who wants to join to fight a rebellion against the DHS. He brings his only laptop so that everyone can make a key for their Xnet account where he can tell them plans to bring down the DHS. During the meeting he meets a girl named Ange whom he begins to like. After everyone has made their keys and tooken a picture of it he smashes his laptop with a hammer to show that he is not with the DHS and that way there won’t be evidence of what happened. The four friends split up when Marcus told them about his idea to take down the DHS, so he is all alone. Marcus and Ange start dating and were boyfriends and girlfriends. Marcus tells Darryl’s parents about what happened to him and how his whereabouts are unknown.

At first Marcus doesn’t even tell his parents about what happened, but eventually he cracks and tells his mom. They come up with an idea to bring their story to Barbara Stratford so she can publish it in the Bay Guardian newspaper. Marcus bumps into a guy named Zeb who hands Marcus a note telling him that he was in the same cell as Darryl. Zeb escaped but Darryl is still stuck. His letter was given to Barbara as evidence. A worker for the DHS named Masha claims to be tired of working for the wrong people so instead of trying to capture Marcus offers to keep him safe becuse Barbara Stratford revealed Marcus’s identity. Marucs creates a diversion by telling his followers that there is a vampire game.  He is told to wear a red hat. Marcus and Ange try to escape but Ange is lost among the crowd. So Marcus has no choice but to follow Masha. During their journey to a secret base Marcus sneaks away from Masha and finds two kids in whom he befriends. When he reveals that he is M1k3y his Xnet name they start to idolize him. He goes to their house to use their Xnet to try to find Ange. During his stay he sleeps for a little and replies to Zeb’s email about finding a safe place to hide until everything is over.

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Johnny Got His Gun

Trumbo, Dalton. Johnny Got His Gun. New Jersey: Lyle Stuart, 1939. Print.
ISBN: 0-553-27432-5
Johnny Got His Gun
Written by: Dalton Trumbo
Reviewed by: Nathan Aleman
Recommended audience: High School

In the beginning of Johnny Got His Gun, the main character Joe remembers in a dream where he answers the telephone and is told that his 51-year father has died and has to go home immediately. He would spend his days in the cigar store talking about the upcoming war and then months later the war started when his dad died. Joe later feels a pinch and realizes his arm got cut off, he feels like he’s drowning while bombs are hitting the water while mentally calling for his mother to wake him up. Joe dreamed of a rat crawling inside his open wound, eating him, and there is nothing he could do about it. Whenever Joe had nightmares, he would calm himself by realizing it was a nightmare and open his eyes. But Joe doesn’t have no eyes now and wonders how he is going to be able to move without legs. Joe considers himself ” the nearest thing to a dead man on earth” and thinks about the people who have died in war who wanted to go home alive to their families. Joe would trade democracy, honor, independence, freedom, and decency for his life back, because “there’s nothing noble about dying.”

Joe tries to bring back his memory by thinking about math, planets, time, songs, and more. But he tries to remember time by thinking about what time he realized he got hit with a bombshell and was deaf. Joe gets visitors in the hospital and realizes they are putting medals on his chest and kissing his forehead. Joe notices the doctor is injecting him with a sedative and Joe tries to shake his head no. But then his mind gets foggy and realizes they have won again. Joe visions that he sees his war buddies before the war and they don’t talk to them because they know he is going to be the only survivor while they all die. Joe gets a new day nurse who can write letters on his chest and he can feel it while she spells out “Merry Christmas.” Joe is very excited that he has a way to communicate and thinks back to Christmas where his mom would read him “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” A male nurse comes into the room and then ask him “What do you want?”

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Under Fire

Burton, Fred, and Samuel M. Katz. Under Fire. 1. 1. New York: St.    Matin’s Press, 2013. Print.

ISBN: 978-1-250-04110-4

Under Fire

Authors: Fred Burton and Samuel M. Katz

Name: Bryce Ash

Recommended Age: High school and above

This book contains the first detailed account of the Benghazi attack from terrorism experts Fred Burton and Samuel M. Katz.  These men gave the reader a blow-by-blow description of the events that took place during the attack. The attack took place on September 11, 2012 at the U.S. Embassy.  A group of terrorists from Libya came into the embassy with heavy artillery.  These men were equipped with grenades, multiple types of guns, anti aircraft machine guns, as well as mortars.  A call for help was issued to the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.  Hillary effectively ignored the call and left our Consulate stranded.  Several people we killed and faced serious injuries.

Right after midnight the attack began.  The CIA annex was attacked with machine guns, rockets and mortars. The CIA defenses held off the attack until the morning of September 12. Early in the morning, Libyan government forces met up with a group of Americans, which had arrived at the Benghazi airport. The group of Americans drove to the annex around 5:00 a.m. to transport 32 Americans to safety.  As soon as the men entered the gates of the annex they fell under attack.  Many people died and suffered severe injuries during the attack.  Subsequently, we persevered and were able to fend off the Libyans, while we escaped.



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