Thursday, October 10, 2019

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Wade Watts is a teenage kid in the year of 2044. The whole earth is in chaos and people escape their lives via an online virtual reality experience called the OASIS. When the creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, passes away, his will puts out a challenge that whoever can find the OASIS's secret Easter egg will inherit his fortune. Wade decides to dedicate his whole life to finding the egg. Years pass, no one finds anything, and most people quit the hunt until one day Wade stumbles upon the first key. This causes all of the OASIS to erupt in chaos with Wade right in the middle. Now with the pressure on, Wade must join up with friends and fight with enemies to be the first to find the secret or the future of the OASIS will be doomed.

This booked surprised me with how original it was. Most books have at least a few traits like other books, but this story was something I had never seen before. The story was filled with action, comedy, and heart. There were some more serious moments, but it didn't prevent the story from progressing. This is one of my top five favorite books of all time.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

Callum Hunt, or Call, has been raised all his life to hate magic and the institution where it is taught, the Magisterium. His Dad has even prepared him to purposely fail the entrance exam to the Magisterium. Call ends up gettting the worst score, but the top master, Master Rufus, chooses him as an apprentice anyhow. Now he must learn how to use magic while overcoming bullies who think he doesn't belong, a friend who turns out to be the chosen one, and his own lack of skill.

I really liked this book! The story was so enthralling and vivid, it made me feel as if I was right beside Call as he went through the Magesterium. The story represented a regular story with a new spin. The different plot twists and cliff hangers kept the story moving and there was a never a dull moment.

The Iron Trial is the first book in the five book Magisterium series, I'm looking forward to the rest of them.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Level 13 by Gordon Korman

Cameron Boxer, the ultimate slacker, has finally found something worth his attention. Playing a special version of an old video game that has a secret level is attracting millions of people to watch his streaming channel. Along with Elvis the beaver, he will try to make something of himself online and keep the originally fake club, the PAG, going strong. While everyone looks at him to be a leader, all he really wants to do is slack off.

This is the sequel to the book, Slacker, another book I really enjoyed (review here).  I love how the author made Cameron interact with Elvis the beaver and how the streaming channel is starting to get bigger because of him. The story is very good and the ending has such a big surprise you wouldn't believe.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Illegal by Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin

My favorite book of last year was not a typical choice for me. Rather than a novel, my favorite book this year was both historical fiction and a graphic novel--Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin.

Illegal is about a boy named Ebo, who journeys across the land of Ghana and through the sea. His goal is to reach the Europe to escape the war in his home country. His parents are dead, so he and his brother travel the entire way together, hoping to meet with their sister who escaped years before. Their journey takes them through Africa and to the Mediterranean, all in the hopes of finding their sister.

When most people think about graphic novels, they think about an adventure that is often fun or exciting. This book was different. Illegal still is an adventure, but it explains what is happening in Africa and the struggle people have to go through to even have a chance of escaping. Even though so many attempted the journey to Europe, only a few actually survived.

This book helps you gain insight about the migrant issues around the world. Even though this book is a fictional account of the migrant journey to Europe, stories like Ebo’s are still happening today.

This book connected with me. It showed me what happened to people and the struggle they endured. Historical fiction is usually not my favorite genre, but this book was definitely an exception.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

Teddy Fitzroy is not a normal kid. Unless you think normal is living in a tent in Congo for the first decade of your life. When wars in Congo force his family to leave, both of his parents are hired by a billionaire to work at his animal theme park, where Teddy becomes an unlikely friend to the billionaire's daughter, Summer.

When trouble breaks out with a murdered hippo, Teddy's keen senses from growing up in the wild may be to his advantage.  Thrown into a mystery, Teddy will face dangers and challenges as he tries to turn in the murderer before he gets taken out.

This is the first book in the growing Fun Jungle series, currently at five titles. I enjoy how even though it is a mystery, there is nothing gory or disturbing.  I also enjoy how Teddy never has anything to do with the crimes in the series, but always ends up in the middle of things. I love the friendship that blossoms between Teddy and Summer through this book and the rest of the series.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Restart by Gordon Korman

Chase Ambrose wasn't an everyday kid, even before his accident.

He was the football captain, winning championships, and the ring leader of a group of bullies. One day, for some unknown reason, he was on the roof and fell off. He ends up with a concussion and some scrapes, but the worst part is he has amnesia and can't remember any of his life before the accident.

Now that he has a fresh start, his new friends are trying to turn him into a better person before he regains the memories of his past life and turns back into the old Chase.

I really enjoyed this book. It's empowering to see how Chase finds his true self when he no longer can remember who he was.  I feel like this is a powerful book for kids to read, to understand why it is important to be true to yourself.  Restart is a book that shows who you were in the past doesn't reflect who you are today.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Unwanteds By Lisa McMann

In the town of Quil, there is an unusual tradition where, on kids' thirteenth birthdays, they participate in the "Purge". The leaders judge the kids and separate them into three groups. The Wanted remain in Quil to train to be warriors. The Necessaries also stay, but only to do farm work and manual labor. The last group is the Unwanted--the group of kids who have shown too much creativity. They are sentenced to death.

When Alex Stowe's thirteenth birthday arrives, he isn't excited. He already knows that he will be an Unwanted because of all his infractions. When the Purge comes and he is sentenced to death, he assumes it is his death date. When he gets to the Lake of Boiling Oil, the place where the Unwanteds are sent to be killed, a strange man arrives and offers them a second chance.

Instead of punishing the Unwanteds, he wants to bring them into Artime, harness their creativity, and use it to give them magic. But being discovered by Quil and its inhabitants might ruin Artime forever.

I got this book as a prize after finishing the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Challenge. I don't usually enjoy fantasy books, but I loved this one and am glad I ended up choosing it! I really enjoyed the concept of the story and loved all of the creative characters. This is the first book in a series of seven and I am really looking forward to reading the rest of them.