Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Hadley Academy For The Improbably Gifted by Conor Grennan


I received The Hadley Academy for the Improbably Gifted as a preview copy, all opinions are my own.

Jack Carlson's best friend, Freddy, is always coming up with new conspiracy theories, and today is no different. Freddy believes there is a secret school for training people with abnormal abilities. As per usual, no one including Jack believes him until later that day Jack gets kidnapped and taken to The Hadley Academy for the Improbably Gifted, the same place Freddy had described earlier. Now a few people at the academy think Jack is the foretold chosen one and he is under immense pressure to save everyone from the old enemy who has reappeared and is wreaking havoc.

I really enjoyed this book because the story was so different from what I'm used to reading. The characters were very well designed. This is the first book, maybe a stand alone, but I could also see it becoming a series. The twists and turns in the story definitely kept me guessing.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Ben Braver and the Incredible Exploding Kid by Marcus Emerson


Ben Braver is back for his second year at super hero school. After recently defeating Abigail Cutters, the evil lady who tried to take over the world with clones of people made of dirt, everyone wants him to be the hero of the school. Ben doesn't want to be the hero because, besides the take down of Abigail which was a fluke, he also doesn't have a power. Now mysteries appear and new badges reveal themselves. Everyone looks to Ben to save them once again. Will Ben discover a hidden power   to help fight the brand new villains?

This was actually the second book in the series. I want to read the first one though. The plot though didn't really rely on the first book's plot. I thought all of the different powers were cool but the limitations were funny, like how Noah's fire power was crazy awesome, but it only worked when he ate beef jerky. I loved the classic theme but with a new spin.

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.