Monday, December 16, 2013

Looking for Alaska by John Green

 Miles Halter is a unique boy, he can memorize the last words of famous people. Miles is just starting at Culver Creek High as a junior, a school known for its pranks and illegal activities. Just as his parents drop him off at school, Miles is warned not to take part in any action that would get him into trouble.

Chip, self-nicknamed the Colonel, is a confident, strong leader who also happens to be Miles' roommate. After a short time, the Colonel gives Miles the nickname Pudge (ironic considering Miles is tall and scrawny).

 Alaska Young is one of the Colonel's closest friends. She is a very attractive girl. As soon as Miles lays his eyes on her, he  immediately falls for her. 

The three friends go down to the  lake to smoke. There, the Colonel and Alaska tell Pudge about the killer swan and how the school works.Alaska promises to get Miles a girlfriend, not realizing that Miles actually likes her. She sets him up with Lara, a foreign exchange student.

In between classes, Miles spends his free time smoking and drinking  by the lake with Alaska and the Colonel. As Thanksgiving arrives, Takumi, one of Colonel's friends, and the Colonel leave Alaska and Pudge at school to return home for the holidays.

The number one rule at Culver Creek High is don't rat anyone out! Unfortunately, Alaska is accused of being a snitch. When the Colonel finds out about Alaska, he is not happy. He is so disappointed in his best friend. How could Alaska of all people be blamed for snitching?  Alaska comes up with a plan, a prank that she knew would redeem herself.

Preparing for the the pre-prank:
1. Alaska, Lara, Pudge, the Colonel and Takumi spend the night in a barn drinking, having a good time and planning out the prank.

2. Using fireworks, Miles and Takumi would force the Eagle (nickname for the principal) out of his house while the Colonel and Alaska focused on another part of the prank.

Days after the pre-prank planning, Alaska leaves her bedroom to make a phone call to her boyfriend Jake. When she comes back from the call, she is distressed and upset. Alaska ask the Colonel and Miles to distract the Eagle so she can drive her off campus. Without asking questions they agree.

Foreshadow: “I know so many last words. But I will never know hers.” 

In the "after" part of the book, Pudge and the Colonel finally understand why Alaska fled in the middle of the night. To their surprise, her reasons were very different than what they thought. As they say, the prank must go on. As according to plan, the prank was a success. 

Why did Alaska flee? What was the prank? Read Looking for Alaska to find out! 

I really enjoyed reading Looking for Alaska. I think the hidden lessons one can learn from Alaska teach a very important and valuable lesson such as friendship and self-discovery. I recommend this book to teens who love drama and a twist on romance. Though the story line is capturing, I don't think this is great read for younger children. Language and  drinking are just a couple of reasons why I don't recommend this book to children under the age of 14.  

Favorite quote: 
“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”
"Straight and fast" 

I have to go read another book,

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Hazel, a seventeen year old girl, lives life to the fullest, except for the fact that she has lung cancer. Hazel's mom sends her to support group every week. There, Hazel befriends Isaac, a soon to be blind  boy. One day at support group, Hazel meets a tall, mahogany haired boy named Augustus Waters. He is Isaac's friend, who joined the group to support Isaac. Hazel and Augustus quickly become friends.
With time, Augustus and Hazel became more than friends... yes, they start dating. 

After introducing Augustus to her favorite book An Imperial Affliction, Augustus surprises Hazel by taking her to meet the author. Of course, meeting your hero is not always what it lives up to be. Hazel and Augustus have a very disappointing experience with meeting the author.

Hazel starts second guessing her relationship with Augustus. She knows she isn't getting better quickly and she doesn't want to put Augustus in a difficult position of being forced to stay with her because of the cancer. 

After a few days of finding out some terrible news, Augustus tells Hazel that his caner has come back. Hazel is extremely understanding and supportive when she finds out this news. As Hazel is coping with her cancer, Augustus is only getting worse.

What was the disappointing experience with Hazel's hero, the author? DoAugustus and Hazel get better from their cancer? Most importantly, do Hazel and Augustus stand by each other no matter what?
Read The Fault in Our Stars  to find out.

I absolutely loved this book. In fact, I couldn't put it down, I read the entire book in ONE day! I recommend this book to lovers of romance. Though normally I don't cry while reading books, for the exception of when Dobby died in Harry Potter, this book brought me to tears. 

Favorite quote: Augustus Waters "It's a metaphor see: you put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don't give it the power to do it's killing." 

Well I must go read another book,

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught

Jason have been best friends Sunshine and Drip since they were six. They consider themselves part of the alphabet- Drip has ADHD, Sunshine is SM (selectively mute)  and Jason is SCZI- schizophrenic.

Jason and his friends have always had trouble in school whether it was with the teachers or kids because of "their alphabet." 

When Sunshine disappears one day after school the whole town goes into a frenzy. Everyone starts to search for her. Close friends and family, or anyone who had seen her that day, are questioned.

Jason is sure it isn't his fault Sunshine is missing. Him and Sunshine are such close friends, he would never hurt her. Unfortunately, the voices in his head try to convince him otherwise. They would torment Jason and blame him for everything. Jason just couldn't take it any longer, he knows he didn't do it though. 

Jason and Drip joined the search parties despite the fact their parents aren't thrilled with them going. The two boys decide to go to their secret hiding spot, maybe Sunshine was there and just hiding from everyone. To the boys disappointment, Sunshine isn't there. They go back to the house to continue to wait. Maybe Sunshine would show up.

As the search continues, Jason's meds start to wear off. He refuses to take more, taking more would make him sleep and Jason needed to stay awake to find Sunshine. However, without his meds in him, Jason was looking more and more guilty of being the reason Sunshine was gone. 

Was it really Jason's fault Sunshine had disappeared?  If it wasn't Jason's fault like he said, then whose fault was it? Would they ever find Sunshine? Read Freaks Like Us to find out.

I loved this book. It was well written and had great details. I couldn't put the book down, the suspense of what was happening was so intriguing. 

Though the book said it is appropriate for 7th grade and up, I think it is better suited for 8th grade and up because of the reasons that Sunshine disappears and how everyone deals with the disappearance.

Well I am going to go help search for Sunshine, 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hacking Harvard by Robin Wasserman

Would you have the guts to hack into Harvard just to mess with the admissions process? Max, Eric and Schwarz did just that. 

Max is fed up and tired with the fact that his father, Maxwell Sr., wants him to go to Harvard. Max just doesn't want to. He comes up with a plan to hack Harvard. Max, with the help of his friends, Eric and Schwarz, are going to get a deadbeat nobody into Harvard. 

To make the stakes higher, the three boys make a bet with the Bums. A stake that raises the bar of getting Clay, the deadbeat nobody, into Harvard a lot harder. 

Along the way, Eric meets Lex. She to is applying to Harvard. This makes Eric have second thoughts about the hack. If Clay gets in to Harvard, does that mean Lex won't? Eric put that thought aside and continued to help Max with the hack. 

Turns out Lex has a secret too. She has been playing Eric the whole time. She is also involved with the hack. But in a different way. At first she is on the side of the Bums, helping the win the bet. Later, she switches sides and plays against the Bums. Why is Lex helping the Bums? Can they get her into Harvard?

But does Lex make the right choice in fighting the Bums and not helping them?

Does the hack work? 
Who ultimately wins the bet?
Do Lex and/or Clay get into Harvard?

Read Hacking Harvard to find out. 

I really enjoyed reading Hacking Harvard.  It was so tempting to keep reading to find out how the hack worked, what happened to Lex once she switched sides and who ended up getting into Harvard. The detail were so descriptive and made the book worth reading. I recommend this book to 7th grade and older. 

Well I have to go and hack Harvard... just kidding!