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Allegiant is the third book in the Divergent series and is a science fiction. Allegiant was published on October 22, 2013 and written by Veronica Roth. It was published by HarperCollins and Katherine Tegen Books. Allegiant is a book that keeps you wanting to read more and more of it because you can’t wait to find out what has happened next.

In the beginning, Tris is in jail for being a traitor, which was discovered in the last book. Tris lies her way out of jail and is approached by a group of people called the Allegiant whose goal is to get out of the city. Tobias and Tris break Tris’s brother, Caleb, out of jail and joins the Allegient. They then get on trains and a truck and head outside the fences. They leave the city and end up in Chicago.  They have to be tested to see if their genes have healed and if they haven’t, like Tobias, they are put in the “genetically damaged” camp. Tobias meets a girl named Nita who claims she wants to help put an end to the camp for genetically damaged people but ends up being a traitor and wants to kill everyone by using a death serum. In the end Tris gets shot trying to save people and dies as she is unleashing the memory serum.

Overall Allegiant was a very good book. It was kind of sad when the main character died but at least the readers can know she died doing something for the good of others. I would definitely recommend this book.

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Charlie St. Cloud was written by Ben Sherwood. It was published by Random House in 2004. This fictional novel tells the emotional journey between the main character Charlie and his deceased little brother, Sam.

One night, Charlie St. Cloud and his little brother Sam decide to take their mom’s car to go see a Red Sox game. On the way home Charlie takes his eyes off of the road to look at the moon and does not see an 18-wheeler barreling towards them. They crash right into it, and they die. When they are dead, Charlie promises Sam that they will never abandon each other. Within a few minutes a paramedic then revives Charlie, but he can’t rescue Sam. When Charlie realizes that he has the gift of seeing ghosts, he goes to play catch in the woods with Sam every single night.

Across town, a girl named Tess Carroll plans to set out on an around the world trip on a yacht. She decides to drive the ship into a storm where the boat ends up flipping. She wakes up sitting in a cemetery where her dad is buried. It seems as if Tess is invisible to everyone. Except Charlie St. Cloud. Soon enough the two begin falling in love with each other. Charlie then hears that a woman by the name of Tess Carroll has a boat that is missing and so is she.  Once he realizes that he has only been seeing her spirit, he sets out to find her body. This conflicts with his daily meeting with Sam.

The biggest message of this novel comes from its theme of grief and letting go. This is a strong theme that any reader can relate to. Overall, Sherwood does a phenomenal job telling this heart wrenching story that really captivates the reader. I would highly recommend this if you are ready for an emotional roller coaster.

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Thirteen Reasons Why was written by Jay Asher and published by Penguin Books in 2007. It is a young adult fiction book and it does a good job of keeping readers on their feet and keeping them guessing.

Hannah Baker and Clay Jensen were classmates at Liberty High School. One day, when Hannah commits suicide, the whole school is distraught and struggles to find answers about why she did it. A few days later, after returning home from school, Clay gets a very mysterious package with old cassette tapes in a box. It turns out that the tapes were from Hannah Baker, and that each double sided tape gives a reason as to why she killed herself. Each side of the tape talks about one person in how they aided in her suicide. Each person on the tape gets sent the box, and they have to listen to their reason for letting Hannah kill herself.

I personally loved this book and refused to put it down because I wanted to know what happened in it so badly. When someone you know dies, you want to find out what their reason for doing it was, even though they aren’t there to physically tell you. I find it interesting that Hannah took the time to carefully point out the different people and show them how their actions contributed to killing herself. It goes to show how your actions towards others can impact your life, whether it be positive or negative.

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Before I Fall was written by Lauren Oliver and was published by HarperCollins on February 14th, 2010. It is a young adult fiction book and makes readers think twice about their everyday actions, and that you never know which day just might be your last.

Samantha Kingston appears to have it all: looks, the perfect boyfriend, and all the popularity anyone would want. One night, as her and some friends go to a party, they are greeted by everyone and seem to be the life of the party. Later on, the friend group confronts this one girl, Juliet, who is seen as the  “social outcast”. Juliet comes up to them and tries to yell rude things about them, but the girls just laugh it off and repeatedly mock her. After the party, as Sam and her friends were heading home, they got into an accident, and Samantha was killed. However, something makes Samantha continue to wake up on that same day for a couple of days. Throughout those days that she keeps repeating, she comes to find out that actions have consequences, even though you may not realize it at the time. Everything you say and do leads to different outcomes in people, and for those days she keeps living, she has to watch her different choices affect everyone around her. Throughout each day, Samantha has to learn to basically live in someone else’s shoes, while figuring out how to fix each day.

This book is a must read because it makes you stop and think about how your daily choices can affect so many people around you. Samantha didn’t know how badly her decisions affected people, but when she died and kept reliving that same day over and over again, it made her realize things she would have never thought about.

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Divergent by Veronica Roth was published in 2011 by HarperCollins Children’s Books. It is a young-adult dystopian novel set in the so-called Divergent Universe, that features a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago.

All of her life, Beatrice Prior knew there to be five factions that carry out the duties of civilized living. The five factions were Abnegation (her own faction), Dauntless, Amity, Candor, and Erudite. Each have their own distinct way of living, and follow their guidelines. Every child is born into a faction, but at the age of 16, an aptitude test is given to determine which faction is the best fit for them. Those who choose to leave their own factions are free to do so but must pledge loyalty to that faction. The idea is sound with each faction teaching the necessary traits for their functions, but it usually results in jealousy and fighting among them.

Beatrice is a 16 year old girl that was born into Abnegation, but she feels as if she doesn’t necessarily belong in that faction. When she takes her aptitude test, she is revealed as “Divergent” but the lady told her to not tell anyone and to go home. “Divergents” were considered dangerous and no one could stop them from doing whatever they wanted. The day of the ceremony, Beatrice chooses to go into the Dauntless faction and her brother Caleb into Erudite, leaving their mom and dad completely devastated.

Once Beatrice is there, she learns that the leaders, instead of teaching to protect the city and its residents, teaches cruelty and therefore expects it. Beatrice also befriends a Dauntless member named Four who was once an Abnegation himself, but was beaten by his father Marcus. When Tris (Beatrice) survives the initiation process, she uncovers a plot by the Erudite to overthrow Abnegation through Dauntless using a simulation device. Beatrice’s parents fall victims of the war until it can be stopped. Once it has been ceased, Tris, Four, and Caleb are taken into the Amity faction, but she knows they can’t stay there forever.

Because this book was the first out of three, I felt like a lot of questions were left unanswered (even though they were supposed to be). This book was another one of my personal favorites because of the imagery and descriptions in the book. I felt as if I was actually another character in the book right alongside them. 

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Paper Towns was written by John Green and was published by Dutton Penguin.  The book was released on October 16, 2008 and its genre is young adult and mystery. Paper Towns was a very well written book and made readers not want to put it down.

The main characters of the book include Quentin Jacobsen, Margo Roth Spiegelman and their friends Ben Starling, “Radar”, and Lacey Pemberton. Quentin is Margo’s next door neighbor and is madly in love with Margo, but she doesn’t realize it. Margo, on the other hand, hates being this stereotypical “paper girl” and just wants to get as far away from her hometown as possible, leaving everyone behind. The story is broken into three parts, and the story is started by introducing Margo and Quentin playing together at a young age and finding a dead man’s body at the park. Little did they know that that event would connect them in more ways in one when they were older…

Part one begins when Margo, in the middle of the night, climbs through Quentin’s room window to ask him a favor. She wanted to use his van to complete an 11 part revenge plan on her ex-boyfriend. On that night, the two have the time of their lives, and Quentin realizes how much he still likes Margo but failed to realize it.

Part two of the book starts off with Margo disappearing and not a trace of her going anywhere. However, being the person that Margo is, she had left a series of almost impossible clues to figure out her whereabouts. Quentin and his friends had searched and searched for everywhere, but came up empty each time. As the days went by, Quentin’s friends had given up, leaving only him to continue his search for Margo. Quentin grapples with Margo’s use of the phrase “paper towns” in her clues. Eventually he figures out that a paper town is a false city on a map that cartographers once used to detect copycats. Margo had left for the paper town of Algoe, New York.

Part three of the book begins the night of the gang’s graduation when Quentin persuades his friends to leave Orlando to travel up to the “paper town”. His friends hesitantly agree, and begin the 21 hour long journey up there. When they finally reach Agloe, they find Margo writing in an old barn. After fighting for some time about Margo leaving abruptly, everyone storms out, leaving Quentin and Margo by themselves. In that moment, they realized that they loved each other, but it was based on falsehood because they were both a “paper boy” and “paper girl”. Quentin will never give up on Margo, but he knows that their values will lead them to a separate future.

I couldn’t put the book down because of its unpredicting sequence of events. I pretty much guessed that Quentin would have eventually found Margo, but I didn’t expect it to be that drawn out and perplexed. This was one of my favorite books because of the harsh sense of reality that Margo gives us readers; that we are pretty much living in a paper town and not being our true selves.

Book Review #2

Looking for Alaska was written by John Green and was published by Dutton Juvenile. It was published in March 2005 in New York and it is considered a young adult fiction book. Looking for Alaska was a unique book that connected to readers who feel like they don’t necessarily fit in at one place, but do in another.

Miles Halter was tired of his boring life so during his junior year of high school, he decides to attend Culver Creek boarding school in Alabama. The book is split into two parts: before and after. At the school, Miles befriends Colonel (his real name is Chip Martin), Takumi, and Alaska Young. The Colonel grew up in a trailer park, Alaska and her dad don’t get along (foreshadowing), and Takumi is just kind of there. The three take Miles (nicknamed Pudge because he’s so skinny) under their wing and introduce him to the ins and outs of the school. They have to avoid the Eagle- the aptly-named dean of the school- when they’re creating mischief so they don’t get brought before a peer jury and appropriately punished. While Miles is there, he takes lots of classes and learns more about his friends each day. He learns that Alaska’s mom died of an aneurysm right in front of her when she was eight, which comes to explain a lot about Alaska. A couple days later Alaska gets a call from her boyfriend and freaks out and leaves the campus in her car. Little did Miles and his friends know that that was the last time they’d ever see her again.

The next morning all of the students get called into the school gym because Alaska died in a car accident. Weeks following the crash Miles and Colonel try every possible thing to try and figure out why Alaska died, but without any success. In memory of her, they all throw an epic end of the year prank on the boarding school. Eventually Miles and the Colonel come to terms with their loss and grief and give up on the mystery of Alaska; then they throw themselves into their studies. After Alaska’s death, Miles finally has some answers to his own life and about his suffering towards her.

This was one of my favorite stories to read because it dealt with ordinary people just trying to fit in. It actually seemed as if you were right alongside the characters dealing with whatever obstacle they faced. It felt like something that could happen to us, making the story more relatable and easier to connect with. I also liked how the book was split into two parts; before and after. It made the whole story seem more directly hit by the passing of Alaska. Everything before her death led up to the events after.

Book Review #1

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a book that was written by Ransom Riggs and was published by Quirk Books. The book was released on June 11, 2007 and its genre is fantasy. I thought the book was very well written and created a mysterious atmosphere that led readers to keep coming back for more.

The main character of the book is Jacob Portman, grandson of the World War II veteran and Jewish refugee Abe Portman. Abe always loved telling Jacob stories about his past, but they weren’t ordinary stories. The stories contained flesh-eating monsters and peculiar children who could do things such as levitate, lift boulders without any hesitation, be invisible, and many other things. If it wasn’t for Abe dying, Jacob would’ve never actually gotten to see these things for himself.

Jacob needed to see a psychiatrist after the passing of Abe, and when receiving a book from his aunt, a letter fell out that was postmarked to Cairnholm Island and signed by Alma LeFay Peregrine, the woman who ran the children’s home where Abe lived after fleeing the war. When Jacob’s psychiatrist gave him permission to go to the island to reconcile his feelings about the whole ordeal, him and his father arrived at Cairnholm, an island off the coast of Wales. When Jacob goes exploring and finds the old house, a girl by the name of Emma spots him and flees into the woods. Jacob however, runs after her and is sucked a portal which takes him back to September 3, 1940; the day before the house was bombed and is still filled with peculiar children.

Miss Peregrine explains to Jacob that his grandfather left the house to go fight hollowgasts, which are the evil monsters that hunt the peculiars. She created the time loop to stay safe from them, hence the reason why the day keeps repeating itself. Later on Jacob learns that there are groups of bad peculiars trying to gain immortality. When their experiment to gain immortality failed, they became the hollowgast. With the help of wights- monsters who look human- the hollowgast would roam around and eat peculiars. The hollowgast planned to kidnap Miss Peregrine and execute their plan a second time. It turns out that Jacob’s psychiatrist is a wight and Jacob led him right to her. When he kidnaps Peregrine, Jacob and his newfound friends have to go out and rescue Peregrine, and kill his psychiatrist. Because Peregrine was in bird form when she was kidnapped, she’s stuck in that form and the time loop collapsed, causing the bomb to fall and the home to be destroyed. Jacob then makes the decision to stay and help Emma to try and change Miss Peregrine back to normal, even if that meant leaving his father.

With everything happening in this book, the peculiar children is what intrigued me the most. The book even included pictures of the different children doing what they were special for. Some included levitating, having two heads, creating fire with two hands, etc. Even though the story wasn’t real, the author made it very believable through his descriptive words and vivid imagery.

Sophomore year expectations

For my sophomore year, I expect myself to keep my grades up in each class. Just like last year, I hope to make distinguished honor roll all four marking periods. My toughest class this year will either be geometry or chemistry, so I hope to earn a 96% or better in that class overall. I am also playing field hockey and softball throughout the year, so I want to succeed in them. This year, I am one of the class officers so I am excited to help out with fundraisers and other general things. One of the things that I am going to work on is to not try and rush everything like studying for a test or completing projects because I hate the feeling of not having enough time to do anything. My expectations for sophomore year are pretty much the same as last years, so I kind of know what to expect out of myself already.