Tag: book review

Romance novel highlights separation of lovers, distrust

by Abi Hernandez

As Madeline picks her bathing suit on this forbidden trip, Olly gazes at her beauty and stares in awe. They walk on the beach and jump into the water as Madeline has her first beach experience.

“Everything Everything” by Nicola Yoon takes readers on a romantic and twisting journey. Madeline Whittier was diagnosed with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID). The 18-year-old has a nonexistent immune system, so her mother seals her off inside their house. The only other person who has contact with her is her nurse, Carla.

Every day, she lives the same life on repeat with the same routines over and over again. She wears the same white t-shirts and the same color of clothes. Madeline has lived indoors her entire life, passing time by reading books and doing her school work. All this changes once a teenage boy and his family move in next door.

Oliver, also known as Olly, tries many times to get Madeline’s attention and become friends with her. Eventually, they exchange emails and begin communicating via email. As they communicate more, they arrange little face-to-face meetings with the help of Carla, with the condition of no touching. But eventually, the two teens end up kissing each other and falling deeply in love.everything3

One day, Olly’s dad is abusing him and they start fighting in the front yard. Madeline hears this and leaves the safety of the house without a second thought, going out to protect him. Then her extremely overprotective mother finds out about the two teens and their face-to-face meetings and fires Carla after finding out that she allowed it. She then forbids Madeline from emailing or talking to Olly in any kind of way.

Madeline decides to leave with Olly so she can finally live and be with him, even if that means risking her life. They go to Hawaii, where they jump off a cliff, snorkel, and eat Hawaiian food on the first day. Soon after, they prove their love to each other verbally and physically. The second day, Madeline wakes up with a bad fever and her heart stops. She is rushed to a hospital in Hawaii, where she is revived.

A few months pass and Madeline tries to tell herself just to go back to reality in seclusion. Then she gets an email from the doctor in Hawaii who treated her. He explains to Madeline that she does not suffer from SCIDs. Madeline then goes and sees a local SCIDs specialist, who confirms the suspicions.

Madeline then confronts her mother. Her mother explains how she invented her diseases to protect her, and because she doesn’t want to lose Madeline like she lost Madeline’s brother and father in a car wreck. Since Madeline was sick as an infant, she used that to keep her in a sterile environment to “protect her.”

Madeline is frustrated that her mother has basically stolen her life from her, even though she said she was doing it in the best interest of Madeline. She then flies to New York, where Olly and his family went to escape his abusive father. She meets him in an old book store to fix things. She leaves a copy of the book, “The Prince,” and Olly sees it, recognizes it and smiles.

This book ends beautifully and peacefully with the two reuniting. I would definitely recommend that anyone read this heartwarming book. This book received a lot of backlash from parents concerned about their kids reading it because of the little sex scene between Madeline and Olly in Hawaii. I would recommend that 15 and older is an appropriate age range to read this book.

For a love story, I would give “ Everything Everything” a 10 out of 10.

‘This is Where it Ends’ tells story of mass shooting from four perspectives

by Autumn Bippert

Many see the effects of mass shootings. But only those who live through them know what it is like to experience the horror that has occurred in front of them.

“This is Where it Ends,” written by Markeke Nijkamp, tells the story of a school shooting from four different points of view of those who experienced the atrocity. This emotional story is told by characters Claire, Toḿas, Autumn and Sylv during  the course of 54 minutes.0Q6A7421

The book was #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list, on the National Indie bestsellers list, and several other acclaimed listings.

The book begins with the normal everyday mornings of  students in the small town of  Opportunity, Alabama, the setting for the story. The principal of Opportunity High School calls a beginning-of-term assembly, which gathers the entire school into the auditorium.

“10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve. 10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class. 10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open. 10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.”

A gunman, outcast Tyler Browne, uses the occasion to lock the auditorium doors from the outside, using the room as a personal “shooting range” to settle his scores with his classmates.

Autumn, Tyler’s younger sister, wants to leave Opportunity, Alabama, and follow in her mother’s footsteps of dancing around the world. She also wants to be far away from her abusive father. She wants her girlfriend Sylvia, or Sylv, to come with her, but she’s torn between her dreams of the future with Autumn and the need to stay behind and care for her sick mother.

Tomás, Sylv’s twin brother, is the school prankster, which is why he isn’t in the auditorium for the assembly. He is sneaking around the school instead. 

Claire, Tyler’s ex-girlfriend, has a last-minute track practice in the morning. She and her teammates are running outside in the cold January air when the first shots are fired. Claire and Tomás decide to help their trapped friends and family, even if it puts their own lives in danger.

The author uses the four characters to tell the emotions from different perspectives – the family of the shooter, those who used to be close to them, someone from the other side desperate for their loved ones to be safe, and a first-hand witness. There are many secondary characters involved as well, which gives a truer feeling to the story. There are many students at a high school and many people who are affected by mass shootings. Telling the story as only happening to one person wouldn’t be an accurate account.

“This is Where it Ends” is an emotional narrative that pulls the reader into the pages. This story is more than fiction. It is reality, a reality that many have been affected by.

This book draws attention to a major problem in our society that seems to be continually overlooked. With so many mass shootings, it has become the norm to see a story on the news and then forget about it the next day. This book put people in the shoes of students who experience this every month and tells the untold effects of school violence. Hopefully it will help increase awareness, helping prevent more mass shootings at schools.

This is one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read. It is sad and terrifying, yet somehow inspirational and relatable. “This is Where it Ends” is more than action and horror.

I truly could not put down this book until I was done reading it. I give “This is Where it Ends” a 10 out of 10.

‘The Sun and Her Flowers’ tells life journey of young women through poetry

By Danisha Lewis

A young immigrant girl has moved to the United States in hopes of living a better life.

In reality, she goes through the torment and bitterness of society while trying to make a lifestyle in this new state of mind. “The Sun and Her Flowers,” a novel by Rupi Kaur,  is every young girl’s key to serenity. 

Kaur emphasizes the everyday challenges of a young immigrant girl and her family, while expressing major factors of the life of a young adult woman. Throughout the book,  the chapters are perceived as different stages of life. Through these different stages, any young lady reading this book can relate or who has even felt the emotional pain and suffering that is being expressed. 

1501175262This book connects to any perspective on love and reliance. Kaur shows that it is OK to get hurt and feel the way one feels at times,  while also giving insight into how to heal from such instances. The stages also resemble a sunflower’s journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming. I was not expecting Kaur to pierce my soul with such impurity and realization.  Personally,  I could connect with so many points described in this book. Many women my age can as well. 

This book covers many aspects of society and how women are treated today. I strongly suggest any avid reader, young adult women and or men read this book and get a grand view of how women as a whole feel, and what men should think about the next time they commit such neurotic acts on women.

Kaur is a poet who some might despise, while others worship the ground she walks on. She is a poet who is not for everyone, due to her erotic writing style, and the bluntness of what she talks about throughout all of her works. The thing that I did notice is that if you are an avid reader, like I am, you’ve come across a lot of similar poets, and sometimes originality can fall short of those. Some people might think she is inappropriate due to her lack of sugar coating and her authenticity in what she writes. 

This book may or may not be suitable for younger readers under the age of 16, as their brains are still developing and they are not fully sure what the meanings in the book are. The book also contains graphic illustrations to describe the poem and what she feels as she is writing the poems, so those images may not be suitable for the eyes of young teens. 

I love Rupi’s style of writing, as it is so relevant in today’s society, while helping and healing those who feel that they are not heard. She points out that women are not alone, and that we all stand together in whatever we go through. 

That truly is the message that should be getting passed around to everyone, no matter if you are a man or a female. She has other books such as “Milk and Honey” that actually connect to the soul while being a tad bit more appropriate for young readers. 

I would suggest you take part of your day to read a small section of this book or sample to get the realization or Kaur. 

I would rate “The Sun and Her Flowers” a 9.5 out of 10. 

‘Dry’ captivates, alarms with cautionary tale of water deficiency

With the world running low on resources, the threat of running out of water came to fruition in California.

“Dry,” Neal Shusterman’s latest book, co-written with his son Jarrod Shusterman, explores what would happen if the United States ran out of water.

Like many of Shusterman’s books, the story is told from the point of view of multiple characters. That is one of the reasons I enjoy his book. You’re able to see what’s going on from all sides of the story, not just one. “Dry” also includes snapshots of what’s happening elsewhere in the story, which foreshadows characters that are seen later in the book.

“Dry” follows Alyssa Morrow, a teenage girl living in California during the extreme drought, nicknamed “the Tap-Out.” With FEMA’s attention focused on a hurricane on the other side of the country, the abrupt decision by Arizona and Nevada to effectively cut off the flow of the Colorado River into Southern California is only a regional story.

“That’s what the media’s been calling the drought, ever since people got tired of hearing the word drought,” Alyssa explains in the book. “Kind of like the way ‘global warming’ became ‘climate change,’ and ‘war’ became ‘conflict.’ But now they’ve got a new catchphrase. A new stage in our water woes. They’re calling this the ‘Tap-Out.'”

The arduous journey this book tells begins once Alyssa’s parents don’t return from seeking desalinated water. Alyssa and her younger brother Garrett begin their journey by searching for their parents, while defending themselves against the chaos that has broken out.

But they are not alone. Along the way, they are joined by their survivalist neighbor, Kelton; a lone wolf, Jacqui; and an opportunist, Henry.

Although their story only takes place during the course of a few days, the devolution of society makes this gripping story seem like a distant future, not something that could happen over night. Things get violent very quickly. Panic leads to riots and death.

Martial law is declared and people are herded into evacuation camps. But even there, there’s not enough water for everyone. The more and more desperate people become, safety becomes even more inaccessible.

Alyssa and the others struggle to seek hydration and safety, while trying to wait out the Tap-Out. They are quickly forced to make life-or-death decisions for survival, though.

“Dry” is both captivating and alarming. I couldn’t put it down the whole time I was reading it. The book shows what may be our society’s near and terrifying future. It outlines the perils of rising temperatures. The Shustermans have written a story close enough to what could happen if the world really does begin to run out of water.

I give “Dry” a 10 out of 10.