INSURGENT by Veronica Roth

Veronica Roth is one of my favorite authors, and her new book, Insurgent, proves just why. Insurgent was a fast paced action adventure that I could not stop reading. When I finished reading the first book, Divergent, I had to find out what happened next!

The Factions are in ruins. Dauntless have split into two groups. Most of Abnegation is dead. Erudite is seeking and destroying all the Divergent, including Tris. Becoming a leader and celebrity she does not want to be, Tris must overcome obstacles, physically and mentally. It seems like she can trust NO ONE. And even worse than that (if you can get worse), Marcus has a secret. A secret she will learn, one way or another. But first she must survive. And to survive, they must bring down Erudite, once and for all. But do they really want to know the secrets that lay in store for them?

I love how the author builds and develops her characters. Roth did a great job in describing and making them come to life. She took the time to describe how her characters walked, talked, and looked. I walked down the halls of my schools picturing Tobias and Tris in my head. I felt like she was describing real people doing real things! Plus, every character had a unique personality. Whether they were funny or flirtatious, they were all unique. Every character was different. Also, every character had a different kind of slang in the way they spoke. I could hear the characters speak in my mind.

Also, Roth describes the city in such a way that I expected to find it in the 2012 Atlas. I could see the crumbling walls of the buildings and the glamorous new buildings. I could smell the faction less camp and taste the food that people ate. Every bullet that was shot, I could feel and hear the shot come out of the gun. The suspense was so realistic that I could feel every part of it. I give this book a full heartedly 4 out of 5. I keep the extra star because Roth leaves me hanging off a 1000 foot cliff. Now I have to wait a whole year to read what happens next. I read this book on the edge of my seat, because of the suspense and action! I did not want to put this book down! Roth has created a great page-turner that should be on every ones “got to read this” list. Roth has made another great page-turner adventure!

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Reviewed by Brandon
In the third installment of the Heroes of Olympus series, The Mark of Athena, Rick Riordan creates a mystifying story yet again. This new thrilling novel intrigued me more than his last few stories. This book should definitely be on the top of any bookworm’s “must read” list.
            Percy Jackson is a not so normal 17 year-old. Over the past 5 years Percy has fought many monsters, gods, and demigods. After being whisked away from his camp, Camp Half-Blood, for 8 months and saving his “new” camp, Camp Jupiter, from new monsters and a Cyclops to regain their War Eagle, he is reunited with his girlfriend, Annabeth, when she comes to rescue him from the Romans. The reunion doesn't last long, though. After they are reunited, one member of the quest party that Annabeth has set up attacks the Romans. This just complicates their journey even more. Now added to the stress of finding Hazel’s brother, Nico, and defeating two giants, they now must get away from the Romans as well. Then something unexpected happens…Annabeth must complete a quest by herself and everyone that has tried before her has met a terrible death. Can Percy let her go, again, if it might mean she will never come back? 
      Riordan uses a complex writing style in which he changes who the story focuses around every couple of chapters. I think this makes the story more fun to read because you get to know different points of view on what is happening within the story. This makes the book more enjoyable to me and makes me want to just read it all at once.  For example, Piper only thinks of Percy as the Son of Poseidon (Neptune), while Annabeth thinks of him as an amazing boyfriend that she can’t live without. This is why I like his writing as much as I do.
            This book had me constantly on the edge of my seat waiting to see what kinds of twists and turns Riordan could throw at me. I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars because it was so intriguing and fast-paced. I cannot wait for the fourth book to be released because I think his writing is very good.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Septys

  Reviewed by Bo
Between Shades of Gray is a novel that is putting author Ruta Septys on the literary map. It hooked me from the very beginning. I randomly picked up this book to pass time, but once I started reading I couldn’t stop. If you are looking for a love/survival book then this is the one for you.
            Lina, who is 15 years old, is residing in Lithuania, June 1941. Lina and her family are living right in the middle of a monstrous war. She is planning for a future career in the art world, until her and her family was taken by the Soviet Union. With her art abilities she sends clues in her drawings through many people in different camps, hoping to get back to her father. During this time of tragedy, she desperately fights the Soviets to save her, and the lives around her through the whole book. Can love and the desire to save her family keep her alive?
            Sepetys created characters that are well-developed and dynamic. Her effective and vivid descriptions makes it easy for the reader to imagine the characters and to bring them to life. I could picture Lina and I being friends from her amazing character details.I could literally see myself in their world interacting with them.
            Sepetys skill with words and her ability to effectively use imagery created a raw, gritty movie in my mind. I could easily feel Lina's pain and put myself in the character's horrible environment. The way that she describes the settings is unimaginable. When she describes Lina with her family in the soviets truck looking at the girl coming from the hospital, you can really see it in your brain.  Her ability of doing imagery makes this novel one of my favorites.  
WHEN I WOKE, the car was dark. I moved to the front and hung my head over the side for air. My hair swung away from my neck. A rush of air swirled around my face, and I breathed deeply. Gravel crunched.
This is one of those books you will never want to put down. Sepetys and her book Between Shades of Gray had such an effect on me; this novel and its characters will stay with me for the rest of my life. It made me want to go out and do something about the hardships Stalin created and prevent them from ever repeating themselves in history. I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I did not give it 5 stars, because I think she should have provided more details of what became of the characters and their struggle.  Sepetys could have easily written a second book that would answer the lingering questions that resulted from the very abrupt ending. 

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater is quickly becoming my favorite YA author.  She’s yet to write anything that I haven’t devoured on sight.  The Raven Boys is her most recent delectable dish which had me lapping up each word in less than three days (bring on the cheese!). It is a book that is refreshingly unique in its plot and characters, and one that should be on the very top of your “to read” list.
Blue Sargent is as unique as her moniker.  Living in a home filled with psychics and mediums only adds to her unusual aura.  Her clairvoyant mother and three gifted aunts each have unique, supernatural abilities to communicate with the dead.  Blue has never had the “second sight” like her family members, and she assumes these gifts have skipped her altogether – until she sees her very first spirit on St. Mark’s Eve.
Traditionally, St. Mark’s Eve is a time when the spirits of the soon-to-be dead travel corpse road – a path that winds through a crumbling, abandoned churchyard outside of Blue’s hometown.  Blue’s mother usually greets these spirits while Blue records their names.  Within 12 months, the people whose spirits traveled this road on this night will be dead, and townspeople pay a pretty penny to see if their name is on the list of the doomed.  Blue usually sits through this night without much to do, other than to assist her mother and write down the names of the spirits passing by. 
This year’s St. Mark’s eve begins like any other, except for Blue’s aunt is doing the other-worldly greetings.  Blue silently observes her aunt speak to the souls Blue can’t see.  Bored and silently wishing for this night to come to a close, Blue is shocked to see a boy her age stumbling through the churchyard.  He is a spirit, but the fact that Blue can see him scares and awes her.  According to her aunt, “there are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve.  Either you’re his true love, …or you killed him.”  Determined to find this boy and warn him about his fate, Blue goes on a quest to change his destiny.  What Blue uncovers about this mysterious boy and the supernatural trouble surrounding him kept me up late at night and unable to stop reading.
            Stiefvater’s writing style and seamless plot development are not the only reasons The Raven Boys is such an enjoyable read.  Her ability to create real, dynamic characters is what makes each of her novels so appealing.  Blue Sargent could easily be a friend of mine due to Stiefvater’s effortless dialogue and subtle descriptions embedded within the dialogue and narration.  Gansey and the rest of the Raven Boys are unique and unlike any other characters I’ve ever met in fiction, but seem too real and alive to be trapped in a book.  They remind me of the gang in The Outsiders.  Sodapop, Darry and Ponyboy are characters that have stuck with me for decades, and I have an inkling that Ronan, Adam, Noah and Gansey will be around for awhile, too.  In this excerpt, Gansey is meeting Blue for the first time, and I love the unconventional way in which Stiefvater describes Gansey and his friends.
There was something annoyingly impressive about him, an impression that he was very tall, although he was no taller than most boys.  “My socially inhibited friend Adam thinks you’re cute, but he’s unwilling to make a move. Over there. Not the smudgy one.  Not the sulky one.”
Blue, largely against her will, glanced to the booth he pointed to.  Three boys sat at it: one was smudgy, just as he said, with a rumpled, faded look about his person, like his body had been laundered too many times.  The one who’d hit the light was handsome and his head was shaved; a soldier in a war where the enemy was everyone else.  And the third was – elegant.  It was not the right word for him, but it was close.  He was fine boned and a little fragile looking, with blue eyes pretty enough for a girl.
I’ve never heard of a character described as “smudgy”, but after you read this book, you’ll understand why this adjective is the PERFECT descriptor of Noah.  Stiefvater’s writing is original and makes it impossible for the narration and dialogue to ever become boring.
            This is one of those magical books that readers hunt for and crave – those rare gems that have you flying through the pages and itching to read at stop lights, under the table at dinner, and during any spare moment you can find.  The Raven Boys IS THAT BOOK for me – the likes of which I haven’t read in a very long time.  Eager to find out when the next book will be released (2013ish), I looked at reviews on the site Good Reads.  Apparently, I’m not alone in my love for the Raven Boys.  It’s average rating is a 4.6 out of 5 stars, and rating which I will also give the book.  I only reserve the ½ star, due to my annoyance with Stiefvater for ending this book with so many unanswered questions, and making me wait entirely too long for the sequel!

DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

Divergent By: Veronica Roth

Reviewed by: Jacob Duncan

I recently finished Divergent, and was pleasantly surprised. Thinking that it was going to be just a Hunger Games rip-off I did not have high hopes for this book. Like the Hunger Games, it too is a dystopian fiction novel. This one book you should not pass up.

Divergent is a book where the last remnants of the civilized has been split up into 5 groups, and one group is fighting for control. Each has a different core value that all members must follow.On an appointed day of every year, every sixteen year old has to pick a faction, and after that, face the rigorous initiation. Tris, the main character is in the midst of that struggle as she has to decide if she wants to stay with her faction, or join another one. Her choice catches everyone by surprise. Later at initiation she learns that all is not right when she is told she is divergent. A faction is after all the divergents, and tris has no idea who to trust.

The author truly did an amazing job on character development. At the beginning Tris was frightened and put others thought into consideration, but by the end she was changed. I can’t really think of an age appropriate word that would match how she was in the end of the book. She didn’t care about other people, she didn’t help them out. In fact she scoffed at anyone who showed any sign of weakness. I’m saying the author did a good job because you saw her thoughts and watched as the initiation awoke a demon inside of this little girl.
 “Never come near me again... If you do, I swear to God I will kill you,” I say. “You coward.”

 That small excerpt let me know that the character transformation was complete. Tris was now completely changed. I did not like the way the author transformed this character, but he still did a good job on it.

The action was everything you could hope for in this genre, the thing I like most was the use of guns, not just as weapons, but a symbol of hope for the main character. The author did a good job not putting all the action into the last part of the book. While the last couple of chapters are some of the most intense, the beginning and middle had some pretty good moments as well.

I give Divergent a 6/10 because of how much I hated the character towards the end. Halfway through I wanted to jump into the book and shoot Tris. If there is a second (which seems to be the trend with this genre) I will probably not buy that one based on the fact that the character is hard to get along with. Other than that, a big portion of this book I would say it was a good read. If you haven’t read it, read it. So you can see exactly what I’m talking about. if you liked or hated this book read Hunger Games, a better series with more likable characters.

KILLER PIZZA by Greg Taylor

        Killer Pizza by Greg Taylor was a real page turner filled with perfect action that I was overjoyed to have found at my school. When I first purchased it I was a little bit discontent about reading it (the title is Killer Pizza, I mean really?)  , but after the first few pages I knew from then on it would be the perfect book for my liking.
Taylor sets up the perfect fiction novel for any boy or girl teen. Killer Pizza, a pizza shop that is just opening in a small community called Hidden Hills, catches the eye of a teenager named Toby, who’s only dream is to become a famous chef with only Food Network as his experience. When he gets the job he can’t wait to go to work for the first time. Soon he has a “thing” for a fellow Killer Pizza employee and overpasses his colleagues. Soon he finds out that Killer pizza has a killer secret. Killer Pizza is just a cover up for their real purpose- to hunt monsters. When dangerous monsters attack Hidden Hills, the crew of Killer Pizza has to take them out before time runs out.
I like how Taylor creates his characters with such personalities. He makes the reader feel like an employee at Killer Pizza on this crazy adventure. He gives the reader a perfect image of how the characters react to the monsters and their true emotions. I really like how Taylor wrote the book in first person so you know what Toby feels about his crush and the monster invasion, because some of the stuff that happens you wouldn’t know happened unless you where Toby. I really like the flashbacks and foreshadowing, but the most outstanding thing in this book is layout of the book and how he has the romantic twist in the story.
“When Toby pushed through the front door of the pizza shop, he was greeted by the sight of four people standing in the small area in front of the ordering counter. He tried not to stare at the beautiful girl with the ink-black hair.”
This quote shows his first time in the store and the first thing he notices is this beautiful girl with long black hair. It foreshadows that they’re going to have a relationship later on in the book.
I give this book 9 out of 10. The story was great and exciting. The ending boss fight was awesome and the cast of characters was just phenomenal. I read this book with anticipation and enthusiasm and finished it in two days flat. If you like Killer Pizza you might also like The Monstrumologist or any other monster hunting genre. This book is a great read and anyone will like it as much as I did.

Reviewed by Josh Ivey
8th Grade

**NFMH** Check out this awesome, student created book trailer I found on youtube by "waletti":

EIGER DREAMS by Jon Krakauer

If you love being in the mountains or just like to be outdoors, I have found the perfect book for you.  Eiger Dreams by Jon Krakauer is a must read novel for anybody who is interested in mountaineering or climbing.  This book will grip your mind and take you for a ride in the high altitude of the Alps, Himalayas, and beyond. 
This book is basically a collection of articles that Krakauer wrote for the Smithsonian and Outside magazines.  All of these articles are about extraordinary mountains and the crazy men who climb them.  For example, one chapter is about one of the worst summers in the history of climbing one of the deadliest mountains in the world.  One climber who tried to make a summit attempt, went delirious just above the summit and was left for dead by other climbers.  The next day he was seen crawling down the mountain with severe frost bite and altitude sickness.  This example is just one of many found in this book that describe outragious climbers that have an extremely strong will to survive.
One of my favorite parts of this novel is Krakauer’s ability to write about these people and describe their accomplishments.  The way he writes of the things they do allows you to get “lost” in reading and become engrossed in the story being told.  Not only the way Krakauer writes about these people, but the people themselves he chose to write about are interesting.  There are hardly any words that describe the adrenaline junkies that are subjected in this book.  Their inhuman feats will blow your mind.  Krakauer definitely picked an all star line up to write about when it comes to climbing.
The way this book is organized also makes it really outstanding.  Like I said before, it’s a collection of articles Krakauer wrote for a few different magazines.  I am a big fan of this style of book because they are easy to read.  You don’t get bored with a dull plot or the same old characters because it’s a different story every chapter.
Probably my most favorite part of this book is the descriptions Krakauer gives about the experiences of the climbers in the book.  One of my favorite examples of this is a passage from the book about Krakauer himself summiting a mountain in Alaska called the Devils thumb.
“It wasn’t possible, I couldn’t believe it. I felt my cracked lips stretch into a huge, painful grin.  I was on top of the devils Thumb…The summit was a surreal, malevolent place, an improbable slender fan of rock and rime no wider than a filing cabinet.  It did not encourage loitering.  As I straddled the highest point, the north face fell away beneath my left boot for six thousand feet; beneath my right boot the south face dropped of twenty-five hundred.”
I think this passage can sum up Krakauer’s knack for making a description chilling and gripping. His use of adjectives and figurative language make you feel as though you are the one climbing a mountain.
            This book is probably one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. If I were going to rate this book I would give it a nine out of 10. It is definitely worth your reading time ,and I suggest this book to anybody who is interested in mountains and climbing

Reviewed by Ryan Bowman
8th Grade

UNWIND by Neal Shusterman

Unwind by Neal Shusterman is full of adventure and action, with surprises when you least expect them. This heart-pounding, dystopian fiction novel that got me hooked from the first chapter on and I couldn’t stop reading it.
After the second civil war in America, a new bill was passed. It was the Bill of Life. It states that you can have your kid "unwound" from the age 13 to 18 if you choose to do so. Unwinding is when your body is taken apart by surgeons, and your organs and other parts are used for adults in need of them. Since every part of the unwound person's body is being used, they are not technically "dead", so unwinding is legal.  Teens that are forced to be unwound are usually kids with behavior issues and are signed up by their parents, or are orphaned children who have no one to care for them. So when the main character of this book, Connor, finds the unwind order papers on his father's desk for Connor's unwinding in two weeks, Connor is scared and angry.  He decides to take his chances and runaway.  Connor must overcome all odds to survive until he is 18 and can not be forcibly unwound. 
Shusterman did a very good job creating the characters.  It seemed like they were real, because he put so much detail into them.  The story is told from three different character perspectives, and even though Connor is the central character, it was still really cool to see what the two other characters were thinking and feeling.  Shusterman described them in such a way that it was easy to visualize them in my head. In the passage below, you can easily imagine what Connor's girlfriend looks like:                    
            “Her eyes are sweet violet with streaks of gray. She’s such a slave of fashion- always getting the newest pigment injection the second it’s in style. Connor was never into that. He’s always kept his eyes the color they came in. Brown.”
 The characters helped developed the story to make it well-rounded.  I really cared about Connor as a person and rooted for him to survive.  I felt Connor's anxiousness and urgency with each turn of the page.
I rate this book 10 out of 10. It is the best book I have read yet. There is amazing detail, and awesome action sequences.  I really hope someone will decide to make this great book into a movie.

Reviewed by Grant Sandercox
8th Grade
**NFMH** This is a great student made book trailer on youtube by "SpunkRansom02":

THE FAERIE PATH by Frewin Jones

I went to the library with my sister, I came across The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones. My sister was showing me the books that she had read and liked when I asked her about The Faerie Path. She chose not to read The Faerie Path because it isn’t in her best interests.  I picked up the book anyway and read the back cover. Little did I know that Faerie is the French spelling for Fairy in English. Even though the book is named The Faerie Path, it is not about Fairies.
            Anita Palmer is turning sixteen very soon. She loves her family, friends, and new-found boyfriend. Her world may not be perfect but she has everything she could ever want. On the eve of her sixteenth birthday she disappears into a completely different world. She is lost, but luckily she found she found a friend named Gabriel. She finds out quickly that she is Princess Tania, the seventh daughter of King Oberon. She could walk between the mortal world and the Faerie world, if she knew how to control her power. Her soul is split between both worlds and she isn’t sure what to do. She wants to see her friends and family but at the same time Gabriel and others won’t let her. With Gabriel trying to steal her power, will she ever see her “true” parents again or will she find a way to travel to both worlds without getting lost again?
            The plot development has an interesting format. I loved the way it is set up to make every page so realistic even though it could never happen.
“Strange new muscles flexed on her back and she felt the air stir. She drew herself up onto her hands and knees. There was no pain now. Grasping the rim of the sink, she pulled herself to her feet.”
            In this passage Anita grows wings on her back. Jones makes it so realistic that you can believe that growing wings can really happen.
            Jones made the character development so marvelous that each page was a new adventure.
“His head rested against thread bare velvet cushions. His golden hair hung around a lean, care-lined face. Anita had seen that face before, just for a few moments when she had first stepped onto the gallery above the great hall. It was the man she had seen on the throne, the man with the neat beard and mustache, with the sharp, angled cheekbones and the flashing blue eyes. Except how his expression was filled with sadness and his eyes were hooded, as if he was lost in deep, heartbreaking memories.”
            Jones refers to the king as if he were looking straight at him. There are many more great page-turning passages in The Faerie Path and exciting adventures too.
            If I were to rate this book on a scale of 1-10, I would rate it a ten. The plot, the characters, and everything was just right. I understood everything and really got into The Faerie Path. The Faerie Path is part of a series of books that I encourage people to read. Every book is a new adventure.
Reviewed by Lori Howard
8th Grade

IMPOSSIBLE by Nancy Werlin

I have recently finished the novel Impossible by Nancy Werlin. This romantic teen fiction book is a haunting, thrilling, romantic puzzle. Impossible shifts in point of view between two characters, Lucy and Zach.
Lucy Scarborough is a seventeen year old girl with a normal life. She has friends, goes to school, and is excited about her upcoming prom. All is well  and normal in her life until she turns eighteen and has to race against time to break a curse that has haunted generations of Scarborough women. Like her mother before her, and her grandmother, and EVERY woman of the Scarborough line, Lucy becomes pregnant and has to complete three impossible tasks before she has the baby. If she doesn’t she will go insane and forever be owned by the Elfin Knight with no freedom, and spiral into a life of insanity and heartbreak.
The structure of the book is unusual it has lots of flashbacks and switches characters point of view.  Many might find this structure to be confusing, but Werlin kept me interested in the novel through this method of writing.  I couldn't help but keep reading, and found it hard to put the book down.  I also like the way the author used the song lyrics from "Scarborough Fair" to help Lucy unravel the mystery behind the curse.  Lucy's mother also left her a parcel of letters that Werlin uses snippets of throughout the novel. This helped me understand why the letters were so important and vital to help Lucy break the curse.
But by the time her eighth birthday arrived, Lucy had forgotten all about the secret compartment and the T-shirt, and about the mysterious papers with the faded, tight, urgent handwriting. She would be seventeen, and in deep trouble, before she remembered.
I would rate Impossible an eight out of ten  because of the way the author wrote and made me feel like I was Lucy going through the tasks. Impossible was unlike any other book I have ever read; it was an unimaginable journey with an extraordinary ending.
 I will definitely be reading the other books written by Nancy Werlin.

Reviewed by Blaire Barker
8th Grade
**NFMH** For more details about this awesome book, check out this novel trailer by the book's publisher.