Category Archives: Adventure

The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg

porcupine       There are many novels that try to achieve that delicate balance between light-hearted humor and emotional depth. Most do an okay job, but none that I’ve read strike the balance as well as Bill Konigsberg’s The Porcupine of Truth, a book that, in my opinion, is one of the most powerful young adult novels in the last decade. The Porcupine of Truth tells the story of Carson Smith, a teen who moves along with his mother from New York to Montana to spend the summer with his estranged father. Carson’s dad’s health is quickly deteriorating due to his alcoholism and the emotional stress that came with the disappearance of his own father years ago. Because of this, Carson thinks his summer is going to be awkward and difficult. Then he meets Aisha Stinson, a girl who sleeps in the zoo after being kicked out by her father for being gay. The two of them form a connection instantly, and Aisha ends up moving in with Carson. Later, they discover some secrets about Carson’s grandfather, and decide to make it their mission to find out the truth about where he is after he left more than thirty years ago. They embark on a remarkable journey across multiple states that will change their lives as forever.

To be completely honest, I can’t think of a single thing I didn’t like about The Porcupine of Truth. Carson and Aisha are an incredibly dynamic duo and are both witty, relatable, and very heartwarming. The book’s great sense of humor made me laugh, but it also accomplished something more. Humor was not only used as an attractive point but was made an integral part of Carson’s character as both a strength and a shortcoming, which I felt was genius. The most important thing about this book and the thing that makes it special to me is the fact that it delivers powerful, enlightening messages. The book touches upon such topics as the way we view and practice spirituality and how we form and keep the bonds that tie us together. In particular, the way it approaches the relationship between religion and the way we treat people is unlike anything I’ve ever read, and it truly struck me personally. I see no reason not to read The Porcupine of Truth. It will break your heart and mend it again. It will make you laugh and will make you cry. It is simultaneously down-to-Earth and a bringer of wisdom from high up in the heavens.

Submitted by Lauren Leon



Beastkeeper by by Cat Hellisen

jacket-aspxThe following fairy tale revolves around the mystical life of a girl named Sarah and her family.  In the beginning, teenager Sarah wished to acquire magic.   Sarah and her family were always migrating to different locations to avoid the “cold”, or  magic.  Sarah eventually became a teen without a mom, when her mother abandoned her and her father.  Consequently, bad things happened to Sarah’s father including him turning into a beast.  Sarah’s life began to turn upside down when she discovered the magical curses her family was involved in.  Sarah is my favorite character because she represents the majority of the teenage population in my eyes:  She wanted something, got it, and wanted the total opposite afterwards.  This happens to all teens.  I would rate this book an 8 out of 10 only because it is a fairy tale and not something I prefer to read.  I would still recommend it because it is a very interesting book.

Submitted by M. H.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

emberThis book is about two people: Laia who had a loving family, and Elias, a young soldier in Blackcliff that serves the Empire.  The Empire has spread fear and danger to everyone.  Laia becomes a slave in Blackcliff with an underlying reason- to save her brother from a death sentence.  Elias is a soldier who hates working for the Empire.  The two start to work on escaping.  My favorite character is Laia.  She is courageous, loving, and does all of these crazy things for her brother.  My favorite part is where Laia fakes her death and saves Elias from execution while bombing the Academy.  I would rate this book four stars because it’s action packed.  There is some violence in this book.

Submitted by R. T.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

jacket-aspxThis book is about a girl named Hazel and her brother Ben. They are
trying to free Severin, who is a horned boy, from a cursed coffin.
Severin’s job is to slay his dad, the elder king, and to save the
town of Fairfield from the fairies and mass destruction. I would rate this
book an 8. My favorite character is Severin. He is very mysterious and
cool magic skills. My favorite part is when Hazel saved the school from
Severin’s sister, who was controlled by darkness.I would probably
recommend this book to anyone who is interested in books about fantasy
and magic.

Submitted by Thomas Alvino Jr.


There once was a young girl named Hazel who dreamed of being a knight.  She would go with her brother Ben on occasion and fight faeries.  Ben was special because he was blessed by a woman that would make his music the best in Fairfold.  In the forest, is a glass coffin that holds the Prince of Fairfold.  The townsfolk call him “the horned boy” because of his horns and his brown curly locks.  Eventually, Hazel’s dreams of being a knight become true, but not without betrayals, choosing sides, experiencing love, and more.  My favorite character is Hazel because she is brave and fearless.  My favorite part was when she went up to random people and kissed them- it showed her bravery.

Submitted by J. K.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Jacket.aspxIn the book The Name of the Star, my favorite character is Alistar.  I like Alistar because he is like me, he listens to bands like The Smiths, The Cure, and Clash, and he is always reading in the library on the floor!  The only difference is that he dressed like a person in the 80’s, and his hair was also a 1980’s hairstyle.  Sadly, Alistar had died in March of 1989.  Rory, Boo, Stephen, and Callum are the only ones able to see him, as he is a ghost.  Each of these people had an accident occur in their lives, a near death experience, which is also the reason they are able to see ghosts.  Meanwhile, in the city of London there are “Jack the Ripper” murders going on again, similar to those in 1888.  Rory, the main character has moved here to start a new life while attending school at Wexford.  She meets her new roommate, Jazza, and a boy named Jerome.  Rory and Jerome share some make out sessions here and there as they get to know one another more.  I would rate this book a 10/10.  It was very detailed and left me on the edge of my seat.  I would recommend it to my friends to read.

Submitted by JV

The Tyrant’s Daughter by J. C. Carleson

tyrants daughterLaila, a character that discovers her self throughout the book, goes on a journey to end the international conflict that’s been going on for a very long time.  She is my favorite character considering the fact she is defensive, crafty, and questioning.  However, the best part of the book is when she meets Emmy, her soon to be friend.  This is because she hurls an insult at Emmy (in her mind) which is hilarious.  I would rate this book a 4/5, and definitely recommend it to friends because it is a great adventure with a chilling backstory.

Submitted by Eram Kabir

I really liked this book and how it shows what reality is versus what media shows.  I really was surprised a little on how Laila was shocked experiencing things like grocery stores and libraries.  Laila can be a great role model or someone to look up to.  She isn’t really spoiled, and is grateful.  She is smart, clever, and thinks of others and how they feel.  Sometimes people don’t like her because they look at her positives negatively!

Submitted by H. N.


The Living by Matt de la Pena

The Living is the first book in a series.  The novel is about a boy named Shy who is just a guy looking to make money and meet girls.  Everything was going great until the biggest earthquake ever hit California.  Life was not about making money  to pay for bills, but about fighting to survive.

My favorite character is Shy.  Shy is my favorite character because he fights to live and doesn’t want to give up.  My favorite scene is in the beginning when we are first introduced to Shy and Rodney, where it all started.

I rate this novel an 8/10 because it was outstanding except for the ending.  I would definitely recommend this to all my friends.

Submitted by J. S. Jacket.aspx

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

hunger gamesAfter reading the The Hunger Games, I would give it a 5 out 5 star rating.  This is a great book for anyone who likes to read science fiction books.  I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys action packed books.  The Hunger Games is about a girl names Katniss Everdeen.  She lives in a place called Panama, where years ago the Capitol and the districts were at war against each other.  The Capitol defeated the districts, and holds the Hunger Games every year to remind the districts of the victory.  During Hunger Games, each district has two tributes picked,  male and female, to fight to death until there is only one left standing.  In District 12, where Katniss is from, Primrose Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are chosen.  Katniss volunteers immediately in place of her half- sister Primrose.  Katniss and Peeta are taken to the Capitol to train for the Hunger Games.  After a few weeks of training, the tributes are put in the arena to fight to the death.  Find out what happens to Katniss by reading the book!

Submitted by TS


Hostage Three by Nick Lake

Book Cover I give this book a 10 out 10 star rating.  This is a great book that you don’t want to put down.  Amy Fields is on her father’s yacht with its crew, her father and stepmother.  This is a great book that tells about Amy’s life changing experiences.  Pirates aboard the ship armed and ready to kill.  They won’t leave until they get money.  The stories that the pirates and Amy tell are interesting and filled with information.  Will Amy make it out alive?  Find out by reading the great book Hostage Three.

Submitted by ZM

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan

JacketCAGAZJJWGolden Boy is about 13 year old Habo, who is an albino.  Shortly after Habo’s birth, his father left the family causing them to be poor.  They decide to go to Mwanza, where Habo finds out that they kill albinos for good luck.  Now Habo must make it to Dar-es – salaam and survive there.  Can Habo survive with someone after him?  I rate Golden Boy 5/5 stars because it is an amazing survival and emotional story.  I suggest you read Golden Boy and experience the story for yourself.

Submitted by GST

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