Author: Keira Drake
Published: March 27, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
For her sixteenth birthday, Vaela Sun receives the most coveted gift in all the Spire—a trip to the Continent. It seems an unlikely destination for a holiday: a cold, desolate land where two nations remain perpetually locked in combat. Most citizens lucky enough to tour the Continent do so to observe the spectacle and violence of battle, a thing long vanished in the peaceful realm of the Spire. For Vaela, the war holds little interest. As a smart and talented apprentice cartographer and a descendent of the Continent herself, she sees the journey as a dream come true: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve upon the maps she’s drawn of this vast, frozen land.
But Vaela’s dream all too quickly turns to nightmare as the journey brings her face-to-face with the brutal reality of a war she’s only read about. Observing from the safety of a heli-plane, Vaela is forever changed by the sight of the bloody battle being waged far beneath her. And when a tragic accident leaves her stranded on the Continent, Vaela finds herself much closer to danger than she’d ever imagined—and with an entirely new perspective as to what war truly means. Starving, alone, and lost in the middle of a war zone, Vaela must try to find a way home—but first, she must survive.
I found this book at the Barnes and Noble 50% Book Haul. The cover was nice and the description sounded interesting. I decided to move it up my list and read it relatively soon after buying it. It was ok. That’s the only word I can think of to use. It wasn’t bad and it wasn’t good. I had high expectations at the beginning; it had all the makings of a great story. But as the story progressed, the more disappointed I was. Vaela was a boring, rich girl. Noro could have been interesting, but Vaela brought him down. The political allegory of savagery vs. privilege was obvious and somewhat true, but when the Spire was condemned for minding its own business and not getting involved with the warfare on the Continent, I was done. Even the action was just ok. It held my attention only marginally. I was very glad when I reached the end. Snowflakes definitely won’t like this book, the ones on Goodreads made that very clear! I didn’t think it was offensive, just mediocre. I’m glad I read it, but I don’t recommend it to anyone.
Author: Dave Barry
Narrator: Todd Haberkorn
Published: May 5, 2015
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: December 20-21, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
In this hilarious novel, written in the voice of eighth-grader Wyatt Palmer, Dave Barry takes us on a class trip to Washington, DC. Wyatt, his best friend, Matt, and a few kids from Culver Middle School find themselves in a heap of trouble-not just with their teachers, who have long lost patience with them-but from several mysterious men they first meet on their flight to the nation’s capital. In a fast-paced adventure with the monuments as a backdrop, the kids try to stay out of danger and out of the doghouse while trying to save the president from attack-or maybe not.
The Worst Class Trip Ever was 100% an unexpected and pleasant surprise for me. I chose this one due to its short length (my longer commute and there were just two days until the long four day Christmas weekend) and it really delivered! This one would be a fun read for both adults and the kids!
The Worst Class Trip Ever is about an eighth grade class trip to Washington DC. Our narrator is Wyatt and he tells us all about the adventure he and a few others from his class go on. The kids convince themselves that there are some terrorists that are going to attack the White House. You don’t know what’s going to happen next in this fun read that takes you all over DC.
I was really drawn into the story and had no clue how it was going to end. You think the adventure can’t get any crazier than it already has then Barry has something else happen! This is a great short read and I highly recommend the audio version. The narrator Todd Haberkorn performed very well.
I really liked that the narrator was a boy. It seems like there are not many books written for boys or feature boys, but there is no way a girl could have been the narrator: boys just seem to get themselves into trouble easier.
There was only one negative for me and it is not the book: I hate that we live in a world where children’s books have the subject of terrorists and bombings in them. But this is the world we live in and terrorists and TSA rules is our life now.
I would say this book would be fine for middle schoolers.
The Worst Class Trip Ever is very highly recommended![Top]
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: September 10, 2013
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan.
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
This is one of the books I read during Hurricane Florence with my little flashlight. I wanted something light and easy and I had heard great things about Fangirl and I figured it was a good time to read it. I went into it with a bit more clarity than when I read Eleanor and Park so I wasn’t nearly as disappointed when I realized that Fangirl was slightly over-hyped. I did enjoy reading it, and it helped pass the time really well. I liked most of the characters, though I wasn’t deeply connected to them. I thought Levi was adorable and he easily became my favorite character. He kept things closer to reality and seemed to be the voice of reason in most cases. Reagan was also likable and refreshing in her unfiltered honesty. Professor Piper is the once character that I identified with more than anyone. She had high standards as a teacher and didn’t let students get away with stupidity. To be honest, the character I liked the least was Cath. I know a lot of people identify with her and I will admit I did see a lot of myself in her: the nerdy-ness, the social ineptitude, the introvertness. But overall, she became that typical millennial stereotype who refused to look outside her tiny, safe bubble, and didn’t like doing things simply because they were too hard.
And listen, I love Harry Potter as much as the next booknerd. But I also realize that while books are an amazing escape, they cannot be substitutes for life. Watching Cath spend all her time writing characters that didn’t belong to her, refusing to use her creativity in any other way, actually using her fanfiction as an excuse to quit classes and justify bad grades . . . not cool at all! Even the college drama didn’t bother me as much as Cath did. I read a book about college, I was willing to accept all the drama that came along with it. But Cath and her attitude really bothered me. I bought Fangirl along with a copy of Carry On, but honestly, I don’t even want to read it now. Overall, I did enjoy reading this book, it was an actual escape from the hurricane and loss of power and I appreciate that to no end. But in an honest review, I have to say that Fangirl still disappointed me and I doubt I’ll be reading any more Rainbow Rowell books.