Friday, December 14, 2012

Teen Review: Science Fiction

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams
193 pages
Science Fiction / Comedy
Book 1 of 5
13 and up
Reviewed by M.K., grade 12

S Y N O P S I S

Arthur Dent is a fairly average man whose house is facing imminent destruction via bulldozer to make way for a freeway bypass. In retaliation, Arthur lies down in front of the bulldozers to stop them, but is interrupted by his friend Ford, who tells him the world is about to end. This gets Arthur back on his feet, but little did he know the earth was being destroyed by aliens to make way for a hyperspace bypass. As our little blue planet is being sacrificed for the sake of quick travel, Arthur and Ford (who in the middle of all this chaos reveals he's an alien) manage to escape, thus beginning Arthur Dent's unbelievable adventure in outer space. Armed only with his confusion and utter disbelief at the wacky truth behind the galaxy's “hyper-intelligent” beings, Arthur comes into contact with the likes of depressed robots, galactic presidents, and the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, while trying his best to get his home back.


R E V I E W

Never will a time come when someone reads Hitchhiker's Guide without a big grin on their face. This book is the epitome of good British humor, but is written in a way for other cultures to appreciate as well. Douglas Adams has done a terrific job of creating conflicts for the main characters. The situations he finds for his protagonists are oftentimes incredibly crazy and unbelievable, yet at the same time we find ourselves totally relating to them. It's almost as if Adams has found a way to take funny situations in our day-to-day lives and increase them on a hilarity scale to fit perfectly into a science fiction universe. The constant use of irony in this book, such as the humanizing of aliens to make them out to be just as dumb and ordinary as human beings, was way ahead of its time. Which is why I think Hitchhiker's Guide can still be appreciated today as a modern comedy. It is, in my personal opinion, one of the best light-hearted books out there and should be considered a classic treasure in the world of comedy and science fiction.

My Rating: 5/5

Editor's note: This series was originally a radio comedy that was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978. It has also been a stage show, a TV series, a computer game, and a comic book series! There are spin-off books by such notable Young Adult authors as Eoin Colfer and Neil Gaiman, in addition to a "science of" book. The sequels are: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish; Mostly Harmless; and And Another Thing.... Burbank Public Library has the published original radio scripts and all the books, also in audio. We are reading Hitchhiker's Guide this month in the 8+9 Book Club.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Best Books of 2012???

According to Amazon.com, these are the best books of 2012. Do YOU agree? Let us hear from you! (You can post comments...)

Better yet, if YOU have a favorite book you read in 2012, SEND US A REVIEW and we will publish it!

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, by John Green
REACHED, by Ally Condie
SON, by Lois Lowry
THE KILL ORDER, by James Dashner
INSURGENT, by Veronica Roth

DODGER, by Terry Pratchett
DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT, by Laini Taylor
CODE NAME VERITY, by Elizabeth Wein
EVERY DAY, by David Levithan
SERAPHINA, by Rachel Hartman
THE RAVEN BOYS, by Maggie Stiefvater
THE DIVINERS, by Libba Bray
PANDEMONIUM, by Lauren Oliver
WHY WE BROKE UP, by Daniel Handler/Maira Kalman
CINDER, by Marissa Meyer
SHADOW AND BONE, by Leigh Bardugo
THRONE OF GLASS, by Sarah Maas
GRAVE MERCY, by Robin LaFevers
FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS, by Diana Peterfreund
THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST, by Emily Danforth

We have featured reviews of the bold-faced books here on the blog, if you want to click back to older posts and see them. If you are looking for something good to read over your winter holidays, maybe this is the place to start!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Teen Review: The Book Thief

The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
554 pages
Historical Fiction
Not part of a series
13 and up
Reviewed by M.K., 12th grade

S Y N O P S I S
Throughout history, Death has always been incredibly busy, but no time was busier for Death than during World War II. During his many ventures throughout Europe, though, he kept encountering a nine-year-old German girl named Liesel. Why he's taken such an interest in this girl he cannot say, but one thing's for certain: She's seen enough death for her age. Liesel's parents have been taken to a concentration camp, so she is sent to live with foster parents on a very unique street. She finds it tough adapting to her new environment, but she quickly develops a strong bond with her foster father, Hans, who teaches her to read. Liesel becomes so fascinated by books that she starts a career of stealing them, all while getting to know boys, accordionists, good people, bad people, and a Jewish fistfighter. As the bombs begin to fall, Death tells us the story of Liesel, her strange, quirky neighbors, and her life as the book thief.

R E V I E W
The Book Thief has made its way into my heart as one of my all-time favorite novels. It is so beautifully written that I can't help but recommend it to everyone with even the slightest affection towards reading. The story is reminds all who love reading why they fell in love with it in the first place. With small, amazing illustrations, wonderful dialogue, and witty writing, it's almost impossible to ignore this book once you get started. The focal point of Death as the narrator, telling the story from his point of view, is perhaps one of the most unique aspects of a novel I've ever seen and I must praise Zusak and his genius mind for being brave enough to include it.

My rating: 5/5

Alternate covers...