Saturday, January 23, 2016

Teen review: Classic

The Phantom of the Opera
by Gaston Leroux
371 pages
Classic fiction

Reviewed by George S., grade 8

The Phantom of the Opera is a classic that is appropriate for middle school and high school reading levels. In this classic, Christine Daee is a theater performer who takes place of Carlotta when she quits performing. When Christine takes the spotlight, sightings of a ghost at the opera house are reported, frightening the new managers and many performers. A childhood sweetheart of Christine's named Raoul recognizes her, and the opera ghost who demands her heart suddenly becomes his competition. Whom does Christine love, Raoul or the Phantom?

I felt this was going to be a cheesy romance where nothing happens except for people sobbing and moping about their lives; however, the costs of love in this book involve the deaths of any others. I would rate this 5 out of 5 stars because of all the action mixed with romance and blended with drama. It is hard to decide whether she should choose Raoul or the Phantom. Both in my opinion are suitable companions.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Teen review: Steampunk

The Rithmatist
by Brandon Sanderson
384 pages
Steampunk / Fantasy

Reviewed by George S., grade 8

The steampunk novel The Rithmatist takes the reader into a world where Leonardo da Vinci is said to be the “great father” of the world. At a ceremony, children are given a chance to be gifted with the power of using chalk in ways one would think highly impossible. Lines can be drawn so nothing may pass through them, and beasts of chalk can be created to destroy or protect defense structures of chalk. However, when students at the largest school for these children begin to disappear, and wild "chalklings" seem to be the culprit, Joel tries to solve this mystery.

Everyone who I’ve talked to about this book has found the idea of a book about chalk to be highly repulsive. Also, they think there is math involved. Let me just say this, THERE IS NO MATH INVOLVED! I found the most interesting parts to be the illustrations in the book on defense structures, which makes this book feel like it applies to real life. I would rate it 5 out of 5 stars mainly because of this. I hope others will enjoy this book as much as I did.

Editor's note: I think I'm going to have to give up and read this book. I don't really get how critters made out of chalk are scary, but everyone who has read it assures me they are.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Teen review: Gone!

by Michael Grant
560 pages

Science fiction / Horror

Reviewed by George S., grade 8
Gone is a young adult novel that takes place in the fictional Perdido Beach, California, which has a large nuclear plant. One day, everyone 15 years old and above disappears without a trace. The whole city is surrounded by a huge barrier that no one can see through or penetrate. Everyone on the inside needs to work together in order to preserve the city until their hopes of the adults returning are fulfilled. However, after this tragedy occurs, certain individuals begin to develop fascinating powers beyond imagination.

Gone had lots of action. Although some of the violence was unnecessary, it was still worth reading. I felt bad that due to shortages of people working to preserve the city, a lot of people were being overworked. Some people in the book just didn’t care about others. I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars mainly because of the repetitive violence that really didn’t need to take place to move the story along.

Editor's note: Burbank Public Library owns multiple copies of the whole series, six books. Here is a review after I read the next-to-last in the series.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Teen review: Scary Fairies

by Eoin Colfer
277 pages
Fantasy/science fiction, part of a series

Reviewed by George S., grade 8

In the fantasy series Artemis Fowl, a 12-year-old criminal mastermind attempts to extort a large ransom of gold for kidnapping a fairy. The fairies, however, have much more developed technology then humans. While he keeps the fairy hostage, reinforcements come to save the fairy in a battle between man, myths, and wits.

The cover of this book made Artemis look like he was 20, but he’s not even a teenager! That was the only issue I had. The cover matched the book pretty well on most of Artemis’s described appearance. I really enjoyed the mixture of fantasy and sci-fi, it proved to work quite well. Fairies with nuclear powered weapons? Awesome!

I would rate this book 5 out of 5 stars because of the jaw-dropping artillery used, as well as the extraordinary intelligence of Artemis. The series turned out to be fun to read. Although it might have been a little tedious to go through the entire series, it was definitely worth it.

Editor's note: The cover above is the original; I'm assuming George is referring to one of these below, but I'm not sure which one it is. But on both of them, he definitely looks older than 12!