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Journal 3 by Alex Hirsch
Story: This book is about Ford Mcgugget, who was born with six fingers, and constantly gets bullied for it as a kid. However, he was born with a gift of knowledge. Once he graduated from college, he went to a town called Gravity Falls, where according to his studies, everything “weird” was there. This book is the story of how he tries to find out the reason why everything is so weird in this town(including him, with his six fingers).
Review: This book is just okay. The story is not the best because it moves away from the central plot every five pages. That’s not to say these plots were bad. They were all really good and enjoyable to read, there were just too many. I think the author would have made his vision clearer if he made more than one book in this series. The best part of this book, however, is the character ark the main character, Ford, goes through. He goes from an independent man who doesn’t care about his family and friends, to a person who would do anything to sacrifice himself for his peers. I think what holds this book back for me is the horror elements it has. I am not a horror fan(why would you WANT to instill fear in yourself), so this book didn’t resonate with me as much as it would for horror fans. Overall, I would give this book a 6/10 and a B+.
Camp Jupiter Classified By Rick Riordan
Story: This book is about a young girl named Claudia who goes to Camp Jupiter, a camp for the descendants of Roman deities, for the first time. As soon as she appears at camp, mysterious shenanigans wreak havoc on the camp. Because all of these strange events started happening as soon as she arrived, everyone begins to suspect that Claudia is the culprit. Claudia must find a way to clear her name before the real culprit gets away with it!
Review: The story is very well thought out, and the artistic mind of Rick Riordan once again proved to me how capable he is. I think this book would have benefited from being longer, though, because everything is just too fast-paced for me to appreciate the story telling. Let me give you an example of how a scene might play out(my interpretation).
Claudia: Hi best friend, I just wanted to let you know that I’m not the culprit
Claudia’s best friend:I believe you because I’m actually the culprit.
Claudia: WHAT HOW COULD YOU!!!
Claudia’s best friend: Ha, got you! I’m the daughter of the god of trickery after all.
Someone comes in and kills Claudia’s best friend!
Claudia:Why’d you do that!!!
The Killer:I thought she was the killer.
A teacher from the camp comes up.
Teacher: I know who the culprit is.
Claudia and Killer:Let's go find the culprit!
Now, none of that actually happened in the book(Riordan is a much better writer than I am) but it might as well have. You see how we never had enough time to let the death of the main character’s best friend sink in. Instead it just jumped from one big reveal to another big reveal. Another thing that didn’t work was the characters were all kind of bland. By the end of the book you get attached to Claudia, but everyone else is just there. Either they are helping Claudia, or they hate Claudia. There’s no in between. However, despite all these negatives, the book still stands as enjoyable, just not as good as Rick Riordan’s other writings. I’d give this book a 5/10 and a B-.
The Gospels According to Larry by Janet Tashjian
Story: This book follows our lead character Josh, an extremely intelligent boy who has no one left for him. His dad left him before he was born, and his mother had recently died due to cancer. Now all he had was his stepfather, Peter(who is not the stereotypical stepdad). This book is about the ups and downs as Josh starts as a witty teenager, becomes one of the most ironic celebrities in America, to an unknown criminal.
Review: It’s hard to say much about this book without going into spoiler territory, but let me just say, that this book is amazing. Janet Tashjian cleverly tells the book from a nonfiction point of view, as though the character of Josh and his friends are actual real people. This is one of the smartest ways I’ve seen ever from a fiction book, as the author is able to deceive the reader into thinking the events in this novel are events that have happened in the real world. The story is amazing as we see Josh go through one of the most compelling and relatable character arks I have ever seen in a book. The only real complaint I can give, is that it felt too short. By the end of the book, I still had so many questions on what happened to Josh and his friends. Maybe that was just me wanting more(trust me, if you read this book, you would be wanting more as well). I would give this book a 9/10, and it definitely deserves this A+.
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Story: Castle “Ghost” Crenshaw is a boy who’s been through a lot for his age. To state the obvious, his dad took a gun and attacked Ghost and his mom on a Friday night. Well Ghost has kept that anger bottled up inside him for too long. His coach recommends him to join the track team, for his obvious talent. Now, Ghost has to be able to run fast enough to escape all his troubles, with help from his peers.
Review: Take all the good things I just said about all the other books I’ve reviewed so far, combine these assets, and lower the resolution by two levels. That’s this book. It is very much a jack of all trades, as it has many, many good parts, yet it’s not the best it can be. Ghost goes through an amazing character ark, but I feel like Mr. Reynolds should’ve fleshed it out more. I do love the character of Ghost, however. He is just a really fun narrator, and I would always take more of him. This book is also fast paced, and while it might have been a negative for Camp Jupiter Confidential, it worked here. The book’s main topic is literally running, so why not make the book run alongside the reader as well. The side characters are also very enjoyable, and I would love to see more of them as well. Overall, this book is just a fun book to get rid of your stress. It gets a 7/10 and an A-.
Spy School British Invasion by Stuart Gibbs
Story: Ben Ripley has been a teenage spy for two years now, and is going through a mission that most veterans would fear. Ben and his peers have been given the task of destroying the world's biggest terrorist group once and for all. Is Ben scared? Of course he is! Is Ben ready? Who really knows?
Review: I started reading this series back in fifth grade(I am going to the eight grade now) and it never ceases to amaze me. This book serves as the “Endgame” of the series where they finally have the chance to take down the enemy. The narrator and hero of the book is written in such a relatable and unique way, that is always fun to read. The action sequences are always fun to imagine, and in this book most of all, we get to see the arks most of the characters have been through. Ben went from this middle school nerd who hated his gift of knowledge, who now uses his brain power to save the world. All of the side characters have been through pretty good arks too(but those go into spoiler zone). Now, earlier in this review I said that the action was really enjoyable. Well, I wish we could’ve gotten more of that, as the book focuses more on the drama than the actual “spy” plot. However, every single scene I was on the edge of my seat, and by the end, all I could be was grateful for this book’s existence. So this book gets a 9/10(with the series) and a 7/10(as a stand alone). I would give it an A+ as a stand alone and a A- as a stand alone.