July 2020 Book Reviews
By: Nitya Nadella
Book: Pretty Little Liars (1st Book in Pretty Little Liars Series)
Author: Sara Shepard
Pretty Little Liars begins with a flashback from three years ago when a girl named Alison disappears after a slumber party and isn't seen again. Her four best friends mourn her, but also are relieved since each of them guarded a secret that only Alison had known. Three years later, Alison has still not been found and the four girls are no longer best friends. But, when each of them begins to receive anonymous messages about their deepest secrets, they start to panic. Now, these girls have to figure out the identity of the person who is sending these messages. Are their friends betraying them? Is Alison back?
This story was a very fun and suspenseful read as the plot unfolded. Firstly, I liked the writing style as it focused on one character at a time. The focus on each character separately made the story very easy to follow along with, especially since there are four different characters being explored. I also liked the main storyline about the mystery of who the anonymous person, “A”, really is. Throughout the story, I was very compelled to keep reading and trying to guess what would happen next. My only complaint is that I wish the book covered more ground, because compared to the TV show based off this book series, everything that happened in this book was just the first episode in the TV show. Overall, this was a great contemporary mystery and I am looking forward to reading the next book.
Book: One of Us is Next (2nd Book in One of Us is Lying Series)
Author: Karen McManus
Last year at Bayview High, a student named Simon created a gossip app where he posted juicy gossip on his fellow classmates. But, one day in detention along with four other people he had planned to release secrets on, he never came out alive. After his death—which was no accident—many copycat gossip apps popped up, but one stood out. It was a game of truth or dare and if you didn’t do the dare, a horrific life-ruining secret about you would be revealed. The dares soon become deadly, and a new group of students must team up and figure out who is behind this.
Firstly, we have three narrators: Phoebe, Maeve, and Knox. All of them have really complex lives and they become tightly woven together as they unravel the mystery of who’s behind this game of truth or dare. At first, it was difficult to remember all the minor characters since every main character had a huge circle of people in their lives. But once you remember all the characters, the story is easier to follow along with. Secondly, the main plot of this story is extremely well-written and suspenseful throughout. Compared to the first book, this one is more character-centric, but it allows for you to relate with the characters more and be able to understand why they took the decisions they did. Overall, this story was intricately amazing with all the characters that were tied in and I can’t wait to read more books by this author.
Book: The Dark Prophecy (2nd Book in Trials of Apollo Series)
Author: Rick Riordan
The Dark Prophecy is the second book in The Trials of Apollo series and continues to follow the god Apollo’s journey as he goes on a quest to earn his immortality back. After discovering the Grove of Dodona, which is a grove of ancient prophetic trees, Apollo receives a prophecy instructing him to go to Indiana in search of another oracle. Before he departs, an acquaintance of Apollo’s, Leo Valdez, returns after being gone for many months. When Apollo fills him in on what has happened over the past few months, he volunteers to fly to Indiana with him and help complete the quest.
This book was a nice, easy, and long read with lots of action. The fact that the story is written in a first person point of view makes it really entertaining to read because of all the humorous jokes and references that are incorporated into the writing, as many books written by Riordan are. Also, having Apollo as the narrator allows for people to relate to what it feels like to want to be the best of the best. This story also incorporates the theme that people always have something they are hiding, whether you know it or not. The main storyline is also filled with many unexpected twists and keeps the reader wondering what will happen next. Overall, this is a great book that would appeal to readers who like fast-paced and suspenseful action books as well as readers who are interested in mythology fiction.
Book: Killing November (1st Book in Killing November Series)
Author: Adriana Mather
November had a pretty simple life until the day when, out of nowhere, she mysteriously wakes up at Academy Absconditi. She has no idea where this school is located and when she starts taking classes like knife-throwing and poisons, she starts putting two and two together that this school is home to some of the world’s most dangerous spies and assassins. As students start dying, however, November realizes that she might be next. Now she must figure out why she is at this school by learning the truth about her family and their secrets.
November is our main character and her backstory and personality is very interesting. She is outgoing and asks questions all the time. She doesn’t fit in at her new school right away but she never stops to try. In this story, it is also evident that November’s family kept a lot of secrets from her and it was fun unraveling them throughout the story. Another thing I loved about this book was the interesting school system. The school takes “an eye for an eye” rather seriously, so when they think November is the prime subject after a student dies, things get interesting. As for the main mystery, the details that the author included that pointed to the killer as well as the final reveal on who the killer is was done in a very creative way and kept the readers guessing until the end. Overall, this was a rather elaborate mystery that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
Book: Hunting November (2nd Book in Killing November Series)
Author: Adriana Mather
After surviving a crash course in espionage at the mysterious Academy Absconditi, November has only one purpose: finding her missing father. She follows the clues that her father left, embarking on the deadliest journey of her life. The first clue is in her hometown, where she finds old friends and unexpected enemies. The second clue is in Europe, where revelations about her family's history are revealed. The third clue is in enemy territory, where everyone wants her and her father dead. Now it’s all up to November to use these three clues and save her father from their many enemies.
The sequel picks up right where the first book ends. November is still at the academy as she navigates family politics and tries to make a plan to find her missing father. Throughout this book, November always steps up to the various challenges she faces, no matter how dangerous they are. I loved how her friendship circle really grew in this book giving way to lots of dynamics including some people that were briefly seen in the first book. I really enjoyed the new settings they encounter while following the clues her father left. This book also brings in new and possibly unreliable characters that upped the ante. Hunting November does what every good sequel is supposed to do. It heightened the characters and danger while drawing the reader in to a closer look at their world and relationships. Overall, this book was a suspenseful but fun sequel to read.