June 2020 Book Reviews By: Nitya Nadella Book: Rebel (4th Book in Legend Series) Author: Marie Lu Review: Rebel picks up ten years later from the previous book Champion and continues to tell the story of a boy named Day who, a decade ago, led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. But, all that matters to him now is keeping his brother Eden safe, even if that means giving up June―the love of his life. In Ross City, Antarctica, Eden has been living in Day’s shadow for years and as the two brothers struggle to accept who they’ve become, Eden finds himself drawn into Ross City’s dark side. This book is written from the perspectives of Day and Eden instead of Day and June, like the previous books. The change in perspective was a great way to learn more about Eden because we’ve known about him up until now is what we’ve learned from Day. Also, the main antagonist of this story is phenomenally written. I loved exploring the backstory and motivations behind his misdeeds, and how it all relates to Eden and Day. Finally, I loved the moments between Eden and Day, Day and June, as well as Eden and his best friend. They display bonds of brotherhood, friendship, and romance and moreover, the readers get to see what’s been going on with some beloved characters from the series and what’s changed in the past ten years. Overall, I would say this book lived up to my expectations and I really enjoyed reading it, seeing the character development and visiting both old and new characters. Book: Coin Heist (Standalone Novel) Author: Elisa Ludwig Review: Coin Heist introduces us to four characters that are unlikely to be friends under normal circumstances. Unfortunately for our main characters Alice, Dakota, Benny, and Jason, their headmaster has gambled away all the school's money and now it’s up to them to save their school from shutting down next year. The novel is told from four different perspectives (Alice, Dakota, Benny, and Jason) as they plot to save their school by robbing the U.S. Mint. Each character has their own reason for wanting to save the school as well as their own skill set to help pull off the heist. The voices of the characters are distinctive, so even though the story is told from four separate perspectives, it never gets confusing. This story in a word was fun and super engaging as the plot unfolds. Coin Heist plays with some common elements of heist novels but adds in a few twists of its own. It also addresses the moral dilemma and the ethical dilemma the characters face in a way most young adult novels don’t. The thing I enjoyed most about this story was the characters, and the fact that you got to read from each person's perspective. It was nice to know everyone's story, and also what they assumed about other characters based on stereotypes. One thing I wish the author would’ve done is tie up some loose ends about each character's personal life at the end. Overall, I’d say this book is a perfect summer read. Book: The Hidden Oracle (1st Book in Trials of Apollo Series) Author: Rick Riordan Review: The Hidden Oracle is the first book in The Trials of Apollo series and is set in contemporary New York. It follows the god Apollo as he is turned into a human teenager as a punishment from Zeus and goes on a quest to earn back Zeus’s favor. The Trials of Apollo series is a spin-off of the Percy Jackson series and the Olympians series. However, you don’t have to read the previous two series in order to understand this book. One of our main protagonists in this story, Apollo, is someone who remembers what it was like to be divine but has forgotten so much because he has been turned into a teenage mortal. He has lost a great deal of his abilities and powers as well as his memories. This is a huge character builder for Apollo, who feels entitled but actually has very little power as he’s bound to Meg, the other protagonist, and must obey her commands. Throughout the novel, Apollo grows and changes as a character, evolving from a self-centered god in a human body to a sympathetic figure, friend, and father. Meg, our other main character, has a complicated past and is unique from the other demigod protagonists we’ve seen in the past. However, she becomes a very likable character as the novel progresses and we get to know more about her. Overall, I highly enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read the sequel and see what happens next with Meg and Apollo. Book: The Silence of Six (1st Book in SOS Series) Author: E.C. Myers Review: The Silence of Six follows the journey of a former hacker named Max Stein. Just before the U.S. presidential election, the candidates are debating at his high school and Max’s best friend, Evan, makes a horrifying video appearance during the Q&A session in which he challenges the candidates to answer “What is the silence of six, and what are you going to do about it?” and then shoots himself. Haunted by the image of Evan’s death, Max soon finds himself the target of a corporate-government witch-hunt since the last message that Evan sent was addressed to him. Now, he has to dust off his own hacking skills and hope to find the truth behind the “Silence of Six” before it’s too late. Firstly, I really enjoyed reading this book as it was a fast-paced storyline with just the right amount of suspense. The characters were unique and it was very interesting to see their development throughout the story. I could also tell that the friendship between Evan and Max was a genuine one, and was interested to read about how they hacked together but later drifted apart. Although Evan never truly made an appearance in the story, his presence was not to be missed. Throughout the story, I learned more and more about him through the perspectives of the other living characters. Overall, this is a great thriller that I think would appeal to a lot of readers, especially those who are well-informed on technology and computer knowledge. Book: The Institute (Standalone Novel) Author: Stephen King Review: The Institute begins in the middle of the night, when intruders murder Luke’s parents and kidnap Luke. He then wakes up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, but with no way out. There are also other kids with special talents, such as telekinesis and telepathy, who got to this place the same way Luke did. In this place, the staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting these children’s extranormal gifts. If you go along, you get a reward. If you don’t, the punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to the back half of The Institute, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out. However, no one has ever escaped from the Institute before. Another character explored in this novel is Tim, an ex-cop. Although at first he seems stereotypical, his character has depth, thoughtfulness and a quick intelligence that sets him apart. The bulk of the story, however, takes place in the sinister Institute itself, and from the perspective of Luke Ellis. It is also very interesting to see how these two character’s stories intertwine towards the end of the novel. The Institute isn’t overly violent, as some of King’s books can tend to be. In many ways, it relies on the idea that children, when connected, are a powerful insurrectionary force. Overall, although this is my first time reading one of Stephen King’s books, I thoroughly enjoyed this one and look forward to reading more of his books in the future.