Book Reviews

the perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Book

Book Cover 
I've been meaning to write a book review on this book since the beginning of January when I first read it, but I wanted to wait until the movie came out on iTunes. 

I just want to say... Wow. This is one of my favorite books in the world, right up there with Harry Potter. 

For me, there are three main reasons for this book's amazing-ness-

1) The Characters. The characters make the story. Don't they? The three main characters are Charlie, Sam, and Patrick "Nothing". In the beginning, Charlie is a quiet freshman with no friends except for an English teacher named Bill. Charlie has trouble fitting in, and no one really pays attention to him. Then he meets Sam and Patrick who are step siblings. They are wild and slightly insane, but very lovable. All of the characters are extremely life-like and so sad. 

2) The Psychology and Philosophy. the perks of being a wallflower seems like a really easy read (I read it in less than three days), but the book gets into some very deep topic like rape, suicide, drugs, drinking, and the question "what is considered socially acceptable?" One of my favorite parts was Patrick's story. Patrick is gay, and he is in love with a guy who pretends to be straight. His story shows the effects of society thinking that gays are socially unacceptable and "unnatural". the perks of being a wallflower isn't all bad though, Stephen Chbosky also discusses feeling "infinite", like nothing can stop you and time has stopped; true friendship and relationships, love, and when someone should or should not speak up. There are two quotes from the perks of being a wallflower that I love- "We accept the love we think we deserve" and "And in that moment, I swear we felt infinite." There was also one sentence that completely sums up the entire book- "So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be." 

3) How the story was told. The story is told through letters that Charlie writes to an anonymous Friend. In his first and last letters to the Friend, Charlie tells the reader that "she" said the Friend would understand. I always thought that the "she" might be Sam. If you've read the book, please tell me who you think "she" was. I really want to know. At first, I thought reading letters would bother me because I thought the who story would be a tell not show situation. Charlie (or rather, Stephen Chbosky) actually gets very descriptive and the story comes to life. If I was the person receiving Charlie's letters, I would feel very special. 

There is only one part that I didn't like about the book. Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention. Throughout the book Charlie keeps mentioning his friendship with his Aunt Helen who died in a car crash. He also says that he's getting "bad" again, but Charlie never outright says what "bad" is and why it is happening. This "bad" thing makes up the majority of the last few letters, too. I was very confused and I didn't get what "bad" was until I watched the movie. I mean, I knew there was something wrong with Charlie mentally, I just wasn't sure what or why. 

Despite my inability to understand the "bad", I would still give perks of being a wallflower-

Divergent By Veronica Roth

Setting: Future Dystopian Chicago

Main Characters:
Beatrice- Also know as Tris later in the book, she was raised in the Fraction Abnegation, the selfless.
Four- Known as Four because he only has four fears

Protagonist: Beatrice

A Little Need To Know: Dystopian Chicago is divided into five fractions each devoted to a certain virtue: Candor (Honesty), Abnegation (Selflessness), Dauntless (Bravery), Amity (Peacefulness), Erudite (Intelligence). When the children of the fractions turn sixteen, they choose a fraction to spend the rest of their lives with. Those who are rejected from the fractions (Fractionless) are put out on the streets and given the jobs no one wants.

Plot: Beatrice is sixteen. Her test results were inconclusive and she can choose from three fractions: Candor, Abnegation, and Dauntless. Candor is out of the question, she can lie to easily, but the other two aren't so easy. Will she stay with her beloved family, and be selfless for the rest of her life? Or will she become a brave Dauntless Soldier like the ones she's envied all her life? She makes a decision, one that will change her life forever.
During the deadly initiation that follows, Beatrice becomes Tris and tries to conform to the new life she's chosen. In a game where everyone will kill to win, Tris must watch her back. Not everyone is a friend when it comes to the Dauntless. Everyone has secrets, even Tris.

Writing and Final Words: Read this book. I mean it. It will capture your imagination and pull you in. I guarantee that you will not be able to put this book down until you finish it. Roth has a away with words that will put you in the same place as Tris. In a way you become Tris. I believe that is what makes a good book, a good book. Think about it. The best books pull you in and put you into the characters mind. You feel what they feel, you cry when they cry. The only thing I wish was different would be the final climax. It felt way to short and I would have love it if I was another 5-15 pages longer. Read it!

Picture From Goodreads

Delirium By Lauren Oliver

Setting: Future Dystopian Portland, Maine
"I believe that a life with out love is probably a life without pain, but I also believe that a life without pain is a life without happiness.  Therefore... life without love is a life without happiness."
-Lauren Oliver

Main Character:
Lena- A young girl who lives above and works in a Grocery

Plot: Lena is ninety-five days away from her operation. Ninety-five days and she will be safe from the disease forever. Ninety-five days and she will be safe from love. A lot can happen three months. 
Like everyone else she always believed that love was a disease. She always knew that she would be infected someday, somehow just like her mother and sister. Maybe she would jump off a building when they tried to operate on her, kill herself like her mother did, or escape to the wilds with the man she loved. Ninety-five days. She was counting down praying it would come faster. Until she met him. The boy with all the answers. She was infected. She didn't care.

On Writing: Despite my plot description that ended up sounding like some dramatized teenage girl wrote it, this is a really good book. Nice plot, amazing ending, great characters although at times Lena really should take some toughness pills and suck it up. I mean come on your secret boyfriend (Named Alex) who could potentially get you killed is not going to leave you. I mean seriously, come on! Alex will not leave you unless he is shot down and killed. It's a good book over all. Read it! =)

Picture from Goodreads
Once Upon an Idyll By Muse Lee

Setting: Present Day and Wagner's Ring, "...a world of dwarves, Valkyries, water spirits, and angry tribes."

Main Characters:
Mary- A young, nine year old girl who lives with her mother and sister in an apartment; has a love of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen.*
Danny- A new friend of Mary's, also age nine, who lives in a large house with his wealthy parents.
Wotan- King of the Gods, calls Mary and Danny into Wagner's Ring, is Mary's father.

Plot: Every Friday after school, Mary and her family visit the park. And every Friday she goes to the same tree to the same spot to listen to recording of songs from Der Ring des Nibelugen and look at pictures from a book about the opera. It is here that she meets Danny and tells him about Wagner and the opera. They are called in to Wagner's Ring by Wotan and meet Meme the dwarf. Meme, who apparently thinks he has been taking care of the children for a while, tells Danny he must slay the dragon, Fafner, who guards a magic ring. While sitting by a brook in the forest outside on Meme's cave, they meet Wotan. He tells Mary he is her father and she is a Valkyrie, the warrior daughters of Wotan. Wotan gives them a mission. Danny must kill Fafner the dragon and take the ring. He must travel with Mary to the river to return the ring to the water spirits from which it was stollen from. If they do not complete their quest it could spell disaster not only for them, but for the entire world.

Writing: This piece was well written, very original, and overall a great book. Raise you hand if you have ever read a story inspired and connecting with an opera? I know that I haven't until now. This book was a quick read. I probably finished it in a total of four hours or so. It was entertaining although I wish the characters would have been expanded a little more. You could tell by the use of language that Mary and Danny are eight years old. When I was reading it, I knew that Muse Lee had not just self-published it without major editing just to say "I have a book published". Lee put an awful amount of time and effort to make this book the best it could possibly be.

 *Sorry if I get any facts wrong in this. The closest thing to an opera that I've seen is Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert on DVD.

Good Writings!


Torchwood: Another Life
Peter Anghelides

  Can't get enough of Torchwood! It's so good! How good? So good! Let's face it. Anyone named Captain Jack Something is the best person ever. When I first started reading this, I went into it thinking no way will the book be better than the T.V. show. I was really wrong. The characters were strong and stayed true to the episode characters. They were witty, like usual which caused a good laugh every now and then.

Main Characters
Jack Harkness- A man who can never die
Gwen Cooper- The New Girl
Toshiko- The Techno Geek
Owen- The Doctor
Ianto- Coffee Boy (Save Ianto!)

These five people make up the Torchwood team. They hunt aliens and alien artifacts that fall through the rift, a crack in space and time running right through Cardiff.

Cardiff, present day

The book lived up to my expectations. It didn't ruin the T.V. show for me, the characters behaved the same as they did in the show, the plot had a nice grueling climax ending with a couple of nice deaths and a slightly shocked Gwen. The characters were realistic. I could really connect with Gwen and what she was feeling. I do wish that Captain Jack was included a bit more. The book was mostly written in third person, so it did jump from character to character, but rarely was it with Jack at all. There was a nice twist when I discovered that some chapters where written in second person using "you" instead of "I" or "John". It was a nice and neat change that most books don't contain. At first I thought I'd be bothered by it, but then I actually read it. When things are written in second person, I feel like it drags me deeper into the story. I feel as if I am actually there.


Click Here! For more on this book.

Torchwood: Border Princes By Dan Abnett

Torchwood: Border Princes
By Dan Abnett
From TARDIS Index File
I believe I started this book early July/ late June and I am just now finishing it. For me that is sad. This was one of those books that you did not really like nor did you love it. It was in between, a tweenie. Yes, that is a new word. A book that wasn't really good or really bad is now dubbed a tweenie.
With this book, just when you thought it was over and finished, the plot just kept going and going and going. A new character named James was added to the mix and I thought he was okay for the newbie one time character. As for the other characters, they needed some work done. I can't pinpoint exactly how, but they seemed different from the T.V. show as if Abnett was maybe trying to make them better or fit them into his style of writing. To me it didn't seem like the same Jack and Gwen I knew. Also, there wasn't a lot of Ianto action and he's one of the coolest characters there!

Rating: Three out of Five Stars

The River By Gary Paulsen
Brian is somewhat enjoying the time after his time in the wild. Things seemed to be getting back to normal after all the media stopped bugging him. For a while he feels normal again..... But, something is still bugging him. He can't walk through the park without hearing every single bird call and locating it. His mouth waters every time he smells food and he can't help missing the peace and quiet of the woods. Brian will get his chance to go back and this time its not against his will.
Nearly two years after he was rescued, three men from the Government Survival Agency (or something like that) come to his house and tell him "We want you to do it again." Brian says yes and is flown of to the middle of Canada with Derek Holtzer, a psychologist, who will take notes on how Brian survives the wilderness. When Derek is struck by lightning and put in a coma, Brian decides to build a raft and float almost 100 miles down river to an old trading post where there may or may not be people.
I recommend this book to anyone who has read Hatchet. It was a nice, short read, perfect for a cross-state car trip. I'd give it four stars any day.

The Host by Stephanie Meyer
This book begins with Melanie, one of the last remaining "wild humans" being captured by the Souls, a group of aliens that have invaded Earth and are controlling human bodies. Wanderer, a Soul, has herd of the complications of human hosts. Once Wanderer is inside, Melanie floods Wanderer's thoughts with images and memories of her brother, Jamie, and her love, Jared. After having enough, Melanie embarks on a journey to find these "wild humans" as well as Jared and Jamie. Throughout the journey, Wanderer and Melanie face near death experiences, a rude Seeker, and life changing experiences. I thought it was a really good book filled with adventure and emotion. I recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy/sci-fi or people who like love stories. Definitely worth at least 4 stars 

Heart of Valor by L.J. Smith

The sequel to the thrilling Night of the Solstice, The four Hodges-Bradley children are drawn back into the exciting mysteries of the magical world, the Wildword. As the great sorceress Morganna Shee is pulled away on a journey to face her enemy who escaped the Wildworld before the passage was shut, her young teenage apprentice, Janie Hodges-Bradley is left in charge of protecting her older sister, twin brother, and younger sister from the magical beings the evil Thia Pendriel has sent after them. After many twists and adventures, the children find themselves facing the enemy themselves, along with the Council of the Wildworld. I recommend this book to anyone with a love of magic and adventure. A definite 5 star book. 

By: Wendelin Van Draanen
Titile: Flipped
Pages: 212 Pages
Main Characters: Juli Baker and Bryce Loski
Setting: Late 1980s early 1990s, the school, Juli's home, Bryce's home

All that Bryce has ever wanted since he moved in second grade was for Juli Baker to leave him alone. The day he met her was the day they were moving into their new house. Juli had raced up their drive and started to try and help them move boxes. Bryce's father let him ditch her and go inside, but Juli caught his hand and held it. That's when she "fell in love" with him. A few years later, in seventh grade, Bryce's grandfather comes to live with him. After reading about Juli in the newspaper, she was trying to save this sycamore tree that she loves to climb, he talks about her with Bryce. The tree ended up getting taken down. Soon afterwards Juli starts bringing over chicken eggs, saying that the chickens she hatched for a science project were laying them. Bryce's family doesn't eat them because they don't want salmonella. Soon Juli finds out that Bryce has been throwing the eggs away without his parent's knowing. She gets really angry at him because she could have sold those eggs like she had the others. He points out that their yard is a mess and covered in chicken excrement. Juli tries to fix up her yard and Bryce makes plans to help her. When Bryce comes home from school, his grandfather is helping her. Bryce's mom invites the Bakers over for dinner. The whole time Juli is there she says less then ten words to Bryce. 
Bryce is voted a basket boy for the school auction. He is bid on by Shelly and Miranda. During the lunch the girls get in a fight, Bryce slips away and talks to Juli then tries to kiss her, but she runs away. After that Bryce won't leave Juli alone. One day, Juli looks out the window to see Bryce digging a hole in her yard. She watches his plant the sycamore tree and thinks that there is maybe more to him than she thought.       

 Four stars. I loved the well-written characters and the humor of the story. It would be a nice read for a cross-state car trip.

1984 by George Orwell

"War is Peace.
Freedom is Slavery.
Ignorance is Strength."

Or so 1984 states. 
1984 (Sparknotes) was a very intriguing and entertaining novel, that is if you like books that really make you think. Through 1984, George Orwell sends a strong message saying that if society allows for the government to take control and unify everything and if history is allowed to be rewritten, then the future of humankind lies within the pages of 1984. This message is sent through the story of Winston Smith, a man who chooses to defy the government and society to find out why. Winston is a middle aged man living in present day London. He works for the Party, the ruling government of the time. Everywhere he goes, he is constantly being watched by the government. Any wrong reaction or emotion could make him guilty of thoughtcrime, thinking rebellious thoughts. 

In the beginning of 1984, Winston is working for the Party in the Ministry of Truth where he alters historical documents everyday. He buys a diary where he begins to write down his thoughtcrimes and wonders why the world is the way it is. He doesn't understand the government's control of history: The Party will claim that the country has always been at war with one country, not another, but Winston can remember a time when there was war in a different country. Winston meets a girl named Julia who feels the same way about the Party. They begin an affair, which they both know will only end in death by the Party. 

If I could, I would recommend 1984 to every single person. I would recommend almost every book to everyone, though. 1984 is a very deep, hard read with pages of nothing but text and very little dialogue. Still, more people need to read this book and take a good, long look at the ideas and motifs discussed in the book. It is not necessarily the story the book contains that is important, but what the reader learns from the book. 

One last thing. I have Chapter One of a story up on Figment which is ready to be read. Thanks!

Happy Writings!

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