Homegoing

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

I am reviewing the book called Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. This book was really good. At first I was reading it for an assignment that my teacher gave me but after I started reading the first two chapters I was just so into it I would read it in my classes when it’s not even time to read and my teachers would get mad at me. But it’s basically about two half-sisters from different tribes in Ghana and they’re separated. One became a slave and the other went with the white people to live with them in their castle. And the book is about them coming together as complete opposites.

Every chapter in the book was a generation and they would go down that line and the half-sisters and their families would take turns telling their story. And then a new generation comes and generation after generation after generation they finally meet each other. And it’s just about how they reconnect and it’s such a beautiful moment when they do meet at the end of the book because you’re reading the whole story to find out how it finally ends and it’s a great book! I recommend it to literally anyone who’s interested in African American literature or family or meeting, coming together and being together. Middle schoolers, yeah, anybody can read this book – it’s an awesome book!

Reviewed by: Suhera – 17 years old

Find Homegoing at the library.

The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (DVD, 2000) w/Insert Rare, OOP

I’m going to review Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Ugh such a good movie. It is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. I just rewatched it recently. It’s an Australian road trip movie with three drag queens travelling from Sydney to Alice Springs, which is very much across a desert, like from the right side of Australia all the way to the middle. And it’s about the troubles they encounter, like homophobia, but they also find friends too. And then in an after credits scene — I didn’t know about it but I was like, huh, I wonder if there is and there is one. So earlier in the film they were flying a kite with a blowup sexdoll on it… that basically tells you what kind of movie this is. Definitely not for little kids. I’d recommend it for like eighth graders or up. Yeah. So, the after credit scene is the doll just landing in some monastery somewhere. That’s amazing! Like because they released the kite. So silly… Spoilers! It’s a comedy but it also has some rough moments like serious moments. One of the best movies you’ve ever seen.

Reviewed by: Henry – 15 years old

Steampunk

Steampunk! This is an anthology of steampunk stories that are fun and interesting. Some of them are pretty sad. I don’t even really remember if I finished the book but what I did read was really good and each presents its own really interesting world. One story was about a group of thieves who were all women that were trying to steal from a carriage company – like a railroad – and it was all about them trying to pull off a heist with a fancy new gadget. It doesn’t go well for them. And then there’s another one that is about this orphanage that takes in all the kids that were maimed by machinery while doing child labor. The story is about them accidentally killing the corrupt horrible caretaker and secretly replacing him – the kids take over – without the government knowing and using the money for themselves. 

Reviewed by: Oscar – 18 years old

Find Steampunk at the library.

The Dawn Wall

Book Jacket for: Dawn Wall

I am reviewing a documentary called The Dawn Wall which is about this one kid who was really into rock climbing in Yosemite with his dad. As a kid he was doing crazy, crazy climbs and then he entered an “anyone can enter” competition and won it! And they let him compete in the world’s which was the next day at the same place even though he was only a 14 year old against all these adults. It’s the hardest climbing competition and he wins that and basically becomes one of the best rock climbers in the world even though he’s never competed! I don’t think he’d ever climbed on a wall, real rocks in Yosemite. And then he becomes quite popular and does a lot of climbing.

He ends up getting invited on this trip to Kyrgyzstan with his girlfriend who is also his friend and climbing partner. And they go there and while they’re climbing these crazy mountains, in the middle of the night one night they are on a wall and hear a gun shot. And they start seeing bullets hitting the rocks around them. So they climb down and are kidnapped by Kyrgyzstani rebels. They are taken on a long march. There are firefights with the Kyrgyzstani military, they are stuffed in holes during the day so that they are not found and they walk all night. They haven’t eaten. Tommy ends up pushing the last of their kidnappers who are with them off a cliff and now they are all alone in the middle of Kyrgyzstan without food for 8 days and have to find their way to safety. They finally find a Kyrgyzstani military base and are brought back to the United States. There’s all this media attention and they become famous. But he’s still traumatized by having killed his kidnapper.

Eventually Tommy and his girlfriend get married and they do a bunch of climbing. He summits all of these really hard climbs in Yosemite that most professional rock climbers can only attempt one of. Eventually his wife leaves him and Tommy decides to climb the hardest face of El Capitan that has never been climbed before. He spent 7 or 8 years planning the route, climbing different parts, looking through things and every year trainings. And eventually he does it with a climbing partner and it takes like two weeks. They are on the wall the whole time – eating and sleeping and doing everything on the wall until they finally get to the top. And there are all these people watching below, watching them climb, and there’s really good camera footage of them on the wall.

I don’t really like climbing or climbing stories because my cousin’s really into climbing and I once watched a really scary climbing movie with her (Free Solo) so I wasn’t really too excited. But ended up being really cool because it wasn’t just about “oh he climbed this really cool wall.” It was about his whole crazy life and his personal journey and I would recommend it to anyone who’s interested in the outdoors or adventures or crazy lives.

Reviewed by: Sam – 15 years old

Find The Dawn Wall at the library.

The Secret Zoo

Book Jacket for: The secret zoo

The Secret Zoo is a book about a brother and sister who live next door to the zoo. And they are in their house and the sister sees lots of weird stuff and tells her brother but he doesn’t believe her. One day she goes out and sees it and goes back in to get him to come out, but there’s nothing there. But later that day she went missing and her brother goes on a journey to try to find her. He gets clues from some animals and the animals talk and it’s really weird. At the end he does find her, with the help of a penguin and a polar bear. I liked that this book is an adventure and I love animals. I would actually recommend to to everyone because it’s a kid’s book but older people can still enjoy the adventure.

Reviewed by: Mya – 12 years old

Find The Secret Zoo at the library.

We Beat the Streets

WE BEAT THE STREETS BOOK | BEAT THE STREETS

The book I’m reviewing is We Beat The Street and it’s a very good book. It’s a true story about these three young kids and they have known each other a really, really long time. They made a pact that all three of them will make it to college and become doctors. I liked it because it actually encouraged me to think outside. Instead of playing video games every day I feel like finding a way of being what I want to do when I grow up. I recommend it to teens because there’s some blood and gore on the streets, violence and what not. You should read it!

Reviewed by: Josh – 13 years old

Milkweed

Book Jacket for: Milkweed : a novel

Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli is a historical fiction book about a Gypsy kid in Poland. He is assumed to be a Jew and hangs out with Jews and has Jewish friends. He meets the love of his life, Janina, while they are living in the same house with a lot of family members. Eventually they have to leave the place, but while they are there, Misha and Janina would sneak out into the other people’s side. They would go to where the Jackboots – or Nazis – as they’re called are and steal food from them. It was fun and games, but also it had the realism of being grave danger. It is kind of cheerful a little bit, but not too much. It is a good book with an overall melancholy feeling.

Reviewed by: Jonathan – 14 years old

Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun

nozakikun

Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun is my favorite comedy of all time. Pretty much every page makes me laugh. It’s about a high school manga artist and his friends and their trips on writing manga and coming up with ideas for manga. It’s kind of absurdist and each chapter starts out relatively normal but as they go on they get more ridiculous. There’s one early chapter where they’re trying to get around a law that says you can’t show illegal things in romance manga. For instance, it’s illegal to ride two people on one bicycle and they’re trying to get around that law while writing a bicycle scene. So they try experimenting in real life and see a tandem bicycle and decide “hey, let’s try this!” And they try it and it obviously doesn’t work but he eventually tries submitting it to his editor who tells him: that’s stupid, try again. And eventually he ends up doing that thing where they walk the bicycle in the scene. And there is a girl that likes him but he doesn’t know (he’s completely oblivious). And after all that she gets the tandem bicycle and is really excited because of the reactions everyone has to the manga. But no one else knows that it’s Nozaki-kun or anyone else that works on the manga. He tried telling his classmates but they just didn’t believe him since he writes super romantic shojo but is a completely oblivious guy.

Anyway, there are ten volumes so far and I’m sure there’s more coming. All the characters are great and I would recommend it to anyone who likes comedy and manga and romance.

Reviewed by OB – 11th grade

Find Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun at the library.

The Grinch

grinch

So basically there’s a green monster-ish thing and they say it dropped from bird and basically it lands in front of the house of these two sisters and they raise it like it’s their child. But everyone laughs at him and he gets super sad and so when he grows up he goes into this ice hill. He hates Christmas because he has traumatic childhood memories of it. But then someone comes and knocks on his door and he gets super mad at that person and then they force him to come down the hill. And then something happens and another thing happens and it has a happy ending. (No spoilers!) I recommend this to little kids and goofy grown ups…people who like happy endings.

Reviewed by R.H. – 6th grade

Find The Grinch at the library.

Scythe

scythe

H.S.: This book is amazing. It is a future where people can not die. They grow old but then there are machines that revert them to any age that they want. And when they get thrown off a building or hit by a car they are basically reborn. But there are scythes who basically regulate the amount of people in the world. Because otherwise overpopulation and so basically they just go around killing people and they have a quota. But there are different ways to kill people. You could poison them. You could kill them however way you want. It’s up to the scythes to choose. If I were a scythe, I could electrocute you to death. Or I could just rip out your organs. So basically the book is about two younger people who are taken in as apprentice scythes. But a scythe can only have one apprentice so eventually there’s a big thing.

Zoe: The world in this book is a dystopia disguised as a “utopia.” H.S. would you want to live in the Scythe?

HS: I totally would!

Zoe: Because the odds of being scythed are really low. But it would be terrifying being chosen. Can you imagine living forever/ And also there are so many ways you could die.

HS: The scythe could be just be like: “Hey, bear claws!

It’s very good. It is not scary. It is kind of intense I guess, but I wouldn’t say scary – not suspenseful and not gory. It’s a dystopian future book and I would recommend it to fans of The Giver like 13 and up.

Reviewed by HS – 10th grade and Zoe – 9th grade

Find Scythe at the library.