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Ashley’s Summer Book Reviews!
Ashley Sutherland /  Fri, 23 Sep 2022

BURN by Patrick Ness

I picked up Burn one day in an Indigo, intrigued by the mystical cover and the fact it was historical fiction, one of my favorite genres. Let me paint you a picture: A young African- American girl in the midst of the cold war, living on a small farm in Washington. It's a casual, accurate life for the time, except for one thing: Dragons exist, and they always have.

It's an interesting idea, so interesting that I purchased it quickly and read it dutifully. Here are my thoughts.

First, I would like to look at the positives of this book. It's a very adventurous, risky plot, with tons of different plotlines and twists in the road. I felt hooked onto every page, being dragged through a realistic and emotional journey. The characters are believable and easy to love. The story also touches on some very deep topics such as racism, sexism and homophobia, things that were all very prevalent in the setting of the book. Burn has the potential to become an amazing series; however, some things felt very rushed.

The author had tons of good ideas for his story, but he didn’t take his time to spread them out and explain them fully. The end of the book was a bomb of information, exploding in your brain until you feel the need to put the book down. I prefer a book that lays out the facts in a way that is easier to understand. Finally, the book ends leaving readers craving more character development. Perhaps a change in a character's perspective or behavior after so many things happen to them over the course of the story?

In the end, this book is a solid 6/10. It has excellent characters, a good plot, and overall talented writing. I would suggest it as a book to read at night or while bored!

Life Of Pi by: Yann Martel

My mother handed me this classic novel before I went to camp. The plot interested me, and I had heard nothing but positive things about Life Of Pi. Soon, I found myself spending all my free time devouring it from page to page, entranced by the pure and believable writing that took a far fetched tale and laid it out beautifully.

Life Of Pi is a book that you can read over and over again, discovering something new every time. You get a glimpse into the life of a man named Pi Patel, from his young childhood to his elderly years. When he was 16, Pi was involved in a terrible boat accident while transporting his family's zoo animals across the sea. He was left abandoned on a lifeboat with creatures such as an orangutan, a hyena, a zebra, and most notably, a tiger named Richard Parker. Every chapter teaches me something new; A collection of ideas crafted beautifully into an incredible story. I loved this novel, but I would not recommend it for someone with a short attention span.

I felt at the beginning the author spent many pages on details that didn’t move the plot forward, or really grasp my attention. Some people can read those chapters and appreciate it, but others may struggle holding their interest in the book, and that is completely normal. This novel is written to be read piece by piece, and appreciated deeply.

My final rating for this book is an 8/10. I loved the story and thought about it for weeks afterward. I strongly suggest reading the book in fragments and waiting until the end. It will give you a whole new perspective on the novel. I would suggest it for places where you have time to sit down and pay attention to the book!

The Book Thief by: Marcus Zusak

I purchased this book a while ago but never got around to reading it until this summer. I was hooked on the first page. The Book Thief tells the story of a young girl during World War II. After her mother was forced to give her up, and her brother died, she moved into a small, humble German household. There are moments in this story that will make you smile, and moments that will make you put down the book and cry (the perfect mix). I have only positive feelings about this book!

First of all, the story is incredible. Every chapter moves the plot along, with an abundance of twists and turns. Also, every character is deep and believable. The flow of dialogue and description is always natural. Finally, Zusak’s writing is absolutely incredible. Every paragraph has a gem, a sentence you read over and over, enthralled by its beauty. When the writing in a novel is as descriptive and layered as this, it captures me in a trance. Readers really, truly feel as though they were dropped in the middle of a room with the characters.

I remember when I finished the book. I was at camp, surrounded by people playing the guitar and singing. A single teardrop escaped my eye, I wiped it away and held the book to my chest. If you ever experience The Book Thief yourself, you will understand.

My overall rating for this book is 9.5/10. Currently it is my favorite, and I don't know if that will ever change!