Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tolog Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why 
by Jay Asher
reviewed by Natalie Burnham 

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is an echoing book. As in, it has been echoing in my head since the day I picked it up. Thirteen Reasons Why is a book that’s going down in my all-time favorite book list. The creepy tale follows a teenaged Clay Jensen as he receives tapes from Hannah Baker, explaining the reasons behind her suicide. 

This book will forever stay with me. I read it in a quick three days, but reread it after that a few times, just to let everything set in. It’s such a powerful theme-suicide, and the reasons behind it- but told in an unconventional way. The story doesn’t follow Hannah, as most suicide stories seem to do, but follows Clay. In a sense, the reader does see into Hannah’s mind, knowing her thoughts and ideas, but the reader looks through Clay’s mind, getting to see his reactions and thoughts about what Hannah talks about. The story isn’t predictable, and breaks down the barriers that rumors are everything. Hannah’s life completely changes because of rumors, and the reader sees what rumors can really do to people.

The only thing I could think while reading this book was “wow.” It’s so interesting, and kept me captivated. I couldn’t put it down! I would recommend this book to absolutely everyone, especially if you like books that are on the creepier side. If you like books that are about teenagers, and the problems they face, definitely read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

Tolog Review: My Sister's Keeper

My Sister's Keeper
by Jodi Picoult
reviewed by Natalie Burnham

I never imagined that I would like books about cancer. My grandfather died from cancer, and my other grandfather and grandmother both have cancer, I assumed it wouldn’t quite be for me, as there were too many connections for me to handle. However, after reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, I was inspired to read more. So, I began My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult as a way to read more about cancer and people dealing with cancer. 

I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into. I knew there was a movie that was supposed to be great, but I had no clue that I would cry through about half of the novel, or feel so connected to any of the characters. The story, told through multiple points of view, follows a girl as she files a lawsuit against her parents. Anna Fitzgerald is a young girl whose body and blood is being used to help her sister in her battle against leukemia, but the donations are against Anna’s will. 

I think what I liked most about this book was how relatable the characters were. Whether it is Anna, and how sometimes we just want to get away from people and how controlling they can be. Whether it is Jesse, and how sometimes we need a way out and a way to feel noticed. Whether it is Julia, and how sometimes we can dwell on the past and not live in the now. Or whether it is Sara Fitzgerald, and how sometimes there is a fine line between what is actually right and what is right for us. All of the characters I felt a strong connection to, and I felt like that was a real way to get into the book.

What I didn’t like about the book, however, was Sara Fitzgerald. Mother of Jesse, Kate, and Anna, she was a central point in Anna’s case and she was also a mother who didn’t seem to care about neither Jesse nor Anna. Although Kate was sick and dying, Sara never noticed Anna or Jesse and seemed to have all her attention on Kate. I can understand why this is, as she was probably afraid that she would lose Kate physically, but what I don’t understand is that by only paying attention to Kate, she was losing her other two children.
I recommend this book to everyone. Although heart wrenching, this book is something everyone can connect to. If you like books such as The Fault in Our Stars, you’ll like My Sister’s Keeper. I think it’s just a book that anyone would enjoy, and I definitely recommend this book to anyone.  

Tolog Review: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
reviewed by Nancy Zhao 

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a novel written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. The second I finished reading the first page of the book I thought this was the most horrible book I have ever read. I hated the setting, the words, the characters and almost everything about the book.

The complicated love story all started when Nick asked Norah to be his ‘girlfriend’ for five minutes. Nick is trying to avoid his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend he just spotted after his band performance. After the short five-minute relationship, they went on an all-nighter around New York. They snuck in private concerts and parties, shared their deepest secrets and created an expressive connection. Soon, they got to know each other more and Nick found out that Norah is actually surprisingly interesting person instead of this ordinary schoolgirl. Even though their personalities are entirely the opposite, they still worked really well with each other. Nick, an extremely sensitive musician and just cannot get over his past relationship and Norah, a person who goes by all the rules but tough private-school girl.

Through out the story, they had happy times and tough times. During the difficult times, they were there for each other and went through it together. Soon I understood the book was not just a vague love story but two people could connect with each other. They related with their passion in music and finding humor in everything. In the end, I would change my first impression of this book but I still would not say this is the best book. This is a book that many of us can relate to, to the random concerns on first dates and butterflies building up in our stomachs. This book is not the typical love story where they just fall in love, I think that this book is all about the process of them noticing that they are falling in deeper and deeper. This book is written in a very strong narrative with each chapter of someone else’s point of view. I enjoyed this book because I though it was helpful for the reader to know what each of the characters are thinking.

Tolog Review: Eleanor and Park

Eleanor and Park
by Rainbow Rowell
reviewed by Morgan Sarno

Set in 1986, Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park is a unique love story of a very unique and unlikely couple. 

Tenth grader Park Sheridan doesn’t know what to think when he sees the mess of a red head girl Eleanor Douglas for the first time on his bus. With her wild, pieced together outfit, messy hair, and chubby figure, he knows she will be a target for bullying from his friends. It was a known rule on the bus that once you had a seat, you shared it with no one for the rest of the school year, but out of necessity rather than kindness, for there were no more seats left and this ‘weird girl’ had to sit somewhere, Park lets Eleanor sit with him. Through sharing comics, mix tapes, and conversation, Eleanor and Park grow closer and open up about their very different family lives. 

Eleanor’s mother divorced her good for nothing first husband and got remarried to Richie, who doesn’t have the best reputation in the neighborhood. After being kicked out, Eleanor moves back in with her family, including four little brothers and sisters, to Richie’s tiny house in the uneventful town of Omaha, Nebraska. Richie is an alcoholic and is abusive to Eleanor and her mother both verbally and physically. Eleanor’s mom is too scared to leave him and makes due with the little money they receive.

Park’s family on the other hand is the picture of perfect. His kind and accepting parents are what Eleanor has dreamed of. They treat her like she is their own daughter. However, Park has his own struggles of living up to his father’s expectations of how his son should dress and act.

Though this book seems like an typical teen love story, it takes a turn into a suspenseful mystery. Someone had been leaving mean notes on Eleanor’s books and Park was determined to find the culprit. Ultimately the story ends in a completely unexpected and heart wrenching twist.

While this book does deal with heavy topics such as abusive relationships, bullying, and not fitting in, Eleanor and Park is surprisingly light hearted and made me laugh throughout the book. I feel like the issues Eleanor and Park face are relevant and relatable to issues teens have today. I loved this book and it is now my all time favorite. I highly recommend it to anyone.

Tolog Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher 
reviewed by Morgan Close

When you hear the words, "thirteen reasons why", what do you think? Do you think that it is about thirteen reasons why someone got married or why someone did something that they needed to explain? Did you ever think it would be about a teenage girl trying to tell thirteen reasons why she committed suicide? I didn’t have any idea until I started reading this book. I was so hooked on this book on just the first few pages, I had no idea how great a book about a horrible event that happened to a young girl. 

One day at my mom’s office one of the patients was reading Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher, she was saying that it was a great book with a exciting plot. I completely agree with what she said. The book had a strong moral and the stories of the characters added to the plot. 

This story is about a girl who recorded seven tapes with thirteen stories on them. Hannah Baker, a normal teenage girl, took pills to commit suicide. She thought that she had some very good reasons why she did what she did. On the tapes Hannah recorded twelve reasons, events, and people that lead to her decision to kill herself. The other recording was an apology to the main character, Clay. 

Clay was the main character of the story. He was the one who listened to the recordings and we heard his thoughts about the girl her loved killing herself. We got to know Hannah through the eyes and ears of Clay.
I was very glad I got to read this wonderful book. It helped me understand how mean high school girls can be. It can be extremely sad to hear what drives a girl to drive to kill herself. 

Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher was a very well thought out book. It has an amazing plot, which consists of Clay’s thoughts and feelings, as well as, people he interacts with, and the recordings that Hannah say before she died. I commend Jay on his amazing work. 

Tolog Review: Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska 
by John Green 
reviewed by Morgan Close

In Looking For Alaska the main character Miles, also known as Pudge, goes to a boarding school, Clever Creek, in Alabama. In Alabama he meets these crazy drunk teenagers who are always drinking. But these friends, Alaska, Colonel, Takumi, and Lara, change Pudge’s world, for good and bad. His roommate, the Colonel, changes and brings out the rebel, boy teenager out of him. Pudge gets into trouble with his new friends because he is drinking and smoking. He is also was caught pranking for fun and to avenge a friend. 

Pudge falls in love with his good friend Alaska, a girl who is a recipe for trouble. She is always smoking and drunk, which brings her into a lot of trouble. Something horrible happens to her, which then changes the whole story. After Alaska’s horrific accident Pudge and his friends try to find out what and how it happened. They spend day and night trying to uncover the mystery of Alaska’s death. 

“How will you get out of this labyrinth of suffering?” (Green) is a question that is brought up through out the story. I thought about this question as well. Green brought this question up in his story, and as Alaska thought hard about this question looking for an answer. Pudge and his other friends also worked very hard on trying to answer this question as well. This question I thought was important to everyone. It is questioning how you will die, but also how you life your life. 

John Green took so many elements of young adult life, smocking and drinking, and shows what can happen if you aren’t careful. This story truly is a wonderful story. You are transported into the story. You are a friend of Pudge’s. You feel what the characters feel. I would love to be transported into this story any day.