Sunday, March 5, 2017

Classroom Favorite Reads


Milk and Honey
By Rupi Kaur
Short Summary: Milk and Honey is a string of poems that detail the author’s life, through her hurting, loving, breaking, and healing. The book covers many topics including feminism, race equality, and domestic violence. It is vastly personally written with so much emotion it’s almost like the tears of Kaur are stained on the pages.

Characters: There is one, maybe two characters in this set of poems. The main character being the author and the possible count of a second character being the nameless man that is frequently spoken of throughout the story. The main character, or Rupi Kaur, holds a very strong voice from beginning to end. Even during the moments of loss, there is a sense of togetherness and grit that shines through all of the agony and dismay. Kaur’s character sets a good example to all of her readers to stay yourself even through the most difficult times because it comes in handy at the end of the storyline.

Theme: I believe Rupi Kaur’s main purpose of writing this book of poetry was to not only show other people her life, but to teach them of the dangers of harmful relationships and their physical and emotional damage. She wants to vividly paint how every woman, no matter size, color, sexual preference, etc., is welcomed and celebrated, which she does with not just her illustrations, but her words. Above all else, her message is meant to make the reader feel loved and important while explaining her life struggles.

Favorite Quotation: In the ‘breaking’ portion of Kaur’s book, she begins to discuss the pain that comes with leaving a loved relationship, regardless of its dangers. Even after saying how much she misses, yet despises him, she says, “More than anything I want to save you from myself.” This is my favorite quotation because I believe this is the part of the book where she finally realizes she had made the right decision. Although it is a given that pain will still follow this epiphany, it gives both the author and the reader hope of resolution and happiness.

Why is it important to read diverse books?: It is so extremely important to read diverse books because without them you know nothing but yourself. Beyond the few good friends you make throughout your life, books are your only opportunity to finally see what it’s like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Without learning of diversity, especially at a young age, you lack a basic skill of empathy and compassion. It is vital to learn of other cultures and religions and races and everything in order to avoid building your relationships and yourself on ignorance.

Review by: Mia O.
Published by: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Released on: November 4, 2014
Genre: Poetry

New to Our Shelves!


Holding Up the Universe
By Jennifer Niven
Libby Strout was ready. Ready for dancing, ready to face the world, and most importantly, ready to be in contact with the very kids who used to bully her. But, what she was never ready for was to meet Jack Masselin, an afro-wearing, tall, and an offstandish popular boy. She wasn't expecting him to join into a cruel game and then apologize profusely with a note in her backpack spilling his most precious secret. She soon figured out that  Jack Masselin isn't like the kids leaving hate mail in her locker. He's kind, funny, and has a mental disease called Prosopagnosia- where you can't recognize faces. The two are the most unlikely of friends who seem to fit each other like puzzle pieces.

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven features many issues girls like Libby go through daily. Libby says, “Dear friend, You are not a freak. You are wanted. You are necessary. You are the only you there is. Don’t be afraid to leave the castle. It’s a great big world out there. Love, a fellow reader.” I find this quote to be beautiful, because Libby tries her hardest to make everyone feel as though they matter- even though she hasn't been treated that way by any of the students in her school. My favorite character was Jack, because he holds kindness and the right thing to do closely- even if you may think his actions are wrong.

Jennifer Niven and her wonderfully diverse group of characters taught me that everyone has something going wrong with them at some point, and the best thing to do is to accept them and try to help.
4/5 stars.

Review by: Ariana P.

New to Our Shelves!


Infinite in Between

By Carolyn Mackler

This book was phenomenal. Five freshman get together on orientation day and do an “ice-breaker” activity. They all decide to write letters to their future selves and meet again on graduation day to unearth their letters. What will happen when graduation day comes?

Carolyn Mackler encourages the reader to open their eyes and to quite literally, walk in another person’s shoes. To feel what they feel. To be aware of their struggles, and more importantly-how they overcome them. I recommend this book to everybody! It is a good book and will help people be more compassionate towards others. This 461 page novel is a page-turner that will have any teenage girl or guy who loves drama up at all hours of the day, rooting for Gregor, worrying for Jake, encouraging Mia, crying for Whitney, and hoping for Zoe!

Our class received this book from Jamie Miller @brokeandbookish Thank you, Jamie!!

Review by: Kelley C.

Literary Reflections

All The Bright Places

by Jennifer Niven

A boy, beautiful and broken,
A girl, whose smile bears great pain,
Meet high above the earth
In their own little world.
In a town too small,
The future is so endless,
Yet there is so little time.
Call me an optimist,
Or is it truly
Love At First Sight?
They Bond.
They Laugh.
They Cry.
They Overcome their fears.
It seems they can conquer the world,
Until it all ends forever...
What do you do when all seems lost?
When it felt like they were going to be with you forever
If only I could just bring you back
For even a second
And Hug you
Kiss you
And tell you I loved you
One final time....
....or at least have said good-bye.

Poem by Kelley C.

New to Our Shelves!


Our Chemical Hearts

By Krystal Sutherland
What would you think of a girl who mysteriously showed up at your school dressed head to toe in boy’s clothes, had the most unkempt and ratty hair, and walked with a cane? In Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland, Henry Page was put in the same position. Henry noticed Grace and, like everyone else, initially wondered how much of a complete weirdo she had to be to walk (or hobble, in this case) into a new school in her senior year, reeking heavily of men’s cologne and wearing baggy boys clothes. But unlike everyone else, he also wondered about how someone so odd could be someone he found himself unwillingly growing more and more attracted to.
Our Chemical Hearts was published on October 4th, 2016 by G.P Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers. My favorite character in this book had to be Murray, Henry’s redundantly Aussie slang speaking friend. Murray has the urge to speak entirely in slang from down under, much to everyone's dismay. He says it's because the ladies love the accent even though he is perfectly able to speak in a regular tongue. I find so much enjoyment when reading about him, due to his comically Aussie advances towards each and every character. The author probably added Murray into the book due to the heavy-hearted tone the book quickly takes up.  Comic relief was vital to the plot.
This book would be a hard 4/5 stars. I recommend this to people who like the dark and twisted Shakespearean-feeling type of book. Thank you to Jamie Miller @brokeandbookish for sharing this book with us!

For more information, visit the author’s website at

Review by Ariana P.

New to Our Shelves!


Salt to the Sea
By Ruta Sepetys

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to live in a time of war? The novel, Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, takes place in the 1940s during World War II in Europe. The four characters all come from different places, with different stories to tell, and cross-paths with one another. At first, they don’t want anything to do with each other, but to their dismay being together is inevitable for their survival.

As an unexpected bond forms through the characters, the reader also starts to form a bond with them. Each character is unique with a rough back story, causing the readers to sympathize for them. Joana is a nurse, who feels guilty for everything that had happened. Florian, a conservationist, who is keeping a secret to prevent his death. Emilia, a young Polish girl who is keeping an unwanted secret inside of her and Alfred. A German sailor who just wants to be the hero.

Throughout the novel, Ruta Sepetys kept the pages turning, with unexpected plot twists and cliffhangers. As each chapter was filled with a different character's thoughts, the reader was left to ponder about what was happening to the character in the previous chapter, even though you were deep into the new character’s thoughts. My favorite character in this book is Emilia because, she is the most unpredictable character ever. Sepetys did a good job at developing her, because she would make you believe that something was going to happen, when in reality, something completely different happened, keeping you on the edge of your seat. Another thing I liked about this character was her innocence. She was so young and was like the little sister, the other characters always took care of her, even though she didn’t speak the same language as them. When Emilia goes through some tough times (and trust me, there are plenty), I couldn’t help but to empathize for her.

Sepetys wants her readers to see the struggles of some people during this time, so we can learn from mistakes and make sure that it won’t happen again. I would definitely recommend this book with 4 out of 5 stars. If you enjoy, historical fiction, drama, and a little bit of romance, this could be your next favorite read! You can learn more about Ruta Sepetys and her novels on her website:

Review by: Mia B.

New to Our Shelves

How It Ends

By Catherine Lo

Your best friends can make the worst enemies! Currently I just finished reading the book How it Ends by Catherine Lo. The author writes in two characters point of view, Annie and Jessie who become best friends. The two girls became best friends after Annie moved with her new family to the suburbs where Jessie lives. Jessie isn't really a popular person and she is surprised when Annie reaches out to her to become friends.

   The two characters are complete opposites and it's interesting to see how their friendship works throughout the story. Jessie is very insecure because of the way she was bullied by her ex-best friend in 7th grade. She has to go through many therapies and doesn't have friends at school until Annie comes and reaches out to her. Annie is the opposite of Jessie, she is very outgoing and sticks up for herself. Her mom passed away 6 years ago and Annie really doesn't like who her dad has married because her dad doesn't talk about her mom anymore and it feels to Annie as though her mom totally disappeared and isn't a thought. Since her dad has a new wife, her life has changed and not in a positive way for Annie.

   I recommend this book to people who like to read about drama, realistic fiction and teen fiction. I enjoyed this book very much because it was constantly moving and had a problem or something going on on every page and I couldn't stop flipping the pages. Also since there are two points of view it was interesting to see both people's sides to the story. I would rate this book a 4.5!

Review by: Kylee D.

New to Our Shelves

By Robert L. Anderson

“She knew what she was doing was wrong. She was taking a huge chance. Never be seen.” Ever since Dea was six years old, she’s been able to walk people’s dreams. When she first started walking (dreams), her mother taught her three rules. Never interfere. Never be seen. Never walk the same person’s dream more than once. Dea lives in Fielding, Indiana where her friend group is scarce as well as the people who live in Fielding. Dea lives with her mom, and together the two of them have moved tons of times over the years. Dea has finally made a friend named Gollum who is carefree and sarcastic enough not to ask questions about Dea’s past. Then Connor moves into town and begins to get close enough to Dea for her to almost tell him her secret of walking dreams. When Dea breaks the three rules her mother gave her, a boundary between two different worlds starts to break apart, leaving Dea wonder what world she’s actually in.

This book was filled with mystery, conflict and a hint of romance which left me asking for more of the story. The way the author writes the scenes and problems between characters got me extremely close to the characters. I would rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars and I would be thrilled if a second book came out expanding on Dea’s new life. I believe anyone who is ready to get emotionally connected to a character and anyone who has had dreams or nightmares will enjoy this book as much as I did.

Review by: Lizzie S.

ARC Review

The Lotterys Plus One

by Emma Donaghue
The book The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue, is a realistic fiction book about a very big and diverse family having to welcome a visitor into their everyday, crazy lives. Four parents, seven kids, and too many pets is the perfect recipe for a crazy household! The characters in this book are forced to welcome a grandfather of one of the fathers whom they'd never met before. They must cope with change and learn to accept that he's not leaving. The whole story revolves around one child named Sumac, who  just so happens to be my favorite. A lot like me, she takes charge and tries to stay organized for the whole family. I can relate, so I enjoyed reading about her. The author really entertained me and the book really touches the heart. To learn more about the author and her books, visit

I would recommend this book to younger readers, ages 8-12years old. The plot doesn't necessarily have enough action to suit children of an older age. For those ages, I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars. Those who like diversity and comedy will love this book!

Written by: Emma Donoghue
Published by: Arthur A. Levine Books/ Scholastic
Released on: March 28, 2017
Review by: Sophie B.

*Our class received an ARC of this book to read/review from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.