“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is separated into two parts: one centers around the Atticus’ children’s point of view and their childhood and the other centers around the case of Tom Robinson still in the eyes of the children. The novel examines racism in the 1930’s through the eyes of innocent children and raises several questions about the nature of prejudice and its effects on behavior such as “Are people naturally evil or are they products of societal norms?” and “is our current judicial system flawed so that justice is in the hands of mob rule?” To Kill a Mockingbird is a great read for anyone who likes literature about the 1930’s and the great depression. This may also interest readers who would like to understand the nature of prejudice, especially during the Jim Crow Era of American history.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Tyler M.

“Runaway” by Wendy Van Draanen

 

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The book Runaway by Wendy Van Draanen tells the story of a girl who, after spending the past several years in the foster care system, attempts to run away from her foster home and live independently. However, Holly’s journey is far more perilous than she originally expected. After leaving the familiarity of her former foster home, she must learn how to survive in a world of unknowns where money can only be obtained by begging, shelter is rarely found, and the time of her next meal is never certain. By her keeping a journal throughout her many trials and tribulations, Holly discovers much about, not only the ways of the world, but the development of her own personal character.

I chose to read this book initially since I found it fascinating that it attempted to tell a narrative through personal diaries with a first person point of view. I found that the book was made much more captivating when the focus was concentrated on Holly’s emotions and reactions to the different experiences she had rather than providing a broader range of perspectives since it allowed the readers to relate more intimately to the main character.

I would recommend this book to people who want to read a story that is more grounded in realism, yet still with likeable characters and optimistic premises despite the poor situations. Overall, the novel told a bittersweet story that acted as a largely accurate representation of the way that, in life, our hardships often eventually turn into happiness.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Lisa F.

“The Red Kayak” by Priscilla Cummings

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Red Kayak, by Priscilla Cummings, tells the story of three teenage boys dealing with life changes when a nearby property they previously considered their own is sold. This forces the main character and narrator, Brady Parks, and his two friends to be faced with learning to let go of nostalgic attachments and move on. However, when a kayaking accident occurs with a young boy, Ben, (whose family just moved into the teenagers’ old turf) that results in Ben’s death, new questions are raised. The three year old Ben, who nearly drowns when out on his family’s red kayak with his mother and shortly thereafter passes away, raises suspicions of foul play, especially when Brady takes notice of the strange timing of this event.

I initially chose to read this story after learning the premise of the book; that it was a bit of a coming of age story about how relationship change over time, but also with more serious, somber undertones. Once reading this book, I found myself very emerged in the story as Cummings did a magnificent job of creating compelling, three dimensional characters. Even when acting completely immorally, you as a reader find yourself relating to the humanity of the characters, a testament to the writing abilities of the author.

I would recommend this story to young teenagers and older preteens who will be able to understand the complexity of the decisions the characters make and analyze what drives them to follow through with their poor decision. The novel The Red Kayak had many themes and morals that it attempted to convey to the young people reading it, making it a very enriching book.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Lisa F.