by William Bell

5 Stars

Crabbe by William Bell

Everyone always has a will and the ability to survive, whether it involves life or death situations. The novel Crabbe, by William Bell, tells the story of a dependent, lonely, semi alcoholic, who escapes to the wilderness, only to learn that running away is not a solution to one’s problems. Franklin Crabbe, the main protagonist of the novel, feels controlled by his parents and thinks he has no freedom in his life whatsoever. Feeling pointless and ineffectual, the eighteen-year-old makes a life learning decision. He decides to run away from society a day before his final exams, without leaving any trace behind. Unprepared for bush life, Crabbe’s life nearly ends, until he meets someone else who has other reasons to hide. His journey throughout the woods, Crabbe learns many practical skills, which make him confident, mature, and responsible. The main message that Bell wants to convey to the reader is that running away is not the best option when solving problems. Instead, it’s better to seek help or to become more independent to develop good character traits that help find a solution.  

Overall, this book was truly remarkable. In the beginning, for me, this book wasn’t enjoyable and was losing my interest level. But as I kept reading, I started to realize this book wasn’t so bad after all. It includes all the symbols and motifs to help engage the reader more into the book. It shows the reader how little actions can make a huge difference in a person’s life. This book is definitely worth reading and would recommend it to anyone.

Ahmed Q.

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by Kahled Hosseini

5 Stars

The Kite Runner eBook: Hosseini, Khaled: Amazon.ca: Kindle Store

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, is a well written, crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being completely destroyed. It tells the story of a young afghan boy named Amir, who faced many different challenges during his childhood, which will haunt him forever. This story takes place during the 70s in Afghanistan, following the two protagonists. Amir, a Pashtun boy, and Hassan, a Hazara. They were great friends and were both raised in Baba’s house (Amir’s father). One of the biggest challenges for the main protagonist Amir is to face the complex culture he faces. Growing up with Hassan, Amir felt like Hassan was stealing Baba’s love from him. Readers will get to see how Amir deals with his jealousy, and the ways he will get his father’s attention.  

To conclude, this novel is definitely worth reading. The events that took place during the novel were a bit disturbing and explicit, but overall I enjoyed reading it. The book contains a rollercoaster of different emotions. Hosseini also uses many literary devices such as Imagery, Foreshadowing, and Symbolism, to help engage the reader more into the book. The story itself, in my opinion, was heartbreaking and devastating. This life lesson story opened my eyes and has taught me the importance that everyone can become a better person, no matter their past, and the first main step is to forgive themselves and move on. It was an absolute pleasure to read this remarkable book.

Ahmed Q.

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by William Golding

5 Stars

Lord of the Flies eBook by William Golding - 9781101158104 ...

Lord of the Flies takes the reader on an adventure of the depraved side of humanity, and the savagery that underlies with even the most well-mannered, civilized human beings. William Golding purposely wrote this novel to illustrate and help readers understand mankind’s evil nature. Golding presents his message in a very unique way. He portrays a variety of events leading a group of young, civilized boys, who later on, turn into savage, bloodthirsty killers who have no desire for human life.  

In the midst of an infuriating war, a plane evacuating a young group of schoolboys for Britain is shot down, and ironically, all of the adults were killed in this tragic incident. The well-mannered, civilized boys find themselves on a deserted, tropical island, where no help is found. The group of young boys initially revel in their freedom and try to develop and expand their own society. They do this by appointing hunters, using the conch for a signal of help, holding assemblies, etc. Everything starts going well, but as disagreements break out amongst them, their life on the island becomes increasingly harsh and brutal. 

Overall, this expressive, tragic novel portrays a deep meaning. William Golding reminds us of the dark side of human nature. I personally enjoyed reading this book. Many readers as myself thought that Lord of the Flies might be confusing or boring, due to it being a classic novel, but the novel itself is quite exceptional. The ways different events change and devolve, add a very interesting and dynamic ending, of how the good of a person can quickly vanish and their primal human instincts taking over. The novel also contains good imagery that is displayed in the book. I recommend this novel for anyone who likes adventure and survival.

Ahmed Q.

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by Arthur Golden

4 Stars

Memoirs of a Geisha - Wikipedia

Memoirs of a Geisha follows nine-year-old Chiyo as she begins a new life and is taken from her small fishing village in Yoroido, Japan by a businessman, Mr. Tanaka. Because her mother is sick, and her father cannot raise her and her sister alone, Chiyo believes that she is being adopted by a wealthy family. However, Chiyo eventually ends up in Kyoto, far away from her family and with an unexpected new family. She is sold to a Geisha house, forced to be a maid until the house’s ruling hierarchy determines if she is ready to become a Geisha herself. After much training, Chiyo becomes a Geisha and goes by the name Sayuri. Sayuri has incredible influence and beauty and begins her new life as one of the most powerful Geisha in Japan overcoming obstacles and learning valuable lessons along the way. 

All in all, this novel was filled with drama and constant surprises. I felt connected to Chiyo as her character was very realistic and described so vividly. By reading this novel, I got an insight into the world of Geisha in Japan, which I had no knowledge of prior to reading this novel. I was intrigued and fascinated by reading about the life of Geisha and Japanese culture. The overall storyline was griping and truly fascinating. My only critique would be that at some parts of the novel, I felt that some details could have been left out and some sections dragged on for too long. But overall, Memoirs of a Geisha is truly a beautiful and captivating novel that I enjoyed reading very much. 

Emily K.

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by Stephanie Garber

5 Stars

Caraval: Amazon.ca: Garber, Stephanie: Books

Stephanie Garber’s novel Caraval follows a girl named Scarlett Dragna on a journey of self-discovery, and the unbreakable bond between sisters. Caraval is a magical show of performers and magic where the viewers can play the game. When Scarlett’s sister Tella is kidnapped for this year’s show, Scarlett now has to face an island of magic and illusion, discover clues to find Tella. Before it’s too late. 

I enjoyed the metamorphosis Scarlett finds herself in and how her relationship with Julian, the “mysterious sailor”, is not rushed. I loved how the story kept me guessing, with its magical mysteries and constant plot twists. The scenes were written exceptionally and kept me turning pages, especially with the use of colours and smells.  

However, I do believe there was more potential with Scarlett’s parents, especially her mother. The plot twist at the end was a little sudden though I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the same. Otherwise, I don’t have anything bad to say, and I adored this book.  

Stephanie Garber put the magical elements of Holly Black’s Heart of the Moors and the mystical confusion of Alice in Wonderland together in the most perfect way. I would recommend Caraval for readers 13 and up who enjoy fantasy, magic, plot twists and dystopia with an unexpected romance.  

Caraval by Stephanie Garber made me feel as Scarlett felt, cry when she was sad, laugh, and that is the most important part of a book for me. Which is why I gave this book a five-star rating. 

Eva F.

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by Josh Cooley 

5 Stars

Toy Story 4 (2019) - IMDb

Toy Story 4 is an animated Disney film directed by Josh Cooley and is the fourth installment within the Toy Story series. The exciting film follows Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the rest of their toy friends as they cherish living with their new owner, Bonnie. Using a spork at school, Bonnie creates a new friend named Forky, who joins the rest of the toys as they accompany Bonnie. Bonnie and all of the toys embark on an exciting family road trip, where Woody reunites with his old friend, Bo Peep. During the trip, the toys partake in several chaotic adventures including searching for Woody, battling an old ventriloquist doll, and rescuing Forky. 

Toy Story 4 is an adventurous, funny, and heart-warming film. I loved the scenes within the film that were action-packed as I was intrigued and constantly being surprised. I found that the new characters introduced were very humorous and amusing. Additionally, the animations were beautifully created and appealing to the eye. With this film being the fourth installment of the Toy Story series, I am very impressed with the execution and quality put into this movie. The film focuses on many important topics such as friendship, sacrifice, loyalty, and finding your purpose in life. Whether a child, teenager, or adult watches this film, I believe that it is sure to leave one with plenty of emotions and a message learned. The ending was very emotional, touching, and the perfect way to end off the movie. This is an excellent film for the whole family and I would highly recommend watching it! 

Emily K.

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by Rich Moore & Phil Johnston 

4 Stars

More on "Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet" - Early ...

Risk-taking Vanellope is eager for a change in her game, Sugar Rush, so her best friend, Ralph enters her game to change the course, but this change leads to a disaster when the game’s external controls break. Due to the difficulty to replace the vintage game part, the game gets unplugged, leaving Vanellope and her game-mates homeless. Feeling responsible for causing the disaster, Ralph and Vanellope leave the comforts of Litwak’s arcade and risk it all in an attempt to save her game. They travel to the worldwide web in hopes to find a replacement controller. Their quest takes them to the vast, uncharted world of the internet where they have no choice but to rely on the citizens of the internet to help them navigate their way in quite possibly the only chance they have to save Vanellope’s game. 

I believe this film was very well done for a variety of reasons. First, this charming and insightful sequel shines a light on the many wonders, as well as the horrors of the internet, from sharing silly viral videos to vicious social media comments. Additionally, Vanellope and Ralph’s conflict within the film touches upon the topic of what it means to follow your dreams and to support those you love. Finally, I enjoyed how the film included amazing animations, that were extremely detailed and vibrantly coloured. The film was action-packed and exciting to watch. In conclusion, Ralph Breaks the Internet is an excellent adventure film that is great for the whole family to enjoy. 

Emily K.

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Fangirl

by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl (novel) - Wikipedia

When Cath and Wren’s mother walked out on them as children, they both found solace in the Simon Snow series. Together, they obsessed over the books, movies, and became immersed in the fanfiction world.

When Cath and Wren move away to university, they find themselves drifting apart: Wren partying every weekend and Cath still involved with the Simon Snow fandom. As the year progresses, Cath struggles to find her place at the school, and struggles to keep hold of her relationship with her sister.

In the end, the sisters connect again over Simon Snow and their love for each other.

With a background romance story, this coming of age novel is romantic, quirky, and engaging. Rainbow Rowell has created flawed characters who are authentic and easy to love. Fangirl is a book about fandom, life and learning to love.

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Flashback: Re-read a book you loved when you were younger and share a quote.

I loved The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams so much that I listed to the audiobook every night before I fell asleep. It was so nice to visit this book again. All the feels!
If you want to read it, check it out here.
What’s your favourite nostalgic read?

Again again

by E. Lockhart

After experiencing a romantic upheaval and a near fatal family accident, Adelaide Buchwald finds herself in a whirlwind of summer adventures.

Again Again by E. Lockhart

Adelaide prepares herself for a summer of possibilities, however, nothing can prepare her for falling in and out of love. While navigating her new found love, Adelaide will confront the secrets she has kept, her perceptions of love and the human mind.

Again again is an offbeat and unconventional romance story that is moving and thought provoking. A lyrical and thoughtful summer read!

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