Casti Book Reviews

Student book reviews

Mistwood

January6

MistwoodI absolutely love female heroines. This is exactly what this book gave me. A female heroine. Unfortunately, that heroine knows absolutely nothing about herself and who she is. They call her “The Shifter” when a prince comes to retrieve her from her own forest. They shouldn’t have found her. But they did. And soon she’s taken to the prince’s castle. He insists he needs her help. And she gives it to him. However, she knows her prince is lying and what will become of him? More importantly, what will become of her? Mistwood is a great book with surprise twists and turns and is extremely addicting. It’s a great book to savor and enjoy, so I suggest you get your hands on it before anyone else and devour it slowly.

The Shifter by Janice Hardy

December18

ShifterOdd. Weird. Adventure. Guards. Magic. Those are four great words to describe the Shifter, by Janice Hardy. Nya can shift. This isn’t shifting from house to house to house or making tectonic plates shift. This is the ability to shift pain. And it’s supposed to be a myth. Supposed to be. But Nya somehow has this magical power. Ok. Get this. Nya’s life has never been normal. Duh. How normal can your life be when you can SHIFT PAIN? Well. Her parents are both dead. Why? Because between four lands, there has been a war and the “Duke of Baseer” has been conquering every land. Practically everyone hates him, especially Nya. But you can’t just rebel against an all powerful ruler who conquered a land with pynvium. Yes. Pynvium. A highly dangerous metal able to hold pain. It makes great weapons and is great for those who can heal. If it existed, I’d suggest we all buy some. Because that’s exactly what everyone needs and what the Duke has. So Nya has learned to hate and fear him at the same time. Why does she hate him? Because he’s a world class jerk and because he’s forced everyone into a world that is practically a nightmare. This nightmare is Nya’s nightmare. She’s forced to live on the streets, while she secretly is taken care of by her little sister, Tali, who is a healer in “the League”, or the fancy healing place in which apprentices are trained to become world class healers. And now, Tali is gone. And Nya’s secret is revealed. This story will capture you from the very first sentence and will leave you demanding the second and third book (coming out in 2011). It will also slightly shift your view of the world (if you think about what our world is like). So I suggest that once you manage to get a hold of it, read the Shifter and it will never leave your mind.

Reviewed by Natalie B ‘17

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

November24

What if there was a prison that is an entire world, a recycler of materials…alive? Living in the infamous prison of Incarceron, Finn, a boy surrounded by gang members and back-stabbers, believes there is an outside world to which he belongs. Outside the prison, Claudia is the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, a cold and unfeeling man that she has always mistrusted for his sly manner and cruel plots. When Finn and Claudia discover twin crystal keys, they futures become entwined as they work to free Finn from the prison. Claudia believes that Finn is not just a prisoner, but her long-lost fiancee, thrust into the prison for political reasons. Yet when the two adventurers delve deeper into the secrets that surround Incarceron, they begin to understand the truth of their pasts, the motives of the Warden, and most importantly, what Incarceron really is.

Reviewed by Lianne Blodgett ‘15

Shakespeare’s Secret by Elise Broach

May14

Shakespeare's SecretAs Hero starts sixth grade at her new school, she finds a 500-year-old mystery hidden in her house. There is a diamond that mysteriously connects Queen Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn, and William Shakespeare. But was the man who wrote Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream really Shakespeare?  Hero isn’t the only one on the case. Danny Cordova, “the most popular boy in school (and the cutest),” wants to help Hero solve the mystery and uncover Shakespeare’s true identity…

Reviewed by Kathleen Kenealy and Sima Biondi

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

April29

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen, starts off with Ruby, a nearly eighteen-year-old girl going to live with her 28-year-old sister, Cora. Ruby hasn’t seen, or heard from Cora in about ten years, since she left her and her mother for college. Cora has a great life, a great house, and a great husband (who was also founder of a popular social network site). Now Ruby has everything she didn’t: a luxurious home, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, and the hope of college. But why is she so reluctant to accept it all? Throughout the book, while coming to terms with the changes in her life, she also develops a relationship with her neighbor, Nate. He is really nice, but despite his outwardly easygoing demeanor, he seems to be hiding something. All in all, this is a wonderful book that just flies by, but, at the same time, makes you think about the meaning of family and reevaluate the importance of relationships in general.

- Reviewed by Clare Tandy

Paper Towns by John Green

April17

Quentin Jacobsen, Q, is a senior with a long-lasting love for his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman. Margo is the type of girl who loves adventures and mysteries. She’s run away from home before (she spent 3 days traveling with the circus once), but has never been gone for over a week. Luckily, whenever Margo disappears she leaves a clue on how to find her. Q finds Margo’s clue and notices she left it specially for him. One clue leads to another and Q finds himself on a crazy adventure with a couple of friends to find the mysterious Margo Roth Spiegelman – or at least that’s whom he thinks he’s finding.

Reviewed by Alexandra Kirsch ‘14

Perfect by Natasha Friend

April9

Isabelle Lee is a typical teenager, with an annoying sister and dorky friends. However, when her dad died a few years ago, Isabelle turned to bulimia as an outlet for her problems. When her sister finds out her secret, she tattles and Isabelle’s mother insists she attend “Eating Disorder and Body Image Therapy Group,” or, as Isabelle likes to call it, “Group.” So Isabelle could not be more surprised when Ashley Barnum, the school’s It girl, walks through the door at Isabelle’s first meeting. Isabelle is caught off guard when Ashley suddenly befriends her. The only problem is that their only common interest is their eating disorder. It looks like Isabelle will never overcome bulimia, especially with her new ally, Ashley. They begin to do everything together, and Isabelle is desperate for a way out. This book is a quick read, but very moving and I would highly recommend it!

Reviewed by Carly King ‘14

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The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

April9

The Thief Lord is a wonderful twist of the glory of adventure, the power of magic, and the fine line between imagination and reality. It is set in picturesque Venice, among gondolas and statues of lions, and it starts off with a detective named Victor trying to locate two missing children, who are believed to have run away to Venice. These two brothers are named Prosper and Bo, and they have fallen into the company of some orphans named Hornet, Riccio, and Mosca, who are living in an abandoned movie theater. Their little band is led by the mysterious Scipio, who steals things to make money for the others. Scipio is given a job to steal something, but this reveals his darkest secret.

Reviewed by Ayesha Bajwa 2014

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

April9

The last book in the thrilling Mortal Instruments Trilogy, City of Glass, is the ultimate blend of action, wit, and romance. Clary Fray was long ago swept into the life of the shadowhunters, a race of human descendants from the angel Raziel. Their duty is to protect the world from all demons. However, they are now faced with a greater threat than demons. One of their own kind has turned against them, and threatens to destroy all shadowhunters in his quest to take over the world and create a pure breed of humans. It is up to Clary and her brother, Jace to save the shadowhunters from destruction.

Reviewed by Lauren Johnston

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When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

April9

When You Reach Me is a book about a sixth grade girl, Miranda. She knew many things about her neighborhood, like how she should avoid the crazy guy at the end of her block, who is always sleeping under the mailbox, or practicing kicks. Miranda’s best friend, Sal got punched one day, and he did not speak to her after. Miranda got four letters from an anonymous source about how she had to save Sal from death. These notes both confused Miranda and scared her, so she always kept the notes close by to see if she could solve the puzzle. Once she gets the final note, she does not know whether she will be able to save Sal.

Reviewed by Emma Waldfogel

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