Top Shelf Book Reviews

Tuck Everlasting Book Review – Top Shelf Book Reviews #7

Hello there you PermaBound books! It’s time for another book review! This week, I’ll be reviewing Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt.

I first found this book in 4th Grade, when my teacher read it to the class over the course of a couple weeks. I remember being fascinated by the idea of immortality and wondering whether or not it was worth it. One day, after we read the book, during class, my teacher asked everyone if they would rather live forever or die right there and then. Everyone in class except one person said they would rather die right now. If I was going to have to be immortal, I would want to be in my twenties. I still don’t want to be immortal though.

Enough rambling, on to the review part of the review. Lately, i’ve been reading a lot of books for this series, and by far, this one does the best with creative imagery. While it does get a tad excessive at times, it’s better to have too much description than not enough. For example, read the first paragraph…

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat
of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy
spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot.
It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much
color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These
are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for
after.

Babbitt certainly has a way with words.

I can’t complain about the characters, as they all work well for the story regardless of being archetypes. The characters certainly work well with the story, with all the Tucks having their own distinct take on the immortality, which makes their actions interesting.

I would also like to bring up that this book was set in 1880 and still appeals to readers in 2017. That’s quite an impressive feat. I didn’t even know it was set in the 1800’s until the very end of the book, I thought maybe it was early to mid-1900’s.

That’s about all I have to say on the subject of Tuck Everlasting, but before you click away, let me ask you one question. Would you rather live forever or die right now?

Thanks for reading all the way down to the bottom of this post, I hope you liked it!

Hint for Next Review: A group of kids living in a movie theater.

Baiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

Home · Reviews · Top Shelf Book Reviews

Twerp Book Review – Top Shelf Book Reviews #6

Hello there you groundhog days. Today I’m going to be reviewing Twerp by Mark Goldblatt. I already wrote a bad review of this two years ago, but it’s worth revisiting for this series. This book, before reading, was my second favorite book of all time.

I’m not 100% of how I found this book in the first place, but I think it was at my school’s library near the end of 5th grade. I remember on one of the last days of the year, my library was giving away the books it was taking out of the system to students and me and my friend Isaac went to get books. I got some book I can’t remember, and he got Twerp, and I asked if we could trade, and we did. It turned out that trade was meant to be.

I don’t remember whether or not it resonated with me at the time I got it, but I know it did in 6th grade. The book’s main character (Julian) is the fastest boy in his school, and that was the year I was incidentally trying out for my school’s track team. This mostly lead to disappointment that I wasn’t a very fast runner, but I also found it very easy to relate to Julian, as we were both boys in 6th grade who liked running.

On to the review portion of the review!

Along with the aforementioned feeling of relating to Julian strongly, a lot of other factors helped shoe this book to my second favorite book of all time. One of those factors is a story that’s okay with not having a predictable, perfect ending, but an alternative path that you wouldn’t have even thought of. Another is how (most) of the characters aren’t just boring stereotypes, but have an extra layer of humanity that makes them interesting to read about. Not to mention how good of a job Mark Goldblatt does in making it feel like we’re really in 1969, while also keeping the settings ambiguous enough for the story to make sense to someone born not even close to that time.

But even though the book is still the same good read it was when I read it in 6th grade, some of the relation I felt to Julian isn’t there. For example, I don’t run very much anymore, and I’m old now, so I lose the age and interests bond. However, the reason I still like the book and can kind of still relate to Julian, even though we have almost nothing in common now, is because he is a well-written character. If he wasn’t a well-written character, all bonds would have been cut, and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the book at all. For me, this ability to still be able to relate to readers even though you have no idea what kind of person is reading is the true test of a writer’s ability.

In conclusion, you should read this book and tell me whether or not you agree with some of my points! I give this book a rating of 8/10.

Thanks for reading all the way down to the bottom of this review, I hoped you enjoyed it 😀

Hint for Next Review: tmucmk evmerlmamsmmtmimngmm without the m’s.

Baiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

Home · Top Shelf Book Reviews

Goodbye Stranger Review – Top Shelf Book Reviews #5

Hello there you paranoid androids. It’s time for another book review! This time, i’m reviewing Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead. If you recognize that name, she also wrote When You Reach Me, which was awarded the Newbery Medal in 2010.

After just finishing the book today, I can give my past self a pat on the back for joining Battle of the Books and reading this. Go you past Riley!

If you don’t want to click the link, i’ll summarize it here very quickly. In 6th grade Jamie and I decided to join our school’s Battle of the Books team. If you don’t know what Battle of the Books is, you basically just read twenty books and try to remember as many details as you can. However, you wouldn’t actually have to remember everything from 20 books, as a team you would split the books up to become and expert on. Once the competition comes, everyone on the team should know a lot about the books they studied. There, the main library will ask trivia questions about the books, and your team faces off against another one to move on in the competition. The winning team will get a copy of every book for each member and driven to an ice cream place in a limo.

I took much longer than I should have explaining that. Anyways, Goodbye Stranger was a book from Battle of the Books, and that’s how 6th grade me discovered it.

That’s a solid 250 words so far of non-review…

On to the review!

A common theme of all of my positive reviews is that the writer does a good job making their characters relatable and understandable, and the author does not disappoint. After rereading this book, I decided to move it up past The War That Saved My Life on my favorite books list. The author does a wonderful job describing the day-to-day problems and fun that come with finishing middle school, and the main characters all have the depth and liveliness that you would expect from teenagers in New York. One of my favorite things about the book is the author’s way of working in these little side stories that all intertwine to create an amazing snapshot of people just living life, whether things pan out or not for them.

In this book’s case, the epilogue is in my opinion used the best way an epilogue can be used. I won’t spoil it for you, but i’ll go ahead and tell you already that this book is worth however much it’s sold as. If you are a teenager and enjoy books, this is perfect, buy it. I don’t have experience from non-teenagers and this book, but I would recommend it regardless.

My only problem I had with this book was that the characters seemed to have been written as high school students, and then for whatever reason the author thought to put them in 7th grade. Their actions don’t really accurately represent what a 7th grader would do, and I think that if she would’ve just set the book in high school a lot of things would have made much more sense, such as the club fair, pics, talent show, and how the main characters acted. Maybe things were just different for the author when she was in middle school? Luckily though, this doesn’t detract from the story, and it’s still very enjoyable.

*Minor Spoilers*

I think that having Bridge gradually become more and more aware of Sherm throughout the book as she starts to realize that she found her dance partner, along with the added bonus of describing him as smelling like bread, is really well done.

*Minor Spoilers End*

That’s going to be the end of this review, thanks for reading all the way down to the bottom of this post!

9/10

I think this is the longest post there has been on the blog in a really long time, so if you made it down here, comment a + sign for me to see who actually reads these things..

Hints for Next Review: egg splat.

Baiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

Top Shelf Book Reviews

Virtually Perfect Review – Top Shelf Book Reviews #4

Hello there you caged elephants. It’s Saturday, so it’s time for another Top Shelf Book Review, where this time I feel embarrassed for having liked a book. The book in question is Virtually Perfect by Dan Gutman.

I’m pretty sure I also got this book at McKays..

Looking at my top shelf, there are actually plenty of books that don’t come from McKays, I just haven’t reviewed them yet.

Anyways, I don’t have much background information on this book for you, other than that I read it when I was 8 or 9 years old, and deemed it one of my favorite books. Before we get into this books many flaws, know that I had no idea how dated this book is, despite only being released in 1999, because I didn’t really comprehend the technology stuff in the book then.

On to the review!

What really kills this book for me is that while many Sci-Fi stories have managed to stay relevant and make sense decades after release, this one doesn’t. The reason for that is that most Sci-Fi is set so far in the future that you don’t need to worry about us passing the technology in that book and it becoming dated. Take Star Wars and Star Trek for example.

While some of the concepts explored in the book relating to artificial intelligence are mildly interesting, almost everything in it is predictable. Other than Yip’s Grandpa, every single character in the book was two-dimensional and boring. Yip and his family were all just stereotypes of the traditional roles of the family personified. You have the main character, the son, who has trouble connecting with people at school and just wants a friend, the main character’s sister, constantly falling in love with boy after boy in high school, the mom, who sure can make cookies (which is literally all she does the entire book), and the dad, who is a tech junkie. You need to have almost no other details when talking about these people, because what you just read now and how you’re imagining them is exactly how they are.

While I am going to put a little spoiler warning in front of this next part, I don’t think anyone should read this book, so you should ignore the spoiler warning even if you have read it. I’m leaving it there on the off chance that someone still wants to read it.

*Spoilers*

The plot was also cheesy and uninspired. The virtual person, or as the book calls him “vactor”, wants to test his limits in reality, so he goes to school, robs a bank, and then tries to kill the president before Yip’s family figures out how to stop him.

*Spoilers End*

However, I do realize that this book is intended for 8 and 9 year olds, and I liked it then, so i’ll go a little easier on it than I would have normally. Either way, this is definitely coming off of my top shelf.

I rate this book 5/10.

Thanks for reading all the way down to the bottom of this review!

Hints for Next Review: farewell foreigner

Baiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

 

Reviews · Top Shelf Book Reviews

Things Not Seen Review – Top Shelf Book Reviews #3

Hello there you invisible people. It’s been a while since I made this weekly series, but it should come out on time for now on. Today as you read in the title, i’ll be reviewing Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements, the author of Frindle.

I only found out that this is one book of a trilogy after googling the book title so that I could get a picture of the cover, so I might read the next two books in the future.

I’m not positive about the first time I read this book, but I believe it was around the time that I read Brave Story, because I also remember buying the book at McKays. The first time I read the book, I was thinking of how different my life would be if one day I woke up and I was invisible. Needless to say, I was grateful I was visible.

On to the review part of the section!

After reading the book for the first time in a few years, i’ve been reminded of what it does well and the few slip-ups it has. My absolute favorite thing about the book, which seems to connect all of my favorite books to me, is that I can relate to the main character’s feelings and thoughts. This is a pretty simple thing, but it really makes a difference. Take The Outsiders for example. That book won the Margaret A. Edwards award and it continues to relate to teenagers 50 years after it’s publication. Clements’ writing stays reliably interesting the whole book through, and the characters stay lively, and do a pretty good job escaping the archetypes of book characters in Young Adult books.

*Minor Spoilers*

I also think it was very clever to have one of the only people Bobby could trust with his invisibility’s secret someone who it wouldn’t make a difference to, Alicia. Their bonding over the novel was done really well in my opinion, and I think that the conclusion finished up that chapter of their relationship nicely.

*Minor Spoilers End*

There are only two problems that I had with the novel, one of which being how it wrapped up perfectly. I hadn’t really thought about this as a problem before, but a friend said they had read the book and that was their criticism, so I took it into account. As I finished the book, I realized that they were correct. It ends in a perfect little knot. While I still liked the book’s ending, I can still understand that this is kind of a problem.

The other problem is that they never told the reader at the end of the book that there would be more books in the series! I literally didn’t even know that this was a trilogy until I looked the book up, like I said earlier. I think that it’s definitely a problem if you don’t let your audience know that they don’t have the full story at the end of the book. It ended well enough that I never even considered that there was more to the story.

Overall, not really enough problems to warrant any major point deductions.

9/10, not perfect, but better than average.

Thanks for reading all the way down to the bottom of this review!

I just had the idea that maybe instead of a Dictionary Taboo on these reviews, I could leave hints for what the next book will be, so i’m going to be doing that now!

Hints for Next Review: computer program comes to life

Baiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

 

 

Home · Top Shelf Book Reviews

The Outsiders Review – Top Shelf Book Reviews #2

Hello there you snowshoes. It’s time for the lowly anticipated second edition of this new book review series! Today i’ll be reviewing The Outsiders!

I’m only just realizing that essentially i’ll be only reviewing my favorite books in this series. Given that it’s the books on my top shelf, and I put books up there that I enjoy a lot, there won’t be too many bad scores.

My mom was apparently obsessed with this book when she was a teenager so she got me to read it when I was 11. I didn’t really understand it, and I thought Dally and Darry were the same person… I still came away with a positive view on the book though.

However, my ELA teacher has assigned this book to us for work stuff this year, and I reread it! This time I could tell the characters apart, and understood what they were talking about! While this book probably doesn’t make my Top 5, it’s definitely up there!

As for the plot development, from what I read, it all takes place within about a week or a week and a half. The story is spaced out pretty well and it doesn’t ever drag on. The characters are well implemented, and manage to stay relatable decades later through the fact that they are mostly detailed variations on popular archetypes. They seem alive in the book, and keep the story interesting even when rereading the book.

The resolution of the plot is done well and [minor spoiler] the loop that it makes at the end with Ponyboy starting to write his book is pretty cool.

[MAJOR SPOILER]

.

.

.

The deaths at the end of the book are enough to satisfy any person who reads sad stories 😦

.

.

.

[END OF MAJOR SPOILER]

Overall, I rate this book 8.5/10, subtracting points for timely slang that isn’t so timely anymore and Ponyboy not really resolving things with Cherry.

Thanks for reading this hastily thrown together book review 😀

Dictionary Taboo:

Extremely complex and difficult to follow.

Baiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

Home · Reviews · Top Shelf Book Reviews

Brave Story Review – Top Shelf Book Reviews #1

Hello there you rainbow yo-yos! This is the first episode of a series called Top Shelf Reviews (see NOTE), which you can find out more about here. I’m really excited for this project, and I hope you are too!

NOTE: I decided to change the name of this series to Top Shelf reviews, as RAREBOTS sounds like some kind of bionacles thing. Sorry if you liked that name.

Book Title: Brave Story

Author: Miyuki Miyabe

Genre: Fantasy

Brave_Story_Novel

I’ve most likely mentioned before on here that this is my favorite book, so this is probably a little bit biased. Just warning you.

I found this book at McKays, which if you didn’t know is like a huge thrift store, but fancier and you can bring your stuff in to trade in for cash or in-store credit. The location closest to us is HUGE, and I was just wandering around being kind of overwhelmed by everything, so I wasn’t actually picking anything. We were getting close to leaving when my mom noticed that I hadn’t picked anything out to read/listen to/watch, so she picked up a book from a shelf based purely on the cover picture. I was slightly interested by the wavy writing on the back, so I thought I would try it.

brave

*Sorry that the two pictures are drastically different sizes, I couldn’t find some that matched*

I read the book in about a week and a half, quickly digesting all of it in wonder. I realized when I finished that this was my favorite book, even surpassing Twerp.

What keeps this book interesting (even through 800 pages), was the world-building and character arcs through everyone. This was also one of the first impressions on me from Japanese culture, and I was reeled in even by the regular for them things, like cram school. Aside from that, the fantasy elements of the book are well-implemented and the themes and conflicts that arise throughout the book are intriguing and keep the characters fresh, along with mixing in plenty of allusions to past real-world events. The rivalry between two of the main characters didn’t feel forced, and the build-up and conclusion of this subplot were well-timed and well-written. The overall ending of the book felt like it was in the right place, and while some parts dragged a little bit throughout the middle, I think it finished strong.

However, some problems with this book are the aforementioned plot dragging on, and a little bit too much crammed into the story. On the first point, sometimes things got a bit slow, or things happened that didn’t seem to really but that linked to the main plot. That brings me to my second problem with the book, too many details crammed into the book. Even though it all wraps up well, my brain is usually a little bit clogged at that point, because it’s hard to comprehend every detail in the book while you aren’t focusing completely on it the whole time you are reading it.

Aside from these few complications, Brave Story is still my favorite book. Perhaps one day another book will take the crown from Brave Story, but that day isn’t today.

I rate it 9/10.

And now a poll, for the next book reviewed in this series.

Thanks for reading this post, I really appreciate it 😀

If you want to you can listen to my music here okay thanks!

Dictionary Taboo:

an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference.

Baiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

Top Shelf Book Reviews

Top Shelf Book Reviews Announcement (previously known as RAREBOTS)

Hello there you partially eclipsed penguins. I am here with you today to announce a new series!

What if one person, took on a task so monumental that he couldn’t even conceive finishing it? His plan wasn’t rock solid either, what if he grew bored of the task and gave up? What if he couldn’t handle the responsibility, or the power that comes with the completion of this impossible quest? 

Luckily, he can. (probably)

You may be wondering what i’m talking about, whether or not i’m ever going to get to the point, etc.

I will review every book on the top shelf of my bookcase!

I think I may have thought of this in the past, but didn’t want to actually put in the effort and do it. Well now I do want to put in the effort and do this!

Here’s a picture of my top shelf:

That’s 26 books, but i’m going to be adding a 27th surprise one at the end!

A review will come out every Saturday until the series finishes. One book a week isn’t too bad. The only book that I would think might take more than that is Brave Story, but luckily i’m already halfway through it right now.

I hope you guys will enjoy this 😀

*Also, as an update for GoFundMe donators, the letters are written, and should be shipped by Friday.*

Thanks for reading all the way down to the bottom of this announcement post!

Dictionary Taboo:

a heavy cavalry sword with a curved blade and a single cutting edge.

Baiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii