RHS READING CENTER!
Looking For Alaska – John Green
Drama , Young Adult / February 24, 2016

“Thomas Edison’s last words were: ‘It’s very beautiful over there.’  I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful” (Green 221). Moving to a private school and making all new friends can never be easy, but for Miles “Pudge” Halter, his experience at a boarding school in rural Alabama changes his life.  Looking For Alaska, by John Green, focuses on the journey of two main characters, Pudge, the new kid, and his love interest, Alaska Young (who has a boyfriend, and it’s not Pudge.  Ouch).  Since they are both juniors in high school, along with most of the characters that you get to know in the book, trouble is destined to arrive, especially when it comes to sneaking around smoking cigarettes, or mixing vodka into a carton of milk so that it is more discreet and hides the smell.  But, when something unexpected happens to Alaska, Pudge and his closest friends at the school, Colonel, his roommate, and Takumi, the Japanese friend with a southern accent, feel like it is imperative to investigate why the event really took place.  After, nothing would ever be the same. A lot of times, John Green, the author,…

Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
Narrative Non-Fiction / February 24, 2016

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell attempts to create an accurate template for success. He dispels the notion that people simply possess natural gifts that drive them to the top of their respective fields. He strings together various stories to display that success stems from luck, community and culture, hard-work, and opportunity. He enforces again and again that “outliers” do not lie outside of ordinary experience, but instead are products of those factors of success. Early and often in the novel, Gladwell argues that “outliers” are not simply more gifted than others. For example, he delves into the impact cut-off dates have in sports. In Canadian hockey Gladwell points out that boys at a young age are separated by skill. However, with young boys, dominance is heavily determined by maturity. So the more skilled ones will be the older ones whose birthdays lie right after the cut-off date of January 1st. These older kids will then receive more attention, perform better, and practice more, even further increasing the skill gap between people born between January and December in the same year (24). And, sure enough, Gladwell presents convincing data for his argument, showing that the vast majority of professional hockey players are…

Bringing Down The House – Ben Mezrich

“Kevin tried to hide his trembling hands. Truth be told his name wasn’t really Kevin. And he wasn’t even slightly drunk. The red splotches on his cheeks had been painted on in his hotel room. And though thirty thousand dollars in chips was enough to make his hands shake, it wasn’t something that would impress the people who really knew him. They’d be much more interested in the ratty duffel bag beneath his chair. . . A hand in the hair meant only one thing. Get out. Get moving. Now (Mezrich 1-2). This is the life of a carefully handpicked group of MIT math wiz kids. The story of this group of kids surfaces for the first time by storyteller Ben Mezrich. The reader is taken into the dark corporate side of Vegas with its video cameras, backroom investigations, floor managers, and bodyguards. The group of MIT students, lead by a past MIT professor, now blackjack genius, face the full force of this dark underside of Vegas including their burly pit bosses, endless martinis, and darkwindowless back rooms. The group of college kids need to balance school frat parties, course exams, and their home life with their undercover fake identities…

The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
Drama , Mystery , Realistic Fiction / February 18, 2016

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom tells the story about a man named Eddie who has spent his whole life working as a maintenance man at a boardwalk in New Jersey. When you first meet Eddie, he comes off as a grumpy old man who does not want to be living the life he has. One day, at work, he is killed in an accident involving a ride he is trying to fix and a little girl he is trying to save. From that point on in the book, you are taken on his journey through heaven and meet five people he has met throughout his life. The first person, someone Eddie does not even know, shows how everything we do has an impact even if we do not see it in our own life. As Eddie goes around meeting the other four people from his past, he continually wonders what happened with that little girl he was trying to save. Through his meetings with people from the past, you get a different perspective on his life. Instead of seeing him as a grumpy old man, you start to feel bad for him and realize that…

Every Day – David Levithan
Action and Adventure , Romance , Sci-Fi , Young Adult / February 11, 2016

In the novel Every Day by David Levithan, there is a character named “A” who has no body or gender.  Each day he wakes up in another person’s body and has to adjust to being a woman or a man and where he is living.  “A” has to figure out how to adapt to the body for one day and absorb all the information about this body and the person’s memories as fast as possible.  “When I fall into the life of someone grappling, I have to mirror their strength, and sometimes surpass it, because I am less prepared” (Levithan 120). “A” has never experienced a normal life, only in the eyes of others who have their same daily life. The one thing that is keeping “A” sane is the fact that he is so in love with this girl named Rhiannon.  Once “A” wakes up, its main focus is to figure out how to get to Rhiannon no matter what gender it occupies, where “A” is, and the consequences after for the person he is living in. “A’s” daily life revolves around spending time with Rhiannon and managing to be with her. I would give this book a five out of five…

The Road – Cormac McCarthy
Action and Adventure , Drama , Post-Apocalyptic / February 11, 2016

  In the book The Road, the author, Cormac McCarthy, tells the story about how a father and a son need to survive in an altered and post apocalyptic world. This world is limited of people and buildings, as well as necessities needed to survive. McCarthy expresses how love and companionship motivate people to put their bodies on the line for each other. Everyday, the father and son starve and try to find any food. Constantly, they try to keep their minds off of one thing, death. Most of the time during the day, they are traveling on a road. This road leads the father and son to either help and success or failure and conflict. While traveling, the father and son have to overcome anything they may face both mentally and physically. One problem they constantly worry about is other people. To see or find people in this world is extremely rare, especially those who are still alive. The father and son worry that if they come across anyone, that their lives may be at risk.  When they do see or find other people, the boy asks his father, “Is it the bad guys? They could be the good…

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
Drama , Realistic Fiction , Young Adult / February 4, 2016

Thirteen Reasons Why, written by Jay Asher, summarizes the life of a high school student named Hannah Baker through the cassette tapes that she recorded herself and left behind after she unfortunately committed suicide.  When Clay Jensen, Hannah’s classmate who always had a secret crush on her, gets sent the tape by an anonymous source, he hears Hannah admitting frightening and heart stopping things he never thought he would hear about her high school experience.      I don’t think I ever read a book in such a short amount of time, solely because I just could not stop reading. The tone of this book can make you feel eery, tear up, or even lighten your mood, since you will definitely go through a roller coaster of emotions when you read it.  After many classmates recommended this book to me, I was skeptical about it.  Would I enjoy it?  Would it put me to sleep?  Usually, I always tend to stick to a cheesy Nicholas Sparks novel, or one that could make you feel depressed after realizing you will be alone forever with only your cats by your side.  When I read this book, I could literally not put it down.  But,…

Accidental Love – Gary Soto
Realistic Fiction , Romance , Young Adult / February 2, 2016

“Watch where you’re going, pendejo!” says Marisa, a “street tough” Latina growing up around violence, young boys who want to be thugs, and a school system where even the teachers don’t care about you. She grows up thinking that fighting is the key to solving all her problems until one day she meets Rene, who is nerdy and clueless about the streets. Rene belongs to many clubs including science “and chess team. Plus thespians”. Although they are completely different, they surprisingly hit it off, and start hanging out. . . Everything is great between the two until Rene’s family forces him to stop seeing the “hoodrat” girl as his mother describes her. These two characters have very different personalities, so they handle situations differently. This book follows the story of two innocent teenagers who have young love but face many obstacles with family issues, race, neighborhood differences, and so much more. This book is a very quick and simple read,. The main characters are likable, sweet, and innocent. The teenager’s life portrays authenticity and simplicity. This book is definitely targeted at teen’s because of it’s straightforward vocabulary and humorous scenes. The book has few Spanish words which are translated in…

Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell
Drama , Romance , Young Adult / February 2, 2016

In the novel “Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell, Rowell describes a girl named Eleanor who is portrayed as an outsider and who is not understood by people.  She comes from a broken family life and every day she is going to school and getting teased because of her appearance.  Eleanor begins sitting next to this boy named Park on the bus who is recognized at school.  They live in a small town in Nebraska that has a population of all whites.  Park is Asian and although he is not bothered at school, he is not popular either.  They are both different.  Eleanor and Park have a strange relationship at the beginning, never talking, but their actions towards one another soon develop into feelings.  How would you feel going to school and getting teased every day and then this incredible boy starts trying to get to know you? It made Eleanor feel so special.  “He got why Eleanor tried so hard to look different.  It was because she was different-because she wasn’t afraid to be” (Rowell 217). Eleanor is an unusual character because her hair is always a mess along with her wearing male and female clothes that are mixed matched…

The Last Good Day of The Year – Jessica Warman
Drama , Realistic Fiction , Young Adult / February 2, 2016

The first thing in the book is a word. Hiraeth. It means, “homesickness from home to which you cannot return, a home that maybe never was; nostalgia, yearning, grief for the lost paces of your past,” This one single word can probably be used to describe the meaning of the entire book. The Last Good Day of The Year is truly about missing and wanting something that can never be. The Last Good Day of The Year is a book written by Jessica Warman. Reading the inside flap of the book made it seem very interesting and slightly insane.  It starts off by telling you about a kidnapping that happened when this girl, Sam, is very young. She saw her sister get taken on New Years Eve. Then there is a part described on the inside flap of the book that says things  about how the kidnapper might still be out there.   It has an interesting plot including a girl named Sam who loses her sister, Turtle, to a kidnapper. The book is about her family moving back to the house of the kidnapping 10 years after it happens, and it slowly unravels the things that actually happened that…