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TPCA Media Class… Grow In Grace

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science fiction

The Last 13 – Action on Every Page

Review of:  The Last 13 by James Phelan

Reviewed by: Elizabeth Schafer

“I snap my fingers and everybody dies!” Can you even imagine living in a world where someone that evil has the power to control your life? This is the reality for unfortunate Sam, the main character in The Last 13 by James Phelan.  He has become the target for the very powerful and evil Solaris. Sam has the ability to see the future, one that’s not very pretty. With Sam orchestrating a revolt, there is a growing chance that Solaris can be defeated! Sam and his friends are now working together in the attempt to defeat the very destructive Solaris, who seeks the treasure that Leonardo da Vinci is thought to have left behind.  The treasure they are seeking is not man-made. To find out what the treasure is, you must read this book… Experience the power of teamwork in this novel that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat!

This book honestly had me so enamored that I had no interest in TV or my electronics for a week. It was as if the book was glued to my hand from the moment I picked it up! What got me hooked from the very beginning was how the exposition was filled with action. Within the first few pages, Sam had been taken hostage! I’ve wracked my brain and cannot come up with any part of this book that I didn’t love… well, except for the cliffhanger ending which nearly killed me! It was just too suspenseful! Be sure to have the second book in the series, The Last 13, #12  at the ready! This read, like all outstanding books, makes you feel as if you were there. I felt like I heard and felt the reverberations from the bombs going off!  Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was that it is written in 1st person- I felt like I WAS Sam.  While I was reading, I felt many emotions alongside him. I was happy, scared, tense, nervous and joyful.   Ahhh, a book after my own heart!

The Last 13 would be a fantastic read for many people like my friend Jake, who loves to read a book that has the element of action on every page. Well, here you go!  One cautionary note: I would suggest that you are 9 or older before taking this adventure due to mild violence and tense situations. Don’t let this stop you! Just maybe pause. This book is a quick read and a most excellent adventure to take!

Into Middle Earth, Into Adventure

Hobbit_cover

Review of: The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

Reviewed by: Jake

“Third time pays well.”  One day there was a hobbit who enjoyed doing the expected, but did something completely unexpected. Let me explain; one day a little fellow with hairy feet, Tookish blood, and a highly respectable reputation named Bilbo Baggins was asked to do the unpredictable. You see, a dwarf by the name of Thorin, his company of 12, and a wizard named Gandalf came to Bilbo’s hobbit hole. Once the dwarfs and the wizard came in, they got right to business. Bilbo overheard their commotion about treasure. Then the “Took” in him woke up, which means that his adventurous spirit woke up like his ancestor, Bullroarer Took. One month later, Bilbo was on a journey to a mountain that once belonged to Thorin’s ancestors, but fell into the claws of a treacherous creature. Bilbo had to do many, many daring things to stay alive and venture on to the mountain. For example, he had to escape the household of Gollum, battle gigantic spiders, escape and elven prison, and kill goblins, trolls and wargs.. After many obstacles, he and the dwarfs (Gandlaf had left them) arrived at the mountain where they met Smaug. Fortunately, Smaug left, but they weren’t safe, not yet.

The Hobbit was … I can’t describe how brilliant it was. J.R.R. Tolkien described the creatures so well, yet it didn’t take four pages do to it; I could vividly see wargs in my mind due to the description.  The story also showed symbolism in so many ways; the story shows the spiritual battles that go on every day through their battles with trolls, goblins, and spiders. I marveled how the author shows Bilbo slowly conquering his mountain of fear and learning to have courage and never give up even if he is struggling. This book was superb, wonderful, and… you know, if I made a list of all the adjectives describing this book, you’d be sitting here on the computer reading this review for a couple of centuries, so I’ll just end this paragraph by saying: it is stupendous!

The Hobbit blew my mind (well, if it did this review wouldn’t exist and I would be in the hospital) and I recommend it with 100% of my heart.  Unfortunately, some scenes are gruesome, so I think this book should be read by people at the age of 10 or older. This book pushed the limits of awesomeness to an entirely different level.

The Trials for Treasure

Hobbit_coverReview of:  The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Reviewed by:  Erica

The last thing Bilbo Baggins, from the novel The Hobbit by J.R.R. Toilken, wanted was an adventure; but an adventure is exactly what he got when Gandalf, the greatest wizard in all the land, selected him as the burglar for a risky mission. (And believe me, Gandalf does not take no for an answer.) The mission? Bilbo, Gandalf, and 13 dwarves were to all journey to the Lonely Mountain to retrieve the ancestral treasure of Thorin, which is worth a fortune, from a devious dragon. Easier said than done. And besides, quite frankly, Bilbo is more absorbed in peaceful tea time and carelessly blowing smoke rings than slaying some dragon named Smaug. His priorities much change from savoring his comfortable Hobbit-Hole to just surviving. Every action he takes could mean his survival or his death. Clumsy trolls, wicked goblins, and nefarious wargs seem to make it their business to ensure that their adventure is unsuccessful. They travel through deep murky forests, cross ice cold streams, and climb countless rocky mountains. As their days become more and more treacherous, Bilbo longs more and more for his home. He needs courage and the will to go on more than ever. His bravery is his only weapon, and his courage is tested when in the distance the Lonely Mountain looms, frowning upon the valley.

If deep, meaningful, touching novels are your favorite, I would recommend The Hobbit.  If you crave for a lot, (and I mean a lot,) of adventure and mythical creatures, The Hobbit is your book. So basically if you like fantasy, you’d appreciate this novel. The figurative language is ingenious, and in my notes I was constantly jotting down similes, metaphors, personification, and idioms. I kept noting the themes and Biblical connections I made and recorded all of the amazing vocabulary. By page 306, my copy was nearly falling apart from all of my notes. The writing was plain brilliant. There’s no other way to put it. It blew my mind. Bilbo’s courage and perseverance grew throughout the story, and I love seeing a character transform over the length of the book. It was so well written that I was able to compare a lot of the creatures and characters to the Bible. Over all, The Hobbit wasn’t my favorite book ever, but that was mostly because fantasy is not a genre I enjoy. I prefer books that I can relate to my own life. The only reason I didn’t love it was because of the genre. The writing was astounding; I can’t say that enough. So, I guess this book was okay after all!

I recommend The Hobbit to readers who love adventure packed books. If you like to dig deep into your reading, this is your novel. I’d say you should be at least 11 years old to read this, because this is not an easy read.

 

Going On A Space Adventure!

Review of: A Wrinkle in Time , by Madeleine L’Engle

Reviewed by: Caleb

“By the way, there is such thing as a tesseract.”  In A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Meg is a stubborn, unattractive girl who is very good at math.  Her best friend is her smart little brother Charles Wallace.  When a wind-blown traveler, Mrs.Whatsit, who Charles seems to know, mentions a tesseract, Meg is intrigued.A_wrinkle_in_time_digest A tesseract is a concept of space travel using the 5th dimension. With her new friend Calvin O’Keefe, Meg meets Mrs.Whatsit’s eccentric friends, Mrs.Who and Mrs. Whitch, who are more like aliens than humans, who take them through space, on a mission to defeat the Darkness and free Meg and Charles’s missing father. He might be on a dark planet captured by the evil IT.  Can, Charles, and Calvin rescue Father, and save the universe?

In my opinion, this book was wonderful.  I especially liked the different planets, like Uriel and Camazotz, because they remind me of how cool it would be to travel to other planets and find intelligent.  Another thing I liked was the theme, about how love is the most powerful tool.  I saw it when Meg defeated IT with love.  Throughout the book, Meg grows to be more loving and accepting of her faults and appearance.  If someone mentioned this novel’s title, space would come to my mind, because of all the traveling through space.  During this novel, I had a feeling of suspense, like when Charles was left behind at Camazotz.  I rate this book four out of five stars.

I would recommend A Wrinkle in Time to anyone who likes science, because there are some science terms.  Also, if anyone likes adventure, this book is for you. People who are 11 and up would also enjoy this because the book has some difficult vocabulary.  Again, I recommend this book for science nerds and adventure lovers ages 11 and up.

 

Deadly Desert

Review of: The Scorch Trials, by James Dashner

Reviewed by: Claire

After the cliff hanger ending of The Maze Runner by James Dashner, you will want to read The Scorch Trials. It is way more mysterious than the first book. It starts in a building that the rebels of Wicked took the group of teenage boys who used to live in the glade somehow. Thomas, who is the “leader” of the gladers, is even struggling in this new sandy environment; it is hard to survive in a land that you have never seen before. The group of teens is then transported to a desert that had been hit by a sun flare. This deadly desert is home to a town of cranks, people who are slowly going mad from a contagious disease that was formed after a worldwide sun flare. The group, led by Thomas, has been given direct orders to go through the town and continue on a hundred miles to get to the safe heaven where they were told that there was a cure to the terrible disease that has killed over half over humanity, but they are taken as prisoners. Worst of all, Teresa, who was one of the head gladers when they were still in the glade, is taken to be with another group that seems to have gone through the same things that they did, except with girls. Thomas and the other gladers must survive in rough rocky terrain as they learn about leadership, hope, and bravery. It is very thrilling reading about how much the gladers learn to become more tight knit, so that they can complete their goal as a group. 

I was so captivated  by how the story plays out. I really enjoyed the story line and plot,  and how every scene had action and mystery.  It was perfectly done on James Dashner’s part, with all the amazing word play and story line.  My favorite scene is when Teresa was going insane and the people around her were so confused, and when Thomas was going a little crazy over a girl. Although they were different scenes, they really tied the character’s relationship together. The only bad thing about this book is the cliffhanger ending because then are left longing for more like a man in the desert longing for water, but I cannot complain about that trivial detail because the rest of the whole book is done beautifully.

I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 11. There are some mature scenes and the story line is sometimes a little hard to follow, but if you like adventure, mystery, and an over all amazing book, then you will love The Scorch Trials as much or maybe even more than I did.

Welcome to Battle School

Review of: Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

Reviewed by: Caleb

Who will defend the Earth?  In Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Buggers, a buglike alien species, have almost eradicated the human species twice.  The government starts training children for war, hoping to breed a new army.  Ender Wiggins is not an ordinary kid.  He’s a genius. When he almost kills a bully, a government agent shows up at his door, but he’s not there to arrest him.  The agent is there to tell Ender that he has been selected for battle school, which is in space.  There, kids  participate in battles in an anti-gravity chamber, with weapons that ‘freeze’ the opponent.  After a year or two of training, the kids join “armies” sort of like sports teams.  Ender is smart and is able to win all the games if he’s allowed to play, but he knows time is running out.  The Buggers could come back at any time.  Will he be able to beat these alien fiends?

This was a very exciting novel.  It had a lot of action because of all the battles that take place.  Also I like the theme – war hurts children.  I think it happens in any war.  If someone said the title of this book, spaceships would come to mind, because the real battles are with spaceships.  However, I didn’t like how along the story, Ender got tougher and a little more mean, like how he pushes his friends to perfection in command school.  I rate this book 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

I recommend this book to young adults 13 and up because this book has a little bloody violence and some mature words.  I also would recommend a parent approving someone to read this first.  Again, I would recommend Ender’s Game to young adults 13 and up.

Just Tesser to Your Destination

If I had to pick a place to go in A Wrinkle in Time, I would pick the planet Uriel.  Uriel is the third planet of the star Malak in the spiral nebula Messier 101.  To get there, I’d have to tesser, or move through space kind of like teleporting.  To guide me, I would pick Mrs.Whatsit, because I love her unusual actions and she can change into the winged hose humanoids that inhabit Uriel.  First, I’d smell the sweet scent on the planet, which is suppost to smell like spring.  Then, I would listen to the inhabitants beautiful songs, because I like music.  Finally, I would climb on to Mrs.Whatsit’s back, and she would fly around as I look at the giant mountains and landscape.  That would be a great experience, and I would share the story with my friends.

A Futuristic Adventure

Review of:  The Giver, by Lois Lowry the giver

Reviewed by: Bella

Fear, pain, and war are all things that occurred in the old world.  The old world is obscure to the people who live in the futuristic communities.  Twelve-year old Jonas wants to change that.  In this community everything is perfect.  Your children, job and spouse are all chosen for you.  People in the community are blinded by everything the old world was.  When you become twelve, there is an event that takes place called the Ceremony of the Twelves; at the ceremony of the twelves you get your job  which you will be trained for.  Everyone gets the job chosen by the elders  whether they like it or not.  When it is the day of the ceremony for Jonas, everyone’s name gets called and everybody gets their jobs.  Except him.  The job that Jonas is required will cause danger and adventure beyond imagine.  Will Jonas ever cope with the things that his job put upon him?

I have read many futuristic book, but The Giver is one of my favorites.  Sometimes the suspense in this book almost kills you.  One of my favorite things is that Jonas stays strong for what he believes in.  Jonas believes that there is more to the world than just the communities.  He shows determination even when no one else believes in him.  Another one of my favorite things is that Jonas is a rebel.  He rebels against the people that care about him.  I favored this because his curiosity turns into adventure, which turned into mystery for people who were around him.  No matter what it takes to achieve his goal, Jonas will do it.   The Giver is a must read.

I recommend The Giver to middle school students.  Both boys and girls will enjoy this novel.  If you enjoy futuristic adventure books, this will become one of your favorites.  This novel displays determination, defiance, and rebellion.  Jonas is rebelling against his community to go across the memory boundary to get to the old world.  His rebellion and defiance is not bad, it shows determination.

 

Meanwhile, in the year 802,700…..

Review of: The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells

Reviewed By: Caleb

 What is it like in the future? In The Time Machineby H.G. Wells, one man invents a machine in order to find out. He is called the Time Traveler, and is a little eccentric. When he tests the time machine, he travels to the yer 802,700! At this time, the Earth is a utopia and inhabited by human-like creatures called the Eloi who act like children. He is able to make friends with one of them, named Weena. Then, as the Time Traveler goes to his machine, he discovers it’s gone! Now, he, along with his new Eloi friend Weena must find the machine so the Time Traveler can get home. Will he be stuck in the far future forever? Or will he find his machine?

In my opinion, this book was wonderful. I liked the description, like when the Time Traveler was described after his voyage. It had very nice detail. If someone mentioned the title of this novel, time travel would pop into my head because the book is about a time travel voyage. The story made me feel suspense, because there were a lot of exciting parts where I ended reading, and I kept asking myself what would happen next.  I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

I would recommend this book to science nerds 12 and up because it has a lot of elaborate words and science references. Also, If anyone likes excitement or danger, this book is for you. Again, if you love science or excitement, read this book and all of H.G. Wells’ other works.

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