Teen Book Review — The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud

Title: The Death of Life of Charlie St. Cloud
Author: Ben Sherwood
Stars (out of 5): 4
Review: The premise is so touching and interesting that I overlooked the underdeveloped relationships and characters.That being said, this book will definitely produce a tear or two against your will. You’ve been warned.

This review was written by a 12th grader.

Teen Book Review — A Free Woman on God’s Earth

Title: A Free Woman on God’s Earth
Author: Jana Laiz and Ann Elizabeth Barnes
Stars (out of 5): 4
Review: A Free Woman on God’s Earth is a biography of Elizabeth Freeman, also known as Bet or Mumbet, a former slave in Massachusetts during revolutionary times. This book is written like a story, putting all the events in her life in chronological order and writing about her emotions, making it easier to understand and enjoy than some other biographies. Elizabeth Freeman was a very important woman for history, particularly in Massachusetts. She was separated from her parents when she was only seven years old, and sent as a gift to the Ashley family, where she would stay until the end of her slavery, but not the rest of her life. She was a smart woman, and she wanted to be free from slavery, so she worked hard, and eventually found a way to free herself. During her later years as a slave, there was talk of a revolution. Elizabeth Freeman served lawyers during their meetings with Mr. Ashley, and heard their talk of freedom for America. These meetings were also where she learned that owning slaves in Massachusetts was illegal. Elizabeth Freeman, along with her friend, Brom, sued for her freedom under the Massachusetts Constitution, which stated, “All men are born free and equal.” She won the suit, and her Freedom along with it. I am going to rate this book four out of five stars. It was interesting and it caught and held my attention. However, it was an easy read, and I found it lacking some action and excitement, which was what I expected since I prefer fiction to non-fiction books. I think this story is similar to the story of Harriet Tubman. Both stories are about brave women who did amazing thinks to win their freedom from slavery, and helped others do the same. However, there is also a major difference between their stories. Elizabeth Freeman sued for her freedom, proving slavery unlawful in Massachusetts, and making it impossible to defend in court, while Harriet Tubman ran away from slavery and her way of helping was leading others to freedom. This book doesn’t compare much to my life at all, except that I sometimes wish I could make most of my own choices. However, there is a reason adults make some choices for me. It is for my own good.

This review was written by a 7th grader.

Teen Book Review — The Old Man and the Sea

Title: The Old Man and the Sea
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Stars (out of 5): 4
Review: The Old Man and the Sea is a fiction book about a Cuban fisherman. The fisherman was old, poor and had terrible luck. He hadn’t caught a good fish in months. The boy who worked with him had gone to work on a different boat, because his parents wanted him on a successful boat. But the boy cared for the old man at the end of the day, when they were done fishing. Without the boy, the old man was alone in his ship. One day, as he set off in the morning, the old man decided to go further out into the ocean than usual. Soon enough, he felt a fish tug at his line, but he couldn’t reel it in, it was too heavy. The old man waited for the fish to jump, but instead, it started swimming, dragging the old man’s boat with him. I won’t give away anymore of the story, but I think you get the point. The book is about an old fisherman’s struggle to catch a giant fish. I guess I’d rate this book 3 ½ out of 5 stars. It is very well written, and the story is interesting, but I found it a bit boring at parts. This is mostly because the author focuses a lot on details, so it tends to go on about things for a bit too long for my taste. However, I have heard that happens with a lot of old books, and this one was written a while ago. The book I find the most similar to this one would probably be The Cay. I read The Cay a while ago, so I don’t remember the details, but I do remember that there was also an old man in the story. Also, in The Cay, the characters are stranded on an island, similar to how the old man gets pulled far out into the ocean. The main thing that connects these two books, though, is that they were both pretty slow-paced, which made them a bit boring to me. I can’t say this book connects to my life in many ways. The old man was determined to catch the fish, and I can get pretty determined to do what I want to do, or get the last word in an argument sometimes. The fisherman is from Cuba, so he speaks Spanish fluently, I can’t speak it fluently, but I know a lot of Spanish, and speak it occasionally at home. If you enjoy slow-paced highly detailed books, or are interested in fishing or the sea, I would recommend reading this book.

This review was written by a 7th grader.

Read the Book Before Seeing the Movie

Divergent Book Cover from Divergent Fans

Did you know that there are a lot of movies based on books which are getting released soon? Soon you’ll be able to watch the characters from Divergent, Catching Fire, and City of Bones. Buzz Feed has released a list of “14 Books to Read Before They Hit the Big Screen”, including both teen and adult titles. Check these out at the library, and then write about them for the Teen Summer Reading Program!
Have you read any of these? What are you most excited to see? I personally can’t wait for The Book Thief!

Teen Summer Reading 2013

If you are going into grades 6-12, take part in our teen summer reading program! Everyone who participates gets a free ice cream at Lizzy’s Homemade Ice Cream and you can win gift cards to Barnes and Noble! Just fill out a form every time you read a book. Get extra credit if you write a review and then read your review online! You can read books, comic books, graphic novels, or magazines. You can even write a review of a movie and we’ll post that, too! You can even get extra credit if you read the Waltham Reads title, Left for Dead by Pete Nelson.

Waltham Reads Left for Dead

Have you heard about Waltham Reads? All of the high school students, teachers, and as many community members as possible are all going to read the same book!
Check out your copy of Left for Dead at the library or at Back Pages or More than Words bookstore. Then come check out one of the many activities happening around Waltham.

The Waltham Reads/One School One Book Initiative was created by faculty at Waltham High School and is sponsored by the Friends of the Waltham Public Library, the Waltham Education and Beyond Foundation, Watertown Savings Bank, and Back Pages Books. Visit www.walthamreads.org for more information.

Movie in February

We’d like to show a movie during February vacation that teens may like. Please share any suggestions in the comments box.

Book Sale — Lots of Teen Books!

Hey there!
Are you looking to add books to your personal library? There are a lot of YA/Teen Books in our annual book sale which is running from now until October 3. Come get some “new” (to you) books and support a good cause in the Friends of the Waltham Public Library.

Teen Book Review: Mockingjay

Title: Mockingjay

Author: Suzanne Collins

Stars (out of 5): 5

Review: I highly recommend this trilogy; as the last book it really made me sad that there was no next book because these books just drag you into their world. Though the ending was sort of vague, it was a nice ending for Katniss and Peeta.

This review was written by a 12th grader.

Teen Book Review: The Hunger Games

Title: The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins

Stars (out of 5): 5

Review: I couldn’t put this book down, and before I knew it, it was pass one in the morning; it was that captivating. This book makes you think about how life could actually be if say a world war or a natural disaster nearly destroyed the earth and the human race. At some points in the book I was a little creeped out, yet I kept reading because I was rooting for Katniss to make it through and win the hunger games for her little sister, Prim.

This review was written by a 12th grader.

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