Squared Reviews

truthabouttrumanschool (1)Reviewed by Adrian C., 6th grader at Mannheim Middle School.

Imagine getting bullied by the whole school and everyone hating you. Would you run away or would you stand up for yourself? Would you get sad or depressed or even hide from humanity?

he Truth About Truman School is by Dori Hillstad Butler. This book is about a couple of teens that make a secret school website (Zebby and Amr) and everything goes horribly wrong. At first the website was for writing about your middle school experiences. A couple days later people turned it into a real gossip site all targeting one girl, Lilly. Lilly is the most popular girl in Truman School. But then she turned into the most unpopular girl within days.

Lilly’s friends are responsible for a lot of the bullying but they are not really the only cyber bullies bullying Lilly. How would you feel if your trusted friends bullied you and you didn’t know it because of a putrid screen name online? That’s exactly what happens to Lilly. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want to. People had a big aversion to Lilly and the popular group. But you will find out Lilly deserves it for being mean to others.

When I started to read this book I thought to myself “What a boring book this is going to be.” When I got further into the story and the plot, then I thought “Oh this is going to be a good book.” This was a good book, yet it was also sad. The bullies were being snide.

The Truth About Truman School is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. It’s just one of those books that gets you reeled in and ready to read. You will laugh and maybe even cry but the book isn’t that sad and emotional! This is a must read.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is going through a time that they get bullied themselves or that even have experienced bullying. It also teaches you about why bullying is bad and what happens when it happens to someone.

drive-byReviewed by Diego R., 6th grader at Mannheim Middle School.

BAM, BAM!!! Just imagine that seeing your brother getting gun down by a group of gangbangers. Ask yourself what did he do to deserve this, he couldn’t have been a gangbanger or could he? This is one of the problems Tito has to face in this action-packed book called Drive By.

The main character is Tito. Tito has been through a lot of thing first his brother was killed by some gangbangers not so much later after Jimmy’s funeral Tito got to his house from school and then bam there started a drive by shooting but just in time Gus saved Tito.

Then Tito had to move to Miss Washington’s house. One night he heard something in the backyard so he went it was his friend gus he told him if they wanted to hang out. Tito said he would hang out if he didn’t have to join a gang. Then they went but when he got there gus was with some gangbangers. So they said that they killed him because he was skimming through their drug money but it was so he could help his mom maintain the family. But still if is it not payed back Tito will pay with his life.

I felt sad when Jimmy died because he is as nice as a new born baby. I think he shouldn’t have died. I think its a little harsh to waste a life for some money.plus Jimmy still had a family to maintain. It was also sad how everyone was crying for Jimmy to come back. if I lost my brother I would always have something missing in my heart.

It was also suspenseful because so many times he almost gets caught by a group of gangbangers wouldn’t it be scary and suspenseful if you almost got caught by a group of gangbangers. also he has to pay the drug money Jimmy stole or else…I think that was a pretty suspenseful part.

I recommend this book to people who like action and suspense because it is packed with both of them.There is a combination of both of them. They are action and suspense parts all around the book. That is why I recommend this book to all action and suspense lovers everywhere.


pictures of hollis woodsReviewed by Nathan A., 6th grader at Mannheim Middle School.

Can you think of an environment where you’re traveling from foster parent to foster parent and none of them like you? Where you always run away from them only to be found by the authorities again? No friends, no fun, and a feeling that you’ll never be happy again? Well, that’s the life of Hollis Woods, the main character in the amazing and action-packed book Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff. This is a book about a girl who has no family and everyone hates her. They think she’s a mountain of trouble. But she meets one of the only foster parents she’ll ever like and want to stay with. I’m absolutely positive that Pictures of Hollis Woods will make you feel happier than you’ve ever been in your life!

In Pictures of Hollis Woods, Hollis meets Josie Cahill, an older artist who is great with foster kids. So the authorities think they should put Hollis there. As it turns out, she likes Josie. Josie is the only person who’s been nice to her since the Regan family. Hollis felt like she’d never ever be this happy again in her life. Josie, it seems, likes her too and takes care of her, but the Social Services don’t want Hollis to live with Josie. If they move her, Josie will be living alone (except for her cat Henry) and they will move Josie away as well. Her cousin Beatrice went to California to have a fun vacation, so Hollis has no help from anyone else. So in the winter, as it gets closer to Christmas and school is out, Hollis takes Josie and Henry to the Regan’0s summer house, the one she used to live in.

As Josie starts to get older, she starts to forget things. She’s clueless why they moved to the Regan’s house and doesn’t understand that the Social Services are on the hunt for them. Hollis is doing her best to look out for her and Josie, and just have a wonderful Christmas that she has ever had before. Hollis wishes that she could go back in time and redo the wrong things she did so that she didn’t have to mess up the Regan family like she thinks she did. She just wants to be happy again and have some people who truly love her. What can she do, besides just go through the motions?

Pictures of Hollis Woods was a fantastic book that was emotional in many ways. I was wondering what would happen next at the end of each chapter, trying to predict what would happen next. It felt like I was on a roller coaster falling off a cliff. Pictures of Hollis Woods is a depressing tale of a girl who was all alone until a foster parent named Josie came into her life. I wonder how someone would feel if they had the life of Hollis Woods. It’s unimaginable how a twelve-year-old girl could be so alone!

If I could go back in time and read Pictures of Hollis Woods again, I would. It’s that great. It made me feel so grateful for having the family and friends that I have right now. I don’t think I could have cried, but it was still sad, but all stories have a great ending, don’t they? I thought it would be boring at first, but it turned out to be more action-packed than I thought. Who could imagine someone who has no friends, no family, and everyone hates that person? The joy of reading Pictures of Hollis Woods was unbelieveable. I couldn’t stop reading it until it was done! Patricia Reilly Giff has created an unforgettable book to read!
I would probably recommend Pictures of Hollis Woods for someone who likes to read books about family and about people who are troublemakers, who mess up everything they do. But I really think Pictures of Hollis Woods could be for anyone looking for a good book. So consider the possibility and have a great time reading!

truthabouttrumanschool (1)Reviewed by Deanna P., 6th grader at Mannheim Middle School

I don’t think I have ever felt so bad for a character in a book before. This is by far the best realistic fiction book I have ever read in my life. The book, The Truth About Truman School, is a book about middle school students Amr, Zebby, Lilly, Hayley, Trevor, and Brianna. Hayley and Brianna are the bullies to Lilly in this story. This book was as powerful as lightning.

Amr and Zebby make a Truth About Truman website. They set up this website so that anybody could post anything that was on their mind about Truman middle school. But, it gets a little out of control when a user by the name of milkandhoney starts posting untrue things about Lilly Clarke.

Milkandhoney starts posting things like “Who is the biggest poser at our school?” And “Lilly’s Lesbian Diary”. Now, Lilly was in the “popular” group until her “popular” friends saw the things about Lilly being lesbian and started believing it. So they kick her out of their group and now she has no other friends. Her boyfriend even broke up with her because he saw the untrue things about her on the website and also started believing it.

Lilly doesn’t go to school because she doesn’t want to deal with the bullying so she fakes being sick for about two to three days. But on the third day her mom gets kind of suspicious and makes her go to school. But Lilly thinks “Okay, she says I have to go to school, she never said I had to stay in school.” So her mom drops her off and as soon as her mom drives away from the school Lilly runs away. Lilly didn’t come home from school that day so her mom started to get worried and called all of her what so called friends and they all say they don’t know where she is and that they have no idea why Lilly stopped hanging out with them. Until Zebby, blurts it all out about the website and people posting untrue things. Once Lilly’s mom gets off the phone with Zebby, she calls the police. This made me wonder if she was going to come home before the police came. There were four police cars in front of Lilly’s house that night.

This book is a very suspenseful book. There are so many parts in this story that gets your heart beating. Once I started reading this book I didn’t want to put it down. This book made me feel like I was actually there watching the whole thing and I’m pretty sure it will do the exact same thing to you.

takingsidesReviewed by Osbaldo P., 6th grader at Mannheim Middle School.

If you had to choose between two basketball teams to play for, one you used to compete for, another you currently play on, which side would you choose to honor? This is a question Lincoln, the main character, must answer before time is up. In Gary Soto’s book Taking Sides Lincoln must decide between two schools. Which one is the school he truly feels like home in?

One school, Franklin, is where he grew up to become an amazing basketball player. Most of his friends are there, and he felt like a traitor when he left to attend Columbus Junior High, where he currently learns and plays basketball as an eighth grader. Columbus has what appears to be physically and mentally advanced students, as well as more wealth than other schools. Students take it easy, describing life in the school as a piece of cake. Meanwhile in Franklin, you can only hope you can avoid a fight there.

A few of the other characters help him out through the troubling times of moving to a new school. His best friend, Tony, attends Franklin. Roy, his mother’s boyfriend ever since their parents were divorced, went to Franklin in 1970. A girl he likes, Monica, went to Franklin, but now attends Columbus Junior High, just like Lincoln. She used to play basketball for Franklin, but now doesn’t play in a team at all. Meanwhile Columbus has James, a friend who plays basketball for Columbus. Finally, there is Coach Yesutis, the basketball coach for Columbus, who Lincoln described as “has “trouble inside his own head.”

Reading through it helped me understand what Lincoln was going through. I can visualize taking his place and choosing a side, and how difficult it would be with people possessing a variety of personalities prompting me to make a difficult choice. My eyes were scanning through the pages, my fingers carefully flipping them, and my mind kept thinking,”What would I do in that situation?” I was magnetized to the book, and was also constantly reading while only guessing what would happen in the next chapter.

I was reading the chapters, knowing this could happen to anyone moving to a different school, knowing the book is not about basketball, but instead about making a choice, to decide on the option that comforts you more and keeps those you love in joy. You need to make the choice that does not break the friendships in your life nor the promises you make. That is what I learned when I finished reading the amazing, lesson packed pages of the book.
This is a book for anyone who loves realistic fiction and books about growing up. Taking Sides is a book for any age, any personality, and any sports-loving person. With the theme of not only sports, but about growing up, this could be one of the best books I have read this year.

henrietta lacksThis nonfiction book weaves medical research, science, and ethical issues to tell the story of Henrietta Lacks and the immortal cell line known as HeLa, that came from her cervical cancer cells in 1951.

5 out of 5 stars. This book deserves 5 stars because the story is astonishing. The fact that her cells lived and continue to live is amazing. Her cells saved lives and allowed for many vaccines to be created. I really liked this story.

Submitted by: Yamilex M.

callingMaya and her friends are on the run. Having escaped a deliberately set forest fire and a fake rescue team with dark intentions, they were just beginning to feel safe again. Then their helicopter crashes near the Vancouver Island wilderness, and Maya and her friends realize they’re about as far from safe as they can get.

4 out of 5 stars. This was a really good book. As you read it gets better and better. It kept me on my toes with all the secrets!

Submitted by: Millie H.

alchemy of foreverThe immortal Seraphina must grapple with a wrenching truth: falling in love might mean succumbing to death.

5 out of 5 stars. It was a great love story and an even better sci-fi story!

Submitted by: Jaci S.

divergentIn a future Chicago, on an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

5 out of 5 stars. I absolutely adored this book! I couldn’t put it down. Tris is an extremely relatable character. I like that she doesn’t lack depth. Moreover, I think I fell in love with Tobias. I recommend this book for anybody who’s into dystopian novels.

Submitted by: Jazmin B.

across the universeTeenaged Amy, a cryogenically frozen passenger on the spaceship Godspeed, wakes up to discover that someone may have tried to murder her.

5 out of 5 stars. Across the universe is about 17-year-old Amy who has embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. She, along with another 100 Earth people, will be frozen and traveling through space for 300 years until they reach the new planet. But things don’t go as planned, for Amy is unfrozen before they get to the new planet. The plot is so exciting and interesting that you can’t stop reading. As you read. all types of question swirl around your head. The main character Amy is also very relate-able too. As the author describes her fears and experiences in the ship Godspeed. You can’t help but feel like you’re right there!

Submitted by: Adriana B.

vincentboysTired of being the good girl, Ashton finds herself drawn to bad boy Beau while her boyfriend is away for the summer.

4 out of 5 stars. It was a good book. I enjoyed reading it. The characters were all very developed, and it was just a good read.

Submitted by: Millie H.

blackbirdThere is a world of myth and magic that intersects with ours, and only a special few can see it.

5 out of 5 stars. Black Bird is a really good book. It’s really interesting, and I recommend it.

Submitted by: Evelyn A.

catchingfireKatniss and Peeta face a huge challenge after the Hunger Games.

5 out of 5 stars. Usually sequels aren’t that good, but this was well-written and very good.

Submitted by: Jack S.

silverkissA mysterious boy harboring a dark secret helps Zohe come to terms with her mother’s terminal illness.

Without giving his secret away, I will say that this book is anything but stereotypical. It’s a beautifully woven story with a dramatic and slightly unexpected ending. When it comes to the preternatural world of fiction, this is by far an original, captivating little tale.

Submitted by: Jazmin B.

harrypotterorderThe adventure continues in this title, the fifth book in the series, with Dumbledore promising to tell all.

I have read this book at least 10 times, but every time I read any of the Harry Potter books I can’t put them down! Especially the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th books. Because they are so long, I find something new in them each time I read them. Despite the size of this book (over 800 pages!), I still can read it in 2 days because it is simply that amazing.

Submitted by: Megan S.

fivepeopleAfter dying on his 83rd birdthday, Eddie meets five people in heaven who will help him understand his life on earth.

I thought this was a very well-written novel. It kept me guessing on what would happen next. It was also a good novel to teach lessons on life and show that things happen for reasons. In the worst events that could possibly happen, things can get better, even when it seems to be the end.

Submitted by: Elexis S.

shugocharaAmu receives three little eggs that can give her the power to be someone new.

One of my first impressions before reading this book was-“Aren’t I a bit too old for this?” I spoke too soon, because after the first chapter or so, I couldn’t put this book down! I really love the artwork and story behind Shugo Chara! Whether your 10, 50 or 100 years old, I guarantee you’ll love it! One of my favorite things about Shugo Chara is the characters’ personalities-all of them are unique! What threw me off was the abrupt ending… because I didn’t have the second volume yet!!! 🙂

Submitted by: Gabby G.

lowredmoonAlthough Avery witnessed the brutal murder of her parents at their home in the woods, she cannot remember anything about that night.

I devoured this book. From the beginning, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop reading. Avery suffered a grand loss, and Ben comes into the picture. Though, he isn’t allowed in smoothly. There are many secrets lingering around; some aren’t even solved until the very end of the book. If you enjoy a story that keeps you engrossed and suspicious as you search for the truth, Low Red Moon is for you.

Submitted by: Jazmin B.

incantationDuring the Spanish Inquisition, sixteen-year-old Estrella, brought up a Catholic, discovers her family’s true Jewish identity, and when their secret is betrayed by Estrella’s best friend, the consequences are tragic.

I couldn’t put the book down. Estrella’s story is inspiring, enthralling, and heartbreaking. It has everything you look for in a narrative. Even if it’s set in the past, I could still understand and relate to what I read. Moreover, Alice Hoffman’s style of writing just sucked me right in from the very first page. She has a way of making her writing simple and sweet yet meaningful. Overall, Incantation is a rather memorable piece.

Submitted by: Jazmin B.

bakumanMoritaka loves to draw but is hesitant about teaming up with his classmate to publish manga.

I have to say, this book really surprised me…in a good way! I never really thought about reading this book until one of my friends recommended it to me. I fell in love right away! The mix of comedy, school life, and romance fit so well in this series! Who knew the creators of Death Note could create something like this? I totally recommend this book to both boys and girls, so don’t miss out on the action.

Submitted by: Gabby G.