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Under Review: Top Book Picks

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Reviewed by Ruqaiyah Damrah

I have to be honest: I did not want to read Fahrenheit 451. I got it because everyone talks about how important and amazing and genius Ray Bradbury is, and it seemed like I had to read it. But somehow… I couldn’t bring myself to start it. I kept it in a closet for several weeks. I just knew it would be another boring, hard-to-understand “classic” that would require a copy of CliffNotes.

Wow, was I wrong. I finally forced myself to read just a few pages, and I never put the book down until I was done. The book is about Guy Montag, a fireman in a future, distorted society. In his world, though, firemen burn books and the houses of their owners. People are shielded from thinking and the real world. At first, he is very proud of his occupation and takes pleasure in it. But when he meets 17-year old Clarisse McClellan, who takes pleasure in rain, flowers, books, and conversation, he begins to question himself and his society. He realizes that he is not happy at all, and neither is his wife: she is constantly immersed in an interactive television and radio “seashells.” Montag’s society is one that is brainwashed, and he decides he can’t cope anymore. He joins a group of runaway intellectuals and… well, I won’t give away the ending, but it’s pretty shocking.

What really awes me about this book is the level of foresight and deep thinking that went into it. My jaw was literally hanging by the end, and it wasn’t just from the plot. The book had ignited a fire within me. I simply couldn’t believe that such power could radiate from one short novel. For days afterwards, Fahrenheit 451 kept me thinking about what really creates a civilization and what destroys it, the similarity between Montag’s world and our own, and how utterly terrifying the end of free thought can be. Ray Bradbury is a true visionary, and he has created a story that should serve as a blaring alarm call for every society.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Reviewed by Kayla Martin

Think you don't like historical fiction? Think again! This book is sad and amazing at the same time. It’s about a young girl named Liesel. Liesel's brother died and her mother left her, and she was adopted by a mysterious man named Hans and his wife named Rosa. One night Hans noticed that Liesel cannot read nor write so Hans taught her. Once Hans thought she was ready to go to school she was placed into a younger class of students just learning their alphabet. Liesel lived with her family for several years. One day her family decided to hide a Jewish man from the Nazis, which put them in a lot of danger. Later on in September Germany invaded Poland, starting World War ll. This was a difficult time for everyone, and Liesel learned and grew so much through language. So can you by reading this amazing book.

This book can teach you things you probably did not know about, like about the Nazis or World War II. I loved that Hans taught her how to read and write and to me, I felt amazed. This book is sad and it makes me angry in a way. because I can just think about it and picture how many people died and what a bloodbath it was. All of those innocent people died for no reason. Liesel lost her loved ones and I have no idea what I would do it I lost my loved ones.

The movie adaptation of the book is also amazing. I saw the movie first because my mom loves the story and she thought it would be good for us to watch it. That is why I was so interested to read this book. One reason I like the book better than the movie is that it gives more information about how things were in Molching, Germany and it took place between 1939 and 1943. One thing I like this book is that it tells more information it makes it even sadder. The reason is because it is very interesting and that after you read the book and watch it you will understand what is happening in the movie. I also like the movie because you can think of the book and just picture what is happening. Overall The Book Thief was amazing. I would recommend this book and movie to everyone!

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Reviewed by Afnaan Damrah

This all-time favorite classic book is one of my favorites! I honestly didn’t want to read it in the beginning, because of how thick the book was: about 750 pages. But once I ran out of books to read and saw that Little Women was the only book available, I gave it a shot and I couldn’t put it down. I found a spot on a couch and finished reading the entire thing in one day. I didn’t even get a drink of water during that time. That’s how good it was.

Little Women is written with love, sadness, and at times hate. This book tells the tale of four young sisters: Meg, Josephine, Beth, and Amy. It starts when they are very young and follows them through their lives until adulthood. What really attracted me to this book was each of the four girl’s personalities. Personally my favorite character in this book is Josephine, or Jo as she likes to be called. What I love about her is that she is very selfless and carefree and craves adventure and action. Overall, all the four girls are very selfless in their own unique way. Beth basically lives for her family. She has a deadly sickness, and she desires nothing for herself and wishes nothing for her future. Amy, the “baby” of the family is vain and dainty, yet smart and fierce. Meg, the oldest, is caring, sweet, and lady-like.

I loved Little Women because it was fun to read about the daily lives and adventures of girls in a different time period. Reading it made me very happy and joyful, and at other times very sad and remorseful. Sometimes I got very angry or agitated at some of the characters for doing something stupid or bad. Overall, it was a very heart-warming book and it showed me the deep love each sister had for each other. I think everyone should read this book.

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