TEEN BOOK REVIEWS
"In 27 Days" by Alison Gervias. Published in 2017.
Set in a high school, a boy named Archer ends his life and a girl named Hadley, although she barely knows him, decides to attend his funeral. At the funeral she is approached by Death who offers to take her back in time 27 days in order for her to convince Archer to not end his life. She accepts his offer and over the course of the next 27 days she makes it her mission to befriend Archer and prove to him that his life is worth living. This novel is one of my favorite romance novels to this day because of the unlikely romance that sprouts from Hadley trying to befriend Archer. Not only is the plot and the tension between Archer and Hadley so interesting to read about, but the addition of the character Death and his back story makes the novel even more exciting. While this is not a very well known and somewhat simple romance novel, it truly is a great read and is overall very enjoyable.
"The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck. Published in 1939.
John Steinbeck, author of The Grapes of Wrath, is renowned for his novels and their incorporation of elements of realism. The Grapes of Wrath was published in 1939 and is 464 pages long. The novel starts with Tom Joad being let out on parole after four years in jail, charged with a homicide. He returns home to find his family planning their journey west to California. Tom and his new acquaintance Jim Casy, a retired priest guilted with his sins, decide to accompany the rest of the Joad family and along the way experience loss, discrimination, and poverty. Throughout the story, there are constant reminders of the farmers who suffer because they fear what will happen as a result of some landowner refusing them work or the weather not being right for work because if they cannot make money then they cannot support themselves or their families. The social commentary from the author is exemplified thoroughly in this novel and this helps the reader understand the setting and what it was like during this time period. One of my favorite aspects of the novel was the character development of Rose of Sharon and the transition from Tom being the “main character” to the novel ending with her.
"The Story of Beautiful Girl" by Rachel Simon. Published in 2011.
This novel recounts the story of Lynnie’s baby and the love between Lynnie and Homan. Both trapped in an institution for people with disabilities, they find solace in each other and escape to a farmhouse, where an old widow lived, together with Lynnie’s baby. Instead of both getting caught and brought back, Homan leaves and Lynnie is taken back. However, Lynnie gives her baby to Martha, the widow, and requests her to take care of her. Over the next forty years, all of them encounter their own individual journeys and eventually find their way back to one another. I loved this book not only because of how in depth the author went into each character and their personal experiences but also because of how the story tied together as a whole. The growth of the characters from their limited social interactions in the institution to living in the real world was also fascinating to read about. Along with the plot and the main characters, the reader gets to discover what happens behind closed doors at the corrupt institution and how that changes over time. Simon’s use of diction, vivid imagery, and attention to detail truly make the book an amazing read that is guaranteed to hook you in and leave you satisfied.