Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Second Quarter Outside Reading Book Review"

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card. Tor Books.1986 Genre: Scientific Fiction

Speaker for the Dead is a sequel for Ender's Game. It involves love, understanding, and discovering the truth. The story takes place on a planet named Lusitania. The planet was discovered after destroying the Buggers, a type of alien species. On the planet lives humans and a new type of alien species, the piggies. They can communicate with the humans very fluently, but are very different. The people of Lusitania are learning more about these species and discover a murder! The piggies have always been very friendly and generous. Why would they commit a murder to someone that has always helped them? The book is full of mystery and suspense!

"Less brash than Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead may be a much better book. Don't miss it!" the Analog says.

Speaker for the Dead is written in third person. In the beginning, you meet a xenologer, someone who studies about the piggies, named Pipo. Pipo learns about the piggies and makes experients on them. He and the piggies form a tight bond with each other because Pipo always gives them what they need to survive. One day, Pipo runs out after observing an experiment. Libo, his son, and Novinha, his student, go out and look for him. They find him dead on the piggies' land. Evidence shows that it was the piggies that killed him. The experiment that Pipo observed was created by Novinha. She doesn't know what Pipo saw, but knows it's her fault; therefore, she hides the files away forever to prevent Libo from knowing and dying as well. Her plan does not work though. Libo does not discover her files, but dies the same way as Pipo and for the same reason. No one knows why they killed the two xenobiologists. Andrew Wiggin soon comes to Lusitania to speak for their deaths and discovers the truth that Novinha has been hiding for so many years. The truth that he learns will set everyone free from sorrow and guilt.

"They found him all too soon. His body was already cooling in the snow. The piggies hadn't even planted a tree in him." (30)

I chose to read this book because the prequel, Ender's Game, was very well written. Speaker for the Dead is very different from Ender's Game, but are both entertaining and interesting equally. Speaker for the Dead shows that a misunderstanding can cause death, hatred, and sorrow. The book also implies that holding back a secret and blaming it on yourself causes depression for you and people around you. The truth will set everyone free from guilt and sorrow. Orson Scott Card's books are very interesting and suspensful, so I will continue to read the whole series.

Friday, October 16, 2009

“First Quarter Outside Reading Book Review”

“First Quarter Outside Reading Book Review”

Thirteen Reasons Why by: Jay Asher Penguin Group. 2007. Genre: Realistic Fiction

The book Thirteen Reasons Why is a story about a girl named Hannah Baker and a boy named Clay Jensen. Hannah committed suicide two weeks before Clay received a package of cassettes from Hannah. In those tapes, Hannah has recorded reasons why she decided to end her life. In those tapes, there are also the people that caused it too. Hannah clearly stated that if you receive the tapes then it has to do something to do with you. Clay Jensen is freaking out because he always thought that he loved her. She was his first crush. They really only talked once! How could he be a reason that caused her death? Clay spends his whole day listening to these tapes and finds out the truth about everybody that knows. There really isn’t an antagonist, but if I had to choose an antagonist, then it would be the truth. The truths and secrets he found out changed his life forever. This book is about high school problems, friendship, betrayal, and how people aren’t really what they seem.

Clay Jensen doesn’t want anything to do with the tapes Hannah Baker made. Hannah is dead, he reasons. Her secrets should be buried with her.” The book jacket reads.

Jay Asher’s writing style is really unique because he lets you see the story through Hannah’s and Clay’s point of view. It is written in first person. The italicized is Hannah telling her story. She describes everything so you can feel as if you were there. You then see and understand the story in Clay’s point of view. When you follow him to all the places he goes, you see his reactions when he sees people or discovers secrets. Jay Asher’s writing style brings you into the story. He makes you feel like Clay if that were to happen to you and makes you feel depressed, the way Hannah was.

This writing style is very unique and it fits me very much.

I hope you’re ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes, then you’re one of the reasons why. What? No!” (7)

This was the first book of Jay Asher that I’ve read, but his writing style and story has definitely captured me entirely. Thirteen Reasons Why has showed me to value life no matter what happens. It helped me know that not everyone is what they seem and friends mean a lot when you need help. Hannah didn’t have that kind of protection, that’s why she decided to end her life. This book has definitely made me grow stronger, cherish my life more, and know that everything in life should be appreciated. Plus, it helped me learn that if I open up and help someone, then I could be possibly turning their life around.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stars on Sunday

Life is never easy, but the things that are valuable to us help us get through. What is valuable in life to you? Is it your iPod, Coach purse, or laptop? Are they things that should be valued? People in this time just value things of price and forget the things that mostly matter to us. I’m not saying you shouldn’t value them, but what about those moments? Do you always take those for granted? People, like you and I, mostly value our most expensive things. We never look back at those moments that really count. If we do take the time to look back, I promise that everyone will see that the moments we take for granted will seem priceless.

The teacher is passing out our report cards for second term. I’m pretty confident that I got straight A’s once again, but you can never be too sure. I am so nervous, but excited as well. She hands me mine and I rip it open. “Yes!” I let out quietly. I’m so proud of myself and I know that my parents will be too. I smile during the whole day because I know that if I get good grades, my parents will buy me a present of my choice, but most importantly I can make them proud. I get home and show off my report card and we head to the mall. We walk around to stores that I like, but I don’t see anything of interest. I then walk into Swarovski, a store filled with accessories made from clear crystals. Right when I walk in, I know that I’m going to get something in here because everything is so pretty. I look around and then it strikes me. A beautiful necklace of five gorgeous, stunning stars is hanging right in front of my face. I point and show it to my mom and dad. My dad tells the clerk to take it out and I try it on. It looks so bright and shiny like real stars above. The string is gray and smooth. I run the necklace through my fingers and feel the smoothness. I then feel each star one by one. They glimmer in my eyes with clarity. I feel as if I’m actually holding stars from the sky in my hands. I know I want it by just looking at it. Next thing I know it is in a bag for me! I thank my mom and dad. They respond by saying, “You deserve it.”

I get out of bed awake and not tired because it is Sunday. I love Sunday, but who doesn’t. It is a day of rest and relaxation. Not for me though. My Sunday is always filled with adventures like today. Today my parents and I are going to Hartford, Connecticut. I love going to Hartford because they have delicious food and an awesome mall. We drive for about thirty minutes and I am starving by the time we reach the restaurant. It is a Vietnamese restaurant filled with great food. My dad and I order a Vietnamese Chowfun dish, while my mom calls a bowl of noodles with grilled pork. These dishes are my family’s favorites. The food comes out and we all dig in. It tastes so good! After we are done, we head down to the mall near there. It is called Westfarms Mall and it is very grand. It is totally better than the Holyoke Mall. We go shopping for a few hours and then head home. It is about 7:00 pm and we are all very tired, but no one complains because it was a day of fun. At least when we get home we will fall asleep right away.

I value both my necklace and my Sunday for different –and astonishingly same reasons. I love and value my star necklace because it symbolizes my achievement, my parent’s love for me, and each star can stand for something special to me. I can’t tell you what each one stands for, but I can say that one necklace can hold many memories. It can even be for practical use. I can wear it to school or even formal events without being too gaudy. You might be able to put a price on it, but to me it is priceless.

I value and will always cherish my Sundays for the reason that it is the only day I really get to spend with my parents. We go everywhere we want and have lots of fun. We can only really go this day because every other day I have loads of homework and my parents get home late from work. That is why my Sunday is very important to me since it is a stress-free day that is only filled with joy and laughter. Plus the fact that I spend it with my parents only makes it even more special.

Both my necklace and my Sunday mean a lot because they both remind me of my parent’s love for me. I guess the things that I value most revolve somehow to my parents. My parents have helped me go through everything in my life so far. They are always there for me when I need them and will forever support me. Even though those things remind me of my parents, they can also help me express myself. For example, when I spend my Sunday wearing my necklace, I feel as if I can take on the whole world. My Sunday and necklace can not be priced because no matter what, they are priceless to me. But if I had to choose one thing and it could be ANYTHING, I’d choose my parents. They are the most valuable things to me. I can buy another necklace or make another memory, but I can’t find another pair of parents that’ll love me the same as the ones now. I’m pretty sure though that everyone would pick their parents as their most valuable things.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Strength and Determination

Ender's Game-Ender
The Contender-Alfred Brooks
Setting-Harlem, New York

It was a sunny morning to start with. Alfred was heading to the Epstein’s for work. On his way to work, he saw a boy about 12 standing in the streets looking lost and depressed. Alfred kept walking minding his own business. It was afternoon when the same boy that Alfred had seen walked into the store and said, “Do you have any sodas?”

“Yeah, they’re in the back of the store,” Alfred answered.

The boy came up to pay and was walking out when Alfred stopped him and said,

“Are you ok? Is there anything I can do to help?”

“I’m fine, I’m just confused and don’t know what to do. I can't find the strength in me to keep fighting. .” the little boy answered.

“Well, I don’t know much but when it comes to fighting and determination, I think I might be able to help you. Why don’t you come along with me to Donatelli’s Gym afterwards?”


It was late afternoon when they started walking to the gym. It was a quiet walk. Alfred knew that the boy was depressed about something, but didn’t want to ask.

“My name’s Ender,” the boy said. ‘What’s yours?”

“You can call me Alfred.”

They soon arrived at Donatelli’s. They stepped in and Donatelli asked, “Alfred, who’s your friend?”

“Umm...just a friend who’s following along for a day.”

“Do you mind if I train for a day with you?” Ender boldly asked.

“Can you handle it, little boy? I don’t want you getting hurt or anything.” Donatelli responded in a surprising voice.

“I’ll be fine.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll train with him. Don’t worry Mr. Donatelli.” Alfred said in a friendly tone. Both put on their gloves and gear. They both went into the ring with everyone’s eyes on them. Alfred wasn’t sure what the boy was thinking but he knew that this might help him. They began, and Alfred started by throwing a punch across Ender’s face. He noticed that the boy was slow because of his depression. Ender responded by punching Alfred in the stomach. The fight went on for only ten minutes when Alfred felt that he needed to end it. Alfred threw a quick punch at Ender’s face, and Ender was on the ground crying.

“Are you ok?!”

All Ender could do was cry, but Alfred noticed that the boy was not crying because of the punch, but of something else. Ender quickly ran out of the gym with Alfred running after.

“Stop! Wait up, Ender!”

After running for two blocks, Ender stopped. They both sat down by a river.

“I don’t know what to do. Everyone is putting their only hope on me, and I just don’t know what to do. I want to win but I just don’t have what it takes.” Ender sobbed.

Alfred didn’t really know what Ender was talking about but he knew that whatever it was, Ender really wanted it.

“I understand what you’re going through. It’s just like in boxing. You want to win it because everyone is counting on you. I once thought I didn’t have what it took to be a boxer, but after going through the countdown and finding the last bit of strength in me to stand up and win; I knew that I have what it takes.”

Ender thought about Alfred’s words deeply, and remembered of all the times he won at Battle School, that he has never lost, the times that he’s won even when the other side cheated, and he knew that he was the only one who could save Earth from the Buggers.

“I understand now. I understand that even if I fall, I need to learn how to stand up with every last bit of strength I have in me. Thanks Alfred for giving me my strength and determination back.”

“I didn’t take it from you in the first place; therefore I didn’t give it back just now. I just helped you find it again. It never left; it only hid somewhere deep inside.”

“I have to go now. Thanks for everything.” Ender said.

It was almost dark now and Ender walked off into the sunlight and it seemed as if he disappeared with the sun. Alfred had a feeling that he would never see Ender again, but he also had a feeling that Ender was going to do great things.