Saturday, April 30, 2011

Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

Right, so the book that I chose is part of a series called "Percy Jackson and the Olympians". This is the fifth and final enstallment! In case you have not read this series (you're missing out if you haven't), I'll provide you with some background information. First off, Percy Jackson is what is known as a half-blood or if you want to be technical, a demigod. He is half human and half, well...god. Percy has been trained, along with other demigods, at a special camp called Camp Half-Blood. I know, what a creative name! Anyway, Percy (son of Poseidon) has some very special friends, emphasis on special.There's Annabeth (daughter of Athena), Thalia (daughter of Zeus) ,and Grover (a satyr). In this particular book, the Titan Lord (Kronos, who is taking over the body of Luke, a good demigod gone bad who bathed in the River Styx and was made invulnerable, expect for one spot. Just like ACHILLES) is preparing to attack Mount Olympus (which is on the 500th floor of the Empire State Building), home of the Olympians, and it is up to Percy and his friends to stop him and to save the world. So, they start recruiting demigods and other mystical beings to help fight the war, BUT THEY DIDN'T GET ANY UNICORNS, which isn't relevant to this plot summary I just thought I should make it a little more interesting; my bad. So eventually Percy is face to face with Kronos and forced to make a decision. One, give up and surrender, causing the destruction of Mount Olympus and the discontinuation of life as we know it, or two, give Kronos/Luke the knife so that when Luke starts fighting Kronos' control over his body, he can stab his Achille's spot and spread Kronos' remains all over the world and into the pits of Tartarus! Can you guess which one he chose? C'mon, it's not too hard. You got it! He chose option number two! Woop Woop! Finally, Mount Olympus is safe from harm and life can go on. The End.

Just kidding. After the war, Percy is greeted by the Olympians and they offer to turn him into a god. (How legit!) BUT, Percy looks at Annabeth before making his decision (They have this sort of Kate and William thing going on) and turns DOWN their offer. Blah, blah, blah. They live happily ever after. The End.

1.) Remember that Kronos is controlling Luke's body, but Luke is fighting it, gaining a little control for short periods of time. Kronos/Luke is UNARMED and all you have is a knife. Would you have trusted Luke enough to give him the knife to stab his Achille's spot so Kronos would die?

2.) Why do you think Percy turned down the gods' offer to become a god?

P.S. Hey,don't forget to vote this coming Friday mods 7-13. I'm running for Junior Class VP! All you need is your school I.D. so be sure to vote!! (Don't be careless, this is it. Vote Rafiq, cause I'm legit) :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah

The novel “Chinese Cinderella” by Adeline Yen Mah is an inspirational autobiography. The story takes place in China during the Civil War. Adeline lived through a very rough life. When she was born, her mother passed away. Her brothers and sisters thought that Adeline was an unlucky child because she was the reason their mother died. Adeline was a very unwanted child. Her father remarried to a woman named Niang. Even Niang treated Adeline with much disrespect and did not show her love. Even though Adeline lacked a loving and caring family, she did not let that get to her. She was a very strong and confident girl. She believed in herself because she knew that if she did not then no one else would. Adeline really connected with her grandfather in which she called Ye Ye. When he passed away Adeline was torn apart, he was the only one she could talk to, the only one who supported and cared for Adeline. However, she was very strong and moved on with her life. Later, Adeline was sent to a boarding school and became very educated. She proved to herself that she could be somebody and she knew exactly what she wanted. Adeline was a very smart girl. She became very successful in school and was able to go to college but her father forced her to study medicine. Later, Adeline changed her study to writing and became a very successful writer.

1. If you were in Adeline's shoes, how would you feel being an unwanted child? How would you handle the hatred from your own family?

2. Adeline was very strong and confident and had to obey what her father told her. If you were Adeline, would you go against your father's rules and change your college study to what you wanted? Or would you obey your father's wishes and commands?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

New Moon is the second book in the Twilight Saga. In this book Bella Swan goes through one of the most difficult times in her life. Her boyfriend and "soul mate" Edward Cullen, leaves for months. When this happens shes lost and does not know what to do with her life. She feels as if all is lost. While he is gone she has no friends except for a guy name Jacob Black. He was always there for her no matter when or what she needed him. He eventually fell for Bella, however she was still hung up on Edward. When he finally returns Bella goes back to Edward even though Jacob was always there for her like he promised, not like Edward who left without realizing how hard that would be for Bella.
1. Do you think Bella made the right choice going back to Edward because they're "soul mates" or do you think that Jacob would have been better for her. Why?
2. Do you think it was better that Edward left because he was trying to protect Bella or do you think what he did was wrong?

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Eclipse starts off with a series of killings in the city of Seattle. It turns out that these victims were being killed by newborns, which is a new vampire thirstier than ever for blood. These newborns were created for one purpose only, to kill Bella Swan. In the first book, Edward Cullen, Bella’s gorgeous vampire boyfriend, kills James, another vampire, because he was going after Bella. James’ girlfriend, Victoria, has been out to seek revenge for Edward’s mate ever since. This time Bella is in life threatening danger, so the Cullen family and her best friend’s, Jacob Black, wolf pack join together to form an army to kill these newborns. During the battle, Edward, Bella, and Jacob seek safety on the mountain top, away from danger. Here Jacob finds out that Edward has proposed to Bella and he becomes extremely jealous and threatens to put his life in danger by fighting the newborns. In the end, Edward kills Victoria and the newborns are all killed off. With an unexpected attack from a hidden newborn, Jacob is badly injured. Bella returned to Jacob’s house after everything had been settled only to find out about his extreme jealousy about her engagement. He then tells her that he will always be waiting for her. The book ends with Bella and Edward deciding to tell Charlie, her father, of the engagement plans.

1. If you were Jacob, how would you feel that the girl of your dreams is getting married to your enemy?

2. Do you think the feud between Edward and Jacob will ever stop?

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini is the story of high school student Craig Gilner and how his ambition lead him to spiraling out of control, landing him in a mental hospital. Craig, who merely wanted to succeed at life, decides that going to the right high school will help him land a spot at a good college which will then get him a good job. He studies nonstop and is granted admission into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School. However, once there, Craig becomes overwhelmed with what's expected of him academically. The pressure of school causes Craig to stop eating, stop sleeping, and begin using drugs with so-called "friends." One night, he decides he has finally had enough and decides that he is going to kill himself. Just before he jumps off a bridge, Craig calls a suicide hot-line and is then admitted into a psychiatric hospital. He meets the other patients, who have problems of their own, and gets the support of his worried family. Craig finds that drawing helps him cope with his anxiety and soon recovers and leaves the hospital.

1.) Craig gets a phone call from his best friend, Aaron, during one of his first nights in the hospital. Aaron is with a bunch of Craig's other friends as he talks with Craig. Aaron doesn't quite understand why Craig is in the hospital and believes his problem is that he just needs to calm down more. If one of your friends went into a psychiatric hospital, how would you handle it?
2.) In the book, Craig meets a lot of the other patients, like a man who is scared of gravity and a girl who cut her face up with scissors, who are staying at the hospital. Though most are older than him, Craig is able to make friends with them. If you were in Craig's position would you try to make friends with the other patients who may not seem so normal?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan

The Longest Day, by Cornelius Ryan, is a book about the D-Day landings in Normandy, France. Ryan collected many veterans' stories who had taken place in the events leading up to, during, and after the battle that turned the tide of the war in Europe. The book begins with the planning of the invasion, with General Eisenhower planning Operation Overlord, the codename for D-Day. The middle of the book explains the disaster of the paratrooper landings the night before, and how nearly everything went wrong with where they landed and how their missions were conducted. The last part of the book explains the actual landings on the five beaches: Omaha, Gold, Juno, Utah, and Sword. This part shows the true sacrifices in war, and what many of these soldiers and their comrades went through to achieve victory for the Allies. Each of the soldiers' stories are honest and interesting, but many are sad as well. Many soldiers who were interviewed had been injured or had seen a friend get killed. In the end, the book showed the true experiences and horror of war and its soldiers.
1. Would you give your life, or be crippled with a life-long injury for your country?
2. Do you think D-Day was necessary, or was it a waste of human life? On a greater scale, is war necessary?

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

Bella Swan and Edward Cullen are completely in love. They walk around Forks High School together everyday after Edward picks Bella up in his fancy Volvo, and they spend long nights together after Edward sneaks through her window when her father, Charlie, falls asleep.Everything seems perfect for the couple, they've never been happier. However, disaster strikes at Bella's party at the Cullen's. Edward's brother, Jasper, not quite accustomed to their vampire 'diet' of animal blood instead of human blood. He launches at Bella, almost killing her when she cuts her self unwrapping a birthday present. This scares Edward because he fears by being a vampire, he puts Bella's life at stake. From here, everything begins to go downhill. In a few weeks, Edward leaves and completely removes himself from Bella's life. She goes into a deep state of depression, moving through life like a zombie hardly talking or showing and life in her eyes. She lives this way for quite a long time until she meets up with an old friend, Jacob Black. Jacob acts almost as a light to Bella. He keeps her happy and safe and she quickly becomes dependent on him for happiness. Soon Jacob begins acting strangely and becomes vert sick. He drops communication with Bella and she goes crazy with worry because of the loss of her light. After a few weeks of this strange behavior, Bella discovers her best friends is a werewolf. This news does not bother Bella and she is eager to see Jacob again. She starts to get to know the others in the pack, that are part of a bigger tribe called the Quileuts. Bella continues to see Jacob but the longing for Edward is still inside her and she discovers something wonderful. Any irresponsible act such as riding motorcycles or jumping off cliffs triggers a very realistic hallucination of Edward. To see Edward, Bella decides to go cliff diving when Jacob is not around to protect her and she almost drowns. Edward's sister, Alice, sees this as a vision, but not the outcome of Bella's survival, and Edward eventually finds out. He is driven mad by the 'loss' of Bella and goes to the Volturi to request his death. They refuse so he creates a plan that gives them no choice to kill him: show himself in the sun. It is up to Bella to go and rescue him from this fate by showing Edward she is still alive. She reaches him in Italy just in time and the two are taken to the leaders of the Volturi. A deal is made because Bella knows their secret; she is to be made a vampire herself, and they are safely let home. Upon her return Jacob becomes furious that Bella accepted this deal because the vampires and the werewolves are enemies. Bella loses her best friend but Edward is given back to her.

1). Bella is in so much pain after losing Edward that when she finds Jacob, he is like a source of happiness and light. When she does not have Jacob she returns to the pain and becomes dependent on Jacob, always visiting him to relieve herself of it. However, she leads Jacob on but repeatedly rejects him when he says he loves her. Do you think that is selfish?
2). Do you see a good outcome in Edward's actions in leaving Bella had he stayed away?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain is one of the first biographies written about one of music's most legendary artists. Christopher Sanford, the biographer, details the life (including younger years, marriage to Courtney Love, and the birth of their daughter), contriversal career, and tragic end to Nirvana's frontman, Kurt Cobain; quoting those close to the late musician and providing factual information regarding Kurt's life. Throughout the 367-page novel, Sanford gives his opinion on the media portrayal of Kurt Cobain, in which he says is in part to the star's later suicide.

1.) How do you view the media? Are they too harsh and invasive towards celebrities or are they just doing their job?

2.) Kurt Cobain was a troubled soul and turned towards drugs, yet many teenagers "admire" the musician. Do you think this is a negative situation, that they view him as such an idol given his past?

Do Hard Things

The book Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris is about young people starting a "rebelution" as they call it, and stepping out of their way to do amazing things for God's glory. This book is written by two teenage twins who feel they are called to challenge the young people of the nation. They challenge the teens of the nations to rise above the world's idea of a typical teenager and to make a difference for God and for the world. They feel that many people today think that every teenager is lazy and is not willing to do anything challenging that will put them out of their comfort zone. This book shares many stories about the experiences that Alex and Brett Harris have had and the big tasks that they have taken on. These big tasks, when they worked hard, they figured out were not impossible with the help of God. The authors also challenge the readers to take a stand for what's right and to live out their faith in everything that they do. These large tasks that many kids think are impossible, are not so hard when you join hands with others and work hard to accomplish great things for God.

1) Many teenagers read this book and think that there is nothing they can actually do. They think that Alex and Brett were some extraordinary teenagers. These boys were normal kids who decided to work hard to accomplish great things. Do you think it's possible for teenagers to make a big difference in this world?

2) What do you think it means for teenagers to rise above these expectations of laziness that our world has placed upon them?