Realistic Fiction Book Reviews by Students

Castilleja Middle School students have recommended some of their favorite novels for you! All of these books are available at our library.

On the Edgier Side:

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Miles Halter leaves his small town in Florida in order to attend a boarding school, Culver Creek, in search of a “Great Perhaps”. His roommate, Chip “The Colonel”, soon christens him as Pudge (an ironic reference to Miles’ thin figure), and thus their adventure begins. Miles finds his Great Perhaps in the form of a mysterious and exciting girl named Alaska Young. He soon finds himself immersed in the world of Culver Creek, of smoking in the trees behind the school and playing pranks on the rich “Weekend Warriors”.  All the while, he develops a crush on Alaska, but the night when his fantasies become reality is the night when his life will never be the same.

Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns is a hilarious, yet contemplative and intense book. It takes place in Orlando, Florida, and begins with 9-year-old Quentin “Q” Jacobsen (the protagonist and narrator) and his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, who discover a dead man in the park, leaned against a tree. They find out later that he was  Robert Joyner, a divorced man who committed suicide. It then flashes forward to their adolescent years. Margo, who is considered by Q and many others the most beautiful and popular girl in the school,  shows up one night in his room, and he agrees to join her on her flawlessly planned-out exciting night of revenge.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

This exciting and fast-paced story starts when Nick is at his band’s show; he sees his ex-girlfriend and decides he wants to make her jealous. He sees a girl nearby and asks her to be his girlfriend for five minutes. The rest is history. The two set off on an adventure across New York city, searching for who they are and who they might become – as well as looking for great music. Through the course of a single night, the two experience many insightful moments and a romance unlike any other.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars tells the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16 year old cancer patient. Hazel was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 13, and since then, she has been considered to be living her final chapter. However, her life — however much she has left of it — is drastically changed when she encounters the brilliant gorgeousness that is Augustus Waters.

On the Sweet and Whimsical Side

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Hoot is a fun and uplifting book by Carl Hiaasen about being the new kid, fitting in, being bullied and saving the world. Roy Eberhardt has just moved to Trace middle school in Coconut Grove, Florida. As always Roy will sit at a table by himself at lunch, no true friends, and mean bullies like Dana Matherson pushing him around. Without Dana Matherson beating him up one day though he might never have seen the tow-headed running boy. Withoutt the running boy, Roy may have never met Beatrice, tall, and tough Beatrice. If Roy never met Beatrice, he may have never discovered the burrowing owls living in the lot on the corner of East Oriole Avenue. And the owls are what lead Roy on his life changing adventure.

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass is a fun book about a candy competition.  Four 12 year-olds have been chosen to  participate in  a competition make a new candy at the local candy factory. The four kids have very interesting personalities. One contestant is the only child of the factory’s owner, known here as the Candymaker. Another boy is obsessed with allergies and the afterlife, while the third boy is unfriendly and intent on winning. The lone girl, Daisy, seems to be sweetness itself but displays great physical strength as well as odd behavior. This book is a super fun fast read that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg

The View From Saturday is a clever, plot twisting novel about Mrs. Olinski’s sixth-grade Academic Bowl Team, Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian, and how these 4 unlikely kids found each other and became a wildly successful team.  From Noah being best man in Ethan’s grandmother’s wedding to Nadia helping baby turtles, their stories were twisted together to lead them to an amazing victory.

Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

Page by Paige  is a delightful graphic novel about a girl named Paige Turner, who has just moved to New York city with her family.  As she adjusts to her new life, she uses her sketchbook to sort through her thoughts and emotions.  Along the way, she makes wonderful new friends who convince her to share her art with the world.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl is different and unique in every way from the students at her new school, Mica High.  She dances in the rain, sings “Happy Birthday” to people at lunch, and wears flouncy skirts.  The other students do not know what to think of her, until Mica loses the basketball championship and they turn on Stargirl for all that makes her different.

Recommendations by Sarah S. ’18, Katie L. ’18, Robin S. ’18, Elana R. ’18, and Grace L. ’18.

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