Sunday, 27 March 2011

SYAL, Meera, Anita and Me

By Inés Pineda, 2° ESO A

Meena’s mum and dad moved to England, Tollington (Wolverhampton), just before she was born to escape problems in India.

Anita and me tells the story of Meena’s childhood and how she met Anita, a Tollington girl about fourteen years old.

It tells of how Meena changes from being a small innocent nine year old, to a mature girl at the start of secondary school. It focuses mostly on her relationship with the Tollington “Wenches” but most of all, Anita.

I did worry I wasn’t going to like the book when I started, it didn’t seem (and it wasn’t) my type of book, if I were to contemplate its quality as literature I would say it’s good.

It speaks of two cultures, including plenty of detail about Indian culture, but adding some dry humour for the British.

Also, it has a mix of subtle humour for more avid readers and the some blatantly obvious humour, for those of less exprerience...

I also loved the challenging vocabulary!

SHAKESPEARE, William, MacBeth

B1 1700 headwords

Álvaro Conesa, 1° Bachillerato EFL

After a battle, MacBeth and Banquo found three witches. The witches told them that MacBeth was going to be king and Banquo’s sons too. MacBeth wanted to be king, so he decided to murder King Duncan. Then he was crowned at Scone. He commanded three murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance (Banquo’s son), but Fleance escaped and...

It’s an interesting book. It’s easy to understand and it’s exciting to read. I think it’s important because it explains that everyone can betray you and how people sometimes become obsessed with certain ideas. I’ve learnt that you can’t trust everyone. It’s also important to say that you have to choose your ideas and opinions yourself and not be persuaded by other people. I like this book because it has a relation with ‘’The History of Britain’’ because the king’s names, places, battles, etc. exist. I would recommend it to people who like drama and history. Maybe we could try to do a play in class.

TWAIN, Mark, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

A2 600 headwords

JUAN DIEGO RUIZ DÍAZ – 1º BACHILLERATO EFL

Tom is an orphan young boy who lives with his aunt Becky in a river town close to the Mississippi river, where he has lots of problems, especially with adults and girls. To avoid them he runs away with Joe Harper and Huckleberry Finn, his best friend and local drunkard's son. They start stealing, escaping, lying, running, tricking... because they need to survive and they are alone.

If you like stories where two boys travel around a country trying to escape from justice, and to survive at the same time, you should read it

BEDDAL, Fiona, A History of Britain, A2 1200 headwords

Álvaro Conesa, 1° Bachillerato EFL

The book is about the History of Britain. It started with the Roman domination. Then there were many invasions (Vikings, etc), the last one was the Norman invasion. Centuries later Wales and Scotland joined England (and became the UK). In the 18th century, kings lost their power and Parliament controlled everything. Then the American colonies became independent. The book explains the industrial revolution, the British Empire, WWI, WWII and the cold war too.

It’s amazing how you can learn about the History of Britain so quickly. Lots of people will say that these books aren’t interesting, but I do think that they are a good way of learning another culture, history... I would recommend it to people who are learning English and are interested in the History of Britain.

COPE, Andrew, Spy Dog

Marcos Gonzalez, 2° ESO A

I am age 14 and I think that this book is perfect for 10+ year olds who love mysteries and adventures in their books. This book has improved my imagination a lot and has got my head super-glued to it. At one stage it looks like it's gone boring and the mysteries finished, but then all of their solving helps nothing! It's just a brilliant book!

LONDON, Jack, White Fang A2, 600 headwords

JUAN DIEGO RUIZ DÍAZ – 1º BACHILLERATO EFL

This is the story of White Fang, a semi wolf-dog which was born from a bitch and a wolf in Alaska. He was found by an American native called Gray Beaber and they become inseparable friends.

He escaped during the drought because he was afraid of being eaten, but in the end, he returned and he was sold to an evil man who used dogs for fighting and earning money. Finally he was rescued by a Californian family, the Scott's, where he was cared for.

Fantastic story, so nice! To see how the dog suffers until he finds a family is a very interesting part to read.

HARRIS, Charlaine True Blood Omnibus 'Club Dead'

Isabella Bruña, 2° ESO A

Things aren't going too well for Sookie and her boyfriend Bill. He has been more interested in his computer than spending time with her. How will their relationship end?

I really like the True Blood OMNIBUS series but I didn't quite like this book because the plot ending was slightly confusing and disappointing. I recommend this book for older teens because of the mentioning of murder, violence and drugs.

ROWLING, J.K, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Inés Pineda, 2° ESO A

It tells the story of an orphan who has spent his life in a cupboard, ignored and blamed for all the wrongs in life. (Not really)

He discoveres he is a wizard and goes on a journey in which he becomes, a confident, budding young wizard with friends, a makeshift family...

This book is destined to be a classic. It is modern, but still has aspects of traditional magical stories, it has a lovely vocabulary and humor stuffed in with suspense, sympathy, awkwardness... love it!

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl,

B1 1700 headwords

Álvaro Conesa, 1° Bachillerato EFL

The diary of a young girl is a true story written by Anne Frank. It was 1942 in Holland and the Germans had invaded the country. During WWII the Jews were persecuted by the Nazis and sent to concentration camps. Anne Frank and her family were Jewish and they had to hide. They hid in a little room that was behind a big wardrobe in her father’s work office. But...

Personal Opinion: I think it’s an interesting book because it shows the horrors of WWII and the pain that the Jews suffered during that time. It has got a terrible ending (and the worst thing is that it is a true story) because the only survivor of Anne’s family was Otto (her father). He is the one who published his daughter’s diary. It’s an easy to read book: the vocabulary isn’t very difficult; the main theme is easy to follow... Finally, I would like to say that I love the way Anne describes every situation and her feelings.

I would recommend it to people who are interested in WWII.

This book has been recommended before (see February posts)

REEVE, Philip, Mortal Engines

Marcos González, 2° ESO A

I like this book because it has a lot of action in it, it’s a long book but gets your attention easily.

I will recommend this book to people that are interested in fiction and action books. It helps you find a lot of new vocabulary

Roald Dahl, Esio Trot

Álvaro Conesa, 1° Bachillerato EFL

Mr Hoppy is an old man who is in love with his neighbour, Mrs Silver. They both live alone. Mrs Silver has got a tortoise, Alfie, and she loves it, but she wants it to be bigger. Mrs Hoppy invents a secrets song which can make it possible. He sings this night after night and her tortoise becomes bigger, but what really happens is...

I think it’s a great story. It’s a romantic book and I would recommend it to everyone who’s in love. It’s interesting the way the woman falls in love and it’s amazing the great effort that Mr Hoppy makes to make Mrs Silver fall in love with him. It’s a book easy to understand and there are several pictures which can help you to follow the plot. I think Mr Hoppy is an example of strength and a hard worker. The book shows us that if you are jealous you can’t think properly and you make lots of mistakes,so you must control yourself.

FEILING, Tom, The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took over the World

Helga Puigdomènech Sanjuán, 2° Bachillerato EFL

This book tells the history of cocaine, from its beginnings until the 21st century. Going through the lifestyle of the American natives, the arrival of the European people and the discovery of the different drugs (coca, coffee, chocolate, etc), it tells about all the medical experimentation by doctors in Europe. It also includes chemists' reports of self-experimentation; legal problems; the firsts banning laws; the contraband by the different mafias and governments and finally the importance of the drugs nowadays, because not just the smugglers take benefit from it. There's a lot that is hidden away from public knowledge. It also explains the environmental consequences of the human decisions when modifying nature to produce big hectares of plantations, industrial constructions, etc.

Finally, the author comments about how he has written it, what he thinks and his conclusion about drug manipulation, distribution and consumerism around the world.

I've enjoyed every word of this book, not just because it has been a challenge to my English level from the first page, but because this kind of book informs you about a lot of things that you could never imagine they are that way: many controversial documents and newspapers columns that have gone through our hands and we didn't notice their importance, political deals and agreements that don't seem what they really are, and more surprising facts that make you think about the world where we are living.

The book has a very interesting vocabulary and grammar, maybe a bit difficult for some learners but if you like the subject you will get a grasp of the book quickly.

I would recommend this book to those restless minds who want to know a bit more about the reality that's been camouflaged between the presidents’ speeches and televisions news. However, this book needs to be read with a critical mind so it is appropriate for young adults.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

McGIFFIN, Janet, MURDER BY ART, B2 2300 Headwords

Juan Galindo Moreno, 2° Bachillerato EFL

This book is a detective story about how Dr. Maxine and detective Grabowsky manage to find out and connect several crimes that took place in Milwaukee (USA), such as a death by poisoning, a gang shooting, the murder of a famous artist and a disappearance.

This is the stereotype of a detective novel that was literally ‘O.K.’ On the one hand the story is not realistic because it´s hard to explain how all the issues were finally sorted out so easily. There are too many coincidences and that´s a bit disappointing,

On the other hand I found this novel easy to read and amusing, so I recommend it to students who would like to improve their English in an entertaining way.

DEWEY, Gram Gladiator, B1 1700 Headwords

Álvaro Conesa, 1° Bachillerato EFL

Maximus was a Roman general. He fought against the barbarians in Germany. He won the last battle and the barbarians were finally defeated. Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor, was proud of him and he promised him that he would be the next Roman emperor. Commodus, Marcus Aurelius’s son, was jealous and murdered his father. Then Commodus said that Maximus had committed the murder. Maximus became a prisoner and...

I think it’s an interesting book. It’s easy to read because the vocabulary isn’t too difficult and the main theme is easy to follow. There’s also a romantic part. The author describes Maximus’s feelings really well (especially when he is praying and thinking about his family and he doesn’t know that they are dead) and makes you almost cry. It’s important to say that it’s such an excellent book that David Franzoni and John Logan made a film of it and it won five Oscars. I would recommend it to people who are interested in adventure books and the History of the Roman Empire.

ANNE FRANK: Diary of a Young Girl

B1 1700 Headwords

Alicia Pliego Mendieta, 1° Bachillerato EFL

My opinion about the book is that it seems an injustice what Germans did with the Jews. The Jews are normal persons like us and like Germans, and got treated as animals, put in concentration camps with no sanitation, no food, and if they resisted, they were put in gas chambers...

However, I have liked like the book because most books have the testimony of the person who wins or survives, but in this story a little girl tells about the oppressed and the difficulties of the Jews’ life in the Second World War, when they lost and they were finally killed.

I have found the book easy to read, but sometimes monotonous and boring, especially the days when Anne tells the things they had eaten and how much money they had spent on food.

I would recommend this book to all ages.

This book has been recommended before (see older posts)

Daphne du Maurier REBECCA

B2, 2300 Headwords

Alicia Pliego Mendieta, 1° Bachillerato EFL

Rebecca is a great novel. The story is full of mystery, hatred and love at the same time.

How Rebecca manipulated all the servants so that they always remembered her and missed her. They can’t love the new Mrs de Winter as they loved Rebecca. The housekeeper especially hates her and tries to kill the new Mrs de Winter twice.

The memory of Rebecca that lingers in the house makes the new couple argue and causes pain for the new Mrs de Winter, who has to bear the weight of everything.

It has a mysterious ending, which you cannot imagine.

I would recommend it to students who like mystery and love stories because it is very entertaining and easy to read.

This book has been recommended before (see older posts)

Sunday, 20 March 2011

WILDE, Oscar, The Picture of Dorian Gray, B1 1700 Headwords

Pablo Fernández, 1 Bachillerato EFL

Dorian Gray was a beautiful young man who wished to be always young. This wish comes true, but not as Dorian expected. Instead of becoming old and ugly, it was his portrait which became old and ugly. However, he kept doing wrong things and became more and more heartless.

Before I read it, I thought it was a rather boring book, but while I was reading, I realized that it wasn't. I also like it because it isn't awfully difficult, so I wasn't always looking up words in the dictionary. I give this book three stars out of five

This book has been reviewed before (see older posts)

LESSING, Doris, The Grass is Singing, B2, 2300 Headwords

Pablo Fernández, 1º Bachillerato EFL

Mary is a friendly and outgoing woman, until she marries Dick Turner, a poor white South African farmer. The farm is miles away from the city. She is bored, lonely and unhappy. The story shows how her feelings change from disappointment to madness and violence.

I personally like this book not only because it isn't difficult to read, but also because it talks about a murder. The book reflects the theme of the superiority of white people, issue that I find interesting and which made me think a lot. I still can't understand how white people could think they were superior to black people. The book also made me think about society and if there are still these thoughts. I recommend this book to everyone who's interested in the superiority of white people. So, I give this book three stars out of five.

This book has been reviewed before (see older posts)

Sunday, 13 March 2011

MUCHAMORE, Robert, Class A

by Iván Ramírez, 2º ESO A

Class A is the second book published by Robert Muchamore in his CHERUB series. It continues the story of James Adams, one of CHERUB’s agents. The book before Class A is The Recruit, which received more awards than Class A

Class A begins at CHERUB summer camp, where James and his fellow CHERUB agents are joining up for their summer training. They first have to go through a medical, which James fails miserably and has to be sent to an Emergency Fitness plan with Mr. Lange (fitness trainer), who assigns him to a 10km run every morning. Once James is fully fit, he is assigned to a very hard and important mission. His target was England’s biggest drug dealer, Keith Moore, who runs KMG (Keith Moore’s Gang). And then...

I would recommend this book to an older audience because it contains language and content that could confuse some children. The book is full of action and is funny at times, and there is also a bit of romance so if you like all of that, the book is perfect for you.
POE, Edgar Allan, Seven Stories of Mystery and Horror , A2, 1200 Headwords

by Paloma Gómez González, 2º ESO A EFL

This book is about seven stories. Each one is different to the others. All of them have a surprising end and you get hooked because you can´t stop reading.

The stories I like the best are ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’, ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ and ‘The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar’.

I would recommend this book for people who like stories of suspense.

I will give this book 4 stars.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

DICKENS Charles, A Christmas Carol

First edition frontispiece and title page (1843)

by Eliana Lale Khan, 2º ESO A

I absolutely loved this book because, apart from having a lot of new vocabulary, which I learnt from, it was a very heart-warming story about this one man who was very miserable until 3 Christmas spirits came to visit him and then his life changed forever. From then on he lived life with a smile on his face. The three spirits were very peculiar and had their own goal to make him realise what he was missing out on.

I recommend this book for people of all ages and give it a 5 star rating.
HOPKINS, Cathy, Mates, Dates, Tempting Trouble

by Eliana Lale Khan, 2º ESO A

This book was very exciting. I enjoyed it because it was about love and excitement, and friendships and enemies. It is about this group of 4 friends who split up because of a boy, apart from other small problems. The main character is TJ, a very intelligent girl who does not want to look like a geek.

I recommend this book for girls aged 13-16 and I give it 5 stars.

HOPKINS, Cathy, Mates, Dates, Sizzling Summers

by Eliana Lale Khan, 2º ESO A

This book is full of events and surprises. I really liked it because the main character, TJ, is a normal girl like you or me, with the same problems, questions, etc.

The book is about a girl called TJ and the different problems and events that happen with boys, with her parents and her friends who have their own original personality.

I recommend this book for girls aged 13-16 and I give it 4 stars.

HOPKINS, Cathy, Mates, Dates, Diamond Destiny

by Eliana Lale Khan, 2º ESO A

I found this book very interesting. It represents real life and it is full of realistic problems. I also liked it because it made me reflect on some problems which I hadn't exactly thought about, for example people with cancer and how to raise money to help. The book is about this girl called Nesta, who is a normal teenager with problems and worries.

I recommend this book for girls aged 13-16 and I give it 4 stars.

This book has been reviewed before (see older posts)

Friday, 4 March 2011

ANGELOU, Maya, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, C1, 3000 Headwords

Pablo Fernández, 1º Bachillerato EFL

Marguerite Angelou, called Maya by her friends was a black woman who lived in the thirties. In those times, black people were considered inferior. Maya, who's the narrator, tells us how the unfair society treated black people, and the problems she had to face to survive.

I personally think that this book is awfully interesting, despite being a biography, Maya Angelou's biography. It's also an entertaining book because her life is really amazing. She moved to different places in America because of her parents’ divorce. Her stepfather raped her when she was just eight. I also like this book because I'm interested in what life was like for black people and what they thought about that situation. So my conclusion is that, although it's a biography, and normally they are boring, this one is interesting. I give this book four stars out of five.

DOSTOEVSKY, Fyodor, Crime & Punishment, C1, 3000 headwords, Penguin

María Pérez González, 1º Bachillerato EFL

The book tells the story of Rodion Raskolnikov, a student of Law who has to leave College for lack of money. In search of funds he meets an old woman who is a money-lender. Raskolnikov decides to murder her, because he thinks she is a useless person.

Later, Raskolnikov is tormented by guilt. He is taken by the police and sent to a prison in Siberia, to where Sonia, Marmeladov’s daughter, accompanies him. Raskolnikov realizes that he loves her and ...

Crime and Punishment shows the differences between high and low social class, and how much the feeling of guilt can affect us.

I recommend this book to young adults, because it can teach us to think things out before acting.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

HOPKINS, Cathy (2010) Million Dollar Mates

Oliva Barrio, 2º ESO A

This book is about a girl who goes through a hard time because her mum dies, and at the beginning she was living with her grandma, but then she had to go and live with her dad and brother to this new house. This big change made ‘Jess’ feel worse. She missed her friends, her cat, and she couldn’t do anything! But suddenly one day everything changed and …...

I really liked this book, it was really interesting. Some parts were better than others. The part where it was more boring was when the girl was changing into her new house, and it gave a long description of the house. And the funniest part was when the girl’s cat did poo in her dad’s bed, and when she has the party. This is a good book because it also describes the characters a lot, so that you can get an idea of what they are like.

I would rate it 4 stars.

HANCOCK, Penny, A love for life Cambridge Readers C1, 3000 Words

Andrea Gómez González, 1º Bachillerato EFL

A Love for Life is about a woman named Farella who couldn´t have her own children, so she and her boyfriend decided to adopt one. But then he left her, so she had to raise five-year-old Ellie on her own.

I think it is very interesting how the book describes the fact of adoption. It is a bit difficult for Fanella to get on with five-year-old Ellie at the beginning, but she manages after a while. I like the story because it shows how women can have children without a partner.

I would recommend this book to people who like love stories.

AUSTEN, Jane, Pride and Prejudice

Elisa Chamizo, 4º ESO A

The book that I would recommend is Pride and Prejudice.

I enjoyed a lot reading it, because in addition to the story as such, I could also learn what Austen’s society was like, and the way they lived, and appreciate how the use of language has changed since then.
The love story which takes place in Pride and Prejudice could have happened anywhere else at any other time, but it is the context in which it happens, and the characteristic personalities of the characters who perform it, which make it special to the reader

BRISCOE, Constance, Ugly

Belinda Osma, 4º ESO A

I recommend this book to every person who has a lack of self confidence. This is because when you read it you realize how little your problem is. It tells a story of a little girl who was bitten up when she was very young, and when she is older and looks back and sees all the scars it left her.

When you read this book you think about your life and how precious it is. Some parts of the book are very hard because of how it explains all the problems this girl had.

But in the end everything is better for her and she lives a happy life.

I think this book is for teenagers and adults, because of the language used and how much it is explained.

It is very well written and very interesting.

DU MAURIER, Daphne, Rebecca , B2 2300 Headwords
Sara García-Navas Martín, 4º E.S.O. A

This book is a romantic suspense novel and it´s really incredible. I will recommend it for people who like suspense, because when you begin to read it you cannot stop.


This is the story of an 18 year old girl who meets a man 43 years old, Maxim de Winter. He decides to marry her.
Later on it raises questions about the death of Rebecca, his ex wife who died in an accident and Rebecca begins to suspect on the truthfulness of the official version.
When a ship crashes on the beaches of Manderley, divers found the boat in which Rebecca died, his body trapped inside.
Maxim becomes suspicious and reveals his role in the death of his wife.
He managed to escape a long prison sentence, but lost the respect from the community. During his trial, Mrs. Danvers tries hard to convince Mrs de Winter to commit suicide, and when she doesn’t, Mrs. Danvers sets fire to Manderley, which is completely destroyed.
The book ends on a sour note on the destruction of the house, but the family survives and is free to live their marriage in peace.