Sunday, 31 July 2011

Derek LANDY (2010), Skulduggery Pleasant, Mortal Coil, HarperCollins

By Inés Pineda, 2º ESO A

Skullduggery Pleasant, the only living skeleton and on top of that detective the world had ever come by, has had his assistant and best friend Valkyrie by his side for nearly three years now, but it seems she is keeping secrets from him and others... Where does she disappear to? Why does she always flinch when the name of the dark sorceress Darquess is mentioned?

Mortal Coil tells the story of a magical world kept secret from mortals, but how can it be kept secret with all these mishaps occurring?

Possibly, one of my favourite series. For me, it has the best combination of themes a book could have: FANTASTIC humour (Landy is definitely a master of humour) action, mystery and fantasy/sci-fi.

The thing I love the most is Valkyrie and Skullduggery’s relationship. I don’t think two best friends could possibly be better matched. Two characters with such amazing attitudes paired together as detective-partners in crime. Valkyries stubbornness makes a perfect combination with Skullduggery’s easy-going character and “cleverness”; their moods always contrast perfectly.

Another good point: the book is completely credible! It leaves no loose threads, and yes, the book’s contents includes a living skeleton who struts around making jokes and solving mysteries with the aid of magic and his 15 year-old partner in crime, but it’s written like it could really happen... it’s so easy to immerse yourself in this story!

Susie HODGE (2009), How to Survive Modern Art, Tate Publishing,

By Camilo Cañaveral Alzate, 2º ESO A

This magnificent art book introduces the whole history of modern art. It explains the topic using a simple, neat and clear presentation. Every artistic movement section in the book includes illustrations of masterpieces of that epoch/period (all pictures have a text which describe the image shown).

Two important artists which the book presents are Frida Kahlo and Tamara de Lempicka.

Frida Kahlo: The book describes her as an artist who does not fit in just one category but in many. She is now considered as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. Many of her paintings are self-portraits (of her 143 paintings, 55 are self-portraits), that express her pain and self-image. She had a very complicated life and showed her feelings in canvases.

Tamara Lempicka: She was the most famous Art Deco painter of her time. She was influenced by Picasso, Braque and Gris. Her work was known as 'soft cubism'. She used elegant, precise and clean colours. She moved to America in 1939.

One of my favorite parts of the book is a section called: YBAs (Brit Art). I like it because it’s shocking and full of meaning. An example is The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), made of glass, steel, silicon, formaldehyde solution and shark. It is one of Damien Hirst’s most famous works: a 14-foot long dead shark in a glass tank. It offended a lot of people, but he said that it was to make viewers consider death when they wouldn’t normally. We don’t usually come face-to-face with dead things and all living things ultimately die.

I would recommend this fantastic modern art guide to teenagers and adults who usually look at art and say 'What the hell is this! Do people call this art?’

Philip Pullman, Northern Lights

By Daniel Gallego, 2º ESO A

In a universe where humans have daemons and the north is ruled by witches and armoured bears, Lyra, a young girl half wild half normal, will go on a journey which will have enormous consequences not only on her universe but in all the other universes.

Lyra lives in Jordan College (Oxford) surrounded by scholars. One day when her uncle, Lord Asriel, visits the College she sees the master of the College trying to poison her uncle so she stops her uncle from drinking his poisoned glass of wine. Soon after she meets Mrs Coulter, a smart young woman who takes Lyra in with a lot of kindness but Lyra soon realises that Mrs Coulter isn’t all she seems and leaves her and heads to the North where she meets Iorek Byrmisson, an Armoured Bear (Panserjebonne) and ...

I think this book is very good as it captures the attention of the reader because it’s full of adventure and deception. It is mostly centred in the feelings and doings of Lyra. It’s one of those books you can’t put down until you finish it.


HOPKINS Cathy (2006), Mates, Dates & Sizzling Summer, Piccadilly Press
By Oliva Barrio, 2º ESO A

This book is about a girl called TJ. Last year she had a relationship with a boy called Luke but he cheated on her, so they stopped seeing each other. This year TJ meet Ollie, a handsome and hot boy, but she still feels something for Luke. Throughout the book she finds a lot of sub-personalities inside her, and so does Ollie. But her dad had a stroke, he was in a real bad condition and she felt so sad. But at the end, her dad gets much better and he goes back home. She also has to choose between Ollie and Luke and she chooses...

My favourite part was at the beginning, when TJ’s friends made her wear a supper mega modern top, really tight, with a mini skirt. It’s one of the funniest parts, because it mentions that everyone in the street was looking at her and she felt so embarrassed, apart from not being herself (she had never dressed like that before).

I would recommend this book to an age group between 13 and 14 year olds. I give it 3 stars.

This book has been recommended before (see March posts)


David ALMOND, Skellig (2009 Hodder)

By Alejandro Villar Pardo, 2º ESO A

Skellig starts with Michael’s family moving to Falconer Road. The house is a mess and needs lots of work done on it, the garage is a whole other story; it’s dusty, there are cobwebs, flies and an angel inside. All of this is shadowed by the premature birth of Michael’s sister. She has a heart problem and her fate is one with Skellig’s. Michaels’s mum only has a minor change at the end. At the beginning all she’d do is sit by the new born waiting for it to get better, completely neglecting Michael. When at the end Joy, the baby, got better, Michael’s mum realised she’d been neglecting him.

Skellig is a weak angel in Michael’s garage, his only hope of survival is that Michael gets enough 27 and 53 from the Chinese takeout. The more energetic and cured he felt the nicer and more talkative he became. His purpose in this book seemed to be to cure Joy and bring Michael and Mina closer together.

My favourite scene is when Skellig is fully recovered and is about to leave and they formed a circle and held each other’s hands, they began to rise and spin, they felt free and happy. That experience, as wonderful as it was, was short. They let go and had a heart-warming talk. Skellig flew into the night sky leaving only his memories as evidence of him being there. I like this scene because it’s a calm, descriptive scene that just doesn’t want to end. It symbolises a new chapter in the life of Michael.

This book has been recommended before (see May posts, 2010)

Stephanie MEYER, Twilight

By Sara Finn Rodríguez, 2º ESO A

This book is from the series Twilight Saga. It’s the first book. The main character, Isabella Swan has moved to Forks, a small village, to live with her father while her mother goes on a trip with her boyfriend. At her new school she eventually makes new friends and after a while she gets to know a boy from her year, Edward Cullen. As she gets to know him even more, her life seems to get turned inside out. She falls madly in love with Edward and then discovers he is a vampire.

Twilight is for adolescents, as it is a sweet love story with a hint of mystery and action. It is set in a small village in America. The book makes it out to be a dull, grey place where not much goes on. I believe that’s the reason why the book makes Bella seem so depressed, as her old home town was sunny and hot and full of fun.

This book has been recommended before (see February posts)

HOPKINS, Cathy (2011) Million Dollar Mates (Paparazzi Princess), Simon and Schuster.

Eliana Lale Kahn, 2° ESO A

This is the second book of the series Million Dollar Mates. It has the same main character, and there are a few new ones. Jess’s life in Porchester Park is not as bad as in the other book. Here she meets new people and makes new friends that belong to a completely different world (the world of rich people and no freedom). She realises the many types of worlds that people live in, the rich, the normal, the poor, and the homeless.

The theme is friendship and love and the genre is romantic novel

My favourite part was when Jess went to Tom’s party (the boy with the relationship), because it started off very romantic and dreamy and ended up being horrible, when suddenly a boy comes and pukes all over the wall next to them. Ewwwww!!! (NOT romantic).

I would recommend this book to girls 10 to 15, because it’s really girly and it’s all about friendship, boyfriends, shopping, etc. I would rate this book 3 stars.


Robert Swindells, Brother in the Land, Oxford Childrens’ Modern Classics

By Marcos González, 2º ESO A

The book is about a boy called Danny that survives nuclear war. The story is set in a town called Skipley. Danny’s mum dies in the explosion that destroys the town. Danny and his family have plenty of food because his dad runs a shop, but other survivors don’t have enough food, so fights start.

The Local commissioner is an evil man who decides it is best to kill the injured. When this doesn’t work he poisons the food given to the old, injured and insane. One day the commissioner’s men kill Danny’s father by blowing up his truck. Danny and his brother decide to join The Masada resistance group.

I really liked this book. It was shocking and had a lot of action. It describes something that could happen in the event of a nuclear war. The commissioner was a character I really hated.

Charles DICKENS Oliver Twist, C1, 3000 Headwords, Penguin Readers

By María Pérez González, 1º Bachillerato EFL

This book talks about a poor woman married and pregnant who lived in London. She was very ill and died in childbirth. The baby boy was taken to an orphanage and the owner decided to call him Oliver TwistLater Oliver went to London and found a thieves´ band with a leader named Fagin, who accepted Oliver in the group. There he met Betsy, John Dawkins and others. One day Fagín sent Oliver to steal, and if he did not do it, the older boys would give him a beating. Oliver was to steal with his companions from Mr Brownlow and he discovered them, but he didn´t hand them to the police. He rescued Oliver from the band. Oliver felt happy because Mrs. Bedwin took care of him. In the end, Fagin was sentenced to be hanged for committing many crimes, and Oliver discovered that the old man was his own closest relative. He takes Oliver who will be given the inheritance which he had been deprived of.

I think this book could be recommended to everybody except perhaps to little children because it talks about crimes. But, on the other hand, it could be entertaining for them, too, because it tells Oliver's adventures.

Haruki MURAKAMI, NORWEGIAN WOOD

By Helga Puigdomènech Sanjuán, 2º Bachillerato EFL

The story is told by a boy, Watanabe, who narrates and explains his feelings, thoughts and emotions very well. The book is about youth lifestyle, love stories, and typical adolescent behaviour and problems.

I think it is very easy to read, the vocabulary is rich but the structures are not too difficult.

I would recommend this novel to everyone, because I think it is suitable for all ages, from 13 onwards. But teens would enjoy it more, considering that they are in a similar age as that of the characters in this story. I encourage you to borrow the book from your local library.

J. M. BARRY, Peter Pan

by Guillermo García, 1º Bachillerato EFL

Peter Pan was written in 1904 by James Matthew Barrie and has become one of the classics in young people literature.

Peter Pan is a ten-year old naughty child who lives in Never Never Land with his friends the Lost Boys, and refuses to grow. One night, he turns up in the house of the Darling family and asks Wendy to go with him to Never Land to look after the lost boys. Wendy agrees and she goes to Never Land with her brothers John and Michael. Once there, they meet all kind of adventures, friends and enemies.

I strongly recommend this book for kids from 9 years old and also for those who are nostalgic and want to take back some memories from their childhood.

Wilkie COLLINS, The Moonstone, Penguin Readers, C1 3000 Headwords

By Toni Munar, 1º Bachillerato EFL

The Moonstone is a diamond which adorned a statue of the Indian god Moon. It had been taken by an invading army 800 years ago, it is supposed to carry a curse and it causes all the troubles in the story. It was brought from India by the protagonist’s uncle who has it given to her as a birthday present, after his death. Rachel wears it at her 21st birthday party. But the same night it disappears, and Rachel and Rosanna know who the thief is, although they say nothing. An investigation to find the diamond is opened, but by the time it finishes everybody moves to another place. About a year later, Franklin Blake, Rachael’s cousin, receives a letter when he’s in Asia and gets back to London, where he discovers he is the one who had stolen the diamond and ...

The book is good and it does not narrate the story as other books do. This one is told by different characters. This makes the book a bit difficult to read, especially at the beginning, due to all the characters that appear at the same time.

Although I’m sure the original version is much better, I still recommend this one to learners who like mystery books, as it is somewhat similar to Sherlock Holmes’s stories, without all the action and with a lot of love between the two main characters, Rachel and Franklin.

Meera SYAL, Anita and me

by Eliana Lale Kahn, 2° ESO A

I felt this book was very good for vocabulary and learning about other cultures, but on the other hand everything seemed to be described very slowly and it felt like everything took a very long time to happen.

I think I would recommend this book for older teenagers, maybe 16 and older. I would give this book 2 stars but that is because I found it a bit tricky to understand at times.

This book has been recommended before (see March posts)

Charles DICKENS, BLEAK HOUSE, Penguin Active Readers, B1, 1700 Headwords

by Alicia Pliego Mendieta, 1º Bachillerato EFL

Esther Summerson, abandoned at birth by her parents, is hosted by John Jarndyce, a sweet hearted gentleman, who has spent years suing somebody because of an inheritance. Esther lives in “Bleak House”, Jarndyce’s residence, from the time she was eighteen, along with Ada and Richard, John’s teenage cousins, orphaned and destitute because of the disputed inheritance. Jarndyce falls in love with Rebecca but she doesn’t with him. She is in love with another gentleman. When Jarndyce asks Rebecca to marry him, she doesn’t want to but she cannot say “no” because she is shy and she thinks about all the help Mr. Jarndyce has given her. Finally Mr.Jarndyce, who just wants the best for her, realizes that and he lets her marry - her true love. It is a sad story, with a happy ending, but it is sometimes difficult to understand. It is nice to see how Mr.Jarndyce can sometimes be so sweet and wish the best in life for Rebecca.

I would recommend it to 16+ and people who like reading emotional novels of love and drama. I will rate this book - 3 stars.


Anthony HOROWITZ Raven's Gate

By Marcos González, 2º ESO A.

Raven's Gate is the first book of the series The Power of Five, written by Anthony Horowitz, a Bristish novelist.

The beginning of the story is set in Ipswich then moves to Lesser Malling, a small village in Yorkshire. It is about a 14 year-old boy named Matthew Freeman whose parents died when he was 6 years old. From then on, he lived with his auntie who inherited the money that was due for Matt, but she spent it.

His life was miserable and he hanged around with the wrong people. He paid the price when he was caught stealing from a warehouse. He had two options: to go to juvenile prison or to be fostered by a woman in Yorkshire. He chose to go to Lesser Malling, but he soon realized it wasn't what he thought it was: it was the Headquarters for the Old Ones, a society that reigned in the world before humans took over. Although Matt was first unaware that he was special, he soon realised he was the only one who could stop the Old Ones..

I recommend this book to all teenagers

John GRISHAM, The Rainmaker

By Guillermo García, 1º Bachillerato EFL

Rudy Baylor is an American student of law who wants to practice as a lawyer and is sent to a hospital where he meets the Blacks, a couple who are suffering because their son Donny has leukemia, and the insurance company refuses to pay the treatment. Rudy decides to help the family fighting against the company and taking it to the courts. Meanwhile, unfortunately, the boy dies. Rudy wants to sue the company but he has to face a great group of experimented lawyers and he hasn't even finished his studies. Finally Rudy manages to get rid of the company and make them pay a great compensation.

Nice book, especially if you want to get started with more difficult ones. Although the plot was interesting and mainly intense and exciting, some of the parts were very slow, with no action.

I would recommend this book for those who want to know what law is about.

This book has been recommended before (see May posts)

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Sarra MANNING, Diary of a crush (French Kiss)
By Eliana Lale Kahn, 2° ESO A

I think that this book is excellent because even though it is a book for teenagers it has a lot of good vocabulary and useful words. Also, the story was very well adapted to normal day to day teenage problems, which made the book more realistic. It was full of exciting and stressful moments which pulled you into the story and made you keep on reading.

I recommend this book for girls from 12 to 18 and rate it 4 stars.


Susan Eloise HINTON The Outsiders

By María Pérez González, 1º Bachillerato EFL

Ponyboy lives in a slum with his brothers, Sodapop and Darry. They belong to the lower class and always are faced with the upper class. Darry does not like his brothers to get involved in fights because they are orphans and they could be sent back the orphanage. His best friend is Johnny whose parents do not worry about him. Ponyboy and Johnny have a fight against the members of other gangs and Johnny kills one of them to protect Ponyboy. They escape to avoid jail and ask Sally for help. The boys cut their hair so that they are not recognized. Suddenly they see a fire in a church where there are children and feel guilty for leaving behind some of their cigarettes, so they decide to save them with serious consequences for themselves.

I recommend this book because it tells a very interesting story about a very appealing topic for young people. When you start to read it you have to continue because you want to know more about the story. The language is easy to understand because the writer uses a colloquial register, and the story is a current issue in contemporary days.

I think it is especially suitable for young readers, although everybody may like it.

To find out more about the writer &her books: http://www.sehinton.com,

and for The Outsiders: http://www.theoutsidersbookandmovie.com/

Emily BRONTE, Wuthering Heights,

B2 2300 Headwords, Penguin Readers

By Ysaura Rodicio Orea, 1º Bachillerato EFL

This is a book of romance and revenge. Heathcliff is a gypsy boy adopted by Mr. Earnshaw. He grows sad with his new “family” because he is treated like a servant, so he runs away looking for Catherine, the woman he loves. But she had decided to marry Edgar Linton. After this marriage she became a materialistic person. When she died in childbirth, Heatchliff returns home to take his revenge with the family that ruined his life.

This book is very interesting because it isn't just a romance, there is also revenge and emotion. Maybe it's a bit difficult to understand because there are a lot of connections between people with strange names.

Jean GIONO (1962), The Man Who Planted Trees The Harvill Press London

By Pablo Fernández, 1º Bachillerato EFL

Elzéard Bouffier was a man who lived in the period of the I and II World Wars. However, he was so isolated that he didn't participate in any of those wars. He didn't even hear anything about them until one friend of his went round to his hut and told him what had happened. He had lost his son and his wife but, despite being alone, he was happy. He had an odd hobby: planting trees. Elzéard lived in a hut surrounded by nothing; there was no life where he lived. He managed to find water and started to create life by planting thousand of trees.

The story is told by a narrator whose name we do not know. One day, while he was crossing the Alps, he found a shepherd who invited him to sleep at his hut. The next day, the narrator followed the shepherd everywhere he went to, and he started admiring him. He didn't know how a person could live in such an isolated place and yet be happy. So he started going to visit this shepherd every year. But unfortunately, he participated in the 1914 and 1939 wars and he couldn't see how the trees were growing. After the war, he went for the last time to visit his friend and he saw something he didn’t expect.

Maybe the part of the book I liked the best is when we can see that the trees which the shepherd, with his willpower, had grown for fifty years are very beautiful and give life to that place. At the beginning of the story, the shepherd lived in a hut surrounded by nothing, there were no trees, many rivers were dry and no one lived there. But after fifty years planting trees, the place where he lived was gorgeous. There were thousands of young and lively trees, the rivers had water, and many people were repopulating a village close to this new forest. This scene made me think that everyone can do whatever they set their minds to.

I would recommend this book to people of fifteen and over.


Roald DAHL Matilda

By Guillermo García, 1º Bachillerato EFL
This book was written by Roahl Dahl and it was published in 1988.

The novel tells the story of Matilda, an extrordinarily gifted five-year-old girl who lives with her unintelligent parents. Matilda has to deal with the people around her at home and at her horrible school, she feels completely misunderstood surrounded by idiocy. Fortunately, Matilda meets Ms. Honey, someone who will change her life drastically.

I recommend this book to children around 10 years old because it is easy to read and maybe they feel misunderstood, too, just as the main character in this book.
To find out more about the writer & his books, http://www.roalddahl.com/

Jack LONDON, White Fang A2, 600 headwords

By Sergio Gómez Sánchez-Crespo – 1º Bachillerato EFL

The story starts in Alaska’s forests. There are two men: Henry and Bill. They should arrive at a closed fort by dog’s sled. They are carrying common tools and the corpse of the lord who paid for the trip. But the journey is disturbed by a pack of hungry wolves which kill some of the team’s dogs every night. There is a main character, White Fang, a dog who makes the survival of the group possible.

I think this novel is quite good to make you learn how to work in a team and how important it is. I enjoyed the first part so much because of the action it contains and the fantastic characters that appear. The vocabulary is a bit old, but in the adaptation I read, it wasn’t too difficult. I would recommend this book to young readers who love action stories.

This book has been recommended before (See March posts)

David BENIOFF, City of Thieves,

By Toni Munar, 1º Bachillerato EFL

City of thieves is a story based on the Second World War in Russia, where it was really difficult to get food. The two main characters are accused of stealing and deserting, and they’re sent by a captain to find twelve eggs for his daughter’s wedding. They go around the USSR trying to find the eggs, and the story basically tells how they get them.

In my opinion it’s a great story. I really liked it because I love History and adventure stories. The author makes you feel you’re inside the story, that you’re a tree or something like that, but that you witness what’s happening.

Although the book is quite long, the language is really easy to understand. Once you know the plot is finding the eggs you just have to focus the story on that.

I would like to recommend it to any person who likes History books.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Ian FLEMING, Goldfinger, B2, 2700 Headwords, Macmillan Readers

By Ysaura Rodicio, 1º Bachillerato EFL

This book talks about James Bond, a great spy. He meets Goldfinger. Bond's boss orders him to find out how Goldfinger can take away the gold from England. Then Bond follows Goldfinger and he discovers that he wants to steal the gold from Fort Knox. Bond warns the American Secret Service and Goldfinger’s business is destroyed. At the end Bond gets a girlfriend.

I would recommend this book to people who like James Bond or his films because there is a great difference between films and books. Also to people who want to read an adventure novel.

John STEINBECK Of Mice and Men

By Helga Puigdomènech Sanjuán, 2º Bachillerato EFL

This is a short novel about the life of George Milton and Lennie Small, and the difficulties they have to face in the times of Great Depression: finding a job and trying to make their dream of having their own land come true. It is indeed a very passionate novel where you may find similarities with your own life and dreams.

John Steinbeck uses a wide range of interesting vocabulary. This may be the reason why I wouldn't recommend this book to beginners. It is easy to lose track of the story if you are looking up all the vocabulary you do not understand.

David BROOKS, The Social Animal, New York Times books (pocket edition)

By Juan Diego Ruiz, 1º Bachillerato EFL

This is a short novel which talks about love but it is also about mystery. The book is divided into two parts, one about Harold and the other about Erika. Both are young New Yorkers who are living parallel lives. However, they don't know and they've never seen or even heard about each other. Both are successful people who have prestigious degrees, fantastic jobs where they earn a huge salary, and the respect of their family and friends. They're even envied by a lot of people. They're not very beautiful people but everybody knows that they're destined to success. They never fall in love with anyone because they've never met anyone who understands their feelings and emotions. That's how two people living parallel lives in the same district of the same city die without any special person next to them.

I can't say that I liked this book, because I actually did not. However, it is interesting to see how the two main characters are looking for somebody with the other’s characteristics but never find each other.

Victor HUGO (1862). Les misérables, C1 3000 Headwords, Penguin Readers,

By Toni Munar, 1º Bachillerato EFL

Jean Valjean was a terrible assassin and thief in France, and really known in Paris. He had been in prison for nineteen years and it had changed him. The last time he stole was in a cold winter when he had nothing to eat, but that theft made him rich and let him start a new life as Monsieur Madeleine. One day he met Fantine, and promised her that he was going to rescue her daughter from the Thenardiers' and give her back. He did that, but by the time he got Cossette, Fantine’s daughter, Fantine had died. That’s why Jean decided to help Cossette all he could, and give her a good life. Marius was a boy from Paris, the son of a colonel in the battle of Waterloo. He met Cossette and fell in love with her. Both Cossette and Marius could see that their love was something impossible, but in the end they got married and lived very happily

I found Les Misérables very interesting, I do really like stories set in the past, which have a bit of history but that at the same time tell a great story. I always said that I would have loved living in the 1800s or 1900s; I think it would be something wonderful finding all that’s described in the books. At the beginning I thought the book was going to be a bit boring, but while I kept reading I liked it more and more, because of the atmosphere of the French revolution.

I would recommend the book to any person who likes history and action and love stories, because the descriptions of the places and people are extremely good and the plot is really good, too. I particularly chose the book because I saw the musical advertised and I wanted to know what it was about. One thing I found particularly interesting was the way people at the time trusted other people without knowing them. It really caught my attention because nowadays you wouldn’t trust someone you had just met but, as I said before, that’s because of the era and things change. That’s the main reason why I liked this book so much and I recommend it.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Victor HUGO, Les Misérables, C1 3000 Headwords, Penguin Readers

By Álvaro Conesa, 1° Bachillerato EFL

Jean Valjean is a poor man who was sent to jail because he stole a baguette. Once he was free he went to a new town. Here, no-one wanted to know him because he had been in prison. Only the Bishop helped him and invited him to his house. However, Valjean stole the Bishop’s silver cutlery. Within hours Valjean was arrested. The townsfolk were going to judge him but the Bishop defended him. The Bishop told everyone that the cutlery had been a present for Valjean. The Bishop saved Valjean’s life, but told him that he had to change and become a new man.

Valjean did so and years later he became Minister of Justice, changed his name (now he was Monseniur La Marie) and adopted a little girl (Cossette). However

I think it’s an interesting book. I would recommend it to people who enjoy novels and those who would like to know how France was during the French Revolution. I consider that this is a great book because it shows how a poor man changed his life with effort. He never surrendered. Also, I would like to point out the Bishop’s behaviour. He helped Valjean even when he knew that he had stolen from him. The Bishop is an example of a good person. For me, the moral of this story is that we don’t have to be afraid of the problems that surround us, we need to be brave and face them. Moreover, we have to keep up our hope and never back down.

Lauren OLIVER, BEFORE I FALL, (1977, renewed)

By Alicia Pliego, 1º Bachillerato EFL

This book is very different from the other books I have read. It is very interesting because the plot and the themes are extravagant. The plot repeats the same day, the day of Samantha’s death, several times, until she gets to do something to avoid that moment when she dies and thus she can live as before.

It is a book of mystery and it shows the ambitious nature of a group of young people going to a party and the party ending badly, in an accident. It tells about all the opportunities that Sam has to stay alive, so it helps her to realize that all she had been doing was wrong. Another important theme is love, because there is a romance throughout the story between Samantha and a gullible guy.

I would recommend this book to teenagers and people who like different - and more original- stories. It is a fantastic book, really easy to read and understand! So I will rate it 4,5 stars.

Richard CURTIS, (1999), Four Weddings And A Funeral, B2, 2300 Headwords, Penguin Readers

By María Pérez, 1º Bachillerato EFL

Charles falls in love with Carrie at a friend’s wedding, but they must be separated and never see each other again until the next wedding, which will be Carrie’s. Garreth, one of Charles’s friends, suffers a heart attack on the wedding. Finally, Charles decides to marry his ex-girlfriend, but at their wedding, Carrie appears saying that she has divorced. In the end...

In my opinion, Four Weddings and a Funeral is an entertaining book but very predictable from the beginning. In parts it is similar to other comedy books and does not introduce anything new.

It is a book that reads very quickly. I would recommend it to young people who are learning English, between twelve and eighteen years old, although I believe that there is no specific age to read it.

This book has been recommended before (See March & May posts)

Charles DICKENS, A Christmas Carol

(1997) Black Cat, B1 1700 headwords

By José Ferrer Zaforteza, 1º Bachillerato EFL

Mr. Scrooge does not like Christmas. He hates it. He also hates people. All he cares about is himself and his money.
One night the ghost of his former partner Marley comes to visit him and says that three more ghosts will come to help him. The first ghost takes him to his life as a child and teenager. The second ghost takes him into a house where a child with a disease is about to die, and Scrooge is distressed by him. The third ghost shows him that he will die soon and that his servants will steal his clothes and curtains to sell them later.

Following the visit of the ghosts, Scrooge goes out to say “Happy Christmas” to everybody and he buys a turkey and will celebrate with his family. He is happy now.

I did really like the visit of the third ghost, because it’s in that moment when Scrooge changes completely. After this visit, he’s a new man, he won’t be unhappy and greedy anymore because he knows how important our life is.

I would recommend that book to everybody because it is for all ages.

This book has been recommended before (see March posts)

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Meg CABOT, All American Girl (Ready or not)

By Eliana Lale Kahn, 2° ESO A

I found this book particularly interesting because, even though it has a teenage girl as the main character and deals with normal teenage problems, there was a bit of a twist that made the book more involved in politics (she saved the US President's life and therefore she had many duties).

Another good point is that every character had an individual personality that was very well represented when they appeared in the story.

So I recommend this book to girls aged 12 to 18 and give it 4 stars.