Monday, 19 November 2012

Cat Patrick (2011), Forgotten, Egmont UK Ltd
By Manny Lago, 2º ESO B
London Lane, the principal character in the book, is a sixteen year  old girl who lost her baby brother when she was six because she unlocked the car door while her father wasn't there. This event ripped her parents apart.  Whilst chasing after the villains responsible her father crashed and London technically died. Luckily, her doctors were able to resuscitate her. However, the experience left her with some type of memory disorder in which her mind would "reset" itself, leaving her clueless to the previous day's activities. Every night at precisely 4:33 am, while London Lane is asleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all she can recall are events from her future. 
          What I like most about the book is that the author wants readers to consider whether  knowing the future is really important or if learning from the past and accepting what was is what we should be thankful for. The book encourages readers to enjoy and embrace the past because, “…what I need to remember most is this: I can always change the future.”   A person’s past is what shapes their character and without those past memories and experiences life is hard and very mysterious with plenty of unanswered questions. The future is being rewritten all the time because of our past.  This makes the reader sympathetic with London and her illness.
What I also liked is that the events that occur through the novel depict situations that could very well be real and happen to anyone who struggles with memory loss.
             What I least liked about the book was the constant reference to the fact London took a long time to forgive Luke.  I thought this was exaggerated and boring.
             I would recommend this book because it is teenage romantic fiction and the romantic themes throughout the novel make it interesting for teenage readers.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Michael Curtis Ford (2007) The Fall of Rome, Thomas Dunne Books

By Elías Ferrer, 2º ESO B

It’s a great story about how one of the sons of a commander of Attila has to escape from the successors of the Huns’ chief after his death. The fugitive, Odoacer, and his brother Onulf have coincidences between them and their enemy, the Germanic-Roman general Orestes, the father of the last emperor of the Roman Empire. Their personal fights made Rome fall.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Rosemary SUTCLIFF (1957) The Silver Branch, Oxford Univ. Press (2007)
By Hugo Ferrer, 2º ESO B
I would like to recommend you the book The Silver Branch.  It is a sequel of the novel The Eagle of the Ninth, written by Rosemary Sutcliff, an acclaimed writer of children's books, especially historical fiction, which is the genre of this book.  I especially like this book because of the action and thrill there is in it. The two main characters, by forming a band of men, are trying to save the Roman emperor of Britain from a plot and also from the Saxons that are invading. There is a lot of suspense so it's very difficult to put it down.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

George RR Martin (2000) A Storm of Swords, Bantam Dell
By Elías Ferrer, 2º ESO B
It’s a book you would like. It tells how a kingdom is falling into the hands of seven kings, who claim the central throne. It’s the third volume of Game of Thrones, and it’s a point between mystery, traditional literature, fantasy and other genres. There is some violence in the book but I think the story is good.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Lauren WEISBERGER (2003), The Devil Wears Prada, Harper Collins
By Estefanía Pinilla, 2º ESO B
The Devil Wears Prada is about a young woman called Andrea Sachs, who wants to become a journalist. She gets hired as the second assistant of Miranda Priestly, a ruthless executive of the runway fashion magazine. Miranda’s first assistant Emily advises Andrea about the behaviour of their cruel boss. It will be a challenge for Andrea when she has to drastically change her clothes and image, with the help of Nigel, the magazine’s art director. The job becomes really hard, because of Miranda’s tough working rhythm and impossible tasks, which leaves Andrea without a private life with her boyfriend Nate, family and friends. In the end the old Andrea has gone and the new Andrea is now more preoccupied about her image and her future in the magazine.
What I liked best of the book is the beginning where you realise that although you’re not good at fashion and you don’t know what it is or means, you can still improve and reach the top. I also enjoyed how two assistants realise that although they are competing against each other they can still be friends and work together.
I would definitely recommend The Devil Wears Prada to my friends because it has a really good plot which combines drama with humour. The book keeps the audience interested and there are no slow sections in it. Once you pick it up and start reading you won’t want to put it down. People who are interested in fashion and drama should read it because these are the two main concepts of the book.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Ray Bradbury (1951) Fahrenheit 451, Flamingo Modern Classics (1993)
By Elías Ferrer, 2º ESO B

In the future there will be three supreme dictators in the world. Each one will control people by TV, cameras, microphones, advertisements, etc., making all the world’s population think like the dictators want.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Lewis CARROLL, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Wordsworth Classics (2001)
By Ann Rose Layosa, 2º ESO B
This book was written by Lewis Carroll and this version was introduced by Michael Irwin. It is about a girl called Alice who was on a tree branch listening to her sister's book. She then saw a rabbit with clothes and a watch (very uncommon for a rabbit) and she decided to follow it until she fell down a rabbit hole and entered a world full of many uncommon things called 'Wonderland'. She then met a caterpillar who smoked and who gave her some advice. She also met Pig and Pepper (two brothers), a cat that appears and disappears and the Queen of Hearts, who played croquet. She also went to a mad tea-party, where she found a talking rabbit and an old small man.
I think this book is interesting because it contains many unusual things such as a smoking caterpillar, a rabbit with clothes on, etc., and because as you read, you find yourself in another world full of crazy things, and it's actually interesting to read something that is out of this world.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Sue Townsend (1982) Secret diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾, Harper Collins
By Elías Ferrer, 2º ESO B
It’s a funny book which you will enjoy, if you read it. I had a lot of fun reading it, because it is about an ‘intellectual’ boy, aged 13, who lives with his family but his mother goes away with a man and the boy is left with his poor father, his diary and his friends.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Suzanne LaFleur 2009), Love Aubrey, Puffin Books
By Estefania Pinilla Taylor, 2ºESO B
Love Aubrey is about an eleven year old girl who was abandoned by her mum. A few months before, Aubrey's dad and her younger sister Savannah, died in a car crash. She thought it was fun at first playing house, eating cheese and crackers every day and night. Until her grandma showed up, Aubrey was taken to her grandma's house in Virginia. She made friends with the girl next door called Bridget. She was put into school and was convinced to go talk to the school's psychiatrist. Making friends was easy for her but it made her sad every time someone asked her about the scar on her forehead. At the end her mum comes back for her, but it was too hard to go back and live with her after everything that had happened. They all thought that it was best for her to stay with her grandma. However, her mum did come and visit often.
I really like this book because the author expresses Aubrey's feelings as if they were real, and keeps the reader wanting more. The story is written and told very well, and I think that more people should read it because they will enjoy it and want a second book by the same writer. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

H.P. Lovecraft (1999) The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories Penguin Modern Classics (reprinted 2002)
By Elías Ferrer, 2º ESO B
A compilation of terrifying and full of suspense stories. People spit on the author’s tomb because his novels are too scary. Until the end of each story you will not know what’s going to happen next.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Roald Dahl ( 1988), Matilda,  Puffin Books (1989)
                                    By Lia Calcines, 2º ESO B

Matilda is a book for children, which is really interesting and great, and that is the reason why I still like it. It has mystery, for example, what is the relationship between Mrs Trunchbull and Matilda´s teacher Ms Honey? It made me read and not stop reading until the end because of the mystery. You just know the truth of the story at the end. Matilda is a very special girl, she is really clever and she has powers. She is the leader of the school, because she had a virtue which was to be brave and face Trunchbull. I hope you read this book, to enjoy it and its magical ideas.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

(Anonymous) Beowulf 
By Elías Ferrer, 2º ESO B

The first story written in a Germanic language (Anglo-Saxon). It’s about a man who arrives at a far Nordic kingdom to kill an ogre which is attacking the realm. You would like the story and it would make you interested in this style of stories.

First page of Beowulf in Cotton Vitellius, 15th century
William SHAKESPEARE,(1600), A Midsummers Night’s Dream, Wordsworth Classics
By Clara Galindo Moreno, 2º ESO B
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is about a young woman called Hermia. She is in love with Lysander but her father wants her to marry Demetrius. Another young woman, Helena, is still in love with Demetrius, although he left her to marry Hermia.  Duke Theseus, following the law of Athens, gives her four days to obey her father and marry Demetrius or else she will die. Hermia and Lysander plan to run away to get married. She tells her plan to Helena, who tells Demetrius. Oberon, the king of fairies has a potion which will make people fall in love with the first person they see when they wake up and…
                  In my opinion this book is very entertaining and enjoyable for people who like William Shakespeare. Until now, the only book I had read by William Shakespeare was “Romeo and Juliet”, but I prefer “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” because it is less cheesy and it’s less of a tragedy and more of a comedy. I totally would recommend this book but not to people of my age unless it’s an adapted version because it’s very difficult to read because of the vocabulary.                          

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Thomas BREZINA (1999) Tiger Team: Curse of the Pharaohs
By David Ramos, 2ºESO EFL
I like this book because it´s interesting and at the end of each chapter it makes you a question. It also brings tools to decrypt the answer.
Tiger Team is a collection of several books, each of different subjects but with the same characters.
          I recommend this book because it makes you participate and has clues that help you solve the problem. The characters are interesting. It is a mysterious book.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Thomas HARRIS (1981), RED DRAGON, G P Putnams Dell Publishing
By Ann Mundzic, 2º ESO B
A serial killer, known as The Tooth Fairy, has a habit of stalking and murdering families at random. He has murdered two families until an FBI agent, Jack Crawford, finally comes to sort out the situation. Crawford needs help to capture The Tooth Fairy, so he gets in touch with his protégé Will Graham, who caught the serial killer Hannibal Lecter three years earlier (which makes him a very good protégé). Will agrees to assist Jack. After looking at the crime scenes over and over again, Jack and Will realise that they are missing something. In order to find The Tooth Fairy Will and Jack have to visit Hannibal and get help from him (as Hannibal is a brilliant psychiatrist). The serial killer - calls himself the "Great Red Dragon" as he is obsessed with a painting called "The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun". Dolarhyde (the real name of The Tooth Fairy) usually gets flashbacks of his past, shows of what happened to him as a child and... 
This is a book for people who like crime, horror and thrillers.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Nathaniel HAWTHORNE (1850), The Scarlet Letter, Dover Thrift Editions
By Lorena Davies Mosquera, 2º ESO B
This story is set in the 17th century in Boston. It tells of a married woman named Hester Prynne who has given birth to an illegitimate daughter. Hester is then forced to wear the letter A on her dress, the A standing for ‘adulteress’, and then lives in solitude with her daughter, Pearl. Only the involvement of Arthur Dimmesdale keeps Hester and Pearl together. Meanwhile, feeling betrayed by his own wife, Roger Chillingworth sets out seeking revenge on Hester’s unknown lover.
I recommend this book because it has deep symbolism and is a very interesting read. While it can be complicated at certain stages of the book; it is a classic that will not fail to capture your heart, with intriguing characters, a stimulating plot and a vivid 

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Fall of the Last Roman Fort, the beginning of the end

By Andrew Hutchison, 2º ESO B

Lucius Quintus Maximus took off his sandals and threw out the stones which had collected in the bottom. Satisfied they were all gone he put the sandals back on his feet. He looked up. The sun was deep on the horizon and light was fading fast. He could see the wall in the distance and knew it would be completely dark by the time he got back, if he got back that is. He was a centurion of the 9th legion 4th cohort. He was sent on a mission in Britania to recover the lost eagle of the ninth. After recovering the sacred standard he journeyed to the closest Roman fort. He arrived at midnight and was tended to but did not sleep. The following morning he was shown to his cohort. He then demanded to see the commander of the fort. As he was travelling to the fort he hadfelt that he was being watched most of the way. He had then seen a man hiding in the forest next to the path. Lucius had been certain that the British were trailing him. He explained all of this to the commander, who rustled through his beard thoughtfully. After Lucius finished, the commander demanded that the fort be ready for battle. During the next few days swords were sharpened and armour cleaned. A ring of defensive stakes was made around the fort. Then they waited. A week passed and nothing happened. And much to Lucius’s distress, the commander gave the order to stand down. 
                                            That night, the British came...
Lucius was woken to the sound of screaming and of sword grinding on sword. Quickly he grabbed his own sword and ran outside. They had broken through the defenses and he could see that there was only a dozen or so Romans left defending the walls. The commander had fallen to the well-placed shot of an archer in the early stages of the battle. Now less than a dozen men were left. They fought to the bitter end and as the last one slumped forward, the British came in in overwhelming numbers. Knowing when to fight and when to run Lucius sprinted to the stables and saddled a horse. He then fought his way past some crazed British warriors and cantered out of the back gate until the fort was a speck in the horizon. The last foothold of Rome was broken and Lucius made his way to a port. He would go back to Rome but it would not be long until the Barbarians invaded it, too. This was the beginning of the end: the fall of Rome.
Alex FLINN (2007) Beastly, Harper Collins/
By Annvalery Escobar, 2º ESO B
Beastly is a re-make of Beauty and the Beast. The book is about a rude, good looking, rich teenager named Kyle Kingsbury, who would look down on people that were ugly and poor. In his high school there is a girl called Lindy who likes him (but he doesn’t even know she exists) and a mysterious Gothic girl named Kendra (who appears to be a witch) who one day cast a spell on him and he lost his second chance to become a better person. That night she turned him into what he really is underneath that good looking face: a beast. 
Kyle has two years to find someone that will love him for who he is, and, most important, to get her to tell him that she loves him. Eight months go by and he still hasn’t found a girl to love him. One night a thief breaks into Kyle’s house and...

This book is very interesting. It shows you how Kyle’s attitude changes slowly towards the end. It also tells a love story between a greedy boy who thinks he is the best and a girl called Lindy, who is poor but with a kind heart.

I would recommend it for people above ten years of age as it has some passages which may not be appropriate for under ten. There was nothing I did not like of the book.

Friday, 26 October 2012

In the unlikely case of being stranded on a deserted island...!
By Amira McQueen, 1º ESO B
If I were stranded on a deserted island for a month, and could only bring two things with me, they would have to be my parents. And technically no, this is not really cheating, but I suppose if this is insufficient, then I could understand.
I would take my father mostly because he is an ex-infantry soldier, therefore he could come very useful during the month. He could easily hunt animals and make weapons out of almost anything. Also, he would be able to provide fires and warmth. (I’m not calling him fat; I am merely saying he could skin animals.) He is basically like a Swiss Army Knife, but in person.
I would take my mother, not only because she can cook with almost anything, but because she is not flimsy either. She would probably stop us from going insane, which is one good thing. She is almost always positive, helping raise spirits. She is a counsellor, so she could basically even us out. Also, she cleans. I am not portraying women as slaves in the kitchen, cleaning after their husbands and children, but my mum really is OCD about things like that. Little imperfections bringing everything down. Initially, the more order and discipline somewhere. the easier it is to cope.
Those are the things/people I would bring. So, I would rather have a month laughing with my family even though we are missing some things, than spend a month crying to nothing about having nothing!
Stranded on an Island
By Marko Milanovic, 1ºESO B
If I were stranded on an island, the two main things that I would take with me are the following: a strong, good quality axe and a durable fishing rod.
On the first day in the island, I would take out my fishing rod and go fishing for a few hours until I got enough fish to feed myself for a couple of days. Then I would cut some wood into logs and make a shelter. I would make a rain collector out of wood for drinking water, and then attempt to find a stream.
On the island, I would always keep my axe with me in case I had to fight off some animals. Then with my axe and wood, I would make a spear to hunt. Successively, I would rest for a while and begin my search for animals and vegetables to eat. Later I would skin the animals and make the fur into winter clothes.
In the afternoons, I would rub two sticks together to make a fire. With the fire, I would cook the meat and the fish. The embers of the fire would keep me warm for the night. In winter, I would reinforce my shelter by adding a few more logs, a bigger fire and covering the walls with some layers of animal skins.
The two objects that I have chosen would help me to survive if stranded for a considerable amount of time. They would provide me with the tools to fulfil my basic human needs.
How to Survive on a Tropical Island
By Alex Constantin 1º ESO B
If I had to choose two objects to bring with me, the first one would be a machete. With it I would be able to cut through obstacles with no difficulty. You can chop and cut fruits you can find, like coconuts, and hunt animals. It can also be used for defending yourself if anything attacks you. Also, you can carve wood or stone you find to create more tools.
The second item I would take is a small mirror. With it, I would be able to make a fire faster with the reflection of the sun. That would provide me with heat at night, which is important in order to survive. Another useful feature of this object is that you can do the Morse code to contact boats in sight and inform them of your status.
Those are the two things I would take with me. The machete is a basic item that you would need to survive on a tropical island because you can cut through branches and other obstacles and you can hunt animals. In addition, the mirror can be a useful item at times, like when you are going to make a fire thanks to the reflection of the Sun.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Catherine Ryan Heart (2010), Second Hand Heart, Black Swan

Manny Lago, 2º ESO B

Second Hand Heart is an intriguing book which captivates your attention right from the start as it deals with a very sensitive topic. The storyline revolves around a nineteen year old girl called Vida who is very sick and has spent most of her life preparing for death. The sad situation is that for Vida to live, someone has to die.
In a parallel incident Richard loses his wife in a car accident. Vida inherits his wife’s heart. As part of the process of dealing with his wife’s loss Richard feels compelled to meet the girl who inherited his wife’s heart. In hospital, Vida sees Richard and immediately falls in love with him. The book explores how their feelings towards each other change over a period of time.
The book is written in the form of two diaries – that of Vida and of Richard.  It follows their lives from the day of the transplant and onwards for several months.  It deals with elements of life and death very sensitively. I would thoroughly recommend this book because I have enjoyed it immensely.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Michael BUCKLEY (2010), N.E.R.D.S, M is for Mamma’s Boy, Amulet Books
By Isaac Chicaiza, 2º E.S.O. A

The second book of the N.E.R.D.S series starts with Duncan Dewey, a chubby Afro-american boy who works for the national espionage, rescue and defence society. He has the ability to climb and stick on to any surface, hence his nickname “Gluestick”. In this adventure Simon is back and he has the help of a wannabe superhero named Albert.
The main character is Duncan, my favourite because he is smart and talented; the best agent in the team. He has a promising feature, but he has a weakness: he relies on technology too much. He has a super computer which does everything for him; it even helps him to get dressed! So, when his powers (which are created with nano bytes) he feels useless. However, throughout many situations, he learns that the best thing to do is to man up and stop relying on technology so much. I think this also shows that the writer is trying to connect with the real world, as most teenagers nowadays use mobile phones, mp3s, computers... too much.
This book helps you understand what a misfit feels in his relation with his classmates and even his family. It shows just how hard it is to fit in, just because of the fact that you are smarter than the rest of the average people.

If you want to see the writer, Michael Buckley, talking about this book in May 2010, go to TOP SECRET VIDEO - NERDS Book Two: M Is for Mama's Boy
For a general presentation of the series by Jay Johnson, see

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Joseph CONRAD, Heart of Darkness, Penguin Readers, B2, 2300 Headwords
By Daniel González Fernández, 1º Bachillerato EFL

Marlow is a seaman who tells a story about his adventures in Africa years ago. He went from London to the Congo River to arrive at an ivory station, and find a man, Kurtz. Kurtz was a crazy and racist person who died while he was on the ship fleeing from Africa.

I liked the part of the story where Marlow arrives at the Belgian company. There, the importance of Belgium during that period is explained. I like this book a lot because I'm interested in history. I didn't know anything about Joseph Conrad but I would want to read more of his books.

The story is a little bit hard because racism, madness and violence appear constantly. That is the reason why I would recommend this book to people older than me. For young people it is difficult to understand the historic context, the causes, etc.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

John GRISHAM, The Client, Penguin Reader, B1, 1700 Headwords
By Odile Liquete, 1 Bachillerato B, EFL

The book is about  a Mafia lawyer, Jerome Clifford, who before killing himself - reveals to young Mark Sway where the body of the US Senator who was assassinated by the Mafia weeks before, is hidden.  Because of this revelation, Mark Sway will be in serious danger and he will need to find help before the Mafia finds him.
The passage I liked the best, and which the whole book is based on, is  when, before killing himself Jerome Clifford- talks to Mark and - tells him about the turbulent and mysterious activities of the Mafia. ‘’My name is Jerome Clifford, and I will be dead in five minutes.  Barry the Blade is a member of the Mafia in New Orleans and he killed a US Senator…’’
I recommend the book because it’s easy and fast to read. It is an entertaining book full of mystery.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Marc CERASINI (2008), Cinderella Man, Penguin Readers, B1 1700 Headwords
By Guillermo Momparler, 1º Bachillerato A, EFL

This is a tragic novel with shades of a love story. It tells the story of Jim Braddock , a successful New York boxer who lived at the time of the American crash. The story goes throughout his life and how he took his family out of poverty.

This is a contemporary book that talks about the boxing world and all the surroundings of the fame and luxury that turns poor and sad. It mixes historical events and lives of famous people.

I think the part I liked the best or I enjoyed the most is when Braddock told his wife, Mae, that he won the fight, and their little daughter, Rosy, started to punch her dad, smiling, because I think it's a very emotional moment when you're a dad and your little kids smile with happiness at you, saying that they love you with their eyes.

I would recommend this novel to students of English who are preparing their FCE exams because this kind of novel gives you a wide range of specific vocabulary about the boxing world.
Oscar WILDE, The Importance of Being Ernest,
By Luis Cabrero García, 1º Bachillerato A, EFL

The book talks about Algernon, a man who lives in London. He has a friend called Jack. Jack moves between London and his country house. Jack invented a brother called Ernest, the name which he calls himself when he is in London. He falls in love with Gwendolen, Algernon’s cousin. She thinks his name is Ernest as well. He met another girl called Cecily. The plot of the book focuses around the two girls trying to marry Ernest. He was abandoned as a child and given the name Jack but he thinks his real name is Ernest.

The main character is Jack Worthing, who is a rich bachelor also known as Ernest Worthing. He’s the protagonist because the plot revolves around his attempt to marry Gwendolen. His aunt, Lady Augusta Bracknell, is the antagonist because she opposes the intentions of the protagonist. Her refusal to allow Gwendolen to marry Jack is where most of the plot comes from.

I think anyone could read this book. It’s very funny and easy to read because it is a play and the dialogues are easy to understand as well. There is also a film.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

John BOYNE (2006) The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
By Vanesa Porras Arbeláez, 2º E.S.O. A
Bruno was the youngest son in a wealthy family from Berlin. Due to his father’s work in the army he has to move Auschwiz. Bruno is not happy with the move as all his friends are in Berlin. When they arrived, he didn’t know what to do. He was bored all the time as he didn’t know anybody and his sister did not want to play with him.
One day he left the house alone and went to see the fence he had been watching for days through his window and met a boy named Samuel, who lived on the other side, and became friends with him. Samuel has cropped hair and is always wearing the same pyjamas.
Bruno does not know what life is like behind the fence. He is very naive and believes it’s some sort of a game and, as any curious boy, he wants to go inside. The day Bruno's mother decides to go back to Berlin he goes to say goodbye to his friend. Through a hole in the fence, Samuel gives Bruno a pair of pyjamas similar to the one he is always wearing, and Bruno follows him in. When he doesn’t return home his parents are worried. His father sends soldiers to look for him and when they only find his clothes lying next to the fence of the concentration camp his father realizes the horrible truth. From that moment on he stops caring about everything.
I think the main theme in this book is the innocence of childhood. Bruno and Samuel share a great deal in common but perhaps what is most obvious is the childhood innocence which characterizes both boys. Bruno is unaware that his father is a Nazi commandant and that his home is in the outskirts of Auschwitz. Samuel, imprisoned in the camp, doesn’t seem to understand the severity of his situation. When his father goes missing, Samuel does not understand that he has gone to the gas chamber. Both boys are very naive and do not understand their current situations, which puts them in danger later on in the book when Bruno crosses the fence and goes into the concentration camp.
War and discrimination are the other themes present in the book, the situation in which Bruno and his family are living, next to a concentration camp and yet denying what is happening in front of their eyes. They discriminate Jews and use them as servants. They are taken into concentration camps, where they are tortured and forced to work and are killed in gas chambers. Bruno and Samuel live surrounded by this world. Yet, they are completely unaware of the gravity of the situation, which makes them the only two characters in the book that do not judge anyone by their race and simply become friends because they like each other.
I would not recommend this book to young children, as it can be tough, but I would recommend it to teenagers and adults as they may find it a bit more interesting and less hard. I think it’s a book that deals with a very delicate topic, such as the Nazi times, and sensitive people may find it harsh.

This book has been recommended before. See 27/07/, 20/01/ & 21/01/2012

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Suzanne COLLINS (2009), The Hunger Games, Scholastic.
By Benjamin Simon, 2º E.S.O. A
The story is about a game called The Hunger Games. It is a celebration by 12 districts, they have to choose a boy and a girl from each district and then they are sent to a field to kill each other. When the people arrive at district 12, Katniss’s sister was selected but Katniss shouted out that she would volunteer for her sister. So, she and Peter (the boy selected from district 12) went together to the Hunger Games. Throughout the games they pretended to be in love. At the end of the games Peter and Katniss won the Hunger Games and then they were actually in love.
I recommend this book to ages ten and higher because it has some difficult words and there is strong violence throughout.

This book has been recommended before. See 23rd April (two posts)

Friday, 27 July 2012

John BOYNE (2006), The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Definitions
By Paula Antelo, 1º Bachillerato B, EFL

Bruno is an eight year old boy. He and his family move to the countryside after his father is promoted to commandant of a Nazi concentration camp. His wife and offspring do not know too much about his job. Bruno is only allowed to play in the garden of their house.
But one day he disobeys his parents, treks through the woods, and finds an isolated field, which he believes to be a farm. There, he meets Shamuel. Throughout the story, they become really good friends, and Shamuel tells him that some time ago, he and his familiy were forced to go there and wear a striped pyjamas, but he doesn´t know why.
Another day, Shamuel tells Bruno that his father is missing, and as Bruno always dreamt of being an explorer, decides to help his friend. But they do not realize how this adventure would end.
The part I liked the best is when Bruno’s mother discovers her husband’s job, and decides to leave the house. But then, she realizes that her son is missing. Bruno is in the Nazi concentration camp helping Shamuel to find his father. They are both wearing a striped pyjamas…
This is the part I really liked the most because, just before the story finishes, they both say that they are best friends, and that they can always count on each other.
This is absolutely one of my favourite books. I love the way the writer tells the story, every moment, every feeling. I also find it so easy to read and understand. You can learn many things from the story as well, because it is something which happened in the past.
People of all ages could read this book, in my opinion. It is worth it. Absolutely. It is definitely not a waste of money or time.
If you also want to see the film, go to:

Thursday, 26 July 2012

MCCULLEY (1919), The Mark of Zorro, Macmillan Readers, A2 1300 Headwords
By Patricia Maldonado, 1º Bachillerato B, EFL
It tells the story of Don Diego Vega, the outwatdly foppish son of a wealthy "ranchero", Don Alejandro, in the old Spanish California. Seeing the oppression of the Governor, he decides to take justice into his own hands and becomes “the Zorro”, protecting people in need, from the Governor's men. That's why people such as Captain Ramón, want to catch him.
But then Zorro meets Señorita Lolita, and they fall in love. However, her father, Don Carlos Pulido, wants her to get married to another man. At the same time, Sergeant Gonzales finds out the friendship between the Zorro and Fray Felipe, and later Captain Ramón discovers that the Zorro's father is Don Alejandro Vega, and blackmails him. Finally, Zorro and Captain Ramón fight and Zorro wins (obviously) and he gets the girl and freedom for all California.
The part I liked the best was when Zorro meets Señorita Lolita, talks with her and disappears riding his horse in the middle of the night. It was quite awesome the way he tried to impress her. I also like the parts when Captain Ramón gets bananas when he has news of Zorro, when Zorro actually mocks him or when his plans go wrong. Those are very funny moments.
I recommend this book to all ages. It's very easy to read and you can learn some history, too. It has a little bit of each genre (romance, action, humour...) and I think that's a good point as well.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

L.J SMITH (1991), The Vampire Diaries (The Awakening), Harper Paperbacks
By Patricia Bonelo, 1º Bachillerato B, EFL
The story is basically about a girl called Elena Gilbert who falls in love with Stefan Salvatore, who is the new citizen of Fells Church, the town where the story takes place. At first she doesn’t know who Stefan actually is, but finally she discovers he is a vampire. While their love-story develops, Stefan’s brother appears in the town to make Stefan’s life harder than it already is, but he also falls in love with Elena and a fight for Elena’s love starts between the two brothers. Meanwhile, Elena discovers that she looks exactly alike another vampire called Katherine. Katherine existed hundreds of years before, and she was the one who turned the two brothers into vampires. The two brothers also fought for Katherine’s love.
The main theme is the unconditional and the dangerous love between a vampire and a human.
The part I liked the best is when Elena discovers she looks exactly like Katherine, a vampire who was the old love of the two brothers and turned them into vampires to make their love fight endless. Then, she tries to convince Damon she is not Katherine, and she is in love with Stefan. I liked this part the most because I couldn’t stop reading until it ended.
I would recommend this book to teenagers who like horror stories, because the characters are also teenagers, and it is a fiction book based on vampires
Winston GROOM (1994) Forrest Gump, Penguin Readers (2008), A2, 1700 Headwords
By Lucía Marín, 1º Bachillerato B, EFL
The book is about Forrest Gump. He tells his life while he is sitting, waiting for the bus. He is a little mentally retarded. He comes from Greenbow, Alabama. He met Jenny in his first day of class and since that moment they were good friends. Forrest fell in love with Jenny but she was always with other boys. Jenny had a son by Forrest, but he didn't know anything about his son until the end of the book.
My favourite part is the end when he is reunited with Jenny and he meets his son, and then ...
I recommend the book to all age groups because it is an interesting story.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Victor HUGO, Les Misérables; Penguin Readers (2008), B2, 2300 Headwords
By Javier García Navarro, 1º Bachillerato A, EFL
The story begins with Jean Valjean who is released from prison and, thanks to an act of kindness made by a bishop, becomes a new man. He gets a new name, Monsieur Madeleine and builds a successful life and career in Montreuil.
Fantine, who is fired from her job, has to pay the Thénardiers for them to take care of her daughter, Cosette; but actually they spend all the money on themselves. Valjean tries to help Fatine to get her daughter back but she dies. Later M. Javert, who is a police inspector, catches Jean and sends him back to prison, but he escapes and leaves the city. Valjean finds Fantine’s daughter, Cosette, at the Thénardiers’ inn and he adopts her, after paying a huge amount of money to the Thénardiers. Then they move to Paris.
They live more adventures, but you’ll have to read the book to find out.
The part I found most interesting was when the Thénardiers told the truth to Marius and Cosette, but when they were going to apologize to Valjean, he had already died. That shows, in my opinion, that we should not leave anything for tomorrow when we can to it today, as it happened to Marius: if he had talked with Jean before, he could have made up with him and thanked him for having saved him.
I would recommend this book to teenagers and adults, because this is a story which deals with poverty and war, not suitable for younger children.

Maya ANGELOU I know why the caged birds sings, Penguin Readers
By Carlos Anguera 1ºBachillerato B, 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 how the unfair society treated black people, and the problems she had to face, in order to survive.
Although it is the writer's biography, it is an entertaining book because her life is really interesting (normally biographies they are boring but this one is not). I give it a seven out of ten.
I recommend it to people from 10 to 18 years of age because it is interesting to know what life was like for black people years ago.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Charles DICKENS (1837 to 1839), Oliver Twist, Oxford Bookworms (1998), B2, 2500 Headwords
By Paloma Vela, 1º Bachillerato B, EFL
When Oliver Twist is born, his mother dies; that’s why he is sent to a workhouse where he is mistreated and exploited. Therefore, Oliver escapes from the workhouse to London. On his way he bumps into “the Artful Dodger”, who welcomes him to his gang (Fagin’s gang). Once there, Oliver realises that he is hosted by a gang of criminals. Fagin aims to educate him in order to turn Oliver into a criminal, too. One day, while Fagin and company are trying to rob - a gentleman, Mr. Brownlow, Oliver runs away and after some misunderstandings he is welcomed by this man in his house. But Oliver is kidnapped by Nancy, Fagin’s friend.
One day, Oliver is forced to enter a house in order to steal for them, but the next morning he decides to go there again and, fortunately, he is well received by Mrs.Maylie and Rose, who decide to protect him. After some discoveries, Oliver gets to know the truth about his life...
I liked the book because it is exciting and intriguing. Also, because it is about poverty, a very common theme in our world. The story is a bit cruel but at least it ends happily.
The parts of the book that I liked the best are those in which Oliver discovers the truth about his birth.

Friday, 20 July 2012

CURTIS Richard, [2008] Four Weddings and a Funeral, Penguin Readers
By Luis Cabrero García, 1º Bachillerato A, EFL
The book talks about a group of friends (Charles, Tom, …), all of them single, in an age range when all their other friends are becoming married. In one wedding, Charles met Carrie, a girl whom he fell in love with. After spending the night together, Carrie had to go back to the USA. Charles waited for the next wedding to see her again, but when she arrived, she was with a man to whom she was engaged to be married. -
I liked the parts in the first wedding because I thought it was very funny and the situations are really incredible. Then, when Charles met Carrie, the book became more boring. It’s better at the beginning.
I would recommend the book to anyone in our age group more or less or older people because it contains some comedy that is not easy to grasp by all ages.

This book has been recommended before. See March, May and July 2011