Blue Jasmine- Kashmira Sheth

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Blue Jasmine is a story about twelve-year-old Seema Trivedi who learns that she and her family are moving to Iowa City from their small Indian town. Kashmira Sheth’s own experiences as a teenager (who moved by herself from India to America) inspired her to write this novel. Now, she is a microbiologist and lives with her family in Madison, Wisconsin. 

When Seema realizes that she will have to say good-bye to the purple-jeweled mango trees and sweet-smelling jasmine, and the most important person- her best friend and cousin, Raju… she is distraught. Everything is completely different in Iowa City, and Seema feels like an outsider to the language and traditions. As she starts getting adjusted, her confidence seems to grow day by day, and she learns that she can build a bridge between the two homes. With heart rending scenes in the book, the author unearths the meaning of “home” and “family” in this tender debut novel.

I really enjoyed reading this book because I went through the same stages and feelings when I moved from India to America and could relate a lot to little Seema’s feelings. It was hard moving but an amazing and educating experience!

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Read my review for the book Boys Without Names, yet another wonderful book by the author Kashmira Sheth:

Boys Without Names- Kashmira Sheth

Genre: Global Literature 

Boys Without Names by Kashmira Sheth is a story about a young eleven year old boy- Gopal and his family. They have no other option other than fleeing from their rural Indian village; if they stay, they starve. With the darkness of night as cover, they flee to the big city of Mumbai, India in hopes of finding work and a brighter future. Gopal is eager to help support his family until school begins and thus, when a stranger approaches him with the promise of a good factory job, he jumps at the offer. But little did poor Gopal know that he was mislead. There is no factory, it is just  a small, stuffy sweatshop where he is forced to make beaded frames for no money and little food, along with five other boys. The boys are prohibited to speak to each other or even call each other by their real names. In this atmosphere of mistrust and loneliness, locked in a rundown building in an unknown part of the huge city, Gopal is discouraged of ever seeing his family ever again. After undergoing days without even getting food for mistakes he made in the beadwork, he comes up with a plan… Gopal breaks the rule of not speaking to each other, one night, in order to make the people friends and help each other in getting out of here. Read the book to find out where his decision led him to…

I am glad to have picked up this book for an English assignment because not only did it make me think of what child labour can do to a person, but it also made me to read the other books by Kashmira Sheth…which are really good!

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The Westing Game- Ellen Raskin

Genre: Mystery/ Thriller 

The Westing Game is an amazing book written by Ellen Raskin and the story is about a game called “Who Killed Sam Westing”. The winner of the game receives Samuel Westing’s estate, which is worth millions. The players of the game are sixteen people, who are all residents of Sunset Towers–an apartment building on Lake Michigan, and they are named as the heirs to the fortune. The sixteen occupants are split into eight unusual pairs and are given clues to solve the murder case. Sam Westing’s most important instruction to the heirs is: “It’s not what you have, but what you don’t have, that counts.” Through many struggles and hard work, the ‘to be heirs’ play the game, leading to treachery and curiosity. The book has many unpredictable plot twists and you can never guess the outcome till you read the last page. It is not a very big book and I highly recommend reading this book, as it is amazing! 

A big Thank You to my librarian for introducing me to this stunning book, else I would never have known about it and read it!

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The Namesake- Jhumpa Lahiri

Genre: Realistic Fiction

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is a book on how two Indian newly-weds (Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli) lead their life in America and the cultural clash of their American born children who will be torn between American life and the Indian way of life.

The book details about Ashima’s longing for her Bengali culture and how the family tries to bridge the gap. It is also about the coming of the age of Nikhil/Gogol who finally realises how hard it was for his parents to settle in a country totally foreign to them leaving behind their family and motherland. 

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Endangered- Lamar Giles

Genre: Mystery

Lauren Daniels (better known as Panda in her school) finds the tables turned when a mysterious individual begins to blackmail her in doing risky jobs by threatening to tell the world about her secret identity if she doesn’t do them. 

During the day Lauren tries to stay unnoticed. At night, she becomes Gray; an experienced and a dauntless photographer who captures implicating or chagrin pictures of high school bullies and posts them to her anonymous website. Enraged that a popular student, Keachin Myer attacked a disabled classmate, Gray follows Keachin and hits photographic pay dirt. When she receives an email from someone called SecretAdm1r3r that night, with incriminating photos of herself photographing Keachin, she feels her world spinning around her. 

The game begins from then: SecretAdm1r3r’s taunting messages at first dare Gray to take dangerous photographs but quickly move into sinister territory. When people end up dying mysteriously from the next day onwards, Panda cuts ties with the mysterious person. This book has frequent plot twists and fast moving sentences which keeps you want to keep turning the pages until you are done reading. 

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Lamar Giles, the author of this book has written another book before this called the Fake ID. You could read the review for that book by clicking the link below:


Defender- Graham McNamee

Genre: Mystery

Tyne Greer (nicknamed Tiny) is six foot six, and a high school basketball star who is hoping that the game will be her ticket out of the slum (a run-down building called ‘The Zoo’,) of which her father is the superintendent of. When one day she discovers a crack in the wall of an abandoned basement room and a girl’s body sealed up in the wall, her whole world seems to go topsy-turvy.

Horrified by what Tyne saw, she runs to get her dad…but after he goes to take a look, he comes back and tells her that there is nothing there. There is no girl or a body. He tells her that she must be seeing things in the dark. Tyne is completely sure that it was real and when she finds evidence that the body was moved from the hole in the wall, she knows that the only person who could have done that is her father. But why? What is her own father hiding from her?

Tyne’s search for answers uncovers a conspiracy of secrets and lies in her family. The closer she gets to the truth, the more dangerous it becomes for her. Because some will do anything to bury the past…and keep her silent. It is a fun read!

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Inferno- Dan Brown

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

“The memories materialized slowly. . .like bubbles surfacing from the darkness of a bottomless well.

A veiled woman.

Robert Langdon gazed at her across a river whose churning waters ran red with blood. On the far bank, the woman stood facing him, motionless, solemn, her face hidden by a shroud. In her hand she gripped a blue tainia cloth, which she now raised in honor of the sea of corpses at her feet. The smell of death hung everywhere.

Seek, the woman whispered. And ye shall find.

Langdon heard the words as if she had spoken them inside his head. “Who are you?” he called out, but his voice made no sound.

Time grows short, she whispered. Seek and find.

Langdon took a step toward the river, but he could see the waters were blood red and too deep to traverse. When Langdon raised his eyes again to the veiled woman, the bodies at her feet had multiplied. There were hundreds of them now, maybe thousands, some still alive, writhing in agony, dying unthinkable deaths. . .consumed by fire, buried in feces, devouring one another. He could hear the mournful cries of human suffering echoing across the water.

The woman moved toward him, holding out her slender hands, as if beckoning for help.

“Who are you?!” Langdon again shouted.

In response, the woman reached up and slowly lifted the veil from her face. She was strikingly beautiful, and yet older than Langdon had imagined — in her sixties perhaps, stately and strong, like a timeless statue. She had a sternly set jaw, deep soulful eyes, and long, silver-gray hair that cascaded over her shoulders in ringlets. An amulet of lapis lazuli hung around her neck — a single snake coiled around a staff.

Langdon sensed he knew her. . .trusted her. But how? Why?”

This is the excerpt from the first chapter of the book Inferno.It is the latest book by Dan Brown and is a Robert Langdon book. If you are fans of Dan Brown or Robert Langdon, then you will probably like this book. 

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Sources: Inferno book

Fake ID- Lamar Giles

Genre: Mystery

Fake Id is the story of a young boy–Nick Pearson, who is hiding in plain sight. His name is not really Nick Pearson and he shouldn’t tell you where he is from or why his family moved to Stepton, Virginia. He shouldn’t tell you who he really is, or what his hair, skin and eye color is. And he definitely shouldn’t tell us about his friend Eli Cruz and the major conspiracy Eli was about to uncover before he died. He shouldn’t tell you about how he had to choose between solving Eli’s murder with his sister and “staying low-key” like the ‘Program’ taught him. But he is going to…because he decided to do so. 

I cannot tell a lot about this book without giving away some major details, so I decided to keep it short. This book is really good for young adults and I thank my English teacher for recommending me this book as I really enjoyed reading it.

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Lamar Giles, the author of this book has written another book after this called Endangered. You could read the review for that book by clicking the link below:

Digital Fortress- Dan Brown

Genre: Mystery-Thriller/Suspense

The story of Digital Fortress is about how the National Security Agency (NSA) finds itself as a hostage… not by weapons, but by a code so crafty and clever that it has the ability to wipe-out the U.S. intelligence. When the NSA’s most classified technological wonder–an indestructible code-breaking machine (Transltr)–encounters a suspicious code it cannot break, the agency calls in its genius and the head cryptographer Susan Fletcher. What she finds out while working on the case is so surprising she struggles to save the agency she believes in and finds herself fighting not only for her country, but also for her own life. The book is filled with a lot of intelligence secrets, and the book also provides the readers with a lot of current information on NSA which most of the Americans never knew about.

I loved this book because I have a great interest in computer and programming skills and this book proved very interesting in that field. It also told me so much about the NSA (which I believe really exists) like for example they mentioned how each and every email is read by Transltr I was shocked because I didn’t know if it was true or not. I still don’t! But it definitely is a good book to read! Especially if you enjoy reading something about programming.

Digital Fortress

The Silence of Murder- Dandi Daley Mackall

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

17-year-old Hope Long’s life revolves around her brother Jeremy. So when Jeremy is accused of killing the town’s beloved baseball coach, Hope’s world begins to unravel. Everyone is convinced Jeremy did, and since he hasn’t spoken a word in 9 years, he’s unable to defend himself. Their lawyer instructs Hope to convince the jury that Jeremy is insane, but all her life Hope has known that Jeremy’s just different than other people — better, even. As she works to prove his innocence—joined by her best friend T.J. and the sheriff’s son, Chase—Hope uncovers secrets about the murder, the townspeople, her family, and herself. She knows her brother isn’t the murderer. But as she comes closer to the truth, she’s makes a shocking discovery and learns who the killer is… and that really surprises her and the readers.

It is a good book, filled with suspense. My school librarian recommended me this book and I am thankful that she did, because I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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