The Gypsy King by Maureen Fergus Review by Mackenzie
Kelowna Secondary School Click to view The Gypsy King
In Persephone’s world, her life belongs to the highest bidder. That is, until a stranger shows up at her owner’s front door with a small bag of stolen coins. Persephone soon finds herself in a world of cruelty, gypsies, and kings.
Maureen Fergus captures the desperation of a neglected race in her latest book. Not only does she illustrate the cruel, ruthless world of the medieval monarchies, but she also shows the inequality and scorn between rich and poor, and demonstrates that the smallest can make the biggest difference.
In this world of kings and beggars, Persephone will be shown the difference between truth and deceit, and how deadly the consequences can be; ultimately, her courage and loyalty will be tested.
Fergus uses allusion and simile to highlight the strangeness and foreign qualities of the land Persephone in which Persephone resides.
I recommend this book to fans of Tamora Pierce’s novels or Christopher Paolini’s The Inheritance Cycle.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick Review by Rav
Kelowna Secondary School Click to view Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
On his birthday, Leonard leaves the house with four gifts. Not for himself, but for the four people who had had the greatest impact in his life: Walt, Baback, Lauren, and Herr Silverman. He also takes his grandfather’s P-38 Nazi handgun. Today he will finish things. He will kill the person who ruined his life, then take his own life. A single event can have an enormous impact on the rest of an individual’s life. This is what happened to Leonard and it is what has happened to many others. In order to make things right, Leonard must end two lives.
I enjoyed the book immensely; I relate to numerous scenes and empathize greatly
with the protagonist. This book is appropriate for those in middle school, as some of the subjects are mature, though not beyond a young person’s understanding. This book is far from simple; it is ideal for younger students who are advanced.
Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg Review by Brienne
Kelowna Secondary School click to view Revenge of the Girl
Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality was a quick read about the self- esteem and family troubles of a relatable 16 year old girl, Lexi. The first chapter takes place in a beauty pagent setting, in which Lexi’s dolled-up spoiled seven year old sister is competing. The narrator’s feelings of disgust with the ‘beauty is everything’ lifestyle are wittily conveyed through humourous remarks, setting a comedic image for Lexi. Her jokes and “great personality” are prominent throughout the novel making it easy to read and relate to her story. The narrative follows Lexi as she tries to fix her broken family and find her true, beautiful self through dramatic battles and many makeovers.
I found this story moderately entertaining, but did not find the story entirely realistic. To some readers a fantasy such as this serves as an escape from reality, and for those readers my comment will not concern. However in my opinion what makes a good story are real, authentic characters. I found at times in the story the way the characters interacted and behaved wasn’t truly believable. The story was relatable in some senses through the opinions of Lexi, however in my opinion I found her views and attitude cliché. Overall I was not sold on the authenticity of the story. However, to many people a story does not need to reflect reality so closely, and this is understandable. To those individuals this would not be a problem, and they would most likely enjoy the novel.
If I were to change the ending of this story, I would not have made the denouement and conclusion so predictable. There were no surprises or twists; in the end the plot played out as I had been expecting. This was not a bad novel; it was well written, witty and an easy read. It simply wasn’t to my personal taste. I would certainly recommend this book to others who are interested in the ‘teen problems’ genre, but I do not agree with the recommended age group 12-18. I find that most people above the age of sixteen would not find the story mature enough and may find the humor in the story unamusing. I would recommend this book for ages 11-14 due to the informal vocabulary and general content. I think this would be a great book for a younger audience interested in the dramatized politics of high school, happy endings and lessons of true beauty.