12th Grade Book Reviews

When you finish your book, write up a 250-500 word response of your own (we know how to use Google, plagiarizers!) and post it in the comments down below. Don’t forget to check out your classmates’ book reviews for ideas for your next book.

  1. November 17, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    A Story of Disrupted Youth

    “If a body catch a body comin’ through the rye.” Picture life as a child playing in a rye field. Innocence is foiled by the fact that one cannot see over the rye, even while standing on one’s very front toes. Life is simple and carefree. If one might slip—a fall out of innocence—a catcher is there to stop such progress from happening. Is such an existence desirable; is ignorance truly bliss?

    In Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, is a teenager who embarks on a journey, which forces him to come to terms with the adult world and the evils that reside within. He is an individual fueled by cynicism and angered by the believed hypocrisy of the world, which ultimately leads to his impending breakdown. His views and attitude cause him much harm throughout the book, as he struggles to break free from his damaging choices. Although some could say the evils of society and the actual hypocrisy of the world could cause a mental breakdown, Holden Caulfield’s inability to overcome the “phoniness” of the adult world and his chosen alienation from society are the true catalysts of his own mental downfall.

    One of Holden Caulfield’s problems is that he won’t take advice from the adults that surround him. He points out the flaws of adulthood through the superficial qualities of his superiors or he fails to even listen to what is being said. When Holden visits Mr. Spencer before he leaves Pencey Prep, he feels a lecture coming on. From the moment he walks in the door, he wishes that he hadn’t come at all. Mr. Spencer tries to tell Holden that he is going down the wrong path: that he must apply himself or face the consequences of failure in life. Instead of using Mr. Spencer’s advice wisely, Holden comments on the flaws that he sees within the adult. He can’t stand the fact that Mr. Spencer is old and smells of medicine. Holden allows his cynical views on Mr. Spencer’s guidance to push him into a thicker veil of isolation. He points out the moments that sicken him because he can’t stand the thought of the adult world. The ugliness makes him cringe and writhe. Whether or not he wants to become an adult, it will eventually happen. Holden chooses to fight the idea rather than ride with it.

    Another problem Holden has is that he allows his academics to suffer because of his simple lack of motivation. Throughout his educational career, he flunks out of multiple prep schools, and while at Pencey Prep, he fails everything he attempts except for English. He flunks out of everything because he cannot connect with there importance and he cannot connect with society. His tendency to be an outcast works against his progress as a student. The only subject that he passes is English because he holds a connection to English. Everyone that he holds true to his heart excels in the area of writing. D.B., his older brother, writes movies for Hollywood. Phoebe, his little sister, is a very gifted, young writer. And Allie, his deceased younger sibling, used to write poetry that Holden cared a lot about. Each person acts as a personal hero for Holden. Without them, it would be safe to say that Holden wouldn’t pass English either. Holden’s intellectual absence from school acts as another force of isolation counting against him. It causes him to resent adults that he once used to look up to as he disappoints them and moves on.

    To further increase his very own alienation, Holden surrounds himself with symbols of nonconformity. He wears a distracting hunting hat, throughout the book, that makes him stand out as an individual. The hunting hat acts as a symbol of alienation. He believes it separates himself from the “phonies” of the world. Holden cannot stand the notion of being recognized or viewed as if he were everyone else. Becoming the very thing he despises in the world would cause him to sink into unthinkable depression. He doesn’t want to be an adult because it hurts and it’s evil. Holden also drinks and smokes in his dorm when he isn’t supposed to. The idea of him breaking rules allows him to separate himself from his fellow peers. Other students don’t smoke in the dorm rooms out of respect and belief of order. Holden, however, disregards such beliefs that are imposed by the “phony” adults that surround him. Holden’s constant self-imposed removal from society questions his stability as a human that needs love just as much as every other human.

    Because of his estrangement from society, Holden is unable to love, causing him to lack emotional and physical interaction. Throughout most of his journey, Holden fantasizes about calling up his old friend Jane Gallagher. Jane is a character of great importance to Holden because he once held a connection with her. He understood her problems and pain. She acted as some sort of hope to prevent Holden from slipping into isolation. His seclusion causes him to think of calling her up, but he allows his fears to overcome this possibility. Holden also confusingly asks another girl, Sally, to go on a date with him while he was in the middle of his journey. His boredom compels him to give her a call, but his alienation ultimately pushes her away, as he insults her. Holden then, also, finds himself in a dangerous sexual situation when he decides to purchase a prostitute’s time, as he struggles with the idea of sex and love. Of the numerous situations Holden finds himself in, they all end up going terribly wrong because he ultimately cannot love anyone else until he loves himself and allows his seclusion from society to stop. While he is removed and secluded, whether it is mentally or physically, Holden cannot allow himself to receive love and affection. Without this love, Holden plunges deeper and deeper into isolation as he begins to rapidly lose connection to the very last strands of his own hope.

    Penultimately, Holden can’t deal with the real world. Throughout the book, Holden struggles with the idea that the adult world is phony. He is an atheist who doesn’t believe in life after death (or at least struggles with the idea of no life after death). When he meets two nuns that treat him well, he begins to become conflicted with the idea that all adults are phony. Previously, he had seen the world through his cynical lens as a hypocritical and evil playground for adults. After he talks to the nuns, though, and hears that they too enjoy such literature as Romeo and Juliet, his ideas become confusing. Romeo and Juliet doesn’t seem like something a nun would read to Holden, it being filled with violence, sex, and all. The nuns make him doubt the overall phoniness of both the world and religion. His run-in with Maurice and Sunny on the other hand, reinforce his views on the phoniness of the adult world. After paying the prostitute for a service that he never even got, she comes back wanting more money. Holden tells her and Maurice no and is then beaten to a pulp. This outcome from a very adult situation, of purchasing a prostitute, shows that Holden can’t handle an adult situation. He acts in a childish manner and ends up crying. Holden allows himself to take part in adult situations, but he is still innocent altogether. Also, Holden’s date with Sally shows his isolation was increasing. He acts on impulse and trieds to persuade Sally to marry and live in seclusion with him when he doesn’t even love her. The increased isolation and conflicts with the phoniness of the adult world reinforce the fact that Holden can’t handle the real world. He is unstable and can only handle so much conflict.

    Lastly, Holden wants to prevent overall innocence from being dilapidated. Towards the end of the novel, Holden mentions to his sister, Phoebe that he’d like to be “the catcher in the rye.” As the catcher in the rye, Holden would prevent all the children that are playing in the rye from falling over the wayside. Figuratively speaking, he would be preventing them from breeching innocence and allowing them to carry on their own journeys. Holden doesn’t believe anyone should have to suffer adulthood, let alone himself. This idea comes from a popular song at the time, which actually reads off as “if a body meet a body comin’ through the rye”, rather than the way Holden hears it: “if a body catch a body comin’ through the rye.” The fact that Holden hears the wrong lyrics to the song that seems to spark such a profound change in his character shows that he is only willing to hear what he wants to hear. He didn’t want to hear the opposite lyrics from the beginning. He heard “if a body catch a body comin’ through the rye” because that is what he wanted to hear. Those lyrics didn’t spark any change within Holden that wasn’t already there. They just allowed Holden to collect his subconscious thoughts into the childish belief that he could actually become “the catcher in the rye”: the “hero” of innocence. Holden also has this need to prevent children from seeing any sort of swear words. Although he swears, Holden makes an undying effort to rub out every swear word, on the walls, that he sees, while he visits Phoebe’s school. This act is yet another attempt to prevent the children that surround him from being exposed to the “evils” that inhabit adulthood. Both the idea of being “the catcher in the rye” and the act of rubbing out each swear word that he sees shows that Holden is intent upon not letting anyone, including himself, become an adult. He doesn’t want anyone to suffer the pain and evils, which inhabit adulthood.

    In the end, Holden Caulfield suffers a mental breakdown as a result of his chosen alienation from society and his inability to overcome the “phoniness” of the adult world. By not listening to advice, allowing his academics to suffer, surrounding himself with symbols of nonconformity, choosing not to connect, and by preventing innocence from being breeched, Holden further pushes himself down the wrong path. Everyone falls off the deep end once in awhile. By breaking such inscrutable innocence, we have the potential to reach new resolutions, and reaching newfound resolutions are what allow us to change into the people we’ll eventually become. Holden falls off the deep end, but what separates him from most people is that his own conflicts and problems prevent him from reaching his needed resolution. By the end of his journey, Holden doesn’t learn a thing. Even after his mental collapse, Holden still holds onto his same old mindset. Such an example of disrupted youth makes us question our own innocence. Do we want to be or try to prevent innocence from ever discontinuing? Do we want our own “catcher in the rye?” Or are we willing to suffer a little to gain a lot? “If a body catch a body comin’ through the rye.”

  2. Jeremy Churro Higley
    June 2, 2010 at 11:19 am

    I Read the book Life of Pi.
    I am Jeremy Higley.
    Please let us enjoy. Please I am no writer.

    The main storyline is to tell you about a man named Piscine Molitor Patel. Known to all as Pi Patel. The main adventure, the main plot line, that the book sells for is the fact that he survived on a boat with a tiger. He had many stories to tell about his life while growing up and after his trials at sea.

    You already know he survives the whole ordeal. The story is split up within three main ideas. The first idea is his childhood. Second is his dilemma. Third, wraps up the story on how he got back to health. Within each idea, there is a main time line but it doesn’t have to stay with it. Each chapter has a point and can be very small or rather large.

    I really enjoyed the layout of the book. I must make note of the ways of memory. It wasn’t truly the way Pi Patel remembers. It was truly the way Pi Patel went and the author wrote out. It seemed so real and natural. The flow was nice and the moments of excitement were spaced throughout in such a way that allowed you to breathe and enjoy the small moments where it droned on.

    They would read it for the adventure. How would one survive being in a boat with a wild animal? Once that question jumps into the heads of people they’d want to read the book. That’s why I wanted to read the book. I didn’t expect it to be a life story but it was a good story all the same.

    I don’t really understand the layout of such a layout. Pi Patel had been living on a zoo and enjoyed his time there. He learned a lot about animals and his experiences proved he quite enjoyed it. His name was brought on by a family friend. His shortened name had to be creatively made. They eventually left the zoo, he kept hinting towards the zoos dissappearence, and went on a boat to Canada. It didn’t make it and he ended up on a smaller boat with a tiger. There were enough survival supplies on the boat which led him to survive. Him dealing with the tiger, you’d have to read the book.

  3. Jeremy Higley
    June 2, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I Read the book Life of Pi.
    I am Jeremy Higley.
    Please let us enjoy. Please I am no writer.

    The main storyline is to tell you about a man named Piscine Molitor Patel. Known to all as Pi Patel. The main adventure, the main plot line, that the book sells for is the fact that he survived on a boat with a tiger. He had many stories to tell about his life while growing up and after his trials at sea.

    You already know he survives the whole ordeal. The story is split up within three main ideas. The first idea is his childhood. Second is his dilemma. Third, wraps up the story on how he got back to health. Within each idea, there is a main time line but it doesn’t have to stay with it. Each chapter has a point and can be very small or rather large.

    I really enjoyed the layout of the book. I must make note of the ways of memory. It wasn’t truly the way Pi Patel remembers. It was truly the way Pi Patel went and the author wrote out. It seemed so real and natural. The flow was nice and the moments of excitement were spaced throughout in such a way that allowed you to breathe and enjoy the small moments where it droned on.

    They would read it for the adventure. How would one survive being in a boat with a wild animal? Once that question jumps into the heads of people they’d want to read the book. That’s why I wanted to read the book. I didn’t expect it to be a life story but it was a good story all the same.

    I don’t really understand the layout of such a layout. Pi Patel had been living on a zoo and enjoyed his time there. He learned a lot about animals and his experiences proved he quite enjoyed it. His name was brought on by a family friend. His shortened name had to be creatively made. They eventually left the zoo, he kept hinting towards the zoos disappearance, and went on a boat to Canada. It didn’t make it and he ended up on a smaller boat with a tiger. There were enough survival supplies on the boat which led him to survive. Him dealing with the tiger, you’d have to read the book.

  4. Wes Kuehn
    September 18, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    “The Virgin Suicides” is a novel about a group of teenage boys who slowly watch a family fall apart. The boys are in love with a group of girls at their school, the Lisbon sisters. The sisters are misunderstood at school and keep mostly to themselves. Out of nowhere, the youngest daughter Cecilia attempts suicide and slits her wrists in the bath tub. Mr. Lisbon, a school teacher, takes a leave of absence and none of the family leaves the house for a year The Lisbons are always gossiped about by the neighbors who slowly watch as their house and lives deteriorate. The story tells about how the boys, even as they age, never get over the girls and their suicides.
    The story is narrated by the group of boys, although you never know which one is telling it. The author uses a lot of detail and draws attention to small events and it really makes the story interesting. The author tells how all the characters are feeling which gives them a lot of dimension and makes you feel for the characters when the girls eventually kill themselves.
    I liked how the book has a simple story line, but at the same time it was packed with detail and interesting characters. I found it hard to put it down even though I had seen the movie version before and knew what happened. I’m morbid, and I like reading about anything tragic. This book is not a happy book, but it’s laced with dark comedy.
    I think other students should read this book because I know a lot of teenagers think about suicide. This isn’t a glamorized version of suicide, and it really shows that you can make a big impact on a lot of people without realizing it.

  5. Wes Kuehn
    September 18, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    What happened to my paragraphs? 😡

  6. Wes Kuehn
    September 18, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is about a glamorous, gold-digging socialite, Holly Golightly, who makes a living as a call girl. And a writer, who is nicknamed “Fred“, living in New York City in the forties. The two live in the same apartment building along with a photographer and others. The novel is about the time they spend together, the situations Holly gets herself and Fred into, and loving someone who can’t love you back.

    The book made me a bit sad. The movie is my favorite movie and I was disappointed to find out that the book doesn’t have the same happy ending. But the book gave more detail into the characters’ lives and personalities. The author doesn’t sugar coat anything or try to censor language and I liked that.

    I really liked this novel and I’ve been needing and excuse to read it for a while. I like the movie and book version, but I consider them to be separate because the stories are quite different. I relate to Holly’s character a lot. She seems emotionally cold and aloof at times, but she’s really not that way. She doesn’t like to seem vulnerable. She’s independent. Watching Fred try to save her from herself and love her when she won’t let him pulls on my heart strings.

    I recommend students at this school to read this because the novel and film are both classics. You can’t go wrong with a classic. Just don’t go into reading the book expecting it to be like the movie.

  7. Mikaela Carroll
    November 17, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    The Shipping News is a story about a man’s life that is full of bad news until he moves to Newfoundland. Quoyle is a sad man and knows himself as a failure. He was abused as a child by his horrible father, but earlier on in the story his father leaves a voice mail saying him and his wife are going to kill themselves and made arrangements to be cremated. He also meets a skanky woman, Petal, who he uncontrollably falls for. Then she turns on him by cheating, even while he is in the other room. Then one day she decides to leave with another man and their daughters, Bunny and Sunshine. She then sells the girls to a molester and afterwards dies in a car accident. Quoyle is having a hard time and his Aunt comes to help out. They decided to move to Newfoundland to start over and possibly fix up the old family house. Their Quoyle will have to deal with his fears of water and car accidents because he assigned to report on those two subjects. They deal with tier ancestors mistakes and move on.
    I really enjoyed this book and I’m glad how in a way, he had overcame all the hardships he faced earlier on. I loved how the writer, E. Annie Proulx, had the beginning of the chapters as different knots and how those knots related to the chapter and also how in the story there was someone leaving mysterious knots around Quoyle’s house. I think the story was beautifully written and it made me really feel the lonesomeness of Quoyle and how even the little things like his children throwing a tantrum made me pissed because how much he has gone through and tried so hard to go forward. My favorite character is the Aunt because she is the support, the rock of the family. She, I think, holds them together. She is an intelligent woman who tells it how it is and tells you what you need and I think the reason I admire that most because I wish there would be someone like her in everyone’s life, though I wish for her not be harmed the way she was by the Guy who is Quoyle’s father.
    I would love to see people read this book because I think she shows something in it in a way I never seen it done. Some deep sadness but it ends in happiness but you still feel a bit empty, for me at least. Yeah, I would say it’s worth it.

  8. Allen Hamrick
    November 18, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Allen Hamrick
    4th period
    Lord of the flies

    Lord of the flies is the story of a group of children who are stranded on an island, after a wartime evacuation in which their plane crashed, and what they go through to survive until they can be rescued, one of their main duty’s it to keep a signal fire burning at all times to attract boats or planes or anything that might help them.

    On the island the children separate into specialized groups, one for hunting, on for providing the shelter, and one for maintaining the signal fire. As the days go on the leader of the hunters, Jack, takes all of the children down to hunt a wild pig, even the ones maintaining the signal fire. Although the hunt is successful, a ship passed by during the hunt and the signal fire had gone out. Around this time some of the children had reported seeing a “beast” which Jack promises to kill. While searching for it they encounter the corpse and the open parachute of a fighter pilot who has landed on the island and mistake it as the “beast” sleeping.

    I like how this book is basically, a decent into savagery. This is really just me talking but that kind of thing really speaks to me, doing what you can and must to survive. It also speaks to my childhood a bit, a bunch of children all alone and getting along with each other for a little while but eventually tension begins to grow and they stop trusting each other. It also reminded me of an old story I heard about military personnel stranded on an island, they took a bunch of bullets before finally going down. I don’t know exactly why I put that in there… just weird I guess.

    As for my recommendation I would say that anybody interested in island survival, eating a pig and fire (I know that speaks to a lot of people at East Hollywood) this book is defiantly something you will want to read and something I recommend mike Jones to read next term wink wink… all fooling aside I do think this would be a good book for most people at EHHS, I didn’t pick up much of the historical context stuff though but I think that’s just me.

  9. chelsea silva
    November 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Chelsea Silva
    Period 4th
    How to kill a Mockingbird

    How to kill a Mockingbird was a really hard book for me to get into but once I did it was really interesting to me. I liked how the sister and the brother had such a bond between each other like Jem was always there for Scout. A another thing I really liked was the mystery in the book like knowing who was Boo Radley. It was said about Toms death when he didn’t even do anything I thought that was really messed up. Know to get on with what I think of the book.
    This book was about a little place called maycomb where three kids manly just wanting to know whats going on. They want to know about Boo Radley but they hear bad things about Boo. They also want to find out what there Dad (Attics) is up too, so they follow him around to see whats going on and find him protecting Tom the black man who people say raped a 14 year old but was framed. The kids went to the court about Tom and Tom was found guilty so Tom ran and supposable and they killed him. Then Jem takes Scout to a play at school and when its over its really late and they both start walking home in the woods and they hear sounds. Well thats as much as I can tell you if you want to know what happens next if someone gets hurt or dies or raped or if its Boo Radley then you should read the book and find out.
    What was unique about How to kill a Mockingbird was well the courage the kids had and the faith they had in there father. I don’t really know to much about the author of the book besides her name Harper Lee. This was still a unique book and I am sure that something like this has happened before hey it could still happen now.
    What did I like about this book? Well there was a lot I liked. Like how Jem would always do these dangerous things but he would still always be there for his sister. Another thing I like was the mystery in it on who Boo was and if he was bad or good. I really liked all the friendship in this book I think it brings out people when they read books like this it did me anyways.
    I think people should read this book because its really popular and it was really interesting I think a lot of people would like this book because it keeps you thinking and it may just be me but when you keep thinking about a book nonstop then of course its good its the type that keeps you locked into it and you just don’t want to stop reading and once you get done you just want to read it over and over. I think you should read this book because I am sure you’ll like it. It may be hard to get into but once you do it will be great. That my opinion though.

  10. Allen Hamrick
    May 23, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Catcher in the Rye

    Catcher in the Rye is about a boy named Holden Caulfeild and his transition into adulthood and the “real world”, he often criticizes people for being “phony”.
    After being expelled from school, Holden goes to New York to live. While there he is shown how cruel and fake adult life is and how people act in New York during that time period. After getting fed up with the city after 3 short days he decides to sneak back home when his parents aren’t home to visit his sister, Phoebe, who views her older brother as a “hero”. Unknown to Phoebe, Holden feels the same way because Phoebe is still in the stage where the real world and adult life have not taken away her innocence and he considers it his duty to protect her from the adult world, referring to himself as “the catcher in the rye”, the “rye” meaning the point of child like innocence, so that he can be the catcher who keeps her from going out of it.

    Something different about this book that I noticed is that at the end Holden seems to be in the same mindset and really doesn’t seem to have changed a lot, he always had a dark outlook on life and his experiences really supported that. Usually in the books I have read the main character seems almost completely different at the end after some kind of realization, Holden did have a realization but it didnt seem to phase him.

    I did like how it put everything out in the truth light and it really seemed to do its research on what things were like back then and how highschool life is, wither you are a dropout or not, the end of highschool is a big realization point in life, even close to then end can be as people prepare for moving out on their own and in some cases juggling collage and a job with finances and relationships with family. So with me being a senior and highschool almost being over for me this was relateable and it was a bit different but enjoyable at the same time, and in my opinion as long as its enjoyable its a decent book.

    I would recommend this book but only for people of a certain age, probably 16+, not because of suggestive themes but because at that age you will likely get the most out of it. However most English classes have been reading this book so pick it up on your free time or not chances are your are gonna encounter it at some point so you might as well enjoy it when you do.

  11. Allen Hamrick
    May 23, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    L Change the World

    L change the world is a book inspired by the TV series: Death Note. It is an alternate reality to the TV series where the world’s greatest detective, L, defeats the mass murderer: Kira. L takes possession of Kira’s weapon, the death note. Any human who’s name is written in the death note will die, the person must have the victim’s face in their mind while writing their name of it will not take effect, if a cause of death is written soon after writing the victim’s name it will happen, if not they will die of a heart attack, and any human who has used a death note can neither go to heaven or hell for eternity.

    The show was based around a high school student, Light, who finds the death note and decided to change the rotten world by killing all the criminals with the the death note, his goals change slightly when L trys to stop him, and he focuses on trying to learn L’s real name. L befriends light in order to find out if he is Kira. In the end L becomes emotionally unwell after finding out the truth and so he decides to write his own name in the death note so that he can join Light in the world of nothingness.

    Before L can take his final rest, a deadly virus is discovered and falls into the hands of a terrorist organization. The only hope for a cure rests in the daughter of a scientist who had discovered a cure shortly before the terrorist group killed him.

    In my opinion this was a good book, it was interesting enough to keep my attention throughout the entire book, witch is very hard to do. As a fan of the TV series I wish that the events of the TV series were mentioned more because lets face it, the only reason somebody would pick this up is if they liked the show. There weren’t many familiar characters at all outside of L, and they few that were mentioned weren’t mentioned for very long at all.

    All In all it was a good book and I didn’t loose anything from reading it so if you have a chance I would recommend it, but chances are you wont enjoy it much unless you enjoyed the TV show.

    (PS: I really hope I’m posting this in the right place)

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: