Collins Hill High School Media Center Blog

Hurricane Song by Paul Volponi

Miles is a very understanding child, and he rolls with the punches. Miles is from Chicago where he mostly lived with his mother but often visited his father on vacations in New Orleans. He felt that he was being pushed out of his family, because his mother remarried and had several step siblings. So, when an option living with his dad came about, he moved in. Life with his father was very difficult and different. His dad, a jazz player, and Miles, a football player, were not alike. Neither of them knows how to speak about their problems to each other. As Hurricane Katrina is getting ready to hit, Miles, his dad, and his uncle prepare to go to Baton Rouge to get away from the storm. In Miles’ uncle’s car, the traffic was intense and they had various car problems, so their only route was to go to the Superdome. While going to the Dome, where most people went for shelter, food, and safety, Miles encounters many thugs that are stealing money, as well as deaths. Many gangs were fighting for turf in the Dome. Through this adventure, Miles tries just to survive.

~Evan P., Class of ’12


March 16, 2012 Posted by | Book recommendation | Leave a comment

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Diane Setterfield’s novel, The Thirteenth Tale, is a story that will captivate you to the very end.  The book begins with characters Margaret Lea, an amateur biographer, and Vida Winter, a famous fiction author.  Vida is well known for her mysterious past, and has made up many stories about her childhood, none of them being true.  As she nears old age, Vida finds it within herself to finally tell her story, and when Margaret is asked to write this biography, she is a bit skeptical, questioning her own ability to write such a piece.  Eventually, she decides to take up the project, and the story she discovers is far more than she would ever expect.  Vida’s past is riddled with tragedies and family secrets.  She tells Margaret her tale, a story of wild twins, ghost girls, and a crazed family.

Setterfield keeps her audience on the edge of their seats with every twist and turn of the novel.  In the story of Vida’s life, nothing is ever as it seems, and the tale will leave you shocked at its outcome.  I enjoyed this book because Setterfield’s execution of the plot was brilliant; the reader feels like a detective, searching intensely for the truth.  When all is finally discovered, you are left with such an elaborate story that it will dwell on your mind for days.  I can honestly say The Thirteenth Tale is one of my all-time favorite books.  It is well written, suspenseful, and will leave the reader intrigued by the tale of the tragic Angelfield Family.

~Melissa J., Class of ’12

March 15, 2012 Posted by | Book recommendation | Leave a comment

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help is a captivating read that opens doors into the lives of the women of Mississippi in the early 1960s.  Kathryn Stockett has woven a story that breaks and warms readers’ hearts simultaneously.  Skeeter, the main character, is inspired by the Civil Rights movement and decides that she wants her opinions to be heard.  With the help of some black maids, Skeeter attempts to break down the walls that divide towns across the country.  Through Stockett’s beautiful narration, readers can feel the anger and frustrations for the black community, the joy and love that flows between the maids and the children that they raise, and the desperate need for change.  As a reader, you will fall in love with the characters and find yourself laughing and crying with the women as you cheer them on.  Your eyes may be opened to just how far our country has come over the past few decades- you will not want to put this one down!

~Lauren B., Class of ’12

March 15, 2012 Posted by | Book recommendation | Leave a comment

God is in the Pancakes by Robin Epstein

God is in the Pancakes is a riveting tale of a young girl named Grace who is dealing with countless obstacles. Not only is she still figuring out how to cope with her parent’s separation, but she is also dealing with boy issues as her relationship with her best friend Eric takes a shocking turn and begins to spiral out of control. There is, however, one great escape, her job at Hanover House, a retirement home where she meets the witty and wonderful Mr. Sands. Unfortunately as Mr. Sands starts to lose his battle with ALS, all the rest of Grace’s problems come tumbling down along with him. All while dealing with her own issues, Grace must make a moral decision to watch the old timer she has grown to love deteriorate or, as requested, ‘Help Him Die.’

~Kenaesha C., Class of ’12

March 15, 2012 Posted by | Book recommendation | Leave a comment

Maze Runner by James Dashner

This is a story about a boy name Thomas who pops out from a box in a place that seems unnatural. The only thing he remembers is his name. At the Glade everything seemed strange, but things got worse since the next day a girl arrived too. The unnatural thing was the message that came with her. Thomas felt he had to find a way home by going into a maze that seems unsolvable to everyone in the Glade. It’s up to him to find the answers of what he has been wondering all along. The book is amazing and everyone should read it. It will drag you into an adventure that you will never forget in your life. You will feel like you are Thomas. You will not want to put the book down until the last word of the book. Enjoy!

~Katherine C., Class of ’12

March 15, 2012 Posted by | Book recommendation | Leave a comment

Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult

Keeping Faith was a book that I couldn’t put down. It shows you that you can get though anything with the help of your family and that deep down, people are much different than they seem. Keeping Faith is a story about a seven year old girl, Faith White, who is stuck in the middle of a custody battle between her newly divorced parents. Faith begins seeing and hearing an imaginary friend that she calls her guard, but who says she’s making it up? Faith begins performing miracles and saying Bible verses from a religion she isn’t even associated with, and people begin to believe that maybe Faith White is actually seeing God. Meanwhile, Ian Fletcher, a television star, is out to prove her wrong. He’s determined to show everyone that it is her mom, Mariah White, who’s putting her up to this to get attention. While Ian is working up his master plan, he begins to see Mariah as a completely different person and things start to change; but Ian has a secret of his own that could completely ruin everything. Read to find out what happens when you mix business with pleasure in this twisted romantic story.

~Kailey Y., Class of ’12

March 15, 2012 Posted by | Book recommendation | Leave a comment

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

If you liked The Notebook, then I would definitely recommend picking up The Best of Me. Another Nicholas Sparks book, The Best of Me will take you on the complicated journeys of Amanda and Dawson, seperate and together. At the beginning, it appears to follow the typical Romeo and Juliet plotline, but as you delve into the book, it becomes so much more. As Amanda and Dawson begin to open up to each other after ten years of being apart, they begin to be honest with themselves, too. You’ll flip through the pages faster and faster to see how Amanda’s well-to-do Southern mother reacts to her rekindled friendship with low-class Dawson, and to see what Dawson’s revenge-driven uncle will do to him. I wish I had read this book by a beach because it would be a perfect novel to read leisurely in the sunshine while daydreaming about your soulmate. Oh, Nicholas Sparks.

~Heidi B., Class of ‘12

March 14, 2012 Posted by | Book recommendation | Leave a comment

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu

This book is awesome! Lucy’s parents have divorced and since that day her life changed completely. Lucy has two older siblings which are Phil and Sarah. Lucy gets along better with Phil than with her older sister Sarah. Her mom, a hoarder, completely blames Lucy for everything she loses in the house. Lucy just feels trapped in a world that she cannot come out of. She tries to be an ordinary high school student, but she is not able to since she is afraid to be called “Garbage Girl” once again. One day she comes home from her best friend Kaylie’s house and finds her whole life in a completely trapped situation but does not know what to do. Lucy’s life is like a roller coaster and the boy she has liked since she moved to a public school tells her something that may change her life forever!

I really liked reading this book and I think that you should read it also. This book is romantic and mysterious. If you want to find out how Lucy’s life turns out to be, what her dark family secret is, and how it ends read the BOOK!!

~Gina A., Class of ‘13

March 14, 2012 Posted by | Book recommendation | Leave a comment

Matched by Allie Condie

What if you had your entire life planned out for you, your every move predicted?  This is exactly what happens in Ally Condie’s masterpiece, Matched. Cassia, the protagonist of the novel, and her family live in a futuristic society where everything from who you marry (“match”) to when you die is decided for you by government officials. In this perfectly scheduled, completely controlled world, there is no room for creativity or individuality. A Hundred Paintings. A Hundred Poems. A Hundred Songs. Even the past is regulated and tossed through the government filter of worthy and unworthy pieces of history.

All her life, Cassia has lived as a model citizen within the society. Then, one day, her grandfather dies, leaving her with two ancient poems illegally kept from before the Society’s reign. On the night of her “match banquet,” she accidentally gets matched twice- once to her best friend from childhood, Xander, and once to Ky Markham, a guy so skilled at blending in, Cassia hardly ever noticed him before. Although the match with Ky turns out to be a mistake, Cassia can’t help but wonder what life would be like if she had a choice in the matter, if everything in life wasn’t decided for her. As the story unfolds and Cassia’s and Ky’s paths strangely intertwine, Cassia must decide for herself whether to risk the security the Society offers for a life much more uncertain and yet much more her own. Is perfection really worth it or is there something better? Read the book to find out! I finished this book in one day; it was so good, I couldn’t put it down!

~Elise R., Class of ’12

March 14, 2012 Posted by | Book recommendation | Leave a comment

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

What’s one of your earliest memories? Well, for Violet Ambrose, it’s being “called” or “pulled” to a girl in the woods. But it wasn’t just any girl – she was reported missing and was dead when Violet found her. After that, she grew up finding dead animals and burying them in her backyard with her best friend Jay. As they matured into teenagers, Violet started to develop feelings for him. Just as she was enjoying life, she finds another body and begins her search for a killer – only to realize she’s next in line.

The book was sooo great and easy read. It’s full of adventure and suspense and believe me it was worth the sleepless nights huddled under the blankets reading. It’s creepy, romantic, and there are many chapters where you’re put inside the killer’s head. Definitely recommend it!

~Ashton R., Class of ’12

March 14, 2012 Posted by | Book recommendation | Leave a comment