Book review: The Border by Steve Schafer

The book I read for this month was “The Border” by Steve Schafer. This book’s concept is about a  conflict in Mexico with narcos (illegal drug dealers). The narcos raided, massacred, and killed Pato, Arbo, Marcus, and Gladys’ whole family and everyone living in their area. These four teen survivors needed to escape their home country if they didn’t want to face the same fate. The genre of this book is a thriller/action. This page-turning book really grasps the reader’s attention through each page. The author did a great job in developing the characters in the book. Among one of these characters is Pato, the narrator of the book. In the beginning of the story, Pato had a pretty normal lifestyle. He had many friends and close cousins and liked to play soccer. It doesn’t directly say it in the book, but from Pato’s actions and thoughts, readers are able to say that he was just an average teenager living an average teenage life. However, by the end of the book, Pato has gone through so much emotionally, physically, and mentally. These experiences and traumas made him a person with a new story. He had lost people whom he loved and valued, and this may make him not take things for granted in the future. Although Pato and his friends are all fictional characters, there are people in this world that have or have gone through similar struggles. And personally, this made me think of what I would do if I suddenly lost my whole family and friends. This book made me rethink about my decisions and thoughts, and it made me think about how I sometimes take things and people for granted. It also made me more aware of people that really have lost their loved ones. Overall, I would rate this book a 4.5/5. I didn’t give it a full 5 stars because the book had some pretty graphic scenes here and there. Personally, I can’t bear to read those parts because it really disturbs me. However, I think this book was very realistic and it really gave awareness about topics like this  because things similar to this (and even worse) actually happened, no matter how violent and disturbing it was. I found this book in the public library and I just got it because it had a clean and attention-grabbing cover. But eventually, after reading the book, I was glad I took it home to read. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thrillers/survival books, or anyone that’s just looking for a good book to read.

Book review by RH.

Summer Reading Challenge Week 4

The Leveller by Julia Durango


Nixy Bauer has a steady income provided by parents who need her to enter the MEEP, or virtual reality world, to retrieve their teenage children who should be doing their homework or getting to their jobs. But now Nixy has been asked to retrieve the son of the MEEP creator, who has apparently entered the game planning to never come out. Others have tried to find him but have failed. After negotiating a terrifying maze, Nixy finds more than the missing teen and together they have to figure out why they are trapped and how to get out.
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks


With the endorsement of the author’s family, this homage to the delightful Jeeves and Wooster characters, brought to life through the many books of P.G. Wodehouse, is true to the form. Here we find Jeeves and Wooster trading places in a complicated, if not ridiculous, effort to see a successful marriage for one of Wooster’s chums. The classic “servant seems smarter than the master” repartee makes for a very funny tale, perfect for a summer read. Reminds me that I should read more Wodehouse.

Summer Reading Challenge Week 3

The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

1943, occupied Amsterdam. While working for a local funeral director, Hanneke, a young girl just out of high school, delivers black market goods obtained with the ration cards of the deceased. When one customer begs her to help find a missing Jewish teenager, Hanneke is drawn into a bigger black market involving the Dutch resistance. Her search ultimately leads to both sorrow and hope, in this compelling novel of the Second World War.

What’s so Amazing About Grace
by Philip Yancey


Christian writer Philip Yancey takes on the confounding and “amazing” idea of grace. Indeed, as he suggests, we live in a graceless time, where the never ending cycle of tit-for-tat means that grace can seldom be achieved as each new transgression requires something similar in response. Who will, rather than retaliate, apologize first? Who will break the cycle of ungrace? For nations and for individuals what is amazing is that grace can break this relentless pattern and set free all who suffer in its wake.

Summer Reading Challenge Week 2

Scythe by Neal Shusterman


It is a post-mortal age. Humans no longer die from disease or accident or even age. There is no war and no government, and instead almost everything is perfectly controlled by the “thunderhead.” But there is a problem that not even the technology in the cloud, sound familiar, can control: the growing population. The scythes exist outside the control of the thunderhead and their job is to provide balance by systematically gleaning people to keep numbers in check. They were once an honourable group, operating by a code and a system of internal laws. But now, some are using their position to gain power, and there are few of the old guard left to stop them.
Plaid and Plagiarism by Molly Macrae


Janet Marsh, her daughter and two friends have bought a bookshop in Inversgail in the Scottish highlands and are looking forward to moving permanently into their long-time vacation home there to run their shop. But when Janet finds the local advice columnist dead in her shed, the list of suspects, and motives, seems endless. Apparently no one has anything good to say about Una Graham, and suspicious behavior abounds. The twisted trail leads directly to Janet’s ex-husband, among others, as blackmail, affairs and intrigue are revealed.

Summer Reading Challenge Week 1 

The Secret Path by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire.

 

The Secret Path tells the story of Chanie Wenjack, a young aboriginal boy who died in 1966 while trying to escape from his residential school and travel home. As is often the case with a good graphic novel, few words are needed to tell this shocking and heartbreaking story of abuse. Lyrics from the ten songs from the album of the same name, written by Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip, are interspersed with Lemire’s simple yet effective illustrations. The combination is as unique as it is powerful.
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Margaret Creasy is missing. Why? What has she learned that no one wants her to know? Told through the voices of two young girls, the disappearance has the whole street in an uproar. There are many secrets about one dark night in 1967 when Walter Bishop’s home was set alight by his neighbours determined to drive him away. But there is more to the story than any individual knows; the truth only existing in its many fractured parts. A wonderful book with many unexpected twists and turns, as well as an innocent search for God, who is rumoured to exist everywhere.