Did you know that the library has a volunteer group of 7th through 12th graders who help out at the library? YouthQuake Explosion meets once a week, and its members undertake all kinds of service and creative projects to benefit the library. YouthQuake Explosion member, eighth-grader Stella S., wrote these book reviews. Check out what Stella had to say about these popular books!
Harry Potter: The Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
I have finished reading Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling. This book is the first in a series of seven. I loved this book. It was extremely detailed and fun. Anyone of any age can read this book because it so easily appeals to all. As many of the people reading this probably already know, there are Harry Potter movies. Though I must say, this book throws its film to the wind. It all begins at Number 4, Privet Drive. A small baby is placed on a doorstep and taken in by Number 4's stingy occupants. As this book develops, you learn that Harry Potter is part of an amazing world that he never even knew existed. Harry will attend a school where he discovers who he truly is, where he makes new friends, and where he finds himself on a dangerous and thrilling adventure that decides the fate of a particular Dark wizard that Harry has a past with. I applaud J.K. Rowling on this book. I know that it has been around a while and these are compliments most have heard before, but they will never be stressed enough. J.K. Rowling introduces us to a place filled with people who have extraordinary gifts. She severs the barrier between reality and what we all so desperately hope is reality. Her clever plot grips you tight and refuses to let you go until you have finished reading the last sentence on page 309. My favorite thing about this book is how J.K. Rowling describes the setting of Harry Potter. She builds a scene around the reader and makes us feel like we are there. This is one of the hardest parts of writing. The writer wants the reader to see what they do. J.K. Rowling wants to share her vision and allow the reader to understand what it feels like to be a student at Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. J.K. Rowling blew this challenge out of the water. Not only that, but you meet brand new characters that are all unique in different ways. For example, Hermione Granger is one of the smartest witches in her year. She likes to follow the rules and stay in her comfort zone. Yet, she manages to break almost every Hogwarts law in the book and uses her heroic intelligence to help Harry Potter save the magical world from the clutches of Voldemort, a defeated Dark wizard with a deadly reputation who hopes to rise again and take revenge on all who contributed to his downfall. I also admire the way J.K. Rowling pulls together the excitement and fear of Harry's experience at Hogwarts and the tight bonds of friendship that Harry knits along the way. Like every good book, Harry Potter includes a wrenching twist. The villain of this story is not who J.K. Rowling first leads you to believe. Instead, she cleverly deceives you and you learn that the real culprit was the most innocent-the most unexpected. I would personally rate this book a 9 out of 10, my only issue being that this book ended our amazing ride with Harry Potter too soon!
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
After reading the first spectacular Harry Potter book by J.K. Rowling, I was very keen to continue to the next book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This book was by far the creepiest of the two. Like the first book, the Chamber of Secrets begins at Number Four, Privet Drive. This is where Harry lives with his aunt, uncle, and cousin, whom are all Muggles. The events of this book focus on the second attempt of Lord Voldemort in his efforts to rise again and become the greatest Dark wizard that ever lived. Harry must face a series of dangerous obstacles to defeat Lord Voldemort with the help of his two closest friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. As the plot thickens, you learn that there is an unpleasant new creature in the school that is terrorizing students, maybe even killing them. Be prepared for spine tingling sensations as Harry discovers a part of himself that he never knew existed, and realizes that he could be the key to destroying Hogwarts or saving it from the horror within the Chamber of Secrets. My absolute favorite part of this book was how J.K. Rowling left me in suspense chapter after chapter. She made me think about what was going on and how it was happening. I liked how she let the readers get a chance at solving the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets by including clues that we understand were always right in front of us in the end. Eventually, J.K. Rowling wraps up loose ends and ties them into a perfect bow. In similarity with the first book, J.K. Rowling is able to effectively connect growing friendships with the adventure that Harry Potter finds himself on. However, you can never have a proper Harry Potter book without a sensational Quidditch game. That is always one of the most important parts! I am joking! Not really. Anyway, I loved this book. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. I am once again finding myself admiring the brilliant mind of J.K. Rowling. This book brought a sense of darkness to the series-but in the best way possible. Stopping a mad wizard from destroying Hogwarts and the rest of the wizarding world is definitely not all it's cracked up to be. And that is exactly what J.K. Rowling shows us in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I give this book a ten out of ten. I know it's a risky rating, but I think this book will always be worth it.
For more information about YouthQuake Explosion, please e-mail Miss Kate at KateB@Eastonpl.org, or call the Youth Services Department at 610-258-2917 x 306.