Masterminds: Criminal Destiny

Gordon Korman

Masterminds: Criminal Destiny is the long-awaited continuation of the cliffhanger in book one, Masterminds. In this second book of the Masterminds trilogy, we follow four kids, Eli, Malik, Tori, and Amber who are running from their peaceful town named Serenity.


These kids have uncovered that their true identities are clones of criminal masterminds, and that their entire lives have all been a scientific experiment. Now they have to travel and navigate through the states, find billionaire Tamara Dunleavy, and avoid the purple people eaters. These problems are a lot of for a few kids to handle, so when they are put in multiple fly-or-die situations, these 4 clones have to use their criminal abilities to help themselves.


They are attempting to expose the scientists behind project Osiris and get justice for themselves and the others back in Serenity. This is a thrilling book and is so interesting that you will not be able to put it down even for a second. Not only is this book entertaining, but it is also a thoughtful book. It makes you constantly wonder what you would do in a situation like this even if it were to be highly unlikely. Masterminds: Criminal Destiny is another great book by the fantastic author, Gordon Korman and fans will not be disappointed to continue reading this series. A wonderful series for grades 4-6. – Aquilin C.

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The Defiant

Lesley Livingston

Be brave, gladiatrix… And be wary. Once you win Caesar’s love, you will earn his enemies’ hate.

Fallon has been warned. Now she is about to pay the price for winning the love of the Roman people as Caesar’s victorious gladiatrix.

In this highly anticipated sequel to THE VALIANT, Fallon and her warrior sisters, find themselves thrust into a vicious conflict with a rival gladiator academy, one that will threaten not only Fallon’s heart – and her love for the Roman soldier Cai – but the very heart of the ancient Roman Empire.

When dark treachery and vicious power struggles threaten her hard-won freedom, the only thing that might help the girl known as Victrix save herself and her sisters is a tribe of long-forgotten mythic Amazon warriors. The only trouble is, they might just kill her themselves first.

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Iron Gold

Pierce Brown

A decade ago Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. The Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk all he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?

And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever.  A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp, and achieves a new life for herself, one that she could never have imagined.

An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy—or pay with his life. Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the Sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.

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Someone to Love

Melissa de la Cruz

Olivia “Liv” Blakely knows how important it is to look good. Her father is running for governor and Liv is thrust into the bright media spotlight. She has an image to uphold—to her maybe boyfriend, to her new friends and to the public, who love to find fault on social media.

Liv’s sunny, charming facade hides an inner voice that will settle for nothing less than perfection. No matter who she has to give up, or what she has to lose, to achieve it. But as the high price of perfection takes a toll, Liv realizes that the love she feels for herself is more important than all the ‘likes’ in the world.

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Pete Hautman

Slider is a witty story of a teen who loves to eat and he’s good at it too. 14-year-old David checks stats on all his favourite food competitors and their competitions. He finds out a half-eaten hot dog, eaten by one of his idols, is being sold online but he needs a credit card to purchase it. Through “borrowing” a credit card and setting up an automated bidding system he ends up the not so proud owner of a preserved old hot dog.

He has many bouts of bad luck throughout the plot and slowly gets into debt with his friends. He begins to train in eating and attempts competitions himself with slider burgers, pizza, and many other foods. David struggles to make plans to get the money back, some more realistic than others. All the same, no matter the quality of his plan he vows to earn the money back or his life will be ruined by spending so much. Food competitions aren’t always as they seem: there are rule changes, sabotage and sometimes the prize isn’t what you had expected. Making friends in some of his competitions at some points help him to up his ante and find new and gross food eating techniques.

David is also assigned to take care of his brother Mal who has autism and only speaks one word, “okay”. Mal doesn’t talk much or eat a variety but his feats in learning help push David for his brother’s sake. Things may not always be right but are sometimes the right things to do; this is a lesson David learns through experience and later presents closer to the end of the story.

Overall, Slider is a hilarious read that will make you laugh out loud and maybe look at burgers a little differently. It is a must-read for those who love comedy and are looking for a fun light read. – Zoe P.

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The Night Circus

Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede, no pamphlets distributed, no sight of a train filled with equipment. It is simply there when yesterday it was not, but instead of one tent, there are many. Black and white striped tents of all shapes and sizes create a maze of draped unknown wonders. Not far away from a very peculiar clock stand the gates with a sign on the top reading Le Cirque des Rêves. The Circus of Dreams. Gates open after sunset and close after sunrise.

However, there is more going on behind the scenes. The circus has become a venue for a bet. Two unwilling magicians have been trained their entire life for a duel in which only one magician will walk out. The circus has become an inspiration for a dreamer who lives in a too small town with his too-large imagination. The circus has become a home for fortune telling tarot reader who ran away from an arranged marriage. The circus has become a responsibility for the twins born in the circus. The circus has become a distraction for a contortionist with a mysterious past. The circus has become an obsession, a myth, a masterpiece.

The Night Circus is a very interesting and sophisticated read. The sense of mystery that comes with the writing really compliments the theme of the novel, and though sometimes the book may seem confusing because of the time jumps it is all comes together in the end. This novel will leave readers entrapped in the magical 19th century anticipating and on edge. – Janki V.

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The Cruel Prince

Holly Black

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. However, many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. As civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

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Top Ten

Katie Cotugno

This novel was written in the form of a single top ten list, the top ten moments of high school for Ryan and Gabby. They tell their side of the story for all ten moments and slowly piece together their friendship as a whole. Gabby is a socially awkward, shy, and a slight outcast. She has anxiety and hates parties no matter how many she goes to. Ryan is a hockey player and jock who likes to party with the many friends in his popular circle. Nothing can break these two best friends apart. No matter how much they resent each other and no matter how different they are, they are friends forever.

This book was written very nicely with sweet lovable characters. However, it was hard to follow with the timelines of the chapters because one moment of the ten takes place in their senior year and the next in freshman year 3 years earlier so you have to pay attention and remember what has happened already before that year and what comes later. Also, you are only told about ten moments of their friendship, but then you don’t get a full backstory nor a full view of how their day to day friendship was. I would definitely recommend Top Ten but beware of the timeline jumping back and forth. Also, because of them only discussing ten moments of four years of friendship, it’s hard to connect Gabby and Ryan’s stories together. You don’t even hear about how they first met in detail until quite far into the book but it ends up coming out like ten short stories of these characters of these two friends that are polar-opposites. A bit different than other books I’ve read, but good for fans of cute love stories. – Zoe P.

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A Walk to Remember

A Walk to Remember is a movie adaption from the 2004 book of the same name by author Nicholas Sparks. It is a romance film consisting of two high school teenagers, Jamie and Landon, who unintentionally fall in love with each other. The two teenagers get thrown together due to a mishap that happened with Landon and his friends, as a result of having to do community service hours. The two get close by having shared interests and then begin to fall in love. The love continues to grow until it’s unconditional and forever. Though there is a truth that will need to be told from Jamie, a Christian girl who always carries a Bible, for that truth may be connected to why she has never truly loved someone yet, before Landon came into her life.

I think this movie is great and so amazing due to many reasons. First of all, it’s because of the incredible love Landon and Jamie have shown in the movie and how that kind of love is almost every girl’s fantasy, including mine. Second, the movie relates to world issues that happen in high school and the world, which was well portrayed in the movie. Also, the movie includes how people can change, be a better version of themselves, and be capable of pure love. Moreover, if you’ve read and loved the book by Nicholas Sparks, you will love this movie adaptation.

In conclusion, I believe A Walk to Remember is a great movie for romantics and people who love a great love story. You will certainly love this movie and may have tears at the end. – Ally M.

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The Girl in the Tower

Katherine Arden

Katherine Arden’s enchanting first novel introduced readers to an irresistible heroine. Vasilisa has grown up at the edge of a Russian wilderness, where snowdrifts reach the eaves of her family’s wooden house and there is truth in the fairy tales told around the fire. Vasilisa’s gift for seeing what others do not won her the attention of Morozko—Frost, the winter demon from the stories—and together they saved her people from destruction. However, Frost’s aid comes at a cost, and her people have condemned her as a witch.

Now Vasilisa faces an impossible choice. Driven from her home by frightened villagers, the only options left for her are marriage or the convent. She cannot bring herself to accept either fate and instead chooses adventure, dressing herself as a boy and setting off astride her magnificent stallion Solovey.

After Vasilisa prevails in a skirmish with bandits, everything changes. The Grand Prince of Moscow anoints her a hero for her exploits, and she is reunited with her beloved sister and brother, who are now part of the Grand Prince’s inner circle. She dares not reveal to the court that she is a girl, for if her deception were discovered it would have terrible consequences for herself and her family. Before she can untangle herself from Moscow’s intrigues—and as Frost provides counsel that may or may not be trustworthy—she will also confront an even graver threat lying in wait for all of Moscow itself. 

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