What We Say, What We Do: A Review of The Thief

Tipping my head back, I licked the last drops of pink lemonade from my cup. I glanced around the table; my cousins and my siblings were still drinking their lemonade. “Oof,” one cousin said, glancing at a brimming cup. “I don’t think I can drink this. I’m full.” We made appropriate sounds of sympathy. Sighing,…

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Robin Hood, Deromanticized: A Review of The Outlaws of Sherwood

I looked at the target and frowned. I had always imagined myself shooting effortlessly, looking cool and controlled as I let loose perfectly aimed arrows in rapid succession. At least, I had certainly never envisioned this. I was straining to pull the bowstring, my face red with exertion. My arrows flew high above the target,…

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Beautiful, Slow, and Alive: A Review of The Hidden Life of Trees

I have always loved trees. Whenever my siblings and I would go to the large park near our home, I would find a tree to sit in. I liked sitting in the large, sturdy pine next to the playground, but often I would clamber into one of the three small Judas trees at the other…

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Noise and Silence: A Review of The Chosen

I squeezed my eyes shut. The book I was reading sat in my sweaty hands, its sharp corners cutting into my palms. Why couldn’t the house be quiet? I felt like crying. There was too much noise—the vacuum’s irritating drone coming from the hallway, my sister singing some song of her own invention, the CD…

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No Queens Here: A Review of The Goblin Emperor

If I woke up one morning to find a messenger bowing down to me and proclaiming I was queen, I would be completely bewildered. My first reaction would be to think it was some sort of elaborate joke. If it proved to be a joke, I don’t know what I would feel. Irritation? Amusement? Regret?…

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Change: A Review of Meet the Austins

There are two fundamental responses to change. The first, and perhaps the easiest, is to be annoyed. After all, changes (big or small) disrupt our daily routine. And when our circumstances change, we have to change as well. The second option is to accept change with grace. When I think about the greatest changes in…

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Intelligent People: A Review of Dodger

Intelligence is a strange thing. No one can measure it, no one can make it, no one can see it—yet we all prize it. But intelligence is difficult to define. After all, how do you tell if you are intelligent? Does intelligence mean that you are academically skilled, or does it mean that you know…

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Imperfect Flowers: A Review of Gulliver’s Travels

As my sister walked up to the piano, I drew out my sketchbook and began to draw. For their concert, both of my sisters had asked me to sketch them as they played. “Very nice,” said a voice over my shoulder. I looked up, surprised. “Thank you,” I replied. An old woman with silver hair…

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Behind the Scenes: A Review of The Fellowship of the Ring

When I was working on a short story a few months ago, I also wrote a backstory. I drew pictures of my characters. I jotted down their motivations. I described where the characters lived. But when J. R. R. Tolkien wrote his books, he did far more. He invented languages. He wrote books about the…

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