That Table is a Stage: A Review of Alexander Hamilton

My friend and I clambered onto the picnic table. The damp wood felt unsteady underneath me; I shifted my feet. Then, flashing my friend a grin, I began to sing: “Pardon me. Are you Aaron Burr, sir?” “That depends. Who’s asking?” And so it continued—us standing on the picnic table, singing as loud as we…

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Another Way to Live: A Review of Akata Witch

“Well, I still think books are better than movies.” My friend just shook his head at me, smiling. I had never been big on movies—I still am not—and I found that books left you more satisfied than two hours spent staring at a screen. When friends asked me, “Have you watched this?” I would always…

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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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A Courageous Decision: A Review of Uncle Tom’s Cabin

For hundreds of years, slavery was accepted as a way of life. To see people beaten for working too slowly, sold to pay off debt, or killed in fits of anger was the ugly but unquestioned norm. Today, with slavery almost gone, it is something to speak of in somber tones and with grim faces.…

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Struggle for Self-Control: A Review of The Eye of the World

With a groan, I forced myself to look at the electric clock on my night table. I groaned again. It read 22:46. I should have turned off the light more than an hour ago, I thought guiltily. I nestled back into my blankets, glancing back at the book in my hands. More than anything, I…

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Emails in Elvish: A Review of The Silmarillion

When I finished reading The Return of the King, the third book of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, I gazed at it sadly and turned wistfully to the appendix at the back of the book. I quickly forgot my melancholy mood, however, when the appendix turned out to be a treasure trove of…

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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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Manhattan: A Review of The Rainmaker

  When we all slept in one room, I used to ask my siblings, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” One of my siblings wanted to live in Laos, in a house with screens instead of doors. I said I wanted to write in a great big lonely mansion in the…

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In the Darkness: A Review of Lost Boys

I dropped to a crawl and struggled through the door leading to the crawlspace. It smelled of earth and bricks and mortar. The floor was covered with a large sheet of black plastic, and above me fluffy bits of pink insulation hung from the ceiling. Chunks of fallen insulation lay scattered on the black plastic.…

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