Inside and Out: a Review of Till We Have Faces

I knelt by the scattered makeup tubes which lay heaped on the floor, picking them up and putting them into their proper places. They were only props for a sketch we were performing, but the other girls with me were examining them expertly. “Do you wear makeup?” one of them asked me, twisting a perfume…

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Little Hungry Pizzas: A Review of Ready Player One

I found myself staring at the words INSERT COIN. I clicked the button. I was playing Google’s Pac Man doodle, and as the game started, I maneuvered the little pizza around hesitantly. I lost. I played again. I lost. I played again. Seized by a mad determination to win the game, I played for over…

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All Heroes: A Review of The Outsiders

I find stories that have “bad guys” versus “good guys” simplistic and rather irritating. I generally try to avoid them. As a result, I read many books where the bad guy’s motive is moving and heartbreaking. Sometimes I read a book, hating the villain until the last chapter, just to read about their past and…

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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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The Cure for Boredom: A Review of The Phantom Tollbooth

Do you know those long, lazy afternoons? When the sun shines warm and tantalizing through the window, teasing you with faint ideas of big projects and triumph; when you walk restlessly through the house, your gaze falling languidly on books, games, and homework; when the soft breathing of someone sleeping on the couch drifts through…

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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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