Reader reviews summer books

Kerrigan Edwards, Editor in Chief

Dear Evan Hansen- 

Benj Pasek, Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Justin Paul

Rating: 1/5 stars

Why: It might be the fact that this book is loved and obsessed over by young adults and adults alike, but I did not understand or agree with the hype that has been given to “Dear Evan Hansen”, the book. I found the characters to be underdeveloped and questionable. And while it might’ve been that the main character was rather unlikeable and frustrating, I find that this book is disappointing and not worthy of being a phenomenon amongst readers and musical theater buffs. 

Explanation of the book: “Dear Evan Hansen” is about a student with severe social anxiety who is trying to improve his mental state through writing letters to himself, per his therapist’s request. One of the letters written to himself makes its way to the hands of the family of a student who has just committed suicide. Hansen fabricates a relationship between himself and this student until he doesn’t know how to get out of a lie that can potentially destroy a lot of his new relationships. 

Brave New World-

Aldous Huxley

Rating: 4/5 stars

Why: Required reading has never looked so good! “Brave New World” was one of the more captivating books that I read over the summer, and it ended up being the one I finished fastest. The characters were all so annoying and infuriating, but they were written in a way that made me continue. 

Explanation of the book: “Brave New World” is a dystopian novel that takes place in a world obsessed with science and lack of individuality. Everyone is a clone of each other, all members of society are ranked into a social hierarchy at birth, and those who venture from the beaten path are treated with hatred and disgust. When two characters who have a different life than all others in this “Brave New World” are introduced, they are treated as an amusement or entertainment source. 

They Both Die At The End-

Rating: 2/5 stars

Why: The only reason that this book has a higher rating than I gave “Dear Evan Hansen” is because I could develop an emotional attachment to the characters in this book. I found that while I didn’t quite enjoy the plot, the characters and their relationships were well done. Despite the ending being stated in the title, the majority of this novel was oddly predictable for me, and it sort of diminished the surprising elements that would’ve been good otherwise. 

Explanation of the book: Two characters receive a call from Death cast (something that predicts your death and notifies you) at the beginning of their days. They both look for a friend to help them spend their last day doing things that make their lives worth living and end up together. You stay with them through all the stages of grief to the end of their dying day. 

The House in the Cerulean Sea- 

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Why: I don’t normally reach for fantasy books and don’t gravitate towards children’s books, but this one was so beautifully crafted and made me think about life in a different way. The children and adults written in this book are created to show a stark contrast between those who have an imagination and those who don’t. In this sense, it almost reminded me of the main lesson of “The Little Prince.”

Explanation of the book: “The House in the Cerulean Sea” features a lonely worker whose profession includes visiting orphanages that specifically house magical children. After being assigned a case that seems concerning and suspicious, the main character ventures to the middle of nowhere to begin to understand what the fuss is about this orphanage. After spending an extended amount of time with both these special children and their caretaker, this job that was supposed to be unemotional and purely educational turns into a beautiful story about being different and how you can grow as a person to accept those differences.