News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

'Last Book' full of twists, turns; no normal days in 'Unfortunate'

Editorís note: These book reviews were written by fifth-grade magnet program students at Leon Sheffield Elementary School.

THE LAST BOOK IN THE UNIVERSE. By Rodman Philbrick. Scholastic Inc., 240 pages, $5.99, paperback.

By Brooke Wisdom
Special to THE DAILY

"The Last Book in the Universe," by Rodman Philbrick, is a book that once you pick it up, you read it to the very end in one sitting. I usually only read books every blue moon, but when I started reading this book, I couldn't stop. Philbrick's book was exciting, funny and full of twists and turns.

Spaz, the main character, is a boy who decides to go on a journey to see his stepsister one last time before she dies of leukemia. In his journey, he finds secrets about his new life and the "old" life he was never supposed to open. For example, all of Spaz's life he believed he was living with a foster parent, but truth be told, he was living with his real father.

The futuristic setting in this book offers insight to what our world would be like if we let technology rule. Mind probing is all the rage in current technology. Most people use mind probing to enter a better life because the one they live in is horrible and filled with diseases. They want to escape reality and forget the truth. Spaz is allergic to mind probing, so he has the unique ability to remember pretty much everything.

Spaz makes many new friends and learns life lessons. He realizes the importance of friendships. He recognizes connections from his past to his present. Spaz stands out alone to keep reality alive and let the truth win. This book will change the way you see people and the truth of life itself.

THE AUSTERE ACADEMY (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 5). By Lemony Snicket. HarperCollins, 221 pages, $10.39, hardcover.

By Andrew Chapman
Special to THE DAILY

The fifth book in "A Series of Unfortunate Events" begins with the Baudelaire orphans attending Prufrock Preparatory School. The children's classes were austere, boring, irritating and difficult, but Violet, Klaus and Sunny were somewhat oblivious to the Austere Academy.

The children make new friends and believe their gym teacher is the best in the whole country, even when she shows her serious side in the gym. The Baudelaires do not have a day that is typical; something is always happening. They work together to figure out who is Count Olaf, the master of disguises.

Violet, Klaus and Sunny live in the Orphans' Shack, participate in S.O.R.E (Special Orphan Running Exercises), and befriend the Quagmire triplets. I enjoyed reading about their activities and admired the strong vocabulary words in this book. Some great words used by author Lemony Snicket are luminous, comprehensive and clutches.

I can make a connection with the Baudelaire children and my family. My baby cousin likes to chew on things just like Sunny. Also, my brother reminds me of Violet because he is so creative and inventive. I'm similar to Klaus because we both like to read. I recommend this book to any "Unfortunate Events" fans.

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