The Book Report: April 2023

Book recommendations from Ms. Hardison, Divine Adekoya, Theo McGee, and Mr. Jones.

The Book Report: April 2023
Just Mercy, recommended by Ms. Hardison. Image via Goodreads.
By Grace Peil

Theo McGee's Pick: Boys in the Boat, a novel by Daniel James Brown. Rated 5/5 stars.

Synopsis: Daniel James Brown tells the story of a rowing crew from the University of Washington and their grand journey for gold at the 1936 Olympics. The book displays vigor, strength, and the overall conquering of almost unbeatable odds.

Book cover of The Boys in the Boat
The Boys in the Boat, recommended by Theo McGee. Image via GradeSaver.

Theo Says: "This book is my current favorite for a slew of reasons. The two most important being my connection to it and the writing. I have rowed crew for five seasons and love it. Boys in the Boat is centered around this sport so I can connect to it. Furthermore, Brown's writing pulls you deeper into the book through deep detail and action. I think that this book is a great read because it even made history highly interesting. Also you do not need to have any understanding of the crew to enjoy the story, as Brown tells you anything you need to know to experience this true story."

Ms. Hardison's Pick: Just Mercy, a novel by Bryan Steveson. Rated 5/5 stars.

Synopsis: Just Mercy is a memoir by Bryan Stevenson that recounts his work with the Equal Justice Initiative, a group that provides legal help to those wronged by the justice system. The book brings attention to current issues in hopes of creating a more equitable judicial system.

Book cover of Just Mercy.
Just Mercy, recommended by Ms. Hardison. Image via Goodreads.

Ms. Hardison says: "It was eye-opening and life-changing … Would absolutely recommend … I taught this book when I taught American Studies, and it was the one book every child said they read the whole thing as seniors."

Divine Adekoya's Pick: Life of Pi, a novel by Yann Martel. Rated 4/5 stars.

Synopsis: Life of Pi follows the journey of Pi Patel, a young man from India, cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean after a mysterious shipwreck. An unexpected feline companion provides constant threat aboard the boat in this harrowing story of survival.

Book cover of Life of Pi.
Life of Pi, recommended by Yann Martel. Image via Plugged In.

Divine’s Thoughts: Senior Divine Adekoya was introduced to during his sophomore year by English teacher Ms. Keith. "It was the only book I took home and read willingly … It's an interesting book, perplexing even, you think that everything that is happening is real but as the story develops, we find out that not everything is as it seems."

Mr. Jones' Pick: Silver Linings Playbook, a novel by Matthew Quick. Rated 5/5 stars.

Synopsis: The Silver Linings Playbook is a novel that revolves around Pat Peoples, a young man rebuilding his life after being discharged from a mental facility. The story follows Peoples through his difficulties with readjustment and finding happiness.

Book cover of The Silver Linings Playbook.
The Silver Linings Playbook, recommended by Mr. Jones. Image via Ebay.

Mr. Jones Says: "I chose this book because it forces the reader to empathize with a first-person narrator who is struggling with mental health issues by taking that reader along on his journey."

"Come for the thrilling pace of the novel, stay for the subtle character development and clunky-but-charming love story."

"It’s also a fast-paced story written in a cinematic fashion — short chapters, witty dialogue, many storylines circling around the predominant themes of hope and redemption — that makes it a genuine pleasure to read. This book does what all great books should do: it disguises a thoughtful, nuanced tale as an exciting page-turner. Come for the thrilling pace of the novel, stay for the subtle character development and clunky-but-charming love story."

"It impacted me when I read it because I loved it from the first page (and I was prepared to hate it, given the fact that I’d seen a few clips from the horrific movie David O. Russell made out of it), and I think a lot of that had to do with Quick’s protagonist and narrator, Pat Peoples. Pat is a man who, because of the onset of major mental health issues, lost everything that mattered to him, and the story is about him desperately trying to get back to where he was years ago.”

“Additionally, I chose this book because I’ve been reading The Great Gatsby with my 11th grade students this month, and both novels beg the same question: can we go back and recreate the past, or is what we once had gone forever with the passing time?"