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Title: Eclipse

Author: Stephenie Meyer

By Destiny Jackson, 15, Mayfair HS (Lakewood)

Eclipse, the third installment in the vampire series by Stephenie Meyer, is packed with a love triangle, action, tragedy and even comedy. I read Eclipse in one day and didn’t do my homework, which got me in trouble with my math teacher. I told him “The vampire ate my homework.” What could I say? I was addicted to each chapter, and couldn’t wait to find out who Bella would choose.

In the two previous books in the series, Twilight and New Moon, 18-year-old Bella Swan wants to become a vampire like her vampire love Edward Cullen. She tries to convince Edward to change her into a vampire, but Edward breaks up with Bella so she’ll change her mind about wanting to become a vampire. Bella, distraught and on the rebound, befriends Jacob Black, who just happens to be a werewolf. Later Edward returns and Jacob and Bella stop dating since vampires and werewolves don’t get along.

I like that Meyer writes vampire stories that leave out the sexual tension that other teenage romance books have. She also abandons the idea that vampires can’t be in sunlight and that they live in coffins and don’t have reflections. She adds twists and turns to the old vampire tale, by creating more hardship for Edward to be with Bella. 

Eclipse begins with Bella agreeing to marry Edward. However, Bella is uneasy about the wedding because she’s keeping it a secret from her best friend Jacob, who is Edward’s worst enemy. Bella’s downfall is that she doesn’t realize her true feelings for Jacob. Bella finds herself in a love triangle, and her inner battle begins. She has to choose between the one she loves (Edward) and the one who is completely in love with her (Jacob). If she chooses Edward, she has to give up everything—her family, her friends and her life since she would be a soulless vampire. If she chooses Jacob, her life will be normal and she won’t lose the people she loves to be with him.
Just when I thought this book was just a love story, it gets more complicated. In the midst of Bella’s confusion, an evil vampire on a quest for revenge invades Seattle. Bella is in trouble and everyone she loves is in danger.

Eclipse is the best book in the series. It has more humorous dialogue. When Jacob takes Bella on a bad date, she asks to use Jacob’s phone to call Edward to pick her up. He responds, “Sorry, I don’t want any leeches on my speed dial.” There also are more dramatic themes. When Edward kills a major character in front of her, Bella becomes hysterical because she thinks that if she becomes a vampire, she’ll turn evil, and Edward will probably kill her.

If you love dark, bittersweet novels filled with excitement, danger and a romance so real you can’t believe it’s fiction, then I recommend this exciting page-turner.

Title: My Sister’s Keeper

Author: Jodi Picoult

By Jisu Yoo, 15, Glendale HS

Jodi Picoult begins the intense My Sister’s Keeper by telling us Anna Fitzgerald’s purpose in life—to save her older sister, Kate. Kate Fitzgerald was diagnosed with a rare case of leukemia when she was 3. Her parents decided to have a test tube baby, Anna, to serve as an organ and tissue donor for her sister. Whenever Kate needed something like bone marrow, or blood, it was Anna’s time to donate. But when Kate needs a new kidney, 13-year-old Anna refuses for the first time and hires renowned lawyer Campbell Alexander.

Anna’s decision sends the family into chaos. Anna ends up going to court to try to get control over her body. During the trial, Anna goes against her mom, Sara, who is asking Anna to donate her kidney and save Kate’s life “one more time.” Alexander represents Anna for free and argues that Anna, who has spent almost as much time in the hospital as Kate, has never been asked whether she wanted to be a donor.

Throughout the story Anna has mixed feelings about her decision not to donate. She doesn’t even tell Alexander the precise reason for refusing to save her sister until the end, where the unexpected twist comes (my absolutely favorite part of the book).

When I read My Sister’s Keeper, I felt as if I knew each character because Picoult tells the story from the perspective of each main character. I was blown away by Sara, who happens to be exactly like my mom. They’re both aggressive and stress out over little things. For a time, my mom was too focused on my little sister, who has cerebral palsy, to pay much attention to anything else.

Then there’s Jesse, my favorite character. Anna’s and Kate’s older brother is the bad-ass rebel his parents gave up on, who plays with fire to get attention. The one who turned to drugs and cigarettes. I’m much like him in the way we thirst for attention. Many families, I think, have an unequal distribution of love among the children. This is true for Sara. She always says that she loves both Anna and Kate equally, but her mind is so caught up with Kate that she fails to pay attention to Anna and Jesse.

My Sister’s Keeper is my favorite book because the characters are relatable and it has sarcastic dialogue. It’s also ingeniously plotted so that it raises questions about controversial issues like relationships between siblings and couples, family courts, test-tube babies and control over one’s body. The book was intense and it helped me realize that I’m not the only one who can’t answer these questions.