Reviews of Teen Books

Book Review: Flush
Hiaasen, Carl
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Noah's dad is in jail for sinking the Coral Queen, a gambling boat that dumps raw sewage into the pristine water of the Florida keys. A fun adventure, Hiassen delivers yet again. So far he has done no wrong. I listened to this on cd and was not impressed by the narrator, but Zoe loved the parts she heard and wants to read it now. If that's not a tribute to the book, than I don't know what is.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Genres:
Tales of Falling and Flying
Loory, Ben
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is a compilation of short stories, which are filled with humorous tales and great short stories. I personally really liked this book because of how every story was a perfect duration. I often find it hard to commit to a book for more than a week, with this book, I was constantly entertained by the fun theme of all the stories. If you're looking for a great compilation of bed time stories, or just don't have the time to commit to a long chapter book, this book is perfect for you. If you are looking for one great story to start the adventure, my favorite was The Squid Who Fell in Love With The Sun.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Kyle Y
Lies
Grant, Michael
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Michael Grant continues his dystopian world of the Gone Series in this epic third novel. The world of the FAYZ falls apart even further as the war between Zil's Human Crew and the Freaks continues. Adding to the mix is Caine and his crew who search the islands for food. Finally, Sam's worst fear comes back to life, Drake. Is it just a figment of his imagination, or could the demon really have returned? Lies is full of twists and turns. Grant shows us that everything is never as it seems.

Reviewer's Name: John B
The Book of Three
Alexander, Lloyd
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

With assistant pig keeper, Taran looking through the forrest for Henwen, a speaking pig that can predict the future, Taran makes friends and enemies along the way of this incredible journey. Eilonwy and her sarcastic comments, Gurgi with his crunchings and munchings, Fflewdurr Fflam and his lying harp, and Doli who was forced to come along a guide, these friends fight off gangs and monsters while trying to find this special pig. When they meet the Horned King, who will come out victorious? With this book pulling you in with its funny and relatable characters, I encourage readers of all ages to dive into this wonderful journey with Taran.

Reviewer Age: 15

Reviewer's Name: Aiden F
Steelheart
Sanderson, Brandon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

With this book full of action and suspense, Brandon Sanderson incorporates sci-fi with drama and it comes together like a peanut butter jelly sandwich with milk. In a world of superhuman beings called Epics, David, an orphan living in Chicago, tries to survive where Epics roam rampant. Steelheart, the tyrant, controls all Epics and every part of the city; water, light, and law enforcement. The only part that isn’t controlled is the Reckoners who try to take out every Epic while being anonymous and secret. David, inspired by the Reckoners, soon finds himself part of the battle against the Epics. With this action-packed thriller, will David and the Reckoners take back Chicago or will the Epics be victorious?

Reviewer Age: 15

Reviewer's Name: Aiden F
The Sorcerer in the North
Flanagan, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Will, now a fully trained Ranger, is embarking on an adventure with his childhood friend, Alyss. He is tasked to investigate a castle in the North when the Lord Syron is faced with an unknown and unexpected illness. As he and Alyss investigate, they find out more mysteries and sorceries. Will is then faced with trying to find out everything about everyone, whether they are traitors or supporters of Will and Araluen. His ultimate decision is to choose between the mission or to help Alyss, as she becomes a hostage.

The Sorcerer of the North takes away the obsolete story of Halt and Will.
Instead, it takes an approach to one of Will's childhood friends, bringing a new perspective to the table.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Nam T
Awards:
The Battle for Skandia
Flanagan, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Continuing off from the Icebound Land, Will and Evanlyn were still captured by slaves. Will, addicted to a warmweed, has no personal thoughts, and the only thing he can think of is working without complaining. Working in the Skandian city, Halt discovers that the Temujain city is attacking Skandia and the Kingdom of Araluen.

The Battle for Skandia takes a different approach from the constant fight for Araluen. It brings in a variety of other characters that keeps the interest and universe of Ranger's Apprentice.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Nam T
The Icebound Land
Flanagan, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Icebound Land is a direct continuation from The Burning Bridge. It starts as Will and his new partner, Evanlyn, do whatever they can to survive as they are captured as slaves under Lord Morgarath. Whilst this happens, Halt defies his King and the Ranger Corps to save Will. Joined by Horace, the two continue across to do whatever they can to help Will and Evanlyn to safety.

The Icebound Land is an extremely enjoyable story, bringing a different perspective on the characters. It has a development arc for Halt, as he is seemed to be attached to Will as a father figure. Will is demonstrated to not be a perfect hero/protagonist, as he is still undergoing his training.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Nam T
The Burning Bridge
Flanagan, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The second installment of Ranger's Apprentice, The Burning Bridge continues the story of the young Ranger, Will and his master, Halt. In the everlasting Kingdom of Araluen, the people are safe from the enemies of Morgarath.
However, Will, Halt, and their companion, Horace, is sent to the neighboring city of Celtica to uncover disturbing truths that have passed by, and ongoing to the Kingdom of Araluen.

The Burning Bridge is a step-up from the previous book, The Ruins of Gorlan.
The Burning Bridge offers more to the story, with a deeper dive into the characters and their reactions. The story continues to move on, allowing for the characters to have a relative and in-depth behavior.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Nam T
Awards:
Into Thin Air
Krakauer, Jon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Into Thin Air is a narrative story of the author and climber, Jon Krakauer.
He establishes that ever since he was a kid, climbing Mt. Everest was his dream. He later accomplishes his ambition down the line, but with more consequences than anything rewarding.

Into Thin Air uses a consistent tone of language to identify whether the situation represents relief or tension. This gathers more intensity for those who are interested in thrillers and adventurous stories. The narrative offers a variety of twists and turns throughout the plot in order to continue the use of curiosity and unpredictability of the end. The story is very interesting, and builds upon every single detail, from the start until the end of the book.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Nam T
Thank and Grow Rich
Grout, Pam
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In her book 'Thank and Grow Rich', Pam Grout introduces readers to the benefits of practicing gratitude. While practicing gratitude does not, as Mrs. Grout states, make readers physically rich, the scientific benefits are vast. Outlining these benefits of increased health, greater happiness, and thus a more fulfilling life, Mrs. Grout encourages readers to join in the practice of gratitude.

This is a lovely book celebrating the practice of giving thanks. Filled with experiments and applications of gratitude, this book is very user-friendly. I would recommend this book to readers looking to improve their positive-thinking and gratitude habits. Ages 14 and up are appropriate for reading.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca D
Barking up the Wrong Tree
Barker, Eric
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In his book Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker explains secrets to success in many areas of life. Using the latest in scientific research, he explains how to "find work-life balance using the strategy of Genghis Khan, the errors of Albert Einstein, and a little lesson from Spider-Man", how to lower stress and increase self love, and move through life more happily

Among other lessons, Mr. Barker teachers readers why most of what they previously believed about success is "wrong". Then he goes on to explain how they can improve themselves and their lives through lessons provided by unlikely - but entertaining - sources.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking to improve success in their lives. It is an excellent, helpful, and humorous read that will be good for any age range 16 and above.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca D
The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way
Hakim, Joy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In her three book series, the Story of Science, author Joy Hakim introduces readers to the fundamental concepts within science and its history. Through creative narration, Mrs. Hakim captivates readers and makes learning interesting. By introducing the basic concepts of science through the eyes of a number of famous scientists, she helps learners to comprehend the scientific concepts while also enjoying the experience of reading.
Mrs. Hakim is a wonderful author. Her books convey a good knowledge of the subject with creativity in presentation. I would recommend this book to readers ready to learn an overview of science and its history.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca D
The Future of Another Timeline
Newitz, Annalee
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Tess is a time traveling member of the Daughters of Harriet, a group that does it's best to make their present time, 2022, a safe place for women, whether cis or trans. There's a men's right's activist group from further in the future trying to undermine their efforts by erasing the Daughters of Harriet and women's rights folks from the timeline. Meanwhile, in 1992, teenager Beth, a friend from Tess' past, finds herself in a bit of a pickle. She and her friends kill a boy who was in the process of sexually assaulting their friend. This starts the girls down a murderous path that Tess will do her best to stop.

For the most part, I enjoyed this book. I usually enjoy time travel, unless its being used as a cheap plot device which was definitely not the case here. Newitz did a lot of homework for this one - the historical notes at the end were really interesting and trips to the past often include historical figures. The story alternates between Tess and Beth with a few other perspectives thrown in on occasion. Tess mainly splits her time between the late 1800s (easily my favorite parts), the early 1990s and her present in 2022, while Beth's story is firmly situated in 1992. While I enjoyed both stories, I never really felt compelled to read the book. Both perspectives were interesting, but not captivating or thought-provoking (though I suspect the book will provide plenty of thinking material for some readers). As a result, certain plot points felt unnecessary and the book felt overlong. I really hated the way Tess' story ended. Nonetheless, its an enjoyable read that makes a great point (women are people too, who knew?) that I would recommend to science fiction readers that are interested in women, women's and LGBT rights. There's also quite a bit of 90's punk rock that readers of a certain age will love. The ending is also quite optimistic, which I wasn't expecting, but did welcome.

TLDR: The Future of Another Timeline is interesting book full of time travel shenanigans that is plagued by the same issues that all time travel book face. Ultimately, while the book was fun, feminist and full of salient social commentary, it wasn't compelling.

3 stars - I liked it.

Thanks to Netgalley and Tor for the advance copy which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. The Future of Another Timeline will be available for purchase on 24 September, but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Book Review: Tiger Queen
Sullivan, Annie
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

When I saw that there was a retelling of Frank Stockton’s “The Lady or the Tiger”, I got excited. I remember reading and loving that story in school, but I wondered how such a short tale could be retold. Stockton’s story serves more as a jumping off point (never fear, though – the choice between lady and tiger is made and we get to see the fallout). We open the book in the arena of drying up desert kingdom where “supplies or tiger” is used as a common way of determining justice or punishment, but of course, our king cheats to ensure justice is actually served. As resources get lower and the proletariat gets more uprisey, its up to our main character, Princess Kateri, to save the kingdom.

The plot in this is fairly standard. If you are a regular reader of YA fantasy, you’ll know where the book is headed a few chapters in. The characters themselves are nothing special, although the author transforms Kateri in a believable way. You’ll hate her at the start and root for her at the end. I wish the Desert Boys had been Desert People – why no girls? Since Kateri is such a strong hero, I thought the complete and almost total lack of lady fighters was suspect. I also wanted more tigers (if you don’t like to read about animal cruelty, maybe skip this one). It’s based on a story called “The Lady or the Tiger” – give me ladies and tigers!

There’s clearly a lot not to like, but the some of the worldbuilding was spectacular. Sullivan builds a desert world complete with lethal creatures (watch out for those sand snakes!), interesting cuisine (make sure you eat the right lizard tongue) and well, ok, I mostly liked the animals she invented. I wasn’t compelled to read the book, as, like I said its pretty obvious as to where it was going, but the worldbuilding was enough to keep me at least somewhat engaged and the author gets points for writing a standalone. I can easily see this book being dragged out to a duology and I’m glad everyone involved resisted that temptation.

TLDR: The book had potential for days, but I found the execution to be a bit lacking. Fun worldbuilding details make what is otherwise a rather routine YA fantasy more interesting. 2.5 stars rounded up to 3.

Thanks to Blink and Netgalley for the eARC, which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. The Tiger Queen will be released on 10 September, but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Detective Cross
Patterson, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Packed with action and intensity, Detective Cross is a mystery-action that will have you on the edge of your seat for the entire duration of the book.
The plot starts with a bomber planting bombs in national parks. Police search and defuse the bombs, only for more to be planted the next day. The serial bomber keeps on planting more and more, with the authorities always a step behind. I would highly recommend this book, as it had me on edge the whole time, with its accurate details and action packed plot. Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Kyle Y
The Great Gatsby
Fitzgerald, F. Scott
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Great Gatsby is truly a masterpiece. The Great Gatsby tells the story of Nick and his mysterious neighbor Gatsby. Gatsby is very wealthy and throws grand parties, yet has a mysterious and possibly immoral past.
Fitzgerald is a master of imagery, character development, and mystery. Set during the Jazz Age, The Great Gatsby is a fascinating commentary on life in America. I understand why The Great Gatsby is a classic and many students are required to read it. The Great Gatsby is a wonderful book that any reader from high school to adults can enjoy and learn something from.

Reviewer's Name: John B
Awards:
The Way of Kings
Sanderson, Brandon
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The highlight of The Way of Kings is assuredly the masterful world building. Sanderson manages to craft a fantastical and believable world with unique quirks and mountains of lore. With an exciting narrative to boot, this book (over a thousand pages long) tends to threaten other menial activities such as sleep. Though occasionally losing momentum through its frequent shift of character viewpoints, The Way of Kings is definitely a worthwhile read with compelling characters and gripping action.

Reviewer's Name: Evan T
Genres:
Under a Painted Sky
Lee, Stacey
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Under a Painted Sky is a fictional western story set in 1849 on the Oregon Trail. It is about two girls named Samantha and Annamae who after some unfortunate luck leave their home, Missouri, behind to start a new life, but they must first survive the Oregon Trail. While traveling along the Oregon Trail, Samantha and Annamae disguise themselves as boys to avoid unwanted attention and they join a group of cowboys, but will Samantha and Annamae be able to trust them? Under a Painted Sky is a story about friendship and self-discovery that leaves you wanting to read more. Overall, I really enjoyed reading Under a Painted Sky because Stacy Lee developed the characters very well and I would recommend reading it.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Emma G
Book Review: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Lewis, C.S.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I listened to this on CD. The narrator was fantastic. The book was also fantastic. Well written, aimed at younger readers, but still enjoyable by adults. There's a reason why this book is a classic. The story had me thinking about bravery and forgiveness, but the Edmund story line was a bit frustrating. His siblings were kinder than I would've been, although I have to remember that he was just a child. All in all, a must-read, or listen.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn

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