Reviews of Teen Books

Out of My Mind
Draper, Sharon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is a really good book that I have read many times. It’s about a girl who lives with Cerebral Palsey and finds a new machine to “talk”. This story is about her frustrations and triumphs that only you can see.

Reviewer's Name: Maya
Outrun the Moon
Lee, Stacey
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I tore through this book. Mercy is strong and inspirational, but also displays characteristics not normally seen in fictional characters. All of the girls seem ahead of their time and are well-rounded and friendly. Mercy does not have everything handed to her on a silver platter, and she must work for what she wants. This book is realistic, fits the time period, and is very interesting.

Reviewer's Name: Brenna D.
Genres:
The Point
Dixon, John
2 stars = Meh
Review:

***THIS BOOK WAS RECEIVED FROM THE PUBLISHER***

With the rise in popularity of the superhero genre, it was only a matter of time before it leaked into other genres. While some genres like steampunk (like in The Esper Files ) make for an interesting twist, others like military YA sci-fi are so similar as to be just one other entry in the zeitgeist. The problem with this is that other, more famous handlings of supernatural superpowers bring much more to the table than books like The Point (which doesn’t necessarily add much to either genre on the whole).

As far as I could gather, there are only three or four different “types” of mutants in The Point: telekinetic, pyrokinesis, super strength, and “other” (like dream manipulation and energy storage, the latter of which was reasonably original). I suppose franchises like X-Men and One Piece, which give each of their unique characters unique superpowers and rarely (if ever) repeat themselves, is what ruined this book for me. This only added to the sense of the faceless military machine presented in this book, as few characters stood out to me at all.

Furthermore, I didn’t like the main character at all. Sure, most YA (and this is mature YA at that—an oxymoron, I know) start with a character who needs to undergo growth by the end of the story. However, I don’t need a main character that’s so fully flawed for so long that I end up hating her before she even learns anything. This, added with numerous questions I had that were never answered, plenty of redundant and boring sections, and the fact that I wholeheartedly agreed with the villain meant that I didn’t particularly like this book.

A book that’s likely trying to cash in on superhero and/or YA trends, I give The Point 2.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
A Storm of Swords
Martin, George R. R.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

If things hadn’t already turned dark in Westeros, they certainly do in A Storm of Swords. The complicated political situation in the end of A Clash of Kings gets even more complicated as this third book dives into complex armies, weddings, wars, and so much more. George R. R. Martin’s writing may be dense, but I have never encountered a fantastical world as deeply developed as his. A Storm of Swords is jam-packed with intrigue and excitement, and it left me wanting more. I would recommend this book even if you have already seen the show; reading the books adds a whole new dimension to the characters, the plot, and the world.

Reviewer's Name: Sabrina J
The Alchemist
Coelho, Paulo
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Alchemist is the story of Santiago, a shepherd boy, who goes on a journey to find treasure he saw in a dream. It is a story of philosophy and self-discovery, and its open-ended style leaves a lot of room for interpretation. That is the beauty of this book; every reader will get something different out of it. I found The Alchemist to be very inspirational and calming, as well as immensely interesting. This quick read is great food for the soul.

Reviewer's Name: Sabrina J
Awards:
The Fate of Ten
Lore, Pittacus
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Mogadorians have invaded. Earth is falling under Setrakus Ra's rule. However, new hope has arisen for the Loric, new Garde have arisen. Now the new Garde must choose whether they will fight with the Loric or if they will fall to the Mogadorians. The epic saga continues with another exciting adventure. Pittacus Lore continues to twist the plot in new and exciting ways that will keep you engaged. I highly recommend this page-turner to any middle or high school aged reader.

Reviewer's Name: John B
Suite Francaise
Nemirovsky, Irene
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Suite Francaise is an interesting book detailing the experiences of multiple characters and what they face as they evacuate Paris and deal with the German occupation of France. I read this book for school but still found it very interesting. It was a bit slow at first with exposition of characters in almost every chapter. I did enjoy getting to see how different classes reacted to having to leave their homes and what they faced afterwards. Not only does Nemirovsky use multiple characters to show the difference in experience, but also her use of imagery and figurative language add to the essence of struggle. Overall, I enjoyed this book but wouldn't have chosen it myself.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.
Awards:
Maus II: A Survivor's Tale
Spiegelman, Art
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Maus II, the sequel/continuation to Maus, continues the story of Vladek Spiegelman told by his son in the form of a comic book. This book is amazing because, just like the first, it uses an animal metaphor to easily show the reader who is who in the story. Maus II takes a darker turn because Vladek is now in the depths of Aushwitz. I love these books and their creative outlook on the War and the Holocaust. No other historical book has made me this intrigued and want to continue reading.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.
Walk Two Moons
Creech, Sharon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book, Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech is a rich and wonderful novel. The seemingly simple, yet complex read explores the self-discovery of thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle. While exploring her cultural heritage and past, the main protagonist relays over several dark and tragic events. While these events can make the book depressing at times, they hold valuable lessons and the book doesn't linger on them for too long. Every single character in the book is incredibly developed through the many stories told, and they fit the plot well. Overall, I would recommend this book to older readers and maybe younger ones, as the book is a decent length and pretty intricate.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L
Genres:
The 57 Bus
Slater, Dashka
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The book, The 57 Bus, by Dashka Slater, is quite the moving novel. The author does a great job of solidifying the main characters, Sasha and Richard, and develops there characters in a beautifully realistic way. The sudden transition for just normal everyday life to a calamity also flows well with the book. The fact that this story actually happens is also very interesting. Overall, The 57 Bus is a fantastic book and I would recommend it to anyone. The novel is a decent length but will have you engrossed in it until the end.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L
The Lightning Thief
Riordan, Rick
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In the first book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Lightning Thief, Percy the protagonist has been accused of stealing Zeus’ Lightning bolt. Percy must get it back to avoid all out war among the gods. Along the way he makes some new friends and meets some strange characters.

This book is one of the best books I have ever read. This book is very unpredictable. My favorite types of books are the ones that are unpredictable and this one has one of the best twist ever in a book. This book did well in the bookstores and was made into a movie. However, in my opinion, the book is substantially better than the movie. The book has lots more parts that are really funny and the movie leaves out great parts of the story. I would recommend this to anyone interested in mythology as it is based on Greek gods and their over the top stories. Yet, this is an excellent book and is good for almost everyone, even if you are not a Greek mythology expert because it is pretty easy to follow along.

Reviewer grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Alexander M
Storm of Lightning
Evans, Richard Paul
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

In the Michael Vey series, book four, Storm of Lightning, the resistance movement against the Elgen has been compromised. Micheal must prevent the Elgen from taking over the small island nation of Tuvalu. Hatch, the antagonist, is working to take over the world and wants to use Tuvalu as his base of operations. Since the island has no army and only a few police to defend themselves the island people are nearly helpless. Hatch plans on using his fleet of battleships to initiate a naval invasion of Tuvalu and quickly rid the island of the police force that is protecting it. Michael and his friends work on a plan to stop the naval invasion and destroy the boats before they make landfall. This book has some easily predictable moments, but is still very interesting and fun to read. My favorite part is when Michael and his friends nearly fail to accomplish one of the important parts of a plan they had made together, I would highly recommend this book and series to anyone who is into science fiction and fantasy because this book combines the two very well. However, make sure to read the first 3 books in the series first so this book is easier to follow and understand.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Alexander M
Hunt for Jade Dragon
Evans, Richard Paul
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The 4th book of the Michael Vey series begins with Michael and his friends returning to a secret base. The reason they have returned is because they are preparing to go find and rescue a girl named Jade Dragon. She had been captured by the antagonist Dr. Hatch. The reason she was held captive is she is considered a genius and is able to solve problems the Elgen have had for many years. The part of this book I liked the most was when one of the plans that Michael and his friends come up with goes well. This is unexpected because most of the time his plans go very wrong. This book was not very predictable, which I enjoyed. There is no part of this book I would say I didn’t enjoy. This book is definitely worth reading and is slightly better than the 3rd book in this series. Overall this entire series is worth reading because the further into the series you go the better the books get.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Alexander M
Battle of the Ampere
Evans, Richard Paul
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

In the book, Battle of the Ampere, Michael, the protagonist, finds himself attempting to rescue his friends as he is the only one not being held captive by the Elgen. This book is good but predictable at times. Hatch, the antagonist, has captured the Elgen fleet and is beginning his quest for world domination.The part I liked the most was when Michael’s plan fails and he comes up with a new and better plan. The thing I liked the least is how predictable it is. This book is one of seven books in this series, and it was not the best in the series. However, this book is still worth reading and the entire series is definitely worth reading and very good.

Reviewer Grade:9

Reviewer's Name: Alexander M
Slaves of Socorro
Flanagan, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In the 4th book of this series Hal find himself helping the King of another country across the sea. Hal travels to this country by boat and it takes him about a week. One of Hal's rivals, Tursgud, is also in the area. By the time Hal arrives, Tursgud has raided a village and captured 12 villagers. Tursgud goal is to sell the captured villagers as slaves. Hal decides the Brotherband should go rescue the villagers. I enjoyed reading this book and this series.

Throughout the book I was kept guessing what would happen next. I was never sure about what Hal would do. My favorite part of the book is when one of the Brotherband's plan completely fails and they have to come up with a completely new plan. There were no parts of this book I did not like. I would not recommend reading this book before reading the previous books in the series as you may likely have trouble understanding the characters and the situations they are in. However, this entire series is excellent and worth reading all of the books in the series. I would recommend this book series to anyone who enjoyed reading the Ranger's Apprentice by the same author, John Flanagan. This series is in the same time period and the same world as the Ranger's Apprentice.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Alexander M
Awards:
Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan
Flanagan, John
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a personal favorite series of mine, it is a very interesting, very fun book. Since it is the introduction to a 12 book series, at times it can feel a little boring, but once you get into it, it's the best series ever. Comparing it to other novels it feels very similar to the Percy Jackson series, in that the writing style is somewhat similar. This book is a must read for any teenager or pre-teen.

Reviewer's Name: Rohan G.
Artemis Fowl
Colfer, Eoin
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Artemis Fowl is an interesting book, although it deals with a concept, I frankly thought stupid, (fairies and leprechauns) it does so in a fun and well put together way. This is only one in a series of eight fiction books and starts very well as an introduction to the series. What I had a problem with, was this book felt very insincere in the fact that I never really cared about the characters. All in all I think it was an alright book and definitely worth reading for a pre-teen or young adult.

Reviewer's Name: Rohan G.
Genres:
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lee, Harper
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

To Kill a Mockingbird is a well thought out, very deep and well executed book. Although it contains some very strong language, I'd say this is a must read for any teenager. Set during the time of the depression, this book deals with many political issues such as racism while also managing to teach very important lessons along the way. The complicated sentence structure in the book, as well as the vocabulary serve to make it a very fun and chalenging read. In my opinion this book is truly one of the best written in history.

Reviewer's Name: Rohan G.
Maus
Spiegelman, Art
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Maus 1 is a fascinating graphic history of the Holocaust and what Jewish people went through. Artist Art Spiegelman uses a variety of metaphors to depict his fathers experience as a Polish Jew during the Holocaust. I found this book incredible because it uses an animal metaphor like Animal Farm to give a deeper insight into the story. This graphic history, much like a graphic novel, uses lights and darks, white and black, and special images to draw the reader in and help them understand the hardships Vladek Spiegelman faced. I loved this book and think it is a must read book for everyone.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.
Candide
Voltaire, Francois Whitworth
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Candide by Voltaire is an interesting book about a man who believes everything that happens will be for the good of man (perverted optimism) even though he is faced with incredible suffering. I read Candide with my European Literature class and I found it a very good book to demonstrate perverted optimism and satire. Voltaire uses satire as an effective device to show the horrors of the world at his time. While Candide is mostly based in truth, it has many fictional ideas such as a country called Westphalia and the mythical El Dorado. Overall, I really enjoyed this book even though it is very weird, it still had an interesting use of language and story line.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.

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