Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Fiction

4 Kids Walk Into a Bank
Rosenberg, Matthew
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

4 Kids Walk Into a Bank follows a group of four middle school kids planning a bank robbery. Throughout the story the characters face the prospect that right and wrong may not be as binary as their games make them out to be. This graphic novel does the Goonies, Stand by Me, and Stranger Things middle school group trope beautifully well, with notes of comedy and friendship. Although the story maintains a dark tone, Rosenberg includes brilliant humorous moments that add levity to the story and highlight the friendship between each of the characters. The art by Tyler Boss is phenomenal, completely immersing the reader into the book and constantly leaving us in awe. Each page is a masterpiece perfectly encapsulating the tone of the book and adding to the brilliant pacing of the book. The timing of each word and picture are masterfully placed becoming almost Wes Anderson. This graphic novel has easily become my all time favorite stand alone graphic novel and gets better each time I read it.

Reviewer's Name: Julia
A Darkling Plain
Reeve, Philip
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

With the way Infernal Devices ended, I immediately knew there had to be a fourth book to finish this unique series. Few books resolve their respective series as well as A Darkling Plain does, which I can appreciate. In fact, the final epilogue was as beautiful as it was tragic. Along the way, the little loose ends tie up nicely so that all the characters are given some closure—whether or not they deserve it.

I wasn't wild with the time-skip tactic that Infernal Devices used since it basically split this series into two larger stories. Mortal Engines and Predator's Gold covered Hester and Tom's relationship, while the last two books covered their daughter's adventures. Of course, I was shocked with the ending of Infernal Devices, which did get an explanation in this book, even if it lessened the impact of that plot twist. That being said, some of the characters' fates were foreshadowed well ahead of this book, which left their ultimate fate somewhat anti-climactic.

Overall, I enjoyed how the idea of mobile cities eating each other in an evolutionary survival of the fittest came to its logical conclusion in this book. It's such a peculiar concept that was thoroughly explored in the previous three volumes so that this book could wrap up this phase in the post-apocalyptic timeline with enough room to give some hope for a future. After all, I have yet to run across a science fiction series that combines so many tropes so well and manages to conclude its complicated plotlines in such a satisfying way.

A satisfying ending of a unique series, I give A Darkling Plain 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Awards:
Murder on the Orient Express
Crhistie, Agatha
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Murder on the Orient Express is the story of detective Hercule Poirot who is taking the train the Orient Express when a man gets murdered on board. With the help of the the doctor and other staff members on board, Poirot plans to solve the murder before the train arrives at its destination and the murder is free to walk away.

This book is very well written and has many plot twists so you are constantly looking forward to what comes next. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery. It is fairly easy to understand and could be easily read by anyone 5th grade and up.

Reviewer's Name: Emily S.
Awards:
The Red Badge of Courage
Crane, Stephen
2 stars = Meh
Review:

The Red Badge of Courage is really not a great book. It is centered around the Civil War and tells the story of Henry, a Union soldier who leaves his farm to go fight. During the war he cannot make up his mind to run away from the field or stick with his friends in battle. While some might find the book interesting, personally it just dragged on and on. Sometimes it would go really in depth into a battle or a part of the story that was not very important and in others it would just gloss over a major part that you needed to understand. I would not recommend this book to anyone as it is hard to understand and is not very well written.

Reviewer's Name: Emily S.
Storm Front: A Novel of the Dresden Files
Butcher, Jim
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Jim Butcher brings to life a world filled with magic. This does not save Harry Dresden from very real problems - keeping up with rent, car troubles, and more. This gives the story a grounding in reality that makes aspects of it relatable, despite its focus on the supernatural. Dresden is stubborn, but he always tries to do the right thing. As he tries to solve multiple homicides and searches for a missing person, he finds there is something darker going on than he first believed. His race against the clock adds a thrill that makes the book hard to put down.

Reviewer's Name: Mark T.
Awards:
Genres:
V for Vendetta
Moore, Alan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

V for Vendetta follows V as he fights against an authoritarian government and trains a successor. The book questions the cost of losing art, literature, and beauty in an attempt to create complete control over society. The art adds another dimension to the story, and the colors used in V's house compared to the outside world emphasize the underlying message. V's character is captivating because he possesses such knowledge and culture yet brings destruction. This leads readers to consider the necessity of violence to preserve culture. V's mask holds similarities to Guy Fawkes', and certain actions between the two are also similar, adding historical parallels to the story. V's strong ideals and actions to back them up lead him to become the face of a revolution but at what cost?

Reviewer's Name: Mark T.
Awards:
Ready Player One
Cline, Ernest
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Ready Player One, a book by Ernest Cline, takes place in a dystopian future in 2045. The majority of the population spends most of their time inside a massive VR MMOSG, massively multiplayer online simulation game, called the Oasis. When the billionaire creator of the Oasis died, he left clues for an Easter Egg that he had hid in his game, and the first one who finds it gets his entire fortune. This story is about the adventure of Wade Watts, a kid from the Stacks in Columbus, Ohio, as he searches for that egg. This book is amazingly written, and you will be wanting to know what happens next as you read. You may have seen the movie, but the book is a masterpiece, the story is much richer, and definitely worth the read!

Reviewer's Name: Torin K.
A Tale of Two Cities
Dickens, Charles
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A Tale of Two Cities is a captivating book. Set during the period leading up to and during the French Revolution, the book details how the French aristocracy and the French Revolution affected the rich and the poor through the stories of Charles Darnay and Alexandre Monette. It also shows the angry and vengeful side of the Revolution through the Defarge's and their wine shop. A scene where a wine cask is dropped demonstrates the desperation and poverty experienced by the citizens of Paris that led to the anger behind the revolution. Dickens also brings the book to life through life-like characters that emotionally invest readers in the story. Alexandre Monette exhibits fatherly care for his daughter, yet he also struggles to deal with his time in prison, leading him to rely on his daughter for support. Sydney Carton contains likeable aspects mixed with relatable flaws that make him instantly lovable. Dickens expertly connects each scene to develop the story and foreshadows multiple aspects of the climactic ending throughout the book.

Reviewer's Name: Mark T.
Book Cover
McManus, Karen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

One of Us is Lying is a mystery novel about four high school students who are suspected for the murder of their classmate. Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, Nate, and Simon go into their after school detention following a normal day at school, but the events that happened after weren't so normal. Simon, the outcast and the creator of the high school's gossip app, has been murdered and the other students in detention claim they know nothing. Yet after his murder, the posts on his gossip app don't stop, eventually revealing some shocking things about the suspects. Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, and Nate decide to join forces and find out the truth behind Simon's murder.

Overall, this book was really good. I would have given it 5 stars but I feel like the description (from the book) is a little misleading. The book focuses on their lives after the murder of Simon Kelleher and not as much of them trying to solve the murder. While I really do like the way it explains the details of their lives, I just found it a bit misleading. Other than that, the book is great. I absolutely love the character development in this novel.

In the beginning Addy is what you might call a "dumb blonde" but later on she becomes much more independent and her character develops in many ways. I also really liked the plot twists, they completely blew me away! I can't reveal much more than that but I truly didn't expect some of the things that happened, to happen.

Reviewer's Name: Prarthana
Book Cover
Woolf, Virginia
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Waves is an astounding novel by Virginia Woolf, known as her most experimental work. The novel is split into nine sections, each separated by a short passage describing the sea at a certain time of day; as the book progresses, these intercalaries move from sunrise to sunset to mirror the lives of the characters as they age in the succeeding chapters. The Waves is unique because Woolf uses a stream of consciousness writing style to capture the thoughts of her characters rather than dialogue, enhancing her characterization and creating her own take on fiction. The novel follows the lives of six friends, beginning with their childhood together. It explores the depths of human thought and as they grow older, and dives into questions of mortality and purpose. Each of the characters is starkly different from the rest, shedding light on the complexities of life through multiple perspectives.

Woolf does an amazing job of creating emotional depth in this short yet vast novel. I found everything from her descriptions of the ocean and the earth to the nuances of ordinary life to be very beautiful. Woolf's questioning of existence through her characters led me to consider my own life, and I found myself often completely immersed in her vivid imagery and rich writing style.
This novel is realistic in that the characters are all flawed in some way, and have their own fears and dreams. The illumination of their internal conflicts through stream of consciousness makes the book very personal and intimate, which is a rare experience.

I can't even begin to do justice to The Waves, so I strongly recommend that all young adults and adults read it for themselves. It has been one of of the most thought-provoking books I've ever read, and there is something in it for everyone. Virginia Woolf's The Waves is a wise commentary on humanity and a magnificent work of art; it should be read to be believed.

Reviewer's Name: Alexa H.
Book Cover
Alcott, Louisa May
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Louisa May Alcott's well-known classic Little Women tells the story of four sisters in the time of the Civil War: Meg, who longs for a life without poverty; Jo, a tomboy and writer; Beth, quiet and kind; and Amy, who has elegant taste in art and life. These four girls, with the help of their mother, learn lessons that help them carry their burdens with thankful hearts and lean on each other throughout the trials they face. The novel spans ten years, and follows the lives of the March family and their friends. It highlights the small joys of childhood, adventures at home and abroad, growing up, loss, and falling in love.

Alcott's writing is insightful, touching, and humorous; she draws the reader in emotionally and offers her wisdom generously. Little Women is an important narrative of ordinary life which both amuses and grieves, and should be read by all teens. Not only does it put life into perspective; it also relates to teenagers today despite being written nearly two-hundred years ago. Any audience will be able to connect with at least one of the March sisters--especially young women. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy become as dear to readers as family throughout their journey to adulthood. If you enjoy heartwarming stories and historical fiction, this book is for you!

Reviewer's Name: Alexa H.
Book Cover
Lu, Marie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Prodigy is the second book in the Legend trilogy and it is just as enticing as the first. I am obsessed with this plot and again would recommend it to anyone because of the intense romanticism and thrilling fights. Not to forget, the Republic (where the main character lives) is undergoing a pandemic of its own virus, which very much connects to the issues we have faced in 2020 and now 2021 as well. This book wouldn't make sense if you read it before the first book in the series, but it has gorgeous writing nonetheless. There are so many layers to this book, especially because former background characters are being included and are now essential to the storyline. With many book series, the writing starts to lose interest or just depreciates, but absolutely not in this series. And after this book, it gets even more alluring.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime P.
Awards:
Book Cover
Lu, Marie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I read the first book of the Legend trilogy (Legend) for a school summer reading assignment, but I fell in love with it and finished the series of books. I would recommend this book to anyone because it is easy to understand, and very entertaining. This was written from the first-person point of view, but each chapter switches off between the two main characters, who are also the novel's love interests. This unique writing style allows the readers to get even more background info than if it was told by one single character. Not only is there an interesting romance twist, but there are thrilling fighting scenes and plenty of unexpected deceit. This is perfect for any gender and anyone from the age of 12+. When reading, I enjoyed this with another friend who also fell in love with the plot and read the whole trilogy, so if thrilling romance books are your thing, try this book.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime P.
Book Cover
Golding, William
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book begins with the crashing of a schoolboy's evacuation plane, which leaves them stranded on an island and left to fend for themselves. It is rich in figurative language, although it may be hard for some people to understand because it is written in old-style English. Symbolism is a strong component as well, considering that this book is an allegory, so paying attention to every detail and symbol is important. The author wrote the characters to display a mental change, which emphasizes how the lack of civilization transforms these young schoolboys into feral beasts. The ending of this novel sums it up perfectly and explains any actions that might've confused the readers when enjoying this book.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime P.
Book Cover
Young, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book takes place in a not too distant future. "The Program" puts a spin on a real-world issue and shows what could end up happening in our world if the issue does not get contained. The issue being teen suicide. At the time of this story, teen suicide has been deemed an epidemic. As suicide rapidly spreads, The Program is created to "cure" these teens of the sickness. Their ways of treatment are unconventional, to say the least. Through this book, main character Sloane deals with tragic loss, falling in love, and losing all sense of herself. Suzanne Young writes this story in a way that is both intriguing and heart-wrenching. It is beyond easy to become attached to these characters as you get to know them in both a humorous and emotional way.

Through the ups and downs of the character's lives, you grow and suffer right alongside them. This is a book that just keeps on giving. It is easy to understand but also written in a way that makes you question your life, your thoughts, and your relationships. Full of twists and turns, this book has many surprises that make it hard to put down. As the first book of a series, The Program leaves you wanting more. Plot twist after plot twist leaves you sitting on the edge of your seat as you wait for the next book to be available. You can only hope that soon, you will get all your questions answered in Suzanne Young's "The Treatment"

Reviewer's Name: Star B.
Genres:
Anomaly
McGee, Krista
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"Anomaly" a Christian dystopian novel grabs a reader's attention quickly. Thalli, the main character, is being chased by The Ten, a group of scientists who are trying to annihilate her. According to The Ten, Thalli is considered an anomaly and is dangerous to their current society. Through many trials, she has learned about the Designer from a friend named John. He shares with her that she was made to be like this and that she has been being lied to her whole life. She then realizes that she needs help; help that cannot come from humans. She needs the Designer's help. With some help from a few friends, Thalli tricks the ten scientists into thinking that they have cued her, but it doesn't work. They find out that she was tricking them. The Ten then decide to annihilate them all. As Thalli bravely volunteers to go first, her friends try to rescue her. Will she make it to freedom or will she be stuck in The Ten's grasp and never make it out?

Reviewer's Name: Mikayla B.
Nineteen Minutes
Picoult, Jodi
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book offers a different perspective and a compelling, as well as frightening story that is well written and easy to read. It's a very tough subject, and really gives some insight on how people get pushed to their breaking point.

Reviewer's Name: Kelly K.
Awards:
Chains
Anderson, Laurie Halse
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Isabel is a thirteen-year old slave who is trying to gain her and her
sister's freedom. After their master died, Isabel and Ruth were supposed to
be freed, but were sold to a Loyalist couple who brings them to New York.
After an incident where Isabel is branded, Ruth if sold to a family in a
different state. Determined to find her, Isabel takes the advice of her
friend and servant boy, Curzon. Isabel becomes a spy on her master and other
Loyalists and reports back to the Patriots. Later, when Curzon is arrested,
she breaks him out of jail and the two run away to look for her sister.

Even though the novel is fictional, the events are based on the American
Revolutionary War, and it's pretty accurate. As someone who likes history and
adventure, this book was a good balance of both. Despite her circumstances,
Isabel remains a positive character and does everything to protect her sister
and those she loves. Obviously, there's some sensitive topics since they're
slaves, but I do think this book gives good information about the
Revolutionary War and how African Americans were ironically very helpful to
the Patriot cause.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Genres:
Forge
Anderson, Laurie Halse
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The sequel to Chains, this story follows Curzon's life as a soldier for the
Patriots during the American Revolutionary War. After Isabel abandoned him to
look for her sister, Curzon finds himself on the outskirts of Valley Forge.
After saving a soldier from a British troop, Curzon enlists in the Colonial
Army for the next year. The book describes Curzon's life at Valley Forge: the
strenuous labor, harsh winter climate, lack of food and resources, and the
racism Curzon experiences from other soldiers. Not long in his stay, his
former master visits the camp and forces Curzon back into servitude. For the
rest of the novel, Curzon plots his escape and reunites with Isabel.

I wasn't expecting the second book to be told through a different point of
view, but Curzon's story is just as touching as Isabel's. I also think that
the book is a good perspective of the life of a soldier at Valley Forge. The
events were relatively accurate, and throughout, I felt tense and anxious to
know about what would happen next. I thoroughly enjoyed Curzon and Isabel's
reunion, and I'm thrilled that there's a third book to the series.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Genres:
Ashes
Anderson, Laurie Halse
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The final book in the Seeds of America trilogy, Isabel is finally reunited
with Ruth. However, when she meets Ruth, who has epilepsy and a degree of
intellectual disability, she rejects Isabel to stay with her adopted family.
Eventually, after convincing Ruth to accompany Isabel, Curzon, and a third
slave, Aberdeen, the four teens go out to search for freedom. They travel
north until making it to Williamsburg where the girls work in a laundry, and
we find out that Curzon joined the Patriot army and Aberdeen became a spy for
the British. Separated briefly, Isabel and Ruth reunite with Curzon at a
Continental Army camp.

After all of Isabel, Ruth, and Curzon's suffering, the ending was a big
breath of relief. Everything seemed to fall in place finally. This book,
besides providing good information about the Revolutionary War and colonial
society, showed how just like White Americans, African Americans wanted to
forge their own identities and fight for what they believed it; whether that
was freedom, family, or love. Even though the main characters are fictional,
I felt like I was reading someone's real experiences and story from the past.
I also liked the list of all the historical events that took place over the
course of the trilogy that the author provided at the end.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Genres:

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