Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Contemporary

Red, White & Royal Blue
Casey McQuiston
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is perfect for all of the hopeless romantics like me who love to imagine an epic love story. This is a super cute LGBTQ+ book that will make you want to jump with joy as you read it. The characters are amazing and so easy to root for. The more you read it, the hard it is to put the book down. This book while super cute is definitely a 16+ book. So if your looking for a heartwarming story then look no further and check out this book!

Reviewer's Name: Rylie M.
All American Boys
Reynolds, Jason and Kiely, Brendan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

My friends told me about the tv show All American, so I decided to read the book All American Boys first. I thought it was the same thing at first, just one as a book and the other as a movie, but it isn't. Both have different plots and stories even though they both talk about racism.This book is about police brutality and racism from the eyes and perspectives of two young high school boys. It's a very emotional and sad book even though it could be and was very true in the past and still in the present. This book strongly mixes up your emotions into a twist but overall, is a really good book. The book starts with Rashad getting beaten up by cops and Quinn seeing the whole thing, starting their fight for justice.

Reviewer's Name: Trisha
Eliza and Her Monsters
Zappia, Francesca
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I enjoyed reading Eliza and Her Monsters, which, as the title suggests, is about main character Eliza who created a well-known webcomic called Monstrous Sea, but remains anonymous online. It was fun because I could relate to Eliza as an artist (not a visual artist, but the world-building aspect) and Wallace, the inevitable love interest, as a writer. Also, of course, the whole fandom idea tends to be very relatable for many teenage readers. Eliza starts to fall for Wallace at school when they connect after discovering that they're mutual fans of Monstrous Sea, though Eliza keeps her identity as the creator of Monstrous Sea secret. Their story goes through the predictable, somewhat cookie-cutter stages of a YA romance before concluding with... actually, I won't spoil it, but you'd probably be able to guess after reading the first few chapters of the book. Besides the predictability – which you'd honestly get with just about any YA romance – my other complaint is the characterization. A lot of Eliza's development or the introduction of her personality was done through telling instead of showing, and Wallace felt rather flat and underdeveloped. The book was entertaining though, and I might recommend it if you're looking for something quick, fun, and easy, and don't mind knowing what's going to happen ahead of time. In terms of content, it's clean besides the occasional profane language.

Reviewer grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Elanor
Awards:
Fix Her Up
Bailey, Tessa
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Travis, a once super popular baseball star gets hurt and can’t play baseball anymore gives up on life. Enter Georgie, a once Tom-boyish now super hot girl who has always had a crush on Travis (She’s also his best friend's sister) this roller-coaster of a book tells Travis and Georgie's adorable love story, and you can’t put it down. While definitely meant for an older crowd, this story will leave you smiling. Its characters are so cute, and you are just rooting for them the whole time. If you are looking for a more mature, rom-com book then you should check out this book!

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
Awards:
The Fault in Our Stars
Green, John
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Two teens, one struggling from cancer, one a cancer survivor, meet and start becoming close. The struggles of cancer, the chance of death, the fear of not leaving a mark on the world and so much more make their relationship hard at some points. John Green is a fantastic author who really draws you in. You get really invested into the characters and their lives and you start to feel their pain. This book will make you laugh, smile, cry, and jump up and down and it’s amazing. I would definitely recommend!

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
Albertalli, Becky
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Molly is a bigger girl, who has never had a boyfriend (but has had
many crushes) her twin sister, who is beautiful and never has had problems
dating becomes love sick over a girl they meet at a concert. Molly’s moms,
finally have the chance to get marriage. With all this going on Molly meets a
cute boy who she thinks is perfect for her, but what happens when she starts
falling for her coworker instead? This book is a quirky romance story that
really hits you in the feels. It’s beautifully told and when anything
happens to your character you feel like it’s happening to you! If you want
a romance with twist and turns and a heartwarming story in the middle, then
read this book!

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
Perfect Chemistry
Elkeles, Simone
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This is a very cute, enemies to lovers story, with characters that you get very invested into. Brittany, the main character may in the outside seem to be an annoying popular girl but this book gives her so much complexity. Her love interest, Alex feels the pressure of being in a gang and protecting his family. As their romance blossoms, you really start to see how much they care for each other. If you like a romance/drama book, this is definitely for you!

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
The Thing About Leftovers
Payne, C. C.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book was by far my favorite book, as it's very emotional but at the end, heartwarming. Fizzy is a 12 year old girl who has a strong passion for cooking. She's very good at it, but because of her divorced parents, she feels like no one cares about her and she is a leftover that no one wants. Through the book, she learns that just because her parents are divorced doesn't mean either side doesn't care, it means both sides care. This could also be very relatable for kids with divorced parents who don't seem to fit into either side. At the end, Fizzy realizes that each side is proud of her and loves her and that she could find good qualities in each other step parent.

Reviewer's Name: Trisha
Awards:
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Han, Jenny
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I've heard a lot about this book, so I decided to try and read it. What I enjoy about this book is that it could relate to a quite a few teenagers, and it has a bit of every genre. It's sad but happy, weird but funny, and dramatic but real. I could safely say, that this was one of the best books I've read this year. It starts off with a sixteen year old girl, Laura Jean. She was always a very good kid, listening to her parents and having good grades. Her older sister, Margot, was one of her best friends. She was just about to move to college, so she broke it off with her boyfriend, Josh. Seeing this, Laura got devastated because Josh had always been like a part of the family. Josh was upset too, since they've been together for two years. Laura thinks it's all just temporary and her sister would want to get back together with him. Margot soon was thinking about it, until she heard something from Josh. Something about her sister. This got her furious. I'm going to let you read about that by yourself. Later along in the book, like every other teenage girl, Laura has those few people that she's liked over the years. For those few guys, she's always wrote love notes for them and hid them away in a box, so she could know why she liked them, but forget about them because they were in the past. Until one day, when everything changed... Read to find out what happens.
Reviewer grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Trisha
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Cohn, Rachel and Levithan, David
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, co-authored by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, is a lighthearted romance set at Christmastime. When Lily, a spunky nerd, leaves a red notebook filled with mysterious clues at the Strand in New York City, an unexpected relationship begins. Her notebook is found by Dash, a cynic who detests Christmas, and thus begins a montage of absurd dares as the red notebook is passed back and forth around New York City by the two teenagers and their strategically-placed relatives. Along the way, Dash and Lily come to believe they love each other, though they’ve never set eyes on each other before.

This book lacks a stable plot and character development. Lily’s character is unbearably obnoxious and immature, while Dash’s cynicism is over-the-top and irritating. Lily undergoes virtually no change through the duration of the book; however, Dash does open up and become slightly less self-absorbed. The authors’ excessive use of big, flowery language did not fit the characters. It seemed as though the authors believed this was necessary in order to portray Dash and Lily (mostly Dash) as intelligent and intellectual beyond their years, but I found it to be distracting and inappropriate for the context. The plot of this book was severely lacking. It was chaotic and disjointed, and never reached a strong climax. I was irritated with the unrealistic and completely bizarre parts, and disappointed when the ‘romance’ fell flat.

I understand that this book is meant to be fun and amusing, but it would have been much higher quality with likable characters and a coherent plot. I enjoyed the Christmas-y setting, but I believe the authors could’ve used New York City in a more impressive way for the dares. Only read this book if you’re in the mood for a fluffy, vapid story with no substance whatsoever. There are lots of Christmas romances out there, and I’m sure most are better than this one.

Reviewer's Name: Alexa
The Midnight Library
Haig, Matt
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Matt Haig's unique novel The Midnight Library ponders the infinite possibilities of life. It is about a young woman named Nora Seed, who lives a monotonous, ordinary life and feels unwanted and unaccomplished. One night, her despair reaches a peak and she commits suicide. But the story doesn't end there--Nora gets a chance to experience various ways her life could've unfolded had she made slightly different choices. She finds herself in a place called the Midnight Library, which exists between life and death and is filled with books in which lie endless parallel lives she might've lived; she is given the chance to undo her regrets by trying out these lives, starting right where her alternate self would've been on the night she ended her life. While in the Midnight Library, Nora lives hundreds of lives and becomes hundreds of different versions of herself--some she'd never even fathomed--but she is faced with a difficult decision. She must decide what she is willing to sacrifice in order to live permanently in one of these 'ideal' lives, where they seem perfect for a time but, as she realizes, there are really new sets of challenges awaiting. Nora's exploration of herself is captivating as she attempts to discern what is really important in life.

This novel is very well-written and thought-provoking. Nora's emotions are deeply portrayed, and I was captivated by the depth of Haig's storytelling. While the concept is simple, it drew me in as a reader and encompassed so many different emotional experiences that come with life. I spent much of The Midnight Library reflecting on my own life and the decisions I've made, as well as looking to the future and imagining the infinite possibilities--this is a sign of a talented author. While I appreciated the depth of this novel, sometimes it took on a repetitive, almost pedantic tone when an important idea was already clear but kept being elaborated on--this was common when life lessons came up. There were also attempts to make Nora's life-jumping seem scientifically possible, with reference to quantum physics, and I didn't think this was necessary, as the focus was on Nora's life and personal growth. Overall, I very much enjoyed The Midnight Library. The character development, setting, and plot are engaging, while also discussing important themes such as mental health.

I would recommend The Midnight Library to teens and adults alike. It's a short, worthwhile read that will get you thinking and have you on the edge of your seat. And it may just awaken you to how much unlocked potential you have!

Reviewer's Name: Alexa
Dear Evan Hansen
Emmich, Val
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I would recommend Dear Evan Hansen to any teen looking for an interesting book to read. The book was different from the usual book I used. It gave an insight into mental health issue that many teens struggle with today. The book was not predictable and had many surprising moments. I chose the book because it sounded familiar and I ended up making a good choice.

Reviewer's Name: Marvin
Focused
Gerber, Alyson
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Focused by Alyson Gerber is about a middle school student Clea who has a hard time concentrating, getting her homework, and following directions. She knows that she can’t say everything that comes into her head but can’t help herself. It’s becoming a huge problem in school, with her friends, and in the chess club. Will she be able to figure out her mind before she misses the big chess tournament? The author does a great job by illustrating the troubles of balancing schoolwork, friends, and extracurriculars of teenage life. Personally, I feel like I could connect with the characters in the novel and enjoyed the light outlooks on teenage years. All in all, this book was somewhat predictable and mainly focused on a middle school audience. Still, I found it to be an easy read and would give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Lucia S.
Crazy Rich Asians
Kwan, Kevin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Rachel Chu expects to be met with an average trip when her boyfriend Nick Young invites her to Singapore, but when she arrives she is met with Nick's childhood home that is beyond anything she could ever imagine. She has
unknowingly been dating one of Asia's most eligible bachelors. Rachel is eventually met by the crazy rich of Singapore and is forced to endure their strong criticisms, especially by Nick's judgmental mother Eleanor. Kwan exposes the vast riches and glamorous lives of the crazy rich of Singapore. Though the massive Young, T'sien, and Shang family tree can be confusing at times, it allows every reader to personally connect to at least one character and expresses and variety of personalities within this grand family. The novel will transport you to a world that is all too real. If you have seen and enjoyed the movie, I can guarantee that you will definitely be blown away by the book. The novel expands beyond the movie's humor and highly emotional scenes and drastically improves its impact.

Reviewer's Name: Jenna W.
They Both Die at the End
Silvera, Adam
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"They Both Die at The End" by Adam Silvera takes place in a world where people receive a call informing them of their death on the day they die. When strangers Matteo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio both receive this call, they stumble across each other and set off for one last great adventure. I really loved this book. Though you already know how it ends from reading the title, the book did not feel unnecessary at all. It reminded me of a sad dog movie in the sense that you know how it will end, but you still find yourself becoming attached to the characters and crying when the credits roll. I liked the characters and their relationships in the story, as well as how the story itself was told. The author’s writing style is captivating, and I definitely recommend it to those who like young adult novels. It’s definitely become one of my favorites.

Reviewer's Name: Cora
Awards:
Tweet Cute
Lord, Emma
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This rom-com style book while can be cheesy at times is over-all heartwarming and charming. Pepper always has something going on, from swim practice to running her Baking account online. When she meets a mystery boy on an anonymous website, they spark a connection; pepper cant wait to find out who this mystery person is. This adorable story, is heartwarming and very sweet. If you like a cute romance story, this book is definitely for you! Grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
The Heartbreakers
Novak, Ali
2 stars = Meh
Review:

This book, while a cute story was not for me. This book felt like it was a middle school fantasy instead of a story. The story is that Stella meets a famous rock star and soon enough their lives become entangled. It was good, but the story felt to un-realistic and cheesy. While this book wasn't my cup of tea it could be someone else's. If you like romance books or have ever wanted to date a rock-star this book is probably for you! Grade:8th

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
The Lies About Truth
Stevens, Courtney C.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is amazing, I have read it twice and I still just fall in love with the story. 5 teens in a traumatic car accident 4 walk away but are scarred for life. This book is all about healing and moving on from the past. Watching the characters face the trauma and make new connections is beautiful. It's hard to put down, because as the story goes on you find out more and more about the characters, the accident, and the story. If you want a book to get invested in, I would definitely recommend this book. grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
One of Us Is Lying
McManus, Karen M.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

One of us is lying is a captivating murder mystery, romance, thriller. 5 teens enter detention, but what happens when only 4 leave. As you read you find out more and more about the case. The 4 teens all have secrets
is murder one of them? This book is so enthralling, once you start it will be hard to put it down. With great characters and a very interesting story with tons of twists and turns. If you love solving mysteries or discovering the truth, this is totally the book for you! Grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
Dear Evan Hansen
Emmich, Val
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book, which is based on the musical by the same name is so
touching. It deals with very hard topics like social anxiety, depression,
mental illness, and suicide. This story follows Evan Hansen as he starts to
get caught up in a web of lies. While a very tough book emotionally, it is
also very touching and Evan is somebody that lots of people can relate to.
This book is the perfect combination of emotional, witty, heartbreaking, and
heartwarming all at the same time. So if you are looking for a great story,
realistic characters, and a beautiful message, this is the book for you! -
Grade:8th

Reviewer's Name: Rylie

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