Reviews of Teen Books

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:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Twain, Mark
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I really enjoyed reading Huckleberry Finn. I think that Mark Twain portrayed everything very well. The only part I did not like is how often Twain used the N-word for Slave. Overall great book!

Reviewer's Name: Naomi K.
Misery
King, Stephen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Stephen King is my favorite author, so of course I wanted to read this book! I remember seeing the movie and also really liking it. Misery is about an author who gets rescued from a car crash by his Number One Fan. Things quickly go south when his rescuer, Annie Wilkes, holds him captive in her house. This book is really suspenseful and you never know what is going to happen next. I would highly recommend this book, in my opinion it’s one of his best!

Reviewer's Name: Emani
Of Mice and Men
Steinbeck, John
2 stars = Meh
Review:

I read this book my Freshman year of high school for English class. I know that Steinbeck is a very famous author, but I just didn’t really care for this book. I thought the story, which is about two men looking for work during the Great Depression is rather boring. I cry while reading sad parts in books all the time, but for some reason the sad ending in Mice and Men just wasn’t as sad as people made it out to be. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book, I didn’t like the plot or Steinbeck’s writing style.

Reviewer's Name: Emani
Awards:
Big Little Lies
Moriarty, Liane
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Big Little Lies is about a group of parents who come to know each other when their kids all start kindergarten together and all their drama collides and ends with a death. I loved how this book kept me interested the whole time. Every chapter something new is thrown at the reader. All the characters were very well developed and everything came together very nicely. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good book that can keep you interested through the whole book just wanting to get to the end to know what happens.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
Beach Bags and Burglaries
Howell, Dorothy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Haley Randolph and her friends have just won a free trip to one of the most high-end resorts in the California area. However, the minute they arrive on shore, things start taking a turn for the worse. One of the resort staff's bodies were found at the bottom of a cliff, and Haley suspects that foul play was afoot. Thus, she winds up plunged into solving yet another murder case, all while looking for her best friend's stolen underwear (I'm not kidding) and the latest and hottest beach bag: the Sea Vixen.

Overall, I think this novel was very well done. The mystery flows as smooth as Mondo Butter, the side plots are entertaining, the characters are great, and the writing itself left me unable to put it down. However, this book is not for everyone, as its girly tone and bag search side plot won't appeal to guys all that well. The mystery can also be a bit hard to follow at times, and it starts out really slow, although it does pick up the pace after the first few chapters. Overall, I recommend this to any girl who likes a good cozy.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi
We Told Six Lies
Scott, Victoria
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

We Told Six Lies is about a girl who is kidnapped and her boyfriend is the lead suspect. The whole book is not as it seems though. The whole story is quite disturbing and only gets worse as the book goes on. While the book is really well written and all pieces come together very well, the storyline is not my favorite. It was a book that I was not able to put down until I had found out what had happened and was not disappointed by the ending. Overall I would recommend this book for a more mature teen reader because of how disturbing it is.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
Killer Cruise
Levine, Laura
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Jaine Austen is looking forward to a relaxing Mexican cruise, but things go south when her cat Prozac hitches a ride in and is caught by one of the staff, who blackmails her into editing and typing a huge and unreadable story in just a few days, as well as denying her any luxury. On top of that, one of her only allies has been accused of murdering her unfaithful boyfriend and is being detained below the deck. Determined to save her friend and clear her name, Jaine dives into her most dangerous case yet, all with a furry castaway locked in her room.

I cannot stress how much I love every part of the Jaine Austen mystery series, and this book is no exception. I felt like everything in this novel is done to perfection, even one detail I'm usually critical of. While it still has the problem of its finale being just like every other entry in the series, this book actually does what I didn't expect: make that unpredictable to the reader. I'm confident in saying that Killer Cruise is the Jaine Austen mystery series at its best.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi
The Thirteenth Tale
Setterfield, Diane
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Thirteenth Tale is a story of a woman telling a mysterious story about her childhood and her origins.It starts off with Margeret Lea, the main character, helping her father in his bookstore, and receiving a letter from a famous writer. I enjoy rereading this book because of how much mystery and confusion there is surrounding the core story, a book about twins. This is high on my list for recommendations because of how ensnaring it is to read.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Awards:
The Boy Crisis
Farrell, Warren & Gray, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This is a controversial book. Designed as a critique to modern day feminism, Farrell and Gray draw on decades of joint research and experience to debunk the patriarchy and discuss the way that our society is neglecting the needs of young boys and men. They argue that feminism has led to a crisis of education, mental health, and sexuality for boys and men whose needs are not being met.

As a feminist myself, I had a lot of reservations about reading this. I originally checked it out as part of ongoing research for an article I'm writing on cultural standards around masculinity and femininity in the US, but I disagreed with almost everything it stood for. However, I was stunned by how thoughtful and well researched this book is. Instead of being an attempt by privileged men to degrade women or advocate a traditional "women should be in the kitchen" philosophy, this book draws on decades worth of cutting-edge statistics to draw attention to the ways that a gendered society hurts everyone. It explained bias against men in the family court and criminal justice system, and questions the lack of conversation around male victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. These were all things that I had never even thought about or realized were a problem.

If you're anything like me, this is a book that will make you uncomfortable. It will challenge your preconceptions and force you to reconsider entire worldviews you've built your beliefs upon. The book is more than likely to hit the wall at least once before you're finished reading it. However, it will also deeply affect you. I came out of this book with a much more nuanced and well-rounded picture of what gender means in this world. I didn't agree with everything, and I'm still a feminist through and through, but I now realize that feminism is for men too. Gender equality is so much more complicated than what first meets the eye.

This book a must-read for anyone who's interested in gender politics. My biggest criticism (and the reason I didn't give it five stars) was that it often went off topic, particularly in the mental health section, and often discussed homeopathic remedies to ADHD and other things that felt irrelevant and detracted from the main message of the story.

Reviewer's Name: Mercy
Ready Player One
Cline, Ernest
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I was given Ready Player One for my birthday. I would suggest this book to readers interested in science fiction and immersive video games. The author writes with surprising detail, going through Wade's thought process and adding twist and turns at each chapter. The author makes semi-relatable characters, fighting to win the ultimate prize. The entire book speaks of the time, heart, and soul the author spent writing a fabulous book.

Reviewer's Name: Samuel
Ready Player Two
Cline, Ernest
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I received Ready Player Two as a gift. I would suggest this book to anyone who enjoyed the first book. Although this book is not as good as the first one, I enjoyed it immensely. Wade hunts down shards for a new Easter egg in the oasis. Wade's compelling character meets new people and gains a completely new quest. Ernest leads you on a journey you don't want to end.

Reviewer's Name: Samuel
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Rowling, J.K.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

5 stars(A magical book)
Welcome to a magical world, filled with witchcraft, wizardry, dark magic, and wonder. This book starts off with Harry Potter, a boy close to the age of 11, being bullied by his only family about how strange he is. It follows him as he enters a mysterious school, learning more about why he is so strange. I enjoy this book because of the many different aspects of mystery there are. I would recommend this book to any person looking for a magical read.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science
Wheelan, Charles
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Naked Economics by Charles Wheelan is an immersive and amazingly simple look at global economics. The explanations and simple and number-free and the examples Wheelan uses give life to the subject which is considered torture buy adults and children alike. The book was required reading for an AP Economics class I took, and it brought the field to life, showing the massive effect of market forces and changes in exports and inflation and much more. It is an amazing introduction to the concepts of economics without the statistics. Anyone who is interested in how economics works or what is really going on when you listen to the federal reserve chair should read this book.

Reviewer's Name: Harrison
Genres:
Lord of the Flies
Golding, William
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I think the Lord of the Flies was a good book with an interesting storyline. Some of the events in the book took me by surprise. But, some of the book was too predictable for my liking. The characters all had their own stories, emotions, and feelings. It was interesting to see how they interacted with each other and how their relationships played out. The story also had a lot of themes and it was intriguing to see the morals and how they connected to the plot.

Reviewer's Name: Valeska Y.
Genres:
Geekerella
Poston, Ashley
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Your classic Cinderella story, but with a geeky twist. Geekerella takes us on the story of Elle Whittimore and Darien Freeman. They are two teenagers in love with an old TV show, and they fall in love with each other over a series of text messages. A take on the classic story Cinderella, we get to sit back and watch as all of the fandom-filled fun plays out between the two characters, who only know each other over text, and mostly hate each other in real life. Darien Freeman is taking over the role of Prince Carmindor, from the TV series that both of the characters love, for the movie adaptation, and Elle runs a scathing blog that is starting to make Darien's life much harder than it needs to be. As both of the characters face many different challenges in their separate lives, everything leads up to ExcelsiCon, a con started by Elle's late father, and a con where the two both happen to be in the same place at the same time. I chose this book because I am a long time lover of the Cinderella story, a story that is classic and I have seen played out on the screen many times. That is what originally drew me to the book. But as I started reading the book I was immediately enraptured in the world that Ashley Poston has created. Starfield, although it may not be a real television show and was just created for the sake of the novel, is a show that I would be happy to watch. I think it is safe to say that if it ever did become a show, it would stand beside science fiction classics such as Star Wars and Star Trek. The tale of the two characters, Elle and Darien, while it is a fun and lighthearted story to read, is also filled with grief and loss and love. Both of the characters are dealing with their own drama, and while I may not personally understand the drama that Darien as a celebrity is dealing with (a manager he doesn't like, a somebody sneaking onto set and leaking pictures of him), I do know about the drama that Elle has to go through: drama with friends and drama with school. The story had me reading late into the night, anxiously awaiting to see what would happen next. Geekerella takes on the themes of loss and grief, as Elle is dealing with the loss of her father and mother. We see Elle deal with this grief in many different ways, and she is also forced to deal with her terrible stepmother and stepsisters on a day-to-day basis. Darien is coping with loss as well, but not in the typical sense, and not like Elle. He is dealing with the loss of himself, because we see him dealing with who he used to be before he was famous, and get a sense of grief about who he is now that he is famous. If you love the Cinderella story, and geeky and nerdy TV shows, Geekerella is the book for you.

Reviewer's Name: Birdie
Cover of The Federalist Papers
Hamilton, Alexander; Madison, James; and Jay, John
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Federalist Papers are one of the most fundamental documents in US history. It is not only an explanation of the functions of the Constitution, but it is a gateway into the minds and personalities of the founding fathers John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. I learned more about the Constitution than I ever thought possible. I learned the amazing complexities that were built into the most important document in the United States and the intended purposes of the three branches of government, as well as the arguments for increased federal power in governments. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about the foundations of American government and the minds of its founders.

Reviewer's Name: Harrison B.
Genres:
Christine book cover
King, Stephen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I love Stephen King and cars, so when I found out there was a book by Stephen King about a car, I had to read it. The book “Christine” by Stephen King is about a couple of 17-year-olds and a '58 Plymouth Fury named Christine. When I first heard about this book, I thought it would just be about a car that went around and just killed people. However, it's more than that. I mean, yes, people do get run over by Christine, but there’s also ghosts and people getting possessed. Also, there’s a really cool car chase between the Fury and a Camaro, which I thought was awesome. Overall, I would highly recommend this book, and it’s a lot better than the movie plot-wise.

Reviewer's Name: Emani K.
Awards:
Varjak Paw book cover
Said, S. F.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

4 stars (little young for me).

Varjak Paw is a fantasy written from the point of view of a cat. This book caught my attention because it was about a cat descended from a family of ‘special’ cats, who has passed down mysterious knowledge, dubbed ‘The Way’. It starts off in a household full of cats with an absent owner, possibly sick, possibly dead. Varjak Paw is the runt of the family, a cat who itches to discover what's on the other side of the wall. I enjoy rereading this book because of how well written the storyline is. The different pieces fit together perfectly in a puzzle.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan W.
Awards:

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