Reviews of Teen Books

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
Middlewest, Book One
Young, Skottie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

After Abel's mother left, he was forced to live alone with his toxic father. One night during a fight with his dad, Abel discovers that his father's anger issues correlate to a destructive power that he might have just inherited, so he runs away with his talking fox. The novel follows him as he travels through a dystopian land and meets many people, friends and foes, along the way. Although the story is fantastical, it explores very adult themes; Middlewest offers a raw coming of age story while diving into challenging family relations, as Abel attempts to find his own identity. This series addresses difficult problems that many people face through the lens of a magical world. Each aspect of the story is wonderfully done and cannot receive enough praise; the novel expertly tackles difficult human problems and inner turmoil. The art by Corona is also captivating and a fantastic visual of what Abel feels throughout the story. This graphic novel and the entire Middlewest series is genius and executed beautifully and should be at the top of everyone's must-read list. Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Julia
Awards:
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
Permanent Record
Snowden, Edward
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Permanent Record is the memoir of Edward Snowden life. Snowden was the man who exposed and leaked how the US government used mass surveillance on enemies but also US citizens. Snowden knew so much of this system as he
was a former employee of the CIA. I choose this book because it's nonfiction and about an important event that happened recently. I also chose Permeant Record because I love reading about politics and government. This book
definitely surprised me because of Snowden's reasoning and motivation of why he did what he did. I liked Permanent Record because the readers get a first person perspective of the events that unfolded. Although I liked the book, I
disliked how Snowden's actions endangered the lives of several American spies, and other government officials.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth S.
A Darker Shade of Magic
Schwab, V.E.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

A Darker Shade of Magic introduces the concept of four separate Londons from different worlds. Grey London: grim and without magic, Red London: vibrant, fantastical and full of magic, White London: losing its magic from an ongoing war and numerous power shifts, and Black London: a mystery that was closed off after a mysterious accident. The main character, Kell, is one of two people who are able to travel between the Londons through the use of a type of blood magic. He is the official messenger for Red London and brings messages to the kings of the different cites; however, unofficially he is a smuggler who sells objects from other worlds. He runs into a thief in Grey London after coming into possession of an artifact from Black London, and they must navigate its power and defeat the people that want to abuse it. Schwab's world building and magic systems are incredibly compelling and the concept as a whole sets up a fantastic series. However, the book overall was quite a let down as the story itself was quite overdone, which would not have been much of a problem if the characters were written well. In some parts of the book it become difficult to like the two main characters, which was disappointing because they had all the elements to be great. All of these faults were not the downfall of the book, and Schwab could have potentially gotten away with them; the main flaw was the pacing. At times the pacing was slow and uneventful, making it difficult to want to read the book. A Darker Shade of Magic had the potential to become an amazing fantasy novel because of its ingenuity, but its execution was lackluster.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Julia
Awards:
Clutches and Curses
Howell, Dorothy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Haley Randolph has been cursed by a customer at her job, and soon after, everything starts going south. This leads her to transfer to her job's newest location in Las Vegas to try and get some relief, only to find the body of her high school nemesis in the store and become the prime suspect in their murder. With two detectives breathing down her neck, a hotel with a shady owner, and the hot handbag of the season in her sight, Haley must put her detective outfit on and find the culprit before she's as dead as Holt's Department Store's fashion line.

Overall, a very well-written novel with great build-up, lovable characters, a truly demented antagonist, and plenty of coffee to keep it going (Best drink on the planet. Fight me!). It's not without its flaws, as the writing is a bit sloppy in the beginning and they made the eventual culprit a bit too sus for it to be too big of a surprise. It also isn't for everyone, especially not guys, with its girly atmosphere and side plots, but it's still a good fashion-themed mystery I highly recommend you check out.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi S.
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
I Hate Fairyland, Volume 1: Madly Ever After
Young, Skottie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I Hate Fairyland explores the concept of a young girl, Gertrude, falling into a fantastical world and taking on the quest of finding a key that would allow her to leave. After 27 years she has yet to complete her mission and is still stuck in her 8 year old body. She makes her way through Fairyland killing anything that offers her any semblance of inconvenience; after spending years trying to get back to her home, she has gone crazy, to say the least, and developed a murderous attitude. Young creates a blaring contrast between the excessive gore and violence and the fluffy backdrop of Fairyland. Young's writing and art is amazing as always, and I Hate Fairyland offers an interesting story backed by great visuals and lettering. The story explores a spin on the original Wizard of Oz type story, and any reader would have a fun time reading this humorously dark series. Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Julia
Kon-Tiki
Heyerdahl, Thor
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Kon-Tiki is a novel about a group of men who sail across the ocean on a polynesian raft with the bare necessities for life. Using barely any modern resources, like a GPS or Emergency SOS, they set sail in the early 1950’s. They wanted to prove that it is possible to sail to polynesia in a raft. The beginning was a little rough for me, as it was about the preparation, the, and the support behind the project. I disliked them going into so much detail about the raft they were trying to copy. They were trying to copy the exact rope, the exact bamboo, the exact position of launch, and the exact shape. If you are a story lover like me, it starts out rough, but it turns into a fabulous journey towards the middle. I enjoyed this book because of the sense of adventure and the sense of
exploration. It describes the adventure of meeting the Whale Shark with a passionate sense of adventure, describing the people on board being panicked at first, then treating it as a kind of puppy. This is a favorite of mine, due to the fact that the adventure was both interesting and thrilling. I recommend this book to anyone that is looking for an adventure on the sea.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Paper Girls, Volume 1
Vaughan, Brian K.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The first volume of Paper Girls introduces the four main characters, middle school girls in the 80s that deliver newspapers. The story begins with Erin, the new paper girl, and follows her as she meets the other three girls. After finding a mysterious capsule, they discover that the world seems to be ending when the sky changes and monsters appear in the sky. They cannot find any other person from their small town and eventually discover that many of the town's citizens simply vanished. The graphic novel follows the girls as they navigate this doomsday situation and their discourse over who they should trust. It begins in the 80s offering middle school characters reminiscent of many movies from the 80s, while setting up a mystery and the supernatural backdrop the rest of the story sets out to explore. Vaughan indicates that something large or even sinister might be behind the previous events, creating a compelling and unique mystery. Along with the incredible storytelling, the art in the novel is phenomenal, but the coloring really makes the book standout and is immensely pleasing to look at. Paper Girls is definitely one of my all time favorite series, and the first volume introduces the unique world of Paper Girls and its characters incredibly well. Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Julia
Between the Sea and Sky
Dolamore, Jaclyn
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Esmerine has just been proclaimed a siren, the highest honor a mermaid can have. She's excited to be a siren alongside her sister Dosia, but when she goes missing, Esmerine is sent out to find her. Along the way, she meets up with a childhood friend of hers named Alander after years of being apart, and in the search for Dosia, they rekindle their friendship and possibly even more.

Overall, this story was okay. It did a great job with visual imagery and making intriguing and three-dimensional characters. However, the story itself could have gone through a few rewrites. The plot itself is almost obnoxiously cliche for a teen novel, the transitions between scenes and locations are sloppy and out of nowhere and the finale is very dissatisfying and anti-climactic. It's a book which plot gets on my nerves! However, at the same time, I couldn't stop reading because of pretty much everything else.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi S.
The Mighty Thor, Volume 1: Thunder in Her Veins
Aaron, Jason
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Mighty Thor Thunder in her Veins offers a wonderful introduction to Thor's self-titled series. The graphic novel follows Jane Foster as the all-new Thor as she battles cancer and every war in the ten realms. The novel provides a wonderful introduction to her character without succumbing to the cliché of retelling her origin story in the first issue; it successfully portrays her character to the audience while seemingly dropping them in the middle of her story. Although the story is not unique, it purposefully follows a version of a classic Thor story while being very self-aware of the connections and explicitly stating them in some instances. However, the story is now told from the point of view of Jane Foster as Thor, offering a refreshing take on the original story. The novel's magical art style and deliberate writing make it an incredible contribution to the world of Thor, and it leaves the reader invested in her compelling story. Reviewer grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Julia
They All Fall Down
Cohen, Tammy
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

They All Fall Down is a psychological thriller about a woman named Hannah, who lives in a psychiatric ward due to something shocking she did in her seemingly normal life. After two patients from the ward die, Hannah is convinced there is a murderer but no one else believes her. Her mother Corinne helps Hannah from the outside, and proves that the psychiatric ward isn't as innocent as it seemed to be. The novel included many twists and turns which kept me engaged through it all. However, there was more than one time when I felt lost and didn't understand what was happening. As I read along, I could eventually predict what the ending was going to be like, and I was accurate. While the ending didn't have the greatest "wow factor", itstill surprised me. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about what goes through different people's lives after facing the loss of someone close to you.

Reviewer's Name: Prarthana
Ghost Story
Butcher, Jim
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

After Dresden becomes a ghost, he goes back to Chicago to help his friends. Dresden struggles to acclimate to being a ghost and being unable to directly help his friends. Although this book starts off slowly, it quickly picks up
to a climactic end. This book adds new depth to the supernatural world Jim Butcher has created and continues to tie past character into the story. This book adds a refreshing change to the series by mixing up the style of storytelling through Dresden's more passive role in the story. Although Butcher's style of adding a ticking time clock to every story feels quite repetitive, this book was still entertaining to read.

Reviewer's Name: Mark
Plague
Grant, Michael
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

In the fourth book in the Gone series, Plague, Michael Grant spins an amazing tale of fear and danger as the Darkness once again threatens Perdido Beach and those still alive must do anything in their power to stop it. The horrors of Lies are gone but, the children’s newfound solidarity is challenged when they are threatened by a plague and carnivorous insects that challenge even the most powerful of the mutants. These blights leave no one unscathed and the reader is again immersed in a frightening and chaotic world where nothing is certain. Plague is guaranteed to satisfy science fiction readers and anyone who enjoyed the first three books is guaranteed to love this one.

Reviewer's Name: Harrison
Lies
Grant, Michael
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Lies, the third book in the Gone series by Michael Grant is another riveting story. Filled with mystery, intrigue, and Drake, the tentacle-wielding psychopath who is back for vengeance. The anti-mutant sentiment has grown, and full-scale violence is not far behind. Now only the wits of Sam, Astrid and their loyal friends can keep the children in the FAYZ alive and unharmed. But this will be no easy feat, lies spread by those who claim to be prophets have filled the ears of many and the zealots are capable of anything and they threat they pose is greater than all others. Lies is an amazing combination of the best parts of the first and second books in the series and puts a sense of dread in the reader as if they were living through the terror of the FAYZ. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first two books, this novel follows the same great storytelling style.

Reviewer's Name: Harrison
Hunger
Grant, Michael
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

In Hunger, the second volume of Michael Grant’s Gone series, the bleakness of the FAYZ sets in as anti-mutant sentiment rises and conflict seems inevitable. Hunger runs rampant through Perdido Beach and famine is not far away. However, these problems fade into the background when an evil voice begins to speak to some of the children, trying to persuade them to do various tasks. This novel does not sugarcoat the difficulties of survival and the resulting story is a supernatural version of Lord of the Flies which snares the reader in an amazingly complex and mysterious universe. I found myself imagining that I was a character in the events and could picture many of the fantastical elements of the story with great detail, as if I had seen them firsthand. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the first novel in the series, Gone, and who enjoys survival novels like Hatchet.

Reviewer's Name: Harrison
Gone
Grant, Michael
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The Sci-fi novel Gone by Michael Grant is an amazing story of ingenuity and intrigue wrapped up into a young adult novel that combines the best elements of classic fantasy and science fiction. It follows the children in Perdido Beach California when everyone over the age of 15 vanishes and those that remain are trapped inside an opaque dome that surrounds the town. To make matters worse, some of the children start to develop superpowers and not everyone gets along. The children must work together to survive what is coming next… and they are definitely not ready for it. Gone is the perfect book for anyone who enjoys science fiction and who enjoys survival stories like Hatchet.

Reviewer's Name: Harrison
Awards:
Romeo and Juliet
Shakespeare, William
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This Shakespeare classic tells the story of two star crossed lovers. While the story is well known, the play script is still rewarding to read. While the writing style can take a bit of time to become accustomed to, the thoughtfulness of the dialogue can be appreciated much better than while watching the play. While the ending of the book is somewhat spoiled in the prologue, the story telling is almost more important than the story. The writing is filled with word play and jokes in addition to the famous lines of eloquent iambic pentameter. Sometimes a translation is needed to fully understand what Shakespeare means in certain lines, but this book will leave readers with a new appreciation for poetry and writing.

Reviewer's Name: Mark

Pages