Review Crew - book reviews by teens, for teens

Book Review: The Future of Us
Asher, Jay & Mackler, Caroline
2 stars = Meh
Review:

The Future of Us follows Josh and Emma, two teens in the year 1996, who log in to Emma's computer, and are automatically logged in to an unfamiliar site called Facebook. Throughout the story, they work to alter their future, seeing it change every time they login to Facebook. At first, they are estranged friends, but we see them grow closer the more they encounter. This book, while it has an interesting premise, was not particularly fun to read. It was not particularly immersive, and the events just seemed to happen, not really dragging the reader into the story the way I prefer. Recommended for ages 12+

Reviewer's Name: Settare R
Loserthink: How untrained brains are ruining the world
Adams, Scott
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Loserthink is a fascinating book that anyone can learn something from. Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert comics, has written several books that deal with a variety of topics such as the art of persuasion. In Loserthink, Adams talks about the ability to think critically to avoid "mental prisons" and ineffective ways of thinking he calls loserthink. Adams says that avoiding loserthink allows us to win arguments and speak more intelligently on complicated topics. I found Loserthink to be the perfect blend of humor and real-life application as well as very useful. While I don't agree with everything Adams says, he offers a balanced perspective of many political views and he gave several mechanisms that I wish to apply to my thinking. Overall, I enjoyed Loserthink and recommend it to any reader that wishes to be improve their intellectual prowess.

Reviewer's Name: John B.
Book Cover
Pratchett, Terry & Gaiman, Neil
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book contains a captivating world in which angels and demons exist, and there are two in particular we follow who roam the Earth. Their goal: to stop the apocalypse. Their respective sides endeavor for the apocalypse to occur, but the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley have grown very fond of Earth.
The story follows several humans as well, including the Witchfinder Newton Pulsifer, the witch Anathema Device, and the Them. It also follows the story of the Antichrist, and the four horsemen. It is an absolutely spellbinding read.

Reviewer's Name: Settare R
Book Review: Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Semple, Maria
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Written creatively through letters, emails, and memos to and from characters, Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is the story of a woman struggling with her past. Bernadette Fox is a former architect whose claim to fame was also her downfall. Now vanished from the architecture world, she lives in Seattle with her successful husband and tenacious daughter, Bee, and does all she can to avoid social interaction. While Bernadette is preparing for the family trip to Antarctica that Bee has been anxiously awaiting, a confrontation with another parent sends her spiraling out of control, resulting in Bernadette’s sudden disappearance. This book explores the difficulties of mental illness and how our actions affect one another, told through many different perspectives. Bernadette’s opinionated personality will have readers laughing, and her insights are truly relatable. A rollercoaster ride of emotions, this novel is beautifully and creatively written to portray a woman’s imperfections and a daughter’s determination to find her mother. Teen and adult readers alike will connect with Semple’s characters and appreciate her sense of humor in Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

Reviewer's Name: Alexa H.
Book Cover
Weir, Andy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

After a NASA crew member is left behind on planet Mars, he has a huge to-do list. First, come in contact with NASA to prove he is alive, don't starve, don't die, then make it home alive. I'm not a huge fan of any science fiction type book, however, this was indeed an exception. I loved the perspectives the author chose to include, and the humor he shot into his characters gives the story personality. I suggest this book to an eighth grade audience; there is some inappropriate language and all of the science attributes are complex to understand. I strongly suggest to you this book if you want to be left on the edge of your seat with every new chapter, right up until the end.

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

Clarity, by author Kim Harrington, is a gripping mystery novel about a sixteen-year-old young woman named Clarity, or "Clary". A normal teenager on the outside, Clarity possesses a talent for seeing the stories in objects: merely touch one and she sees visions related to the owner and what circumstances the object has been in. When a murder occurs in the small seaside town in which Clary lives, she teams up with the police and must dig deep into her own talents and the town's secrets in order to solve the mystery.

I enjoyed this book. While the writing is more of a middle-school level, the themes are for older teenagers. Thus, I would recommend this book to any reader over sixteen. The book is not overly long, and I finished it in under a day.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca D.
Awards:
Book Cover
Grant, Michael
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Michael Grant has written a thrilling conclusion to his Gone series. Light is the perfect ending to a phenomenal series. Over the past five books, Sam, Astrid, Edilio, and all the others have survived every obstacle the FAYZ has thrown at them. However, will they be able to survive a final epic battle with the Gaiaphage itself? With suspense around every corner, Light brings the same energy and intensity found in all of the other Gone books. I thoroughly enjoyed Light and highly recommend it to any high school aged reader.

Reviewer's Name: John B.
Book Cover
Grant, Michael
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Michael Grant continues the Gone series with another spectacular novel. The kids of Perdido Beach have survived many obstacles thrown at them by the FAYZ, but now they must face their biggest fear yet: complete darkness. Will these kids be able to survive when they can't see what's coming for them? Fear is another hit by Grant. With twists and turns around every corner, Fear is a suspense thriller you won't be able to put down.

Reviewer's Name: John B.
Book Cover
Mull, Brandon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Kendra and Seth are rushed back to Fablehaven, their grandparent's preserve for mythical creatures for another adventure. The Society of the Evening Star is on the move trying to collect the artifacts. The Sorenson's call in three allies but are they really on their side? Will they be able to stop the society before the artifacts are gone? As the second book in the Fablehaven series this one is even better then the first. There is tons of action and many new characters. You won't be able to put this book down!

Reviewer's Name: McKenna B
Genres:
Book Cover
Mull, Brandon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Fablehaven is a book about siblings, Kendra and Seth. Their parents send them to their grandparents house where they find out it's actually a magic preserve for mythical creatures. When Seth's mischief gets out of hand will they be able to save the preserve, and the world? Fablehaven is my favorite book series and I know you will enjoy it too. Once you read the first book you won't be able to stop until you've finished the series. As a teen I was able to relate to the characters and I just couldn't stop reading!

Reviewer's Name: McKenna B
Awards:
Genres:
The Martian book jacket
Weir, Andy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

As a crew of astronauts leave from Mars, Mark Watney, an astronaut is left behind as he was presumed dead. Watney is forced to survive on Mars with the limited resources and supplies that he has with him. As he is doing so, NASA on Earth are diligently working to bring him home for a rescue mission.

The Martian is a fictional story that interests those who are interested in either science and/or action. Bringing both of these together, it illustrates a stressful novel that will keep the reader on.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Nam T
1984
Orwell, George
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

1984 introduces Winston Smith as the primary character. Smith is a middle-aged man that lives within a dystopian society in April of 1984. Being nearly 4 decades after World War II and just a couple of years after the apparent Atomic Wars, Smith lives through the totalitarian state of Oceania, where is activity is consistently surveyed. At this point, Smith attempts to relocate himself from this totalitarian state in order to put him back to normal behavior.

1984 is another novel involving a dystopia, however, it stands out for its strong character development. The premise of the story is heavily shown through the setting, as it demonstrates a controlled and tyrannical lifestyle.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Nam T
Awards:
The Things They Carried book jacket
O'Brien, Tim
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Things They Carried follows through the perspective of a soldier within the 23rd Infantry Division. Enlisted during the Vietnam War, the book covers over the soldier's, as well as the platoons experiences throughout. The Things They Carried is a collection of stories that correlate to one another, bringing an ultimate immersion to those that are interested of any war, or historical context.

The Things They Carried is a book that has a deeper insight within the emotional, mental, and physical state of the soldiers that went through the Vietnam War. Having a darker and more serious tone than other novels, it is one that stands out and deserves recognition.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Nam T
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Rowling, J.K.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the last book of the series that follows the adventures of Harry Potter. As Harry and his crew have evidently aged to a more mature level of both wisdom and wizardry, they have no choice but to face Voldemort. Harry, alongside his two best friends, Ron and Hermione begin to destroy Voldemort's army piece by piece. As Voldemort takes control of the Wizardry world, Harry prepares for the ultimate showdown.

The Deathly Hallows is an extremely enticing story that brings an end to the Harry Potter series. Renowned for its fantasy and lore, the Deathly Hallows collectively groups it all into one story for an action-pact and romantic story.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Nam T
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince book jacket
Rowling, J.K.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the 5th book of the Harry Potter series. In this, it embarks upon the adventure of Harry Potter, switching in between the Muggle and Wizard worlds to combat the upcoming villain, Voldemort. As safety is becoming more of a concern, Potter must find a way to combat this new danger that lurks around his home.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is one of the better books of the series, as Harry and the rest of the characters have had an in-depth insight of their character. Now, it can focus upon the story, interesting those who are involved with action-pact novels.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Nam T
365 Days of Wonder
Palacio, R.J.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

After reading the critically-acclaimed book WONDER by R.J. Palacio, a family member bought me this book for Christmas. It technically has no plot but instead gives you a positive quote for every day of the year. Each quote and the book included is displayed creatively and colorfully to really amp you up all day every day. This book is called "Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts"
so, at the end of each month, there is a short story told by Mr. Browne teaching the audience lessons. I would recommend this book to any age group, if you're into life-lessons and positive quotes, then surely you should barrow this book (or buy it for year-round use). Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Jaime P
Bomb book jacket
Shienken, Steve
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is perfect for young history enthusiasts, around the age of middle school. It's all about how the world's deadliest weapon was created, researched, spied on, and used. Explaining the race and allies of America to win the Cold War and beat Russia and Japan in creating the very first atomic bomb, this real-life story includes many famous scientists and new scientific discoveries. If you love action, science, and history, then I promise you'll love this book. It is super unpredictable and has a pretty sad ending when one of the countries wins. But who wins? Guess you're going to have to read to find out. Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Jaime P
Inkspell book jacket
Funke, Cornelia
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Inkspell, the second book in the Inkheart trilogy is perfect for you if you enjoyed the first novel. Although it seems quite repetitive to be read immediately after enjoying Inkheart, new characters are still involved, thus leading to new plot twists. The antagonist in Inkheart to Inkspell has changed, again and again with every new task deemed "impossible." To me, it was a little predictable and things went slowly... until the end. In this book, the main character, Meggie, is now a 13-year-old girl who experiences many new things: love, loneliness, and a deeper meaning to sorrow. The vocabulary outlined in this book is also perfect for readers 12-15 and the plot is very dramatic if I may say so myself.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime P
Genres:
Inkheart book jacket
Funke, Cornelia
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book Inkheart, written by Cornelia Funke is a timeless novel filled with magic, fictional characters, and supernatural powers perceived in a way that never before was. At the library, I was looking for a book, fantasy or fiction in particular, and stumbled upon something at the time I didn't know was going to be as good as it was. In the most poignant parts, I was left in tears, and in the most hilarious, well, I was also left in tears.
The main character features a mature 12-year-old girl, which many of the readers, is quite relatable, even to others a few older. There were many climaxes to this story, leaving an unpredicted outcome with each new page; so why would I rate it a 5? Read it for yourself!

Reviewer's Name: Jaime P
Genres:
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix book jacket
Rowling, J.K.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix introduces Harry Potter as he progresses to his fifth year at Hogwarts. Harry has fought against a diverse group of enemies that he has founded throughout. Now, Harry Potter faces one of the greatest enemies to have roamed Hogwarts. Afraid of the upcoming attacks and horrors that would surround Hogwarts, Potter prepares a group of students to fight against and safeguard Hogwarts.

The Order of Phoenix introduces as a change of tide regarding to conflict.
This book begins to set the premise for the final books of the series to come, which makes the Order of Phoenix to be a crucial story for the series.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Nam T

Pages