Review Crew - book reviews by teens, for teens

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Doyle, Arthur Conan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson have captivated audiences for generations. This collection of twelve short stories is fantastic. From stolen jewels to mysterious circumstances and brilliant crimes, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes has it all. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is full of mesmerizing deductions and wonderful short adventures. I highly recommend this collection of short stories for every Sherlock Holmes fan and anyone searching for great mystery novels or short stories.

Reviewer's Name: John
Ayesha at Last
Jalaluddin, Uzma
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Definitely an amazing book. It puts such a difficult topic into beautiful words that pull at the strings of the readers heart. The way the main characters conflicting situation throughout the story unfolds is very surprising. The author places the reader in the main characters shoes and makes it feel as if it is the reader who is going through it. I wish there was a second book that really grasps the life after.
Reviewer Grade: 11th

Reviewer's Name: Anna
African American Firsts: Famous Little-Known and Unsung Triumphs of Blacks in America
Potter, Joan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a reference book. In this book of American history you will learn a lot of history that you will not learn in primary, secondary school or even higher education unless you have some kind of major or minor in African American studies. This is a book about the first African American who has done a certain thing. Maybe the most notable is the first African American president is Barrack Obama. Or perhaps you didn’t know the first African American lawyer was Macon Bolling Allen. This book spans across a wide range of career fields and subjects. For Instance the first African American West Point grad was Henry Ossian Flipper. Or the first person to reach the north pole was a black man named Matthew Henson. This should be one of many required reference books.

Reviewer's Name: Rayn
Genres:
When We Were Lost
Wignall, Kevin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is about a field trip to Costa Rica by some students from the US. The plane crashes and all the adults and most of the students die. The group of students who survive, have to deal with some of the same high school issues, cliques, bullying, not fitting in, not being pretty enough, not being athletic enough and so on. In addition to having to deal with those seemingly important issues they now have to deal with the issue of survival. This is not Lord Of The Flies but it will remind you of that book.

Reviewer's Name: Rayn
12 Angry Men: True Stories of Being a Black Man in America Today
Parks, Gregory and Hughey, Matthew
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is a sort of response to a screenplay written in 1954. The screenplay, 12 Angry Men, is about 12 jurors who have to decide the fate of a young man of color. If found guilty the boy would be sentenced to death. It becomes clear that the majority of the jurors are influenced more by their prejudices than the facts of the case. 12 Angry Men: True Stories of Being a Black Man in America Today is from the viewpoint of the defendant of color. However, these 12 black men have not been charged with any crime. Nevertheless they have been prejudged and not favorably in different situations. This is not a book of fiction. These are real men telling their stories.

Reviewer's Name: Rayn
Children of Blood and Bone
Adeyemi, Tomi
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Zelie lives in Orisha, a place where magic used to live in abundance, until one night the king kills all the magi (the people who can control the magic), except for the children magi who have never used magic before. Zelie now finds herself trying to help a rogue princess get away, but that quickly turns to bringing magic back. With the help of her brother, the princess, and many others, Zelie now has a chance to bring magic back. I thought that the plot was very interesting and suspenseful. I did feel as if there were places in the book that could have been left out or shortened because there is a lot of detail that can become confusing. The book is the first part in a series, and the author did leave the book on a sort of cliffhanger making me want to read more. Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Emma
Genres:
Things Fall Apart
Achebe, Chinua
2 stars = Meh
Review:

“Things Fall Apart” follows Okonkwo as he becomes a very successful man with many yams, several wives, and political power in Umuofia. The whole first part of the book focuses on his characterizing Okonkwo and showing what tribal culture was like. The author uses subtle references to Europeans to set up the main conflict of the book, European culture. Before the Europeans reach Umofia, Okonkwo accidentally kills a clansmen and is exiled. For the period of his exile, Okonkwo watches from the outside as his own village is changed radically by Christian missionaries.
Overall, I think this book is worth a read for the powerful theme, it wasn’t something I would want to read again because so much of the book was just about life in Umuofia, which was a bit mundane. Onkonkwo was also a pretty static character, there was no character development either. He just wanted to be the opposite of his father, was very strict, harsh, and closeminded. I did like the metaphors and proverbs in the book. I remember a metaphor that stood out in particular was, “Living Fire begets cold,
impotent ash.” I also enjoyed the later portion of the book where the Europeans missionaries arrive and the Onkonkwo provides a different perspective on the situation, and the theme is more clearly defined and developed.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
Juan Pablo and the Butterflies
Flowers, J.J.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The premise of “Juan Pablo and the Butterflies” is somewhat similar to “Bless me Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya. Both books focus on boys faced with the challenges of two different cultures and have the wisdom of a grandmother figure’s spiritism to guide them. I enjoyed this book better because while the theme of “Bless Me Ultima” holds true today this book is much more modern and relatable. Juan Pablo faces the modern issue of drug cartels in Mexico when a cartel takes over the small village he lives in. Those who can flee the village leave immediately but Juan Pablo remain with his grandmother and best friend, Rocio. As his grandmother is dying Juan poisons some of the cartel members with one his grandmother’s potions and attempts to flee to the United States with Rocio. I really enjoyed the perspective this book provided, I could understand how Mexico is developed in some aspects, like that Juan was smart from Khan Academy videos, but still has many challenges, such as drug cartels, and violence. The book helped remind me why people would want better and come to the U.S. The book was about resilience, the Sky people, and hope. When seemed like things couldn’t worse and did things got worse Juan Pablo kept going because he knew the Sky People, his ancestors, his grandmother spoke of would, guide him. I would recommend this book to anybody who has never read a book with magical realism, or to a person who enjoys magical realism because the magical realism in this book is a bit more modern than other literature. I would also recommend this book just to people who want a good book and a broader perspective, it is an amazing and relatively short read.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
I'll Give You The Sun
Nelson, Jandy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

When books have awards on the cover it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll enjoy the book because the reviewers/critics are often adults and have a different perspective on teen/YA books. However “I’ll give you the Sun” actually lives up to the awards and reviews. This book has a complex plotthat weaves between the perspectives of Noah and Jude. Noah and Jude are twins who were always inseparable until high school and their mother’s death. Noah’s portions of the story are from before their mother’s death at age 13 and Jude’s perspective is from 16. Between the three years they both change dramatically, and you can see why they changed, and how everything became different. I really liked the title of the book, it fits the story without giving away too much. The characters are amazing, they all have depth, complexity, and a unique background, which drives the plot. This also made it easy to relate to the characters because they felt very real and human. Noah has a very clear way of seeing the world through color, and art. Jude sees the world through a very physical sense. It is pretty easy to get into this book and I found it hard to put down. This book has a great message of love and its complexities as well.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
The Trial
Kafka, Franz
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Trial is a brilliant novel. Throughout the story the reader follows K., the protagonist, who tries to figure out what he was arrested and charged for. On his journey, K. meets several different types of people all which contribute to the book's questioning of bureaucracy and totalitarianism. Its finale left me a bewildered state, probing at the depths of existence and reality. Whether or not this feeling was a good one, I cannot tell, however Kafka's ability to use the mysteries of existentialism and expand upon them is truly amazing. I highly recommend this novel.

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Awards:
Spider-Man: The Darkest Hours
Butcher, Jim
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Peter Parker is all grown up and is now a teacher. But his Spidey senses go haywire when siblings of one of his most dangerous enemy's are in town seeking revenge. The are part of a powerful race known as the Ancients. Peter is warned of an ambush by none other than the cat burglar turned good, Felicia Hardy - aka Black Cat. These beings are so powerful that Dr. Strange refuses to help him. This is the traditional Spider Man tale. Only the trial and tribulations of being a high-schooler are replaced by the trials and tribulations of adulthood.

Reviewer's Name: Rayn
The Survival Guide for Making and Being Friends
Crist, James
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This a a short book, but you get a whole package when buying it! I think this book was a bit young for me. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone ages 7-10. However, this book gave me a little reminder on the effects kindness has on others. This book gives many dialogue suggestions for on-the-spot situations. The author gives information about friendships that 100% of people with experience involving peers would agree with. This text gives tips on what friends really are, how to make friends, how to hold onto friends, how to avoid arguments, how to talk through arguments, and the most important of all, how to kindly and properly end a friendship. The author emphasized that everyone has the potential of being a good friend and I think that that is extremely important. This was a good refresher on important social skills.
Reviewer: Grade 8

Reviewer's Name: Samantha
I Am Number Four
Lore, Pittacus
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is my current favorite book! John Smith isn't just an ordinary teen. He was born on the planet Lorien. He is one of nine children taken to Earth with superhuman powers, these powers are known as legacies. The first three have fallen, and John is next on the kill list. John's character is written so well, that you can easily understand his emotions and actions. John has a hard time with a foot in both worlds. He has to balance himself between being your average teen and being his superhuman self. Many people have split lives, bouncing from one personality to another. Sometimes it can feel like you can't always be your true self around everyone and John portrays this lifestyle perfectly. John was such a relatable character.
This book was predictable at times, but it did have some crazy plot twists. Most of this book included of the characters making plans and I would have liked to see the characters just play out the situations and not always have a step-by-step execution. I read the last hundred pages or so all at once! The climax was so thrilling and I couldn't put the book down! The ending was a bit abrupt, but I would still recommend this book to any fiction reader!

Reviewer's Name: Samantha
Awards:
The Giver
Lowry, Lois
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book is very interesting because of many things. There are very strict rules in the community. The changing of age ceremony is the best part. The main character gets a job nobody thought would happen. This changes his whole perspective of the community. In the end, it ends happily.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy
Carter, Ally
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In the second book of the Gallagher Girl series many event happen. These events includes mysterious visitor with big secrets. The reason I chose this book is because I really liked the first book so I thought I would read the next one. This book really surprised me in many way. One way was when they had an end of year test, a character who you would think was a friend became a foe. Something I enjoyed most about this book is that there was plenty of mystery throughout the book. Something I didn't like about the book was when Cammie, the main character, made a big mistake during a pop quiz. One of the characters I could relate to was Liz, Cammie friend, because I
usually do things different from most of my friends.

Reviewer's Name: Kaitlyn
Genres:
The Angel Experiment: Maximum Ride #1
Patterson, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Maximum Ride is about a group of kids who seem to be ordinary, except they have wings and they can fly. Max, the main protagonist protects her family called " the flock " from the scientists who genetically engineered her and her family in horrible experiments. I like the manga version of this book because the art is awesome.

Reviewer's Name: Rayn
Awards:
Field Notes on Love
Smith, Jennifer E.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The concept is intriguing, and many reviewers tout this book as "romantic," but the experience was flat for me. Jennifer E. Smith is not a bad writer, and I've enjoyed many of her books, but this one could not captivate me. It's mostly because the characters were not extraordinary in any way. They were caricatures only existing with a goal and problem to serve the plot, and I barely knew them, cared nothing at all for them. This contributed to my total lack of emotional involvement. Smith did not create an emotional experience for me, even though the bones of the story and the lessons the characters grasp at the end are smart. I love romance, but this book was not romantic. I felt nothing except an impatience to finish the book so I could begin something else.

Reviewer's Name: Erika
The Mysterious Benedict Society
Stewart, Trenton Lee
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The mysterious Benedict Society is about a group who infiltrates a school to find out what's going on behind it. The description was amazing. It got a ton across and a whole lot more. The interaction between the characters was well thought out, the good people were very good and the bad people very bad. This book was very enjoyable. Before I knew it, I had read the whole series.

5 stars(very descriptive)

Reviewer grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Genres:
Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two
Bruchac, Joseph
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Code Talker is about the struggles and successes of a Navajo man entering the Marines. This book shows how worthless Navajo were treated by white men until they prove their value. I would have liked more detail but it does manage to describe the treatment of Navajo people around World War II. During the book the Navajos support each other as they each overcome their challenges with white men. The Navajo seem to be more civilized than white men in this book.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Genres:
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
Connor, Leslie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This story is about a big, sweet boy named Mason Buttle. He struggles with
reading and writing, and accepting the fact that his best friend, Benny
Kilmartin, is dead. I heard about this book through my school and I'm so glad
I decided to read it. I really enjoyed the engaging, mysterious plot line,
and how you could see through Mason's perspective clearly. I was never bored
reading this book. All of the characters had distinct and lively
personalities. The storyline was unpredictable and original for the most
part. Overall, I recommend this book to not only teenagers, but to people of
all ages as well. The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle is one of the best books
I've ever read, and I hope to see more work by Leslie Connor. Thank you for
reading! (: Reviewer grade 7-8

Reviewer's Name: Aztin

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