Review Crew - book reviews by teens, for teens

Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio
Kehret, Peg
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio is about a girl named Peg who is diagnosed with polio. Polio (poliomyelitis) is a disease that causes paralysis. You can get it by consuming contaminated water and food or by contacting an infected person. Peg gets dragged away to the hospital without even getting to say goodbye to her family. For the next couple weeks Peg must take on not moving, feeding tubes, and physical therapy to get her muscles moving again. I really loved this book. It messed with my emotions the whole time. I was either balling my eyes out or smiling ear to ear. This was one of the best books I have ever read. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a nonfiction, emotion pulling, great book.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
Awards:
Book Review: The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Hunger Games is about a girl named Katniss who becomes a tribute in the hunger games. The hunger games is a battle royale. A battle royale is a game where two tributes from twelve districts fight for their lives to be the last person standing. The Hunger Games is a punishment because there was a rebellion. While being dragged off to prepare for battle, Katniss must process the thought of life or death.

This was one of the best books I have ever read. There was never a dull moment and it kept me intrigued the whole time. This book is full of adventure and definitely brought out some of my emotions such as, sadness, happiness, and anger. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a great and fast book to read.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie H.
Book Cover
Messenger, Shannon
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Keeper of the Lost Cities is about a girl named Sophie Foster who has never fit in with her family or classmates. One day Sophie learns that she is an elf and a very powerful one as well. Sophie is then taken to the Lost Cities where the other elves live. To keep her human family and herself safe, she must leave everything and begin her new life in the Lost Cities. Sophie is enrolled at Foxfire, a very prestigious elven school. There she must re-learn many things, and if that isn't enough, someone is out to get Sophie and the secrets hidden inside her mind. This book was really popular with my classmates in sixth grade. I have just now gotten a chance to read it and I really enjoyed the book. This is the first book in the series and the author ended the book with me wanting more. I personally think the book is well written. It took me on the adventure with Sophie in a different reality. Some names in the book such as the school name and things that were considered top secret had some really plain names compared to the characters names and names for stones or chemicals. Other than that, it was a really good book. This book may be better for older elementary or middle school readers, but if you're curious about reading it, I would give it a try. Don't let the size of it intimidate you.

Reviewer's Name: Emma M.
Awards:
Keeper of the Lost Cities
Messenger, Shannon
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Keeper of the Lost Cities is about a girl named Sophie Foster who has never fit in with her family or classmates. One day Sophie learns that she is an elf and a very powerful one as well. Sophie is then taken to the Lost Cities where the other elves live. To keep her human family and herself safe, she must leave everything and begin her new life in the Lost Cities. Sophie is enrolled at Foxfire, a very prestigious elven school. There she must re-learn many things, and if that isn't enough, someone is out to get Sophie and the secrets hidden inside her mind.

This book was really popular with my classmates in sixth grade. I have just now gotten a chance to read it and I really enjoyed the book. This is the first book in the series and the author ended the book with me wanting more. I personally think the book is well-written. It took me on the adventure with Sophie in a different reality. Some names in the book such as the school name and things that were considered top secret had some really plain names compared to the characters names and names for stones or chemicals. Other than that, it was a really good book. This book may be better for older elementary or middle school readers, but if you're curious about reading it, I would give it a try. Don't let the size of it intimidate you.

Reviewer's Name: Emma
Awards:
Frankly in Love
Yoon, David
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Frankly in Love by David Yoon tells the story of a Korean-American high school senior named Frank Li. Frank’s parents only have one rule when it comes to dating--date a Korean girl. But Frank finds himself in love with a white girl, and in a crazy attempt to hide their relationship from his parents, he teams up with his friend Joy Song to orchestrate a wild fake dating scheme. However, along the way, Frank finds himself wondering if he really knows what love is after all. I enjoyed reading this book. It was deeper than just a teenage love story. It held both the expectations of Korean parents for their kids and Frank trying to find his place, feeling neither Korean or American enough. Some of the character’s choices weren’t really the best and sometimes they can be extremely awkward, but overall it was still an enjoyable read. I recommend it not only for the romance but everything else it touches.

Reviewer's Name: Cora
The Obsidian Tower
Caruso, Melissa
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Obsidian Tower still fills Readers with Mystery….and Dread…..

4 Stars. Bit dramatic for my taste.

This book is about a young woman living in a world of magic, where the world is divided up by people who have different kinds of magic. Ironically, she lives in the section of people with life magic, but she possesses the magic to kill… An outsider, rejected by her parents, she was made the warden of the Obsidian Tower by her grandmother, who saw promise in her. I loved this book for the magic, and the realistic fear of people passing her, afraid to touch her. Lonely she is, she keeps going because the Obsidian Tower needs her.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Genres:
Lone Survivor
Luttrell, Marcus
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is incredible! Lone Survivor is the firsthand account of Marcus Luttrell, a Navy SEAL, who served in the Middle East. In an attempt to kill a notorious al Qaeda leader, Luttrell and his team are ambushed leaving him as the only survivor. Lone Survivor shows the courage, bravery, strength, and valor of Marcus Luttrell and every other Navy SEAL. This book is truly inspiring and will make you grateful for all of the US Armed Forces. I highly recommend this book for everyone.

Reviewer's Name: John
Awards:
Genres:
Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Rowling, J. K.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban is about Harry’s 3rd year at Hogwarts. Along with friends Ron and Hermione, Harry investigates the case of Sirius Black, an escaped prisoner from Azkaban, the wizard prison. Sirius Black is believed to be one of Voldemort's allies, and he is the only wizard ever to escape Azkaban, so he is definitely powerful. Harry Potter then overhears that Sirius Black wants to kill him.

This book is full of creeps and chills, like in one part, the train to Hogwarts is stopped because of terrible flying things that can suck out your soul. Because of these soul-suckers, Harry almost dies, but in the end, Harry learns a lot about himself, his parents, and friends (both of his, and his parents’).

But this book is still full of interest. In a memorable moment, Harry Potter flies on a Hippogriff, which is a hybrid between a horse and eagle. In another part, The Prisoner of Azkaban goes from fantasy to sci-fi, because of time travel, where Harry goes back in time to save himself.

With the adventurous and scary parts in perfect balance, this book is a good read, and personally, it is my favorite book in the whole series.

Reviewer's Name: Gurman S.
Genres:
Saving Red
Sones, Sonya
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Saving Red is about a girl named Molly who is trying to finish her community service hours for school and to do that, she is helping do the homeless count for her city. Here is where she gets her first glimpse of Red, a girl who cannot be much older that Molly herself, on a sleeping bag and twitching and screaming throughout a bad dream. Molly gets a sudden feeling that she needs to help this girl. A friendship soon develops between the two girls because Molly wants to help Red get back to her family. That is until Molly discovers that Red may need more help than Molly originally thought. Molly is motivated to help Red because of past guilt. Molly soon learns that Red is not the only one who needed saving.

This book is one of my personal favorites because it is so interesting, and it keeps me wanting to read it. The book is written in verse so it is really easy to read and it was quick to finish. Saving Red is a very heavy book so I would suggest this book to high school students and mature middle school students.. Whats cool about this book is that every poem could be read on its own and still make sense. This book was really good, super quick, makes you think and leaves you wanting more.

Reviewer's Name: Emma M.
Thunderhead
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Citra and Rowan have diverged into lawful and lawlessness. Since Citra was selected to become a scythe she began to glean with Scythe Curie meanwhile Rowan went off the grid. Though there had been rumors of a Scythe gleaning other Scythes, who became known as Scythe Lucifer. Fighting the corruption of the Scythedom in their own ways, Citra and Rowan continue to learn what the mortal age world was like.

This book is better than the first book, “Scythe” because the Thunderhead excerpts between chapters add more complexity and depth to the story. Also inmthe first book the perspective switches were a lot less climatic, both main characters were in relatively similar situations. In this book the different perspective adds more suspense to the book, and perspective. The side characters were not static in this book, a lot more about them is reveled in this book. “Thunderhead” also had good foreshadowing that was sometimes a bit too obvious. The main thing this book lacked like the first book of the series was detailed descriptions. It almost makes the book seem more like a movie because it’s all action. Overall though I would recommend it to those who read “Scythe” and want to continue the series since this book is better.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
Hour of the Bees
Eagar, Lindsay
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Hour of the Bees is about a girl, Carol, who has to spend the summer helping her grandpa, Serge, whom she's never met. Her grandpa suffers from Dementia, and wants "Carol-een-a" to learn about her roots. While Carol's older sister, Alta, is complaining, and her parents are trying to sell the farm house, she bonds with her grandfather over fairy-tales centered around a life-giving tree.

The storyline does progress a little slowly, and the supporting characters don't change or have a major impact on the plot, but despite the small imperfections, I did not regret reading this book! I liked how the ending was very unexpected and captivating, and how easy it was to bond with the main characters. I recommend this book to people of all ages. Thank you for reading :)!!

Reviewer's Name: Aztin
Genres:
Cry, the Beloved Country
Paton, Alan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Cry, the Beloved Country is a very good novel. It depicts the lives of Reverend Stephen Kumalo and white landowner, James Jarvis, during a time of turbulence in their lives. All of the characters in the novel are extremely well written and the character development is superb. The conflict in the novel feels very realistic and thrills the reader. The moral decisions and emotions faced by the two protagonists feel very weighty and captivate the reader. Overall, the book is a great novel that I would recommend to anyone.

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Awards:
Escape Clause
Sandford, John
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Escape Clause is a fast paced mystery book about the search for two missing tigers from a local zoo. This book features Virgil Flowers who is the main investigator in charge of finding the tiger thief and must hold him accountable before it is too late. This book not only focus on the tiger case but takes a deep dive into Virgil Flowers background and personal affairs. I chose this book as it was suspenseful and had many twists and turns. Escape Clause is a thriller and will keep the reader up all night.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
The Prodigy
Feinstein, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Prodigy is a fantastic and well crafted sports fiction novel about a promising young golf athlete. Frank Baker is a 16 year old golf superstar who is getting nationwide attention from the professional golfing world. Frank is eager and desires to play college golf at a college of his choice but his pushy father pressures him to go directly to the pros. His father aspires to gain a fortune from his son playing in the big leagues and wants it as soon as possible. This book beautifully blends Frank's life on and off the greens and makes the readers feel as if they are experiencing Frank's dilemma. I chose this book as I enjoy reading sports fiction. The Prodigy captures parental pressure on young athletes exceptionally well and the shocking decision Frank makes at the end of the book.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
The Reversal
Connelly, Michael
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Are you looking for an escape route out of these tough times that the world is facing right now? Then try reading this crime fiction thriller " The Reversal". Mickey Haller is a prominent defense lawyer who surprisingly decides to be part of the prosecution team for one of the most brutal crimes ever committed. Jason Jessup is convicted of a heinous crime that was committed nearly 20 years ago but the evidence was inconclusive to put him behind bars in the first trial. Can Mickey Haller and the Los Angles Police Department gather some crucial clues and evidence to find out whether Jason Jessup is the mastermind behind this crime or not? Mickey Haller must find out before it too late.The Reversal is a legal thriller that has an excellent plot and forces the reader to pay close attention to every single detail. I would highly recommend this book and it's a great read.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
All Fall Down
Carter, Ally
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

All Fall Down is a unique read that will grip the readers throughout the story. Grace lives in a US embassy in a foreign country because her grandfather works there. Grace's mom was killed in an accident and her dad left the family when she was only a baby. She has a hunch that her mother was killed and has a notion that the killer is lurking around close by . Grace wants to find out who her mother's killer was and wants them to pay for it. She makes lifelong friendships with other kids living in other embassies, but Grace also faces animosity along the way. All Fall Down is a great read and hooks the reader until the end.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
Awards:
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Doyle, Arthur Conan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is a masterpiece of short stories. Sherlock Holmes continues to dazzle readers with his incredible deductions in these eleven short stories. From the beginning of Holmes' career in "The Gloria Scott" to large-scale crimes in "The Naval Treaty," the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The introduction of Sherlock's brother, Mycroft, and his most notorious nemesis, Professor Moriarty, ensure that readers will be captivated by these stories. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is phenomenal and I highly recommend it for any fan of Sherlock Holmes or crime fiction.

Reviewer's Name: John
Scythe
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In a world where AI, artificial intelligence, known as the Thunderhead controls the world and has gifted humanity immortality, it gave humans the responsibility of death. Immortality is possible with the nanites embodied in cells to help cells replenish forever. Scythes are the only people that kill or nicely put glean. Citra and Rowan are selected by a scythe to apprentice and the discover the reality of human nature and the burden of death.

I think this is a good book, conceptually it’s definitely a step up from your typical dystopian book but it isn’t my favorite book for other reasons. There is a guy and a girl main character and they have to defy the expectations of society, creating romantic tensions which is pretty typical. The book lacked detailed descriptions which would have enhanced the action by creating more suspense. The biggest reason it is not my favorite is smalldetails that are don’t logically make sense. With the all knowingThunderhead it would make sense that technology would allow teleportation and other advancements. All these little details ultimately make the book only 4 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
The Toll
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Great Resonance has occurred and everyone has become unsavory, meaning they can’t communicate with the Thunderhead. That is except for one person, the Toll. Since no one can speak to the Thunderhead no one knows why they have become unsavory leaving the world in confusion. What most people don’t know is Endura the Scythe ring of islands sank when all the systems failed, or were instructed to fail. The leaders of the Scythedom drowned and Citra and Rowan are nowhere to be found.

The other books in the Scythe series had somewhat obvious endings while in “The Toll” I really didn’t know how the series would end which created a nice suspense in the book. Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse or the characters Citra and Rowan things get worse. The excerpts from the Thunderhead and the founding Scythes created a lot of foreshadowing and had each founding Scythe had a unique voice and quirks which was a nice detail. This book still lacks detail of the setting, clothing, and appearance of the characters like the other two books in the series but in this book it especially lacked detailed emotion. There was a Romeo and Juliet like relationship between Citra and Rowan, they were each other’s weakness, and would save the other even it meant sacrificing themselves. However the emotion and reasoning on why they are so in love is unclear. Other than training as apprentices together and kissing once in the first book the author doesn’t really describe why or how they fell in love. This book had
a lot going on at once it was hard to understand how much time had passed or what was happening when. Overall the theme of this series is advancements don’t make humans lose their humanity, no matter how perfect a world there will be those who chose corruption and power, and those who chose to live a simple quiet life.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
Educated
Westover, Tara
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Growing up on the prairie in the past meant you were mostly isolated from the rest of society for better or worse. In the 1990s growing up in isolation in the U.S was very rare. Most people lived in cities, or suburbs, or small farming communities. Tara Westover was part of this abnormality. She grew up in rural Idaho and was homeschooled and rarely spent much time without her family. Which causes her to believe almost everything her parents and,siblings believed but when she began college she learned a lot more about the world than what she ever knew before.

I don’t typically pick up a memoir but this one was very highly recommended so I decided to give it a read. I thought the beginning was a bit slow but once you get through some of the background it becomes important in later portions of the book. I thought the book had a really good message and very unique perspective. It made me think a lot about how the school system could be improved and how outdated some of the typical school experiences are. I would recommend this book to teachers, school administrators, parents and students since they are so involved in education. I think it would be a good book to read at school and discuss as well.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie

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