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Teen Book Reviews
These a-MAZ-ing reviews were written by the teens on our Teen Book Review Board. New reviews are posted monthly.
Reviewed by Avelyn
They control the world’s power. They control the cities, the civilians, the government, and everything in between. But most of all, they control your heart beat and have the power to stop it. They are the Icons that came to Earth from the skies and crashed down in the world’s biggest cities. No one has ever gotten close enough to find out who they are. The Embassy controls the Icon’s communication to the people and are in search of fifteen Icon Children. Doloria Maria de la Cruz, "The Weeper", is one of these special teens. She feels every emotion, including those of her best friend and fellow Icon Child, Ro. After being taken from their safety mission home, the two friends begin to come to terms with just how powerful they may be. They are taken into captivity at the Embassy’s main base and meet two more of their kind. While the four teens scramble to get a grasp on why they are so valuable, their highly different traits cause disruptions in their relationships. Dol finds herself in a love trial between her life-long best friend, "The Rager" Ro, and "The Lover" Lucas. Nonetheless, they all still have to find their purpose in the Revolution. I can honestly say “Icons” was one of the most exhilarating books I have ever read. It is one of those novels that hooks you in during the prologue. I highly recommend it if you are a dystopian story fanatic.
Reviewed by Avery
A Girl Called Fearless is a love story to rival Romeo and Juliet. In this world, middle aged women are few and far between due to a cancer epidemic that has killed many. The government is taking advantage of this situation and giving this male dominated machine more power by gradually restricting women's rights. Young girls are being sold for exorbitant prices to suitors, and this fate has come upon Avie Reveare. Set right here in Los Angeles the story follows Avie who has been sold to a ruthless investor in her fathers company. Her long time friend Yates is determined to help her to escape. Faced with bodyguards, complex spy networks, and seemingly insurmountable circumstances, Avie takes charge of her fate. This story is filled with a colorful cast of characters and a plot that moves at the speed of light. Yates and Avie's tender romance is nicely juxtaposed with the cruelty of their world. The flashes of feminism and selfless acts throughout the novel keep you rooting for Avie and her cause. This story will inspire readers to become truly fearless.
Genre: Dystopian, Romance
Reviewed by Maria
In this realistic teen novel by Gayle Forman, "I Was Here" primarily focuses on an eighteen year old who is dealing with the aftermath of her friends death. After the mournful funeral, Cody decides to travel to Meg's college town to gather all her belongings. However, along the way, Cody discovers that Meg didn't tell her everything. Cody discovers what Meg was going through on a daily basis. From the boy with the guitar and his secrets, Meg's old roommates, and the mysterious computer file that Cody can't get into. However, when Cody manages to unlock the computer file, what she thought she knew about her friends suicide becomes nothing but more questions. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a little mystery. I thought this was going to be the story of a tragic suicide. However, it was way better than I expected. I believe Gayle Forman did an amazing job with both characters, Meg and Cody. I liked the way Cody and Meg had different personalities and that is the one thing that gave the whole story some twist. I especially like the way Meg kept things away from Cody. It was a very unique friendship. I highly encourage everyone to read the amazing yet mysterious yet mournful story of Meg's suicide.
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Reviewed by Brandon
Insurgent by Veronica Roth is the sequel to Divergent and follows Tris Prior, a courageous teen girl in the midst of chaos and death. Civilization in the dystopian society are made of 4 factions that rely on each other to work as a harmonious unit, and each faction comes with its own set of core beliefs and values. Abnegation for selflessness, Amity for peace, Candor for honesty, Dauntless for bravery, and Erudite for intelligence. In this installment of the series the plot revolves around the Erudite conquest of all factions, and Tris’ internal conflict between her morals, acceptance of her authority, and responsibilities against her desires. Action scenes left me breathless and on the edge of my seat, as the romance made me blush and cringe a bit, and every deep intellectual conflict made me more attached to the protagonist. Throughout the book we follow Tris as she encounters betrayal, love, hatred, and guilt. This novel will make your body course with adrenaline.
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Reviewed by Samantha
Everyone knows the classic tale of Cinderella. The orphaned girl living with her stepfamily meets the prince, they fall in love, and the two live happily ever after. If that romantic fairytale ending is what you crave, then Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell is not for you. Cornwell takes the original story and tinkers with it to produce a story that will make the gears in your head spin. The story begins on Nicolette Lampton’s sixteenth birthday. She has just received a letter from her mother, who had died from Fey’s croup many years earlier. The letter contains directions to her mother’s old workshop. The workshop gives Nicolette new hope, as she has inherited her mother’s love for machines and engineering. Soon after, her stepmother and stepsisters receive an invitation to the Cultural Exposition Gala, an event that will showcase the inventions of inventors all around the country. Knowing that the exposition will be her only way to escape the Steps, she throws herself into inventing, unearthing magic and ideas she hadn’t seen since her mother died. Her new friends, mechanical bugs and a horse named Jules, all contain hints of magic, their creation a mystery that Nicolette is determined to solve. On her quest to create and conquer, Nicolette meets Cato and Fin. She immediately develops a strong bond with both, and soon she finds herself falling for Fin. In this retelling of a tale as old as time, the reader will either love the twist or cry from heartbreak.
Genre: Fairytale, Steampunk
Reviewed by Sandy
In Mosquitoland, Mim is a cheeky high school girl who gets thrown a multitude of conflicts, one after the other. It all begins when her parents decide to divorce. Her father soon remarries, her mother leaves and eventually cuts off communication, Mim moves away across the country, and her stepmother becomes pregnant. After learning that her mother is sick, Mim decides to run away and voyages by bus to find her mother in Cleveland, 947 miles away. Mim is a unique character – she’s half-blind, she uses lipstick as war paint, and she was diagnosed with an unclear psychiatric illness. The reader travels with Mim as she recalls flashbacks of her earlier years and writes letters to her unborn sister. She also befriends an old, wise lady and a boy with Down’s Syndrome, as well as an attractive man that catches her eye. However, this isn’t your cliché love story. Mim’s unexpected skills and the story’s plot twists make you keep reading until the end. If you enjoy the honest, fresh mind of a mature teenager dealing with death, love, and newfound friendship, I highly recommend this book.
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Reviewed by Ivanica
When Sydney Stanford's charming brother Peyton paralyzes a young boy in a drunk driving accident, Sydney seems to carry more of the guilt than Peyton does. Their mom devotes most of her time to worrying about Peyton, who is now incarcerated, and seems to fail to recognize the depth and horror of her brother's actions. Sydney switches schools from her elite private school to the local public school in hopes of escaping her family's ignorance and the negative reputation looming over her. Sydney does find the positive change she yearns for when she befriends Layla Catham, a lively girl with a strong passion for french fries, and her handsome, intelligent brother, Mac. Not only are her new friends accepting of her history, they also help her to work through the problems the past has caused and all the obstacles the future now throws at her. Best-selling author Sarah Dessen writes a poignant tale of the strenuous challenges caused by family while bringing into focus the importance of growing closer in tough times rather than drifting apart. This novel is overall a heartfelt, enticing story that will leave you wanting to read it over and over again.
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Reviewed by Karen
The beginning of Tex by S.E. Hinton starts out slow, mimicking the pace of everyday life in the Oklahoma countryside, the carefree days melding into one another. It’s the seventies and the local kids have motorcycles, horses, and cigarettes. In the midst of it all is teenager Tex, raised by his driven older brother Mason, as his mother is dead and his rodeo-riding father is normally absent. Told in first person, Tex McCormick’s adolescence quickly becomes a whirlwind of adventure after a drawn-out introduction. Although the novel chronicles typical frivolous concerns about dating girls and creating trouble at school, it mainly focuses on Tex’s struggle to be a good person. It seems that excitement always follows him through his small town of Garyville, whether it be trips to the carnival in the big city, late night outings, or even a run-in with a murderous hitchhiker and a brutal gunfight. While Tex is easy to read and understand, with thrill crammed into its two-hundred-eleven pages, it is also filled with mature topics that may not be suited for teens under the age of fourteen.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Reviewed by Ariana
When someone brings up vampires, your first thoughts are probably along the lines of blood, sparkly ice cold skin, and super natural powers. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer is indeed filled with all of these things and more. An average, shy, teenage girl Bella Swan moves to the rainy city of Forks to live with her father. Once there, Bella encounters these strange beautiful people. Bella is especially drawn to one of them, a boy named Edward, who seems to bring out a side of her no one else can. Bella is suddenly in a near death situation and somehow Edward impossibly saves her. Curious as to how Edward was able to save her in an immensely difficult situation, Bella begins to question him. Through playful bantering and hushed affection, Bella finds herself in love with someone who might not be human, and who seems to share the same feelings. What starts out as forbidden love quickly turns into a terrifying chase to stay alive. Twilight is a suspenseful, exciting love story with a bite.
Genre: Supernatural Romance
Reviewed by Jerry
From Kami Garcia, the New York Times Bestselling coauthor of the "Beautiful Creatures" series, comes "Unbreakable", a new captivating story delving into the world of ghosts and demons. Following the death of her mother, Kennedy Waters is pulled into the world of spirits and demons by two mysterious and attractive twins, Lukas and Jared, members of The Legion of the Black Dove. All five members of the Legion were murdered on the same night, leaving a group of uniquely skilled teenagers to protect the world from a vengeful demon. Ties develop between the twins and Kennedy, and tensions worsen between the twins, leaving Kennedy torn between the two, making their quest all the more difficult. Kennedy must fight for her life, and theirs, to earn her rightful place in the Legion, whilst the twins fight for their place in her heart. This book has a strong grasp on human emotion and has a romance to kill for! Garcia's characters are amazing, leaving you yearning for more about them and their past. I'd recommend to lovers of suspense, action, supernatural, and above all else, romance.
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Supernatural