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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 Alina
Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality is no place for an ordinary girl to receive an ordinary education. For fifteen-year old Sophronia Temminnick and her classmates, they have daily lessons on Victorian etiquette and attire as well as daily lessons on espionage. These unconventional lessons range from how to best conceal a knife in ones skirts to how to gracefully outrun pursuers. Sophronia has become secretly involved in the mystery of a stolen device, and utilizes the lessons she is taught in class to sneak around the school and eavesdrop on conversations. Through these nighttime excursions, she learns of a conspiracy between the supernaturals and humans. With the help of her friends above and below deck, Sophronia is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. In Gail Carriger’s alternate 1851 England, steampunk mechanics meet supernatural vampires and werewolves. Filled with wit and sass, I really enjoyed this book. The main character, Sophronia, doesn’t fit into a typical damsel-in-distress character mold, so I admire her loyalty and bravery. As the second book of the Finishing School series, I was glad to see some of Sophronia’s relationships in the first book really develop, and there was even a hint of a love triangle. I recommend this book to girls who enjoy cheeky dialogue, style, and adventures.
Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery
Reviewed by Annaluz
This book was emotional torture. It is the heart-breaking story of a teenage boy who returns to his family nine years after being kidnapped. The boy is Ethan De Wilde. He was kidnapped when playing with his little brother in their front yard. According to Ethan’s brother—Blake, Ethan willingly walked into the car that would carry him off. The main problem with Ethan’s return is that he does not seem to remember anything before being kidnapped. The vague recollections of his family come from a blog they kept ever since his disappearance. Ethan also seems to exhibit Stockholm syndrome because he still feels some affection for his old “mom,” or kidnapper. He refuses to tell authorities who she is and what her exact name is, even though she abandoned him. Although Ethan remains convinced that he will remember everything about his new-found family and become part of it again, Blake is doubtful and believes that Ethan isn’t really the brother he lost. Blake’s dubiousness causes turmoil within the family, many of them becoming angry with each other. Eventually, Ethan figures out exactly why he can’t remember some things. However, this comes at the very end and feels like a blow to the stomach. Although I definitely recommend the book, the last few pages destroyed me and I was left angry at the author for such a cliffhanger. [There is no sequel.]
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery
Reviewed by Ellie
In the City of Angels, known to us as Los Angeles, Maddy, a high schooler struggling to get by with her uncle, is probably the only one throughout the entire metropolis who’s just waiting to get out of the flashbulbs and back into the real world. And in her world, life is dominated by the glamorous angels constantly in the spotlight that are paid to “save” people. Enter Jackson Godspeed, the beautiful boy about to have the biggest moment of his life when someone is chosen for him to save. These two aren’t meant to meet, but when they do, the consequences are sure to be significant. When I read this book, it was almost as if I could see them in front of me, fighting their battles and living life as only the author of this book (Scott Speer) could create. Did I love it? Yes, I did. Was the storyline straight out of a TMZ episode? Yes, it was, but I enjoyed it all the same. If you have a craving for the nightlife and for the celebrity life of some pretty interesting people, I guarantee that this is a must read. It’s cheesy but it’s a good brand of cheese.
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Romance
Reviewed by Jacy
Maggie Steifvater weaves a chilling tale that pulls readers in from the first page. The story follows Grace who was bitten by wolves as a kid, but was saved by a yellow-eyed wolf and she has felt a connection to him ever since. She doesn’t know that the wolves of Mercy Falls are actually werewolves and her yellow-eyed wolf is actually a boy her age, Sam. She also doesn’t know that she should have changed when she was bitten, but she didn’t. He only has his humanity in the summer months and when he and Grace finally meet, they try to make the most of the little time they have and figure out why Grace never changed. Steifvater has a descriptive and fluid writing style that makes her books easy to fall into and characters easy to fall in love with. The only problem may have been a slightly predictable plot and the “werewolf cliché” but Steifvater has a fresh approach to the overdone topic and thankfully, there are no vampires. If you’re looking for a moderately short but emotional and fun book (there isn’t much action), then Shiver is a perfect read!
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Reviewed by Cassandra
Author Carol Plum-Ucci is a master at capturing life’s truths and recording them down on paper in a raw, gritty way that will stun readers. Christopher Creed was the weird kid in the town of Steepleton who often found himself victim to bullies’ wrath. However, one day, the class weirdo disappears without a trace, only leaving an enigmatic email to the school principal. 16-year-old Torey Adams is one among many of the names listed in Creed’s email, a list of those who seem to have “everything.” As the town gossips and speculates whether it was a murder, suicide, or runaway case, Torey searches for the truth and goes deeper into Steepleton’s abysmal chasm of hurt and pain. Torey and his friends are constantly pushed aside by adults, and issues that need to be dealt with are simply shoved under the bed. Through Torey’s perceptive eyes, readers can see the reasons why people behave the way they do. Everyone in Steepleton has a certain perspective of their neighbors and refuses to see beyond reputation. When tragedy strikes Steepleton, the townspeople jab their fingers at each other, looking for a scapegoat to blame through lies and deception. Readers will be captivated by this must-read mystery and Torey’s clear, insightful narration that demonstrates society’s need for compassion.
Reviewed by Sanduni
Michael is a skilled internet gamer in a world of advanced technology. The game is called Lifeblood, and every gamer’s goal is to make it up the ranks and find themselves in Lifeblood Deep, where virtual reality gets as real as it could ever become. In Lifeblood, you’re mind becomes transported into a different world, a world where you can create your own cities and towns with ease and meet new people as if they lived right across the street. The game can be dangerous though, and when it can feel so much like reality, it’s hard to distinguish what’s real and what’s not. So when a cyber-terrorist starts to cause other gamers to kill themselves inside the game, the VNS, or VirtNet Security, look to Michael for support. Suddenly, Michael is thrust into what is seems like a suicide mission. The Eye of Minds is the first book in James Dashner’s new series, and like his last series The Maze Runner, this new set of books are sure to become bestsellers. When the lives of so many are at risk, are you willing to give up your own for theirs?
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller, Adventure
Reviewed by Alyssa
After the Maze, Thomas and the Gladers thought that everything was over. They thought they were safe and that they would finally get to know who they really were before arriving in the Glade. But it's not over yet. WICKED still has plans for the Gladers. With Earth being taken over by a disease called the Flare, innocent people have been transforming into Cranks. Now it is up to Thomas and the Gladers to cross the Scorch and make it to the Safe Haven where lies the cure to the Flare as promised by WICKED, before they all catch the Flare and become Cranks forever. The Scorch Trials will definitely give you the chills and will urge you to finish the whole series James Dashner has provided. The betrayal and choices made will leave you with one question: who can Thomas trust? The journey this book will take you will be a journey you won't forget.
Genre: Science Fiction, Survival, Post-Apocalyptic
Reviewed by Victoria
America Singer lives in Illéa, a country that arose after the United States had been destroyed. Most people in Illéa belonged in a caste, meaning they have their place in society determined by birth. Ones are the royals who lived the most comfortably, and as the caste number decreased, the luxury did too. Every time a prince of Illéa gets old enough to find a wife, single girls between the ages of sixteen and twenty are eligible to have a chance to participate in the Selection. Once the prince narrows down his choices, the last girl standing would become the future queen of Illéa. America and her family were Fives, meaning they weren’t too financially stable. At first, America didn’t want to join the Selection because she was in love with someone else. However, if she did join and managed to become one of the 35 chosen girls, her family would receive the money they needed. And if she actually became Prince Maxon’s bride, her whole family would become Ones. Author Kiera Cass does a phenomenal job at making this story come alive. Throughout the story, I felt America’s emotions as if they were my own. Readers will be intrigued by America’s humorous personality. The Selection is part of the Selection series, and the next book is The Elite. I would definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy romance and a little bit of humor.
Genre: Romance, Dystopian
Reviewed by Danielle
Before I start, let me say the writing was not terrible and the first forty pages were simply stunning. Also, I can see why many people would love this, so this review isn't trying to exhort you to change your views/love for this novel and neither is it trying to make you avoid this. With that being said: I've been in this situation before – being drawn in by the gorgeous cover, exciting synopsis, glittery praises and entering this book with extremely high expectations only to be let down by the unbearable, dreadful, and annoying story with flat characters as well as a sad excuse of a romance... I've been there before, but where? ... Ah, yes, ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill. I know this is such a banal thing to say -- and it's been said countless times by many, many, people (including myself) -- but, I really wanted to like this. THESE BROKEN STARS begins on a spacecraft in outer space called the Icarus; we’re introduced to two characters – Lilac and Tarver. When the Icarus crashes, Lilac and Tarver are the only survivors. About 75% of THESE BROKEN STARS took place on some godforsaken and uninhabited planet/jungle, which I didn't like. Also, there was a paranormal twist thrown into the story that was simply redundant. I will not be picking up the second installment, unfortunately. The ending of this doesn't pique my interest, either.
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, Paranormal
Reviewed by Jason
Artemis Fowl: The Last Gaurdian is centered around the oldest son of the Fowl Family, Artemis. At a glance, he isn’t much. However, he makes up for that with intellectual prowess. As a matter of fact, he was the only successful human to ransom a ton of gold (literally, one metric ton) from the fairies, an underground race hyper-intelligent people with special abilities. Since, he has gone through multiple adventures to topple some of the worst criminal masterminds in history with them, after moving on from his life of crime. This time, he is back in the Lower Elements Police (the police force in the underground city), to stop the return of Opal Koboi, a criminal mastermind, who had previously been put in prison. She was able to break out, at the same time accumulating a mass of black magic, as well as crippling most of the world’s technologies both human and fairy alike. She plans to end the human race as we know it, and its all up to Artemis, Holly, and Butler to stop it. Although this book may seem a bit childish, it isn’t. This is one of the best thrillers, and if you like Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, or the Kane Chronicles, this book and its other series are most definitely for you. Its action packed, with many times of despair and happiness, but watch out! You will be on the edge of your seats the whole time.
Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery, Thriller