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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 Cara
A new body, a new life, every single day. This transience is what A must deal with, a person without a home, without a family, without a life to own. Every morning, A awakens to a new room and must deal with the life handed to him -- or her -- for the day. Suddenly, the monotony of variety that is this life completely derails when A embodies Justin, the inconsiderate boyfriend of an extremely kind girl. This woman, Rhiannon, does something drastic -- she makes A want to stay and be with her. Though this novel, Every Day by David Levithan, was anticlimactic in some ways and full of twists and turns in others, I was always engaged and always yearning to discover more about A, who is an enigma to everyone including A. Overall, this book reminded me that no matter what you look like, it is your actions and your mind that truly matter. It also told me that the flow of the universe may not always seem to be taking you in a clear or correct direction, but one must make the most of the current in which they are swept along regardless.
Genre: Romance, Contemporary Fantasy
Reviewed by Caden
Okay, alien lovers, I have a book for you! If you are a fan of Sci-Fi novels or you love teen romance and adventure, you will love Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout. The story follows Katy Swartz when she and her mother move to a small town in West Virginia. She loves to read and even has her own vlog. She has a somewhat normal life except for the fact that her father passed away a couple of years before. But that all changes when she moves in next door to the Black twins. At first, Dee and Daemon seem normal. Dee is a bright, enthusiastic girl whom Katy becomes friends with instantly. And Daemon… well, Daemon is a brooding, rude jerk, who just happens to be the most swoon-worthy guy you will ever read about! They might seem like normal teenagers, but the town sees them differently. There are rumors about them being from “somewhere else.” When strange things start to happen to Katy, she can’t help but start to think that maybe Daemon and Dee are special. Obsidian is action-packed all the way through. It has a romance that is enjoyable, fun, and hilarious. Jennifer L. Armentrout is an author that, in my opinion, deserves way more attention than she’s getting. You will not be able to put this book down!
Genre: Science Fiction
Reviewed by Raj
Earlier this year I read a book named The Recruit, by Robert Muchamore. The name as well as professional-looking lettering gave me the impression that this book was a riveting action story about espionage and adventure. In some respects, I wasn’t wrong. But there is so much more to this story. CHERUB, an organization part of the British Intelligence, recruits young children and adolescents to be spies. Selecting motivated orphans, CHERUB gives them the opportunity of a lifetime; however, from that point on, these teenagers no longer exist. They have no identities in the real world and must risk their lives on dangerous missions that even professionals would shun. Through an interesting but painful turn of events, James Choke, the protagonist of the story, finds himself in a position to become one of these agents. I thoroughly enjoyed the interesting themes that this story is based upon, and I almost believed that CHERUB was a real organization from the description. Out of the many books I’ve read, I would have to say that this one played the most with my emotions. I would find myself jubilant, and then suddenly wanting to curse at one character or another. It was a thrill ride of a book, and I definitely look forward to reading the next installment. I would recommend it to anyone who likes an intriguing book, but one that suffers no lack of its fair share of action.
Genre: Spy Novel, Action
Jennifer E. Smith
Reviewed by Gabrielle
From the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight comes another story that captured my heart right from the start. This is What Happy Looks Like is an adorable love story that I find to be very cute and refreshing. Main character, Ellie O'Neill from "middle-of-nowhere" Maine accidentally receives an e-mail from a stranger asking her to walk their pet pig, Wilbur. It is not long before she and the sender begin e-mailing back and forth. Little does she know that the recipient of her e-mails is Graham Larkin, teen movie star from "middle-of-everything" California. Hoping to extend their virtual relationship to real life, Graham accepts a job that will take him to her little hometown in Maine. Can Ellie's and Graham's relationship last, with Graham constantly in the spotlight and Ellie with a secret of her own? This is What Happy Looks Like explores the presence of fate, the hope of new love, and the choice not to let people or circumstances keep you from what makes you happy.
Genre: Romance, Fiction
Reviewed by Michell
Set in Omaha, Nebraska, 1986, the new girl finds a seat on the bus next to Park. Her name is Eleanor, an awkward, badly dressed, chubby, redhead who comes from a broken family. Park, the biracial, somewhat popular kid, is at first reluctant of her presence and tries to ignore her for fear of being made fun of by his peers. As the story progresses, a relationship develops between the two teenage misfits as they bond over comic books and mixtapes. Eleanor and Park is written in a dual point of view that expresses the characters’ thoughts, emotions, and desires. Rainbow Rowell tells the story of young love between two flawed, polar-opposite teenagers, both trying to find their place. They must face the one big obstacle that stands in their way: the world. Their romance is opposed by their families and the people at school. It can be seen as we follow the different stages of the relationship between this odd couple throughout the course of the school year. I found this book to be a beautiful read because it was easy to see what the characters were going though. The storyline is captivating and somewhat obscured which motivates you to keep turning the page.
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Reviewed by Kelli
Will there ever be blue in Kira’s society? In Gathering Blue, Lois Lowry’s companion book to the award winning novel The Giver, Kira is an adolescent living in a technologically regressed village with a twisted leg and mother who had recently died. Kira's father was taken years ago by beasts, and she is now an orphan with an uncertain future. Fortunately, she has an almost magical talent with embroidery, and Kira is given a task that only she can complete, the repair and decoration of the Singer’s robe, which contains the story of the society stitched upon it. Although she is given special privileges, Kira begins to wonder about the truth behind her society. When Kira’s supposedly dead father meets her, she learns a shocking secret that will change her society forever. In my opinion, this novel was very well written. Lois Lowry created a very human protagonist on the brink of adulthood. Although Kira has a disabled leg, she is able to use her inner resources and is certainly not helpless. Also, one event led into another, so this book had no confusing plot structures. However, younger readers can be set off by a few elements. There is one graphic description that could upset children, especially squeamish readers. Secondly, the ways of the community can be viewed as harsh. Still, I would recommend this book to any teenager who enjoys dystopian novels without romance or wants a captivating tale.
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Reviewed by Olivia
From the country of Australia comes “girl defective”, a quirky, beautiful, and haunting novel. Skylark Martin, a fifteen-year-old girl, lives with her dad, Bill, and her brother, Seagull “Gully” in a vintage vinyl shop. She’s in for the time of her life when her close friend Nancy takes her to an insane clubbing party at The Paradise. Stoned, Skylark comes home to find out that her dad has hired someone new to work at the vinyl shop, Luke Casey. What starts off as a small friendship turns in to a romance as Luke and Skylark try to uncover the past of Mia Casey, Luke’s dead sister, and try to prevent Nancy from going too far. All the while, Gully is in for the case of his life as he tries to uncover the mysterious “Bricker”. The rarity of its “old” music references made this novel extremely unique and all the more personal. I loved this book, even though I found some of the humor to be a bit too raunchy for my taste at times. The way Howell seamlessly laced Nancy and Mia’s stories made the end of the novel all the more compelling. “girl defective” is a great novel for the teen reader who loves gritty humor, honest situations, and all around oddities and weirdness. However, this novel contains a lot of brash references and profanity. Through its vulgar humor, charming wit, and beautiful serio comic writing, “girl defective” is a novel I would recommend to older teens.
Genre: Romance, Drama
Reviewed by Jeffrey
In my opinion, Struck by Lightning: the Carson Phillips journal by Chris Colfer, is by far one of the best books I have read. In order to get accepted to the college of his dreams, Carson Phillip’s counselor recommends he start a literary magazine. When it is time to recruit submissions from other students at his school, the magazine fails, that is until he begins to blackmail students into participating. Carson then tries to target all of the popular students so that their group of lemmings can also be a part of the magazine. As the plot begins to unravel, we begin to see the characters beyond the stereotypical norm. The cheerleader is more than a few cheers and dance moves, but a teenage girl who just wants to be accepted for who she truly is. This heartfelt novel proves that everyone goes through the same obstacles and challenges in life no matter who you are. Carson realizes that his classmates share the same perceptions that he does. The story breaks the barrier between all high school cliques and groups, one of the main reasons why I enjoyed this book so much. I won't say any more, if you want to know more, then you'll have to read the book to find out.
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Coming-of-age, Comedy
Cinda Williams Chima
Reviewed by Serafina
Hans Alister was on a seemingly normal hunting trip with his Clan friend, Dancer when they came across three underage wizards using magic to set the sacred mountain Hanalea afire. After a very tense encounter, Hans left with a threat of revenge from one of the most powerful wizarding families in the kingdom on his back and a mysterious amulet with a strange past. Princess Raisa ana'Marianna, heir to the throne, seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. She's just returned to the palace after living the past three years with her father's people in the Demonai Clan camp and pretty much the only thing on her mother's mind is for Raisa to get married to a prince shortly after her sixteenth name-day. However, Raisa doesn't want to be married yet, she wants to be like the great warrior queen Hanalea, who thwarted the Demon King and saved the world. Amazing things will happen when these worlds collide. I honestly loved this book, it was so fascinating and exciting I could barely put it down for more than a few moments. This is just the first book in a series and I know I'll be lost to the world until I finish it!
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Reviewed by Serafina
16 year old Daniel Crawford is really excited for the New Hampshire College Prep program; he doesn't really fit in well at school and this could be a fresh start, a chance to make new friends. From the very beginning though, something isn't right. Dan finds out that the dorm he's staying in is a converted asylum with a dark past and he's plagued by an uneasy feeling and strangely accurate nightmares featuring the asylum itself. With exciting classes coming up and two new friends, the cute and artsy Abby and the hipster math geek Jordan, the uneasy feeling is pushed aside. Mysterious things start to happen though, strange pictures with scratched out eyes are found, a terrifying old office with a secret passage is discovered, and Dan suddenly finds himself being stalked by a creepy stranger who could be anyone on campus! Follow Dan, Abby, and Jordan as they uncover the asylum's twisted past, their own connections to patients and staff, and the rebirth of an ex-patient serial killer. I really loved this book, the plot kept me guessing until the very last page and I couldn't help but get lost in Dan's terrifying and dark world. The end of the book really confused me though, I wasn't really sure what the antagonist's motives were and I know I won't be able to rest until I read the sequel Sanctum. Is that really a bad thing?
Genre: Gothic Romance