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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.
J. K. Rowling
Reviewed by Jeffrey
This month I have chosen to review Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. This book is by far the most suspenseful out of all seven novels. I state this not because it is the final book of the series but because it has a well developed plot. The start of the novel follows the events that occurred from the previous book, therefore it is crucial to read the other books beforehand. The plot is very complex and structured in a way that greatly intrigued me. Harry, Ron, and Hermione tough it out throughout the novel resulting in and ending that will surprise all readers. I wasted no time reading this book, it was sometimes hard for me to put it down. The ending of the novel was better than I had expected, but reading the last words meant I was reading the last words of the series. I was a tad bit sad after the read but the overall story was what made me satisfied. I don't want to give away much of the story but one thing's for sure, I highly recommend this novel.
Reviewed by Gabrielle
Mallory knows something is after her. Something or more likely -- someone -- wants her dead. Everyone knows that she stabbed Brian, her boyfriend. They do not care that it was out of self defense. Their eyes follow her everywhere, especially those of Brian's mother and brother who live just down the street. One restraining order and a lot of paranoia later, Mallory's parents decide to send her off to boarding school for her own safety and she suspects for theirs as well. As soon as she arrives at the school Mallory wants to leave, that same feeling of paranoia and uneasiness has followed her there, but what is there to return to except paranoid parents, a grounded friend who is not allowed to be around her, and the crazy mother of the boy she killed. School is no haven, Mallory is plagued by nightmares, hostile classmates, and uneasy feelings. Can Mallory come to terms with what she did before it tears her apart? I really enjoyed this fast paced, suspenseful read. I really enjoyed the author's tasteful diction in the book. With the use of her words, she had me enthralled throughout the entire book, and I'm certain that you will thoroughly enjoy this book as well.
Genre: Teen Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Reviewed by Shriraj
Recently, I picked up one of the most striking novels I have ever read: In the After. From page one, I was plunged into a desolate world, void of all human life, save a few, as the planet is overrun with Floraes: bald, green, humanoid beasts who are incredibly fast—and whose only aim is to prey on humans. This wasn’t just your average apocalypse; this was a heart-pounding, white-knuckle apocalypse, where the hunters became the hunted and every occurrence is life-threatening. In this distorted and despondent world, there are few survivors—one of them being Amy. Surviving in her own home shielded by an electric fence, she has muted herself so that They can’t hear her. She reminds herself that her days are numbered, and seeks out a way to exist in this ghostly world. To endure thus, she has to venture out of the sheltered confines of her home and into the noiseless darkness, becoming a silent shadow, lurking inches away from death. I thoroughly enjoyed the thrill and adrenaline that came with the experience of reading this book; there was never a dull moment. The vivid imagery, even of the grotesque habits of the Floraes, was enrapturing, and the unexpected ending blew me away. After finishing the book, I often found myself looking over my shoulder, treading cautiously, imagining a world in the After.
Reviewed by Serafina
Dan, Abbey, and Jordan are back! After a horrifying experience at the New Hampshire College Prep program filled with gruesome murders, horrible nightmares, and the uncovered psychotic workings of a deranged asylum warden, all Dan wants to do is move on. But it's hard to move on from what happened at Brookline; nothing back home seems the same and Abby and Jordan are becoming increasingly distant. Out of the blue Felix's mother writes to Dan begging him to come visit Felix. Begrudgingly, Dan agrees and goes to visit Felix in the cold white mental hospital where the crazy boy is staying. Felix tells Dan how he is sorry for all the sculptures he never got to make, sculptures made from freshly murdered human remains, and of a bright burning star. Inevitably Dan, Abby, and Jordan head back to Camford to finish what they started the past summer. Their journey isn't over and this time they'll uncover why the warden was so psychotic, what he was really doing, what a terrifyingly sick cult is doing with mind control and the bright burning star, and realizing that everyone in the--slightly creepy-- little town of Camford might not be so innocent. I loved this book so much and I will never be able to stop singing it's praises. Madeleine Roux kept me hooked until the very last page and I pray she isn't done writing about Dan, Abby, and Jordan!
Genre: Gothic Romance, Mystery
Laurie Halse Anderson
Reviewed by Sarah
I recently read Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson. It is narrated by Melinda Sordino, a freshman who is raped at a party over the summer. She calls the police, which makes many people angry and resentful. Even her friends shun her before learning the true reason that Melinda alerted the police. Before the party, she was a good student; afterwards, the most she can do to is actually show up to class. Though, that becomes a struggle she gives up fighting. The only class she actually enjoys is art. There, no one makes judgments and her teacher encourages her and is more a father figure than anything else. Throughout the novel, she speaks less and less and it is tearing her up inside. Encountering IT, the senior who raped her, does not rectify matters. He is in the halls, stalking her, haunting her. Melinda will not tell anyone for fear that they will think less of her or not believe her. However, she will have to talk in order to get better. The only question now is: will she speak before it is too late?
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Reviewed by Cara
As the first book in its series, The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel does a wonderful job of drawing the reader into the intricate world Michael Scott has woven. Drawing from a sizable list of mythologies, he crafts a land in which Josh and Sophie Newman are forced to deal with far more monsters and evils than they knew existed. After a disaster at their respective workplaces, these twins learn that every legend of both ancient and more modern civilizations has a grain of truth. As they are dragged into the lives of Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel, they must discover their own strengths and weaknesses, and how to deal with their lives now that they have been thrown off of their axes and into the domain of the Elder Gods. Though there was a bit of repetition in Scott's explanations of his detailed tapestry of mythoi, it does not draw from the story; if anything it helped me to keep track of the many gods and pieces of lore integrated into this novel. I was pulled into this thrilling plot quite easily, as it manages to embody the fantastical while also having characters with realistic personalities and reactions. I am completely hooked into this series and I will be rushing to read all of it as fast as possible.
Genre: Fantasy, Thriller, Fiction, Mythology
Reviewed by Olivia
One of the most anticipated spin-offs of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instrument Series, The Bane Chronicles starts off at a slow pace filled with, in my opinion, boring stories but gradually picks up speed to bring the recognizable Magnus Bane in to the light. This novel is comprised of eleven short stories that all revolve around one of the Cassandra Clare fandom’s most loved characters, the flamboyant Magnus Bane. It started off with stories in chronological order from the earliest in Peru and ending with messages from Bane’s phone. The beginning was pretty rough, but progresses to become better. The first story “What Really Happened In Peru” really let me down and it set a low bar for the rest of the book. The book did pick up speed once I got to the third story “Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale”. My favorite story happened to be “What To Buy The Shadowhunter Who Has Everything” because it was about Magnus’ love for Alec Lightwood and it was the closest to the character I remember. As much as I loved the ideas of the stories, it wasn’t Cassandra Clare’s unique voice that I have become accustomed to when reading her stories. This is because she has co-authors that helped her write the stories. The writing wasn’t entirely horrible; it just wasn’t what I expected. I would recommend this story only to people who love the fan fiction surrounding Magnus Bane and the Cassandra Clare fandom.
Genre: Teen Fiction, Fantasy
Reviewed by Caden
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa is a spectacular novel filled with adventure, romance, and hilarious characters that you will instantly fall in love with! The plot sucks you into the story immediately! Meghan Chase’s life changes in a matter of hours when she is forced into the Otherworld, the world of the fey. When her baby brother, Ethan, is kidnapped by one of the fey, she is forced to venture into this mysterious land. Accompanying her on her journey are some interesting companions, including the one and only Robin Godfellow, aka. Puck; Ash, who is one of the handsome Winter Fey princes, and Grimwalkin, a talking cat with a talent for disappearing when needed most. Now, I don’t usually like love triangles, but the one in this book is pretty fantastic. Honestly I don’t know how Meghan chooses between Puck and Ash! I love them both so much! I also loved the way that Julie Kagawa went into depth with her characters; the way she writes the history of the fey is amazing. There is so much that has gone on, because fey live for eternity, you just want to read more to figure out everything that has happened or what everything means. Along the way, Meghan discovers secrets about her past and realizes that she alone has the power to save the Otherworld from an evil threat. Julie Kagawa brilliantly takes Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and re-interprets it into a modern tale of magic, love, and adventure.
Reviewed by Michell
Imagine a world where secrets cannot be kept. That is the society 12 year-old Todd Hewitt, the only boy in town, lives in. As a side effect of a germ, the men of Prentisstown suffer from the fact that they can hear each others’ thoughts, resulting in a constant background blabber called the “Noise”. This novel takes off when Todd and Manchee, his dog, come across a void in the Noise at the edge of town and encounter Viola, a girl who is causing the silence. After accidentally stumbling upon the town's deepest secret, Todd is forced to flee, but this simple task is made difficult when his pursuers can hear everything he’s thinking. During the journey, Todd slowly learns that the “truth” he has been told about the history of Prentisstown is all a lie. The Knife of Never Letting Go is constructed from the simple and innocent words of Todd. Through the thrilling, fast-paced plot, we experience his sense of humor, curiosity, stubbornness, and a bit of violence and aggressiveness. Patrick Ness successfully develops and expands on the concept of the Noise and the idea of an all-male post-apocalyptic world disturbed by the appearance of a girl. Although the introduction of a whole new society was a bit confusing to me, the suspenseful and captivating storyline got me hooked on each page. There is no turning back once the first pages are read.
Genre: Science Fiction
Reviewed by Kelli
Can one piece of bronze affect the future of England forever? Agnes Wilkins feels trapped by the formal society of London in the year 1815 and longs for grand adventures in faraway lands. Lord Showalter, a wealthy man with an interest in Egyptology, holds a mummy unwrapping on his estate, which Agnes attends. When Agnes recovers a jackal's head from the mummy and takes it to the museum, she discovers it is a reference to a standard that is rumored to have supernatural powers. Along the way, Agnes meets Caedmon Stowe, a museum employee and Egyptology expert who later becomes a vital ally. Together, they discover that Napoleon Bonaparte is after the standard and planning to use it in battle. Will Agnes and Caedmon recover the standard for England, or will Napoleon get his hands on it first? This book “wrapped” me up for a key reason. The main character is a young woman who makes a vital contribution to her country. Throughout history, women have sometimes been portrayed as weak and helpless. A strong female protagonist like Agnes breaks the stereotype and encourages girls, including myself, to pursue their dreams. Yet, this book is best for teenagers who are at least 13. There are no truly “mature” themes, but romance is a driving force in the book. One graphic description is also present. Still, this book is a must read for anyone who loves adventure or history.
Genre: Historical Fiction