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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.

Asylum

Madeleine Roux

Ages 16-18

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

Doon

Carey Corp

Ages 14+

Reviewed by Caden

Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon is a spectacular book. The story follows best friends, Veronica and Mackenna, who are spending the summer in Scotland. Their vacation takes an adventurous turn when they accidentally enter a magical kingdom called Doon. Soon two swoon-worthy princes, Jamie and Duncan MacCrae, sweep them both off their feet. The book mostly follows the view of Veronica or “Vee”. Before they headed to Scotland, she started having visions of Prince Jamie. Soon she finds out that in Doon, they call it The Calling. The Calling is when you and your true love start having these visions to be able to find each other. When Vee and Mackenna find their way into Doon, people immediately suspect them of being the Witches of Doon. When Vee realizes that she and MacKenna actually found the Witch of Doon’s book in Mackenna’s grandmother’s house, their only thought is about getting it out of Doon before the Witch comes to collect it. But will they be able to find Doon again after they leave with the book? Will they be able to find their Scottish Princes again? This magical, funny, fast-paced story will pull you in immediately and you will not be to stop reading this incredible book

Genre: Fantasy

Mockingjay

Suzanne Collins

Ages 14+

Reviewed by Jeffrey

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins is the third and final installment of The Hunger Games Trilogy. After reading the first two books in the series, I couldn't refuse to pass up the grand finale. The cliffhanger from the second novel made me have a longing to find out the fate of Katniss and Peeta, the two main protagonists. The story continues from where it left off, so I'd suggest you'd read the first two books to know what's going on. I enjoyed how the novel jumped right into the plot. Although I did enjoy the majority of the book, there were some minor parts I didn't like as much as I anticipated. However, once I finished reading that very last page it was a bittersweet moment for me, I finally came to the conclusion of this amazing book series. If any of you readers are interested in reading this novel before seeing the movie then I'd definitely recommend it.

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Adventure

Stitching Snow

R. C. Lewis

Ages 14+

Reviewed by Olivia

R. C. Lewis’ 'Stitching Snow' is a brilliant take on the sweet Snow White with the daring intergalactic adventures of Star Wars. A wonderful tale of a hidden princess keeping secrets that might change the fate of the entire galaxy, 'Stitching Snow' proves itself as a novel worthy of living on a teen’s bookshelf. Essie has become used to the everyday cold on Thanda, a planet she has lived on for years. When the valiant Dane crash lands on Thanda, Essie finds herself thrown in to a battle she’s tried to avoid for years. To be honest, the first few chapters were really boring, but as soon as the sixth chapter hits, I found it hard to stop wondering what was going to happen next. What I loved about Lewis’ writing is that she wrote the first person tense believably. I found myself connecting with Essie, worrying when she worried, suspicious when she was, etc. This upgraded version of a well-known fairy tale takes Snow White to the next level and is a great easily digestible read for the new, teen science fiction reader. I would recommend this book to teens who love the retelling of fairy tales as well as teens who love romance filled in by riveting action. This is definitely an ‘A’ in my book.

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

The Lost Hero

Rick Riordan

Ages 12+

Reviewed by Cara

A hero's job is never done. Even when thrown into a world they know nothing about, Jason, Piper and Leo must quickly get their bearings, for they have a quest of epic proportions to embark upon. In a world of demigods, monsters and centuries-long rivalries, forging one's own path is daunting, but necessary. The first installment of the Heroes of Olympus series, The Lost Hero thrillingly kicks off the sequel series to the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. This book will not disappoint die hard fans and will attract even more readers as it details the rise of a trio of heroes, each with their own strengths, weaknesses and secrets. A story of friendship and overcoming one's own fears, The Lost Hero is an enthralling page turner that is hard to not read in one sitting. Whether you are new to Rick Riordan's writing or just picking up this novel, you will not want to put it down. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys an adventure or fantasy story.

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy

The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place

E. L. Konigsburg

Ages 12+

Reviewed by Kelli

In this novel by E.L. Koningsburg, Margaret Rose Kane is a twelve year old living in California in 1983. She is sent to an oppressive summer camp while her parents are spending their time in Peru. Margaret Rose soon becomes the victim of her campmates’ jokes and pranks. Luckily, her great-uncles, Uncle Morris and Alexander Rose Kane, bring her to stay at their home at 19 Schuyler Place, a house with an extraordinary backyard. Her uncles spent 45 years constructing three towers made of scrap metal, glass and porcelain shards, and jewels in the backyard. However, the neighborhood is being modernized, and developers want to destroy the palace. Margaret Rose is outraged and starts a battle to keep the towers. Will she succeed? I enjoyed this book for several reasons. First, the towers in the story are based on the real Watts Towers, which stand in Los Angeles, California. Stories based on true events are often more meaningful to me than made-up ones. Not only is the story based on a true event, but it also takes place in 1983. Historical fiction is one of my favorite themes. However, there are a few themes that may set off younger readers. For instance, oppression by monarchs is briefly touched upon. Before fifth grade, most kids do not know much about the oppression of kings. Also, the main character does get arrested at one point. I would recommend this book to a teenager who loves a riveting historical fiction tale.

Genre: Fiction

The Young World

Chris Weitz

Ages 16-18

Reviewed by Raj

The Young World is a book as intriguing as the title sounds. Reading background information, I got the impression that the book was about a post-apocalyptic society of teenagers—which is true, but does not even begin to describe the depth of this novel. The author, Chris Weitz, has encapsulated action, pain, drama, romance, and a wealth of themes that appeal to readers of any interest. Weitz creates a dystopian world inhabited solely by adolescents, the sole survivors of a sickness spreading the globe, wiping out all infants and adults. The remaining teenagers must pick up the pieces and salvage what’s left of society, as the flame of humanity seems to slowly flicker and die. Amid all this, Weitz injects surprising vitality by narrating a blossoming romance between Jefferson and Donna, who are brought together in an epic journey to save the human race. The refreshing first-person narration, as Weitz alternates between the points of view of Donna and Jefferson, breathes life into the deadened world and adds twists to modern post-apocalyptic stories. Weitz also subtly interjects real world references to components of everyday adolescent life: texting, social media, iPhones, and popular culture that make readers ponder on the fragility of life and one without these privileges. Not only did I enjoy the stimulating action, but also found the story presentation very cinematic. It’s no surprise that it originated from a movie screenwriter! Either way, this book will appeal to any teen novel-hunter or one who loves a thought-provoking story.

Genre: Dystopian

Thirteen Reasons Why: a novel

Jay Asher

Ages 14+

Reviewed by Michell

Clay Jensen, a normal high school student, arrives home to find a package with his name on it waiting for him on his porch. It is a box of seven cassette tapes from the late Hannah Baker, his former classmate and crush, who committed suicide just weeks before. Each tape details thirteen reasons that have driven Hannah to reach her final decision. Clay wants nothing to do with the tapes or Hannah’s death, but is drawn into her life story when he pressed play. He must listen through it all to find out his contribution to her conclusion. Thirteen Reasons Why is written in dual narration with Hannah’s voice projected through the tapes and Clay’s thoughts and helplessness as Hannah’s story unfolds before him. The recorded words reveal her struggle to maintain a tip-top reputation and her lost ability to control her own life. The strength and pain in Hannah’s voice guides Clay and us through their little town for a full-on, emotional ride into her crumbling world. This novel shines light on the darkness of suicide and opened my mind about the impact that one’s actions and words can have on a person. I found this book to be an interesting read in that a majority of the story is told in the perspective of the victim with the fact that Hannah’s fate is already revealed from the very beginning. Nonetheless, you will be drawn into this novel once YOU press play.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Antigoddess

Kendare Blake

Ages 14+

Reviewed by Cara

In Antigoddess, Kendare Blake reveals the consistency of human emotion through the ages by bringing Greek mythology into a twenty first century context. From the descendants of Circe's coven running a consultation and/or escort service to a used up and worn out goddess of the earth, nearly every aspect of the mythos is essentially translated into modern society, reminiscent of the Percy Jackson series. What does not need translating, however, is the remorse of Athena, the goddess of knowledge and strategy, and how it affects her in the present; like most people, her past and all the regrets of it are hitting her in full force. A brother of hers, Apollo, is experiencing the same thing -- his past actions are beginning to affect the life he now has with Cassandra, the girl he is in love with and a reincarnation of a prophet whom he practically destroyed and whom hated him for it. This book reminded me that the repentance we feel in the present does not always align perfectly with the morals of our past or the atonement of our future. Also, the intermittent themes of romance and friendship softened the serious message of the story and made it even more enjoyable for me. Over all, this book is a riveting story of the near impossibility of making amends for past actions and the crippling terror that comes with facing the inevitable. I would recommend this book to anyone with a penchant for mythology or unconventional adventure stories.

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Greek Mythology

Jane

April Lindner

Ages 16-18

Reviewed by Gabrielle

Why do bad things happen to good people? Welcome to the life of Jane Moore, one who would be considered "good" by most anyone's standards. Right from the get go of April Lindner's Jane, it is made apparent that Jane has been the victim of one misfortune after another. As a child, Jane was never considered to be good enough for her parents; She was perpetually confined to live in the shadows of her older siblings. Now nineteen, Jane receives news of her parents' sudden deaths. Unable to afford her college tuition, Jane desperately seeks a job via a nanny agency. Because of her level head and lack of interest in celebrity gossip, Jane lands a position at Thornfield Park, home to world famous rockstar Nico Rathburn and his daughter Maddy; although it seems that Mr. Rathburn himself is MIA.Throughout the following weeks, once Mr. Rathburn finally arrives, Jane finds herself inexplicably drawn to him despite the fact that he is a middle aged rockstar with a troubling past, not to mention a six-year-old daughter, and she, a nineteen-year-old college dropout working for him. Can their forbidden love triumph over Nico's threatening past? Based on Charolotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Jane by April Lindner explores the heartbreak and healing that lingering love brings. I thoroughly enjoyed this fast paced read, with its likable characters and preservation of the storyline from the original classic, and hope that you will enjoy it as well! ^-^

Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary