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Goodreads Choice Award/Nominee

Book Review: Clockwork Angel

Clockwork Angel
Author: 
Clare, Cassandra
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Clockwork Angel is the fantastic first book in the Infernal Devices Trilogy, a series set in the Shadowhunter's universe. When Tessa Grey arrives in London, she is simply looking for her brother, Nate, however she quickly is drawn into London's Downworld, where fey, vampires, and demons run wild on the streets. Taken in by the London Institute, she meets Jem and Will, Shadowhunters that are devoted to the fight against downworlders. As she begins to realize the depth of her own power, a plot comes to light that could threaten the safety of the world.
This is a great book filled with just enough romance, action, lore and adventure. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoyed Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instrument series or generally likes historical fantasy. As a whole, this book is an amazing read that draws you in immediately.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: 
Hailey K.

Book Review: We Were Liars

We Were Liars
Author: 
Lockhart, E.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

i read we were liars before e lockart came to the library and i was soooo happy when i found out she was coming. her speech at the library was so inspirational and amazing. anyways its about a girl named cadence sinclair who has a really broken family and they wont accept this Indian boy named gat who she loves. her family goes to an island every summer and gat is never really accepted the end of the book is so heartbreaking and unexpected good for fans of john green, rainbow rowell, julie buxbaum, lauren myracle and more.

Reviewer's Name: 
elizabeth p.

Book Review: Red Queen

red queen
Author: 
Aveyard, Victoria
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard reminds the reader that anyone can betray anyone. At the beginning of the book, Mare meets Farley, the leader of a group called the Scarlet Guard, a group that strives for equality between those with silver blood and those with red. Later, Mare, a red, gets a job at the royal palace because she talks to the prince, who decides to hire her. On her first day of the job, a freak accident causes her to get the power to create and control lightning. Because only silvers are supposed to have powers, the royal family decides to lie about her backstory and have her become the new princess. Mare and her new fiancé, Mavis, join the Scarlet Guard in order to give reds and silvers equal rights. In the end, Mavis reveals to Mare that he had been using her all along and attempts to kill her, but fails.

Red Queen was a total disappointment. I have heard so many people saying that it is a great book, and I know it was nominated for the Blue Spruce awards, but I don’t see why. It’s like the author combined the plots of Hunger Games, The Selection, and Divergent. I love all those books, but I was hoping for something more unique. It was the most like Hunger Games, with the people in the districts like the reds, and the people in the Capital are like the Silvers. Also, most of the main characters were annoying, unlikable, and impossible to grow attached to. I thought it was fine at the beginning, but it lost my interest as it went on. I thought that the parts with the Scarlet Guard were very boring. The book in my opinion would have been much better without the Scarlet Guard. Also, the book does not provide any information of how their society came to be that way, something that should be included in any dystopian novel. I want to know how the Silvers came to be, and how they got their powers. I didn’t like how they wanted to fight against the silvers because of inequality between reds and silvers, holding all the silvers responsible for what only a few government officials did. Red Queen was hugely overrated, and I will not be finishing the series.

Reviewer in Grade 8

Reviewer's Name: 
Nicole B.

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Parts One and Two

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Author: 
Tiffany, John
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Harry Potter and the Cursed child invites the reader into the life
of Albus Potter, Harry Potter’s son, as he and his friend attempt to save Cedric Diggory by going back in time. The book starts at Kings Cross station, where Albus and his cousin, Rose are about to board the Hogwarts Express, exited to finally learn magic. On the train, Albus makes friends with Scorpius, Draco Malfoy’s son, a kind boy whose only goal is to make friends. Later, everybody is stunned to see that Albus is sorted into Slytherin and is terrible at Quidditch. Over the years, Albus becomes resentful of his father because he was so much better than him socially, academically, and athletically in his youth, making people have unrealistic expectations for Albus. In an act of rebellion against his father, he goes into the past with Scorpius to try to save Cedric Diggory’s life, leading to disastrous consequences that they and their parents must fix. In the end, Albus learns to be grateful for and love his father, despite their differences.This book was very entertaining. I loved how it was written like a play, showing the director’s notes. This was a wonderful book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Nicole B.

Book Review: The Trespasser

The Trespasser
Author: 
French, Tana
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

In the early hours of the morning, a man places a phone call to the local police station reporting that a woman has fallen down and hit her head in her living room. He asks for an ambulance to be sent but hangs up before the officer receiving the call can ask any more questions. When the first responders arrive at the scene, they find a young woman lying against the fireplace, dead. Junior Detectives Antoinette Conway and Stephen Moran are assigned to the case, but as they dig into the facts they start to suspect that there’s more to it than a simple domestic dispute. Try as they might, though, every new lead seems to dry up when they look into it. And it isn’t just the case that’s causing problems; everything seems to be going wrong in Conway’s life. She’s being relentlessly hazed by the other detectives on the squad; her relationship with her friends is deteriorating between the long hours and her own depression; and no matter how high their clearance rate is, neither she nor Steve are having any decent cases thrown their way. Conway is tough as nails and dedicated to her job, but the animosity of the rest of the squad and the constant scut work are starting to make her doubt her career path. This case seems like their best chance to get back on track and finally win some respect -- provided they can prove that there’s more to it than meets the eye.

This is the most recent entry in Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series. If you're not familiar with the series, I'll say that, while each book can be read as a stand-alone without issue, there are some recurring characters that make it rewarding to read them in order. The lead in this book, Antoinette Conway, was first introduced in the preceding book, The Secret Place, and her partner, Steve, started out as a minor character in Broken Harbor. All of French’s books are excellent character portraits, so it’s rewarding to get to see the same individuals first from an outside perspective and then from within their own head, but you won’t miss anything plot-wise by skipping them. The Trespasser centers around the idea of fantasy: the stories we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better, the stories we tell to other people to make them act the way we want them to, and the devastating effects it can have when those fantasies finally collapse. That applies as much to the detectives as it does to the victim, and so we get a nice mix of personal drama with our protagonists and the more straightforward investigation of the murder. I loved Conway as a character in The Secret Place, so I enjoyed getting to see things from her own perspective in this book. What I like about French’s books is that they have more going on than just the ‘whodunnit’. The mystery is always interesting to me, but what really shines is her portrayal of the characters and the setting: Dublin really comes alive for you in her books, and the characters feel like they could walk off the page.

Reviewer's Name: 
Lauren

Book Review: Heartless

Heartless
Author: 
Meyer, Marissa
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

In Marissa Meyer's (The Lunar Chronicles) new standalone novel, she explores the Queen of Heart's origin story. Lady Catherine Pinkerton wants nothing more than to open her own bakery with her maid, Mary Ann. But as the Kingdom of Hearts operates in a style similar to that of Victorian England, Catherine finds herself without the money or permission to do so. Worse yet, she's being courted by the king, a silly man that she has little interest in marrying, though she is under constant pressure from her mother to accept his advances. And then, at a royal ball, a hot new court jester with murky motivations appears alongside a Jabberwock and Catherine's life and the Kingdom of Hearts will never be the same.

This was a pretty hotly anticipated read for me, as I adored the Lunar Chronicles. And a lot of the best things about the Lunar Chronicles were present here too: Wonderland and its delightful, sinister, and delightfully sinister characters are definitely a part of the story without overwhelming the character development or seeming trite. It was brilliantly executed. The romance, for me, was just a bit overbearing, and I had a hard time investing in Jest, the love interest. He was introduced as a magician, and then all I could envision whenever he was around was GOB Bluth dancing around to Final Countdown. Decidedly not sexy. We also didn't really learn enough about him for me to ever really care about his fate. I really enjoyed the other parts, though - Catherine's struggles to do right by her parents while preserving her dreams of opening a bakery were realistic and relatable, and her transition from hero to villain was pretty believable in the context of everything that happened. Warning: the food is well described - this book will make you eat any and all baked goods in your house. Oh, and the last 100 pages, the end game, was fantastic. It's a lot of fast paced action laced with emotion, and it's marvelous.

While there was a bit too much romance in this one for my taste, I think those that enjoy a bit more romance in their fantasy reads, or those that love a well-written, somehow inventive fairy tale retelling will love this one. I liked it - 3 stars.

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: After You

After You
Author: 
Moyes, Jojo
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

It’s been 2 years since Will Traynor’s death. Louisa Clark traveled for a while, but now she is stuck in a bad job and just treading water. Even surviving a fall from the rooftop of her apartment building doesn’t shock Louisa into wanting to experience more of life. Louisa joins a support group to deal with her grief and develops a relationship with the paramedic who saved her. However, it’s the arrival of teenage girl with a link to Louisa’s past that sets her life into a spin and changes it in more ways than she could ever have imagined. After You, Jojo Moyes’ sequel to Me Before You, is a well-written, realistic look at dealing with grief and all the curves life throws at a person. Fans of the first book will feel like they are catching up with an old friend. Be prepared to cry and laugh out loud as you spend more time with this loveable character.

Reviewer's Name: 
Milissa

Book Review: Carry On

Carry On
Author: 
Rowell, Rainbow
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Rainbow Rowell's "Carry On" had me laughing and tearing up and cheering along the protagonists like a crazy person, which -- as I listened to the audiobook in my car -- I'm hoping didn't concern my fellow drivers. This book is not only a clever love letter to the Harry Potter universe/the concept of a "chosen one" narrative, it's one of the cutest teen fiction romances I've read in a long time. I'm going to try not to spoil anything, which is why this review is so very, very short, but... Awww. What a simultaneously goofy and emotional book.

As you may or may not know, "Carry On" takes place in the universe Cath is fangirl-ing over in Rowell's other novel, "Fangirl," but I'd say it works very well as its own independent story. You could read it as a set with "Fangirl," or just read it for its own sake, I imagine both ways are fun and interesting for different reasons.

Categories: Teen Fantasy, Just Plain (?) Fantasy (if you love the Harry Potter books, this is kind of intended for you, I think, regardless of age), GLBTQ Fiction, Humor (?), Romance, Satire/Reinterpretation

Reviewer's Name: 
Kate

Book Review: Yes Please

Book Review: Yes Please
Author: 
Poehler, Amy
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

I don't recommend this book to anyone completely stressed out. Amy Poehler is crazy busy and manic in her daily life. That's fine for her, but I was reading it during a stressful/manic period of my life and it wigged me out. Although it's a bit scatterbrained, it is a good book about her life with some very famous improv groups and tv shows.

Reviewer's Name: 
vfranklyn

Book Review: Through the Woods

Through the Woods
Author: 
Carroll, Emily
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

“Through the Woods” by Emily Carroll is a comic book collection of whimsically morbid fairy-tales, each mostly self-contained but serving what I would call an important, human theme: the uncanny waits, and surrounds, especially where you wouldn’t expect it. I love the stark yet evocative art throughout this book, and some of the stories did manage to surprise me. I personally love testaments to the monsters under our beds, particularly those intended for adults, and if you do, too, you may carry something interesting away from this collection. At any rate, the art is gorgeous, feeling “classic” even as it’s so unique.

Reviewer's Name: 
Kate

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