Reviews of Teen Books

The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I have read this book a total of four times and cannot get enough. The story is of teens being forced into a maze and having to think of a creative way to get out. With grievers which are the monsters that haunt the maze and thrilling action on every page it leaves me wanting more every time I read this book. I picked this book since I have a love for action and adventure movies and after hearing that this movie was coming out I decided to read the book. I enjoyed the action of the story and how much I could relate to the story. The only thing I did not like about the book is that the story line was slow or stuck at certain points during the story. It was overall very exciting and kept me up for hours. The book was moderately predictable although I was not sure whether they would or would not make it out of the maze. It was definitely one of the best books I have ever read and would highly suggest it.
Reviewer: Grade 9

Reviewer's Name: Sarah C.
Awards:
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lee, Harper
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

To Kill a Mockingbird shows us that growing up can not always be as easy as it seems. Especially when you live in Maycomb, Alabama, and your father is a lawyer defending a black man. Scout grows up not knowing much about the real world it is not until the trial that turns the whole town upside down that she really discovers how the South is really run. I love how relatable the characters are to teenagers like us today. I love how simple the story line is and the literature is beautiful. It tells you simply how things should be, it states things blatantly through Scout's eyes. The only thing I did not like about the book is that at some points it was hard to follow the story line. Although the story is very simple it got more complex when reading further. I chose this book because I had heard from many people that this was an incredible book and decided to see for myself. The book itself did surprise me as it did have a rather twist ending that was rather unpredictable. The characters were extremely relatable, I could see that in certain situations I would have acted similarly. I would say that it is definitely one of the best book I have read this year or even ever for multiple reasons. It can relate to old and young and describes an issue that still exists today.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Sarah C.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Rowling, J.K.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I love this book! It is a fun magical book and is perfect for us kids. J. K. Rowling did an amazing job making the characters and creating the settings and scenes to where you can picture them in your head. It is about a young boy named Harry and his friends named Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger working as a team to stop to most evil wizard in the history of magic from getting a stone that makes you immortal. This book has some very funny scenes:) I really enjoyed this book and I think you would too!

Reviewer's Name: Aubrey
Genres:
Book Review: Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps
Warren, Andrea
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

There are a crap ton of holocaust books out there. That said, this is a good one. The author interviews a survivor and recounts his horrible tenure in the death camps. The result is riveting. This book is classified as juvenile, but it's best for upper elementary and older, including adults.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Awards:
Reunited
Graham, Hilary Weisman
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Middle school best friends separate as high school approaches. Just as the girls broke up their favorite band does as well. The ex-best friends went their separate ways for high school. Alice hit the books studying for her dream college. Summer on the other hand takes up her social life becoming popular. Rebellious teen,Tieran ended up in boarding school for high school.

After graduating high school Level 3 reunite for one concert.When their favorite band comes back together will they? Reunited tells the story of a of three friends who go on a journey of changing friendship. The characters must overcome what tore them apart in the first place and make new memories along the way. This book is so much more than I expected. I thought Reunited would just be about ex-best friends becoming best friends again. However the author give you detailed descriptions and allows you to see a clear image in your mind. Which really made the book more than I expected. Before reading this book you should know the book changes perspective frequently so you have to figure out who's perspective it is. Overall I would recommend reading Reunited.
Reviewer Grade: 6

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie W.
Steelheart
Sanderson, Brandon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Steelheart is an amazing book with vivid details, vigorous action,and real emotions. I heard about this book from school but only just recently read the book. While it has similar aspects of other teen dystopian novels it is still entirely different. The book is worthy of five stars because of the enjoyment I found reading it. Some books are good but you may not enjoy them.

The author took me into the world of Steelheart and showcases a different side of being human through the power of fear. However Steelheart shows a hopeless world humans are no longer strong. Many dystopian novels are about hope of a cure(etc). The book shows a world which there is no hope for the hero to come. David Charleston saw it, the death of his father. From that day on he searches to avenge his father's death. David Charleston spends all his time researching the Epics for one of them killed his father.

The Epics were the super humans who over power the world with brutal cruelty.

Not only are the epics cruel they also have superpowers. The only people still fighting Epics are the Reckoners and David may have to join them.

Reviewer Grade: 6

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie W.
Anna and the Swallow Man
Savit, Gavriel
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In Poland in 1939, seven year old Anna's father went to work one day, never to return. As such, she finds herself learning to survive under the care of a stranger that she knows only as "the swallow man". Together, they escape Russian and German soldiers and travel the Eastern European countryside as they try to survive and make sense of the world that seems to be crumbling around them.

As this won the Odyssey Award (excellence in audio production) last year, I decided to give it a listen and I'm so glad that I did. The narration was excellent, but it would've been great even with a lesser narrator. This is a brilliantly written book that covers so much ground physically, metaphysically and metaphorically. Many things the Swallow man says or that Anna thinks are steeped in rich allegory and open for interpretation. Some of the things said are merely simple truths. Almost all of it feels somehow important and relevant. For example:

“The world as it exists is a very, very dangerous place.”

and

“Human beings are the best hope in the world of other human beings to survive.”

and

“Normally, her mind was like a busy beach - all day long she would run back and forth, leaving footprints, building small mounds and castles, writing out ideas and diagrams with her fingers in the sand, but when the night tide came in, she would close her eyes and allow each wave of rhythmic breath to wash in and out over her day's accumulation, and before long the beach would be clear and empty, and she would drift off to sleep.”

That, folks, is how you write prose. Insert clapping emoji here.

Plotting takes the background as this book is all about character development and parables and life lessons. It's about the importance of language, and people, and what it takes to stay alive when there's a war on. It's about being human and growing up. It's about family and love and necessity. It's about war. It's brutal and human and tender all at same time. And it's very, very good. 4 stars.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Awards:
Genres:
atonement
McEwan, Ian
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

A metafiction novel documenting the struggles of a young misinformed thirteen year old, Atonement by Ian McEwan provides an intense glimpse into the power of lying and the consequences resulting from deception. Briony, a British girl in the early twentieth century witnesses a crime she twists in order to fuel her intense jealousy. Her eagerness to fulfill her own desires corrupts and destroys her sister Cecilia and Robbie’s romantic life and Robbie is whisked away into World War II. Within the last chapter of the book, current Briony reveals the truth about her manipulation of the book in order to immortalize the love between Cecilia and Robbie, both who die as a direct result of Briony’s lies. I would recommend the book to anyone willing to read deeper and not take everything written on page as the truth.

Those who enjoy deep, complex, twisted plots would be captivated by Atonement. The seriousness of the crime and depiction of the same scene from multiple perspectives limits the prospective audience to those high school and older. Despite the book’s intriguing start, the ending infuriates many as Briony lifts the curtain to reveal her distorted depiction in order to repent for her guilt. Atonement fortifies the pang of a guilty conscious and the powerful repercussions that result from lying.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Alex K.
children of eden
Graceffa, Joey
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Joey Graceffa's book, Children of Eden, tells a beauty story of love and wonder. Eden, an artificial "paradise" created after the eco-fail, has a population control of only two kids. Unfortunately for Rowan, she is classified as a second child. She is not allowed outside of her cottage in one of the inner rings of Eden. One night, she is angry with her brother, Ash, for not remembering what Lark, Ash's crush who Rowan knows like a best friend although she's never met her, was wearing that day. In result, she climbs the stone wall isolating her from Eden, and into a world of fascination.

I honestly fell in complete love with this book and read it in 2 hours. You won't be able to put it down! For all the sci-fi readers out there, here's a good one for you!

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Kristin V.
Caraval
Garber, Stephanie
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Scarlett Dragna's impending marriage to a total stranger is her only hope. It'll get her away from her abusive father and allow her to save her younger sister. Her one regret is that she'll never have the opportunity to participate in Caraval - a traveling carnival/magic circus that patrons play like a game. She's written annual letters to Legend, the man in charge of Caraval. He's never responded. Until this year, when he replies to her request with a pair of tickets for this year's game. After a series of escalating events, Scarlett finds herself enmeshed in the strange game of Caraval, where nothing and no one are what they seem, and where one's thoughts, senses and "friends" are not to be trusted.

Most of the blurbs I've seen make this book seem similar to The Night Circus, but really all it has in common with that book is a ton of magical imagery and the concept of a travelling circus cloaked in mystery. Caraval is more like an extremely watered down version of The Magus by John Fowles. As I (unpopular opinion time) thought the Night Circus was only just ok, this was actually a plus for me as The Magus is a book that I LOVED. Unfortunately, however, the promise of Caraval's premise was never fully realized as the author got in her own way a lot. First, Scarlett has this weird power to see emotions as colors. I'm not sure why, as this never really went anywhere in terms of the character or plot. It does, however, give the author an opportunity to flex her purple muscles - the prose was not doing this book any favors. I skimmed a ton as the writing was overwrought. The characters were pretty bland - I can tell you that Scarlett loves her sister, is scared of her father, and has been obsessed with the Caraval since she was a child. That's about it. Scarlett falls into instalove, which has never not been annoying. The other major downside for me was that the premise had a ton of unrealized potential. Garber could have done a lot with unreliable narrators (remember, the concept is that once in the game, you can trust no one/nothing), or the mystery and atmosphere of the circus. There's relatively little chicanery. I'm hoping for more of...basically everything in the sequel.

Despite the lackluster characters and questionable writing, I found myself getting swept up in the story. Myriad problems notwithstanding, I liked it! I'll definitely check out the sequel, and I can see a lot of teens really loving this one. 3 stars.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Genres:
cress
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The third book to the Lunar Chronicles is long, but totally worth reading!
This book takes Rapunzel and twists it in with the Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella from the first two books. There is tons of action in this novel and a whole lot of planning. They still have to stop Kai's wedding and the risks they are willing to take to get there make the whole book one riveting adventure! I loved it so much and can't wait to read it again! If you enjoyed Meyer's first two books then you'll absolutely fall in love with this one.

Reviewer's Name: Marina G.
scarlet
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book takes Little Red Riding Hood and twists it with a unique Cinderella story. It's a bit confusing at first they way it jumps around between characters, but once you get the hang of it, its hard to put the book down!
There is plenty of action and just enough romance that nobody can resist. I have read this book several times and I still never get bored of it! There is so much information that you discover in this book after reading Cinder, the first book in the Lunar Chronicles, that reading this one is a must!!
Review Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Marina G.
Cinder
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I have read this book multiple times and it never gets old! There are plenty of Cinderella stories out there, but do they have Lunar cyborgs who can manipulate your thoughts at the drop of a hat? Do they have flying cars and a deadly virus set out on killing every human that contracted it? Cinder is a riveting and unique tale that Meyers wrote incredibly well! She managed to take an ordinary story and turn it into something so unique and amazing. I would 100% recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy!

Reviewer's Name: Marina G.
Batman: The Long Halloween
Loeb, Jeph.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Batman: The Long Halloween is a New York Times Best-Selling Classic written and drawn by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. This story is one of the best Batman stories, it will keep you reading with cliffhangers at the end of every chapter. Batman: The Long Halloween tells the story of Batman’s fight against a serial killer named “Holiday.” This enemy kills mostly members of the Falcone family, a wealthy family led by a crimelord trying to hold on to a crumbling empire. The Holiday Killer commits his crimes on every holiday, starting on Halloween and ending on Halloween a year later. The book is action packed, the art is great, and the story is a classic and must read for any Batman fan.

Reviewer's Name: Mason H.
Awards:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Alexie, Sherman
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a book that was assigned for my literature class, meaning I had low expectations and thought I would hate the book. However, the opposite was true, and the author actually uses a humorous outlook to portray a witty teenage character in this novel. The book follows one school year in the life of Junior, a fourteen-year-old boy living with his family on the Spokane Indian Reservation near Wellpinit, Washington.

It is told in a diary style, moving from the start of the school year, through the major holidays, and ending with the beginning of summer. It includes both Junior's written record of his life and his cartoon drawings, some of them comically commenting on his situations, and others more seriously depicting important people in his life. The story, as a whole, is entertaining, funny, and is still able to discuss darker issues such as abuse, alcoholism, and poverty. Overall, I thought this novel was fantastic, and was an easy and casual read. I would recommend this book to practically anyone looking for a fun, entertaining story.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Alex K.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Rowling, J.K.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling is one of the most exciting and immersive books I've read. Every page has something to offer and the climax is a fantastic way to end the Harry Potter series. It perfectly answers every question from the beginning, and the ending is phenomenal. The book tells the story in a way that is more detailed than the movies, and is the perfect accompaniment. The descriptive battles and challenges the characters face make this book an epic fantasy and a must-read for everyone.

I recommend this book along with the whole Harry Potter series to any reader.

The whole franchise from the books to the movies appeals to both adults and young readers, and is one of the best fantasy stories ever.

Grade:7

Reviewer's Name: Mason H.
Ethan Frome
Wharton, Edith
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton is a tragic love story between a poor miller with an ailing wife and his wife's cousin. Ethan Frome was a poor sawmill owner who got the mill from his father after he and his mother died.
While his parents were on their death bed a girl named Zeena came to help take care of them while Ethan ran the mill. Zeena caught his parents sickness and also fell ill. Ethan did not abandon her, instead, he married her. Not long after their marriage Mattie, Zeena's cousin, came to stay with them after her father death. Mattie and Ethan fell in love though they could not be together because of Zeena. Will Ethan and Mattie ever be together?

I would rate this book a 4 out of 5 because it is a extremely well written classic, though it is kind of slow and very depressing. I would recommend this book to people who like classic romance novels. Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Gabrielle F.
Genres:
the tyrant's daughter
Carleson, J. C.
2 stars = Meh
Review:

The Tyrant’s Daughter, written by J. C. Carleson, is a novel about a girl named Laila, who is uprooted from her home and moved to the United States after her father’s death. She soon realizes her mother is full of secrets, and is told by classmates at school that her father was a tyrant in her home country. This was news to Laila who then does more research on her father and finds out shocking facts about the man she thought she knew. Her mother is working with what she has been told is a CIA agent, and had another family from their country that Laila’s mother worked with as well. Throughout all of this happening, there is a love interest named Ian introduced earlier in the novel. In parts of the book, the novel got too descriptive in a way that makes readers uncomfortable. Overall, the book is okay, but should not be read by anyone under the age of at least 13. If very detailed make out scenes and high school dance scenes make you uncomfortable, I would not recommend this book, or just skip those chapters. Additionally, the author does not effectively merge ideas and events together, leading to a choppy and disappointing story.

Reviewer's Name: Alex K.
Awards:
Genres:
Batman: A Death in the Family
Starlin, Jim
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Batman: A Death In The Family is a graphic novel written by authors and artists Jim Starlin, Marv Wolfman, and many others. Batman: A Death In The Family is an insightful, action packed read, with a story that has become a groundbreaking classic in the vast history of Batman.
Batman and and his sidekick Jason Todd are doing their duty to their city and fighting crime to protect others, but Batman comes to notice that Robin has become reckless, with not a care about killing. Due to his behavior, Batman puts Jason off duty. On a quest to find his mother in the meantime, Robin crosses paths with Batman, who is in the same location, but for a different purpose. Together they help each other with their missions, but it all comes at a cost in an action packed ending that leaves Batman with a burden on his shoulders that will haunt him for the rest of his life.
Batman: A Death In The Family kept me reading for hours. The pages are packed with dialogue and action, but the story seems to take its time. The writting and art are brilliany and the twists and challenges Batman face are sure to make you confused in the start, but it all makes sense in the end.
The first and main section of the book is both sorrowful, yet some parts can make you laugh, and the after story provides a change of voice in the book.
This story is a must-read for Batman fans and a great addition to any collection or book shelf. I am glad a read it and I am excited to read the next chapter in the story of Batman.

Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Mason H.
Grand Guignol Orchestra Vol. 1
Yuki, Kaori
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Volume one of the Grand Guignol Orchestra was a wild ride. Set in a world where people have begun to be transformed into monstrously possessed doll creature called Guignols, the Unofficial Royal Orchestra travels to allegedly only bring relief to the remaining civilians by performing for them, but they do so much more. The story begins when the Orchestra comes to a town where there are no children besides the crippled young earl, the son of the man who hired the musicians.

I loved this manga because it was a taste of an idea renowned into something new. The character development was so slight, and yet I felt as if I'd known the Orchestra for years. There was an excellent balance of adventure, fear, and comedy implemented into the story, and the only reason I do not rate Grand Guignol Orchestra a 5/5 is because I've only gotten to experience one novel so far. This is an incredible manga for those wanting something frightening and tense, but desiring strong characters as well as a great story.

Reviewer's Name: Julia I. R. H.

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