Reviews of Teen Books

Click here to read reviews by PPLD’s Review Crew - book reviews by teens, for teens.
Upside Down in The Middle of Nowhere
Lamana, Julie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

It's late August, 2005, Armani Curtis can think nothing more about her tenth birthday, not even warnings of the storm can shake her, that is until she see's her parents shaken up. Suddenly, the party she has been waiting for, has to be cancelled, and Armani finds herself in the middle of Hurricane Katrina, stuck in the attic, and is floating around the whole city of New Orleans.
And just when it seems nothing could get worse, water and supplies are running out, her brother isn't able to breath, now her brother and father are stuck in the water somewhere, and she is stuck in the middle of nowhere without her mother. Now Armani needs to be responsible more than ever, and make the decision to stay put as her mother had told her or leave her mother behind and get on a bus to somewhere far away with her sisters and brother, without almost half her family.

I read this book because I wanted to understand what it would've felt like to be in Hurricane Katrina, the author also get's through to the reader's emotions, but also revisits a historic event that changed a lot of people's life.
Reviewer Age: 12

Reviewer's Name: Isabella P.
The Silver Crown
O'Brien, Robert
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Ellen Carrol, wakes up one morning to find a silver crown on her bed, but as soon as she leaves her home, she finds that her house burns down, along with her family, and she even witnesses a murder by someone with black clothes and green shoes.
Suddenly, she is on a journey to find her Aunt Sarah who is her only family left, but on the way there she escapes a kidnapper (several times), and meets an 8 year old named Otto. She then continues the rest of the journey, along with Otto, while being chased by the kidnapper (who happens to be the man with black clothes and green shoes).
Otto and Ellen then find a strange place, where there Otto is taken, and Ellen is willing to risk herself to find Otto and get out of that place. But if she does, she might never be able to get out of whatever this place is, and if she doesn't she could possibly still be in danger of the kidnapper that searches for her crown, that she still has no idea why, and what it is.

This book, Silver Crown, shows a lot of mystery, and adventure which is mostly why I read this book, but it also comes with things that you think happened for this reason, but it actually was because of this reason. If you like to read adventure or mystery books, this book is the right one for you.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Isabella P.
Beautiful Creatures
Garcia, Kami
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Beautiful Creatures introduces 2 characters who end up being helpful to each other in a small town called Gatlin.
Ethan Wates, has a dream to leave Gatlin, and go explore the world, as long as it's as far as possible from Gatlin. But, he keeps having the strangest dream about a beautiful girl, who knows him, and he hasn't even met her.
Lena Duchannes, just moved to Gatlin, and is struggling to hide her power that keeps on growing stronger because of a curse that has cursed her family for centuries.
When Ethan, first see's Lena, he is suddenly interested in her, and tries to find out who she is. But when he finally discovers what she has been trying to hide, he puts himself in a puzzle that he refuses to get out of because of his love for her. With school, home, and the curse, this story has a ending, that could change there lives forever.

I liked reading this book because it always had an adventure, but also added mystery at the beginning and towards the end of the story. But it could've been better if the author of this book could've added more suspense at the beginning of the book.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Isabella P.
Awards:
The Walking Drum
L'Amour, Louis
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Walking Drum by Louis L’Amour is the story of the twelfth
century adventurer Mathurin Kerbouchard and his journey to find and rescue his father who had been captured at sea. His journey takes him all across Europe and into the Muslim world, a world of culture and science that is much different than the squalid life of Europe. It is a lively story, full of exciting characters, vivid description of life in the Middle Ages, and daring exploits that climax at the infamous Valley of the Assassins. Throughout the book are many historical facts thrown in by Kerbouchard as he narrates his travels which I found interesting, but someone who is simply looking for an adventure book might find them tedious. I would definitely recommend this book to someone who loves history and travel, because it satisfied some of my own wanderlust with its vivid description of the splendors of an age long gone.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Grace O.
Neil Flambe and The Crusader's Curse
Sylvester, Kevin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Neil Flambe may be a very annoying person, but at least he's got his nose and his talent for cooking to back it up. But then all the sudden his talent starts to take a turn for the worse. At his restaurant, Chez Flambe, all of his food is being taken back, he get's complaints from his costumers, and all the sudden his restaurant has been forced to close down due to reports of food poisoning. Then to add on to all of his problems, Neil discovers that there is a family curse that has stopped Flambe chef's for centuries. Now he is being forced to go into a chef cook-off and could lose everything if he makes one mistake. Neil suddenly has stepped into a mess that even, he thinks, he can't cook his way out of.

I picked this book because as I first read this book, I couldn't put it down.
The author pulled me into all of the problems of the story making me engaged in the story quickly and slowly showing me how it was going to end.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Isabella P.
Smile
Telgemeier, Raina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This is one of my favorite books because it is a true story and it shows that you are not the only one that goes through hard situations. Smile is about a girl and how she needs braces and she is not looking forward to that and on top of that a horrible accident happens making it so that she needs to do more with her mouth than just get braces. She also goes through friend problems, boy problems, and the problems of peer pressure from the people around her. I like it because the problems are not about one person that saves the world it is about one girl going through real life problems.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Paige C.
The Battle for Wondla
DiTerlizzi, Tony
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is the third and last book of the Wondla series. I like this book because it is set in another time in Orbona a planet that was once known as Earth. It tells the story of a young girl named Eva Nine, and how she grew up in an HRP Sanctuary where she is learns how to survive in a long forgotten word. When she finally goes out into the world she learns that all she though about the planet she was on is wrong. The whole series is about this one girl and how she grows and learns on a long trip of self discovery.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Paige C.
Prisoner B-3087
Gratz, Alan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I thought that this was a really good book. It is based on the life of a true Jewish person who lived through the Holocaust. It tells you about all of the horrible things that the Nazis did to the Jews during the Holocaust. Even though there are some very bad things that happened during this time that this book tells you about, it is good to sometimes remind ourselves about this so that it never happens again. The main character goes through several concentration camps and manages to survive until the end of the war. The U.S soldiers eventually come into the last camp that the main character is in and rescues all of the Jews. This book shows how much stress and pain people are able to endure. Overall, this was a great book and I would strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to know what the holocaust was like and who would just like to remind themselves of what happened to the Jews during world war two so that they can help ensure that it will never happen again.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Kai K.
Genres:
Star Wars: Aftermath
Wendig, Chuck
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This was a great book. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who is curious about what happens after star wars episode VI and VII. It does a great job about filling in the gap between those two episodes. It is about a small diverse group of people: a lady named Norra, her son, a bounty hunter and an imperial defector who take the fight right to the empire and attempt to stop it's reign once and for all. The empire has been severely weakened when the rebels blew up the death star for the second time and the imperials are having a summit meeting to gather together and regroup their forces and attempt to map out the future for the empire. Meanwhile the rebels have renamed their selves the New Republic and are attempting to bring democracy back to the galaxy but still have the problem of the empire's remaining forces. Even though the death star has been destroyed once and for all, the empire still has a few remaining star destroyers and a super star destroyer that are challenges for the rebels. Overall, this was a great book and it is defiantly a must read for any Star Wars fan.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Kai K.
Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company
Freed, Alexander
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I thought that this was a great book. It had a very exhilarating story line that made the book hard to put down. The main character's name is Namir and he is a soldier for the rebel alliance. Namir is in the sixty first mobile infantry better known as twilight company. This book is full of fight scenes so if you like books with a lot of action then this is a book for you.
One of the characters is actually an imperial stormtrooper who you read about sometimes so it is fun to get to see the story from the other side's point of view. One of the characters that works for the rebels is an imperial defector named Everi Chalis who gives information to twilight company about the empire's tactics. However the question remains, is she a double agent and also giving the empire information about the rebels? Overall, one reason why it is fun to read this book is because it focuses on the average soldiers in he rebel alliance as opposed to the movies which focus on high ranking people such as Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker. All in all, this is a must read for any star wars fan.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Kai K.
Navy Seal Dogs
Ritland, Mike
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This was a great book. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who is interested in how k9s are used in the military or who is just interested in how special operations forces work in general. The author shares his story of why he joined the military and became a navy seal. He then started his own company that trains dogs for use in the military. You get to read some of his stories from in the military and how amazed he was at what dogs are capable of doing and how many lives they have saved. You will also pick up some dog training tips that you could use to train your own dog. Overall, this was a great book and I really enjoyed it and I think that you will too.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Kai K.
The Secret Adversary
Christie, Agatha
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie is a spine-tingling mix of
mystery, international intrigue, and spy thriller. It begins with the sinking of the Lusitania when a mysterious man gives a girl he does not even know a package with instructions not to let it fall into enemy hands. The story then moves forward four years to 1919 when a pair of friends, Tommy and Tuppence, set out to help a rich man find his long-missing cousin. Quickly, though, the pair are swept up in an intrigue far beyond what they could have ever imagined and with consequences that could change their entire world. Like most Agatha Christie mysteries, the culprit is kept a secret until the very end, which turns what might be a typical spy story into an engaging mystery.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Grace O.
Skyfaring
Vanhoenacker, Mark
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book was one of the best books I have read this year. I
would strongly recommend this book to anyone who would be interested in working in the travel or airline industry. This book really does make you see how it is like to fly a plane through the eyes of a pilot. The author explains it almost poetically and nicely splits the book into nine chapters that all compare flying to the name of the chapter. These chapters are: Lift, Place, Wayfinding, Machine, Air, Water, Encounters, Night, and Return. You will really realize that flying is an almost completely different experience for the pilot than it is for the passenger. For example, he points out that as a passenger, you spend the entire flight looking out a small window in the side of the plane but as the pilots, you get a different experience as you are looking out the front and have a better view of the earth. All in all, I thought that this was one of the best books I have read this year and I am sure you would enjoy it too.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Kai K.
Awards:
The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again
Tolkien, J. R. R.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In The Hobbit, the prelude of The Lord of the Rings, the main character is a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. He lived in a lovely hole carved into a hill and he lived a wonderful, luxurious life, with second breakfasts, and fun parties. That all changed when a mysterious wizard named Gandalf and a troupe of dwarves came into his house one morning. The dwarves told him of the horrible dragon named Smaug who had killed all the other dwarves and stolen their home. Now Bilbo must venture to the Misty Mountain, fighting goblins, evil wolves and spiders on the way to slay the dragon who terrorizes everything in it's path. Will he succeed or die on his perilous quest? Find out by reading this book. It is filled with creativity and cleverness. I would recommend it for anyone who liked Lord of the Rings. It is a great book.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Nicole B.
The Mysterious Benedict Society
Stewart, Trenton
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

After passing a peculiar test found in an ad in the newspaper, four gifted children are given a mission: attend the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened to defeat a malicious organization with hypnotizing abilities.
Judging from the summary, it seems like an overdone cliche novel, but it really isn't.
The characters are all quirky and diverse, but I was still able to relate to them; it was fun reading about all of them. They all had their own gifts and talents that made them unique from each other.
It had a perfect mixture of action, suspense, mystery, and a touch of adventure.
The plot was engaging and all of the events and trials that occurred were compelling and captivating. I was never bored when reading this. The solutions the main characters came up with when faced with a problem was always clever and left me impressed that the author was able to come up with such a smart answer.
All of the plot twists were incredible and had me at the edge of my seat!
The Mysterious Benedict Society is an amazing book, and I couldn't put it down. It seems impossible to hate this book. All of the people I've met that have read this book (granted, I've only met a few people who have) love it.
I'm sure you would too.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X
Genres:
The False Prince
Nielsen, Jennifer
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Sage, a quick-witted orphan, is to compete with three other children to become the impersonator of a prince, or die. This plan, devised by a nobleman, is made to prevent a civil war that is bound to tear the country apart.
This novel isn't amazing, but it's worth a read.
Most of the novel happened while Sage was training to become an adequate impersonator, which I expected, but it was a little boring at times.
The strongest quality of it was the main character, Sage. He had a lot of
personality- snarky and stubborn, but clever and heroic too. I enjoyed seeing him react to the different trials he had to face as well as the shrewd comebacks he would make.
The ending of the book was the best part. It was when an unexpected (but not
unwelcome) plot twist occurred and everything was tied together. Although I said it was the best part, it felt kind of rushed because so many things happened in such a short time.
I didn't really feel very strongly for this book. To me, it was a tiny bit bland until the last part. It wasn't really my cup of tea, but I definitely think it is worth a try.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X
The City of Ember
DuPrau, Jeanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In Ember, the only sources of light are lampposts. The whole city depends heavily on electricity, and it just so happens to be running out of it. The city is dying, and everyone knows it. When Linda finds a letter, she's sure it's the secret to saving Ember. Unfortunately, it had been chewed up by her baby sister before she saw it. Linda and her friend, Doon, are determined to find out what the letter means.
In the beginning, the novel doesn't say what, exactly, Ember is, except that it's a city, artificial light is the only light there is, and the only food to eat is canned. Because of that, the readers don't really know what the setting is, and that really makes the book mysterious as well as interesting.
There wasn't really anything special about the characters, but finding out what was really going on was fun. It really felt like I was there with the characters, trying to solve the mystery together; Something about the novel made me very emotionally invested in it.
Reading about the environment so familiar to the characters but so foreign to me was fascinating and enjoyable.
The City of Ember, to me, was one of a kind. The sense of adventure I felt when reading it, even though most of the story was in the same setting, was enchanting. I hope this review compels you to read it because it really is a great book.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X
The Giver
Lowry, Lois
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Jonas lives in a perfect world, but when he becomes the Receiver and is transferred memories from the past, he soon realizes that there are some serious issues with the way his "perfect world" is being run.
It was cool to see Jonas, the main character, grow and develop as a person.
In the beginning, he was as ignorant and naive as the rest of his peers, but he eventually matures and becomes aware of the problems around him.
The way Lois Lowry described surroundings were very clever. For example, (this is a bit of a spoiler) Jonas's world was in only black and white and I didn't realize it for a very long time because the author didn't outright say it; that made me feel Jonas's confusion when he first sees color.
It was really interesting reading about how Jonas's city functioned and what its rules were- it was very different from ours.
The novel gave me a lot to think about; it made me wonder how much bad things we can eradicate until the eradication itself becomes a bad thing. The line between good and evil becomes more and more blurry the closer you get.
The Giver is a nice book to read and I recommend it!
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X
Roller Girl
Jamieson, Victoria
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This isn't your typical comic book. It doesn't have fantasy super heroes or talking animals. This novel is about your everyday girl in a real-life situation that falls in love with roller derby. I wasn't expecting to like this book because I'm not much of a comic book person but it surprised me and I loved the message. The only thing I would change is the age of the main character because some of the events in the story were questionable because she is seems young. If you are looking for a really quick read with a good message then this is the book for you.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Mikayla B.
Allegiant
Roth, Veronica
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In Allegiant, the third and final addition of the Divergent series, Tris lives in a city of five factions, groups of people who believe in upholding and supporting one personality trait. Dauntless are brave, Amity are kind, Candor are honest, Abnegation, selfless, and Erudite intelligent. In the previous book, a video was sent out to Tris's city asking for people to come from the city out into the world and help the poor, suffering people. Tris and her friends want to go and see what the real world is like, but the factionless (people who failed to be accepted into a faction) took them as prisoners. They escaped and go out beyond the limits of the city. Tris discovers the truth behind her city and what the outsiders plan to do to it.
Will she succeed in saving her friends from a horrible fate, or will she fail and have no friends to go back to? Find out by reading Allegiant. Allegiant perfectly explains the backstory of the city in the books. However, it is very different from the other two books in the Divergent series because it reveals the unexpected truth about the city. Overall, it is a very good book.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Nicole B.

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