Teen Book Reviews

Foster, Thomas C.
3 stars = Pretty Good

The book is a very practical book and an amusing guide to literature. It is about a chatty Professor from University of Michigan who talks about different elements of literature such as mythology, geography, faith, Bible, seasons, Shakespeare, etc... There are ample of examples and the language is friendly. The author is quite controversial about some topics but overall, the book is entertaining and fun to read!

Shivani
Hillenbrand, Laura
4 stars = Really Good

I found this book extremely depressing for the most part. Not because it was a bad book, but because it was so sad. I was surprised and stunned at the intensity of the book. Normally I don't care for fictional books. This was a true story about a man who went through hard times.
Louis Zamperini was a mischievous kid, an Olympian, a bombardier on a B-24 Liberator and a World War II prisoner of War (POW). As a POW Louis was treated as trash. The Japanese forced them work for them. Turning the POW's into slaves. Many of the POW's died of sicknesses or to much work. Louis was beaten and tormented. They tried to take everything from the POW's. They took those men and stripped them of their dignity, leaving them feeling worthless.
Everyday Louis watches as men unable to hold on anymore give up and die. To keep himself going he thinks about home. As the war gets closer to ending his hopes fly up higher. When the war was finally over Louis comes home. He is not the strong Olympian he was. He is a frail man of 29. He can't leave the horrors of the camp behind. His dreams are tormented by thoughts of the prison. His life might have taken a turn for the bad had he not met Jesus. I highly recommend this book to most teens. This is a heart worming and heart breaking story. I loved it!!!

Rachel
Hough, Jason M.
4 stars = Really Good

Any fan of adventure, aliens, sci-fi, Australia, daring innovations, zombie-like creatures, characters some could easily relate to, flying ships, and an interesting plot is sure to love this book. I randomly checked out this book for the summer and was surprised to enjoy it; unlike other books where it takes a few chapters to get to the point and books with boring dialogue, this book can take any reader to another world which, in a couple of decades and some imagination, a reader can understand happening for real.

Caitlyn
Lawhead, Stephen
4 stars = Really Good

I mostly read this book for the enjoyment of finding a new take on Robin Hood. It's an excellent story with developed characters and rich plot. A must read for Robin Hood fans, historical fiction readers, and anyone who is just looking for a unique story.

Caitlyn
Bradley, C. Alan
3 stars = Pretty Good

Not my favorite of the series. SO many characters, I had a hard time remembering them all! I understand it must have been nice to have Flavia visiting his home country (the author is Canadian), but I preferred the books set in Bishop's Lacey, England.

Krista
Seraphina
Hartman, Rachel
4 stars = Really Good

Seraphina is the music mistress living at court, but she has a secret. Beneath the layers of her carefully tied sleeves and around her waist are the scales of a dragon. Dragons and humans barely tolerate each other--despite their treaty--except when they fall in love. Seraphina's shape-shifting-dragon mother died in childbirth and Seraphina's human father tried to keep his daughter out of the public eye. As Seraphina becomes a teenager her intelligence, musical talent, and curiosity plunge her into the intrigues of the royal court and into the arms of a prince. How long will she be able to hide her true nature from the prince?

Renee
Book Review: Your Brain: The Missing Manual
MacDonald, Matthew
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Your Brain: The Missing Manual is the book for "the rest of us" who don't want to or can't take in all the medical jargon that usually infests books about how the "little grey cells" work.

Matthew MacDonald takes the information about how the brain functions and breaks it down into usable chunks. He gives a brief but thorough explanation of several functions the brain performs in simple English, then explains how the brain's owner can make the best use of how the brain works. An analogy would be that instead of someone trying to explain what's under the hood of that great car, he shows you the control panel and HOW TO USE the car. Chances are, you don't need to know how many cylinders there are, what kind of oil it uses etc. because all you plan to do is USE the car and maybe do a bit of maintenance. Matthew MacDonald's approach is that of someone explaining just enough of how the brain functions so that it can be used more efficiently and to the owner's benefit. I heartily recommend the book, especially to staff and teens who could use the problem solving techniques the author includes in the book for learning, school problem solving, etc.

Pauline
Book Review: Nation
Pratchett, Terry
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Just when Mau has completed the ritual of surviving on an island apart that should mark his transition to manhood, the tidal wave hits. Before he can reach the festival on the shores of home, his entire village is destroyed. As the sole survivor, Mau must learn how to rebuild the Nation. At first this is just a physical rebuilding, but as castaways begin to wash up on shore, Mau is compelled to reconstruct the community and spiritual aspects of his heritage as well. Pratchett weaves an engaging story that is sometimes somber, frequently humorous, and as smart as his resourceful characters.

Renee
Book Review: Cinder
Meyer, Marissa
4 stars = Really Good

As a cyborg--part human, part technology-- sixteen-year-old Cinder is the lowest of the low and an embarrassment to her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interface gives her the ability to tell when people are lying to her, and to access to a netlink with news, and manuals that help her be the best mechanic in New Beijing. Being the best mechanic comes in handy when the Prince needs his android repaired and this is how Cinder and Prince Kai meet. This story's contains elements familiar to the fairy tale: evil stepmother, prince, a small foot, and a ball; but the resemblance ends there and takes the story a million miles beyond the original tale. The story has one small flaw, but it is barely noticeable in this can't-wait-to-see-what-happens-next retelling.

Renee
Book Review: Matched
Condie, Ally
3 stars = Pretty Good

This is a teen melodrama romance so there's a bit of navel gazing going on. It seemed to me that the main character tried too hard to be poetic, which was somewhat annoying. But it picks up towards the middle and becomes a more interesting. I plan to read the second in the series. If I were a teenage girl, I would probably give this book a higher rating, so apologies to the author.

vfranklyn
Book Review: The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone
Griffin, Adele
4 stars = Really Good

This was an intriguing book about an imaginative artist who passed away at a young age. The author interviews her friends and family in order to discover more about her. Each person has a different outlook of Addison Stone. I really enjoyed this story which seemed to be about a real person since it includes photos and artwork of this promising young artist (but it is actually a novel).

Lisa
Book Review: Crime and Punishment
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I think what made this book so amazing to me was my originally misconceptions about it. All I knew about it was that it was "creepy and disturbing", and looking down at the plain orange and black cover with a not-very-interesting name, I thought, "Oh well, I have little to expect out of this book." I then realized that the characters had more personality than expected and that the storyline was, yes, disturbing in many aspects, but very compelling. It is a very philosophical book that is thought-provoking in every chapter. I will not spoil any of this wonderful book as I hope that you will read it yourself! It changed my life and is my favorite book! Audiences recommended are older teen to adult. The themes in this book are not suitable for those younger than high school, and it would be confusing and not as meaningful for those who are younger. Despite this, it is a moving and powerful story about the struggle of identity in man, and I highly recommend it to all in the range of the intended audience.

Frostbite Alchemist
Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood
Blake, Kendare
4 stars = Really Good

Anna was sixteen and on her way to a school dance when she was killed. Someone cut her throat...someone nearly cut her head clean off! They say she was wearing a white party dress, and when they found her the whole thing was stained red. Anna Dressed in Blood is Scary, but you won't have to sleep with the lights on. Ghost hunter, Cas Lowood provides a witty perspective on ghosts, but the story keeps you wondering what happened to the end.

Renee
Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood
Blake, Kendare
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Such a great book to read around Halloween! It sucked me in from the very beginning, and I almost read it all in one sitting! (Adult responsibilities were the only thing keeping me from it!). Suspenseful, spooky, and fast-paced, this book has a great story, likable characters, and a mystery that will keep you guessing.

Highly recommend for those that love ghost stories! (may be a little too much for those that are easily frightened).

Becca
Book Review: The Silence Of Bonaventure Arrow
Leganski, Rita
4 stars = Really Good

A lovely interwoven tapestry of human grief and reconciliation, this novel has a mystical lining and wonderful characters that capture the heart and the imagination. It is finely written, with well defined voices threaded together across time and circumstance.

Dee
Book Review: I Hunt Killers
Lyga, Barry
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Wow. This book is crazy. Crazy good, crazy scary, and crazy demented. I recommend tenth grade and up. Part of a trilogy. I Hunt Killers is about a boy of a serial killer who must fight off the urge to be like Dear Old Dad or die trying. The psychology is the book was astounding, you are able to see how a killer's mind works. Amazing, and I cannot wait to start the sequel.

Elizabeth
Book Review: Elizabeth is Missing
Healey, Emma
3 stars = Pretty Good

Loved the concept of the book, it showed the confusion, frustration, and fear that comes with diminishing memory. I liked the switching back and forth between the past and present and how they started getting blurred. It's just the ending I had a problem with - I don't think it lived up to the rest of the book.

Krista
Book Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Walton, Leslye J.
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Umm. Wow. This was an amazing book - it was weird, and beautiful, and horrible all at the same time. Reminded me somewhat of Far Far Away as it was like the original versions of fairy tales, dark and disturbing, but awe-inspiring at the same time. I had to keep reminding myself that this is cataloged as a teen book - I think adults would love it and appreciate the writing as well. Anyone who argues that YA novels are not sophisticated or that they are written at a lower level should pick up a copy of this book. Fantastic.

Krista
Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars
Green, John
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

The best book I have ever read!

Samantha
Book Review: Radiance
Noël, Alyson
4 stars = Really Good

Loved this series about a preteen ghost who wants to grow up so badly and finds her path after alot of adventures. Have to order the set for my school--it will be very popular with the girls!

Lorna
Book Review: Matched
Condie, Allyson Braithwaite
4 stars = Really Good

Going into this book, I expected a typical teenage romance novel. However, Allyson Condie delivers here on a much deeper level. Set in the "Society"--a future utopian community similar to the one from Lois Lowry's "The Giver"--it follows the story of a 17-year-old young woman named Cassia Reyes. Cassia's character development is well-paced and multi-layered. The numerous instances of symbolism throughout the novel reflect Cassia's growing awareness of herself and of the unsettling underpinnings of the Society she has always known. As a welcome surprise, Condie transforms the all-too-typical overt teenage love triangle romance plot thread into a refreshingly subtle choice between not just two young men, but two different ideologies. Another of Condie's refreshing changes to the genre: the Society and Cassia's role in it take the forefront here, so those who aren't fans of romantic plotlines will find plenty to enjoy! The addition of some excellent classic poetry doesn't hurt this novel either. Overall, this book is fast-paced, enjoyable, and much more complex than it first seems. I am looking forward to the next installment!

Monty
Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars
Green, John
2 stars = Meh

This book came highly recommended to me by almost everyone who'd read it. I am a bit skeptical of any popular book, but I gave it a go, and that wasn't a great decision on my part. I found the characters to be not very relatable, with their sophisticated speech (minus the very excessive cussing) and incredibly deep intellectual processes. Now, I understand that the book is supposed to be deep, and make readers think about such issues as life, love, and death, but the author's perspective is so hopeless that it's hard to even think about. As a Christian, I believe that there is an eternity after death for every person, and one single choice in their lives determines whether it is an eternity of life or death. In this book, Hazel believes that after death is simply oblivion. What a hopeless way to live! I cannot appreciate a tragic story that doesn't have a redeeming factor.

Tragedy aside, I found the entire love affair sappy and stupid. Gus is the "perfect" boyfriend, and the whole "I don't want to get in a relationship with you because I don't want to hurt you" is so cliche. And why did they have to have sex? I am finding that too many books have pointless sex scenes that don't do anything to further the plot or the audience's connection to the characters. This was another such story.

Despite these very major, debilitating faults, the book was thought-provoking. However, this is one of the last books I would ever recommend someone read.

defenderofgrace
Book Review: How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous
Bragg, Georgia
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This book is hilarious, clever, disgusting, educational, and all-around awesome! I read it during my lunch break at work which I don't recommend as the content is really gross. But seriously, read this awesome disgusting book!

vfranklyn
Book Review: The Chosen
Potok, Chaim
2 stars = Meh

This was an interesting book if you like novels or fiction or historical fiction. It talks a lot of the Jewish religion which made it very confusing unless you know a lot about the Jewish. I had to read this book for school but I did not think it was horrible. It was just very boring and slow.
Read this book if you like fiction/ novels/ the Jewish religion.

Caitlyn
Book Review: The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
2 stars = Meh

I did not think that this book was amazing like it is portrayed normally. It was very boring and seemed to make the government a bad thing like many other books do which made it more normal of a teen fiction book. It didn't really have any unexpected twists or changes and was just very boring in general.

Caitlyn