YALSA Award

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
Author: 
Green, John
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Two teens, one struggling from cancer, one a cancer survivor, meet and start becoming close. The struggles of cancer, the chance of death, the fear of not leaving a mark on the world and so much more make their relationship hard at some points. John Green is a fantastic author who really draws you in. You get really invested into the characters and their lives and you start to feel their pain. This book will make you laugh, smile, cry, and jump up and down and it’s amazing. I would definitely recommend!

Reviewer's Name: 
Rylie

Book Review: Perfect Chemistry

Perfect Chemistry
Author: 
Elkeles, Simone
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

This is a very cute, enemies to lovers story, with characters that you get very invested into. Brittany, the main character may in the outside seem to be an annoying popular girl but this book gives her so much complexity. Her love interest, Alex feels the pressure of being in a gang and protecting his family. As their romance blossoms, you really start to see how much they care for each other. If you like a romance/drama book, this is definitely for you!

Reviewer's Name: 
Rylie

Book Review: School's Out -- Forever

School's Out -- Forever
Author: 
Patterson, James
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

After the amazing complexity of The Angel Experiment, James Patterson’s School’s Out-Forever, is a slightly less-complex sequel in which the teens must navigate the muddy waters of public school while trying to stay out of the grasp of their previous captors. It features one large new addition to the story, an imposter among the group. Who could this imposter be? What is their purpose? There is only one way to find out, read the book. I enjoyed this book less than The Angel Experiment, primarily because it can get confusing at times in its complexity, but I would still recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first book.
Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Harrison
Awards: 

Book Review: The Angel Experiment

The Angel Experiment
Author: 
Patterson, James
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Maximum Ride series by James Patterson is an amazing young-adult science-fiction series which follows the journey of six individuals who were given wings and other bird-like abilities by a genetics experiment. In the first novel, The Angel Experiment, the six have escaped the laboratory where they were held prisoner and are trying to remain free while being hunted by human-wolf hybrids that the experimenters have also sent to hunt them. I enjoyed the complexity of The Angel Experiment and would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed movies like Wolverine.
Grade: 11.

Reviewer's Name: 
Harrison

Book Review: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Author: 
Cohn, Rachel and Levithan, David
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, co-authored by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, is a lighthearted romance set at Christmastime. When Lily, a spunky nerd, leaves a red notebook filled with mysterious clues at the Strand in New York City, an unexpected relationship begins. Her notebook is found by Dash, a cynic who detests Christmas, and thus begins a montage of absurd dares as the red notebook is passed back and forth around New York City by the two teenagers and their strategically-placed relatives. Along the way, Dash and Lily come to believe they love each other, though they’ve never set eyes on each other before.

This book lacks a stable plot and character development. Lily’s character is unbearably obnoxious and immature, while Dash’s cynicism is over-the-top and irritating. Lily undergoes virtually no change through the duration of the book; however, Dash does open up and become slightly less self-absorbed. The authors’ excessive use of big, flowery language did not fit the characters. It seemed as though the authors believed this was necessary in order to portray Dash and Lily (mostly Dash) as intelligent and intellectual beyond their years, but I found it to be distracting and inappropriate for the context. The plot of this book was severely lacking. It was chaotic and disjointed, and never reached a strong climax. I was irritated with the unrealistic and completely bizarre parts, and disappointed when the ‘romance’ fell flat.

I understand that this book is meant to be fun and amusing, but it would have been much higher quality with likable characters and a coherent plot. I enjoyed the Christmas-y setting, but I believe the authors could’ve used New York City in a more impressive way for the dares. Only read this book if you’re in the mood for a fluffy, vapid story with no substance whatsoever. There are lots of Christmas romances out there, and I’m sure most are better than this one.

Reviewer's Name: 
Alexa

Book Review: The Alchemyst

The Alchemyst
Author: 
Scott, Michael
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Alchemyst is a book following a pair of seemingly ordinary twins, Sophie and Josh. When the truth comes out about their role in the future, Nicholas Flamel races against time to keep them safe. At the same time, Dee, an old enemy of Flamel, is holding his wife captive. This adds extra stress on Flamel, with the already strenuous task of keeping the twins safe. One of the things I enjoy in this book is the magic involved. To create the magic spells and objects, you have to sacrifice something. For example, when Sophie creates some very sudden fog, she sacrifices a lot of calories and most of her self-replenishing aura. This is a good book for anyone looking for magical adventures, and a mystery as old as Earth itself.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ethan

Book Review: Ender's Game

Ender's Game
Author: 
Card, Orson Scott
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

I've read this book so many times, and I always love it. It tells the story of the child prodigy Ender Wiggin, who starts the book at only six years old. In a dystopian world that's in the midst of a war with the alien Buggers, Ender and other highly gifted children are taken to Battle School to prepare them to fight in the Third Invasion, when Earth plans to invade the Buggers and hopefully beat them once and for all. Ender is smart, creative, and compassionate, while also sometimes being cruel in moments he needs to protect himself. He's such a well-developed and dynamic character, and I can always find myself relating to him, whether it's as a gifted child, as he questions who he is, as he grows up, or as he misses home and the way things used to be. It's easy to feel for him, from outrage at the officers to treating him unfairly to warmth in your heart when he builds relationships despite his forced isolation. He faces the trials of Battle School, but he also faces the trials of childhood and growing up. The book tackles themes of lies, control, isolation, free will, family, childhood, compassion, enemies, and prejudice in ways that are always very well-done. It balances action and shocking twists with character development and philosophy into a narrative that flows beautifully and keeps you engrossed from the first page to the last. Everything about it is exceptional, and I don't think I could ever get tired of it. I would recommend to anyone, any gender, any age, because it is certainly very near the top of the best books I've ever read.
(note: there is a small amount of language)

Reviewer grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Elanor

Book Review: The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass
Author: 
Pullman, Philip
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Golden Compass is elegantly crafted with beautiful word choice, and I would definitely recommend it. The plot was gripping with many exciting twists and revelations along the way as protagonist Lyra Belacqua and her daemon, Pantalaimon, who's basically an animal manifestation of her soul, embark on a journey across their world to the North. There, Lyra intends to both rescue her friend and find her uncle. Lyra is such a fun character to read about, being clever and witty and ultimately someone the reader will root for and invest themself in through the whole book. The world-building, too, is really well done. Pullman paints a picture of a world parallel to ours, yet different in so many ways, and things like daemons, gyptians, armored bears, and dust are all incredibly creative. The one thing I would warn against is some somewhat anti-religious commentary (not so much in this book, but it grows more prominent in the Subtle Knife and the Amber Spyglass) that may make some readers uncomfortable.

Reviewer grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Elanor

Book Review: Refugee

Refugee
Author: 
Gratz, Alan
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

The novel “Refugee” by Alan Gratz wasn’t a very good book in my opinion. I read it for my English class in high school and I didn’t really enjoy it. It’s about three refugees throughout history, but the stories are kind of connected. One refugee is a young boy escaping from Nazi Germany, the second is a young girl escaping from Cuba in the 90s and finally the third is a young boy escaping from Syria in 2016. Before reading this I had read a book about a boy who was in a concentration camp, and it was a true story written by him. Refugee doesn’t even come close to how good that book was. Along with that, it’s not very well written.
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book, there are far better books about this topic.

Grade: 11th

Reviewer's Name: 
Emani

Book Review: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass
Author: 
Maas, Sarah J.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Throne of Glass is about an 18-year old assassin named Celaena Sardothien. She was put into the slave camp, Endovier, to serve her sentence. As Celaena stays in Endovier, the King of Adarlan holds a competition to find his personal assassin. Celaena as well as other assassins from the area have come to compete. If she wins, she wins her freedom from Endovier and the freedom to live in the Kingdom.

The author, Sarah J. Maas, does an amazing job giving each of her characters throughout the book a very deep back story that impacts the plotline of Throne of Glass as well as the later books in the series. She gives the book lots of details and twists while adding bits of humor. The protagonist Celaena is very humorous and relatable while also being a strong, confident female lead. All in all, I would highly recommend this book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Natalie

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