YALSA Award

Book Review: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief
Author: 
Riordan, Rick
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

In the first book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Lightning Thief, Percy the protagonist has been accused of stealing Zeus’ Lightning bolt. Percy must get it back to avoid all out war among the gods. Along the way he makes some new friends and meets some strange characters.

This book is one of the best books I have ever read. This book is very unpredictable. My favorite types of books are the ones that are unpredictable and this one has one of the best twist ever in a book. This book did well in the bookstores and was made into a movie. However, in my opinion, the book is substantially better than the movie. The book has lots more parts that are really funny and the movie leaves out great parts of the story. I would recommend this to anyone interested in mythology as it is based on Greek gods and their over the top stories. Yet, this is an excellent book and is good for almost everyone, even if you are not a Greek mythology expert because it is pretty easy to follow along.

Reviewer grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: 
Alexander M

Book Review: Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan

Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan
Author: 
Flanagan, John
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This is a personal favorite series of mine, it is a very interesting, very fun book. Since it is the introduction to a 12 book series, at times it can feel a little boring, but once you get into it, it's the best series ever. Comparing it to other novels it feels very similar to the Percy Jackson series, in that the writing style is somewhat similar. This book is a must read for any teenager or pre-teen.

Reviewer's Name: 
Rohan G.

Book Review: Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl
Author: 
Colfer, Eoin
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Artemis Fowl is an interesting book, although it deals with a concept, I frankly thought stupid, (fairies and leprechauns) it does so in a fun and well put together way. This is only one in a series of eight fiction books and starts very well as an introduction to the series. What I had a problem with, was this book felt very insincere in the fact that I never really cared about the characters. All in all I think it was an alright book and definitely worth reading for a pre-teen or young adult.

Reviewer's Name: 
Rohan G.

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: 
Rowling, J.K.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

With magic and wizardry, Harry Potter returns for his 2nd year at Hogwarts.
With last year having surprises and mysterious, this year no one saw coming.
After flying back in a magic car for they missed the train, their year already started with getting in trouble. Soon after, several students start turning into stone for no reason. With Harry and his best friend, Ron, they try to find clues, hints, and obviously, the culprit.

Reviewer Grade: 9th

Reviewer's Name: 
Aiden F

Book Review: Red Queen

Red Queen
Author: 
Aveyard, Victoria
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

"Red Queen" is the first book in a series by Victoria Aveyard. I chose it at a friends suggestion.

The setting is a dystopian world where the color of your blood determines a lot about you. Reds are the common-folk, with nothing extraordinary about them. To make matters even worse, if a red doesn't have a job by 18, they are drafted into the ongoing war.
Silvers, however, live in the lap of luxury. They are cruel, biased, and power hungry. Plus, they have advantages over the reds. Silvers have extraordinary abilities like mind reading, controlling fire, and more. They use these powers to keep the reds in check.
Mare is a red, 17, and about to be drafted for pick-pocketing instead of getting a job. In a strange turn of events, she is saved from that cruel fate by a mysterious boy, and hired to be a servant to the royal family. Her first day on the job, however, things go array. Turns out, not all reds are powerless, and Mare is only the beginning.

To be honest, I didn't enjoy this book as much as most. The concept is fantastic, but the execution... not so much. Victoria Aveyard spends a lot of time in her subplots- a love square (not a love triangle, a love square). It might have been alright, except this is the ONLY subplot she uses. Romance is overused in this book, in my opinion. Then again, I'm not one for romance. So I would still suggest you try it, if only to step out of your reading comfort zone.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: 
Adia R.

Book Review: The Girl From Everywhere

The Girl From Everywhere
Author: 
Heilig, Heidi
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

In "The Girl From Everywhere," sixteen-year-old Nix and her father lead a crew of time travelers abroad their ship, the Temptation, in a quest to find a way to save Nix's late mother. I really enjoyed this book -- I was hooked from page one. I think what really pulls you in is the complexity of the time travel -- in this story, they use maps of places during specific time periods to reach where they want to go. It's such an interesting concept that I hadn't seen before this story. I also really liked the crew -- they were all very diverse with interesting backgrounds and personalities. If I had one complaint, it's that Nix's love interest, Kashmir, is sort of your typical YA love interest -- suave, charming, sometimes abrasive, a little arrogant. Maybe it's just because this is a really common archetype in YA, but I found his character a little irritating. Nevertheless, this is an incredible story that is definitely worth checking it.
Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: 
Gillian P.

Book Review: Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines
Author: 
Reeve, Philip
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

In "Mortal Engines", the first book in the Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve, Earth is now a dystopian world where cities have become huge, mobile machines that compete for resources. London is the biggest of them all, capturing and destroying smaller cities for personal gain. A young archivist in training (and Londoner) Tom Natsworthy looks up to the leaders of London, particularly a man known as Valentine. But when a mysterious girl sneaks into the city and tries to kill Valentine, things go horribly wrong -- and both Tom and the girl are banished -- and they must find their way back.

This story had great ideas, but slightly poor execution. The overall plot started off really interesting, but as time went on, I felt like so much of it became filler content -- events seemed to just randomly happen for the sake of filling the time until we got to something important. There were also a lot of POVs to keep track of -- and it felt like there were just way too many cooks in the kitchen. In addition, the characters were really hard to root for. Tom complained often (almost to the point of whining). Hester had good moments, but was often too closed off to show a lot of emotion, which hindered character development. These characters could've been more interesting, but their flaws really kept them from developing.

What kept me reading was the world-building. The world in this book is expansive and complex, unlike any I have read about in a long time. It is utterly unique and intriguing, which made me keep reading, despite what I didn't like.

Although there is a movie adaptation of this book, I would recommend reading the book first. Because the book has more time to explain things, it allows for a better understanding of some of the confusing components of the story (in my opinion).

Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: 
Gillian P.

Book Review: Gone

Gone
Author: 
Grant, Michael
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Gone is the first book of the Gone series. The basis of the story is that everyone 16 and over suddenly disappears and the kids remaining are sealed into a small town. These kids overtime start to develop superpowers and the story goes from there. I really enjoyed this book series because it made me think about what I would do in this situation. I originally found this book because of the name and it just stood out from the others. I would recommend this book for 12 and up.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: 
Rob A.

Book Review: I Am Number Four

I Am Number Four
Author: 
Lore, Pittacus
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

I am Number 4 is the first book in the lorien legacy series. The story takes place in Paradise Ohio following number 4 as he is on the run from a alien race. He is one of the survivors of the destruction of his home planet. I first found this book because my english teacher had recommended it to me. This book is only the first of many and all of the other books in this series were great. I would recommend this book for ages 12 and up.

Reviewer grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: 
Rob A.

Book Review: Six of Crows

Six of Crows
Author: 
Bardugo, Leigh
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Six of Crows takes place in ketterdam where the main character Kaz lives. Kaz is the leader of a gang. The story follows him while he breaks into a impenetrable prison complex to break out a scientist. He gathers a group of people with special skills to help him with his heist. I would recommend this book. I found that this book was very hard to put down and I found that it was very interesting. I would recommend this book for ages 12 and up.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: 
Rob A.

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