All Book Reviews

Throne of Glass
Maas, Sarah J.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is an astounding book! It is one of my favorite books and will surely please all of its readers.
In the complicated kingdom of Ardarlan, Celaena Sardothian, the infamous assassin, is taken to the castle of the ruthless king and his strange throne made of glass. There to participate in a competition with killers, warriors, thieves, and cutthroats she tries to win the prize of being the king's champion and a chance to attain her freedom. Disguised as the Lady Lillian, Celaena takes on many different challenges and befriends an international princess, while going head to head with the Crown Prince and the Captain of the Guard. But soon her opponents start dying one by one and it's up to her to fight the evil before it shatters her life completely.
Throne of Glass is incredible because you can tell the author took her time with the book. It has so much detail, you truly feel like you are right there with Celaena every step of the way. The characters are very relatable, yet unique to the fantasy storyline so you always feel connected to the story. The adventurous and exciting feel to the story is added to with a little romance too. Every chapter has new surprises waiting around the corner to constantly keep you on your toes. It has detailed fight scenes and challenge scenes that keep you up all night longing for more. It can get a bit violent and inappropriate, so I recommend age 12+. I feel like this story is a great read because it is a very surprising, suspenseful, and extremely exciting read. In my mind, Sarah J. Maas has created the epitome of fantasy! I would certainly recommend this book to you if you love the fantasy genre!

Reviewer's Name: Ella
Awards:
Genres:
Bailey's Story
Cameron, W. Bruce
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Bailey is a dog with a purpose. His owner, Ethan, is a loving caretaker and even better friend to this pup.
I picked out this book at a book fair, I saw the front cover and thought the little puppy was so adorable. I love animals and would definitely recommend this book for others who love animals too. I enjoyed the storyline of this book. I felt that it worked really well with Bailey and Ethan’s characters as the story goes on.
Bailey and Ethan have a great bond that gets better over time. This is a real benefit for the story and allows the reader to have different emotions while reading. This isn’t the genre I would normally go for, but it really surprised me how much I enjoyed the book.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Abigail
Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women
Cavallo, Francesca
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Even though this is meant for younger readers, I thoroughly enjoyed Rebel Girls Lead. If you would like to casually learn about current and past female activists to get insight on topics like politics and feminism, this book is for you. There wasn't any specific political commentary other than the need for more women in powerful roles, which makes this read accessible and enjoyable for anyone. I liked how each individual got their own page and portrait created by a small artist. It made the book feel more personal and inspired me to look further into the women I related to the most!
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
Beach Read
Henry, Emily
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Emily Henry is an author whose work I've enjoyed, so Beach Read was on my list right away. The story follows January and Augustus, two accomplished novelists and college rivals, who become neighbors and work together to overcome writer's block caused by their resurfacing trauma. They challenge each other to new genres and experiences and definitely don't fall in love along the way. January is a fun character to read about during her most embarrassing and romantic moments, despite each situation being exaggerated so much that it felt silly. Augustus' personality was a little bland and I wished there was an actual reason for them to become enemies instead of the overused misunderstanding trope. However, the message of valuing family despite their faults and taking a leap of faith for the sake of your individuality is important. I'd say this book isn't life-changing, but good to read if you can relate to any struggles with parental relationships or feeling obligated to stay in a relationship that is just average.
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
Love and Olives
Welch, Jenna Evans
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The novel focuses on Liv, a teenage girl who thinks her father abandoned her to find Atlantis and never came back or reached out until postcards start coming in the mail. All of a sudden her life changes when her dad says he wants her to come to Greece and help him. Liv agrees but is hesitant to talk and meet with her now-doing well father while she leaves her boyfriend, parties, and life behind. I think the storyline was short and a little odd. Liv suddenly leaves, meets a bunch of people, and the characters all think everything in life is solved. I like the premise of the Love and Gelato trilogy with types of love being the center, but this one doesn't do that theme justice. The wholesome romances of the first two just didn't compare to the hurried and kinda sloppy put-together romance with both family and a boy. I think having the story center around Atlantis was interesting but an intriguing choice since it has mystery and unknowns like Liv's adventure. I think the ending was pretty predictable and the relationships were rushed, but I like the theme and imagery in the novel.
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Tisha
Storm Front
Butcher, Jim
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Storm Break follows Harry Dresden, the only wizard-for-hire in the country, as he investigates a grisly murder that could only be done by dark magic. Along the way, he'll have to juggle the case of an abandoned wife, the demands of his only friend in the force, the pressures of a sentient skull, and the condemnation of a council that wants to end him once and for all.
I didn't give this book three stars because it's a decent book. I gave this book three stars because it does some things really, really well and some things really, really badly. Throughout my reading, my internal rating jumped between one and four stars, so I stuck with three because it was mostly a good book and two stars should be reserved for boring books. And this definitely wasn't boring.
On the good side, I enjoyed the world building. It remains typical enough to the urban fantasy realm to seem cozy without being boring. Every magical creature has the exciting things we're used to, with some extra thrown in for fun, and lots of personality to make up for any stereotypical writing. The creatures and world building sell the danger of the world, making the stakes very high in the first book, something I appreciate. I like the main character, Harry Dresden, because he's a funny guy. I mean funny in that he cracks actually funny jokes, as well as funny as in he doesn't ever think things through and the outcome is always hilarious. I also like how the Harry has a "sad hidden backstory", but its not really hidden or sad because he talks about it so matter-of-factly that you forget how messed up it is in context. I loved the mystery of the novel, even if some twists threw me for a loop. The writing could also be surprisingly emotional for whats meant to be a cynical cop novel, in a way that really makes you sympathize with the twisted situation the protagonist is in, as well as the innocent people wrapped up in it. The ending was very satisfying and climactic and well bought, and really kept me invested until the end. Basically, its a very good urban fantasy novel with a fascinating protagonist and a thrilling story!
Now for the really, really bad stuff. Or just one really, really bad thing. In short: the author of this story has no idea how to write women. Or, he knows how to write women, and he just chooses to do it in the worst way possible. Every single woman in this book is one of three things: desperate for help from the dashing protagonist, incredibly attractive for no reason and really into the protagonist, or a token "strong independent woman" who devolves into one of the other two types within chapters. And I cannot stress how jarring this was. The author can write witty dialogue and fantastical creatures and heart wrenching emotion, but he can't write a single female character without sexualizing or demeaning her in some way. It's like walking through a local art gallery full of beautiful landscapes and self portraits, and then out of the blue there's a two-year-old's finger painting. I could go on for hours about how bad it was, and I really want to, but basically: about half of the women in this book are prostitutes, about half of the women die horribly and helplessly, most of them hit on Dresden and he always assumes its to seduce him for nefarious purposes, and not a single one of them has more than a shred of autonomy, character, or soul. All of that had to go into the main character, who is amazing alone, but whenever he's around woman he feels like a gross power fantasy that I can't sympathize with until about ten pages after he shares a conversation with a female character.
All in all, this book is a frustration. I want to enjoy the world building and fun characters and funny moments and good plot, but every so often a woman is introduced and I have to resist the urge to track the author down and throw the book at his face. If you can suffer through that, there is some great writing to be found! If you can't, I don't blame you.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Eve
Leviathan Wakes
Corey, James S. A.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Leviathan Wakes is set in a time where humanity has reached the edges of the solar system, desperate to grow past the confines of Earth. Jim Holden is on a ship meant to drag ice from asteroids when he discovers a secret that kills most of his crew and puts the rest of them in horrible danger. Detective Miller has just been assigned to a throwaway missing persons case that is far more than it seems. The two men will find their stories colliding in a way that could either create a new, starward path for humanity...or end it for good.
This was one of the first serious, in-depth science fiction books I've read in a long time, since those types of books usually wear me out. But this one blew me away. The first surprise was the world building. Most science fiction has complex world building, its a staple of the genre. But this was beyond insane world building that still stuck itself between the lines, in small observations or bits of daily life. It hardly ever had to derail the story to go in depth about the mechanics of this world, but by the end my brain was still clogged with what felt like endless information about this fascinating future for humanity. The second surprise was in the characters. No one felt like a staple science fiction character. Detective Miller at first seemed like the stereotypical sad grizzled cop, but the complexity of his character blew everything I was expecting out of the water. Jim Holden at first looked like the paragon leader type, but he often gets things wrongs or makes bad choices in a way that still endeared us to his endlessly moral character. The side characters also deliver, with memorable personalities and motivations. The third surprise was in the plot. It starts slow, meandering its way through the characters, but then it takes off like a shot. There will be huge chunks of action and long bits of calm, but the two are well balanced. The twists are also wonderful, because they aren't trying to be surprising or upsetting. They just want to tell a good story. And it does that job well.
All in all, this book is wonderful in so many ways. I'd recommend it to anyone who loves complex science fiction, well-written characters, breathtaking action, and a twisting mystery alongside!
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Eve
This is How You Lose the Time War
El-Mohtar, Amal
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This Is How You Lose the Time War is a correspondence set throughout the whole of time, between two people on opposite sides of an eternal war. Red is a member of the Agency, a stark, metallic technotopia wielding bionic creations to tear time into place. Blue is a part of the Garden, an organic monolith determined to sink its roots into every part of time. The two of them are the best of the best, clashing invisibly over and over through time and space. When one of them leaves a letter, it begins a conversation throughout time, one that will change both of them, and the world, forever.
This book was a phenomenal read. It was a difficult thing to work through, something that refused to hold your hand and guide you through the sudden shifts and strange situations. But after drowning for a little while, everything starts falling into place, and soon you can't tear yourself away from the pages. The prose was brilliant, bringing every place and century and emotion vividly into focus. The characters are endearing and heartbreaking, and their development as they grow to understand and care for each other is profound. The storylines were vivid and fascinating, creating a whole new meaning to "the butterfly effect." Even the world building, as intentionally vague as it is, is still understandable and entrancing. I honestly don't know what it is that made me obsess over this book. Maybe it was the evolution of the characters, transforming from hellbent killers to cautious friends. Maybe it was the distinctiveness of the two characters voices, made all the more special since both sides of the story are written only by their given author. Maybe its the fascinating world around the characters, the future dystopias and steampunk cities and sand swept temples. I don't know what it is, but its one beautiful, wild ride.
From what I can tell, most people either love or hate this story. The ones who love it give gushing reviews not dissimilar to mine. The ones who hate it call it confusing, obtuse hogwash that doesn't properly develop its world or characters enough to be compelling. I can't tell what side of the spectrum anyone is going to fall on, but I know that everyone should give this a chance. All in all, I recommend this book for anyone in the mood for strangely poetic science fiction, star-crossed enemies, or an examination of a universe that can be forever changed by the beating of wings.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Eve
Me Myself and Him
Tebbetts, Christopher
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Me Myself & Him follows Chris Schweitzer, a graduated high school senior ready for his last summer in small town Ohio. But when he does whippets in an alley, passes out, and ends up in the hospital, his life splits down two paths. The story follows both these possibilities: one where his parents find out and ship him off to spend the summer with his distant father, and a second one where his parents remain in the dark, and he stays in town with his slightly distant friends. No matter which path taken in this multiversal tale, both sides end with Chris' life changed forever.
This book was very solid. I say this meaning no offense: it wasn't boring, slow, tangential, or otherwise hard to read. It was easy to read, and if I recall correctly, I finished it in under two days. I call this a solid story because that's what it is: a story that is very easy to enjoy. The characters are fun and witting and exciting; it's very easy to get invested in them and their choices. Even antagonistic characters (often including the main character) are likable and relatable, despite their horrible choices. The dual story structure stays interesting and fresh, exploring the characters from many different angles. I like how the story expands on its dual universe origin, including science and research to solidify the basis of the premise.
There were a couple things that threw me off. One storyline became, to me, far more intriguing because it delved further into the protagonists relationship with his father, which really helped flesh out both characters. The other side of the story had its merits in evolving the protagonist and his relationship with his friends, but it wasn't nearly as compelling for me. The only other issue was that the ending was slightly anticlimactic. I don't disagree with how the ending turned out, since it resolved both sides of the story, but the ending just felt a bit abrupt.
Still, these are my opinions, and one of the reasons I called this a solid story is because I think anyone could enjoy it. This book is fun, clear-cut despite a complex premise, relatable, and heartwarming. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a story about goodbyes and new beginnings, with some bittersweet laughter along the way!
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Eve
The Collector
Alexander, K.R.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I enjoyed this book a lot. I picked up this book because I enjoy reading the genre horror, and it did not disappoint! The main character, Josie, goes through a cycle of emotions in each stage of the book. I feel like this adds so much more to the book, and makes the reader feel more connected to her. For instance, when going to a new school, Josie meets Vanessa and eventually she feels like she finally belongs and has somebody to relate to.
The horror element of the book along with all of Josie’s grandma’s crazy rules lead the reader down a path of mystery, the rules including…
1. Never leave your windows open after dark
2. No dolls in the house
3. Never, ever go by the house in the woods
Josie’s dear friend, Vanessa leads her in the woods to the house, the house that is calling for her.
I can relate with Josie on different levels. One of these levels being in a new school and feeling like you don’t belong. I relate to her on that level of feeling awkward around new people.
I enjoyed this book a lot and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for horror and mystery put into one book.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Abigail
Today Tonight Tomorrow
Solomon, Rachel Lynn
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book surprised me as far as good pacing and witty banter. It seemed like an average enemies-to-lovers book, which it is, but something about the characters' deep discussions and interests intrigued me. The main characters, Rowan and Neil, have been high school competitors for years to become the top of their class, never before stopping to consider that their passion to be the best hindered the discovery of similarities between them. Rowan and Neil had great chemistry and I could easily understand the pressures and concerns they had as newly-graduated high school seniors. Some reviews argued that the author tried to address too many issues in one book (misogyny, anti-Semitism, veganism, etc.), but my opinion is that there isn't a limit on how much you can advocate for equality in one book! Try this one out, it might surprise you.
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
Awards:
A Little Life
Yanagihara, Hanya
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is very heavy and grim, but Hanya Yanagihara gives a detailed insight into living with disabilities, mental illness, and addiction. I became attached to the characters from the start. Four young men- Jude, Willem, JB, and Malcom, have been best friends since being college roommates in New York, but their individual lives and struggles make it complicated to work through their mid-life crises. Despite the grief and somber moments in A Little Life, I appreciated the resilient mentors that the four, especially Jude, had. It had a loving message of always having a support system somewhere even if it doesn't feel like it, and that your past doesn't define you- your present choices do. However, the ending was open ended and left a lot for me to ponder over later. I'd recommend this if you like more somber, down to earth books (and if you're a fast reader, because this book took forever to read!)
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
The Kiss Quotient
Hoang, Helen
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I appreciated a more realistic, but equally heartwarming, romance novel to break up the many cookie-cutter books of the genre. In The Kiss Quotient, the main character Stella seeks advice to find a romantic partner. It's only a matter of time before the man who agrees to help makes her reconsider who she is looking to impress. Stella's witty lines and her experience with Asperger's were interesting to read about and made me appreciate the romantic scenes even more because not every party or conversation went as expected. It was also cool to follow a main character that is self-confident and extremely brilliant. Nothing particularly stuck out to me as negative about the book, but it was fast-paced and surface level which just isn't my favorite kind of book.
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
Fahrenheit 451 book jacket
Bradbury, Ray
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is a dystopian novel written in 1953. Although some of the concepts and references are harder to understand due to when the story is written, it still holds many good messages relevant today. In this novel, books are banned, and firefighters burn houses with books inside instead of saving them. They are the protectors of happiness because books make people unhappy. Fahrenheit 451 follows a fireman, Guy Montag, as he starts asking questions about his job and society. This novel has many hidden meanings and is worth the time to read. The author does a beautiful job of keeping the writing and concepts simple enough for younger audiences. Overall, I would give it a five out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
The Stand
King, Stephen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Stand by Stephen King is uniquely a classic tale of good and evil facing off. This novel follows sundry people in a world after the deadly flu, which kills most of the population. While the remaining population is drawn to two people, one represents evil and the other good. The question that readers will be left with is: who will win? This question remains as various characters are introduced who are relatable and could pass for real people. The characters face many challenges, romance, action, adventure, and so much more. The ending to this stunning book could not be predicted and will keep any reader guessing. As with any Stephen King book, the writing style is distinct and will not be boring throughout the novel. It is a peephole to 1978 with vocabulary and culture. The Stand will not disappoint anyone willing to take on the challenge of a long, complex book. Overall I would give it a five out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
Genres:
Six of Crows
Bardugo, Leigh
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is an incredible book that turns the bad guys into the good guys. It will entertain you until the end and you will never want to stop reading it! In the international trade center of Ketterdam, the melting pot of the world, Kaz Brekker, mastermind criminal and gang leader builds a team of six criminals and misfits to pull off an impossible heist that- if they succeed- could make them all richer than they could ever imagine. Together, a convict from across the sea, a horrible gambler but a remarkable sharpshooter, a runaway merchants son, the Wraith a spy able to go anywhere unheard and unseen, a woman with magic powerful enough to stop the heart, and Kaz, the most dangerous thief in the whole of Ketterdam join forces to try their hand at inconceivable riches.
This book is filled with clever schemes and plans and is action-packed, always keeping you on your toes for what might happen next. It has you constantly trying to untangle the endless personalities and strategies of the characters and it leaves you hungry for more. Six of Crows truly brings the world of fantasy to life and honors the word with how astonishingly brilliant the tale is. It is constantly surprising and always going to shock you. If you are longing for a book you just can't put down, this is the one for you.
I thought this book was amazing because it is filled with countless twists and turns. I love trying to figure out all of the hints and puzzles that the author plants in this book! I think this book was extremely well written and the characters were very in-depth and engaging, they were complex like real people and made the story feel very authentic. It was exactly what I was looking for in a fantasy book, a little out of this world with just the right touch of the alluring unruly side in which these characters reside. I read a lot of fantasy books and I have to say that this was undoubtedly one of the best I have read. I would recommend it for most ages but it is one of the best for teens who love fantasy. (I would suggest readers 12+ because it can be a bit violent at times). Overall, Six of Crows is an enveloping book that I would certainly put forward to anyone looking for a great read!
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Ella
The Inheritance Games
Barnes, Jennifer Lynn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is one of the best books I have ever read! It is an amazing book for tweens and older, with a slight romantic touch to add to the book that mixes very well with the mysterious game the characters play. Inheritance Games is about a teenage girl, Avery Grambs, who grew up with very little money to her name. Soon she learns that she has inherited most of the multi-billionaire, Tobias Hawthorne's wealth and land, and has no connection to the family entirely. At first, her incredible luck might seem extremely fortunate but to keep her newfound wealth she must live with Tobias's remaining complex and tricky family, while solving one last riddle left by Tobias Hawthorne himself, to figure out why she, not the other Hawthorne's, inherited his riches. You will get hooked on this game of affection and jealousy as the elaborate characters figure out what they value more; money or friendship.
I wholeheartedly adored this book! It had so many plot twists and turns so you can never guess what might happen next and it was full of intricate clues and riddles that are soo entertaining and surprised you every time. I picked this book because I wanted a mystery that was more centered around the teenage crowd than the adult theme of missing persons or other crimes and this book did not disappoint! It was so well written and devised, that I truly felt as if I was in the book with Avery and the Hawthorne brothers. I enjoyed the mystery because it was written so well that every time I reread this book I see so many new aspects and clues in the story. It is one of the best mysteries I have read before and it was filled with surprises. The author wrote the book so well and every character was relatable and had so many ups and downs like real people. The emotions and feelings that were put into the characters and the book were interesting and engaging until the end. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone because it will be a great read!

Reviewer's Name: Ella
Awards:
The House on Mango Street
Cisneros, Sandra
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is a coming-of-age story that follows a Latina girl living in Chicago. It is a story about finding who you are and your place in the world. This book is fun, simple, and written so anyone can read it. The book does not have to be read in any order, and the individual chapters carry so much meaning. The book is heartbreaking and inspiring, touching the reader's heart with warmth. This book will not disappoint. Overall, I would give it a five out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
Genres:
The Werewolf of Fever Swamp
Stine, R. L.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book was super great! I love scary books and especially movies. I wish that R.L. Stein would make every book into a movie. It was so easy to read and I read it in a few hours. It is all about a family that moves into this house that was literally next to this swamp called fever swamp in Florida. The main character Grady can't sleep because he hears howling all night long. Grady does a lot.of exploring and finds a lot of crazy things. He finds a mutilated rabbit, a dead deer. He meets someone from the area named Will. Grady keeps exploring when he finds and hears things that aren't right, and the ending....it totally shocked me. It was so good.
-an almost 9th grader

Reviewer's Name: Sophia
Genres:
Charlotte's Web
White, E. B.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book was good, but kind of old. It is a book about a girl named fern and she saved a pig from being killed. She named him Wilbur and he became kind of like her pet. Wilbur became bff's with a spider named Charlotte. I did like how the author described everything. It was very sweet how she made you feel like Wilbur and Charlotte were real and they were really friends. I did get nervous before the ending of the story for how it would end up.
-an almost 9th grader

Reviewer's Name: Sophia
Genres: