Book Reviews by Genre: Romance

Broken Beautiful Hearts
Garcia, Kami
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Kami Garcia's Broken Beautiful Hearts is a heart-felt teenage romance that highlights the importance of mending broken hearts and learning how to trust again. As a high school senior with a scholarship for soccer, Peyton is thrown into a dark time when she and her boyfriend, Reed, are at odds and he pushes her down a staircase causing a big injury that puts her out for many months. When it becomes uncomfortable to live in her town due to her pushy ex, she moves in with her twin cousins and uncle. There, she meets Owen, a fighter in the same league as Reed. Peyton distrusts the feelings she begins to feel for Owen because of the hurt from her past. As their relationship grows, Peyton learns how to trust again, and the heart Reed broke is slowly healed by Owen. If romance and healing hearts are your pace, Broken Beautiful Hearts will be a great fit.

Reviewer's Name: Sophi
Wait For Me
Leech, Caroline
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Beautifully written by Caroline Leech, Wait For Me embodies the importance of love and learning other peoples' stories before passing judgement. Lorna, a teenage Scottish girl growing up during World War II is quick to pass judgement for a German POW (prisoner of war) who has been assigned to her father's farm to work. Paul, a scarred German teenage soldier is quiet and hard-working, helping wherever he is needed. As Lorna begins to warm up to Paul and Paul to her, they begin to build a friendship, and Lorna's original view alters as their relationship builds even though the views of her schoolmates, church friends, and fellow townspeople remain the same: judgmental and unkind. When Lorna receives news of her brother's disappearance, she reacts unkindly toward Paul, but their love for one another mends their broken bond over time. A sweet, romantic historical fiction that is sure to have you feeling for the characters and thinking of how your reaction may be similar or different from that of Lorna's.

Reviewer's Name: Sophi
If I Stay
Forman, Gayle
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

If I Stay is about Mia, a 17 year old girl who used to have everything: a family that she loved, a boyfriend that cared about her, and a future with music. After, a tragic accident everything she loved is taken away from her. She has a choice to live or die, which will she choose?
I loved this book so much that I read it in under three hours. This is definitely a book to get lost in, you will forget that you are reading. I could relate so much to Mia and the thoughts that she was having when she making her choice to live or die. This book was also made into a movie, which is really good. It follows the book almost perfectly. This book is one of my favorites and it gets readers thinking about life, and what it means to live.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Hayden
Shatter Me book jacket
Mafi, Tahereh
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is by far the best book I have ever read!!! Shatter Me is about a 17 year old girl named Juliette living in a dystopian world. She can't touch anyone because if she does, she kills them. The leader of her sector wants to use her as a weapon, but her childhood friend wants to save her. I love, love, love this book! The plot, characters, and everything about the book is incredible. Also, the love triangle that goes on throughout the series will leave you thinking about the book for days. I have read the entire series, including the series finale that just came out: Believe me. I can't say enough about this book series. Mafi does an amazing job bringing the readers along, she always has a deeper meaning to what she is saying, and her writing style is truly one-of-a-kind! I love the whole series and have reread each book about three time. This book is my all time favorite and its worth taking time to read.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Hayden
Shadow and Bone book jacket
Bardugo, Leigh
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The fantasy novel Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo follows a young soldier named Alina who has been realized to have hidden powers, powers that no other magic user contains. Alina's powers are destined to save her country, but with great power comes greater responsibility--responsibility Alina may not want.
I rated this novel three out of five stars because the general plot was pretty creative, and the writing was also not bad. However, maybe since this is only the first book out of the three-part trilogy, I found myself not super invested in the characters or the conflicts that unfold in the story. The romantic subplot in the story was also not very interesting and everything in this novel seemed pretty predictable and lukewarm. Overall, it was an okay book. It wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible. I was a little disappointed though since this series had received lots of attention and was even made into a Netflix series, but maybe the next two books in the trilogy will capture my attention more.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
The Bridge Kingdom
Jensen, Danielle L.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

All her life, Lara has been trained to be the perfect wife to a man she's never met, the King of Ithicana. She's also been trained to maim, kill, and torture anything and anyone, and now she's been sent to tear down her enemy and bring his kingdom to its knees. But when she meets Aren, his loyalty to his people and passion for the truth puts a rent in her mission. And when she learns that her father is the reason for her kingdom's poverty, she realizes that Aren was never her enemy, her father is.

I liked this book because it uses one of my favorite tropes, enemies to lovers. Although Aren is meant to be the antagonist, you learn that Lara's father is the reason why both kingdoms are suffering, and seeing Lara realize she's been lied to and change alliances was the most satisfying part of the book. There's a healthy balance of passion and action in the novel, and the end left me itching to read the sequel.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
The Fault In Our Stars
Green, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A romance novel about a teen struggling with cancer, this story is down-to-earth, beautiful, and painfully sad. As an avid reader of John Green's works, Green's writing style continues to blow me away. The constant memorable and hard-hitting lines still linger in my mind from time to time, even after years of reading this novel.
I loved this book when I was in middle school, and as a high schooler, I'd still have to say that it's one of my favorites. Normally, YA romance stories have me rolling my eyes at the cliché lines or unrealistic premises, but The Fault in Our Stars did not do that.
Our protagonist, Hazel Grace Lancaster, has been struggling with cancer for almost all her life. But when she meets Augustus "Gus" Waters, a cancer survivor, her life completely changes. Sounds cheesy, I know. But unlike other YA romances, this novel was beautifully and heartbreakingly realistic. The chemistry between Hazel and Gus seemed genuinely real like I was standing there with them, and I really enjoyed the many gorgeous lines written in the story.
I know some people have mixed emotions about this book, but I recommend you give it a try. It'll make you laugh, scream, and cry.
However, the reason why I docked one star off of this book, was because there were a few things I didn't particularly like very much. For example, a few scenes seemed a little odd and out of place, like they were trying too hard to be "quirky."
The movie was also far less enjoyable than the book, which is why I would still recommend giving the story a try even after watching the movie since there are some pretty different scenes.

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Schwab, V.E.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Addie LaRue, a girl who lived in Paris, made a deal. She gets to live as long as she wants, however, nobody has the ability to remember her. Until 300 years later, when a boy remembers her name.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a book that will leave you in tears!! I really liked reading this book, all though it was not my all time favorite. The book had incredible character development (which is really important to me) and increasing plot to keep readers engaged. The only reason why I didn't give this book five stars is because about 8 of the chapters felt like they just repeating itself. Overall, it was a great book and I would read it again.

Reviewer's Name: Hayden
We Were Liars book jacket
Lockhart, E.
2 stars = Meh
Review:

We Were Liars is about a family called the Sinclair's. The plot follows Cadence or "Cady," a member of this rich and privileged family, and illustrates the friendships she has with the other four teenagers who vacation on the private island that the Sinclairs own. The novel has an interesting writing style and the premise is that Cady has been suffering from memory loss, and can't remember parts of what happened last summer on the island. However, there is clearly something bad that happened last summer that nobody will talk about. This leaves Cady to figure out herself and put together the pieces on why her memory is blank on the events of last summer, and what exactly happened. We readers have to solve the clues to figure out what this huge unspoken secret is along with Cady.
I understand the gist of what the author meant to do here. When I first began to read, it wasn’t a bad story. I actually didn’t mind the writing style unlike most readers, and yes, while the main character was pretty privileged and slightly ignorant, she wasn’t the worst character. However, the thing that was the dealbreaker for me was the big secret. The plot twist that the author had been hinting at for most of the book. The issue was, is that the big revelation wasn't very interesting or something to gasp about at all. I feel like there wasn’t enough groundwork laid in the earlier portions of the story for the plot twist, so when the huge secret was unveiled, it seemed very abrupt, random, and unsatisfying. There were too many holes and loose ends, and I think as a reader, most people will leave very unsatisfied and slightly confused after finishing this book.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Rebel of the Sands
Hamilton, Alwyn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Amani is a sixteen-year-old gunslinger and sharpshooter from Dustwalk. Orphaned, she lives with her abusive aunt, uncle, and cousins, but wants to run away from the desert and flee to Izman, the capital city. When she meets Jin, a mysterious foreigner, she takes her chance to leave her dead city and runs away with him. They encounter many dangers along the journey as they defend themselves against mythical creatures such as the "Nightmares" and "Skinwalkers". Along the way, Amani discovers that she can control the sand, and other secrets about herself, Jin, and the Rebel Prince.

My favorite character in this novel was obviously Amani. She is around my age, adventurous, and just wants a better life for herself. Living in Dustwalk, many of her opportunities are limited because she is female, and she represents an important theme about female autonomy and feminism. There's a bit of everything: adventure, fantasy, romance, and lots of events that kept me hooked. I liked how there were a lot of unexpected events and that the ending has some ambiguity to it. This book is the first of a trilogy, and I'm just as excited to read the other books!

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
The Program
Young, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Program by Suzanne Young is a Dystopian romance novel following the life of young Sloane. There is an epidemic spreading through the world as 1 out of 3 teenagers begin to take their lives. Including her some of her own best friends. The solution: The program.
When Sloane was younger her own brother, Brady, took his life which makes her much more at risk. Soon the couple James, Brady's best friend, and Sloane are on everyone's radar. When James is taken to the Program, Sloane tries to kill herself the same way Brady did.
Once in the Program, Sloane is scared to lose James in her memory so that is all she focuses on. Throughout the book, more people lose their lives as more discover why they are still living. I think the book is very relatable for everyone and is a great read. I loved this book and it brought me many worried yet excited emotions. I would rate it a 5/5!

Reviewer's Name: Nicole
Find Me Andre Aciman
Aciman, Andre
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is the sequel to Call Me By Your Name, and it is incredible! The novel is split into four sections, each following the lives of Samuel (Elio's father), Elio, and Oliver, characters who were first introduced in the first book. It isn't clear who the narrator is for each section, but and I love the ambiguity that it adds to the plot. The book is so beautifully written: I loved the metaphors and vivid imagery, and the overall theme of the book. Call Me By Your Name ended sadly, but this book was the closure I hadn't realized I needed.

The events of the book take place twenty years after the first book. In the first part, Samuel meets a young woman on a train and they quickly begin a romantic relationship. In the second part, Elio is now an established pianist and begins a relationship with an older man, but they break up later. In the third section, Oliver is married with two children and teaches at a university in New Hampshire. Often, he finds himself thinking of Elio and the time they spent together twenty years ago. In the final section, Elio and Oliver reunite and are raising Elio's half-brother. Overall, I definitely recommend reading this book (and reading the first one)! The movie for the first book is also a must-watch.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Every Other Weekend book jacket
Johnson, Abigail
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The life of Adam Moynihan got turned upside down after his brother died. Before, his family was almost perfect. His brother and him didn't fight and his mother and father were happy and Adam made straight A's. After, his brother and him couldn't have one conversation without fighting each other without fighting and his mother and father decided that they couldn't be happy together so they decided to take a break from each other. Everything was messed up for Adam.

Jolene Timber's life was the opposite. Her life was full of nothing but chaos and mental pain. Her parents divorced when she was younger and had been fighting with each other since. Adam and Jolene had both been forced to stay with one of their parents in the same apartment building which is where they met each other. Almost as soon as Adam and Jolene met, they had an immediate connection. Adam and Jolene needed each other to help one another get through their equally tough situations. Adam and Jolene both knew that they had had romantic feelings for eachother since the beginning, but they didn't want to ruin their amazing friendship. Adam and Jolene were both going through extremely difficult times but they helped and supported each other throughout the whole thing.

I chose to read this book because in the summary it told me about the problems that both Jolene and Adam went through. I also happened to relate with one of the problems that Adam went through. The reality of the book really satisfied me because it's easier for me to follow along with a storyline when it's easier to relate to. The book also included some humorous content which I think is very important to accompany serious events. There weren't many things that I didn't like about this book, however, the switch between points of view did mess me up quite frequently.

If you appreciate a book with things that would happen in real life, you'd appreciate this book immensely. If you enjoy funny characters who slowly fall in love with each other then you would fall in love with this book by Abigail Johnson.

Reviewer's Name: Cece T.
Where the Crawdads Sing
Owens, Delia
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book takes place in North Carolina and follows the life of a girl named Kya. Kya has lived alone in the marsh since a young age and has always loved the life within. The book follows her as she grows up and the challenges she faces. Then her life takes a drastic turn when she is accused of the murder of Chase Andrews. The book deals with themes of love, loneliness, and more.

This book was pretty good, but outside of what I normally read. That said it was a very interesting book to read. It reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird because of the trial and theme of prejudice. Kya was such a unique character to follow with her lifestyle and how she acted. It was easy to cheer her on during the trial or feel her pain. It was fun to follow along with the trial and see the evidence. That said, I didn't rate this higher because of the twist at the end. The twist caught me off guard and it wasn't one I liked. I felt it went against some of the points made in the book. Although I know some people really loved this book. So this is one of those books you should read for yourself and see what you think. You might really like it or you might not. Either way, I think this book did a good job of showing Kya's world and life.

Reviewer's Name: Alyson
The Heart of Betrayal
Pearson, Mary E.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Heart of Betrayal is how Lia travels through the dessert trying to figure out how to get out of this situation. On the way she crosses how to truly connect with her gift. Then she arrives at Venda. People are succumbing, and start to begrudgingly like her. For some people a little too much. Lia has gone through the whole rainbow of emotions. Now she has to take action before it too late.
In this book the beginning was a little slow for me but it sped up significantly once she got to Venda. Lia is no "little girl" in this book, her character arc is so perfect. This book has a character everyone can love.

Reviewer's Name: Lilly
Lore
Bracken, Alexandra
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Lore is about a girl trying to forget her past. When Castor, her childhood best friend, shows up unexpected, Lore is questioning what does she really know about her old life. The story she made up about her families murder doesn't make sense anymore, but she refuses to believe she's wrong. This is a book about Lore's journey through grief and sorrow. Throughout this book Lore acquires more people from her past. The end was a twist I would have never expected. This was a book of betrayal, acceptance, change, forgiveness, and love. This tale is one of my favorites.

Reviewer's Name: Lilly
The Siren book jacket
Cass, Kiera
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Kahlen never believed in love at first sight. That is until she met
Akinli. He actually tried to understand her, under the circumstances. The
circumstances being she's a siren. Will Kahlen be able to fake her past and
be with her soulmate? Or will she put duty before love. This book is a
thrilling read. The ending will move you forever. I can't recommend this book
enough!

Reviewer's Name: Lilly
Cress book jacket
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time with me will know that one of my top three favorite movies is Tangled (2010). It then comes as no surprise to me that the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series that adapts the Rapunzel fairy tale into this sci-fi retelling would be my favorite of the set. It wasn't until I was reading original fairy tales to my daughter that I realized how close Cress came to representing the story it was based on instead of just relying on the familiar accouterments of the fairy tale.

While I didn't appreciate as much of the split storylines in Scarlet , I felt they improved the greater story arc of the whole series here. Cress explored much of the inner workings of the antagonist faction of Lunars that had been missing up until this point of the series. As such, I was able to gain a greater emotional attachment to the rag-tag group of rebels. It also helped that there was clear character growth in some of the minor characters like Carswell Thorne and Cress through the challenges they had to overcome.

Perhaps the best reason this was my favorite book of the Lunar Chronicles series is that it truly was building toward the climax of the series as a whole. Watching all the different pieces fall into place to set up the final book of the series was what had me hooked on this story all the way through. And sure, it still had that "teenage girl" quality to its prose, but at least it helped make the characters realistic—even if it was to adhere to the tropes of the Young Adult genre.

The sci-fi Rapunzel retelling I didn't know I needed, I give Cress 4.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Illuminae
Kaufman, Amie and Kristoff, Jay
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Illuminae is an enthralling mix of science fiction and thriller. Written as a case file and using many different formats (audio logs, transcribed security footage, and interviews are just a few), Illuminae has action, mystery, and romance to interest many teen readers, although its multimedia style may be jarring to some. Overall, an excellent book and the start of one of my favorite series to date.

Reviewer's Name: Locke
Pride and Prejudice
Austen, Jane
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Really Good.

Reviewer's Name: Leeann