Thrillers/Suspense

The Ivies

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The Ivies
Author
Donne, Alexa
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

The Ivy League Universities are the most prestigious schools in America and even the world, and a group of five girls will stop at nothing to get into them. They call themselves the Ivies. The leader of the group, Avery, assigned each one of them a school: she is Harvard, .Emma is Brown, Sierra is Yale, Margot is Preston, and Olivia is Penn. After getting into Harvard, one of the girls is found dead. Olivia devotes herself to uncover secrets and scandals that could have caused her friends death, while avoiding becoming the killers next victim.
This book is a great book that is almost impossible to set down. It struck my interest because the thrill of murder mixed in with the stress of collage admissions sounds like the perfect story (and it is). This is a great story for anyone who loves a book with twists and turns that you never expect. I love that this story is not a one way, super easy murder case. It has lots of unexpected twists and turns that make it irresistible. This book also has a fair share of romance and gore, so readers who don't want anything PG13, this might not be the book for you.

Reviewer's Name
Joella

Run, Hide, Fight Back

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Run, Hide, Fight Back
Author
Henry, April
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

I found the book, "Run, Hide, Fight Back" to be a very interesting and suspenseful book. I really enjoyed reading it and I would like to read more books like this. I very much enjoyed the detail described in this book and there were plot twists that I never would have expected.

Reviewer's Name
Quin
Awards

Web of Shadows

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Web of Shadows
Author
Sleeman, Susan
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Two years ago FBI agent Nina Brandt sent a hacker with a paranoid disorder to prison, and he has spent these past two years to make a detailed plan of how to get is revenge. At the same time, her ex-fiancee's brother hacks into the TSA's No Fly List. When Quinn Stone, her ex-fiancee, realises his brothers only hope to stay out of jail is to ask her for her help. What Nina and Quinn don't see coming is that their past is going to come back to haunt them. Nina is pulled far deeper into the investigation that she ever thought she would be. Although crime isn't the only thing on Nina's mind. She realises quickly that she is falling for Quinn again. Everything depends on if Agent Brandt can manage to solve the crime and prevent terrorists from receiving the No Fly List information and also keeping herself from being killed by Wiley, the felon out to get her.
Web of Shadows is the second instalment of the Agents Under Fire Series.My reason for reading this book is that I have read other books of Sleeman's and this one sounded interesting. From its many intriguing plot twists to Nina's romantic indecision, I enjoyed almost everything about this books. The only thing I don't like, is at the beginning most of the point of view is from the felon. I think the type of people who would enjoy this book the most are teens and adults, and it is a fiction mystery.

Reviewer's Name
Clarabelle

Book Review: You'll Be the Death of Me

Author
McManus, Karen M.
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

This book was so well written! Ivy, Mateo, and Cal all used to be friends in middle school but then grew apart. Ivy was having a bad day because she didn’t get class president, Booney did. She ends up running into her two old friends in the school parking lot and then decided to skip school. Little do they know they will be witnesses of Booney’s murder. The three have a day full of crazy events from being suspects of murder to being kidnapped. I really enjoyed this book. There were so many twists and turns that made it hard for you to know who did it. The suspense made you want to never put the book down. I really liked how this book was not predictable it kept you guessing all the way to the end. I would definitely recommend it.
11th grade

Reviewer's Name
Megan

Book Review: The Silent Patient

Author
Michaelides, Alex
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

This eerie thriller was interesting, and I could have never guessed the plot twist! The Silent Patient follows a psychotherapist named Theo who is intrigued by patient Alicia's story of murdering her husband without warning or motive. She becomes mute and is resistant to talk about what happened that night, but Theo is determined to change that. Each chapter was engaging and added to the mystery of what led to the murder. Plus, the setting of a psychiatric hospital added to the grim and suspenseful tone of the book. By the very end, I was a bit confused by the plot twist because once it was revealed, it seemed like the characters totally changed personalities. Nevertheless, it was still a great book.
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name
Maggie

Book Review: One of Us is Lying

Author
McManus, Karen M.
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

Everyone contains secrets but it is about how far you are willing to bear them and how long you want to shelter them. One of Us Is Lying is the first book in the One of Us Is Lying Trilogy and a YALSA 2018 Teens' Top Ten selection. One of Us Is Lying has the perfect mix of drama, suspense, mystery, and romance, and I haven’t read anything as unique. The book is extremely well written, perfect and extraordinary with the proper balance of words to keep anyone seated in one spot for hours at a time. The novel starts with five students sent to detention with only four leaving alive. The Brain, Bronwyn, The Beauty, Addy, The Athlete, Cooper, and The Criminal, Nate, Bayview High School’s most notable hypocrites are brought down throughout the novel to a level so low. According to investigators the death of a student during detention with the other four students, The Outcast, Simon, was not an accident. The leading characters are Cooper, Addy, Bronwyn, and Nate. They are all altogether diverse in the way they behave and their personality. I found Cooper the most interesting, but Bronwyn was the most sympathetic. Addy changed throughout the story starting as a typical high school popular girl and then ending with a more refreshing style. I enjoyed how the story was put together in the first person because the perspective was constantly varying which made it altogether more interesting. It uses multiple perspectives to provide you the point of view of not one, but all four suspects in a murder mystery with their motives, but the real marvel lies within the journey and experiences of the characters. This book is much deeper than just a murder mystery, and it has much more to it in terms of character development and diversity. You witness the characters’ vulnerable lives being picked apart and their deepest secrets being spread to their peers. This book is 5 Stars and exceeded expectations. I enjoyed this book and suggest it for the next time you want to read something as unique as this.
Reviewer 8th Grade

Reviewer's Name
Anushka
Awards

Book Review: Storm Front

Author
Butcher, Jim
Rating
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

Book Review: The Collector

Author
Alexander, K.R.
Rating
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

Book Review: A Little Life

Author
Yanagihara, Hanya
Rating
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

Book Review: The Inheritance Games

Author
Barnes, Jennifer Lynn
Rating
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