Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Adventure

Scar Island
Gemeinhart, Dan
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Scar Island is a children's book written by Dan Gemeinhart.
The book begins with Jonathan, our protagonist, being taken to a juvenile detention center via boat by a sour captain and his more empathetic assistant, Patrick. The detention center is called, "The Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys" and houses boy criminals aged 8-14. It's reminiscent of Alcatraz, in that the inmates are housed on a rocky, miniscule island.
Jonathan survives a miserable night in the center, but the next morning, during a role call of sorts, every grown-up is killed in an ironic accident. The inmates have the island to themselves. They decide to stay awhile instead of going home, to take back time the boys lost under the late Admiral's boot. They rechristen the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys as Scar Island.
However, it all begins to go wrong when an older boy named Sebastian takes control of the facility and his methods of keeping order become increasingly cruel as the story goes on. Eventually, the boys must find a solution before the sea takes back what is hers.
Scar Island is a simple book, but well written. One thing that made the book memorable for me was that in the end, there were no bad guys. Everyone on the island was just a scared kid, trying to do what they believed was right. Unfortunately, the ending was much too abrupt for my taste, and the book didn't incorporate any heavy themes.
This book is a nice rainy-day read, and I'd recommend it for reluctant readers who like books about kids banding together to survive great odds.
Grade 9, age 13

Reviewer's Name: Isabel
Chomp book jacket
Hiaasen, Carl
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a book that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. I've read it every year since I was in elementary school, and it's a great story about kids standing up to nonsensical adults in a humorous yet adventurous way. Wahoo is an observant, level-headed character who contrasts with his father's personality well. I also love the girl Tuna because she is brave for everyone except herself, which is such an interesting character trope to follow. There's a great message of the negative impacts of media, such as reality television, and finding beauty in unconventional things. It is a quick read that will stick with you for a long time.

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
DiCamillo, Kate
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a book from the very unique perspective of a toy rabbit. Edward is a narcissistic, cold-hearted rabbit, incapable of love, until something unspeakable (by Edward's standards) happens to him and his life takes a drastic turn. Over the course of his "life", he meets many different people, all in need of him, whether he likes it or not.
The first time I heard about this book was when one of my elementary school teachers read it aloud to the class. And when I reread it just recently, it almost made me cry for the second time. I love this book and it remains one of my favorites because of multiple reasons, including its interesting perspective and excellent development of characters. Each and every one of them seem like actual, real, living people.

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey
Wings of Fire: The Hidden Kingdom
Sutherland, Tui
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wings of Fire: The Hidden Kingdom, is one of my favorite books of all time. Escaping their captivity in the Sea Kingdom, the dragonets of destiny flee to the rainforest. There, they meet the infamously lazy tribe of dragons, who shelter them. But someone, or something, is disturbing this peaceful and colorful tribe. Can the dragonets save the missing dragons, and find a way to save the world before the brightest night? Well, you’ll only find out by reading the book. Although this book is about dragons, the qualities we find in our society are replicated in theirs. Each of the characters have flaws and strengths. Their personalities vary, and show emotions like greed, kindness, and sadness. As said before, qualities in our society are portrayed in the dragon society too. For example, racism, politics, and rivalries exist, and Tui. addresses these problems through the characters and their actions. By having anti racist characters, and peacekeeping characters, Tui. presents solutions to the problems in our society. All in all, I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read.

Reviewer's Name: Jenny
Spy Camp
Gibbs, Stuart
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Spy Camp is the 2nd book in the Spy School series. During the summer, Ben Ripley is called to Spy Camp, with is basically the same thing as Spy School, but outdoors. While he is there, an evil organization called SPYDER offers him a deal. Join them, or be killed. Ben now has his life at stake. So he refuses. He now has to be on his every move. If SPYDER finds him, he knows the consequences. Will Ben be able to outsmart SPYDER again? Or will his vacation end in disaster.

Reviewer's Name: Chase
Spy School
Gibbs, Stuart
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Spy school is about a 12 year old boy named Ben Ripley who has been recruited by the CIA to train to be a spy. The plot (without spoilers) takes place at the CIA Academy of Espionage. Ben can't tell anyone that he is a spy, including his parents. While he is there, he finds out that there is a mole lurking in the shadows of the school. Ben just got his first unofficial mission. Find the mole, find who they're working for, and to try no to be captured. If he succeeds, he will earn the trust of everyone at the academy. If he doesn't, he'll find himself in big trouble.

Reviewer's Name: Chase
Awards:
Pax
Pennypacker, Sara
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

“Pax” is a story about a boy and his fox. Peter has been taking care of Pax since he was a small kit. Over time Peter and Pax became very close. Peter’s father makes him leave Pax in the forest because Peter has to go live with his grandfather. Pax can’t go with Peter to his grandfather’s. After arriving at his grandfather’s house Peter realizes the mistake that he made, he decides to go after Pax. Pax who is hundreds of miles away is still holding out hope that his boy will come back, learns a couple of things about life, and makes a few friends. Peter makes a friend on the way and learns many things on his journey. Both of them want each other but will they find each other again, over hundreds of miles?

“Pax is an amazing, emotional book. It tells an amazing and eloquent story. By showing both Paxs’ and Peter's points of view you become very attached to them and you desperately want Peter to succeed. It portrays a relationship between a human and an animal beautifully. The ending made me feel many emotions. In my opinion, the ending was beautiful but if you really look at it it could be called rush with the way it was written. The ending was amazing and undesirable but at some point in the book, I knew that it would end that way. The book shows change so well, from Peter and Volas's relationship to Bristle and Pax's relationship, and just the characters in general. The writing describes everything and it was a beautiful writing style. We don’t know where the book takes place so things that are brought up in the book throw you for a curve. We don’t see what happens with Peter’s grandfather due to the ending. This book was beautifully written and it touches your heart, while some events in this book are unlikely, so much of this book will remind you of real-life. This is a book about change and it is so applicable to life. “Pax” is definitely a book to read when you want a book that will touch your heart and make you feel many emotions.

Reviewer's Name: Jordan
Hunting for Hidden Gold book jacket
Dixon, Franklin W.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The dynamic duo, Frank and Joe Hardy are camping in the woods with their friends while also trying to help their father find some information from a man named Mike Onslow that has to do with their father's new case. One evening, they get a call at the local hotel from their father's friend, Hank Shale, who their father is supposed to be staying with in Lucky Lode, Montana. Their father was supposed to be hunting a band of dangerous criminals, Black Pepper and his gang, but Hank Shale, or whoever it was, said that their father was in trouble, and they needed to get to Lucky Lode as fast as they could. The boys decided that they needed to fly to Montana to help their father and are going to attempt to catch a flight to the west in the morning, but first they stumble upon Mike Onslow in the woods finding him injured with a bullet in his leg. They help nurse him to better health and he tells them about his encounter with Black Pepper and his gang. He and three of his other partners are surrounded by Black Pepper and his gang after they had struck it rich. One of them managed to get away with the gold and promised to meet them and split the gold. The guy never showed up and they never heard "hide nor hair" of him ever again. Along with this useful bit of information, he gave them the most probable area for Black Pepper and his gang in Montana. The next morning, they depart, but everything is not as it seems. On one of their airplanes stops, they are kidnapped, and have to escape so they don't miss their flight, and when they arrive in Lucky Lode, they are ambushed again by a shotgun that was booby-trapped on the helicopter that they had to take instead of a plane to get to the small town. There is definite foul play going on and this is only the beginning. From Timberwolves and a cave in, to piano-playing ghosts this book is an amazing puzzle that allows the reader to wonder how the mystery to be solved.

I liked this book because of the reason mentioned above and because the final ending of the book puts the puzzle pieces together in one of the most astonishing ways that I have ever read. I first picked this book for a book report in the 4th grade, and it created such a lasting impression on me that I have read it over and over. The thing that I enjoyed the least about this book was the fact that it felt short. I kind of wish that the story was extended a little and there were a few more key details. I remember when I was first reading the book it was the complete opposite of predictable. The plot twisted and turned in so many directions and I love it for that. I sadly couldn't really relate to any of the characters in this book besides one of them that was only at the beginning, Chet Morton. The only reason I do is because I share the same like of food that he has. This is one of the best books I read in that year that I read it and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good and high stakes mystery.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Cooper
The Martian
Weir, Andy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Martian is a novel by Andy Weir about a lone astronaut trapped on a foreign planet, surviving solely off of his wits and knowledge. Andy Weir's premiere story is a tale of persistence, ingenuity, and the human need to help one another.
Mark Watney is an incredibly charismatic protagonist, and the fact that this is so obvious even without direct dialogue between him and other characters makes Weir's writing even more impressive. The format of the novel is unique, with Watney mostly speaking through logs of his time on Mars, before the perspective switches to his colleagues on Earth in a more common third person perspective. Although this format doesn't sound like it could be exciting, the book can be thrilling at times, as problems continue to stack up, making Watney's return to Earth more unlikely each time.
Overall, The Martian is a gripping story and a treat to adult fans of science fiction.

Reviewer's Name: Locke
Pony
Palacio, R.J.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I truly enjoyed this book! The story follows a 12-year- old boy named Silas whose father becomes involved in a counterfeiting scheme against his will. Silas is told not to follow him when he is taken, but when a horse shows up at his door, he takes it as a sign and sets off on an adventure with his ghostly companion, Mittenwool. The love that Silas has for his father and the means he is willing to use to save him cause the reader to become attached to the young boy and root for him throughout. I give this book five stars for the masterful storytelling used by the author to draw you in, and it uses a simple story to convey a deep message through the love and courage that Silas demonstrates on his adventurous expedition through the wilderness. All in all, I most definitely recommend this book to anyone of pretty much any age from about sixth or seventh grade through high school as a fun read that pulls at your heartstrings a little. Enjoy!
Reviewer grade 9

Reviewer's Name: Aubrey
Trapped in a Video Game book jacket
Brady, Dustin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The story follows Jesse and his friend Bob as they try to escape from a preview of a game called Full Blast. I chose this book because I love playing video games, and this seemed like the perfect book for me. I enjoyed when the pair fought their hunter, using the one weapon he was not immune to. The book was mostly predictable, but in a video-game-like way, like you sort of know what's next, but you can never by quite sure. I can relate to the video-game-loving Bob, who always wants to show off his new creation or game. This is one of my favorite books, and I've read it probably way to many times. :) This is the first book in the series and they just get better from here!

Reviewer's Name: Kai
Jurassic Park
Crichton, Michael
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

One of the greatest science fiction novels of the past century, Jurassic Park is a genius blend of thrills, likable characters, and philosophy deep enough to interest more mature readers while allowing younger adults and teenagers to be invested as well. The story revolves around a group of temporary advisers to an eccentric millionaire who has created his own dinosaur theme park. The park becomes far more dangerous, however, when a series of events leave the beasts free to roam the island.
The main cast is a group of fully realized characters of a variety of backgrounds, working together from their respective roles of the island to ensure their survival along with the others. Far from being simple Godzilla style creatures of destruction, the dinosaurs feel like characters of their own, with intelligence (especially among the raptors) and capabilities that are both realistic and terrifying. The scenes involving both the human and dinosaur cast are tense but still controlled, and no situation feels contrived or forced.
Jurassic Park is a classic novel for young adults or older people, perfect for anyone interested in a book that will keep them turning the pages until it's over.

Reviewer's Name: Locke
Daughter of the Pirate King
Levenseller, Tricia
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Alosa is the daughter of the infamous Pirate King. She's also half-siren, a secret she wants desperately to be kept hidden. After staging her kidnap by a rivalry pirate crew, Alosa is tasked with finding a map that will lead her father to a legendary island full of treasures untold. It should be easy: she's one of the best pirates on the sea, and being half-siren has its perks. But cleverly and annoyingly attractive first mate Riden makes her task much more difficult, and for the first time in her life, she has something to fight for...or rather someone.

My favorite part of the entire book was Alosa herself. She's smart, witty, and defies the odds given that she's a female pirate (and the only woman on the ship for most of the novel). Her budding relationship with Riden is amusing, and it's the typical enemies to lovers trope. The novel was full of some nice surprises, and I'm anticipating what's going to happen in the sequel!

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Shadow and Bone
Bardugo, Leigh
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Shadow and Bone is a fantasy book that follows a young woman living in a world full of mystical creatures and human soldiers with magical powers called the Grisha. To summarize, a young woman named Alina comes to find out that she has magical powers just like the Grisha, the people who were either treated like royalty or monsters, and is taken in by the Grisha to embark on a journey with them to train not only her power, but to fit in with the rest of them. However, while on this journey, she uncovers a secret that changes her life as she knows it. Shadow and Bone is the first of 3 novels of the story, and I have enjoyed every bit of it, whether it be looking into the magical but dark world of the Grisha for the first time just like our main character, or the interesting conflict between Grisha and other humans, this book is very entertaining and it didn't leave me bored for a moment. Although, I was rather annoyed that the Grisha were being treated like monsters by some people. If I were to give a grade out of 10, I would give it an 8.

Reviewer's Name: Lilleah
Crooked Kingdom
Bardugo, Leigh
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Crooked Kingdom, the second and last installment in Leigh Bradugo's Six of Crows duology, is probably my absolute favorite book in Bardugo's Grishaverse universe.
We continue from the ending of Six of Crows, where the Crows realize that they were scammed and are not receiving the money they were promised from breaking into the Ice Court and retrieving fifteen-year-old Kuwei-Yul Bo, the son of a famous scientist responsible for the creation of jurda parem. So of course, the Crows vow revenge and build an elaborate plan to plot against Van Eck--the merchant who scammed them, to receive their well-deserved money.
When I was first going into Crooked Kingdom, I was a little nervous, since many fans who've read this claimed that it was definitely much sadder than Six of Crows. And they were mostly right. Crooked Kingdom delved deeper into our favorite Dreg members characters, making us so much more attached to the gang. Even so, I really enjoyed Crooked Kingdom, as it provided much more information on the Dregs and especially Kaz's backstory. I appreciated how the ending mostly tied up loose ends and gave the characters a satisfactory ending.
Overall, Crooked Kingdom was a fitting end to the Six of Crows universe, and I would definitely recommend reading the whole Grishaverse books.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Six of Crows
Bardugo, Leigh
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Six of Crows is a duology in the Leigh Bardugo Grishaverse book universe. Before starting off about the book, I strongly recommend that before reading the Six of Crows books, to begin with the Shadow and Bone series. Trust me, although the Shadow and Bone trilogy isn't as raved about as the Six of Crows duology, it lays down the landscape and does some pretty important worldbuilding. Although you could get by with just reading the Six of Crows books, you'll probably be very confused.
To begin the review, Six of Crows takes place in Ketterdam, a rough and not so well off place, filled with "criminals" and many people in poverty. The book focuses on our Crows, six characters who are all bonded together by being a part of the Dregs, an infamous and tough gang in Ketterdam. We follow Kaz, Inej, Jasper, Nina, Wylan, and Matthias as they plot a heist to get into the Ice Court, a place that is heavily guarded and almost impossible to get into--or out of.
While I absolutely love a good heist book, the characters are the main thing that got me hooked with this series. For example, Kaz, a very well-known ruthless lock-pick and criminal, and most importantly, the leader of the Dregs, is only 17, but already has an intricately written character arc/backstory. Most importantly, Kaz is a very well-written morally grey character, as is the rest of the Dregs.
If a gang of exciting, morally grey characters doesn't hook you, we can also talk about the diversity in this story. There are LGBTQ+ characters, and many many characters who are all different races and from different cultures. Kaz, the leader of the deadly Crows even suffers from a disability. It's rare to find a story willing to delve into topics that aren't as widely portrayed in fiction, and Six of Crows does this brilliantly.
Overall, Six of Crows balances many different aspects perfectly. Humor, romance, backstory, diversity, and adventure, Leigh Bardugo does it all in Six of Crows.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Magnus Chase: The Sword of Summer
Riordan, Rick
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is a highly regarded book by critics and for a good reason! After a horror stricken-night 2 years ago, Magnus is forced to live in the streets of Boston by himself. When he discovers his Uncle Randolph is tracking him down, he resorts to hiding remembering the stories his mother told about him. Magnus' Uncle eventually finds him and explains terms of Norse mythology and his birthright to have a unique weapon. This book is an amazing story for thrill seeking and adventurous souls.

Reviewer's Name: Luke
The Mysterious Benedict Society
Stewart, Trenton Lee
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Mysterious Benedict Society is by far one of my best reads. Orphaned children are put to a series of tests by adults and a 'caretaker'. After the long and slightly dragged out beginning, you really begin to grasp the story. The Antagonist of the story chooses to use orphaned children because they have no roots or family. He trains them to never be afraid of their biggest fears . Although this book is slightly long and drawn out, it is still packed with lots of suspense. I would highly recommend for kids 12-14.

Reviewer's Name: Luke
Wings of Fire: The Lost Heir
Sutherland, Tui T.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wings of Fire: The Lost Heir, is a great book! After being held captive by and potentially killing the queen of the Skywings in the first book, the adventure continues! The dragonets are now on their way to the Sea Kingdom, where they meet one of the dragonet’s mother! After the heartwarming reunion, the dragonets are thrown into chaos in the Sea Kingdom! Read the book to find out more! I really love the characters and their relatable and diverse personalities. The humor and drama mixed in makes the book even better. The book is one of my favorite books of all time! I couldn't put the book down, and before I knew it, I'd finished the whole series! I definitely recommend it!
Reviewer's grade: 9th

Reviewer's Name: Jenny
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer book jacket
Twain, Mark
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

One of Tom's adventures. Really Good.

Reviewer's Name: Olivia