Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Humor

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Powers of a Squirrel book jacket
North, Ryan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I was first made aware of this somewhat obscure Marvel superhero because I am a regular reader of Ryan North's Dinosaur Comics webcomic series. While I sat on the knowledge of Squirrel Girl's existence for some time, I finally broke down and bought the two-volume collection of North's imagining of the hero. In this first volume, Powers of a Squirrel, we get to know Doreen Green (aka Squirrel Girl), a computer scientist student studying at Empire State University.

As a much more comedic superhero compared to the likes of Iron Man or Captain America, Squirrel Girl's claim to fame is the fact that she is "Unbeatable." This includes defeating some of Marvel's most fearsome and powerful villains in unique ways that don't involve violence. Sure, sometimes Squirrel Girl has to get her paws dirty, but the more amusing storylines are the ones where she saves the day using unconventional squirrel-based techniques. That being said, it's a funny gimmick the first few times, then it gets repetitive near the end of this volume.

The art for this comic was decent, but the writing was certainly worth the price of admission. Even the little author notes at the bottom of the page were fun to read, despite being in a minuscule font that my 35-year-old eyes had trouble reading. There's a lot of suspension of disbelief in this collection of the first eight issues of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, but honestly, what superhero comic book doesn't have some amount of this? And while Squirrel Girl is a bit more quirky than other superheroes, I do hope that she'll get her own MCU movie in the future.

A quirky and fun Marvel super hero, I give The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Powers of a Squirrel 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
All The Wrong Questions: "Who Could That Be at This Hour?"
Snicket, Lemony
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

If you have read A Series of Unfortunate Events, you know of a secret organization, and many, many easily fooled people. But, Lemony Snicket is not one of them. This book involves that secret organization, a very dangerous criminal, a plot involving a statue of a hideous sea creature, and Lemony Snicket himself. Perhaps you should turn your attention away from this horrible book and read another one.... JUST KIDDING : this book is amazingly awesome, no matter what Mr. Snicket says on the back!

When Lemony Snicket was 12 years old, he already had his hands on a mystery.mA confusing, detailed mystery. But if you pay attention, and read closely, you should be able to keep up. Lemony purposefully chooses the last-ranked mentor on the list, hoping that he will have more time for something else, but nothing can be farther from the truth. He is soon involved in another mystery, one that will take nearly all his time. His mentor, S. Theodora Markson, has no idea what she's doing, but acts like she knows everything. Someone is lying to him. He gets into trouble with the law by pure accident. This will take all the skills and knowledge from his 'unusual education'.

I love all of the Lemony Snicket books I have read so far, and this one is no exception. The plot will keep you guessing at every twist and turn. I like the way Lemony hardly ever panics, and how he handles things in his out-of-the-box way. This is a great way to spend the time if you are bored and sleepy, because it will wake you right up, and keep you entertained throughout the whole book. However, do not read this at bedtime, because you will not be able to stop, and will probably lose yourself a lot of sleep. This book is the first in a series, if you are looking for more Lemony Snicket.

Have fun reading!

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey
The Importance of Being Earnest
Wilde, Oscar
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde, is a short play about characters who are indeed NOT earnest. Algernon, a bachelor living in London, has an imaginary friend called Bunbury whose false existence he uses to get himself out of unpleasant social gatherings. Similarly, Jack—who lives in the country with his ward, an orphan named Cecily—has a made up brother named Ernest, whose constant state of “illness” allows him to visit the city when he pleases. From these false identities arises a huge misunderstanding, when Algernon decides to visit Jack’s country home posing as Ernest, the imaginary invalid brother whom Jack had planned to kill off that very day in order to end his pretending once and for all. The two friends must sort out the misunderstanding with their respective fiancées, and end up making an ironic discovery in the process.

This play is highly amusing, with its opinionated characters and witty commentary. It has a satisfying denouement; from start to finish the plot is engaging, and it doesn’t drag on. I would recommend The Importance of Being Earnest to anyone who likes a clever and entertaining comedy, or just a good laugh!

Reviewer's Name: Alexa
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Adams, Douglas
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I'll be honest. The main reason I picked up this book was because I kept hearing people talk about how 42 is the meaning of life and I had no idea what they meant. I also read it because I'm generally a big fan of science fiction, but it was mostly to understand the 42 reference. Despite my less-than-admirable intentions, though, I massively enjoyed it. The author is very creative and the writing itself is well-crafted, but, at the same time, the book doesn't take itself too seriously. It's hilarious. From the "42 is the meaning of life" idea that everyone talks about to the name "Slartibartfast," this book made me laugh out loud several times, which isn'ta common occurrence when I'm reading. I also read it as an audiobook, and Stephen Fry as the narrator makes it that much better. My only complaint about it is that the ending was a bit abrupt, but that's what sequels are for, so all in all, I would highly recommend.

Review grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Elanor
Dealing With Dragons
Wrede, Patricia C.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Dealing with Dragons is a novel about a princess named Cimorene. What's unusual about this particular princess is the fact that she is very improper. Unlike most princesses, she actually has a brain. When she learns of plans to wed her off to some cotton brained Knight, she runs away. She runs, not to the Enchanted Forest, not to some abandoned tower, but to a dragon's lair. I enjoy this book because of how well it puts you in the story. Once you start reading, you can't put it down. I recommend this book to anyone reading fairy tales, but not content with how stupid some of the characters are.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
I Hate Fairyland, Volume 1: Madly Ever After
Young, Skottie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I Hate Fairyland explores the concept of a young girl, Gertrude, falling into a fantastical world and taking on the quest of finding a key that would allow her to leave. After 27 years she has yet to complete her mission and is still stuck in her 8 year old body. She makes her way through Fairyland killing anything that offers her any semblance of inconvenience; after spending years trying to get back to her home, she has gone crazy, to say the least, and developed a murderous attitude. Young creates a blaring contrast between the excessive gore and violence and the fluffy backdrop of Fairyland. Young's writing and art is amazing as always, and I Hate Fairyland offers an interesting story backed by great visuals and lettering. The story explores a spin on the original Wizard of Oz type story, and any reader would have a fun time reading this humorously dark series. Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Julia
Sal and Gabi Break The Universe
Hernandez, Carlos
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Welcome to ‘Sal and Gabi Break the Universe’, a book that will take you on an awesome universe-tearing adventure! This book will show the life of a middle-school magician, named Sal. I especially loved this book because of the time put into the descriptions of the magic tricks. Another thing that makes this book shine is the humor. There was enough humor in this book to keep me laughing the whole time I read it. This book is high up on my book list. I would suggest this to anyone, and I mean anyone.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Phule's Company
Asprin, Robert
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Phule’s Company combines humor and a great amount of detail in a single book. It also contains a good amount of growth mindset. Even though it's a novel, I think anyone could learn Growth Mindset from this. Though the humor is hard to see, it really is funny in a lot of ways. Some of the names are clever versions of household items, such as duct tape. Overall, this is an excellent book for anyone looking for a sci-fi.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
The Pros of Cons
Cherry, Alison & Ribar, Lindsay & Schusterman, Michelle
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Pros of Cons is a book about three girls at different conventions become friends. Vanessa Monotoya-O'Callaghan is going to a Fan Fiction convention with her friend Soleil. Pheobe Byrd is going to a Indoor Percussion Association convention with her percussion friends. Callie Buchannan is going to a Taxidermy convention with her dad as his assistant.

Vanessa and Soleil had never met but at the convention. They were online friends and they wrote fan fiction together, but they never met. It all started out great. The one issue is that Vanessa thought that Soleil was her girlfriend. On the first day Soleil read her own story in front of people instead of the one they worked on together. This made Vanessa angry but she kept it to herself. Then a few nights later Vanessa kissed her and that's when they fought. She had already met Callie. Soleil kicked her out of the
hotel room, and she went to stay with Callie. The the three friends decide to make a podcast for Vanessa's Creative Corner entry.

Pheobe runs into Callie while her and her friends where bringing percussion equipment places. They run into each other than Pheobe and Callie accidentally switch bags. In the group ensemble performance she realizes that she does'n't have her mallets. Then her friend Scott takes the mallets she was using for a solo. She ends up have to us scalpels from the solo and cuts up her hands. After the performance she has to put band aids on her hands. She gets in a fight with her best friend, Scott, and her roommate. The ends up in Callie's room.

Callie is with her dad and his turkeys. She is her dads assistant. On the first of the convention Callie meets her dads old assistant Jeremy. Jeremy is one of the judges, and Callie makes fun of her dad in front of him. After Jeremy leaves her dad yells at her for making fun of him in front of a judge. Callie is mad at her dad after this because he yelled at her and doesn't know she is even alive sometimes. Callie decides to sabotage her dads turkey seminar. During the seminar he deals with everything as if it was on purpose. Then Callie and her dad get in to a huge fight, because her mom left and court only gave Callie 4 weeks to live with her mom, but her mom offered full time. Her dad without even talking to Callie told her mom she didn't want to go. Callie was upset, but in the end they made up and are all good now.

I chose this book because of the clever title and how it was written in different point of views. I think the plot is excellent.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime
Schooled
Korman, Gordon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Cap Anderson has been living on a farm with his hippie grandmother. He has never been to a public school and he does not know many everyday things such as what a TV is or how to act in a public setting. When his grandmother has an accident and is now staying at the hospital, Cap moves in with a guidance councilor and her daughter. He begins to go to a public middle school where big man on campus: Zach Powers uses Cap's strangeness to his advantage by nominating Cap for class president as a joke, but that plan soon backfires as Cap becomes more popular.

This book reminded me of Jerry Spinelli's Star Girl, but with a twist. School is my favorite book by Gordon Korman because the plot is so funny and unbelievable, but it teaches a valuable lesson about being who you are and not changing for people. The book goes by really quickly and I like the way that Korman writes the story in different perspectives. This is a really good book and I think it is definitely one to try if you like Stargirl.

Reviewer's Name: Emma M.
The Unteachables
Korman, Gordon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Unteachables is about seven students who instead of going to regular eighth grade classes, stay in one classroom and learn all the subjects from one teacher. This is called SCS-8 (Self-Contained Special Eighth grade Class) also known as the Unteachables. Kiana is a new girl from California who isn't supposed to be in the SCS-8 class, but due to a crazy first day, she is never properly registered in the school. Mr. Kermit is a fifty-five year old teacher who just needs to teach for one more year to qualify for early retirement. The Superintendent of the school does not like Mr. Kermit because of an incident that happened in the nineties. He is trying to fire Mr. Kermit before he can qualify for early retirement, so he gives him the SCS-8 class thinking that Mr. Kermit will give up and just quit during the year. The book follows the SCS-8 students, Mr. Kermit, and newfound allies as they try to keep Mr. Kermit's job and his chance for early retirement. What drew me to the book was the author because I love Gordon Korman's books. This book was really funny and it kept me wanting to read more. Korman puts a lot of thought into his characters and he fills them with fun twists and surprises that get discovered the farther you go into the book. At some points I was surprised at what happened in the book because it was something that I least expected. This book reminded me of the Gordon Korman's other book Ungifted. This is a great read for a funny, lighthearted book.
Reviewer grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Emma
The Dark Talent
Sanderson, Brandon
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

There’s foreshadowing; then there are five books of foreshadowing. In The Dark Talent, Brandon Sanderson starts wrapping up this amusing middle-grade series by finally reaching the part of the story that was alluded to so many books ago. While this could easily be the final book in the series, I believe there’s enough left unconcluded that another volume should be written to wrap these remaining subplots up into satisfying conclusions. By this point in the series, the Alcatraz formula has been thoroughly explored, and it almost seems to be running on autopilot*. Granted, this was after four books of character and plot development, but there’s still an amount of “been there seen that” here.

I am always in awe of Brandon Sanderson’s world-building, and the Alcatraz series is no exception. Breaking into the Library of Congress was such a natural extension of the “Librarian” motif that I’m a little surprised it took this long to get here. The magic system with lenses and glass is also well thought out and makes sense with each ridiculous use of its numerous lenses (embarrassment = explosions? Why not!).

Once again, I have to remind myself that books like The Dark Talent are geared toward younger minds. Sure, the plot twist/reveal helped drive the story forward, but it was so telegraphed that I had it all figured out as soon as this individual character was introduced. Still, for younger readers, this revelation may come as a surprise. And while the main character’s writing style is constantly on the caricature side of the spectrum, we do get to see some brief moments of vulnerability in the main players. Even if the main character can get a little grating at times, the first person narrative device works well for this middle-grade fantasy.

A fulfillment of four books of foreshadowing, I give The Dark Talent 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
The Book of Polly
Hepinstall, Kathy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Polly is a southern mother who doesn't put up with anybody. She is a confident individual who knows everything there is to know about gardening. The life she knew soon changed when her husband (Captain) dies, and she is left with an unexpected baby. Willow was born when Polly was in her late fifties, and death has always been a constant fear. Besides the fear of her mother's passing, there's only one other thing that pesters Willow.....secrets. Polly's past is a closed book, even a slight mention of the topic is forbidden. As the novel continues, Willow races against time to both save her mother and learn about the wounds from the past. The Book of Polly is filled with twists and turns, with times of tears and roars of laughter. Every page is filled with surprises. From aggravating neighbors to the love-hate relationship with squirrels, the book truly emphasizes the bond between mothers and daughters. I highly recommend this book! I have read it twice, and it truly is incredible.

Reviewer's Name: Isabella
Genres:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Dog Days
Kinney, Jeff
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Dog Days is one of the 14 books in Jeff Kenny's Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series. Dog Days is about Greg Heffley, the main protagonist, having his summer plans ruined when his parents leave him home with his mean older brother for the summer. The humor in this book is relatable and funny. I would recommend this book for a young audience.

Reviewer's Name: Rayn
Genres:
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Adams, Douglas
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Five stars (If you don’t laugh at this, then I don’t know what cave you’ve been living in) The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a sci-fi comedy so specific that it is funny. Between the absurd circumstances and the very specific jokes, I couldn’t stop laughing. The start of the book is normal, but once you get into it it keeps you laughing as it gets weirder and weirder. The events that happen are so improbable that it turns it the other way and makes it very probable. When reading the Guide, don’t forget your towel!

Reviewer's Name: Ethan W.
Book Cover
Colfer, Eoin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Artemis Fowl is back!

Well, not really. But his little brothers are a more than sufficient replacement. Twins Myles and Beckett have lived a life of education and luxury (with some mild kidnapping thrown in). But everything changes drastically when a small troll appears on their island. Before they know it, they find themselves kidnapped by ACRONYM (a government organization that deals with magic) and working with a fairy to escape from not one, but two baddies - an evil, mustache twirling duke and a deranged nun that are themselves at odds. Will the Fowl Twins escape in time to save their lives and, perhaps more importantly, human-fairy relations for the rest of time?

This was very cute. Colfer was in top form here, and this held all of the characteristics of a middle grade book that I find to be readable (they aren't always my favorite). Myles is snarky. Beckett is a loose cannon (who can talk to animals!!!). The duke has access to insanely quirky gadgets and wouldn't be out of place as a Despicable Me super-villain. The evil nun is an evil nun. The pace moves quickly, but we still get to know our characters. Aside from its general predictability (adults will see all the twists coming before they happen), it's a fantastic middle grade read. If the narrator is any good, I'll add this series to my list of books that I listen to while running.

TLDR: If you loved the Artemis Fowl series, you'll love this one too! It has all of the best elements of the original series with some fun new quirks and characters. 4 stars - I really liked it.

Thanks to Disney-Hyperion and Netgalley for the eARC, which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. The Fowl Twins is available for purchase on 05 Nov, but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: Britt
William Shakespeare's The Force Doth Awaken
Doescher, Ian
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

As I’ve been working my way through Ian Doescher’s Shakespearean adaptations of pop culture movies, I think I’ve hit the point where the novelty has worn off. For whatever reason, I didn’t feel like The Force Doth Awaken had the same charm as other entries in this quirky mash-up series. I have a sneaking suspicion that this may be due to one of two factors: 1. The newer movies have more “modern” dialogue that seemed as if it was directly plopped into the Shakespearean format, or 2. The original trilogy had more time to be ingrained in my psyche, and the translation to Shakespearean felt appropriate.

I don’t want to downplay the novelty of this adaptation, though. The voice acting is still superb, and the sound effects add a little something extra that immersed me as I listened to this audiobook. Plus, it’s not like these books are that lengthy anyway. If anything, I’m out a little over an hour of my time to listen to it (since I listen at 2x speed). I did appreciate that Chewie finally received the internal monologue that R2-D2 originally had since these un-translatable individuals still have something to add. I was, however, disappointed that BB-8 didn’t have the same treatment.

One of the other factors with this “translation” that I wasn’t too keen on was the meta aspect that kept winking at the reader and saying, “See? Do you get that reference?” I understand that everything exists in the Star Wars universe, but I think most people who will pick up this book will already know those references anyway and don’t need the coy allusions to other parts of the series. Of course, I’ll still end up listening to the rest of these when I can get them from my library, but The Force Doth Awaken felt like a low point (at least until I get into the prequels).

An almost too modern and meta Shakespearean adaptation, I give The Force Doth Awaken 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Book Review: Chomp
Hiaasen, Carl
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Mickey Cray and his son Wahoo are hired to wrangle various creatures for a survival tv show. Throw in a bat *bleep* crazy leading man along with various and sundry everglades characters and hilarity ensues. Such a fun read! Well, I actually listened to it, but I was still highly entertained.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: Flush
Hiaasen, Carl
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Noah's dad is in jail for sinking the Coral Queen, a gambling boat that dumps raw sewage into the pristine water of the Florida keys. A fun adventure, Hiassen delivers yet again. So far he has done no wrong. I listened to this on cd and was not impressed by the narrator, but Zoe loved the parts she heard and wants to read it now. If that's not a tribute to the book, than I don't know what is.

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

Chomp is a book written by Carl Hiaasen. I would rate Chomp five out of five stars. In Chomp, Wahoo’s mom is on a trip working in China. The main character, Wahoo, and his dad, Mickey, get hired for a TV job. Their family is tight on money, and they are trying to pay off the mortgage of their house. While Wahoo’s mom is in China, he and his dad go on a rollercoaster of exciting events working for the show. It has a very exciting plot and swallowed me into the book. It is a funny tale about the love for animals. I enjoyed the character’s humor and how Wahoo reacted to tough problems. I loved this book and would recommend it to others. It is in a series, but it is a standalone book. I would recommend reading all of the other books in this fantastic series. The author is an amazing writer. That is why I would recommend Chomp to you.

Reviewer's Name: Hayden S