Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Science Fiction

Prey
Crichton, Michael
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Here, you follow Jack Forman as he wages through his wife's unusual behavior and the nanotechnology her company created and developed.
For my first Crichton novel, I really enjoyed it. Watching Jack as he waded through his suspicious and the dangers he faces was a thrill to watch. While the characters themselves felt a bit bland, the plot, scientific mystery, and thriller aspects of the story make up for it. Learning about nanotechnology and different parts of programming was also fun to read, even if I didn't understand all of it. The pacing of the novel was done pretty well, from the beginning with Jack's wife, to the her place of work later in the novel. The way the danger was presented and changed was done well and kept me on my toes until the resolution. I recommend this for those who like thrillers and/or sci-fi.
Reader's Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Antwaan
Ender's Game
Card, Orson Scott
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Ender's Game, written by Orson Scott Card, is a fictional account of an interplanetary war between the human race and aliens (known as "buggers"). The protagonist, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, is a young boy when he is selected to battle school, where the elite of humanity is sent to train in case of war. Ender quickly rises through the ranks and joins the Command School, where the elite of the elite train.
In the previous war against the buggers, one man's actions saved humanity, and that man's name was Mazar Rackham. For the upcoming war, Mazar Rackham refines Ender's ability to exploit weakness in the enemy. After the war (no spoilers here!), Ender learns of the importance of communication and trust.
My favorite part was the ending. Even thought it felt a little rushed, it was beautiful. It was filled with kindeness and hope for the future. I enjoyed reading the book because it challenged my vocabulary and helped me look at situations and misunderstandings in a different light. I would recommend the book because it teaches valuable lessons that the reader can apply to their own life.

Reviewer's Name: Finn
When You Reach Me
Stead, Rebecca
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

When You Reach Me is one of my favorite books of all time. It is such a compelling mystery from the perspective of a sixth-grader who is wise for her age. Miranda contemplates theories of time travel and the effect of the past on the future in a light-hearted manner that makes this story impossible to put down. I love every character and reading their dialogue always gets me to think about the importance of kindness and our relationships as humans during such a short time on Earth. If you love a philosophical mystery or are just looking to get out of a reading slump, give this book a try!

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
The Giver
Lowry, Lois
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Giver is an eloquent novel that contains a meaning that eludes to a greater concept. It contains several twists that are revealed at the end making the book an interesting and exciting read. At the beginning of the novel, you are shown a world of gray and conformity, yet as the story progresses, you are introduced into a world of color and prominence. The characters are what make the book the great piece it is, and the way they are written allows you to relate to each of the characters. Overall an excellent book that I would absolutely read again.

Reviewer's Name: Veronica
I Am Number Four
Lore, Pittacus
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore is an entrancing sci-fi/fantasy adventure that is definitely worth the read. The story follows a boy called “Four”. Four, and his guardian Henri, are aliens from another planet. Four is one of nine children with magic powers who escaped their home planet when another alien race (called the Mogadorians) invaded. Now, it is only a matter of time before the Mogadorians, who intend to take over Earth, catch up with Four and Henri.
I love this book. I have read it upwards of ten times, but it still remains entertaining every time. Even though Four is an alien, he has completely human feelings and that makes him a really likable and realistic character. There is never a dull moment in the story, and although I have already read the second book, I want to know what happens next. I recommend this book to all sci-fi enthusiasts, and even those who don’t love it. You absolutely cannot go wrong with reading this book.

Reviewer's Name: Alayna
Binti book jacket
Okorafor, Nnedi
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

If you're a fan of science fiction novels like I am, and you love to see a good book with a diverse lead, you have to check out Binti! Following the story of a young girl with strong cultural ties, Binti is going to study at the prestigious Oozma Uni, but when the Meduse attack, she has to stay strong. The story is amazing but can get confusing at a few points, however, the imagery expressed within the novel is gorgeous. You can visualize everything in your mind as you read, and the storyline itself is one that will leave you thinking about it for hours. Binti also is one of the only novels of its kind in a subgenre of science fiction known as africanfuturism, a twist on afrofuturism where instead of being set in North America or another country, it is set in Africa. If you're looking for a quick sci-fi read with a gorgeous diverse lead and beautiful imagery along with a fascinating plot, you have to check out Binti.

Reviewer's Name: Alexis
Morning Star
Brown, Pierce
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

After a year being tortured by Adrius Augustus, better known as The Jackal, Darrow has escaped capture and resumed his campaign against the tyrannical rule of the Sovereign of the Society. But Darrow isn't the man he was a year ago: he's been broken down, dehumanized, and kept in a dark cell for over a year, and now has more doubts than ever. The people he thought were his best friends betrayed him, and the last time he saw the woman he loves, she was walking away from him after learning the truth about his Carving. While Darrow knows that he is likely the last chance at destroying the Society and bringing peace, his own self-doubts and struggles could be the thing that gets him killed.

Compared to the first two books of the trilogy, this book's plot is slower and admittedly, harder to get through. I did appreciate how there is more of a focus on Darrrow's growth from a teenager to a man, and his overall growth in shifting from fighting for himself to fighting for others and a better world for everyone, not just the Reds. However, the book is lengthy and I felt there was an unnecessary amount of "fluff" and plot points that weren't relevant to the overarching plot of the novel. The ending was nice (if not bittersweet), and I'm content with where each of the characters ended.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
The House of the Scorpion book jacket
Farmer, Nancy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The House of Scorpion is a book set in the future in a place called Opium with a boy named Mateo who is a clone of a huge drug lord who goes by "El Patron". This book has always been a favorite of mine since I read in 6th grade for the first time, it stuck out to me because the creativity, plot, setting, it is such a fun book to read and the book also has a sequel, so its great that the book continues. There wasn't really a time I disliked the book, it always had my attention, and I think that truly matters when reading a book. I choose this book not only because its a childhood fave but I feel like others might love to read this book as much as I did.

Reviewer's Name: Makaia
Dune book jacket
Herbert, Frank
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Dune is the first book in a series by Frank Herbert (something I didn't know until after I had started reading). This was a wonderfully imaginative book with interesting characters, conflict, and world building.
You follow Paul as he travels to the planet of Arrakis. You similarly follow those close to him, notably his mother, Jessica, as they all grow accustomed to the unfamiliar landscape and the politics that encompass it.
While the language of the characters originally threw me off, I grew accustomed to it and it helped immerse me in the story and characters. Seeing the dynamics and customs of not only the Atreides family, but also natives of Arrakis, was interesting and better as they intertwined with each other.
Also seeing the various themes of the story was also appealing (thanks English class!) as they intersect with each other in ways I've never seen before.
This is a great book and I recommend it, even if Sci-fi isn't your normal genre.
Reviewer's Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Antwaan
Thunderhead book jacket
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The sequel to the dystopian novel, Scythe, Thunderhead delves deeper into Citra and Rowan's stories. Citra, now newly ordained Scythe Anastasia, is an up-and-coming junior Scythe, and already has begun to stir the pot in the community. With her unique gleanings, and progressive thoughts and opinions, Citra becomes a highly respected and wise Scythe, a Scythe who even the Thunderhead recognizes of value. Rowan on the other hand, after escaping the Scythedom, becomes the feared Scythe Lucifer, a black-cloaked vigilante Scythe who gleans Scythes that are driven by corruption. An equally as fast-paced and page-turning novel as the first book in the trilogy, Thunderhead was a fantastic installment to the series. I especially loved how this novel dived deeper into the inter-workings of the Thunderhead, and it's thoughts and opinions. I found it to be very interesting to see how an inanimate being like the Thunderhead, could still have morals and a conscience. This book, just like the first book in the Scythe series, was just as beautifully written, and the plot twists continue to be well developed and unexpected. The cliffhanger was also very interesting, and it was enjoyable to see the Thunderhead and it's "character development" that led to said cliffhanger. Overall, this novel was just as good as the first book in the trilogy, and I could not recommend it more.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Scythe
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

It's hard to express how beautifully written this book is. A novel that follows a dystopian plotline where the world has found a way to eliminate all diseases and achieve immortality, from start to finish, Shusterman keeps you hooked. We meet two teenagers, Rowan and Citra, both of whom are selected to become "Scythes," people whose jobs are to randomly kill, keeping the population under control. While the plot sounds intriguing, the way Shusterman tells the story makes it even more so. The extensively detailed world-building that was created in this story was beautiful and made the novel seem thought-provokingly realistic. I couldn't wrap my head around on how the author could think up of such creative details, such as the rules all Scythes must follow, and the premise of "splatting" and "gleaning." While the novel is supposed to be fantasy, it's written in a way that seems all too realistic. The way Shusterman writes makes all of his characters come to life, and the small details he injects into characters makes them seem shiveringly human. While reading, I completely could understand each and every character (even the minor ones) and their actions. Every single character in this novel is written in a completely realistic way-- fatal flaws and all.
The plot twists also completely awed me. Scythe is one of those novels that sprinkle in tiny minor hints that may seem insignificant at first, but come together to form a huge, whopping plot twist. I can honestly say that before actually reading the twists, I would have never guessed any of them. The plot also flowed very naturally, so much so that all the twists included all seemed to be important, and not just stuck in for shock factor. Lastly, I thoroughly enjoyed the journal entries written before/after each chapter, and when reading them, I was awed at the depth and meaning included in them. It's pretty rare for a book to make you think so hard, but this book was one that made me contemplate many, many things. I would recommend this book for anyone, and although it's listed as Teen Fiction or YA, I believe that due to the very meaningful way this story is written, anyone can read this novel, also including the next two books included in the trilogy.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
The Hunger Games book jacket
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Hunger Games is a thrilling novel that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I read it. It is a dystopian fiction novel with lots of action aspects as well. I chose this book because I heard many great things about it, and I absolutely loved it!
In the setting of The Hunger Games, there are 12 Districts that the people live in. Many years before the story takes place, there were 13 Districts. However, there was a rebellion against the government, and the Districts lost and the 13th District perished. The government holds annual Hunger Games to remind the citizens what happened during the rebellion. The Hunger Games takes two kids from each District and force them to compete in a fight to the death match in an arena. Katniss Everdeen volunteers as a tribute when her little sister’s name is drawn during the Choosing Ceremony. During the Hunger Games, she makes friends and enemies, and learns some of the schemes behind the government.

This novel was so entertaining and I was hoping that it would never end. I think people who like action and dystopian novels would like this book, and if they don’t mind some violence.

Reviewer Grade: 8.

Reviewer's Name: Beatriz
Golden Son book jacket
Brown, Pierce
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The second book in the Red Rising trilogy, Golden Son continues Darrow's quest to tear apart the Society from within. After having succeeded at the Institute, Darrow is now serving as a lancer in the House of Augustus. A Peerless Scarred of the Academy, his goal is to kill off the Bellona family before they kill him, and overthrow ArchGovernor Augustus of Mars. However, when a mishap throws his plan into jeopardy, Darrow finds himself leading a civil war among the Golds. While he's one step closer to overthrowing the tyrannical rule of the Golds, is at worth it at the cost of losing his friends, love, and loyalty?

Just like the first book, I couldn't set this one down once I started reading it! It's action packed and kept me on my toes the entire time, and the sci-fi elements were fantastical and literally out of this world. I like reading about Darrow's growth and how he's come to trust and see friendship in the Golds, and that while he's still fighting for the same purpose, he's opened his heart to the possibility of reforming the Golds rather than destroying them. Overall, the book is a great reference to power struggles and the inequity of class divisions. I loved all the allusions to Greek mythology, and the philosophical quotes and pieces. I can't wait to read book three and see Darrow's dream finally come true!

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Dune book jacket
Herbert, Frank
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Dune is a sci-fi series written by Frank Herbert depicting detailed politics with twists and turns. The first one begins with the story of a boy called Paul, the son of a duke. His journey begins on Arrakis, a desert planet filled with a valuable resource called spice. When the duke’s palace is attacked, Paul must flee and find refuge in the desert. This book was entertaining for me, but it goes a little heavy into politics and there are a lot of things you need to pay attention to in order to understand the story. I lost interest in the overall series after the first 4 books as it just gets so weird with mystical stuff in the world. The genre it fits into is not scifi, but a mix between fantasy and scifi.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
The Selection
Cass, Kiera
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The Selection by Kiera Cass is a teen-romance novel, following protagonist America Singer. America, along with 34 other girls is chosen to compete in The Selection. The Selection is a chance for these girls, coming from all sorts of social classes to seize a position in royalty. But for Prince Maxon, The Selection is a chance for him to find true love. We join America and the other girls as they journey to the royal palace to meet the Prince and compete for a chance to become future Queen of the kingdom of Ilea.
When I was reading The Selection, it reminded me a lot of the premise of The Bachelor. 35 girls all competing for the hand of a handsome prince? Sounds pretty much like the plot of a reality TV show to me!
And just like a reality TV show, I found myself completely hooked on this series. There was drama, romance, friendships, and even a hint of politics in this first book of the series. And even though some parts of the novel felt very cheesy and overdone, I couldn't help but want more. The Selection is the sort of book that you pick up for some lighthearted fun, just as you would binge a trashy reality TV show. While I definitely wouldn't recommend The Selection if you want something deeply moving, I'd make sure to give it a try if you're looking for something easy and fun to read to get you out of a reading slump.The Selection by Kiera Cass is a teen-romance novel, following protagonist America Singer. America, along with 34 other girls is chosen to compete in The Selection. The Selection is a chance for these girls, coming from all sorts of social classes to seize a position in royalty. But for Prince Maxon, The Selection is a chance for him to find true love. We join America and the other girls as they journey to the royal palace to meet the Prince and compete for a chance to become future Queen of the kingdom of Ilea.
When I was reading The Selection, it reminded me a lot of the premise of The Bachelor. 35 girls all competing for the hand of a handsome prince? Sounds pretty much like the plot of a reality TV show to me!
And just like a reality TV show, I found myself completely hooked on this series. There was drama, romance, friendships, and even a hint of politics in this first book of the series. And even though some parts of the novel felt very cheesy and overdone, I couldn't help but want more. The Selection is the sort of book that you pick up for some lighthearted fun, just as you would binge a trashy reality TV show. While I definitely wouldn't recommend The Selection if you want something deeply moving, I'd make sure to give it a try if you're looking for something easy and fun to read to get you out of a reading slump.

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
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
The Hunger Games book jacket
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Catniss Everdeen is the young girl in District 12 who comes from poverty and hunting. When the Annual Hunger Games start their draft picks, Catniss volunteers as tribute to spare her sister. She has always had talent with a bow and arrow for hunting for food to provide dinner for her family. Catniss uses her skill to win the Hunger Games and eventually eliminate President Snow, the background of the merciless games. I loved the intelligence put into the book of the making of the games. Because of the fighting, there is some violence and gore, but it’s still family-friendly and can be read comfortably. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves quick thinking and thought-out mystery. Hunger Games is intriguing, well-planned, and is an all-time favorite for my family.

Reviewer's Name: Rachel L.
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
Divergent
Roth, Veronica
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I picked this because the plot seemed very captivating, and it turns out it was! I also picked this because it was a different genre than what I normally read. The book kept me very hooked and contained many plot twists. Divergent has easily become one of my favorite books of all time.
The setting is a dystopian setting, in a post-apocalyptic era in Chicago. Society is divided into factions, which members stay in their whole lives after the Choosing Ceremony. Depending on which faction you are in, you abide by different rules. Tris Prior got an unusual result from her aptitude test, a dangerous result called Divergent. This means that she doesn’t belong to one faction. She transfers factions and does her best to keep her Divergence a secret, all the while making friends, and enemies, in her new faction. And then war breaks out, and suddenly, her Divergence comes in handy.
This book is absolutely amazing and kept me hooked the entire time. I was actually disappointed when I finished it because I wanted to keep reading, but it is one of the best books I have ever read.
Reviewer Grade: 8.

Reviewer's Name: Beatriz
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