Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Contemporary

The Naturals
Barnes, Jennifer Lynn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Naturals is an amazing book that was so fun to read. The whole book was very exciting and kept me interested the whole time. The ending was so shocking so I was extremely happy to find out that it is a series. All the details of the book are very well thought out and the author did a great job of developing each character to be special. The book is very similar to the tv show Criminal Minds which I thought was awesome.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
Awards:
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Honeyman, Gail
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine was a very interesting book that made me feel different every page. The book takes quite a long time to get interesting and once it does it still has weird boring spots. While the book wasn't always very interesting I was hooked because I had to know what the hints at the beginning of the book would lead to. I really liked the end of the book and how the character grows throughout the story though. I would recommend this book to a more mature reader because of some of the topics covered in the book.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
Sick Kids in Love
Moskowitz, Hannah
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Sick Kids in Love was a good book; however, throughout the whole book it felt like something was missing. It would skip what seemed like long periods of time and go to the next topic. It also felt like the same thing kept happening or was talked about over and over. There were some minor plot twits that made it interesting, but they didn't last long and were not really developed. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an easy read that doesn't go into much detail on anything and nothing too sad.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
Awards:
We All Looked Up
Wallach, Tommy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book We All Looked Up is from the point of view of what would happen if the world was ending very soon. There is no certainty that the world will end but they also can't be sure that it won't. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book, the uncertainty that there is throughout the whole story. I thought the choices the characters made were realistic and that it was all very well thought out and written. I loved how the book made me think about what I would do if I only had a certain amount of time left to live and what I would want to be doing with this time.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Cohn, Rachel & Levithan, David
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, by author team Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a delight of a holiday novel, perfect for anyone who adores Christmastime, New York City, and cute romances based in book stores. I happen to be a fan of all three of those, and found Dash and Lily's Book of Dares to be a super adorable, fluffy, and happy book perfect for the holiday (or any!) season.

Dash is antisocial, moody, prefers to keep to himself and read, and despises the chaos around the holidays, especially with his divorced parents and complicated family life. Lily, on the other hand, adores Christmas with her large family and therefore is disheartened when her parents leave her and her brother alone during the holidays in favor of a trip to Fiji. Lily's brother, Langston, decides that she needs something to occupy the time during the holidays, and gives her the idea to start a scavenger hunt of "dares" in a little red notebook, placed in her favorite bookstore, the Strand. Dash finds the notebook and accepts the dares, and the adventure begins. What follows is a chase around New York City at the holidays, a rapid exchange of dares, dreams, hopes and eventually flirtation between Dash and Lily, both of whom find that corresponding with the other is something that they desperately needed this holiday season.

I loved so much about this book. The descriptions of New York City were detailed and really made me feel like I was in the city with Dash and Lily. The author's note informs readers that Levithan wrote Dash's chapters while Cohn wrote Lily's, and having two authors really gave Dash and Lily their own different and very unique voices. This novel was adorable and sweet, and watching Dash and Lily go from strangers, to friends through the notebook, to a romantic relationship left plenty of room for character arcs and growth in both Dash and Lily. Watching them grow was satisfying and fun. The dares are humorous, and there are touching moments with themes of being brave and getting out of your bubble.

My only issues with Dash and Lily's Book of Dares were the extremely unrealistic scenarios and the characters that sometimes popped up out of nowhere. I started this book fully expecting that it would be unrealistic, and enjoyed it for being so-- to a point. For example, Lily has so many family members in Manhattan that conveniently work at places perfect for dares, who she can call on to aide her in her exploits for Dash, such as a great aunt that works at Madame Tussaud's, a cousin that works at the Strand, and even an uncle who works as a Santa at Macy's, and that seemed way too unrealistic to me. My other issue with this book was that a lot of characters, especially on Dash's side, were not given a proper background as to how they were connected to Dash. Characters seemed to frequently pop up without introduction, and served no point to the plot.

However, those elements did not take away from my enjoyment of Dash and Lily's Book of Dares. It is an adorable holiday romance read that is a perfect read for the holiday season.

Reviewer's Name: Allie
Cover of the book Fight Club
Palahniuk, Chuck
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

If you like the movie Fight Club, or are just looking for a really good book, this one is awesome. I remember after watching the movie it said that it was based upon this novel. And I had to read it! This story is about a man who's bored with himself and his life. He meets a guy named Tyler Durden, and pretty soon things get out of control. Though there is a "fight club," this story is a lot more than just fighting. And, in my opinion, this book has the best twist ending ever. Chuck Palahniuk is a really good author, and this book is a quick read. Overall, I've read this book multiple times and would highly recommend! I would say that it's not for little kids, as the movie Fight Club is rated R.

Reviewer's Name: Emani K.
Awards:
Five Feet Apart
Lippincott, Rachel
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Five Feet Apart is a really good book that I recommend reading. The story is about two teenagers Stella Grant and Will Newman who both have cystic fibrosis. Both of their lives are very different from our teenage lives. They experience lots of ups and downs in life and the biggest one is them falling in love with each other and having to stay five feet apart. They took a major turn in their lives and risked the rule of being five feet apart because Stella had a dream to see the city lights. Lungs had arrived for Stella that's what she needed but she wasn't in her room. Doctors started to panic because she was nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, Stella and Will were out on the ice until Will finds himself trying to save Stella's life. Read Five Feet Apart to find what dramatic accident they come upon.

Reviewer's Name: Kiana
They Both Die at the End
Silvera, Adam
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

They Both Die In The End is about two boys who find out they have one day left to live, and end up finding each other to spend their last day together. The book is very sad, yet really makes you think about what would you do if you only had one day left to live. This book has so many twists and turns, but in the end everything comes together and makes sense, which I loved. The author did a great job of having pieces from everyone's lives play a part in other peoples, but people don't know this only the reader sees these connections. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a sad book that is very well written, and doesn't really touch on any hard subjects.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
All the Bright Places
Niven, Jennifer
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

All The Bright Places shows two teens struggling with suicide and other mental illnesses, but when they find each other things start to look up. I loved how this book did not romanticize suicide and mental illness, but shows them in a very realistic, meaningful way. The book is absolutely heart breaking when out of no where there is a huge tragedy, so you may want some tissues on hand. This book is for a more mature reader who can handle the topic of suicide, and is wanting a sad book. Although the book throws you for a turn it leaves you with a sense of peace at the end.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
We Are Okay
LaCour, Nina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

We are Okay is about a girl who goes through some tragic events in her life, and is now trying to deal with them. The book has quite a few twists and turns that can throw you off, but I really liked that. I did not like how short the book was though, and I felt the author could have added more in. The book ended off at a happy spot, but as a reader I wanted to know more about what happens after. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an easy read that you won't want to put down until it is over, which is fairly quick.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
Cover of the Book Dear Sweet Pea
Murphy, Julie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Dear Sweet Pea is about a girl named Sweet Pea who is a girl living two lives. Since Sweet Pea's parents are divorced, she has two houses on the same street. In between those two houses lives the towns advice columnist. When her sister gets sick and she has to go out of town, she asks Sweet Pea to mail the letters to her and take care of her plants. Sweet Pea agrees, but while caring for the letters, she runs into friend, parent, and advice trouble.

I loved this book. Some things Sweet Pea said and felt are relatable to anyone. This is a really easy read and I couldn't put the book down. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast and relatable book.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie H.
Wild Bird
Van Draanen, Wendelin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wild Bird is about a girl named Wren who has to go to a Wilderness Survival Camp because she is in a horrible spot in drugs and alcohol. She stays at the Wilderness Survival Camp for eight weeks. At first she hates it and is mad at her family for sending her there, but as she realizes her mistakes and makes a friend named Hannah, she starts to have fun. Throughout the eight weeks, she learns wilderness skills such as how to make a fire without a match, how to make and take down a tent quickly, but most importantly, she finds her true self.
I really enjoyed this book. It is a great fast read and I feel anyone would love it. I related to some things Wren said, nothing with drugs or alcohol. This is a great book and I rate it ten out of ten.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
Awards:
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder
Jackson, Holly
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Five years ago in Pippa's small town Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend Sal Singh. Everyone believes the case is closed, but Pippa isn't sure. When she decides to look more into the case for her senior capstone (thesis) project, she discovers secrets about the case someone in her town wanted to keep hidden.
The plot of this book was very interesting and fast-paced. It wasn't predictable and the twists at the end were surprising. I really liked Pippa (or Pip) as a character. I appreciated her dedication to her friends and how they would be affected by her investigation. Also because she didn't take things at face value and looked into them more deeply before making a conclusion.
Some things I didn't like about this books is that Pip was a bit unethical in her investigation. She broke into houses, pretended to be a reporter and other people involved with the murder to get the information she needed. Also I had to suspend by disbelief at some parts because it was kinda hard to believe that a seventeen year old with little to no prior investigative experience was so much better then detectives at their job.

Reviewer's Name: Savannah
Book Cover
Zoboi, Ibi & Salaam, Yusef
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Yusef Salaam is one of the "Central Park Five", young men of color who were incorrectly accused of raping and beating a woman jogging in Central Park in the late 80s. After the five had served their sentences of 5-15 years, they were exonerated when the real culprit came forward. This book is clearly heavily inspired by Yusef's story as it tells the story of Amal, a teen in prison for a similar crime that he did not commit. It starts with the conviction and then moves into Amal's experiences in a juvenile detention center.

Every year, there's a book that I promote really heavily in classrooms. This will definitely be that book. It's so good. So sad. So spare in that way that only books in verse can be. It takes a while to read, because sometimes you just kind of have to sit with it for a while to process it. It does such a great job of illustrating just how deeply flawed and racist our "justice" systems are. I dare you not to empathize with Amal. I can't wait to share this important book with everyone I know! Also, like, that cover y'all. So pretty. And it's relevant to the story! Anyway, consider this required reading, especially for all the folks trying to "read woke". 5 stars.

Thanks to Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for the eARC which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. Punching the Air is out 01 September - put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Book Review: Ghost
Reynolds, Jason
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I had taken a break from reviewing books until I read Ghost. This book is really well written. The narrator is believable and the plot illustrates his struggles and growth. Ghost is a troubled kid who stumbles onto a track team and turns his life for the better. I both loved and hated the ending, because it was so good but I didn't want the book to end. Great quick read. I highly recommended giving it a whirl.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
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
Today Tonight Tomorrow
Solomon, Rachel Lynn
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

(4.5 stars)
Today Tonight Tomorrow by Lynn Solomon tells the story of high school senior Rowan and her nemesis, Niel. They’ve been competing since freshman year, from writing contests to student body elections, and now, for the title of valedictorian. But at the end of their last day of high school, the seniors--partaking in the school’s tradition of Howl, a scavenger hunt-like game-- find themselves teaming up and realize that perhaps they’re not the enemies they thought they were. I thought this book was really cute. It made me smile much more than I thought it would. I really enjoyed seeing the progression of the characters as the story went on, such as learning their little quirks or about their pasts. I liked the romance, and even though the haters to lovers trope is kinda cliche, it turns out I really, really like it. The author did a great job of executing their relationship. I strongly recommend this book, not just for those who like the YA romance genre. It was so sweet and fun, and even though I’m not yet a senior, I think it covered the topics of nostalgia well and that feeling of leaving what you know behind.

Reviewer's Name: Cora
Cover of the book Wonder
Palacio, R. J.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wonder is about a boy with Treacher Collin Syndrome (TCS) who goes through the adventures of a sixth grader. To everyone else, this may be just the first day of school. But to Auggie Pullman, this is the first day in a public school. Before sixth grade, he was homeschooled. Through the ups and downs in of middle school, Auggie Pullman manages to get through it, make new friends, and shows he doesn't care what they think or say. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an emotion pulling book or just a good and fast read. I loved this book. There was never a dull moment. I couldn't put this book down for a second. Whenever someone asked me for a good recommendation, this was first on the list. This book was one of the best books I have ever read.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie H.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Sáenz, Benjamin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Aristotle is 15 and has no friends. One day at the pool Aristotle metDante, Dante offered to teach Aristotle how to swim. After swimming they became fast friends. They laughed and joked together. Then one day Dante saw a bird in the middle of the road with a broken wing then picked it up. Dante stood in the middle of the road and didn't notice the car coming. The next thing Aristotle remembered was waking up in the hospital. Then Aristotle's parents told him that he pushed Dante out of the way. After the accident
Aristotle learns that Dante's family is moving to Chicago for the school year, for Dante's dads job. They wrote and they called each other. In one letter Dante told Aristotle that Dante would rather kiss boys than girls. Aristotle didn't think much of it till 4 people beat up Dante so bad he has to go to the hospital. In the end they go out in the desert and Aristotle realizes something with help from his dad. The ending was quite different then what I expected. The book is happy and sad. I recommend this book to any one who likes to have a good cry. It is really good. I also recommend the authors other books.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime
Awards:
The Reminders
Emmich, Val
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Reminders is about Joan Lennon Sulley and a ten-year old girl and Gavin Winters a 30-year old actor. Gavin's partner Sydney just had just died and Gavin is going through a rough time. So Gavin goes to live with Joan and her family. Joan's mom was Sydney's friend and Gavin went to stay with them to get away from the Reminders. The only problem is the Joan has HSAM which means she has a highly superior autobiographical memory so she remembers everything. So as a deal Joan promises to tell Gavin of all her memories of Gavin if he helps her write a song for a singer-songwriter contest. Gavin finds out things about Sydney he didn't know. It turns out that he had come to New Jersey for a different reason then what he told Gavin. So he investigates that. Joan tries to make the song to win the contest. Once they finish the song her dad has to close down the studio because he can't work in it anymore.

The reason I liked this book was because it reminded me of other books I've read and loved. One reason I didn't like it that much was that Sydney had to die because according to Joan's memories he seemed like a good man. This book wasn't very funny but it made up for it by being touching and moving. Another thing I like about the book was the characters seemed so real like I was there with them and part of the story.

Reviewer's Name: Kaitlyn

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