Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Contemporary

One of Us Is Lying
McManus, Karen M.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

One of us is lying is a captivating murder mystery, romance, thriller. 5 teens enter detention, but what happens when only 4 leave. As you read you find out more and more about the case. The 4 teens all have secrets
is murder one of them? This book is so enthralling, once you start it will be hard to put it down. With great characters and a very interesting story with tons of twists and turns. If you love solving mysteries or discovering the truth, this is totally the book for you! Grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
Dear Evan Hansen
Emmich, Val
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book, which is based on the musical by the same name is so
touching. It deals with very hard topics like social anxiety, depression,
mental illness, and suicide. This story follows Evan Hansen as he starts to
get caught up in a web of lies. While a very tough book emotionally, it is
also very touching and Evan is somebody that lots of people can relate to.
This book is the perfect combination of emotional, witty, heartbreaking, and
heartwarming all at the same time. So if you are looking for a great story,
realistic characters, and a beautiful message, this is the book for you! -
Grade:8th

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
The Lovely Bones
Sebold, Alice
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Susie Salmon is a 14-year old girl who is killed by her neighbor Mr. Harvey after school on her way home. Mr. Harvey disposes Susie's body and throws her charm bracelet into a pond. Susie's spirit flees from her body and runs towards her personal heaven where she watches as her family and friends struggle to move on with their lives while she also tries to come to terms with her death.

My favorite part about this book is the theme of accepting death. Susie's family struggled with closure, and as a result, Susie's soul was restless and she wasn't able to enter into 'Heaven'. Even though she's only 14, Susie explored themes such as love, friendship, the after-life, and forgiveness. Personally, I don't think Mr. Harvey's ending was enough, but I was happy that Susie and her family found closure. The book felt very personal; like I was with Susie the whole time, and I felt very connected to her and attached throughout her whole emotional growth. Ironically, Susie does the most growing when she's dead, because that's when she does the most soul searching. I also thought this book pointed out how flawed adults are, and that they aren't the perfect put-together image young teens have about them. I watched the film adaption after, and if you prefer films, the movie is just as awesome!

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Paper Girl
Wilson, Cindy R.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Paper Girl is about a girl whose world is caving in around her, and is not able to cope very well with it, until a boy comes into her life. All the characters are so well developed and all have great backstories. The whole book is a big question if she will overcome and has you wondering the whole time, which I loved. Something that I did not love about the book is how the main character's mental illness is portrayed. It is very hard to relate to I feel, unless you have felt similarly. This did not take much away from the book's overall greatness though. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good, cute teen romance book.

Reviewer's Name: Jana M.
Bad Blood
Barnes, Jennifer Lynn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Bad Blood is about 5 teens with natural skills that lead them to work with the FBI to solve cases. In this book they are going back to look into their pasts especially the main female character to try to lead to a murderer, or multiple. I was not able to put the book down and ended up finishing it in a day. Everything comes together so nicely. All the details play into each other and I can not imagine how the author came up with such elaborate ideas that are so complex. This book is for anyone who loves the show Criminal minds because they are so similar or is looking for an amazing crime book.

Reviewer's Name: Jana M.
The Lover's Dictionary
Levithan, David
2 stars = Meh
Review:

The book "The Lovers Dictionary" by David Leviathan gets a "meh" review. While the book seems like it'll be a hopeful love story, it actually spins a web of lies and heartbreak. Each chapter is a new word, and the chapter explains the definition, through a story. While this seems to be a cool idea, it was not well planned out in this book. Sudden changes in setting, as well as changes in the timeline, leave this book quite confusing. It makes you want to get entranced by the book, but also makes it difficult to do so. Had the author better explained both the timing and the reasoning behind the flashbacks of sorts, the story would have been better able to comprehend and relate with. The story also has these thought-changing scenes that make no sense. One second the narrator is madly in love and very happy about it, and the next he is broken-hearted and considering leaving his partner. The constant back and forth is difficult to follow and honestly quite frustrated. I think the idea of the book was a great idea, however, I do not believe the author knew quite how to plan it out.

Reviewer's Name: Star B.
Cut

Cut

McCormick, Patricia
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book tackles some very tough topics in very realistic and accurate ways. Main character Callie has been placed into a residential treatment center, shortly after her family discovers that Callie had begun to use self-harm to cope with many issues. The stress of being in this facility, as well as familial and mental stress, leads Callie to silence. Acting on selective mutism, Callie chooses to stop talking. Many people try, and yet fail, to help her open up and speak. Through the book, from memories and dialogues that run through Callie's brain, we discover that Callie has an extremely stressful home life that has become detrimental to her mental health. This book speaks on the reality of mental health facilities in America, as well as the type of home life that many live and suffer through silently. This story faces the reality of self-harm and mental illnesses. These topics are very uncomfortable for many, and almost taboo, but "Cut" breaks through that and breaks down the walls of real-life issues, and progress through mental health issues.

Reviewer's Name: Star B.
Awards:
Book Cover
McManus, Karen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

One of Us is Lying is a mystery novel about four high school students who are suspected for the murder of their classmate. Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, Nate, and Simon go into their after school detention following a normal day at school, but the events that happened after weren't so normal. Simon, the outcast and the creator of the high school's gossip app, has been murdered and the other students in detention claim they know nothing. Yet after his murder, the posts on his gossip app don't stop, eventually revealing some shocking things about the suspects. Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, and Nate decide to join forces and find out the truth behind Simon's murder.

Overall, this book was really good. I would have given it 5 stars but I feel like the description (from the book) is a little misleading. The book focuses on their lives after the murder of Simon Kelleher and not as much of them trying to solve the murder. While I really do like the way it explains the details of their lives, I just found it a bit misleading. Other than that, the book is great. I absolutely love the character development in this novel.

In the beginning Addy is what you might call a "dumb blonde" but later on she becomes much more independent and her character develops in many ways. I also really liked the plot twists, they completely blew me away! I can't reveal much more than that but I truly didn't expect some of the things that happened, to happen.

Reviewer's Name: Prarthana
Nineteen Minutes
Picoult, Jodi
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book offers a different perspective and a compelling, as well as frightening story that is well written and easy to read. It's a very tough subject, and really gives some insight on how people get pushed to their breaking point.

Reviewer's Name: Kelly K.
Awards:
Big Little Lies
Moriarty, Liane
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Big Little Lies is about a group of parents who come to know each other when their kids all start kindergarten together and all their drama collides and ends with a death. I loved how this book kept me interested the whole time. Every chapter something new is thrown at the reader. All the characters were very well developed and everything came together very nicely. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good book that can keep you interested through the whole book just wanting to get to the end to know what happens.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
Geekerella
Poston, Ashley
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Your classic Cinderella story, but with a geeky twist. Geekerella takes us on the story of Elle Whittimore and Darien Freeman. They are two teenagers in love with an old TV show, and they fall in love with each other over a series of text messages. A take on the classic story Cinderella, we get to sit back and watch as all of the fandom-filled fun plays out between the two characters, who only know each other over text, and mostly hate each other in real life. Darien Freeman is taking over the role of Prince Carmindor, from the TV series that both of the characters love, for the movie adaptation, and Elle runs a scathing blog that is starting to make Darien's life much harder than it needs to be. As both of the characters face many different challenges in their separate lives, everything leads up to ExcelsiCon, a con started by Elle's late father, and a con where the two both happen to be in the same place at the same time. I chose this book because I am a long time lover of the Cinderella story, a story that is classic and I have seen played out on the screen many times. That is what originally drew me to the book. But as I started reading the book I was immediately enraptured in the world that Ashley Poston has created. Starfield, although it may not be a real television show and was just created for the sake of the novel, is a show that I would be happy to watch. I think it is safe to say that if it ever did become a show, it would stand beside science fiction classics such as Star Wars and Star Trek. The tale of the two characters, Elle and Darien, while it is a fun and lighthearted story to read, is also filled with grief and loss and love. Both of the characters are dealing with their own drama, and while I may not personally understand the drama that Darien as a celebrity is dealing with (a manager he doesn't like, a somebody sneaking onto set and leaking pictures of him), I do know about the drama that Elle has to go through: drama with friends and drama with school. The story had me reading late into the night, anxiously awaiting to see what would happen next. Geekerella takes on the themes of loss and grief, as Elle is dealing with the loss of her father and mother. We see Elle deal with this grief in many different ways, and she is also forced to deal with her terrible stepmother and stepsisters on a day-to-day basis. Darien is coping with loss as well, but not in the typical sense, and not like Elle. He is dealing with the loss of himself, because we see him dealing with who he used to be before he was famous, and get a sense of grief about who he is now that he is famous. If you love the Cinderella story, and geeky and nerdy TV shows, Geekerella is the book for you.

Reviewer's Name: Birdie
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

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