Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Contemporary

Book Review: The Future of Us
Asher, Jay & Mackler, Caroline
2 stars = Meh
Review:

The Future of Us follows Josh and Emma, two teens in the year 1996, who log in to Emma's computer, and are automatically logged in to an unfamiliar site called Facebook. Throughout the story, they work to alter their future, seeing it change every time they login to Facebook. At first, they are estranged friends, but we see them grow closer the more they encounter. This book, while it has an interesting premise, was not particularly fun to read. It was not particularly immersive, and the events just seemed to happen, not really dragging the reader into the story the way I prefer. Recommended for ages 12+

Reviewer's Name: Settare R
365 Days of Wonder
Palacio, R.J.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

After reading the critically-acclaimed book WONDER by R.J. Palacio, a family member bought me this book for Christmas. It technically has no plot but instead gives you a positive quote for every day of the year. Each quote and the book included is displayed creatively and colorfully to really amp you up all day every day. This book is called "Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts"
so, at the end of each month, there is a short story told by Mr. Browne teaching the audience lessons. I would recommend this book to any age group, if you're into life-lessons and positive quotes, then surely you should barrow this book (or buy it for year-round use). Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Jaime P
The Art of Racing in the Rain book jacket
Stein, Garth
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Garth Steins creates a beautiful image of the friendship between a man and his dog in The Art of Racing in the Rain. The narrative follows a dog named Enzo and his owner, Denny Swift, as they navigate the ups and downs of life.
The story is told from Enzo’s point of view as Denny leads his life as a professional race car driver.
I didn’t really enjoy this book. Enzo’s character felt a little bit forced and annoying. The writing style is somewhat similar to John Green’s in that it has this “fake deep” tone. I also thought the book was too depressing. Most of the time I like reading sad books, but with this one, it felt like there was always one bad thing after another. I probably wasn’t in the right mood to read this book, but I still wouldn’t recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: Sophie L
Awards:
Little Fires Everywhere
Ng, Celeste
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng poetically depicts the social intricacies and injustices of American suburban life. The narrative follows Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl as they move to a new town called Shaker Heights. The two become involved with the Richardson family, and Mia clashes with the head of the household, Elena. Meanwhile, a scandal arises when there is a dispute over the adoption of a Chinese-American baby.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing style was perfect for the story, and it reeled me in every time I picked up the book. This style also added to its provocative depictions of social injustices. I adored how Ng wrote both sides of the debate (about the adoption) equally, letting the readers decide who to side with. She didn’t dehumanize any of the characters. My only problem with the book was Pearl’s arc. There was a lot of focus on her character, and I personally thought she was a little bit boring. Her storyline was very predictable and flat. Besides that, it was a great book that was simultaneously lyrical and thought provoking. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: Sophie L
Awards:
Five Feet Apart book jacket
Lippincott, Rachel
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A story of a chronic illness, and the five feet that separates two people from life or love.

Stella has cystic fibrosis, which is an illness that causes buildup of mucus in the lungs. Most patients, if they never received a transplant, drown from the mucus itself. However, Stella has hope; but as that hope seems to be dwindling down, she meets a boy by chance, Will, who shows her how beautiful life really can be. No longer is her mind filled with death, but it’s filled with pure love and happiness. But here’s the catch, Will had cystic fibrosis as well, and his is incurable. “Five Feet Apart,” leads us through an enchanting love story of two teens who can never touch, never feel, never hug each other. They love in ways you can’t explain, and even though they know their love is short-lived, they stay together, through every breathable moment.
(Reviewer Grade 9)

Reviewer's Name: Hanna S
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine book jacket
Honeyman, Gail
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A story of wildly eccentric Eleanor and her battle with discovering her worth.
Eleanor Oliphant lives a normal, planned out life. Vodka and pizza on weekends and work throughout the week. An ordinary job, nothing special.
Ordinary co-workers, sometimes rude and harsh, but normal nonetheless. All seems well until Eleanor sees the love of her life. Johnnie, a musician with sparkling brown eyes and a whiskey aura about him. She plans on creating a relationship with him; one with long walks, cuddles, and warm cups of tea.
All seems well until Eleanor meets Raymond, a junkie with an unshaven beard and a smoker's cough. Raymond shows Eleanor kindness and compassion without expecting anything in return. Eleanor realizes that she's never quite know how that feels, she's spent her whole life being unaware of how good people can be. "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine," is a masterpiece at work, with the challenging lesson of learning that everyone deserves love, and no one should ever feel alone. Loneliness is a dangerous thing and can infect you like a virus, but Eleanor learns to battle that and discover her worth.
With a heart-wrenching twist, you'll never expect, "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine," will leave you completely speechless, so go ahead, and pick it right on up.
(Reviewer Grade: 9)

Reviewer's Name: Hanna S
The Lifeboat Clique
Parks, Kathy
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

A story of social classes and hierarchy in a world under collapse.
Teenager Denver Reynolds has always envied the popular kids. But when catastrophe strikes, she must pull herself together and work with the people she despises most. You would think that a tsunami would put people in their places, but the terrifying reality of popularity is that it's infectious and makes people privileged. But when Denver and the popular kids are faced with life or death, it makes sense to try to work together. "Lifeboat Clique," is filled with laughs and riveting backstories. With know-it-all Denver, country-girl Abigal, flexible Sienna, dumb Haley, and egotistical Trevor we learn how people can put their differences aside and see each other for who they truly are and what unique abilities and useful characteristics they possess. Overall, "Lifeboat Clique," is a must-read, with twists and turns you'd never expect, it will leave you holding your breath; all you gotta do is jump right on in.
(Reviewer Grade: 9)

Reviewer's Name: Hanna S
The Fault in Our Stars book cover
Green, John
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Nobody was more devastated than Hazel Grace’s mother when Hazel was diagnosed with lung cancer. Hazel was forced by her mom to attend a support group for cancer patients because her mom thought it would be beneficial for her mental health. At first Hazel was not excited to be in a support group, that is until she meets Augustus Waters. Augustus is a young man who had lost his leg to cancer, but through all of his hardships uses cancer for the basis of his sarcastic humor. Hazel and Augustus hit it off, and enjoy the bliss of a whirlwind romance. However, their happiness is cut short by a sudden tragedy that leaves one of them in total despair. And as John Green writes in this novel “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”
Reviewer Grade:12

Reviewer's Name: Madison S
If I Stay book cover
Forman, Gayle
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A tragic story, reflecting the struggle of a girl who clings to life. This novel brought many tears to my eyes as I read it. The main character Mia and her family had just been in life threatening car crash; when in the hospital Mia wakes up but outside of her body. She is faced with a heartbreaking
decision: to stay and live, or to die and leave. Mia while in this conscious drift apart from her physical body re-lives all the life changing moments of her past and witnesses all of her relatives and friends as they come to the hospital to potentially say goodbye. Mia is then faced with the decision of whether she should stay. Sadness, memories, romance, heartbreak, the novel If I Stay has it all.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Madison S
Pride
Zoboi, Ibi Aanu
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A modern take on Jane Austen's "Pride and Predjudice", "Pride" focuses on Brooklyn proud Zuri who writes poetry and hates seeing her neighborhood change. Zuri deals with the introduction of a rich new family to her block and the subsequent gentrification of her neighborhood. With themes of romance, reluctance, and pessimism, "Pride" makes for an interesting exploration of modern romance. Along with that, there is an interesting insight on the idea of what a neighborhood is: people you know, places where you know what to expect, and the true feeling of home. "Pride" is a great read for those who want a romance but also relate to the struggles of high school and family as a teenager.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K
Nowhere But Here
McGarry, Katie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Seventeen year old Emily lives a life full of curiosity. Curiosity of her biological father and his whereabouts. Curiosity of her father's motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror. Her curiosity overcomes her and she agrees to an extended summer vacation to visit her father and her relatives she has never met before. While with her father she becomes intrigued with her fathers motorcycle club, and the young and gorgeous boy OZ whose apart of it. They lead a forbidden romance filled with adventure and love, but when a rival club comes to town will it destroy their future plans, or is their love strong enough to overcome challenges? I adored this book, its twist and turns kept me glued to the page and urged me to read the sequels. The danger mixed with the romance was a brilliant way to keep readers interested.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Madison S
Halfway Perfect
Cross, Julie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A novel about a romance between a photographer and a model takes an interesting and intriguing take on unique love stories. Eve is a photographer with a troubled past, when she meets the gorgeous up and coming model Alex a romance blossoms. With both of their careers on the line, and Eve’s past catching up to her will their love survive to modeling industry? This novel was nothing like other romance novels and kept me wondering what was going to happen with every page turn. I especially loved the change in cliche where instead of the girl being the model, the man was the model.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Madison S
Me Before You
Moyes, Jojo
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

his novel brought every single emotion to mind while reading. Whether it was joy, love, anger or sadness; this novel made me feel many things. This romantic novel brings you through the road of love and romance as well as heartbreak and tragedy. Louisa Clark is a young woman leading an extremely mundane life, that is until she finds a job as the caretaker for the wheelchair bound Will Traynor. Through the adventure of love and romance, Louisa learns from Will that life is too short to waste and that she deserves more from life. This novel is absolutely riveting but also teaches a lesson on the importance of living your life to the fullest.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Madison S
My Life Next Door
Fitzpatrick, Huntley
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A beautiful romance, and a classic boy next door love story. A young girl, Samantha Reed lives in a home in which messiness is avoided at all cost.
Samantha can’t help but look at the alluring chaos across the fence at her neighbors, the Garretts. She becomes swept up in a whirlwind romance with the extremely handsome Jace Garrett. This novel was extremely riveting and cute, it wasn’t predictable like most romance novels and always kept me reading and wanting more.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Madison S
Tales of Falling and Flying
Loory, Ben
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is a compilation of short stories, which are filled with humorous tales and great short stories. I personally really liked this book because of how every story was a perfect duration. I often find it hard to commit to a book for more than a week, with this book, I was constantly entertained by the fun theme of all the stories. If you're looking for a great compilation of bed time stories, or just don't have the time to commit to a long chapter book, this book is perfect for you. If you are looking for one great story to start the adventure, my favorite was The Squid Who Fell in Love With The Sun.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Kyle Y
If I'm Being Honest
Wibberley, Emily Siegemund-Broka, Austin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I picked this book up from the library, not really knowing what to expect. I ended up falling in love with the book and I finished it up in a day. If I'm Being Honest, cowritten by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, is a tale about a girl named Cameron who has it all. She's popular, pretty...but most importantly extremely honest to the point where she hurts people. The book begins when Cameron decides she wants to hook up with a boy named Andrew. She and Andrew have been friends for a really long time and for the past year she's realized she wants to step up their relationship a little.
However, when Andrew rejects Cameron because he sees her cruelty up close, Cameron decides she needs to prove to him that she's a good person. Next, Cameron makes a lost of people who she needs to make amends with, one being a boy named Brendan Rosenfeld. Cameron ruined Brendan's social status in sixth grade when she gave him a mean nickname. The more people she makes amends with, however, the more she realizes that she might not be doing it just for Andrew after a while.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P
Our Chemical Hearts
Sutherland, Krystal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I bought the book Our Chemical Hearts a couple years ago, but it remained untouched on my shelf for a long time. This summer, however, when I realized I needed something new to read, I picked it up and wondered why I started it so late. Our Chemical Hearts, by Krystal Sutherland, is a love story with lots of drama and twists and turns. This book will fill you up and break your heart simultaneously. The main character of the book is named Henry Page.
Henry, a highschooler, has been single for pretty much his entire life. He's watched his friends go in and out of relationships, with the trend of every relationship ending in heartbreak. When a mysterious girl with a cane dressed head to toe in boy clothing transfers to Henry's school, he never imagined he'd fall for her. This girl's name is Grace and she has a sketchy past. As he gets to know her more, Henry wonders if they will work out together because she is just so very broken. This book is very beautifully written, deep, authentic, and would be great for fans of books like Eleanor and Park, Holding Up The Universe, or All the Bright Places.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P
Awards:
The Unexpected Everything
Matson, Morgan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Unexpected Everything, by author Morgan Matson, is a novel with an underlying that sometimes life doesn't go as planned, but that's okay; sometimes even the unexpected things are the best and most enjoyable things you ever experience. The main character of the Unexpected Everything is a girl named Andie. Her life has been pretty rough for the past years. With a father who is a congressman, she feels like she has to always put on a sort of "facade" and this is something that seems to be constricting for her.
Andie's mother, whom she loved dearly passed away a few years back from ovarian cancer and, even though it's been quite a while since her death, Andie still hasn't come to terms with this loss. Andie has some plans for this summer. She is going to take a premed course, as she hopes to find a career in medecine in the future. However, when her plans change, Andie is flustered and realizes that her vision of this summer has now fallen apart, and she has no choice but to make new plans. This book is fun, cute, and full of adventures as well as drama. I have now read all of Morgan Matson's books and love them! I'd recommend this novel to anyone who is into romcoms, adventures, or anyone who is looking for a fairly easy read. You won't be able to put this book down!

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Foer, Jonathan Safran
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close follows a nine-year-old boy named Oscar coming to terms with life after his father's death on 9/11. When looking through his dad's things, Oscar breaks a vase and finds a key and a mysterious envelope labeled "Black". He decides to embark on a mission to find every person named Black in New York City in an attempt to find the one Black who knew his father. Along the way, he meets new friends and discovers more about those he already knew. This book is written from the alternating perspectives of Oscar, his grandmother, and his mute grandfather whom Oscar has never met. This adds an interesting layer to the story, as Oscar lost a parent in 9/11 and his grandparents, both children at the time, lost their families in the bombing of Dresden. This shows a theme throughout this book that grief from war and terror is universal. This book's overall commentary on the human experience and grief, both individual and collectively experienced by a nation, shows the skill and thoughtfulness of the author. On a personal level, I did not find the characters particularly enticing and had a hard time following the plot at times, but I would still recommend the book, especially to someone with an interest in 9/11 or the world wars.

Reviewer's Name: McKenna R
A Void the Size of the World
Alpine, Rachele
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

If there was one word to describe this book it would definitely be "yuck". It's like when Squiduard took over Spongebob's shift for a day and instead of a krabby patty he fried a boot. It has absolutely no plot. there is paranormal activity that we never figure out and we don't know what happened to Abby. If i could rate this a -10/10 I would.

Reviewer's Name: Vincent D

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