Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Contemporary

August
Paula, Romina
2 stars = Meh
Review:

A young woman dealing with grief pours out her emotions in a long emotional letter to her friend who commit suicide. I didn't quite like this book due to the long bland feel of the story. We hear her stories through her thoughts, where she rambles on about rather uninteresting things, like mice, a cat, etc. This emotional woman tends to ramble on and on about the slightest details which can make some parts feel long and drawn out. Overall, I didn't like the depressive, bland and boring mood of the story. Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Kyle Y
Wild Bird
Van Drannen, Wendelin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wild Bird, by Wendelin Van Draanen, is an amazing, unforgettable book that you won't be able to put down. The theme of Wild Bird is that anyone can transform their lifestyles and become better people. This book's main character is a willful, fourteen year old girl named Wren whose biggest fault is being unable to say no. This has lead her to be involved with the wrong crowd and make very bad decisions, including smoking weed, shoplifting, and even being a drug runner for her "friend" Nico. One day, Wren ends up in the hospital, being both wasted and having drugs in her system. Her parents used to believe she was "sick" but this day in the hospital they realize she's been lying to them. Before she knows it, Wren is sent off to an eight week camp in Utah that supposedly helps change the lives of people her age with similar issues and addictions. Wren is extremely angry at her parents and the doctors and everyone who she thinks may be to blame for sending her here. But there in the desert of Utah, Wren learns to survive and she begins to realize over time that maybe it isn't their fault after all, and that maybe, just maybe, she needs to change her life around. In the desert, Wren has to face her feelings and realizes that there is no escaping her mistakes.

This book is amazing. I love the way the author created the character of Wren. She's willful, which at first was a weakness, but she later uses it as a strength. She's courageous and as the book goes on you just fall in love with her. I recommend this to anyone who may be struggling with an addiction, anyone who knows deep down in their heart that their life needs change, and, of course, to any readers who love books with adventure and drama.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P
All Rise For The Honorable Perry T. Cook
Connor, Leslie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Have you ever felt like you were ever in a situation others thought was terrible, but you felt was normal and were happy with? If so, you should consider reading the book "All Rise For The Honorable Perry T. Cook". Perry is a young boy who grew up in jail, but never committed any crime. Once his mother was placed in prison, she gave birth to Perry while held behind bars.

Perry has grown a family at that facility, and loves his mom and all the workers at the jail. However, Nebraska gets a new district attorney who realizes what is happening to Perry. He believes the situation is terrible, and sends him out to a foster family.

Perry must find a way to get back to his mother, while learning about the new home he has been placed in. Can he ever find a way back to where his life lies? This is an amazing book for anybody who's ever felt their life was stolen from them. I highly recommend you read this book if you have any interest in doing so.

- Reviewer Grade 8

Reviewer's Name: Anna C
Everything Everything
Yoon, Nicola
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I really enjoyed this book. Though cheesy, it was full of cute romantic scenes. If you are into romance, you would LOVE this book. The medical element of the story was very interesting and added some meaning to the story. However, the unrealistic relationship in this story can become irritating further through the book. It follows two main characters (Madeline and Olly) on a journey finding love despite Madeline's deadly illness that prohibits her from being outside. Away from the world for almost her whole life, Madeline has gotten used to being alone with her mother and nurse. But Olly changes everything, and soon she doesn't want to be trapped outside anymore.
This book's twist at the end made me rate it 4 stars rather than 3, because its is executed beautifully and smoothly and will make you gasp out loud in surprise. I highly recommend this book for the romantic type, or if you liked the book "The Sun Is Also A Star". Though this book starts out slow, it later picks up pace and becomes more interesting and attaching. If you are willing, give this book a try. You won't regret it!
- Reviewer Grade 8

Reviewer's Name: Anna C
All Our Broken Pieces
Crichton, L. D.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

All Our Broken Pieces is the story of Lennon, a teenage girl with OCD and a tragic backstory, and Kyler, a teenage boy with a sad past of his own. When Lennon moves in with her dad in the famous neighborhood of Bel Air, Los Angeles after a tragic accident, she expects to feel wildly out of place. But then, she is assigned to work with Kyler for a school project and that sparks the beginning of a raw and beautiful romance. This gritty honest novel is a work of art, read this book if you want a heart wrenching, realistic teen romance.

Reviewer's Name: Emma R
P.S. I Still Love You
Han, Jenny
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In the follow up to To All The Boys I've Loved Before, Lara Jean continues to charm and delight us in another unique story of love. Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky are together-- for real this time. Lara Jean is trying to figure out how to make a real relationship work when another boy who she sent a love letter to-- John Ambrose McClaren, suddenly re-enters her life. At the same time, Lara Jean begins volunteering at a nursing home, and makes memorable friends who help her navigate her high school life. Lara Jean is just as charming and relatable as in the first book of the series and I immensely enjoy her voice and personality. Readers should know that this book focuses a lot on Lara Jean's middle school years, and explores her friendship with Genevieve more than in the first book. By the time the novel is over, readers will feel as if they have known Lara Jean all of her life. Lara Jean's family is still as much an important part of the plot as her relationships are, and fans will be delighted to know that Kitty is just as sprunky and unique as in the first novel. The reason why I only rated it 4 stars is that the book takes a confusing turn with Lara Jean's feelings for John Ambrose. I personally did not enjoy their connection because it felt like she was forcing Peter out of her life for someone who she thought was better. I also felt that she was overly nostalgic and pained about why her and Gen's friendship ended in the first place. All in all, I enjoyed this installment to the series, but not as much as the first one.

Reviewer's Name: Allie S
Monster
Myers, Walter Dean
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is an interesting and suspenseful novel. It is filled to the brim with moments that will have readers on the edge of their seat. Monster also is written in a unique format, in the form of a movie script written my the protagonist Steve Harmon, who is awaiting trial for a crime he didn’t commit. This story is written with intense figurative language that paints a terrifying image depicting the horrors of prison. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great suspenseful read. Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Kyle Y
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Matson, Morgan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, written by Morgan Matson, begins with communicating the past of the main character, whose name is Amy Curry. Amy is a girl whose passion is drama. She often played the main role in her school's musicals. This was before something very tragic took place in her life; something she keeps blaming herself for. The past year for Amy has been pretty awful. Her mother decided on a whim to move to Connecticut, forcing Amy to somehow get their car from their home, California, all the way across the country. The biggest problem is that Amy has been terrified to be behind the wheel since the fatal car accident she got in which killed her father.
Also, her twin brother has been a mess since their father's death. He was stoned regularly and went out late to friend's parties. That was before their mother decided, also on a whim, to send him to rehab in North Carolina. Now Amy is forced to be alone in her home in California which is seeming less and less like home as strangers come in with the realtor checking out the house.
Next, Amy's roadtrip gets started, but with an unexpected visitor named Roger, and the tables turn. I think this book is a beautiful display of picking one's life up after tragedy, and rediscovering who you are once dreadful obstacles get in your way. The characters are very round and developed and the book is impossible to put down! I recommend this book to anyone who has recently gone through something traumatic or anyone who is into fresh starts and adventures.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P
The Fault in Our Stars
Green, John
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Hazel Lancaster is battling cancer and has been sense she was 13. Now she is 16 and has had more than one near death experience. This book is an amazing book that could make you smile and cry at the same time. I would definitely recommended this book to people who have read 100 days by Nichole McInnes. It is a romantic tale of Hazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters trying to find answers to there favorite book while battling cancer. I would recommend the book for tweens, teens, and adults.

Reviewer's Name: Natalie M.
Paper Towns
Green, John
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Have you ever had someone in your life just leave or disappear? Quentin was best friends with Margo Roth Speilleman. One day when they we around seven years old they found a dead body laying against a tree. Years later they are seniors in high school and are not as good as friends anymore. Graduation is nearing and people are turning out reckless. One night Margo convinces Quentin to go help prank her cheating boyfriend and her backstabbing best friend who her boyfriend was cheating on her with. After that night Margo suddenly goes missing and Quentin ends up falling in love with her. Soon he finds that Margo left clues for him to crack and hopefully find her! This book will have you wrapped up in romance, mystery, comedey, and adventure.

Reviewer's Name: Lilyana B.
Wonder
Palacio, R. J.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Have you ever felt out of place? Like all you want is to fit in with the crowd, but it seems impossible? If so, you'd get along well with August Pullman. Ten-year-old August (Auggie) Pulllman is about to go into fifth grade at Beecher Prep, ready to face the world with his Padawan braid and astronaut helmet. But there are two things that get in the way: 1. He's been home-schooled all his life. 2. Auggie has Treacher Collins Syndrome, (TCS) a rare condition that occurs in one in fifty-thousand births. Because of his TCS, Auggie has downward-slanting eyes, a small jaw and chin, and the development of his facial bones and tissues are altered, causing him to have had twenty-seven surgeries -- and also causing some kids in his school to be scarred with night terrors. Everyday, Auggie is constantly challenged with overcoming whispers, side-glances, and even public humiliation from his peers that could get him killed one day. Auggie's world isn't all that bad though: he has two loving parents, a dog named Daisy, his older sister Olivia (Via), Via's friends Miranda and Justin, and his two new best friends, Summer and Jack, all of which are willing to do anything for Auggie, embarking on every incredible adventure he has so he doesn't have to face life alone.
Wonder is a magnificent book, filled with the challenges that every child and adult alike have to go through, whether or not they have a facial deformity. It is incredibly touching, and finds ways to connect with the reader and captivate its audience so much so that you won't be able to put the book down once you pick it up! Although many people would be disturbed by the imagery used to describe characters like Auggie Pullman, R.J. Palacio is able to create such a lovable and relate-able character that you just can't help but throw appearances aside and route for Auggie throughout the novel. You'll really wish that you could give him a hug the more you read the book, especially with the multiple POVs R.J. Palacio writes with, allowing you to observe Auggie's wonder of a story from every possible angle.

Reviewer's Name: Aimee W.
P.S. I Still Love You
Han, Jenny
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

P.S. I Still Love You, by Jenny Han, is the second book to the To all the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy. The central character is a girl named Lara Jean. She is a quirky shy girl who loves to bake, enjoys scrapbooking, and is into fashion. The first book of the series begins with a crazy start.

Lara Jean wrote love letters, five in all, to boys that she used to be in love with when she was younger. One day, her young sister Kitty, who previously got in a fight with Lara Jean, decides to get back at her sister by sending out all of these private letters. This changes Lara Jean's life completely. P.S. I Still Love You is a good continuation to Lara Jean's story but I'm trying not to spoil it so I suppose I'll leave it at that. Overall, I love Jenny Han's writing technique. She adds suspense and plot twists to keep the books going and keep things interesting. This trilogy is a must read for fans of chick flicks or romantic comedies; you can't put it down.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P
My Heart and other Black Holes
Warga, Jasmine
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Aysel is a girl who is held back by her dark past and whose life is influenced greatly by her violent father and his sins. Instead of working, Aysel explores a disturbing website called "Smooth Passages". This website includes different people who wish to commit "partner suicide". Aysel is a very depressed girl and is intrigued by Smooth Passages. She soon discovers a boy who lives close by and contacts him but the closer and closer it gets to their suicide date, the more Aysel wonders if maybe living wouldn't be so bad after all. I thought that this book was fairly well written but the only problem I had with it was that it was predictable. All in all, i enjoyed the book but it wasn't my all time favorite.
Reviewer Grade 10

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P
Five Feet Apart
Lippincott, Rachel
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is so amazing and special! It is the story of Stella Grant and Will Newman, two teens with cystic fibrosis, a disease in the lungs.
Because of the possibility of transmitting germs, two people with cystic fibrosis (CF) are not permitted to get within six feet of each other. Will and Stella are polar opposites when they meet, but as they start spending more time together, they find out they have more in common than they initially thought, and start to fall in love despite the six foot rule. This book is engaging, funny, heartbreaking and powerful all at the same time. It makes you appreciate the life you are given so much more, and reminds you to never waste a second of time with someone who you love. This is one of the best books I have ever read!

Reviewer's Name: Allie S
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Han, Jenny
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a wonderful book for anyone who's ever wondered what it would be like to have all of your crushes find out that you liked them-- at the same time. Lara Jean is a high school junior and her life goes from boring to out of control overnight when her secret love letters to her crushes are mailed out. At the same time, one of her crushes, Peter, breaks up with his girlfriend and the two decide to start a fake relationship to make Peter's ex-girlfriend jealous, and so Lara Jean's real crush, Josh, doesn't find out that she likes him. This book is funny, detailed and true in a way that very few romance books are. It pleasantly surprised me with the humor and heart of this novel. Peter and Lara Jean have wonderful chemistry and it is hard not to fall in love with this book!

Reviewer's Name: Allie S
Out of My Mind
Draper, Sharon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is a really good book that I have read many times. It’s about a girl who lives with Cerebral Palsey and finds a new machine to “talk”. This story is about her frustrations and triumphs that only you can see.

Reviewer's Name: Maya
Immoral Code
Clark, Lillian
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"Immoral Code" tells the tale of five seniors in high school planning something even bigger than Homecoming. When Bellamy's billionaire father refuses to pay her college tuition at MIT, the gang gathers together to right the wrong, her friend Nari in particular. Under the code name d0l0s, Nari and the rest of Bellamy's friends search for the much needed money- and revenge.

The story's plot circles around a small hiccup in their plan: to get the money, they'll have to sneak into the Foster Inc. building! This story is full of suspense, humor, and 3-dimensional characters each struggling through their own adolescence problems simultaneously. Lillian Clark does a fantastic job of weaving multiple view-points together to tell this memorable tale. I would recommend t it to anyone my age!

*Note: This story does contain a good amount of profanity. Definitely for older readers.* Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Adia R.
Cover
Menon, Sandhya
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Sweetie Nair is fat. She doesn’t care, but her mom cares. Like, a lot. A lot a lot. Definitely too much. So much that so when Ashish, a hot local boy from a good (and crazy rich!) Indian family tries to date Sweetie, Sweetie’s mom shuts it down. But Sweetie won’t give up without a fight, and so she, Ashish and Ashish’s parents hatch a plan in which the kids will go on four dates. If it works out, they’ll tell Sweetie’s parents. If not, no harm done. Plus, what can happen in four dates? Turns out, a lot.

If you’ve read any of Menon’s other books, this one is completely on brand. I’ve read her other two books, and this one might be my favorite? It’s up there with Dimple, for sure. It’s a funny romantic comedy with endearing, mostly believable characters from a culture that’s different from mine. In addition to reading an adorable book, I get to learn a little bit about Indian Americans. This one has an added element of pointing out our society’s horrible ways of treating fat people. The way a folks react to Sweetie will have you seeing red – but you know it’s unfortunately totally realistic. Luckily, Sweetie is a self-confident young lady, and it was a joy to see her grow throughout the book. Ashish isn’t too bad himself! He has a very believable journey through the course of the book, and was a male lead you could root for even as he made a few terrible decisions.

TLDR: If you’re looking for a light, funny and very swoony read, this one will do it for you. I know it put a smile on my face.

Sandhya Menon is coming to PPLD to be the keynote speaker for Mountain of Authors! Meet her, listen to her give a talk and get a book signed on 27 April at 21c. More information about the event can be found here: https://research.ppld.org/mountainofauthors

Thanks to Netgalley and Simon Pulse for the advance copy, which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. There’s Something About Sweetie will be available for purchase on 14 May – don’t forget to put your copy on hold!

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Foolish Hearts
Mills, Emma
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Foolish Hearts is your typical YA high school drama. With a mean girl, break ups, friendships, and broken friendships, this book is not a new story. I thought the storytelling and the characters were interesting and it is a well executed book but I've read this story before. Another critique that you can't get away from when writing high school fiction is that the characters are not very believable. I know that if the characters aren't dramatic and larger than life then it wouldn't be an interesting story, but as a high school student the situations are just so unbelievable and dramatized. I did enjoy the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters and it just being a casual thing but this book is not one I would read again.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.
Awards:
Everything Everything
Yoon, Nicola
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book "Everything Everything" by Nicola Yoon is about a girl named Maddy. All she wants is to go outside and see the world, but sadly, the only 'outside world' she will ever be apart of is her colorful sun room. Madeline has Bubble Baby Syndrome, a condition where anything could cause her allergies to go crazy. However, when she notices a new neighbor named Olly, she can’t wait to talk to him…. through iMessage. However, texting isn’t enough, she needs to see him in person and be next to him. As the story unfolds, Madeline will find out a secret that will change her world forever.

"Everything Everything" was such a good book and I would love to read it again. Each and every character has their own unique personality, which make them more relatable to different people. I am so thrilled to be able to read more of Nicola Yoon's books and hope that they are just as good as "Everything Everything"

Reviewer's Name: Kaylei F

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