Reviews of Teen Books

The Outsiders
Hinton, S.E.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

One of the most inspirational and powerful books to date. The Outsiders is a story about a 14 year old boy named Ponyboy Curtis. He and his brothers and apart of the social group called the greasers . They continuously fight for the right to be treated the same when fights begin to break out. When an accident happens involving one of Ponyboy's closest friends, they flee and begin to doubt why they continue fighting.
This book is an excellent representation of fostering a community of love and empathy amongst our fellow peers.

Reviewer's Name: Luke
Genres:
Magnus Chase: The Sword of Summer
Riordan, Rick
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is a highly regarded book by critics and for a good reason! After a horror stricken-night 2 years ago, Magnus is forced to live in the streets of Boston by himself. When he discovers his Uncle Randolph is tracking him down, he resorts to hiding remembering the stories his mother told about him. Magnus' Uncle eventually finds him and explains terms of Norse mythology and his birthright to have a unique weapon. This book is an amazing story for thrill seeking and adventurous souls.

Reviewer's Name: Luke
The Mysterious Benedict Society
Stewart, Trenton Lee
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Mysterious Benedict Society is by far one of my best reads. Orphaned children are put to a series of tests by adults and a 'caretaker'. After the long and slightly dragged out beginning, you really begin to grasp the story. The Antagonist of the story chooses to use orphaned children because they have no roots or family. He trains them to never be afraid of their biggest fears . Although this book is slightly long and drawn out, it is still packed with lots of suspense. I would highly recommend for kids 12-14.

Reviewer's Name: Luke
Broken Beautiful Hearts
Garcia, Kami
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Kami Garcia's Broken Beautiful Hearts is a heart-felt teenage romance that highlights the importance of mending broken hearts and learning how to trust again. As a high school senior with a scholarship for soccer, Peyton is thrown into a dark time when she and her boyfriend, Reed, are at odds and he pushes her down a staircase causing a big injury that puts her out for many months. When it becomes uncomfortable to live in her town due to her pushy ex, she moves in with her twin cousins and uncle. There, she meets Owen, a fighter in the same league as Reed. Peyton distrusts the feelings she begins to feel for Owen because of the hurt from her past. As their relationship grows, Peyton learns how to trust again, and the heart Reed broke is slowly healed by Owen. If romance and healing hearts are your pace, Broken Beautiful Hearts will be a great fit.

Reviewer's Name: Sophi
Wait For Me
Leech, Caroline
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Beautifully written by Caroline Leech, Wait For Me embodies the importance of love and learning other peoples' stories before passing judgement. Lorna, a teenage Scottish girl growing up during World War II is quick to pass judgement for a German POW (prisoner of war) who has been assigned to her father's farm to work. Paul, a scarred German teenage soldier is quiet and hard-working, helping wherever he is needed. As Lorna begins to warm up to Paul and Paul to her, they begin to build a friendship, and Lorna's original view alters as their relationship builds even though the views of her schoolmates, church friends, and fellow townspeople remain the same: judgmental and unkind. When Lorna receives news of her brother's disappearance, she reacts unkindly toward Paul, but their love for one another mends their broken bond over time. A sweet, romantic historical fiction that is sure to have you feeling for the characters and thinking of how your reaction may be similar or different from that of Lorna's.

Reviewer's Name: Sophi
The Nightingale
Hannah, Kristin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Nightingale is a priceless work of historical fiction literature written by Kristin Hannah that highlights the journeys of two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, throughout World War II in France. Vianne, the eldest and quieter of the two is determined to keep her head down and follow the rules the Nazis put in place; however, when her outspoken younger sister is found on her doorstep, she has no choice but to bring her in. Rebellious Isabelle is frustrated with Nazi rule and is determined to make an impact in the war to turn the tides in France and drive the Nazi invaders out. Throughout the novel, Vianne and Isabelle live their separate lives at odds with one another and as they see best for themselves. But, as the war continues, the sisters must find a common center in love, forgiveness, and respect for one another.
This book was very thought-provoking and intriguing to read, and I learned lessons that I can apply to my own personal life.

Reviewer's Name: Sophi
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Stevenson, Robert Louis
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is a novel about a scientist in London, Dr. Jekyll, who struggles with controlling his alter ego, Mr. Hyde. As he attempts to mask his other personality, horrifying events occur that present the horrible personality of Mr. Hyde. Other citizens begin to discover the connection between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as the novel finishes with a jaw dropping climax and resolution. I was required to read this book for school and I would recommend it for readers middle school and above. I really enjoyed the progression of the plot and the ending that was unpredictable. Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Nicola
Scythe
Shusterman, Neal
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Based in the future, Scythe takes place in a world where no one can die. To prevent over population, the Scythes are the only people who can end life. Rowan and Citra have been chosen to be apprentices to a scythe. There they will learn what that it means to take a life.

Scythe is an amazing book. I could not put it down! This book was so well written and thought provoking. I can’t wait to read the next book. Rowan made me cry so much closer to the end of the book and Citra was so easy to relate to. You will be wondering what is coming next at the end of each chapter. Also, the scheme that goes on throughout the book is insane!! One thing I did like about this book is there is not much gore, which is good because in some other books that I have read there is a lot and I don't really get the point of detailed gore; but that is just personal preference. Neal is truly an incredible writer and knows how to get a readers attention.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Hayden
If I Stay
Forman, Gayle
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

If I Stay is about Mia, a 17 year old girl who used to have everything: a family that she loved, a boyfriend that cared about her, and a future with music. After, a tragic accident everything she loved is taken away from her. She has a choice to live or die, which will she choose?
I loved this book so much that I read it in under three hours. This is definitely a book to get lost in, you will forget that you are reading. I could relate so much to Mia and the thoughts that she was having when she making her choice to live or die. This book was also made into a movie, which is really good. It follows the book almost perfectly. This book is one of my favorites and it gets readers thinking about life, and what it means to live.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Hayden
Wings of Fire: The Lost Heir
Sutherland, Tui T.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wings of Fire: The Lost Heir, is a great book! After being held captive by and potentially killing the queen of the Skywings in the first book, the adventure continues! The dragonets are now on their way to the Sea Kingdom, where they meet one of the dragonet’s mother! After the heartwarming reunion, the dragonets are thrown into chaos in the Sea Kingdom! Read the book to find out more! I really love the characters and their relatable and diverse personalities. The humor and drama mixed in makes the book even better. The book is one of my favorite books of all time! I couldn't put the book down, and before I knew it, I'd finished the whole series! I definitely recommend it!
Reviewer's grade: 9th

Reviewer's Name: Jenny
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer book jacket
Twain, Mark
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

One of Tom's adventures. Really Good.

Reviewer's Name: Olivia
Gone book jacket
Grant, Michael
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In a little town on the coast of Cali, it's a normal day for everyone. Until out of nowhere everyone over the age of 15 disappears. While fighting for leadership, the kids start getting powers and the animals are mutating.
This book was really good. It's kinda like Maze Runner meets Lord of the Flies and his friend X-men. Overall i really liked it. It definitely a book for middle schoolers through; which is why I gave it 4 starts because I am in high school and am at a college reading level. If I was in middle school, this would probably be my favorite book.

Reviewer's Name: Hayden
Shatter Me book jacket
Mafi, Tahereh
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is by far the best book I have ever read!!! Shatter Me is about a 17 year old girl named Juliette living in a dystopian world. She can't touch anyone because if she does, she kills them. The leader of her sector wants to use her as a weapon, but her childhood friend wants to save her. I love, love, love this book! The plot, characters, and everything about the book is incredible. Also, the love triangle that goes on throughout the series will leave you thinking about the book for days. I have read the entire series, including the series finale that just came out: Believe me. I can't say enough about this book series. Mafi does an amazing job bringing the readers along, she always has a deeper meaning to what she is saying, and her writing style is truly one-of-a-kind! I love the whole series and have reread each book about three time. This book is my all time favorite and its worth taking time to read.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Hayden
The Dragonet Prophecy book jacket
Sutherland, Tui
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy is an awesome book! Five dragonets destined to save the world from the Sandwing Succession War finally escape the cave they've been held captive in for their whole lives, but before they can soak the beautiful and unknown world, they've been taken captive! How are they going to save the world and bring peace when they're to fight to the death? Read the book to find out! I really enjoyed the unique and relatable personalities of each of the characters, the amazing storyline, and the humor added in the book. This book is one of my favorite books of all time! I couldn't put the book down, and before I knew it, I'd finished the whole series! I definitely recommend it!
Reveiwer's grade: 9th

Reviewer's Name: Jenny
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas book jacket
Boyne, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is about a boy living in a rich home near a concentration camp. He find another boy living in the concentration camp and wants to save him. They end up becoming friends. It's a great story. I chose to read this book because I enjoy reading books about the Holocaust. I liked the story line of the book. I do wish it was a longer story though. I think anyone who enjoys books about the Holocaust will enjoy this book.

Reviewer's Name: Brynne
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lee, Harper
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a novel about Jean Louise Finch (Scout), living through her father Atticus' controversial decision to defend a black man in court. Along with experiencing the tribulations of racism in her home town of Maycomb County, Scout, her brother Jem, and her friend Dill explore the curiosities of the town and investigate the mysterious Boo Radley. The plot gave me excitement to continuing reading, and the joining of the two plots at the end created a perfect ending to the story. I thought that the book was really good due to the knowledge that was gained about the history during the Great Depression and the progression throughout the book that helped develop the main character. This was a school required book, but I would definitely recommend it to readers in high school and above.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Nicola
Admission
Buxbaum, Julie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Chloe Wynn Berringer is a privileged teen in Beverly Hills who leads a normal life, with a movie star mom, a genius sister, and a cool best friend. But everything is flipped on its head when Chloe's mom is arrested as part of the famous admissions scandal. As the paparazzi swarm her house, as she loses old friends, as the nation turns again her, and as the charges are brought forward, Chloe must grapple with her part in the matter. Will this ruin her family? Do they deserve it? Did she know? Or did she choose not to know?
This story was very interesting, as it takes the average admission scandal story and flips the perspective. Instead of shaking our heads from the sidelines, the audience is meant to sit in her perspective, in the shoes of the child who must grapple with their worth after their parents spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and commit hundreds of misdemeanors and crimes to get them into college. It also forces the reader to confront the toxic culture of college applications in America. The parents in this book often end up in prison just to get their child a name-brand college. It exposes the obsessive culture of the elite, while also exploring the way wealthy parents feel obligated to give their children everything their wealth can buy. The characters in this book all play a part in this narrative of privilege and college culture. Every part of the story is focused towards the main goal, with no throwaway side characters, which made the story tight and more memorable, in my opinion. While the prose wasn't excessive in this book , the thing that bumped it up to 4 stars for me was the main character, Chloe, and her development. Chloe goes from believing herself a complete victim, to questioning herself, to reconsidering her life of privilege and her worth. Another notable thing is, in the end, everyone gets what they deserved. No punches are pulled, and the characters are forced to learn from their mistakes. Overall, while this was in no way a perfect book, it was a page turner, and I really enjoyed it!
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Eve
Shadow and Bone book jacket
Bardugo, Leigh
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The fantasy novel Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo follows a young soldier named Alina who has been realized to have hidden powers, powers that no other magic user contains. Alina's powers are destined to save her country, but with great power comes greater responsibility--responsibility Alina may not want.
I rated this novel three out of five stars because the general plot was pretty creative, and the writing was also not bad. However, maybe since this is only the first book out of the three-part trilogy, I found myself not super invested in the characters or the conflicts that unfold in the story. The romantic subplot in the story was also not very interesting and everything in this novel seemed pretty predictable and lukewarm. Overall, it was an okay book. It wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible. I was a little disappointed though since this series had received lots of attention and was even made into a Netflix series, but maybe the next two books in the trilogy will capture my attention more.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Gideon the Ninth
Muir, Tamsyn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Gideon the Ninth is about the rebellious Ninth House acolyte, a prodigious fighter, who is forced to become the protector of her most hated enemy Harrowhark, the necromancer of the Ninth House. The two of them travel to the First House, to compete against the necromancers and cavaliers of the other houses for the treasured position of Lyctor. They must battle bone monsters, hidden murderers, the laboratories of the dilapidated castle, fellow competitors, and their burning desire to murder each other to, maybe, make it out alive.
I hadn't read sci-fi/fantasy for a long time before I read this book, and this was a brilliant example of everything I'd been missing. The characters are hilarious and likable, the stakes are high, the magic system is somewhat complicated yet explained brilliantly without long periods of exposition, and the undercurrent of science fiction is always present and contrasted beautifully with the fantasy. The idea of a a hyper-advanced society with spaceships and planets is bound to the aesthetic of necromantic power and fighting primarily done with swords, creating a world that has all the fun elements of imaginative science melded with magic. Beyond this, the story is also really tight. There's not really a moment that the book sits you down and explains everything. It just grabs you and goes and it's up to you to catch up, which is a nice change of pace. But, as I've mentioned, the shining gem of the story is likely the characters. The cast is large, but memorable in its own right. If you can't remember the names, just a few sentences of them speaking will clue you in to their distinct personality. And the gem of the story is probably Gideon herself, who's always hilarious and fun and somewhat tragic, and has a great comradery of hatred with Harrowhawk. The character development, the plot, the world, the magic system, and the mystery of this book make it easily one of my favourite books of this year.

Reviewer's Name: Eve
The Great Gatsby
Fitzgerald, F. Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" begins with a straightforward introduction to its main character and narrator, Nick Carraway. Nick fancies himself a man of high morals and while he does not always succeed, he tries his best to adhere to his principles at all times. Nick comes from a prominent family in a middle western city; however, after fighting in the Third Infantry Division during World War I, Nick tires of the monotony of the Midwest and goes east — to New York — in order to learn the bond business and in pursuit of more adventure. Nick settles in West Egg, a village that is described best as housing those who are "new money," and is a direct counterpart to East Egg, home to New York's most elite. It is in New York that the we are introduced to Daisy Buchanan, Nick's cousin; Tom Buchanan, Daisy's husband and Nick's former schoolmate; Jordan Baker, the Buchanans' close friend and renowned golfer; and finally, to Jay Gatsby, Nick's neighbor and the titular character of the novel. Nick becomes entangles within the affairs (both literal and figurative) of these characters, as both his fascination and friendship with Gatsby grow.

At face value, "The Great Gatsby" may appear almost to be a soap-opera, but in truth, it is the very opposite. Much like its characters, beneath its shimmering facade, "The Great Gatsby" houses profound and poignant messages and themes — about societal roles, the ever-elusive American dream, and human nature.

Reviewer's Name: Elaine