Reviews of Teen Books

The Sun is Also a Star
Yoon, Nicola
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book is cute. We follow Natasha, a science and fact-based person, trying to do everything she can to prevent her family from being deported. And Daniel, a creative, hopeless romantic, is doing everything he can to please his parents by going to a Yale alumni interview. While on their own ways, their paths intersect. Daniel becomes determined to prove to Natasha that love is more than chemicals and is a real thing. While Natasha is determined to not fall in love with Daniel and stop her family from being deported.
As said before, this book is cute and explores what life is and what it can be. It does have a form of insta love, but it works with the setup and plot and is well used. I loved Natasha, she was relatable because of her fact-based ways. Then, Daniel was the kind of person that people are drawn to, funny, creative, and peotic. This book explores how much one person can affect so many other people's lives. It shows so many people besides the main character, and we learn so much about them. It is such a hopeful book and it's sp refreshing. Natasha and Daniel's relationship is rushed especially in the beginning. The social and racial aspects of this book are amazing, it was so well explained. There was history so that you could deeply understand why it was the way it was. This book makes you ponder about life, the universe, and fate. The chapters are so short that is it an easy and quick read. Overall it's a cute book that makes you think about life.

Reviewer's Name: Jordan
City of Bones
Clare, Cassandra
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

City of Bones follows Clary Fray as she discovers a dangerous world that has been hidden in plain sight from her. Clary's mother gets violently kidnapped, and not to mention that she saw something that only she could see at the teen club Pandemonium, three strange teen warriors that were supposedly dispatching a demon when she saw them. Clary gets swooped up into their world with many questions; why is her mother gone, why can she see them, and most of all, what is the truth? She discovers a world with demons, warlocks, vampires, faeries, werewolves, and of course, the glorious(ish) shadowhunters that are all fighting invisible fights, especially with the rumor that an old shadowhunter enemy is rising up again. Come along on the ride with Clary as she brings her friend Simon along on the journey for answers and learns much more than she bargained for.
City of Bones has good world-building and is an excellent gateway into the Shadow world. It is definitely not the best book by Cassandra Clare but it was her first and an entrance to an entire universe. The book has many twists and not all are huge but they are there and bring you back into the book. It can seem like it was dragging on and like not much was happening but the twists bring your attention back in. The relationships between characters were well written and Magnus Bane needs no discussion (amazing character, would die for him). The action scenes are there and plentiful, they can get cluttered but let's be honest has anyone read a perfect action scene, they are hard to write. The action scene can cause you to lose focus and it can feel a little repetitive with the setting and what happens with the character but like I said there are twists that bring your focus back in. Overall it's a good book but not the best but still a vital read for understanding the Shadow world/ chronicles. This book is a worthwhile read and a great entrance to Cassandra Clare's work.

Reviewer's Name: Jordan
Legend
Lu, Marie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Legend by Marie Lu is a dystopian novel with its own flair. Some dystopians can feel the same, but Legend is unlike any other. We follow June and Day who couldn’t be more polar opposites. June will someday become the best general the Republic has seen and Day is the Republics most wanted criminal. Yet, they cross paths and June’s ultimate goal is to take down Day. Like a classic dystopian, this novel will take you through twists and turns and you will never expect how it ends. I loved this book because of the relationship June and Day have. I highly recommend this book to anybody who love dystopian novels.

Reviewer's Name: Jaala
Aurora Rising book jacket
Kaufman, Amie and Kristoff, Jay
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Aurora Rising is a gripping and exciting action/science-fiction/fantasy novel by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Starring a misfit group of cadets on a quest to help a stowaway from a different time, Aurora Rising provides action, lovable characters, and an exciting mystery element unraveling throughout.
Being the first book in a trilogy, some elements of the series aren't fleshed out to their fullest, but this is fixed in both of the next entries in the series. Some characters; especially the "Brain" of the crew, Zila; are left without much of a personality beyond one or two basic traits. The use of certain futuristic slang can be a detractor for some readers as well.
These drawbacks are more than made up for the wealth of strong relationships and a driving plot throughout. The main characters all have strong motivations and complement each others strengths and weaknesses. The plot moves forward through setpieces both large and small, providing each new world a chance to shine in its own way.
Overall, Aurora Rising is a must-read for young adult fans of science-fiction and/or fantasy and a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Reviewer's Name: Locke
House of Hollow book jacket
Sutherland, Krystal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Krystal Sutherland creates a uniquely haunting atmosphere in House of Hollow, a story about three sisters who experienced a mysterious incident in their childhood which left their eyes pitch black and their hair bright white. Iris, the youngest sister, tries her best to blend in and lead an ordinary life, which proves very difficult; Vivi is a rebel who embraces her appearance; Grey, the oldest, is stunningly beautiful and remarkably successful, a secretive celebrity phenomenon. When Grey disappears without warning, Iris and Vivi embark on a bizarre, dangerous journey which will change the way they see themselves--and their sister--forever.
House of Hollow is filled with twists, turns, and tumbles into dark places. It will leave readers on the edges of their seats, dreading what comes next yet filled with a desire to know the full story. Sutherland's beautifully frightening, masterful plot is perfect for anyone who is craving something new and different and enjoys horror, suspense, and fantasy. House of Hollow serves as a reminder to us all: nothing is as it seems.

Reviewer's Name: Alexa
A Court of Silver Flames book jacket
Maas, Sarah J.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas is such a heart felt novel. This is the 5th book in A Court of Thrones and Roses series. Yet, this book strays away from Feyre as the main character and we follow her sister, Nesta. Nesta shows us that even in the darkest of times, you always have to fight to find that light. That hope is possible, and everybody is worthy of love, even when you don’t deem it. This book is one that will stick with you and possibly change your outlook on life. I highly recommend this book for anybody that loves romance, adventure, and wants to completely forget about life.
Grade 11

Reviewer's Name: Jaala
Shadow and Bone book jacket
Bardugo, Leigh
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is a fantasy novel about Grisha people with magical powers called the small science. It follows Alina Starkov and her childhood friend Mal as they make their way through this world, just trying to survive. The novel is well thought through. The plot makes sense and is complex enough to keep interested in the book. The characters are complex with their backstories, making them more relatable. The author does a great job illustrating the world and the magic system. Overall I would rate the book with a four out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
Siege and Storm book jacket
Bardugo, Leigh
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo is the second book in the Grisha trilogy. The book follows Alina and Mal as they are hunted across the world by their past and people who want Alina’s power. They may try to escape this responsibility, but Alina can’t outrun her fate forever. The plot has many twists and turns, keeping the reader guessing. Although most characters have engaging and refreshing personalities, I found the main character, Alina, annoying. Her personality didn’t change much, and she became whiny. Even with the annoying main character, the plot was engaging and complex, which made up for it. Overall, I would rate the book with three out of five stars because the main character was hard to relate to.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
Ruin and Rising book jacket
Bardugo, Leigh
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo is the final book in the Grisha trilogy. After the capital of Ravka falls, Alina is in hiding. She desperately tries to find the third amplifier as it is the only way to reclaim the capital. Alina makes new alliances, keeps the old, and puts aside her differences for her goal, finding the firebird and reclaiming Ravka. The final book is suspenseful and unravels all the secrets of the past two books. The characters' backstories fall into place, and all the clues throughout the book lead you to discover a horrific secret. It is a beautiful end to the Grisha trilogy and satisfied me with the series. Overall, I would rate this book with a five out of five stars—what a fantastic end to the series.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
The Silent Patient book jacket
Michaelides, Alex
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The Silent Patient follows Theo Faber, a psychologist who has become obsessed with the case of Alicia Berenson, the painter happily married to a famous photographer who one day shot her husband in the face and then never spoke again. When Theo gets the chance to work with Alicia at her facilities, and to maybe learn the truth of her motivations, he jumps at it. From there, the book splits between Alicia's journal as her life speeds towards the tragedy and Theo's experiences working backwards towards it, colliding in a knot of intrigue and tragedy, forever blurring the line between villain and victim.
This book is one of the few adult, realistic fiction books I've been able to get through without tossing to the side after the first chapter. For whatever reason, I find adult realism to be dour and unnecessarily dark, like the authors used their genre as an excuse to be overtly cynical and call it depth of writing. This book has some of the same issues: all relationships started happily and ended horribly, everyone main character is a monster in some way, the ending is ambiguous and dark, etc. This book can be set apart, however, by its plot. The opening mystery is extremely intriguing, and wonderfully set up to make the audience deeply curious. Lots of prose is devoted to the mystery, like some great allusions to classical Greek theatre, which increases the mystique. Basically, the prose and the mystery give the novel that fun suspense many adult realistic fiction novels lack. Another way the plot shines is the plot twist. One reason its difficult to rate this novel is the fact that, while most of it is pretty good or mediocre, the plot twist at the end, and the subsequent conclusion, elevate the novel to another level. Beyond this, the character work is also moving, giving every character relatable motivations, and fleshing each out enough that seemingly insane actions make total sense.
All in all, while the writing wasn't fantastic, the stellar plot structure, plot twists, prose, and characters make this a good book. I would recommend this to anyone looking for intriguing mysteries, a gripping story, and way too many metaphors!

Reviewer's Name: Eve
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland book jacket
Carroll, Lewis
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

the biik is brilliant for children but with enough hilarity and joy for life in it to please adults too, Alice's Adventures in wonderland is alovely book with wich to take a brief respite from our overly rational and sometimes dreary world

Reviewer's Name: Hadil
Daughter of the Pirate King
Levenseller, Tricia
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Alosa is the daughter of the infamous Pirate King. She's also half-siren, a secret she wants desperately to be kept hidden. After staging her kidnap by a rivalry pirate crew, Alosa is tasked with finding a map that will lead her father to a legendary island full of treasures untold. It should be easy: she's one of the best pirates on the sea, and being half-siren has its perks. But cleverly and annoyingly attractive first mate Riden makes her task much more difficult, and for the first time in her life, she has something to fight for...or rather someone.

My favorite part of the entire book was Alosa herself. She's smart, witty, and defies the odds given that she's a female pirate (and the only woman on the ship for most of the novel). Her budding relationship with Riden is amusing, and it's the typical enemies to lovers trope. The novel was full of some nice surprises, and I'm anticipating what's going to happen in the sequel!

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Scary Stories for Yong Foxes
Heidicker, Christian McKay
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Scary Stories for Young Foxes is a very intriguing book with twists and turns all the way down. It is designed to be, hence the name, "scary" but the way the stories from each perspective connect creates a much more interesting story than it may seem. Heidecker is able to create interesting twists in the story, and is entertaining and funny as well, with an odd twist on the famed author, Beatrix Potter. But, I feel like this book could have been a children's book if it hadn't been written like to be like the scary stories you write around the campfire. The writing was not very challenging, but the plotline is perfectly written.

As you read the book you get rather attached to the main characters, Mia and Uly. Uly is a young fox with a disfigured foot, making it harder for him to function in his fox family with his sisters. His mom is always supportive and encourages Uly as he figures out how he will live on his own. But, life on his own takes a turn for the worst...

Mia grew up attending A little fox school with her siblings, and her wonderful teacher, Miss Vix. They are learning how to hunt scavenge, and survive in the wilderness, and Mia loves her class. And her teacher. The litter is learning fast, and loving it. But, disaster strikes, and leaves only Mia and her mom alone, to run from the "monster" that has formed.

Uly and Mia's destinies soon intertwine and create a plotline that is perfect for a casual read, or, if you want to make it more exciting, read it in a dark room and let your imagination run wild. Recommended ages 10+
Reviewer's Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Priya
Genres:
The Things They Carried
O'Brien, Tim
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brian is a pretty good book about the Vietnam war. The book jumps around a lot with the characters in the war, after the war, and before the war. While it could be a little confusing at times, it was still an entertaining book. If you like reading books about Vietnam, but that also go in depth on the character, this would be a great book to read. Overall, I'd recommend this book!

Reviewer's Name: Emani
Red Queen
Aveyard, Victoria
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"Red Queen" is set in a world where people are divided based on their blood color, with "reds" being on the lowest part of the social hierarchy and being kept in line and ruled by the "silvers". The silvers have powers, but the reds are normal and have no powers. The book follows Mare Barrow, a red, who gets a servant job at the summer royal castle. While working it is found out that she has powers. The precautions are taken by silvers to prevent unrest in the community, take Mare on a journey, forcing her to leave her world behind for another.
"Red Queen" is beautifully written, from the world-building, to the characters, you get to see all the parts of the arguments and the world. The renowned twist that brought me to this book was amazingly crafted and so hard to see when you get immersed in the story. When the twist happened it surprised me and made me rethink so much that had happened in the book. This book shows moral problems so well, you understand why the books problem is so hard to solve. There are many action scenes/ intricate fighting scenes that you may tune out but it is still a great read because of the writing style. You learn to care for Mare and all her friends as they try to make changes. Your heart will go out to Mare and her mission, so beware, but it is so worth it. This book is so in-depth and makes you care so much about what happens. It would be an amazing addition to any fantasy lovers library and a great read.

Reviewer's Name: Jordan
Anne of Green Gables
Montgomery, L.M.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Anne of Green Gables is a popular classic novel about a quirky redheaded orphan named Anne. When Anne is adopted by the Cuthberts at their farm up in Green Gables, we follow Anne as she struggles to adapt to her new life.
Unlike most older classic novels, Anne of Green Gables was a very easy and fast read. I really enjoyed this book, and the story drags you into a youthful and whimsical world. The problems Anne faced, such as her first day at school, or the issues that her overactive imagination would lead her into, were all very fun and lighthearted to read about. This novel filled me with emotions of nostalgia, and the read was a very peaceful and enjoyable one.
Overall, this novel tackles the topics of growing up, being young, and fitting in, all in a very charming way.

Reviewer Grade: 11

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

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder is a YA mystery novel following high schooler Pippa Fitz-Amobi. What first started as a school project, Pippa begins to dig into the murder of high schooler Andie Bell, a case that occurred five years ago, in her small town. The case is apparently closed. Everyone, including the police and jury, ruled Sal Singh, Andie's boyfriend at the time, to have murdered the young girl. Of course, with Sal Singh also pronounced deceased by suicide, there was no way for him to plead guilty or otherwise.
When Pippa begins to research this closed case, she's not so sure that Sal Singh is the killer. So, enlisting Sal's younger brother Ravi Singh, the two investigate this murder mystery together, determined to bring Sal to justice. However, their small town, desperately holding onto their long-shared belief that Sal Singh is a murderer, may not be so easy to convince. But if Sal isn't the killer, who is?
This book was really well written. Written through interviews, articles, and reports, the story truly feels like your solving the murder just as much as Pippa and Ravi are. I loved how intricately the plot was crafted, and whenever new details the public didn't know about the case popped up, I was just as excited and shocked as Pippa and Ravi were. Throughout the book, many questions arose as I read along. Who is the real killer? Could Andie be alive? Did Sal actually do it?
I loved the plot twists and suspense the story put me through, and the fact that the true killer could be someone amongst their town, or someone close to Ravi or Pippa, made the plot all the more exciting. Additionally, I enjoyed the dynamic between Ravi and Pippa. While Ravi is easygoing and calm, Pippa is technical and daring. I enjoyed the balance between the two, especially some of the banter that we got to see between them.
The story also brought up some other important topics such as racial discrimination, unhealthy family relationships, drug use, and sexual assault, which I found was explained in an insightful and realistic way.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I was surprised by how thoughtfully it was written.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
The Night Circus
Morgenstern, Erin
2 stars = Meh
Review:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is about two young magicians who have been trained since childhood to engage in a duel against each other. However, the two said magicians, Celia and Marco, although being raised to fight each other, both fall into an unexpected love.
I have to admit, the plot sounds pretty promising. However, when I read this novel I found that it was incredibly difficult for me to actually push through and finish it.
The writing is beautiful, but I think it was too beautiful in a way. Everything was written in a very flowery way, in which the whole story was made up of very gorgeous-sounding lines, but nothing really past that. To put it straight, there was no substance in the plot. The majority of the novel was just long pretty sentences describing what was happening, but not exactly drawing us into what the sentences were trying to describe. It was like the author was telling us about everything and how everything looked to the eye, but I felt no spark. It was all descriptions and no action. I didn't feel or read any emotional lines or even felt much of a fondness towards the two protagonists. Celia and Marco kind of just seemed like two mannequins placed in the story for show, but there wasn't really anything that built up their characters to make them seem real or three-dimensional. The characters were all flat, and I couldn't see myself rooting for them, or really caring about anything they did.
Overall, while Morgenstern has a beautifully poetic way with words, I didn't see myself being pulled into the plot she was attempting to conceive.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
One of Us is Lying
McManus, Karen M.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

One of Us Is Lying follows four high schoolers who all fit into different social circles. Bronwyn is the staple "nerd," she's smart, ambitious, and a model student. Addy is the queen bee. She's pretty, popular, and the typical girl that everyone likes. Nate is the rule-breaker. Dealing with illegal substances, and being on probation for drug dealing, he fits the mold of a "bad boy." And then there's Cooper. The golden boy, a star baseball player, and high up on the social rungs, he's adored by many.
The interesting factor about this though, is that all four of these students are being suspected for the murder of a fellow student named Simon. Simon is an outcast, the creator of a popular, yet infamous gossip app that airs out the dirty secrets of fellow Bayview High students.
So when all five of these students are called into detention one day, what happens when Simon is the only one who doesn't leave the room alive? Which one of these four students is a murderer?
A very interesting plot, McManus builds up a fair deal of suspense, giving us POV chapters from each of the four suspects, allowing us to take a look into their lives and sympathize with them. I enjoyed that the author forced us to relate to the suspects, making it all the more difficult to pick out who the killer would be. However, although the plot twists were interesting, there was something generally lukewarm about this novel. Maybe it was because each of the four characters are all walking stereotypes, or because some things seemed a little too cliche, the novel, although having its good moments, fell flat at points as well.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good YA novel or a teen fiction story, but the stereotyping and cliches that were indulged by this novel, such as a "bad boy and good girl" relationship, or how Cooper, the typical golden boy, even has a Southern accent to enunciate his supposedly Southern boyish charm (??) made the story feel like it was at times targeted for a much younger audience than advertised to.
Overall, One of Us Is Lying isn't a terrible book, but also isn't super amazing.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Saenz, Benjamin Alire
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

”Why do we smile? Why do we laugh? Why do we feel alone? Why are we sad and confused? Why do we read poetry? Why do we cry when we see a painting? Why is there a riot in the heart when we love? Why do we feel shame? What is that thing in the pit of your stomach called desire?”
A quote from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Saenz has truly mastered the art of poetic prose. This novel is filled with countless more beautiful lines, and I have to say that this story exceeded my expectations.
Aristotle (Ari) is a Mexican-American boy who lives with his PTSD racked Father and loving Mother. Dante is the opposite of Ari. Instead of being a "traditionally" boyish boy, Dante enjoys art and poetry. Dante is emotional and sensitive, while Ari tends to deflect the same feelings.
I really enjoyed this book for countless reasons.
For one, the POC main characters and LGBT romance. I consider diversity to be an important factor in novels, and the author of this story did a good job of illustrating these topics.
Secondly, I liked the pacing of this story. It was pretty relaxed and slow. Reading this story felt mellow and personal, like we were just watching Ari and Dante discover themselves and each other, all in the slow hum of everyday life.
Last, the realism of this novel was something I appreciated. We saw Ari and Dante act like the teenagers they are, and tackle common everyday problems most teenagers face. I liked how nothing was overly dramatized, and while that may seem "boring," I thought this calm, slow, and realistic take on a typical Coming of Age novel was very enjoyable.
Overall, although Aristotle and Dante don't follow much of a plot, I enjoyed watching the novel unfold at its own pace.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle