Reviews of Teen Books

Cover of the book A Walk to Remember
Sparks, Nicholas
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A Walk to Remember is set in 1958, North Carolina, and is about two seniors who fall in love despite their different personalities. Landon, the mayor's son, is fun and carefree, while Jamie, the preacher's daughter, is 'annoyingly' perfect. Jamie is often clowned by her classmates for her rigid lifestyle, feverish devotion to Christ, and her rather drab way of dressing. When Landon finds himself in desperate need of a date to the school dance, he has no option but to ask Jamie to come with him.

Landon and Jamie begin spending time together, and while Landon tries to hide his feelings, he eventually realizes he loves her for her kindness. He tells Jamie about his feelings, but Jamie responds with hesitance, leaving Landon confused.

The ending is a little sad, but it's also cute and romantic. I liked how Landon developed as a character; he was a bit of a jerk at first, but being with Jaime helped him learn compassion and kindness. Jamie and Landon's relationship is a good example of why you shouldn't take things or people for granted.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma M.
Cover of the book Too Much and Never Enough
Trump, Mary L.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Too Much and Never Enough is a memoir written by Mary Trump. She is the niece of our current president. This book extensively describes the several interactions that Mary Trump had with her uncle. In this book she blames the behaviors of the Trump family for negatively influencing Trump's personality. Also, she describes in depth about Donald Trump's role in the multi-billion dollar family business. She also expands upon the Trump family's political connections, which lead to the creation of a real estate empire. Mary Trump explains the several high expectations that Fred Trump held for his children. This book was well-written and used excellent vocabulary words to express her opinions. Too Much and Never Enough kept my attention as it was interesting and this book gave an insightful perspective about Donald Trump from an insider's point of view. Finally, I liked how Mary Trump elaborately explained each of the Trump children’s lives and the turmoil within the family during tough times of the business.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
Born a Crime
Noah, Trevor
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Born a Crime is an autobiography about Trevor Noah's life. I picked this book because it describes the humble beings of a
famous comedian and his extraordinary journey to the pinnacle of American comedy. It describes his life growing up in the apartheid government in South Africa. The title of this book refers to the fact that Trevor Noah's birth was actually a crime. This is because of his biracial background, which made his birth illegal under apartheid laws. Born a Crime is filled with jokes and will not fail to crack its readers up. I would highly recommend reading this book if you love humor and learning about valuable life experiences of famous celebrities.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth S.
Awards:
Cover of the book Moloka'i
Brennert, Alan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Moloka'i is a book about the undaunted and courageous spirit of humanity. At seven, Rachel Kalama is diagnosed with leprosy, a condition that would alter her life forever. She is taken from her family to spend her life in Kalaupapa, Moloka'i (imagine quarantine lasting for your entire lifetime). On the island, Rachel confronts the aura of death, as the disease progresses among residents without a known cure. Moloka'i is a tale of sadness, but also a tale of survival. In a world of death, there is warmth, love, humor, and hope. The book follows Rachels's life with many twists and turns. I absolutely loved this book and it was one of the best books that I have read this year. Reflecting on the book, it truly demonstrates how there is a lot of good in this world, even if you have to dig deeper to find it.

Reviewer's Name: Isabella J.
Awards:
Genres:
Cover of the book We Should All Be Feminists
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Chimamanda is one of my favorite Nigerian artists! In this book, she talks about her life growing up as a girl in Africa and how her friends and family knowingly or unknowingly forced gender expectations on her. I felt that because she used personal experiences, it was easier for me to connect with her. This book is a good read for everyone, whether you identify as a feminist or not; the book is for anyone who believes that women and men should be treated equally.

The book is short, sweet, but filled with thought-provoking ideas on gender dynamics in modern society. Contrary to what the title implies, Chimamanda doesn't necessarily try to sway your opinion on the topic of feminism: she lays out her experiences as a woman and leaves it to the reader's judgment to decide whether feminism is important or not. I also thought it was interesting how she mentioned that the most feminist person in her life was not a woman but in fact a man.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Awards:
Genres:
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:
Cover of the book The Body
King, Stephen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is definitely my favorite book! It's basically a coming of age story about four 12-year-old boys. They go on an adventure to find a body as the title suggests. However, despite the dark name, and the fact that the author is Stephen King, this book is not horror by any means. Reading this book, you feel like you're going on an adventure with Chris, Gordie, Teddy, and Vern. I would also highly recommend the movie that was based upon the book, Stand By Me. All in all I would recommend that anyone should read this book, it's an amazing story!!

Reviewer's Name: Emani K.
All the Impossible Things
Lackey, Lindsay
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This was a 2020 All Pikes Peak Reads teen selection. This is a very good book. It's fast paced for the subject matter and the characters are engaging. I think the 'impossible' message in this book is inspiring, but may have been dealt out with a heavy hand. But that's okay. I liked the magical realism as well. Overall, I would recommend this book.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Cover of the book Lone Wolf
Lasky, Katheryn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This series is one of my favorites. It's about a world where animals preside, and wolves are the main focus. The detail in this is amazing and the interactions are realistic. While there are elements of fantasy, it still feels like the real world. I got lost in this book the first time I read it because of how beautifully she wrote the characters, they just seemed to come alive. If you want a good read about intelligent wolves in a fantasy land, read Wolves of the Beyond. The first book is Lone Wolf.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan W.
Genres:
Red Hood
Arnold, Elana
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Acclaimed Young Adult author Elana K. Arnold knows there is realism to be found in dark fairy tales and the award-winning author delivers once again, following up her Printz Award-winning Damsel with Red Hood (Feb. 2020), a retelling of the classic fairy tale geared toward older teens. The story centers on Bisou, a girl in a red hooded sweatshirt, who discovers she has inherited the instincts and supernatural strength -- triggered by menstruation during the full moon -- to stop the boys who turn into werewolves at that time from hurting the young women they prey upon. It's a violent and bloody tale enhanced by layered depictions of strong females, positive male allies and a realistic portrayal of teen life. Arnold effectively blends magical realism, dark fantasy elements and modern prose together into a disturbing but ultimately empowering story that celebrates sisterhood that spans generations while shining a light into the dark shadows of rape culture. The story quickly builds to an ending that does not disappoint.

Reviewer's Name: Joe P.
Hatchet
Paulsen, Gary
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

A 13-year-old boy, Brian Robeson, traveled in a small bush plane to visit his dad in Canada. Mid-flight the pilot has trouble breathing and Brian finds himself trying to fly the plane so they don't crash. The plane eventually runs out of fuel and makes a crash landing into a lake. While swimming out of the lake, Brian remembers the hatchet his mother gave him which becomes his one and only survival tool. When Brian realizes he is stranded in the woods, he has to find ways to survive in this new environment. Brian first finds a patch of berries for a source of food. He then sets out to build a shelter for safety and fire for warmth. After facing many challenges Brian and missing warm meals and his bed, Brian must continue to survive by adapting to his situation.

Reviewer's Name: Kiana
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
We Are Okay
LaCour, Nina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

We are Okay is about a girl who goes through some tragic events in her life, and is now trying to deal with them. The book has quite a few twists and turns that can throw you off, but I really liked that. I did not like how short the book was though, and I felt the author could have added more in. The book ended off at a happy spot, but as a reader I wanted to know more about what happens after. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an easy read that you won't want to put down until it is over, which is fairly quick.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
The Wright Brothers
McCullough, David
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Wilbur and Orville Wright changed history in 1903 when they successfully built the first heavier-than-air powered machine that could fly and carry a pilot. Many people are familiar with the Wright brothers, but few know the full story of their quest to build the first flying machine and prove to the world that they were not far-fetched fanatical dreamers. Writtenusing Wilbur and Orville Wright's letters, diaries, technical data books, documents, proposals, and private family papers, this book gives great insight into the curiosity, intellectual ability, diligence, and determination of the brothers. This book is well-written, readable, and exciting, yet still incredibly factual. I highly recommend this book for anyone fascinated with aviation, engineering, or the quintessential American spirit.

Reviewer's Name: John
Lucky Broken Girl
Behar, Ruth
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Lucky Broken Girl is about is girl named Ruthie, who recently moved from
Castro's Cuba. When her father decides to buy a car and surprise the family,
they get into a terrible accident, testing the car out. Ruthie breaks her
leg, and must live in a body cast to mend her leg and to make sure one leg is
taller than the other, since she is growing. Ruthie must spend months in the
body cast. Along the way, Ruthie makes friends and loses friends, learns how
to paint, and continues her life, as much as possible, as to not get behind.
This is also a true story. The author changed some parts of the story, but it
is based off of true events.
I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me that not everyone's life is
perfect, and everyone is going through something. Even though the setting of
the book was in Ruthie's room most of the story, I had a lot of trouble
putting the book down. There are some sad parts but there are also a lot of
happy parts. This book is definitely a ten out of ten.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
This Light Between Us
Fukuda, Andrew
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This Light Between Us by Andrew Fukuda is an extremely powerful and compelling historical fiction novel. I came upon this book completely by chance when I had nothing else to read, and decided to give it a chance and I am so glad I did! This Light Between Us, set before and during World War II, tells the story of two pen pals--a French-Jewish girl named Charlie and a Japanese-American boy named Alex. When they are ten years old, Alex's class gets assigned pen pals from France, and the teacher mistakes Charlie as a boy, therefore assigning her to be Alex's pen pal. Alex, who is a cartoonist and lives in his older brother Frank's shadow in their small town of Bainbridge Island, Washington, is shy and quiet and doesn't have a lot of friends. Popular, vivacious Charlie is instantly taken with the idea of writing to an American, and therefore wishes to continue their correspondence. For years, Alex and Charlie's letters fly across the Atlantic, including Alex's cartoons, and Charlie's tales of life in France. They discuss dreams, plans, ambitions, and how they finally will meet. The first part of this book is dedicated to the letters between Charlie and Alex, and as the situation in Europe worsens for Jewish people like Charlie, she finds solace in writing to Alex until the fateful day that Peal Harbor is bombed and all the Japanese Americans on Banbridge Island are directed to be sent to internment camps. Alex and his family are sent to the Manzanar Internment Camp in California right as Charlie's letters to Alex trickle to a stop. Determined to find the girl that Alex has come to love, Alex signs up to go to war.

I've read Farewell To Manzanar twice in school, and I found This Light Between Us tells the story of the Japanese internment camps in a much more accessible and heartbreaking way. This book is not a memoir, unlike Farewell To Manzanar, and even though the experiences described in both are the same, I connected to Alex's family's struggles in this book much more than I did in Farewell To Manzanar. The utter desperation of the entire family and the lack of hope described in this book is so heartbreaking that it is understandable why Alex signs up to go to war. I was also worried that the part of the book dedicated to Alex fighting in the war would be slow or even boring. Alex is constantly motivated by his desire to find Charlie. Every struggle in training, every battle he fights is for the purpose of finding her. The characters Alex experiences in his regiment are memorable and touching, and add to the narrative beautifully.

There is a quote from Jane Eyre that talks about a string being knotted in on person, right below their heart, and tied to another person, and however many miles away they may be, that string always will bring them back together. This concept is expressed and used many times in This Light Between Us, and truly represents the love that Alex and Charlie have for each other-- the idea of loving someone you've never met but who knows you better than anyone else is such a clever take on a historical fiction love story, and really sets This Light Between Us out from the crowd of WWII novels.

I loved this book. I read it in just a few days, and found it impossible to put down. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction, romance, or just a good story! This Light Between Us is a powerful gem of a book that I highly recommend!

Reviewer's Name: Allie
Genres:
Things Fall Apart
Achebe, Chinua
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Things Fall Apart is about a Nigerian man, Okonkwo, who watches as his village is destroyed by European missionaries. Once a feared and respected man in his village of Umuofia, Okonkwo is reduced to eventually taking the orders of white men. Okonkwo is a hard and emotionless man who believes that anything that is not masculine is weak and therefore unworthy. When missionaries come to Umuofia, Okonkwo urges his fellow villagers to resist the attempts to diminish their culture and replace their government, but he's met with little support. Eventually, Okonkwo is banned, and when he returns, his village has completely changed.

I liked Things Fall Apart because it's a great book that challenged the idea of African savagery and portrays African culture, specifically Nigerian culture, as complex and intricate, and not the 'uncivilized' society many people view Africans as today. Okonkwo is an interesting character because his unwillingness to adapt to the new change represents an internal struggle many pre-colonized Africans faced in the wake of colonization. The ending is symbolic because it represents the ultimate death of culture as a result of European exploration.

Overall, the novel provides a beautiful insight into another culture often ignored in mainstream media.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
No Longer at Ease
Achebe, Chinua
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

No Longer at Ease is the second installment in the African trilogy series. It is preceded by Things Fall Apart and follows the life of Obi, Okonkwo's grandson. Obi leaves his village in Nigeria to pursue an education in Britain where he meets Clara and falls in love with her. He returns to Nigeria and gets a job in civil service with the help of the board of elders. Obi is conflicted between his African culture and Western lifestyle, and heavy in debt, he takes a bribe.

Just like his grandfather, Obi is strong-minded and stubborn. He intends on marrying Clara although she is an osu, and begins taking bribes when he cannot pay his debts. He questions Nigerian traditions, and often compares Africa to Britain, ultimately positioning him in a place where he finds it nearly impossible to balance both cultures. However stubborn and sometimes reckless Obi is, he's a symbol of generational growth: unlike his grandfather and father, Obi ultimately understood that one culture was not better than the other, and change was imminent. Okonkwo, Nwoye, and Obi symbolize the different industrial stages of Nigeria and the social turmoil that followed, and they show the theme of western versus eastern culture clashes.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma

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