Reviews of Teen Books

I Survived The California Wildfires, 2018
Tarshis, Lauren
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Josh and his mother travel to California to see Josh's cousins, Nicole and her daughter, Holly, who run a reptile shelter. At first, he doesn't think he'll like Holly, because she's so different from him. And while Josh loves basketball, she doesn't even know any famous players! But when disaster strikes, and he and Holly are trapped in a wildfire, he learns that maybe she isn't so different after all.

Even though I put four stars, I think that this book deserves 4.5 out of 5. This is quite possibly my favorite book in the I Survived series, that I have read so far. The only thing I didn't really like is that it was too short. This book is a great read for long road trips, because it is very entertaining, and it is also rather quick, so you won't have time to get bored of it.

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey
I Survived The Destruction of Pompeii, 79 A.D.
Tarshis, Lauren
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Marcus is a slave in ancient Pompeii, working for the despicable Festus Julius, who is having a party to see the upcoming gladiator match. Marcus thought he would never see Tata, his father, again after he was sold to someone else. But when he sees the people that the champion gladiator would fight, he also sees Tata. Can Marcus save his father from the arena and still survive?

This book had a pretty good story, although it could have been more enjoyable if it were longer. I enjoyed Marcus' quick thinking, the descriptions of Greece, and what it would be like to live there. However, I did notice that Mercury, the Roman version of Hermes was mentioned, even though the book is set in Greece. I would read this when you are bored, because it does get to the action pretty quickly, and you can read it in less than a day.

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey
All The Wrong Questions: "Who Could That Be at This Hour?"
Snicket, Lemony
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

If you have read A Series of Unfortunate Events, you know of a secret organization, and many, many easily fooled people. But, Lemony Snicket is not one of them. This book involves that secret organization, a very dangerous criminal, a plot involving a statue of a hideous sea creature, and Lemony Snicket himself. Perhaps you should turn your attention away from this horrible book and read another one.... JUST KIDDING : this book is amazingly awesome, no matter what Mr. Snicket says on the back!

When Lemony Snicket was 12 years old, he already had his hands on a mystery.mA confusing, detailed mystery. But if you pay attention, and read closely, you should be able to keep up. Lemony purposefully chooses the last-ranked mentor on the list, hoping that he will have more time for something else, but nothing can be farther from the truth. He is soon involved in another mystery, one that will take nearly all his time. His mentor, S. Theodora Markson, has no idea what she's doing, but acts like she knows everything. Someone is lying to him. He gets into trouble with the law by pure accident. This will take all the skills and knowledge from his 'unusual education'.

I love all of the Lemony Snicket books I have read so far, and this one is no exception. The plot will keep you guessing at every twist and turn. I like the way Lemony hardly ever panics, and how he handles things in his out-of-the-box way. This is a great way to spend the time if you are bored and sleepy, because it will wake you right up, and keep you entertained throughout the whole book. However, do not read this at bedtime, because you will not be able to stop, and will probably lose yourself a lot of sleep. This book is the first in a series, if you are looking for more Lemony Snicket.

Have fun reading!

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey
I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912
Tarshis, Lauren
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

George has always been on the lookout for adventure. And so when he and his sister Phoebe start to travel home on the Titanic, he goes to explore every inch of the massive ship. But when the Titanic unbelievably starts to sink, and Phoebe is nowhere to be found, George must save her. George knows he won't give up, but will he be able to help his sister without ending up dead himself?

This book is a short read, but it is very interesting to see George's thoughts and feelings as the ship sinks. I like the way he doesn't panic, at least not a lot. I would recommend reading it when you are waiting for something, because it keeps you interested throughout the entire book, and it is only about 100 pages.

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey
Steelheart
Brandon Sanderson
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Brandon Sanderson’s book, Steelheart, is an amazing book. It follows David, a misfit obsessed with the knowledge of Epics after his father’s death. Epics are the “super humans” that have powers- and they’ve taken over his city and his life. After joining a group called the Reckoners, David and his new friends set out to take down the leader of the Epics. Along the way, he meets new people and builds relationships with his team. The end of this book is a cliff hanger that will make you need to read the sequels! Steelheart is an amazing book that teens and young adults are sure to love. Check it out!

Reviewer's Name: Gemma
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer book jacket
Mark Twain
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a captivating novel filled with trouble, fun, and humor. Tom Sawyer is the classic mischievous kid, always looking for excitement and getting into predicaments. When he witnesses something completely out of the ordinary, Tom has to speak up and fear the consequences. His adventures help him discover himself, make new friends, and learn the importance of family. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a clever, laughable book that you’re sure to love. A classic novel for everyone to enjoy, just don’t read it too quickly!

Reviewer's Name: Gemma
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Nielsen, Jennifer
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is the first book in the Ascendance Series by Jennifer A. Nielsen. The False Prince is about an orphan boy named Sage, who is also a thief. He gets taken from the orphanage by a man named Belvin Conner, who is traveling between orphanages hoping to find specific boys to fulfil his quest of replacing the prince who is presumed to be dead because his ship was attacked by pirates years ago. The boys compete against each other hoping to be the one Conner chooses to become the false prince, in fear of what might happen to them if they are not.

Sage is my favorite character because doesn't give up, and he seems to always make light of the situation. He is very stubborn, which makes him a enjoyable character to read about. This book is full of danger, action, and suspense. It was not at all predictable, and some parts surprised me. I gasped in my head several times at all the lies and truths revealed as the story went on. I found myself not wanting the book to end, and yet I couldn't put it down. This is one of my favorite books, and I would definitely recommend reading it.

Reviewer's Name: Addysen
Out of My Mind book jacket
Draper, Sharon
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper is written from the perspective of Melody
Brooks, an eleven year old kid that cannot talk, walk, or feed herself. Even
with all of her challenges Melody is incredibly smart with a photographic
memory. However because of people's prejudices against her people think she
is dumb, doctors, teachers, and other students. Out of My Mind tells an
amazing story about overcoming disabilities and prejudices in both life and
school. This book broke my heart and left me with hope through a powerful
ending. I would recommend this book with a 4 out of 5 stars.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
The Siren book jacket
Cass, Kiera
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Kahlen never believed in love at first sight. That is until she met
Akinli. He actually tried to understand her, under the circumstances. The
circumstances being she's a siren. Will Kahlen be able to fake her past and
be with her soulmate? Or will she put duty before love. This book is a
thrilling read. The ending will move you forever. I can't recommend this book
enough!

Reviewer's Name: Lilly
Savvy book jacket
Law, Ingrid
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Savvy by Ingrid Law is an amazing book stuffed with mischief, fun,
turns and twists! It follows Mississippi "Mibs" Beaumont through her thirteen
birthday. When her father is put into the hospital, Mib's world is turned
upside down. Her perfect "savvy" birthday has been ruined! When she turns
thirteen, she receives a special savvy (a savvy is a particular gift given to
those in her family when they turn thirteen)-but it's not what she's been
hoping for. Mibs and her friends embark on a wild ride, trying to get to her
father's hospital to see him. Nothing on their trip is what they expect, but
Mibs and her friends continue in the midst of laughter and hardship. Will
they ever get to the hospital, and will her father be alright? Savvy is a
crazy, adventurous, funny book that you're sure to enjoy!

Reviewer's Name: Gemma
Waistcoats & Weaponry book jacket
Carriger, Gail
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Gail Carriger's novel, Waistcoats and Weaponry, is a touching and
well balanced book that is filled with twists and turns. Gail Carriger weaves
an intricate plotline, following Sophronia Temminick in the third book of the
finishing school series. Sophronia's friend, Sidheag, must return to her
werewolf pack in the wake of a fresh conflict. Sophronia and her friends
embark on a train journey that's hauntingly mysterious, dangerous, and
exciting. Faced with new challenges along the way, they have to stick
together to make it. Secrets are unveiled and romances escalate, but what
will truly happen? This is an artfully crafted book that will keep you on the
edge of your seat! Check it out!

Reviewer's Name: Gemma
Invision book jacket
Kenyon, Sherrilyn
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Nick was born evil. As the most powerful demon to ever exist, every fiber in him was created to destroy, annihilate, and wreak havoc. It is his destiny to destroy the world and everyone he loves. But he is determined to thwart his destiny, and live his life as a somewhat normal person. When he's not being thrown against lockers by the school bully, he's battling demons and pushing the limits with the Fates of the Universe. Except for this time, with the help of his ancient demons friends and the Eye of Ananke, he can see the mishaps of the future...and knows that someone besides him is trying to change it. Now, he has to battle something far deadlier and treacherous than ever before...and he has no idea who or what it is.

This is the seventh book in the series, and once again it does not disappoint! I like how there is a mix of adventure, the supernatural, romance, and fantasy (and even some special appearances from Greek gods and goddesses!) and that the main character is relatable: he's in high school, trying to figure out who he is and what he stands for. The book also isn't a super long read, and once you start, it's hard to put it down!

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Fairest book jacket
Meyer, Marissa
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere in the last decade or so, the idea of “redeemable villains” took off. So many stories had antagonists that had their heinous acts justified by some past trauma that somehow made them more human and understandable. While I appreciate flawed characters and the bad decisions that eventually led them down the dark and evil path, I don’t think it’s always necessary to make villains redeemable. That is unless it’s done well. Fairest does it well.

Right from the first pages of Fairest, the reader understands that Levana was the runt of the family. The amount of teasing and hypocrisy that formed this young girl into the evil queen she would eventually become is understandable. However, the real brilliance of this story comes in when Levana tries to solve her problems the only way she knows how: by manipulation. It’s not entirely her fault, as the royal family seemed to be built on this foundation of getting what they want by any means necessary—still, it doesn’t excuse what she did.

Even if Fairest is only a side-story for the Lunar Chronicles series, I think it’s required reading to understand the series’ main antagonist fully. If you want to read it chronologically (before Cinder ), it’s a good amount of backstory that will help bring you up to speed, even at the expense of being spoiled by some of the (albeit obvious) twists of the series. If you read it after Cress and before Winter, then it stands as a much-needed flashback before the conclusion of the series. At the very least, I’m glad that this story wasn’t crammed into the other books and was given the room to be its own story.

The best “understandable villain” I’ve ever read, I give Fairest: Levana’s Story 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Cress book jacket
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time with me will know that one of my top three favorite movies is Tangled (2010). It then comes as no surprise to me that the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series that adapts the Rapunzel fairy tale into this sci-fi retelling would be my favorite of the set. It wasn't until I was reading original fairy tales to my daughter that I realized how close Cress came to representing the story it was based on instead of just relying on the familiar accouterments of the fairy tale.

While I didn't appreciate as much of the split storylines in Scarlet , I felt they improved the greater story arc of the whole series here. Cress explored much of the inner workings of the antagonist faction of Lunars that had been missing up until this point of the series. As such, I was able to gain a greater emotional attachment to the rag-tag group of rebels. It also helped that there was clear character growth in some of the minor characters like Carswell Thorne and Cress through the challenges they had to overcome.

Perhaps the best reason this was my favorite book of the Lunar Chronicles series is that it truly was building toward the climax of the series as a whole. Watching all the different pieces fall into place to set up the final book of the series was what had me hooked on this story all the way through. And sure, it still had that "teenage girl" quality to its prose, but at least it helped make the characters realistic—even if it was to adhere to the tropes of the Young Adult genre.

The sci-fi Rapunzel retelling I didn't know I needed, I give Cress 4.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Illuminae
Kaufman, Amie and Kristoff, Jay
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Illuminae is an enthralling mix of science fiction and thriller. Written as a case file and using many different formats (audio logs, transcribed security footage, and interviews are just a few), Illuminae has action, mystery, and romance to interest many teen readers, although its multimedia style may be jarring to some. Overall, an excellent book and the start of one of my favorite series to date.

Reviewer's Name: Locke
Treasure Island
Stevenson, Robert Louis
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson is an amazing book filled with suspense and action to no end. It follows the story of a boy named Jim Hawkins, whose life takes a turn after buccaneers turn his quiet inn life upside down. He is whisked on a voyage after learning of a "treasure island". After overhearing a conversation between some of his most trusted friends, Hawkins has to find a way to fix the voyage-and stay safe! Treasure Island is filled with twists and turns that will certainly keep you on edge for the whole book! Check it out, you'll definitely enjoy it.

Reviewer's Name: Gemma
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
O'Brien, Robert
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Mrs. Frisby, a mouse, and her family have lived in peace, traveling between summer and winter homes to account for the farmer's plowing and the weather.
But when Timothy, her youngest son falls very ill, and cannot be moved in time, Mrs. Frisby sets out to fix her dilemma. She soon comes across the rats of NIMH, who are very strange and very smart. They are more than willing to help her, but they already have a problem on their hands, one they aren't even aware of.

This book is amazing! It shows the thoughts and worries of Mrs. Frisby, and then her ways of dealing with them in a terrific way. I loved the characters and the suspenseful plot. It kept me up late, because the rats are just so fascinating, especially in their way of coping with their unique problems.
This is a fantastic read, and everybody who reads this book will love the sweet and charming character of Mrs. Frisby, and the spectacularly mysterious rats. Even if you usually stick to nonfiction, you will love this book, because it shows some interesting science...

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey
The Song of Achilles
Miller, Madeline
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is the story of Patroclus and Achilles and what their lives were like. They meet each other at a young age and soon become fast friends. They go to train with the Centaur Chiron in the mountains, but soon the call of war comes knocking. Helen, the wife of the king of Sparta, has been kidnapped and taken to Troy. This causes the heroes of Greece to rally together to fight, including Achilles. Achilles desires the promise of glory, so he joins, and Patroclus, who can't bear to leave him, follows. This war will challenge of how far some will go for the promise of glory even at the cost of love. This book is told through Patroclus' perspective and gives a unique inside into what the Trojan War was like.

I've heard amazing things about this book, and I was not disappointed when I sat down to read it. Both of these characters were so lovable, I soon became invested in the story. I didn't know a lot about the Trojan War other than the wooden horse. I loved learning more about the history while following the boys' lives. This story was an emotional roller coaster for me. Be prepared to shed some tears and yell if you hop onto this wild ride. I loved this book so much and would recommend it to many. Every character had depth and played an impacting role in some way. It was beautiful. Here is one of my favorite quotes: "He is half of my soul, as the poet say." Song of Achilles.

-10th

Reviewer's Name: Alyson
Wishtree
Applegate, Katherine
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Red is a tree. A red oak tree, to be precise. Red has helped and befriended many animals, and even a human! But as all trees know, it is forbidden to speak to them. That changes when a Muslim family moves in nextto Red. The next thing Red knows, a very bad message is carved into the wood. Red must decide whether it would be better to destroy the rule that trees have had for centuries, or to destroy a little girl’s hope.
I liked the way the author showed Red's thought process and Red's decision making. I also liked the names for the animals, especially the raccoons. The forgetful raccoon mom's name was Big You and her three kids were all named You. I think the humor added to the book so it was not all about hardship.

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey
Genres:
The Battle of the Labyrinth
Riordan, Rick
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Percy Jackson, a teenage demigod, is the son of Poseidon. He is on the lookout for Nico, who has no idea what he's gotten into, and who blames Percy for his sister's death. And, of course, on the lookout for Luke, who has been aiding the evil titan Kronos in his quest to destroy the gods, and who does not care if innocent people die in this quest. But even more problems come into view when an entrance to the Labyrinth (a maze that is quite capable of killing Percy and his friends) is found in the center of Camp Half-Blood. Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and Tyson must enter the maze and convince Daedalus to help them before Luke gets there first.

This book is just amazing. I loved the balance between action, humor, ( I even had to stop reading at some points, to show my family the excellent jokes) suspense, and mystery. The book, being based on Greek mythology, has lots and lots of references to the Greek gods and goddesses, myths, and some of the heroes. And yet, it manages to have a unique plot, despite all of the other stories inside it. Rick Riordan did an excellent job of this, and the book is just amazing. However, I would recommend reading the first books in the series before this one, as it is a continuation of that story. It was great, and an especially good read for people who are bored out of their minds, because it was long and filled with great writing.

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey