Reviews of Teen Books

Refugee
Gratz, Alan
2 stars = Meh
Review:

The novel “Refugee” by Alan Gratz wasn’t a very good book in my opinion. I read it for my English class in high school and I didn’t really enjoy it. It’s about three refugees throughout history, but the stories are kind of connected. One refugee is a young boy escaping from Nazi Germany, the second is a young girl escaping from Cuba in the 90s and finally the third is a young boy escaping from Syria in 2016. Before reading this I had read a book about a boy who was in a concentration camp, and it was a true story written by him. Refugee doesn’t even come close to how good that book was. Along with that, it’s not very well written.
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book, there are far better books about this topic.

Grade: 11th

Reviewer's Name: Emani
Stop Telling Women to Smile : stories of street harassment and how we're taking back our power
Fazlalizadeh, Tatyana
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In this anthology, Fazlalizadeh shares interviews with twelve women in cities all across America about street harassment and sexual objectification, and describes her efforts to use art to communicate the pain that these encounters cause. Many girls and women can relate to her descriptions catcalling and degrading encounters, and this book confronts these discussions head on, forcing them to the forefront of conversation and refusing to let you ignore them. It gives a voice to people that are often silenced, and demands that the reader confront their own silence on the issues she describes.

I read this book as part of a research project I'm doing on gender, and am currently working on a section on objectification, especially when it comes to women. This book summed up a lot of the common encounters and the dangers of the world they create for both women and men. It gave words to people who may not have felt like they had the words before. And coupled with the poignant illustrations and quotes on every page, the book is simply beautiful to read. I think everyone should hear these women's stories, regardless of gender. "Stop Telling Women to Smile" speaks to the powerful truth of the human experience. It refuses to gloss over the pain that many people feel while also offering genuine hope for a more inclusive and kind future grounded in mutual respect.

Reviewer's Name: Mercy
Throne of Glass
Maas, Sarah J.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Throne of Glass is about an 18-year old assassin named Celaena Sardothien. She was put into the slave camp, Endovier, to serve her sentence. As Celaena stays in Endovier, the King of Adarlan holds a competition to find his personal assassin. Celaena as well as other assassins from the area have come to compete. If she wins, she wins her freedom from Endovier and the freedom to live in the Kingdom.

The author, Sarah J. Maas, does an amazing job giving each of her characters throughout the book a very deep back story that impacts the plotline of Throne of Glass as well as the later books in the series. She gives the book lots of details and twists while adding bits of humor. The protagonist Celaena is very humorous and relatable while also being a strong, confident female lead. All in all, I would highly recommend this book.

Reviewer's Name: Natalie
Genres:
Empire of Storms
Maas, Sarah J.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book Empire of Storms is the 5th or 6th book (depending on which way you read it) in the Throne of Glass series. The protagonist Aelin Galathynius is beginning to learn of the important part she will play in the war against Maeve and Erawan as she learns the history of her ancestor’s past. Rowan Whitethorne, Aedion Ashryver, and Lysandra journey with Aelin to find allies to aid them in the war. Manon Blackbeak, heir to the Blackbeak throne, calls a meeting with Erawan to discuss what their next step will be. Erawan orders her to fly with her 13 other witches and bring Dorian Havilliard to him. Manon has sent the niece of one of Erawan’s cruel follows with a Wyrd Stone to find Aelin.

This book was very well written. The author, Sarah J. Maas really starts to take details that were mentioned in the first few books and really starts to make them key elements of the plot. The book is very interesting as all the characters began to meet each other and form alliances. If you choose to read this book, the ending is very sad and has a major cliffhanger, but it is so worth the read. The whole series is amazing.

Reviewer's Name: Natalie
Genres:
Clockwork Angel
Clare, Cassandra
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare follows the protagonist Theresa (Tessa) Gray. She has just moved to London to live with her brother after her grandmother’s death. Upon arrival, two elderly ladies pick her up saying that her brother sent them. The ladies whose names are Mrs. Dark and Mrs. Black take Tessa back to their house. Tessa quickly finds out that her brother didn’t send them. They try to force her to change. Being from New York and the mundane realm, she has no idea what they want her to become. After about six weeks of being forced to change, a young Shadowhunter named William Herondale saves her from the ladies and takes her to a safe haven. From here on out, Tessa begins to learn of the Shadowhunter world and all it has to offer.

Clockwork Angel, being the first book in Cassandra Clare’s series, The Infernal Devices, does an amazing job of hooking the reader within the first few pages. The Infernal Devices is somewhat of a prequel series to the original series, The Mortal Instruments. Cassandra Clare creates a very interesting and thorough job of creating a plot that doesn’t give everything away too soon. The characters are also very believable and relatable. All in all, I would recommend reading The Mortal Instruments before The Infernal Devices because there are small details that will make the Clockwork Angel even more interesting and enjoyable.

Reviewer's Name: Natalie
City of Bones
Clare, Cassandra
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In the book City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, just 16-year-old Clary Fray and her best friend Simon head out to the New York club called Pandemonium. While there, Clary witnesses a murder committed by three teenagers. But, the peculiar part of the murder is that the person dissolves into nothing. As the next few days progress, Clary Fray becomes thrown into the Shadowhunter world and all of their politics and problems.

Cassandra Clare really hooks her reader in the first few chapters of the book. Not only does she create funny and engaging characters, but she also mixes so many worlds and makes it all sensical and realistic. The New York City world also blends quickly with the Shadowhunters, werewolves, faeries, vampires, and warlocks. All in all, I would totally recommend this book, it’s highly enticing.

Reviewer's Name: Natalie
Cinder
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book Cinder by Marissa Meyer follows Cinder, a cyborg in New Beijing. Cinder is a mechanic in the futuristic city of New Beijing. She lives with her adopted mother Lihn Adri and her two adopted sisters Peony and Peral. One day, while she is in the market square, the Prince Kai of the Eastern Commonwealth, comes to visit her about his droid. The droid Nainsi had key information about the lost princess, Selene, of Luna. With the new disease Letumosis spreading rapidly around the globe, a cure needs to be found immediately.

The futuristic retelling of the classic tale Cinderella was truly amazing. There were lots of hints at the original story that were incorporated into the plot consistently. Marissa Meyer even includes the ball at the end of the book with her own twist on the tale. All in all, the book was truly amazing and very engaging.

Reviewer's Name: Natalie
The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book The Maze Runner by James Dashner follows Thomas. Thomas awakens in a box remembering nothing but his name. Before he knows it, other teenagers, all boys, open the box and greet them. He soon finds out that they have been living in the place they call the Glade for about two years. Not one of them remembers anything but their name. Every day, a few chosen go out into the endless maze and run it trying to figure a way out. However, in the evening, the gate closes, and if you don’t make it back in time, the Grievers that only come out at night in the maze will eat you alive.

James Dashner engages the reader in the first few chapters of the book and the characters are relatable and funny. He takes his first three books in the series and connects them very well. Fair warning, if you chose to read this series, the third book, The Death Cure, is very sad, but all in all, I would totally recommend reading the series.

Reviewer's Name: Natalie
The Selection
Cass, Kiera
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The book The Selection by Keira Cass follows the protagonist America Singer. As Prince Maxon of Illea comes of age to pick a wife, all the eligible girls of the Kingdom submit a form to the palace. Then Prince Maxon chooses 32 of the thousands upon thousands of girls to come to the palace and meet with him. Their society is ranked by numbers, one being royal and eight being the untouchables. America is a five, part of the entertaining class, and Maxon has taken interest in her.

The Selection is a very sweet love story that quickly turns more and more enticing as the book progresses. It gives the reader a feel of a utopian future and a medieval past. Each of her characters has a different past and personality giving the book a lot of different perspectives. All in all, the book is very sweet and an amazing read.

Reviewer's Name: Natalie
Darkest Minds
Bracken, Alexandra
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken follows the protagonist Ruby. When the disease the IAAN (Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration) plagued the United States, rarely any of the children survived. If they did survive, they develop superpowers. There are five levels of power that they can develop. Green gives the person enhanced intelligence, Blue is telekinesis, Yellow is electrokinesis, Orange is telepathic mind control and Red is pyrokinesis. If they show signs of having one of these powers they are shipped off to a containment camp until they are able to find a cure for the disease.

Alexandra Bracken creates characters that are funny and relatable. She also places the story in real towns around the United States that you can look up to help imagine the places where the story is set. I had a very fun time doing this and would recommend doing this as you read the book.

Reviewer's Name: Natalie
Great Expectations
Dickens, Charles
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I read this book because it’s my mom’s favorite book of all time. It follows a young boy named Pip as he grows up. It’s a love story, and a pretty good one. Though it’s a little hard to read because of the old style English writing that Dickens used, it’s definitely worth reading. Overall, I would highly recommend this book!

grade: 11th

Reviewer's Name: Emani
Awards:
The Martian
Weir, Andy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I read the Martian because I love space. I love that Andy Weir tried to be really realistic with this novel. Even though nobody has been to Mars yet, his story of how they got there is pretty realistic. Also, I enjoyed Mark’s sense of humor in the book! If you like space, this book is for you! I would highly recommend this book, it’s a really good read.
grade: 11th

Reviewer's Name: Emani
The Martian
Weir, Andy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Martian, by Andy Weir, is a near-future realistic fiction novel. The base plot is Mark Watney, a botanist, is a part of the Ares 3 Mission, the NASA Mars Program. During an emergency take off, Mark is inadvertently left behind and assumed dead. However, this is not the case. Now Mark must find a way to survive alone on Mars, a planet trying to constantly kill him. Will he survive and make it back home? Read to find out. Even if you have seen the movie, read the book. The movie is very good at staying true to the book, but the book will still blow you away. *There is some adult language, so I would recommend this book for teens and adults.*

Reviewer's Name: Torin
Focused
Gerber, Alyson
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Focused by Alyson Gerber is about a middle school student Clea who has a hard time concentrating, getting her homework, and following directions. She knows that she can’t say everything that comes into her head but can’t help herself. It’s becoming a huge problem in school, with her friends, and in the chess club. Will she be able to figure out her mind before she misses the big chess tournament? The author does a great job by illustrating the troubles of balancing schoolwork, friends, and extracurriculars of teenage life. Personally, I feel like I could connect with the characters in the novel and enjoyed the light outlooks on teenage years. All in all, this book was somewhat predictable and mainly focused on a middle school audience. Still, I found it to be an easy read and would give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Lucia S.
1984
Orwell, George
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

1984 by George Orwell is about a London where thought, speech, press is no longer free because it is all controlled by Big Brother and his Party. Every movement, gestor, spoke word is closely monitored by telescreens, hidden microphones, and cameras then reported to the Party. If you are found guilty of action or thought against the Party, you disappear. The Party controls everything. The protagonist, Winston Smith, a Party member who doubts the Party. The author does a fantastic job describing a place without freedom and the anxiety of living in it. Orwell makes the world come to life and makes you feel like it could happen. Personally, I feel like I could connect to the protagonist and the world. This book was quite unpredictable but easy to follow. All in all, It's a fantastic read, and I would recommend it with a 5 out of 5 stars.
Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Lucia S.
Awards:
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Riggs, Ransom
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children tells the story of a teenage boy called Jacob, who, after witnessing his supposedly crazy grandfather die, is led by his last words to the island of Caernhome, where his grandfather grew
up in a foundling home. Jacob discovers that maybe his grandfather wasn't as crazy as everyone thought, and that all the stories he told about children with magical powers may actually have been true.
I did enjoy this book, but some of the characters felt a bit flat and the plot wasn't as good as it could have been. A large section in the middle, during what would be the "trials" in the "Hero's Journey," was mostly just Jacob playing around with the peculiars and not really doing much. The book was still an interesting read, though, with a creative premise, and I look forward to reading the sequels to see where the author takes them, and if he develops the characters
more.

Reviewer's Name: Elanor
White Fang
London, Jack
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

After reading “Call of the Wild” by Jack London, I wanted to read his other book about a dog, White Fang. While “Call of the Wild” will always be my favorite, the novel “White Fang” is still a really really good book! It’s about a wolf dog named White Fang. If you like books about animals, especially books written from the animals perspective, this is a really good classic. Overall I would highly recommend this book, but it does have some violence in it, so keep that in mind.

Reviewer's Name: Emani K.
The Joy Luck Club
Tan, Amy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book expresses the powerful spirits of four Chinese American mothers and daughters. The four mothers formed the Joy Luck Club after creating a strong bond with one another over mahjong after all four moved from China to San Francisco. Each mother holds her own unique struggle while living in China and while raising their "Americanized" children. As the daughters grow they realize that they shouldn't have rejected their Chinese heritage when they were young. Their mothers also wonder if they raised their daughters the right or wrong way because they were able to gift them with the independent spirit of an American, but may have disconnected them from their Chinese culture. While the book describes the lives of each mother and daughter, the plot mainly focuses on Jing-mei (June) Woo who, after her
mother passes away, travels to China to reconnect with the twin daughters her mother was forced to leave in China. Though this story follows the tales of Chinese women, I believe that anyone can find a connection to the struggles and conflicts these women faced.

Reviewer's Name: Jenna W.
The Girl with Seven Names
Lee, Hyeonseo with David John.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Hyeonseo Lee is a young woman who was able to escape North Korea after years of determination and courage. Lee explains in great detail the brainwashing she and all other North Koreans have gone through and how they continue to be treated by their oppressive government. She also offers an insight into the daily life of a North Korean and thoroughly explains that the indoctrination is not the fault of the people, but the tyrannical governments. At the young age of 17, Lee must leave everything she has known behind as she escapes on her own and makes her way across the North Koreans and Chinese border (intending to make South Korea her final destination). While on the run, Lee realizes that her journey may not be as easy as she expected. Following her successful mission, she is able to flourish even more than she originally envisioned. As you read this book, you'll finally learn why she came to be known as "the girl with seven names."

Reviewer's Name: Jenna W.
Crazy Rich Asians
Kwan, Kevin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Rachel Chu expects to be met with an average trip when her boyfriend Nick Young invites her to Singapore, but when she arrives she is met with Nick's childhood home that is beyond anything she could ever imagine. She has
unknowingly been dating one of Asia's most eligible bachelors. Rachel is eventually met by the crazy rich of Singapore and is forced to endure their strong criticisms, especially by Nick's judgmental mother Eleanor. Kwan exposes the vast riches and glamorous lives of the crazy rich of Singapore. Though the massive Young, T'sien, and Shang family tree can be confusing at times, it allows every reader to personally connect to at least one character and expresses and variety of personalities within this grand family. The novel will transport you to a world that is all too real. If you have seen and enjoyed the movie, I can guarantee that you will definitely be blown away by the book. The novel expands beyond the movie's humor and highly emotional scenes and drastically improves its impact.

Reviewer's Name: Jenna W.

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