Reviews of Teen Books

Inkspell
Funke, Cornelia
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Inkspell by Cornelia Funke is the sequel to the book Inkheart and is well worth reading. This book is just as well written as the previous book and has the same well drawn characters, along with epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter as before, though as before it can be somewhat predictable.
It’s a serious book with some heavy themes but it’s much more interesting than Inkheart because it takes place in a world of fantasy. It continues the adventures of Meggie, her father Mo, her newly reunited mother Resa, and the many other characters of Inkheart. It begins when the homesick fire dancer Dustfinger finds a person to read him back into the world of the fictional Inkheart where he was accidentally taken from by Mo. Unfortunately, Meggie, who has long been fascinated by this world, follows him, and one after another most of the characters find their way from this world to the world of Inkheart. There they find many surprises, the biggest of which is that the fictional world no longer follows the course set out for it by its author Fenoglio. Suddenly everyone is forced to accept the fact that they may just be caught up in a story of which they have no control.

Reviewer grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Grace O.
Divergent
Roth, Veronica
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Divergent is a fantastic book about a 16 year old girl named Beatrice who lives in a society where there are 5 factions, groups of people who believe in upholding and strengthening one certain asset of their personality. The Candor are honest, Dauntless are brave, Abnegation are selfless, Amity are peaceful, and Erudite are intelligent. Now Beatrice gets to choose to devote herself to one of those factions for life. Which one will she choose? She thinks this is an easy question until she discovers something shocking about herself that she must hide from everyone. Will her secret be safe, or will she suffer the consequences? This was an amazing book. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone.
Reviewer Grade: 8

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

I couldn’t put this book down. I thought that this young adult book had a unique take on segregation. The elite silvers looking down on the red slaves made me think of some real life situations. Just like its unique take on segregation , this book also had some unique characters. Mare, the main character was very relatable and realistic. The cover of this novel suits the story perfectly and portrays it well. It’s no wonder why this book is so popular. If you like action packed young adult books with a major plot twist, then this is the one for you.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Mikayla B.
Genres:
Legend
Lu, Marie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

June Iparis is a prodigy trying to avenge her brother. Day is a criminal trying to save his family from the plague. Their paths cross when Day accidentally ends up killing a member of her family - and she decides to track him down. Legend is an exciting thrill-ride you won't be able to put down! Every chapter ends with a crazy new plot twist. June and Day are likable protagonists you'll be rooting for the whole time. I highly recommend this
book for the thrilling adventure and amazing writing.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P.
Twilight
Meyer, Stephenie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Bella, a regular girl from Phoenix, decides to live with her dad in Forks, WA for the rest of high-school while her mom and step- dad travel for her step- dad's job. When Bella starts to settle down in Forks a strange boy named Edward catches her attention. Who is Edward? And why does he act so strange around Bella? I'd rate this book a 5 out of 1 to 5 because it was romantic, dramatic, and had some action. I could relate to Bella because we both are terrible at sports.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Gabrielle F.
Saiyuki
Minekura, Kazuya
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This is a manga series. Yes, those comics with the characters with big eyes and a lot of drama. For those of you who haven't picked up a manga series or bothered to watch the impressive anime series that are often made out of them, don't be so quick to judge this thrilling, artistic, and funny form of entertainment. These short books prove to be very helpful to those looking for an adventure but find difficulty in focusing on a sea of words. With anime you get something extremely aesthetic to the eye as well as an amazing, quick adventure. There are manga series for everyone no matter their preference: girly shojo, action, horror and more. I have just started reading this adventurous series Saiyuki which is a beefed up adaption to the actual fable. In Shangri-La (a place where heaven and earth combine and demons, called youkai live in harmony with humans), youkai are going berserk and it is up to a team of four young adult males to find out why. As a smoking, gun wielding, cursing priest, a monkey god, a water spirit, and a chi manipulator head West, they find all sorts of trouble that causes them to show off their skills, and run away from all of their equally haunting pasts.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Summer W.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Adams, Douglas
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

When Ford Prefect, an undercover alien that got stuck on Earth, realized that Earth would soon be blown into smithereens, he and his human friend, Arthur Dent, escape and embark on an adventure through space. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy parodies other sci-fi novels, which is enjoyable for those who are experienced with that particular genre. This novel is very light-hearted, simple, and it doesn't really get too serious anywhere. The humor is random and ridiculous (in a good way), and it really was what made the book. All of the characters had strong and eccentric personalities with their own little quirks that make them special; they were all very engaging. It's a pretty good classic (that's why I chose to read it in the first place), it's very quotable (and who doesn't like quotes?), and fast-paced. It might seem a little immature to a select few, but the amount of people who like it heavily outweigh the ones who don't.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X.
Illuminae
Kaufman, Amie and Kristoff, Jay
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Kady and Ezra are citizens of the Kerenza colony - an illegal mining colony in a remote corner of the universe. One day, the colony comes under attack from rival mining company Beitech. Kady and Ezra manage to escape on two of the three spaceships that survive the attack. Unfortunately, in the process of escaping Kerenza and battling Beitech's ships, the Kerenza ships are massively damaged and unable access their jump drives to escape to the nearest jump station. The remaining Beitech ship is chasing the Kerenza ships through space in order to eliminate ALL survivors from the Kerenza colony.

Illuminae is a collection of the electronic communications between Kady and Ezra juxtaposed with a variety of different things: ship diagrams, dialog between the different ships' commanders, Wikipedia type pages, video
transcripts, thoughts from the AI controlling one of the ships, pictures of victims, etc.

I have really mixed feelings about this one. First, I really enjoyed the layout of the book. I'm not sure that I've read anything quite like it; I guess I would maybe label this as a more modern take on the epistolary
format. Some of the pages (usually when they were in space) were prose set to artwork, which was really cool to see. However, the layout was not easy to read on a kindle - luckily I had the book checked out as both a physical book and an eBook which I would recommend as the book itself is basically an anvil.

I really liked the plot of the first 54% (thanks, eBook!) of the book, and then it went a little off the rails for me. At this point, the book kind of changes from a mystery/exploration of the use of AI to an episode of the
Walking Dead set in space, which is decidedly not my thing. The last half of the book is actionactionaction, which never gives the characters or the readers a chance to breathe. The characters themselves are pretty generic sarcastic teens - I thought they were both pretty funny, but their personalities weren't really developed much beyond the snark. Oh, and the romance. I know I'm not the intended audience, but the romance felt forced, melodramatic, and icky. I skimmed those parts...because gross.

I don't think I'll check out the next book as I was not a fan of the last half of Illuminae, but I did really enjoy the reading experience. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a really unique sci fi read with a
healthy helping of romance. 3 stars. I (mostly) liked it.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
After Alice
Maguire, Gregory
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

The book follows Ada (Alice's friend who does rate a mention in the original) as she tumbles down the rabbit hole after Alice (see what Maguire did there?). In between chapters about Ada in Wonderland, we follow the goings on of Ada and Alice's families above ground. I wanted the book to be Alice in Wonderland meets Downton Abbey, and that is definitely not what I got. The parts in Wonderland were ok, though Ada's character was never developed, and as such, I didn't actually care if she was stuck in a zoo forever with the White Queen or whatever. The above ground parts were painfully boring - even though Maguire added Darwin as a character, which could have been fascinating! We basically follow various housekeepers and Alice's sister Lydia as they traipse around searching for the lost children. Exciting it was not. There was also a ton of completely pointless social commentary - for example, its not exactly shocking that there would be lots of racists in Victorian England.

Oh, and to add insult to injury, Maguire writes as though he's just ingested a thesaurus.

This is the second Maguire book that I've read and hated (I was not very fond of Wicked either), so I believe it will be my last. 1 star.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Inkheart
Funke, Cornelia
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke is a fantasy book about twelve-year-old Meggie and her bookbinder father Mo who can read things out of books with his beautiful voice. Unfortunately, one of the people that Mo has accidentally read out is the evil character Capricorn from the fictional book Inkheart. Though it has been ten years since this happened, Capricorn is still hunting for Mo so that he can read a horrible monster out of Inkheart to do his evil work. The ending to this book is very satisfying, though it still leaves some questions unanswered which the author comes back to in her sequel Inkspell.
The best part of this book is its believable and completely unique characters, from the sad fire tamer Dustfinger to the cruel, superstitious Basta to Meggie’s stubborn, book-loving great-aunt Elinor. The plot is predictable at some times but at others is very surprising. There are plenty of twists since this book is over 700 pages, which makes it a good book for lazy summer reading.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Grace O.
Sticks
Bauer, Joan
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Sticks is about a boy named Mickey who's dad is a champion pool player, but his father died when he was young. Mickey decides to follow in his dads foot steps and trains to win the Junior Nine-Ball Championship. Then a stranger comes to town, claiming he is a friend of his father's. This book is a short but interesting read. I'd rate this book a three because it was quick and well written but lacked adventure or excitement. I felt compassion for Mickey when it talks about him wishing his father could have seen him grow up. I read the book because I like the author Joan Bauer though it is not one of her better books. I recommend this book to people who like pool and are missing a loved one.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Gabrielle F.
Hope was Here
Bauer, Joan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Hope Was Here is about a girl named Hope who is a waitress in
training. She and her aunt move from town to town. When they move to a small
town in Wisconsin and work at a local diner that's when the story takes off.
The author has a great way off describing Hopes life. Out of 1(Yuck) -
5(Awesome) I would rate this book a 4 because it got a Newbery Honor award,
but does not have ton of action. I picked this book because I like the author
Joan Bauer, and her previous books.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Gabrielle F.
Legend
Lu, Marie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A plague ripples throughout the cities, fatal to anyone who has caught it for too long. No one wonders where they come from; the bigger issue is the war. A new recruit, top in her class, is too blind to notice. A boy, Day, is on the run, he’s resourceful, cunning. The two are unlucky enough to cross paths on a dangerous adventure. I give this a 5/5, it is an emotional roller-coaster all the way.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Emily T.
Every Soul a Star
Mass, Wendy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass is a tale of three kids who become the most unlikely of friends. Ally loves nature, and to be around her home which is out in the forest where the air is clean. Her greatest ambition is to discover a comet. Bree loves nothing more than her clothes, and her dream is to be a model. Jack keeps to himself, and has no friends except his art work. When the three are pushed together they become the best of friends to discover something extraordinary. I rate this book a 4/5- the beginning was a bit slow and bland.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Emily T.
The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Thomas can't remember anything.
He wakes up in a mysterious lift and finds himself in a strange place called the Glade with several other boys - all their memories wiped. Encircling the Glade is a giant maze that holds terrifying creatures and endless paths that lead to nowhere. But, who put them there?
This book was very fast-paced. As Thomas tries to unravel his past, we discover something very dark has brought them there - something even wicked. I read this book quickly - it was very hard to put down. The end is just as confusing as the beginning, making you even more anxious to pick up the next book!
The only real flaw I could see was the lack of character development. This may because it's the first book and the characters may change as the story continues. But, besides that, it was great!
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P
Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein
Hemphill, Stephanie
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

Hideous Love is a verse novel about the life of Mary Shelley, the woman who wrote the iconic Frankenstein. Mary Shelley ran away with her lover, Percy Shelley and traveled around Europe, getting inspiration from the scenic surroundings for her writing.
Mary Shelley had led a very interesting life full of tragedy and drama and with award-winning Stephanie Hemphill writing it, it'll be great, right?
Ha... no. All I got was disappointment and dissatisfaction.
Reading Hideous Love was a chore. I kept on thinking it would get better, but it didn't happen.
The poems were choppy and I feel like Stephanie Hemphill just tried to make her sentences as short as possible, put them in a pile, and called it poetry.
Horrible Love didn't even scratch the surface of the emotions Mary Shelley must have felt, I couldn't relate to her at all; it was hard not to skim through the poems. I can't help but think that Hemphill didn't even try putting any structure or effort in her novel. A few poems in Hideous Love were written fairly well, but that meager amount can't make up for all of the rest of those tedious and boring poems.The verse novel was mostly about Mary Shelley worrying about the faithfulness of her husband and her actual writing was just tacked on there like an afterthought.
I don't recommend this to anyone, and Hideous Love is possibly the worst book I have ever had the misfortune of reading. The Wikipedia article on Mary Shelley was more interesting and gave more information.
Reviewer's Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X
Egg & Spoon
Maguire, Gregory
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Elena is a peasant living in Miersk, a village in Russia. Ekaterina is a noble that was passing through Miersk on her way to a ball. Due to an unfortunate accident, Elena and Ekaterina switch places and need to set things right again.
I first took notice of Egg & Spoon because of the aesthetic of the cover. I was about to choose not to read it after seeing the summary, but then I saw that it was written by Gregory Maguire, so I decided against not reading it.
The writing style is truly beautiful, and I can't really find the right words to describe it, which is frustrating, to say the least. To me, the story is slightly reminiscent of having a (very long) conversation with someone; it kind of goes off into tangents, it gets unusually descriptive on small things that don't really matter, and it talks about a little bit about everything. I find that really enjoyable, but for some people, it can seem long and tedious. I had to really concentrate while reading it because I kept on admiring how amazing the writing was instead of actually processing what was happening.
The characters were incredible! Everyone had different and unique personalities and reacted to things differently. I found all of them quite charming in their own ways. They all just had so much character!
The humor had me dying of laughter and really lightened the mood of the whole story.
One thing I didn't like about the novel was its pacing. Everything happened too slowly, and I was always waiting for something to happen to push the story along; Egg & Spoon is definitely not for impatient people, especially since it has almost 500 pages. It was really hard to get through.
Egg & Spoon was based off of Russian folklore and really gave off a fairy tale vibe, which is always a plus.
Egg & Spoon is definitely not for everyone, but, in my opinion, it was phenomenal.
Reviewer's Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict
Stewart, Trenton
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

When Nicholas Benedict, a prodigal nine-year-old orphan suffering from Narcolepsy (a condition that causes sudden bouts of sleep), hears a rumor that there are millions of dollars hidden in the orphanage he just got transferred to, he is determined to find out where it is.
One great aspect of the novel is the main character. In the beginning of the book, Nicholas Benedict was very cynical and only saw the bad in people due to his past experiences, but as the story continued, he started to learn that good people did actually exist, and began to aspire to be like those people as well; reading this development of the main character was a very nice experience. I liked the fact that Nicholas wasn't perfect and despite the fact that he was a genius, there were times when he acted like a child; because of this, he seemed more like an actual person. Nicholas's intelligence continually surprised me, and I couldn't predict anything he would do, which made me want to find out what happened next. Most of the other characters had a lot of personality as well, and I found myself relating to some of them; they had vices and they had virtues, just like any other person.
There are many uncommon words in this book, so it is very likely that you will coming across a word you don't know.
I chose to read this because I first read The Mysterious Benedict Society series, and this book is the prequel.
I usually stay away from mystery novels, but The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict is an exception. Whether you like mystery novels or not is irrelevant when it comes to this; I think everyone should read this.I honestly couldn't put this book down; I read it all in one go. I consider this my most favorite book!
Reviewer's Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X.
The Search for Wondla
DiTerlizzi, Tony
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This novel is about Eva Nine, a girl who had lived underground her whole life, training to be able to survive on the Earth's surface. Everything changes when a beast destroys her underground home; she was forced to run to the surface, but everything she learned about the earth from her training underground doesn't seem to apply to what she actually experienced.
I really enjoyed reading this book because Tony DiTerlizzi (the author) put a lot of effort into making The Search for Wondla's universe; he described everything very thoroughly and even had pictures in the novel as a visual aid to help the readers imagine what he was trying to convey. The made-up contraptions, plants, and animals in the story were all very unique and I was impressed by the creativity and the thought put into them.
Because of all of the detailed descriptions, it can be a bit overwhelming for some readers. I don't recommend this book to those who tend to skim, because if you do, you will end up confused and unsatisfied with the story.
The illustrations were absolutely fantastic and really tied the book together. The art made me feel like I was actually there with the main character and seeing what she was seeing.
This book is a very good example of adventure and fantasy, but I feel that The Search for Wondla had a little bit of everything mixed into it to make something amazing.
The writing was a bit awkward and not as fluid as it could have been on some parts, which can be noticed by more experienced readers, but it was fairly easy to get past.
The Search for Wondla is a great book and I could not stop after I started reading it.
Reviewer's Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X
Werlin, Nancy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Double helix is packed with science, ethics, psychology and relationships. Eli Samuels, 18, can’t get close--not to his caring but preoccupied dad; not to his smart, long-time girlfriend, Viv; and certainly not to his mother, who has been institutionalized for years with a devastating degenerative disease.
Instead of going to college after he graduates high school, Eli decides to apply for a job at the Wyatt Transgenics Lab, a well-known lab for genetic-engineering experiments. Eli’s father is furious when he finds Eli has been hired and demands that Eli reject the job offer, but he won’t say why. Silence is how Eli’s family deals with the unpleasant.
Eli’s long-time girlfriend Viv has never met Eli’s father and has certainly never met Eli’s mother. To do so, Eli would have to reveal that his mother has been institutionalized for years with a devastating degenerative disease. Eli has talents and abilities that he hides from Viv, but somehow his new boss, Dr. Wyatt knows about them from the very beginning. What can make Dr. Wyatt be so fascinated with Eli? And why is Eli’s father so irate? Enter the twists of the Double Helix.

Reviewer's Name: Renee