Review Crew - book reviews by teens, for teens

Liu, Majorie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I chose this book because comics are a type of novel that I find interest in. This is a fantasy book that takes place where monsters and humans are divided after a war, and monsters who are caught by humans on the other side are used to be sold and experimented on. The main character, Maika, goes on the other side in search for hope of her mother. This is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys comics.

Reviewer's Name: Mona H
Uprooted
Novik, Naomi
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Uprooted by Naomi Novik was an interesting read - with magic and mythical creatures - but I found that in the first few chapters I stepped away from the novel several times. The beginning was slow with not much action, more setting up the scenery and the laws of the land than anything else. The novel follows a girl named Agnieszka living in a quaint village called Dvernik by a magic infested forest where every ten years a mysterious and immortal wizard called the Dragon, who lives in a nearby tower, visits to pick one woman as payment for protecting Dvernik from The Wood. Agnieszka is chosen to her surprise, but her interactions with the infamous Dragon are almost boring - they share a typical, overused trope in a love-hate relationship that frustrates the reader. The two are also locked away in the tower where there are minimal outside interactions from any other characters for almost the entire first half with the exception of one of Agnieszka‘s bedridden friends. I found that the last half of the novel was the most interesting because that was when other characters from the faraway capital were introduced and the scenes were more fast-paced. Because the world building aspect in the beginning was making me impatient, the problem was that later when Agnieszka returns to her village, I spent a long time away from there that the characters and their relationships were hard to remember and I personally did not care for them. There were definitely characters I met in the last half that I empathized or was absolutely lucid with and I did enjoy all the plot twists because, of course, they were unexpected and added some excitement to Uprooted. Overall, the beginning takes off one star for me due to the inaction and some common young adult tropes were utilized, but I loved most of the characters and the plotline anyway regardless of the latter.

Reviewer's Name: Isabella W
Awards:
Genres:
Took: A Ghost Story
Hahn, May Downing
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Took: a ghost story is about a family the moves to a not well known tiny town. The town has a person named Old auntie and her hog named Bloody Bones. They have been haunting the town for over 150 years. It is up to the 13 year old, Daniel, to stand up to the witch and make her stop. I liked the book because there was a good mystery factor. Overall, I would recommend this book to kids who like mystery novels.

Reviewer's Name: Kate B.
Awards:
Genres:
Shift
Bradbury, Jennifer
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Shift is a story about two boys that go cross country on their bikes and learn something not only about the other person but about themselves. The novel does a good job explaining what it’s like to lose friends and how to cope with it. I really liked this book because I was able to know what was going on and relate to some of the characters. Jennifer Bradbury did an outstanding job with the suspense factor of the story. Overall, I would recommend this story to a teenager who likes mystery stories.

Reviewer's Name: Kate B.
Awards:
Genres:
Walk Two Moons
Creech, Sharon
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Walk two moons is a great way to express the life of a teenager. I really liked the book because I can relate to some of the circumstances. When Sal is trying to solve mysteries about her life, and how her mom went missing, she also learns many things about herself. Sharon Creech did a very good job with portraying emotion throughout the whole book. The reader is able to feel empathy for all the character because of the detail in the book. Overall, I would very much recommend this book to over readers.

Reviewer's Name: Kate B.
Genres:
'Book Review: The Snowman'
Nesbo, Jo
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Have you ever heard of Leatherface? Hannibal Lecter? Freddy Krueger? Good. Because if you like those kinds of killers and movies, then you will absolutely love this novel, The Snowman. The book follows the path of a detective with a dark past who is forced to hunt down one of the most deadly and disturbing killers he has ever faced, as he simultaneously struggles with the battle within himself. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I would recommend this novel to people who enjoy thrillers, horror novels, or anyone who enjoys getting a little disturbed sometimes.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C.
Awards:
Book Review: Don Quixote
Cervantes, Miguel de
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Written in 1605, and translated in at least 50 languages, the novel Don Quixote has often been considered the father of western literature. And for good reason. Coming in at around over 900 pages, this novel is an amazing read. This book follows the hilarious journey of Don Quixote and his portly sidekick, Sancho Panza, as they travel around Spain searching for adventures. I would suggest this book to anyone who enjoys long novels, humor, or anything like Princess Bride.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C.
Awards:
Pet Sematary
King, Stephen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Review: If you have any pets, I recommend removing them from the vicinity!
This novel, coming in at around 400 pages, is a very chilling read. You follow an ordinary family in a not so ordinary town as they attempt to deal with the realization that anyone buried in the cemetery behind their house horrifyingly comes back to life. This all starts when they bury their cat, and they then find it beck in their house. This book is very good, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes horror, thrillers, or maybe people who like zombies.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C
Genres:
IT

IT

King, Stephen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Review: This book is incredible. One of the scariest novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading is also one of the longest. In this book you follow the journey of seven characters - all brilliantly well rounded and fleshed out, if I may add. You alternate between their experiences during childhood and adulthood of facing and fighting the demonic and supernatural clown, Pennywise. I recommend this book to fans of horror and Stephen King, or anyone who enjoys a long read of a good book.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C
The Way of Kings
Sanderson, Brandon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Review: This book is amazing, period. Sanderson has created a truly living, breathing world with his debut novel in the Stormbringer Archives series, and I believe that this novel deserves a spot next to the classics of Tolkien and Robert Jordan. The book follows the separate journeys of multiple characters across the world of this universe; however, even though the different tales seem separate, they all end up interconnecting and melding into one truly grandiose story. I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of the Lord of the Rings and such, fantasy enthusiasts, or anyone who is simply searching for a good book. However, the length of the book, being over one thousand pages long, may put some people off, but if you give this book the time and dedication that it truly deserves, you will be rewarded with an amazing experience.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C
Genres:
The Iron King
Kagawa, Julie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Review: The book The Iron King by Julie Kagawa tells the story of Megan Chase and her quest to rescue her step-brother form the Iron King. Megan was a normal girl, she was shy, unpopular, and smart. She lived in a small town with her family and only friend, Robbie, until one day, her step-brother is taken by the Iron King to the land of Nevernever. She and Robbie decide to face the challenges that Nevernever has to throw at them. Will Megan rescue her step-brother or die trying? I would rate this book a 5 out of 5 because it kept me in suspense and I enjoyed its many twists and turns. A good friend recommended this book and I loved it so much that I'm reading the rest of the series. I would recommend this book to people who like exciting fantasies.
Grade 9 Age 15

Reviewer's Name: Gabrielle F
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Carroll, Lewis
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, is a rather peculiar adventure tale filled with all sorts of oddities and misfits. The story begins with the main protagonist, Alice, as she follows the White Rabbit into the infamous rabbit hole. In Wonderland, or so it seems, she meets several creatures all with the strangest backstories and personalities. The story is carefully crafted so that much of the book confuses the casual reader. A great concern for detail is needed to understand the novel and its full meaning. The book shares the complexities and hardships of growing up, in which the Lewis Carroll absolutely nailed. He also shares his negative opinions about the British government through the main antagonist, the Queen of Hearts, who is meant to be a high and powerful monarch, but never does anything. Overall, the book is a great read and it is certainly entertaining to spend some time to pick out the many small details hidden in the book. 8th Grade.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L
Story Thieves
Riley, James
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Story Thieves, by James Riley, is an adventure novel that deals with a book-ception type of concept. Owen, one of the two main protagonists, meets Bethany, the other main protagonist, while he catches her mysteriously disappearing into books. He agrees to keep her power a secret on one
condition: he gets to visit his favorite Kiel Gnomefoot series. They both go on a quest through several books to try and find Bethany's missing father, but end up messing up the book series. The duo encounters all sorts of baddies, and the many plot twists keep the reader on the edge of their seat.
The uncomplicated storyline keeps the plot straight forward and allows for good development of the characters and settings. The novel is a pretty entertaining read, and I would recommend it to people who just like a good, solid, and basic adventure novel.
Steven L, 8th Grade.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L
City of Rats
Emily Rodda
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The book City of the Rats in the Deltora Quest series, by Emily Rodda, takes place in the mythical land of Deltora, and sends you on a quest with the three main protagonists, Lief, Barda, and Jasmine. The novel is a classic adventure quest, where the protagonists face off against the truly evil Shadow Lord. This particular book brings you along with the characters, as they are forced to enter the forbidden City of the Rats in order to find another lost gem to restore to the Belt of Deltora. In it, Emily Rodda succeeds in developing the characters and setting. The monsters and magic have a certain sincerity in their wrongdoings that you don’t find in many adventure tales. The protagonists also have this relentlessness for stopping the Shadow Lord, and the despite their fears, push on through the most dreadful of times. Overall, the book is meant for people who like fantasy adventure novels, and I would recommend not only this singular book, but the entire Deltora Quest series to anybody willing to read it. Steven L, 8th Grade.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L
Awards:
1984
Orwell, George
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

1984, written by renowned author George Orwell, a pseudonym for Eric Arthur Blair, follows the protagonist Winston Smith set in what Smith believes to be the 80s in London. In fact, Smith is not sure of anything anymore, definitely not the exact year or what happened to his family or who the mysterious dictator called Big Brother is or who his state is at war with. Eurasia, right? No, must’ve been Eastasia... All Smith knows are the mottos of each of the ministries that form the government in Oceania, where London is. WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. He is told what to think, what to say, and what to do for nearly every part of his life. His government banks on strict organization and dire consequences for disobeying the rules. 1984 is an interesting read that set the bar for dystopian novels, defining inefficient governments from real life examples.
The novel is more realistic being inspired by Orwell’s hatred for totalitarianism and the events of World War II. I recommend 1984 to anyone curious about examining different types of societies, their standards and how those effect the population. The novel is fairly political and examines rebellion, although not as face paced as typical young adult reads. 1984 allows for an in depth examination of the character’s internal conflicts, Winston is one of the more detailed and complex protagonists because there are many parts where he cannot he sympathized with due to his lesser characteristics. The setting is clearly presented in a more world-building way than just giving out straight information. I was especially pleased, surprised, curious, and angry throughout the progression of the story.
Overall, I did enjoy this book more than most others, but the fact that Winston does not form any significant relationships until the second part and is the primary person talking, I was relatively bored during the middle chapters.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Isabella W.
Awards:
Brave New World
Huxley, Aldous
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Among one of the first Dystopian genre novels ever published, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World questions the extent at which technology could potentially control society. Set approximately 632 years after the creation of the Model - T, a World State now controls society with the intent on eradicating personal thinking and individual creativity. With a new system called the Bokanovsky process, the World State utilizes the idea of Henry Ford’s assembly line to produce thousands of nearly identical embryos that will grow up to work for the State. All embryos are conditioned to be in one of the 5 castes: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon; with Alphas destined to control the World State and Epsilons to perform menial labor. When Bernard Marx, Helmholtz Watson, and John decide that something is wrong within this “perfect” society, they take it into their own hands to expose the World State and stop this flawed Utopia. Huxley’s novel, written in only 4 months, is phenomenal because it challenges the ideals of the limits to which technology can override nature. With the novel being published in 1932, Huxley questions practices that were uncommon and unrealistic back then, but are slowly becoming a reality now as our society leans more and more towards technological innovations. I recommend this novel to high school readers, especially those interested in the Dystopian genre, since this is a perfect example of a Dystopian Utopia.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Joe T.
Awards:
Oedipus Rex
Sophocles
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The hero isn’t always epic and won’t always have a happy ending, sometimes he may face a tragic event and meet his downfall. Sophocles Athenian tragedy Oedipus Rex, or Oedipus the King, is a phenomenal play written and first performed around 430 B.C. The play follows the story of Oedipus, a man who became the King of the city Thebes by solving a riddle and defeating a sphinx that was threatening the city and then marrying the queen of Thebes, Jocasta. One day, when Thebes is suffering from a catastrophic plague, Oedipus sends his brother-in-law Creon to an oracle to find out how to stop the plague. Creon returns telling Oedipus that the plague will cease if the killer of the previous king, Laius, is found and exiled. Little does Oedipus know, he is Laius’s killer. Before Oedipus was born, a prophecy was told to Jocasta that her son would kill his father and marry his mother, and so she sent her son out to be killed in the mountains. That boy was Oedipus, and as the prophecy stated, he has returned to Thebes unknowingly to fulfill that prophecy. I love this Greek play by Sophocles because it is one of the first pieces of literature that tells the story of the “tragic hero” and his downfall. I recommend this play to all, but more advanced readers as the translation is also a bit complex.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Joe T.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
Backman, Fredrik
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Fredrick Backman’s wit and humor ties in wonderfully with a tear-jerking finale. From beginning to end, I was torn between laughing and weeping. The innocence and wonder of childhood is perfectly captured, while also including the remorse of being thrust into the real world. Elsa, a seven year old girl, has an eccentric grandmother, the kind who just wants to make her happy. Her grandmother, however, does this in an odd way; shooting-paintballs-at- pedestrians-off-her-balcony type of way. And it works. Although Elsa is chased and bullied at school, her grandmother can paint a wonderful picture in her mind. But too soon, she dies of cancer, leaving behind a trail of letters for Elsa to discover, taking her on her last ever quest from her
grandma: giving the letters to their recipients. On the way, she discovers the story behind faces she never gave a second thought. Backman paints a masterpiece with his words, keeping me hooked and enthralled at every turn of this book.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Jordan T.
Genres:
Wolf by Wolf
Graudin, Ryan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Wolf By Wolf is dystopian and historical fiction novel. The author
writes what would happen if Hitler and his Nazis won WWII. Yael is a death
camp escapee. While in death camp, the ‘doctor’ experimented on her and
several other test subjects. The result was both a gift and a curse: Yael is
a skinshift, meaning she can distort her features to look like other people.
Using her unlikely power, she escapes. She joins a secret resistance, aiming
to demolish the Nazis and Hitler. Using her power, she competes in a
motorcycling race across continents. The prize? A dance with Hitler… and an
opportunity to kill him. I’m giving this book 4 out of 5. I thought the plot
was really cool, as well as the writing, but when Yael is competing in the
race, all you get to read about is her riding on a motorcycle. Overall, I
really liked the book.

Reviewer's Name: Jordan T.
Awards:
Genres:
Red Queen
Aveyard, Victoria
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In this dystopian novel, Reds (those with red blood) live like peasants and servants to the god-like Silvers (those with silver blood), who live in luxury and royalty, possessing mind bending powers that make them superior. While the Reds slave away, Silvers feast. Mare, a Red, finds herself right in the middle of it all when she is surprisingly allowed to work in a Silver palace. In a freak accident, Mare finds out something about herself… she possesses one of the many god-like powers, like the Silvers.
And not just any power, a power that has never been seen before. She is betrothed to marry a Silver Prince and forced into a Silver life. She embarks on a quest to find out who she really is. This book, I think, deserves a 4 out of 5. The plot was amazing, but several things kept it from a full score.
First of all, the author’s attempt at creating a heartfelt and loving romance failed miserably, leaving me gagging from the sappiness of it all. On that note, I felt like the main character, Mare, was too dependable on her lover. However, I did like the overall plot and outcome, and I didn’t regret reading this book.

Reviewer's Name: Jordan T.

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