Review Crew - book reviews by teens, for teens

The Martian
Weir, Andy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Martian was a great book, and I loved it! This book is about a man (Mark) that goes to Mars. when a sand storm hit the HAB hard Mark and his crew decide it is to dangerous to stay or the MAV will tip. When the crew make it to the MAV they realize that mark is not with them. They want to find him but it is just not safe. Mark is stuck on Mars with no means of contacting Earth. Can he survive?

Reviewer's Name: Anneka S.
Wolf by Wolf
Graudin, Ryan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wolf by Wolf takes place in an alternate reality where the United States never fought in World War II, and Hitler was left undefeated. The book focuses on a jewish girl named Yael. She had been experimented on while in a internment camp. As a result of being experimented on she can change her appearance . Years after her escape she plans to kill Hitler. Looking and acting as Adele Wolfe Yael enters a race known as the Axis Tour. The Axis Tour was cross continental motorcycle race, with rough terrain, and many other challenges. Yael hopes to win the Axis Tour and have the chance to dance with Hitler. This dance could be her chance to kill Hitler. Will Yael survive the challenges of the Axis Tour? Will she win the Axis Tour? Most importantly, doe shse kill Hitler? All of these questions are answer in Wolf by Wolf.

I was recommended this book by friends so many times I had to read it. Ryan Graudin developed Yael's background slowly, revealing more about her throughout the book. Just when you think you know Yael you discover more of her past, and learn about a new "wolf". While I did enjoy the slow development of Yael's background I disliked the beginning of the book. The Axis Tour didn't start until until a few chapters into the book. Which made the book boring at first. However once the Axis Tour portion of the book began the plot became more interesting and complex. While the book focuses on Yael I also enjoyed Felix Wolfe, and Luka Lowe. Yael's relationships with both Luka and Felix make the book more realistic and the plot more complicated.Once the book reached its climax I couldn't put it down. I had to know how it ended. If you are interested in a book with a balance of good characters and action this perfect for you. If your read this book I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie W.
Fangirl
Rowell, Rainbow
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Cath is moving away to college, but she doesn't feel anywhere near like an adult. In fact, she doesn't even entirely feel like she belongs in this world. Cath is obsessed with the Simon Snow series, i.e. the most famous series of novels ever written chronicling the adventures of a group of teenage wizards. She is one of the most well-known fan fiction writers in the entire Simon Snow fandom, earning tens of thousands of readers on each chapter. Her twin sister, Wren, used to help her write and fangirl over Simon with her, but lately they've grown apart. Despite going to the same college, Wren decided against sharing a dorm with Cath and is growing irritatingly close with her assigned roommate. By the contrary, Cath's roommate is unpleasant and distant and constantly has her handsome and annoyingly friendly boyfriend around their room. Every week, Cath escapes by writing in the library with a charming fellow English major. Even with her anxieties over the new experiences of college and writing stories using her own characters always in the back of her mind, Cath wrestles with her relationship with her sister, her dad's fragile mental state, romance, and trying to find herself.

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

Divergent is part of a 3-book series. It's about a 16 year old girl named Beatrice Prior who lives in a Dystopian society. There are five factions, Candor, Amity, Dauntless, Erudite, and Abnegation, each of which represent and practice one virtue that the government believes to be the causes of war when they are lacking. When each child in the society reaches the age of 16, they must choose one faction to dedicate their lives to. An aptitude test displays to them which faction they would most belong in, however, Beatrice comes out as Divergent, someone who contains the attributes of more than just one faction. Being Divergent is a threat toward the society and the government, and if they find out you're Divergent, you will be killed.

Divergent is a moving story based on the character Beatrice Prior who goes through a series of events that help her to determine who she is and where she belongs. We watch her struggle with insecurity and doubting herself, a common struggle throughout all teenagers, and we see her overcome them. She becomes confident in herself and her decisions, just like we must all learn to do.

This book is honestly one of my favorites. It's packed with action and suspense, while at the same time it inspires and teaches. It's unique and different from other action stories and definitely keeps the reader intrigued. However, I'd recommend it ages 12+. There's a decent amount of violence, some of which might be hard to read for some kids, and a few other scenes and questionable content that might not be age appropriate for children under the age of 12. Overall however, I loved this book and strongly recommend it for teens.

Reviewer's Name: Ella S.
Bodyguard: Recruit
Bradford, Chris
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Connor Reeves is in the Battle of Britain Junior Kickboxing Tournament champion with a promising career ahead of him. All of that changes when he sees a kid being beat up in an alley. With his father’s selfless blood running through his veins, Connor doesn’t hesitate to come to the victim’s aid. One fight later, he goes with some cops who invite him to join a secret organization called Guardian. Guardian specializes in the protection of high-risk, wealthy targets. Everyone is shocked when his first assignment is to protect the President’s daughter, after barely any training. This book is filled with suspense as Connor solves the clues to rescue her. I would highly recommend this book and book series to all middle school readers.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Lola F.
Highly Illogical Behavior
Whaley, John Corey
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Highly Illogical Behavior is a story about a boy named Solomon Reed who not only has severe panic attacks but also has a fear of the outdoors which is known as agoraphobia. Lisa Praytor remembers the last time she saw "the boy in the fountain" in junior high when he had a panic attack and fell into the water fountain. She never knew him but she'd always wondered what had happened to him and where he went. This was the last time Solomon had gone outside for three years...it was better that way. He was safe from all of the world's craziness and despite his loneliness Solomon was happier living indoors because it was quiet and mundane and there was nothing for him to worry about. A girl named Lisa Praytor cannot wait to get out of the small town of Upland. One day Lisa saw an ad for Solomon's mother's dentistry practice in a newspaper so she immediately scheduled an appointment hoping to hear about how Solomon is doing. Lisa is interested in psychology and has to do an essay on her experience with mental illness. so she thinks that if she can meet Solomon and get him to slowly go outside and get over his agarophobia she would have a killer essay and would get accepted into a college that was far, far away from the small town of Upland. This book is one that is very hard to put down. The characters are very well-developed and all likeable in their own unique way. It's a quick read but nevertheless emotional and heart-filled.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P.
Genres:
The Fires of Heaven
Jordan, Robert
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Fires of Heaven is the fifth installment in the fourteen book series, The Wheel of Time. It is simply incredible how Robert Jordan keeps writing these amazing novels. The Fires of Heaven is certainly not as good as the first three books, but it is still a great book. It contains intrigue, suspense, and one of the longest battle sequences so far. All the characters are still unique and interesting (especially Mat), and the storylines are still fresh. I would recommend this book to anyone currently reading the Wheel of Time series, and would recommend the series to any fans of high fantasy.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C.
Genres:
Stargirl
Spinelli, Jerry
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This past semester I took a children’s literature class that introduced me to a plethora of young adult novels; “Stargirl” by Jerry Spinelli being one of them. Because of the curious title I decided to borrow the book from the library. I am so glad I did.
Jerry Spinelli’s book “Stargirl” tells the story of an unusual teenage girl who, after homeschooling her entire life, starts attending Mica High School in a small, Arizona town. The book is narrated by Leo, a regular teenage boy who becomes very interested with this peculiar new girl at his school. This peculiar girl goes by the name “Stargirl”. She confuses most of the school with her whimsical and unpredictable personality.
The way Jerry Spinelli tells his story through Leo, a regular kid, makes the reader feel as if they are one of the students at Mica High School noticing Stargirl for the first time. The unusual and sometimes startling things she does spark your interest and occasionally make you squirm in your seat. Stargirl is unlike anyone, and that is what makes her so fascinating; not only to Mica High School students but also to the reader. The story was not only great, but the message the book conveyed is very important. The book makes readers think about how often they adjust their personality and actions just to please those around them. It pointed out how rarely people are truly themselves anymore because of societal pressures.
Overall the story definitely made an impact on me and I would recommend this book to anyone who has a hard time being themselves because of pressures others have placed on them (Side note: I would recommend this book to anyone in general as well). The only reason I have decided to give this book 4 stars instead of 5 is because of the ending. Without giving any spoilers I will say that I love unexpected endings, but this one did not settle well with me. Nevertheless, I still loved almost the entire story and I will be reading it again in the future.

Reviewer's Name: Ashlyn P.
Genres:
How to Disappear
Roat, Sharon Huss
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

THIS IS A MUST READ! How to Disappear really made me think about how I treat others and how they see me. If you’re feeling alone, or a bit of an outcast, this book is for you. It helped me to realize that I need to be more open to other people and not judge them so quickly. At first, I found slight difficulty in connecting with the main character, Vicky, but towards the middle of the book I began to understand her. I recommend this book to ages 12+ because it contains mature themes like suicide prevention, going to therapy, cussing, etc. I firmly believe that if you go deep into How to Disappear, you’ll come back with a new perspective on how much one person can help others. Live vicariously.

Reviewer's Name: Kaitlyn S
Awards:
Genres:
Hoot
Hiaasen, Carl
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Mother Paula's, a beloved international pancake franchise, is looking to build its 469th restaurant in Coconut Cove, Florida. However, the site on which this restaurant is to be built is home to several families of burrowing owls, an endangered species. However, the owls are hardly ever visible so no one knows about them. That is except for Roy Eberhart and a mysterious boy known only as Mullet Fingers. It's up to these two middle schoolers to save the owls. However, they struggle with school bullies, fences, guard dogs, cops, and Mullet Fingers' parents who think that he is in military school in Alabama. This book really is a hoot and I recommend it for all middle school and early high school readers.

Reviewer's Name: John B.
Genres:
Chomp
Hiaasen, Carl
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Mickey Cray is a professional animal wrangler in the Florida Everglades. He has rented out his animals to countless television shows and movies. However, he knows that he is in trouble when Derek Badger, a "survivalist" on a reality TV show, wants to rent some of his animals and to hire Mickey Cray to be his bodyguard for wild Florida animals in the Everglades. This book is packed with wild animal encounters, including gators, snakes, and bats. In addition, Chomp includes escaping from a crazed gunman and tons of humor. I highly recommend this book for all middle school and early high school readers.

Reviewer's Name: John B.
Flush
Hiaasen, Carl
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Coral Queen, a very profitable casino boat, is dumping all of its sewage into the ocean. The only problem is that Dusty Muleman, the owner of the Coral Queen, is getting away with the illegal dumping since there is no evidence. Noah's Dad is concerned with the environment and always likes to do the right thing. However, he sometimes gets carried away. Therefore, Noah's Dad decides to sink the Coral Queen, but gets caught in the process and sent to jail. Now it is up to Noah to clear his dad's name and bust Dusty Muleman.
This book is hilarious and has a great moral. There are unexpected twists and turns throughout the entire book. I highly recommend this book to all middle and early high school aged readers.

Reviewer's Name: John B.
Quantum Physics for Poets
Lederman, Leon M.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Quantum Physics for Poets explains some of the most arcane quantum physics topics to readers in a form which captures imaginations and aids understanding. Mr. Lederman and Mr. Hill have managed to write a book that spans simpler topics to far more complicated topics that most will never encounter, with a poetic theme to it that speaks to readers’ artistic souls. The blending of right brain and left is exceptionally done, managing to combine a love of understanding the world around us and a love of the singularly beatific rhythm that poetry provides in one’s life. An excellent book and an enthralling albeit challenging read, I would recommend this book to anyone with a high level of interest in the sciences, particularly physics, and a large interest in exploring its greater depths.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca D
The Hidden Lives of Owls
Calvez, Leigh
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Hidden Lives of Owls is a gripping nonfiction book that not only builds one’s knowledge of the species, but actively forges a bond between readers and the unique creatures. The book chronicles Mr. Calvez’s journeys through nature’s forests as he observes the innermost habits of owls. Mainly, Mr.
Calvez observes the owls at night, giving way to the book’s title of “Hidden Lives”, as he observes things one would not usually see in the daytime. Through its first-person narration by Mr. Calvez, a naturalist, the Hidden Lives of Owls reveals many aspects of the life of the owl about which one would never before be aware. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the mysterious creatures that are owls, and interested in searching out further facts about these beautiful, wonderful, animals than is seen on the surface.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth D
Darwin's First Theory
Wesson, Rob
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Everyone knows the name Darwin. The name is synonymous with one of the most important theories ever generated by mankind. At this point in the world, the name is less a name and more a representation of something much greater. Yet, as Mr. Welson leads us to question in his book Darwin’s First Theory, how deeply do we truly know the man who changed the face of our understanding of earth forever?

Written by leading geologist Rob Welson, Darwin's first theory explores the beginning of Charles Darwin’s quest to find a theory of the earth, and explores how his early theories helped shape his future and most famous theory of evolution. By bringing us along through well-researched narration of Mr. Darwin’s first journey on the HMS Beagle, Mr. Welson brings us to a greater understanding of the man whose theory shaped modern biology around the world. Darwin’s First Theory is an informative read. To anyone interested in Darwin, and interested in a greater understanding of biology's most influential theory, I would recommend this book.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth D
The Melting World
White, Christopher P.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Melting World, a tale of the author’s journey to Montana and beyond in order to better understand global climate change, is a powerful commentary on the state of global warming in our world today. Mr. White’s research is as fascinating as it is frightening, gripping us and emboldening readers to continue the changes in the world such that these caps cannot continue to atrophy at the rate they are. Since Mr. White traveled to Montana, and did research regarding the Rocky Mountain Ice, the Melting World hits close to home for Coloradoan readers. The book is neither overly long nor overly short, so one is left with a satisfied feeling of comprehension of the situation without being bombarded by information overload. Naturally, the Melting World is not a light book, and can be an upsetting one, but a book which is important to read nevertheless. To anyone who cares about the environment, I would recommend this gripping read.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca D
Counting by 7s
Sloan, Holly Goldberg
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Willow Chance is a twelve year old genius whose main interests are gardening and medical conditions. At the beginning of the book, Willow is driving home with her school counselor, Dell Duke, when she spots police officers waiting around in her driveway. Willow immediately knows something is wrong. She soon discovers from the officers that both of her parents, Jimmy and Roberta Chance, were killed in a deadly car accident which leaves Willow heartbroken and confused. Who would take her and how long would it take to find a permanent home? This book is very well written and really shows the impact of this tragedy on Willow's life as well as showing how she gradually started to move on and continue her everyday life including starting to refresh her old hobbies and make friends at her new school. I would recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with the loss of a loved one, for someone who is trying to discover who they are, or for someone that's afraid to show their REAL self. Really... everyone could relate this book to a part of their life.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P
Genres:
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

THIS IS A MUST READ! Suzanne Collins does a fabulous job on bringing this novel to life. It is an easy read for word choice. The main characters are very easy to love. The Hunger Games is the first book to a 3-part series.
I recommend ages 11+ because it is a longer book with more mature events. I really enjoyed this series so I rate it a 4 Star. Team Peeta!

Reviewer's Name: Kaitlyn S
Book Review: 882 1/2 Amazing Answers to Your Questions About the Titanic
Brewster, Hugh
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

All Titanic lovers must read this. It is very straightforward and this book covered a lot of the questions I had. I recommend this book for ages 12+ because it’s a very serious book about a world-wide known tradegy and it covers sensitive topics that demand full respect. I thouroughly enjoyed reading it. It taught me more about this beautiful ship than I’ve ever known. 882.5 Amazing Answers to your Questions about the Titanic is worth reading! I rate it 4 stars because it was truly helpful and a great read.

Reviewer's Name: Kaitlyn S
Awards:
Genres:
Dracula
Raven, Nicky
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is an adaptation to Bram Stoker’s novel, which was designed to make it an easier read for teens. The art is amazing, but the book did not hold my attention very well because the plot is slow to start. I recommend the age to be 13+ because of the word choice used. It is more of a teen/adult book. The book is in 3rd person which makes it easier to connect with the characters because you can get everyone’s perception of the story.
Beware Count Dracula!

Reviewer's Name: Kaitlyn S

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