Review Crew - book reviews by teens, for teens

To Kill a Mockingbird
Lee, Harper
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is a fantastic novel that examines the racism present in the South during the Great Depression. The book includes several remarkable instances of justice being served to the widespread prejudice present, which captures the reader. All of the character are well developed and serve well in their roles, especially the main protagonist. The entire setting is also intriguing and forms a solid foundation for the plot. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone as it is a fascinating tale about Southern life.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L
The Once and Future King
White, T.H.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Once and Future King, by T. H. White, is a great fantasy classic that is a retelling of the saga of King Arthur. The novel is stuffed with a mix of wonderful emotions that blend together to make a very unique fantasy story. The characters are all developed very well, especially the protagonist, and the plot fits them very well. The book has some very sorrowful scenes, but does a fantastic job of spacing them out with its humor. The only downside to the book is that it is for high-level readers.

If the story was put into a bit simpler language, it would relate to more people and reduce the amount of strain placed on the readers' mind while trying to interpret it. Overall, The Once and Future King is a great fantasy novel, but its use of complicated language takes away from the world it creates.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L
Bleach, Vol 2
Kubo, Tite
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In the second Bleach manga book Ichigo and Rukia search for Chad. They encounter a hollow that killed a boys parents and the boy was stuck in a parrots body and told that his mother could come back to life. Afterwards Rukia gives Ichigo a soul candy which allows him out of his body without Rukia having to be there. The soul candy goes rogue and steals Ichigo's body. They have to hunt down his body and they make friends with him and put him in a stuffed animal.

Reviewer's Name: Vincent D
Sidekicked
Anderson, John David
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Andrew Bean is a normal kid on the outside but on the inside he is the Sensationalist, a sidekick with super senses. Andrew joins a superhero organization called H.E.R.O this affiliation trains people with superpowers so they can be sidekicks for superheros and someday supers themselves. His hero, The Titan used to be the best (and coolest) superhero but after an unfortunate accident while fighting a notorious criminal called The Dealer he disappeared. This left the sensationalist with no hero to help him when he needs it most especially when the Dealer returns seeking revenge on The Titan. In the middle of this all he still has to be careful not to blow his cover, even to his parents.

Reviewer's Name: Vincent D
P.S. I Still Love You
Han, Jenny
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

P.S. I Still Love You, by Jenny Han, is the second book to the To all the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy. The central character is a girl named Lara Jean. She is a quirky shy girl who loves to bake, enjoys scrapbooking, and is into fashion. The first book of the series begins with a crazy start.

Lara Jean wrote love letters, five in all, to boys that she used to be in love with when she was younger. One day, her young sister Kitty, who previously got in a fight with Lara Jean, decides to get back at her sister by sending out all of these private letters. This changes Lara Jean's life completely. P.S. I Still Love You is a good continuation to Lara Jean's story but I'm trying not to spoil it so I suppose I'll leave it at that. Overall, I love Jenny Han's writing technique. She adds suspense and plot twists to keep the books going and keep things interesting. This trilogy is a must read for fans of chick flicks or romantic comedies; you can't put it down.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P
My Heart and other Black Holes
Warga, Jasmine
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Aysel is a girl who is held back by her dark past and whose life is influenced greatly by her violent father and his sins. Instead of working, Aysel explores a disturbing website called "Smooth Passages". This website includes different people who wish to commit "partner suicide". Aysel is a very depressed girl and is intrigued by Smooth Passages. She soon discovers a boy who lives close by and contacts him but the closer and closer it gets to their suicide date, the more Aysel wonders if maybe living wouldn't be so bad after all. I thought that this book was fairly well written but the only problem I had with it was that it was predictable. All in all, i enjoyed the book but it wasn't my all time favorite.
Reviewer Grade 10

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P
Five Feet Apart
Lippincott, Rachel
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is so amazing and special! It is the story of Stella Grant and Will Newman, two teens with cystic fibrosis, a disease in the lungs.
Because of the possibility of transmitting germs, two people with cystic fibrosis (CF) are not permitted to get within six feet of each other. Will and Stella are polar opposites when they meet, but as they start spending more time together, they find out they have more in common than they initially thought, and start to fall in love despite the six foot rule. This book is engaging, funny, heartbreaking and powerful all at the same time. It makes you appreciate the life you are given so much more, and reminds you to never waste a second of time with someone who you love. This is one of the best books I have ever read!

Reviewer's Name: Allie S
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Han, Jenny
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a wonderful book for anyone who's ever wondered what it would be like to have all of your crushes find out that you liked them-- at the same time. Lara Jean is a high school junior and her life goes from boring to out of control overnight when her secret love letters to her crushes are mailed out. At the same time, one of her crushes, Peter, breaks up with his girlfriend and the two decide to start a fake relationship to make Peter's ex-girlfriend jealous, and so Lara Jean's real crush, Josh, doesn't find out that she likes him. This book is funny, detailed and true in a way that very few romance books are. It pleasantly surprised me with the humor and heart of this novel. Peter and Lara Jean have wonderful chemistry and it is hard not to fall in love with this book!

Reviewer's Name: Allie S
The City of Ember
DuPrau, Jeanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The City of Ember is a fictional book in which the author explains a dystopian society. In this society young people are given their jobs that they must do for the rest of their lives. The city is also falling apart because they are running out of supplies like food and are running out of an energy source. Their "government" system is corrupt making it impossible for change to easily happen. The main characters, Lina and Doon, are determined to find life outside of their enclosed city so they embark on a journey. On this journey they face many struggles but eventually make it out with hopes of a better life.

I would recommend this book. "The City of Ember" is a fun, easy book to read. I read it the first time because I was in battle of the books. I couldn't relate to the characters. It wasn't predictable and it was a good book.

Reviewer's Name: Oriana O
Between Shades of Gray
Sepetys, Ruta
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Taking place during WWII... Lina, a fifteen-year-old girl, lives a peaceful and normal life drawing and going to school but when the NKVD, better known as Soviet officers, force them to leave, adventure and chaos abduct Lina's normal lifestyle. Lina, her brother Jonas, and her mom Elena have to travel by train living with the bare minimum to survive off of. From Soviet officers forcing them to work to stealing food to survive, Lina has to find a way to outlast WWII and the capture of her family. Her main goal through all this; to find her dad. This dramatic adventure written by Ruta Sepetys will pull you off your seat.
Reviewer's Age: 15

Reviewer's Name: Aiden F
United As One
Lore, Pittacus
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The final battle is upon the Loric. They have prepared for this their entire lives and the time has finally come. However, will all that they have done be enough to defeat Setrakus Ra. Pittacus Lore has written a thrilling conclusion to this blockbuster series. This action packed adventure is wonderful and a great read. I highly recommend this book to all middle and high school aged readers.

Reviewer's Name: John B
The Marvels
Selznick, Brian
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book begins on a ship at sea with a boy named Billy Marvel. He survives a terrible shipwreck and later finds work in a London theatre. There his family lives for generations as brilliant actors--some who are the best kind of people, some who are awful people. All of the family are actors and love the stage and spotlight until young Leontes Marvel. He hates acting, misses his cues, and can’t remember his lines. His parents are ashamed and banish him from the stage. He decides that his destiny lies somewhere else so he runs away.

A century later, Joseph Jervis, another runaway, finds a place to stay with an uncle in London. Grumpy Uncle Albert and his strange but beautiful house lure Joseph on a search for clues. He begins to think that he might be related to the Marvels and begins an incredible adventure to find out who he truly is.

I really enjoyed this book. During the mystery, I felt like I was right alongside Joseph as he found clues to his mysterious past. I am happy that I figured out the mystery before Joseph did. The story had a very sad ending, but overall stayed pretty bright. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Brian Selznik’s other books, mysteries, or heartfelt books.

Reviewer's Name: Ben C
Scarlet
Meyer, Marissa
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"Scarlet" is the second book of Marissa Meyer's series, "The Lunar Chronicles". We left off with new information on Cinder's true identity and her trapped in jail. With gifts from Dr. Erland Cinder must pull a daring escape from prison, using her wits and new allies to push her towards her next goal.
Meanwhile, Scarlet has been waiting weeks for information on her grandmother's disappearance. When nothing turns up, she is forced to turn to more sketchy sources.
Marissa Meyer expertly weaves the two view points to keep the series moving in the dashing book known as "Scarlet".
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Adia R
Talons of Power
Sutherland, Tui
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I am an avid fan of the Wings of Fire series, and Talons of Power is by far my favorite! Individual books in the series have been from another dragons point of view, and this time we get to see the world through the eyes of Turtle the Seawing. As Darkstalker's grip over Pyhrria tightens, Tui gives the most unassuming and fearful character in the group to lead them towards victory. The dragonets will be forced to get creative if they want to stop Darkstalker. Each chapter is full of thrills and plot twists, with an ending I'm sure no one saw coming.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Adia R
A Storm of Swords
Martin, George R. R.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

If things hadn’t already turned dark in Westeros, they certainly do in A Storm of Swords. The complicated political situation in the end of A Clash of Kings gets even more complicated as this third book dives into complex armies, weddings, wars, and so much more. George R. R. Martin’s writing may be dense, but I have never encountered a fantastical world as deeply developed as his. A Storm of Swords is jam-packed with intrigue and excitement, and it left me wanting more. I would recommend this book even if you have already seen the show; reading the books adds a whole new dimension to the characters, the plot, and the world.

Reviewer's Name: Sabrina J
The Alchemist
Coelho, Paulo
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Alchemist is the story of Santiago, a shepherd boy, who goes on a journey to find treasure he saw in a dream. It is a story of philosophy and self-discovery, and its open-ended style leaves a lot of room for interpretation. That is the beauty of this book; every reader will get something different out of it. I found The Alchemist to be very inspirational and calming, as well as immensely interesting. This quick read is great food for the soul.

Reviewer's Name: Sabrina J
Awards:
The Fate of Ten
Lore, Pittacus
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Mogadorians have invaded. Earth is falling under Setrakus Ra's rule. However, new hope has arisen for the Loric, new Garde have arisen. Now the new Garde must choose whether they will fight with the Loric or if they will fall to the Mogadorians. The epic saga continues with another exciting adventure. Pittacus Lore continues to twist the plot in new and exciting ways that will keep you engaged. I highly recommend this page-turner to any middle or high school aged reader.

Reviewer's Name: John B
Suite Francaise
Nemirovsky, Irene
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Suite Francaise is an interesting book detailing the experiences of multiple characters and what they face as they evacuate Paris and deal with the German occupation of France. I read this book for school but still found it very interesting. It was a bit slow at first with exposition of characters in almost every chapter. I did enjoy getting to see how different classes reacted to having to leave their homes and what they faced afterwards. Not only does Nemirovsky use multiple characters to show the difference in experience, but also her use of imagery and figurative language add to the essence of struggle. Overall, I enjoyed this book but wouldn't have chosen it myself.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.
Awards:
Maus II: A Survivor's Tale
Spiegelman, Art
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Maus II, the sequel/continuation to Maus, continues the story of Vladek Spiegelman told by his son in the form of a comic book. This book is amazing because, just like the first, it uses an animal metaphor to easily show the reader who is who in the story. Maus II takes a darker turn because Vladek is now in the depths of Aushwitz. I love these books and their creative outlook on the War and the Holocaust. No other historical book has made me this intrigued and want to continue reading.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.
Walk Two Moons
Creech, Sharon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book, Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech is a rich and wonderful novel. The seemingly simple, yet complex read explores the self-discovery of thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle. While exploring her cultural heritage and past, the main protagonist relays over several dark and tragic events. While these events can make the book depressing at times, they hold valuable lessons and the book doesn't linger on them for too long. Every single character in the book is incredibly developed through the many stories told, and they fit the plot well. Overall, I would recommend this book to older readers and maybe younger ones, as the book is a decent length and pretty intricate.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L
Genres:

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