Review Crew - book reviews by teens, for teens

Shapechangers
Roberson, Jennifer
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Cheysuli chronicles come off with a great start. I enjoy this book for the lighthearted style and consider it the best of the series. The detail is amazing, the picture painted is excellent, and the character development is perfect. The series is a fantasy about generations of shapechanging people conflicting with their nemesis race, the Ihlini. I would highly recommend this book to people who love fantasy.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
The Song of Homana
Roberson, Jennifer
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is a good read, like the first in the Cheysuli Series. The beginning is a little rough, but push through it! The point of view for this was uncertain at first, but it gets soo much better. I loved this book for how it sets up the prophecy. I feel that the first book didn't really describe the prophecy well enough. I loved how she showed the characters in this, it seems she described them is realistic for being in exile for maybe 5 years.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Inferno
Kenyon, Sherrilyn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Turning sixteen is not what Nick Gautier anticipated. The most wanted demon in the world, he's constantly in trouble; whether it's fighting off demons, dealing with a murderous girlfriend, or simply navigating high school, Nick's life is everything but normal. With his father dead, Nick thinks he's safe, but now there's a bigger problem: someone is hunting him down and trying to enslave him, and he has no clue who or what it is.

This book is part of a series and each one gets better and better! I like the elements of preternatural beings mixed with everyday life. Nick is very relatable (besides the part that he's half-demon), and he's hilarious as a character. Each chapter brings new surprises and will leave you wanting more.

I also really like how Nick has grown as a character throughout the series. While he's physically growing older, he's also mentally maturing, and you can see that through his decisions and choices.

Overall, this series isn't just entertaining: Nick teaches us about making selfless choices for those we love and that choosing good is always better than evil.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Cover of The Bluest Eye
Morrison, Toni
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Bluest Eye is about a young African-American girl named Pecola living in 1940's Ohio. Pecola lives with her brother and abusive parents who constantly tell her she is ugly because of her dark skin and kinky hair. On top of that, the children at her school bully her for the fact that her father is an alcoholic. All her life, Pecola has wanted blue eyes to feel pretty. Her only friends, Freida and Claudia try to defend her against the colorism in their community, but Pecola is unable to embrace her features and becomes obsessive over her desire for blue eyes.

One of the reasons I read this book is because of Morrison's writing style and her thematic elements. The book is very intellectually stimulating and gave me better insight into colorism and how it is still largely prevalent today in the African-American community. I really liked how Morrison used a young girl as a main character to show how these feelings of low-esteem and poor body image are started at a young age, and how the people around us influence our thoughts and feelings.

There are a lot of complex characters and you get to hear each of their stories about why they're the way they are. Claudia is my favorite character because she represents women and girls who challenge our ideas of beauty. The ending was sad, but it really brought light to how damaging our obsession with beauty is.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Book Cover
Berry, Julie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

After being caught with her lover, Ares, Aphrodite tells the stories of two couples that fell in love during World War 1. James and Hazel met at a party that Hazel was playing piano for. They start to go on dates and they really like each other, but James is shipped of to the battlefield. Hazel decides to join the Red Cross to be closer to James. There she meets Colette, who becomes a fast friend.

This book was amazing! I loved the perspective of the gods on the story. They often make appearances to discuss specific parts of the story relating to the gods' affinities. I also loved seeing the couples be together, even during their struggles. While reading this book I cried multiple times and couldn't be happier about that.

I would also highly recommend the audiobook. There were so many different narrators it truly felt like I was in the story. One of the characters passions is composing music and in the audiobook you can actually hear the music! It is a wonderful experience.

Reviewer's Name: Savannah H.
Book Cover
Riggs, Ransom
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Jacob's grandfather has always told crazy stories. Stories about faceless monsters and kids with mysterious abilities. When he was younger Jacob believed these stories because his grandpa had scary pictures of these strange kids, but as he got older Jacob thought these were just little kid stories until a family tragedy brings one of those monsters from his childhood to life. This tragedy gets him to travel to a small island off the coast of Whales, where he begins to discover more about his grandpa the peculiar children from his stories.

The atmosphere that the author created for this book was amazing. You can feel eeriness of the things that Jacob sees through the pages. It is only enhanced by the pictures of strange things scattered throughout the story. The unique characters and idea held my attention completely and the fast-paced plot made me think it was over to soon. This book is part of a long series that I can't wait to continue!

Reviewer's Name: Savannah H.
Salt to the Sea
Sepetys, Ruta
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Salt to the Sea is about 4 people who are running from their past in the midst of WWII. Joana is a nurse fleeing from the dangers of Lithuania, with the hope that a ship will take her out of Europe. Florian is on the run from a mistake he made back in Germany also looking for the chance to escape without anyone finding him and taking him back to Germany. Emilia has finally decided to flee from the family that was taking care of her after the woman and her daughters betray her trust. Alfred is escaping reality by joining the German fleet to escape the mistake he made that cost him his girlfriend and his sanity. As the book continues all the character's paths join and they meet on the Wilhem Gustoff- a bigger tragedy than the sinking of the Titanic. The ship that promises safety, ends in tragedy. This is my favorite author, and out of all her books, this one is my absolute favorite. The character's stories blend together to make all the little plots into one overarching plot which I think is really cool. The chapters switch off narrators so you get to see the story in different perspectives. I like how the author shows a different side of the war than other WWII books where Germany is portrayed as the enemy and not as a country also in war. In this book, many of the people also fear Russia more than Germany because Russia was the one attacking and not helping and Germany was the one evacuating people. This makes the book different and I think more interesting. This is a really good book and it is worth a try.

Reviewer's Name: Emma
Genres:
Mockingjay
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Mockingjay is about a girl named Katniss Everdeen who becomes a warrior in the war against the capitol. She must rebel against the capitol to stop the cruelty that the capitol finds entertaining and to ensure a better future of Panem. Katniss must go through training, injuries, and the lost of loved ones, all while taking down the capitol one attack at a time. I really loved this book. It exceeded my expectations one hundred percent. There are two other books in this series so make sure you read those before this one.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
Night
Wiesel, Elie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Night by Elie Wiesel is a powerfully graphic novel that tells the story of a Hungarian Jew's experiences in various concentration camps within Nazi Germany during World War II. I really enjoyed this book. It was very well written and hard to put down. This book not only tells of Wiesel's experiences in concentration camps, but provides insight into psychological and philosophical ideas that make it even more interesting. Wiesel was just a teen when he and his family were sent away. He and his father were separated from his mother and sister and underwent an immense amount of trauma that was life altering for both of them. I'd recommend this book to those interested in World War II. The book is a quick and easy read with deep, profound content.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth
Wilder Girls
Power, Rory
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Raxter School for Girls is located on a secluded island off mainland America. They have been under quarantine for over a year because of the "tox" that has infected the students and teachers there. The tox gives the girls strange mutations like a hand covered in scales, two hearts or two spines, but it can also kill them. There are few students or teachers left on the island, and with little food and dwindling supplies it's a struggle to survive. Hetty is just trying to keep herself and her friends alive long enough for someone to find a cure but when one of her friends, Byatt, go missing Hetty takes it upon herself to find her and learns that things on the island aren't all that they seem to be.
This book is mainly told in two perspectives, Hetty and Byatt. I like this because it gives more insight to other parts of the story. I enjoyed being in Hetty's head. It was interesting to see her look back at her time before Raxter and to see the reasoning behind the decisions she makes. I also liked reading about this new world the girls are living in.
The ending was left very open ended which was kinda annoying. I also think the characters could have more personality outside of how they have been affected by their circumstances. They often lacked depth

Reviewer's Name: Savannah
The Call of the Wild
London, Jack
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I was required to read The Call of the Wild for my Literature class. The story is about a lovable St. Bernard dog named Buck. At the start of the story, Buck lives in the cushy and comfy house of Judge Miller, but eventually winds up in the wild North of the Yukon. Serving as a sled dog, Buck passes through many owners, good and bad, and learns to answer the Call of the Wild. Overall, it was a pretty good book, but I would only give it Three Star review for these reasons:
1: As it is a classic, the book was written with an older style of English, which can be a little hard to understand. Older English can also take away some of the gravity in pressing situations.
2: There wasn’t quite as much action as I would have liked.
3: I enjoyed the book, but some of the action scenes may have been ruined by the Older English, although the Older English gives the reader a taste of how people communicated in the past. However, the characters, plot, and setting were developed well, so overall, Call of the Wild is a classic, and a quality work of literature, which still can be enjoyed today.

Reviewer's Name: Zach
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder
Jackson, Holly
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Five years ago in Pippa's small town Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend Sal Singh. Everyone believes the case is closed, but Pippa isn't sure. When she decides to look more into the case for her senior capstone (thesis) project, she discovers secrets about the case someone in her town wanted to keep hidden.
The plot of this book was very interesting and fast-paced. It wasn't predictable and the twists at the end were surprising. I really liked Pippa (or Pip) as a character. I appreciated her dedication to her friends and how they would be affected by her investigation. Also because she didn't take things at face value and looked into them more deeply before making a conclusion.
Some things I didn't like about this books is that Pip was a bit unethical in her investigation. She broke into houses, pretended to be a reporter and other people involved with the murder to get the information she needed. Also I had to suspend by disbelief at some parts because it was kinda hard to believe that a seventeen year old with little to no prior investigative experience was so much better then detectives at their job.

Reviewer's Name: Savannah
Cover of the book Savvy
Law, Ingrid
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book Savvy is about a family and whenever a member of that family turns 13, they gain a special talent called their "savvy". Mibs is about to turn 13,but her father is hurt in an accident before this happens. Mibs now needs her power more than every because there is a chance that her power could save her father! At her birthday party Mibs decides to sneak on a delivery truck that's on its way to the city where her father is. Her brothers Fish and Samson will not let her go alone, and with some unexpected new friends, Mibs goes on the adventure of her lifetime for the chance to save her father.

I enjoy this book because every time I read it again, the story line is always enjoyable. It's easy to follow and fun to read. The author does a good job of developing the characters throughout the book and I feel as if I am right there with Mibs and her brothers in this adventure. I would recommend this book because it is fun and never gets old.

Reviewer's Name: Emma M.
Book Cover
Katsoulis, Gregory Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Imagine never being able to tell someone how much you love them, or knowing the government is aware of everything you say. Every sentence is monitored. Words are no longer free to use. Companies copyright words and gestures, they fine anyone who uses them. Saying "Sorry" is ten dollars and every nod or scream is .99 cents ( per second). No word is free, people are imprisoned by debt and fear. Restlessness stirs and violence is everywhere. People sue left and right for small accidents. Upon turning 15 everything changes for an individual. Cuffs are placed, listening to every word that comes out of your mouth. Retaliating can lead to extreme and inhumane punishments. Speth Jime is a fourteen-year-old who is almost fifteen when she witnesses the suicide of her friend. She decides in honor of her friend to be silent, making the world stand still. "All Rights Reserved" is a very captivating and incredible novel. Every page is filled with various twists and turns. The book represents the importance of words and the power they possess. It also shows the influence we have on others, for better or for worst.

Reviewer's Name: Isabella J.
Awards:
Book Cover
O'Brien, Tim
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Things They Carried is a memoir by Tim O'Brien about his experiences as an American soldier fighting in the Vietnam War. O'Brien was chosen to be drafted in 1968. This incident was extremely stressful for O'Brien who had taken a stand against the war, yet didn't want to disappoint his community. He pondered running away to Canada, but eventually decided to fight. The Things They Carried is a series of stories that are so well written. The work is a bit hard to understand just because O'Brien wrote it in a way that is not completely nonfiction. In the book, he explains this concept more in depth. Overall, I thought this book was a very well written, interesting, and educational story regarding the horrors of war from O'Brien's perspective in Vietnam.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P.
Book Cover
Cholodenko, Gennifer
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Al Capone Does My Shirts was a required summer reading book for me this year. The plot of the story was how an eleven-year old boy named Moose left his San Francisco home to live on the prison island Alcatraz because his father had to relocate there for work. Moose’s sister Natalie, who sadly suffered from autism, was trying to get into a special school, but the principal would not let her join. Moose tries to get her into the school, while trying to still play baseball and do other things on his own.
On a scale of five stars, I would give it a four for the following reasons:
1. The plot was easy to follow, but at the same time you never knew what was going to happen next.
2. The character development was excellent, because you could easily relate and understand the characters' predicaments.
3. I thought the book was clever, funny, and meaningful.

For all of these reasons, I would give Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko four stars.

Reviewer's Name: Zach M.
Genres:
Book Cover
Smith, Roland
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is about twins Marty and Grace O’Hara. Their photojournalist parents left for work in the Amazon Rainforest on a project regarding nature, but they were killed in a terrible airplane accident.

After a couple of months pass without any trace of their parents, the twins are pulled out of school, because no one can pay for their schooling anymore. With this decision, Marty is very happy, while Grace isn't. Now, without a home, the twins are suddenly thrust into the care of their uncle they had never even met. Their uncle lives on a private island that he owns, searching for cryptids, and he even founded the famous company eWolfe. Cryptid hunters or cryptozoologists are people who find animals thought to be extinct, to never exist, or to be mythological.

Another cryptid hunter, and nemesis of Uncle Travis Wolfe, Noah Blackwood tries to steal a so-called “dinosaur egg” from Uncle. Following this event, Marty and Grace get involved in the conflict between the two which discloses some complicated family backstory.

To escape this inferior situation, the twins decide to go to a forest on one of their uncle’s helicopters, and skydive into the trees in hope to find their missing parents, and to have an adventure of a lifetime.

With this book constantly keeping you interested, I'm going to go with 4/5 stars for Cryptid Hunters.

Reviewer's Name: Gurman G.
Awards:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Rowling, J.K.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is an excellent adventure novel with an great perspective of family, love and death. The novel tells the story of a young boy named Harry Potter who learns that he possess magical powers and is the son of two powerful wizards. The story follows his life as a orphaned child living with his aunt and uncle where he learns of his magical powers and is invited to Hogwarts, the school of witchcraft and wizardry. At this school he meets his fellow wizards and friends and undergoes a spectacular journey through which he finds his identity. Although Harry's life and story is quite unique he is a character that many people can and will relate to which makes this story a excellent read as you can envision yourself in his shoes. It is through the authors excellent storytelling techniques that the reader will be engaged and enticed through the novel.

Reviewer's Name: Talal
Genres:
Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story
Tobia, Jacob
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Sissy is complex, introspective piece about gender and sexuality and how society's view can impact self-worth. Jacob Tobia recounts experiences throughout their life that have impacted them in the manner of their gender and sexuality and their self acceptance of themself. They reveal how even as a young child they identified more with femininity than their born masculinity and how that brought out negative feelings in those around them, including their parents. Tobia expresses how the trials they have faced have made them into who they are today but they wish queer identities were more accepted. A rousing autobiography of growing up queer, Sissy inspires the reader to open their mind to what is different and look within themselves and ask the question "Is it really black or white?".

Reviewer's Name: Maddie
The Tao of Pooh
Hoff, Benjamin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The How of Pooh?
5 stars: Explains Tao with little snips of Pooh.

The Tao of Pooh is a well-written book that captures the essence of Tao-ism using little snippets of the adventures of Pooh. I loved this book, because it explains the art of Tao in a simplistic way, which is very fitting, because Tao is the art of simplicity. The precepts of Tao are explained very well in this book. If you want to learn how to not overthink, and how to learn without learning, read this book. A final note, I may not agree with some of the things written in this book, but I still appreciate the Tao, and I hope you do too!

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Awards:

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