Review Crew - book reviews by teens, for teens

Rowling, J. K.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban is about Harry’s 3rd year at Hogwarts. Along with friends Ron and Hermione, Harry investigates the case of Sirius Black, an escaped prisoner from Azkaban, the wizard prison. Sirius Black is believed to be one of Voldemort's allies, and he is the only wizard ever to escape Azkaban, so he is definitely powerful. Harry Potter then overhears that Sirius Black wants to kill him.

This book is full of creeps and chills, like in one part, the train to Hogwarts is stopped because of terrible flying things that can suck out your soul. Because of these soul-suckers, Harry almost dies, but in the end, Harry learns a lot about himself, his parents, and friends (both of his, and his parents’).

But this book is still full of interest. In a memorable moment, Harry Potter flies on a Hippogriff, which is a hybrid between a horse and eagle. In another part, The Prisoner of Azkaban goes from fantasy to sci-fi, because of time travel, where Harry goes back in time to save himself.

With the adventurous and scary parts in perfect balance, this book is a good read, and personally, it is my favorite book in the whole series.

Reviewer's Name: Gurman S.
Genres:
Saving Red
Sones, Sonya
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Saving Red is about a girl named Molly who is trying to finish her community service hours for school and to do that, she is helping do the homeless count for her city. Here is where she gets her first glimpse of Red, a girl who cannot be much older that Molly herself, on a sleeping bag and twitching and screaming throughout a bad dream. Molly gets a sudden feeling that she needs to help this girl. A friendship soon develops between the two girls because Molly wants to help Red get back to her family. That is until Molly discovers that Red may need more help than Molly originally thought. Molly is motivated to help Red because of past guilt. Molly soon learns that Red is not the only one who needed saving.

This book is one of my personal favorites because it is so interesting, and it keeps me wanting to read it. The book is written in verse so it is really easy to read and it was quick to finish. Saving Red is a very heavy book so I would suggest this book to high school students and mature middle school students.. Whats cool about this book is that every poem could be read on its own and still make sense. This book was really good, super quick, makes you think and leaves you wanting more.

Reviewer's Name: Emma M.
Thunderhead
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Citra and Rowan have diverged into lawful and lawlessness. Since Citra was selected to become a scythe she began to glean with Scythe Curie meanwhile Rowan went off the grid. Though there had been rumors of a Scythe gleaning other Scythes, who became known as Scythe Lucifer. Fighting the corruption of the Scythedom in their own ways, Citra and Rowan continue to learn what the mortal age world was like.

This book is better than the first book, “Scythe” because the Thunderhead excerpts between chapters add more complexity and depth to the story. Also inmthe first book the perspective switches were a lot less climatic, both main characters were in relatively similar situations. In this book the different perspective adds more suspense to the book, and perspective. The side characters were not static in this book, a lot more about them is reveled in this book. “Thunderhead” also had good foreshadowing that was sometimes a bit too obvious. The main thing this book lacked like the first book of the series was detailed descriptions. It almost makes the book seem more like a movie because it’s all action. Overall though I would recommend it to those who read “Scythe” and want to continue the series since this book is better.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
Hour of the Bees
Eagar, Lindsay
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Hour of the Bees is about a girl, Carol, who has to spend the summer helping her grandpa, Serge, whom she's never met. Her grandpa suffers from Dementia, and wants "Carol-een-a" to learn about her roots. While Carol's older sister, Alta, is complaining, and her parents are trying to sell the farm house, she bonds with her grandfather over fairy-tales centered around a life-giving tree.

The storyline does progress a little slowly, and the supporting characters don't change or have a major impact on the plot, but despite the small imperfections, I did not regret reading this book! I liked how the ending was very unexpected and captivating, and how easy it was to bond with the main characters. I recommend this book to people of all ages. Thank you for reading :)!!

Reviewer's Name: Aztin
Genres:
Cry, the Beloved Country
Paton, Alan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Cry, the Beloved Country is a very good novel. It depicts the lives of Reverend Stephen Kumalo and white landowner, James Jarvis, during a time of turbulence in their lives. All of the characters in the novel are extremely well written and the character development is superb. The conflict in the novel feels very realistic and thrills the reader. The moral decisions and emotions faced by the two protagonists feel very weighty and captivate the reader. Overall, the book is a great novel that I would recommend to anyone.

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Awards:
Escape Clause
Sandford, John
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Escape Clause is a fast paced mystery book about the search for two missing tigers from a local zoo. This book features Virgil Flowers who is the main investigator in charge of finding the tiger thief and must hold him accountable before it is too late. This book not only focus on the tiger case but takes a deep dive into Virgil Flowers background and personal affairs. I chose this book as it was suspenseful and had many twists and turns. Escape Clause is a thriller and will keep the reader up all night.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
The Prodigy
Feinstein, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Prodigy is a fantastic and well crafted sports fiction novel about a promising young golf athlete. Frank Baker is a 16 year old golf superstar who is getting nationwide attention from the professional golfing world. Frank is eager and desires to play college golf at a college of his choice but his pushy father pressures him to go directly to the pros. His father aspires to gain a fortune from his son playing in the big leagues and wants it as soon as possible. This book beautifully blends Frank's life on and off the greens and makes the readers feel as if they are experiencing Frank's dilemma. I chose this book as I enjoy reading sports fiction. The Prodigy captures parental pressure on young athletes exceptionally well and the shocking decision Frank makes at the end of the book.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
The Reversal
Connelly, Michael
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Are you looking for an escape route out of these tough times that the world is facing right now? Then try reading this crime fiction thriller " The Reversal". Mickey Haller is a prominent defense lawyer who surprisingly decides to be part of the prosecution team for one of the most brutal crimes ever committed. Jason Jessup is convicted of a heinous crime that was committed nearly 20 years ago but the evidence was inconclusive to put him behind bars in the first trial. Can Mickey Haller and the Los Angles Police Department gather some crucial clues and evidence to find out whether Jason Jessup is the mastermind behind this crime or not? Mickey Haller must find out before it too late.The Reversal is a legal thriller that has an excellent plot and forces the reader to pay close attention to every single detail. I would highly recommend this book and it's a great read.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
All Fall Down
Carter, Ally
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

All Fall Down is a unique read that will grip the readers throughout the story. Grace lives in a US embassy in a foreign country because her grandfather works there. Grace's mom was killed in an accident and her dad left the family when she was only a baby. She has a hunch that her mother was killed and has a notion that the killer is lurking around close by . Grace wants to find out who her mother's killer was and wants them to pay for it. She makes lifelong friendships with other kids living in other embassies, but Grace also faces animosity along the way. All Fall Down is a great read and hooks the reader until the end.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
Awards:
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Doyle, Arthur Conan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is a masterpiece of short stories. Sherlock Holmes continues to dazzle readers with his incredible deductions in these eleven short stories. From the beginning of Holmes' career in "The Gloria Scott" to large-scale crimes in "The Naval Treaty," the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The introduction of Sherlock's brother, Mycroft, and his most notorious nemesis, Professor Moriarty, ensure that readers will be captivated by these stories. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is phenomenal and I highly recommend it for any fan of Sherlock Holmes or crime fiction.

Reviewer's Name: John
Scythe
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In a world where AI, artificial intelligence, known as the Thunderhead controls the world and has gifted humanity immortality, it gave humans the responsibility of death. Immortality is possible with the nanites embodied in cells to help cells replenish forever. Scythes are the only people that kill or nicely put glean. Citra and Rowan are selected by a scythe to apprentice and the discover the reality of human nature and the burden of death.

I think this is a good book, conceptually it’s definitely a step up from your typical dystopian book but it isn’t my favorite book for other reasons. There is a guy and a girl main character and they have to defy the expectations of society, creating romantic tensions which is pretty typical. The book lacked detailed descriptions which would have enhanced the action by creating more suspense. The biggest reason it is not my favorite is smalldetails that are don’t logically make sense. With the all knowingThunderhead it would make sense that technology would allow teleportation and other advancements. All these little details ultimately make the book only 4 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
The Toll
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Great Resonance has occurred and everyone has become unsavory, meaning they can’t communicate with the Thunderhead. That is except for one person, the Toll. Since no one can speak to the Thunderhead no one knows why they have become unsavory leaving the world in confusion. What most people don’t know is Endura the Scythe ring of islands sank when all the systems failed, or were instructed to fail. The leaders of the Scythedom drowned and Citra and Rowan are nowhere to be found.

The other books in the Scythe series had somewhat obvious endings while in “The Toll” I really didn’t know how the series would end which created a nice suspense in the book. Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse or the characters Citra and Rowan things get worse. The excerpts from the Thunderhead and the founding Scythes created a lot of foreshadowing and had each founding Scythe had a unique voice and quirks which was a nice detail. This book still lacks detail of the setting, clothing, and appearance of the characters like the other two books in the series but in this book it especially lacked detailed emotion. There was a Romeo and Juliet like relationship between Citra and Rowan, they were each other’s weakness, and would save the other even it meant sacrificing themselves. However the emotion and reasoning on why they are so in love is unclear. Other than training as apprentices together and kissing once in the first book the author doesn’t really describe why or how they fell in love. This book had
a lot going on at once it was hard to understand how much time had passed or what was happening when. Overall the theme of this series is advancements don’t make humans lose their humanity, no matter how perfect a world there will be those who chose corruption and power, and those who chose to live a simple quiet life.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
Educated
Westover, Tara
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Growing up on the prairie in the past meant you were mostly isolated from the rest of society for better or worse. In the 1990s growing up in isolation in the U.S was very rare. Most people lived in cities, or suburbs, or small farming communities. Tara Westover was part of this abnormality. She grew up in rural Idaho and was homeschooled and rarely spent much time without her family. Which causes her to believe almost everything her parents and,siblings believed but when she began college she learned a lot more about the world than what she ever knew before.

I don’t typically pick up a memoir but this one was very highly recommended so I decided to give it a read. I thought the beginning was a bit slow but once you get through some of the background it becomes important in later portions of the book. I thought the book had a really good message and very unique perspective. It made me think a lot about how the school system could be improved and how outdated some of the typical school experiences are. I would recommend this book to teachers, school administrators, parents and students since they are so involved in education. I think it would be a good book to read at school and discuss as well.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
Book Cover
Strauss, Ethan Sherwood
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

If you are even mildly interested in sports then The Victory Machine is a must read for you. The Victory Machine is a humorous, firsthand account about the cut throat and ruthless business of professional basketball. This book in particular covers the rise and fall of the Golden State Warriors dynasty. It features some unforgettable and colorful conversations between management and the players. The Victory Machine covers the ins and outs of the complexity of running and managing a pro basketball team.

This book makes the readers feel as if they were also present when big decisions were being made in the war room. I disliked that the author focused too much on Kevin Durant and not as much on the overall team. Overall The Victory Machine is an easy and straightforward read and I highly recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth S.
Genres:
Book Cover
Rowling, J. K.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

For people who want to enjoy an intriguing, fast paced novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the perfect book to read. It keeps you involved throughout the book as most chapters have cliffhangers at the end. This novel is the first of the seven famous Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.

The book is about 11 year old Harry Potter, who receives a letter saying that he is invited to attend Hogwarts, school of witchcraft and wizardry. He then learns that a powerful wizard and his minions are after the sorcerer’s stone that will make this evil wizard immortal and undefeatable. Harry decides to go after the sorcerer’s stone before the wizard reaches it, but his loyal friends, Hermione and Ron don’t let Harry face this danger alone.

This book is full of fantasies and imagination like at one point, Harry Potter is asked to catch a flying golden ball while flying on his broomstick. Eventually Harry Potter stands on his broomstick and tries to reach for the ball, but he falls off the broomstick in a very tense moment. He unexpectedly throws up the golden ball winning the game for his team.

Harry Potter and a sorcerer stone is a good book to spark joy and imagination for anyone, regardless of age. But I would say it is most enjoyable for elementary school students, who can very well relate to the fantasy world. So I would say that it is a must read for younger audiences, but it’s a good read in general.

Reviewer's Name: Gurman G.
Book Cover
Jackson, Holly
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson follows a high school senior, Pip, who decides to analyze a murder/suicide in her own town for her senior capstone project. In Fairview, it’s common knowledge that Sal Singh murdered his girlfriend, the popular Andie Bell, and then proceeded to kill himself. Pip, however, is not so sure and what she discovers quickly unravels this commonly told story into something much more mysterious. I really enjoyed this book. It was a well written mystery novel with plenty of turns I was not expecting. I haven’t read very mystery novels, but this is by far the best one I’ve read. With many suspicious characters and motives, it’s hard to tell just who committed the murder of Andie Bell until the end. It's definitely a page-turner and an incredible debut novel. I highly recommend this book for fans of YA mystery novels.

Reviewer's Name: Cora G.
Book Cover
Gläser, Mechthild
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The Book Jumper is the story of Amy Lennox who moves from Germany to Stormsay in Scotland to go to her mother's childhood home: the Lennox House. Upon arrival Amy realizes her mother's family has a strange ability to jump into stories and interact with the characters and protect the stories from anything that tries to alter the writing. They are called Book Jumpers. When Amy realizes that she is one too she explores the book world with Will who she met on the island. Together they find that there is a book thief in the stories who is altering them and stealing the book's ideas and possibly could be after their lives.

The Book Jumper is a pretty good book overall. In parts it can be predictable but others have more suspense. I would recommend this book to any fantasy reader.

Reviewer's Name: Emily S.
Genres:
Book Cover
Grabenstein, Chris
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Twelve year old Kyle Keeley loves games, and his favorites are created by Mr. Lemoncello, owner of the famous Imagination Factory. When Kyle finds out there will be a lock in at the brand new library, and Mr. Lemoncello is involved, he is determined to be there. The only thing standing in his way is an essay contest. All he has to do is write a prizewinning essay. No problem - or is it? Because the essay is due this very morning, and he hasn't got one.

I loved this book because it was full of puzzles that the reader can solve along with the characters. The characters themselves were all likeable, and my favorite was Sierra. I love how she is always reading a book! I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who loves libraries, puzzles, or games. It was fantastic!

Reviewer's Name: Madeline A.
The People of Sparks
DuPrau, Jeanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This is the second book of Ember. The book is about the people of Ember emerging to the surface. The people of Ember find the city of Sparks. The Ember people and the Sparks people have quite a bit of conflict. In the end the book resolves itself.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime
 The Catcher in the Rye
Salinger, J.D.
2 stars = Meh
Review:

This book is about a boy named Holden's life. Holden has decided to run away from school after he was suspended. He had to figure out life because he didn’t want his parents knowing. I didn’t like this book because I found it wasn’t very interesting. The reason being is it’s not very adventurous and keeps repeating negativity throughout the book.
(Reviewer Grade. 9)

Reviewer's Name: Theanna

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