Review Crew - book reviews by teens, for teens

The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The young adult book genre for the most part fells boring and stale to me. However, there was one book that I found to be great, and a real page turner, it was called Maze Runner. The book took me two days to finish, because it was such a page turner. The characters are great, the mystery is intriguing, and the drama is fun to read about. This book is one of my favorites and is a must read for everyone.

Reviewer's Name: McKinley
Eragon
Paolini, Christopher
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Eragon is one of the best books I have read in a long time. The story and its characters drew me into this new and existing world. The author also made me want to learn more about the world history and culture. While the story was somewhat like Star Wars, it had enough new elements to make it different. This book will leave a lasting impression on anyone who loves fantasy or for people looking for an adventurous book to read.

Reviewer's Name: McKinley
Heartless
Meyer, Marissa
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is about the Queen of Hearts and how she became so evil. Catherine's dream in life is to be the best baker of all of Hearts. These skills end up wooing the king and he eventually asks for her hand in marriage. Her mother wants her to agree, but Cath soon finds her heart is drawn to someone else, the mysterious Joker. With Hearts under attack by the dangerous Jabberwocky, Catherine gets pulled into an adventure that soon unfolds the reasons behind her infamous tale in the book: Alice in Wonderland.

I really liked this book mostly because of the characters. They were really well developed and I felt as if I knew them and was a part of their story. The plotline gets really slow in the middle, but by the end, I really enjoyed it. Meyer is the same author who wrote the Cinder Series. Even though this book is not like the Cinder Series, they are still really similar, so if you enjoyed that series, you will like this book.

Reviewer's Name: Emma
Fablehaven
Mull, Brandon
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book has you reading it and asking, what the heck is going on? The more you read it, the more you find out and the more you want to find out. Brandon has built a fun, magical world with this book, and it is so easy to get lost in it. I read it and fell in love with the characters and all of the mystical beings. It's such a fun fantasy book, and the creatures range from cute, to beautiful, to scary, to downright murders and I love it. If you are looking for a good fantasy book definitely check this one out!

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
Awards:
All American Boys
Reynolds, Jason and Kiely, Brendan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

My friends told me about the tv show All American, so I decided to read the book All American Boys first. I thought it was the same thing at first, just one as a book and the other as a movie, but it isn't. Both have different plots and stories even though they both talk about racism.This book is about police brutality and racism from the eyes and perspectives of two young high school boys. It's a very emotional and sad book even though it could be and was very true in the past and still in the present. This book strongly mixes up your emotions into a twist but overall, is a really good book. The book starts with Rashad getting beaten up by cops and Quinn seeing the whole thing, starting their fight for justice.

Reviewer's Name: Trisha
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Volume 3
Gotouge, Koyoharu
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Volume 3 is a perfect introduction to the real world of the demon slayers. After Tanjiro faces off against two powerful demons, we meet Zenitsu, the second main protagonist. The lore of the demon race really starts to unfold in this volume, and seeing it be almost as fleshed out as that of the Demon Slayer Corps is very intriguing. As the exposition starts to pick up the pace towards the main plot, the action and drawing are beautiful. Again, I would recommend this volume to those continuing the series. This graphic novel is relatively light and easy to get invested in, so anyone could get into it!

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Volume 2
Gotoge, Koyoharu
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

While the first volume of this wonderful series was a straightforward backstory, volume 2 presents a glimpse at what makes Demon Slayer so entertaining. The sub-plots start being developed with Tanjiro joining the Demon Slayer Corps. Much of the main cast is introduced, and the real thrill and dangers of the series are introduced. The atmosphere of the series comes out in full force during these chapters, and as just the second volume, many events are set up perfectly. Overall, I would recommend this graphic novel series to anyone continuing the series. If you are looking to get into this fantastic world, starting with the TV show or volume 1 is the way to go.

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Volume 1
Gotoge, Koyoharu
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The first volume of Demon Slayer serves as a fantastic exposition to the main protagonist Kamado Tanjiro. It builds up his basic backstory and also sets the plot of the story. The art style and designs of the graphic novel are captivating and seeing some of the intricate foreshadowings during a reread is entertaining. As much as I love the series altogether, the introduction is rather basic and is not very innovative other than through its concept. Overall, I would recommend this volume to anyone looking for a new graphic novel or series to get invested in.

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Romeo and Juliet
Shakespeare, William
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Many have probably heard of this book, one of Shakespeare's best dramas written. Everyone has probably heard about how it's of how two lovers who try to keep a relationship through their parents' everlasting feud, but there's much more to it. It's not only about love, but also about trust, death, and interconnecting relationships. It's about heartbreak and pain washed away with heartache and drama. But one thing is for sure, the two won't stop trying to be together until death takes them apart.

Reviewer's Name: Trisha
Cruel Prince
Black, Holly
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Cruel Prince was an amazing and extremely unique book that I absolutely loved. I fell in love with the characters, and while this book was a bit predictable, I loved it anyway. The world that this book took place in was completely magical, as was the plot and the characters. From a strong female lead, to a charming prince, these characters could not have been more perfect. The writing was very poetic, and only added to the magic of the story.
Reviewer grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Sage
Six of Crows
Bardugo, Leigh
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I absolutely loved this book. The plot was amazing, and the world building was really well done. One of my favorite aspects of this book was how dynamic the characters were. While I couldn't necessarily relate to any of the struggles the characters were going through, I really appreciated the diversity and uniqueness in each of them. This book was completely unpredictable with the plot constantly taking all sorts of unexpected twists and turns. Overall, Six of Crows was one of the best books I have read all year.
Reviewer grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Sage
Robinson Crusoe
Defoe, Daniel
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Robinson Crusoe is an incredibly fun novel to read. It is a fictional autobiography about the character Robinson Crusoe and his adventures while shipwrecked on an island. While the book does use some confusing language at times, the creative results it produces are greatly entertaining. The book starts slow, however, the pacing of the book almost depicts the exact development of Crusoe through his stagnant start and then a life of adventure later on. Around a third into the book, Robinson Crusoe simply states that he would focus on only the important parts of his adventure due to his lack of ink. It is at this point where the book starts to shine, and Robinson's island survival starts to mix supernaturalism and realism. The novel does not have any super deep themes and rather opts to just tell a straightforward story, unlike many modern island survival novels that attempt to be thought-provoking. Overall, the novel was a fantastic read. I would recommend this book to any person that enjoys adventure and survival.

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Book Review: Invisible Man
Ellison, Ralph
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man is an essential American classic. Written in the late 1940s, it tells the story of a young African American man who moves north during the Harlem Renaissance and faces many trials as he attempts to find his place in society. This novel is a candid portrayal of life for Black Americans in the pre-Civil Rights era, exposing the hardships and prejudices that are often overlooked in retrospect but were all too real for Blacks during this time. It is honest, reflective, and blunt; often unsettling and disturbing. A central theme of Ellison's novel is the idea of blindness and how it affects identity. The protagonist is left confused and misguided as a result of the blindness of those he encounters, trying to fit into the expectations of others, until at last he realizes that he is, and has always been, "invisible" to society. With this revelation, the invisible man at last finds his own identity.

The novel recounts all of the events leading to the protagonist's discovery of his invisibility, beginning at his colored college in the south and taking the audience north to Harlem. The protagonist faces many different circumstances which reveal just how marginalized Blacks were in the United States in the 30s; each episode is a testament to the challenges faced by African Americans (even a reflection of the challenges faced by African Americans today) due to the blind discrimination of white people. Each incident faced by the invisible man is largely a reiteration of previous ones, merely taking place in different circumstances, which emphasizes his lack of identity--even his own blindness. Eventually, due to an unfortunate incident, the protagonist loses all sense of who he used to be, and this is what allows him to begin to make change--for better or worse. There are numerous violent and suggestive scenes in this novel, so I would recommend it to older, more mature teenagers.

Ellison takes his readers on a powerful, enlightening journey with Invisible Man. His compelling writing is intertwined with tragic humor and soulful undertones of blues and jazz, the backdrop for an incredibly raw and moving novel. The invisible man's story is very relevant to society today, and Ellison's messages should serve as reminders to us all. I believe every American would benefit from reading this novel at some point in their life; it illustrates such an important part of our nation's history, and that of African Americans. Ellison portrays the protagonist's emotions with such introspective depth, every conflict and thought explored in all its complexities. Invisible Man may not be a particularly fun read, but it is important and it is worthwhile.

Reviewer's Name: Alexa
Book Review: Caraval
Garber, Stephanie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Caraval was an exciting and very original take on Alice in Wonderland, and I loved it. From two strong female leads to a heart wrenching romance, Caraval has it all. This book is filled with all sorts of twists and turns, and was completely unpredictable. I loved the magical world that Caraval is set in, and was a huge fan of the mystery theme in the story. The character development was extremely good, and I loved the tone that the author wrote the story in. Caraval is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone looking for a bit of adventure.

Reviewer's Name: Nicholas
Renegades
Meyer, Marissa
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Renegades is an action-packed, intriguing, forbidden romance-filled story. Unlike classic "hero vs. villain" stories, this story shows the ups and downs of both sides, and makes you question who the real villains are and what makes someone a real hero. The dual main character style from both Nova and Adrian's point of view adds a real depth and feeling to the book. It was easy to tell each point of view, and they collided and cooperated with each other, showing the inner workings and feelings of both characters and what they were faced with. The duality not only allows you to get to know each character better, but also lets you see the world from both different points of view, the Renegades, and the Anarchists. Nova and Adrian were both likable and understandable. From Nova's want for vengeance, and Adrian's want for justice, you get to see and experience the choices they make, the sacrifices required, and the unknowing relationship and connection between the two as they pursue their desires. Paired with the amazing setting of a futuristic utopia yet broken society, the flow and purpose of the story is just fantastic.

Reviewer's Name: Evelyn
Awards:
Unwind
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Okay let's get the bad stuff out of the way. To start things off, many times throughout the book it feels a bit slow. I find myself trying to read a part of the book, hoping that something exhilarating will happen, but it turns out to be slow. Following that, sometimes things felt the opposite and felt rushed. At some points of the book, I feel like some plot twists/reveals were forced into happening and being revealed. I would think to myself that it's a bit cliche. But otherwise, there's nothing else that really bothers me.

Now the neutral/mixed emotions. Sometimes the transitions are very good; making the audience know another character's POV at the time of an event. Other times... well it's a little dull. For example, one scene you'd be at an action paced-fight, the other, you'd be having a conversation. But yeah this is the only neutral/mixed emotion factor.

Now the amazing stuff. The characters are absolutely amazing, the plot is amazing, and the action-paced scenes are amazing. I cannot use words to describe how much I love Neal Shusterman's unique way of writing. The way that the characters interact with the world around them, and overcome the problems and struggles put before them really draws you in, and they dynamic between the characters themselves is also amazing. Really love it!

Reviewer's Name: Evelyn
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope
Kamkwamba, William and Mealer, Bryan
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book is one of the most inspirational stories I've ever read. The journey put forth, following William, is truly a gem that makes you think about what could've happened if something had been different. I loved reading it because I felt every details of William's journey to develop his windmill that put him on fame. His determination to prove that science is 'real' and can make a difference, especially during a time and in a culture that rejects it, shows his character and his want for a better life in his land. He perseveres through the struggles of drought and hunger, and overcomes the ridicule thrown from all sides to be able to rise up and rise above, and make his visions come true. A really inspirational story, that shows a hero's journey in a way not usually thought.

Reviewer's Name: Evelyn
Awards:
Six of Crows
Bardugo, Leigh
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book just has it all. Whether it be fantasy, crime, mystery or romance. It was a real heart-wrenching novel. The fact that she shows the story from the perspective of all six characters and tells their personal stories too is amazing. Although this book is manly based on a heist, we also get to know about the setting/world around them, and get a unique look into the lives of each character and why all of them are in the situation they're in. And the fact that so much is going on in this novel, but doesn't feel chaotic or difficult to understand at all, and has amazing flow and structure, really adds to the immersive sensation. Altogether the character and world building in this story is amazing, and each and every character’s perspectives were enjoyable to read. The backstories of each character is amazing, the setting is amazing, and the slow-burn to fast-acting action and story progression keeps you on edge and wanting more.

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

Scythe is the first book of the Arc of a Scythe trilogy, that follows dual main characters Rowan and Citra. Set in the far-future, natural death has been practically eliminated thanks to technology and the "Thunderhead," and only those dubbed "scythes," which are basically reapers, can truly kill someone. This book set up the perfect utopian world, whilst being filled with joy and sorrow. Throughout the book you learn about the interactions and struggles of characters that aren't so different from today's people. The flow was fantastic, always making you want to know more and making the jump between character perspectives really work. The inclusion of 'scythe journals' in between the chapters adds a personable feature and gives an insight into the lives of characters that while they may not be specific to the story, and important to the context and groundwork. Every character that was introduced felt so human and real and makes you wonder what it would be to live in their world. The two main characters felt like they were connected in a deep and important way, yet they also felt so different and so alive that the dual-lead works. From the world to the characters, this book will have you wanting to know more, and wondering about life in an era without true death.

Reviewer's Name: Evelyn
Dave Barry's Greatest Hits
Barry, Dave
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Dave Barry’s slapstick comedy has never been funnier than it is in Dave Barry’s Greatest Hits. It is filled with the funniest columns of his career, and they are certain to please. Barry’s style of humor will make even the sternest of audience chuckle, and it is sure to brighten your day. I enjoyed this book very much, and it has helped me through some stressful times. I would recommend it to anyone in need of a pick me up, or just looking to have a couple laughs.
Reviewer's Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Harrison
Genres:

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