Review Crew - book reviews by teens, for teens

Today Tonight Tomorrow
Solomon, Rachel Lynn
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book surprised me as far as good pacing and witty banter. It seemed like an average enemies-to-lovers book, which it is, but something about the characters' deep discussions and interests intrigued me. The main characters, Rowan and Neil, have been high school competitors for years to become the top of their class, never before stopping to consider that their passion to be the best hindered the discovery of similarities between them. Rowan and Neil had great chemistry and I could easily understand the pressures and concerns they had as newly-graduated high school seniors. Some reviews argued that the author tried to address too many issues in one book (misogyny, anti-Semitism, veganism, etc.), but my opinion is that there isn't a limit on how much you can advocate for equality in one book! Try this one out, it might surprise you.
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
Awards:
A Little Life
Yanagihara, Hanya
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is very heavy and grim, but Hanya Yanagihara gives a detailed insight into living with disabilities, mental illness, and addiction. I became attached to the characters from the start. Four young men- Jude, Willem, JB, and Malcom, have been best friends since being college roommates in New York, but their individual lives and struggles make it complicated to work through their mid-life crises. Despite the grief and somber moments in A Little Life, I appreciated the resilient mentors that the four, especially Jude, had. It had a loving message of always having a support system somewhere even if it doesn't feel like it, and that your past doesn't define you- your present choices do. However, the ending was open ended and left a lot for me to ponder over later. I'd recommend this if you like more somber, down to earth books (and if you're a fast reader, because this book took forever to read!)
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
The Kiss Quotient
Hoang, Helen
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I appreciated a more realistic, but equally heartwarming, romance novel to break up the many cookie-cutter books of the genre. In The Kiss Quotient, the main character Stella seeks advice to find a romantic partner. It's only a matter of time before the man who agrees to help makes her reconsider who she is looking to impress. Stella's witty lines and her experience with Asperger's were interesting to read about and made me appreciate the romantic scenes even more because not every party or conversation went as expected. It was also cool to follow a main character that is self-confident and extremely brilliant. Nothing particularly stuck out to me as negative about the book, but it was fast-paced and surface level which just isn't my favorite kind of book.
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
Fahrenheit 451 book jacket
Bradbury, Ray
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is a dystopian novel written in 1953. Although some of the concepts and references are harder to understand due to when the story is written, it still holds many good messages relevant today. In this novel, books are banned, and firefighters burn houses with books inside instead of saving them. They are the protectors of happiness because books make people unhappy. Fahrenheit 451 follows a fireman, Guy Montag, as he starts asking questions about his job and society. This novel has many hidden meanings and is worth the time to read. The author does a beautiful job of keeping the writing and concepts simple enough for younger audiences. Overall, I would give it a five out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
The Stand
King, Stephen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Stand by Stephen King is uniquely a classic tale of good and evil facing off. This novel follows sundry people in a world after the deadly flu, which kills most of the population. While the remaining population is drawn to two people, one represents evil and the other good. The question that readers will be left with is: who will win? This question remains as various characters are introduced who are relatable and could pass for real people. The characters face many challenges, romance, action, adventure, and so much more. The ending to this stunning book could not be predicted and will keep any reader guessing. As with any Stephen King book, the writing style is distinct and will not be boring throughout the novel. It is a peephole to 1978 with vocabulary and culture. The Stand will not disappoint anyone willing to take on the challenge of a long, complex book. Overall I would give it a five out of five stars.

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

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is an incredible book that turns the bad guys into the good guys. It will entertain you until the end and you will never want to stop reading it! In the international trade center of Ketterdam, the melting pot of the world, Kaz Brekker, mastermind criminal and gang leader builds a team of six criminals and misfits to pull off an impossible heist that- if they succeed- could make them all richer than they could ever imagine. Together, a convict from across the sea, a horrible gambler but a remarkable sharpshooter, a runaway merchants son, the Wraith a spy able to go anywhere unheard and unseen, a woman with magic powerful enough to stop the heart, and Kaz, the most dangerous thief in the whole of Ketterdam join forces to try their hand at inconceivable riches.
This book is filled with clever schemes and plans and is action-packed, always keeping you on your toes for what might happen next. It has you constantly trying to untangle the endless personalities and strategies of the characters and it leaves you hungry for more. Six of Crows truly brings the world of fantasy to life and honors the word with how astonishingly brilliant the tale is. It is constantly surprising and always going to shock you. If you are longing for a book you just can't put down, this is the one for you.
I thought this book was amazing because it is filled with countless twists and turns. I love trying to figure out all of the hints and puzzles that the author plants in this book! I think this book was extremely well written and the characters were very in-depth and engaging, they were complex like real people and made the story feel very authentic. It was exactly what I was looking for in a fantasy book, a little out of this world with just the right touch of the alluring unruly side in which these characters reside. I read a lot of fantasy books and I have to say that this was undoubtedly one of the best I have read. I would recommend it for most ages but it is one of the best for teens who love fantasy. (I would suggest readers 12+ because it can be a bit violent at times). Overall, Six of Crows is an enveloping book that I would certainly put forward to anyone looking for a great read!
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Ella
The Inheritance Games
Barnes, Jennifer Lynn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is one of the best books I have ever read! It is an amazing book for tweens and older, with a slight romantic touch to add to the book that mixes very well with the mysterious game the characters play. Inheritance Games is about a teenage girl, Avery Grambs, who grew up with very little money to her name. Soon she learns that she has inherited most of the multi-billionaire, Tobias Hawthorne's wealth and land, and has no connection to the family entirely. At first, her incredible luck might seem extremely fortunate but to keep her newfound wealth she must live with Tobias's remaining complex and tricky family, while solving one last riddle left by Tobias Hawthorne himself, to figure out why she, not the other Hawthorne's, inherited his riches. You will get hooked on this game of affection and jealousy as the elaborate characters figure out what they value more; money or friendship.
I wholeheartedly adored this book! It had so many plot twists and turns so you can never guess what might happen next and it was full of intricate clues and riddles that are soo entertaining and surprised you every time. I picked this book because I wanted a mystery that was more centered around the teenage crowd than the adult theme of missing persons or other crimes and this book did not disappoint! It was so well written and devised, that I truly felt as if I was in the book with Avery and the Hawthorne brothers. I enjoyed the mystery because it was written so well that every time I reread this book I see so many new aspects and clues in the story. It is one of the best mysteries I have read before and it was filled with surprises. The author wrote the book so well and every character was relatable and had so many ups and downs like real people. The emotions and feelings that were put into the characters and the book were interesting and engaging until the end. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone because it will be a great read!

Reviewer's Name: Ella
Awards:
The House on Mango Street
Cisneros, Sandra
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is a coming-of-age story that follows a Latina girl living in Chicago. It is a story about finding who you are and your place in the world. This book is fun, simple, and written so anyone can read it. The book does not have to be read in any order, and the individual chapters carry so much meaning. The book is heartbreaking and inspiring, touching the reader's heart with warmth. This book will not disappoint. Overall, I would give it a five out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
Genres:
The Werewolf of Fever Swamp
Stine, R. L.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book was super great! I love scary books and especially movies. I wish that R.L. Stein would make every book into a movie. It was so easy to read and I read it in a few hours. It is all about a family that moves into this house that was literally next to this swamp called fever swamp in Florida. The main character Grady can't sleep because he hears howling all night long. Grady does a lot.of exploring and finds a lot of crazy things. He finds a mutilated rabbit, a dead deer. He meets someone from the area named Will. Grady keeps exploring when he finds and hears things that aren't right, and the ending....it totally shocked me. It was so good.
-an almost 9th grader

Reviewer's Name: Sophia
Genres:
Charlotte's Web
White, E. B.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book was good, but kind of old. It is a book about a girl named fern and she saved a pig from being killed. She named him Wilbur and he became kind of like her pet. Wilbur became bff's with a spider named Charlotte. I did like how the author described everything. It was very sweet how she made you feel like Wilbur and Charlotte were real and they were really friends. I did get nervous before the ending of the story for how it would end up.
-an almost 9th grader

Reviewer's Name: Sophia
Genres:
It Sounded Better In My Head
Kenwood, Nina
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book was real easy to read and for me to get interested in. It is a story about a girl who had real life problems. The book tells the story of her after she gets out of school and how she just keeps running into problems. Like her parents get divorced, I could relate to her on this because my parents got divorced when I was 7. I like reading about real life stuff because it makes me feel like I am not alone with my things. I hope that the author writes a sequel to this book.
-an almost 9th grader

Reviewer's Name: Sophia
Animal Farm
Orwell, George
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book was pretty good. It was a little harder to get into than I thought it would be. The plot of the story was all about these animals on a farm, and how they wanted to have equality with the farmer. It is an old book that was written in 1945, but I thought it was really crazy how it is similar to some of the modern day issues the world is facing. My big sister has read it and we talked about it a lot, I think it is a better book for adults than for teen agers (I'm 14). The ending was not what I expected.
- almost 9th grader

Reviewer's Name: Sophia
A Teen's Guide The 5 Love Languages: How to Understand Yourself and Improve All Your Relationships
Chapman, Gary D.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book was so good! I actually read it because I was fighting with my bf and was telling my mom about it and she told me to read this. I actually found out that my love language is words of affirmation. I like the book because it was really easy to read, and I actually feel like I learned things that are real important in dating and even in just friendships. I told my bf he should read it!

Reviewer's Name: Sophia
Normal People
Rooney, Sally
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Normal People by Sally Rooney beautifully follows Marianne and Connell’s on again off again relationship. I really loved this book and I felt as if I was there growing with the characters. This story does not follow much of a plot, it is more about watching Marianne and Connell grow and develop as people. Rooney addresses mental health and abuse and the way Marianne and Connell were always there for each other literally makes me scream. The story begins when they are in high school with Connell being a well liked soccer player and Marianne being pretty much the opposite. It follows them through college and all their ups, downs, mistakes, and triumphs. This is a fairly easy read and I was able to finish it in no time at all.

Reviewer's Name: Keira N
Under the Dome
King, Stephen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In this story (which holds heavy resemblance to the "Gone" series by Michael Grant), a small town is trapped within a invisible and impenetrable barrier (or dome if you prefer), leaving the inhabitants to fend for themselves against the lack of resources and each other as a power struggle appears in the midst of the crisis.
Similar to another 1000+ page book of King's, Under the Dome has a multitude of interesting and developed characters, a driving force for the majority of the plot, and a heavy lead up that concludes well enough, but a little underwhelming. Watching all the people within the town slowly morph to party, if you will, was great. The mystery of the dome is, of course, speculated throughout the story and gives a small sense of mystery while the conflict continues on. After the climax, however, things slow down to a pretty lackluster conclusion. I feel there could have been something more climatic in the final 50-100 pages of the story. I'm not mad at how it ended, but I felt it could have done a bit more that what it did. Even with that, it was a great book, even with the extensive length.
Reviewer's Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Antwaan
Genres:
Rhythm of War
Sanderson, Brandon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Rhythm of War is the final book in the Stormlight Archive series. A year after the singer invasion, the war has only just begun, and it's already looking bad. The singers have seized Urithiru, leaving the Radiants in in the tower unconscious, except for two, one who always survives, and one who steals food to be awesome. Set from the perspective of Navani, who has to try to stall for time before the tower's spren, the Sibling, is fully corrupted and the tower itself turns against humans. Even the shield is a liability, because the required nodes can be used to corrupt the Sibling, but without them, the shield will fail and leave the Sibling's heart open to be corrupted. Rhythm of War is an exciting, suspenseful conclusion to the Stormlight Archive, and probably in my top 3 books. And I read A LOT of books. 👍

Reviewer's Name: Kai
They Both Die at the End
Silvera, Adam
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

They Both Die at the End is a perfect book for both tweens and teens! Set in a futuristic time where the "Death-Cast" can predict your death, two teenage boys, Mateo and Rufus, meet through an app that leads you to your last friend. Both of them are on their death day, wanting to live memories they never got to and they learn how much of a gift it is to find love, even in your last hours. Though Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, they connect in a way they never could with anyone else and live the short life they wanted together.
I loved this book because it was deep and meaningful. It gave thought to so many things and made a day last an eternity. I stayed up all night reading this book because I just couldn't put it down, it was entrapping how the author put down their last moments together as a story with so many lessons to learn from. I picked this book because it was different than what I normally read and because I wondered how the author would put it together, knowing that the title gave it all away. I was not disappointed at all! If anything, I was only sad and disappointed about how it ended, otherwise, the book was fantastic. Even though the title of the book is a complete spoiler, by the end you never see it coming and it is so sad when you realize the book is over. The ending was very predictable but it will surprise you even though you know it will happen. It was an amazing book about their story of gay love and I ended up crying at the end because it was so beautiful. The author made the boys very relatable and emotional in a way that truly hooked you into the book. This is one of the best books I've read this year and I would certainly recommend that you read it too!

Reviewer's Name: Ella R.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Blume, Judy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I read this book because my mom wouldn't stop talking about how she LOVED this book when she grew up. It was pretty funny. It is a book about.a kid in the fourth grade that has a little brother. And the little brother was just SO cute that everyone, not just his parents gave all of the attention to the brother. That part I can kinda understand. I have a little sister and for real babies usually get all of everyone's attention. It made him feel like a nothing. I liked the book because I could definitely relate to it, and it was pretty easy to read. I think it would probably be better for like middle school kids or younger to read. But it was good.

Reviewer's Name: Sophia
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Rowling, J. K.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I have never really been good at reading long books, but my sister kept talking about the Harry Potter books and so I read the sorcerer's stone, and it was so good. I have a hard time actually picturing what's going on in the books, but the way that JK Rowling writes made it easy. The book is all about a fantasy world full of magic and wizards and spells and witchcraft. I literally wish I went to Hogwarts. If I did I would be a ravenclaw. I am really good at riddles.
Reviewer's Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Sophia
After Life: My Journey from Incarceration to Freedom
Johnson, Alice Marie
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book was pretty good. The main reason I picked to read it was because I thought it was crazy that Kim K took such an interest in the author. So, the lady that wrote the book got arrested for drugs and in was in the 90s. She got sentenced to life in prison. She served 20 years and then Kim K heard wanted to help her get out since she was a non violent criminal. She literally contacted the president to get her out. I did find the story interesting because not many celebrities do things like that. She literally fought for the author who was a stranger to her. It was pretty good.

Reviewer's Name: Sophia V