Review Crew - book reviews by teens, for teens

Storm Front: A Novel of the Dresden Files
Butcher, Jim
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Jim Butcher brings to life a world filled with magic. This does not save Harry Dresden from very real problems - keeping up with rent, car troubles, and more. This gives the story a grounding in reality that makes aspects of it relatable, despite its focus on the supernatural. Dresden is stubborn, but he always tries to do the right thing. As he tries to solve multiple homicides and searches for a missing person, he finds there is something darker going on than he first believed. His race against the clock adds a thrill that makes the book hard to put down.

Reviewer's Name: Mark T.
Awards:
Genres:
V for Vendetta
Moore, Alan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

V for Vendetta follows V as he fights against an authoritarian government and trains a successor. The book questions the cost of losing art, literature, and beauty in an attempt to create complete control over society. The art adds another dimension to the story, and the colors used in V's house compared to the outside world emphasize the underlying message. V's character is captivating because he possesses such knowledge and culture yet brings destruction. This leads readers to consider the necessity of violence to preserve culture. V's mask holds similarities to Guy Fawkes', and certain actions between the two are also similar, adding historical parallels to the story. V's strong ideals and actions to back them up lead him to become the face of a revolution but at what cost?

Reviewer's Name: Mark T.
Awards:
Ready Player One
Cline, Ernest
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Ready Player One, a book by Ernest Cline, takes place in a dystopian future in 2045. The majority of the population spends most of their time inside a massive VR MMOSG, massively multiplayer online simulation game, called the Oasis. When the billionaire creator of the Oasis died, he left clues for an Easter Egg that he had hid in his game, and the first one who finds it gets his entire fortune. This story is about the adventure of Wade Watts, a kid from the Stacks in Columbus, Ohio, as he searches for that egg. This book is amazingly written, and you will be wanting to know what happens next as you read. You may have seen the movie, but the book is a masterpiece, the story is much richer, and definitely worth the read!

Reviewer's Name: Torin K.
A Tale of Two Cities
Dickens, Charles
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A Tale of Two Cities is a captivating book. Set during the period leading up to and during the French Revolution, the book details how the French aristocracy and the French Revolution affected the rich and the poor through the stories of Charles Darnay and Alexandre Monette. It also shows the angry and vengeful side of the Revolution through the Defarge's and their wine shop. A scene where a wine cask is dropped demonstrates the desperation and poverty experienced by the citizens of Paris that led to the anger behind the revolution. Dickens also brings the book to life through life-like characters that emotionally invest readers in the story. Alexandre Monette exhibits fatherly care for his daughter, yet he also struggles to deal with his time in prison, leading him to rely on his daughter for support. Sydney Carton contains likeable aspects mixed with relatable flaws that make him instantly lovable. Dickens expertly connects each scene to develop the story and foreshadows multiple aspects of the climactic ending throughout the book.

Reviewer's Name: Mark T.
Book Cover
McManus, Karen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

One of Us is Lying is a mystery novel about four high school students who are suspected for the murder of their classmate. Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, Nate, and Simon go into their after school detention following a normal day at school, but the events that happened after weren't so normal. Simon, the outcast and the creator of the high school's gossip app, has been murdered and the other students in detention claim they know nothing. Yet after his murder, the posts on his gossip app don't stop, eventually revealing some shocking things about the suspects. Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, and Nate decide to join forces and find out the truth behind Simon's murder.

Overall, this book was really good. I would have given it 5 stars but I feel like the description (from the book) is a little misleading. The book focuses on their lives after the murder of Simon Kelleher and not as much of them trying to solve the murder. While I really do like the way it explains the details of their lives, I just found it a bit misleading. Other than that, the book is great. I absolutely love the character development in this novel.

In the beginning Addy is what you might call a "dumb blonde" but later on she becomes much more independent and her character develops in many ways. I also really liked the plot twists, they completely blew me away! I can't reveal much more than that but I truly didn't expect some of the things that happened, to happen.

Reviewer's Name: Prarthana
Book Cover
Woolf, Virginia
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Waves is an astounding novel by Virginia Woolf, known as her most experimental work. The novel is split into nine sections, each separated by a short passage describing the sea at a certain time of day; as the book progresses, these intercalaries move from sunrise to sunset to mirror the lives of the characters as they age in the succeeding chapters. The Waves is unique because Woolf uses a stream of consciousness writing style to capture the thoughts of her characters rather than dialogue, enhancing her characterization and creating her own take on fiction. The novel follows the lives of six friends, beginning with their childhood together. It explores the depths of human thought and as they grow older, and dives into questions of mortality and purpose. Each of the characters is starkly different from the rest, shedding light on the complexities of life through multiple perspectives.

Woolf does an amazing job of creating emotional depth in this short yet vast novel. I found everything from her descriptions of the ocean and the earth to the nuances of ordinary life to be very beautiful. Woolf's questioning of existence through her characters led me to consider my own life, and I found myself often completely immersed in her vivid imagery and rich writing style.
This novel is realistic in that the characters are all flawed in some way, and have their own fears and dreams. The illumination of their internal conflicts through stream of consciousness makes the book very personal and intimate, which is a rare experience.

I can't even begin to do justice to The Waves, so I strongly recommend that all young adults and adults read it for themselves. It has been one of of the most thought-provoking books I've ever read, and there is something in it for everyone. Virginia Woolf's The Waves is a wise commentary on humanity and a magnificent work of art; it should be read to be believed.

Reviewer's Name: Alexa H.
Book Cover
Alcott, Louisa May
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Louisa May Alcott's well-known classic Little Women tells the story of four sisters in the time of the Civil War: Meg, who longs for a life without poverty; Jo, a tomboy and writer; Beth, quiet and kind; and Amy, who has elegant taste in art and life. These four girls, with the help of their mother, learn lessons that help them carry their burdens with thankful hearts and lean on each other throughout the trials they face. The novel spans ten years, and follows the lives of the March family and their friends. It highlights the small joys of childhood, adventures at home and abroad, growing up, loss, and falling in love.

Alcott's writing is insightful, touching, and humorous; she draws the reader in emotionally and offers her wisdom generously. Little Women is an important narrative of ordinary life which both amuses and grieves, and should be read by all teens. Not only does it put life into perspective; it also relates to teenagers today despite being written nearly two-hundred years ago. Any audience will be able to connect with at least one of the March sisters--especially young women. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy become as dear to readers as family throughout their journey to adulthood. If you enjoy heartwarming stories and historical fiction, this book is for you!

Reviewer's Name: Alexa H.
Book Cover
Lu, Marie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Prodigy is the second book in the Legend trilogy and it is just as enticing as the first. I am obsessed with this plot and again would recommend it to anyone because of the intense romanticism and thrilling fights. Not to forget, the Republic (where the main character lives) is undergoing a pandemic of its own virus, which very much connects to the issues we have faced in 2020 and now 2021 as well. This book wouldn't make sense if you read it before the first book in the series, but it has gorgeous writing nonetheless. There are so many layers to this book, especially because former background characters are being included and are now essential to the storyline. With many book series, the writing starts to lose interest or just depreciates, but absolutely not in this series. And after this book, it gets even more alluring.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime P.
Awards:
Book Cover
Lu, Marie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I read the first book of the Legend trilogy (Legend) for a school summer reading assignment, but I fell in love with it and finished the series of books. I would recommend this book to anyone because it is easy to understand, and very entertaining. This was written from the first-person point of view, but each chapter switches off between the two main characters, who are also the novel's love interests. This unique writing style allows the readers to get even more background info than if it was told by one single character. Not only is there an interesting romance twist, but there are thrilling fighting scenes and plenty of unexpected deceit. This is perfect for any gender and anyone from the age of 12+. When reading, I enjoyed this with another friend who also fell in love with the plot and read the whole trilogy, so if thrilling romance books are your thing, try this book.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime P.
Book Cover
Golding, William
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book begins with the crashing of a schoolboy's evacuation plane, which leaves them stranded on an island and left to fend for themselves. It is rich in figurative language, although it may be hard for some people to understand because it is written in old-style English. Symbolism is a strong component as well, considering that this book is an allegory, so paying attention to every detail and symbol is important. The author wrote the characters to display a mental change, which emphasizes how the lack of civilization transforms these young schoolboys into feral beasts. The ending of this novel sums it up perfectly and explains any actions that might've confused the readers when enjoying this book.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime P.
Book Cover
Young, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book takes place in a not too distant future. "The Program" puts a spin on a real-world issue and shows what could end up happening in our world if the issue does not get contained. The issue being teen suicide. At the time of this story, teen suicide has been deemed an epidemic. As suicide rapidly spreads, The Program is created to "cure" these teens of the sickness. Their ways of treatment are unconventional, to say the least. Through this book, main character Sloane deals with tragic loss, falling in love, and losing all sense of herself. Suzanne Young writes this story in a way that is both intriguing and heart-wrenching. It is beyond easy to become attached to these characters as you get to know them in both a humorous and emotional way.

Through the ups and downs of the character's lives, you grow and suffer right alongside them. This is a book that just keeps on giving. It is easy to understand but also written in a way that makes you question your life, your thoughts, and your relationships. Full of twists and turns, this book has many surprises that make it hard to put down. As the first book of a series, The Program leaves you wanting more. Plot twist after plot twist leaves you sitting on the edge of your seat as you wait for the next book to be available. You can only hope that soon, you will get all your questions answered in Suzanne Young's "The Treatment"

Reviewer's Name: Star B.
Genres:
The Boys in the Boat
Brown, Daniel James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Boys in the Boat tells the story of how nine men took gold during the 1936
Olympics in Berlin. As you read the book, you will feel the struggles of the
men to make the Washington rowing team as Juniors, compete for a spot in the
first boat as seniors, and overcome the biggest challenge yet in winning the
gold medal. This book is an easy five stars because of character development
and an easy to follow plot. I would recommend this book to anyone who wanted
to read about one of the most important Olympic gold medalists.

Reviewer's Name: Zach
Chains
Anderson, Laurie Halse
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Isabel is a thirteen-year old slave who is trying to gain her and her
sister's freedom. After their master died, Isabel and Ruth were supposed to
be freed, but were sold to a Loyalist couple who brings them to New York.
After an incident where Isabel is branded, Ruth if sold to a family in a
different state. Determined to find her, Isabel takes the advice of her
friend and servant boy, Curzon. Isabel becomes a spy on her master and other
Loyalists and reports back to the Patriots. Later, when Curzon is arrested,
she breaks him out of jail and the two run away to look for her sister.

Even though the novel is fictional, the events are based on the American
Revolutionary War, and it's pretty accurate. As someone who likes history and
adventure, this book was a good balance of both. Despite her circumstances,
Isabel remains a positive character and does everything to protect her sister
and those she loves. Obviously, there's some sensitive topics since they're
slaves, but I do think this book gives good information about the
Revolutionary War and how African Americans were ironically very helpful to
the Patriot cause.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Genres:
Forge
Anderson, Laurie Halse
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The sequel to Chains, this story follows Curzon's life as a soldier for the
Patriots during the American Revolutionary War. After Isabel abandoned him to
look for her sister, Curzon finds himself on the outskirts of Valley Forge.
After saving a soldier from a British troop, Curzon enlists in the Colonial
Army for the next year. The book describes Curzon's life at Valley Forge: the
strenuous labor, harsh winter climate, lack of food and resources, and the
racism Curzon experiences from other soldiers. Not long in his stay, his
former master visits the camp and forces Curzon back into servitude. For the
rest of the novel, Curzon plots his escape and reunites with Isabel.

I wasn't expecting the second book to be told through a different point of
view, but Curzon's story is just as touching as Isabel's. I also think that
the book is a good perspective of the life of a soldier at Valley Forge. The
events were relatively accurate, and throughout, I felt tense and anxious to
know about what would happen next. I thoroughly enjoyed Curzon and Isabel's
reunion, and I'm thrilled that there's a third book to the series.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Genres:
Ashes
Anderson, Laurie Halse
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The final book in the Seeds of America trilogy, Isabel is finally reunited
with Ruth. However, when she meets Ruth, who has epilepsy and a degree of
intellectual disability, she rejects Isabel to stay with her adopted family.
Eventually, after convincing Ruth to accompany Isabel, Curzon, and a third
slave, Aberdeen, the four teens go out to search for freedom. They travel
north until making it to Williamsburg where the girls work in a laundry, and
we find out that Curzon joined the Patriot army and Aberdeen became a spy for
the British. Separated briefly, Isabel and Ruth reunite with Curzon at a
Continental Army camp.

After all of Isabel, Ruth, and Curzon's suffering, the ending was a big
breath of relief. Everything seemed to fall in place finally. This book,
besides providing good information about the Revolutionary War and colonial
society, showed how just like White Americans, African Americans wanted to
forge their own identities and fight for what they believed it; whether that
was freedom, family, or love. Even though the main characters are fictional,
I felt like I was reading someone's real experiences and story from the past.
I also liked the list of all the historical events that took place over the
course of the trilogy that the author provided at the end.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Genres:
Misery
King, Stephen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Stephen King is my favorite author, so of course I wanted to read this book! I remember seeing the movie and also really liking it. Misery is about an author who gets rescued from a car crash by his Number One Fan. Things quickly go south when his rescuer, Annie Wilkes, holds him captive in her house. This book is really suspenseful and you never know what is going to happen next. I would highly recommend this book, in my opinion it’s one of his best!

Reviewer's Name: Emani
Of Mice and Men
Steinbeck, John
2 stars = Meh
Review:

I read this book my Freshman year of high school for English class. I know that Steinbeck is a very famous author, but I just didn’t really care for this book. I thought the story, which is about two men looking for work during the Great Depression is rather boring. I cry while reading sad parts in books all the time, but for some reason the sad ending in Mice and Men just wasn’t as sad as people made it out to be. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book, I didn’t like the plot or Steinbeck’s writing style.

Reviewer's Name: Emani
Awards:
Big Little Lies
Moriarty, Liane
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Big Little Lies is about a group of parents who come to know each other when their kids all start kindergarten together and all their drama collides and ends with a death. I loved how this book kept me interested the whole time. Every chapter something new is thrown at the reader. All the characters were very well developed and everything came together very nicely. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good book that can keep you interested through the whole book just wanting to get to the end to know what happens.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
Beach Bags and Burglaries
Howell, Dorothy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Haley Randolph and her friends have just won a free trip to one of the most high-end resorts in the California area. However, the minute they arrive on shore, things start taking a turn for the worse. One of the resort staff's bodies were found at the bottom of a cliff, and Haley suspects that foul play was afoot. Thus, she winds up plunged into solving yet another murder case, all while looking for her best friend's stolen underwear (I'm not kidding) and the latest and hottest beach bag: the Sea Vixen.

Overall, I think this novel was very well done. The mystery flows as smooth as Mondo Butter, the side plots are entertaining, the characters are great, and the writing itself left me unable to put it down. However, this book is not for everyone, as its girly tone and bag search side plot won't appeal to guys all that well. The mystery can also be a bit hard to follow at times, and it starts out really slow, although it does pick up the pace after the first few chapters. Overall, I recommend this to any girl who likes a good cozy.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi
We Told Six Lies
Scott, Victoria
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

We Told Six Lies is about a girl who is kidnapped and her boyfriend is the lead suspect. The whole book is not as it seems though. The whole story is quite disturbing and only gets worse as the book goes on. While the book is really well written and all pieces come together very well, the storyline is not my favorite. It was a book that I was not able to put down until I had found out what had happened and was not disappointed by the ending. Overall I would recommend this book for a more mature teen reader because of how disturbing it is.

Reviewer's Name: Jana

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