Review Crew - book reviews by teens, for teens

The Joy Luck Club
Tan, Amy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book expresses the powerful spirits of four Chinese American mothers and daughters. The four mothers formed the Joy Luck Club after creating a strong bond with one another over mahjong after all four moved from China to San Francisco. Each mother holds her own unique struggle while living in China and while raising their "Americanized" children. As the daughters grow they realize that they shouldn't have rejected their Chinese heritage when they were young. Their mothers also wonder if they raised their daughters the right or wrong way because they were able to gift them with the independent spirit of an American, but may have disconnected them from their Chinese culture. While the book describes the lives of each mother and daughter, the plot mainly focuses on Jing-mei (June) Woo who, after her
mother passes away, travels to China to reconnect with the twin daughters her mother was forced to leave in China. Though this story follows the tales of Chinese women, I believe that anyone can find a connection to the struggles and conflicts these women faced.

Reviewer's Name: Jenna W.
The Girl with Seven Names
Lee, Hyeonseo with David John.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Hyeonseo Lee is a young woman who was able to escape North Korea after years of determination and courage. Lee explains in great detail the brainwashing she and all other North Koreans have gone through and how they continue to be treated by their oppressive government. She also offers an insight into the daily life of a North Korean and thoroughly explains that the indoctrination is not the fault of the people, but the tyrannical governments. At the young age of 17, Lee must leave everything she has known behind as she escapes on her own and makes her way across the North Koreans and Chinese border (intending to make South Korea her final destination). While on the run, Lee realizes that her journey may not be as easy as she expected. Following her successful mission, she is able to flourish even more than she originally envisioned. As you read this book, you'll finally learn why she came to be known as "the girl with seven names."

Reviewer's Name: Jenna W.
Crazy Rich Asians
Kwan, Kevin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Rachel Chu expects to be met with an average trip when her boyfriend Nick Young invites her to Singapore, but when she arrives she is met with Nick's childhood home that is beyond anything she could ever imagine. She has
unknowingly been dating one of Asia's most eligible bachelors. Rachel is eventually met by the crazy rich of Singapore and is forced to endure their strong criticisms, especially by Nick's judgmental mother Eleanor. Kwan exposes the vast riches and glamorous lives of the crazy rich of Singapore. Though the massive Young, T'sien, and Shang family tree can be confusing at times, it allows every reader to personally connect to at least one character and expresses and variety of personalities within this grand family. The novel will transport you to a world that is all too real. If you have seen and enjoyed the movie, I can guarantee that you will definitely be blown away by the book. The novel expands beyond the movie's humor and highly emotional scenes and drastically improves its impact.

Reviewer's Name: Jenna W.
The Wild Robot
Brown, Peter
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Wild Robot is about a robot who is stranded on an island after a hurricane wiped out the boat that was bringing 500 robots to work. At first, the robot is viewed as a monster and is avoided. As she continues to try and figure out how to survive on the island, the robot accidently squishes a family of geese, but one baby goose survives. Realizing that the robot squished the baby's family, she adopts the baby so that he can survive. Because she had no idea how to take care of a goose, she asks for help. All of the animals pitch in to help and throughout the journey, the animals realize that she is not a monster and the become friends.
I loved this book. It drew me in within the first 2 chapters. It did get a little boring in some parts, but other than that it was an awesome book. I would rate it about a 9/10.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
The Outsiders
Hinton, S.E.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The outsiders is about a city broken into two sides, the greasers and the socs. The socs and the greasers do not get along. Since the socs can get away with more things than the greasers, they start fights, get drunk, and jump innocent greasers. After killing a soc in self defense, two greasers hide out in an old church. After a couple of days, they return home, go to court, and life gets back to somewhat normal. The Outsiders is about the feud of greasers and socials, but taken a step further.
I loved the outsiders book. It drew me in and I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. I would rate this book 100/10. I also loved the movie. The movie isn't as detailed, but it is also awesome. I would recommend you read the book first then watch the movie.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
Awards:
They Both Die at the End
Silvera, Adam
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"They Both Die at The End" by Adam Silvera takes place in a world where people receive a call informing them of their death on the day they die. When strangers Matteo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio both receive this call, they stumble across each other and set off for one last great adventure. I really loved this book. Though you already know how it ends from reading the title, the book did not feel unnecessary at all. It reminded me of a sad dog movie in the sense that you know how it will end, but you still find yourself becoming attached to the characters and crying when the credits roll. I liked the characters and their relationships in the story, as well as how the story itself was told. The author’s writing style is captivating, and I definitely recommend it to those who like young adult novels. It’s definitely become one of my favorites.

Reviewer's Name: Cora
Awards:
The Crucible
Miller, Arthur
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I read this book in English class my junior year of high school. I find the Salem Witch Trials interesting, so I was excited to read this book. While this book is based on actual events, there are some added fictional parts. I thought it was interesting how rumors and blame could cause the deaths of so many people who did nothing wrong. Overall if you find the Salem Witch Trials interesting, I would highly recommend this book!

Reviewer's Name: Emani K.
Awards:
Tweet Cute
Lord, Emma
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This rom-com style book while can be cheesy at times is over-all heartwarming and charming. Pepper always has something going on, from swim practice to running her Baking account online. When she meets a mystery boy on an anonymous website, they spark a connection; pepper cant wait to find out who this mystery person is. This adorable story, is heartwarming and very sweet. If you like a cute romance story, this book is definitely for you! Grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
The Heartbreakers
Novak, Ali
2 stars = Meh
Review:

This book, while a cute story was not for me. This book felt like it was a middle school fantasy instead of a story. The story is that Stella meets a famous rock star and soon enough their lives become entangled. It was good, but the story felt to un-realistic and cheesy. While this book wasn't my cup of tea it could be someone else's. If you like romance books or have ever wanted to date a rock-star this book is probably for you! Grade:8th

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
Twenty
Grippando, James
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Twenty is a gripping thriller about a school shooting which causes great panic and unease in the local community. Shortly after the mass shooting a terrorist organization claims responsibly which makes matters worse. While many are calling for the death penalty of the suspected shooter, Jack the defendant's lawyer calls for more time to gather more information about the incident. Can Jack get to bottom of this case before its too late? I really liked this book because it's centered around real life events. The ending of Twenty definitely surprised me. I think many parents could relate to the anxiety of having school going children, as school shootings are unfortunately becoming more common.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth S.
The Lies About Truth
Stevens, Courtney C.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is amazing, I have read it twice and I still just fall in love with the story. 5 teens in a traumatic car accident 4 walk away but are scarred for life. This book is all about healing and moving on from the past. Watching the characters face the trauma and make new connections is beautiful. It's hard to put down, because as the story goes on you find out more and more about the characters, the accident, and the story. If you want a book to get invested in, I would definitely recommend this book. grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
Middlewest, Book One
Young, Skottie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

After Abel's mother left, he was forced to live alone with his toxic father. One night during a fight with his dad, Abel discovers that his father's anger issues correlate to a destructive power that he might have just inherited, so he runs away with his talking fox. The novel follows him as he travels through a dystopian land and meets many people, friends and foes, along the way. Although the story is fantastical, it explores very adult themes; Middlewest offers a raw coming of age story while diving into challenging family relations, as Abel attempts to find his own identity. This series addresses difficult problems that many people face through the lens of a magical world. Each aspect of the story is wonderfully done and cannot receive enough praise; the novel expertly tackles difficult human problems and inner turmoil. The art by Corona is also captivating and a fantastic visual of what Abel feels throughout the story. This graphic novel and the entire Middlewest series is genius and executed beautifully and should be at the top of everyone's must-read list. Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Julia
Awards:
One of Us Is Lying
McManus, Karen M.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

One of us is lying is a captivating murder mystery, romance, thriller. 5 teens enter detention, but what happens when only 4 leave. As you read you find out more and more about the case. The 4 teens all have secrets
is murder one of them? This book is so enthralling, once you start it will be hard to put it down. With great characters and a very interesting story with tons of twists and turns. If you love solving mysteries or discovering the truth, this is totally the book for you! Grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
Permanent Record
Snowden, Edward
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Permanent Record is the memoir of Edward Snowden life. Snowden was the man who exposed and leaked how the US government used mass surveillance on enemies but also US citizens. Snowden knew so much of this system as he
was a former employee of the CIA. I choose this book because it's nonfiction and about an important event that happened recently. I also chose Permeant Record because I love reading about politics and government. This book
definitely surprised me because of Snowden's reasoning and motivation of why he did what he did. I liked Permanent Record because the readers get a first person perspective of the events that unfolded. Although I liked the book, I
disliked how Snowden's actions endangered the lives of several American spies, and other government officials.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth S.
A Darker Shade of Magic
Schwab, V.E.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

A Darker Shade of Magic introduces the concept of four separate Londons from different worlds. Grey London: grim and without magic, Red London: vibrant, fantastical and full of magic, White London: losing its magic from an ongoing war and numerous power shifts, and Black London: a mystery that was closed off after a mysterious accident. The main character, Kell, is one of two people who are able to travel between the Londons through the use of a type of blood magic. He is the official messenger for Red London and brings messages to the kings of the different cites; however, unofficially he is a smuggler who sells objects from other worlds. He runs into a thief in Grey London after coming into possession of an artifact from Black London, and they must navigate its power and defeat the people that want to abuse it. Schwab's world building and magic systems are incredibly compelling and the concept as a whole sets up a fantastic series. However, the book overall was quite a let down as the story itself was quite overdone, which would not have been much of a problem if the characters were written well. In some parts of the book it become difficult to like the two main characters, which was disappointing because they had all the elements to be great. All of these faults were not the downfall of the book, and Schwab could have potentially gotten away with them; the main flaw was the pacing. At times the pacing was slow and uneventful, making it difficult to want to read the book. A Darker Shade of Magic had the potential to become an amazing fantasy novel because of its ingenuity, but its execution was lackluster.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Julia
Awards:
Clutches and Curses
Howell, Dorothy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Haley Randolph has been cursed by a customer at her job, and soon after, everything starts going south. This leads her to transfer to her job's newest location in Las Vegas to try and get some relief, only to find the body of her high school nemesis in the store and become the prime suspect in their murder. With two detectives breathing down her neck, a hotel with a shady owner, and the hot handbag of the season in her sight, Haley must put her detective outfit on and find the culprit before she's as dead as Holt's Department Store's fashion line.

Overall, a very well-written novel with great build-up, lovable characters, a truly demented antagonist, and plenty of coffee to keep it going (Best drink on the planet. Fight me!). It's not without its flaws, as the writing is a bit sloppy in the beginning and they made the eventual culprit a bit too sus for it to be too big of a surprise. It also isn't for everyone, especially not guys, with its girly atmosphere and side plots, but it's still a good fashion-themed mystery I highly recommend you check out.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi S.
Dear Evan Hansen
Emmich, Val
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book, which is based on the musical by the same name is so
touching. It deals with very hard topics like social anxiety, depression,
mental illness, and suicide. This story follows Evan Hansen as he starts to
get caught up in a web of lies. While a very tough book emotionally, it is
also very touching and Evan is somebody that lots of people can relate to.
This book is the perfect combination of emotional, witty, heartbreaking, and
heartwarming all at the same time. So if you are looking for a great story,
realistic characters, and a beautiful message, this is the book for you! -
Grade:8th

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
I Hate Fairyland, Volume 1: Madly Ever After
Young, Skottie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I Hate Fairyland explores the concept of a young girl, Gertrude, falling into a fantastical world and taking on the quest of finding a key that would allow her to leave. After 27 years she has yet to complete her mission and is still stuck in her 8 year old body. She makes her way through Fairyland killing anything that offers her any semblance of inconvenience; after spending years trying to get back to her home, she has gone crazy, to say the least, and developed a murderous attitude. Young creates a blaring contrast between the excessive gore and violence and the fluffy backdrop of Fairyland. Young's writing and art is amazing as always, and I Hate Fairyland offers an interesting story backed by great visuals and lettering. The story explores a spin on the original Wizard of Oz type story, and any reader would have a fun time reading this humorously dark series. Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Julia
Kon-Tiki
Heyerdahl, Thor
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Kon-Tiki is a novel about a group of men who sail across the ocean on a polynesian raft with the bare necessities for life. Using barely any modern resources, like a GPS or Emergency SOS, they set sail in the early 1950’s. They wanted to prove that it is possible to sail to polynesia in a raft. The beginning was a little rough for me, as it was about the preparation, the, and the support behind the project. I disliked them going into so much detail about the raft they were trying to copy. They were trying to copy the exact rope, the exact bamboo, the exact position of launch, and the exact shape. If you are a story lover like me, it starts out rough, but it turns into a fabulous journey towards the middle. I enjoyed this book because of the sense of adventure and the sense of
exploration. It describes the adventure of meeting the Whale Shark with a passionate sense of adventure, describing the people on board being panicked at first, then treating it as a kind of puppy. This is a favorite of mine, due to the fact that the adventure was both interesting and thrilling. I recommend this book to anyone that is looking for an adventure on the sea.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Paper Girls, Volume 1
Vaughan, Brian K.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The first volume of Paper Girls introduces the four main characters, middle school girls in the 80s that deliver newspapers. The story begins with Erin, the new paper girl, and follows her as she meets the other three girls. After finding a mysterious capsule, they discover that the world seems to be ending when the sky changes and monsters appear in the sky. They cannot find any other person from their small town and eventually discover that many of the town's citizens simply vanished. The graphic novel follows the girls as they navigate this doomsday situation and their discourse over who they should trust. It begins in the 80s offering middle school characters reminiscent of many movies from the 80s, while setting up a mystery and the supernatural backdrop the rest of the story sets out to explore. Vaughan indicates that something large or even sinister might be behind the previous events, creating a compelling and unique mystery. Along with the incredible storytelling, the art in the novel is phenomenal, but the coloring really makes the book standout and is immensely pleasing to look at. Paper Girls is definitely one of my all time favorite series, and the first volume introduces the unique world of Paper Girls and its characters incredibly well. Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Julia

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