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Teen Book Reviews
These a-MAZ-ing reviews were written by the teens on our Teen Book Review Board. New reviews are posted monthly.
Reviewed by Stacy
Kate is a teenage girl who has only one goal set in her mind: to get into Yale. She will do anything, and has done anything, to get to her dream school and she has no regrets. It's the fittest who survive after all. As the scholarship kid in a once again new school, she has begun her search to find the perfect candidate who will help her finish senior year. She found her and her name is Oliva. Together they march into their senior year with confidence. However Oliva holds a secret close to her heart that may threaten both of their lives. Not to mention a mysterious new staff member whose intentions are unknown. With its uniquely written two point of views, it gives you insight at how drastically different both characters are and how it plays out during the book. Excitement and thrill was coursing through my veins as I read the book,” Beware That Girl” by Teresa Toten because it pulls you in and won’t let go until you have read the whole entire book front to back.
Reviewed by Kaitlyn
What if all the mythical creatures--fairies, goblins, trolls, dragons, and witches--you read about were real? What if they were all just hidden? In Brandon Mull’s novel, Fablehaven, Kendra and Seth Sorenson go to spend the summer at their grandparents mansion in Connecticut where, unbeknownst to most of the world, there is a preserve long hidden by spells and protections that keeps these creatures safe and away from humans. The kids are given strict rules to keep them in the dark about the truth of the forests beyond the mansion, but Seth becomes anxious and curious about the forests and goes to explore. His ambitions accidentally set off a chain reaction that puts them, along with everything and everyone on the preserve, in danger of destruction from powerful forces long forgotten. Enticing and full of twists and surprises, “Fablehaven” will captivate any reader who has ever dreamt of magic and mythical creatures.
Reviewed by Tori
Late at night Tori receives a phone call. It is a wrong number, but the person on the other line wants to keep talking. He has one heart sinking request; give a reason that he shouldn’t kill himself. The request is both abrupt and mind numbing, especially when Tori has no idea who the caller is. But, if this random caller does decide to kill himself, he'll be the second person connected to Tori that has committed suicide. But, the first death could end up with her in jail. After her Facebook comments were used as evidence in a tragic cyberbullying case, Tori can't help but wonder if the caller is just a prankster looking to make a jab at her. But, on the off chance he’s serious, then what will people think of her? Tori’s words alone could be the deciding factor between this boy’s life and death. This book is a fast paced thriller that will have you reading in one sitting. I was up until the wee hours of the morning finishing this book just because I had to see what would happen. If you are interested in a book that is off the beaten path, this is the one for you.
Reviewed by Samantha
So have any of you ever read a book by an author and absolutely loved it, but then didn’t read any more books by that author for a couple of years? If you have, then we can totally relate! I just recently finished reading Reawakened by Colleen Houck, an author I admired several years ago when I read her Tiger Saga series. I’m so glad I discovered more books by her because Reawakened was amazing! It’s about a girl named Lilliana (Lily) Young who’s whole life changes the day she becomes bound to Amon, a centuries old Egyptian Prince. Lily must help Amon locate his other two brothers so that they can complete a ritual done every thousand years that prevents Seth, the god of chaos, from wreaking havoc on Earth. To accomplish this, the pair must travel from New York to Egypt so that they can locate the tombs where his mummified brothers rest. However, much has changed since the last time Amon has risen from his sarcophagus and dark forces run amok. He and Lily must revive his brothers and accomplish the ritual before it is too late for them all. This book was so good and the Egyptian mythology included in it was seriously interesting. This book is a must read and the best part is that it is the first in a trilogy!
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Reviewed by Amber
We often try hard to be fitting for another person while not paying close attention to our own way of life. Twelve year old Catherine goes through just that in this story of finding one’s self and finding true friendship. Only, a big part of her life is teaching her autistic brother, David, the rules of getting around because she doesn’t want David to attract any unwanted attention. All Catherine wants is a normal life but that’s a bit difficult when she has to help guide David in public. She carries on with her life and within the summer two very significant people enter her life. A new girl named Kristi moves in next door; whom she longs to befriend, and Catherine strikes up a unique friendship with Jason. Jason, who attends occupational therapy, is confined to a wheelchair, is physically deformed, and is unable to speak. Catherine, who loves drawing, draws a few word cards for Jason to put in his book, and this sparks their friendship. All is well until true colors are revealed and Catherine finds herself asking; what is exactly normal? This novel is sure to warm the heart of the reader. It’d be awesome if everyone were to read this novel because from it we learn not only to establish who we are in life but to love and cherish those who are around us.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Reviewed by Sorin
This book drew me in with it’s dark, sexy allure then refused to release me until I completed it the very same day. Garcia spins a tale of Frankie Devereux, whose life is cookie-cutter perfect, until the day her beloved boyfriend, Noah, is beaten to death. Frankie is traumatized as she witnesses the whole event take place right before her. Slowly, she spirals down into depression and make a series of bad decisions. As a result, her wealthy mother sends her to live with her undercover cop father in a rough neighborhood. Soon, Frankie starts to realize that there’s more to life than Chanel purses and Giorgio Armani Sunglasses. Marco Leone catches Frankie’s eye with his sexy, bad boy ways and his love for racing cars. As she grows closer to Marco, she realizes that things are not always as they seem and Marco lives his life to protect the ones he loves. At the same time, Frankie begins to remember parts of Noah’s death and soon realizes who the killer is. If you have ever read a book by Simone Elkeles, you will find that this novel is very similar in style. I loved everything about it, from the action-packed car racing scenes to the revealing of Marco’s romantic side. I recommend this amazing book to anybody who loves an action-packed, romantic, mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat beginning to end. Will Frankie be able to reveal the true killer in time? Or will she fall victim to the same death her ex-boyfriend did?
Genre: Romance, Action
Reviewed by Leslie
The Picture of Dorian Gray tells the fascinating story of a young man’s loss of innocence and descent into murder and immorality after he meets a wealthy young lord. The novel begins with Dorian Gray when he is innocent and pure minded; he inspires the artist Basil Hallward to draw a beautiful portrait of him, and at Basil’s studio, Dorian meets Basil’s friend Lord Henry, a cynical young lord. Henry teaches Dorian to value youth, pleasure, and the material, forming such a strong influence upon Dorian that when he sees his painting, Dorian is jealous of its eternal youth and declares that he wishes the painting would age and he could stay forever young instead. As Dorian becomes more deeply tied up with Lord Henry, he becomes cruel and superficial and leads friends to suicide, addiction, and bad decisions, even as he himself has affairs with married women, frequents brothels and gambling dens, and indulges in opium. Although Dorian never ages as the years pass by, his painting takes the brunt of these changes, and it turns cruel, blood stained, and ugly-looking, so that the portrait’s changes drive Dorian half mad and he murders the artist, his old friend Basil, for having created the painting. The Picture of Dorian Gray is a fascinating read due to its beautiful, vivid language, the moral questions it brings up, and the feverish, dark tale of Dorian’s descent and eventually, search for a way to reverse the changes in the painting and himself.
Genre: Classic, Dark Fiction
Reviewed by Sorin
Despite the fact that Black Ice is 392 pages, I completed it in 2 hours because, within the first 2 pages, I was hooked. Fitzpatrick spins a dangerous tale of murder, love, and suspense as a teenage girl winds up in the middle of an unsolved murder case. When Britt Pheiffer is caught in a snowstorm, she seeks the help of two strangers who hide dark secrets. It isn’t until it’s too late that she realizes the danger she’s in. Held at gunpoint, she’s forced to lead them through the woods. After having secret conversations with the more approachable of the two, Britt realizes that he may not be the bad guy she thinks him to be. They team up against the murderer, only to discover that the true murderer was there the whole time and not at all who they thought it was. I absolutely love this book and I would recommend it to anybody who has a chunk of time on their hands because once you start it, you won’t stop till you finish it. I felt as if I was there right alongside Britt, feeling the tingly feeling when you know something is wrong and the heart wrenching feeling when you have to choose between two people you love, or thought you loved. Even better, I immediately fell in love with Mason’s midnight hair, piercing gaze and bad boy demeanor. So, will Britt make it out of those woods alive? Or will she fall victim to the same crime that took place a few years back?
Genre: Romance, Thriller
Reviewed by Amber
"Call Me María" is a short, beautifully crafted epistolary novel. Each page is rich and vibrant with culture. As the chapters unfold, we learn about the life of a fifteen year old Puerto Rican born girl by the name of María. Her colorful and tropical young life on the island of Puerto Rico unfortunately didn’t last as her American born father longed to move back to New York. María’s transition to the American life in a New York barrio leaves her feeling empty and she dreams of her homeland back with her mother. María is a girl caught living between two worlds. She speaks three languages, English, Spanish and Spanglish. Spanglish is what she admires most because of the fact that it has such a diverse lexicon. María enjoys writing poems, holds on tight to her native born language of Spanish each and every day, and adventures through the barrio with her unique friends Whoopee and Uma. María’s character is set on waiting for the springtime in which she’ll burst through the cold and gray concrete atmosphere she’s consumed in, just like a spring flower. Overall, I'm still fascinated to have read a latino/a based novel written by an actual latina, Judith Ortiz-Cofer. You’ll find Cofer’s novel to be authentic with a genuine story to tell.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Reviewed by Stacy
Exciting and thrilling, the book, “ Genius: The Game” by Leopoldo Gout will pull you into a vortex of adventure and danger. Three geniuses named, Naija Boi (Tunde) , Rex, and Cali are not your average geniuses. Each one has a mission. Tunde wants to improve the lives of the people living in his town (he even built a solar power tower from scratch). Rex has designed a program (from scratch) to find his brother and just needs to find a quantum computer. Cali wants to expose as many rotten and corrupt government officials as she can. Tunde’s gift catches the attention of a corrupt military man and he demands Tunde build him a machine capable of disrupting other machines close to it. It’s dangerous and Tunde knows it, but he can’t do anything because he has been threatened by this military man to do what he says. If he doesn't then something bad might happen to the people in his village. Meanwhile, the game has begun. Everyone has things at stake, but they all know they have to go in order to help Tunde save his village from destruction. I honestly love this book because it is something that I haven’t read before and keeps you interested all throughout the book. If you are looking for a book with suspense, then this is the book for you.