Teen Book Reviews

Book Review: A Beautiful Dark
Davies, Jocelyn
3 stars = Pretty Good

While this paranormal romance begins like "Twilight," there's new twists to keep this original. (Spoiler alert--there are no vampires to be found) Perfect for fans of "Fallen," and the "Hush, Hush" saga. It also takes place in Colorado, which is pretty cool.

Shannon
Book Review: Hoot
Hiaasen, Carl
3 stars = Pretty Good

I LOVE Carl Hiaasen but I was a little disappointed in this book. Maybe it was because it was aimed at a younger crowd. It was good, but I've come to expect greatness from Hiaasen. I read this book to see if it was something my 12 year old nephew would like. I'm going to read Chomp next. Hopefully it'll reach the impossibly high standard set by the master of Florida humor.

vfranklyn
Book Review: The Age of Miracles: A Novel
Walker, Karen Thompson
3 stars = Pretty Good

How would you react if the rotation of the earth had begun to slow. This is the story of a family and their reaction, from the point of view of the family's young daughter. A good story, but should be in the teen area, not adult fiction.

Toni
Book Review: The Unfailing Light
Bridges, Robin
3 stars = Pretty Good

Book 2 in The Katerina Trilogy. Katerina Alexandrovna, the 16-year-old Duchess of Oldenburg in St. Petersburg, Russia 1889, is a necromancer. While attending The Smolny Institute for Young Noble Maidens, she yearns to study to become a medical doctor, but first she must reconcile the Light Court of Czar Nicholas with the Dark Court of his brother, the Grand Duke Vladimir. Lots of tension and adventure as Katerina lives in a society of blood-drinking princes, poisonous veshtizas, dark faeries, the creatures she accidentally brings back to life, and the return of the lich tsar.

Vickie
Book Review: A Memory of Light
Jordan, Robert
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

The final book in the Wheel of Time series, a finale 23 years in the making, it is well worth the wait. If you are looking for a place to start the series DO NOT begin here, book 1, “The Eye of the World” is really the only place to start. After the expected extended prologue, where the maneuvering and plotting found through out the series are intermixed with scenes from a desperate battle, the book plunges head first into The Last Battle, and almost never looks back. Even if Mr. Jordan had lived to fully write this last volume I believe it would have still had a completely different tone, and it is certainly far different from any prior book in the series. Be prepared for a far darker book, with less certainty that all will work out for all the “good” characters, but I feel this shift in tone has been forecast even in books fully written before Mr. Jordan’s death. In the end, for fans, not all your questions will be answered, and we leave this world with interesting stories that will never be told, but as at the end of Lord of the Rings I find myself mostly content with where most characters end and with a series that I will soon start from the beginning once again.

JT
Book Review: Hattie Big Sky
Larson, Kirby
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Historic books are so tough to get right. The history might be accurate but the prose downright boring, or the prose might be fantastic, but the facts totally off-base. For "Hattie Big Sky" the author took bits of her grandmother's past, combined it with several trips to Montana, and countless hours of research, to create a fantatic heroine with the flavor of the Old West who lives in that remarkable era of the 1918-1920 where there was still the possibility of obtaining manifest destiny. Hattie's a plucky little 16-year-old whose uncle left her a claim in Montana, all 300+ acres of claim, that she has to 'prove up' by a certain date if she wants to keep the land. She heads out, on her own, for Montana to make good on her uncle's claim. This is literally one of THE BEST historic novels I have read in I don't know how long. It's what you would call 'clean' teen historic lit. It's even got a spiritual angle since Hattie does an awful lot of praying, but you never feel preached at, which is refreshing. Teens and adults alike will enjoy this book, not only because of its heroine, but because it feels fresh and original, and it's always fun knowing a story is inspired by real-life events.

Carissa
Book Review: The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

The Hunger Games is the first book in this trilogy and it really sets the stage for a different kind of world. This world is a tough and brutal environment for this population, especially the children who are of age to be picked for the annual Hunger Games. Katniss is the main character in the trilogy and she is a complex young woman. I really enjoyed all of the books in the series and highly recommend them!

Lisa
Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood
Blake, Kendare
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I listened to this book on cd, and I loved it! Cas and his friends are a hodgepodge group who ban together. I just couldn't stop listening to this one and I can't wait until I am able to start the second one. The author did a great job telling a wild story involving ghosts and teens. I definitely think people should give this one a try! :)

January
Book Review: Ready Player One
Cline, Ernest
2 stars = Meh

I read most of it. I was listening to it on eAudio, but it was so long I just couldn't make it to the end. I think this book is aimed at an audience to which I do not belong. Mainly, gamers. I liked the 80s references, but I just couldn't get into the book. Meh. Others may like it, it just wasn't my taste.

vfranklyn
Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars
Green, John
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I love Hazel and Gus!

Eliza
Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars
Green, John
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This is one of the best novels I have ever read, and is easily on my top 5 list of favorites. The author, John Green, earned my respect like Garcia Marquez, Faulkner, and Nabokov have. He is a brilliant writer and storyteller.
What struck me the most about this novel was Green's ability to blur the lines between intangibles that we typically think of as opposite, and clear-cut: pain and comfort, life and death, humor and sadness, rememberance and loss are all topics that Hazel and Augustus and me, myself, as a reader, ponder throughout the narrative. And I shouldn't forget love! What a beautiful and awkward, but intense and unique love. You might find yourself laughing and crying at the same time.
So the novel touched me emotionally...But too intellectually challenge me as well is something that most novelists have a hard time doing. This is the reason I liken Green to great authors whose works are cemented in our history. He questions inevitable death with wit and perception, and in doing that, he examines with a microscope the life that leads us to it.

Mallory
Book Review: The Bully Book
Gale, Eric Kahn
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Eric Haskins’ life is suddenly completely miserable in sixth grade. It seems the entire class is conspiring to bully him. In fact, it is a carefully organized scheme by a few who have chosen him as the “Grunt.” They take their orders from The Book—an instruction manual in power passed down to each year’s sixth graders. Eric’s only chance is to find The Book and dismantle the plot against him. On the way, he’ll also discover the most important weapon against bullying. Pages from The Book and Eric’s journals are interwoven to create an intricate, exciting, and insightful book for everyone over ten years old.

Elisabeth
Book Review: 7 Deadly Wonders: A Novel
Reilly, Matthew
4 stars = Really Good

An exciting adventure that takes you all across the globe! A mix between Indiana Jones and The DaVinci Code. Discover ancient secrets and avoid deadly booby traps as you join Jack West Jr. in his search for the seven wonders.

Sara
Book Review: Insurgent
Roth, Veronica
2 stars = Meh

This book was okay. I read the whole thing and it was long, so that says something. But it wasn't great. I found keeping track of the characters was confusing and the storyline was delivered with a heavy hand. Meh.

vfranklyn
Book Review: Revolution
Donnelly, Jennifer
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I don't usually read teen fiction but when this book was recommended to me, I gave it a try and just couldn't put it down. The story is about Andi Alpers, a gifted musician and student at a Brooklyn prep school, who struggles with the death of her younger brother Truman. When Andi's estranged father forces her to accompany him to Paris, Andi stumbles across the diary of Alexandrine Paradis, a young girl who lived during the French Revolution.
As Andi experiences Alexandrine's life through the pages of the journal she finally can come to terms with Truman's death.

Heidi P.
Mockingjay
Collins, Suzanne
1 star = Yuck!

If I had not been pressured to finish the series, I would've never read this book. Seriously.
So the first book of the series was pretty good. I mean, the author could work on her descriptions and character development, but it really drew you in and had a good cliffhanger (though I've found way better ones).
Then there was the second book. Getting kind of...overdramatic, but it was okay. There was more action in it and there was another decent cliffhanger.
Then there just HAD to be the third novel. That just ruined it. The love affairs were WAY to overdramatized, the descriptions were TERRIBLE, and the storyline went everywhere. I constantly found myself reading entire chapters ten times over to at least get a sense of what was going on. It was totally cliche and repetetive and all these characters died for no reason at all. The epilogue was absolutely sappy and cheesy and way too predictable. Katniss is the worst herione ever and I don't respect anything about her.
Overall, a terrible book and not worth your time to read. Collins has made an extremely sloppy conclusion to her popular teen series and she should SERIOUSLY consider rewriting this novel, if not the whole series.

Cardcaptor
Book Review: Who Could That be at This Hour?
Snicket, Lemony
4 stars = Really Good

As a huge fan of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, I was thrilled when Snicket announced he was releasing a prequel series. Who Could That Be at This Hour? is the first book in this series, entitled All the Wrong Questions. I enjoyed The End, but let's face it: it left a lot of loose ends dangling. Whether or not All the Wrong Questions will actually answer any questions at all remains to be seen, but Who Could That Be at This Hour? is a thoroughly enjoyable book all the same.

Though the Baudelaires are nowhere to be seen, Snicket's trademark sense of humor oozes off every page as young Snicket finds himself caught up in one ludicrous situation after another. That's right: Snicket himself is the protagonist of this story. WCTBATH follows his adventures as an apprentice in the mysterious organization known as V.F.D. To say much more would risk spoiling its surprises, but rest assured, fans of ASOUE will love Snicket's offbeat humor, eccentric characters, and surprisingly intricate plot.

Lisa
Book Review: Cold Days: A Novel of the Dresden Files
Butcher, Jim
4 stars = Really Good

While not as good as previous Dresden adventures Cold Days is a welcome return to Harry's universe. It's always nice to visit with Harry and his friends. He always manages to find himself in the most precarious of situations. And even though it's no surprise that he always gets out of trouble it's still nice to see how he accomplishes it.

Michael
Book Review: Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio
Kehert, Peg
4 stars = Really Good

Peg Kehert told you in her own words what it was like to be a child with polio. She writes how deadly and dangerous polio was in 1949. It was heartfelt and she made friends along her hard journey. I think that kids and adults should read this book.

Manjula
Book Review: A World Without Heroes
Mull, Brandon
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This book is amazing! It is about these kids that are magically transported into another realm, a place called Lyrian, which is ruled by the evil wizard emperor, Maldor. They find themselves way in over their heads as Jason and Rachel go on a quest to defeat the tyrant and find a way to get back home.

Matt
Book Review: Ready Player One
Cline, Ernest
4 stars = Really Good

Great book , I love all the references to the 1980 and 1990.

Mary
Book Review: Dune
Herbert, Frank
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This is my all time favorite book. To quote the book. plots with in plots. Every time I read it (6 times) I find more and more subtly plot lines.

Eric
Book Review: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
Karpyshyn, Drew
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

A very gripping Star Wars Novel that provides insight and historical background into the origins of the Sith. Written in a suspenseful manner, this is the first of a 3 book series that is one of my favorites in the Star Wars universe.

Chris
Book Review: This World We Live In
Pfeffer, Susan Beth
3 stars = Pretty Good

As the third book in the Last Survivors series, I was looking forward to how to characters from the first two books would come together following their own experiences of the disaster. I found myself disappointed in this respect. While the book was engaging, it was missing the "can't put it down" quality of the other two and, after finally having the first book's main character meet the second book's main character, I was left feeling that I could have skipped the second book without really missing anything. That's not to say that the second book isn't good, it just isn't necessary to read it before reading this book.
Where this book did a good job was in tying up the loose ends from the first book. I definitely felt that the story was complete and, as such, am a little confused by the fact that there appears to be a fourth book in this series now.

Erin
Book Review: The Diviners
Bray, Libba
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

The Diviners is the amazing first part of a new series by Libba Bray (Going Bovine, Gemma Doyle trilogy, etc.) about Evie, a young flapper who is sent to NYC to live with her uncle after getting in trouble back home in Ohio. It turns out that Evie has special powers...and she's not the only one. A serial killer has been terrorizing the citizens of New York, committing ritualized murders, and Evie, along with her uncle and a couple of pals, must catch the killer before he can commit the final murder that will bring about the end of the world. Recommended for older teens...this book is scary! (And scary
good!)

Jenna