Teen Book Reviews

Book Review: Ender's Game
Card, Orson Scott
1 star = Yuck!

I despised this book. Although I respect Card's mastery in the sci-fi genre, this was not one of his wonder-books. He failed to capture the personality of the childrens' ages, and parts of it were beyond gruesome, especially after you realized it was a 6-11 year old participating in those actions. The time-frame was speedy; the child went from 6 to eleven years old within 100 pages. Also, the Locke and Demosthenes part was plain confusing. Not a fan.

JBird
Book Review: Leviathan
Westerfeld, Scott
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This book is the best in the entire world. A mixture of steampunk, history, and mystery, it made me fall instantly in love. I loved how it took World War I and turned it into a sci-fi-ish adventure following the perspective of two teenagers from completely different backgrounds and motives. You should most definitely give this one a try!!!

JBird
Book Review: The Bully Book
Gale, Eric Kahn
4 stars = Really Good

This book was really good. It was a fast read and was very engaging. There's even some advice to parents to ask their kids if they are being hurt or made fun of in school. Asking specifically may open the door for a hurting teen to confide. But mostly this is a great mystery for young people about bullying.

vfranklyn
Book Review: How to Draw More Manga
Coope, Katy
1 star = Yuck!

I checked this book out because I thought I could get a good tip or two out of it. I was sorely dissapointed.It was positively full of misinformation!Avoid this one-definitely.

TW
Book Review: The Raft
Bodeen, S. A.
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

When you start reading this, you can't put it down, kinda like the Hunger Games. I would recommend this to people who like to read action/adventure. This is about a girl who goes on a plane and it crashes and all she has is a raft, a total stranger named Max, and a bag of Skittles.
They have no water and there are sharks in the area and no sign of help. Will they survive?

Rachel
Book Review: Out of the Easy
Sepetys, Ruta
4 stars = Really Good

Out of the Easy follows the story of Josie, a sixteen-year-old girl living in 1950's New Orleans whose mother just happens to be a prostitute. But don't let that turn you away! This book is far from gross; it's actually really good. You see, Josie desperately wants to lose the title of "The Prostitute's Daughter", so she applies for college and tries to scrounge up all the money needed for such an endeavor. However, to find out what happens next, you'll have to read the book!

I loved this book because it really showed how strong of a character Josie is. The plot line was very well-developed and its obvious the Ruta Sepetys knows how to write! I highly recommend this book to kids older than twelve.

Lily
Book Review: Black Bird
Sakurakōji, Kanoko
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

the black bird series has fifteen books so far and they are really good i have read them over and over again. the sixteenth one is coming out on may 7th. i would suggets reading them if you like romance.

Cecilia
Book Review: The Star Shard
Durbin, Frederic S.
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I first read The Star Shard in my sister's Cricket magazines. It was a ten part issue with fantastic drawings and a writing style so unlike what I had read in the other short stories in Cricket. We couldn't wait till the next issues came out. Then a year or so later when we heard it was being made into a book, we bought it right away. It was even better than what we saw in the magazine.

The story is about a young girl named Cymbril who lives on a massive moving city-like wagon, called the Thunder Rake, where she is enslaved to a rich man named Rombil. As the Rake moves from town to town, she must sing at the markets to attract customers and gain money for her master. Since she is Rombil's slave and even her clothes are owned by him, her only true possessions are beautiful hair clip from her mother and a smooth turquoise stone from her father. When Rombil one day buys another slave named Loric, her life is changed. She finds that Loric is one of the Fae, a race of elvish magical people. Loric tells her that she is half-Fae and even her hair clip and stone have magical properties. Her stone is a fragment of a star that fell in Fae lands. Now, with this knowledge in her mind and her parent's gifts close, Cymbril promises herself that she will sacrifice everything to grant she and Loric freedom.

Although not too well known, I ask that you give this book a try. You will be surprised. It is a very charming and beautiful book.

Margaret
Book Review: Chomp
Hiaasen, Carl
4 stars = Really Good

I really enjoyed this book. It was textbook Hiaasen, which is a good thing. It's aimed toward younger readers and I plan to give it to my nephew for his birthday.

vfranklyn
Book Review: Skulduggery Pleasant
Landy, Derek
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Skulduggery Pleasant throws you into a magical universe where the classic fight between good verses evil is exercised. Thrown into a new world, Stephanie learns to adapt and explore magic with the help of her mentor Skulduggery Pleasant, a dry humor irish detective skeleton.
It's simplistic enough that a 12 yr old can understand but advanced enough for a teenager to enjoy as well. Kept me laughing all the way.

Kyoya
Book Review: City Of Fire
Yep, Laurence
2 stars = Meh

It was alright- especially in the beginning. I thought that is was interesting with all the fantasy with San Francisco a few decades ago. The main characters have to go and leave San Francisco after they are attacked and travel across the sea to avenge the deaths of certain people who were very important in their lives. They are attacked even more and come up against a lot of roadblocks. Laurence Yep incorporated a Hawaiian goddess who was crazy and nice. Yet, I thought the story was just a little undeveloped, maybe because it was the first book in a trilogy. I felt like it was trying to wrap up everything while introducing new ideas and plot twists at the same time. I didn't connect with the book, but that it just my opinion. It is good for the ages eleven to twelve or thirteen.

Carli
Book Review: The Magician's Nephew
Lewis, C. S.
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Favorite book EVER! Great characters! Good, good, good! Great story, characters, and moral. Great fantasy mixed with our world and putting the Bible retold into it. Amazing story, good for all ages.

Carli
Book Review: Among The Brave: A Shadow Children Book
Haddix, Margaret Peterson
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

One of my favorite books of all time! Great characters with good development. A very interesting story line with lots of bumps and twists and turns. Good for all ages, from ten to adults in my opinion. But it is in a series of books and is near the end of the series, so reading it without the other books would definitely put a damper on how good it is. But really amazing book!

Carli
Book Review: Mockingjay
Collins, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good

Great book! I made me cry. Exciting and interesting, it really was good. The catch is that it is in a series of books, so it wouldn't be good unless you have read the first two books. But overall, it was good and the characters were very well written.

Carli
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