Teen Book Reviews

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
Book Review: The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again
Tolkien, J. R. R.
4 stars = Really Good

I quite enjoyed this book. I listened to it on audio, BBC version. The music was very cheesy, but I ended up laughing at it instead of being annoyed. The acting was very good, except Gandalf didn't sound nearly as good in this portrayal as he does in the movies. Still, thumbs up!

vfranklyn
Book Review: The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals
Brown, Jenny
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This book is amazing. If you're an animal lover of any sort, you will love this book. The author tells beautiful stories of the animals that have come to her animal sanctuary that were rescued from terrible situations. The stories dive deep in to the emotional world of farm animals that most people are unable to experience or associate with. Animals truly are a gift to this world and they have so many lessons to teach us, if we would all just slow down and listen :)

Laura K.
Book Review: Texas Gothic
Clement-Moore, Rosemary
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face.

I've read this book twice, which is really saying something. This book has everything I like- a little mystery, romance, fantasy, and a lot of humor. I actually laughed out loud in public, especially at the part when Amy, our heroine, chases a 'delinquent cow' through a field wearing only her underwear and a pair of over sized galoshes. She's very snarky and I love it. I highly recommend this for fun read!

Cara
Book Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Alexie, Sherman
4 stars = Really Good

The main character of this book is Arnold "Junior" Spririt. Junior lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation where getting a good education isn't as important as Junior thinks it should be. During his Freshman year of high school, Junior decides to to transfer from the rez school, Wellpinit, to Reardan, where the only other Indian is the school mascot! As you can imagine those first days and weeks are tough for Arnold at Reardan. But, eventually he does start to develop some important relationships. Junior's overcomes so many obstacles throughout this book and Alexie tells a wonderful story through compassion and humor.

Russ
Book Review: Hello World!: Computer Programming For Kids and Other Beginners
Sande, Warren
4 stars = Really Good

This book was great for kids who want to learn the programming basics. I was cool to make something and very rewarding! If you are interested in computer books, this is for you!

K.A.
Book Review: The Book Thief
Zusak, Markus
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Great book! I wasn't interested in the subject matter at first, but had to read for a book club. After I started it, I was hooked! I love that the book is written from the perspective of death. Zusak has a magical way with words.
Highly recommend!

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

Fantastic book! Lots of fun, with great 80s references, as seen from a dystopian future in which most of reality has been supplanted by the far more pleasant world of OASIS (a VR interface). This book will appeal to gamers and fans of 80s pop culture.

There were a few moments where I felt like some elements of the story were being brushed over (without giving away too much, there were some deaths that I felt were not acknowledged much in the text, though this is completely in character with the POV character's detachment from reality). But these were powerful elements that might have been more character-defining and perhaps might have demonstrated more about his motivation. This is why I could not, in good conscience, give the book the 5 stars. It could be just my own personal preferences coming through. Some people might be totally fine with that.

I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by Wil Wheaton, who does a great job with the characterizations and is completely believable as the first-person narrator. Not only that, but it really sounded like he was enjoying himself while narrating the book. And of course, that always makes it more fun as a listener.

Shannon
Book Review: Reincarnation
Weyn, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good

It's very hard to explain the plot of this book but I will try.

So, basically, we have (roughly) four characters. Since in the book their names keep changing, in this review, I'll call them: the Girl, the Boy, the Douche, and the Redhead.

Spoilers ahead.

So, we start out in prehistory and the Girl is going to be mated to the Douche. Except, she doesn't want to because hes--well, he's a douche. so she's in a cave looking at a statue she's seen a billion times before and finds and emerald in the middle, and thinks "if I can get that emerald, I won't have to be mated to the Douche!"
Meanwhile, the Boy (who is a neanderthal) is having problems of his own. he was on a hunt and apparently was disgraced and can't go back to his tribe. He stumbles upon the cave where the Girl is singing and then HE sees the Emerald and thinks, "if I get that, I can go back to my tribe without disgrace!" so they fight for it and end up tumbling over a cliff. and dying.

Next, we're in Egypt. the Girl has a job as a singer (this is major symbolism). the Boy comes in as a Nubian slave. ((He can't talk becuz of an injury to the throat. note that in his past life he didn't know how to speak at all)) the Douche is there, buy the Boy and the Girl fall in love anyway. I don't think the Redhead is redheaded in this life, but she's there and tries to convince the boy to steal something from the girl so he can escape slavery, end comes to end, the Douche kills the Boy.

next life is in Greece. The girl still sings and has a bad foot (because in her past life she broke her foot). the Boy is an orphan of Egyptian descent and generally not accepted by everyone. The Douche is there and wants to win the Girl's hand in marriage. The Girl would much rather be a priestess of Athena, but that is not an option. so she asks the Boy to fight in the competition and win so she doesn't half to marry the Douche. Stuff happens, and ends with the Girl dying.

After this, the lives get increasingly more amusing and confusing. The Boy and the Girl switch genders, and then there's one situation in which the Boy and the Girl met and the Boy died and was reincarnated before the Girl died so we had a 17-year-old and a (I actually don't know if this is an accurate
number) 40-year-old.

Then, finally, in present day, the Girl and the Boy are in high school on a field trip to a museum where they see and exhibit of a neanderthal skeleton entangled with the skeleton of a Cro-Magnon female and scientist believe they died fighting over an emerald.
(That, of course, is the Boy and the Girl from about a bazillion lives ago)

Monica
Book Review: Divergent
Roth, Veronica
4 stars = Really Good

I liked it. It started off a bit slow for my taste and it took awhile for me to immerse myself in its reality, but once I did I quite enjoyed it. It gets good about two thirds of the way through and has a very good ending, although I'm left with a spoiler question I won't address here, except to say, why the heck didn't she...?

vfranklyn
The Hunger Games cover
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

i love this book i will read it again
i read the whole series it is amazing

Erica R.
Book Review: Anne of Avonlea
Montgomery, L. M. (Lucy Maud)
3 stars = Pretty Good

I loved Anne of Green Gables but for some reason I just didn't get into the sequel. I'm not sure why, it just moved slowly and wasn't as adventurous, I think. I liked the portrait of a young teacher at the turn of the century. It's amazing how much has changed in that regard, and I did enjoy the ending.

vfranklyn