Review Crew - book reviews by teens, for teens

the heir
Cass, Kiera
2 stars = Meh
Review:

I had high hopes for The Heir, as it is the fourth book in the selection series; this book, however, did not live up to my expectations. In the book, Princess Eadlyn, the main character, is just about to start her selection.
Even though Eadlyn has no desire to get married, she is participating in the selection to make her father, King Maxon, happy. I disliked the main character Eadlyn, because I found her tiresome and annoying. Also, I found the plot lacking action. The Heir, unlike the other books in this series, has no antagonist. To me, this book felt very similar to the earlier books of this series with the action and fantastic characters cut out. Although I did enjoy reading about the end of Maxon and America’s story, I would not recommend this book to most readers of The Selection series.

Reviewer's Name: Hailey K.
Genres:
before I fall by Lauren Oliver
Oliver, Lauren
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Until, Friday, February 12, Samantha Kingston has a perfect life; she has great friends, a hot boyfriend, and is one of the most popular girls in her school. She never thought that February 12 would be her last day, but it is.
However, she gets a another chance at a last day. For one week, Samantha relives her last day, trying to right the wrongs of her past. In that week, she realizes what really caused her death, and the true value of her life.
This book is a really good read. The characters are surprisingly human, and the issues that Samantha struggles with are unusually real. I loved how my opinion of Samantha could developed throughout the story. I enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to people that like realistic fiction.

Reviewer's Name: Hailey K.
everlost by neal shusterman
Shusterman, Neal
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Over the past year or so, Neal Shusterman has quickly become one of my favorite authors, which can probably be attributed to this fantastic novel.

Everlost is the first of three novels, which follows the story of two teenage characters, Nick and Allie, who have just awoken in a ghostly parallel to the real world after drying in a car crash. They are somewhat like ghosts, and retain the exact appearance they had when they died. The book follows these characters as they traverse through this ghostly world, and try to find their purpose among the other dead children, known as the "afterlights". Along the way, these two characters encounter many lifelike characters, and Neal Shusterman is able to effectively depict each event with imagery and descriptive language. I found myself actually excited to read the next chapter, which is coming from someone who is not typically an enthusiastic reader. Therefore, I would recommend this book to anyone who has spare time and is willing to delve themselves into a truly great book.

Reviewer is in grade 11.

Reviewer's Name: Alex K.
Awards:
bitter end
Brown, Jennifer
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Although Alex has two amazing friends, Bethany and Zach, she has always felt rather alone, that is until she met Cole. Cole is new at school, and seems perfect. He is a funny, star athlete, and very attractive, so Alex believes he is way out of her league. When she starts tutoring him, however, sparks begin to fly. Cole asks her out, and at first, it seems like destiny to Alex.

He is sweet to her, and she starts to fall for him. There is one problem
though: Cole is very jealous of her friend Zach; he hates it when they hang out and gets angry with both Alex and Zach. He begins to take out all of his frustrations on Alex, and it quickly escalates from put-downs to violence.
Bitter End is a heart wrenching that takes a candid look at domestic violence. I think this book is amazingly written, and I would recommend it to most people. Be warned though that this book is hard to get through. Because Alex is so innocent and good, it is easy to empathize with her. And even though what Cole is doing is wrong, he seems like a real person. Brown did a great job creating human characters that you can completely empathize with.

Reviewer's Name: Hailey K.
Genres:
Kingdom Keepers Power Play
Pearson, Ridley
2 stars = Meh
Review:

I recently read Kingdom Keepers: Power Play by Ridley Pearson. This book is the fourth in the series. Unfortunately, Power Play wasn't the best book in my opinion, because it is quite confusing and I feel only appeals to a certain reader.
Kingdom Keepers is a series about a group of teenagers who volunteered to be a part of a revolutionary invention.The Kingdom Keepers consist of five
members: Finn Whitman is the leader of the group, Philby is the brains, Charlene is the athlete, and Willa and Maybeck are the more normal kids. DHIs (daily holographic imaging) was invented by the imagineers to supposedly help guide guests around the parks, but the real purpose of this was the teenagers would actually have to take part in the battle against the Overtakers, a group of Disney villains, set to take over the park, and potentially the world. Power Play begins in Disney Quest, a kind of virtual theme park where the Kingdom Keepers went for a school fundraiser. When a ride the Keepers’
leader Finn goes on with his friend Amanda goes out of control, they find the Overtakers are behind it. Finn goes to the prison where the overtakers are held and tries to stop an Overtaker escape from happening.
I liked the fact this book takes place in the real world, but at the same time seems very futuristic and it's a good story about friendship and courage. Holograms at Disney World is a cool concept, but I think the author makes the story too complicated. There are multiple plots and twists going on at once, I sometimes forget things that happen. There are only 13 chapters in the 400 page book, sometimes up to 60 pages at a time, and most of what's happening in the chapter is completely unnecessary. These unnecessary parts make no difference to the story, other than the fact it leads the characters to the right place at the right time in an interesting way. Also, he uses very unspecific wording when it comes to talking about the characters in the group and you don't always know who he's talking about.
I wouldn't recommend this book, because of how confusing it is.
Unless you are a hardcore Disney fan, in that case you might want to give it a try. There are other books in the series and I think the first three tend to be a better read, it's more fun and the author doesn't get carried away with the story. The first book is the best in my opinion. So, if this type of book appeals to you, then I would definitely give it a try, but if you’re looking for a good or quick read, I wouldn't recommend.
To sum up, Kingdom Keepers: Power Play, the story of friendship and courage, is not the best read for the general audience. If you are sure you want to read I would definitely recommend the first couple books. The first stories tend to be better and less confusing. I am glad I read some of this series, to check it off my list of books to read, but I don’t think I would read this book again.

Reviewer's Name: Mason H.
Artemis Fowl
Colfer, Eoin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I loved this book because it tells the story of a boy no older than 13 being a super genius mastermind who can outsmart anyone. The books author (Eoin Colfer) adds to the miraculous tale of this boy by adding in the existence of fairies and other beings of fairy tales such as the leprechaun.
Review Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Jacob M.
Awards:
Genres:
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Patterson, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I loved this book, the reason why is because most people throughout their life would wish that they could have a superpower to assist them. in this book it tells the story of seven different aliens from a planet that has been invaded by a evil force and their adventures as they fight and avoid the "Mogadorians" as they try to fit in. Many struggle to fit in and constantly move to avoid detection while also wishing for away home.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Jacob M.
Wild Born
Mull, Brandon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I liked this book because it featured a world when instead of a
phone or something like that when you turn 12, no you get the chance to call on a spirit animal. I liked how Brandon Mull(the author) described the journey throughout this story as if it where a history book of some awesome new world that you are discovering with the characters. While I read this I felt as though the characters and scenery where right in my backyard.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Jacob M.
Clockwork Angel
Clare, Cassandra
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Clockwork Angel is the fantastic first book in the Infernal Devices Trilogy, a series set in the Shadowhunter's universe. When Tessa Grey arrives in London, she is simply looking for her brother, Nate, however she quickly is drawn into London's Downworld, where fey, vampires, and demons run wild on the streets. Taken in by the London Institute, she meets Jem and Will, Shadowhunters that are devoted to the fight against downworlders. As she begins to realize the depth of her own power, a plot comes to light that could threaten the safety of the world.
This is a great book filled with just enough romance, action, lore and adventure. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoyed Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instrument series or generally likes historical fantasy. As a whole, this book is an amazing read that draws you in immediately.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Hailey K.
I Have A Bad Feeling About This
Strand, Jeff
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

In I Have A Bad Feeling About This by Jeff Strand, Henry, a 17 year old boy, is sent to a survival camp by his parents because they think he's a wuss, and to be honest he is kinda wussy. But this camp is not what it seems. I really like how embarrassing Henry was, I could definitely relate. I didn't like that the book was dragged on, it took a few chapters to get to the really good action. I picked this book because it's title was intriguing to me and made me want to find out what happened. This book was extremely surprising and made me have to do a double take. I could relate to all the wimpy kids who were sent to the survival camp because let's be honest I can't throw a ball five feet. This was not the best book I have read this year but if someone asked for a good book recommendation I would totally recommend this.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Gemini K.
Scars
Rainfield, Cheryl
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In Scars by Cheryl Rainfield, Kendra, a young teenager, struggles with self-harm, depression, and having the constant fear of her rapist following and threatening her. All throughout the book she struggles with many things, and Rainfield describes her journey with passion and accurately describes what depression can and does feel like. I really liked that this book brought attention to in-home neglect, as her mother does not pay much attention to what is happening with her daughter more as how her daughter is being portrayed. I didn't like how fast paced everything is, although it does positively affect the book in some aspects it is a bit overwhelming in certain chapters. I picked this book because of the title and the cover, I have struggled with self-harm and it seemed like I relate to it, which I could in so many ways. This book was very surprising and it made me gasp out loud when the big truth was revealed. I could definitely relate to Kendra, as I said before I struggled with self-harm and have plenty of scars I need to heal. But not only in that way, she and I both have homophobic mothers who at first did not accept the "choices" we made. This book was really, really, great and it truly is one of the best books I have read this year.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Gemini K.
L.A. Mental
McMahon, Neil
2 stars = Meh
Review:

In L.A. Mental, after a freak incident with his brother Nick, Tom Crandall investigates his bizarre breakdown and discovers something gigantic.
He may be in over his head. I really liked the mystery that kept me intrigued throughout the novel. I didn't like how confusing it was, although every few chapters the book explains what is going on and helps you understand. I pick this book because I wanted something to keep me on the end of my chair, and while I was mildly interested this wasn't a book I just could not put down.
Mostly this book was completely predictable but it did throw in a few surprising twist and turns. I could partly relate to Tom because i don't have the best relationship with my siblings just like him. This book was an okay book definitely not my favorite but I would recommend.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Gemini K.
Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls
Weingarten, Lynn
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

In Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarton, June, a high school junior, investigates the mysterious "suicide" of her ex-best friend, Delia.
Throughout the book she discovers new mysteries and experiences betrayal and numbness. Her character develops quickly to adapt to what events occur. I liked how the book connects with June's feelings about the events, and describes them in detail, like any good book should. I did not like how the author only included two point of views, I would like to read what the other characters thought about and how they reacted in their thoughts. I pick this book because I wanted a mystery novel and the title as well as the cover piqued my interest immediately. Suicide note from beautiful girls had surprising moments, that made me think 'wow, I can't believe that just happened' but it had moments where I could predict what was going to happen.
I could semi relate to June, she as well as I have lost a best friend. I would say this isn't the best book I've read this year, but it is up there with a good story plot.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Gemini K.
The Thief Lord
Funke, Cornelia
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In Cornelia Funke's "The Thief Lord", the most famous thief in all of Venice is a young boy who goes by the name of The Thief Lord. He has recruited a large band of misfits to aid him in these crimes -- including runaway orphan brothers Prosper and Bo, who are being pursued by a detective hired by their aunt and uncle. The story had a great pace and was fun and engaging. The setting was described vividly and could be considered a character of its own.
The only flaw I saw was in the ending, which seemed out of place and didn't flow right with the rest of the story. But, the book was still great. I'd highly recommend it to readers of all ages.
Review Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P.
red queen
Aveyard, Victoria
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard reminds the reader that anyone can betray anyone. At the beginning of the book, Mare meets Farley, the leader of a group called the Scarlet Guard, a group that strives for equality between those with silver blood and those with red. Later, Mare, a red, gets a job at the royal palace because she talks to the prince, who decides to hire her. On her first day of the job, a freak accident causes her to get the power to create and control lightning. Because only silvers are supposed to have powers, the royal family decides to lie about her backstory and have her become the new princess. Mare and her new fiancé, Mavis, join the Scarlet Guard in order to give reds and silvers equal rights. In the end, Mavis reveals to Mare that he had been using her all along and attempts to kill her, but fails.

Red Queen was a total disappointment. I have heard so many people saying that it is a great book, and I know it was nominated for the Blue Spruce awards, but I don’t see why. It’s like the author combined the plots of Hunger Games, The Selection, and Divergent. I love all those books, but I was hoping for something more unique. It was the most like Hunger Games, with the people in the districts like the reds, and the people in the Capital are like the Silvers. Also, most of the main characters were annoying, unlikable, and impossible to grow attached to. I thought it was fine at the beginning, but it lost my interest as it went on. I thought that the parts with the Scarlet Guard were very boring. The book in my opinion would have been much better without the Scarlet Guard. Also, the book does not provide any information of how their society came to be that way, something that should be included in any dystopian novel. I want to know how the Silvers came to be, and how they got their powers. I didn’t like how they wanted to fight against the silvers because of inequality between reds and silvers, holding all the silvers responsible for what only a few government officials did. Red Queen was hugely overrated, and I will not be finishing the series.

Reviewer in Grade 8

Reviewer's Name: Nicole B.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Tiffany, John
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Harry Potter and the Cursed child invites the reader into the life
of Albus Potter, Harry Potter’s son, as he and his friend attempt to save Cedric Diggory by going back in time. The book starts at Kings Cross station, where Albus and his cousin, Rose are about to board the Hogwarts Express, exited to finally learn magic. On the train, Albus makes friends with Scorpius, Draco Malfoy’s son, a kind boy whose only goal is to make friends. Later, everybody is stunned to see that Albus is sorted into Slytherin and is terrible at Quidditch. Over the years, Albus becomes resentful of his father because he was so much better than him socially, academically, and athletically in his youth, making people have unrealistic expectations for Albus. In an act of rebellion against his father, he goes into the past with Scorpius to try to save Cedric Diggory’s life, leading to disastrous consequences that they and their parents must fix. In the end, Albus learns to be grateful for and love his father, despite their differences.This book was very entertaining. I loved how it was written like a play, showing the director’s notes. This was a wonderful book.

Reviewer's Name: Nicole B.
Genres:
little women
Alcott, Louisa May
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Little Women, a classic novel by Louisa May Alcott invites the reader into the world of the four March sisters in 1861 during the Civil war, who were living in Concord, Massachusetts. The Marches were poor, but happy, and their father was fighting in the war against the South. Meg, the oldest, was the most typical woman of her sisters (at the time). A lover of luxury and good society, she was the most proper. Jo, the second oldest was a free spirit and loved to read and write. She was a complete tomboy. Beth was the second youngest and very sweet. She had a plethora of pet cats and loved music. Amy was the youngest, and she loved art of all kinds. Like her sister, Meg, she also loved luxury. Little Women follows their story for about 15 years.
Overall, the book was very interesting, but at some points, it became extremely long-winded and sometimes even boring. However, most of the parts were very interesting and entertaining. You grow attached to all the characters in the book. Little Women was a wonderful book, and I hope to read it again soon.

Reviewer's Name: Nicole B.
the boy in the striped pajamas
Boyne, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, a historical fiction novel by John Boyne, invites the reader into the world of nine-year-old Bruno as he and his family move to a house near a Nazi concentration camp. The book starts off with Bruno discovering that he and his family are going to move so that his father, a Nazi, can work at a concentration camp. Reluctantly, Bruno travels to an old, small house in a neighborhood with no children. While exploring, Bruno finds a fence enclosing the concentration camp and meets a boy the same age as him named Shmuel who lives on the other side. Over the next year, they become best friends, realizing they have a lot in common. One day, Bruno decides to go with Shmuel inside the concentration camp where his father worked to see what it was like. Sadly, on that day, everyone in the camp was marched to a chamber where they were gassed, Bruno and Shmuel holding hands until the end.

The Boy in The Striped Pajamas, while sad, is a story worth reading. It inspires the reader to think about the Nazis and how terribly wrong they were. A bond is formed with both of the boys, demonstrating the heartbreak the Jews must have felt when their own friends and family were mercilessly killed. Fluffy and light at the beginning and heart-wrenching at the end, it is perfectly balanced. However, I would definitely not recommend this novel to anybody who does not like tragedies or anyone under the age of ten.

Reviewer's Name: Nicole B.
Awards:
Genres:
Unwind
Shusterman, Neal
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Unwind, a novel written by Neal Shusterman, is a fiction book that is about the adventures of three teenagers that have been chosen to be unwound by their parents. Unwinding is basically the process of cutting apart an individual in order to have each parts of their body to be used to save others. In the book, it is something that parents may decide to do to their child. When a child is no longer such, and becomes an early teen or a teen, the parents may decide to have their children go through this process.
Overall, this book provides a great amount of entertainment, as it is full of thrills and excitement. While reading this novel, one gets to feel like they are going through the struggles and adventures with the main characters.
Despite the book being very adventurous and entertaining, it would not be a good novel for someone younger than middle school to read, as it has very graphic details and contains some gruesome scenes. Overall, this novel is one that I would highly recommend for someone looking to have a fun and fairly short read.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Alex K.
Grapes of Wrath
Steinbeck, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Many readers are immediately turned off by the immense depth and length of this classic (450+ pages). However, within the hundreds of pages, Steinbeck is able to create a realistic world with dynamic characters and an immersive story line. The book takes place during the Great Depression era, and the story follows the Joad family as they travel to California after losing their family farm. The story begins with the main character, Tom Joad, returning home from his time in prison. He quickly finds out that the Joad family farm has been repossessed, partly due to the Dust Bowl, and the entire family must travel to California in search of work. Along the way, the family meets and interacts with many characters facing the same difficulties of the Great Depression. Throughout the book, we see the hardships faced by these characters, which accurately correspond to the struggles of those during the 1930's. As an avid history nerd, I found myself quite intrigued by the story, since I was able to feel more connected to this tragic time in American history. Overall, I greatly enjoyed reading this book, and would strongly recommend it to someone who has an interest in history and enough free time to tackle this classic title.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Alex K.

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