Reviews of Teen Books

The City of Ember
DuPrau, Jeanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is about Ember, a post-apocalyptic city that is built underground to save the human species. Lina Mayfleet, and her best friend, Doon Harrow try to follow a set of clues left behind by the creators of the City of Ember, known as the builders, to get to the real outside world, where nobody dares to go.

But now they must go outside as the 2 centuries of rations of food and water that lasted an extra 40 years, are now coming to an end. But after many generations of living in the enclosed, walled city, nobody knows how to get to the outside world.

Lina and Doon find a box that has the instructions of how to get out of Ember, but Lina’s baby sister, Poppy makes it hard on them. She makes sure that Lina and Doon solve a puzzle because the pieces of paper have been torn, ripped, and eaten by Poppy.

Another challenge the Lina and Doon face is terminology. Because the letter on how to get out is now some 240 years old, the terminology has changed, it has words that are familiar to us like ‘boat’ or ‘candle’, but not familiar with the people of Ember. Lina and Doon figure out what these words mean to solve the already torn up piece of paper.

This book definitely keeps you wondering about the past and the future, and with many intriguing parts, I'm going to go with 4/5 stars for City of Ember.

Reviewer's Name: Gurman
Illusion
Kenyon, Sherrilyn
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Nick's life can't get any worse. Besides the fact that he's the son of a demon destined to destroy the world, he's also wanted by every supernatural being one can think of. This time, his soul has been separated from his body and thrown into a different dimension, and if Nick doesn't find a way to get back to his original realm and body, his army of demons are going to destroy the world...with or without him.

This book is the fifth book in an eight-book series, and honestly, it's my least favorite thus far. The plot is less fantastical and more mellow, and there's a lot of new characters that are introduced that makes it a little hard to follow. Otherwise, I still enjoyed it. As always, Nick is hilarious and as charismatic as a demon can get, and we get a glimpse into his more complicated relationships (his relationship with his father for example). I believe most importantly, the book showed Nick's more vulnerable side than the preceding books in the series. Now that he's inherited all his powers, I'm excited to see how life turns out in the Nick universe throughout the last three books!

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
AP U.S. History Prep Plus 2020 & 2021
Kaplan Publishing
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I knew that AP US history would be a difficult class with lots of information. Since the beginning of the school year, I've been trying various resources to see which will prepare me the most for the APUSH exam. From browsing YouTube channels to finding online practice tests, I haven't found a resource as valuable as this book. Another helpful piece to this resource is that, with the book, you can access the online website. On the website there are even more quizzes over the various units. I am so glad I found this resource and I am certain it will help me a lot when it comes time for the big test! I strongly recommend. Grade 11

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P.
Genres:
The Missing Kennedy: Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women
Koehler-Pentacoff, Elizabeth
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Tragedy ran deep in the Kennedy family--so much so that some people even questioned if the family was cursed. Rosemary Kennedy was born in 1918. At the time of her birth, the hospital was overcrowded with victims of the Spanish flu. The nurse, who though perfectly capable in assisting Mrs. Kennedy to give birth, urged her to wait until the doctor could come. The baby, Rosemary Kennedy, was forced back inside her mother's birth canal for two hours by the nurse during the wait. This irregular birth led to lifetime consequences in Rosemary. She had learning disabilities. Despite this, she was pushed equally as hard by her parents. Rosemary never made it intellectually past the fifth grade level. Her condition affected the Kennedy family because at the time people with disabilities were seen as having a "bad gene" and were not even allowed to receive the sacraments or eucharist at the catholic church. As Rosemary's condition worsened, her parents were desperate to fix her before she "ruined" her brother JFK's political career. This story is unique because it sheds light on a member of the Kennedy family whose tragic story eventually brought positive change in how to deal with the disabled.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth
Awards:
Brave New World
Huxley, Aldous
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Brave New World, written by Aldous Huxley, is a personal interpretation of society’s attitude towards technology. It takes place in a future, either dystopian or utopian, where technology reigns supreme, and humans are created in a lab. It offers commentary on where humanity’s values are placed, and where they should be placed. The characters have to choose whether or not conformity is the best option, and whether numbing the pain is better than understanding the suffering. Written in the 1930s, Huxley has a surprisingly modern style and understanding, and knowing that he was unsure of the future makes it an even more exciting book.

Reviewer's Name: Malachi
Desert Solitaire
Abbey, Edward
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Desert Solitaire, written by Edward Abbey, is essentially a memoir of his time spent as a ranger outside of Moab, Utah, in the Arches National Park. It includes compelling commentary on the progression of industrial tourism, as well as life changing events and exciting stories. For some, the book may be a frustrating read, either because it lacks a linear plot, as a collection of journal entries and secondary memoirs, or because Abbey’s views are reminiscent of traditions from the 1930s. Abbey is aware of this, and begins the book with a series of disclaimers. For readers who enjoy beautiful writing about life in the West, Desert Solitaire should be a potential read.

Reviewer's Name: Malachi
 Bridge to Terabithia
Paterson, Katherine
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book is about two unlikely friends who create an imaginary world with many kinds of animals and beasts. Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke become friends when Leslie moves and becomes Jess’s neighbor. But they really get to know each other when Leslie is the only girl to beat Jess in a running race.

One day, Jess and Leslie use a hanging rope to swing over a little river that is nearby, and that’s when they start to rule, as king and queen, the imaginary Terabithia.

There, the two friends have adventures as they try to rule over their subjects, and keep peace and order in Terabithia. Some of these subjects include hairy vultures, squogres, and other spirits, both good and bad. Squogres are massive squirrel-like creatures who are constantly growling, and they wear strange golden helmets with a spike on top, like a Triceratops.

With this book keeping you imaginative, with some sad and happy parts, I'm going to go with 3/5 stars for The Bridge to Terabithia.

Reviewer's Name: Gurman
Phule's Company
Asprin, Robert
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Phule’s Company combines humor and a great amount of detail in a single book. It also contains a good amount of growth mindset. Even though it's a novel, I think anyone could learn Growth Mindset from this. Though the humor is hard to see, it really is funny in a lot of ways. Some of the names are clever versions of household items, such as duct tape. Overall, this is an excellent book for anyone looking for a sci-fi.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Pretties
Westerfeld, Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The plot and characters in this book were Amazing! I loved the twists and turns along the way. The story ran smoothly and everything moved at a great pace. If you are interested in a highly engaging, futuristic, adventurous book, this is highly recommended! You will find yourself deep in the pages and unable to put the book down.

Reviewer's Name: Kate
Shapechangers
Roberson, Jennifer
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Cheysuli chronicles come off with a great start. I enjoy this book for the lighthearted style and consider it the best of the series. The detail is amazing, the picture painted is excellent, and the character development is perfect. The series is a fantasy about generations of shapechanging people conflicting with their nemesis race, the Ihlini. I would highly recommend this book to people who love fantasy.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
The Song of Homana
Roberson, Jennifer
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is a good read, like the first in the Cheysuli Series. The beginning is a little rough, but push through it! The point of view for this was uncertain at first, but it gets soo much better. I loved this book for how it sets up the prophecy. I feel that the first book didn't really describe the prophecy well enough. I loved how she showed the characters in this, it seems she described them is realistic for being in exile for maybe 5 years.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Inferno
Kenyon, Sherrilyn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Turning sixteen is not what Nick Gautier anticipated. The most wanted demon in the world, he's constantly in trouble; whether it's fighting off demons, dealing with a murderous girlfriend, or simply navigating high school, Nick's life is everything but normal. With his father dead, Nick thinks he's safe, but now there's a bigger problem: someone is hunting him down and trying to enslave him, and he has no clue who or what it is.

This book is part of a series and each one gets better and better! I like the elements of preternatural beings mixed with everyday life. Nick is very relatable (besides the part that he's half-demon), and he's hilarious as a character. Each chapter brings new surprises and will leave you wanting more.

I also really like how Nick has grown as a character throughout the series. While he's physically growing older, he's also mentally maturing, and you can see that through his decisions and choices.

Overall, this series isn't just entertaining: Nick teaches us about making selfless choices for those we love and that choosing good is always better than evil.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Cover of The Bluest Eye
Morrison, Toni
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Bluest Eye is about a young African-American girl named Pecola living in 1940's Ohio. Pecola lives with her brother and abusive parents who constantly tell her she is ugly because of her dark skin and kinky hair. On top of that, the children at her school bully her for the fact that her father is an alcoholic. All her life, Pecola has wanted blue eyes to feel pretty. Her only friends, Freida and Claudia try to defend her against the colorism in their community, but Pecola is unable to embrace her features and becomes obsessive over her desire for blue eyes.

One of the reasons I read this book is because of Morrison's writing style and her thematic elements. The book is very intellectually stimulating and gave me better insight into colorism and how it is still largely prevalent today in the African-American community. I really liked how Morrison used a young girl as a main character to show how these feelings of low-esteem and poor body image are started at a young age, and how the people around us influence our thoughts and feelings.

There are a lot of complex characters and you get to hear each of their stories about why they're the way they are. Claudia is my favorite character because she represents women and girls who challenge our ideas of beauty. The ending was sad, but it really brought light to how damaging our obsession with beauty is.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Book Cover
Berry, Julie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

After being caught with her lover, Ares, Aphrodite tells the stories of two couples that fell in love during World War 1. James and Hazel met at a party that Hazel was playing piano for. They start to go on dates and they really like each other, but James is shipped of to the battlefield. Hazel decides to join the Red Cross to be closer to James. There she meets Colette, who becomes a fast friend.

This book was amazing! I loved the perspective of the gods on the story. They often make appearances to discuss specific parts of the story relating to the gods' affinities. I also loved seeing the couples be together, even during their struggles. While reading this book I cried multiple times and couldn't be happier about that.

I would also highly recommend the audiobook. There were so many different narrators it truly felt like I was in the story. One of the characters passions is composing music and in the audiobook you can actually hear the music! It is a wonderful experience.

Reviewer's Name: Savannah H.
Book Cover
Riggs, Ransom
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Jacob's grandfather has always told crazy stories. Stories about faceless monsters and kids with mysterious abilities. When he was younger Jacob believed these stories because his grandpa had scary pictures of these strange kids, but as he got older Jacob thought these were just little kid stories until a family tragedy brings one of those monsters from his childhood to life. This tragedy gets him to travel to a small island off the coast of Whales, where he begins to discover more about his grandpa the peculiar children from his stories.

The atmosphere that the author created for this book was amazing. You can feel eeriness of the things that Jacob sees through the pages. It is only enhanced by the pictures of strange things scattered throughout the story. The unique characters and idea held my attention completely and the fast-paced plot made me think it was over to soon. This book is part of a long series that I can't wait to continue!

Reviewer's Name: Savannah H.
Salt to the Sea
Sepetys, Ruta
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Salt to the Sea is about 4 people who are running from their past in the midst of WWII. Joana is a nurse fleeing from the dangers of Lithuania, with the hope that a ship will take her out of Europe. Florian is on the run from a mistake he made back in Germany also looking for the chance to escape without anyone finding him and taking him back to Germany. Emilia has finally decided to flee from the family that was taking care of her after the woman and her daughters betray her trust. Alfred is escaping reality by joining the German fleet to escape the mistake he made that cost him his girlfriend and his sanity. As the book continues all the character's paths join and they meet on the Wilhem Gustoff- a bigger tragedy than the sinking of the Titanic. The ship that promises safety, ends in tragedy. This is my favorite author, and out of all her books, this one is my absolute favorite. The character's stories blend together to make all the little plots into one overarching plot which I think is really cool. The chapters switch off narrators so you get to see the story in different perspectives. I like how the author shows a different side of the war than other WWII books where Germany is portrayed as the enemy and not as a country also in war. In this book, many of the people also fear Russia more than Germany because Russia was the one attacking and not helping and Germany was the one evacuating people. This makes the book different and I think more interesting. This is a really good book and it is worth a try.

Reviewer's Name: Emma
Genres:
Mockingjay
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Mockingjay is about a girl named Katniss Everdeen who becomes a warrior in the war against the capitol. She must rebel against the capitol to stop the cruelty that the capitol finds entertaining and to ensure a better future of Panem. Katniss must go through training, injuries, and the lost of loved ones, all while taking down the capitol one attack at a time. I really loved this book. It exceeded my expectations one hundred percent. There are two other books in this series so make sure you read those before this one.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
Night
Wiesel, Elie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Night by Elie Wiesel is a powerfully graphic novel that tells the story of a Hungarian Jew's experiences in various concentration camps within Nazi Germany during World War II. I really enjoyed this book. It was very well written and hard to put down. This book not only tells of Wiesel's experiences in concentration camps, but provides insight into psychological and philosophical ideas that make it even more interesting. Wiesel was just a teen when he and his family were sent away. He and his father were separated from his mother and sister and underwent an immense amount of trauma that was life altering for both of them. I'd recommend this book to those interested in World War II. The book is a quick and easy read with deep, profound content.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth
Wilder Girls
Power, Rory
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Raxter School for Girls is located on a secluded island off mainland America. They have been under quarantine for over a year because of the "tox" that has infected the students and teachers there. The tox gives the girls strange mutations like a hand covered in scales, two hearts or two spines, but it can also kill them. There are few students or teachers left on the island, and with little food and dwindling supplies it's a struggle to survive. Hetty is just trying to keep herself and her friends alive long enough for someone to find a cure but when one of her friends, Byatt, go missing Hetty takes it upon herself to find her and learns that things on the island aren't all that they seem to be.
This book is mainly told in two perspectives, Hetty and Byatt. I like this because it gives more insight to other parts of the story. I enjoyed being in Hetty's head. It was interesting to see her look back at her time before Raxter and to see the reasoning behind the decisions she makes. I also liked reading about this new world the girls are living in.
The ending was left very open ended which was kinda annoying. I also think the characters could have more personality outside of how they have been affected by their circumstances. They often lacked depth

Reviewer's Name: Savannah
The Call of the Wild
London, Jack
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I was required to read The Call of the Wild for my Literature class. The story is about a lovable St. Bernard dog named Buck. At the start of the story, Buck lives in the cushy and comfy house of Judge Miller, but eventually winds up in the wild North of the Yukon. Serving as a sled dog, Buck passes through many owners, good and bad, and learns to answer the Call of the Wild. Overall, it was a pretty good book, but I would only give it Three Star review for these reasons:
1: As it is a classic, the book was written with an older style of English, which can be a little hard to understand. Older English can also take away some of the gravity in pressing situations.
2: There wasn’t quite as much action as I would have liked.
3: I enjoyed the book, but some of the action scenes may have been ruined by the Older English, although the Older English gives the reader a taste of how people communicated in the past. However, the characters, plot, and setting were developed well, so overall, Call of the Wild is a classic, and a quality work of literature, which still can be enjoyed today.

Reviewer's Name: Zach

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