Review Crew - book reviews by teens, for teens

Wild Bird
Van Draanen, Wendelin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wild Bird is about a girl named Wren who has to go to a Wilderness Survival Camp because she is in a horrible spot in drugs and alcohol. She stays at the Wilderness Survival Camp for eight weeks. At first she hates it and is mad at her family for sending her there, but as she realizes her mistakes and makes a friend named Hannah, she starts to have fun. Throughout the eight weeks, she learns wilderness skills such as how to make a fire without a match, how to make and take down a tent quickly, but most importantly, she finds her true self.
I really enjoyed this book. It is a great fast read and I feel anyone would love it. I related to some things Wren said, nothing with drugs or alcohol. This is a great book and I rate it ten out of ten.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
Awards:
Ender's Game
Card, Orson Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Ender’s Game is a science-fiction book set in the future of Earth. Humans have battled with the Formics or “Buggers” three times before. Mazer Rackham was the only reason why the Humans won the first two wars, and he can no longer fight. In anticipation of the third war, and in search of the next Mazer Rackham, Humankind has been training their youth to battle by the use of realistic war games, which are sometimes in zero gravity. When Andrew “Ender” Wiggin joins the other boys in the Battle Room, he clearly exceeds them in battle tactics, and leads his team to victory. Ender eventually finds himself being trained by Mazer Rackham himself as the battle draws nearer. This book displayed excellent character development, along with a sensational plot. Ender’s Game was action packed from start to finish. This book is an easy five stars, despite the author’s use of profanity. I would recommend this book to anyone who wanted to read a quality Sci-Fi Novel.

Reviewer's Name: Zach M.
Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury, Ray
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel about society if books were
banned. Firemen burn books and one of the firemen is Guy Montag. He's the
main character but eventually he goes against the government and reads books.
His wife Mildred reports the authorities about his possession of books and he
is forced to burn his house, escape the city, and create a new life. After
being on the run from the government, he goes down a river to an unknown area
where he finds other people who read books and he joins their group.
Honestly, I thought it was an amazing book. I love how it puts the importance
of books into perspective and I think everyone should read it. I highly
recommend Fahrenheit 451.

Reviewer's Name: Oriana
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lee, Harper
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The amount of description in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is
amazing. Like, Sherlock Holmes good. The characters are well mapped out, the
interactions felt thought through, and the relationships are believable. I
personally didn’t get all the detail the first read through, just from
enjoying the characters too much. The history is realistic, considering the
time period and how poorly the blacks were treated. All things considered,
this is an engaging read with some actual history.

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

Artemis Foul is a thrilling book, bringing fantasy to reality. The
fantasy part of the book is really well done, as the technology for the most
part is realistic. The book follows mainly Artemis Foul, a 12-year-old genius
child, millionaire, and criminal mastermind. To get his family's fortune back
after his father is assumed dead, Artemis Foul dives into legend and comes
across fairies. But these fairies aren't the ones from bedtime stories, they
are dangerous and, when it comes to it, deadly. This book has a story with
many twists and turns. I highly recommend reading this book, it is a
must-read book.

Reviewer's Name: Torin
Keeper of the Lost Cities
Messenger, Shannon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"Keeper of the Lost Cities" by Shannon Messenger was recommended to me and I love it! The plot, characters, and the way it flows all makes the book a 100/100. Twelve year old Sophie Foster is suddenly taken from her world by a boy who explains to her how she is different and claims she can change the world. Leaving the people who raised her was difficult, but after meeting people and gaining new relationships, Sophie realizes that she would do anything to save her friends and family. Along the way, Sophie hopes to find out who and what she really is.

Reviewer's Name: Kate S.
Awards:
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lee, Harper
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee creates a creative look on segregation in life in the 1930's. As the story goes along, Scout and her brother Jem experience many changes throughout the summer of 1935. Their father, Atticus Finch, defends a black man after the man was accused of an unsolved crime. The event creates much thought and debate on the subject of segregation. The book has many great turns and the potential of characters was used to a full extent. I highly recommend the read for it will give readers an excellent idea of how life was those many years ago.

Reviewer's Name: Kate
Sal and Gabi Break The Universe
Hernandez, Carlos
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Welcome to ‘Sal and Gabi Break the Universe’, a book that will take you on an awesome universe-tearing adventure! This book will show the life of a middle-school magician, named Sal. I especially loved this book because of the time put into the descriptions of the magic tricks. Another thing that makes this book shine is the humor. There was enough humor in this book to keep me laughing the whole time I read it. This book is high up on my book list. I would suggest this to anyone, and I mean anyone.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
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
Call Me By Your Name
Aciman, Andre
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Elio is an American-Italian Jewish seventeen-year-old living in 1980s Italy. Every summer, his father hosts an overseas guest to help with his books. And every summer, Elio pays little attention to the guests; until he meets Oliver, a charismatic, charming Jewish-American. During those few, precious weeks, Elio experiences a romance that lifts him above the clouds and anchors him in the sea all at once.

Above all, I loved the setting of the novel. I felt like I was in 1980s Italy with each reference to Italian culture and language. Elio, being an intellectual, describes the love between him and Oliver so profoundly it seems to become the perfect love story. Elio is funny, shy, smart, and romantic, and Oliver is his perfect foil. The book is a relatively short read (when compared to other novels), but there's so much detail in every sentence that it felt like I'd gone through an entire journey that had, ironically, ended too quickly.

The ending wasn't the happiest, but I still liked it. I like the questions left: What happens with Oliver and Elio? What happened to Elio's father? I'm ecstatic to read the sequel and have these questions answered.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Awards:
Genres:
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
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

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