Review Crew - book reviews by teens, for teens

Book Cover
Reed, Amy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Evie has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and she's agreed to stop
treatment, prepared to face the bitter end. That is, until by sheer miracle,
her cancer completely heals and she can move on with her normal life again.
However, everyone still sees her as Cancer Girl, and she's unable to live the
life she thought she gained back. That is, until she meets Marcus. To her,
even with the danger involved, he is the light at the end of the
tunnel,making her feel invincible to all harm. However, she had no idea she'd
soon be on a winding path down the drain.

This is a story that gets more and more depressing as it goes on. Already
dealing with the depressing topic of cancer from the start, you'll soon find
yourself jumping into topics of death, loss, abuse, and drugs. Since this
comes right from the eyes of the main character, this book has an almost
unbearable pain leading up to a depressing and nerve-racking conclusion. This
book is beyond criticism.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi S.
Book Cover
Ewing, Amy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

It's been a few months since Violet and her friends escaped to the Farm.
Their plan to overthrow the royalty in the Jewel is coming together. However,
when Violet's sister's life is threatened, Violet is forced to go back to the
Jewel to rescue her. While in there, she discovers shocking secrets that
could both help her plan and put it in jeopardy. As the days to the attack
tick down, Violet must conjure up all her strength to ensure victory and
safety for all, even when her friends are torn away right in front of her
eyes.

If there's ever been a series I'd recommend, it's the Jewel trilogy. It's a
very quick read, and no matter how hard I try, there's not a single flaw I can
find. This book is no exception, and provides an action-packed, gripping
finale to the series. It also hit me with the saddest deaths in any media
I've yet to find (and I've endured Der Flohwalzer). However, this did present
a problem, as it happened right before the book's climactic final battle,
which made it hard for me to get sucked in. However, after taking a crying
break for two hours, my tears turned to unbridled rage against the royalty,
and I was able to get back into what I consider one of the best final battles
of all time. Overall, I highly recommend this book. Just make sure to have
some tissues ready.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi S.
Genres:
Book Cover
McKevett, G. A.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Stella Reid takes herself back to what she considers her best Christmas ever.
Stella had enough to deal with during the Christmas festivities, especially
with the recent vandalism of the McGill nativity display. Then late one
night, she discovers Priscilla Hart, the town bad girl, dying in an alleyway,
and it's clear she didn't go down without a fight. As a way of paying her
respect, Stella begins to investigate Priscilla's murder when almost everyone
around her seems to turn a blind eye, all while trying to ensure that she can
see her family during the holiday season. As the pieces of the puzzle come
together, Stella begins to realize who the culprit is-a culprit who even
thinking of the possibility of them committing murder breaks her heart.

G.A. McKevett released two books in 2018; this one and Hide and Sneak, the
next entry in her Savannah Reid mysteries. Out of the two books, this one is
what I feel is the better quality. It does a much better job of showing over
telling than Hide and Sneak, especially with Stella's grandkids. With both
the mystery itself and the subplot with Stella's family, this story does an
amazing job of being real, with just the right balance of heartwarming and
heartbreaking events to keep up that image. However, this story is not
without its flaws. As much as I loved how the culprit threw plot armor out
the window, I just felt like it came out of nowhere. I expected the culprit
to be at least somewhat linked to the evidence we saw, but I just felt who it
actually was was a failed attempt to mush two plotlines together. Altogether,
I was disappointed by the climax, especially with all the amazing buildup to
it earlier on. But hey, maybe my brain was just foggy from bacon withdrawal.
Overall, I highly recommend this mystery novel with every fiber of my
existence.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi S.
Genres:
McKevett, G. A.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency has a new case that takes them up in
the world to famous actor Ethan Malloy. His wife and child have gone missing,
and he's counting on Savannah and the rest of the agency to return them safe
and sound. The case is already a dire one, but when the family's nanny is
found murdered near a forest trail, the situation becomes even more severe.
Savannah is rushing both to find Ethan's family and catch the nanny's killer
before another victim is claimed. With paparazzi swarming at every turn and
evidence that leads to more dead ends than not, this is shaping up to be
Savannah's deadliest chase yet. Will she be able to apprehend the culprit
before the final seconds of the clock tick down?

G.A. McKevett released two novels in 2018; this one and the first novel in a
spinoff series. While I personally find this book to be the one of lesser
quality, it's not by much at all. The mystery is handled in a phenomenal
light, and I was off my seat with anticipation of what would come next. It
all ended with a culprit I didn't expect, but was obvious in hindsight, which
I feel is a clever way to go about a culprit in a mystery. The side plot with
Tammy's parents was also handled really well. However, the reason I feel like
this was the lesser novel is because I felt like it often relied too much on
exposition to drive the mystery forward, which kind of beats the storytelling
purpose of "show, don't tell". However, I still consider this one of G.A.
McKevett's best works to date, and I absolutely recommend it to anyone and
everyone.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi S.
Genres:
Book Cover
Levine, Laura
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Jaine Austen is relieved to receive a gift trip to the Haven, a luxury resort
along the California coast, from her flamboyantly gay neighbor Lance.
However, upon arriving there, she realizes that the Haven is a fat
farm in disguise run by Olga, the Diet Nazi (her words and not mine). She's
sharing her "luxury vacation" with Mallory Francis, a famous movie star, and
her staff. While gracing the big screens is Mallory's job, her true calling seems to
be making enemies with everyone she comes across. So when Mallory is found
strangled by a piece of kelp during a seaweed wrap, the suspect list is
longer than Rapunzel's hair with added extensions. Not wanting to spend any
longer in Diet Hell than necessary (and yes, she does call the Haven that),
Jaine puts on her detective slippers once again to catch a culprit once
again. However, this will prove to be Jaine's most challenging cases yet, and
her chase to catch the culprit will put her life on the line more than ever
before.

Let me just get this off my chest. I-love-this series! It's so well-written,
and never ceases to amuse me. I love how this series waits until later than
most for the murder to happen,making the reader make assumptions on who the
culprit is before the murder takes place. However, every book I've read from
this series so far has a major flaw. While the actual investigation for each
book is individually unique, the main climax always follows the same format.
It goes as follows:

1) Jaine is left with no clear culprit until she remembers a piece of
evidence she missed
2) The person who seems like the furthest thing from the culprit is always
the culprit
3) Just as Jaine finds the culprit, they try to kill her
4) Something saves Jaine last-minute
5) The culprit is arrested

This book is no different. I really wish Laura Levine would break away from
this format, as it makes the series very repetitive. However, I just hope she
does it in future mysteries. But overall, I'd highly recommend this mystery,
especially for a good laugh. The mystery kept me guessing while still keeping
me relaxed, Jaine Austen is the most relatable protagonist ever, the sub-plot
with her parents is hilarious in an "I really shouldn't be laughing at this"
kind of way, and Prozac is-well, Prozac! Just make sure to have something to
strangle with (noose, execution chain, chimichanga, whatever suits you),
because I assure you that no Jaine Austen mystery has made me want to
strangle Lance more than this one by the end. You have been warned.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi S.
Genres:
Book Cover
Brake, Mark & Chase, John
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Science of Star Wars by Mark Brake and John Chase is a fantastic read!
Explaining the science behind Star Wars the movie series through
understandable language and with humorous tone, the authors explore the
possibilities of realizing some of the fantasies of the galaxy far, far,
away. They also explain why some concepts in Star Wars will never be possible
in our own home. This book is appropriate for readers 16 and up. As a Star
Wars and science fan myself, I would definitely recommend this book.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca D.
Book Cover
Ramacharaka, Yogi
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In the Science of Breath, by author Yogi Ramacharaka teaches about
deep breathing. He teaches of the incredible scientifically-proven benefits
to health, spirit, and mind through this simple act of something we already
need to survive—breathing. Captivating and engaging, this book grips
readers and equips them with knowledge to improve their moods, health, and
life. This book is appropriate for ages 14 and up. Anyone with an interest in
lowering stress, or simply with an interest in the science of breath, would
enjoy this book.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca D.
Book Cover
Ignotofsky, Rachel & Mollo-Christensen, Sarah
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Women In Science, by Rachel Ignotofsky and Sarah Mollo-Christensen, provides
an overview of the lives of fifty women who contributed greatly and, in the
authors’ words, “fearlessly”, to the scientific field. In the book,
these fifty women’s contributions to science are highlighted and described.
Well and engagingly written, this book is an important read for any young
woman interested in the scientific field. By teaching us about the lives of
these women, the authors encourage young women to pursue their passions in
the sciences by showing previous women who have paved the way. I would
recommend this book to readers ages 12 and up. The book is appropriate for
anyone interested in the STEM field and women’s contributions to it.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca D.
Doidge, Norman
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Dr. Norman Doidge’s book, The Brain That Changes Itself, introduces
the revolutionary new science of neuroplasticity. The brain and its ability
to change itself and re-wire is the core of Dr. Doidge’s research, a
research which carries fundamental repercussions for day-to-day life for
every human being on the planet. Inspiring stories of stroke victims learning
to speak again and other incredible tales of brain change bring a sense of
awe to the reader. Teaching us about this amazing new frontier in science,
this book is certainly a fascinating read. In my own experience,
neuroplasticity helps me create a better life for myself through lower stress
and brain re-wiring. I would recommend this book to readers ages 16 and up.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca D.
Book Cover
Green, Jen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Women In Science is a book which covers the lives of outstanding
women in science. Written for readers from 7-9, this book inspires young
readers with the incredible wonders of science. Too, it highlights these
contributions to the field which have been made by women. A simple and
digestible read, this book would be ideal for any young girl interested in
the scientific field. I would recommend this book.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca D.
Book Review: Guts
Telgemeier, Raina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Another great graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier. As Raina deals with friends, food, and changes in school she begins to find herself. This is a great book that many teens would find relatable and fun to read. The art in these books is so detailed and colorful. I have read all of Raina Telgemeier's books and I love her stories of finding your way.

Reviewer's Name: McKenna B
Book Review: Sacrifice Box
Stewart, Martin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is about five friends who find a secret box. They put in objects of importance in this box and make three rules never return to the box at night, never visit it alone, and never take back your sacrifice. When someone breaks the rules how will these friends find their way back and what will they learn about each other? As the box tries to destroy them and the sacrifices come to life can Arkle, Lamb, Hadley, Sep, and Mack race against the clock to save the day? This is a book full of excitement and emotion. This thriller has hints of humor and lots of meaning. Many unexpected twists and nail-biting events will make this book impossible to put down. I sure
couldn't. This is by far my favorite book and I suggest it to every teen everywhere.

Reviewer's Name: McKenna B
Genres:
Book Review: Resurgence
Aubin, Jerry
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Jerry Aubin finishes the Ship Series in spectacular fashion. In Resurgence, Aubin ties up the series beautifully and answers all of the questions that have kept readers fascinated from the very beginning. Zax must finally face what he started and defeat the true enemy of the ship, Alpha. Resurgence will keep you on your toes with its whirlwind plot that will captivate you from the start. Like all of its predecessors, Resurgence does not disappoint with its plot twists and adventures. I highly recommend this book for any middle or high school aged reader.

Reviewer's Name: John B.
Book Review: The Towering Sky
McGee, Katharine
2 stars = Meh
Review:

"The Towering Sky" by Katherine McGee tells the story of five teenagers in 2119. Living in a futuristic Manhattan tower in which your floor displays your power, a mystery/romance story is bred. This book was perfectly okay. The writing wasn't half bad, and the characters ,well half-baked, were not unrealistic or arrogant. However, as reading this book, the third and final of a series, without reading the first two, was extremely confusing. At first I had not realized that this book was part of a trilogy, and thought the writing was purposefully confusing. Though I don't know if this book would make more sense after reading the first two, the pacing was quite fast, though the plot moved slow, which created a strange vibe while reading. In general, I would not recommend this book. However, if you have read the first two and liked them, go ahead and give it a go.

Reviewer's Name: Anna C.
Book Review: Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury, Ray
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Fahrenheit 451 follows the story of a fireman, Guy Montag, who lives in a dystopian society. His job as a fireman is to locate all books around the city and burn them. Books are banned from any individual and is considered to be an inferior type of entertainment in comparison television, which are more supported by the public. As Montag continues to burn more books throughout his job over time, he deals with a variety of external factors that changes his brainwashed and disillusioned perspective to considering books and their significance to society. Being a firemen in this dystopian society, Montag must deal with a plethora of barriers that are blocking his way before he can truly understand the importance of books and to keep them.

Fahrenheit 451 is an intriguing book that takes a different approach in a dystopian society. Instead of implementing a militaristic and governmental style, Bradbury uses firemen which encapsulates a unique and captivating plot line. Fahrenheit 451 demonstrates a story that everyone can enjoy, especially for those who enjoy reading dystopian novels. Bradbury effectively relates character development of Montag to the series of events that occurs. This coherent relationship that virtually happens side-by-side further produces a sense of immersion for the reader.

Personally, I enjoyed Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 novel. It is considered to be one of his best, and most iconic books that he has written to date. I highly recommend any average reader to consider reading Fahrenheit 451. The book is not too long, but it will still produce an immense amount of quality and satisfaction in the end.

Reviewer's Name: Nam T.
Awards:
Book Review: Rendezvous
Aubin, Jerry
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Ship Series continues to be phenomenal in Rendezvous. Rendezvous not only continues the thrilling adventures of Zax after twelve years after being Culled, but also continues to develop the story of Adan and his creation of his massive spaceship to save humanity. Aubin adds a whole new level to the depth of the Ship Series with his exploration of the Ship's history while still staying true to the original story. Full of plot twists, Rendezvous will leave you fascinated and reaching for the next book in the series. I highly recommend this book for any middle or high school aged reader.

Reviewer's Name: John B.
Book Review: Alice in Zombieland
Showalter, Gena
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Alice Bell thought her father was crazy, at least until she saw the monsters herself. On her way home from her little sisters dance recital her life is turned upside down when she awakes on the side of the road barely conscious. They were in a car accident, and before she blacks out she vaguely sees a monster eating her father. "There is no way, zombies don’t exist" Alice thinks, but then she remembers the stories her dad used to tell her about them. She wakes up in the hospital with her grandparents standing next to her with sad looks on their face. She knew before they told her, her parents and sister were gone. She starts to see visions or images of zombies she can’t get them out of her head, so when she meets a bad boy named Cole at her new school she can’t help but think he knows more than he lets on about the monsters she sees. When it comes time to fight Alice and Cole must trust each other, but this fight is for Alice it's time to avenge her family. This was a book I couldn’t put down, I had to immediately pick up the next book in the series.

Reviewer's Name: Madison S.
Awards:
Book Review: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Patterson, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Maximum Ride is probably one of the most interesting and exciting books I have ever read. The novel starts with a group of children living in a house on their own, the one who watches out for the younger children is sixteen year old, Maximum Ride (Max). The children are not like other normal kids though; they can all fly. When the kids were younger they were all kidnapped by scientists and were experimented on. While they were experimented on they were given genetically attached wings. The children all escaped with the strength they all had together but now the scientists want them back. They can fly and they are stronger than most humans and they each have
individual powers unique to only them and they are not easy to find. The scientist also created what Max and the other children call “Erasers”, which are genetically mutated humans half wolf, half human with the sole purpose of finding the missing flying children. The novel follows Max and the children on their journey to freedom. I honestly think that there is something for everyone to enjoy in this book: romance, science fiction, action and adventure. I love this book and would highly recommend reading it.

Reviewer's Name: Madison S.
Book Review: The Last Forever
Caletti, Deb
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

After tragedy strikes a family, Tessa is left alone with her father who doesn’t know how to grieve the death of Tessa’s mom. Her dad's way to fix their grief is to embark on a last minute road trip which lands them in her grandmother's coastal town. While Tessa tries to grieve she also asks her grandmother about the numerous questions she has about the past, questions about her mother and questions about her dad. Her dad leaves her alone with her grandma but the longer she stays there the less she wants to leave, especially after she meets the very handsome Henry Lark. She can’t help but wonder if she goes home if she will be faced with crippling grief over her mother and forced to take care of her delusional dad. She does her best to live in the moment and enjoy the time she has left with Henry before she leaves. Although it wasn’t my favorite romantic novel it is an enjoyable book and was fun to read.

Reviewer's Name: Madison S.
Book Review: The Dark Between Stars
Atticus
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

“The Dark Between Stars” is a hearthrobing book of poetry filled with the contrasting stories of the hope and despair that come with the human experience. The author Atticus, transports his readers back to their own memories, feelings, and emotions with his very relatable and beautifully written poetry. On each page I could see a different image or feel a different emotion which I think is the remarkable thing about the book. My favorite poem from the book was “The problem with falling in love is that everything else in life becomes boring by comparison”. I would highly recommend this book to any poetry lover, I have never before been so transported into my own thoughts and feelings while reading before.

Reviewer's Name: Madison S.
Genres:

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