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Teen Book Reviews

Check out these reviews written by our teen customers! We love hearing what you think–if you are in grades 7 – 12 and want to review a book you’ve read, submit your review. New reviews are posted monthly.

A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens

Genre: Historical Fiction

Reviewed by Tesfa

A Tale of Cities by Charles Dickens is a novel that focuses on a story that takes place in the late 1700s in the period before and after the French Revolution of 1789. The story, as its name suggests, darts between the two cities of Paris and London and illustrates the buildup and aftermath of the French Revolution told through specific characters. Throughout the story, the contrast between relatively peaceful London and chaotic Paris is evident as we see our characters run into constant peril every time, they enter Paris. The story places an emphasis on reform and change within people and illustrates how people are more than willing to change their ways and do what’s right when the time calls for it. This classic from the legendary Charles Dickens is definitely worth a read and teaches lessons concerning loyalty, companionship, and sacrifice.

All the Bright Places

Jennifer Nielsen

Genre: Fiction, Adventure, Romance

Reviewed by Morgan

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is the most heartwarming and heartbreaking novel I have ever read. Theodore Finch, a boy with undiagnosed mental health problems, finds himself on the ledge of the school bell tower after returning to school following the New Year. He considers jumping but decides it would be too messy for his liking. Violet Markey is a girl who hasn’t recovered from her older sister’s death last April, and somehow finds herself on the school bell tower ledge right next to Theodore Finch. When Violet freaks out on the ledge and doesn’t know what to do, Theodore helps her get to safety. But when Violet and Theodore reach the other students, everyone seems to believe Violet saved Theodore. Theodore doesn’t correct them, and that should be the end of their encounter. Yet it’s far from over. A smile from Violet in U.S Geography has Theodore falling for her, and he finds a way to force her into being his partner for an Indiana Wandering project worth 35% of their grade. Throughout the story, the project seems to become much more than a boring school assignment. It leads to Theodore and Violet facing their fears, exploring, having fun, finding friends in the strangest of places, and learning to live life to the fullest. In conclusion, I really enjoyed reading this novel and highly recommend it.

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

J.K. Rowling

Genre: Fiction, Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Reviewed by Ryan

Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s return to Hogwarts for their fourth year after a long summer is about to start and Harry is enjoying the summer vacation with his friends the Weasleys. They get the tickets to The Quidditch World Cup Final, but after the match is over, people dressed like Lord Voldemort’s Death Eaters set fire to all the visitors’ tents, coupled with the appearance of Voldemort’s symbol. After that Summer the Triwizard Tournament is about to begin. Students must be over seventeen to enter, with the winner receiving eternal glory. Only three champions can enter. Harry can’t enter it this year… or can he? Others under seventeen have tried but none have succeeded. When Harry Potter’s name is read out from the Goblet of Fire, everyone assumes that Harry has cheated. Harry insists that he never placed his name in there, with someone else behind it. Harry must now survive through dragons, sea creatures and a terrifying maze with the help of professor Mad-Eye Moody, all before coming face-to-face with a particular dark wizard, he who shall not be named. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is one of the most action-packed books in the Harry Potter series. I recommend this book for people who like fantasy, adventure, and if you had read the previous books before. One good thing about this book is that they added new characters to the story that really help the plot of the story move smoothly. One thing that I don’t like about this book is how long it can take for there to be a good chapter. One example is after fighting the dragon Harry was making other people do his work.

Impostors

Scott Westerfeld

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by Annabel

“Impostors” tells the story of two identical twins, born to a famous father. As far as the public knows, however, there is only one daughter. The older twin, Rafi, is trained to become a popular public figure, while the younger twin, Frey, becomes a trained killer and body double. In this futuristic world, sustainability is a priority, and metal from old structures is a valued resource. Things begin to change when threats of rebellion loom on the horizon, and the twins are separated. Frey is sent to another powerful family, the Palafoxes, as a thinly veiled hostage in place of her sister. As Frey begins to spend more time with the Palafoxes, they realize that she’s a different person than the Rafi they see broadcasted publicly. A mistake on Frey’s behalf ends with her father launching an attack on the Palafoxes. She escapes, along with Col, the eldest son of the Palafoxes. They join the rebellion with a plan to save Rafi from her controlling father. Details in the text convey the same theme throughout the story, with everyone seemingly having their own facade. As the story goes on, Frey develops her own individual character. The book ends with a final ruse, Frey taking her sister’s place one last time.

It’s Not Summer Without You

Jenny Han

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Romance

Reviewed by Sonia

It’s Not Summer Without You is the second book of the three-book Summer series by Jenny Han. This book starts with Belly reminiscing about a day in Cousins Beach. However, she is not there this summer because Susannah, her mother’s best friend who she loves dearly, has recently passed away. Belly is at home this summer with her best friend Taylor Jewel and is heartbroken over her longtime crush, Conrad, who had broken up with her earlier in the year. She prepares for a boring summer at home until Jeremiah, Conrad’s younger brother, calls Belly and informs her that Conrad has gone missing. She quickly decides to go help Jeremiah find him. On their journey, Belly discovers that Mr. Fisher, Susannah’s husband, plans to sell the Cousins beach house. Conrad, Jeremiah, and Belly throw a party to celebrate the house before it is taken away. The party gets out of control and Laurel, Belly’s mother, comes to the house to sort everything out. Conrad gets back to his life at college with Jeremiah and Belly’s help. At the end of the book, Jeremiah expresses his feelings for Belly. This book is fast-paced and easy to read. I would rate it a 4/5.

Red Queen

Victoria Aveyard

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Romance

Reviewed by Isabella

Although this book did start off slow, the ending was executed perfectly! The plot of this book does not miss and WILL keep you on edge. Red Queen is a divided world; those born with red blood and those born with silver. Those with red blood live in poverty and hardship while those with silver blood live in riches and strength. To briefly summarize, Mare Barrow a seventeen-year-old red, is forced into the role of a long-lost silver princess to hide a compelling secret. Betrayal after betrayal forces her to become the monster she always feared and dreaded. Caught between rebellion, love, power, and hope, Mare Barrow’s journey is one to definitely read. This story is also brought to life with the organized setting and intriguing characters. I guarantee you will laugh, smile, cry, and scream with the characters as they find blessings and face obstacles. Red queen is a must read! I highly encourage you to give it a shot if you love a good fantasy adventure with a good romance.

Shatter Me

Tahereh Mafi

Genre: Fiction, Action, Fantasy

Reviewed by Amaya

Shatter Me is an exciting and compelling YA novel about 17-year-old Juliette Ferrars, the girl who can kill someone with just one touch. She gradually learns how to adapt to living with her strange power through the help of her close friends. This book is beautifully written, almost like a poem in some parts; I have never read anything like this style. I loved learning about each of the characters’ personalities and watching friendships begin. Many scenes in this story caused me to laugh out loud because of the witty dialogue and sarcasm (which I am fluent in) between the characters. The character development throughout the story is amazing as well – Juliette transforms from a timid, confused young girl to a very strong and powerful protagonist. Overall, I really enjoyed this story!

The Giver

Lois Lowry

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by Jessica

The Giver is a novel based on a society where everyone has been monitored to have a life planned out already. When a child is born up to 12 years old, they are under surveillance to see how the child interacts and associates with the world around them. The child is then assigned a lifelong job based on their personality traits and how they respect others. There are many laws that keep the citizens to keep the society under control. If rules are broken, The Elders, the people who run this utopia, send officials to hunt and eliminate the disturbance. The protagonist is a twelve-year-old boy named Jonas. He is different than everyone else and he finds out about what is outside of his world. Jonas finds out more and more secrets about the past and suddenly his image of the place he lives in starts to crumble.

The House of Hades

Rick Riordan

Genre: Fiction, Action, Mystery, Thriller, Adventure

Reviewed by Dhyan

The fourth book to the Heroes of Olympus sequel is by far the best. At the end of the third book, two of the seven main characters get trapped in the underworld. This leaves us off with a big cliffhanger. With so much suspense and anticipation, the author has a lot of pressure, yet he does not disappoint. The two characters must fend off vicious monsters while being hungry and thirsty for days. On the other hand, the remaining five characters must figure out the path to finding their friends. They all make friends and enemies along the way, ultimately leading to the brink of death. Will they be able to get out of the underworld, will they be able to stop the evil that lies beneath? I think that this book was very good in terms of suspense, thrill, mystery, and adventure. Best of all there were no parts in the book that were boring or lost focus. I was engaged all throughout the book without wanting to stop. All those aspects are used very well throughout the book. It was able to surpass the high expectations that were set for it. If I were to rate this book, I would rate it a 4.5/5.

The Selection

Kiera Cass

Genre: Fiction, Romance

Reviewed by Sonia

The Selection by Kiera Cass is the first book in a five-book series. Illéa is a country founded by Gregory Illéa, it is separated in a caste system that dictates one’s job, the poorest are Eights and the wealthiest are Ones. This book starts with seventeen-year-old America Singer, a Five, who is secretly in love with Aspen Leger, a Six. America is part of a large family that sometimes struggles to put food on the table and her parents want her to have more. When the opportunity to enter The Selection, a competition between 35 girls that are picked to try to win Prince Maxon Schreave’s heart, marry him, and become princess of Illéa, her parents and Aspen encourage her to enter. Miraculously, she is picked and goes to the palace to begin the competition. America meets Maxon and all the other thirty-four girls the day after she arrives at the palace. She is in awe of everything there because it is so much more than what she has at home. As the book progresses, girls are sent home and rebels who do not like the monarchy attack the palace. The first book ends with America much closer to Maxon than she ever thought she would be. I would rate this book a 4.5/5.

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