Teens review their favorite NEW titles!
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Winter by Mike Mullin
More than six months after the eruption of the Yellowstone
supervolcano, Alex and Darla retrace their steps to Iowa hoping
to find Alex's parents and bring them to the tenuous safety of
Illinois, but the journey is ever more perilous as the remaining
communities fight to the death for food and power.
Reviewed by Vishwa, age 12:
The story revolves around a boy named Alex, his girlfriend Darla,
and Alex's family. They live in a place ruined from the eruption
of the Yellowstone super volcano, which threw a billion pounds
of ash into the air, causing the sky to have a yellowish grey color.
One day, while they are working in their farm, 4 armed men intrude
their house. They shoot Alex's cousin and loot their supply, but
luckily, Darla drives them away with their rifle. As they search
the supplies of the robbers, they see that one of them is carrying
Alex's dad's rifle. Alex's parents had gone in search of Alex when
Alex was still trying to get back home from the hostility of the
wild and Black Lake, an organization that took refugees wandering
on the road and kept them in camps for pay. Immediately, Alex and
Darla set out to find Alex's parents and find out why a bandit
had Alex's dad’s rifle. This book, in my opinion, is one
of the best books I have ever read. Even though I hadn't read the
first in the trilogy, I completely understood the text. Even though
the book says that it is for 14 year olds and above, I think that
12 year olds could also read it. They should watch out for curse
words though and short graphic scenes. Some words are also very
advanced. This book is one of those books that always have a problem
after the last problem is solved. It can also give a sense of despair
to the reader, giving them the idea that the problem will never
be solved. But I think that adds to the excitement. The author
also makes the book very realistic, even though he doesn't live
in a post-volcanic age. What I like a lot is the fact that the
author makes each chapter very short, which makes the book's storyline
long. The book also has sense of adventure and the characters are
very tough and smart when it comes to solving his problems. The
end also brings a moment of suspense and thought. The reader doesn't
know what will happen in the third and final book. And I like books
of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson
Tandy Angel is, along with her brothers, a suspect in their
parents' murder but having grown up under Malcolm and Maud Angel's
perfectionist demands, Tandy decides she must clear the family
name no matter what.
Reviewed by Kaity, age 16:
Full of suspicion and suspense, this book was a truly fascinating
read that had me trusting no one and doubting everything that I
knew to be true. I would definitely advise it to anybody who loves
a good murder mystery, but I must warn readers now that nothing
is ever as it seems, and that they must brace themselves for a
plot twist ending that they will never see coming.
by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
genius and outsider Willow Chance must figure out how to connect
with other people and find a surrogate family
for herself after her parents are killed in a car accident.
by Claire, age 11:
My honest opinion of this book was that it was
very good once you got into it. The reason why is that at very
beginning it was
very slow and weak, but right when the crash happened I got into
the book more. Plus some parts in the middle of the book were
weak too. Other than that I really liked the book. I felt that
right there in the middle of the action. Like I said before with
some parts being weak some were so detailed which I liked. I
loved how that even though Willow had a tough time after the car
the book turned out to have a happy ending. In all, I loved this
book and I will definitely recommend it to some of my friends.
Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
In 1852, when seventeen-year-old Katharine is sent to her
family's estate to prove that her uncle is insane, she finds
he is an inventor whose work creating ingenious clockwork figures
supports hundreds of families, but strange occurences soon have
her doubting her own sanity.
Reviewed by Christina, age 16:
Although it was hard to grasp in the beginning, I really enjoyed
this book. The story takes place in (what I assume is) the late
1900s in England, and the idea of all the new technology is based
on true stories from that time. It was very innovative and gripping,
once you get through the confusing, over-detailed parts. I say
this only because I had to re-read a couple of pages here and there
because I got lost in imagining the scene. The only thing that
I found a bit disappointing was the end; it lacked any sort of
promise for romance. There was plenty of anticipation for the romance,
but the climax was missing, as was the happy ending. I hope there
is a sequel, because I don't want the end of this book to be the
end of the line for its characters.
Darlings in Love by Melissa Kantor
Three fourteen-year-old best friends experience the joys and
heartbreaks of first love.
Reviewed by Becca, age 17:
Darlings in Love was a very entertaining book to read. The
Darlings are a group of three best friends, Victoria, Natalya
and Jane. They are in their second semester of ninth grade and
they are all in love. Each goes through the ups and downs of
relationships. The Darlings know that no matter what, they will
always have each other.
Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
In a dark future America that has devolved into unending civil
wars, orphans Mahlia and Mouse barely escape the war-torn lands
of the Drowned Cities, but their fragile safety is soon threatened
and Mahlia will have to risk everything if she is to save Mouse,
as he once saved her.
Reviewed by Whitney, age 17:
Paolo Bacigalupi was a Printz Award winner and a National Book
Award Finalist for his last book, Ship
Breaker, and it's not hard to see why. The
Drowned Cities, a companion to Ship
Breaker, sucks readers into a dystopian world with the first
chapter. Mahlia and Mouse are two child refugees who are fleeing
through a war-torn country. As Bacigalupi details their journey
across the land, he comments indirectly on controversial issues
such as climate change, resource depletion, and child soldiers.
For a young adult novel, The
Drowned Cities is surprisingly thoughtful.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Cath struggles to survive
on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly
roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate
who only wants to talk about words, and worrying about her
Reviewed by Abby, age 16:
In my opinion, this book was one of the
most beautiful books I've
read in a long time. Admittedly, it took a while to get started,
but once it did I never wanted it to end. It was very relatable
and told the main character's story in a very honest sort of way,
sparing the reader many of the cheesy cringe worthy clichés
often found in romance novels. I really liked how the author interwove
the fictional world the main character wrote about with her actual
world, and I thought it created a nice parallel between the two,
as well as allowing you to see and understand an integral part
of her life. The ending was satisfying as well as realistic, not
promising a happy ending but not denying the reader one either.
Watching the main character fall in and out of love, while also
trying to deal with her life was one of my favorite parts of reading
this. All in all the characterizations were brilliant, the dialogue
was funny and real without bordering on the cliché, and
the story itself was soft and easy to get lost in making this a
must-read book for fans of this genre!
After falling through the ice of a frozen lake and being resuscitated
by her best friend Decker, seventeen-year-old Delaney begins
experiencing a strange affinity for the dead and wonders whether
she is predicting death or causing it.
Reviewed by Becca, age 17:
a great book that I could not put down! Delaney Maxwell falls into
an icy, freezing cold lake in Maine. After eleven minutes, her
best friend, Decker Phillips, pulls her out. Her heart and brain
have stopped working and she is dead. By some miracle she comes
back to life and is completely fine. No one can explain it. Now,
however, Delaney feels a strong pull to those who are dying. Delaney
meets Troy Varga who has similar abilities. Delaney is happy to
find someone like her, but then she finds out that his intentions
are not always good.
Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
It's 1996, and less than half of all American high school
students have ever used the Internet. Emma just got her first
computer and Josh is her best friend. They power up and log on--and
discover themselves on Facebook, fifteen years in the future.
Reviewed by Becca, age 17:
Future of Us was a fantastic book. It takes place in 1996.
Emma and Josh are neighbors who have been friends their whole
lives. Josh gets a free AOL CD-ROM in the mail. He goes over
to Emma’s house so she can install it on her computer.
When Emma installs the CD, they are logged onto Facebook, which
has not been invented yet. Emma and Josh see themselves fifteen
years in the future. Everyone always wonders what he or she will
be like in the future; Emma and Josh are about to find out.
When Erika wakes after a horrific car crash, she finds herself
somewhere between Earth and Heaven, life and death. Will she
be able to get back to her children?
Reviewed by Savannah, age 14:
a unique story. I had never read anything like it. It was definitely
a more mature read. The writing was good, and the story was well-paced.
I usually wouldn't go for a book of its kind, but all and all it
wasn't that bad of a book.
Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
As magic fades from the world, Jennifer Strange is having
trouble keeping her magician employment agency business afloat,
until she begins having visions that foretell the death of the
last dragon and the coming of Big Magic.
Reviewed by Kate, age 15
Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde is an entertaining book
with a great message. The story follows a fifteen year old girl
who lives in a town where magic is pointless and used up. She
soon finds out about the predicted death the world's last living
dragon and sets out to prevent it from happening. I was slightly
disappointed by the ending because it was rather random. Overall, The
Last Dragonslayer was an entertaining and easy read that
I would definitely recommend.
up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon
of cancer in a hospice, seventeen-year-old prankster Richard
has big plans for his final days.
Reviewed by Aryam, age 16:
This book is narrated by the main character,
Richard Casey, a teenager who unfortunately is terminally ill.
He knows that his time is
almost up, but that doesn't stop him, and another patient,
Sylvie, from living like normal teens. Hollis Seamon wrote the
book in a way that it is split up into 3 parts, and in each part
is a different adventure that is so crazy that it almost makes
it seem unreal. For example, Richie sneaks out of the hospice
on Halloween night with his uncle to get drunk and meet women.
In another part, he smokes marijuana and gets beat up. All very
tough to do in a hospice but, in my honest opinion, I felt that
this book was an average novel. It was a very simple and short
book. Although it lacked some depth and connection to the characters
and storyline as other books possess, it was still a decent story
with some great parts. Although I felt like more could have been
done to enhance it, there was still a decent flow to the story
and it had I personally would not have read this book as it is
not my style of literature, but overall it was a decent book
with parts that make you laugh, cry, and to make it a little
better, it was a pretty quick read.
Town by Stephen Emond
Evan and Lucy, childhood best friends who grew apart after
years of seeing one another only during Christmas break, begin
a romance at age seventeen but his choice to mindlessly follow
his father's plans for an Ivy League education rather than becoming
the cartoonist he longs to be, and her more destructive choices
in the wake of family problems, pull them apart.
Reviewed by Becca, age 17:
I really liked that Winter
Town had comic strips and art alongside the text. Evan and
Lucy are childhood best friends. Lucy moved away after her parents
got divorced, but comes back every winter. This year, however,
Lucy is different; she now has black hair and a nose stud. Evan
thinks that beneath Lucy's hard exterior she is still the same
as he remembers and he is willing to try to find out. This book
is told from Evan and Lucy's perspective.