Teens

Jan 22, 2021

Kiera Cass’s second installment of ​The Selection ​series, ​The Elite​, was good, but it wasn't as good as its predecessor. In this book, America struggles to decide between Maxon and Aspen as the Selection is narrowed down to six girls. Overall, this book was super frustrating. First of all, I don't understand Aspen's character's value at this point; he seems to have little to no impact, and the chemistry between him and America is basically nonexistent. Second off, America slowly became more and more irritating. Her rash actions and inability to have any understanding for Maxon made her

Cover photo of the book The One

The One

4
Rated by
Jan 22, 2021

In ​The One​, the third book of ​The Selection ​series and the final installment of the original trilogy, Kiera Cass has managed to write a book that I loved and also frustrates me to my core. While The Elite​ frustrated me because of things that seemed meaningless, this book frustrated me because there was almost too much happening. The ending felt like Cass was looking for an easy way to get rid of characters, and it seemed very choppy overall; however, I really enjoyed the epilogue.


Another thing that frustrated me was the main characters' actions. Maxon and America were so rash with

Jan 21, 2021

The Selection​ by Kiera Cass is a dystopian fantasy novel that follows America Singer as she is put into the Selection, a contest of 35 girls competing for the prince’s heart. I have been putting off reading this book for a long time because of its heavily mixed reviews, but I’m happy to say that I was not disappointed.


This is definitely a guilty pleasure book; it’s so lovable because it’s like reading a reality TV show mixed with royalty. I like the idea of society presented in this book; I found the castes to be very interesting and reflective of class in modern society.


As for the

Jan 20, 2021

I Killed Zoe Spanos is a thrilling book by Kit Frick that leaves you on the edge of your seat with an intricate plot.  In this book, our main character, Anna Cicconi, takes a summer nanny job in a wealthy neighborhood. Little does she know, Anna looks eerily similar to Zoe Spanos, who has disappeared since New Year’s Eve. As she gets sucked into the mystery, Anna is convinced she is somehow related to Zoe Spanos. Three months into the job, Anna turns herself in after Zoe’s body is found. But many people aren’t convinced, and the evidence doesn’t match up with the statement. This book switches

Cover photo of the book Monster

Monster

5
Rated by
Jan 19, 2021

This coming-of-age novel is about Steve Harmon, a sixteen-year-old teenager, who is on trial for allegedly murdering a drugstore owner during a failed robbery. He challenges the assumption that he must be a ​Monster​ because he is an African-American male on trial for murder. In order to cope and redefine his identity, he distances himself from others and journals his experiences in the form of a screenplay.


The captivating and uniquely written plotline makes this book a must-read. Not only is the story engaging, it also holds a strong message about our criminal justice system and how it

Jan 18, 2021

The Gilded Wolves​ by Roshani Chokshi is the story of a unique and talented group of teenagers and the eclectic leader who holds them together. The characters are already a seasoned group of treasure hunters by the time the story begins, but the mission that the book sends them on is an important one. The acquisition of this ancient artifact has the power to alter each of their individual lives for the better. The story is set in 1889 Paris and Chokshi takes full advantage of the lush setting, with prose that paints a picture of a world as beautiful as it is harsh. The characters and their

Jan 17, 2021

The book follows the life of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in poverty in a dystopian country called Panem, governed by the rich and cruel Capitol. She, along with a boy Peeta whom she kind of knows, is selected to compete in the Hunger Games, a life-or-death battle between twenty-three other teenagers where only one can survive. Katniss must balance surviving the Games and determining the seemingly endless limits of the Capitol’s cruelty, all while maintaining a relationship with Peeta that may or may not even exist.


There are many things I loved about the book. It offers

Jan 16, 2021

Always and Forever, Lara Jean​, Jenny Han’s final novel in her ​To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy, provided the perfect ending to the series; however, it still lacked compared to the first book. In this book, Lara Jean and Peter deal with the prospect of college and all that comes with it, especially being in a long-distance relationship and having different schedules.


The thing that I enjoyed most about this book was its realistic representation of what happens to relationships once high school ends. Both Lara Jean and Peter doubt each other, they pretend they can visit each other

Jan 15, 2021

Elizabeth Berg’s The Story of Arthur Truluv (2017) is a realistic fiction novel telling the interweaving stories of Maddy Harris, Arthur “Truluv” Moses, and Lucille Howard. One day, while Maddy is visiting the cemetery to escape her school lunchroom, she runs into Arthur, who is visiting his wife’s grave; they become fast friends and join forces to combat their loneliness –Maddy’s from the estrangement of her father and boyfriend and Arthur’s from the death of his wife. Lucille, Arthur’s next-door neighbor, soon meets Maddy, and the three come together and form a chosen family while they all

Jan 14, 2021

The Battle for Room 314 by Ed Boland, published in 2016, tells the compelling story of his year teaching in an inner-city high school in New York City. As a young man, Boland worked for Project Advance, a non-profit working to place low-income, inner-city students in elite boarding schools and eventually Ivy League universities; however, he begins to feel unfulfilled and wants to widen his impact to help more deserving students. Therefore, he goes back to school to get his teaching degree and ends up getting hired in an inner-city high school –this story follows the trials and tribulations of

Jan 13, 2021

There is a breakout from Azkaban! Sirius Black is on the loose, and he is trying to find Harry Potter, for Black was a supporter of the Dark Lord. Sirius Black is also known for killing thirteen people with a single curse. Because of Harry Potter’s defeat against the Dark Lord, there was a downfall for all the dark wizards, including Sirius Black. Azkaban guards heard Sirius Black saying “He’s at Hogwarts...He’s at Hogwarts,” which happens to be the place Harry studies at. Even though Harry is protected by spells and Professor Dumbledore, he is not safe. Read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of

Jan 12, 2021

P.S. I Still Love You ​is the second book in Jenny Han’s ​To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series. Lara Jean and Peter are officially together, for real this time, but things get complicated when one of Lara Jean’s past loves shows up, and Peter can’t stay away from his ex-girlfriend, Genevieve. John Ambrose, Peter’s childhood best friend and one of Lara Jean’s past loves, finally got her letter. John and Lara Jean start to talk and begin to become close. At the same time, Peter seems to be spending more and more time with his ex, Genevieve. One night, after seeing Peter with Genevieve, Lara

Jan 11, 2021

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before​ is a contemporary YA romance written by Jenny Han. The story follows Lara Jean, a girl who hasn’t had much experience with romance but suddenly winds up in a fake relationship. Lara Jean wrote letters for every boy she had ever loved; they were meant just for her, but one day, they were mailed out. When her neighbor, Josh, with whom Lara Jean is still in love, gets his letter, she starts up a fake relationship with the most popular guy in school, Peter Kavinsky, to hide her feelings for Josh. This story follows Lara Jean and Peter’s fake relationship as it

Jan 10, 2021

The best way I can describe this book is as sci-fi Les Misérables. Chantine, a thief and con-woman best compared to Éponine, lives in the Frets (slums) of Lattere, but wants nothing more than to leave. To everyone but her family she is known as Théo. Marcellus (most like Marius) is the grandson of General Bonnefaçon, the most powerful man on the planet. His father was a traitor and member of the Vangarde, a rebel group thought to be resurfacing. And Alouette, comparable to Cosette, lives in a refuge with the 10 ‘“sisters” and her secretive father who protect the planet's only books.


Fair

Jan 9, 2021

The Silvered Serpents ​is Roshani Chokshi’s brilliant follow up to ​The Gilded Wolves​. It picks up with the characters grappling with the extreme loss they face at the end of ​The Gilded Wolves​. Fractured and confused, they go on one final, all important, mission. Matching the story’s darker tone is a setting shift from Paris to Russia, an icy world that is once more beautifully illustrated by Chokshi’s prose. My problems with this book are essentially the same as with ​The Gilded Wolves​. First, the character ages do not at all align with how mature they feel. The author really should have

Jan 8, 2021

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is a wonderful futuristic sci-fi story about a fascist world full of censorship and where happiness is valued over thinking and free will. The book offers an insight on what our world might become, and even though the book was published in 1953, the problems that it presents are even more present today.


The story follows Guy Montag, a firefighter, in the year 1999. However, he is less of a firefighter and more of a fire starter. Guy’s job is to set houses on fire that are believed to contain books, which are now banned. Books began to change as people began to

Jan 7, 2021

Marvel Fairy Tales​ is a graphic novel compilation of several different stories written and illustrated by C.B. Cebulski, Claire Wendling, and many others. I loved the idea of this book and was excited to see my favorite Marvel characters transported into some of my favorite fantasy worlds, but I was disappointed by the execution. There is no character or plot development; the stories all have a great beginning, but there’s no build-up to their climaxes; all of the stories suddenly end and feel almost incomplete. Despite the lack of story development, the illustrations were phenomenal, and I

Jan 6, 2021

Anne of Avonlea​ is the second installment of L.M. Montgomery’s ​Anne of Green Gables​ series. In this book, we see Anne grow into her late teens while managing two young twins, taking on more responsibility at Green Gables, and experiencing her first year as a teacher. Though Anne maintains her childhood wonder, throughout this book we get to see her mature.


I was just as captivated by this book as I was by the first book of the series, but I am a bit sad that time moved so quickly; from ​Anne of Green Gables​ to ​Anne of Avonlea,​ Anne’s childhood sped by. Even with her newfound maturity

Jan 5, 2021

A must-read for any history fans, Killing the SS by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard shows the hunt to find the worst war criminals in the world and the race against time to bring them to justice. Dugard and O’Reilly bring you back to the end of WWII, following the stories of multiple “Nazi Hunters” who devoted their lives to catching these immoral individuals.


The Nazis, after losing the war, go into hiding with the knowledge that they will be put to death if they are caught. The book follows the stories of 4 of the most influential Nazis, who have each been directly involved in the deaths

Jan 4, 2021

William Goldman’s ​The Princess Bride​ is a story of true love, revenge, and adventure. Buttercup, a farm girl forced into royalty by her husband-to-be, Prince Humperdinck, is kidnapped by an evil genius, a giant, and the most talented swordsman in the world. Westley, Buttercup’s thought to be dead true love, must save her from her three kidnappers and her unwanted husband.


In this novel, Goldman perfectly blends fiction and reality until it seems that everything in the story must be true. Goldman’s writing is truly genius; the language he uses is flawless, and his story within a story is

Dec 31, 2020

The Cup and The Prince was a largely enjoyable read that featured charming characters, an amazing world, and a strong plot. The idea of winning a competition under false pretense was really interesting.


The plot immediately separated itself from other titles because of the pretense. Since Zora technically lied to compete for the Blood Cup, she's put into a more precarious position than other characters. She must keep her reasoning a secret from other characters, causing tension. Being tied to all three royal characters was also a good choice because it showed the contrast in each of Zora’s

Dec 30, 2020

Jacky Ha-Ha is a realistic fiction book by James Patterson. This is a book about a girl who stutters and her name is Jacky Ha-Ha. Jacky is a prankster; she pranks teachers and friends and is very naughty. When she gets 20 detentions in four days, she chooses to use her detentions in the school musical. There, she meets her true love and she learns her best friend has the voice of an angel. She also gets in trouble and she makes everyone laugh to cover her stutter. Ms.Turner also makes her do the school debate challenge, which she hates. Do you think Jacky will do the debate? Read Jacky Ha-Ha t

Dec 29, 2020

Donovan Curtis is not what you call “gifted.” However, his genius friend, Noah Youkilis, is Supergifted, with one of the highest IQs. After spending many years at the Academy for Scholastic Distinction, Noah looks for the chance to fail and to become normal. He lands at Donovan’s school and finds himself in trouble with cheerleading captain Megan Mercury and jock Hash “Hashtag” Taggart. Donovan sticks up for Noah but gets caught in his own feud and has to stay away from Hashtag. Noah believes that Donovan was mistreated and goes to Hashtag’s house to give Hashtag a piece of his mind. Donovan

Dec 28, 2020

The Song of the Lark​ by Willa Cather is the story of a seemingly ordinary person rising up achieving greatness. Born in the small town of Moonstone, Colorado, Thea Kronborg faces the realities of life and comes to know her true self as she fights for a place in the world of opera. As Thea grows from a precocious young child in the late 1800s to a true artist in the early 1900s, we see the effect that this transformation has on her and those who are closest to her.  Cather’s beautiful prose captures not only the world around Thea, but also the wonder with which she views it. Cather shows the

Dec 23, 2020

A Wizard of Earthsea​ by Ursula K Le. Guin is the classic tale of how Ged, a young wizard, comes into his powers and repairs the mistakes of his youth, restoring balance to the land of Earthsea. Along the way he attends a school of magic, battles a dragon, and faces true evil. I really wanted to love this book. It’s high fantasy with a cult following and I wanted it to capture my heart the way that it has for so many people over the years. But ​A Wizard of Earthsea ​is unlike any other fantasy that I have ever read in that it isn’t very heavily plotted and there isn’t a ton of detail. All of

Dec 22, 2020

Anne of Green Gables​ by L.M. Montgomery is a beautifully told coming of age story. Anne Shirley is an orphan mistakenly brought home by the Cuthberts living in Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. This story narrates Anne’s life as she grows up and learns to navigate her feelings, relationships, and life. Anne is a nearly perfect character because of her imperfections; she’s always making mistakes or getting into trouble, which makes her relatable to the reader.


For generations, Anne has delighted readers with her big personality and even bigger imagination, and as this was my second read of

Dec 21, 2020

It gave me chills. The setting/tone of this book was eerie and spooky and I kind of felt like a character in the story myself. The ending was unexpected. It's a definite read for those who like thrillers or mysteries.  

Dec 18, 2020

Beatrice Clayborn is a young, powerful sorceress secretly practicing magic in a patriarchal world that doesn’t allow women the freedom of sorcery. Beatrice’s greatest dream is to become a Mage, but her family is relying on her to secure an advantageous marriage in order to avoid financial ruin. There’s only one problem with this — once married, she will be locked into a collar that will cut off her magical powers to protect the children she will inevitably bear. While scouring the bookshops of Bendelton, Beatrice discovers a grimoire that could help her become a Mage, but she is swindled out

Dec 17, 2020

Lovely War, written by Julie Berry, is a historical fiction romance novel narrated by the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, as a defense for her infidelity to her husband Hephaestus with Ares, god of war. She speaks of two couples whose stories intertwine with each other, both of whom met during the first World War, and recounts their tragic yet beautiful tale to explain why love and war are attracted to each other and to demonstrate how love requires vulnerability. As she does so, she masterfully weaves together a story of music, acceptance, prejudice, and sacrifice which draws to a close in

Dec 16, 2020

After sixteen-year-old Alice Prewitt’s French grandmother passes away, she finds out that she has inherited an abandoned apartment in Paris. Alice travels to Paris in order to see the apartment for herself, but she makes a shocking discovery — her grandmother had a sister: Adalyn, a resistance worker during WWII. However, Alice has no idea about her great-aunt’s work, and what’s more, Adalyn’s old photos and diary suggest that she was a Nazi sympathizer. With the help of Paul, a handsome French teenager, Alice starts to uncover the truth that Adalyn took to her early grave.


This novel was