Teens

Apr 30, 2021

The Scarlet Pimpernel is a classic historical fiction novel about a mysterious figure, after whom the title is named, who rescues French nobility from the guillotine. He is famous both in France and England for his cunning disguises and daring rescues of the aristocrats from under the very noses of the people who want them dead. His identity is a secret which both his archnemesis, Chauvelin, and his great admirer, Marguerite Blakeney, desire to know. Marguerite, who is unsatisfied in her marriage to the foppish Percy Blakeney, becomes entangled in the fate of the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel by

Apr 29, 2021

The Complete Father Brown Mysteries is a group of fictional short stories by G.K. Chesterton, a master of literature. The stories all feature the title character, Father Brown, who is a short, stout Roman Catholic priest from England. To others he appears simple and naive, but in reality he is a genius. Essentially, he is the quirky, unassuming, compassionate, and lovable version of Sherlock Holmes. He solves his mysteries by imagining himself in the place of the criminal, which he discusses in one of these short stories. Each mystery is complex and different, which is amazing to think about

Apr 28, 2021

The Westing Game is a fictional story about a group of individuals who all live in Sunset Towers. They are shocked to learn that all of them are heirs to the late Sam Westing, and they compete in a game he devised for his 200-million-dollar estate. The game has vague rules and is twisting and complex, with the final aim of finding his alleged murderer, who is said to be living among them. This creates paranoia and confusion, with different characters having varying goals and problems. Distrust runs rampant throughout the apartment complex, and unusual friendships are formed by those pre-chosen

Apr 27, 2021

Lone Survivor is a true eyewitness account of Operation Redwing written by SEAL Marcus Luttrell. In it, he tells the remarkable and tragic story of how he became the only surviving member of SEAL team ten. Near the beginning of the book, to help explain the phenomenal stamina, strength, and courage SEALs have, the author describes his experiences in SEAL training. Both the physical and mental capacity of those who make it through must be enormous, as only six percent of those who attempt to pass the extremely physically demanding exercises, sleep deprivation, and stressful environment actually

Apr 26, 2021

The first novella in Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series, Destroy Me takes place after Shatter Me and is told from Warner’s perspective. It follows Warner as he recovers from his bullet-wound and searches for Juliette, all while the Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, his father, is visiting. Destroy Me is a substantial novella as it provides an entirely new perspective on Warner. Something always seemed off about Warner’s character in Shatter Me; this novella perfectly explains why; it was all an act to hide his true intentions from his violent father and disloyal soldiers. It also

Apr 25, 2021

The story starts in Redmont Fief where Will and his wardmates prepare for choosing day, the day where their future is determined. They can be evaluated and chosen by masters to become apprentices or work in the local farms. Hearing stories of how courageous his deceased father was, Will wants to follow in his footsteps and plans to become an apprentice in the fiefs battle school. After being rejected, Baron Arald gives him the option to become apprenticed to the mysterious ranger, Halt. Although at first unhappy with this outcome, after learning skills that help protect the place he calls home

Apr 24, 2021

Family, food, and friends are the heart of ​Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet​ by Laekan Zea Kemp. The story alternates narrators starting with Pen who struggles with telling her parents that she would rather run her father’s restaurant, Nacho’s, than live out the dreams her parents have for her future. At Nacho’s, everyone is family, including newcomer Xander who wants to discover the secret of his father’s disappearance while keeping his immigrant status under cover. These two realize their struggles are better dealt with together, and sparks fly in more places than just the kitchen.


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Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

Sherwood

5
Rated by
Apr 23, 2021

When Robin of Locksley dies in the Crusades, Lady Marian of Edwinstowe is left without her best friend in a world that expects her to be little, quiet, and defenseless—everything she is not. While trying to help her maid’s brother, Marian is mistaken for the dead Robin— and she doesn’t correct them. With taxes rising to pay for the King’s crusade and the people of Robin’s land starving, Marian teams up with outlaws Will, Alan, and John under her new identity to do as she believes Robin would have done to help his people. But as she continues her act, it gets harder and harder to hide her

Apr 22, 2021

In the third book in A.G. Gaughen’s reimagining of Robin Hood, the main character, Scarlet, previously known as both Maid Marian and Will Scarlet, has escaped imprisonment by her uncle, Prince John. Kept from her grandmother, Elinor of Aquitaine, and her love, Robin of Locksley, Scarlet must travel with new and old allies to stop Prince John from foiling King Richard’s return home.


I definitely enjoyed this book, because it easily put the classic story of Robin Hood into the context of historical events like the Crusades and the writing of the Magna Carta, while remaining about a young

Apr 21, 2021

Little Women is a classic realistic fiction novel. It is divided into two parts, both telling the story of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. The first part is set at the end of the Civil War, and relates the story of these four loving sisters and their mother waiting for their father to come home from the war. They each have different temptations and struggles, but ultimately they bond together to create a loving household filled with laughter and joy. During this first part they meet their next door neighbor, Laurie, who will become their closest friend. The beginning half of the book

Apr 20, 2021

The Book Thief is a historical fiction novel about a girl named Liesel who loves words and books, to the extent that she is willing to steal them. It is narrated by the sarcastic, ever working, overwhelmed, and caring Death throughout the period of World War II. Given by her mother, who is unable to care for her, to foster parents, she learns from her foster father, Papa, how to read so that she will be able to read the first book she ever stole, which is the last link to her little brother, who died on the way to their new home. Gradually, Liesel grows to love books, stealing them from Nazi

Apr 19, 2021

Shatter Me​, by Tahereh Mafi, is the first book in a YA dystopian series of the same name. In this novel, Juliette, a girl with the ability to kill someone with her touch, lives in a wasteland society. After being kidnapped by the son of a powerful man, Juliette, and her love interest Adam, must try to escape and reach safety.


I really enjoyed this book and its plot; however, I had some minor problems with a few of the characters. First off, this book is very well written; Mafi's concept is unique, and she employs a very poetic writing style that heightens emotions and perfectly depicts

Apr 18, 2021

Disney fairytales meet Gotham City in this crime fantasy drama! The story follows Mary Elizabeth, an intern at the Monarch City police department. Mary Elizabeth is a Legacy, those who once had magic before it disappeared in the Great Death. When the daughter of one of the most powerful businessmen in the Scar— the neighborhood where Mary Elizabeth lives with her Legacy boyfriend and best friend— goes missing, Mary Elizabeth is assigned her very first case! As Mary Elizabeth investigates, she discovers that this girl’s disappearance is part of a deeper, darker mystery. Can she solve it, or

Apr 17, 2021

World War Z tells a story of the zombie war, a massive outbreak across the globe that turned humans into mindless, deadly creatures. The main character is tasked with creating a report about the entirety of the war. He does so, but finds that almost half of his work has been removed from the final draft, on the grounds of being too “intimate” and “emotional.” This book is a collection of what was removed from that report, published in the hopes that the horror and fear of this event should never happen again.


Those who have not yet read this book may think it’s just another zombie novel, a

Apr 16, 2021

For the first time in the game’s history, Caraval will be held twice in one year, within weeks of each other. Only this time, Tella will be playing. Unlike the others, however, Tella will not be playing for fun. She needs to repay a debt to a mysterious man that she bargained with and who only wants one thing: Legend’s real name. To get it, Tella must win Caraval.


When reading a series, I always prepare for the disappointment that is the second book. In my experience, it rarely measures up to the first and quite often, the author ends up writing ridiculous stories in an effort to keep

Apr 15, 2021

The School for Good and Evil​ is the first book in a series of the same name by Soman Chainani. This is a middle-grade fantasy novel that follows two girls in their early teens as they are taken from their hometown and thrust into a school to learn to become either good or evil. Although this is a middle-grade book, it has some more mature themes and insinuating moments in the dialogue.


Agatha is a great role model for young girls; she's loyal, brave, smart, dedicated, and good, but Sophie's character is worrisome. The overarching theme is to not judge a book by its cover, but Sophie isn't

Apr 14, 2021

In The Three Musketeers, a historical fiction novel, D’Artagnan, a young man from Gascon who is loyal to the king and queen, travels to Paris seeking to become a musketeer. There he discovers his future best friends, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and a plot by Cardinal Richelieu to steal the throne. The four friends go on many adventures in service of the queen and her reputation, but are often foiled by Milady, a beautiful, evil, and mysterious agent of the Cardinal. In a surprising twist at the end, Milady is brought to justice and D’Artagnan receives his wish and is promoted in the musketeers

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Caraval

5
Rated by
Apr 13, 2021

“Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or performance. It's the closest you'll ever find yourself magic in this world.”


Ever since Scarlett was a child, she had dreamed of going to Caraval. The fair is famous for its magic and mystery. Despite writing numerous letters to the game’s master, Legend, he had yet to send her tickets. Until this year. The only problem is that Scarlett lives on an island with her abusive father who will never let her or her sister leave. And she is supposed to be married off to a Count in just a few days

Four by Veronica Roth

Four

4
Rated by
Apr 12, 2021

Four​ is a collection of short stories, including the first four novellas of the ​Divergent​ series, by Veronica Roth. The first part of the book is made up of ​“The Transfer​,” “​The Initiate​,” and “​The Son” and focuses on expanding on Tobias’ past and events prior to Tris’ initiation. These three stories were pretty good, but the first, ​“The Transfer​,” was the best of the group. The second part of the book highlights events that take place during Tris’ initiation. This section includes ​“The Traitor​,” a novella, and three short stories that are only a couple of pages long. ​“The Traitor

Apr 11, 2021

Following The Son, the fourth novella in Veronica Roth's Divergent series, The Traitor, is probably the best of the series’ first four novellas. This story is set during Tris' initiation, so a lot is unfolding, and we get to see Four's perceptions of and reactions to Tris. What was most interesting about this novella was the relationships it revealed; Four's relationship with Dauntless leaders, his semi-realignment with Evelyn, and his attempt to warn Marcus. I was also surprised to find out how long Four had known about the serum and Erudite's plan and frustrated that he couldn't put the

The Son by Veronica Roth

The Son

3
Rated by
Apr 10, 2021

Another novella in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, The Son, expands on Four’s relationship with Evelyn and his rise in the Dauntless hierarchy. This story takes place after The Initiate and is not the most exciting or essential novella of the series. I enjoyed the expansion of events that we only got a peek at in the main three novels, such as Tobias discovering that Evelyn is alive, but the overall storyline was boring at some points. Although I liked the broader view into some of the previously mentioned events of Tobias’ life, this novella wasn’t always very entertaining. 3.5 stars

Apr 9, 2021

Veronica Roth’s second novella in her ​Divergent​ series, ​The Initiate​, takes place after ​The Transfer​ and follows Four as he navigates becoming and belonging with the Dauntless. This story didn’t add anything to Four’s character or introduce anything new about his background; he’s just in the process of becoming the Four that can be seen in ​Divergent​. However, this book did add depth to Four and Eric’s relationship. ​The Initiate​ provides some explanation for Eric’s motives and hatred towards Four. Although I enjoyed this novella, I can only give it four stars because it didn’t add

The Boy in the Black Suit book cover

The Boy in the Black Suit

By Jason Reynolds
5
Rated by Kristen Re.
Apr 8, 2021

Matt Miller, a senior in high school, is dealing with the recent death of his mom to cancer.  Mr. Ray, Matt’s neighbor, offers him a job at the funeral home.  He is hesitant to take it but can’t pass up the good paycheck. So, Matt becomes the boy in the black suit because he starts wearing it every day.  In a way it brings Matt comfort to watch the funerals.  “I liked watching other people deal with the loss of someone, not because I enjoyed seeing them in pain, but because, somehow, it made me feel better knowing that my pain isn’t only mine.”


When he least expects it, Matt meets Lovey. 

Apr 8, 2021

Lord of the Flies by William Golding is definitely a classic. The book begins with a plane crash on an island, which left a group of boys stranded on their own. From then on, the decisions the boys make represent the formation of society. The protagonist, Ralph, creates an orderly society at the beginning of the novel, but the island turns to chaos as the boys begin to turn on him and create their own belief system of fear. Ralph then struggles to hide from the other boys as they become more chaotic. Finally, a boat comes and rescues them, and the chaotic boys recognize their faults.


This

Apr 7, 2021

The Transfer​ is a novella in Veronica Roth’s ​Divergent​ series. This novella highlights a different side of Tobias as Roth provides more insight into who he was before becoming Dauntless. While no new information about his past was presented, this story really emphasizes how much Tobias grew from the time he transferred from Abnegation to ​Divergent​. Rather than showcasing the same reserved yet assertive demeanor that he has in ​Divergent​, Tobias is smaller and doesn’t quite know how to manage his fear yet. Furthermore, it was interesting to see Tobias begin to take control of his life

Apr 6, 2021

P.S. I Like You​ by Kasie West is an adorable YA contemporary romance that embodies a fluffy version of the enemies to lovers trope. In this novel, Lily, a girl who doesn’t quite fit in but is relatively comfortable with herself, starts writing notes to an anonymous pen pal. Lily is eventually torn between keeping the note-writing anonymous and trying to find the person that she’s fallen for through paper.


Although this book had some darker themes, such as absent parents, it was overall very positive. Isabel and Lily had a wonderful friendship; they were both very supportive of the other

Apr 5, 2021

A Step From Heaven, written by An Na, describes a girl named Young Ju who recently moves to Mi Gook (America) with her family for new job and educational opportunities. This realistic fiction novel is written with small memories that show Young Ju’s path along life, from when she was a little baby to when she was heading to college. Despite Young Ju being top of her class and achieving what her parents wanted her to, she struggled with her father’s constant verbal and physical abuse. Along with that, she struggled to fit into American culture and learn the language. Her mom had to secretly

Apr 4, 2021

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride​, Cary Elwes' account of the making of the iconic film, ​The Princess Bride​ warmed my heart. ​The Princess Bride​ is one of my all-time favorite stories, so knowing that the movie's cast enjoyed making the film as much as I enjoy watching it is charming. The small excerpts from other actors and directors were interesting to read as they provided different sides to the stories Elwes was retelling. Perhaps the most touching entries were about Andre the Giant; I believe he was truly the favorite of all of his castmates and

Apr 3, 2021

The third book in L.M. Montgomery’s ​Anne of Green Gables​ series, ​Anne of the Island​, follows Anne through her newly founded adulthood as she goes back to and graduates college, finishes growing up, and deals with the highs and lows of romance. This book perfectly captures the dream of what everyone wants when they move into adulthood; every obstacle can be overcome, and lots of fun.


In this novel, Anne experienced more trials than she had in previous books allowing her to mature, but she still retained her youthful wonder, for which I am very thankful. I really loved the characters in

Apr 2, 2021

Mara is one of the last countries in the world that has not been conquered by the Karensa Federation. As Karensa grows ever stronger, Mara is left relying on the Strikers, a group of elite warriors who would die to protect their country, as its last line of defense. Talin, a refugee who fled to Mara after Federation soldiers destroyed her home in the country of Basea, is one of these Strikers. One day, a mysterious prisoner is dragged back to Mara from the front lines, but no information can be extracted from him and an execution is planned. Talin, however, senses that this prisoner is no