teens

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 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 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

Oct 13, 2017

Dr. Adam Price has twenty-five years of experience with children and adolescents, especially boys, and his experience shows. He's Not Lazy details how and why an adolescent boy’s brain is often behind, they fear of failure, often "opt out". They opt out by procrastinating, losing themselves in the world of video games, or appearing ambivalent towards everything.


Dr. Price concentrates mostly on high school teens, but I found a lot of it very useful for my twelve-year old, and plan to revisit this book often during his high school years. There are some great worksheets to be used by both

Last Night I Sang To The Monster

By Benjamin Alire Sáenz
3
Rated by Scott S.
Sep 20, 2017

Having never experienced life in a rehab center I cannot speak to the authenticity or veracity of the setting Benjamin Alire Sáenz creates in, Last Night I Sang To The Monster. 18 year-old Zach is an alcoholic who comes out of a black out in a treatment center with no memory of how he got there. I can say the novel is populated by memorable characters who are engaged in emotionally resonant relationships in a visceral setting. And in those respects, Sáenz has succeeded in crafting a very effective and moving novel. While not all aspects of the novel work perfectly, it is clear that Sáenz has

Persona 5 (PS4)

By ATLUS
4
Rated by Rachel C.
Jul 3, 2017

Have you ever wanted to execute a massive heist?  How about pretend to be a Japanese high schooler?  Explore Jungian psychology?  You're in luck!


This may be the fifth game in the Persona subseries of the Shin Megami Tensei games, but no prior knowledge is required (although it helps to catch references, and maybe a little foreshadowing).  You play as a student shipped off to big-city Tokyo from the country on criminal probation for assault, but you only find this out a little ways into the game, which begins in mid-heist.  You're quickly apprehended by police, informed that you were

Illuminae

By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
5
Rated by Diane H.
Feb 8, 2016

Illuminae is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve come across recently. I don’t know what it would be like to read the book, but the audio was marvelous to listen to. The different voices encapsulate the personalities and essences of the different characters, making the story richer and adding depth. 


I also appreciated the unique format--the whole story is told in messages, transcripts and recordings. It begins with a memo about the information to follow, then goes right into two interviews with the main characters, Kady Grant and Ezra Mason.


These two teenagers just survived a

Dreams of the Golden Age

By Carrie Vaughn
4
Rated by Lisa J.
Dec 21, 2014

Continuing the story of Celia West following the death of her superhero father and the retirement of the superheroes of her beloved city, Celia continues to look out for the best interests of her city and has carefully been watching the grandchildren of the superheroes waiting to see if there is a new generation of powerful superheroes in the making.  Two of these new superheroes may be her own daughters Anna and Bethy but so far they aren't exhibiting any signs of superpowers or at least they're not sharing with her if they are developing powers. 


Meanwhile, Anna is having trouble figuring

The Edge of Never

By J.A. Redmerski
5
Rated by Debbie F.
Aug 26, 2014

Camryn and Andrew both have secrets. And when they unexpectedly meet on a Greyhound bus they prove that fate can’t be ignored. Andrew has decided to take a bus to Wyoming rather than catch a flight to see his father. Camryn has hopped on the bus with no particular destination in mind.  From the moment Andrew steps on the bus, he is drawn to Camryn, and their first contact is intense. She thinks he is pompous, he thinks she is beautiful. Both Camryn and Andrew have their own issues but their bond soon develops from travel companions to friends to exactly what each other was missing and needs

City of Heavenly Fire

By Cassandra Clare
4
Rated by Diane H.
Aug 14, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire is the sixth and final book in The Mortal Instruments series. Cassandra Clare has created a world in which supernatural creatures, magic, and humans coexist. Not an unusual theme these days, especially for a young adult book. The twist in this series is the addition of shadowhunters—​humans who have angel blood in their veins and whose mission in life is to keep demons and other supernatural creatures from harming mundane humans. The books follow the adventures, tragedies, dramas, and triumphs of several teens—shadowhunters, humans, and others.


The story continues, or

The Story of Owen

By E. K. Johnston
5
Rated by Octavia V.
Apr 29, 2014

After famed dragon slayer, Lottie Thorskard, is injured on the job she takes early retirement and moves to the small town of Trondheim to escape her notoriety and the big city. She brings her partner Hannah, and nephew Owen, whose father is out fighting the carbon eating dragons that have plagued Canada since the dawn of time.


Late for his first class on the first day of school, Owen asks Siobhan McQuiad for directions. Turns out, they’re both late for English, and both end up in after-school detention where a friendship is born. As a gifted music student, Siobhan is also good at math and

Half Bad

By Sally Green
5
Rated by Bethany T.
Apr 28, 2014

Nathan is the seventeen-year-old son of a White Witch and a Black Witch, and in the viciously divided community of English witches that makes him an outcast.  Questioned, brutalized and eventually imprisoned, the Council will stop at nothing to make sure that Nathan's half-Black Magic side doesn't corrupt the rest of the underground magic community.  It doesn't help that his father is one of the most violent Black Witches in the world, responsible for more deaths than any other living witch.  But Nathan doesn't feel evil...although he doesn't necessarily feel good either, and this duality

Mar 31, 2014

Charlie, a modern-day Holden Caulfield, reminds me of myself when I was an uber-angsty adolescent. That’s the good thing about reading Young Adult Fiction as a middle aged adult: you have a broader worldview which allows you to appreciate teenage angst in a deeper way. You’ve been there and back. You’ve lived through it. You know there’s a way out. You understand.


Charlie is looking for understanding. He feels out of place. His only friend in middle school killed himself last year. He’s starting high school, anxious and friendless. He works up the courage to sit next to two seniors, Patrick

Something Real

By Heather Demetrios
4
Rated by Diane H.
Mar 31, 2014

Something Real gives us a deliciously inside look at the truth behind “reality” shows. It reminded me of The Truman Show, except that the people being filmed are aware that millions are watching their private lives unfold. So many people in today’s world seek out their 15 minutes of fame. Would so many desire fame if that fame came with a price—everyone you meet knows every embarrassing, bumbling, horrifying experience of your life?


The story rests on “Baker’s Dozen,"  a highly popular family reality television show that was canceled a few years ago. Bonnie Baker, the eldest child, has

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

By Joe Schreiber
4
Rated by Bethany T.
Feb 24, 2014

Perry Stormaire has a major problem: all he wants to do is go play a gig with his band in New York City, but instead, his parents are making him take the weird Lithuanian exchange student to prom.  Perry is chronically unable to say no to his overbearing father, so he reluctantly but politely takes Gobi to the dance.  At her request, they end up in New York City anyway, and then in a moment that floors Perry, she tears away her bulky outfit to reveal a slinky dress and an amazing body; no less amazing, she kills a man.  What follows is a whirlwind chase through New York City as Gobi plans to

Looking for Alaska

By John Green
4
Rated by Becky C.
Jan 24, 2014

John Green writes novels for young adults, but you don't have to be young to enjoy them.  I'm forty-three, and he's one of my favorite contemporary authors.  I became a fan of Green not by reading his books but by watching videos on his amazing YouTube channels CrashCourseMental Floss, and Vlogbrothers.  I thought I was too sophisticated and mature to read a young-adult novel, but I love Green so much I gave him a shot.  Most fans of John Green that I know love his book The Fault in Our Stars the best, but my favorite John Green novel is Looking for Alaska.  It’s the story of a 16-year-old

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

By Holly Black
5
Rated by Bethany T.
Nov 16, 2013

When seventeen-year-old Tana wakes up hungover from a wild party at a remote farmhouse, surrounded by dead classmates, she thinks things can't get any worse...until she discovers a mysterious vampire named Gavriel chained up in the same room as her bitten ex-boyfriend Aiden, who is about to turn into a full-fledged bloodsucker at any moment.  Acting on impulse, she saves Gavriel and Aiden from the horde of vampires responsible for the massacre, and prepares to drive them to Coldtown--the quarantine zone where vampires mingle with humans in decadent parties that last for years, all broadcast on

The Lost Sun

By Tessa Gratton
5
Rated by Bethany T.
Oct 18, 2013

Soren Bearskin has grown up in a United States colonized by the Vikings rather than the Puritans, a country where trolls hide in the mountains and Norse gods walk the land, where children learn how to sword-fight in school and every year the land is renewed by the god of light, Baldur, as he is resurrected from his winter death.  Except this year, Baldur fails to appear.  A search is begun, a boon is offered by Odin to whomever can return his missing sun, and Astrid Glyn, the daughter of the most famous seer in New Asgard, convinces Soren that it is their fate to find Baldur.  Together, they

Aug 25, 2013

Gated by Amy Christine Parker is a high anxiety filled novel that continues to build until the very last chapter. Lyla is seventeen, and has been living in a cult called the Community, since she was 5 years old. However, to Lyla her life is ideal as she follows the words of her leader Pioneer without question.  The reader can tell that she is in a dangerous situation, that is only going to get worse, but to Lyla life is normal.

Parker makes the interesting choice to use 9/11 as the reason the cult was created and why Lyla’s parents fled (in addition to a kidnapped younger sister). 9/11 proved

Aug 1, 2013

16 year old America Singer, citizen of Illea-caste 5, was just chosen as one of 35 girls who will compete for the hand of Maxon Schreave, Prince of Illea-caste 1.  So begins The Selection, a “Hunger Games meets the Bachelor” dystopian novel by Kiera Cass.  Any other girl in Illea would have been thrilled to be picked to go live at the palace in Illea and have an opportunity to become the next Princess, and then Queen, of this new nation founded in the remains of the former U.S.A. But unfortunately for America Singer her heart was already committed to another.

This is the first of the trilogy

The Elite by Kiera Cass

0
Rated by Leslie G.
Jun 22, 2013

Following the first novel in the series (The Selection), The Elite takes readers deeper into the horrors of the Illea Society.  As America continues to uncover the truth behind her country’s beginnings, she is also forced to witness the violence and harm that befalls anyone who steps out of line in the eyes of the royal family. Not only does she still need to decide which boy she loves, Maxon or Aspen, but she may even need to decide if her country is worth fighting for, and whether or not she would ever want to lead a country such as hers. 

The Elite is the second novel in Kiera Cass’

Apr 8, 2013

A modern-day fairy tale with some teen drama and angst thrown in!  A 15-year-old girl brings a storybook character to life as she struggles with her own real-life issues. My 12-year-old daughter and I both really enjoyed this book! It would make a great mother/daughter read. The audiobook provides three different voices which added to my enjoyment of the story.  Another fun fact is that it is co-written with Jodi Picoult’s daughter.

Mar 2, 2013

In Arras, society is tightly overseen and controlled by the government. The Guild keeps boys and girls segregated until they reach marrying age. Food is rationed, travel is restricted, and people are euthanized before they die of natural causes. Women are forced to work in subservient jobs, as secretaries and maids--except for the ones who have a talent for weaving, who are sent to an isolated academy where they are trained to be Spinsters. And what the Spinsters weave is reality itself. With Crewel, local author Gennifer Albin has created a fascinating and compelling story of social control

Feb 15, 2013

Can’t decide between team Edward and Team Jacob? Try Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan. The town of New Whitby was founded by vampires. While there’s not a lot of mingling between vampires and humans, they have mostly co-existed peacefully. But when Mel’s best friend Cathy seems to be falling for the courtly, old-fashioned vampire who just enrolled at their high school, Mel knows she has to intervene. As it says on the cover “Friends don’t let friends date vampires”.

Then there’s the troubling mystery of what happened to the father of Anna, another close friend of Mel

Splintered

By A. G. Howard
5
Rated by Bethany T.
Feb 11, 2013

Alyssa Gardner skewers bugs so she won’t have to hear them talk.  Like all the women in her family, she suffers from a distinctive madness - a madness that’s afflicted her family since young Alice Liddell emerged from Wonderland and told her adventures to a man named Lewis Carroll. But soon Alyssa discovers that Wonderland is real, and if she enters, she may have a chance to cure her mother and herself of this madness forever.  So long as she stays alive, of course. Splintered by A G. Howard is a delightful romp through a wild and exquisite world, with a plot that twists and turns, a heroine

Feb 1, 2013

Book two in the Watersong trilogy, Lullaby, picks right up where Wake left off.  Harper is desperate to find her sixteen-year-old sister Gemma who has run off with Penn, Thea, and Lexi after a horrific fight where Penn turns into a monster and the girls all swam away with mermaid tails.  Harper is convinced that Gemma didn’t want to go with them but left to keep them safe and has somehow become a mermaid.  While Harper, Alex, and Daniel research mermaids, Gemma is busy trying to get used to being a siren and all that entails (pun intended).  Gemma learns that the other sirens need her as there

Oct 14, 2012

Blue knows that once she kisses her true love, he will die soon afterwards. With a family full of psychics, warnings like this do not go ignored. Blue has always kept a distance from the opposite sex, especially the cocky and stuck-up Raven Boys who frequent the restaurant where she works.  Then, shortly after walking down the Corpse Road with her Aunt Neeve on St. Marks Eve to greet the souls that will be lost within a year, Blue gets a glimpse of a boy who is destined to die—a boy, Gansey, whose appearance means either he is her true love or she will be the cause of his death. While dealing

Sep 14, 2012

Masque of the Red Death, by Bethany Griffin is an intriguing re-production of Poe’s original version, “The Masque of the Red Death”. Griffin creates a world that has succumbed to an air-borne infectious disease, which leaves people dying on every corner. Only the rich are able to provide their families with masks that purify the air before breathing it in.

Araby Worth, the female protagonist, is part of the elite because her father was the scientist who first created the masks that began saving lives immediately. But her world is far from glamorous. She drinks copious amounts of alcohol and

Aug 23, 2012

Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, tackles two entirely different character perspectives while taking readers on an adventure aboard a space ship traveling to a new Earth.

Amy was seventeen when her family decided to board the 300-year flight into space to find a new home for humans. While she did have a choice to stay at home or leave with her parents, Amy knew she could never leave them. She would sleep for 300 years, but only feel like seconds had passed.

Elder is sixteen years old and he has spent his entire life on the ship. He must follow the exact rules of his totalitarian-like