“Some race to win. Others race to survive”. Author Maggie Stiefvater’s own quote best encapsulates the essence of her novel, The Scorpio Races, While a story about a tiny island may appear underwhelming, the entrancing legend of the water horses will leave readers on the edge of their seat. What differentiates this novel from others of a similar genre is not just the legend it tells, but Stiefvater’s method of displaying the relationships that define a person. She shows us love in family, in community, for an island, for a horse, and a bloody adoration with risk itself.
The story is by no means light, with the occasional violence and constant turmoil, but Steifvater gives a new meaning to hope, redefining it as the characters develop and find their own paths. Through vivid descriptions of the fictional island of Thisby she transports the reader to a world you just can't let go of. Annoying siblings, tentative romance, and mouthwatering desserts paired with the unfamiliar legends of the water horses allow the reader to relate to the story while simultaneously being entranced by it’s unfamiliarity. Along the way readers see into the minds of both protagonists, Sean and Puck, and Stiefvater’s consistent switch between perspectives allows us to see the island through two sides of the same coin. Despite the book’s relatively short timeline of a few weeks, Steifvater’s pacing is initially a bit slow because she tells her story through details, which enriches the overall plot.
Often we watch movies about superheroes or inhuman creatures because regardless of absurdity they tell transcendent stories about humanity. Stiefvater’s novel stands out among others of its genre in this manner, applying a dangerous legend to a vibrant world, while seamlessly integrating touching story lines that revolve around love, loss and survival.Rating: I really liked it
Reviewed by: Anonymous
One of Us is Next is the sequel to One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. Set after the events of One of Us is Lying, but instead of being revolved around Bronwyn and the gang, it is about Bronwyn’s sister, Maeve and a group of kids she ends up befriending. Maeve is going through part two of what her sister and her friends had to, but instead this time there is a copycat killer. The difference between Simon from the last book and this copycat killer is that the copycat killer revolves around a “Truth or Dare”, if someone completes the dare, their darkest secret (Truth) is not released out to the school, if you do not, a truth is released. This causes kids specifically Maeve, Knox, Phoebe to befriend each other to figure out who the one behind the screen is.
One of Us is Next is the perfect balance between mystery, romance, and teen issues. What I extremely enjoy about these books specifically this one are the plot twists, the dialogue, and the background issues the teens are struggling with. There was a plot twist in this book that I expected more towards the end, but I did not completely “solve” or I should say, guess, as easily as I did the last one. I like that the characters have background problems; for example, Maeve is a leukemia survivor, Phoebe’s dad is deceased, and Knox and his father do not have the closest relationship. I feel like these issues give a realistic view on teenagers because many are struggling with parental relationships, mourning, and illnesses, and it does not portray teenagers having perfect lives. Another part of this novel I love is the dialogue, it feels real to me, I can picture characters saying these things without questioning it. Many novels have teenagers with unrealistic personalities, backgrounds, and dialogue and I cannot attach to them.
If you enjoy mystery novels while also keeping a balanced romantic plot line, this is the series for you! I’d genuinely rate this book a 4.5/5, I think it has an interesting plot.Rating: It was amazing!
Reviewed by: Idalys
Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody follows a young girl named Enne Salta and her search for her mother who went missing. On her journey, she must venture to New Reynes, also known as the City of Sin. As the name implies, this city is notorious for schemes, thieves, and gangs. This comes as a shock to Enne, who was on the verge of completing finishing school. The one clue Enne has to finding her mom is a street lord by the name of Levi Glaisyer. Together, the two of them along with their other friends encounter many obstacles in order to survive the City of Sin.
I found this book extremely refreshing and exciting. The setting is so detailed and makes you feel like you are there with the characters. Foody does an amazing job of taking the reader out of reality and into the world she built with her brilliant words. The City of Sin is similar to the city of Las Vegas, with added highly intense investment schemes, gang rivalries, and elaborate magic systems and powers. The magic used in this series is so unique and unlike anything I have ever read before. There are so many twists and turns that you would not expect from hearing the synopsis. Each chapter brings another plot point that excites you even more.
One of the most enticing traits of this book were the characters. The characters are unique and complex. Enne and Levi have genuine issues such as losing their parents and other such traumas. However, they also have realistic strengths. Sometimes, characters in books or movies can be too perfect or too flawed. Because these characters have the perfect balance, they are very relatable. I always find books more enjoyable when I realize I have something in common with one of the characters.
Despite having read this book less than a year ago, it has become one of my favorite books/series of all time. I highly recommend this series if you are into fantasy and looking for something new and exciting. I promise you will fall in love with the world and the characters!Rating: It was amazing!
Reviewed by: Anonymous
Unfriended is the third book in the series Top 8. This was an incredible book filled with so much plot, and it explored various themes. Madison MacDonald is put into a situation where all the cards seem stacked against her. Madison is a high school senior, trying to enjoy summer. She has amazing friends and a perfect boyfriend, but is forced to end everything once she gets blackmailed by Isabel. There are different ways to handle blackmail, and the way Madison handled it was a way I would never have imagined.
Madison’s friend group has a great dynamic, making me wish that I could have them as friends in reality! Friendship is a huge theme in this book, showing us the difference between fake and real friends. It truly emphasized the importance of being careful with who to trust, and never take your friends for granted. Love is also a significant theme displayed in this book, since Madison’s and Nate’s relationship is so heartwarming and almost put me to tears as things started to take a turn. The characters are all so compelling, truly detailed and distinctive, and readers could relate to any of them. I feel as if I really got to know the characters throughout this book, and they are all so inspiring in the end. The imagery in this book is indescribable, painting details in every new setting. Additionally, Madison’s feelings were strongly described, creating a sense of empathy in myself for all that she went through. Unfriended has an excellent plot that comes full circle in the end. The power of secrets is much more than we could ever imagine.
Without a doubt, I would give this book 5 stars. I highly recommend Unfriended, and the series, to any teenager in high school. We are taken on the wild journey with Madison as she faces many troubles as if she is alone, causing us to wonder how she can handle everything without betraying her friends and losing everyone important to her. Her social life is definitely more complicated than anything I could possibly think of!Rating: It was amazing!
Reviewed by: Anonymous
Twisted is focused on four girls’ crazy lives: Spencer, Hanna, Aria, and Emily. These seniors in high school were best friends in the past, but haven’t interacted since one spring break trip prior- to Jamaica. During that vacation, they did something unforgivable. If the secret gets out, their lives could be destroyed. Their purpose of going to Jamaica was to forget about Alison, the girl who almost killed them, but ended up getting killed in a fire. Their vacation was ruined, once they saw a familiar - Ali.
The girls try to move on and live a normal life. But things aren’t so normal, as they face many different scenarios. Hanna almost killed her dad’s Senate campaign, due to scandalous photos. Emily finds a new friend whose family is not everything as it seems. Aria’s boyfriend becomes friends with a foreign exchange student who is out to steal him away. Spencer gets cozy with her soon-to-be stepbrother, but then rats him out. Their lives go even further downhill when they start to receive text messages from “A”, threatening to expose all their secrets. What they did in Jamaica is still under wraps, but it doesn’t seem like it will be for long. Four of the girls must come together and figure a way to get out of this twisted mess.
Something unique about this book is how it provided back stories of each of the girls’ lives, and discussed how they felt during the night at Jamaica. Dealing with 4 characters’ separate lives got confusing. But getting to know backstory about their lives made me feel closer to the characters and I felt fear as the girls kept receiving the suspicious text messages from “A”. The book kept me on the edge of my seat.
I believe the book would’ve been stronger if there was more clarification to who is good and who is bad, who is innocent and who is guilty. Nevertheless, I would rate this book a 4 out of 5. It has diverse storylines that put the plot together as a whole, and it evokes a great sense of tension and suspicion.Rating: I really liked it
Reviewed by: Anonymous
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the first out of seven books in the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling. In this novel, an 11-year-old orphaned boy, Harry Potter, discovers his parents are powerful wizards, and eventually possesses magical powers of his own. After his parent’s death, Harry goes to live with his aunt Petunia and uncle Vernon. From the beginning of the novel, it is obvious that the Dursley family does not enjoy his company. Harry later receives several letters informing him that he has been accepted to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Furthermore, he finds that his parents were both powerful wizards who were killed by a Dark Lord, Voldemort. Later, when Harry arrives at the school, he meets friends such as Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. On the other hand, Harry begins to have conflict with a fellow student Draco Malfoy and a professor, Severus Snape. Harry and his friends discover what the Sorcerer’s Stone is, and it is said to provide immortality. After several suspicions and conclusions, Harry and his friends go on an adventure to prevent anyone from stealing the Sorcerer’s Stone.
I would highly recommend not only reading this book, but this whole series! Every moment is engaging and packed with action. The Harry Potter series truly transports you to a whole new wizarding world. Every book keeps you wondering what happens next, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Regardless of whatever genre you prefer, I believe this book has something to offer for everyone!Rating: It was amazing!
Reviewed by: Anonymous
All the Light We Cannot See is a story that is perfect for young adults and older to read, because of its emotional message and dramatic delivery of the story. The book follows two teenagers on opposite sides of World War II, and the war’s devastating consequences on the younger generations. The story doesn’t romanticize the war or the suffering, but offers instead the beauty of the perseverance and strength survivors developed. The book won a 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.
The story focuses on Marie-Laure and Werner Pfennig, two teenagers caught in the war. Marie-Laure is a blind girl who loves to learn and is incredibly intelligent, like her father, who dotes on her. For Marie-Laure, we see the world through her experiences, and Doerr constructs a vivid and compelling story without using sight. Werner is a young German boy of kind disposition who has a passion for radios. Living in an orphanage with his younger sister, he joins the Nazis for a chance at a better life using his intellect. Using well-placed parallels between their lives, Doerr uses a writing style that jumps back and forth from Marie-Laure to Werner, as well as back and forth in time. Using this writing style creates a jarring feeling for the reader, building suspense, dread, and care for the characters snippet by snippet.
Because the characters are complex and flawed just as they are the protagonists, Doerr creates a piece of historical fiction that readers will find themselves immersed in and relating to, despite the drastic setting of the story. This book has a serious and somber tone with little brightness, as is appropriate for its topic. However, it is a touching piece of literature that I would recommend for students looking for a heavier read.Rating: I really liked it
Reviewed by: Margaret
This is the third, yet most intense book in the The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han. In this novel, eighteen-year-old Belly Conklin faces relationship problems as she believes she’s ready for marriage. She is confused with who she really loves: Conrad Fisher or Jerimiah Fisher, who are brothers. Belly has been friends with the two of them since her childhood. Conrad is someone who she’s always loved, even if they weren’t on the best terms, while Jerimiah is someone who is her best friend that she can confide in and knows her inside and out. She has to figure out her feelings before it’s too late!
Jenny Han takes us on an adventure of the ups and downs in a relationship. She does a great job with adding fine details, allowing the readers to picture what is happening. Her word choice conveys emotion and the intensity that the characters are dealing with at the moment. We’ll Always Have Summer is a romance novel that will appeal to mostly teenagers because it is relatable, with the topics of college, dating, relationship with family, and so much more. The author teaches us that feelings can be confusing and it can be scary to put yourself out there, but that’s a part of growing up. Love is a big theme that she establishes, ranging from confessing one’s feelings even if they’re taken to asking someone to marry them. Jenny Han takes us on a roller coaster ride of emotions with the characters in this engaging novel. I would give this book 5 stars. If you’re a sucker for some romance, this series really hits the spot. It keeps you on your toes, wondering what will happen next after several secrets and confessions are revealed.Rating: It was amazing!
Reviewed by: Anonymous
I never thought that I would enjoy a romance book that was written in 1996, but it is truly worth the hype. Something about that is book is just so addicting that you can’t stop reading it and anticipating. Long story short, this book is about the relationship of two young adults who don’t seem to hit it off very well in the beginning, but somehow end up being the loves of their lives. Although the parents in this novel don’t approve of this young love, they somehow figure it all out. It takes years for them to finally be together. This book is perfect if you are a hopeless romantic like me.Rating: It was amazing!
Recommendation: Anyone interested in romance books
Reviewed by: Aimee E.
This book was an amazing piece of work. Every chapter was another step to suspense and no matter what I could not put my book down. This book is an amazing murder mystery that will keep any reader guessing until the end.Rating: It was amazing!
Recommendation: Teens looking for an interesting book with lots of suspense
Reviewed by: Summer M.
This book completely CHANGED my life! I Love this book so much, and I've re-read it at least 5 times. So basically, Jessica discovers a "super-human power"-she can turn invisible!! This is one of my favorites, I recommend you read it even though it might be a book fit for tweens. 5/5 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 👌👌👍👍Rating: It was amazing!
Reviewed by: Jaylynn J.
This book made me cry so hard, but it was the best out of the saga! Way better than the movie, The Return of The King is a must read for teens and adults looking for adventure, romance, true friendship and good triumphing over evil. I enjoyed this book so much and the appendix is amazing! This book is perfect for fans of fantasy and adventure. I believe that a lot of people need to read this and see the hidden values to be found in this fantastic fantasy epic!!!Rating: It was amazing!
Recommendation: Teens and adults in need of a good adventure
Reviewed by: Aubrey J.
Of Mice and Men is a short novella but the character evolutions are so superb that you will fall in love with the main characters, George and Lennie, immediately. This is a very interesting story about two men out in the country who found work at a ranch and eventually hope to buy their own farm and live their dream, but their plan does not go as expected. This book will move you to tears at the end, and you won't be able to put it down.Rating: It was amazing!
Reviewed by: Olivia L.
Jon Krakauer is an inspiration to me; it is unfortunate he died the way he did, but his journey is noteworthy. Even he saw it among himself to write out through his experiences. This book is for the people who like peeping into people's diaries. If you liked Anne Frank's diary, you might like this. This is nowhere close to tragic as this is a tragedy made by a Self vs Self unlike the Self vs Society in Anne Frank, but I don't know...this is a diary that wanted to be found. This man, through this book, showed me that distancing yourself from everyone might not be in my best interest, but to get out there to get to know as many people as I can, that certainly is and we all should do that.Rating: I really liked it
Recommendation: Teens who feel misunderstood, anyone who's really antisocial
Reviewed by: Sarah M.
This mystery brings ten very different people together, with one thing in common: they have all killed someone before, whether intentionally or unintentionally. One ran over two children with his car, one sent a man into a war he didn’t return from, and so on. Each of these ten people got a mysterious invitation to Soldier Island. A morbid children’s rhyme on the mantel of the mansion on this island, with ten toy soldiers nex to it, describes the various ways in which ten soldier boys died, starting with the first who choked himself, and the last who hanged himself. Soon, the island’s visitors find themselves stuck in this nightmarish rhyme, where each of them begins dying in the same ways of the soldier boys, and in the the same order. After a thorough search of island, when no one other than the ten visitors are found, one things becomes clear. The murderer is among them, and they most figure out who it is, before it’s too late.Rating: It was amazing!
Recommendation: Fans of other Agathie Christie novels, like “Murder on the Orient Express”, or fans of thriller/mystery books in general.
Reviewed by: Audrey B.
This book will get you flipping pages. It is so interesting to read a story from two points of view. It shows you that there are always two sides to the story. I really liked this book and would recommend it to all.Rating: I really liked it.
Reviewed by: Baljit J.
This book is about a girl named Starr, who is the eyewitness of her childhood best friend's death, when he is shot by a white police officer. Starr decides to do what's right and becomes an activist. Her friend died after they left a party shooting. Her friend was unarmed and simply killed. As this news spreads, people influence Starr to stand up for what's right, with lots of people in the community standing at her side. There are protests in the book and there is some profanity. Angie Thomas makes you want to keep reading the book, because you always want to find out what comes next. She puts some key points that shock you, like the ending and the decision by the court as to whether they put the police officer in jail or not. There are many shootings in this book and deaths of people Starr loved. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. It shows what people like Starr face in our world today. This book needs a movie.Rating: I really liked it.
Reviewed by: Yosef A.
I read this book about the history and origins of American fast food for my AP English class and it was more interesting than I expected. It also sheds light on many overlooked industries in fast food, such as slaughterhouses.Rating: It was alright...
Recommendation: Fans of nonfiction books
Reviewed by: Audrey B.
South KoreaAuthor: Tara Walters
This amazing book taught me some things that I didn't know about South Korea and it's cultural lifestyle. It showed me their kind of culture and how they celebrate the Lunar New Year and the Harvest Moon Festival in honor of their ancestors. They also celebrate Buddha's birthday with the Lotus Lantern Festival. I would definitely recommend this book for people who would like to know about Korea.Rating: It was amazing!
Recommendation: People who would like to know more about South Korea.
Reviewed by: Morelia G.
|A Cast Of Stones|
A Cast of Stones is a book about a boy named Errol. He is about nineteen and he says yes to delivering a message to a priest for some money, not knowing what will happen. Along the way to deliver the message he is chased by a deadly assassin. Soon he is drawn into a crazy series of events when the priest and his assistant discover that he has a special power to help the kingdom. Along the way Errol and all of his new friends are chased by mysterious people and creatures. Errol must find out why they are chasing them and how to keep the king safe...Rating: I really liked it.
Recommendation: Age 12 and up
Reviewed by: Rebecca F.
The whole time it was just mystery after mystery. There were so many unknown things at the beginning but slowly everything came together. The weather disasters and Cranks make life for all of the Gladers very difficult. Overall an amazing book.Rating: It was amazing!
Reviewed by: CJ B.
The first book in a 7 book series, with an eighth one coming out in Fall 2018, by Sarah J. Maas. Celaena Sardothien is a notorious assassin who is forced to participate in a game hosted by the King of Adarlan in order to eventually gain her freedom. Follow Celaena as she encounters all sorts of threats and as she discovers hidden secrets within the castle. On top of that, she gets caught up in a love triangle. When I read this book, I couldn't put it down since it was so riveting and there are so many plot twists in the book that will keep you reading for hours on end. If you like the Hunger Games or Divergent, then you'll definitely like this series, too.Rating: It was amazing!
Recommendation: Teens 13+
Reviewed by: Olivia L.
Wow! Where do I even start? Well, I've got to say this book has been one of the few that have truly made me connect and feel for the characters. Meyer created an elaborate and wonderful story of the Queen of Hearts life before she became queen and how her wicked ways came to be. She had the skill to make me believe that the queen could have possibly had a different ending (though we all know what happens). She made me wish the impossible relationship between Catherine and the Jest would have happened. 🙁 I got pretty emotional towards the end, so be ready for that!) This book was pretty fast paced and was full of surprises. (It also made me crave some macaroons) Also, Meyer was successfully able to incorporate Carroll's writing style into her own. I feel that she matched his style of writing very well which made this book much more enjoyable.
The character development is pretty much impeccable. Catherine turned from a sweet and dream-filled girl to the Queen of Hearts as we know; she went from baking rose macaroons to beheading people.
I certainly recommend this book to Alice and Wonderland fans and anyone who has a taste for a whimsical and fantastical world in which they will surely fall in love with.
Recommendation: Alice and Wonderland fans, anybody who likes a good fantasy book with a romance!
Reviewed by: Martha N.
Star of Deltora: Two MoonsAuthor: Emily Rodda
The Star of Deltora series follows Britta, the daughter of Dare Larsett, one of the most hated traders in the Silver Sea, on her quest to become one of the most successful traders in the nine seas. The series is set mostly on the ship The Star of Deltora and on the island of Two Moons. Britta, along with Sky, Jewel and Vashti are the four finalists in a contest, where the grand prize is an apprenticeship under the trader Mab, through the cluttered streets of Two Moons, to the danger filled swamp lands where the beautiful Sunrise Pearls are found and harvested by The Turtle People. Out of this world, creatures and amazing twists, along with secrets undiscovered. follow Britta from the harbor of Del to the island coast of Maris to the harbor of Two Moons, and finally Illica and Tier.Rating: It was amazing!
Recommendation: Adults and Teens
Reviewed by: Aubrey J.
In this book, the author explains some common fears that people show. There are a total of 97 fears in it. To me, this book was really fun to read because I got to learn about some fears that I have never heard about and I learned about some fears that my friends had said they have but I never understood what they meant. All in all, I think everyone should read this book because it is fun and was very interesting to me when I read it.Rating: I really liked it.
Reviewed by: Taylor D.
If I could sum this book, actually this whole series, up in one word, it would be: AMAZING!!! This book is full of magic and mystery. It is not cheesy in the way where everyone’s alive and happy. Many people die, and it is hard for the other characters. There is also love that makes you smile and not wrinkle your mouth in disgust. It is very descriptive, so that you may picture everything in your mind and see it how Ms. Rowling wanted you to see it. This book/series is an excellent combination of everything that I, and I’m sure many others enjoy: action, adventure, love, heartbreak, sadness, and deep-ness. I’m not sure is deep-ness is a word, but the books are very deep, meaning they go into to real world subjects and bad things actually happen.Rating: It was amazing!
Reviewed by: Hazel T.
Harry Potter (whole series)Author: J.K. Rowling
This series of books is by far my favorite. I love these books, because they are entertaining and sparked my interest. I don't know why but when I read it for the first time it made me want to read more and more, so I finished the series of seven books in about two weeks. I was so sad when I finally finished the series, because there were no more books, so I just re-read the lot. It was amazing.Rating: It was amazing!
Recommendation: All pre-teens and/or teens
Reviewed by: Morgan D.
After Fourteen Years of Day comes Fourteen Years of Night. On this island, the sun doesn't set like normal. Every fourteen years of daytime, the sun sets and the island is plunged into fourteen years of night. The inhabitants of this island know enough to leave the island when the sun begins to set. Anyone who gets left behind is never heard of again. This year, a boy goes missing just as the inhabitants are about to leave their island and Marin and her brother and the missing boy get left behind.
When I opened this book, I had no idea what to expect... a cheesy horror story, or a really good, frightening story that raises goosebumps. As I read further in this book, I was surprised to find a really good, goose bump-raising story. It's especially chilling if you read it alone at night. The story takes unexpected twists and turns and keeps you engrossed in the story right up to the very end.Rating: I really liked it.
Recommendation: Horror fans
Reviewed by: Citlali V.
Recorded in friend's houses little did aspiring Indie Folk artist "Elliott Smith" know that he would make one of the most important records for the Indie movement at the time. Every song on here is a hard swallow to those who can relate to its honest and melancholic lyrics, but is a nice listen to those who want to pass the time with music. It's not innovative musically, but it sure is impressive lyrically. It's one of the more accessible Indie records out there and with songs like "Say Yes" and "Ballad Of Big Nothing" its easy to see why. Little hints of optimism and faith pop up here and there in an otherwise depressing record, which makes it very human rather then being sad for no reason. The lyrics also remind me a bit of Bob Dylan's songwriting, in the sense that the lyrics can mean a number of things. A song can be about addiction or about love, Ultimately, it's up to the listener the decipher. All in all, this record makes a very good listen for those rather lonely nights and is one of my personal favorites.Rating: It was amazing!
Recommendation: Teens looking for a good night-time record and/or something new.
Reviewed by: Gavin G.
The first book in the first series of this upcoming star writer, Tara Matharu. Venture into a strange new world, similar to Eragon, as a war between orcs and humans unfolds. Follow Fletcher as he embarks on a trip to learn how to control the power demon summoning. The first book of the summoner trilogy.Rating: It was amazing!
Recommendation: Teens, Preteens, and Young Adults
Reviewed by: Ddraig G.
This sci-fi, action, thriller and fantasy novel is the first book out of the whole nine book series. It's also critically acclaimed. Heck, it even got a manga series and a terrible movie! No, seriously. It's awful. I watched it and it made me wanna hurl. The series is REALLY good up until the last two novels. Still good, but not as good as the ones before it. The book(s) focuses on Maximum "Max" Ride and her 'family' of different ethnicity's who escaped from an awful science lab they call "The School". The "White coats" take children and fuse their DNA with different ones. Some are successful. Others... Let's not talk about those. It's REALLY good and I recommend it... Buuuut at your own will. It's a bit dark, pretty bloody and the last four novels are NOT for anyone under 15. But other than the caution I've given you and terrible movie that the author made, it's a good series and worth the time you spent reading it. Expect a TON of plot twists that will leave you at the edge of your seat, screaming "I KNEW IT!" I know I did.Rating: I really liked it.
Recommendation: 15 and up. I would say 13, buuuut...
Reviewed by: Trinity G.