Teen Reviews

Teens review their favorite NEW titles!
Click on the title or cover art for a link to the online catalog.

(Teens also review SciFi/Fantasy, Mystery, Fiction, and Paranormal/Supernatural titles)
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Ashen 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 like that.

Confessions 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.

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Twelve-year-old 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.

Reviewed 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 I was 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 accident 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.

The 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.

The 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:

The 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.

The 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 fragile father.

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!

Fracture by Megan Miranda

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:

Fracture was 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.

The 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:

The 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.

Grim by Anna Waggener

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:

Grim was 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.

The 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

The 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.

Somebody up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon

Dying 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.

Winter 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.