Teen Reviews

Teens review their favorite SciFi/FANTASY books!
Click on the title or cover art for a link to the online catalog.

(Teens also review NEW, Mystery, Fiction, and Paranormal/Supernatural titles)
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The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

Follows a fourteen-year-old American girl whose life unexpectedly transforms when she moves to London in 1952 and gets swept up in a race to save the world from nuclear war.

Reviewed by Katie, age 13:

I read lots of books before. Some say they take you back in time. But this book, The Apothecary, takes that meaning to a whole new level. You find yourself in each of the characters shoes as you read your way through his book. The details are riveting with exquisite language as you spend your time unable to read fast enough. I recommend this book for all ages, although it is more directed around teenagers. I enjoyed this book thoroughly, and hope that you read it.

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

An electromagnetic pulse sweeps throughout the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. For those spared, it’s a question of who can be trusted and who no longer is human...

Reviewed by Becca, age 16:

When I first started reading Ashes, I thought it was a weird story. It took a few chapters to get into, but once I got into the book, I thought it was one of the better books I have read this year. Alex is hiking in a forest in Michigan, when an electromagnetic pulse destroys all electronic devices and simultaneously kills people and animals. Alex meets up with Ellie, a little kid, and Tom, an army veteran. They are spared, although some people are not as lucky. These others are Changed; they become cannibals after the electromagnetic pulse. Alex, Tom, and Ellie have to help each other in order to survive.

Ashfall by Mike Mullin

After the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano destroys his city and its surroundings, Alex must journey from Cedar Falls, Iowa, to Illinois to find his parents and sister, trying to survive in a new society.

Reviewed by Savannah, 13:

A real twist on the four horsemen of the apocalypse, this apocalyptic story will have your head reeling. A young boy of 14 has the whole weekend ahead of him when his parents leave home to go on a trip. What he doesn’t know is they may be leaving for good. Will he survive? Or will he take his last breathe of ash-filled air? Do you dare to find out? I found this book not enjoyable and horribly descriptive. Now, I love descriptive books, except when they’re about the APOCALYPSE. I didn’t enjoy the gory details. However it was fast-paced and good writing so kudos for that. As you can tell - not my favorite book.

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

Twenty years after the start of the war that caused the Collapse, fifteen-year-old Stephen, his father, and grandfather travel post-Collapse America scavenging, but when his grandfather dies and his father decides to risk everything to save the lives of two strangers, Stephen's life is turned upside down.

Reviewed by Matthew, age 14:

The Eleventh Plague is to me as a magnet is to metal: it attracts. I personally thought seeing post-apocalyptic America through the eyes of a quasi-survivor was compelling, the portrayal of Jenny was quite interesting, and the major plot twist left me to decipher how exactly that could have happened. What bothered me - and it wasn't exactly bothering more than it was baffling - was the cover art: how exactly that has something to do with the plot confused me, to say the least. Other than that tiny complication, I see a potential best-seller and possibly a blockbuster, and urge everyone who reads this review to check out the book for themselves. You will NOT regret it!

Epic by Conor Kostick

On New Earth, a world based on a video role-playing game, fourteen-year-old Erik pursuades his friends to aid him in some unusual gambits in order to save Erik's father from exile and safeguard the futures of each of their families.

Reviewed by Michael, age 15:

In Erik's world there is only one unbreakable rule set by his ancestors: there must be no violence. Anyone who breaks this rule will be exiled. All disputes are settled in the mass virtual game, Epic. Erik must fight with his friends to save his parents and the world from the government's corruption.

Gifts by Ursula Le Guin

When a young man in the Uplands blinds himself rather than use his gift of "unmaking"--a violent talent shared by members of his family--he upsets the precarious balance of power among rival, feuding families, each of which has a strange and deadly talent of its own.

Reviewed by Carly, age 14:

The people of the Uplands have great, but terrifying powers, or "gifts." Orrec Caspro's family holds the power of unmaking - to completely destroy something or someone until it can no longer be said to exist. When Orrec realizes how great his power is he blinds himself so as not to accidentally unmake anything. He fears his gift. This novel is about the responsibility that comes with power.

Huntress by Malinda Lo

Seventeen-year-olds Kaede and Taisin are called to go on a dangerous and unprecedented journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen, in an effort to restore the balance of nature in the human world.

Reviewed by Becca, age 16:

Overall, Huntress was an interesting story with a confusing plot. The sun has not appeared in years and the crops are failing in the human world. Strange creatures begin appearing on the outskirts of towns. An oracle casts a prophecy stating that two seventeen year old girls named Kaede and Taisin, must go on a dangerous journey to the city of the Fairy Queen. The girls could not be more different, yet their destinies draw them together. Kaede and Taisin must rely on each other in order to save the kingdom.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They killed them all.
I am Number Four.
I am next.

Reviewed by Tegan, age 14:

I didn't know what to expect when I opened the first page of I Am Number Four. An alien who must constantly change towns and names to preserve his life is hardly what I expected, but it was very good. Currently known as John Smith, alien number four must be exceptionally careful because, according to the Loric charm, now that numbers one to three are dead, he can be killed next! The need to develop his Legacies, powers every alien here on Earth from planet Loren has, is greater than before. They are needed to defend against the enemy Mogadorians, aliens wanting to kill John and takeover Earth. Lore does an exceptional job describing the Mogadorians. His description enhances the book, and adds a very creepy image whenever the horrid creatures come into play. 'They were pale, almost like albinos. They wore sunglasses...They had black eyes and they had pointy teeth...Theirs looked as though they had been broken and chiseled. They wore coats and hats..." Descriptions like this kept me up all night listening for aliens and hoping I was safe with my sheets pulled over my face. All in all I think I Am Number Four is sure to be a bestseller!

Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate…until she sees Ky’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

Reviewed by Emily, age 17:

They knew you would read this – your genes were Matched for it. They know all that you are, all you ever will be. Or do they? Ally Condie's Matched is a fantastic book – I couldn't put it down, and after finishing it, I often found myself turning back to my favorite scenes. In this novel, Cassia, a girl who has forever trusted the Society and allowed it to make her decisions for her, begins to unearth the dark truth beneath the seemingly perfect Society after there is a discrepancy in her Matching Ceremony. She begins to doubt all of the choices that were made for her as she discovers more about the boy she's falling in love with – Ky Markham, who is not her Match. I was immediately able to identify with Cassia, a strong character who matures throughout the book. The descriptions were vivid and impressive; I could easily picture them in my mind's eye and imagine walking through them myself. I can't wait to read the next book in this series!

The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

When a mysterious threat reenters the lives of twins Ben and Sheere, separated as babies and reunited as teenagers in 1930s Calcutta, the siblings must confront an unspeakable terror, with the help of their secret society of fellow orphans.

Reviewed by Becca, age 16:

The Midnight Palace was a good book although difficult to get into. An English lieutenant tries to save twin babies, Ben and Sheere, from a horrible threat. The lieutenant saves them temporarily, but he loses his own life. Sixteen years later, on the twins’ birthday, the threat resurfaces. With the help of their friends, Ben and Sheere try to escape this threat and save their lives.

Pure by Julianna Baggott

Pure is the first volume in a thrilling new post apocalyptic trilogy, a dystopian novel about a society of haves, who escaped an apocalypse in a futuristic dome covered city, and have-nots, who survived the nearly destroyed outside world. The have-nots are almost entirely marked or mutated in some manner. Pure centers around the story of Pressia, a 16 year old survivor with a doll’s head fused into her left hand, and Partridge, an unmarked Pure who has escaped the Dome to find his mother, certain that she has survived the cataclysm.

Reviewed by Jenny, age 17:

Pure is the newest addition to my favorites list of books. From nanotechnology to light refracting gems, this post-apocalyptic novel discusses a plethora of topics. The book is written in present tense, which I thought would be difficult to read at first, but unlike many novels I've read that were likewise in present tense, Pure effectively uses this style to bring the reader into the story. Similarly, the book reveals itself through a variation of characters' viewpoints, allowing the reader to understand the storyline and plot as it unfolds rather than waiting for the main character to finally figure something out. The mix of dystopia and an almost I Am Legend feel creates a captivating combination. Pure is not for those who want a light-hearted novel to read though. Especially when concerning the people and sometimes beasts that survived, the book can fall into dark themes and depictions of grotesque deformities.

Specials by Scott Westerfeld

When she is turned into a super-modelesque super-fighting machine, Tally, a former Ugly, is ordered to keep the Uglies down and the Pretties stupid in a carefully engineered world of perfection where she refuses to play by the rules.

Reviewed by Barbara, age 13:

After being turned into a member of the special circumstance group The Cutters, Tally Youngblood, a rebel from her city begins a journey to find the Smokie's City. She eventually ends up fighting in a war she began and breaks down every rule this future world lives in.

Taggerung by Brian Jacques

A young otter, kidnapped in his infancy and raised as a warrior-thief by a band of vermin, leaves the tribe and goes off to seek adventures of his own.

Reviewed by Benji, age 13:

Taggerung is about the life of an otter called Deyna. His father was shot by an arrow after the vermin Bowfeast realized he was the Juska's chosen one, the Taggerung. As he grows up, Tager becomes bigger, stronger, and more agile than any other Juska, but he will not kill anything. He knows he should not be in the Juskarath. He eventually flees the camp and is pursued by many Juskarath. He eventually arrives at Redwall and finds his mother and sister.

Triss by Brian Jacques

Triss, Shogg, and Welfo escape from slavery at Riftgard and are pursued across the sea toward Redwall by Princess Kurdah, Prince Bladd, and a band of freebooters who seek the rumored treasure of Brockhall.

Reviewed by Benji, age 13:

Triss follows the voyages of Triss, Shogg and Welfo – three escaped slaves, and their pursuers – the Freebooters, led by Plugg Firetail, and three rascals from Salamandastrom. They all meet up on the shore of Mossflower and a great battle at Redwall ensues. This is a great book!!!

Voices by Ursula Le Guin

Young Memer takes on a pivotal role in freeing her war-torn homeland from its oppressive captors.

Reviewed by Carly, age 14:

Memer and all the people of Ansul are slaves to the Alds, highly religious desert people who conquered the city 17 years ago. The Alds destroyed all of Ansul's books, saying that they were possessed by demons - but the Waylord of the House of Galva, Memer's house, has a hidden library in a cave that also houses a mysterious Oracle. When a poet and his wife visit Ansul, Memer suddenly finds herself central in the overthrowing of the Alds. Great political intrigue!