Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli

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Former childhood best friends Jamie Goldberg and Maya Rehman reunite as high school seniors when their mothers decide that political canvassing would be a beneficial activity for them both to participate in during the summer. For Jamie, this gives him the opportunity to practice his public speaking skills before giving a toast at his sister’s bat mitzvah. For Maya, canvassing provides her with the perfect diversion from considering her parents’ separation during Ramadan. As they greet likely voters and advocate for Jordan Rossum to become their state senate candidate in Georgia, they both become very close and have to consider the ramifications of love intersecting with their different faiths.

I thought the book was really good, but slow during the first 1/4 when Maya and Jamie didn’t really interact. When they did meet up though, it was great to see how passionate they were about making a difference in their communities. It was especially interesting to see how Jamie’s Jewish faith guided how he reacted with the Fifi the poodle memes since anti-Semitism isn’t too commonly discussed in the media. Ultimately, while all of the characters were charming, Jamie’s grandmother (Instagramm) was my favorite; I loved how she was the social media queen for the Rossum campaign and how tech-saavy she was.

Maya’s reflection about her friendship with Sara and how it was a beautiful gift, even if it was evolving, was so realistic. It was a reminder that growing up can lead to change in the most unexpected ways.

Reviewed by Manasa, Twin Hickory Library

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Read + Review: The Feminist Agenda of Jemima Kincaid by Kate Hattemer

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This book follows Jemima Kincaid as she navigates her senior year of high school. Suddenly, she is named to Senior Triumvirate, which consists of two other members, Gennifer, the school’s popular girl, and Andy, the charming athlete. When prom is just around the corner, it is up to the Senior Triumvirate to organize a dance that the school won’t forget. When her inner feminist speaks up, she proposes to have the Last Chance Dance, where the students submit the names of any and every person they’ve ever considered romantically into a website. The site pairs the students up based on the data, and voilà! You have happy couples all around, and no male agenda dictating them. But when things don’t go to plan, Jemima has to keep up as things start to spiral out of control. A new romance blooms up for her, and with it comes distance between her and her best friend. As Jemima tries to keep everything under control, she starts to lose herself in the process.

I really liked the book as a whole. The writing kept the reader interested and following along with the story. The writing style was humorous and easy to relate to, giving it the feeling that it was actually written by an 18-year-old in high school. The characters are written very well, and they are well thought out. The main character is written as if you can either immediately hate her overdramatic disposition, or love and relate to her role. Overall, the book was a fun read, and enjoyable.

One memorable part of the story was the friendship between Jemima and Jiyoon, Jemima’s best friend. During the middle of the story, they start to grow apart without realizing it. Even though they claim to still be best friends, they still are not as close as they were before. The book does a very good job showing the ups and downs of friendship.

Reviewed by Chinmayi, Twin Hickory Library

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Read + Review: The Breakaways by Cathy G. Johnson

The Breakaways

The Breakaways by Cathy G. Johnson is about the lowest level soccer team and how they all become friends. The main character is a girl named Faith. Although she has a shy personality, she is very kind. In this book, Faith gets tricked into joining the soccer team. There are only a couple other kids her age, but she doesn’t know them. She is all alone with a bunch of older bratty kids, and doesn’t know what to do. Nobody tries, and the team keeps losing. She huddles up with them and has an inspirational talk. They are back on the field ready to try again. Find out what happens next when you read the book.

I didn’t love the book, even though it was inspirational. I felt like were a few details that weren’t needed. The details were for more appropriate for older readers. Without the details that weren’t needed, I would have enjoyed the book, because I really liked the message about being your true self. To me the statement be true to yourself means more than follow your heart. It means don’t let anyone get in your way because you are unique and special. Leave the mean comments in the past and don’t believe them. I think that Cathy G. Johnson gave the main character the name Faith because she had faith in herself and didn’t let anyone else in her way.

One memorable thing from the book was when Faith and her teammates left the game early to go home and hangout. They realized that soccer wasn’t their thing. One part of me felt like they should not just quit. The other part of me like that they followed their hearts. I personally think listening to your heart is important. I also liked the fact that through following their hearts, they built a strong friendship.

Reviewed by Elise, Libbie Mill Library

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Read + Review: Day Zero by Kelly deVos

Day Zero (Day Zero Duology, #1)

A girl named Jinx (that’s her nick-name) and her family are living through a time called the new depression. Two political parties called the Spark and the Opposition run against each other in an unfair election won by the Opposition. The Opposition claims they can end the new depression. Jinx’s mom left her paranoid dad after making them do survival drills every weekend and Married Jay. Jay has two kids, Makenna and Tony. Life pretty much goes on until a federal bank is bombed with Jinx, her little brother, Charles, and Makenna in the building next door. They make it out okay, but they soon learn that federal buildings all around the country were attacked. Even worse, all evidence points to Jay’s computer! Jinx, Charles, and Toby are on the run from the Government, who might have more sinister plans for Jay.

I liked the fact that the book included a lot about the Government. I could connect today’s government of Democrats and Republicans to the Opposition and the Spark. The conflicts were also similar to ones now like taxes, etc. One downside for me though was that the beginning was a bit confusing and hard to grasp. I didn’t know anything about the characters or who was related to who and I thought the author could have done better introducing them. There were also some dull or boring parts. I did like, however, how the author described all of Jinx’s emotions and pain. It made me feel all of the strong emotions she did and it let me get to know her better.

One memorable thing for me was the bond between Jinx and Charles. Jinx would do anything for Charles, even risk her own life for him. It was like Charles meant everything to her. The fact that family meant so much to the characters in this book really stuck with me. I think it teaches a good lesson that family is everything.

Reviewed by Sophia, Twin Hickory Library

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Read + Review: The Pretenders by Rebecca Hanover

The Pretenders (The Similars, #2)

A girl named Emma and her friends are attending senior year at a high school called “Darkwood.” In the school, a group of kids Emma are friends with are clones. Emma’s crush, Levi, is also a clone of her best friend, Oliver. Emma suddenly reveals to have special powers just like the clones, and an anti-clone group starts in her school led by a girl named Harlowe. On top of that, the creator of the clones, named, “Gravelle” has Levi in custody on an isolated island. Emma needs to figure out why her powers came, how to deal with the anti-clone movement, and find a way to rescue her crush from the evil man, Gravelle.

I really didn’t enjoy reading the book. Most of the characters are underdeveloped such as the clones and the book mainly focuses on the relationship between Emma, Oliver, and Levi. It also introduces us to too many plot twists which the book barely explains at all. It felt like I was reading 4 different, short, barely detailed stories in one book. The ending was very bland and basic, very much like the movie “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”. The book in total was mediocre at best.

There aren’t many memorable things about this book. However, the only part barely memorable is the relationship between Emma, Oliver, and Levi. Reading about who Emma thinks is for her is sort of interesting.

Reviewed by Gabriel, Fairfield Area Library