Read + Review: Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights by Karen Blumenthal

Amazon.com: Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive  Rights (9781626721654): Blumenthal, Karen: Books

You can reserve a print copy here, an eBook copy here, or an eAudiobook copy here!

Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights by Karen Blumenthal discusses how reproductive rights came to be. The book informs the reader of the history of contraceptives and abortion, starting from the 1800s to the present. It also addresses the women and men who’ve supported or opposed contraceptives and abortion, why they supported or opposed them, and what they did for and about women’s reproductive rights. It provides statistics and facts about abortion and tidbits of information previously provided to give the reader more insight.

This book was informative for me, seeing as I didn’t know much about abortion or Roe v. Wade until I read it. This book informed me about the history of reproductive rights, Roe v. Wade, and what women had to go through back in the day. While reading, I felt many emotions, especially sadness and anger. I liked that the book was in four parts with subsections in each, and after a subsection, there would be a page or two examining a specific topic that was in a subsection, which helps readers, and me, to understand that topic.

The most memorable thing about the book is that it details what went on in the courtroom during Roe v. Wade. It showed me how each side presented their case and how they defended it. It also showed me how the justices asked questions and how they came to a decision after the hearings. Blumenthal gives the insight of not only the advocates for abortion but also the opposers of abortion. It helped me to understand why they were opposed to it, whether it was a moral or religious reason. Furthermore, this book also helped me to understand why the topic of abortion and contraceptives is so controversial.

Reviewed by Roopa, Tuckahoe Library


Read + Review: The Friend Scheme by Cale Dietrich

Amazon.com: The Friend Scheme (9781250186997): Dietrich, Cale: Books

You can reserve a print copy here and an eBook copy here!

Matt Miller is a high-school student with a big secret: his father is the head of one of the biggest mobster families in the city. His secrets don’t stop there. Matt grapples with the fact that he will never live up to the son his father has raised him to be, a ruthless and cold killer who hates the Donavans’ his family has been fighting with for years. With these doubts in mind, he ends up meeting a boy named Jason who begins to see Matt as the person he really is. This connection between the two boys turns from romantic to dangerous as new plots and secrets reveal themselves and Matt must make a choice to stay loyal to his family or to reveal who he really is.

I found myself relating to the main character, Matt, a lot of times when reading the book. I think the author did a great job narrating his feelings and writing his journey. The book goes into detail the inner crisis he has within himself and the struggle between making his family proud or choosing his own path in life. The plot reminded me of Romeo and Juliet as it was about two boys from opposite sides of a war who fall in love with each other. I appreciated how Matt was able to finally find himself and figure out what he wanted to do with his life. I felt proud in the end when he realized that a life of crime wasn’t permanent for him and that he could stand up to his father and choose his own destiny.

A thing I found memorable about the book was the plot twists that had me gripping the edge of my seat. I also appreciated how the relationship between Jason and Matt wasn’t rushed at all and was taken slowly. One thing I did dislike though was that it felt as if it was too fast paced and lacked emotion at some point. Especially towards the end when the biggest conflict of the book gets quickly resolved, I wanted more detail going into that. I also wanted Matt to spend more time trying to fix his strained relationship with his father. The dialogue also seemed awkward in some parts, as it went over the same point multiple times.

Reviewed by Tasnia, Libbie Mill Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Havenfall by Sara Holland

Amazon.com: Havenfall (9781547603794): Holland, Sara: Books

You can place a hold on a print copy or an eBook copy!

The Inn at Havenfall is a sanctuary between realms, where people from all worlds can come together safely to ensure peace and unity across the universe. Earth is the only non-magical realm, and for the sake of neutrality, the Innkeeper of Havenfall must be from there. This responsibility falls to Maddie’s uncle, who is tasked with running the Inn and preserving the delicate balance between the realms. Regardless of the pressure, Maddie’s summer visits convinced her that Havenfall is her home, and with her brother dead, her mom on death row, and her dad acting distant, she has nowhere left to go. Despite her father’s wishes, she wants more than anything to be the next Innkeeper and decides to spend her summer back at the Inn to learn from her uncle and gain his approval for her to become his successor. However, when a murder threatens the renowned safety of Havenfall and her uncle mysteriously falls unconscious, her dream starts to become true sooner than she expected. With her trust misplaced and her beliefs challenged, Maddie quickly realizes she’s in over her head as she tries to run the inn and uncover the truth about Havenfall. The fate of all the realms rests on her shoulders as forces conspire against her with the fragile balance of the worlds at risk.

While I truly enjoyed reading this book, it had its strengths and weaknesses. The plot itself was captivating, with the mystery and fantasy elements woven intricately, but the pacing was a bit off, with large chunks of exposition and narration broken up by repetitious flashbacks and plot-driving events. However, it wasn’t a detrimental issue because I was still able to appreciate the overarching story. In addition, the use of imagery in the world-building is exceptional and creative, but it feels wasted as the majority of the story only takes place at the inn. Since she is good at creating lush environments and colorful scenery, the author’s writing style is very much suited for an adventure that spans across the realms, and the one location makes it feel somewhat stuck and repetitive. The characters also lack much depth or development, except for Maddie in some cases. Nevertheless, while sometimes predictable, the story and its twists were entertaining, and, despite its flaws, I still felt invested in the novel and the fate of Havenfall.

The most memorable part of this book for me is the world-building because, while they are less explored, the realms were very unique and interesting to learn about. The history and lore of this universe were well-written and detailed, and the author’s ability to place the reader in these alternate realms with harsh environments and magical elements is excellent. While the origins of this multi-realm universe aren’t fully explained, the world itself was well-thought-out and well-imagined.


Reviewed by Ananya, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Running by Natalia Sylvester

Amazon.com: Running (9780358124351): Sylvester, Natalia: Books

You can place a hold on an eBook copy here!

Mariana Ruiz wanted to be an actor when she was eight. Her parents seem to think that she hasn’t grown at all since then and act as if she loves the constant spotlight on her family. It’s only natural that people would watch her every move since her father is running for president. All Mariana wants is some privacy, but she can’t even ask for that apparently. With her parents constantly telling her that the openness to the public is for the good of the campaign, she feels like they aren’t even listening to her. To make things worse, her best friend Vivi is moving to Miami Beach. She has to switch schools and leave Mariana to deal with this all on her own. As her distaste for the situation grows, she learns more and more about her father’s beliefs, which she begins to question. Mariana has to be careful though, because the whole country is watching what she will do next.

I liked the premise of the book, it seemed interesting, and I was not disappointed. I could feel the pressure that Mariana’s parents had placed on her shoulders and the author succeeded in making it feel unfair. You can feel Mariana’s perspective on her family change as she begins to find her own opinion. I think the only complaint I have about this book is how Mariana doesn’t seem to truly know her father’s beliefs. She somehow lived with this person for years, she even says later how he sometimes said some questionable things, and yet she never put the two together. It doesn’t seem likely that a fifteen-year-old would be this oblivious to her own father’s beliefs. The book often states that their parents keep them out of politics, but this story is set in a hazy modern day when the internet is very much a thing. This wasn’t totally unbelievable, but it was not totally believable either. This one problem doesn’t ruin the entire book though, I still think it’s a pretty good book.

The thing that I think was the most memorable was the way the author wrote Mariana. Every complaint Mariana had felt completely understandable. Even though she had a lot of grievances, she never felt whiney or spoiled. She just sounded like a completely reasonable person. Personally, my father never has run for president, but I was still able to relate to Mariana. Even though I kinda complained about this earlier, Mariana discovering what her father actually believed in was interesting to read. I really like well-written characters and Mariana was not a disappointment!


Reviewed by Elaine, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee


You can find an eBook copy here or an eAudiobook copy here.

The bright colorful world of K-pop is infamous for its seemingly unattainable beauty standards. Skye Shin knows all about them. Her mother has constantly told her since childhood how fat girls shouldn’t be on stage, but that wasn’t going to stop Skye. Skye wants to show her mother, and anyone else who doubts her, that fat girls are just as, if not more, talented than anyone else. That’s why when “You’re My Shining Star”, a new K-pop competition survival show, was hosted in LA, she auditioned without telling her mother. As Skye gets thrown into K-pop scene she is immediately hit with back-lash, but there are also plenty of people wanting her to succeed. Skye perseveres through the competition showing everyone that she is star-material, regardless of her body type.

The characters in this book are true gems! There was some dialogue that were definitely cheesy, but the struggles they faced were relatable. I truly understood Skye’s need to prove her mother wrong. I was genuinely rooting for her throughout the entire book. Another thing about the characters is that they felt like real people. Some of them were definitely more morally gray than others, and they didn’t feel like characters in a story. The plot moved forward a little quickly, especially in the beginning. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing, but to me it felt like things were passing by quite quickly. The plot was good in the sense that nothing felt too unrealistic.

Even though I have already stated this, the characters are super memorable! I think I like the way they portray Skye’s mother the best. I don’t think that Skye’s mother wanted to hurt her daughter, but that is what ended up happening. In the book Skye repeatedly thinks about when she was younger and how low of a self-esteem she had due to her mother’s hurtful words. Obviously Skye and her mother love each other, but their relationship definitely took a hit because of her mother’s actions. Just because I think she is a complex character does not mean I condone her actions. She pushed her standards on Skye, completely blind to the pain it was causing her. I think a lot of parents could be guilty of this. Maybe not to this extent, but I’m sure some parents have said hurtful things because they want the best for their children.


Reviewed by Elaine, Twin Hickory Library