Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Sylvie by Sylvie Kantorovitz

Sylvie by Sylvie Kantorovitz

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Sylvie Kantorovitz renders a beautiful graphic memoir that delineates her path to adulthood. Born into a Jewish family in Morocco, Sylvie moves to France with her parents and explores her new home. She lives in a school where her father is the school principal, and most of her classmates are French. She enjoys anything related to art, but her mother isn’t supportive of letting her do it for a living. Instead, she pushes Sylvie to take mathematics and physics to benefit her future. In her elder years, the pressure of choosing a career becomes hard on her. After receiving her Baccalaureate Diploma (an entrance ticket to a university), she moves to Paris and finds out what she wants to be, alone from the external pressure around her.

This book has many things to adore, especially the details, the doodling, and every artistic aspect. Sylvie is such a passionate artist, and I can see that through her commitment to the skill. The image panels were easy to follow, even though they were without words or speech bubbles. However, the author could have shown continuation between chapters since some parts of the plot felt incomplete. Otherwise, the story was straightforward, and the ending was convincing. The overall tone was very comforting, making it a quick and easy read.

I liked that the book stood out from typical memoirs, where they seldom involve violence or the author’s struggles in life. Sylvie was different. Her life was so simple yet very interesting to read. From being a shy person, she had become much more confident with her decisions near the end. It was surprising to see this inner transformation, which added more to her personality.

Reviewed by Sruthi, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Like Home by Louisa Onomé

Amazon.com: Like Home (9780593172599): Onome, Louisa: Books

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Louisa Onomé’s Like Home is a breath of fresh air that reminds us of our childhood days and fond memories. Chinelo, or Nelo, a Nigerian Canadian, loves her beloved neighborhood, Ginger East, Toronto, and is happy with the way things are. But things changed after an arcade homicide, which has painted the community in a bad light since then. Many of her close friends started to migrate to nearby places, except Kate (Nelo’s best friend), whose store has been a staple to the area. After her store gets vandalized, Nelo fears that she will leave, too. Moreover, new stores have been moving in, gentrifying the community and displacing businesses. As Nelo regards these changes as harmful to her neighborhood, she finds a way to overcome them and stand for Ginger East, her home.

The book hooked me right from the cover till the end. The prose is very readable, and all the characters are given a lot of insight. Nelo was like a reflection of myself, and her youthful, sensible voice kept me invested in the book. I also adored Bo, Rafa, Kate, and Mr. Brown since each of them had a distinct personality and a story to contribute. I also liked how the author pressed on the concept of how change can be good and acceptable, and resisting it could only hurt you more. Likewise, Nelo learns to accept reality and realizes that changes aren’t always bad. Other themes of the book, like gentrification, stereotypes, and friendship dynamics, were closely examined without stagnating the flow of the story.

One memorable thing about the book is the connection between Nelo and her friends. The text messages and their banter made me giggle here and there, and their friendship was so authentic, which is quite rare these days. The closing was well-crafted, presenting a good vibe for the readers at the end. It left me thinking about Nelo and her friends long after the last page. Overall, it is a great debut novel, and I look forward to reading more from Onomé.

Reviewed by Sruthi, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue - Kindle edition by Schwab, V. E..  Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is about a young woman named Adeline LaRue who makes a deal with a god to live forever. The only cost to this bargain is that she will be forgotten by everyone she meets. Addie lives through the centuries living as a ghost to the people around her, with her only company being the same god who cursed her name. It isn’t until 300 years later where she encounters the impossible in a small bookstore in NYC: someone has managed to remember her name. The plot starts with our main character, Addie LaRue, who lives in 1714 France in a small village called Villon. In a desperate effort to escape from her unwanted marriage, Addie makes a deal with a god named Luc who grants her the wish to live forever. The only catch is that anyone who sees her will instantly forget her name. From there, the book follows Addie’s new life as a ghost, traveling from place to place trying to survive with this new curse on her. The plot’s setting is set in many countries as it follows Addie’s newfound freedom in discovering the world around her. Henry Strauss also serves as another main character in the book. He is the one who is not affected by Addie’s curse and remembers her name. 

I thought the book was amazing and creative. I found that it was a bit slow in the beginning as nothing was happening, but it eventually does begin to get interesting as we learn how Addie brought this life on herself. I know the main romance was between Addie and Henry but I found myself gravitating to the relationship between Addie and Luc. I mainly just found it interesting how Addie survived living a life where everyone she knows forgets her the second they turn away. Addie became a character I found relatable to even at 300 years old. Furthermore, I didn’t see Luc as the ultimate villain in the book. He was your typical morally grey character who did seem to care for Addie despite Addie thinking otherwise. 

The thing that drew me to the book was its writing style. I felt the book was written in a way in which every sentence just managed to flow together that created a book that felt beautiful in its own way. I also particularly loved the relationship between Addie and Luc. It was interesting to see how their feelings towards each other changed over the years as Addie continued living her eternal life with Luc being the only reminder of her old life. The number one thing I did dislike is the ending mainly because it did leave it open for a sequel even though this book was strictly standalone.

Reviewed by Tasnia, Libbie Mill Library

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Read + Review: Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater

Mister Impossible (Dreamer Trilogy, #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

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Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater serves as the second book in the Dreamer trilogy. It picks up from Call Down the Hawk with Dreamers Ronan Lynch and Hennessy. Dreamers are people who are known for their ability to make their dreams into reality. It starts off with them following Bryde, their mentor, and fellow Dreamer, who is on the run from Moderators, an organization bent on killing Dreamers. Ronan and Hennessy are on their own mission of restoring the ley lines, supernatural energy that keeps Dreamers and their fellow dreams alive. While in Boston, Massachusetts, Declan Lynch and Jordan Hennessy scramble to find an alternative to keeping Lynch’s dreamt brother, Matthew, alive and able to live life fully as a dream. Powerful decisions are to be made as the Dreamers rush to keep the force that fuels them and their dreams alive.

The plot is mainly set in Virginia with Ronan and Hennessy helping Bryde fix the ley lines and help make Dreamers more powerful. The book switches from Virginia to Boston, Massachusetts where Declan, Jordan, and Matthew discover an alternate way to keep dreams alive without depending on their Dreamer. I thought the book was gripping as it added more to the supernatural world of Dreamers and further delved into their powers. I also felt like all the characters seemed on the edge of becoming morally grey characters because there were parts in the book where I was fully agreeing with their motives, and then realized to myself, “Wait, they’re literally committing ecoterrorism to further their goals.” I did think the author did a good job of making me fall into that trap.

I will say the prose in the book is a little difficult to understand at times. I did have to reread a few paragraphs here and there because the writing felt a little too advanced for me to understand. I did enjoy seeing all the characters interact with each other. Declan Lynch definitely became a character I began to sympathize with and understand after seeing him represented from the biased POV of Ronan. I wished we got more POVs from the other characters, like Adam Parrish, just to see the story from different perspectives. Overall, the book was a very gripping novel that left me waiting for the next plot twist.

Reviewed by Tasnia, Libbie Mill Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Don’t Read The Comments by Eric Smith

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Divya Sharma is a popular streaming gamer more commonly known as D1V. She often streams the game “Reclaim the Sun” for her followers, the #AngstArmada. It may seem like all fun and games, but behind the scenes it’s more than that. Divya’s gaming money is the only thing keeping her and her mother afloat. Without it, her mom wouldn’t be able to finish her classes or be able to pay the rent. So this isn’t just a game for Divya, it’s her whole life. Aaron Jericho absolutely loves gaming, and writes games for a local developer in his free time. He knows that helping make games is exactly what he wants to do when he gets older, but his parents are pressuring him to be a doctor instead. Divya and Aaron are people who live very different lives until their paths collide in “Reclaim the Sun”. They quickly become friends and now have each other to navigate the difficulties in their lives.  

I really enjoyed this book and thought the way it was set up was great. The story was told from the point of view of both Aaron and Divya, so we got to see their individual lives as well as when they talked to each other. I loved how both of the characters were so different but still connected very well. Divya was more private and skeptical while Aaron was much more trusting and open. The author changed his writing style to reflect the perspectives of each of them. This aspect of the book gave it a very personal feel and made it easier to understand what each character was like early on. The only complaint I have is that the book is a little slow-paced and could do with some more action. I also really liked how even though their problems were very different, they were still able to understand and relate to each other.

The most memorable part of this story for me was watching Divya and Aaron’s friendship develop.  Divya does not trust easily, especially online, so it was really cool to see how she eventually came to trust him. I liked that the friendship was more gradual because that’s usually the way friendships work in real life.

Reviewed by Nainika, Twin Hickory Library