Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Deadly Curious by Cindy Anstey Deadly Curious eBook: Anstey, Cindy: Kindle Store

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It is 1834, about a year since the murder of Sophia Thompson’s cousin Andrew Waverly. Despite the passage of time, the case has remained unsolved, taking a toll on the Waverlys. When Sophia receives a desperate letter from Daphne, she decides to accept her invitation to visit and look into the mystery of Andrew’s death. Sophia is very interested in becoming a detective (specifically for the Bow Street Runners of London), and this visit provides an opportunity to not only help Daphne and the rest of the Waverlys, but also to gain experience needed to prove herself worthy of becoming the first female detective. Joined by Jeremy Fraser, a rookie Bow Street Runner on the case, the two try to find suspects, clues, and evidence. However, Sophia and Jeremy find that this investigation is far from straightforward, with foggy memories and false leads, along with an inept constable who is impatient to close the case. As they search deeper, Jeremy and Sophia start finding danger with every discovery they make.

For me, the plot wasn’t the best. That’s not to say the story was terrible, but I wished that it was more tight. Instead, the plot kind of went all over with no clear direction at first. Only towards the end did things start falling into place, but it felt illogical and rushed. However, that could’ve been the point, as Jeremy and Sophia were investigating a year after the crime. I liked how the mystery wasn’t very clear or obvious, which made me think (I’ll discuss in more detail below). The two protagonists were likable, but I didn’t get particularly attached to them or any of the other characters. One thing that bothered me about Jeremy was that Sophia would describe him with traits that I didn’t find in him myself. That could have been because I didn’t read between the lines or because of Sophia’s crush, but I wish the author would have made it more clear. Another thing that I wish was done better was Sophia’s and Jeremy’s romantic attraction toward each other. It didn’t feel very organic. It instead felt like it was there just for the sake of plot. At the end, the motive felt a bit weak and unconvincing. There also wasn’t any good humor (which I like to find in books), only somewhat clever exchanges. Despite all these complaints, I didn’t strongly dislike the book. I even enjoyed the thriller aspects, during the time Sophia and Jeremy found themselves in some scary situations. All in all, I’d say this isn’t a bad book, just one that you shouldn’t expect much from.

One memorable thing about the book is that the culprit and the motive weren’t (at least for me) and I wasn’t able to figure out exactly who did it, the reason behind it, and how all the clues came together. Often times in mystery books, there is at least one or two clues that can get me on the right path and maybe even solve the mystery before the protagonist does. This was not the case with this book, as the trail was a bit more unclear, which makes sense considering our protagonists are looking at the crime a year after it took place. Although it made me not like the plot, it was fascinating with how it was different from the mysteries I had read.


Reviewed by Christine, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Again Again by E. Lockhart


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Again Again by E. Lockhart tells the story of teenager Adelaide Buchwald.  Adelaide is a high school student at a fancy boarding school called Alabaster Preparatory Academy.  She wants people to see her as a happy, talkative, and well-adjusted teenager.  However, she is depressed, unhappy, and dealing with a lot of personal and family issues. Adelaide’s brother Toby is a drug addict that was just released from rehab. She is trying hard to find a way to reconnect with him. Her boyfriend just broke up with her and told her he thinks he never loved her.  Her dad, who is a teacher at Alabaster Preparatory Academy, is lonely and missing Adelaide’s mother, who is home taking care of her recovering brother.  And finally, Adelaide is on academic probation and in danger of failing out of school.  In this book, Adelaide’s story is played out in different multiverses.  We get to see her make different decisions in each multiverse, each time resulting in a different outcome to her story.  In each multiverse, Adelaide is portrayed as a different version of herself and we get to follow her on different journeys.

I thought the premise of this book was a little confusing. Since there is more than one timeline in this book, it was hard to keep track of what happened in what universe. Each time  Adelaide made a different decision, the story changed. While it was interesting to see Adelaide make different choices  and end up on different paths, I still found the alternate versions somewhat confusing.

The most memorable part of this book was the relationship that Adelaide had with her brother, Toby. When Adelaide and Toby were younger, they had a close relationship. But Toby’s drug addiction was hard on the whole family, and it changed Adelaide and Toby’s relationship. I really liked how both Adelaide and Toby tried to reconnect with each other. I especially liked when you get to read their text messages. I thought the author did a good job of showing that forgiveness and trust sometimes come in stages.


Reviewed by James, Twin Hickory Library

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Read + Review: Self-Driving Cars: The New Way Forward by Michael Fallon


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Self-Driving Cars is a nonfiction, informative book about the history of cars, different car companies, how the idea of self driving cars started and the evolution. Looking at the title, I didn’t expect to see the full history of cars, but it did make a nice starting chapter, explaining what happened to the horse buggy whip making industry in Whip City. The book is well written, and structured into chapters, making it easy for the reader to switch topics. The book also includes a nice timeline, along with glossary, bibliography, further information and index sections, not to mention the context-specific, attractive pictures.

I think this is a great book for all 10+ age groups, especially for drivers and car savvy people. This will make a good read not only for people interested in technology and cars, but also for people who are into history. There are many good features in this book. The only negative comment I would make is that the title was somewhat misleading, since I expected major part of the book to be talking about the current and future technologies. The author does get to that part in the last chapter, but fails to offer excitement in terms of concept cars, pictures, etc. It really helps that this book has a timeline at the back, so anybody could just flip to the back and learn something new.

There are many memorable things about the book, especially the section describing how someone in the 1900’s made an exhibit of the future, and we have created a world just like his exhibit, with tall skyscrapers, cars, and many people. It is fascinating how just one idea could change the whole future. The book gives top-notch information, and offers a new perspective on how the cars became integral part of American culture.


Reviewed by Siddarth S., Twin Hickory Library

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Read + Review: Legendary by Stephanie Garber


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This book was a sequel to Stephanie Garber’s fantasy book Caraval. The book continues the magical adventure of Caraval from the point of view of Donatella Dragna, Scarlett Dragna’s sister. Tella faces an incredible journey to find her missing mother, Paloma. Paloma disappeared when Tella and Scarlett were little kids and left them with their father. This time, Caraval is not just a game. Tella must find a missing object to free her mother before it’s too late. She faces many obstacles and enemies, and races against time as it slowly ticks away. The stakes are high, and Tella enlists the help of a cunning friend, Dante, to help her along her path. She begins to have suspicions about him, but dismisses them as he is very helpful with her mission. As time counts down, will Tella be able to free her mother in time before she’s lost forever?

I liked this book a lot. The rich imagery Stephanie Garber writes really brings the story alive. The characters really pull emotion from you, and you find yourself hanging on the edge of your seat at every twist and turn. One thing I disliked at the beginning was that the book was from the point of view of Tella. The previous book was from Scarlett’s point of view, and it was a little bit difficult to adjust to at the beginning. However, as I got further into the book, I began to appreciate the different viewpoint, as you can really see the story from different angles. This book is absolutely magical.

One memorable thing about this book are the characters. They are very believable and you find yourself experiencing the same emotions they do as you read the book. The characters are very dynamic, and their motives are always changing and adapting to their situation. These characters all tie together brilliantly and give the book a great dynamic feel.


Reviewed by Prachi S., Twin Hickory Library

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Read + Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: New School Nightmare by Carolyn Nowak


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Unbeknownst to humans, vampires lurk in the shadows, seizing the necks of innocent individuals. Their only bane is a well-placed stake by the Slayer, the vampire murderer. The sacred mantle of the Slayer belongs to the average middle school girl, Buffy Summers. After she learns the existence of vampires from her eccentric teacher Miss Sparks, she has to juggle two lives at once. Luckily, she isn’t the only student who posses magic in Ohio. As the school year progresses, Buffy and her magical friends discover the Primium Dominum, the master of all vampires, who plans to overthrow all humans at a solar eclipse. Unfortunately, he is nearly impossible to locate, let alone kill. So, Buffy has to end the vampire lord before he ends the world.

Honestly, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I would have liked. Many aspects of the tale are uncertain and the plot is uneventful. Although the author builds up much suspense towards the main conflict, the resolution feels anticlimactic and perhaps slightly disappointing. When Buffy was trying to figure out the Prmium Dominum’s identity, the culprit was quite obvious to the reader. I would have much rather liked it if the identity of the vampire lord was more difficult to find. Overall, while this book did contain numerous thrilling events, I did not find this book very entertaining.

There are many memorable and rather humorous events scattered throughout the book. For example, when Buffy first learned the existence of vampires in a parking lot of a cinema is unforgettable. Additionally, the shocking events of when Buffy discovered her friends magical abilities were emblazoned into my mind. As you can see, this graphic novel is a cornucopia of some of the purely astounding events.


Reviewed by Soumya K., Twin Hickory Library