Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Violets are Blue by Barbara Dee 

Click here to learn more about this book and to place a hold!

Twelve-year-old Wren’s life is changing by the minute. With her parents’ divorce, her dad’s remarriage, and her big move with her mom to a new town, she turns towards the only constant in her life, her new obsession with special effects makeup by her favorite artist CAT FX. She especially loves that she can create different versions of herself and escape reality. She gets so caught up in her life with her new best friend and the school play that she doesn’t realize her mom’s new and sudden behavior. Will Wren finally try to find the answers she is looking for? 

In this book, Wren seems like she’s lost and is trying to find herself which is something I can deeply relate to and I think that when you are able to connect with a character in a story it makes the reading experience and the plot a lot better. One thing that I would change about this book is the fact that some of the messages displayed in this book had good and bad meanings. For example, when Wren was having problems, she didn’t open up to anyone and although this contributes heavily to the plot, it could convey the wrong message to the people who might be dealing with these kinds of issues in real life. In the book, characters have connections with each other or share the same experiences/character traits even if they don’t know each other. 

One memorable thing that really stood out to me in this book is Wren’s friendships. In her old town, she had a friend who wasn’t really her friend whereas now in her new town she has a new best friend who actually accepts her and her interests. Although she has new friends in her new town, the characteristics of her old friend is carried out through another character who is one of Wren’s new friends. She holds some of the character traits that are resembled in her toxic ex-best friend. I find it very interesting that the author decided to this because it doesn’t happen very often in books. 

Reviewed by Samhita M., Twin Hickory Library
Books, Read + Review

Does My Body Offend You? by Mayra Cuevas and Marie Marquardt

Click here to learn more about this book and to place a hold!

“Does My Body Offend You?” is a realistic fiction novel written by Mayra Cuevas and Marie Marquardt. It tackles multiple mature topics, such as sexual trauma, racism, sexism, and homophobia/transphobia with a confident handle on how it should be represented as it is in real life. The book features two main protagonists and their friend groups; Malena Malavé Rosario, a Latina high schooler who was forced to move to Florida after Hurricane Maria hit her home of Puerto Rico, and Ruby McAlister, a passionate feminist and all-round activist who moved from Seattle to Florida to look after her recovering Nana. At the beginning of the story, Malena is sent to the nurse’s office for not wearing a bra under her shirt and is forced to tape pantyliners over her nipples. Ruby convinces her to try to fight back and helps her start a long journey down the rabbit hole of activism. Malena learns to stand up for herself and her beliefs and Ruby learns to understand that everyone’s struggles are valid, no matter how different they are from yourself and what you’ve been through.

My first impression of this novel was already quite positive. As a queer person of color myself, I heavily related to the themes expressed in this book. Even then, as I started to get much more invested in how far the protagonists had grown, the plot twists, and the overall morals that were themed in the story, I was taken on an absolute emotional rollercoaster. The story features a cast of diverse and multi-faceted characters, allowing their flaws and strengths not to overtake each other, but complement them.

As for the main idea of the book, the theme of, “standing up for your right to be comfortable and confident” was expressed very well. Typically around the age that puberty is rampant, such as middle or high school, lots of hormones as well as outside media can rain into your mind and hit you all at once. It’s not always easy to see what you truly feel like. Often, it mixes you up so much your thoughts, emotions, and actions all become affected by it. The protagonists were bystanders, confused and in turmoil amongst multitudes of other things throughout the events of the story. Once they communicated that to one another, it became much easier for them to understand what their real message was.

The writing was in an attention-grabbing style as well, a seamless format that made connecting with the characters much easier. The flow of action from one point of view or event to another like pieces of a mismatched puzzle coming together was truly stunning to me. All of the characters’ experiences came together to form a full understanding of their perspectives and how that influenced their actions. They were able to show more depth to their characters, making them infinitely more realistic and enjoyable.

The most memorable part of the book was the central theme in and of itself. It wasn’t only what drew me to the book in the first place, but also what made me stick till the end and want to keep flipping the pages whilst I was still reading it. It’s a true, well-spoken message that was handled extremely realistically, and overall is just absolutely mind-blowing.

Reviewed by Aeon V., Twin Hickory Library
Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé


Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé centers two Black students, Chiamaka Adebayo and Devon Richards, as they are the only Black students at their school, Niveus Private Academy. They both have done exceptional jobs so far in their years of high school and both are in the running for valedictorian at the end of senior year. However, as their senior year begins the whole school starts to receive messages from an anonymous texter by the pen name of Aces. Aces sends out the deep dark secrets of both Devon and Chiamaka seemingly targeting just the two of them. It starts as what seems like a joke or a prank, but turns into something very dangerous that not only threatens their academic futures but their lives, safety, and the safety of their loved ones.

Ace of Spades was a book that was so sickening to the point where I felt nauseous from what these students went through. While I understand that reading something that may make readers uncomfortable is not ideal; I believe that if Black people have to live similar experiences portrayed in this book it’s only fair we [allies] read something that makes us feel uncomfortable as well in order to try and understand the struggles they face almost every day. Regardless, this book brought me a new perspective from the eyes of those in the Black community. Ace of Spades is definitely something I think everyone should read but it does contain content that may be too much for some people; so before reading, be sure to be aware of the trigger warnings on this book. Personally I love betrayal and books where my jaw might as well be on the floor and this book provided that for me perfectly. Every so often I was met with a plot twist that I would not have seen in a million years especially in “Part Three: Ballot or Bullet.” I loved Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé’s portrayal of the lgbtqia+ community in Devon and Chiamaka. As a member myself I relate to Chiamaka when she didn’t feel like she had to make it a big deal and have a “self-hate” moment when figuring out her sexuality but just knew who she was.

This book made me emotional in so many ways. I was angry, sad and on the verge of tears, and scared all when Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé wanted me to be. The descriptions in Ace of Spades are phenomenal as I felt everything Devon and Chiamaka went through. The betrayal of their peers, the fear of being watched, and the frustration behind the question “Why?…Why us?”

Reviewed by M. at Twin Hickory Library

Read + Review

Read + Review: The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris


Alex Rufus is everything you’d expect a 16-year-old to be, he has a job at an ice cream shop, in his safe, suburban town. He has a girlfriend, and he and his brother are on good terms. However, this seemingly normal boy has a secret: after touching anything, he can see the future of that object. He knows one thing about his “power,” that it came after the car crash of his parents. When he learns that his brother, Isaiah, will die from unforeseeable reasons, and that he and his girlfriend, Talia, will break up, Alex becomes desperate to save him, as well as his relationship. Alex knows he can’t make the same mistake again. Alex knows he must save them. Along his journey, Alex learns the important of truth, identity, and what it means to be family.

I thought the book was paced slowly, and even with the amount of pages, some things weren’t explained as thoroughly as I would have liked. Despite being important people to the main character, Alex, the parents weren’t spoken of in the amount of depth I would have expected them to be. There were too many characters that were introduced, with little explanation of their significance. However, I enjoyed the development between Alex, his brother, and his girlfriend. It was realistic, the feelings, the words, and how the characters come to understand each other and their differences.

One memorable thing about the book would be Morris’s mastery of the human nature. The expression and feelings of each character were real; the interactions in the book happen incredibly often in real life. The Cost of Knowing brings true events to light, giving readers a chance to read about topics they might have not known about, or have been sheltered from.

Reviewed by Melody Y., Twin Hickory