Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: The Rumor Game by Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra

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Fresh from weight loss camp, Georgie finally feels seen. Where she used to be invisible at school, she’s now followed by stares wherever she goes. With her neighbor and newfound friend Bryn by her side, Georgie is ready for a fresh start. But not everyone is fond of the new Georgie. Cheer captain Cora has a distaste for Georgie’s sudden popularity and a sizzling hatred for her former friend Bryn. As unresolved issues from the previous year unfold, it’s clear that manipulation is in the cards. When rumors concerning the three of them sweep the school, the girls must put aside their differences to make things right, and not get sucked into a tornado of lies in the process.

I really enjoyed the formatting of this book. Instead of just being written in traditional narrative style, the story is told from alternating perspectives of the three girls, and also includes social media posts and texts. I liked that the authors mixed it up a little because the story has a lot to do with social media and these posts gave insight into the rumors around the girls. I think telling the story in alternating perspectives was also beneficial to the plot because each girl has a very unique personality and it allows the reader to see events through different eyes. I also liked how readers are given glimpses into past events and how they shape the perception of each girl today because it allows for a lot of speculation from the reader. I think that parts of the book were a bit predictable, but other than that it kept me engaged.

Something memorable about The Rumor Game is the change in writing style from chapter to chapter. Each girl has a different personality, and the different writing styles for each chapter reflects that. It also made it easier for me to notice character development, because the way the chapter was written would change either in tone or description.

Reviewed by Nainika, Twin Hickory Library
Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Bluebird by Sharon Cameron

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After the brutality of World War II, Eva, a German girl, and her friend Brigit have a dangerous mission they need to accomplish. When Germany was defeated in the war, Eva realized the cruelty of her own country and found herself talking with the US government about a deal. It was a dangerous deal because the government wanted her to find her father and bring him to the US government so they could make use his dangerous knowledge. However, Eva has a different plan and she will do whatever it takes to break her deal with the US government to stop her father from escaping justice, even if it means killing him. With gentle romance and breathtaking thrills, this historical fiction book is one-of-a-kind that makes you keep reading!

I thought this book was one of the best historical fiction books I have ever read. The author did an excellent job of describing the characters in the book. She made me feel like the characters were right beside me! The book also went from the present to the past and repeated this format throughout. I would ask myself, “What do these clues mean?” and try to solve the mystery and figure things out. There were also so many plot twists in this book that made my jaw drop and scream into my pillow because it was so unexpected!

I think the whole structure of this book was very memorable. It has been a long time since I have ever read a book that went back and forth between the past and the present and making the book seem like a whole box of puzzles that were waiting to be solved. I really enjoyed reading about the characters and the plot itself was so attractive and interesting that you never got bored! I would definitely recommend this to those who enjoy historical fiction, thrillers, HUGE plot twists, and romance.

Reviewed by GC, Twin Hickory Library
Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Everything Within and In Between by Nikki Barthelmess

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Maria Fernandez, who goes by Ri, is a seventeen-year-old Mexican American travelling a journey of self-discovery and cultural truth. One day, Ri uncovers a long-missing letter written by her mother, which declares her sought-after location and strong will to reconnect with her daughter. Due to her inability to read the letter written in Spanish without Google Translate, she decides to abandon the strict rules her grandmother has set (which bar her from learning about her culture and heritage) and transfers language classes at school from French to Spanish. This choice pushes her towards a path of recalcitrance and contemplation. These virtues, along with her consistent determination, lead up to Ri meeting with her mother in secret, dismissing her grandmother’s pushes to absorb the ways and culture of the “American Dream”, and leave her reassessing her dearest relationships. Along the way, Ri learns that some things are not as they seem. This suspenseful novel discusses self-identity, ethical actions and connections, and cultural importance through the eyes of Ri. Will she succeed in her desire to reunite with her mother and will her grandmother find out?

Nikki Barthelmess has created a strong character that taught me the importance of being myself and embracing my own culture. Ri kept me turning the pages till the very end of this book, and her journey also had a lot that enlightened me! I admire the powerful message behind the book and the meaningful theme led me to connect with this story in a deeper way, so that I could understand Ri better. Overall, I would say that this novel is fantastic and communicates many important morals. I highly suggest it to you due to its meaningful messages and quality writing style!

One memorable aspect of this book is how the author incorporates Latinx culture throughout the chapters. The genuine depiction of culture in this story enabled me to understand more of the story and connect with all of the events in this book easily. These references are sprinkled throughout the novel and definitely assist in understanding many of the characters’ motives, especially Nina’s and Grandma’s.

Reviewed by Shreya, Twin Hickory Library
Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: These Deadly Games by Diana Urban

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Crystal and her eSports team are getting ready to play a massive MortalDusk tournament, and the stakes are high. Without the prize money, Crystal’s family will be forced to move in with her Grandmother in Maine. Her team is competing to decide which five of them will be able to play, and Crystal’s suspicions about her friend Zoey cheating are clouding the team dynamic. But all her issues soon seem insignificant when she receives a message from a strange app showing her sister, Caelyn, bound to a chair and kidnapped. She’s forced to play this captor’s deadly games, picking off her friends one by one in order to keep her sister from harm. She’s brimming with suspicion, as this could be someone trying to take her team out of the tournament or it could be about something more sinister; a deadly secret that her friends have kept for years. She’s determined to discover this person’s identity and save her sister before everything goes down in flames.

The main character Zoey was well written and wasn’t shown as a perfect person. She had flaws which made her more relatable and developed her relationships with other characters. The plot was engaging and there were quite a few twists that really tied the story together. It’s woven together in a way that the clues are subtly there, but when the mystery is revealed it’s astonishing to see how much you may not have picked up on. There are multiple storylines occurring simultaneously: the game Crystal is forced to play, the tournament, and her past, which means that something is always going on. Overall, this book was thrilling and kept me on my toes trying to put the puzzle together.

These Deadly Games is written in an alternating timeline with the present and five years prior. It’s describing the incident that all her friends have been keeping in wraps for years. It was memorable because it showed how the characters changed over time and the secret’s significance came into play later on.

Reviewed by Nainika, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Recommended by You by Laura Silverman

Recommended For You is about Shoshanna Greenberg, a young girl who has two moms. However, there is trouble in her mom’s relationship. To escape from all the fighting at home, Shoshanna works at Once Upon, a local bookshop. One day her boss sets forth a challenge for all the employees at Once Upon. The challenge is which employee can sell the most books for a holiday bonus. When Jake Kaplan, a new employee, starts working at Once Upon, Shoshanna starts to worry about the competition growing. As Shoshanna works hard to win the challenge, she grows closer with Jake Kaplan. Their friendship grows every day and they slowly start realizing that they might be more than friends.

I think that Recommended For You was overall a fantastic book. My favorite character was Shoshanna Greenberg because she is a total bookworm and has a strong personality. I liked the writing style of this book because each paragraph was easy to follow and it didn’t feel disconnected. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a realistic fiction book filled with a little bit of romance. 

A memorable thing about Recommended For You is when Jake Kaplan starts working at Once Upon. I feel that this is memorable because Jake’s arrival was the start of a lot of important events that take place in this book. After Jake starts working at Once Upon, it is easier to know how you, as a reader, would think about Shoshanna. Shoshanna worries about the competition growing after Jake starts working at the bookshop, which I think brings out her “true” self. Overall, I love how Laura Silverman, the author, was able to create such a character that can change the plot of the story. 

Reviewed by Radhika, Twin Hickory Library