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Read + Review: Eyes of the Forest by April Henry

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

The Eyes of the Forest is about a normal high school student, Bridget Shepherd, who loves reading and listening to the Swords and Shadows series by author R.M Haldon. After continuing to postpone the release of the last book of his series, R.M Haldon, also known as Bob, is threatened by a high school boy and brought to a cabin in the woods where he is trapped with only food, water, a treadmill, a typewriter, and a note threatening him to write the “Eyes of the Forest.” Noticing the disappearance of the author, Bridget believes that he has been kidnapped. She reports the case to the police, but they choose to not believe her, including her best friend, Ajay, who she had opened up to about the world of Swords and Shadows. Without any help, Bridget acts alone to solve the kidnapping of R.M Haldon.

I thought the book was very unique. It alternates the perspectives between each character, which really gives the reader an understanding as to what each character’s thoughts and motivations are. I also loved how the book introduced itself. The first chapter was like a bomb ticking, setting up the suspense that ultimately led to the major conflicts in the plot. I also really loved the evolution of Bridget and how she was able to take on such a responsibility despite being the outcast in school.

One memorable thing about this book is that it is very relatable. Many of the characters made decisions that most people would have made in real life, and the plot unwinds itself like it’s attached to real time. Also, a lot of the products and places used in this book exist in real life.

Reviewed by Jasmine, Libbie Mill Library

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Read + Review: It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

Amazon.com: It Only Happens in the Movies (9780358172062): Bourne, Holly:  Books
Want to read this book? Click here to place on hold on the book. Ebook available here.

It Only Happens in the Movies is a story that surrounds a 17-year-old British girl, Audrey. While coping with her parent’s divorce and a breakup with Milo, she’s been abstaining from her friends, love & romance. But everything changes after she meets her coworker, Harry, at her new job at Flicker. With her media studies project for school, she dissects the stereotypes in typical romance movies and wonders why love is never like that in real life. But despite her beliefs, she inevitably falls for Harry and becomes part of his feminist zombie flick, where she finds herself again. Unlike the usual “happily ever after endings,” the finish gives an unexpected twist as Audrey finds what’s best for her.

I liked the overall message of the book but not the way it was delivered. At the beginning of each chapter, the author includes bits and pieces of Audrey’s media studies project, which intrudes the flow of the book. I wish she added it elsewhere where it wouldn’t stagnate the flow. Additionally, the story goes a lot in depth about relationships and being true to oneself. The book hooks you from the beginning to the end due to its colloquial language and tone, making it a quick and easy read. I also loved the author’s word choice for Audrey’s character development, which helps readers understand her feelings throughout the book. There is also a balance of emotions since the book is not sad-themed or happy either. I also like the cover and its popcorn theme!

One memorable thing about the book is how it stood apart from traditional romcoms. I loved how Audrey was so relatable, and that ending was king! It is the reason I am rating 4 stars for this book.

Review by Sruthi, Twin Hickory Area Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden

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The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden is the story of a seventh grade girl named Zoey. Zoey’s life is not easy; she has a lot on her plate. Not only is she trying to survive middle school, but she also must take care of her three siblings. Zoey’s family doesn’t have a lot of money and they are living in a trailer with her mom’s current boyfriend. One of Zoey’s jobs is to keep her siblings quiet and keep everything neat, so her mom’s boyfriend doesn’t get upset. Zoey thinks her life would be so much easier if she was an octopus. Not only would she have eight arms, but she could camouflage herself and blend into the background. Zoey can’t always get her homework done because she is busy taking care of her brothers and sister. She never has the right clothes because her mother buys everything too big, so she can grow into them. The washing machine is broken, so sometimes Zoey’s clothes are dirty, and kids refer to her as grimy. Zoey’s life is hard, but her debate teacher takes a special interest in Zoey. She thinks that Zoey’s voice is valuable. This gives Zoey the confidence she needs to stand up for herself and others.

I think this book has an important message and is a must read for all middle school students. It addresses current issues such as abuse, bullying, poverty and gun control. I believe the author does a great job of breaking down stereotypes and gives the audience a look into the window of poverty. I think that this book inspires people to speak up for what’s right, even when it’s hard to do. I liked the author’s writing style because the dialogue really made it seem like middle school students were talking. I thought Zoey was a very relatable character and it was easy to root for her. Although Zoey made some questionable choices; she was never doing anything for selfish reasons. All of Zoey’s actions were driven by her desire to help and take care of the people in her life.

The most memorable part of the book was when Zoey showed up for the debate about gun control. She has strong opinions but has been holding her thoughts and feelings in for so long. Will she finally speak up? You find yourself holding your breath to see what she will do.

4-stars-1

Submitted by James, Twin Hickory Area Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee

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Click here to place a hold on the book. An eaudiobook is also available.

Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee is about a seventh grade girl named Mila. In addition to financial issues at home and altercations with her friends, she struggles with boys continuously wanting to hug her, sit close to her, and touch her. This made her feel insecure about her body. She was too scared to stand up to the boys until she could not hold it in any longer. Through ups and downs, Mila perseveres through hard times.

I loved the book because the author kept me interested. The details the author gave about the boys, friends, and struggles at home made me want to keep reading. Even though there was a big idea, the author added interesting side details, about different stuff going on in her life. It was fun to read about the school and home aspect of her life. From the introduction to the conclusion I really felt like I was Mila going through all the ups and downs, feeling sad with her, happy with her, and mad with her.

One memorable thing from the book was when Mila tried to keep her mom happy. Mila’s mom was going through many issues such as dealing with  a mean boss, living on a tight budget, and arguing with her ex-husband.  Mila didn’t want her mom to worry, so she kept her problems to herself. Although Mila wanted to keep her mom happy, she didn’t realize that keeping secrets hurt their relationship. I learned that it is important to tell your mom what is going on because keeping secrets can hurt a relationship.

5-stars-1

Review by Elise, Libbie Mill Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Somewhere We Only Know by Maurene Goo

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Who knew that the world’s famous K-pop star would fall in love with a normal teenage boy? It all begins with the desire to devour a hamburger. Lucky, known for her perfectionism on stage and for her luscious voice, decides one night to wander across the streets in Hong Kong for some delicious food (in her case, a hamburger). Meanwhile, Jack, a teenage boy, is on a secret “mission” for his so-called job, snapping never-seen-before pictures. When the two characters cross paths, love sparks in the air as they venture in the city. Around town, both Lucky and Jack experience the tasty food, wonderful showings, and freedom. However, there is a twist: Lucky puts on a fake identity known as “Fern” so she can live her life with Jack, but she doesn’t realize that Jack has already discovered the true her. How will this night end as secrets hang in the air?

Goo organizes the story in a fashion where the readers can peer into the thoughts of both characters, Jack and Lucky. I like how she describes each scene with detailed and vivid imagery, such as the landscape of Hong Kong and the hubbub in the streets. This story was on the cheesy side as I anticipated most situations. However, overall, Goo does an amazing job writing the story with a few interesting plot twists. If you are up for a cheesy, romantic novel, I would totally recommend reading this book!

The opening chapter was the most memorable scene of the book because I felt exactly like Lucky, running around the hotel frantically. The author opens the book by describing the hotel, Lucky’s emotions, and her role as a famous K-pop star in a way where the reader is sucked into the same world.

4-stars-1

Reviewed by Allyson, Twin Hickory Library