Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan

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Princess Kateri longs for possession of the throne, to preserve a promise to her late mother. Although, to achieve her dream, she must battle endlessly against rival princes within the arena to prove her worth as a queen. The elements of the relentless desert pelt her every moment as she strives to claim their spirits, which paves her ascendance to the throne. Unfortunately, Kateri’s father grapples with a drought encouraged by a renegade gang, dubbed “The Desert Boys,” who rob the nation of what little water remains. Soon, Kateri discovers an opponent who she cannot defeat and prepares to flee. Stranded within the coiling tendrils of sand, Kateri faces the desert spirits, unearthing a devastating truth about her father.

Within this sand-encrusted novel, I found the wordplay rather compelling. It certainly described the scenes rather accurately and painted a realistic picture within my mind. Furthermore, I relished the suspense, action, and intricately described battle scenes, for all formed the highlights of the novel. Additionally, I enjoyed the creativity of the plot the author created, although the initial sequence clouds the reader’s knowledge. Despite the slight issue, the novel proved an overall captivating read.

A memorable event lies in the beginning of the novel, as Kateri prepares for yet another match. She casually dons her battle armor, admiring the metal sheen. Kateri carefully slips her weapons within their hidden sheathes as her servant attaches the breastplate. Tracing the ornately carved tiger’s head upon her armor, topped with scorpions, Kateri inhales deeply. Reassuring herself, she exits the room and heads towards the arena, the determination alight upon her face.

 

3-stars

 

Reviewed by Soumya, Twin Hickory Area Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Dragon Curse by Lisa McMann

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As Artimé begins to flourish after the multitude of catastrophes, a mutiny stirs among the reformed Necessaries, threatening the fragile peace. Fifer becomes confronted with the hardships of being a leader. Additionally, Fifer attempts to adapt to her sister’s newfound abilities, which include dragon-like qualities. Thisbe finally returns to her haven in Artimé, although the Revinir’s roars thrum against her ears. She grapples with the conflict of the black-eyed slaves, who fell prey to the Revinir’s call, and struggles to discover a solution. At word of the Revinir’s pursuit for Thisbe, the twins must set aside their mental struggles and rescue the slaves before the Revinir claims the seven islands. Unfortunately, the only solution requires either countless deaths or a harrowing risk from Thisbe, which may rob her life. The seven islands teeter at the edge of a world war as mysteries unravel and the peace begins to shatter.

This novel contained a multitude of suspense, never ceasing to astound the reader. Once again, the tales of the Stowe twins escorted the reader on a series of twists and turns with new mysteries forming as clues piece together. Additionally, the writing style of the piece of literature was quite simplistic and rather enthralling. Although I didn’t quite enjoy the resolutions, the story remained quite eventful. Overall, this novel is quite dystopian and dark, which are genres I prefer.

One memorable event lies at the beginning of the novel, upon the tumultuous sea. Drock emerges through the waves, panting furiously, and revealing the dreadful news that the Revinir arrived. As Thisbe and her friends reel in shock, Drock continues to inform the group that the army traverses the sea accompanied by a fleet of dragons heading for Thisbe. Screams erupt as Thisbe frantically searches for Simber and Florence.

 

4-stars-1

 

Reviewed by Soumya, Twin Hickory Area Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined by Stephanie Hemphill

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This story is about a teenage girl named Jehanne (better known in history books as Joan of Arc), an illiterate peasant who lives in Donrémy, a small town in the French countryside. During this time, the country is under attack by the English army, as they believe they have a rightful claim to rule over the country. This is a time of great suffering and despair for the French people, as their towns are being taken over one by one by England’s superior military. However, one day, Jehanne gets a message from God that she is destined to save France. Understanding that this is her calling, she embarks on a journey to accomplish this divine task.

I greatly enjoyed the artistic element in the language of the novel. Rather than filling the page with large chunks of text, the dialogue and actions were very poetic and written very well. Each word was used wisely and had a very important purpose. I also liked how historically accurate the novel was. I thought the way that the author was able to tie in many historical events and react to them from a first-person perspective in the protagonist’s eyes was exemplary.

This book taught me a lot about how strong women can truly be. Joan of Arc was a very progressive historical figure, as she was one of the most iconic warriors in history as a teenager and has since been canonized as a saint for her actions. Throughout the novel, she faced a lot of adversity and experienced immense pain but always finds a way to persevere. I believe that this is very applicable in our world today and believe that everyone should understand this message as well.

5-stars-3

Reviewed by Griffin, Gayton Branch Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

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This book is about a girl named Aven. Aven was born without arms, and Aven’s biological mother died when Aven was born. She lives with her adopted parents, with her grandmother nearby. Aven and her best friend Zion start high school together, with neither of them ready for what might hit them. However, Aven and Zion experience support and love in ways that they wouldn’t expect. As they both gradually get more into high school, they find that not everyone only sees what you look like on the outside. Although some people are bullies, Aven and Zion meet special people who will change their lives for the better.

I found this book very fascinating because of how the author gave so many real-world instances. These moments really connected to me and kept me captivated in the story. Also, I like how the author made Aven show forms of happiness, even when it seemed depressing. In my opinion, that sends an important message to readers. However, I do wish the author had given details about how Aven had found her biological grandmother, Josephine. I also wish that the author included more about Aven’s biological father.

One memorable thing about this book is how horrible some people treated Aven. This book helped open my eyes to how mean some people can be. Also, this happened more than once, so it’s very memorable how bad it made Aven feel and how realistic those instances were.

5-stars-3

Reviewed by Shraddha, Twin Hickory Area Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

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Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus is the sequel to Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus. In this novel, Aven Green is still adjusting to life in Arizona. Although she has two great friends Zion and Connor, she has started high school, and everything is much harder than she anticipated. Aven is used to being stared at, after all she was born without arms. However, there are more kids in high school to stare at her, the sinks are too high to sit on, and Aven thinks her best friend Connor has replaced her with a new best friend.  Then worst of all, there is the ‘big humiliation’ that happens at the mall. Aven’s emotional struggles lead her to lose interest in things she enjoys, question her confidence, and shut her friends out. Can she survive high school without losing herself?

This book picks up right where Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus left off, which I liked. However, what I didn’t like is that Aven is upset a lot in this book. Of course, she has a lot of reasons to be upset. For starters, not having arms makes everything a challenge. Then her best friend Connor moved away, her llama is sick, and Henry, one of the employees at Stagecoach Pass, is showing signs of dementia. Finally, there are the crushes and just being a teenager in high school. Aven is not quite sure how to deal with boys because she thinks no one could ever like her in that way. I didn’t like that Aven seemed to have lost her confidence in this book. I know she is in high school now, but she complained a lot and took her family and friends for granted.

The most memorable part of this book was when Aven and her friends went to Comic-Con. Not only was it interesting to hear about the different characters at Comic-Con, but this is where Aven really found her “voice.” Aven usually tries to blend in, but at Comic-Con, she found her confidence and wanted to be seen and heard.

 

3-stars

 

Reviewed by James, Twin Hickory Area Library