Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: We Are the Ghosts by Vicky Skinner

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After the protagonist, Ellie, has her brother die in an accident on the road, she finds herself in a harrowing situation. Her brother, Luke, had left the family a few months ago in sheer disdain for her mother’s tendency to attempt to control things in the house. Furthermore, he especially despised the quiet suburban town of Eaton that he had lived in for all of his life. Luke wanted something different from life, an ambition that just hasn’t crossed to Ellie the same way it did to Luke. Left with no feelings and an inability to truly cope, she is left with emptiness and a feeling of unfulfillment. However, there was something left of Luke in the house other than his untouched room. Discovering an old letter left on her desk, she finds a map that was made when Luke was still with her. It was a map – not just any map, but the same map that Luke and Ellie marked their bucket list of locations to visit at least once. It was a dream road trip, planned by Ellie, Luke, and Wes, a childhood friend. However, the sender of the letter had no name, but what was there was an address in Michigan. Setting out to find whoever sent the map to her and learn what Luke did with his life after he left, she prepares for a long road trip. This does not prevent a few old friends from finding out including Cade, a former lover of hers, Wes, a childhood friend, and Gwen, the former girlfriend of Luke.

The story of Luke is sad, to say the least. Unlike the other parts of this book, Luke’s ambition is almost reminiscent of what a lot of rebellious teens have dreamed of at least once, which is something that intrigued me throughout the book. Luke wanted to live life differently, possessing an ambition that so many teens have, yet never follow through with.  However, unlike most teens, he went through with those ambitions. Leaving his home and his friends which he cherished so much, Luke left to find the life he wanted. Luke wanted to change, something that his life had never provided him throughout his childhood. The story explores this runaway style of a road trip when the main characters follow in Luke’s footsteps. That is what makes this story fun in a way beyond the words of its pages. It is a story exploring what most adults wanted to do when they were teens. Most of them never did, and in turn, abandoned their ambitions as their age placed them into the workforce. The story is about a bunch of teens being teens, and I like it that way.

The characters were not very memorable. I found myself unable to connect to them the same way many other stories manage to. However, I can’t say that it takes off from the themes. The book makes you think about the issues of life and your part of it more than any book that I have read before. It provokes a level of thought in the reader that makes them feel connected to the reader.

 

4-stars-1

 

Reviewed by Jaewon, Twin Hickory Area Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: The Pretenders by Rebecca Hanover

The Pretenders (The Similars, #2)

A girl named Emma and her friends are attending senior year at a high school called “Darkwood.” In the school, a group of kids Emma are friends with are clones. Emma’s crush, Levi, is also a clone of her best friend, Oliver. Emma suddenly reveals to have special powers just like the clones, and an anti-clone group starts in her school led by a girl named Harlowe. On top of that, the creator of the clones, named, “Gravelle” has Levi in custody on an isolated island. Emma needs to figure out why her powers came, how to deal with the anti-clone movement, and find a way to rescue her crush from the evil man, Gravelle.

I really didn’t enjoy reading the book. Most of the characters are underdeveloped such as the clones and the book mainly focuses on the relationship between Emma, Oliver, and Levi. It also introduces us to too many plot twists which the book barely explains at all. It felt like I was reading 4 different, short, barely detailed stories in one book. The ending was very bland and basic, very much like the movie “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”. The book in total was mediocre at best.

There aren’t many memorable things about this book. However, the only part barely memorable is the relationship between Emma, Oliver, and Levi. Reading about who Emma thinks is for her is sort of interesting.

Reviewed by Gabriel, Fairfield Area Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Elon Musk: A Mission to Save the World by Anna Crowley Redding

Elon Musk: A Mission to Save the World

This book is a biography of Elon Musk, how he became who he is and what he’s done. I would split this book into three big sections. (Note that this book is about 200 pages long, so you will get a good read out of it.) The first section describes Elon’s childhood in South Africa, where he was born. Elon liked to read, and he was different from other kids. The second section explains how Elon got to America and went to college. Then, it explains how Elon dove into the Internet (which was just starting out at the time) and made websites, like present-day PayPal, and one of the first online navigational systems: Zip2. The third and final section explains Elon’s journeys with SpaceX and Tesla up to the present.

This was an amazing book, and I think it explains what Elon has done, what he is doing, and what he will do. This is a book for nonfiction readers, but for a variety of people, too. The characters in this book are people in real life, so I think that helps if you want to look up more about them, or if you are interested in them. I like how this book portrays Elon as a role-model, not someone you shouldn’t be. It does a good job persuading that, also.

The memorable thing, for me, was that I got to learn about someone I had heard about, but didn’t really know. It made me satisfied that I finally knew who Elon Musk was and what he had done. I also love learning new things, and more about different people and who they are and/or were.

Reviewed by JT, Gayton Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Seeing Gender, An Illustrated Guide to Identity and Expression by Iris Gottlieb

Seeing Gender: An Illustrated Guide to Identity and Expression

This book is a detailed guide about understanding gender identity and expression, as these concepts are often looked over and forgotten about. It provides information about each of these concepts, as well as touching on other ideas like sexual orientation, race, and feminism. It also includes many drawn images that correlate with and further explain the concepts introduced in the book. The author does a good job representing everyone on the gender identity spectrum and speaks about the ideas introduced in the book very well. It is a very good way to educate yourself about these ideas and how to respect everyone who struggles with it.

In this book I really enjoyed how inclusive it was, it had representation for almost every gender identity/ sexual orientation I could think of. It taught me a lot about the world around me and showed how much I still have to learn. I also enjoyed all of the pictures included in the writing, it helped tell the story better and they were drawn very well. I liked how it also included the author’s journey and her experiences with gender and gender identity, as she shared her experiences it helped me understand how to think about gender.

The main idea I will take away from reading this book is that I still have much to learn. I went into this book thinking I knew everything, but I was surprised of how much I learned. Hopefully, I will continue to learn and grow to understand my own identity and those of others.

Reviewed by Owen, Libbie Mill Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Slay by Brittney Morris

Slay

This book revolves around the life of a girl named Kiera Johnson. At school, everyone knows Kiera as the only African-American honors student at Jefferson Academy. When she gets home, Kiera gets to be a part of a whole new gaming world, that she and her friend Cicada created. As Kieras’ life moves on, as usual, she finds out that a regular student was murdered. Kiera soon found out that Jamal Rice’s death was because of the game that she had created. This event creates a rift in the two worlds that Kiera lives in. She faces many challenges, difficult situations, and times when she needs to be strong to escape the legal and personal mess that she is in. However, Kiera is able to face everything along with her sister, Steph.

This book helped me see from a different view. Normally, I only see the public view of things, because I am a part of the public. However, this book showed me what it was like to feel under pressure, with everyone questioning who you are. Also, in her writing, the author truly emphasized on Kiera’s feelings by showing her thought process as well. As the book progressed, the author hid more and more twists and turns, to enhance the story. The deep emotions in this novel helped me truly connect to the story, along with understanding it in a better way.

One thing that I found memorable about this book is how much Kiera kept her emotions bottled up inside of her. She felt that she had nobody else to talk to. This feeling really connected me to the story and I felt that she shouldn’t have felt like that. This part of the novel taught me that there is almost always gonna be someone looking out for you, even if you don’t know it.

Reviewed by Shraddha, Twin Hickory Library