Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen

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Scottie Zajac’s life has become a lot more complicated. While driving out of the school parking lot, her car suddenly crashes into the car of Irene Abraham, one of the most popular girls at school and her nemesis. Scottie’s car is still driveable, but Irene’s most certainly isn’t, and thanks to her mother, Scottie has been volunteered to carpool with Irene until Irene’s car is fixed. At the same time, Scottie is still dealing with heartache and anger after breaking up with her girlfriend Tally. An idea to get revenge on her is raised, and Scottie is willing to execute it. With her amazing persuasion skills (and a bribe) Scottie convinces Irene to start a fake relationship with her. Everything is perfect, from her heightened popularity to Tally’s jealousy, until real feelings between the girls threaten to come to the surface.

The characters left me feeling nostalgic when I finished the book. They were charming, unique, and the relationships between all of them felt like a real school environment. It is quickly pointed out that the main characters have flaws, which is more than needed in any story. Plus, the book then proceeded to allow Irene and Scottie to grow, which was refreshing to see. Every single romantic scene was adorable and felt authentic. My favorite character was Irene, which is a popular opinion, but it’s obvious why. Irene spoke her mind, went after what she wanted, was funny, caring, and shut down any patronizing thing that someone had to say about her. She had her values and morals that she stuck to. And yet she still let her guard down, because it’s okay to be weak sometimes. She as a person made me admire cheerleaders more than I already did.
This book included how Scottie had to heal from her past relationship before going to a new one, and that must have meant so much for anyone that has been through a breakup. It was specifically stated that healing and moving on was important. I’ve never read a romance that said anything like that. That process is always glossed over. I’m grateful for this story, because of how real it felt. I’m definitely reading all of Kelly’s other books.

One memorable part of the book that I’ve already noticed playing into my behavior is Irene’s confidence. I know I already ranted about her, but the way she stood up tall and didn’t back down showed me a trait that I want to have. I’m a quiet person. I’ve begun speaking louder, and more people are listening. And this specific quote from a character named Honey-Belle: “I always say when I like things so the universe will hear me clearly.” Everyone takes things for granted or forgets to tell others that they make them happy. When I read that for the first time, I immediately told my best friends how much I loved them.

Reviewed by Annabel, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman

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The Ivory Key is about Vira, a young girl who wants to become the queen of Ashoka. However, the only magic that is protecting Ashoka is running out and that can affect Vira’s chance of becoming queen. Even if she does become queen, Ashoka’s opponents will take the chance of stealing the last of the magic. Though, one thing that can help Vira have victory, the Ivory Key. The Ivory Key can bring new magic into set. In order for her to do that Vira needs to reunite with her siblings, Riya, Ronak, and Kaleb. Each one of them are determined to find the Ivory Key and use it to fix up their past mistakes. Altogether with different plans, will they be able to successfully find the Ivory Key?

I think that The Ivory Key was an amazing book. I liked how all of the characters had unique personalities which in the end led them to success. However, I feel that the Ivory Key has too many extra details in it which makes the story confusing, but important details were missing. My favorite character was Ronak because he didn’t let anything hold him back from doing what he wanted to and his reason for wanting to find the Ivory Key wasn’t as cruel as his other siblings. Overall, I would recommend this book anyone who likes a good fantasy book with a magical twist in it.

One memorable thing about The Ivory Key was the writing style. I think this was memorable because the writing style helped me as a reader, understand all four of the siblings feelings and thoughts. Every chapter when the character changed, it felt I was going into a whole new persons life because every chapter alternated between the characters point of views.

Reviewed by Radhika, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: The Splendor by Breeana Shields

In Bella Fontaine, there are rumors of a mystical hotel, the Splendor, possessing unfathomable wonders and capable of fulfilling anyone’s hearts desire. Stubborn and headstrong Juliette desperately longs to go, but her sister Clare embarks on the journey without her. Once she returns, her previously warm and forgiving nature vanishes, leaving nothing but a cold, apathetic exterior. Bewildered by her sister’s abrupt withdrawal from her, Juliette travels to the Splendor herself, convinced that something in the mysterious hotel changed Clare. There she meets Henri, a talented illusionist who might be the solution she has so heavily sought after. Juliette and Henri search for the cause of Clare’s indifference, but instead find something much darker. Magic and mystery weave a emotional tale in Breanna Shields’ “The Splendor”.

Plot, characters, and worldbuilding were all masterfully intertwined in Shields’ novel, particularly with the idea of the Splendor. I thoroughly enjoyed every page of the story and was delighted to find many twists and turns along the way. The characters Juliette and Henri cleverly complemented each other’s personalities, which helped them uncover the true secret of the Splendor. The line between magic and reality in the hotel kept me engaged in the book and wanting to know more. Overall, I believe the book was brilliantly written and had a unique concept.

One memorable thing about the book was the use of illusions. It was described in a manner that made it both appealing as well as frightening. Magic accompanied the plot of the story well and did not feel forced. I enjoyed how it added a supernatural twist to an otherwise realistic conflict.

Reviewed by Soumya, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl

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Rory, Yuki, Ella, and Ariane were the best of friends at the Grimrose Académie. Now, Ariane is dead. Yuki, Ella, and Rory are all convinced that she didn’t commit suicide and that there’s more behind her death. When their new roommate, Nani, moves in, they decide to work together to find out what truly happened. After researching and finding clues, they uncover that Grimrose is under a fairy tale curse. Each girl’s fate is in the hands of the Académie. The 4 friends decide to try to break the curse before they -and many others- do, too.

I couldn’t put this book down. The side characters, settings, and side plots were amazing. I particularly enjoyed how each friend had someone that they trusted and could talk to. The character’s relationships within themselves and other side characters had me latched onto this story. They are all quite diverse and have many different backgrounds. This book is suitable for anyone, no matter who you are. Another reason why I found this book to be such a page-turner is that Laura Pohl’s writing style is neat, tidy, and beautiful. Pohl describes everything perfectly, whether it be the characters or the small details in parts of the story. The magical wrench in this tale and the mysterious setting were unlike any other book I’ve read. The twists and plot holes are sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. This book was suspenseful, compelling, magical, and delightful.

My favorite part about this book is when they introduce the main characters. They all have distinct personalities and they all seem to work great together. Everyone is one of a kind, and they all make the story complete. I could not put this book down once I picked it up. It is one of my favorite books and everyone deserves to read it!

Reviewed by Lily, Libbie Mill Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Being Mary Bennet by JC Peterson

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After a disastrous birthday, Marnie Barnes comes to a striking realization: she isn’t the protagonist of her life. She isn’t Pride and Prejudice’s beloved Lizzie Bennett, she’s Mary, the boring and, at times, downright unlikable middle sister. Thus, she makes the transformative decision to shove down the Mary Bennett within her, no matter what it takes. With the help of her roommate Adhira and a brand new community project, Marnie is ready to turn herself into a brand new person. However, it doesn’t take long for her to realize that becoming someone else is a lot hard than it seems. How will Marnie find the balance between staying true to herself and becoming the person she wants to be?

I thought that this book was a very fun and lighthearted read. I liked how it was a take on Pride and Prejudice, but set in modern times. I think that the internal battle of trying to figure out who you are is one that many face, and this book tackled it well. Marnie had a good character arc and really changed as a person from the beginning to the end of the book. She became much more confident in herself and realized that her worth isn’t simply based off her accomplishments. The only thing that I felt could have been better was the ending of the book. It felt a bit rushed and having more time for the resolution would have wrapped up the book nicely.

Something memorable about this book was how all the characters were described in depth. Even minor and supporting characters were described in detail with stories from their past that explained things about their personality. It allowed me to really understand each character and brought them to life.

Reviewed by Nainika, Twin Hickory Library