Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn

Cassandra Cain is not your average teenager. Raised as a perfect and mute assassin by her father, she runs away from home when she realizes that being an assassin isn’t what she’s meant to be. After finding herself in the comforting noodle shop of Jackie, the kind owner, she discovers the legacy of Batgirl, a prominent vigilante of Gotham City who disappeared years ago. While trying to seek out Batgirl for advice, Cassandra finds herself working with a certain wheelchair-bound librarian named Barbara Gordon, who asks questions that Cassandra can’t answer. Between finding Batgirl and trying to start anew, Cassandra must also deal with the ever-present threat of her father and her old life coming back to claim her.

As one of DC Comics’ lesser-known Batman-related characters, Cassandra Cain rarely gets the spotlight, and I truly appreciate Kuhn trying to give Cassandra the attention she deserves. I will say that the book does stray from the comics canon with elements I can’t spoil, but overall, the book really tries to live up to the comics by forging its own path while still hitting the right notes. In the comics, Cassandra Cain has always been in her own internal struggle between what’s right or wrong due to her upbringing, and Kuhn translated this aspect fantastically well in this book. One of the strongest moments of this book is also the addition of Barbara Gordon, the first Batgirl. This may seem like a spoiler, but truthfully it is just background knowledge that is optional to read before this story. I believe that having Barbara in the story as one of Cassandra’s mentors truly helped Cassandra’s characterization, as that incarnation of Barbara had retired the mantle of Batgirl and had a very similar experience to help Cassandra. The only part of this book that could have been better was developing the personalities of the original characters created for this story, especially Jackie. Although I understand the focus on Cassandra and Barbara’s relationship (due to their similar backgrounds and motives), Jackie could have been more of moral support besides having a safe place for Cassandra to run to. Personally, I believe that Kuhn just didn’t explore Jackie’s character a lot, and that could have definitely made the story better. Other than that, this story was a fantastic read and I can’t wait for more YA books like this from DC Comics.

The most memorable part of this book was when Cassandra mistakenly knocked over the stacks of books that Erik, another character in the book, had set up for his book club meeting. The uniqueness of this moment was that Cassandra had thought the stacks of books were for training, while Erik had simply put them in that way for holding a discussion. The moment also started Cassandra and Erik’s relationship through Erik’s sympathy for Cassandra’s situation. The chemistry between the two made a breakthrough in this moment.

Review by Allyson, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews, Uncategorized

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

The book was about a girl in seventh grade named Mila. She lives with her single mom who is struggling to financially support her family. At school, things are tough for Mila because she was getting sexually harassed. Her friends don’t really think much of it and think the boys are just flirting but Mila knows that’s not what’s happening. She didn’t tell her mom about this because her mom was already stressed enough. Mila’s mom went to exercising class and they also had karate. So Mila joined a karate class and it taught her ways to overcome her situation.

I thought the book was interesting. All the things that happened made the book whole. I liked how everything fit together in the end. It seemed like everything was just the way it should be at the end.

The most memorable thing in the book was when Liana told her story. It made it seem like Mila wasn’t the only one in that situation.

Review by Monica, Twin Hickory Library

Read + Review, Teen Reviews, Uncategorized

The Last Olympian: the graphic novel by Robert Venditti

[Cover]

As Kronos stirs within his realm, Percy Jackson receives a cryptic notice that the final battle of the Titans may transpire. Attaining the knowledge of a battle, the half-bloods residing at Long Island frantically attempt to prepare for the concluding war. Percy seeks the anguished tale of Luke Castellan, a former half-blood whose mind teeters at the mercy of the Titans.  The quaint army unearths discreet indications regarding the bloodstained legend of the Titans, including Kronos. Prophecies become reality during the final establishment of Percy Jackson’s war with the formidable Titans.

Unfortunately, the graphic novel of “The Last Olympian” proved as a rather baffling tale. I believe the plot was not correctly portrayed within the graphics, which did not aid in informing the reader. Furthermore, I became unable to the grasp the progression of events, and therefore failed to comprehend the story. Characters within the graphic novel arrived unannounced, and failed to provide names or purpose of presence. In brief, I became rather dissatisfied with the narration and description of the climax, plot, and characters.

A memorable event resides near the beginning of the novel, as Percy deftly battles Luke’s demon battalion. Countless weapons, including the vast array of swords, daggers, and crossbows, remain focused upon Percy. Entrapped within the cruel clutches of a departed ship, upon the tumultuous sea, Percy hastily attempts to form a means of egress. However, Luke arrives upon the deck, casts a wry insult, and raises his sword aloft.

0-two-stars

Reviewed by Soumya, Twin Hickory Library

 

Read + Review, Teen Reviews, Uncategorized

Read + Review: Stonebreaker by Peter Wartman

[Cover]

Within the ancient ruins of Noridun, the nefarious demons roam the razed earth. Anya continues to struggle as she pursues the focus stones to cure her amnesiac brother. Robbed of his memory during an encounter with a demon, Anya’s nameless brother fades as the days progress. Fortunately, Toris, a traitor to demons, aids Anya upon her daunting quarry. However, the human village despises her imprudent excursions and advises her to cease the futile effort to save her brother. Toris gradually unearths his past as a demon, revealing a purged secret that may transform the fates of Anya and her brother. Mysteries unravel, and the foul legends become reality as danger grips Toris and Anya.

“Stonebreaker” swarmed with action, and feats of valor. The reader may certainly become immediately riveted by the captivating climax and prologue. The novel’s plot somewhat resembled a tumultuous current, as the tale rapidly revealed numerous twists and clues. A stunning sequel to “Over the Wall”, this novel roused a sense of thrill and suspense. Lastly, I became astounded at the author’s ability to illustrate the entire graphic novel in a monochromatic scale.

A memorable moment lies within the opening scene, as Anya discovers a scroll with a daunting legend. As she carefully navigates her favored childhood tale, Anya deftly escapes a harrowed dungeon. Rain patters the razed cobblestone path, as Anya flees the realm of demons. Sprinting to her haven with Toris, Anya confronts a builder demon, who immediately attempts to slaughter the girl.

4-stars

Reviewed by Soumya, Twin Hickory Library

Read + Review, Teen Reviews, Uncategorized

Read + Review: Through the water curtain: and other tales from around the world

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Within Cornelia Funke’s tantalizing novel resides a cornucopia of mythical tales. Deriving from the farthest reaches of the world, the foreign realm of gods and demons emerging from the pages of Funke’s collection. Artfully selected, the myths presented become displayed within a captivating environment. The myths teem with suspense, and the brief sense of rousing dread as the protagonist plummets into dire circumstances. For example, the tale of the Kotura shrouds a quaint village with a the turmoil of a blizzard. Unfortunately, the method to cease the villagers’ cruel fates demands that three daughters must embark upon a voyage fraught with doom.

In the novel, “Through the Water Curtain : And Other Tales From Around the World”, the author replenished the allure of the ancient journey of numerous influential figures. Furthermore, I enjoyed the morals she displayed at the conclusion of the story. The stories selected possessed an aspect of comedy and tragedy, a quality quite diverse. Additionally, I discovered that the author initially despised folklore, so the irony of her past remains quite amusing. Overall, however, I believe this book was a fascinating read.

A memorable moment lies within the tale of Kotura, Lord of the Winds. As the blizzard reigns terror upon the village, a minuscule cottage lies amidst the chaos, its inhabitants huddled desperately about the waning glow of a candle. A father and three daughters struggle to contemplate a means of halting Kotura’s rage. An idea sparking, the father motions his children close, and divulges a stratagem that may result in death.

4-stars

Reviewed by Soumya, Twin Hickory Library