Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman



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Girls with no names and no homes usually aren’t expected to amount to much, but this one defies all expectations of who she is meant to be. No one knows her name, her parents, or how old she is. Even herself. This girl eventually named herself Beetle. She struggles to find food daily and is constantly bullied by the boys in the village. One day a woman awakes her, and suddenly Beetle was working for the woman named Jane, whom she learns is a midwife. In this engaging story, Beetle eventually gains confidence, a cat, a purpose, and people who love her.

I enjoyed this book because it was an interesting view at a period in time where people were a lot crueler than they are today. A lot of characters scream and yell at Beetle just because she “isn’t like the rest.” But the real reason I love this book is the characters. All of them are just brimming with personality! You could never fit any of them into a stereotype because they are so unique!
An example would be Jane, the midwife. She is very strict and sharp, while also being clever and eccentric. I left this book feeling joyful. I recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction.

The moment I remember most vividly was probably when Beetle slept in the dung heap at the beginning of the book. I remember her describing it as warm and soft as if it were luxury to her. I felt sad because this was the best bed she had had in a while.


Reviewed by Evie, Glen Allen Library


Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel


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Hannah, from New York, has been placed in an advanced summer school in California, hoping to add something more to her application, other than being “born mature” (as her parents say). When Hannah’s new best friend and roommate, Agnes, suffers a terrible accident, Hannah is institutionalized at a mental hospital, and labeled “a danger to herself and others”. She knows it’s not her fault. Agnes was her best friend, (though she was dating Agnes’s boyfriend). She wouldn’t hurt her. They would know that if they would just set her court hearing. Hannah does her best to show the doctors she is fine, until she meets Lucy, her roommate at the institution. Finally, with Lucy, Hannah might make it out. But as she grows closer with Lucy, she begins to face what really happened that night. And she wonders if what everything she believed in was false.

This book was amazing and well thought-out and written. Alyssa Sheimel does a wonderful job of describing what Hannah was going through. You feel Hannah’s pain and confusion with her situation, and delightful hints and foreshadowing leave you making your own predictions about what’s really happening. With a wonderful plot twist and strong, believable characters and settings, this book will leave you on the edge of your seat. A terrific read that will leave you yearning for a sequel.

Personally, the most memorable thing about this book is when Hannah is trying to help Lucy get to her ballet audition for her college she wants to go to. This part really shows how close Lucy and Hannah have gotten, and how much Hannah wants someone to be free, even if it isn’t herself. This part lets you into the soft side of Hannah, but I also felt that she’s doing this to convince herself that she isn’t “a danger to herself and others”, because she’s helping Lucy reunite with her boyfriend and make it out of the institution. This solidifies she and Lucy’s relationship and sets up the story for more dramatic turns.



Reviewed by Josephine, Libbie Mill Area Library


Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: The Last 8 by Laura Pohl



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Clouds of dust arise from parts of the world, forming a grim smoke of catastrophe around the globe. It started out sluggishly at first, but rapidly escalated into an interstellar massacre of machinery. Each one is from a group of 7.6 billion people that got instantly vaporized by an invading alien species. With only eight remaining in the world’s most secure government restricted zone, watch as these teenagers combat the forces of extinction and struggle to keep peace among themselves. Survival gains a new meaning in this post-apocalyptic world, with every action threatening to compromise one’s position.

The structure of this story is fantastically well thought out, and divided into sections where the reader can understand the overall picture as well as the sub aspects. A great part about this book is how in addition to having an enthralling climax, suspense kept building and dropping at each stage. This led to a factor of relaxation but then when one least expects it, plot twists jump out from the shadows. It also provided sci-fi references for the intended audience, granting transparency to the fourth wall of the book. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone with the interests of technology and survival.

The most memorable thing about this book was how the author ended characters without second thought. There were times where I’m sure some readers thought the book would be concluded from how much the main characters had lost already, regardless of the number of pages left. It possessed the same energy of a movie scene for anyone with a vivid imagination.



Reviewed by Arnav, Glen Allen 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.


Reviewed by Allyson, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Internment by Samira Ahmed


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This book is about a 17-year-old girl named Layla Amin, who is a Muslim in a dystopian American society where members of that demographic are persecuted greatly. One day, government officials come to her house and tell her family that they must leave immediately to go to an internment camp in California. At the Camp Mobius, Layla, along with hundreds of other Muslim Americans, are contained in a confidential area surrounded by electric fences. Their rights are taken away as soon as they step through the doors, and the punishment for going disobeying the rules are extremely severe. These punishments do not waver the protagonists, as Layla and her new friends Ayesha and Soheil attempt to hatch a plan to escape from the facility.

I am in great awe about how well the plot of the novel was planned out. I believe that the story flowed very well, while the author also included a lot of twists and turns that were very unexpected, which left me unable to put the book down. There were no dull or boring moments; each chapter had a lot of action and dialogue that was very important for the development of the story. I also liked how the author incorporated humor into the novel, even though the main message of the story is very important to understand. Most of the main characters were teenagers, so the bickering they had with each other gave them a little bit of unique personality.

The most memorable thing about this book was the emotion that a lot of the characters had about the situation. Especially in a situation like this, it requires a lot of self-confidence to make a stand against something that is morally wrong. Throughout the whole novel, numerous characters showed so much in resilience and bravery in everything they did. This novel is extremely inspiring and will make any reader feel like they can accomplish anything.


Reviewed by Griffin G., Gayton Library