Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Undying By Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

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In this sequel to the popular novel “Unearthed”, our main characters, Mia and Jules are trying to escape the alien spaceship they were trapped on during the final pages of the “Unearthed”. After making an extremely narrow escape off the ship, Mia and Jules warn their hometown about the approaching threat that threatens the safety of the earth itself. But, to no avail. With absolutely no help, our main characters are forced to take matters into their own hands and handle the threat themselves. In this captivating novel, Mia and Jules travel across the entirety of Europe to stop the possible alien invasion. The story takes place from the mountains of Spain, all the way to streets located in Prague.

One thing I absolutely loved about this book was its humor at times. The situations would get very tense, and the author would just toss in a joke to defuse the situation. The darkish humor makes the book all the more enjoyable. The characters are also around the same age range as most people reading the book. The author knew this and made the characters relatable to their relative age range. I also like that the book switches between certain characters’ perspectives throughout the book to make sure the reader has a good idea of what’s happening from multiple perspectives.

Surprisingly, the most memorable moment in the book is in the first few pages of the book. Most authors never even get the idea to give a little note to the reader at the beginning of the book. I personally have never seen any author do that before. That’s the reason it’s most memorable for me. I will also always remember the love the author has for the reader. The author expresses that a lot, and that is another way I will always remember this book.

4-stars-1

Reviewed by Minh L., Glen Allen Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Never Evers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

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Mouse’s world seems to collapse when she is required to leave her ballet school, and her self-esteem seemingly deteriorates every second of her life. Without any alternative activities or interests to instill any inspiration in her, Mouse’s motivation is at an all-time low. However, her mother urges her to join her new school’s field trip to assist her with coming out of her shell. Unfortunately, she doesn’t really have a choice in the matter. Up in the mountains that are topped with snow, Mouse faces an exciting series of events with her two companions, Connie and Kiera, and a furry hamster that Connie managed to sneak in. Additionally, a romance begins to blossom between Mouse and Jack, the lead singer of a band without a name. Never Evers is a novel brimming with twists and turns happening both on and off the slopes.

The endearing moments between Mouse and Jack caused me to do everything within my power to suppress my squealing and giddiness due to their romance. What I found frustrating was the amount of time it took for the two realize how compatible they were together. Throughout the course of the novel, Mouse and Jack continued to be distracted by other love interests, but it frankly made their relationship more engrossing and interesting to read. Since the beginning, Mouse battles with her esteem and self-efficacy after hearing some not-so-nice words from Lauren, a girl who ceased to even interact with Mouse after finding out she was not accepted into ballet school. I could see myself in Mouse during moments when she felt down, which overwhelmed me with emotion. All-in-all, this novel emphasizes the significance of being yourself, which I personally believe is immensely important.

The most memorable event in the book is a conundrum that occurred in the beginning. Jack and one of his friends, Max, are invited to Lauren’s room, but when searching for it, they end up in Mouse, Connie, and Kiera’s room. The issue is that it was the middle of the night, and the ruckus they create cause an authority figure to come to settle the situation. I burst out laughing when Jack hid in the girls’ closet and encountered a certain “furry” friend, who was undoubtedly Connie’s hamster, Mr. Jambon.

4-stars-1

Reviewed by Jessica C., Glen Allen Library

Read + Review, Teen Reviews, Uncategorized

Read + Review: Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

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The book Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram follows the story of 16-year old Darius Kellner, a Star Trek loving outcast who also has depression, and his journey to his home country of Iran. At home in the U.S, Darius has never fit in. He is always getting teased by Trent Bolger and the Soulless Minions of Orthodoxy, and is made fun of for his Persian descent. So his expectations are low when Darius and his family travel to Iran for a holiday, only for those thoughts to completely disappear once he meets his grandparents neighbor Sohrab. Sohrab and Darius start spending time with each other, and soon enough become the best of friends. When they are around each other, Darius turns into Darioush, the Persian who loves to play soccer and eat faludeh. The rest of the story continues with funny twists and a heartwarming ending, that is sure to make you tear up.

My thoughts on this book were at the very least interesting. Near the beginning, I was very confused. The main source of this were all Star Trek references and the first few chapters. There were so many references to Star Trek, that after a while the book became unreadable since I did not understand any of them. The only references I did get were to the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, of which there are a lot, even more than the Star Trek ones. That was only my opinion though, and I’m sure all the Star Trek loving Hobbits would love this book. Other than this, I really did like this book. The plot-line was interesting, intriguing, and heartwarming, and I could really relate to some of the things in this book, with my parents coming from a country like Iran as well. Overall, the book was quite charming, and the characters were extremely likable.

One of my favorite parts of this book was something that happened near the end when some tension between Darius and his dad started to clear up. I really liked this part, because it was well written, and even made me emotional. All the lead up to that moment helps too, with all the suspense floating in the air, until this moment came clearing up the fog in a heartfelt way. This moment also was one of the main changes Darius went through in Iran and was a sincere moment overall.

4-stars-1

Reviewed by Aryan A.,  Twin Hickory Library

 

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: The Crossroads by Alexandra Diaz

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The Crossroads, sequel to The Only Road, continues the story of Jamie Rivera, a refugee from Guatemala. In the previous book, he entered the United States due to gang violence in his home country. After both he and his cousin, Ángela come to live with their brother, Tomás, Jamie is extremely reluctant to start school. This entrance into his new school is made even worse by the fact that he can barely speak English. Throughout all the bullying, embarrassing moments, and the fact that everything around him is strange, Jamie never truly feels like he fits in. He wants nothing but to go home to Guatemala, but violence back in his home country prevents him and his cousin from returning. It almost seems as if he’ll never belong in the United States, but has no choice but to stay. Through the unknown, will Jamie finally make friends and truly learn to belong?

I honestly liked this book. It was just amazing with a unique story, one that I had never heard before. I had never read a story about two Guatemalan refugees before, and was intrigued by the synopsis. I liked how real all of the characters seemed; they just seemed so believable. I could completely understand how strange and afraid Jamie felt when entering a new school, even more so since he couldn’t speak English that well. Also, the scattered details throughout the book, like Jamie’s artwork and even descriptions of Vida, their dog, made the whole read quite endearing. However, I didn’t really understand some of the details and references in the book, since I hadn’t read The Only Road.

One of the most memorable parts of the book was how Vida, the dog, was described. Vida was described using all of the most tantalizing details possible. Sometimes, I even felt like she was in the room with me while I was reading. In the previous book, Vida was rescued by Ángela and came with them to the United States; which is similar to Jamie and Ángela being “rescued” from the gangs in Guatemala and being taken to the U.S.A. Throughout the book, she was a true companion to everyone, and the way she could sense when people were upset was just so endearing. The attention and accuracy of all these canine details make me wonder if the author had a dog similar to Vida.

0-five-stars2

Reviewed by Sanika R., Grade 8, Twin Hickory Area Library

Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Bonnie and Clyde: The Making of a Legend by Karen Blumenthal

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Bonnie and Clyde were a legendary criminal couple. Constantly on the run, their numerous crimes include murder, robberies, and many, many cases of grand theft auto. They were sensational headliners, famous throughout the country in a time when money was scarce and resentment towards authority was on the rise. But how exactly did these lovers wind up on the path of crime? How many of the stories are true? From humble beginnings to a violent end, this book chronicles the lives of these famous outlaws.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It provided not only an informative retelling of the lives of two famous figures, but it also provided an interesting insight into what life was like during the Great Depression. Bonnie and Clyde were always people I heard mentioned or referenced many times in pop culture, but never really knew anything about until now. I definitely recommend this book to any history lovers.

My favorite part is probably the part that details their lives and upbringing before they became criminals on the run. I find that you can tell a lot about why someone went down the road they did by learning about their early years, and it is always interesting to hear what started it all.

0-five-stars2

Reviewed by Dahlia S., 10th grade, Twin Hickory Area Library