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Tough as Lace by Lexi Bruce

Click here to learn more about this book and to place a hold.

Lace Stewart has at all, or so it seems. She’s star of the lacrosse team, straight A student, and uber-confident, but behind her carefully crafted façade, she’s crumbling. It starts with her slipping grades, and from there it only gets worse. The life she’s work so hard to create is being pulled from under her feet as she’s forced to watch. Worst of all, the brave face that she’s practiced her whole life may be what causes her anxiety to spiral and lose it all.

This was the first book I read in verse and I think it was written quite well. The book was beautifully written and it talked about struggles that so many people face. It perfectly captures the way that anxiety is often stuffed into a corner and ignored. The shortness of the book better emphasized the importance of the topic it was addressing, and it did a good job dealing with a heavy issue. Lace is developed as a complex character, as most real people are. This made the book seem more realistic and quickly allowed the reader to see that Lace has flaws like anyone else. This is an important part of creating a character and Lace proved to be a strong and determined protagonist. Overall, this book tackled a tough topic through a complex and compelling story.

Something memorable about this book is that it doesn’t just deal with anxiety. It talks about almost everything teens experience from sports to work, and it makes the book very relatable.

Reviewed by Nainika, Twin Hickory Library

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At The End Of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp

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When the world doesn’t want you, you’re shoved into a corner with no one to turn to. That’s how the teens at Hope Juvenile Treatment Center feel, as if no one wants them, and really they don’t. But when the normally cruel guards begin acting strangely, they know this is their chance. They band together and make a break for it until they realize: the world outside is plagued by a mysterious disease, one that’s spreading rapidly. The place that was once their literal prison is now their only safe haven. There’s nowhere to go, and they only have each other.

Everyone in this book was developed well, even though there were quite a few characters. The book was truly written in a way that allowed the reader to see all of the characters’ complexities and true desires. This allowed me to feel a connection to the characters and get sucked into the story. Also, it was very unpredictable and it constantly kept me on the edge of my seat. There were many twists that I wasn’t expecting which is something I really liked. The execution of this book definitely lives up to the premise and it is everything I expected it to be. At The End Of Everything is a breathtaking story about those who are forgotten, and I loved every minute of it.

Something that I found memorable about this book is how all the characters are so different personality wise, yet the similarities between them are undeniable. The circumstances in this book are ones that bring forward so many of the same emotions in them, and it really highlights how at the end of the day, we’re all human.

Reviewed by Nainika, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Cold by Mariko Tamaki

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When Todd Mayer is found dead, he seems like just another kid to Georgia, someone who has nothing to do with her. However, as the investigation unfolds, Georgia realizes that Todd might be more connected to her than she thought, and before she knows it, her family is at the epicenter of the murder. Meanwhile, Todd is a ghost of who he once was: literally. After being found dead in the snow, he feels as if he’s woken up from a deep slumber. Now, he spends his days watching the investigation from above, reflecting on his life and how he got here. He’s left helpless as the secrets of his life are peeled away one by one, finally revealing what happened to him that fateful night.

I really enjoyed this book, especially because of how descriptive it was. Everything was told in great detail making it very easy to visualize the characters and places. I feel like we really get to know Georgia, even though she doesn’t take the front seat in the investigation. The connection she feels to Todd, who she’s never met, allows us to get a glimpse into who she is and what she cares about. The ending was something I never saw coming, even though there were quite a few clues leading up to it. The story is woven in a way that leaves a trail of signs, while being utterly inconspicuous. Overall, this slow burning mystery carefully unfolded into something deeper, making for a great book.

Something memorable about this book is how Georgia and Todd’s chapters are told from different points of view. Georgia’s chapters are in first person and Todd’s are in third person. I really like how this gave Georgia’s chapters a more personal feel and made Todd’s more omniscient, especially because he’s seeing everything from above as a ghost.

Reviewed by Nainika, Twin Hickory Library

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Read + Review: Eyes of the Forest by April Henry

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The Eyes of the Forest is about a normal high school student, Bridget Shepherd, who loves reading and listening to the Swords and Shadows series by author R.M Haldon. After continuing to postpone the release of the last book of his series, R.M Haldon, also known as Bob, is threatened by a high school boy and brought to a cabin in the woods where he is trapped with only food, water, a treadmill, a typewriter, and a note threatening him to write the “Eyes of the Forest.” Noticing the disappearance of the author, Bridget believes that he has been kidnapped. She reports the case to the police, but they choose to not believe her, including her best friend, Ajay, who she had opened up to about the world of Swords and Shadows. Without any help, Bridget acts alone to solve the kidnapping of R.M Haldon.

I thought the book was very unique. It alternates the perspectives between each character, which really gives the reader an understanding as to what each character’s thoughts and motivations are. I also loved how the book introduced itself. The first chapter was like a bomb ticking, setting up the suspense that ultimately led to the major conflicts in the plot. I also really loved the evolution of Bridget and how she was able to take on such a responsibility despite being the outcast in school.

One memorable thing about this book is that it is very relatable. Many of the characters made decisions that most people would have made in real life, and the plot unwinds itself like it’s attached to real time. Also, a lot of the products and places used in this book exist in real life.

Reviewed by Jasmine, Libbie Mill Library

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