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Read + Review: Eyes of the Forest by April Henry

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

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

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

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

Click here to learn more about this book, and place it on hold.

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