Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

Mildred Story’s invitation to her three grandkids to work at the resort she owns on Gull Cove Island for the summer is a risky proposition. Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah have never met, and they have never met their grandma. Mildred is wealthy, and her choice to disinherit her children has splintered and estranged the Story family. The cousins at the center of this mystery are tentatively curious to discover more about their family, and mysteries begin to surface once they arrive on the island.

This book was such a thriller! I loved how every time you solve one mystery, it just leads to another one, and every single page just leads to more questions. The story is narrated in the first person by three separate characters: Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah for the most part. Several chapters are told in the third person by Allison, who is a teenager. Like myself, I think that many others will feel that Milly is their favorite character as she is intellectually smart and has lots of style!

The biggest thing that I will take away from this book is the change in perspective in each chapter. This writing style has been used in many other books (The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan), but I feel that McManus best incorporated this style of writing, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book!

Reviewed by Yash at Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: It Ends in Fire

Alka is a strong person who has survived all of the challenges life has thrown at her. She has been living with a group who is fighting to protect the rights of everyone, including the powerless Humbles. She is sent on a mission as a spy to infiltrate Blackwater Academy, a prestigious school which has taught some of the best Wizards. Quite soon, Alka realizes that the academy is not the place she thought it would be, but is instead a battleground. All signs lead to the ominous Great Game, where the Wizards will be tested in their skills and bravery. This is a battle that everyone will be fighting. Some will do it for revenge, others for glory, and some for fun. Will Alka guide her team to victory? Will she succeed in her mission? This thrilling story will keep you turning the pages till the very end.

I really enjoyed this book in the terms of its main plot, but definitely think the author could improve this book.

One aspect of possible change could be more description. I was trying to visualize the scenes in the book, but it was a challenge! The vivid details needed to paint a picture in my mind are missing.

Still, I quite enjoyed this book and recommend it to you! The plotline is particularly intriguing. This book will take you on a magical journey, and is definitely one that you will remember for a long time.

A memorable thing about this book is how the author organized the chapters. Each one is in Alka’s point of view, but the author alternates the past and present events that happened in Alka’s life. This way of writing the story was a smart idea, and it helps to better understand the main character’s motives.

Reviewed by Shreya at Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

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Concrete Rose, the prequel to The Hate U Give, follows 17-year-old Maverick Carter as he navigates the transition to adulthood as a young Black man. Mav thinks he knows everything about looking out for family. By dealing drugs- a secret shared only between him and his closest friend, King- he is able to provide for his overworked mother and imprisoned father. It isn’t until he gets news that he is a father himself that he realizes what it truly means to be a man. Break-ups, gang involvement, and the hardships of trying to balance fatherhood with school make him question his values and everything he believes in. Author Angie Thomas does an excellent job telling Maverick’s inspiring story through this hilarious, cute, and suspenseful book.

Concrete Rose is undoubtedly one of the best books I’ve ever read. It had a perfect blend of suspenseful, hilarious, and cute moments that kept me on the edge of my seat and enjoying every part of it. I also really enjoyed experiencing the plot through the eyes of Maverick and getting to see his character development firsthand. As a fan of The Hate U Give, I really loved learning about the characters’ early backgrounds and how they influenced their adult lives. However, it’s worth noting that Concrete Rose can stand as an incredible book on its own and can be enjoyed after reading or without ever having read The Hate U Give.

One central theme that stuck with me from this book is the importance of looking at situations from multiple perspectives. Oftentimes, we make assumptions about people without seeing all the sides of their story. Concrete Rose opened my eyes to new perspectives on issues such as racism and police brutality that are very relevant today.

Reviewed by Cathy at Tuckahoe Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Loveless by Alice Oseman

Loveless is a standalone novel following the story of Georgia, a hopeless romantic who realizes she’s never had a crush on anyone, ever. Georgia goes down a path of self-acceptance as she navigates the obstacles hurtled at her through university, and the ever-present question of when romance would strike her. The story follows tear-jerking moments, hilarious situations, and an overarching theme of friendship and acceptance. Loveless is an extremely important coming-of-age, LGBTQ+ story of a community that tends to be underrepresented in popular culture today.

This book was so important on so many levels. The representation and diversity genuinely had me thrilled. It had such an authentic, inclusive cast of characters, and Oseman made you relate to and love every character on every level. The depiction of friendships was genuinely heartwarming, and I loved the importance placed on platonic rather than romantic relationships. This is an essential YA read, due to its fantastic writing style as well as its hilarious, honest, and touching moments. It was genuinely hard for me to put this book down!

Georgia was a fantastic main character, and I was rooting for her in every moment of the book. It was fantastic to see her come to terms with herself and see her journey of self-acceptance.

Reviewed by Anna at Twin Hickory Library
Books, Teen Reviews, Uncategorized

Read + Review: Majesty by Katharine McGee

In this sequel to American Royals, McGee defies all expectations. Reading the American Royals series, you are immersed in a monarchical America where George Washington’s ancestors rule. Majesty follows the Washington children and others within the royal circle while they navigate their lives with the scrutiny of the press ever-present. As Beatrice takes the throne of America in the aftermath of her father’s death, she must grapple with her future as the first female monarch as she reluctantly commits to her relationship with Teddy, her fiance. Sam is devastated that Beatrice, her sister, will be marrying her crush and decides to enact revenge. Daphne, an ambitious young woman who will do anything for the power that royals hold, pulls Sam’s twin Jeff into her villainous hold, while her dark secret threatens to end it all. Nina, a commoner, finds unexpected love post-Jeff while strengthening her friendship with Sam. As Beatrice’s fate looms above her, she must come to terms with her true feelings. Her siblings, on the other hand, must learn to choose what they value the most. This book will keep you on your toes with all of its unexpected twists and turns. Alongside its romantic exterior, Majesty delves into heavy topics, such as grief and misogyny, adding depth to the characters.

Though I enjoyed the book, it was disappointing when compared to its predecessor. Many relationships seemed rushed or forced, not natural when looking at the characters themselves. The story abandoned many plotlines or smoothed them over too easily. The characters, though nuanced, seemed a bit superficial at times. Most decisions were not made to strengthen the characters but rather to enhance a storyline that was rushed. Full of cliche tropes, this book had some sweet romantic moments but was full of predictable endings.

McGee highlights women in this book, writing solely from their point of view. She shows their strength and vulnerability, giving them a multifaceted intensity that many authors fail to enact. In Nina, a LatinX character who grew up with two moms, she includes a diverse viewpoint to exhibit the unique challenges minorities face. Majesty also explores the challenges Beatrice faces as the first female monarch. It highlights the systematic misogyny of America while supporting the strength of a female ruler.

Reviewed by Adhya, Twin Hickory Library