The Art of Insanity by Christine Webb

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In The Art of Insanity, an 18-year-old high school senior named Natalie Cordova grapples with bipolar disorder while navigating the pressures of college admissions and the gossip mill at school. She conceals the truth about a near-catastrophic car accident that wasn’t accidental, fearing it would disrupt her mother’s perfect image. As the weight of her secret grows heavier, Natalie faces additional challenges, including an art show that could shape her future and the presence of Ella, a classmate who knows too much. Amidst it all, she finds solace and connection with Ty, a captivating boy who brings light into her life. With humor and insight, the book addresses the journey toward self-acceptance, shedding light on mental illness and promoting understanding while featuring characters from diverse backgrounds.

The Art of Insanity by Christine Webb offers an engaging and educational reading experience, regardless of familiarity with mental illness. The book skillfully balances the seriousness of its subject matter by incorporating entertaining moments, particularly through the endearing antics of a pug character. The juxtaposition of beautiful art against the protagonist’s challenging life experiences adds depth and resonance to the story. It is a compelling read for teenage girls, encouraging them to broaden their perspectives beyond their social circles, while also providing great enjoyment for adult readers. Above all, the book explores the importance of honesty, highlighting the consequences of our choices for ourselves and future generations.

The Art of Insanity by Christine Webb is notable for its in-depth exploration of mental illness, presenting different perspectives that enhance our understanding of the subject. I especially liked how the author highlights the uniqueness of each individual’s experience with mental illness, promoting empathy and dispelling stereotypes. Webb skillfully integrates these themes into the story, making the book a memorable read that encourages readers to embrace the diversity of human experiences.

Reviewed by Shreya P., Glenn Allen Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Saving Earth: Climate Change and the Fight for Our Future by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

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Saving Earth: Climate Change and the Fight for Our Future is a book on how climate change has affected us and our world for centuries, ever since the industrial revolution. It talks about where the world stands today, as global warming is worse than ever. The book tells the story about the slow path to reform, led by Rafe Pomerance and James Hansen, who encountered obstacles, but simply would not give up. Lastly it talks about how young people can rise up and lead the fight to stop global warming. It explains how with hard work and effort, we can save the planet, for us, and for posterity.

I thought this book was an excellent reflection on the past work and effort of activists and scientists alike. While reading the book, the author includes quotes from various activists and scientists, showing how passionate and dedicated they were in addressing climate change. I like the illustrations the book includes which are a nice touch to the story. I also enjoy how the book went in chronological order discussing the events of the industrial revolution, and then the events from the Reagan administration all the way to the Biden presidency, noting all the changes in environmental policy that have been made. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to research the historical significance of climate change.

For me, the most memorable part of the story was when James Hansen was testifying to the effects of climate change to Congress during the Bush administration. Before he presented, someone from the White House tried to censor parts of Hansen’s speech. When the press and opponents of Bush found out they treated Hansen like a hero, even though he just wanted to talk about climate change. I think the author was trying to tell us that sometimes the people in power don’t care about our issues, and that we need to work hard ourselves to achieve results, and hold our elected leaders accountable.

Reviewed by Tristan M., Twin Hickory Area Library

Books, Read + Review

How to Be a (Young) Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and Nic Stone

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How to Be a (Young) Antiracist is a story about how racism was created, and how it affects our lives, as well as how we can stop it. The first part of the book talks about the definition of racism, and the thoughts and ideas people have about themselves, as well as other people. The second part of the book explains how racism can affect people, whether it is based on race, gender, or culture. In the last section, the book lays out how ordinary people can work with themselves, and others, to demolish the ugly building of racism, and create a better future.

This book is told from the perspective of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, which I thought was clever. The narrator, who is Nic Stone, tells you the stories of your (Ibram X. Kendi’s) life and the revelations you had about racism along the way. It is the first book I have read that is told from a second person point of view. The authors also used lots of slang words which is something I haven’t seen in a lot of books. I found that in the beginning of the book I didn’t really understand what was going on, but as I read deeper into the story it started to make sense. The bit about how both segregationists and assimilationists can be harmful really intrigued me. It also was fun for me to read the little notes that the author had on each page. This book was a very attention grabbing story and I didn’t put the book down until the end.

A part of the book that resonated with me is where the author is talking about the origins of racism. I always thought that racism has been around forever, ever since people realized that some people have different skin color than them. However this book showed me that race, and therefore racism have only been around for 400 years. It goes on to explain that in those 400 years racism has transformed our minds and society. I thought this was incredible because that means that with enough work, we can perhaps erase racism entirely, which is something I had never thought to be possible.

Reviewed by Tristan M., Twin Hickory Area Library

Books, Read + Review

In the City of Time by Gwendolyn Clare

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In the City of Time starts by introducing us to Riley and Jaideep, two friends who live in the post-apocalyptic, artificial world of 2033, after a horrible accident in 1891 started to slowly destroy the real one. These two friends are on the verge of creating a time travel machine that will be able to stop the events that destroyed the world, but their plan goes wrong and they end up accidentally kidnapping a teenager from 1891 named Willa. To make their situation even worse, they are being pursued by an android named Petrichor from the future who is hellbent to destroy them. Together, the three of them work to save humanity, while escaping the “time cops” trying to stop them.

The narration was interesting,I liked how some chapters are told from Willa’s perspective and the others were told from Riley’s point of view. I also really liked all the androids named Saudade, Petrichor, and Deasil. I’m grateful that the author decided to put the time and location of the characters before each chapter which really helped me understand the book a lot better despite all the time traveling. The plot of the story took many surprising twists and turns, which made the book interesting but also a bit confusing if you are really not paying attention to the details. The villains of the book are also a bit lackluster and since they were introduced two-thirds of the way into the story, I didn’t really get to understand them. Despite this, I thought the book was pretty good and definitely felt intrigued by the plot.

My favorite is the part of the story around Saudade and Petrichor. Petrichor spends decades traveling through time to avenge his lost friend, and when they were finally reunited it was very heartwarming.

Reviewed by Tristan M., Twin Hickory Area Library

Read + Review, Teen Reviews, Uncategorized

A Field Guide to Mermaids by Emily B. Martin

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“A Field Guide to Mermaids” by Emily B. Martin is an enchanting exploration of the mythological creatures that have amazed humans for centuries. The book provides a detailed guide to mermaids, including their anatomy, behavior, and habitats. It covers the different types of mermaids found across the world, as well as their cultural significance and historical representations. The book is beautifully illustrated with intricate drawings and paintings, making it seem as if mermaids existed. Each different type of mermaid has different adaptations to their habitats and climate as if they truly evolved to fit unique environments.

Overall, I enjoyed “A Field Guide to Mermaids.” It is a fun book that blends mythology, history, and science in a way that is both descriptive and fun to read. This book is perfect for anyone who is fascinated by mermaids and wants to learn more about their place in human culture and mythology. I highly recommend it because of the amount of imagination and tiny details that make it so interesting, real, and convincing.

One memorable thing about the book is the depth of research that went into creating it. The detailed descriptions and explanations of various mermaid legends from different cultures make it seem so real and fascinating. The book also includes interesting details about the biology and ecology of mermaids, adding a unique scientific twist to the mythology. It was so detailed that it made me believe that mermaids really existed.

Reviewed by Shreya P., Twin Hickory Area Library