Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

The Rumor Game by Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra

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The Rumor Game by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle is about early high school life and students who become victims of vicious rumors, gossip, and ultimately worse consequences based on false claims on social media. Bryn, the first victim of this rumored game, used to have an impeccable life, a handsome boyfriend, straight As in school, and a lovely group of friends and family; until a rumor destroyed her life. Bryn suffered a lot but the way Bryn’s incident affected the rest of her friends, including Cora Davidson, her best friend, and Georgie Khalra, her neighbor, and family was way worse and messed up. Georgie’s new personality after her weight loss was not just a big difference in her body but her mindset too. On the other hand, Cora and Baez’s ideal relationship was about to go through a devastating change. The question is how do the lives of these teenagers change within a matter of days after the rumors and misinformation start to spread like fire in a jungle?

Words are more powerful than weapons and they can lead to real consequences in someone’s life. These rumors and cyberbullying are mainly through social media. Most students like to be the center of attention so that everyone likes them and talks about them in a good way but when it goes the other way around, it’s way worse. It goes from one person to another. Every person who becomes a target of cyberbullying suffers a lot and becomes a sensation among peers in a bad way, as in gossip. Imagine people laughing, gossiping, and giggling about you when you pass by, especially in high school. It is the most uncomfortable situation and it feels like somehow you could disappear so everyone stops talking about you.

I like the fact that this book included people of different ethnicities such as Indians, Black Americans, White, Asians, and others. Some are haughty, some are hypocrites and others are innocents. It is a mix of all kinds of people and different mindsets since it’s about high school and there are students from different backgrounds. This fiction drama book teaches us how to avoid such situations which can lead to life-changing consequences. It also gives us a very old lesson that kids/teens nowadays forget: never try to solve or involve in any kind of mischievous plan or activity which can result in self-destruction or harming others, instead talk to your parents about it. Last but not least, never take a decision based on lies and rumors until and unless you have proof of the event that took place.

Reviewed by Shane B., Twin Hickory Area Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

So This Is Ever After by F. T. Lukens

So This Is Ever After by F.T. Lukens
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Arek has completed the prophecy. He’s done with his mission of saving the Kingdom of Ere from its horrible king. Now that he’s beheaded the king, there’s no ruler and someone has to take over. As a joke his friends tell him to put on the crown until they can free the princess, the only heir, from a tower. But when they get to her, they find out that she’s dead, and now Arek is going to have to be king. When trying to refuse the role of king, he finds out that he’s now magically connected to the throne. It also requires him to find a spouse by his 18th birthday or he’ll disappear. Now that he’s bound to the throne, he decides to start finding a spouse within his friends. Matt, his best friend, is the only one that knows and they both realize that this isn’t going to be easy and that love might be closer than they think.

I really liked this fantasy and romance book. It’s really interesting, and you will grow to love the characters. I really liked how there were a lot of main characters and that each of them were different. Something that I disliked was that there was only one point of view, Arek. I wished that they added multiple so I could see how the other characters were feeling and thinking while Arek was trying to see if they had something between them. I think this would have been really funny, but, either way, I really enjoyed the book and definitely recommend it.

I really liked Arek when he was trying to see if there were any feelings between him and his friends. I liked this part because he knew when to back off when they didn’t show any sign of having feelings for him. I also liked how being king didn’t change Arek in a negative way and that he tried his best when trying to rule. His character development was also something I enjoyed seeing while reading the book. He got more confident and more comfortable about his position throughout the book.

Review by Rhea K., Glen Allen Branch Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Two Degrees by Alan Gratz

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Two Degrees by Alan Gratz is an amazing book talking about climate change. Four kids: Akira, Owen, George, and Natalie, all living in different areas of North America, are forced to witness first-hand the destructive capabilities of global warming. This book follows three stories: a wildfire in California, a polar bear attack in Canada, and a hurricane in Florida, to show how our world is falling apart due to global warming. All three stories are connected: Wildfires make the ice caps melt, and melting ice caps cause more hurricanes. Each story is compelling, as the teens do what ever they can to survive the horrors that they are facing.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I really liked every character and found all the stories action packed. I really felt bad for the main characters because of all the stress and trauma they were going through in these life or death situations. My favorite story in this book was the polar bear attack. Both characters (Owen and George) are hilarious, and it was really dramatic at some points. I had a lot of pity for the polar bears because their home is shrinking by the second, and they are not receiving the normal amount of food that they were used to. Each story had its own feeling to it. The wildfire story was heartwarming and scary at some points, the polar bear story was dramatic and hilarious, and the hurricane story was tragic and fearsome.

Something I found memorable in this book is the stories that were told to the main characters. In each story, a relative or grandparent, tells a story about something bad that happened many centuries ago or a mythological creature that lurks in areas. I found it really cool how all the stories that were told, were what the teens were facing.

Review by Ishaan A., Twin Hickory Area Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

What the Fact by Dr. Seema Yasmin

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What The Fact is about how to get correct and accurate information in the modern world and stay safe from fake news. The first part of the book goes into interesting, fact-filled detail about the different kinds of false information on the internet, how to recognize it, and how to prevent yourself from falling prey to it. The second section, in my opinion, is the most interesting part of the book. It talks about the bias and how your brain works when hearing stories vs. facts. This part also talks about how your brain and biases can fall prey to false information. The third part was a bit repetitive, and it talked too much about politics, which I as an eleven-year-old found boring. It talks about the history of American news and how news is created. The fourth section talks about social media and its effects on you. The fifth and last section talks about different types of reasoning and how to persuade someone.

I think the book is a very important one to read and can help you protect yourself from predatory information. It explains the problem of fake news in great detail and it can help you spot fake news on the internet. After reading, it also helps you figure out where you can be biased and what biases you may have. It is very helpful in the modern world and it could really come in handy many times in life. The book makes you more aware of yourself and surroundings. However, it can get a bit boring because it is mostly just a compilation of facts on facts. It also isn’t helpful if you want a concise text for the topics it discusses or if you just want to just dive a little bit into a subject. The examples given in the book are helpful to understanding it, but in my opinion, the author put in too many examples in some places which felt unnecessary.

A memorable part of the book is when they talked about biases. It is very interesting to learn the biases you can have when you check news or are in a debate with a friend. It also can give a glimpse into human psychology.

Reviewed by Eshaan, Twin Hickory Area Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Beauty and the Besharam by Lillie Vale

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Kavya Joshi is competitive, to say the least. There’s a word she’s always been called- besharam. Her relatives and classmates, especially the ones that don’t speak Hindi, describe her with some intricate spin on the word. Brazen, bold, brash, or shameless- anything that indicates that she tries a bit too hard and talks a bit too much. Kavya knows what people think about her, but she’s determined to achieve much more than anyone ever expected her to. More than anything, she’s steadfast in beating her childhood rival and once friend, Ian Jun. He’s the only one who can defeat her in everything (including AP Stats), and she’s not going to give up anytime soon. However, due to an unexpected turn of events, a long coming break-up with her boyfriend, and a twisted game of truth-or-dare, she ends up kissing Ian. That’s right- kissing her arch nemesis. Kavya continues to treat Ian like a rival, but she can’t shake the feeling that something is different. Sick of the never-ending bickering between the two, their respective friend groups decide to create a series of challenges for Ian and Kavya to complete over the course of summer break. Along the way, Kavya navigates a difficult relationship with her sister, cracks in the Moon Girls, and of course, her painfully expanding feelings for Ian Jun.

I loved all the characters in the book because of their apparent flaws. The most prevalent example of this is the main character, Kavya Joshi. Kavya makes some poor choices throughout the story. However, she never hesitates to help her friends and family, making her a good person regardless of her mistakes. The duality of her personality is what makes her an interesting character. This description can also be used for many characters in the story, like Simran (Kavya’s sister) and Ian. One thing I slightly disliked was the writing style of the book. I feel like some sentences were structured a bit awkwardly. However, this didn’t detract from the overall message of the story. The trope “rivals to lover” is often overused, but this book incorporates it in a way that doesn’t feel cliché. The side characters feel like real people instead of props to push along the plot. Overall, this book is great!

One memorable thing about this book was the pop culture allusions. The book cleverly references relatively modern-day franchises like Pokémon, Sailor Moon, and Schitt’s Creek. Also, the title is an incredible pun. I might be a bit biased because of the awesome Desi representation.

Reviewed by Vaidehi, Twin Hickory Library