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: Iron Heart by Nina Varela

Iron Heart, the sequel to Crier’s War, follows the story of Crier and Ayla; a powerful and inhuman Automae princess, and a human girl sworn to kill her for revenge. Ayla had taken the role of Crier’s handmaiden as a ploy to get closer to the royal family and kill the princess. However, she is thwarted by the realization that she started to develop feelings for the girl she swore to destroy. Ayla discovers the Iron Heart, the source of the Automae’s power, and is faced with the choice of whether to destroy it. Destroying it would mean destroying every Automae, including the girl she loves. In Iron Heart, Ayla comes to a head with the ultimate decision: love or revenge?

The character development in this book was beyond rich, and it was an extremely satisfying conclusion to a compelling duology. I really enjoyed the medium, easy to follow pace of this book. I genuinely couldn’t put the book down until I was finished. The characters were loveable, and Varela had you rooting for Crier and Ayla despite all odds by the end of the story. The plot was a tad cliché, but I could easily overlook that because I honestly loved the story.

The tenseness of the book stuck with me long after I was finished, but in the best possible way. The ending was incredibly satisfying, and it was a heartfelt sapphic story I couldn’t stop reading for a second.

Reviewed by Anna at Twin Hickory Library
Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Depression Insights and Tips For Teenagers By Christie Cognevich

This book contains a lot of useful knowledge. It talks about the causes of depression as well as the signs of it. In addition, it explains its impacts and the different types of depression. All of these topics are discussed in detail within the book and it can help anyone suffering from depression. Overall, the book talks about this topic in a calm way to help readers acknowledge the situations better.

I liked how the book helps people get out of depression by talking about various strategies like coping ahead. Furthermore, it uses real-life stories to explain the diverse amount of information covered in the book. I liked this because it allowed me to relate to the book. However, the book would’ve done a better job at conveying the information if it had been more concise. This would have allowed readers to quickly get a grasp on the topic.

One very memorable thing within the book were the numerous images used to support the stories. These image were important since they allow the reader to gain a better understanding of the scenario. This helps in understanding how the situation can be resolved also. This element of the book was the most helpful thing in the book for me since I wouldn’t have been able to properly understand the book without the images.

Reviewed by Krish at Twin Hickory 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