Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: The Tyrant's Tomb

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The Tyrant’s Tomb is a wonderfully composed novel entailing the struggles of mortal Apollo in the modern world. He travels to Roman camp called Camp Jupiter and prepares for a last stand against the powerful triumvirate of ancient Rome. Previously in the last 3 books in the series, Apollo and Meg have faced countless mythological adversaries the emperors have thrown at them. As implied in the title, the main characters venture into the tomb of a forgotten roman emperor seeking for answers to their problems. Thousands of years old prophecies and oracles shed light on reality, but that may not necessarily be a good thing.

The plot of this book never let you rest for a minute, even when the main characters were sleeping. It was always a perilous journey, and risky situations were scattered all throughout the story. There was also a good climax and the book followed a satisfying plotline. One cool aspect that I enjoyed about the characters was their emotional development from start to finish. This was especially seen in Apollo because he used to be an egotistical Greek God, but being mortal made him more appreciative of human life. Humor was all over the story and I enjoyed how Riordan integrated serious events with it, however, I think it should be toned down a little to make the book more realistic.

One memorable thing about the book is how it brought back nostalgia from reading Rick Riordan books in the past. Everything in the book never contradicted any other books that Riordan wrote, which made it a good addition to his universe of mythological gods. I also liked the way he started and ended each chapter with a surprising statement.

Reviewed by Arnav, Glen Allen Library

Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Stealing Home by Becky Wallace

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The book “Stealing Home” by Becky Wallace was one of the best books that I have ever read. This book was about a girl named Ryan who works for her dad at the Minor Baseball League Stadium that he owns with his ex-wife. When Sawyer Campbell, a family friend and great baseball player, gets put on their team, Ryan’s dad sends her to go pick him up. Sawyer and Ryan have a connection unlike no other, and everyone can tell that they want to be together, but the rule is that if you work at the stadium, then you can’t date a player on the team. Right as the season starts, Sawyer cuts open the back of his ankle and can’t play for the first couple of games. Will Sawyer get back on the baseball field? And can Sawyer and Ryan figure out their future?

I really enjoyed the twists and turns in this book. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen next I was surprised. While I haven’t been in the same predicament as Sawyer and Ryan, I felt like I knew what they were going through. The author did a really great job of making sure that the book could be interpreted by all readers through her choice of words and colorful writing style.

One memorable moment in this book is when Sawyer gets hurt. All he wanted was to be out in the field playing baseball, but no one knew if he would be able to at that point. Sawyer kept his hopes up and didn’t stop training and working hard to be able to get back out on the field.

Reviewed by Samantha, Glen Allen Library

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Read + Review: American Moonshot Young Readers' Edition: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race by Douglas Brinkley

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For thousands of years humanity has wondered what it was like on the moon. What was it like up there? What was it made of? Was it even possible to get there? For many, the moon was nothing more than a mystery, a big hunk of rock floating in the night sky, forever taunting them with secrets they could never uncover. For some, however, the moon wasn’t just some achievable target; it was a challenge, an ambition, something to not just sit there and wonder about, but rather just the first step in the exploration of a brand-new frontier! This is the story of the first successful flight to the moon, the rocket scientists who made the dream possible, and the idealistic president who believed in it. Sometimes it’s not enough to just aim for the sky; sometimes you just have to steel your nerves and shoot for the moon.

It was so interesting hearing about all the history and progress in rocket science that led up to the moon landing in 1969. You never hear about this kind of stuff in history class, but they’re still pretty important. People should be able to know and understand all the effort and resilience that is required for ground-breaking moments like America winning the space race to happen. I recommend this book to anybody who is a history lover or has a deep appreciation for the history of human innovation and progress like me.

My favorite thing about this book was the part where it talked about how rocket-based weapons research helped contribute to the invention of the manned rocket ship. It’s just a perfectly logical connection one wouldn’t normally make, you know?

Reviewed by Dahlia, Twin Hickory Library

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Read + Review: Hack Your Cupboard by Alyssa Wiegand and Carla Carreon

Hack Your Cupboard: How to Make the Best of Every Kitchen (No Matter How Small)

This book is a cookbook that teaches beginners how to make easy, delicious, and healthy meals. As the title suggests, the book is about making tasty meals with just common ingredients in everyone’s cupboard. It teaches basic multi-purpose recipes like soy dressings or vinaigrettes, and it has specific chapters for dorm room meals, pasta, sandwiches, ramen, microwave recipes, and more. When new topics are introduced in this book, it explains how to perfect that skill in an easy-to-follow way. This author uses simple instructions in a precise way to describe how to make these meals.

I think this book is great for culinary beginners, and for teaching purposes. I liked how the book gives tips to improve your meal with spices and toppings. They also teach how to organize your cupboard, and how to make the most out of limited ingredients. This book would definitely be useful for party planning, last minute cooking, and people who want to try out cooking for the first time. I especially liked how the author chose to incorporate simple recipes which are very inspiring for a new cook. Also, the book had appetizing and attractive pictures that are good representations of the meal that makes you want to make it even more.

One memorable thing about the book is how this book is about making delicious foods with common ingredients. This book would be really useful for people living in dorm rooms and apartments with limited ingredients. One example is a black pepper pasta that looks and tastes delicious, but it only uses 5 ingredients. Another example is a tasty microwaveable brownie that only uses 4 ingredients. It also explains what the essentials are to have in your cupboard when you first move into a new house or apartment.

Reviewed by Siddarth, Twin Hickory Library

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Read + Review: Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron

Last Bus to Everland

Brody Fair is a teen who doesn’t exactly live a dream life. He faces bullies everyday, doesn’t get attention from his parents, and struggles with coming out. But then comes Nico, an artistic and care-free guy, who also has a whole new universe for him: Everland. A place where all your troubles and toils go away, and you can do anything to your heart’s desire. Here, no one cares who Brody is, they just care to have fun with him. But even though this new dimension gives him a way to relax, the real world always has to come first… doesn’t it?

This book is an interesting take on fantasy worlds, like Peter Pan’s Neverland (which is probably the inspiration of this story), as well as Narnia. But even though the plot is childlike, it goes deep into some more mature themes. Some of these include sexual orientation, mental diseases, and relationships. The main character and narrator, Brody Fair, has a likable personality and the author paints a life that makes readers understand his pain and root for his happiness. Other main characters, like Nico, are also well developed by Cameron, and just make the book more interesting. This book is definitely more directed for young adults, and even though it has Disney-like feels, children probably wouldn’t understand the main plot of the story.

I liked the touch of how Everland’s time is slower than the real world. You can stay inside this dream land for hours and hours, and when you come back to reality, mere minutes have passed. This concept seems really cool and just makes me wish we had something like Everland.

Reviewed by Ben, Glen Allen Library