Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Three Things I Know Are True by Betty Culley

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Jonah had always been a bit reckless, but Liv never imagined that he would do anything like this. When Liv’s older brother accidentally shoots himself after acting carelessly with a gun in his best friend Clay’s attic, she can hear the screams from a house over. Jonah is alive, but he doesn’t respond to anyone and can no longer take care of himself. No one meant any harm, but that doesn’t mean that no one is getting blamed. Liv’s mother is suing Clay’s father, the owner of the gun, for money to take care of Jonah. As tension grows in their small town, Liv refuses to leave Jonah – or Clay – behind.

Grief is something that was illustrated well in this book. In my opinion, watching the one you love fade away is even more painful than just watching them die. Seeing anyone I love in the state that Jonah was in would absolutely break me. And Liv shows that she is breaking. She starts spending more time with Jonah, her grades drop, and something happens to her where she can no longer understand it when some people talk. The state of mind of just barely getting through every day and hardly understanding what’s happening hits me in the heart. The memories and stories that she tells are meaningful and show how much her family means to her. Liv has friends that she still hangs out with outside of her brother and Clay, which is an important part of the grieving process, so I’m grateful for it. Also, I thought that Clay and Liv were a great pair in general. The way they interacted just made me happy. They very clearly enjoyed each other’s company and understood what the other was going through.

One memorable thing from the story would be when Liv narrates about her friends. She goes on to talk about the hardships that her friends have gone through. Liv claims that everyone has something. She has Jonah’s situation. This moment especially hurts because you start to realize that everyone is going through something, and some people are going through things you may never understand.

Reviewed Annabel, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

This Might Get Awkward by Kara McDowell

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Gemma Wells is a teenager who’s never been to parties, had many friends, or stand out at school. To her, Lake Powell was the only place she needed in life; all those other typical teenager activities didn’t matter. However, during her solo trip to Lone Rock Beach, a supposedly empty beach in this season, her excursion was unexpectedly accompanied by the most popular kids at her high school. Realizing that her crush, Beau Booker, is with this group, Gemma thinks that this might be her long-awaited chance at getting with Beau. That fantasy is almost immediately crashed when Beau falls off a boat and got a concussion, only saved by the quick CPR given to him by Gemma, before being sent to the hospital. At the hospital, Gemma was horrified to learn that everyone thought she was Beau’s girlfriend, but Beau had told her to pretend she was close with him. In a confusing journey to fulfill Beau’s wishes, meet a new, mysterious Booker brother, and discover her true identity, This Might Get Awkward tells a tale of how a once-outcast teenage girl finally finds a place where she belongs.

This Might Get Awkward fit into a few cliches, loner finding belonging, pretending to be dating the most popular boy, and a girl being torn between two romantic interests. However, I didn’t find these stereotypes to be overwhelming. Gemma’s seemingly hopeless situation was very unrealistic, which made it more interesting to see how the story would play out, especially since she seemed to brush off anyone who was trying to help her. When she met the other Booker brother, Griff, the two immediately hit it off, with undeniable chemistry. Yet on almost every step of the way, she was making mistakes and not taking responsibility for her actions. Gemma frequently pushed away the people who cared about her, making her an incredibly frustrating character. Despite Gemma’s occasional, questionable attitude, I enjoyed experiencing her journey to becoming a new person that she finally felt comfortable as.

One memorable thing about the book was the idea that the most unexpected people can become friends with each other. Most people stay away from others if there’s any indication that they “don’t fit,” and that was true for Gemma too. With Beau’s accident, however, Gemma made many amazing friendships with people she never would have talked to otherwise. I thought this gave an important message to the readers, to never be afraid to talk to other people, even if they are the complete opposite of you.

Reviewed by Melody, Twin Hickory Library

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Tough as Lace by Lexi Bruce

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Lace Stewart has at all, or so it seems. She’s star of the lacrosse team, straight A student, and uber-confident, but behind her carefully crafted façade, she’s crumbling. It starts with her slipping grades, and from there it only gets worse. The life she’s work so hard to create is being pulled from under her feet as she’s forced to watch. Worst of all, the brave face that she’s practiced her whole life may be what causes her anxiety to spiral and lose it all.

This was the first book I read in verse and I think it was written quite well. The book was beautifully written and it talked about struggles that so many people face. It perfectly captures the way that anxiety is often stuffed into a corner and ignored. The shortness of the book better emphasized the importance of the topic it was addressing, and it did a good job dealing with a heavy issue. Lace is developed as a complex character, as most real people are. This made the book seem more realistic and quickly allowed the reader to see that Lace has flaws like anyone else. This is an important part of creating a character and Lace proved to be a strong and determined protagonist. Overall, this book tackled a tough topic through a complex and compelling story.

Something memorable about this book is that it doesn’t just deal with anxiety. It talks about almost everything teens experience from sports to work, and it makes the book very relatable.

Reviewed by Nainika, Twin Hickory Library

Uncategorized

At The End Of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp

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When the world doesn’t want you, you’re shoved into a corner with no one to turn to. That’s how the teens at Hope Juvenile Treatment Center feel, as if no one wants them, and really they don’t. But when the normally cruel guards begin acting strangely, they know this is their chance. They band together and make a break for it until they realize: the world outside is plagued by a mysterious disease, one that’s spreading rapidly. The place that was once their literal prison is now their only safe haven. There’s nowhere to go, and they only have each other.

Everyone in this book was developed well, even though there were quite a few characters. The book was truly written in a way that allowed the reader to see all of the characters’ complexities and true desires. This allowed me to feel a connection to the characters and get sucked into the story. Also, it was very unpredictable and it constantly kept me on the edge of my seat. There were many twists that I wasn’t expecting which is something I really liked. The execution of this book definitely lives up to the premise and it is everything I expected it to be. At The End Of Everything is a breathtaking story about those who are forgotten, and I loved every minute of it.

Something that I found memorable about this book is how all the characters are so different personality wise, yet the similarities between them are undeniable. The circumstances in this book are ones that bring forward so many of the same emotions in them, and it really highlights how at the end of the day, we’re all human.

Reviewed by Nainika, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Cold by Mariko Tamaki

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When Todd Mayer is found dead, he seems like just another kid to Georgia, someone who has nothing to do with her. However, as the investigation unfolds, Georgia realizes that Todd might be more connected to her than she thought, and before she knows it, her family is at the epicenter of the murder. Meanwhile, Todd is a ghost of who he once was: literally. After being found dead in the snow, he feels as if he’s woken up from a deep slumber. Now, he spends his days watching the investigation from above, reflecting on his life and how he got here. He’s left helpless as the secrets of his life are peeled away one by one, finally revealing what happened to him that fateful night.

I really enjoyed this book, especially because of how descriptive it was. Everything was told in great detail making it very easy to visualize the characters and places. I feel like we really get to know Georgia, even though she doesn’t take the front seat in the investigation. The connection she feels to Todd, who she’s never met, allows us to get a glimpse into who she is and what she cares about. The ending was something I never saw coming, even though there were quite a few clues leading up to it. The story is woven in a way that leaves a trail of signs, while being utterly inconspicuous. Overall, this slow burning mystery carefully unfolded into something deeper, making for a great book.

Something memorable about this book is how Georgia and Todd’s chapters are told from different points of view. Georgia’s chapters are in first person and Todd’s are in third person. I really like how this gave Georgia’s chapters a more personal feel and made Todd’s more omniscient, especially because he’s seeing everything from above as a ghost.

Reviewed by Nainika, Twin Hickory Library