Escondido Public Library - Teen Book Reviews

Posts in Category: family drama

Tell Me Three Things

by Julie Buxbaum

Image result for tell me three things book coverJessie Holmes is starting her junior year at a new prep school in LA where
the only person she knows is her new stepmother's jerky son. One day she
suddenly receives an anonymous email from a person who calls themselves
Somebody/Nobody, S/N for short. S/N gives her advice on school and life. She
begins to rely on S/N to keep her from falling apart and vice versa.

I really liked this book and I completely recommend it!! I liked it because it was
funny, romantic, and a page-turner! I like how even though many of us think we
cannot relate to Jessie since her experiences are different (her mother died, her father eloped, she moved from
Chicago to LA, and going to prep school), during the story you find that you
can relate to her on some level.

I would recommend this book to people that love romantic comedies, sibling
rivalry, and fancy prep school people. I hope you read this book and enjoy it as
much as I did! ;)

Mia, 14


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The Romantics

by Leah Konen

Gael Brennan's girlfriend just broke up with him in the most cruel way possible and now, a few days later, he's about to fall for the totally wrong girl. This is a story of love, in the point of view of Love itself. 

When I first heard about the concept of this book I thought it was genius and I knew I had to get my hands on it. I loved this book. I loved the totally new way to tell a story from third-person, by telling it by an emotion. The main character, Gael, was so lovable.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves love or is looking for a quick, fun read. You see him falling for the wrong girl and roll your eyes, but later see him falling for the right one and you'll have hearts in your eyes. There are a lot of family moments and some flashbacks that will have you awing. You will not regret picking up this book!

Katelyn, 14


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The First Time She Drowned

by Kerry Kletter

This book is a very depressing book, and it will ruin your day. Seriously. You can try to read it, but I am just writing a review on this book just to warn you. The book itself is about a 16-year old girl, Cassie O' Malley. Her family is abusive, and her mother forced Cassie into a mental institution. This is where she understands herself. She struggles through her two and a half years there. She befriends someone named James. He smokes, and teaches her how. She claims that the only reason why she smokes is because there is 'nothing else' to do in the bland, dull colored mental institution.

It was a sad, depressing story. Cassie was different in her family, and she was pulled from her house, and placed in a mental hospital. Her mother forced her into the car, and even tied her up, and told her brother not to help her. The reason why the book is called The First Time She Drowned, was because when she was younger, her brother always showed off in front of his mother. Cassie tried to also, but the only thing she got from her mother, was a look as if she was threatening her brother. Her mother is so full of herself, and she can manipulate you little by little.

I would recommend this book to those who like bleak stories, and depressing characters. When you read it, you feel like you are the one who is suffering. Not Cassie herself. The language is harsh, and the plot is really bad. People comment that the book is about a girl, who goes through a change, and gets into college. They claim it is a beautiful story. I wonder what they mean by that...

Priscilla, 12


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We Were Liars

by E. Lockhart

This novel is a captivating mystery-drama depicting the main character, Cadence, as she deals with the repercussions of tragedies that happened the previous summer.

This book had never-ending surprises and twists that kept me at the edge of my seat. This book was captivating from beginning to end. It had an unsettling atmosphere that haunted both the main character and the reader.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of mysteries with no definitive ending. I recommend that you go into this book blind, without any prior knowledge of what it's about, in order to enjoy it to its fullest potential.

Hannah, 17


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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

by Betty Smith

The book focuses on a poor Irish-American teenage girl and her family as they live in Brooklyn, New York City. The book takes place during the first two decades of the 20th century.

I liked the book because it dealt with a family that was from Irish decent and I though it was interesting because many people came from countries far away and they had to adjust to life in America. Also, the girl's family is poor which I can relate to in a way.

If you like reading books about poverty and overcoming obstacles I suggest this book. Also, if you like reading about the motivation people have to live differently than they're parents try this book!

Sandra, 16


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A Thousand Splendid Suns

by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns is about two women. One is named Miriam, who's father arranges a marriage between her and Rasheed. She marries him and tries to have children. She is unable and he becomes abusive. Later, Laila marries Rasheed after her parents are killed by a rocket. She becomes pregnant and gives birth to a girl and he becomes abusive towards her as well. The two women become friends and have to deal with an abusive husband until something changes that.

I liked this book because it talks about how women are treated in a different country. I like that the author didn't hold back because it really makes the reader understand how those women must have felt.

If you have read The Kite Runner I recommend reading this book. It's an emotional story about how two women become friends after having to live with an abusive husband. If you like reading about drama and how women are treated like less than humans you should read this book.

Sandra, 16


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Romeo and Juliet

by William Shakespeare

This play is about two young lovers who are from different families who are rivals. Romeo is the son of Montague and Lady Montague. Juliet is the daughter of Capulet and Lady Capulet. The two fall in love but can't be together so they end up killing themselves. At the end their deaths bring the families together.

I liked this play because it's interesting because of how the two decide to kill themselves when they realize they can't be with each other. Also I though it was I interesting that death brought the families togerther instead of love.

I recommend this play if you like stories that deal with love and fate. Also, if you like plays that have symbols of light and dark I suggest this one.

Sandra, 16


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The Glass Castle

by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle is a memoir, written by Jeannette Walls. In this book, Walls explains what it was like growing up in poverty. She recounts how her siblings and she had to live with parents who were not the type of parents to be raising so many kids. Her childhood included many difficult times that shaped her into the person she became.

I liked this book because the author had to see so many things in her childhood that many kids shouldn't see. She had to live with two parents who were not in any condition to raise children. It made me think about how lucky I am to have been raised by good parents and not to have grow up as the author did.

I think people of all ages should read this book. It makes you become aware of situations that happen everyday that you might not think about. You sympathize with the author and her siblings and what they went through. This was a very inspiring read!

Sandra, 16


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Eleanor and Park

by Rainbow Rowell

The novel, Eleanor and Park, tells the love story of two outsiders during the 1980's who find solace and comfort in each other's differences. Eleanor and Park is a story of family, emotional turmoil and first loves and how fleeting they truly are.

The novel, as a whole, was exceptional. The writing style is beautiful yet witty; there are no boring scenes within this book. The characters are well-developed and for the most part, quite realistic. The ending leaves a bit to be desired, but the journey easily makes up for it.

Yes, I would highly recommend this book! It was a fun and easy read. If you like coming of age stories with a slight 80's twist, you will definitely enjoy this novel! 

Hannah, 16


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by Marisa Reichardt

Underwater is about a teenage girl who goes through a traumatic experience. On October fifteenth, at a school in California, everything changed. That day was the day that Morgan tried to help somebody and do something nice but that small act of kindness plays a role in a deadly tragedy. Before that day, Morgan loved the beach, the smell of the ocean breeze, and hanging out with her friends and talking about the latest gossip. After that day, Morgan can’t move on. The idea of leaving her house has her sobbing at her door step. She can't even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface, drowning. The only person she interacts with besides her family is Brenda, her psychologist. But before Morgan can step outside, she must find the courage to forgive, first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and herself.

I really liked this book because the main character, Morgan, and I almost share some things like not having an amazing father and having to go to therapy but then there are things like a school shooting that I cannot relate to like completely isolating myself from the outside world. This book had been pretty emotional and the message was really interesting. The way that Morgan describes how she used to view the outside world is something that I've never thought much about and made me realize never to take certain things for granted.

I think that if anybody were dealing with some similar experiences as Morgan, then I would suggest that you read this book. This book has not only changed the way I feel about a certain place and person but made me feel like this character understood what I went through a little bit in the past and the saying "You're not the only one" is something that I constantly tell myself when I'm going through a hard time.

Isabella, 16


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East of Eden

by John Steinbeck

This book follows three generations of the Trask and Hamilton families. Written as a direct allusion to the biblical story of Cain and Abel, it addresses the themes of sibling conflict and the struggle for parental affection.

This book doesn't have a straightforward conflict and solution; it includes a variety of real life familial and existential crises. For this reason, I found this novel to be realistic and poignant. The book is heavy with interesting description and complex character development.

This book is a must-read because of Steinbeck's unique writing style and emotional plot twists. It offers a wide variety of characters from the wise and fatherly Samuel Hamilton, to the sickly sadistic Catherine. Readers should note that it deals with some serious topics, but not to a ridiculous extent. 

Julia, 17


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by Ellen Hopkins

With six sisters, an absent mother, abusive father, and a church who thinks she's a sinner what else can Pattyn do, but act like a perfect Mormon girl. When she just can't take it anymore, she acts out and gets sent to live with her Aunt Jeanette in Nevada. While there she learns how to be herself and how to live her life the way she wants with the guy she didn't know she wanted.

Burned is an amazing book because of the brilliant writing techniques, but also because it makes you think about how you never know what some bodies life is like until you step into their shoes. The main character's perspective on life was a new refreshing one that added a layer of depth to the storyline. Overall this book was amazing.

This book is for those who enjoy stepping out of their shoes into someone else's. Anyone can enjoy this book because the author sets a realistic, beautiful story line and main character.

Mackenzie, 15


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The Isle of the Lost

by Melissa de la Cruz

The Isle of the Lost is about Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay going on an adventure looking for Maleficent's scepter. In their adventure, each of the characters have to go through a puzzle based on their life. Also, the book talks about how Mal, Maleficent's daughter, feels about her mother and her own future.

I liked this book because it talks about each of the characters emotions and how I can relate to them. Also, it was great to see Mal standing up to her mother, even though her mom has always put her down and compared her to her "weak" father.

I would recommend this book because I think that many people enjoy dramatic and powerful books, such as this one. If you like fantasy with drama, you"ll like The Isle of the Lost! Lastly, I would recommend it to others because if you enjoy going deeper into the characters lives and getting more details, you'll like this book!

Michelle, 11


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Nowhere But Here

by Katie McGarry

Nowhere But Here is about Emily, who gets swept up in her biological father's motorcycle gang and their rivalries. Oz, a prospective member of The Reign of Terror motorcycle club is told to look after Emily. As both of them try to learn more about the club's past, they discover what a great team they are.

I enjoyed Nowhere But Here because of the amazing character development that went into Emily and Oz's characters. I also enjoyed the plot that kept me guessing.

I'd recommend this book to readers 16 and older who enjoy stories with action and danger. This read is unique and unlike anything I've ever read before, but could appeal to readers who enjoyed the antics of the Dauntless in the Divergent series.

Amanda, 16


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The Probability of Miracles

by Wendy Wunder

The Probability of Miracles is about Campbell, a girl who's days are numbered. Her mom, refusing to accept this inevitability, moves Campbell and her sister to a town in Maine where miracles have been known to happen. As Campell resigns herself to a quiet life and quieter death, her sister and mom encourage her to live her life to the fullest.

I loved The Probability of Miracles. It was hilarious and devastating at the same time. Probably one of the most honest portrayals of the human experience I've read.

I would recommend this book to older teens who love film references and sarcastic characters who are brutally honest. Fans of John Green's The Fault In Our Stars and Looking for Alaska would enjoy this book.

Amanda, 16


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