Categories

Name of the Star 

by Maureen Johnson
03/27/2012 Categories: boarding school murder paranormal

Name of the Star coverRory Deveaux, a Louisiana senior in high school, arrives at her new London boarding school to a chilling series of events: someone has been imitating Jack the Ripper, a historical villain who was famous for his gruesome murders of young women. The police have gotten nowhere; security camera footage shows only the victim...or so they think. Separated from everything she knows as home, Rory sees what no one else sees--the invisible criminal, and the secret side of London.

I really liked this book! It was a little scary because of the murders and the general spookiness (this is a supernatural, slightly gory book) but the plot caught me immediately. I wasn't able to put this book down!

Both guys and girls can read this, though I think that girls who like darker books would enjoy this the most.

Erica, 16

Rating: 

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Peony in Love 

by Lisa See
03/22/2012 Categories: ghosts horror romance

coverThis novel is beautifully bound by the author who wrote, Shanghai Girls, Lisa See. The story starts with Peony, a fourteen year old girl, who is insecure and desires love from a man. She sees a man behind a curtain and unconditionally falls in love. Peony's love for the volume " Peony in Pavilion", a book written of a woman's passion, enthralls and lives within her. This book however, also takes her life.

I loved this book, because Peony sees how the world lives without her. She learns more of her family secrets in the after world than she would have alive. This novel shows the reader how the heart does go on after death. Peony's problems don't die after her death but live on.

If you loathe books with a tragic ending, I recommend choosing another book. Despite the ending and tragic scenes, this book is filled with romance. Lisa See amazingly weaves romance with tragedy and a bit of horror. I greatly recommend this book to older teens and teens who love a romance  novel with a little something extra.

Lauren, 16

Rating: 

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Shanghai Girls 

by Lisa See
03/22/2012 Categories: adventure family secrets romance

coverShanghai Girls is an amazing book that tells of a life of two Chinese sisters, both of whom have endured many hardships. Pearl, the main character, is completely different from her sister, May. They may envy each other, but in the end they know they are all each other has left.

This novel contains many twists and incredible irony. You will not be bored reading this book! The novel starts as a happy setting but with each chapter comes a new problem and a new gruesome secret they must never tell. This novel is amazing in every way possible. Lisa See, the author, is known for writing about women joining together to endure life's obstacles. Pearl and May are different, but they complete one another's lives. In every tragedy and dramatic scene, they have each other. This book will bring you and your family closer and build a special bond. Something I found extremely interesting were the Chinese animals. When I was reading, I found out my animal, and I was amazed how the book exactly told my characteristics. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning about how Chinese culture differs from your culture. So, If you like adventure and romance novels, you will enjoy this book!

Lauren, 16

Rating: 

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The Lady and the Unicorn 

by Tracey Chevalier
03/22/2012 Categories: france romance

coverThis fictional historical novel is based on five tapestries: Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch and Sound. The tapestries are designed in the novel by Nicholas Des Innocents. Nicholas is a self- centered artist who only cares about his artwork and women. Claude De Viste is a girl who has a desire for Nicholas but as a noble woman; she must be separated from him.

This was a good a novel because Nicholas's view of women is an example of how women were seen during the 1400's in France. The novel also has different narrators and changes in the setting which keep it interesting. Not only does this novel focuses on paintings but also tapestries, which shows the function the painting has in weaving the tapestries.

I would certainly recommend this book  to anyone who loves art and the true strength of women. However, you don't need to love art to love this novel. The novel offers more than art history but also tells many romance stories which are perfectly intertwined with each other. The novel contains a lot of irony due to the many narrators. I strongly suggest this book to readers above the age of 14, because this novel does contain some intense scenes.

Lauren, 16

Rating: 

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The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt 

by Caroline Preston
03/22/2012 Categories: road trip

Frankie Pratt coverFor her graduation from high school in 1920, Frankie Pratt receives a scrapbook and her father’s old Corona typewriter. Despite Frankie’s dreams of becoming a writer, she must forgo a college scholarship to help her widowed mother. But when a mysterious Captain James sweeps her off her feet, her mother finds a way to protect Frankie from the less-than-noble intentions of her unsuitable beau.

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt was very different than what I've ever read before, and it was enjoyable to look through the pictures yet still understand the story at the same time. Frankie is a likeable (but sometimes annoying) protagonist that has a very dynamic life, documented in a way that you can't ignore.

I loved the book. Although there were some more controversial parts of it that weren't suitable for younger children, it was overall a very enigmatic and interesting book. Anyone who likes vintage things or a unique, "scrapbooking" would enjoy this book. I would recommend this to kids in high school and up only.

Erica, 16

Rating: 

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The Dark City 

by Catherine Fisher
02/29/2012 Categories: fantasy sci fi

Dark City coverThe world used to be governed by magic and the Order, who used valuable Relic Boxes to heighten their powers. Now, it is controlled by the Watch, which outlawed all the Makers of the Order and spun lies about them, clouding the truth. Galen and Raffi are two of the last of the Order. Along with mysterious Carys, they travel to the heart of the evil, Tasceron, in order to completely banish the Watch from their land.

This book was average, mainly because it never really held my interest very well. I thought the entire plot was drawn out too long, and I wasn't sure where the entire story line was going until the very end. However, the setting in which the story is placed intrigues me, though I wanted to give up reading multiple times. All in all, I was disappointed with the outcome of The Dark City (the first in the Relic Masters series).

I would recommend this book to those who like sci-fi or fantasy, but if you're in need of something constantly exciting, you might get a bit bored with this.

Erica, 16

Rating: 

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Girl with a Pearl Earring 

by Tracey Chevalier
02/29/2012 Categories: art movie romance

Girl with a Pearl Earring coverThe novel ,Girl with a Pearl Earring is actually inspired and was named after a real painting. The novel is based on a servant girl, Griet, who becomes an assistant to a painter, Johannes Vermeer, whom she greatly admires and secretly loves.

Girl with a Pearl Earring is a stellar novel that takes the reader into the world of art and its amazing history. Griet behaves and looks like a shy and modest girl but, when threatened and severely angered, she can become a fierce animal. This novel proves that you should not judge a book by its cover. 

I hghly recommend this book to others because even though you might not be into art history, you will love it after you read this book. The author, Tracey Chevalier, makes art history fun and interesting. So, If you like books that not only contain romance, but are also educational, read this book!

Lauren, 16

Rating: 

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The Iron Thorn 

by Caitlin Kittredge
02/29/2012 Categories: fantasy horror steampunk

Iron Thorn coverAoife has an unfortunate history: her mother is crazy and locked in an asylum, and her brother, who contracted the deadly Necrovirus that runs in the family, ran away from his asylum and is now a convict. Now, as she nears her 16th birthday, a note from her elusive brother appears with the words "Find the witch's alphabet. Save yourself". Deciding to run away from her life at a steampunk engineering academy, Aoife embarks on a journey that will save her from the Necrovirus that will soon rip her of her sanity.

To me, The Iron Thorn was an average book. It dwelled a lot on the witchcraft factor that kind of took away from the entire "steampunk" genre, which is supposed to be relating to Victorian futuristic machinery and engineering. If I had to say, this book was a mix of "Faerie" fantasy, steampunk, some romance, and a dash of horror too.

If you enjoy steampunk, magic, or darker books, you would like this one. If you're kind of squeamish, stay away! And by all means, do not read at night alone like I did!

Erica, 16

Rating: 

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The Time Traveler's Wife 

by Audrey Niffenegger
02/29/2012 Categories: action romance time travel

Time Traveler's Wife coverThis book is about a wife whose beloved is a time traveler, and she must endure every obstacle to maintain and strengthen their love. This book shows how two people, Clare and Henry, that have completely different lives can still love and hold a strong bond.

This novel will reach your heart and reveal hardships of a romantic couple. Time Traveler's Wife will show the reader how through time, all secrets will suddenly be revealed. It is overall an amazing book that will captivate the reader's attention from the first page.  

I recommend this book to teens above fourteen, because the book does contain many intense scenes not suitable for young readers. If you like romantic books with a hint of action and mystery, this book is the one for you!

Lauren, 16

Rating: 

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Night of Many Dreams 

by Gail Tsukiyama
02/29/2012 Categories: holocaust realistic fiction wwII

Image result for night of many dreamsNight of Many Dreams is centered around the lives of Hong Kong's socially elite Lew family. The novel focuses on the two daughters of the Lew family, Emma and Joan. We follow them as they evacuate Hong Kong in the face of a Japanese invasion. No matter the situation the Lew family always endures together.

I really liked this book because it's different than other novels about socialites. The women of the Lew family weren't just pretty, rich girls that got whatever they wanted. They had emotional depth, and were therefore more realistic.

I would recommend this book to others who enjoy historical fiction, particularly focusing on WWII. I also think that people who enjoy books focused on the bonds of a family would enjoy this, but I do warn that this book isn't sappy or sweet at all. It's more about tragedy and hardship, and the Lew family's endurance in the face of those obstacles. 

Gillyn, 15

Rating: 

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The Lab 

by Jack Heath
02/29/2012 Categories: action dystopia spies suspense

The Lab coverAgent Six of Hearts is the best and youngest field agent in the vigilante force, The Deck, fighting against the evil government ChaoSonic that has corrupted the continent. The world is filled with an impenetrable fog, creating pollution and sickness--it's a miracle if one can live to 60. As an old enemy that was supposed to be crushed rises up once again, it's up to Six to stop them from creating a weapon of mass destruction that will allow ChaoSonic to gain complete control of not only their continent, but the world.

I loved this book for the action scenes. What's more exciting than a teenage spy in a dystopian world? Heath caught me by surprise in many of the twists and turns in this book, and every character is both memorable and likeable.

Anyone who likes the Alex Rider series (spies) or even the Hunger Games (dystopia) would enjoy this book.

Erica, 16

Rating: 

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Beauty Queens 

by Libba Bray
02/18/2012 Categories: materialism spoof survival stories

Beauty Queens coverThe contestants for Miss Teen Dream, from Miss California to Miss Maine, are on a plane, heading to their destination when something unthinkable happens: their plane crash-lands on an unidentified island, out in the middle of nowhere. With the airplane crew, camera crew, and many of the pageant queens dead, the remaining must figure out a way to get rescued, and most importantly, survive.

This book touched on a lot of controversial aspects that I didn't support, but it did really make me realize how superficial and materialistic our society is. The way the characters reacted to things was also quite unrealistic, but there were some good aspects of the book as well. (I felt like it was an interesting portrayal of a modern "Lord of the Flies".) 

Only high schoolers should read this, definitely no one younger than 15. There are some topics discussed in this book that a lot of teenagers face that are more appropriate for older teens' eyes.

Erica, 16

Rating: 

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Vesper 

by Jeff Sampson

Vesper coverEmily Webb doesn't fit in anywhere. She doesn't talk much, is best friends with the most sarcastic girl in school, wears sweatshirts every day, and watches movies as her daily diet. Suddenly, strange things begin to happen to her: starting with the night her classmate, Emily Cooke, is murdered. That same night, she is hit by a spur-of-the-moment urge to sneak out her window, only to look down and realize just a few moments before, her personality turned into someone (or something) completely different. Confused and scared, Emily realizes that there's something different about her that separates her from possibly humanity itself, and that someone is out to get her. 

I would give this a 3.5 if I could, mainly because although the plot was confusing, I couldn't put this book down and immediately scoured through the sequel afterwards. Firstly, the thing that bugged me the most was how exactly Emily came to the conclusion that she was (SPOILER ALERT) a werewolf. Maybe I missed something, but I genuinely thought she had some sort of Jekyll and Hyde syndrome until she, well, sprouted fur. Despite my confusion, however, there is something about this book that wouldn't let me put it down. Maybe it was the plot action, or the interesting book setup. 

This 'drive' to gallop through the book is what I think has made a lot of books (such as Twilight and The Hunger Games) famous. I think that this itself warrants at least a peek at the first couple of chapters, so werewolf-lovers, make sure to pick up a copy the next time you stop by at the library!

Erica, 16

Rating: 

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Havoc 

by Jeff Sampson

Havoc coverEmily Webb, human-werewolf hybrid, is back in action: this time along with Spencer and some new cohorts--and enemies. As she uncovers more of her mysterious past, and how she and the others became werewolves in the first place, Emily realizes how dangerous the path the teens tread can be.

The best part of the book was, in my opinion, the addition of more Deviants. Dalton, who recently recovered from his head injury, is back in the game and excited to test out his new abilities. However, what pained me the most was the escapades the group shared, such as breaking into a secret lab and whatnot without much difficulty. I felt like the events portrayed in the book were unrealistic as a whole, yet somehow the naivety of the Deviants were fitting--after all, they're only teenagers.

Again, with the massive cliffhanger at the end of the sequel, I am eagerly anticipating the third installment of Vesper. If you like werewolves (or simply teens who can kick butt), check out this book the next time you drop by at the library!

Erica, 16

Rating: 

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Lord of the Flies 

by William Golding

Lord of the Flies coverLord of the Flies is about a plane of boys that crash onto an island and try to survive. They first start out by having a leader, but slowly they start to go insane.

I liked the book, but it was a little hard to read because of the advanced vocabulary. It was definitely psychological and dealt with a lot of hidden meanings in sentences that made you have to go back and read it again. 

I would recommend this book if you like adventurous settings. Also keep in mind this book is a challenge, and I would say that children twelve and older could read this.

Audrey, 14

Rating: 

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