Divergent

by Veronica Roth

Divergent coverIn a future Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to a particular virtue- Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Each year, every 16 year old must choose a faction to devote the rest of their lives to. For Beatrice Prior, her decision is between family and herself. She makes the choice to leave her family in Abnegation and be who she was really meant to be- Dauntless. First, she must compete with other initiates to stay in Dauntless and not become factionless. She endures many trials and finds out more about herself than she could have ever imagined. But, she must keep this information to herself... or she could be killed.

Divergent is the most amazing book that I have ever read. I like the moral lesson, to become what YOU want to become rather than follow the path everyone else wants you to choose.

If you can relate to having other people make choices for you, this book is meant for you. "One choice can transform you."-Veroncia Roth

Aleck, 14

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Switched

by Amanda Hocking

Switched coverAt the age of six, her mother convinced herself that Wendy Everly was evil and tried to kill her. Now, Wendy is in high school, and she can't seem to fit in. She soon discovers that maybe her mother was right. She is not the person that she believed she was, and it all starts with one boy... Finn Holmes. He soon reveals the truth to her- she is a changeling and was switched at birth. He has also come to take her home. Wendy is then led into a world she never thought could have existed.

Switched was a well-written story and had many surprises every time I came to a new chapter. If you feel that you can never really find your place in the world, you can relate to Switched and find yourself in love with this story more and more as you read.

Aleck, 14

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Eon

by Alison Goodman

Eon coverThis book was about a girl in China who pretended to be a boy. All she wanted was to be chosen by one of the mighty dragons. She risks her and her master's lives just to get away from living like a peasant.

All in all, Eon was an amazing book. It makes you think of how anyone can become something truly great. Whether a girl or boy, you can do anything if you just set your heart on it.

If you love great fiction stories or magical dragons, you would love Eon by Alison Goodman. She makes the words come off the page and into your minds to really connect with the book.

Aleck, 14

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Can You Keep a Secret?

by Sophie Kinsella

coverOne plane ride has thrown Emma Corigain's life into complete chaos. Her fear of flying makes a stream of secrets slip out, from her annoying co-worker to her boyfriend's idiosyncrasies, to the stranger next to her. When that stranger shows up at her work, Emma Corigain's secret-spilling just might destroy her career.

I personally enjoyed the book and laughed non-stop although the book can be complicated to understand with the British terms such as the word faff. I would say mainly girls would like this book for all ages, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone under the age of ten.

Emily, 14

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The Dark Portal

by Robin Jarvis

Dark Portal coverThe Dark Portal is the first book in The Deptford Mice trilogy. In this book all mice have human-like qualities. Naturally, their mortal enemy are the vicious sewer rats. When a group of small mice get stuck in the sewers and the evil Rat God is after them, things get interesting. 

I really enjoyed reading this book! It starts out a bit slow but once you get into it, its amazing. Things you didn't expect to happen, happen. 

I would definitely recommend this book to anybody who wants to read a good book about the lives of creatures instead of humans. It really brings out your imagination.

Sydney, 15

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The Hunger Games

by Suzanne Collins

Hunger Games coverTalented and resourceful Katniss Everdeen is the breadwinner of the family--except there hasn't been much bread to go around for her impoverished family. Set in a dystopian society far into the future, The Hunger Games follows Katniss as she is forced to venture into a deadly, gladiator-like battle, solely for the elite's entertainment.

The Hunger Games was one of those books that I just couldn't put down, but at the same time, I felt like it was very depressing, so I couldn't make it on to the next book. Although I can't deny that the plot, characters, and setting were both enthralling and imaginative, I just couldn't find the motivation to pull myself through another bittersweet book.

Honestly, I think that everyone should at least give this book a try, but 7th graders and up would understand it better than younger kids. Also, this book is not for the squeamish! If you're afraid of some gory (but not too elaborate) details, feel free to revisit this book when you're a little older.

Erica, 16

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Identical

by Ellen Hopkins

Identical coverIf you've ever read any of Ellen Hopkins books, this one has just as much impact, if not more. Identical follows the life of two twin girls. One suffers from bulimia and the memories of a horrible past, and the other struggles with drug abuse and neglect from her father. The book tells the story from the point of view of both twins.

This is probably one of the best books I've ever read! It was amazing! I never wanted to put it down and the ending really shocked me. It had me on edge the whole time. I loved how the point of view switched from sister to sister so you really got to know each of them. 

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes to read books about the emotional roller coaster we call life. Identical really has a way of hitting home.

Sydney, 15

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Divergent

by Veronica Roth

Divergent coverDivergent is set in a post apocalyptic future. Everyone is split up into 5 groups called factions. At 16, you have to choose which faction to initiate into. Finding out she's divergent, which means she's meant for all the factions and can't be affected by any mind control devices, Beatrice leaves her faction and when one faction tries to take over, it's her job to save the world.

Divergent is one of the best books I've read. It makes you think about your own feelings toward life but still makes you want to read about Beatrice's.

People who really enjoy reading books like The Hunger Games or the Uglies series would really love this book.

Sydney, 15

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Shugo Chara

by Peach Pit

Image result for shugo chara bookA young girl has many insecurities that she hides behind her cool and popular exterior. She soon sets out on a quest to show people who she really is. 

Shugo Chara is a great book for children who have insecurities because the characters deal with many types of problems that kids have today. 

The book is very relatable because Amu Hinamori is a very shy girl who wants to be more outgoing. I recommend it for people who are dealing with personal issues.

Brittany, 16

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Name of the Star

by Maureen Johnson

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

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Peony in Love

by Lisa See

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

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Shanghai Girls

by Lisa See

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

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The Lady and the Unicorn

by Tracey Chevalier

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

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The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt

by Caroline Preston

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

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The Dark City

by Catherine Fisher

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

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