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Bookjacket for  39 Deaths of Adam Strand

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39 Deaths of Adam Strand 39 Deaths of Adam Strand / Gregory Galloway

Adam strand kills himself out of boredom one day. However, he wakes up 24 hours later just fine--and then he kills himself 38 other times. Adam is telling the stories in past tense and each way he died is different. It is very interesting to read and has a great writing style. Although it is a good book, it does get depressing at times, so keep that in mind. - Adam S.


Bookjacket for The 5th Wave

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The 5th Wave The 5th Wave / Rick Yancey

The Fifth Wave follows Cassie, a girl fighting for her life while struggling to find a way to save her brother. It is her against the others, and it seems like an impossible situation. She and others must choose to stand up and fight rather than allow themselves to be smashed into nothing as if they were nothing more than cockroaches. I absolutely loved the book. It was if I was unable to put the book down, and when I did, I was still living inside the story. Yancey was able to humanize the characters so that they seemed very realistic and I was able to connect with them. Yancey was able to emote feeling through his writing, which is something I feel as though many authors are lacking. I have reread this book many times because I love it so much. The most compelling aspect of the book is the way the author was able to weave so many intricacies into the plot line. There are subtle things throughout the book that reappear later on and help to connect the story line together. Maggie H.

 


Bookjacket for  Alchemy and Meggy Swann

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Alchemy and Meggy Swann Alchemy and Meggy Swann / Karen Cushman

The crippled daughter of an ungracious mother and an alchemist father, Meggy Swann is ungratefully dumped in her father's house in late 1500s London with only her harsh tongue to comfort her. Obdurate and bitter, she refuses to befriend even the friendliest faces that come her way. But that is all about to change when she discovers her father's plot to kill a lord.

The cover was illustrated beautifully and absorbed the nature and the plot of the book. The illustration was wonderful and peaked the interest of the reader. However, the synopsis on the back cover did not do justice to the plot and the nature of the book.

Alchemy and Meggy Swann captures the attention of the reader and shows that even in the darkest of times, there is a light waiting to be seen. The book was well-written and explores original and thoughtful aspects of life. Alchemy and Meggy Swann explores the strength of solidarity and the kindness of the individual, despite the harshness of the crowd. This book brings out the good in a grim, dark time in history that brings gratefulness to the reader. This was very historically accurate and brought about the appropriate mood. Alchemy and Meggy Swann is recommended for those young and old, historian and psychologist, reader and writer. - Kelsey E.

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Bookjacket for  All Our Yesterdays

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All Our Yesterdays All Our Yesterdays / Cristin Terrill

Em is a prisoner of a man who she knows as "the Doctor." When she finds a list of instructions in the drain, she is the only one who can complete the final instruction--which is necessary in order to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. Everything else has failed. Marina, however, will not let anything happen to her best friend, Em, who she has loved her entire life. Em and Marina have been thrown into a race, a competitition that they cannot both win. All our Yesterdays has an intense, exciting plot that few other authors could pull off with its mysteries, adventure, and excitement. Yet Cristin Terrill manages to keep the plot going and add surprises along the way. I read this book in less than a day, and loved it all the way through. Despite the sad ending, I could not think of anything the author should have done differently. - Gabi S.

Another take... Em and Finn confront their past selves to try to prevent the horrible future where time travel is manipulated and people whose motives were only good turn evil when given the power to change the world with time. The time travel and suspense associated with it is seamless, and the revelations at the end are timed perfectly, revealing the character's motives and fixing time despite the intricate plot. - Olivia C.


Bookjacket for  Amy's Choice

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Amy's Choice Amy's Choice / Marcia Strykowski

After Miss Cogshell's death and Craig, Amy's crush, going to Boston for a little while, Amy feels so alone. Until Cat Fantino moves to town. They become best friends, help Finn, the lighthouse keeper, stay out of jail, and help Finn sell some of his artwork. All the while Amy might be falling for Ricky, Cat's brother, just in time for Craig to come home. This was a fantastic book set in Maine with a main character that almost anyone can connect to. –Kady W.


Bookjacket for The angel experiment

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The angel experiment The angel experiment / James Patterson

Maximum Ride (Max) is as normal as any other fourteen year old girl except that she's an mutant avian hybrid. The girl has wings, but it's not like she is the only one with wings--there's Fang, Iggy, Nugde, Gazzy, and Angel. Being an teen can be tough at times especially when you're being hunted down by one of your worse enemies--Erasers--which are wolf hybrids. They are not the nicest fellows, but they work for someone even worse. The only thing worse then being hunted down by White Coats (even worse enemy then Erasers) is when Angel, the youngest member of the flock, gets captured by the Erasers and taken to the White Coats. Now it's up to Max to save Angel and to not get herself and the rest of the flock captured as well. 

This novel was much better then I thought it would be. There is just so much that makes this book very interesting. The characters are nicely done and they all have different personalities and different tastes. The story line is very interesting and intriguing--I finished it very quickly. The chapters are short as in only three to four pages which makes you want to read more chapters and then you start getting farther in the book and then you just don't want to put it down! It was suspenseful at times which made me excited and nervous and I just wanted to read faster so that I could find out what was to happen next. I wouldn't mind reading this book again sometime. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes action and adventure, and I hope you enjoy it too. Arianna D. 


Bookjacket for  Anna and the French Kiss

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Anna and the French Kiss Anna and the French Kiss / Stephanie Perkins

Anna Oliphant didn't want to leave Georgia for her senior year of high school, even if she was being transplanted to Paris. When she arrives, though, she meets a host of new and interesting people - including Etienne St. Clair, a guy who is both (fortunately) gorgeous and (unfortunately) taken. It's not hard to guess where the story goes from there.

The cover was sweet. It was nice to see the heroine's face for once - so many cover artists seem to operate under the assumption that it's easier to empathize with someone you can imagine looking like yourself, so faces on covers have become rather a rarity. I wish St. Clair had also been shown, but I'll take what I can get. And the Eiffel Tower in the background, of course, is a nice setting piece. Visually the whole image is light, much like the book.

Oh, I did so enjoy this one. The relationship between Anna and St. Clair was very well-developed and well-paced. Some of their interactions just made me grin, they were so sweet together. Both were interesting characters, imperfect but wonderful in their own ways. I loved reading about them. At the heart, that's why I loved the book: it's a pretty straightforward, fairly uncomplicated romance but it's very character-driven, which (in my opinion) all good books should be. Addendum: In the acknowledgements at the end, Ms. Perkins thanks someone who put up with endless questions of 'Is the boy hot enough?'. Well. The boy is hot enough. Definitely. - Lisa M. 

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Bookjacket for  Ask the Passengers

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Ask the Passengers Ask the Passengers / A.S. King

This book is about a girl named Astrid who faces questions about her sexuality in a small, judgmental town—questions about how she feels about her family, her friends, and her girlfriend in a very oppressive environment. Astrid is a main character with a very unique perspective, asking the same kinds of questions which many other teens ask about themselves and others but which books do not often include. The challenges that Astrid has to overcome are some which other teens might also be facing, so the novel's themes are relatable.

The cover portrays Astrid as she often is in the story, "asking the passengers" of airplanes in the sky. The cover reflects the content of the novel because it shows a girl who is reaching upwards, which is like how the main character often looks to the sky and the passengers of airplanes for answers to her toughest questions. The parts of the book when Astrid asks the passengers for advice and the author includes stories of the passengers who receive the love that Astrid sends and who are asking similar questions really tie the book together. They offer a break from the intense drama of the story, and make it even more relatable in some cases because they show how Astrid isn't the only one who has unanswered questions, and that different people have different ways of dealing with tough situations.

The most compelling part of the book was wondering how Astrid would sort out her life, and how she would "come out" in her town and to a family that was very judgmental. This was the part that kept me reading, and the author did a good job of making the story suspenseful and dramatic to make you want to keep reading. I think that the recommended reading age level of 15 and up as stated on the back of the book is appropriate for the book's content. - Olivia C.

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Bookjacket for  Battle Magic

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Battle Magic Battle Magic / Tamora Pierce

Battle Magic depicts the events between Street Magic and The Will of the Empress. It expands the characters of Briar, Evvy, and Rosethorn. While in Yanjing, they encounter individual and "tailored" hardships, each on their own. Tamora Pierce filled out the shadow that was the events between Street Magic and The Will of the Empress tactfully while adding the little details that were hinted at in The Will of the Empress and Melting Stones. Briar, Evvy, and Rosethorn had some of the worst things possible done to them but even though it could be considered one of the others fault, no blame was held. It really helped in seeing more of their characters, especially Rosethorn and Evvy. - Akiva W.


Bookjacket for  Below the surface

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Below the surface Below the surface / Tim Shoemaker

 Four kids are on a vacation when they witness what could possibly be the murder of a teenage girl. They have to face their fears and uncover the clues to find out if it really was a murder and who the murderer was. I believe that this book is the third book in the series. It makes references to the first two books but even though I have not read them, the story is still very clear and I still understood what was going on. I think the characters were well developed and realistic. The story plot itself went along smoothly. The mystery was resolved at the end in a very settle manner, that is, the clues leading up to that moment built up the suspense and the ending wasn't too sudden. I wanted to know to know who the murderer was and what really happened! I've read only a few mystery books, and didn't like most of them for the sheer fact that they were a bit boring! But this book didn't seem like a full blown mystery until you found out that someone might have died! And I enjoyed that! It was a bit like suspense, but didn't leave you hanging as much.
– Emma T.


Bookjacket for  Beyond Suspicion

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Beyond Suspicion Beyond Suspicion / Catherine Winn

Shelby hates her mother’s new husband, even more so when he makes her stay home from her first boys and girls party to babysit her baby brother, but when she looks away for a second while walking her brother, he disappears. She is now the prime suspect, and no matter how much she tries to tell the police about the van that has been following her, they don't believe her. So, she takes matters into her own hands, finds her own allies and will find her brother. Annie K.


Bookjacket for  Black Ice

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Black Ice Black Ice / Becca Fitzpatrick

 Britt is going on a backpacking trip up in the mountains with a friend, but when their car gets stuck in the snow, they are kidnapped by two men who want Britt to show them how to get off the mountain. As she discovers evidence of many murders that took place on the mountain, she fears more for her life and hopes that her ex, Calvin, will come. She soon discovers that everyone is keeping secrets and maybe one of her kidnappers, Mason, might not be as cold-hearted as he seems.

This book amazed me whenever something happened, constantly kept my interest, had amazing characters, and fabulous writing. I just loved it! I did like the cover because it seemed mysterious, yet adventurous, and really pretty and thought out. It did reflect the contents on the setting being a mountain and really cold, and being really mysterious on the characters front. The most compelling aspect was how you thought you knew everything that was happening, but after a little while, you realized that your hypothesis was dead wrong. Everything was not how it seemed.  –Annie K.


Bookjacket for  Blink and Caution

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Blink and Caution Blink and Caution / Tim Wynne-Jones

Blink saw something he shouldn't have. He took something he shouldn't have too. Let's just say that he's gotten himself into a fair amount of trouble. Caution is involved with people she shouldn't be. She's running from something that shouldn't have happened. Let's just say that she has a lot to run from. When they meet, they find something in each other that they should have found a ling time ago. It's up to the both of them to help each other get through a scandal and their pasts; let's just say they have a lot to do for one another.

The cover was intense - the bullet holes very powerful and the background eerie. Perfect for this book.

I love this book. Definitely adding it to my favorite list. The most compelling aspect of it was the unique narration. I would never have thought that 2nd person would work as well as it worked for Blink's narration, but it was amazing how it got me, as a reader, into Blink's head. I sometimes forgot that it was even in 2nd person it was that perfect for Blink. The author did a phenomenal job weaving the character's pasts, and a great job revealing them a little at a time. It kept the suspense high, not that the author needed much help in that department. Between Blink and Caution, the conflict within their own heads was enough, without the added fake kidnapping thrown on top. Seriously, this book was just phenomenal - READ IT!!  - Rachel M.

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Bookjacket for The Bodies We Wear

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The Bodies We Wear The Bodies We Wear / Jeyn Roberts

 The Bodies We Wear is about the fictional life of Faye. One night she and her best friend, Christian, are forced to take the new drug Heam, in revenge for her father’s betrayal, but she lived and he didn't. After getting taken in by a stranger after her mother disowned her for the irreversible effects of the drug, her only goal is revenge, until she meets Chael. The plan gets more complicated as he knows all about her, and has her question her motives. This book was a very interesting and realistic book. The writing was better than most and it seemed realistic with all the new drugs coming to the market and the deadliness of them. The drug in the book, Heam (entirely made up), leaves scars over your body, brings you to deaths door, and is extremely addicting. This sounds like many of the drugs on the market now, but to the next extreme. –Annie K.


Bookjacket for  Book of Broken Hearts

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Book of Broken Hearts Book of Broken Hearts / Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts documents the summer of Jude, a girl whose father has Alzheimer's, and whose sisters have a history of broken hearts. Her sisters have always warned her about boys, especially Vargas boys, but when Jude meets Emilio Vargas, she realizes that her sisters might have been wrong. This book sucked me in from the beginning. By the end of the first sentence, I was best friends with Jude, and wanted to keep reading if only for her sake. I also fell in love with all the characters, including Emilio, and was able to share in their joys and their sorrows. Jude is such a strong personality, and one that is both unique and one that I can identify with. I care about her struggles with her father's disease, and her relationships with her sisters. The book was driven by the characters, and I loved them all. The cover shows a book, like the Book of Broken Hearts, with the flower that Emilio stole from Jude later in the story. It demonstrated accurately the kind of book you were getting into: it was both happy and feminine, but also sad, and thoughtful.  - Bethany C. 


Bookjacket for The Book Thief

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The Book Thief The Book Thief / Markus Zusak

Liesel, on a train to what will be her family for the next several years, is being put into the foster care system during Nazi Germany, and then her little brother dies. That is when it begins, the stealing of the books—at her brother's burial, the theft of a gravedigger's guide.

I thought The Book Thief was very good. The interactions between characters as they play around Liesel's desire to read and what comes from that were rather interesting. Looking back at the book now, it does seem as if it was written such that Liesel was manipulating the interaction. Besides this, Markus Zusak is just such a good writer that he makes it one of the best books I've read in a long time. Ethan S.

 


Bookjacket for  Books of Magic

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Books of Magic Books of Magic / Neil Gaiman

The Books Of Magic is pure Neil Gaiman. It shares many qualities with his Sandman comics (including Death and Destiny, two of Morpheus’s Endless siblings).  It looks at magic in an unusual way. And lastly, that which marks all of Gaiman’s work- it makes you want to dive in, through the vivid illustrations, and just wander around this beautiful, terrible, foreign world.

As the first volume of its series, the main purpose of The Books Of Magic is to introduce the main character, which it does in fine fashion. Timothy Hunter is an ordinary boy, or so he thinks- until four mysterious men show up.

“Do you believe in magic?” they ask. Naturally, being a child of modern times, he says no- at which point one of them turns his yo-yo into an owl.

It only gets stranger from there. The magic of Gaiman’s world is not simple, the future not set, the past not untouchable. This is Harry Potter in the city—with the “Trenchcoat Brigade” for Hogwarts, and a skateboard for a broomstick.  - Lisa M. 


Bookjacket for  Broken

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Broken Broken / C.J. Lyons

Scarlet Killian has a rare heart disease called Long QT. She can die anytime, any day, any moment. She is given the opportunity to go to high school for a week, though things get more complicated than she realizes. Broken is a beautifully written novel with the suspense gradually building and a spike in the last few chapters. You don't want to put it down. It goes so far to challenge our views on certain things and makes you really think about society and the exceptions in it. You can never exhaust things to wonder about that this book brings up.  - Ethan S. 


Bookjacket for The Bunker Diary

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The Bunker Diary The Bunker Diary / Kevin Brooks

This boy named Linus who lives on the streets of New York gets abducted by this man and is taken to what he thinks is underground. He has just enough necessities to survive without any knowledge of what's going on outside. Besides an elevator like lift. Eventually five other people accompany him. Escaping means punishment and just enough of something useful or harmful will sometimes come down the lift.

I was told this book was creepy. I could see how it was, yet it still fit into the context. I personally didn't know what it was leading into until I finished the book and realized how balanced it was compared to other books like this. There are two books that I think are like this- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and this one. It wasn't my favorite, yet it was definitely one of the most "complete" books I've read. I don't regret reading it and wouldn't change anything about it.    -Gianna


Bookjacket for  Buzz Kill

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Buzz Kill Buzz Kill / Beth Fantaskey

I thought that the book Buzz Kill by Beth Fantaskey was pretty entertaining. I thought that the beginning was very slow though. As I continued it got more interesting. Suddenly I was unable to get my head out of the book. The ending wasn't bad but the middle was by far the best and the beginning the worst. If you love murder stories and love stories then this is the book for you. I especially liked how Beth Fantaskey made both genres come together in an entertaining way. I think that the book has more good aspects than bad. It's not the best but definitely worth reading. –Doha M.S.


Bookjacket for  Can't Look Away

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Can't Look Away Can't Look Away / Donna Cooner

Torrey Grey's sister got hit by a car while she was recording one of her vlogs, shes famous on youtube, this makes her family move to Texas, and to new people who don't know her. She can't record, the face that looks back at her is not the one she wants, and it's hard enough trying to find her place at school, dealing with the boy who she has a crush on and the grief. Worst of all, people blame her sisters death on her, maybe she needs that crush more than she'd like to admit.    -Annie K.


Bookjacket for The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee

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The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee / Barry Jonsberg

 Candice Phee is not like normal people. Though this doesn't mean in any way she is Special Needs. Her life is full of problems. Her baby sister, Sky, died as a baby, causing her mother and father to go into depression. Her father likes to sit hunched over his computer or flying his remote control plane. Her mother, who has breast cancer, is in her room all day in the dark. Her only friends in the world are Earth-Pig Fish, her goldfish, Denille, her pen pal who never writes back, and Douglas Benson from Another Dimension, who believes he has jumped off a tree and warped into this universe. Join Candice in the struggle to reunite her family into the loving, caring people they once were. Whether it's romantic French dinners or eye patches for teachers, Candice Phee never fails to put a smile on your face.

This book was a roller coaster of emotions, whether I was cracking up at Candice's view of the world, or bawling my eyes out as she attempted to reunite her family. This book was a one- in- a- million and I am ever so glad I picked it out. The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee has the power to change anyone's outlook on the world, or even just a normal conversation. It sparked curiosity, excitement, and fear through the whole journey. I enjoyed every minute of reading this book. –Cambria C.


Bookjacket for The Children of the King

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The Children of the King The Children of the King / Sonya Hartnett

 This book tells a touching story set during World War II about two little girls from very different walks of life who form a lasting friendship. It also asks us whether violence and nobility are really the solution to anything, or just a way to feed humanity's depraved lust for power. The book is very well written, and all the characters are highly relatable and likeable in their own way. The small cast of characters adds quite a lot of feeling and depth. Finally, the questions the book addresses, such as the problems of classism, ageism, and war, are all questions which apply to life today.

All the characters are so deep! I think that, by the end of the book, Jeremy was my favorite, but all of them had very good depth of character and balanced and interacted with each other perfectly. Jeremy's rejecting of his class, yet keeping his family (not running away or enlisting)was very well done and shows great growth of character. Cecily, also, has great character change from a spoiled little brat to someone who at least understands the sacrifices others make for her. I really liked it and feel sad that there probably won't be a sequel. I think there should be one! Hands-down the best book I've read for the IRS!  -Kieran S.


Bookjacket for  Cinder

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Cinder Cinder / Marissa Meyer

Cinder is a cyborg who lives in New Beijing after World War IV. She is a mechanic, the best in the city, and when her prince learns of her skill, he pas her a very important visit. His visit is the first of many events that will completely change Cinder's life. I loved this book so much I cannot stop thinking about it.

I would be reading Scarlet right now, but since the series is so good, I had to put it on hold. To start off, I am in shock that I put off reading this series for so long, so you should read it so you don't have to feel the same way. The book overall kept me entertained and I could not put it down; I needed to know what would happen next, even if that meant losing sleep and jeopardizing my swim meet the next day. Cinder was a character who was very easy to like, and what was happening to her felt like it was happening to you. The plot had the perfect amount of action, humor, and romance. It did leave off on a big cliff hanger, however. Make sure you have access to the second book, Scarlet, while reading Cinder, it will help to preserve your mental health! And then read Cress and Winter. - Maggie H.


Bookjacket for  Clockwork Angel

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Clockwork Angel Clockwork Angel / Cassandra Clare

This is a fantasy book about a girl who moves to London to find her brother.  If you like books that take place in the past and that are fast-paced, you might enjoy this one.  People who liked The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare have also enjoyed this book.  - Amy W. 

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Bookjacket for  Cold Calls

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Cold Calls Cold Calls / Charles Benoit

 Eric, Shelly, and Fatima are being blackmailed by an unknown person which is threatening their future. They all have secrets that would maim them forever if they got out. By teaming together, they must find the identity of the caller and stop him or her. The intricate plot development gives you a wonderful perspective into each and every character's head. You get an absolutely perfect layout of everyone. The way you don't get to know many things about each person until the later parts makes you stuck to the pages. You are almost afraid of stopping. –Ethan S.


Bookjacket for  Conversion

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Conversion Conversion / Katherine Howe

 Collen is in the final stretch of high school, 2nd semester of senior year, when the most popular girl at her school starts having tics in the middle of class. The mysterious illness spreads around her school taking more and more victims, nobody seems to agree on the illness. Collen has started to read The Crucible for extra credit, and notices many similarities from the book to her real life. This book kept my interest the whole way through and the author made it so that the reader can really connect with the characters. – Annie K.


Bookjacket for  Corner of White

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Corner of White Corner of White / Jaclyn Moriarty

In two completely different worlds running side by side, two teens connect by letters through sheer randomness (and a crack that separates their dimensions). As some adventures come to an end, new ones begin, mixed with family, friendship, and romance troubles. I adored Jaclyn Moriarty's writing style in this book, especially during dialogue. The dialogue always sounded real, like the person was a real teen, sitting next to me, talking straight to me, instead of through book pages.  -Akiva W. 


Bookjacket for A Court of Mist and Fury

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A Court of Mist and Fury A Court of Mist and Fury / Sarah J. Maas

Feyre is a girl who lives in a world split between the realm of the humans and the realm of the fae. The human world is being threatened while the fae world is held captive under an evil force. Feyre may be the only one able to save both of hem from the dangers that haunt them.

I love the cover. It is a beautiful representation of the book and all that embodies Feyre. The book holds a place of respect and honor on my shelves because of how gorgeous it is, inside and out.

I love this book. The story is compelling and intricate and different from anything I have ever read before. Maas' books are a different brand of literature. The most compelling aspect of it for me was the characters. They were so lifelike and I have become so unbelievably invested in their lives. Maggie H.
 


Bookjacket for  Crack in the Sky

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Crack in the Sky Crack in the Sky / Mark Peter Hughes

First off, I must comment on the absolutely gorgeous cover illustration. As an art student studying to be an illustrator someday, I do have a bit of a pet peeve over the photo shopped teen covers that are currently saturating the market (Seriously, if I see one more book that uses the red/white/black photo shop motif in its cover, I'll scream.), but A Crack in the Sky has a beautiful, painterly cover that perfectly illustrates a moment in the book and the light used is absolutely amazing. Seriously, this is how a cover should be done!!!

Now to the story: I thought that the description of Wall-E meets The Giver is a pretty accurate description, with an emphasis on the Wall-E part. Except in this story, humanity didn't leave the earth to become obese vegetables being fed by a giant corporation that took care of everything. Instead, they moved inside domed cities to become enslaved to media while a giant corporation took care of everything. While the story is sort of slow to move along at first, the characters are well developed and the world building is absolutely fantastic.

It's impossible to read A Crack in the Sky without noticing some statements about society as it is today. The influences of global warming are part of the whole problem that cause the retreat to the idealistic domes, and the over-saturation of media is illustrated to an even greater extent with the "clouds" in the "sky" of the dome being eye-catching ads that no one can take their eye off of.

The one thing that I want to know, however, is...where can I get the cover of this book as a poster?  -Rachel B. 


Bookjacket for  Crave

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Crave Crave / Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

Shay has a rare blood disorder that has limited her options all her life. Her stepfather is a doctor desperate to find a cure. And one day, he does - he gives Shay a blood transfusion that makes her feel better than she's ever felt. It also gives her dreams of a life not her own...

The cover was creepy, but interesting. The vivid red of the sky in the background contrasted nicely with the grayscale of Gabriel's face, and his eerie purple eyes stand out nicely. I particularly liked how a bit of his tattoo is visible above his collar - it makes him mysterious.

I'd thought I was burned out on vampire books, but clearly I was wrong. Burns and Metz have told a very interesting tale here. Shay is a good protagonist, by which I mean she's got a unique perspective and some believable flaws and bad decisions. As an invalid, she had different rationales and made different choices than someone who had always been healthy might have and I thought that was very right. Her relationship with Gabriel was a little strange, but they had some chemistry. My only complaint is that the ending was a bit of a cop-out. However, it wasn't as horribly manipulative as some endings I've read, and I'll definitely read the sequel [Sacrifice].  -Lisa M. 


Bookjacket for A Creature of Moonlight

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A Creature of Moonlight A Creature of Moonlight / Rebecca Hahn

 In a world that seems at peace but isn't fully, Marni is on the edge of the forbidden woods. She's been growing flowers for the king in exile, though her simple life is about to become extremely complicated. The writing is absolutely beautiful. You get stuck in there once you start. The writing is the best I've read in a while from contemporary fiction. You don't want to stop once you've started. – Ethan S.


Bookjacket for  Cress

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Cress Cress / written by Marissa Meyer

 Cress is a girl who has been trapped in a satellite since childhood. All she had were netscreens. All this time made her a superior hacker. Cinder and Captain Thorns are fugitives on the run with Scarlet and Wolf. They have to stop Queen Levana who wants to marry Emperor Kai so she can rule the Commonwealth. Cress is their only hope at stopping Queen Levana and preventing a war. This book has adventure, aliens, cyborgs, romance,and a tech-savvy Rapunzel type theme. - Kady


Bookjacket for  Cursed Moon

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Cursed Moon Cursed Moon / Jaye Wells

In the sequel to Dirty Magic, Kate Prospero is hunting a Raven who has stolen from one of the prominent covens in the Cauldron, the area of Babylon known for dirty magic. Coincidentally, the blue moon draws nearer, increasing the power of potions and making many rather twitchy. Kate must stop this Raven before he lets what he has stolen loose on the city.

Although not as good as Dirty Magic, this book is still a good read. The conflict with Danny continues into this, though another argument of sorts that started at the end of the last book continues, one with John Volos, Kate's friend though now no longer. As this new case causes her path to intersect with his, though not as frequently, you are caught almost waiting for the next intersection, Deadly Spells. Ethan S. 


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Dark Passage Dark Passage / Ridley Pearson

What if the Disney parks were really a place for all of Walt's creations to live? What if the Disney villains wanted to ruin the happiest places on Earth? In the sixth book, the group known as the “Kingdom Keepers” has left Florida aboard the Disney Dream, a cruise ship bound for Disneyland, with the foreboding prophecy: "One of you will die!" Although it is the sixth book in a series, Dark Passage maintains the wonder and excitement of its predecessors. It is extremely engaging, and has enough awesome Disney references to make any fan happy. Not only that, but it provides a portrayal of the life of teens who, while fighting the most evil characters ever conceived, are also working to find themselves, and learn how to deal with being teenagers.  -Brian S.


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Dark triumph Dark triumph / Robin LaFevers

Sybella is the daughter of death and has been given an assignment in the place of her nightmares, D'albret's court. Along the way, she helps a prisoner escape and they form a plan to overthrow D'albret and all of his allies, saving the duchess in the process.I liked the book. I enjoyed how it mixed people from the past into a story with original characters. I am a fan of books about assassins, especially ones who are hardcore. Sybella was a likable character, and I fell in love with Beast. There was a lot of action in the book, and I appreciated that. The thing I didn't like was that there was a lot of over-analysis of events and language that didn't quite fit with the rest of the writing. I can't wait to read the next one! - Maggie H.


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Dear Killer Dear Killer / Katherine Ewell

 Kit is a regular teenager. She has father issues and homework, the usual stuff. But she's also a murderer. A serial assassin. The way Katherine Ewell writes is amazing. There's not a ton of dialogue or description of place, but her characters have depth and she explores wonderful and complex moral topics in Dear Killer. – Akiva W.


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A Death-Struck Year A Death-Struck Year / Makiia Lucier

 In 1918, the Spanish influenza devastated the US. In A Death Struck Year, Cleo Berry joins the Red cross in Portland, Oregon, discovering that she is capable of saving lives even when she doesn't know exactly what's to become of her own. This book tells a fantastic story while educating readers about the Spanish influenza, a topic I was unfamiliar with and worth learning about. The most compelling part is the fear that each character experiences as the flu takes over everyone's lives, and the worry that they or their loved ones could be next. This is tied to Cleo's growth in the story, and her realization that she can't keep everyone safe, but she has more potential than she ever realized. – Olivia C.

During Cleo Berry's mid-schooling crisis, the Spanish influenza starts. Her brother is out of town with his wife, and soon school closes, and her loved ones fall ill. Pushed on by her past, Cleo enlists with the Red Cross, to go door to door and rescue the sick. It was well written about a young woman who does her best in a time where most people lock their doors. Cleo doesn't start out determined though; she has to journey a bit before she is able to continue her work with the knowledge of what she's doing. – Akiva W.


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The Demon King The Demon King / Cinda Williams Chima

Han Alister is a former street lord trying to unlock the secrets of an ancient amulet that belonged to an evil wizard. Princess Raisa is the heir to the Fells, one of the seven realms of this world. This book takes their paths and intertwines them, creating a captivating tale of intrigue and adventure. 

I thought the cover represented the book well. I liked how the rays came from the amulet with the mountains behind it. I would've liked to have seen maybe wolves peeking around somewhere, encompassing both sides of the story, not just one. 

The world of the s
even realms is a really interesting world that doesn't even start to be described in this book though still commanded my attention. The setup of the clans was really well done, and that combined with their struggle with the wizards for power in the Fells was one of the more ingenious things that caused little plot twists throughout this book and the rest of the series. Loyalties had to be divided from that, which was something else that was really intriguing. Ethan S.


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Destination Unknown Destination Unknown / Amy Clipston

 Whitney Richards is a perfect student, straight A's, except for a D in calculus. That imperfect grade prompts a course of events that puts her into control of her life and helps her find her identity. – Ethan S.


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Destined for Doon Destined for Doon / Carey Corp

 In this sequel to Doon, Mackenna Reid comes back to Doon to save them from an apocalyptic fungus. And when her former boyfriend Duncan wants nothing to do with her that makes saving Doon a little harder. This book has everything any teenage girl would want to read about: Romance, fantasy, and adventure. The most compelling aspect is the adventure that Mackenna has in Doon. Probably the best book I've ever read. –Kady W.


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Diary of a wimpy kid, Greg Heffley's journal Diary of a wimpy kid, Greg Heffley's journal / Jeff Kinney

 This book is about a kid in middle school. He tries to fit in at school, while trying to survive his older brother Roderick and his pesky little brother Manny. He makes mistakes and gets into some trouble. Sometimes it's really funny. Greg has many things he has to learn, and it is a good read. This book is funny. Sometimes his life is terrible, and makes me cringe. He makes things harder for himself too, like how he thinks he's this great guy but really he has a lot to learn, especially about friendship. –William D.


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Dirty Magic Dirty Magic / Jaye Wells

Kate Prospero's a recovering dirty magic addict, working as a cop in the Babylon Police Department. There is a case that comes up, involving a potion known on the streets as Gray Wolf. When she shoots a suspect, to save her own life, she becomes mixed up with the Magical Enforcement Agency, having just killed their snitch on this case. She must solve it before it is too late, and the streets are filled with the dead.

This was an excellent book, and one of the things that drove it the most was the conflict between Prospero and her younger brother Danny, who have lost their parents and are living on their own. Danny has an urge to do magic, even dirty, and this scares Prospero enough that it keeps the book partially revolving around something besides the case she's working on, even as these aspects become intertwined. Also read the sequel, Cursed MoonEthan S.


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Don't Look Back Don't Look Back / Jennifer L. Armentrout

 Don't Look Back is about Samantha, a teen, who was the queen bee of her school, but awakes one night in the middle of the street without any knowledge of who she is. She later finds out that she disappeared with her best friend, who is later found dead. Sam is the primary suspect, so she starts to investigate herself, by looking deep into her past, but she starts getting notes to not look back. The writing was just breathtaking and the storyline was startling with plot twists every few pages. I picked up the book and didn't put it down for the next seven hours because it was so entertaining and suspenseful. – Annie K.


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Elena Vanishing: A Memoir Elena Vanishing: A Memoir / Elena and Claire B. Dunkie

For most, it's hard to imagine a few hours without eating, enter the non-fiction life of Elena who goes days without eating just to be skinny. Each day, Elena is vanishing, losing weight, this is the memoir of her battle with anorexia. The most compelling aspect was that this is a true story, it's not a fiction on the same subject, but it really makes you stop and think about the material that you just read.    -Annie K.


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Elusion Elusion / Claudia Gabel

Elusion is so cool because it was written in the future when technology is amazing. People there have just made a new device the Elusion app, where it virtually transports you to an exotic destination. All you have to do is wear a wristband with a touch screen thing on it, a visor and ear buds. But when Regan, the daughter of the guy who made it, starts hearing rumors of trouble with Elusion she is determined to figure it out. I have never read a book like this in the future. It has really good adventure. As you read this book you will find out the secrets behind Elusion and you will realize that there is more to it than a cool new product. I really don't think I was disappointed with anything with this book. I think it was very well written. – Jalini W.


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Endangered Endangered / Eliot Schrefer

When fighting breaks out in the Congo, Sophia, taking care of a baby bonobo she rescued from a trafficker, must survive in the increasing danger that comes to the bonobo shelter where she lives. She must find a way to live, and the only way is through the jungle. 

I think the cover was a good summation of the contents. With just the single bonobo on a black background, I feel like the background should've been jungle, like that of Threatened, but it was still a good representation. 

Endangered was a book I had trouble putting down. The bond that forms between Sophia and her baby bonobo, how they helped each other to survive in their co-dependence, was one of the most interesting things I noticed while I was reading this book. Its one of the first books I've ever read that captures this bond so well. Ethan S.


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Ender in Exile Ender in Exile / Orson Scott Card

The war is over, and we won… what now? Ender struggles to reconnect with the world and to figure out just why they died. Personally, I read all of the other books multiple times first. I strongly recommend you read them all too but at least the Shadow series because it will very much spoil it but also finish it off. After reading all the books you get to see a gentle progression of all characters but Ender. This is by far one of my favorite books of all time!!     -Charlie L.D.


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Everything, Everything Everything, Everything / Nicola Yoon

In short, Madeline Whittier is allergic to the world. She is eighteen years old and hasn't been outside of her house for seventeen of them. She is content with her life of safety and simplicity, but when a new neighbor, Olly, moves in next door, she starts to wonder… Is there a point in protecting your life, if you aren’t even going to live it? 

The cover was incredible. Before reading the book, the bottom half of the page seems just to symbolize the "Everything" that the title outlines, but having read the book you can then see that every object either appears directly in the story or has some kind of symbolism. 

Reminiscent of such books as The Fault in our Stars, Eleanor and Park, Finding Audrey, and even If I Stay, this book was a masterpiece. It was inarguably well written, and had a plot that, while predictable at times, was still very interesting. Almost every character was extremely relatable, and those who weren’t were not exactly the kind of characters you would want to relate to. All in all it was an incredible book that I would recommend to anyone interested in YA books. Claire F.

 


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Exodus Exodus / Julie Bertagna

Mara Bell lives on her drowning island of Wing, in the year 2100. When the sea takes a huge gulp of the island, Mara feels she must find a way to save the people of Wing. She ends up leading her people in an exodus to a New World City. But her hopes of saving her people are dashed against the wall surrounding the New World City. Mara needs to get inside the New World and get help to save her own people and the Treenesters from the Netherworld and the boat camp outside the city wall filled with decay and death.

It is a new book with a new plot line other than: "The aliens are invading Earth! Run!" And it is a very well written book that has very little fantasy and is very realistic. The cover really is a work of art and very interesting. It reflects the contents by showing the hand of a drowning person and the whirlpool above it; but the hand was also coming above another layer of water reaching for the surface. The most compelling aspects of this book for me would be all of the unique characters in all the different places, and the fact that it’s "the-end-of-the-world," but she wrote it in such a way that is a whole new idea and a whole new way to save the people. Instead of: “Oh my gosh! The aliens are invading Earth!” it’s very realistic and could very well happen. Even though I found it quite sad and depressing, all of the drama and action made up for that.  -Jordan H.

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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close / Jonathan Safran Foer

This is a fabulous book about a young boy who lost his father in 9/11, and then goes on a quest to for a lock that fits a key his father left behind.  If you like books that are sad but quirky, you might like this one.  -Maisie

This book is from our Adult Fiction Collection and is recommended for older teen readers.  Also by this author, Everything Is Illuminated.

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Bookjacket for  Falcon Quinn and the Crimson Vapor

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Falcon Quinn and the Crimson Vapor Falcon Quinn and the Crimson Vapor / Jennifer Finney Boylan

Falcon Quinn is an angel with two hearts, so he doesn't belong anywhere. As an angel, he tries to make things better, but he only makes things worse. Then, disaster strikes, and he is forced to choose between his mother and his father as monsters and guardians prepare for war; a choice that may be the end of everything he cares about.

The book cover is very intriguing because it is covered with rides from Monster Island. It really makes you want to know what the heck is going on.

I really enjoyed this book because of all the trouble Falcon has. The best part of this book is how Falcon struggles to try and fit in places where he doesn't quite belong. This book is even better than the first one, Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror.  -Sam S.

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The Falconer The Falconer / Elizabeth May

 Aileana is a falconer. The last one. She fights the Fae. She trains to track and kill these creatures. But can she manage to kill the most powerful faery? This book is full of action and adventure. Its set in the late 1800's but has steam punk technology we don't even have yet. I can’t wait to read the next book. - Kady


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Falling for Hamlet Falling for Hamlet / Michelle Ray

Falling For Hamlet is a modern retelling of Hamlet. Hamlet and Ophelia star as an on again-off again couple frequently pictured in tabloids. When Hamlet's father is killed, and Hamlet slowly falls into madness, Ophelia battles with loyalty to the man she loves, her father, and her country.

The cover's symbolism was great, much of it being black and white, but highlighting the throne in red and gold, showing the power that the King and Queen have in the book. I thought the boy and girl kissing made it seem like a gushy romantic novel, even though there was much more to it than the romance. It might turn some teens off of the book.

This book was really good. I didn't put it down if I didn't have to, and then couldn't stop thinking about it. The emotions were real and engaging, pulling me into the lives of Denmark's hottest couple. It gave a whole new dimension to Shakespeare's tragedy and made it relatable to teens today.  -Bethany C.


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Falling into Place Falling into Place / Amy Zhang

 Falling into Place explores the life of Liz Emerson, from preschool to days before the present. Falling into Place was the best book I've read in a while. Every line leads to the next, until there is the point. Then that repeats. The cover is brilliant. My only complaint is that the title seems a little bit plain. I would make it fit in more. The book is beautifully done in general, all the characters deep and life-like. Nothing was overdone. –Ethan S.


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Fangirl Fangirl / Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl is about a girl named Cath who is a Fanfiction writer in college. Cath is obsessed with one series of books and it starts to take over her life. She doesn’t want to do anything except write her fanfiction. Thankfully, her twin sister Wren and her father are there to keep her grounded. I really liked Fangirl because even though I couldn’t connect to the main character in any way, it was still a compelling plot and Cath is a loveable character. There is plenty of drama as Cath learns to be herself and stand on her own two feet. Victoria D.


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Far From You Far From You / Tess Sharpe

 Sophie Winters has been uncomfortably close to death's door twice, a car accident and the shooting that took her best friend's life. She is on the hunt for the killer, knowing the police's description of the incident as a "drug deal gone wrong" is not correct in the slightest. The general idea combined with a writing style that fits very well and excellent characters makes this book very good. I'd venture as far as to call it one-of-a-kind. –Ethan S.


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Finding Audrey Finding Audrey / Sophie Kinsella

Finding Audrey is the story of a 14 year old girl who has two types of anxiety, depression, wears dark glasses because she fears eye contact and never leaves the house, all due to an unknown accident. This book shows the hardships of trying to make baby steps to get better and shows the love between the girl and a boy named Linus. An absolute must read.

I loved this book. The characters interactions and motives were easy to relate to. I loved the romance between Audrey and Linus. I loved hearing Audrey talk about the hardship of trying to be normal while also balancing her situation. This book is one of the best books I have ever read, not even kidding. I think everybody should read Finding Audrey.   -Emma L.


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The Finisher The Finisher / a novel by David Baldacci

 The Finisher is about a girl named Vega who desires to go after her friend and mentor into the forbidden Quag. The only problem is that her town Wormwood is all she has ever known. Will she be willing to leave behind her entire childhood to discover what's beyond the unknown? Read this book to find out.
The Finisher is so well written that once you pick it up, you won't be able to put it down again. I liked how the cover showed the main characters in two different scenes. I also liked how it had the important symbol half the book is about behind the main characters. The most compelling aspect of the book is the mystery and the action. – Victoria D.


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Fire Fire / Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson

From award-winning authors Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson comes the second collection of short stories focused on one of the classical elements. The first, Water, was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award, and Fire is just as good. These five tales range in setting from a forest in England to a world where dragons travel through the Firespace at will, moving miles in a few wing beats.

Every story is unique, well-crafted, and beautiful, making the collection as a whole a joy to read. To start off, McKinley and Dickinson are fantastic writers on their own, so any collection featuring their stories is bound to be good. The central theme is specific enough to keep a common thread binding all five works, but broad enough that there's a lot of variation between them. As for the cover, I loved the way the fire pattern was the background for the authors' names, cut out of the blackness. It was very simple, but elegant—the swirl of the fire, the slight difference between the title's background and the main image, and even the little curves cut out of the corners around the title.

The variety of the stories was extremely impressive. Each seemed to center around a particular animal, but none of them were the same or even more than slightly similar—a phoenix, dragons, salamanders, a hellhound, and a firework, all unique and intriguing. I particularly liked McKinley's story “First Flight.” Her concept of three-eyed dragons was pleasantly unusual, and one I'd love to read more about. (Perhaps in a novel? That would be cool.)   -Lisa M.


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Fire & Flood Fire & Flood / Victoria Scott

 Tella's brother Cody is dying, and his sickness is ruining everything. Her family moved away from all of Tella's friends, hoping fresh air would help. Then, she finds a mysterious earpiece her parents desperately try to take from her, but she must listen to its message. It tells her she is invited to take part in the Brimstone Bleed, a race across Jungle, Desert, Mountains, and Ocean. The reward - a cure. But there are over one hundred other competitors hoping for a cure for their loved ones. What is this race, and what is this mysterious disease? - Gabi S.


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Firebug Firebug / Lish McBride

 Ava can light fires just by thinking about it, a talent prized by the Coterie, a magical mafia. She's a top hit man, and she doesn't like her current assignment, to kill a family friend. This sparks a rebellion where she and her friends try to find a way to get out of this hole they've dug for themselves. Firebug has really well developed characters, and everything pertaining to them is portrayed very well. The characters were rather interesting. Their personalities almost constantly clashed. The magic was also nice. It wasn't overdone, with the characters too powerful, but they were powerful enough to have nice battles. –Ethan S.


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First Test First Test / Tamora Pierce

Years ago, the king declared that girls could become knights, but in all that time only one has tried: Keladry of Mindelan, daughter of diplomats. To her shock, she is placed on probation for her first year, instead of being an ordinary page. Kel is determined to prove to the world that she can succeed as well as any boy, but in addition to the physical challenges of page training, she faces vicious bullying from older boys.

There are multiple cover designs for this book, with two being most prevalent: the newer, photo-manipulation showing a girl's face under a cap and what looks like a veil; and the older art, showing a girl with a black eye holding a kitten. Of the two, I definitely prefer the older cover; it's easy to see that the Kel it depicts is the Kel of the novel, whereas the other is generic and doesn't show the personal strength that makes her such a fantastic character.

This book has been a favorite of mine for years for many reasons: the clear, witty writing style, the great characters, the uncomplicated and yet rich world-building, and more. However, the best part of it is definitely Kel, a worthy role model if there ever was one. She approaches the world with a potent mixture of ideals and realism. She believes in justice to the core of her being, but knows that it can be hard to define. She's strong, even though she's only ten. She's mature, but not so much so as to be unbelievable. She makes friends, real friends, and understands their value. Most of all, though, Kel perseveres through every obstacle she encounters, and that makes her a hero worth rooting for.   -Lisa M.

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Future of Us Future of Us / Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

The Future of Us is set in 1996 and is about Emma and Josh, two teens who have grown apart over the last year. When Emma gets a computer, they discover a website called Facebook, 15 years in the future. They discover that everything they do in the present affects their Facebook pages - and their lives - in the future.

I did like the cover. It had two teens, who actually looked like the main characters. There was binary code all over the cover, which I thought was cool, since it's about the internet and Facebook.

This book was so good. I finished it in less than 24 hours. The characters drew me into the story, and it was so hard to escape! When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. The Future of Us is an amazing book that you will never forget.   -Bethany

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Second take: The Future of Us was a very good book. I found the way Emma and Josh, though mostly Emma, tried to tinker with their paths by doing certain small though down the line significant things and then checking on the results to be a little bonus to the already wonderful writing that would provide enough drive behind a book to lead it by itself. All this, plus a little luck and a few well placed realizations, made this book what it is; one of the best I've read in quite some time. Ethan S.


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Geography of You and Me Geography of You and Me / Jennifer E. Smith

 In the middle of a black out covering all of New York, Owen and Lucy get stuck in an elevator. After they finally get out of the elevator they spend a night together. After the black out, they must say good bye as each of them move from New York to different places. Together they keep their relationship intact, through emails and post cards. This book is special because it shows a unique love story. It is witty and has good imagery. – Lili G.


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Girl in Reverse Girl in Reverse / Barbara Stuber

 Lily is Asian, but according to her classmates, she is a commie, and a target for racism and hate from everyone. She even fights herself; she doesn't know what she is. Her mother left her up for adoption when she was three, so she doesn't know much about her heritage, but her little brother, Ralph, finds a box with her name on it. Maybe not all her heritage is missing, and it contains clues about her past and "Gone Mom." The most compelling aspect was how the author was able to combine so many things, a mystery, history, reality, and so much more, to make the story fun to read and make you want to keep reading it even when there is a lull in the action. –Annie K.
 

 


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Graveyard Book Graveyard Book / Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book is a book about a boy named Nobody “Bod” Owens, who was raised by ghosts in a graveyard. His dark and mysterious guardian keeps him from leaving the graveyard, and Bod starts to get curious. As dark, interesting, and wonderful as Coraline, the Graveyard Book is a truly wonderful read.

The cover shows a dark blue, black, and gray background with a gravestone, the author’s name, and the title in a stony, gothic print. The cover really pulled me in because it is beautiful and interesting. I really loved the cover because right away it told the main setting of the book.

This book is beautiful, interesting, dark, funny, and perfect in almost every single way. It was amazing and I have read it almost 30 times in a row!   -Jordan T.

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Bookjacket for  Half Bad

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Half Bad Half Bad / Sally Green

 Half Bad is about a teenage boy who lives in a world of magic amongst us, where Black witches are bad and White witches are good. Nathan is a combination of the two, and the son of the most powerful black witch, and the only person capable of destroying his father. He must receive his 3 gifts from his father soon, but the white witches won't let this happen and hope only to use him as a weapon. I found Half Bad really interesting and entertaining. The writing style and voice in the book also made it tons of fun to read and it was almost impossible to put down. – Annie K.


Bookjacket for  Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

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Hold Me Closer, Necromancer Hold Me Closer, Necromancer / Lish McBride

Sam LaCroix is just an ordinary fast-food worker in Seattle, until the day he runs into Douglas Montgomery. Turns out, Douglas is a necromancer, and so is Sam - which makes this college dropout Douglas's only rival in the city. Sam has a week to sort everything out, but thankfully he has friends to help: a fellow fast-food employee, a werewolf girl, and a talking head.

I love the cover of this book! It looks like a wood block print, which is super cool, and the color scheme of black and red is perfectly, suitably ominous. Also, the contrast between Sam in his hoodie and the crow perched on his shoulder is a very interesting image. It definitely represents the book well.

This book was loads and loads of wacky fun. The mythology of it was one of my favorite parts, especially the way McBride contrasted the horrible with the humorous. For a book dealing with raising the dead, it was surprisingly light-hearted, and that made it refreshing. It certainly doesn't take itself too seriously. The most compelling character was probably Brid, the werewolf girl Sam ends up imprisoned with. She was witty, strong, sassy, and determined, and reading about her was always enjoyable. Her relationship with Sam does stray into mature territory, so this book may not be appropriate for younger readers, but it's pretty tastefully handled. If you're getting bored with urban fantasy/paranormal books, this is for you - it's like a palate cleanser for the genre.   -Lisa M.

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House of the Star House of the Star / Caitlyn Brennan

Ymbria and Caledon are two worlds connected by the shifting realm of Faerie, and they've been at war for centuries. Elen, princess of Ymbria, wants nothing more than to become a worldrider, one of those who travel on horseback on the dangerous roads between worlds. To do so, though, she must go to Earth where the only horses who travel the worldroads are bred... and a royal of Caledon will be there, too. To achieve her dream and maybe change two worlds, Elen will have to overcome deep-seated hatred and learn to trust her enemy.

The cover was pretty true to the contents, but it didn't really attract me- it was the title that I was first interested in. The image of Elen riding a worldrunner in darkness isn't exactly striking. It's basically pretty, but doesn't hint at the adventure within, and would probably make this book all too easy to pass by on a shelf.

I loved the worldbuilding - or rather, universebuilding - of this book. The idea of many worlds is always an interesting one, and the concept of the worldroads made it even more so. My only frustration, actually, comes from how good the characterization was. Elen, pigheaded and prejudiced, was extremely annoying at times, which really only speaks to how good a writer Brennan is. She undergoes a lot of growth, however, and I'd love to read a sequel and see that growth continue.   -Lisa M.


Bookjacket for  How I Lost You

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How I Lost You How I Lost You / Janet Gurtler

Grace is a casual girl with an outgoing best friend. Her best friend, Kya, is pretty, clever, and beautiful. Grace is just the sidekick. Grace knows about Kya's past and the horrific secret that must remain, well, secret. Grace would do anything to protect Kya, but when Kya splits up with a best buddy, Grace starts to wonder if she's next. Will Grace be able to pull Kya back in, or will she lose her forever? This book has romance with a twist of drama, which makes it a perfect teen read. Also in this book, Grace realizes who she really is, and it helps the readers find themselves. I think it is a very inspirational and life lesson giving.  -Cambria C.


Bookjacket for  How to Train Your Dragon

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How to Train Your Dragon How to Train Your Dragon / Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III

 Hiccup is an unusual sight for a Viking and does about everything a Viking doesn't do. Even his dragon Toothless is an unusually small dragon, and it makes him ever more of a laughing stock. We get to follow Hiccup on his adventures from Isle of Berk to other places as he tries to save the day. I really like the book. It's not what I expected, because it's nothing like the movies, but that's what makes it so exciting. It's the same characters but a different story. You don't know what's going to happen. This book is hilarious, I was on the edge of my seat in suspense, and always want to read more. –Arianna D.


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Howl's Moving Castle Howl's Moving Castle / Diana Wynne Jones

Howl’s Moving Castle may well be one of the greatest young adult novels ever written.  It is the story of Sophie, cursed by the Witch of the Waste to be old before her time, who sets off to find the Witch and break the curse.  Along the way she runs into Howl Jenkins, a wizard known for eating the hearts of beautiful girls, and Calcifer, a fire demon who promises to free her if she releases him from his contract with Howl.  In pursuit of this goal, Sophie becomes the ‘cleaning lady’ for Howl’s castle, and ends up having adventures that were not in the job description.

Japanese director and animator Hayao Miyazaki made Howl’s Moving Castle into an acclaimed film, but book and movie differ vastly.  Fans of the screen version may be disappointed with differences in characters and plot, but this doesn’t mean it’s not possible to enjoy both.  Diana Wynne Jones’s story is clever and funny, and her characters vivid and engaging.  (With chapter titles like ‘In Which Howl Expresses His Feelings With Green Slime’, even the table of contents is funny.)  Without a doubt, this book is and shall remain a classic.   -Lisa M.

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Bookjacket for  Hunting: Book 1 - Z. Rex

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Hunting: Book 1 - Z. Rex Hunting: Book 1 - Z. Rex / Steve Cole

Adam is a normal boy living in New Mexico - except for the fact that his dad is a video game designer. And the latest game his dad is working on is based on his son - Adam. When an invisible monster wreaks havoc in the industrial park and destroyed his apartment, Adam’s next three weeks will be an adventure that he will never forget.

The cover portrayed the one very important part of this book - a dinosaur, but not just any old dinosaur, a Z. Rex. The most compelling aspect of the book would be the science-fictional story line and action surrounding it. Between flying dinosaurs and ultra-reality video games where you can be anything you want, it had me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book. The only thing I found disappointing was the language in the dialogue. Adam “loses” his mouth a few times and I had to put that aside in my mind as I read. I read the book in a day, thus making it an easy read for a quiet time or time where there’s just nothing to do. This book is followed by Z. Raptor and Z. Apocolypse.   -Jordan H.


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I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President / Josh Lieb

This book is about a boy, Oliver, who is basically an eight grader who is in control of the world - literally. And he gets the idea in his head that he wants to be the Class President of his school. In a super hilarious way, he wipes out the competition, falls in love (sort of), and wins the affection of his father at last.

 While hilarious, this book also has a pretty powerful message. Oliver has never been close with his dad, and, as a result, has decided that he doesn't care. However, it's clear throughout the whole book that all he really wants is his dad's approval, which I think is something a lot of people today want. This book is something people can relate to.

The cover was pretty cool. It showed a sticker, much like you might expect in a campaign, with the title on it. Underneath, it showed the face of a chubby kid with freckles, scowling. It kind of showed that he was serious. He was a genius of unspeakable evil, and he did, indeed, want to be class president.   -Bethany C.


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I Am Number Four I Am Number Four / Pitticus Lore

Daniel Jones... John Smith... no. I am Number Four, one of nine children sent to Earth from our planet Lorien. It was under attack. The Mogadorians laid waste to our beautiful home. There is nothing left of our race. Except us. And they hunt us down to finish what they started. We are waiting, our Cêpans watching over us until our Legacies have fully developed. Then we will fight the war.

The cover is beautiful - and the sequel [Power of Six] cover is consistent with the swirling style. It all says, "Pick me up!", "Check me out!" and "Stay up under the covers with a flash light until I'm finished!" This book is a new twist on the idea of alien invasion and existence. The characters and story have a true originality to them, and every plot curve leaves you begging for more!   -Jordan H.


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I am the messenger I am the messenger / Markus Zusak

Ed Kennedy is 19 and is an average cab driver just living a normal life, when he stops a bank robbery. Then comes the first clue card, the first of 5. The cards send him around the city, where he does what seems to be instructed, at times helping, at others hurting, and even at a few getting hurt himself. 


This is one of the best books I have read recently. The chase that Ed is sent on is really interesting. It brings him throughout the city, some cards taking longer than others to complete, and he is exposed to a side of the city he isn't familiar with. All the change inside Ed that's displayed as the book progresses is a really nice insight into how people being exposed to the unfamiliar forces them to adapt. - Ethan S.

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I Have a Bad Feeling About This I Have a Bad Feeling About This / Jeff Strand

 This book is about a wimpy kid named Henry that is forced by his parents to go to a survival camp. Although his best friend Randy is pumped for camp, Henry is not so sure. But I Have a Bad Feeling About This tells how Henry survived through survival camp with much humor and plenty of action. This book had my whole family laughing until their sides hurt and it's a story that anyone would enjoy! This book was amazing! - Victoria D.


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Impossible Impossible / Nancy Werlin

Lucy Scarborough is 17, pregnant and cursed, as were all of her previous ancestors. In order to break the curse that will drive her insane after she has her child, she must complete three impossible tasks set before her in the song "The Elfin Knight." Where her mother, grandmother, great grandmother and so on only had the lyrics to help them, Lucy has so much more. She has her uber protective foster parents, Leo and Soledad and her life long friend Zach Greenfield, who might be more than a friend.

This amazing coming of age tale has enough real life situations in it that it doesn't even seem impossible. The time they have to break the curse is small and it really comes down to the wire. The reader will face the same doubt Lucy feels about completing the tasks in time.   -Rachel M.

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In the Path of Falling Objects In the Path of Falling Objects / Andrew Smith

Jonah and his younger brother Simon are in for one hell of a ride. After being abandoned by their flighty mother, they decide to set off for Arizona, in hopes of meeting their heroin addicted father as he gets out of jail, and possibly their older brother who was planning on deserting the army during the Vietnam War. Along the way they hitch a ride with a guy named Mitch and the beautiful Lilly. Mitch is crazy, Lilly is lost, and along the way the brothers lose and find each other as well. In their pack they have clothes and their life savings, $10. They also have a gun, which they are really going to need.

The most compelling part of the book had to be the sheer hopelessness of the brothers’ situation. They were lost and alone, looking for something better than what they left behind. The letters from Matthew in Vietnam added a nice historical fiction aspect to the book as well. However, the book was so dark, and filled with horrible occurrences. While they all fit the story, this isn't generally the type of book I read. Still, it was written very well. Beware: This book doesn't have a happy beginning, middle, or much of a happy end. But it does capture some truths about brothers.   -Rachel M.


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Indigo Notebook Indigo Notebook / Laura Resau

It was an absolutely spectacular book about a young girl named Zeeta.  Her whole life is an adventure with her mom.  If you like books that make you think, and generally make you happy, you might like this one.  People who liked What the Moon Saw, by the same author, have also enjoyed this book.  A great book, by a great author!    -Jordon T.

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Inhuman Inhuman / Kat Falls

In an America where all states East of the Mississippi River have been ravaged by a biological virus known as Ferae Naturae, Delaney McEvoy lives a serene life on the West side of the Titan wall--the only thing separating the sane from the infected. Delaney has always been curious about what Titan protects them from, but when she learns someone dear to her has been crossing into the Feral Zone, will she be prepared to follow? Will she be able to survive the ruins of civilization on the other side? Inhuman brings to life an incredibly unique story with twists and turns you will never see coming. The way Kat Falls writes paints a vivid picture in your mind and I found it entrancing. I finished the book in one day because I was so caught up in Delaney's adventure. The mutations and the way it progressed slowly in the person's system really had me going. I also liked Delaney. I found myself finding she acted in the same way I would and thinking the same as me. I was able to connect with her and I thought that was cool. However, Falls gives a new definition to "hook" straight from the top.    -Elizabeth C.


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Ink Ink / Amanda Sun

When Katie Greene goes to live in Japan after her mom’s death, she knows how out of place she looks. But when she meets Tomohiro, who can make ink move and drawings come to life, she unknowingly finds someone akin to her. Hunted, and haunted, by the Japanese mafia, living ink, and the descendants of gods, Katie and Tomohiro must find a way to get their strange magnetism under control before someone finds out the worst. Amanda Sun took a relatively over used character (the tormented boy with dark powers and a dead family/family member) and turned him into a completely different model, one with a soft side that is most of his personality, instead of being a jerk even when he doesn't want to be. And her heroine is in love, but not consumed and utterly distracted by her boyfriend. She stands up for herself and does things for herself and doesn't collapse when he's not around or being a jerk or cold as a fish.

The cover is absolutely gorgeous. It was the reason I picked up the book. It definitely reflected the contents, the book being about ink and art and the cover being in watercolors. The two main characters were the best part of this book. At first they looked kind of stereotypical, but as you keep reading you find out that Tomohiro isn't the jerk who is not a jerk but acts like a jerk all the time, Jun is actually a bad guy, and Katie doesn't trip over her own feet to please/be with/show her adoration for Tomohiro. And Katie stands up for herself and does things for herself.   -Akiva W.


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Inkheart Inkheart / Cornelia Funke

Silvertongue. That's what they all call him—the one who can bring words to life. One night, Silvertongue and his daughter, Maggie, get visitors, and from that night on, nothing will ever be the same.

The cover is extremely intriguing! The window into the book, revealing the villain's castle and Gwyn, Dustfinger's companion, is very capturing to the eye. I love how the window is a window into the book itself: Inkheart, both the book that you read, and the book you read about.

The most fascinating part of Inkheart would be the characters. Each one is crafted with a uniqueness to him or her. Capricorn has not a thread of light in his being; Dustfinger is woven with incredible abilities; Silvertongue is created with care, fierce love, and an incredibly useful voice; and countless others.

I was not disappointed with this book for any reason. (Just with the movie, which I hated.) This is the perfect book for one like me who loves words. This book is a MUST READ for anyone out there who also adores words.   -Jordan H.

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The Kidney Hypothetical The Kidney Hypothetical / Lisa Yee

 When king of the school, Higgs, gets asked by his girlfriend rather he would or wouldn't give her one of his kidneys and he doesn't respond immediately with yes, it's day one of his life falling apart. Each day is another challenge and loss of more "friends," but there is only one week of school left until Harvard, but even that is starting to get reevaluated. There is Monarch, though, the rebellious girl who lives in the woods and he knows pretty much nothing about, but he tells her pretty much everything.

The story was relatable, amazing, engaging, and overall, just great. I didn't want to put the book down and loved how the characters developed and the writing style was perfect and terrific for the story told. Out of all the amazing aspects to the book, the most compelling would be most likely in how the story was told so that you get the fullest experience of the book. - Annie K.


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King's Rose King's Rose / Alisa M. Libby

This unique historical fiction book tells the story of Catherine Howard. Catherine is just a girl of 15 when she marries King Henry. Although the story takes place so long ago, the reader still feels connected to Catherine and to all of the characters, as if the story were happening today. Readers will feel sympathy for her. Throughout the whole book Catherine is told what to do, and she is never able to decide anything for herself. When everyone finds out about her past and her affair with Thomas Culpepper, she is left out to dry. Even her own family doesn't protect her.

The title and the cover, showing a girl holding a rose, will intrigue readers. Even the font fits with the time period. Though readers who know history will know what happens to Catherine Howard in the end, they will still be glued to the book. The writing is very descriptive, especially about the gowns and jewels that Catherine wears. The relationship portrayed between Catherine and Thomas is amazing because of how much they loved each other, even though they could never truly be together because Catherine was married to the King.

The part with Anne Boleyn at the end is especially interesting. Because she and Catherine are cousins they share a bond, and they are the only ones of King Henry's queens to be executed. Another interesting thing about the book is that it showed a different side to King Henry, how being a king changed him into a person who, even though he is king, really isn't allowed to make any decisions for himself. A lot of what he does is horrible, but readers can feel some sympathy for him.

This wonderful book will appeal to all kinds of teens. It has the perfect mix of romance, history, and all of the makings of greatness. Most teens don't look twice at historical fiction, but the way this book combines history with an appealing story will attract them.   -Megan R.


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Kiss of Broken Glass Kiss of Broken Glass / Madeline Kuderick

 Fifteen year old Kenna gets caught in her school bathroom cutting, and put under mandatory psychiatric watch to face her addiction. During her time, 72 hours, she has to find out for herself why and what to do next. I loved everything about the book and was very sad when I finished it because it was so good. There was nothing about the book that I could complain about or dislike. I liked the cover because it was simple, yet pretty and eye catching in a good way, mainly with the black background and red text, and it did reflect the contents. The most compelling aspect of the book was how the book was written, you rarely see authors have their books like in this one, and most importantly, it actually worked and was great for this book. –Annie K.


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Lab Lab / Jack Heath

Agent Six of Hearts has a past that he must always hide: He was not born like all other people--he was an illegal experiment. When the Deck, the justice seeking organization that he belongs to, starts to investigate the lab where he was created, Six finds himself between the world he was created for and the world that he lives in.

I couldn't help but read this book straight through, it was so well written. I felt like I was there with Six through jarring action and horrifying discoveries. One does not have to be a super spy to see that this book is for thriller lovers everywhere.   -Rachel B.


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Last Little Blue Envelope Last Little Blue Envelope / Maureen Johnson

Ginny gets a chance to voyage back overseas, because it seems that someone has found her horrid backpack that was stolen from a beach in Greece. Which means that someone has found the 13th letter. Not able to leave any loose ends, Ginny travels back to Richard's for Christmas break, and once there finds old friends and new as she sets off across Europe once more.

The cover on this one is much better than the one for the first book [13 Little Blue Envelopes]. I love that we can see Ginny's face, and that she's holding the last envelope over an over-packed suitcase.

I almost liked this one more than the first, if only because it explored the relationship Ginny had with her aunt, Keith, and Richard. Also, Oliver was a rather interesting character. I also enjoyed seeing how Ginny evolved from the last book, from someone who was so horribly shy, to someone who easily took charge of the new challenge. The most compelling aspect had to have been the characters. Johnson is so adept at creating such crazy characters, and yet they are totally believable, and they make sense. Of course Ginny would be able to meet them; they are an integral part of the story.   -Rachel M.


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Let's Get Lost Let's Get Lost / Adi Alsaid

 Let's Get Lost is about Leila, a normal teenage girl. Her plan is to go on a long road trip to see the Northern Lights in an attempt to remember her past that she forgot during a car accident that took her family's lives. Along the way she meets four people, all with different stories, and helps to guide them on the path that they want, but won't admit, discovering life along the way. This book is special because it really kept me interested and engaged in the plot line and the characters. The writing also was spectacular and better than most books I've read. The most compelling aspect of the book was the main character, Leila, and how her adventure is portrayed in the book. I loved how her mind worked in the book, leading others on the path that they wanted, but never found their way to. –Annie K.


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Liar's Moon Liar's Moon / Elizabeth C. Bunce

In this sequel to Star Crossed, Digger is back in Gerse and all is not right. Her friend Durrel Decath, who once saved her life, is in prison for killing his wife - a crime which Digger knows he didn't commit. When she investigates, she finds secrets within secrets and plots within plots, and soon it's not just about Durrel's life but about the fate of the entire country.

The cover is just as beautiful as this book deserves. The expression on Digger' face suits her, and the shadowy male figure in the background fits the multitude of mysteries woven into the plot. I also love the huge moon in the background, since the book is titled Liar's Moon.

After the masterpiece that was Star Crossed, I was hard pressed to imagine a worthy sequel. Liar's Moon did not disappoint. Unlike many second books in series, it didn't suffer from 'sequelitis'; it was a wonderfully strong book in its own right. Every single character was nuanced and interesting, even the terrifying Inquisitor. Bunce's depiction of the city was both magical and unflinching. Gerse is not always a nice place, but it is always interesting. While someone who hasn't read Star Crossed would probably be confused by this book, anyone who's already been hooked by this series - called 'Thief Errant' - is guaranteed to be satisfied by this installment.   -Lisa M.


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Liesl and Po Liesl and Po / Lauren Oliver

This is an amazing novel about a young girl who has to help her ghost friend.  If you like books that are sweet, spooky, and about ghosts, you might like this one.  People who like ghost stories for kids have also enjoyed this book.    -Jordan T.

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The Lightning queen The Lightning queen / Laura Resau

Teo is a young Mixteco boy who lives in Mexico. Esma is a young gypsy girl who travels to his village every year with her caravan. Together, these two will journey through life together as friends for life. 


I loved the cover, It truly reflected the story and its characters. It has to be one of the simplest and yet most beautiful covers and books I have read this year. I loved seeing the relationship between Esma and Teo develop. The growth of their love for each other and how intertwined their lives are was beautiful. I don't usually read realistic fiction, but this book completely entranced me. The writing was beautiful and completely heartfelt. It was amazing to see Esma and Teo's story and how it evolved during their lives together and apart. --Maggie H.

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Lips Touch: Three Times Lips Touch: Three Times / Laini Taylor

In this collection of three short stories, Laini Taylor explores the darker sides of love and a few sinister creatures who exploit it. These are tales of a different sort of fairyland, different sorts of demons, and they are sure to captivate readers.

I'm in the minority on this, but I didn't like the cover of Lips Touch. It did represent the contents well, but otherwise seemed rather lackluster. The art didn't appeal to me, while the inner illustrations did; I felt like one of them would have been better suited to the cover. Its only particular highlight is that the girl's lips stand out spectacularly, but otherwise it's far overshadowed by the interior art.

It's hard to name a most compelling aspect of a short story collection, as there is little to tie them together. However, in this one, Taylor's writing stands out. It's way, way, way above and beyond the normal skill level in YA these days. Add to that the deft storytelling and the lovely illustrations that preface each story, it's easy to see why the book is beloved of many. It is a little slow, though, which may be a problem for some readers; but if you enjoy a story driven by concepts and characters rather than action, this volume is sure to satisfy.   -Lisa M.

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A List of Things That Didn't Kill Me: A Memoir A List of Things That Didn't Kill Me: A Memoir / Jason Schmidt

 A List of things that didn't kill me is a memoir of the life of Jason Schmidt. It is a novel with lots of stories and interesting thoughts. The most compelling aspect of the book was the drama that took place in each event.  -Victoria D.  


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Living Dead Girl Living Dead Girl / Elizabeth Scott

This is the story of an Alice. Before she was Alice, she was a spoiled little girl. Until Ray took her away and taught her otherwise. Now she's been surviving for five years with the pedophile. Compliant and dreaming of the day he kills her. Too bad Ray has other plans...

There's only so much a book cover can tell you but I think that the cover, showing an empty white dress, captures the tone perfectly. Along with the title, it gives the impression that something disturbing happened and you don't want to know about it. But trust me, you REALLY want to know about it.

Living Dead Girl is just so powerful. From the way Alice was 'created' to her present thoughts. With narration so deliberate that it was like the author had a word limit; every page just struck a chord in me and I had to keep reading. Alice was a very broken-down protagonist, but it was played out so well. The haunting voice she uses to tell her story just made every sentence stick in my mind. Possibly forever. The writing itself was amazing. Elizabeth Scott is so talented that it simply brings to life her rather unnerving plot. This book is a very shocking way to tell people to wake up and really look at someone.   -Samantha Y.


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Lois Lane: Fallout Lois Lane: Fallout / Gwenda Bond

Lois Lane is in high school, and on her first day of school she already gets mixed up in a mess of bad principals, bullies, secrecy, and mind control. As Lois Lane tries to uncover her mysterious, online friend’s identity, she fights in an online gaming battle against the Warheads, who are a group of bullies accused of harassment and mind control.

The most compelling aspect of the book is the action. I loved this book, I completely related to the main character and I was so excited about what would happen next or about who her mysterious, online friend was. Victoria D. 


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The Looney experiment The Looney experiment / Luke Reynolds

Atticus Hobart wishes he weren't the class bully's personal punching bag. He wishes his dad didn't just ditch him and his family. And he certainly wishes his name was not Atticus. Alas, reality is not a genie. In steps Mr. Looney, the class sub, to show Atticus that life can be as great as in his imagination. A light, feel-good story, this book has all the right elements to draw you into Atticus' crappy life and bizarre imagination. Atticus isn't always the most rational person but it's easy to understand. Even when I wanted to punch him, I knew that's how I would behave under such circumstances. Plus, the narration is great. Several scenes involve Atticus arguing with inanimate objects that, I kid you not, are some of the sassiest characters in the book. Although more suited for a preteen (cynical readers may experience large amounts of eye rolling), the story's message about confidence and courage are applicable for any age. Recommended if you need a smile. Samantha Y.

 


Bookjacket for  Lost Children of the Far Islands

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Lost Children of the Far Islands Lost Children of the Far Islands / Emily Raabe

 The author explained the scenery of the island beautifully, the world is enchanting. We get to follow the characters as they learn about the mysteries within them, but there isn't time to dwell, because their mother is dying, and to save her, one of them must sacrifice themselves. This book is one of the best books I ever read. It has people that shift into animals, and the three children have to defeat the king of the Black Lakes to save their mother from dying, but whoever kills the king dies so it's nail biting to see how it will all conclude. It switches between characters' point of view, and I got attached to each of them. Great setting, easy to visualize, and a nice escape to a magic place outside of reality. – Arianna D.


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The Lost Prince The Lost Prince / Matt Myklusch

The first book in the Seaborne series, it’s about pirates. A boy named Dean Seaborne is a spy. One-Eyed Jack is Dean’s captain who sends him out on spy missions to other pirates to steal gold. Later on though, Dean finds out that he is a lost prince…but he doesn’t believe it. It is a good and interesting book with suspense and things happening that you don’t expect. Abby B.


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A mango-shaped space A mango-shaped space / Wendy Mass

A girl named Mia has, in my opinion, a brilliant, condition called synesthesia. Synesthesia is a condition that happens when a sense, such as sight, triggers another sense, like smell, at the same time.  Her Grandfather dies and a respiratory disordered cat is by his grave. She raises him as her own. The cat seems to be a light in her differed world.  Without a choice, she realizes that some miracles will only come if life happens. 

At first, I couldn't believe that Mia was undergoing something so... brilliant. A Mango Shaped Space is definitely worth reading. Gianna G.


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Maybe One Day Maybe One Day / Melissa Kantor

 This book is kind of like The Fault In Our Stars, following the cancer epidemic, but instead of between lovers it's between best friends. This book follows the story of two girls named Zoe and Olivia. These two girls met each other at dance when they were young and they have been best friends since, until Olivia gets sick with Leukemia. It's a really touching book and it shows how cancer can really tear up beautiful relationships. I liked the cover because once you finished reading the book and looked at the cover, it kind of punched you in the gut and made you cry and be grateful that cancer hasn't affected your life. –Noha S.


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The Maze Runner The Maze Runner / James Dashner

 Thomas wakes up in an elevator and he can't remember anything except his name. When he gets to the Glade, he's surrounded by boys like him who don't remember anything. Outside the walls is a maze that changes every night with monsters called Grievers that roam it. Then a girl comes, the first one to ever come to the Glade. Thomas will have to find his way out, and help the Gladers escape too. I really liked it. I think the most compelling aspect is just the intensity of running the Maze and not knowing if they're going to make it out alive. Hunger Games and Divergent fans would like this one. –Kady W.

Second opinion:

This is a thrilling adventure of the protagonist, Thomas, as he learns about the strange prison where he awakens. With his new friends, he tries to escape the prison while trying to avoid the terrible monsters guarding it. This book is very hard to put down--a good read that starts a good series. Charlie D.


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Midnight Thief Midnight Thief / Livia Blackburne

 From years on the streets of Forge, Kyra has a set of skills that are perfect for a job of the Assassins Guild. Tristam of Brancel has had his best friend murdered by the Demon Riders, vicious warriors on savage wildcats. A part of Kyra's job brings them together in a mutual quest.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a little lacking in the development of characters besides Kyra, Tristam, and James, though that is part of the writing and works. The fantasy world was a little rough around the edges; development wasn't conveyed in full to the reader. Please keep in mind this is better than some author’s best novels by a long shot, and for a debut this is stellar. – Ethan S.


Bookjacket for  MILA 2.0

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MILA 2.0 MILA 2.0 / Debra Driza

Mila cannot remember anything about her past except for a few choice memories. Then she is flung from a car and discovers that she is not fully human. Mila is an android, her past is entirely fabricated, and her creators are hunting for her. This book is an incredible page turner. The only reason I put it down was because it was so late I could barely read the words. Mila is an amazing character, holding on to her humanity even as her existence strips it away. No matter what happens, you root for her. I loved the cover. It looked like Mila was both being put together and being ripped apart. I loved the whole concept of the story. It was what got me to read it in the first place, and kept me enthralled. But when the concept was applied to a character as well written as Mila, it was as if my hands were glued to the book.  -Madison C.


Bookjacket for  Mistborn: The Final Empire

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Mistborn: The Final Empire Mistborn: The Final Empire / Brandon Sanderson

A thousand years ago, the Hero of Prophecy failed. Now the land is controlled by a godlike tyrant, the Lord Ruler, and the priests of his brutal theocracy. Kelsier, a rebel member of an oppressed race with strange powers, thinks he can defeat the Lord Ruler, but he needs help to do it - the help of a wary, untrusting street rat named Vin.

There have been two main cover designs for this book: one, a computer-created photo manipulation and the other a lovely piece of conventional artwork. Both show Vin, but the artwork cover (found on the hardback edition) is much more dynamic and attractive. However, they both reflect the contents of the book quite accurately.

This was by far one of the best books I've ever read, surpassed by only a few (including its sequel [The Well of Ascension]). The characters are vivid, the magic system innovative and downright cool, the world disturbing and well-realized, and the plot... well, the plot has layers upon layers of complexity, handled with perfect pacing. There is rarely a dull moment, and despite the fact that it's nearly six hundred pages long, this book seems a lot shorter because it is extraordinarily engrossing. It's one of those books that doesn't have a single outstanding aspect, because the whole package is well-balanced.   -Lisa M.

Another take...

Kelsier is a survivor. He is the only known man to escape the Pits of Hathsin. He finds Vin, a girl who was raised on the streets with thieving crews. She has powers she didn't even know about, and they will create the team that will end the rein of the tyrant Lord Ruler.

The book is very well written. The story grabs your attention and keeps it all the way through. My favorite part was when Elend goes into the middle of the square trying to find Vin, and meets Kelsier who hates nobles, but saves Elend's life because he knows Vin loves him.   -Audrey B.


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Monstrumologist Monstrumologist / Rick Yancy

Recently orphaned Will Henry is a twelve year old in 1888, with a rather unusual occupation. He is the "assistant-apprentice" to a monstrumologist, the deranged Doctor Pellinore Winthrop. As his assistant, Will Henry is pulled into a dark mystery of real-world monsters, which threaten his town, and also the world.

The cover is suitably dark, and gave the feel of an old-school medical lab, but perhaps one that served a dark purpose than most—very compelling and a big part of why I picked up the book. It manages to capture the same dynamic a Sherlock Holmes novel has: that of an eccentric genius and his slightly-smarter-than-average assistant. Will Henry is a wonderfully compelling narrator, who is both humble and informed. The book is well-paced, and kept me turning each page, desperate to know what happened next, and also a bit terrified to find out. One of my favorite aspects is that it's written as though the book is an actual diary, and the actual author (Rick Yancey) is listed as but an editor, a trick employed by others, but which few do so quite as well. It's a fun twist that helps build up further suspense and helps smudge the line between fantasy and reality a bit further, enhanced by tiny nods to real world events. Overall, a highly effective technique. Sequels: Curse of the Wendigo and Isle of Blood.   -Maisie I.

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My Best Friend, Maybe My Best Friend, Maybe / Caela Carter

 Colette doesn't know why after three years of silence, her ex-best friend suddenly needs her. She doesn't know why they stopped being friends, but she realizes that she wishes they hadn't. Colette joins her ex-friend Sadie and her family on a trip which will reveal what really happened three years ago, and which will help her figure out who she really wants to be. The intricate storyline plus the detail and imagery used to describe the setting and draw the reader in make this book special. The book deals with important issues such as sexuality, friendship, and family in a unique way, creating an amazing story. –Olivia C.


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My Sister's Keeper My Sister's Keeper / Jodi Picoult

IRS 30 Second Book Review:

This is an amazing novel about a family who has to try to come together for their sick sister/daughter.  If you like books that make you cry, but are well written, you might like this one.  People who liked The Notebook, or any heartfelt, sad books, have also enjoyed this book.    -Jordon T.

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My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush / Laura Toffler-Corrie

Jenna is an average teenager who lives in an average town and is going to an average restaurant for her average birthday. Her mom gives her an ugly pendant necklace for her birthday and she begins to plot her sneaking it into the gutter when the cutest guy she has ever seen comes over to their table. He is the waiter, Luke. Suddenly, as the family orders their meal, Jenna spots something out the window. This something is a devil. And Luke is an angel. And these two men are archenemies. Jenna and Luke must go on a huge expedition to stop Adam from terrorizing and destroying the whole town...or even the whole world. This book is filled with action, romance, drama, and...babysitting. There are villains, good guys, popularity, and boyfriends. There was kissing, love, and Luke made a perfect gift for her. She loves him and he loves her...but then he has to leave. She is heartbroken. It left me wondering, will Luke come back to help defeat Adam once and for all? I was disappointed when the book had to end! I wanted to hear more about afterwards and the happy ever after!   -Cambria C.


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Need Need / Carrie Jones

Zara has a creepy stalker—a creepy stalker that leaves no footprints, but instead a mysterious trail of gold dust. A creepy stalker that may or may not be a pixie...

When Zara moves to Maine to live with her step-grandmother after her step-father dies, she meets new people, not all of them nice. In this exciting read, Zara faces her fears and learns the truth behind her family and the evil pixies that are watching her every step. The cover is interesting; I think it provides some useful foreshadowing. The title headings for each chapter add to the story. I love how they were different phobias that kind of hinted at a theme of each chapter. A problem is that in the final scene it was very hard to keep who was changed and who was in human form straight. They kept switching and the author didn't keep up. But overall, this is a great and a fun read!   -Rachel M.

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Night Tourist Night Tourist / Katherine Marsh

New York City, Greek mythology, and family secrets: these are the ingredients of Katherine Marsh’s The Night Tourist. This modernized retelling of the Orpheus myth centers around Jack Perdu, a teenager who lives with his professor father at Yale University. After a near-fatal car crash, Jack’s father sends him to see a doctor in New York. In the city he meets Euri, a mysterious girl who might just be able to reunite Jack with his mother. But since his mother died eight years earlier, something odd is going on…

This book is a fast read, with a quick pace and intriguing concepts. It’s not hard for a reader well-versed in mythology to predict the ending, but there are a few twists and turns along the way. At times, locations are described in such a confusing way that a reader may want to consult a map of New York to find out what’s going on, but generally this is not necessary.

While not challenging or overly original, The Night Tourist is fun—perhaps for those very reasons. Marsh’s writing flows well, and the plot rarely drags. Some of the characters Jack and Euri meet add comic relief to what might be a dark tale. This book would be good for upper elementary and middle school readers.   -Lisa M.

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Noggin Noggin / John Corey Whaley

Travis wakes up with his head attached to a body that is not his in a world different from what he remembers yet still painfully the same. This book deals with the aftermath of mourning, when the one you are mourning is still alive.

I was on the fence for this book because while it had great voice and dealt with a wonderful array of topics, there were some disturbing points. But nonetheless, it's a wonderful book. The completely weird and bizarre concept that this book took worked out so perfectly. Like, I was honestly expecting a SciFi/Dystopian take but Whaley made it modern(ish) day cryogenics. It's about people moving on yet at the same time hits all the points about not moving on. They say hope can be paralyzing and that is exactly what this book shows. It was so non-sugarcoated with any "Oh, we never stopped believing in you," stuff, and it's great. They all thought he'd died and then they all moved on. It's like this: Travis died. The end. Oh, but he came back. Crap, what now? The characters and their interactions were so funny. Their entertainment value kept these heavy topics on the lighter side. Trevor's attitude especially because while the whole world is treating him like a hero, all he knows is he woke up.

The characters were most definitely the reason you wanted to keep reading this book. Even when the plot dragged, the characters were enough to keep you hooked. The voice of Travis was used to its full ability. There were terrible jokes, bad puns, strange reactions, and they all worked. I liked Travis as a character because he was so stuck in the past. When it came to Cate, he was borderline obsessed but he really wasn't. He was desperate and not-yet-mature, but not crazy. I just loved the way he handled his death. To him, it was like it hadn't happened. Sure, that made it very hard for him to understand the people who did have to suffer his passing (and sometimes he didn't try) but that just made him sort of relatable. I also liked that the book dealt with the internal struggles of coming out of the closet.

 -Samantha


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Num8ers Num8ers / Rachel Ward

Jem can’t look into people's eyes. Every time she does, she sees people's death dates. She goes from foster home to foster home. When she and friend Spider are seen running from the scene of a crime, they must run away from home. They steal cars and money, and are wanted by the police. Will they get caught? Will they live to see the end? 

The cover really caught my eye. It is a red eye looking upward, but you see it from the side. Surrounding it are many different random numbers. They fade out for the title and author. The cover reflected the contents in a way that you have to read the book to understand. 

I definitely enjoyed this book very much. It really made me yearn for more. Luckily, there are a couple others to the series. The most compelling aspect of this book is that it’s funny at moments, but then it turns mysterious or very serious. Emma Tr.


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The Oathbreaker's Shadow The Oathbreaker's Shadow / Amy McCulloch

The Oathbreaker's Shadow is about a boy named Raim. Raim has had a promise knot around his wrist for as long as he can remember but nobody knows what he promised. Raim has also been training in the Yun Guard a sacred guard devoted in protected the Khan, but as he is sworn into the guard his old promise knot hurts into flames. Now scared as an oathbreaker, Raim has two choices: run or die. 

I think this book was well written. I love that the author really stresses the situation the main character is in. The best part of this book is the way the author builds to the climax and leaves you hanging at the end. Madeleine B.


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Obernewtyn Obernewtyn / Isobelle Carmody

Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn is definitely one of the well-imagined post-apocalyptic novels I have ever read. “The Great White” reshaped the world long before the book is set, and its contamination has created “Misfits” like Elspeth Gordie. In a society where even the slightest deviation from normalcy can be cause enough for burning by a fanatical religious leadership, her ability to sense thoughts must always be kept hidden. She’s managed fairly well in an orphanage, and her brother has even been chosen for the priesthood. All that changes when a woman from the mountains visits the orphanage. She comes from the shadowy Obernewtyn, a place whose name is used by parents to scare their children into good behavior. Obernewtyn takes Misfits and puts them to work, but there are rumors of darker doings. Somehow, the woman from Obernewtyn knows that Elspeth is a Misfit and takes her away into the mountains. There she discovers a plan that threatens to destroy the world again, and a group of people more like her than she had ever imagined.

While Elspeth is not the strongest of characters, her world is more than intriguing enough to make up for the lack. It seems clear that the “Great White” was a nuclear war, but some of the machines hinted at are unfamiliar, and so the reader wonders. Obernewtyn is the first volume of a series, and so its primary purpose would seem to be setting up the characters and their world, to be developed further in later books. It certainly serves as a good introduction, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.   -Lisa M.

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Paperweight Paperweight / Meg Haston

Seventeen-year-old Stevie has been signed up for an eating disorder clinic, 60 days of treatment. There is one slight problem with this; 27 days from now, she, if all goes according to plan, will be dead at her own hands. 

I was rather satisfied with this book, not being able to put it down. The character arc was rather interesting, following realizations about many different people, perceptions, and herself. The involvement of her therapist at the eating disorder clinic, referred to by Stevie as "Shrink," and the diary that Stevie starts, are the more driving parts of the book. Ethan S.


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Paranormalcy Paranormalcy / Kiersten White

Evie works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, and she's one of their best agents even though she's only 16. This is because unlike other humans, she can see through glamours and tell creatures like vampires and faeries for what they really are. When someone seems to be slaughtering paranormals wholesale, she is uniquely equipped to deal with the problem...and doing so gets uncomfortably close to the secret of her own unusual ability.

I can take or leave the cover. On the one hand, it made it easier for me to picture Evie; on the other hand, it seemed rather...quiet. I mean, the girl goes around shooting vampires with a hot pink Taser. Couldn't the cover have shown her in action?

This book takes an interesting approach to the paranormal craze sweeping YA, and it's rather refreshing to read. The prose is clear and easy to comprehend, meaning that once the story gets into gear the pages fly by. Evie is a very convincing teenager, and many of the supporting characters are clearly the heroes of their own stories, which means they play nicely into Evie's. The air of mystery, and then of fear, that contributes to the force of the plot is very well-drawn; there's a lot of tension, and that's probably the most enjoyable part of the book. The part that really elevated this book in my eyes, though, was the ending. For once, the first book in a trilogy-to-be was complete in and of itself! There are threads to be picked up in the two sequels, certainly, but this book had a denouement of its own. It seems that many authors have been skipping that wrapping-up stage lately, choosing instead a cliffhanger to ensure that readers buy the next volume, and that can be off-putting. Thank you, Kiersten White, for not taking the easy way out. I look forward to the next two books in the series [Supernatturaly and Endlessly].   -Lisa M.

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Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks / Lauren Myracle

IRS 30 Second Book Review:

It was a cute, good, easy read about two sisters who grow-up together and try to get along.  If you like books that are funny, sweet, and very light, you might like this one.  People who liked easy, light, fun reads have also enjoyed this book.    -Jordan T.


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Pegasus Pegasus / Robin McKinley

Sylvi is a princess of Balsinland, where every royal child is bonded to a Pegasus on their twelfth birthday. Communication between a Pegasus and a human has historically been stilted, with most pairs needing magicians to translate - but when Sylvi meets Ebon, they can speak to each other effortlessly through their minds. This connection, previously unheard of, sends ripples through human society... and not everyone is happy about it.

Oh that cover. So. Gorgeous. And dramatic - Sylvi small and almost blending in to the grass, Ebon a little larger coming in for a landing - representing the two main characters in very elemental terms, with Sylvi as earth and Ebon as air. It's elegant and beautiful and very like the book, really.

I'm just going to say up front that many people won't like this book. If you don't love world-building, Pegasus is not for you. McKinley spends a very long time showing readers the history and politics of the setting, which I personally found fascinating. However, it can make the book drag in parts if that's not your cup of tea. The story on top of the world-building is also very gradually shown. This is the first part of what is projected to be a two-book series, so McKinley doesn't really need to rush it, and she certainly doesn't. The result is that every character has a lot of development, particularly Sylvi and Ebon. Those two, by the way, are loads of fun to read about. Ebon is very sharp-witted and not at all as shy as his bond-mate. His perspective is also fascinating, since he's not bound by human customs and doesn't see the logic in many of them. He really helps Sylvi to mature and become more confident, just as she helps him mellow out and behave a little better. Those familiar with McKinley's work will know that she pretty much never writes direct sequels. The closest she's gotten are The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown (both excellent, by the way), which are set in the same world hundreds of years apart. As a result, it should be no surprise that she's not very good at ending the first book in a series. It comes off rushed, forced even, and can easily leave the reader with a sense of loss - "That's how it ends? Really?" The wait for a sequel will doubtless be lengthy, but I for one am looking forward to it  [Ebon, 2014].    -Lisa M.


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Pieces of Me Pieces of Me / Amber Kizer

Pieces of Me is about a simple teenage girl named Jessica who gets into an accident that leaves her brain dead, so her parents donate her organs to four fellow teenagers. She proceeds to follow them in her afterlife and realizes that because she died, they live. Soon they all become friends with only parts of Jessica in common. This book constantly kept my attention and really fiddled with my emotions. The writing style of the book was also very good because it made you pay attention and reread sections, and even though this does not sound like a good thing, it was amazing for this book. The most compelling aspect of the book was how it just grasped you into a story about teens recovering from transplants and struggling through each day, not daring to think about the future and trying to look into the past. –Annie K.


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Prince without a Kingdom Prince without a Kingdom / Timothée de Fombelle

A Prince Without a Kingdom (sequel to Vango, Between Sky and Earth) follows a man named Vango Romano on the run for his life not only from the police but from Soviet Spies as well. During Vango's flight he also discovers his past as well as rekindles love for his lost sweetheart. 

This book is amazing, beautiful, and excellent. The book compelled this opinion by being masterfully put together is was almost like being inside the book. Madeleine B.


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Rapture : a Fallen novel Rapture : a Fallen novel / Lauren Kate

 In the final book in the Fallen series by Lauren Kate, Rapture, Luce and Daniel and the other angels have to find three objects to lead them to the site of The Fall before Lucifer to save the world. Along the way the angels run into trials and dangers that stall them from getting the items. Will they get to the site before Lucifer? Will Luce finally discover what she really is?   -Cambree W.


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Rapture Practice: A True Story Rapture Practice: A True Story / Aaron Hartzler

This book is a true story about the life of Aaron, who lives in an extremely Christian family, with parents who often suppress his individuality through their beliefs. Throughout the story, the reader gets to see inside Aaron's head as he questions everything about his life and his family's values, creating suspense and an emotional story. The book is so unique because it gives teens a look inside the mind of a boy who had to learn how to grow up to be the person he wanted to be, and not necessarily the person his parents wanted him to be, which is a very relatable theme presented from a unique perspective.  -Olivia C.

Another take...

Aaron has been raised his entire life in a devoted Christian family. He has promised his heart to Jesus, goes to church, and goes to Christian school. Only in his later years does he realize... he is too restricted by his parents. Aaron begins to rebel against his parents. He sneaks out to movies, makes out with girls, and even has beers at his friend’s house. But when this secret world comes crashing down around him, will he forever lie to his parents or show them his true self? This book had me captivated from the beginning. I truly enjoyed each twist and turn this book offered. The author's words had me filled with anger, sadness, or joy in each chapter. The most compelling aspect of this book was how the emotions the words on the page made me feel. I was right there, living his frustration and anger. It was amazing.  -Cambria C.


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Read Between the Lines Read Between the Lines / Jo Knowles

 Nate, unpopular, suffers a middle finger breakage in gym class; a cheerleader who is pretty sure that's not where she belongs; a group of boys robbing people with only one feeling remorse. These and many more short stories make up Read Between the Lines. –Annie K.


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Really Awesome Mess Really Awesome Mess / Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin

Teens Emmy and Justin made some not-so-wise choices recently and ended up in Heartland Academy, "A caring place." While neither of them thinks they should be where they are, they'd be surprised at how much they learn. It very much reminded me of John Green's book Looking For Alaska. You have some messed up teens who go to a boarding school together and mature. But A Really Awesome Mess had a happy ending where there was hope for the main characters even though they seemed far from anything good.  -Akiva W.


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Rebel of the sands Rebel of the sands / Alwyn Hamilton

Amani lives in the small town of Dustwalk, a foreboding place, but even more so you're a girl, poor or orphaned, Amani is all three. Amani also happens to be a sharpshooter, and she wants nothing more than to leave Dustwalk. At a shooting competition she meets a handsome foreigner, they leave Dustwalk together to a destination unknown. 

The cover gives off ethereal feeling, which makes sense because this book deals in desert magic. It has a compelling plot line that drives you until the end. This is a must read for people that like strong female characters. --Madeleine B.


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Red Rising Red Rising / Pierce Brown

Darrow lives his life as a Helldiver on Mars, a red mining helium-3 in order to terraform Mars so the higher colors can inhabit the planet. When a series of executions occur, Darrow being among those executed, he is spared, drugged so that he can be revived later. Now he is with a group that plans to send him into the training school of the Golds, the highest class in the caste system he's a member of--to take down society from within.


Red Rising is a very compelling story. I had a great time reading it. Darrow's transformation, both physically and mentally, was a very interesting arc as the balance of power at the academy swung different ways. What must accompany a person as they become a Gold from a Red is extraordinary, like any shift from the dregs of society to the top of the heap would involve. The sequel is Golden SonEthan S. 


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Remnants: Season of Wonder Remnants: Season of Wonder / Lisa Tawn Bergren

The Ailith were born on the seventh day of the seventy seventh Harvest after the Great War. Born with a birthmark of a perfect crescent moon just above their hips. The Ailith are high gifted people and outlawed in Pacifica, the large city outside the Trading Union. Andriana is a Remnant one of the two types of Ailith. Each Remnant has a Knight that protects them for their entire lives. Ronan is Andrana's Knight, they've grown up together in training for the day the Call came and they would have to fight the Sons of Sheol. The Ailith aren't meant to fall in love, they're meant to serve the Maker. The Sons of Sheol want to destroy the Ailith and anyone who helps them, falling in love is the worst distraction in this case. But her feelings for Ronan are growing, and following that rule becomes hard.

This book has adventure, friendship, and even a little romance. It's set in a dystopian world in the future, but does not have the typical futuristic advancements. It's perfect for teens and I highly recommend it. -Kady


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Replacement Replacement / Brenna Yovanoff

Mackie is dying in the human world. It makes sense, though, since he doesn't belong here- he is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby when that baby was stolen by the beings who live under the slag heap. When another child is taken - the little sister of a girl he likes - Mackie is finally forced to confront what he is and the world he came from.

This is the one book I've read so far that deserved its hype- and more. It had a wonderful fairy tale quality- and I'm not referring to Disney's Cinderella. I mean the old fairy tales, the ones where the little mermaid dies or the evil stepsisters cut off parts of their feet and then get their eyes pecked out by birds. Call me crazy, but that made the book good. Dark fairy tales are about as harsh as the real world, and elements of that kind of eerie horror can make a book about the fantastic into something... believable—even if there are living dead girls walking around. Also, Mackie and Tate were just good characters, literarily speaking. The true reluctant hero is difficult to pull off, but Yovanoff managed it; and maybe I'm not the best judge, but he sounded like a teenage boy to me. I'm not sure what their thoughts are like, but his words and actions definitely rang true. Tate was spunky and determined, and when she was told to stay out of something she figured out how to be useful and got right back in. Unlike the 'heroines' of most young adult paranormal novels, she existed as more than a pawn or a damsel in distress, and I was cheering for her all the way.   -Lisa M.


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Rise of Renegade X Rise of Renegade X / Chelsea M., Campbell

When super-villains (or superheroes) turn 16, their thumbprints change to reflect their future with superpowers. But when Damien Locke turns 16, he doesn't receive the "V" his mother's villainous past dictates, he receives an "X," marking him as the child of both a super villain and hero. When he is then forced to live with his father's family, where his father is intent on making Damien become a hero, Damien sets out to prove he is truly evil. Until an evil plot that threatens his new found family arises as Damien must choose if he is a hero or villain.

The cover shows a great cityscape (that shows up throughout the story as chapter heads) and a young boy dressed as a superhero. It gives off the comic book feel the story reflects, and also sets the tone to be a much lighter one than most YA superhero books tend to be.

This is quite possibly the funniest thing I have EVER read. I admit I was a bit nervous about the story the first chapter or so, because it doesn't exactly start with a POW! But by the third chapter, I had decided that Damien Locke was a perfect narrator, and had a twisted sense of humor that just shone through. If the book hadn't been well written (though it was well written) it would still have been funny enough to still be a great book. However, though it is wonderfully written, the plot twists can be seen from miles away, and the climax does seem to scream "PETER PAN!" Plus, as a diehard comic geek, I noticed moments that seemed almost stolen from other superhero's cannons, and it was unclear to me if these were subtle nods or the author being a tad unoriginal (the fact the main character is named Damien and has a mother who is a bad guy and a superhero for a father SCREAMS Batman). But if I weren't such a geek, I wouldn't have noticed, and the book is fun enough that you can forgive obvious and cliché scenes, because it's just laugh-out-loud funny. :)   -Maisie I.

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Rithmatist Rithmatist / Brandon Sanderson

The Rithmatist is an epic fantasy novel that centers on the characters Joel, a non-Rithmatist who desperately wants to be one, and Melody, a Rithmatist who can't draw her lines right. The two of them get to know each other as they work tirelessly, as they work to stop a series of kidnappings and murders...and stumble onto the darker plot taking place underneath. The book has a fantastic plot that reveals nothing until the very end and leaves you wanting more, world building enough for two worlds, and a writing style that draws you into the book and makes even the boring parts seem interesting. The cover is quite interesting, and it does a marvelous job of displaying the steampunk/clockwork theme of the novel. The one thing that the book cover is missing is a reference to chalk, which is strange as this is one of the cornerstones of the book's world building. The most compelling aspect of his book would have to be the way that it combines an epic storytelling style with the quirks and sticks of Joel and Melody's relationship to produce a story that is both a comedy and an action adventure. It is a rather perfect blend of fantasy and humor, with a nice undertone of mystery that makes it gripping and enjoyable.   -Sam S.


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The Rookie Bookie : a novel The Rookie Bookie : a novel / Toby Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim

It's mostly about betting on football games.  It taught me a lesson about not betting at school because you can get caught even if you think you won't get caught.  -Abby B. 


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Rules Rules / Stacey Kade

This is a book about a girl who was genetically made and is being tested and experimented on. Her "Father" rescued her and brought to the outside. But, she must follow 5 rules to stay on the outside. Will she follow them? The author has really great voice in this book and follows through with the story. I don't remember a dull moment that happened in the book and she put in a lot of action and romance. I could barely put the book down.   -Victoria D.


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Sandman: A Game of You Sandman: A Game of You / Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics are small. If you had all of them on hand, you could probably read them in a day or less.  Providing, that is, that you wanted to - which you probably wouldn’t, because along with being creative and brilliant and in all other ways pure Gaiman, The Sandman is a series of dark, heavy little books.

Volume five, A Game of You, is somewhat less so than the books that precede it.  There’s blood, of course, but not so much as in Preludes and Nocturnes. A Game of You is more of a classical fantasy plot.  Barbie, the protagonist, has stopped dreaming - but her dreams aren’t held back by little things like that.  Barbie left before her quest was fulfilled, and the creatures of her dreams are coming into her world to find her. When she does get sucked back into the Land, though, her worried friends follow, causing mayhem in both worlds in the process.

Save for the inescapable bits of oddity that are hallmarks of The Sandman, this plot would have made a fine short story, or perhaps even a novel. Some of the odd twists, though, make it the kind of story only Gaiman and the Sandman can get away with.

Though it’s the fifth volume, A Game of You would make a good starting place, a sampler for a reader not yet sure about the series.   -Lisa M.


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Savvy Savvy / Ingrid Law

Savvy is a Southern, freewheeling romp of a book.  It’s lighthearted and light reading, and it’s great fun too. The story starts not long before Mibs Beaumont’s thirteenth birthday, the day when she will discover her ‘savvy’. Everyone in her family has a special talent—her grandmother could “can” sound; her grandfather creates new places; and her two older brothers create hurricanes and electricity.  Mibs can’t wait to discover her own savvy- until her Papa is in a car crash a few days before she turns thirteen. Even a savvy takes second stage to that—to the point that Mibs, two of her brothers, and the preacher’s kids hop a bus to the hospital…only to find it going the wrong way!

This book won a Newbery Honor Medal, and it’s easy to see why. In essence, it’s a story about ordinary people, with just a bit of a magical twist. The basic parts of the plot could conceivably happen anywhere, to anyone. There are few readers who can’t sympathize with Mibs’s desire to help her Papa and recognize that, while her methods may be unorthodox, her motivation is common:  Love.   -Lisa M.

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Scorpio Races Scorpio Races / Maggie Stiefvater

This book is about the lead up to the Scorpio Races, a race that is run by amphibious, man eating water horses. The story follows Puck, a poor orphan girl, who is trying to win the races without a water horse, and Sean Kendrick, a four time winner of the Scorpio Races, as they slowly begin to know and help each other. This book has an amazing plot line and an ending that is nothing short of amazing.

I like how the cover shows a horse and a rider but hardly anything else, so it really gives the book a feeling of suspense.

I really enjoyed this book. The most compelling aspect of this book is that it keeps going back and forth between the two characters so you never get bored with the book.   -Sam S.

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Seaborne: The Lost Prince Seaborne: The Lost Prince / Matt Myklusch

The first book in the Seaborne series, it’s about pirates. A boy named Dean Seaborne is a spy. One-Eyed Jack is Dean’s captain who sends him out on spy missions to other pirates to steal gold. Later on though, Dean finds out that he is a lost prince…but he doesn’t believe it. It is a good and interesting book with suspense and things happening that you don’t expect.    -Abby B.


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Siege and Storm Siege and Storm / Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm is the sequel to Shadow and Bone, and continues the story of Alina, the Sun Summoner. Alina and Mal have been on the run from the Darkling, but now they are on a boat owned by a mysterious privateer and seeking a second amplifier to increase Alina's power. Alina must put together an army, while holding onto herself and the people she cares about most. This book was better than the first; it was darker, but it also allowed a lot of character development. We got to see who Alina really was, and see clearly the differences between her and Mal. I also really loved the character Nikolai. The best part was the clear distinctions between characters. You see the differences between Alina and Mal, and the different paths their lives were taking, but also the similarities between her and Nikolai and the Darkling. How the power was changing Alina was fascinating, because you could clearly see the differences in her throughout the book, without even needing to be told they were there.   -Bethany C.


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Singing Singing / Alison Croggon

Alison Croggon’s Pellinor tetrology began with an extraordinary novel, The Naming.  Now, to the delight of fans across the world, it concludes in The Singing. Resolution is finally here—but now the series is over, too.

As the book opens, Maerad and Cadvan are arriving in Innail, a welcoming Bard School they passed through once before. They’re on their way to find Hem, Maerad’s brother- but when the powerful elemental called the Landrost attacks the walls of the school, what might have been a short and restful stay turns chaotic. The battle is desperate, but Maerad manages to turn it in their favor…at the cost of her friends’ trust.

Meanwhile Hem, Saliman and Irk travel north only days ahead of the Nameless One’s army.  For brother, sister, and their companions it is a race to reunite before Sharma finds them. But even then their work isn’t done, because the mystery of the Treesong must be solved if Edil-Amarandh is to be saved…

This amazing series was Croggon’s entrance into the world of fantasy novels, and I can only hope that it isn’t also her exit. Edil-Amarandh is an immensely detailed world, clearly showing much thought and effort on the author’s part.  The Elidhu elementals, too, hint at vast depths of imagination and skill; they are essentially wild, forces of nature, and are portrayed very well. Maerad and Cadvan, the two central protagonists, are not perfect- each carries secrets and guilt, and they often fight.  In this way their relationship is realistic; they don’t just magically get along. Maerad’s struggle with her feelings for Arkan, the Ice Witch who held her captive, adds another element to an already unusual story.

The Pellinor books are, hands down, some of the best YA literature around. The Singing is the icing on a confection of story- the perfect finish to such a wondrous work.   -Lisa M.

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Siren Song Siren Song / Anne Ursu

Anne Ursu’s Cronus Chronicles are a delight to read. She brings a modern twist to the ancient Greek gods, with characters who are both likeable and funny. Her prose is light and deft, switching perspectives and moods with enviable grace.

The Siren Song is the second volume [Shadow Thieves is the first] of the Cronus Chronicles.  As it begins, cousins Zee and Charlotte are dealing with the consequences of their last adventure.  Of course, having saved the world, they feel that being grounded until age forty (Charlotte) and treated like glass (Zee) is rather unjust.  But, then again, all their parents know is that they snuck out at night.  Regardless, things are mostly back to normal…until a man in an aqua suit shows up; Charlotte’s parents win a free cruise, and Zee begins acting strangely.  Something fishy is definitely going on, and this time Charlotte will have to face it all by herself.

Ursu captures the outlooks of Charlotte, Zee, and Philonecron absolutely perfectly; when she switches from one to another it’s almost as if the characters themselves are writing.  Her senses of humor and of irony are finely honed and deftly used.  This is a wonderful read for anyone who loves Greek mythology- bit it would doubtless charm any reader.   -Lisa M.


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Six Months Later Six Months Later / Natalie D. Richards

Chloe Spinnaker is an average student just barely making the grade. But one day after falling asleep in study hall, in the middle of spring, she wakes up to snow and an empty classroom. Six months of her life has passed and she has no clue what happened except that now she is popular and has lots of friends. That is, except for her only true friend, Maggie, who won't even look at her. The mystery, confusion, and friendships in this book make it unbearable to put down! It was awesome!   -Victoria D.


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Six of Crows Six of Crows / Leigh Bardugo

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker and his team are appointed to steal something, something which holds the world in balance between destruction and life. Peril lies at every corner, secrets are revealed, and pasts reckoned with. This book is amazing. I love that there is character tension and romantic tension as well that still leave this book to be like the gritty reality of life. The constant Mission Impossible feel throughout the book especially compels me to really like it. Madeleine B.  

 


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So Much It Hurts So Much It Hurts / Monique Polak

This book follows the story of Iris, a 17 year old girl who wants to be an actress and lives with her divorced mother in Montreal. She becomes involved in an abusive relationship with a man who is 14 years older than her, and begins to lie and keep secrets from her mother and her friends. Iris' struggle makes the book captivating and her emotions are so intense that it is hard to put down. Iris asks throughout the book, "This is what love is, isn't it?"

As a reader you find yourself asking the same questions and feeling Iris' emotions, following her trains of thought and understanding what it must feel like to be in a relationship that is dangerous, and not at all healthy. You feel her desperation and her doubts, and you start to imagine if this was you in this situation, would you be stronger than Iris and stand up for yourself? Would you be able to recognize that this isn't what love is? The themes of this book, about figuring out what love is and how it can be so harmful, like in Iris' situation, is something that teens should read about, to know that sometimes love is deceiving and irrational and that it is so important to respect yourself in a relationship. Most books don't express how important that part of a relationship is, and for teens there should be more books like this so that people understand that it isn't just about falling in love and all that, but about being comfortable with your relationship and how the person you are with treats you.

The best part was the suspense of whether or not Iris will be safe and stand up for herself, and if other people in her life will see through her lies and help her get out of her bad situation. You start to think like Iris and wonder what will happen to her next, and it's very suspenseful. This book also highlights what an unhealthy relationship looks like, and it's obvious as you're reading that there are signs of how Iris is in a dangerous relationship and it makes you think of how to see those signs and avoid her situation.  -Olivia C.


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Something real Something real / Heather Demetrios

 Chloe Baker has been trapped in the world her parents created for her and her 12 brothers and sisters, forced into a reality TV show which puts her private life on display since the day she was born. After a traumatic cancellation of the show, her family is thrust into the spotlight once again four years later. This time, she and her brother Benny are on the verge of graduating high school, amidst thoughts of college and relationships, and are determined to fight for their independence from their crazy family and their disastrous reality TV show drama.

This book has a very unique storyline, while incorporating realistic details about the struggle of growing up and becoming independent, and being forced to choose which people will support you or ultimately hurt you in the end. It is also very well written. The most compelling part is Chloe's struggle to break free from the reality TV show drama spiraling out of control in her home. Also, her relationship with her brother, her boyfriend, her sister, and her friends are each captivating in their own way, and reflect the necessity of creating a good support system when life gets too difficult to cope on your own. – Olivia C.

This book is so real. Usually, most authors bring you into a world that seems real for a few chapters or so, though then you find the flaws in it, and then you're reading fake reality. A really good book creates this constantly believable world that makes it a wonderful read. – Ethan S.


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The Song of Achilles. ; A Novel. The Song of Achilles. ; A Novel. / Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles follows a Greek boy, Patroclus, and his life with his best friend and eventual love interest, Achilles. The book starts with when Patroclus is five years old and gives the story of his life up to the Trojan war.The book drew me in from the very first chapter. The characters were very life-like and I became very emotionally invested in what happened to them. They didn't seem unnatural or fake; they seemed like people who could be alive today. However, it wasn't only the characters that made me fall in love with the book. It was how Madeline Miller was able to weave in Patroclus and Achilles' love into the story flawlessly. The relationship she brought to life had been more life-like than other books' pairings are. By the end, I was crying for the pairing, and I could not stop thinking about the book once I finished it. In fact, I immediately reread some parts I was so invested in the story. Altogether, the characters and their reactions to other characters, as well as the plot line, made me fall in love with the book. Maggie H.


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Spy in the House Spy in the House / Y.S. Lee

Mary Quinn was almost hanged for a thief at the age of 12, but she was rescued by a woman from a school for young ladies. Only years later does Mary learn that the school runs another operation: a network of spies and investigators, all female, working on cases throughout London. And they want her to take part...

The cover captured this book's air of mystery and intrigue very well, and it was true to the period. While not the most attractive book cover I've seen lately, it was appropriate and easy on the eyes, and it fit well.

Historical fiction isn't one of my favorite genres, but I enjoyed this book. It reminded me—often, and a lot - of Phillip Pullman's Ruby in the Smoke, and given the option I'd take Pullman over Lee easy. However, the mystery in this book and the description of Victorian times were both quite interesting and kept me reading. My only major complaint is the 'hero' and love interest - he's painted as a jerk in the beginning of the novel, and somehow without changing that much turns Mary's perception of him around. (While I, the reader, still have a beef with his attitude.)   -Lisa M.

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Star Crossed Star Crossed / Elizabeth C. Bunce

Digger is a thief on the streets of the city of Gerse, living by her wits and concealing an ability to sense magic from the Greenmen who would kill her in the name of their goddess. When a job goes wrong and her partner is killed, though, she knows she needs to get out of the city fast - and ends up on a private boat with a group of young nobles. Through a series of interesting encounters and coincidences she ends up as the companion to one of them and travels up to a mountain stronghold filled with even more nobles. From then on, political machinations ensue - and Digger, who never wanted to get involved, finds herself in the heart of everything.

The cover represented the book very well. Cautious Digger, peering around a door- a door marked with the seven-pointed star, which is very important to the plot- appears very much as she should, right down to the knowing look in her eyes. Even the background is fitting- green, for the goddess the Greenmen serve. Also, simply as an image it is beautiful.

I was rather lukewarm about Bunce's debut, A Curse Dark As Gold. Therefore, though I'd heard good things, I was somewhat skeptical about this one... I needn't have been. Elizabeth C. Bunce has improved so much between books that there's really no comparison. Star Crossed was absolutely wonderful. I loved Digger and the nuances of her character; the difficulty she had in trusting, the caution with which she approached everything, and the way she kept getting sucked in to conflicts she supposedly wanted no part of because she is, at heart, a good person. The supporting cast were equally interesting, particularly one mysterious character with a penchant for carving. (I'd tell you who, but that would be spoiling!) The plot was very well-paced and interesting, with new secrets always around the corner. The prose was deft and lovely. While not quite tense enough to keep me up at all hours, Star Crossed definitely put a smile on my face every time I picked it up.   -Lisa M.


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The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender / Leslye Walton

 Among other things, Ava Lavender is born with wings. To find where she came from and where to go, Ava explores her past, a family history of painful love, with the past of others as they display the wounds that love inflicts and the hope it can almost bring. If you let it.

The writing is so beautiful. It touched upon all the sorrows of love in the most poignant way while almost maintaining a sense of abstract humor. If you can appreciate the irony of it, that is. It seems so rare to find a YA book so dark yet well done. I think the fact that the main topic was love was the best part. Love really stabbed these characters in the back, time and time again. It's like a fairytale without all the Disney editing.

The storytelling is a like a classic fairytale where magic weaves with reality, and the character's stories feel a world beyond our own. Ava's voice was also done very well. There were quite a few dark subjects and haunting scenes which were pulled off in the most fitting ways. It was heavy when it needed to be heavy. It was lighthearted, almost blasé, when it needed to strike a chord. I personally found the characters fascinating. Their stories were so bizarre and morbid. I could not relate to them at all, but I loved them all the same. Emilienne was my favorite. Vivianne seemed to me the dumbest of the main characters. Her obsession with Jack was a major hindrance and it took just a little too long for her to move on. Ava, to me, seemed the most human. Ironic, right? She really was just a girl and faced many girl problems despite having giant wings on her back.

This book could easily be one that people either love or hate. The truly lyrical prose could capture anyone's attention but the odd, lengthy plot may not. I think that would be a shame since this is one of the best books I've ever read. –Samantha Y.


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Sunrise Sunrise / Mike Mullin

After the supervolcano that changes the world forever, lots of people lost their lives. In a newly formed community, their homes are no longer safe. The adults are not facing the realities of the situation. Alex and Darla are teens who must now create a new community. I liked it because each chapter gets more interesting as it goes along. There’s lots of excitement and suspense. This is the third book in the series, be sure to read Ashfall and Ashen Winter first. Abby B.


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Tale of Two Castles Tale of Two Castles / Gail Carson Levine

Elodie (Lodie), a twelve-year-old young girl off to apprentice herself to an actor (a "mansioner"), finds herself the assistant to a witty, nasal dragon. Despite her parents' warnings, she befriends the dragon and a shape-shifting ogre, discovering that there is a plot to kill him. Lodie and the dragon set off on an adventure to find the killer before it's too late.

The cover very well summarizes and reflects the book’s content and plot, and the illustration on the cover is wonderfully done.

A Tale of Two Castles explores good and evil in various forms; the good being the vilest-looking creatures and evil being the sweetest. This is recommended for those who want a captivating and entertaining story that dissolves judging by looks. A perfect read-aloud book, the characters in it are well-developed and stay with the reader when the book is finished. A Tale of Two Castles has the same witty tone and feeling as Ella Enchanted. Anybody who fell in love with Ella Enchanted will adore this book as well.   -Kelsey E.

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The Testing The Testing / Joelle Charbonneau

Sixteen-year-old Cia has been chosen to participate in the Testing, a rigorous examination of the United Commonwealth's best and brightest to decide who will be the leaders of the country. She is exited and anticipating the outcome, though as the Testing goes on she discovers she knows less and less about her country than she originally thought.

I enjoyed the Testing. The changes that were made in society after the Seven Stages War were really interesting, especially in the little things that we take for granted. When something like those are put into a different perspective, it's amazing how much you notice about them and how bad they can be. Ethan S.


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There Will Come a Time There Will Come a Time / Carrie Arcos

 There Will Come a Time is about a boy, Mark, who lost his twin sister Grace in a car crash that he was also in. He constantly has a hard time wishing that it was him who died or just feeling alone in the world, until he and a childhood friend, Hannah, decide to honor her by completing one of her Top 5 lists. This book is special because the characters felt almost real, and the storyline was very unique and emotional. The writing was exceptional and cover design was intriguing. The most compelling aspect of the book was the constant dilemmas that faced the main character as tried to live a life without his loving twin. –Annie K.


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These Shallow Graves These Shallow Graves / Jennifer Donnelly

This book is about a prim and proper socialite, just out of finishing school, drawn into the underworld of New York City after her father's death. On her journey for the truth in the streets of New York she meets she meets an infuriatingly handsome newspaper reporter that might be willing to help her find the answers of her father's death. I thought it was well written and really captured the Victorian era, but it could have ended with more closure (maybe there will be a sequel). The most compelling aspect was the vivid pictures the author creates with words. Madeleine B. 


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Thief Thief / Megan Whalen Turner

Gen bragged that he could steal anything, but proving it got him landed in the king's prisons. Luckily enough, the king's magus has a job for him, even if he won't tell Gen what it is. On the way to their mysterious objective Gen, the magus, and their three companions trade myths and talk politics, and it becomes clear that some of them are not what they seem.

It's hard to figure out exactly how to describe this book. On a technical level, the prose is excellent, just balanced between readability and density. Megan Whalen Turner rarely - if ever - puts a word out of place, to the point that one that seems unusual can hint at a plot twist fifty pages in advance. One word. Really. In terms of plot, this book is a masterpiece. However, it makes more sense on a second reading. There's a lot of foreshadowing that's easy to miss, but that will make readers cackle with knowing glee on the second go-round. As said foreshadowing is extremely subtle, the plot twist at the end seems to come out of the blue when first encountered, unless the reader is uncommonly astute. It's hard to describe Gen without giving spoilers. I'll limit myself to this: he's an entertaining narrator, he keeps secrets from everyone including the reader, and it makes perfect sense how and why he does so. I'd especially recommend this book for people who want to be writers - read it, and the rest of the series (The Queen Of Attolia, The King Of Attolia, A Conspiracy Of Kings) multiple times. Aside from plot twisting, foreshadowing, precision of language and narration, Turner writes spectacular politics - but in such a way that it's not dry, and doesn't detract from the story. Many authors these days seem to forget about politics and the complications of rank; she definitely doesn't.  -Lisa M. 


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Thirteenth Child Thirteenth Child / Patricia Wrede

Eff is a thirteenth child, and her twin brother is the seventh son of a seventh son. Supposedly, this means that her brother brings luck and power, and she brings only ruin. When her family moves out to the wild frontier, though, where such creatures as steam dragons and mammoths still roam, Eff learns that not all is as it seemed, and she may not be what her superstitious relatives accused her of being.

I've long loved Patricia Wrede's books - her Enchanted Forest Chronicles are still some of my favorites- and I expected this to be excellent. No surprise, it absolutely was. The magical frontier that she has described, while not perfectly believable, still fascinated me. Even more intriguing, though, were the three dominant systems and methods of doing magic, which Eff explored as she grew up. Their various strengths, weaknesses, and peculiarities were, for me, the most interesting part of the book and a driving force behind my desire to read the sequel. Plot-wise, this book focused more on Eff growing up and coming into her own than it did on any one conflict, and for me personally that was a fine approach to take. Others might get bored, however, by the lack of fighting or clear narrative arc.   -Lisa M.


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This Is What Happy Looks LIke This Is What Happy Looks LIke / Jennifer E. Smith

This Is What Happy Looks Like is about Ellie, a normal teenage girl living with her mom, and Graham, a famous movie star, and their chance meeting over email. They develop a friendship, and, later, a romance, as they have to deal with the price of fame, and of the dangers of their own past.

This book was more than just a romance novel; it looked at how our past can affect us, and it considered the possibility that we can be happy even when things are hard. This Is What Happy Looks Like showed how much it can matter to have someone who won't give up on you. I liked the cover a lot; it was reminiscent of another of Jennifer E. Smith's books, The Statistical Probability of Falling in Love, and since I had enjoyed that book, I was naturally drawn to this one. The book also includes the boat, which was a minor, but important, part of the story.

The most compelling aspect of the book was looking honestly at the price of fame; the book didn't over-glamorize being famous, but it didn't completely bash on celebrity either. While many teenagers fantasize about stardom, this book highlighted some of the realistic challenges one would face in that world, with that life.  -Bethany C. 


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This Song Will Save Your Life This Song Will Save Your Life / Leila Sales

Somewhere along the way, everyone had decided that Elise Dembowski didn't belong. And the worst part is, she doesn't even know why. Stuck at the bottom of the social scene, Elise is ready to give up until she stumbles upon Start: the world's greatest dance party. There she finds accepting friends, her first ever love interest, and a passion for DJing. This book blurb starts the reader with this overused outcast as the protagonist, puts her in a predictable, life-changing situation, and then leaves off with a very cheesy sentiment. Yet the novel is everything but that. It is so amazing to be read about a character who is so relatable. Not because I was bullied or rejected but because she was so REAL.

The plot was executed so well with so many underlying subplots and conflicts. It was all so realistic and in the end, very uplifting. This book is special because it took a plain genre, a generic character, and a standard plotline and made something incredible. The cover is beautiful. The colors are attractive, the effects are alluring, and everything about it made me think about Elise. The real Elise, as in Glendale's hottest DJ. I loved how the word 'love' was highlighted in the title, though I admit it took me about two days to catch on. Elise was the best part of the book. Who she was, what she was going through. She made me want to scream and cry and laugh. Everything about her narration was so raw, especially when the Fake Elise started getting to her. It was both heartbreaking and heartwarming to read through her eyes. I could start relating to Elise within the first chapter. She thought of her project as a makeover. I call it mimicking. You talk the way they talk, you act with their attitude, and you laugh when they laugh. Learn all the rules and get an effortless sense of fashion sense. Ta-da, best friends! To all the un-realistic fiction writers, that doesn't work. Elise was an outcast, yes, but she also couldn't change that. She couldn't change who she was or what she liked and she didn't magically become popular. The novel addressed that right off the bat. This whole book was incredibly real. It was funny both terrifying and filled to the brim with emotion. Each character brought their own story and their own honest personalities. I think this is just one of those novels that reflects reality. It makes it relatable to everyone, not just the outcasts or the bullied. Everyone who has ever struggled to fit in will find themselves in this book.   -Samantha Y.

Second opinion:

Elise has always had trouble with her social life, attempting to commit suicide a year before this book begins. When she discovers an underground dance club, she unlocks a new side of her world that makes her feel different, and shows her what she's good at; DJ-ing. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The way Elise's life outside the dance club starts to twist around the dance club and opportunities she receives there was an interesting dance that where sometimes toes were stepped on and sometime it was executed perfectly. Elise's struggles balancing these two and how she came to balance with them were very difficult for her, though took just the right amount of time that I didn't get bored of them. Ethan S.


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Throne of Glass Throne of Glass / Sarah J. Maas

 

Celaena is an assassin, trained by the king of assassins, until she is thrown into the salt mines of Endovier. A year passes, and she finds herself in front of the crown prince of all of Adarlan. He has selected her as his champion in a competition of 24 to be the King's Assassin. And, after serving her time there, freedom. What Celaena does to survive in the competition, from both threats within and outside, was what I found to drive my reading of the book. That adds to a complicated plot line where motives are always cast in the deepest of shadows. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Sat down with it and didn't stop until I was done a few hours later. One of the best uses of an afternoon in my life. Ethan S.

 


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The Tightrope Walkers The Tightrope Walkers / David Almond

This book reflects on the triumphs and hardships of growing up. It will make you feel disgusted and hopeful all the same time. The Tightrope Walkers is an absolute must read.

I really enjoyed The Tightrope Walkers because I enjoyed the way it showed how one boy struggled and tried to find out who he was. I didn't enjoy the ending because it was really rushed and I just felt like the main character made a really stupid decision that ruined the ending. However, I enjoyed the character build up, the plot and the setting. All were very vivid and I felt more connected to the book. A great read! A really great read!    -Emma L.


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Tombs Of Atuan Tombs Of Atuan / Ursula K. LeGuin

If  A Wizard Of Earthsea was lyrical and as strong as the tides, then The Tombs Of Atuan is majestic and bittersweet, like dark chocolate. Told entirely from the point of view of Arha, high priestess to the Nameless Ones, it is as haunting as the title promises. Arha--the name means "Eaten One"--cannot remember who she was before coming to the temple at age five. All she has known is life in The Place Of The Tombs, always aware that she will eventually become the most powerful one in the Place. In time, this certainty becomes an arrogant, possessive attitude towards her position and the Labyrinth only she and her chosen may enter. But when an outsider from the West enters her tunnels and shines light where there should be none, Arha's life is changed. Arha herself changes throughout the book, and her evolving character is one of the book's finest qualities. The shift from arrogant, confident and satisfied priestess to curious, fearful, defiant girl is skillfully done and completely believable. Another thing I enjoyed about this book is that it could easily stand alone. Though Ged, the main character of A Wizard Of Earthsea, appears in this book it focuses on Arha; one does not need to have read A Wizard Of Earthsea to understand it- though I highly recommend both books.   -Lisa M.

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Truancy Truancy / Isamu Fukui

Education is everything, especially if you live in the city that Tack does. The system is corrupt, the teachers cruel, and those who have left school are left to their own devices...and for some such as the Truancy leader Zyid, their own devices are deadly. When Zyid kills someone close to Tack, he is ready for revenge and in order to get this, he must join the Truancy himself.

I could not believe, when I started this book, that it was written by a fifteen-year-old. The richness in writing style is advanced far beyond what anyone could have ever expected and I could say the very same about the brilliant plot. I was not disappointed with the book at all, particularly the climax, which is practically cinema-worthy.   -Rachel B.

 


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Trust Me, I'm Lying Trust Me, I'm Lying / Mary Elizabeth Summer

Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer is about a girl named Julep Dupree. She and her father are con men. Julep returns home one day to her apartment ransacked and her father missing. This story is a mystery with a love triangle. This book is funny, yet it can break your heart and it keeps you wanting to read. I like that the cover showed how Julep is 2 different people showing the conman inside her. The cover reflected the content very well. The most compelling aspect of the book is the mystery. This causes many plot twists right when you're ready to put the book down so you never want to. –Noha S.


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The Truth About Alice The Truth About Alice / Jennifer Mathieu

The Truth About Alice is a thrilling story about one big mystery swirling around the town of Healy, Texas. Told from the perspective of four teens, this book is guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and wonder, what is the truth about Alice?

I enjoyed this book. There were parts that I thought were a little bit boring, but all the events led up to the climax. The four characters telling the story, Kurt, Josh, Elaine, and Kelsie, all had their moments where you hated them and the moments when you adored them. All in all, an excellent book. –Emma L.


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Tunnels Tunnels / Roderick Gordon

Beneath London, lies an age old city: The Colony. Where the Styx ruthlessly rule over the Colonists, having total control over everything that happens and carrying out any command they please. Topsoilers are hated among the Colonists and even more so by the Styx. Will and Chester are Topsoilers, and they're going to The Colony in search of Will's father, Dr. Burrows, who mysteriously went missing without a trace. Their friendship will be tested, their lives put at stake. New friends will be made and old histories will be uncovered in the depths of the earth... in The Colony.

I absolutely LOVED the cover! The artwork was beautiful and gave a depiction of the climax without giving away a single element of the story - besides the obvious.

For a first book, Gordon and Williams did a wonderful job with the character building, as well as setting and word choice. One of my favorite things about Tunnels is the vivid description, and again, word choice. Every step of the way, I knew WHERE I was, WHO I was hearing and WHAT was going on. I enjoyed the great pictures both on the page and in my mind along with it all. Contiune the series with book 2,  Deeper.   -Jordan H.

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Uglies Uglies / Scott Westerfeld

Tally is about to become a Pretty, marking a turning point in her life. When she meets Shay, and Shay runs away, Tally must track her down and find her or be stuck as an Ugly for life. Uglies was a book that I tore through. I haven't been reading much lately, and after picking up Uglies, I had trouble staying away from it; I finished it that night. Scott Westerfeld's writing style is so compelling, and that coupled with amazingly real characters and a simple but not so simple world made this book hugely engaging for me. The way his word choice works, it sucks you into the pages, flowing from one word to the next in the smoothest way possible. His characters work with this, having names, personalities, and conversations that seem to keep your eyes moving, maybe even a little faster than before. I would recommend this to anyone looking for one of the most engaging reads of their life, or just a really great book. Ethan S.


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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer / Michelle Hodkin

 Mara Dyer is a girl who starts to see things that aren't really there after she witnesses the deaths of her best friends. The story is full of romance, suspense, and twists and turns that will make it impossible to put the book down. I like this book. The beginning is very good and fast paced, but towards the end it changes from something that could happen in reality to a book about her supernatural powers. That threw me off a little bit because I thought it was refreshing that there were no special powers or talents either Mara or Noah had, but then it turned out they did. Other than that though, the book was very good and fast paced. It was very easy to get through and enjoy.  -Maggie H. 


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Under the never sky Under the never sky / Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky is about a girl, Aria, who wanted to know where her mother was after communication was down. But, in the process of finding her mother, Aria gets kicked out of her home, and falls in love with a boy, Perry, who is stereotypically called a savage. This book shows the journey they take to find Aria's mother, Perry's nephew, and how they fall in love. The most compelling aspect of the book would be all the drama, action, and heartbreak. Just an amazing way to tell a love story!  -Victoria D.

Second take:

I also liked this book very much and think that the most compelling aspect of it is the technology. Veronica Rossi came up with "smart eyes," which are eyepieces that can transport you to a place. -Maggie H.


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Unwind Unwind / Neal Shusterman

Far into the Not-So-Distant future, the conflict between the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice groups boils over into the Heartland War. At its end, the two parties reconcile their differences by establishing the act of “Unwinding,” or “Belated Abortion.” Children must be born to term, but between the agse of 13 and 18 parents have the right to Unwind them, an unspecified process which leaves the child “alive, but as part of someone else.” This is the basic premise for the setting of Unwind. The story opens on Connor, a teen whose parents have recently signed the order to have him unwound. However, he runs before he can be taken away to be unwound. On the run, he meets two other Unwinds (the semi-derogatory term for teens in Connor's situation): Risa, a ward of the state being unwound to free up space in the foster home, and Lev, a willing unwind who is to be a tithe to his family's church. Banding together, Connor and Risa look to find a way to survive to 18, while Lev seeks to get his life back on track. The pacing of the novel is very well done, and Shusterman has a certain knack for putting the reader in a character's head. Unfortunately, for all its redeeming points, the backstory (The Heartland War) was just too big a pill to swallow- such a conflict, and its resolution, would be unlikely to occur. As a light-reading piece, Unwind is thoroughly “okay;” but it does show promise as a philosophical discussion piece focusing on the origin and nature of a “soul.” Continue the trilogy with book 2, UnWholly   -Jack K.

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Up from the sea Up from the sea / Leza Lowitz

Kai is a survivor of the March 2011 tsunami that hits Japan, causing havoc along the coastline. He lives in a small village that is decimated. This is the story of his adaptation to life after the tsunami, after his soccer ball washes up on a Hawaiian beach. This wonderful novel in verse illustrates what it is like to loose everything you know and how you go back to living a normal life, or at least as close to normal as possible.

I loved Up From The Sea because of the way it flowed. This novel was just a continuous stream that made absorbing everything so easy and let you take in the entire book at once, being quite the fast read. I also really enjoyed the way Kai must come to terms with elements of his past, such as his father and soccer. --Ethan S.


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Vibes Vibes / Amy Kathleen Ryan

IRS 30 Second Book Review:

It was an AMAZING, perfect, fantastic book about a girl named Kristi who deals with love, family, and the truth.  If you like books that make you laugh and love the characters you might like this one.  People who liked Zen and Xander Undone, by the same author, have also enjoyed this book.  This is one of my favorite books, ever!   -Jordon T.

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Bookjacket for The war that saved my life

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The war that saved my life The war that saved my life / Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

This book takes place during World War ll. It's about a girl who is named Ada and how she is treated badly by her mother. Ada and her little brother escape from her mother's cruelty by boarding a train with the rest of the evacuees to escape London and their bombs. I really liked how it caught all the small aspects of the story, such as how it included the air field and how it included butter and told about Ada and her twisted foot. I really liked how she faced her fears. You will enjoy reading her story. William D.  


Bookjacket for  Waterfall (eBook)

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Waterfall (eBook) Waterfall (eBook) / Lisa T. Bergen

Two teenage girls travel to an archaeological dig site with their mother in the countryside of modern-day Italy, expecting a typically boring summer in the heat. But when they sneak into an ancient Italian tomb, they are swept away into medieval Italy. They begin searching for a way back to their own time, but soon find themselves getting more and more attached to the country, and falling in love. Then after they become a target for their enemies after changing the course of a battle, will they find a way back to the safety of their own time, or stay and risk the dangers of the medieval era?

I love romance stories, adore medieval times and am obsessed with Italy, so I felt like [the River of Time] series was practically written for me. It's one of my favorites. I thought that the main character's personality didn't change enough throughout the book. It felt like she didn't really learn a lot from the events that take place. But the setting description and character development was stunning. I'd recommend it for girls of any age.  -Tiana H.


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Watership Down Watership Down / Richard Adams

Watership Down by Richard Adams will suck you in, and from the first page, you won't be able to put it down. The story revolves around two brave brothers, Hazel and Fiver, who lead a party of rabbits to a new home, running away from an unknown danger. The group faces many dangers, and if they don't learn to work together, they will never survive.

The cover of Watership Down doesn't reflect the contents very well, because it doesn't show how much adventure is in the book.

I really liked this novel, because it is unpredictable, with many surprising twists and turns.  -Ella F.


Bookjacket for  WebMage

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WebMage WebMage / Kelly McCullough

In this age of ever-advancing technology, I suppose it was only a matter of time before some writer decided that magic should go digital. That writer, as it turns out, is Kelly McCullough - and he makes that transition gloriously.

WebMage’s protagonist is Ravirn, descendant of one of the three immortal Fates, the women who spin, measure, and cut the threads of human life. He’s also a gifted hacker, which is how he works magic. His spells are in code, his familiar shapeshifts into a laptop, and he scorns the ‘old ways’ of blood and ritual. Unfortunately, he’s also at odds with Atropos, the Fate who cuts the threads (and his great aunt).  He refuses to debug a program for her, and in revenge she sends her assassins after him…and curses him so that he can’t tell anyone.

Though most of Ravirn’s spellcasting went right over my head, heavy as it was with computer jargon, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. His world is, well…cool, dangers included. The adaptation of magic to technology is well-handled and plausible, and it works very well. The goddess Chaos, who shows up late in the book, is an excellent character, and the twist she introduces very neatly sweeps Ravirn’s feet out from under him when he thinks he’s almost won. This novel will appeal to the geek in everyone - and even if there’s no nerd under your skin, there’s enough action to satisfy any reader.  -Lisa M.


Bookjacket for The Winner's Curse : a novel

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The Winner's Curse : a novel The Winner's Curse : a novel / Marie Rutkoski

 The Winner's Curse is about a different past society where all the areas that Valoria conquers, the people soon are sold as servants. Kestrel, the general’s daughter, buys one for a large sum and soon falls in love with him. Little does she know that he is part of a plan to overtake Valoria, and faces something called The Winners Curse, were the price she paid was for so much more than the large sum that she paid.

This book is special because the characters seemed so realistic and the plot line was easy to follow, yet a plot line that I have never read in another book. The writing was not at all confusing, like other books I've read, and there were not too many details, but just enough to make it good.  -Annie K. 


Bookjacket for  Wintergirls

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Wintergirls Wintergirls / Laurie Halse Anderson

Reflected through the eyes of a very sick girl, 18-year-old Lia, and tying in the story of her friend who has just died, this book deals openly and clearly with the deep-rooted issues of eating disorders. It doesn’t shy away from the frightening aspects or dance around the emotions or deceptions underlying the problems that allow them to continue. It is a book that will make readers cringe away from how brutally gritty it is. It is terrifyingly honest, though stops short of being too extreme to read. The characters have problems; these problems are shown clearly and discussed, and though this transparent depiction of disorders that are disturbing in their magnitude can make one want to close the book, it never crosses that line, and readers will come back.

Eating disorders are extremely present in modern life, but it takes a certain kind of literary courage which Laurie Halse Anderson possesses to write a story about them. This is an unflinching novel with a cover that is, in a word, eerie. On it, Lia looks as if she is wrapped in plastic and at the same time as if she were frozen, one eye covered by loose hair but the other staring out with astounding intensity. The cover and the subject matter will draw readers in from the start, urging them to learn who this person is, and what made her look at the world with such a lost expression. At times, readers will want to scream at the characters for being so stupid.  -Lisa M.

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Wither Wither / Lauren DeStafano

This book is, in a word, amazing. In the world that Lauren DeStefano has created, genetic engineering has caused every young man and woman to live only a fraction of what their usual lifespan would be, with men living to the age of twenty-five and women only surviving to twenty before they become violently ill and perish. It is in this setting that the protagonist, sixteen-year-old Rhine, is introduced, being transported in the dark along with a carload of other frightened girls and young women to be sold into marriage.

The characters in this story are all SO well written, and I found myself becoming very attached to all of the main characters, even little Cecily, who annoyed me to no end at first.

What makes this book so outstanding, however, is the imagery that is woven throughout this book. The description of the girls being transported in the van reminded me of accounts I'd read of prisoners being taken to concentration camps during the Holocaust, and this connection only served to accentuate the tension and fear for the characters that I felt even from the start of the book. If there's one thing that can really be said about this book, it's that the words paint a vivid portrait in the mind of the world that has been created.

I agree with the suggested age-range of grade 9 and up, with the emphasis being and up. As beautifully well written as Wither is, it does deal with some very mature topics, which may be uncomfortable for late Jr. High/early High School students. There were some moments that I was downright horrified, especially when the age difference between thirteen-year-old Cecily and twenty-one-year-old Linden really struck me. Wither is the first book in the Chemical Garden Trilogy, followed byFever and Sever.   -Rachel B.

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Wolf by wolf Wolf by wolf / Ryan Graudin

In the year 1956 Germany and Japan Have won World War 2. Every year to celebrate their victory Germany and Japan have a motorcycle race called the Axis Tour across Europe and Asia. Yael an escaped inmate from a death camp and part of the resistance movement enters in the race, with one goal—when she wins she will be ready to assassinate Adolph Hitler on national television.

This is perhaps one of the greatest "what if's" in history because if World War 2 turned out any differently it would have fundamentally changed the way we live life today. This book also shows how easy it would have been for Germany and Japan to win World War 2 if the was only a slight change in which battles Japan fought in. If Japan did not attack Pearl Harbor, but attack the Soviet Union with Germany instead, forcing the Soviet Union to fight a two fronted invasion. -Madeleine B.

 

 


Bookjacket for  Wolves: I Bring the Fire, part 1

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Wolves: I Bring the Fire, part 1 Wolves: I Bring the Fire, part 1 / C. Gockel

Wolves: I Bring the Fire (part 1) is a story about how Loki loses his two sons somewhere in the 9 realms and goes on a quest to find them. But when he ends up in Midgard (Earth), he saves a woman named Amy from a serial killer and he unintentionally finds himself with a companion on his journey to find his lost sons. 

I liked how the cover showed three dinosaurs because there are dinosaurs in the book. 

I loved this book so much I had to force myself to put it down so I wouldn't read it so quickly. The most compelling aspect of the book is all the mystery and also the humor. I literally laughed out loud about every other page. My only problem with the book is that it was so short. I must have the next book!!! Victoria D.


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Wonderstruck Wonderstruck / Brian Selznick

Ben is a young boy with a broken heart, and Rose is a young girl with a secret. Both are deaf, but that's not the only connection they have. Brian Selznick weaves an enchanting story, using the perfect balance of pictures and words.

I loved the cover of Wonderstruck, because it shows where the whole story starts, in one little picture.

This book is amazing, with its blend of reality and fantasy. I especially liked the detailed illustrations on every few pages.  -Ella F.


Bookjacket for  Year of Mistaken Discoveries

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Year of Mistaken Discoveries Year of Mistaken Discoveries / Eileen Cook

 Avery is adopted- she has always known that. So is her best friend, Nora, who has been her total BFF since first grade (or so). But when Avery gets to high school, makes the cheer squad, and becomes the most popular girl at school, she pushes Nora away. That is the worst decision she has ever made. Nora commits suicide after attempting to find her birth mom. Guilty and absolutely depressed, Avery decides to follow in her friend's footsteps and begins hunting down her own birth mom with her friend Brody. Filled with passion, romance, and sadness, this book came close to one of the greatest reads in my life.
This book is really well written. Each twist that is thrown at me makes me feel shocked and I could not put this book down. I read it when my teachers weren't looking. I read it into the night. This book was amazing and truly deserves to be read by teens across America so they will experience Avery's journey through high school. – Cambria C.


Bookjacket for  Zen and Xander Undone

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Zen and Xander Undone Zen and Xander Undone / Amy Kathleen Ryan

It was a great short novel about two sisters who have to bond after their mother's death.  If you like books that make you think about how you are blessed, you might like this one.  People who liked books about family and uncovering mysteries have also enjoyed this book.  - Jordon T.

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