Teen Book Reviews

Check out what our teens are reading and recommending this summer!
  • Reviewer: Casey 

  • 4 stars!

  • Summary: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green is well worth your time. This 215-page story (not including the optional appendix) follows Colin Singleton who just got dumped by a girl named Katherine (the 19th girl of that name to dump him). Colin and his best friend, Hassan, take a road trip to GutshotTennessee where they meet Lindsey. The spend the survivor getting to know her and the town of Gutshot while Colin tries to develop a way to predict heartbreak. 
  • Review: This bizarre, math infused coming of age story is a little slow to state, but picks up late and give fantastic life lessons. I believe that this book is perfect for high schoolers. However, in 2015 a Texas school banned the book from their shelves due to sexual content. This book was later put back in the libraries but, in this reviewer’s opinion, An Abundance of Katherines never should have left the shelf. I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars because of the slow beginning.  
  • Reviewer: Kayla

  • Grade: 11th 

  • 4 stars

  • Summary: Yahaira Rios lives in New York City, while Camino Rios is in the Dominican Republic. They are half sisters, but don’t know it. When their father dies in a plane crash, they discover what it means to lose a father, but also to gain a sister.

  • Review: Elizabeth Acevedo certainly has a knack for writing and character development. Her words create a beautiful narrative and bring Yaharia and Camino to life. Additionally, Acevedo voiced one of the perspectives in the audiobook, enhancing the experience. I also absolutely loved Acevedo’s sophomore novel, With the Fire on High, and plan on reading her debut, The Poet X in the future!
  • Reviewer: T
  • Grade: 11th
  • 4.5 stars
  • Summary: Three kids Poppy, Zach, and Alice love to play make believe that include pirates, mermaids, and most important adventure, but when Zach gets into middle school and realizes things are changing he does not want to play anymore. Zach, after thinking he was done with his last adventure, was surprised by something new from Poppy. Poppy wanted to help bury the queen, a creepy doll in her house. Hesitant, Zach and Alice agree, but while on the adventure things seem to be not what they think.   

  • Review: I personally felt that the book is very good. I like that it was not too scary, so that any age could read it, but it has a lot of twists and turns that are surprising. I like how the author shows a realistic adventure that any kid would like to be on.  
  • Reviewer: Zoe

  • Grade: 10th

  • 5 stars! 

  • Summary: Together, they learn the history of the Great Wood and how their good king was overthrown. The Great Wood is now filled with vicious wolves and the rabbits are hiding in Cloud Mountain. The bunnies believe the heir to the rabbit throne will lead them in battle to reclaim the Great Wood and restore peace, but a trap has been set for the heir. Can Heather and Picket warn him in time?

  • Review: This fun story of Redwallian creatures on a Tolkien adventure is endearing and the illustrations are beautiful. The relationship between brother and sister is moving. It’s a wonderful read that I would recommend for kids and adults.  
  • Reviewer: Casey

  • 5 stars

  • Summary: I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak is really worth the read. When a 19 year old cab driver with no ambition is thrown in the middle of a bank robbery, he does his best to stop it. Ed Kennedy’s heroic efforts land him on the front page of the local paper, publicizing his good deed. But it’s not until an Ace shows up in his mailbox that Ed learns that this is just the beginning. He cracks codes, narrowly escapes harm, and successfully affects the lives of others for the better. 

  • Review: The 396 pages fly by as you are sucked into this encapsulating story. You can nearly feel your pulse quicken and you will consistently catch yourself trying to solve clues along with this realistic cast of characters. This book will help you escape reality whilst also alerting you to your own life. As an eighth grader I can honestly say that this book was in no way, over my head.  
  • Reviewer: D.R.

  • Grade: 11th

  • 5 stars!

  • Summary: The novel follows Michael Collins’ orthopedic surgery residency at the Mayo Clinic and serves as an autobiography. Even though he was one of the smartest students in college and medical school, residency proves to be much more challenging as Collins often does not know what medical terms are being used by a chief resident and lacks the research that his peers have. Eventually, Collins begins to feel as though the Mayo Clinic is not where he belongs and that he is merely an imposter. This autobiography sheds light on the life of a resident who does not earn enough to drive a functional car and has to “moonlight” by working at different hospitals when he is not at the Mayo Clinic. As Collins progresses through his residency, he learns about the magnitude of his occupation and the power he has over individuals’ lives. He faces impossible decisions daily and believes that he must make the correct decision all of the time. When he fails, Collins is forced to reflect on his own imperfections as well as the limitations that prevent doctors from being perfect.
     
  • Review: Hot Lights, Cold Steel opened me up to the realizations that the medical field is not perfect and that physicians are constantly battling internal conflicts as their actions can determine whether patients’ live or not. Despite battling such a serious issue, Collins still weaves humor into his anecdotes and builds a connection with readers. I would recommend this novel to all readers because its messages about the intrinsic imperfection of humans can be applied to any field or occupation. However, I would especially recommend this book to students interested in the medical field as they can learn about the psychological challenges that plague doctors and the not-so glamorous life of residents that struggle to keep themselves financially afloat with medical school debt looming over them.
  • Reviewer: Simone 

  • Grade: 12th

  • 5 stars!

  • Part of a series?:  Yes, this is book one. 

  • Summary: After six years of living apart since their mother’s death, siblings Sadie and Carter Cane have almost nothing in common, until now. On Christmas Eve, Sadie and Carter are reunited when their father brings them to the British Museum, with a promise that he’s going to make things right. But all starts to go wrong when Carter and Sadie watch as their father, Julius summon a mysterious figure, who quickly banishes him in a fiery explosion. To save their father, they must embark on a dangerous quest which will bring them closer to the truth about their family heritage and its links to the Egyptian gods. 

  • Review: I thought that this book was very interesting and definitely a page turner. This book really inspires a person’s imagination and sense of adventure. This book is definitely for someone who likes fantasy, mythology, adventure, and mystery.

  • Reviewer: Kayla

  • Grade: 11th

  • Part of a Part of Series: A second book is in the works, however, this story stands on its own.

  • 4 stars

  • Summary: Asian American teen Ever Wong has just graduated high school and is going to college to become a doctor, but her true passion lies in dance. Her summer is turned on its head when she is sent to a Summer Program in Taiwan. She spends the summer navigating romance, rebellion, acknowledging your roots, and finding yourself. 

  • Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I found the cast of characters to be fun to read about, and I think that Ever is a strong protagonist. It was also educational to read about the struggles that come from growing up Asian American, experiences different than my own. The story is in some ways lighthearted, but also brings up discussion about family and identity.  
  • Reviewer: R.K.
  • Grade: 11th
  • 5 stars!
  • Part of a series?: Yes, book 1.
  • Summary: Thomas wakes up, brainwiped with a bunch of boys surrounding him. He is informed they are all trapped in a maze that changes daily. He and his new friends do everything in their power to escape the maze. 
  • Review: I liked the book. The idea of a maze is unique to other dystopian stories. I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to read stories with adventure or dystopian themes.
  • Reviewer: Varun
  • Grade: 8th 
  • 3 stars
  • Summary: The book Mindset explained the idea of a growth mindset and how hard work can triumph over sheer talent. This book changed the thinking of millions of people and is now a very well-known simple concept that helps guide peoples’ lives.  
  • Review: This book was bland. The growth mindset was an innovative discovery presented decently, but the book dragged on. It took hours to provide the simplest of ideas and explanations. Some success stories of people with growth mindsets were fascinating, but the book contained many repetitive examples, too. Some were cherry-picked and were a blatant example of the survivorship bias. Since the book guided millions and had an effective concept, I rated it a 3 instead of a 1.5. 
  • Reviewer: Simone
  • Grade: 12th
  • 5 stars!
  • Summary: Percy Jackson may seem like your everyday 12-year-old trouble maker, but he finds out that’s far from true. With newly discovered powers he can’t control, monsters on his trail, and a quest to find Zeus’s master lightning bolt to prevent a war between the Greek Gods. With some help from new friends, Percy will face the odds and learn how much it takes to be a hero.
  • Review: I thought that this book was very good. Reading through the book, I was not able to find anything to really dislike about it. I think that this book invokes a lot of emotions, I feel that preteens and teens can easily relate to the characters in the book. This book is a great read for anyone, but particularly preteens and teenagers.
  • Reviewer: Julianna
  • Grade: 11th 
  • 5 stars! 
  • Summary: This poetry book is for young women empowerment. It is solely reversing the roles of getting saved by a man and how to live the life you want. The book includes lots of motivating ideals young women should keep by to live independently.
  • Review: This book was one of the best steps towards my mental health and self-worth. It has a special place in my heart, and I’ve shared it with many friends because it has such a fantastic meaning with simple reading. 

    5 out of 5 stars have read and will read again 

  • Reviewer: Simone
  • Grade: 12th
  • 5 stars!
  • Part of a series?: Yes, book 1. 
  • Summary: A twelve-year-old named Serafina, Chief Rat Catcher of the Biltmore Estate, finds herself thrown head first into a supernatural mystery, when children at the estate start disappearing. Serafina alone knows the culprit is the terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore’s corridors at night. After her own harrowing escape, Serafina will risk everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of Biltmore Estate’s owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the true identity of the man in the black cloak before all of the children vanish one by one.
  • Review: I thought this was a great book! It was definitely a page turner. It is a great read if you like horror, historical,fantasy, or paranormal fiction. This book really gives you a feeling of adventure and being confident in your own skin. This is a great book series for anyone who is looking for a book they will not want to put down.
  • Reviewer: T
  • Grade: 11th
  • 4.5 stars

  • Book part of a series?: Yes

  • Summary: 5 kids get a letter inviting them to a mysterious house, which grants them a key to their dreams. Poppy, a place for her to call home. Marcus, somewhere for him to play his music out. Azumi, to get her to heal from her sister’s disappearance, and Dash and Dylan, new opportunities for an acting job. When entering the house things seem to be different, and what they hoped for the house to help became a nightmare.  
  • Review: I personally felt that the book is very good. I like that it is not too scary, so any age could read it, but it has a lot of twists and turns that are surprising. It is a mysterious adventure that you will not want to put down.  
  • Reviewer: Kalya

  • Grade: 11th

  • 4 stars

  • Part of series?: Duology (2 other series in the same universe)

  • Summary: Six of Crows follows six misfits (hence the Six of Crows): Kaz, Inej, Nina, MatthiusWylan, and Jesper as they go on journey to rescue Bo Yul-Bayur, a scientist, from the heavily guarded Ice Court, for the reward of their dreams.    

  • Review: I was not sure if I would like the Six of Crows, after having mixed feelings about the Grisha Trilogy (which is set in the same world), but I really enjoyed the story! There is a great balance of character growth and adventure. The audiobook is a full cast recording, which helps to create an immersive experience. 
  • Reviewer: D.R.

  • Grade: 11th

  • 5 Stars!

  • Summary: Following the events of the Heroes of Olympus series, the Greek god Apollo has been turned into a human by his father Zeus due to his involvement in the battle between the giants and gods. Even though Zeus has turned him into a mortal before, this time Apollo does not have any of his powers to use. He must complete a series of obstacles in order to earn his position on Olympus again. When he arrives at Camp Half-Blood, a safe location for demigods, Apollo learns that the five Oracles have been captured by his enemies and he must take control of them to earn his pardon. With the help of a demigod named Meg McCaffrey, he decides to pursue the first oracle which is close to Camp Half-Blood and save the demigods who have been lured away from the camp. However, during his journey, he experiences a betrayal that he would have never expected. 

  • Review: While all of Rick Riordan’s books are usually written in the perspective of demigods, The Trials of Apollo offers this alternate viewpoint from a god. This is an aspect of the book I enjoyed due to its unusual nature. As the novel progresses, readers can see developments in Apollo’s character as he is forced to depend upon his children and other demigods to help him through his quest. Initially, Apollo is portrayed as arrogant and ungrateful for others, but he soon realizes just how much reliance gods have on their children. As a fan of Rick Riordan’s previous works, I believe that The Trials of Apollo was an amazing sequel to the Heroes of Olympus series. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys learning more about Greek Mythology or reading about the hardships that characters face in a fictitious environment. I also enjoyed the fact that Riordan was able to connect different series through the Triumvirate, which you will learn about if you read the novel.
  • Reviewer: Varun
  • Grade: 8th
  • 5 stars!
  • Summary: The book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman was a compilation of decades of the author’s research in psychology. The study explained in the book was so groundbreaking for the time. Kahneman won a Nobel Prize for changing the way many think about how people make judgments, more specifically when randomness and chance are introduced. The book also delves deep into many different types of biases and patterns that affect our thinking more than we might think.  
  • Review: This book was exceptional and refreshing. Generally, most books of this caliber only have a few essential lessons. This book, however, was starkly different. It contained various examples of heuristic biases that continued to surprise me. Even though this was a non-fiction book intended to inform, I was captivated and had to keep reading. Most people who do not have an opposition towards non-fiction books would enjoy it. Because of how many groundbreaking points were presented in the book, I choose to rate it a 5.
  • Reviewer: Kayla

  • Grade: 11th

  • 4 stars

  • Summary: Cleo feels like her life is falling apart, her parents have recently separated, and she and her best friend Layla have had a falling out. The book is on a dual timeline, showing what led to the downfall of Layla and Cleo’s friendship, and how Cleo began to heal after.  

  • Review: This book is an unexpected new favorite! I also enjoyed Woodfolk’s debut The Beauty That Remains, but this novel was also incredible. The story is very emotionally impactful, and it was incredible seeing Cleo’s growth throughout the novel. The cast of characters was diverse, and added great value to the story. This story creates a great narrative about how not all relationships are meant to last, and the value of making new ones.  
  • Reviewer: Kayla

  • Grade: 11th 

  • 5 stars!

  • Summary: Emoni is a high school senior and teen mom. She has a strong passion and talent for cooking. When her school offers a cooking class, things do not go how she expected. Throughout the novel she navigates new relationships, her goals and aspirations, family struggles, and teenage motherhood. 

  • Review: I absolutely love With the Fire on High, and would consider it to be one of my all time favorite contemporaries. I have read it twice, and enjoyed every moment reading it. The writing style is incredible, and the characters are flawed but still lovable. I highly recommend checking out this book!