Teen Advisory Board Reviews












These are reviews written by members of the Teen Advisory Board.


Click here for more information about the Advisory Boards. 




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smART: Adapted from the New York Times bestseller Visual Intelligence Cover Image
ISBN: 9781665901215
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - October 25th, 2022

This book is a sneaky way to get kids to look at art and really analyze it. Using examples of modern and classical art, the book encourages kids to look for tricks and illusions while also trying to get at what the artist is trying to portray. Some are clear illusions, like the still art portrayal of a bunch of vegetables, which when turned upside down turn into a strange face. Others are subtler, like the oddly plain lady in fancy period clothing whose hand is reflected in a shiny table, and in the reflection the wedding ring is missing. What is the artist trying to say there? The book doesn't give specific answers, but encourages kids to think. Looking at the art was an interesting exercise. Interspersed with the art and analysis were stories of real people, from the kid who invented popsicles by mistake to the real-life professor Sir Arthur Conan Doyle based his character Sherlock Holmes on, who could guess a person's occupation by the type of dirt under their fingernails or other tiny details. Some of those stories were interesting, but some of the "smarts" they depicted were really just luck and happenstance.

This book might be of interest to people who like art and who like figuring things out from visual details.

Review by Michael, age 14

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Over My Dead Body Cover Image
By Sweeney Boo, Sweeney Boo (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780063056305
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: HarperAlley - August 30th, 2022

This spooky, witchy graphic novel is set at a magic school. The main character, Abby's best friend Noreen goes missing one night. The school determines she got lost in the woods but assures students "not to worry." Of course, in supernatural fiction, that's a definite sign you should worry. Also worrisome is the apparent connection between this modern disappearance and the disappearance of one of Noreen's family members generations ago. Abby and her friends get together at midnight and use a spell to try to locate Noreen, but get in trouble. Again, the school asserts, "Leave it to us. It'll all be totally fine." Undeterred, they join with a very odd, eccentric new teacher who doesn't seem to agree with the school's stance., They end up going into the woods to try to find Noreen. I liked the art for this story.

-Review by Michael, age 14

Slip Cover Image
By Marika McCoola, Aatmaja Pandya (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781616207892
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - June 7th, 2022

Art is a good way to work out difficult emotions, and that's just what the main character of this book, Jade winds up doing as she heads to art camp without her best friend. They were going to go to camp together, but instead the friend, Phoebe, is in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt. Jade feels really bad and wonders if there was something she could have done. 

At camp, she struggles to find her place and her inspiration. At first, she makes these cute animals, but then finds herself making these fierce, almost scary animals as the pain inside comes out. One of these sculptures appears to life and she has to "set it free" I don't like the idea of ruining art, but it does help her come to terms with how upset she is. It's kind of a metaphor about how we have to acknowledge our bad feelings before we can move past them.

Through this story, told in graphic novel format, Jade is able to recognize what she was feeling, so she can give herself permission to enjoy the good things about life again.

-Review by Michael, age 14

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Welcome to St. Hell: My Trans Teen Misadventure: A Graphic Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781338824438
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Graphix - June 7th, 2022

Full of both humor and pain, this graphic novel shares the journey of a teen attending a Catholic school who struggles with the dress code and the role they're supposed to fit into. The story is based on the author's own struggles and all of the stages he goes through on the way to becoming the man he was meant to be. Assigned female at birth and required to wear skirts as part of the school dress code, the main character initially tries to live as a girl, and it's just not working. He ultimately determines that he is transgender.

As someone who went through a lot of the same stuff, I found the book very relatable and realistic. A few years ago, when I was struggling with my gender identity, there really wasn't anything out there that put this experience into words. I feel like there ought to be more stories like this.

I'd recommend this book for older teens, people who (might be) transgender, and their parents, teachers and other adults who want  to understand.

-Review by Rowan, age 17

This May End Badly Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250799180
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Wednesday Books - April 12th, 2022

I really enjoyed this book, I liked the pranks that Doe and her friends did to the neighboring Winfield boys. I liked that there were consequences for Doe’s actions of having a fake boyfriend and lying to the people in her life. Also, it towards the end of the story as the reader we remember the importances of school pride and carrying on traditions. Ultimately, Doe learns a greater lesson about growing up and what happens after high school. 

-Review by Hannah, age 14

If This Gets Out: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250805805
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wednesday Books - December 7th, 2021

If This Gets Out is a romance novel that shines a light on the downside of fame, and the flaws in our society’s view of ‘perfect’, but also the true meaning of being yourself. This book is a wonderful piece of literature that weaves romance, imperfections, and struggles that many teens across this country are facing, into a story that is not short of imperfect perfection. The authors of this book have not only given us the opportunity to read a book that will change your views forever, but have also provided us a sweet story of two boys who have such simple wants in a time of complexity.

-Review by Krin, age 13

Spin Me Right Round Cover Image
ISBN: 9781547607105
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury YA - January 4th, 2022

 I wasn't really sure what to make of this book at first, but I ended up really loving it. The main character, Luis, starts out kind of unlikeable: pretentious, vain, privileged and used to getting what he wants. He's a modern gay guy who is actually really popular in his school, and he is upset because his school still holds a traditional prom, to which people are expected to take a date of the opposite gender. He had his sights set on becoming prom king. But instead of waging an organized campaign, he throws a fit at the ticket stand and is frustrated when no exceptions are made. When he gets home, his mom tries to give him a sense of perspective, noting that back in the 80s when she went to school here, a student was murdered because of what he was. Shortly after that, Luis is hit on the head by a steel beam, which somehow transports him back in time to 1985 when that hate crime occurred. He sets out to save the other teen's life, but runs into difficulty right away as he has to learn how to function in an environment that is totally unaccepting of LGBTQ folks. I really liked how Luis changed and grew over the course of the story.

-Review by Rowan, age 16