Teen Advisory Board Reviews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Click here for more information about the Advisory Boards. 

 

 

 

Crown of Oblivion Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062399311
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: HarperTeen - November 12th, 2019

One race. One victor. One chance to win a citizenship that can erase the fears of your past. A past competitors don't remember at the moment, that is. Any participants in the annual "Race of Oblivion" are drugged with a substance that makes them forget their entire past lives while they compete- all they know is their first name as they begin at the starting line. In addition to this, all who enter the annual "Race of Oblivion" are "Outsiders" (individuals who aren't gifted with magic), and are able to have the chance to win citizenship for themselves and their whole family (giving them the status of an "Enchanted", someone who possesses magic, which opens up a whole world of opportunities). Astrid, a surrogate to the princess of the realm, enters this race to secure a prospective future for her younger brother, after he was put in a threatening position before the race. She completes challenge after challenge, however familiar faces from the past can't be put into place, and Astrid struggles to keep her eyes set on winning after making crude enemies and having powers that could threaten to outcast her and her brother if discovered. An intense competition of this magnitude is only the beginning... competitors battle to the death to claim the crown of Oblivion and grand prize as their own. This book was a really intriguing read, and the competitive setting makes you sit on the edge of your seat through the majority of the novel! I would recommend this book to anyone who loves adventure and action, for ages 13+.

-Reviewed by Hailey, age 14


Fearless Felines: 30 True Tales of Courageous Cats Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781338355833
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Scholastic Nonfiction - November 5th, 2019

I don't read a lot of non-fiction books, but I do love stories about cats, and some of these entries are pretty funny. The book is obviously aimed at younger readers but can be enjoyed by cat lovers of all ages. I liked a lot of the individual stories. For example, "Towser" was pretty cool. He holds the record for the highest number of mice killed. And who hasn't heard of Dewey, the famous library cat? He was saved from the book drop as a kitten and became the library's official mascot and the subject of at least two books. I like how they added some stories in from fiction as well, such as Puss-in-Boots. I'd recommend this for all cat lovers, especially those in the upper elementary grades.

Review by Colleen, age 14


Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Journey to Justice Cover Image
By Debbie Levy, Whitney Gardner (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9781534424555
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - November 5th, 2019

This story, told in a really accessible graphic novel format, really resonates with the times. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice, is really a great lady and deserves the recognition. Hers is also a very interesting story. When she grew up, women weren't really considered to be cut out for these important roles, but she didn't let her gender hold her back. Meanwhile, there was a lot of anti-Semitism around the world, so it was a scary time to be Jewish. I am so grateful for all of the progress we've made in all of these areas. I was pretty familiar with these challenges faced by Ruth and many others in her generation, but as a left-hander, I was most struck by how she was not allowed to write with her left hand in school. I don't know how I could have made it if I was told to write only with my right hand.  I'd recommend this book for general readers age 9 and up, particularly those interested in women's rights and social justice as a whole.

-Review by Colleen, age 14


A River of Royal Blood Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780525518587
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - October 29th, 2019

The realm of Myre has a hereditary queendom, but the throne doesn't go to the oldest girl. It goes to the girl who kills her sister, the "rival heir" by magic and/or combat. Eva, who was born with the rare magic of "bone and marrow," has no heart for killing. However, she has watched her sister grow ever colder and ready to use her manipulative emotion magic as they grew older, and she has no desire to sacrifice herself either. Meanwhile, Eva can't even use her magic to its fullest extent because of a binding done when she was a child, supposedly to protect her. Enter two mysterious men. One is an ancient "godling," long thought vanished, who can teach Eva to use her powers. The other is a prince of the Khimaer, who held the realm before the humans did. Meanwhile, Eva's naming day - and the date after which she can be ritually killed - draw ever closer. This was an engaging read and of course I want to know what happens next in book #2.

-Review by Colleen, age 14


I Hope You Get This Message Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062741455
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: HarperTeen - October 22nd, 2019

I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi is a touching story that follows three teenagers struggling to deal with the probability that an alien planet may destroy earth. Each character faces there own unique problems surrounding the possible end which makes the story feel deeper and more realistic. One of the three characters, Jesse is a character I feel that is needed in more young adult books. Even when trying his hardest his mental health and past cause him to make rash and poor decisions. He is constantly messing up, but is learning to better himself. The other two teenagers Adeem and Cate were also very well written. Even with there similar motivation to find a family member and make things right, they still didn’t get along perfectly making there friendship and the stress of end times more realistic. Overall, I Hope you Get This Message is a book about family, friendship, and the ways  different people deal with stress in difficult situations. The only thing I felt could have been done better was the ending, which I felt was a bit rushed. Still, this book is absolutely amazing and I would recommend this book to anyone that wants a book with a rollercoaster of emotions and relatable characters.

-Review by Elyssa


I Hope You Get This Message Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062741455
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: HarperTeen - October 22nd, 2019

This book reminds me somewhat of "War of the Worlds" in which actual society totally freaks out when they think the world is going to end. Except in this case, humankind really is threatened with imminent destruction. It turns out humans started out as an alien colony from the planet Alma, but we've forgotten our distant origins. We think we've only discovered Alma. Then a radio message arrives, which gives humankind seven days to prove it deserves to continue existing on Earth, given that we've ruined the planet. Alma, meanwhile, is dying, and the residents of that planet plan to take over Earth if humans can't care for it properly. When this news comes out, society just falls apart and everyone pursues their personal "bucket lists." The story is told from the perspective of three teens tying to deal with all this. They are all from very different backgrounds and have really original, authentic voices. The first one is a gamer and hacker, a Muslim who loves ham radio.The second is an edgy dude who's really poor and helps provide for his mom by stealing. The third is a girl with a schizophrenic mom who is trying to hold their family together. Overall, the story is super-good and really sad. I could not stop reading. The end was really ambiguous and I really want to know what happens!

-Review by Colleen, age 14


Cursed Cover Image
By Frank Miller (Illustrator), Thomas Wheeler
$24.99
ISBN: 9781534425330
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - October 2019

This was a more original and compelling take on the Arthurian myth than any I've read that have been released recently. It's set in an age of vanishing magic, of which the sword - never named, but I assume it's Excalibur - is a powerful relic. But magic is not just a power in this tale. It's a people, many peoples in fact. The fey in all their diversity are being hunted into extinction - the tusks, the fauns, the skyfolk. The story is told from the viewpoint of one of those hidden fey who's trying to save her people. It deviates from the regular Arthurian tale in the fact that Uther is still in change and Arthur is not a price, but rather a traveling swordsman, and the fey girl, Nimue is the swordbearer. She's called on to sacrifice for her people. Meanwhile, Gawain, known in the legend as it's usually told as a human knight who comes up against the Green Man, is actually the Green Man himself. It was an interesting take on the familiar legend, and I'm eager to find out what happens in the next book.

- Review by Colleen, age 14


Angel Mage Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062683229
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - October 2019

All of Garth Nix's books are really original and creative, and so is this, but in an entirely different way. Literature is rich with tales of people summoning demons to perform magic on their  behalf, but in this book, people call on angels instead. The angels have no choice in the matter, even when their magic is called on for a negative purpose. In the world where this story is set, something went wrong seven generations back, destroying the angel Palleniel and turning the people of his realm into "Beastlings," essentially mindless monsters in various hideous forms. Those who escaped, the "Deserters" have become an underclass of servants and scavengers, unable to benefit from angelic magic lest it turn them to Beastlings as well. Enter four heroes. Agnez, a dedicated musketeer; Dorotea, a scholar and virtuoso icon maker; Henri, son of an indebted family; and Simeon, a talented young doctor. Meeting seemingly by chance, they feel an immediate kinship that somehow ties into the magic of the realm. Meanwhile, Liliath, the prodigy-gone-bad who created the Beastling disaster to begin with, has been "reborn." Disguising herself as a noblewoman, she plots to reunite the blasted land and the land still using angelic magic in order to bring back the angel Palleniel for some nefarious purpose of her own. I'd recommend this for fans of Garth Nix and anyone who wants a really original fantasy.

 

Review by Colleen, age 14


White Bird: A Wonder Story Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9780525645535
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - October 2019

By the author of the bestseller Wonder, This was an amazing graphic novel, beautifully illustrated with a truly luminous color palette and an incredibly touching story. Set in "the free zone" of France during World War II, which didn't wind up being all that free under the thumb of the Nazis, it's told from the point-of-view of a young Jewish girl who survives hidden in a neighbor's barn, thanks to the generosity of the "crippled" classmate she and her schoolmates had always ignored. This classmate, Julian, helped her escape the school through the sewers and his family hides her from the Nazis.Then one day, the world catches up with her... It's a real tearjerker. This whole story is told by the survivor, now an aged grandmother, but it's framed through the eyes of a boy from today who ties in to the Wonder story, and it brings up some really important points from today, underlining the need for (to quote the Harry Potter books) "constant vigilance" to maintain our ideals of freedom and human rights. Though the story is fictional, it seemed very realistic and completely fits what I have been learning about the Holocaust. I would recommend it to fans of Wonder, to those interested in the Holocaust, and to pretty much a general audience of all ages. It's that good.

 

-Review by Colleen, age 14


King Shaka: Zulu Legend (African Graphic Novel) Cover Image
By Luke W. Molver (Various Artists (VMI)), Sibongiseni Mkhize (Foreword by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781946498939
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Story Press Africa - October 2019

This book has beautiful art, just gorgeously drawn people and African landscapes. It tells the story of  King Shaka of the Zulu people in Africa. He is a legendary king - an actual historical figure who is still talked about today - but the story is actually kind of sad. King Shaka has united the area tribes into one clan, but he has to deal with political intrigue among his own people, rebelling factions, warring clans, drought, and the insurgence of white settlers who threaten to change the whole way of life in the area. We all know how this story comes out. I would recommend this for Black Panther fans.

-Review by Colleen, age 14


The Grace Year Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250145444
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Wednesday Books - October 8th, 2019

Tierney lives in a society on the outskirts of the untamed wilderness; a place where men make all the choices and believe that women are the inferior gender, only useful for the purpose of reproduction and minute labor. However, the men believe that when girls reach the age of 16, that they manifest magical powers that can overtake male power, so they send them all away into the woods to ensure they return to society harmless. Though it's forbidden to speak of the grace year, Tierney never thought survival could be this merciless- as days pass by and more girls revel in newfound insanity, fatalities seem to be around every shadowed corner. And when Tierney finds herself outcasted from the rest of the group and meets a supposed enemy, she discovers some of the most shocking aspects of her society, her family, and her heart. The Grace Year will sweep readers off their feet as they are thrown into a battle for women's rights and survival against the elements and dangers hiding within the forests. I would highly recommend this novel to girls ages thirteen and up- however readers of all ages will fall in love with the addictive storyline and lush descriptions!

-Reviewed by Hailey, age 14


The Beautiful Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781524738174
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - October 8th, 2019

Twilight meets haunted New Orleans with a magic touch? Trust me, this story runs a lot deeper than you would ever believe... Seventeen year old Celine Rousseau flees her life in Paris and a past she's praying to forget, and soon finds herself in nineteenth century New Orleans at a girls' convent in the heart of the city. Here, she discovers a secret magical hideaway, and seems to have caught the attention of the group's mysterious leader, Sebastien Saint Germain. Though it's no secret that they're attracted to each other, Celine begins to battle her feelings for him as reported female deaths in the city all seem to lead back to him. As the murders become more frequent and each more un-explainable than the last, Celine begins to investigate on her own, discovering shocking information while trying to keep her own life-threatening secret hidden. Celine must figure out the mystery of the murders and what her own heart is telling her about Sebastien, before the killer approaches her next. I thought that overall this was a pretty interesting read. To me, the ending was definitely the most intriguing and compelling part of the book, so I'm guessing the cliff-hanger ending will lead into more action in the following books. 

-Review by Hailey, age 14


Orpheus Girl Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781641290746
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Soho Teen - October 8th, 2019

This fast-paced and riveting book brought to light a kind of discrimination that a lot of people don't know is still occurring in places throughout the U.S. I read it all in one sitting. The main character, Raya, lives in a small, conservative town in Texas. Her mom had Raya when the mom was just a teenager and took off when Raya was two. So Raya is being raised by her old-fashioned, religious grandma. Then Raya is "outed" as a lesbian when she and her girlfriend are caught together. The grandma's response: "Not in my Christian household!" Raya and her girlfriend, Sarah, are both sent to "conversion therapy", a real thing which aims to "convert" a person from gay to straight using some really questionable methods, among them electrical shock therapy which basically amounts to torture. The conditions really suck for Sarah, Raya and the others, with physical, mental and emotional torture as the coordinators attempt to squash their identities and fit them all into matching skirt ensembles with T-shirts that say, "Jesus fixed me. He can fix you too," all but the transgender boy, who is forced into a pink frilly dress. I can't believe this kind of stuff is still going on. I also can't believe the author of this book is only 19. It is really well put together. The Orpheus reference in the title refers to a myth about a dude going into and coming up from the underworld to save his wife, but I hadn't read it and it isn't necessary to understand the book, because it's explained throughout. I also really like the new take on an old story. I would recommend the book for teens, especially people who are interested in LGBTQ issues or who need some education on the topic.

-Review by Colleen, age 14


Batman: Nightwalker (The Graphic Novel) Cover Image
By Marie Lu, Stuart Moore (Adapted by), Chris Wildgoose (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781401280048
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: DC Ink - October 2019

I have really enjoyed the recent spate of superhero/villain origin stories. I always like these stories better than the traditional "superhero" action. Once they get superpowers and start fighting crime, it just gets routine and boring. This version of the Batman origin story was really cool, with a complex and nuanced storyline and tremendous art. Bruce Wayne has just turned 18 as this story opens. Orphaned at 8 when his parents were murdered, he's basically been raised by his unusually savvy butler. Now, he is of age to inherit his parents' fortune and take control of their high-tech company. He's at a reception and gets in a fight with a fellow student who also is rich but is jealous of Bruce's freedom and abilities. Trying to clear his head, Bruce steps outside and comes across a crime scene as the criminals are fleeing. Knowing the cop cars will not be able to catch up to the criminal, he hops in his super-fast car and takes off after them. He does stop the criminals but crashes his car and winds up in trouble over taking the law into his own hands. He's sentenced to community service doing janitorial work at Arkham Asylum, and there he meets a dark, mysterious girl who's allegedly a murderer. She won't talk to anyone - except him - and he is exposed to an underworld he hardly knew existed as he tries to unravel her story. This book was really good. I'd recommend it for fans of the new versions of Raven and Harley Quinn, also from DC.

- Review by Colleen, age 14


Bid My Soul Farewell Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781595147196
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Razorbill - September 24th, 2019

This is the second book in a duology after Give the Dark My Love. From the first time I picked it up, I knew it wouldn't be a happy read. Neither of the main characters are blameless or completely good. The plot takes them through all kinds of tortuous challenges, but it was worth it. I needed to see the story resolved. In this book, Nedra has decided to be a necromancer to bring her sister back to life. It involves problematic dark magic. Meanwhile,the other main character, Grey, with whom Nedra once had a romantic connection, does not know what to do since Nedra has become a necromancer. In this book, Grey has been commissioned by the emperor - whom Nedra saved from another dark necromancer - to go on a diplomatic mission to the poverty-ridden north to see if he can help improve the situation there. Nedra comes along for her own reasons, and their goals clash. There is a lot of drama and some major twists at the end.

- Review by Colleen, age 14


The Infinite Noise: A Bright Sessions Novel (The Bright Sessions #1) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250297518
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Tor Teen - September 24th, 2019

A friend recommended this book. I had no idea how amazing it would be. It's based on a podcast, but the story completely stands on its own. I literally read it in a day. Though classified as science fiction, this book seems so much more real than a normal sci-fi story. Other than the main crux of the plot, it's very believable and the characters are complex and relatable. The main character, Caleb, 16, is an all-American boy, a star football player, really nice and popular. Suddenly he learns he's an empath and he begins to hear the thoughts of everyone around him. This creates difficulties, as others' emotions - especially those of his fellow high-schoolers -threaten to overwhelm him. Meanwhile, Adam, a completely regular human being, seems like the total opposite of Caleb. An "emo" teen who's bullied a lot, is depressed and has no friends, he has harbored a secret crush on Caleb forever. As Caleb begins to sense others' emotions though, he starts to notice Adam, who stands out as very distinct - and not in a bad way. It's a very emotional book, very immediate and original.

- Review by Colleen, age 14


Obviously: Stories from My Timeline Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781101998908
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Razorbill - September 24th, 2019

This was a collection of essays on Hughes' real life. I found many of the stories of her early life interesting and relateable, especially the ones about being the only black girl in her school and the truly atrocious treatment she received from her fifth-grade teacher; camping and mud and 3 a.m. asthma attacks, and her rules for families of white guys meeting their son's black girlfriend for the first time.  She has a unique voice that deserves to be heard.

 

-Review by Colleen, age 14


The Stars and the Blackness Between Them Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525555483
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - September 17th, 2019

This book was really, really good, even though it was totally different from what I usually read. I didn't even know where Trinidad was, and that's where the book starts. Audre, one of the two main character, lives in Trinidad with her mom and grandma, Queenie. Her mom's super-strict and churchy. When Audre and her girlfriend are discovered, her mom can't handle it and sends her to the U.S. to live with her dad. Mabel, who's the same age as Audre, lives in Minneapolis, Mn. They meet because Audre's dad is friends with Mabel's family. The two girls become friends, and after a while more than friends. Then Mabel is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and Audre has to help her deal with that. Worked into the plot is a lot of political commentary on relevant issues like the plight of black people in prison and police brutality. My only quibble with this book is the cover, which is super-pretty, but doesn't accurately depict the characters as described in the book (they wear different kinds of clothes than shown and they don't have the same body type.)

- Review by Colleen, age 14


There Will Come a Darkness (The Age of Darkness #1) Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250211750
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - September 3rd, 2019

There Will Come a Darkness can only be praised; a captivating storyline with delectable conflict can only lead to a desire to devour every page in this breathtaking new series. This novel is set in a realm where everyone used to be guided by the Seven Prophets ("supernatural" guides to humans), however one day they disappeared, leaving only a prophecy behind in their wake. This prophecy explains that there will come an "Age of Darkness", allowing a corrupted group to rise and withdraw all magic from exceptional individuals, killing thousands of innocents in this process.  Though there is a way to stop this prophesied event from occurring, as the reader leans as they delve into the lives of five individuals- who could prevent this conflict or utterly cause the destruction of the entire realm. There's Hassan, a prince who is trying to fight back and rightfully reclaim his kingdom and throne from the leader of the corrupted group; Ephyra, a murderer known as the Pale Hand, though only killing to save her sister from the grasp of death; Anton, a boy running from his past and struggling to control his unique power of endless sight; Beru, a dying young girl facing the ethical dilemma of allowing others to perish for her to thrive; and Jude, a boy teetering on the fence of loyal duty, or protecting those he loves. Though each chapter is from a different character's perspective, I was awed at how easily I could follow the storyline. It was great when each individuals' story became part of the big picture, and the plot twists near the end were priceless. I would highly recommend this book, and I am so excited to read the second edition in this series!

-Reviewed by Hailey, age 14


There Will Come a Darkness (The Age of Darkness #1) Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250211750
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - September 3rd, 2019

This book was extremely compelling. The further I got into it, the more I couldn't stop. I need the next book right now and will not accept anything else! It's not a classic fantasy world. It's very original and diverse. According to the plot, a long time ago, prophets made this world go around and people couldn't function without them. But they died off, leaving behind a final prophecy of a coming Age of Darkness. Meanwhile, people can be "Graceless" or they can have any one of four different "Graces." Grace of Heart correlates to strength, Grace of Sight to seeing the future, Grace of Blood to healing and Grace of Mind to the ability to make inanimate objects magical. The story is told from the perspective of five different people. Hassan is a prince who had to flee his kingdom after a rebellion. The rebel group, the Witnesses, want to get rid of the Graces. Epyra and Beru are sisters. Beru is sick and Ephyra has to keep healing her. In order to do that, she has to kill people for their life energy, so Ephyra seeks out bad people to kill. She is known as the murderer called "The Pale Hand." Anton has the Grace of Sight. However, he has blocked it due to a traumatic memory. If he tries to use his Grace, he gets the image of himself running from his Graceless brother, who's trying to kill him. Then there's Jude, Keeper of the Word of the Order of the Last Light. They've kept the last prophecy a secret over the years. Now they're charged with finding the last prophet identified in the prophecy so they can avert the Age of Darkness. Jude is having trouble with his hereditary role. He's supposed to be super-stoic and put all his personal desires aside for the good of the order, but he's fallen in love with another soldier. Eventually, all of their fates entwine. I really, really love the story and am desperate to know what happens next.

- Review by Colleen, age 14


The Truth Is Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781541528772
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Carolrhoda Lab (R) - September 3rd, 2019

This was a really good book, very different than a lot of other books I've read. It is very well done and realistic and deals with a lot of topics people just don't want to talk about. The main character, Verdad, is of Puerto Rican descent. She is not sure where she fits in - in terms of race, nationality and culture. Meanwhile, she doesn't really understand alternate sexuality and gender identities. Her mom, who is very traditional, counts on Verdad to go to an Ivy League College and act perfect. Verdad doesn't feel like that identity really fits her. She has a lot of problems already, is not very good with emotions, and suffers from OCD.
Verdad's best friend died last year in a school shooting. Verdad is the subject of teasing and bullying because she still talks to her best friend as if she's there. A new kid comes to school, Danny, a trans(gender) boy. Everyone acts really disrespectful, but Verdad develops a crush on him. Over the course of the book, Verdad has to learn who she is, how to be herself and discover what she really wants out of life.I would recommend this book to people who are working through their own identities.
 
-Review by Colleen, age 14


The Girl the Sea Gave Back Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250168481
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wednesday Books - September 3rd, 2019

The Girl the Sea Gave Back is a great book about a girl named Tova who has a unique power, to tell the future. At one point she casts the stones and sets the stage for a series of events for war. This is the first time in generations that the Svell are divided. When they go to war Tova finds herself fighting for people who are just using her. This event will move Tova closer to the one thing she never thought she could never have again, home.

 

-Madigan


Serpent & Dove Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062878021
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - September 3rd, 2019

I was initially drawn to this book not only because of the intriguing summary on the back cover and the the unique cover art, but the note to the reader inside as well, in which the author explained she wanted to emphasize that all the characters aren't purely good or evil- they all have their faults and heroic moments. That was enough to make me interested! Enter, Lou, a witch who gave up practicing her magic to escape execution in her previous coven, and currently lives as a dirty, immoral, smack-talking, no-filter-on-her-mouth, thief. Completely opposite of a man named Reid, one of the most esteemed guards in the city, who is loyal to the church and all that his duty requires of him (which is typically burning witches like Lou at the stake). However, when Lou mistakingly puts Reid in a humiliating position in public, they are bound together through a forced marriage to prevent Reid from having to sacrifice his occupation, and protects Lou from heading to prison for her previous crimes. Though being bound together seems unbearable at first, Lou and Reid begin to develop a deeper relationship, but Lou knows it's only a matter of time before Reid discovers her true nature of being a witch. In the end, Reid must choose whether to love unconditionally, and before it's too late- as Lou is captured by a powerful coven of witches who are preparing to sacrifice her- an event that could spur the witches into taking over the city. Overall, this book was pretty good, as I liked certain parts better than others. A fair warning, there was A LOT of cursing and some mature content, so I would suggest this for readers 9th grade and up.

-Reviewed by Hailey, age 14


Serpent & Dove Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062878021
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - September 3rd, 2019

This story is set in an alternate 17th Century France. The main character, Lou, a witch on the run, has given up magic so as not to be identified in a world that kills people with her abilities. She has turned to stealing to support herself and has enjoyed moderate success. Then she's caught red-handed in the midst of a crime - by a witch-hunter who doesn't realize how big a prize she's nabbed. Being exposed as a thief is bad enough, but if the authorities learn she's a witch, her punishment will become a death sentence. Desperate, Lou manages to escape shortly and races onto a stage in the middle of a performance. Her pursuer also rushes onstage and in his fervor to catch a criminal, tears her clothes, making him appear like the aggressor. Caught in a seemingly compromising position, her pursuer, a witch-hunter in a high religious order, is forced by his archbishop to marry Lou to save his soul. She's not eager to comply, but it seems like the only way to hide her true identity. Can she maintain her independence and keep her secrets  in the face of this unholy union?

-Review by Colleen, age 14


Kingdom of Souls Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062870957
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - September 3rd, 2019

Kingdom of Souls takes place in a lush African and fantasy realm, where magic seems to creep around every corner, and individuals lust to control the reins of this power... Cut scene, and skip to the life of the main character, Arrah, who longs for the gift of controlling magic to emerge within her. As she was born into a family of witchdoctors, who are arguably the most powerful beings in the kingdom, she's tired of being a repeated disappointment to herself and her mother. After several sequential years of trying to have this power emerge, Arrah begins to contemplate using dark magic, which would allow her to control magic but at the steep price of trading years of her own life. But her lust to control magic elevates to a new level after she discovers that her mother has been mysteriously involved in the un-describable disappearances of innocent children, and soon finds herself wrapped in the middle of the plot that could inevitably destroy the world. She must make many difficult sacrifices on her journey, and determine whether her own life is a price she's willing to pay to defend the world and its people. I was thoroughly impressed by the intense mother-daughter relationship author Rena Barron managed to pull off, and multiple times throughout the novel I was shocked by the turn of events regarding these two characters. I've never read anything that captures African heritage and traditions in a fantasy world too, so I thought that was a really nice and refreshing take for fantasy lovers alike. I'm so excited to read the sequential books in this trilogy, and I'm (not so patiently) waiting to see what happens in the next release! I would recommend this book for ages 13+, and for people who really appreciate a unique fantasy read with lots of un-expected twists and turns.

 

-Review by Hailey, age 14 


Stage Dreams Cover Image
By Melanie Gillman, Melanie Gillman (Illustrator)
$10.99
ISBN: 9781541572843
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graphic Universe (Tm) - September 3rd, 2019

For fans of The Prince and the Dressmaker and other similar books, this swift-paced graphic novel is set in the Civil War era in New Mexico. A transgender girl, Grace, is running away from being conscripted into the Confederate Army in Georgia. She runs into an outlaw highway robber, who is female (very unusual at the time). Dressed as elite East Coast women, they infiltrate a ball to steal Confederate plans. Their ultimate dream is to get to California, where Grace hopes of being an actress in San Francisco and the highway robber dreams of having a goat farm... with a healthy stash of gold, of course. I really pulled for these characters and wanted to see them achieve their dreams, and even though it was a short book, all of the plot was very well done, with the mini romance too. I'd recommend it for upper middle readers and teens, especially those in the LGBTQ community who are eager to see people like themselves reflected in the stories they read, that are not just contemporary fiction. The book also includes lots of historical notes of actual transgender people back in the civil war era and it was both entertaining and educational. In short, it was great.

 

- Review by Colleen, age 14


Rated Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338283570
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - September 3rd, 2019

This was a really terrific book, honestly. I read it almost in one sitting. It's swift-paced, easy to follow, and yet its cast of characters is incredibly diverse and complex, coming from a wide range of backgrounds and points of view. And even though they were coming at things from incredibly different perspectives, you could sympathize with all of them, even the "mean girl." The setting is world is just like ours except that everyone's "ratings," (think standardized tests, but covering all aspects of one's life, even popularity, and extending into adulthood) dictate everything a person can do - even the hospital they go to if they're ill.  The characters seem to have nothing in common at the start of the book, other than they attend an elite prep school dedicated to turning out 100-percent successful people. There's the goth girl who runs an illicit fortunetelling business out of the vacant music building; the gamer who supports his extended family on the proceeds from his endorsements; the nerdy photographer who has carefully cultivated his "invisible" personality; the baseball star who seems to be riding high but whose dyslexia and chaotic home life are threatening his ability to continue; and the presumed valedictorian whose life is ruled by a color-coded schedule broken down hour by hour into academic opportunities, service projects, club meetings and so forth. When anti-ratings graffiti spray-painted on the school grounds questions their way of life, this handful is pulled into the mystery of who is responsible, following hand-delivered clues that seem to have been addressed specifically to them. As they come together to figure out the mystery, they find they more in common that they initially thought.

-Review by Colleen, age 14


Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781433829833
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Magination Press - August 27th, 2019

This non-fiction book is very inclusive, open and real. There are so many books for girls entering puberty that help demystify the process, but there aren't that many resources out there yet for people who are trans. This needs to be just as available. The book is full of really good resources for everyone, and could be valuable not just for trans(gender) people, but also for parents, friends, and family members of people who fit into this category. It's based on science and research and the latest information available and it's written by people who are transgender specialists. It includes stories from trans people of all races and backgrounds, including people who don't fit the stereotypical image of a trans person, like non-binary and gender-fluid people. It talks about how you could be trans in more than one way. One of the things it addresses is the trans narrative, which is how society believes people should act, and the misconception that some people are "not trans enough" to qualify. One of the common ideas is that trans people know they are in the wrong body from the day they were born. These are real issues that need to brought into the open and into the public discussion. The book also includes healthy suggestions of how to deal with things that every person doesn't experience, like family rejection, religious blowback and (body) dysphoria.

-Review by Colleen, age 14


Brave the Page Cover Image
$13.99
ISBN: 9780451480293
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - August 27th, 2019

This was a really cool book with a lot of great advice. It makes me want to write a novel RIGHT NOW! It was put out in conjunction with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month,) which is in itself a pretty cool promotion. I would recommend it for young writers who have lots of ideas but don't know where to start - and aren't sure they'll ever get it done.

Review by Colleen, age 14.


Of Ice and Shadows (Of Fire and Stars #2) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062841223
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - August 13th, 2019

Of Ice and Shadows is a great book about two girls named Denna and Mare and are excited to go to Zumorda to find help for trading of Denna’s powers. But they are faced with a completely new set of challenges. Including trying to seek training without being persecuted for having a rare fire violent power. The all of a sudden the queen of Zumorda and offers Denna a spot in her elite training for her guards. As tensions rise between Zumorda and Mynaria Mare has to become the ambassador for Mynaria. Can Mare and Denna save their kingdoms and still do their duties without being caught. Find out in Audrey Coulthurst’s newest book Of Ice and Shadows.

-Review by Madigan


Your Brain Needs a Hug: Life, Love, Mental Health, and Sandwiches Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781250307859
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Imprint - August 13th, 2019

This book is somewhat similar to the recent humor/advice book I Really Didn't Think This Through, but more in-depth, exploring all different facets of mental illness and how to deal with them. It covers not only serious mental illnesses but also how to deal with normal stress, parents and relationships. It uses a lot of anecdotes from real people and intersperses it with actual advice from medical professionals and resources people can use. There's also illustrations and some funny parts, including hilarious headers, which help to lighten the mood. I think this book would be a good resource for people who have a mental illness or who need to understand a friend or family member better. I think I know someone who has every single one of these conditions except maybe the rare phobias. It gives some real insights on conditions that haven't always been well understood. As well as being a certified expert in the field, the author has plenty of experience to draw on. The author had OCD (obsessive/compulsive disorder) as a child and was diagnosed as "weird." The author's mom had depression. One piece of advice that sticks with me is not to try to "cheer someone up" if they have depression, You should try to be understanding and supportive, but don't try to "force" happiness - it can backfire.

-Review by Colleen, age 14


Staff Pick Badge
A Dress for the Wicked Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062857330
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - August 6th, 2019

Though born and raised in a minimal, countryside town, Emmaline (Emmy) Watkins has always had her heart set on becoming a fashion designer, one of the only self-sustainable futures for girls during this time period. So when Emmy is officially accepted to participate in a competition at the most prestigious fashion institute, she knows she'll have to get city-folk to look past her country roots and focus on the impeccable designs she creates in order for her to win an apprenticeship. However, as soon as she arrives, realization hits her vigorously; the competition this year will be the fiercest yet, as sabotage and trickery are only the beginning of edging your way to the top of the scoreboards... As time is slipping through her fingers, Emmy must make the most difficult choice of all. Should she mold and change her true self to fit the expectations of this twisted industry- or stay true to her unique personality and style, turning away the opportunity of a lifetime to have a secured future? This novel was a refreshing read, and I actually loved some of the simplicity incorporated into the text. I binge read this in a span of two days, not wanting to set it down as plot twists kept me intrigued and on the tips of my toes. A flawless "Project Runway" take on the Selection SeriesA Dress for the Wicked is sure to impress readers with its irresistible storyline- prepared to be drawn in and never want to leave this glorious fashion empire. I would recommend this book for grades 7+ (ages 12+ as well), and those who have a deep passion for fashion and style, hidden secrets within the least likely suspects, and tales of feminine empowerment (with a tad of entrepreneurship).

-Review by Hailey, age 14


House of Salt and Sorrows Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781984831927
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Press - August 6th, 2019

In a towering mansion resting on cliffs above the sea lives the Thaumas family, including twelve sisters- well, sort of. Year after year the eldest of the sisters has mysteriously died, each accident more tragic than the last, and townspeople whisper that the family is cursed with misfortune. But Annaleigh, now the one of the eldest sisters, believes that these deaths were not accidents but rather intricately plotted murders. After beginning to witness ghastly visions of her dead sisters, Annaleigh  becomes more concerned than ever that this was no accident- and that this murderer is just waiting to claim another life. But in the meantime, her sisters have been sneaking out nightly to attend glittering balls that look like scenes out of fantasies, and Annaleigh worries that these people her sisters are dancing with aren't really who they appear to be. She begins to put into place that the fatalities of her siblings and these balls are all connected. though one question remains. Will she be able to determine who this murderer is in time to save herself and her sisters? Or will the killer be the one to take the lives of Annaleigh and her family first? A dark re-telling of Grimm's Twelve Dancing Princesses, House of Salt and Sorrows was the book my childhood self was looking for (perfectly blended mystery, action, adventure, and fantasy!). I would recommend this book for ages 12+.

-Reviewed by Hailey, age 14


House of Salt and Sorrows Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781984831927
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Press - August 6th, 2019

House of Salt and Sorrows is a dark and beautiful retelling of the classic tale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It is full of dancing, deadly magic, and romance. The story follows Annaleigh, the sixth of 12 sisters. Though they are all rich and beautiful, they are said to be cursed, cursed with death. Annaleigh is now second in line to inheriting all their family possessions after the horrible deaths of her older sisters. Visions are haunting her day and night and she starts to believe that the deaths were no accident. She searches for clues as her sisters sneak out every night to dance at glittering balls, but who are they really dancing with? This book was absolutely breathtaking and every page made me anxious with wonder. If you like books full of magic, mystery, and dance; then get ready to be swept away in the book House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig.

-Review by Ava, age 13


The Demon World (The Smoke Thieves #2) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780425290248
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - August 6th, 2019

This is the eagerly awaited sequel to The Smoke Thieves, and it didn't take long for me to pick up the plot again. The story starts as all five of the diverse main characters from the last book have finally gotten together and are running away from brigantines. This unity doesn't last long, however. The group decides to go down into the demon world to confuse their pursuers, but something goes wrong and Edyon and March don't make it before the tunnel closes. So the group is split up, and everyone is still running for their lives. Lots of drama ensues as the author tortures what I've come to think of as "my" characters throughout the book, in a compelling and suspenseful story.

Review by Colleen, age 14


Let's Call It a Doomsday Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062698902
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - August 6th, 2019

I loved this author's last book, Heretics Anonymous, so I picked this up. There were things to like about this book, such as its really diverse characters. The main character, Ellis, is a Mormon girl who is really not coming to terms with her own bisexuality. She's assailed by self-doubts and obsessively prepares for some sort of apocalyse, trying to be ready for all the ways the world might end. She meets Hannah, who seems to have visions of the actual world ending. They join forces to prepare. The process helps draw Ellis out of her shell and gets her to meet other people, while revealing some mysteries about Hannah. But what will happen when the apocalypse comes - or doesn't?

- Review by Colleen, age 14


The American Dream?: A Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Mufflier Men, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781942186373
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Zest Books - August 6th, 2019

Since this was written by a Malaysian immigrant I thought it would be mostly a tale about immigration. But it was really more about the road trip. It turned out to be way better than I thought, and very humorous and thought-provoking. She came at the classic, if decaying, American tourist route from a doubly non-traditional viewpoint, first as a "left-coaster" and artist hailing from California and second, as a non-white American who came to this country as a youth from Asia. The book details her solo journey along the traditional tourist route, the weird towns she passes through, the roadside art, and the people she meets - for good and bad. She had intended to "find herself" in the journey. Rather than finding where she "truly belongs," though, she found herself at home with travel, new experiences and constant discovery. I'd recommend the book for those interested in graphic memoirs, humor and the immigrant experience.

-Review by Colleen, age 14


The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow Series #1) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250191922
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - July 30th, 2019

It's not enough to be a member of the despised Crow clan, living on the road and tasked with disposing with plague victims wherever they're found before the plague spreads. No, Fie and her clan wind up picking up two bodies which turn out not to be dead at all. They're the prince and his bodyguard, sneaking out of the palace disguised as corpses in order to escape the ambitious and merciless witch-queen. And that's when things really start fouling up. Soon, Fie is on the run in earnest, trailing two uninitiated royals. Then she's forced to take on the responsibility as clan chief when others in her band fall afoul of the queen and her Vultures. The book was compelling if a little confusing at first as the reader sorted out all the rules of this world. I'm eager to read the sequel. Also: beautiful and arresting cover art!

-Review by Colleen, age 14 


The Storm Crow Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781492672937
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sourcebooks Fire - July 9th, 2019

Anthia is part of the ruling family of Rhodaire, which is famous for its giant elemental crows which protect the realm. Then the enemy burns down all the rookeries. To survive, Anthia agrees to a marriage pact with invading Illucia's prince. Over time, she learns to tolerate him as she finds he too is a pawn in his family's imperial manipulations. At the same time, she finds a single lost crow egg, which only the royal family can hatch. Anthia tries to "resist from within" the enemy's stronghold, ruled by a brutal queen who even seems to hate her son. The plot keeps the reader on their toes, not always going where it might be expected to. There will be a second book, of course, and I want to read it RIGHT NOW.

-Review by Colleen, age 14


Staff Pick Badge
Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780525646990
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - July 9th, 2019

Maia Tamarin has always aspired to be the best tailor in the land- however her dream can never come true because she's a girl, living in a time period where she has little possibility for a future because of her gender. However, when her aging father is requested at the palace to participate in a competition to become the next imperial tailor, Maia disguises herself as a male and heads to the palace in his place. But upon arrival, she realizes that the challenges ahead of her will be no easy task, as sabotage and trickery are only the beginning of the seemingly impossible garments she'll have to create in order to rise above her competitors. To make matters more difficult, the palace enchanter, Edan, discovers Maia's secret about being a girl in disguise, pushing her into an uncomfortable position to make an alliance with him. Though once the competition concludes, she's in for an even bigger surprise as the emperor sends her on a quest to make his future bride three dresses of legends, and Edan accompanies her throughout the peregrination. On this journey, Maia pushes herself to limits she didn't know she had, including developing a tentative friendship which turns into a blossoming romance. However, with a powerful army and a set of demons and ghosts on their trail, a plot-twist ending results in Maia having to make a difficult choice- will she give up a part of herself to save the person she truly loves? This was a simple, enjoyable book to read, and I loved the different elements of the story- I feel like so much was accomplished in a few hundred pages! I am so excited to see what author Elizabeth Lim brings in the next addition, Unravel the Dusk, and I want to find out what happens next right now! I would also recommend this book for ages 12+, and for those who love a great, progressive adventure story, and a little bit of fashion and romantic elements.

-Reviewed by Hailey, age 14


Titans Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781534417045
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Aladdin - July 9th, 2019

Titans is an amazing book filled with suspense and mystery. This is a great book about a girl named Astraea, who is a Titan, and her best friend Zephyr, who is a winged horse. One day they discover a human, but humans can’t get to Titus which makes it so strange. When they figure out people are trying to take over Titus they are outraged, but can they save all the leaders and save Titus?

-Review by Madigan


The Beckoning Shadow Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062657619
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - July 2nd, 2019

Vesper Montgomery is an Oddity, someone who has magical powers that can range from fire-throwing and touches that make any object turn to gold, to skin as hard as stone itself. Sounds great, right? Exactly the opposite. Vesper holds the power to latch onto someone’s greatest fear and then manifest it, turning it into reality and setting it loose, though this “gift” is not one she loves to advertise to the world, as she has little to zero control over it. After accidentally sub-consciously latching onto her mother’s fear of fire while sleeping, Vesper sends their whole home up in flames, severely burning her older sister, Carmen. Terrified of what destruction she could cause next, Vesper escapes her home and never looks back, fearful of what her family must think of her after creating this atrocious disaster that almost killed them all. After being introduced to a community of Oddities like herself, Vesper has the opportunity to participate in the Tournament of the Unraveling, where you fight magic against magic in order to have a chance at winning the prize to undo something in the past, which could set things right again with her family. Though she enters and looses the first round, she meets a guy named Sam, who offers to train her and act as her sponsor throughout the rest of the competition, including paying for a spot in the second round so she can advance. There’s only one catch- he wants the chance to undo the past if she wins, but what other choice does Vesper have? Agreeing to the deal, she learns how to fight back through her rigorous training and learns that the power within her can be tamed and controlled, as she is the master of her future and her fate. This book was amazing, and I loved the little bit of drama and romance that Katharyn Blair intelligently incorporates in this story, and it adds a complete other element to Vesper’s humanity. Transformation of Vesper’s character throughout this whole book was immensely enjoyable, too, and I love that in the end she’s embracing who she is and what happened in the past, and attempts to mend the mistakes she’s made.  
 
-Review by Hailey, Age 14


Teen Titans: Raven Cover Image
By Kami Garcia, Gabriel Picolo (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781401286231
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DC Ink - July 2nd, 2019

This graphic novel was well-drawn and diverse, very relatable. You don't have to know anything about Teen Titans to follow the story. I am eager to see if there's a follow-up, to see what happens next. Raven has lost her adoptive mom in a fatal car crash. She has also lost her memory following the accident and doesn't even know what kind of candy bar she likes. She goes to live with her mom's estranged sister and becomes friends with her daughter. Meanwhile, she's trying to adapt to a new high school. Raven doesn't know why she's getting headaches and gets overwhelmed by noise. She also seems to be able to hear others' thoughts, and she starts seeing a big shadow of wings. Now there's this guy at school who's really interested in her. He seems nice, but how can she commit when she doesn't even know who she is? I would recommend this to readers who liked Mera Tidebreaker and the new Catwoman origin story, Under the Moon.

-Review by Colleen, age 14


The Virtue of Sin Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525516545
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Philomel Books - June 25th, 2019

This book started off kind of weird but it got better as it went on, as the characters' lives expanded a lot. Miriam, the main character, is part of a religious cult that's all she has known. It is run by a dude who says he's the Biblical David reborn. The Bible is the only book they even know exists. In this "community," girls and boys are separated at the age of 7, and then at 16 they are expected to marry. Boys come up to say a girl's name and then that girl has to marry them. Females are relegated to cooking and cleaning, and they are not even to speak unless they're spoken to. The story starts as the new batch of 16-year-olds is slated to get married. Miriam and Caleb have a crush on each-other and she expects they'll marry, but then some other guy says Miriam's name. Caleb then refuses to marry, and this division sets off a bunch of dilemmas that eventually reveal the truth behind the cult. I would recommend this book to teen readers.

- Review by Colleen, age 14.


Queen of the Sea Cover Image
By Dylan Meconis, Dylan Meconis (Illustrator)
$24.99
ISBN: 9781536204988
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Walker Books US - June 25th, 2019

I thought this was really good. The story is told from the perspective of a young girl who has grown up in a convent on an island in the middle of nowhere. She came there as a baby and was raised by the nuns, but she has no idea why. Then others start coming to the island, and the main character tries to figure out what's really going on. What she learns surprises her and kind of turns her whole perspective around. Meanwhile, she has made friends with an exiled prince who came to the island, and she has discovered a cave full of cool prehistoric drawings. It's kind of an alternate take on history, although you don't have to be a history fan to enjoy reading it. The art is really good, and I'm eager to see it when it comes out in full color. I would recommend this book to readers age 10 and up.

- Review by Colleen, age 14


The Evil Queen Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781335542243
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Inkyard Press - June 25th, 2019

First, I'd like to mention something that I think many readers would be grateful to hear before they invest time and money into reading this novel. This addition is a very mature young adult fiction piece; if you're sensitive to certain adult content, be aware of this before you start flipping through the pages. Being a somewhat delicate reader to things like this as well, I skipped the first few chapters, as the storyline and summary on the back kept me intrigued and hopeful for a better turn out. After I got past some of the uncomfortable material in the beginning and some near the end, the story turned out to be absolutely perfect, and I felt myself get lost in the pages of a fantastic new taste on the story of Snow White..

Everly Morrow is a teenager growing up in the world of mortals, but after her mother's unexpected passage and she and her twin sister, Hartley, uncover hidden magical abilities (that seem to pin them as the Evil Queen and Snow White from the fairytale), everything spirals out of control. Everly is separated from her sister, and is transported into the realm of Enchantia, where she learns that fairytales aren't just stories, but rather prophecies of the future. She faces inexpressible hurt as after her identity as a sorcerian (sorcerer) is revealed, and even more pain as a man named Roth Charmaine (the "Prince Charming" of the story) breaks her heart after they both develop a seemingly indestructible attraction for one another. But as the prophecy seems to be clicking into place, Everly only has a matter of time to try and discover who she truly is- should she embrace her evil destiny, or fight to break free of it? Other than the mature content which went a little overboard in some places, I absolutely loved the plot and characters that made up this novel! Something that really stood out to me was how different characters keep placing themselves as different characters in the prophecy- something Everly struggles with as she tries to discover her identity. I was so excited when I discovered this was a series, though a little hesitant about reading more, I can't wait to see where the storyline heads next (pssst- there's a great turn of events in the end!).

-Review by Hailey, age 14


Storm and Fury (Harbinger #1) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781335218797
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Inkyard Press - June 11th, 2019

STORM AND FURY IS A MUST-READ STAPLE ON ANY BOOK LIST. Seriously, I'm head over heals for this novel, and I was extremely excited to hear that this is the first in the Harbinger Series!
 
Trinity Marrow is going blind due to rare condition known as "retinitis pigmentosa", but that's currently the least of her worries. She has a special gift where she can communicate with ghosts and spirits, and has an unstoppable power known as her grace just waiting to be released from inside of her. Her father is an angel, while her mother was a human, which leads to her development of these unique powers, and evidently the endangerment of herself as well. Trinity is protected in a community of Wardens, who are human beings who can transform into gargoyles, and defend her from demons of the outside world, who would kill to consume the daughter of a powerful angel. But after Trinity's best friend and protector, Misha, is stolen by a substantially powerful demon, she must turn to a Warden named Zayne to assist her in winning back the stability in her life. But as Trinity begins to develop feelings for Zayne, they both uncover startling secrets from their pasts, which could bring them closer together or subsequently tear them apart. But as a war between demons and Wardens surfaces, Trinity must learn to put trust in only those who are worthy, as everything she believed about the past is revealed to be a lie. Author Jennifer L. Armentrout created an intense, action-packed worthy novel that included romance topped to the nines! This was an incredible story to read, and I'm now anticipating reading The Dark Elements Series, because it takes place in the same world with some of the same characters. I would recommend this book for grades 9+ because there is a little bit of intense romance.
-Review by Hailey age 14


VIRAL: The Fight Against AIDS in America Cover Image
$22.99
ISBN: 9780425287200
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - June 4th, 2019

This is the nonfiction story of the HIV/AIDS outbreak in America. It recounts the tragic stories of those that suffered from the "mysterious disease without a cure." Bausum provides a perfect blend of statistics and the personal stories of the victims. The story of AIDS is told chronologically through news reports, stories from hospitals, advertisements, journals, and more. This book is as educational as it is moving. All of the people mentioned were so admirably strong, I found it very inspiring to read their stories. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning a lot from what they read. VIRAL grants its readers understanding of the hardship that the outbreak of AIDS brought with it, as well as the amount of perseverance it took for society to overcome the barriers that were keeping them from discovering more about the disease. A great nonfiction read by a great author!

-Review by Jewell


The Beholder Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062845429
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - June 4th, 2019

In a perfect world, Selah would have been happily engaged to her best friend, as family and friends congratulated them, and she would prepare to take over her father’s role as an important figure to the Potomac people. However, after being faced with humiliation at her beloved’s denial, she soon finds herself sailing across the vast ocean on a quest to find the perfect suitor; a contrivance designed by her stepmother to keep Selah away from home and her father for as long as she can. On her journey, Selah discovers that love is a fragile thing, as it can mend or break your heart, and she’s forced to make decisions that can benefit those she loves, or the wellbeing of other innocent individuals- an arduous toss-up. And while love conquers all, Selah herself must determine how to rise and conquer her own fears and hesitations to put an end to her stepmother’s plans once and for all. This book was an enjoyable read, and the quick turn of events at the ending is making me anxiously anticipate the second addition in this fabulous new duology!

-Review by Hailey, Age 14


Sorcery of Thorns Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481497619
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - June 4th, 2019

Elisabeth was born in raised in one of the Great Libraries, home to dozens of magical and enchanted books called "grimoires", which hold the secrets to some of the darkest and most sacred information in the realm. However, everything changes after one of the strongest grimoires is released, it is provoked into its aggravated and monstrous side, murdering the Director of the library. Unfortunately, Elisabeth is directly accused of committing the crime, and is sent to the nation's capital to allow her fate to be determined. After her life has been turned upside down, inside out, and back again, Elisabeth must learn to trust a sorcerer named Nathaniel, going completely against everything she's ever been taught to believe, as he may be the only ally she has. Together they set out on a path to save Elisabeth from the dire consequences of her past, and they uncover a dark conspiracy which could evidently cause the entire world to be destroyed. Forming an uneasy alliance, Elisabeth and Nathaniel must both set aside everything they've ever been told is right, and let their own experiences define what's right and wrong, while doing anything in their power to save those they love. All the characters in this novel are brilliantly defined, and once you fall into the clutches of their diverse personalities, you'll never want the story to end! Margaret Rogerson uses such thoughtful description which leads to an innovative style of imagery that I'll never forget. My absolute favorite part of this whole book was watching friendships blossom into a tentative romance, while reading a storyline which perfectly combined action, adventure, fantasy, and mystery all into one. Thank you, Margaret Rogerson, for creating an epic novel which will find a special place in all teen fiction lovers alike!

Review by Hailey age 14


Like a Love Story Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062839367
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - June 4th, 2019

I knew nothing about the AIDS crisis before reading this book other than what I learned in health class, and they kind of glossed over it. I picked up this book because of the really arresting, colorful cover. I had no clue I'd like it so much. It had me bawling, then beaming, then sobbing again. It was an intense experience. It's set in New York City in 1989 when the AIDS crisis was in full swing. Reza, the main character is from Iran and just came to the U.S. from Canada. He's gay, but super-scared and doesn't want to tell him folks. His dad died in Iran and his stepdad is rich. He has a sister in college back in Canada and a jerk of a stepbrother. Art is the only "out" gay kid in their entire school. His parents are super-conservative and pretend he doesn't exist. Then there's Judy, Art's best friend. She has a much more accepting family and she and Art are best friends. The problem comes in when both Judy and Art get massive crushes on Reza. He starts going out with Judy because he's not comfortable being gay, but he's really interested in Art. All kinds of emotional turmoil ensues. I thought the book was tremendous, with believable characters and plot while delivering a real dose of '80s culture and history. I basically read the whole story in one sitting.

- Review by Colleen, age 14


Kingsbane (Empirium Trilogy #2) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781492656654
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sourcebooks Fire - May 21st, 2019

If Rielle had any hope that becoming the Sun Queen would relieve her of her troubles, she was terribly mistaken. As war becomes a prominent threat to the entire empire, tensions rise and boil, making alliances and power more crucial than ever to ensure safety for all of Celdaria. In addition to this constant worry,  Rielle, Audric, and Ludivine discover that the Gate, a doorway to another realm where angels were imprisoned hundreds of years ago, is weakening, allowing dark angels to escape into the world and  therefore plan their revenge on humanity. To fulfill her duty as Sun Queen, Rielle begins on a perilous quest to find seven magical objects from the saints, which will fuel her power within when she attempts to repair this gateway. However, secrets and lies from the past become embedded deeper within herself, threatening her relationship with Audric and her friendship with Ludivine. And Corien’s whispers and schemes are driving her mind insane; all she can do is to desperately try not to succumb to his darkness. Meanwhile, hundreds of years later, Eliana is struggling with facing the fact that she is this generation’s new Sun Queen, destined to use her powers to save them all. However, after having experiences of her powers gone wild and uncontrollable, Eliana begins to question and doubt herself, not wanting to follow in her mother’s footsteps of a Blood Queen who destroyed thousands of innocents. She must learn to trust herself and her power within, to create her own path and legacy, and become the savior figure her people need- the queen her mother never managed to be. This book was hands down incredible! Those who loved the first book won’t be disappointed in this luscious sequel; prepare to be enchanted on this mystical rollercoaster, as the characters you know and love delve into unimaginable secrets from the past, with mysteries, betrayals, and romance around every corner.

-Review by Hailey, Age 14


Neon Words: 10 Brilliant Ways to Light Up Your Writing Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781433830495
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Magination Press - May 21st, 2019

I read this in a day and already tried out some of the great writing prompts! The idea is to exercise your creativity while using writing to "be more present in your life." There were also a lot of paper crafts in which to put your writing, which weren't very useful to me personally, but some people would like them. The book is aimed at middle readers but seriously, anyone older than 8 could understand this and get something out of it.
 

-Review by Colleen, age 14.

 


The Candle and the Flame Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781338306040
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Published: Scholastic Press - May 14th, 2019

This was a very multicultural book. It really gave you a feeling of being immersed in a foreign society, heavily based on Indian culture, Muslim and otherwise, but infused with djinn majic. Once upon a time, a little girl was the sole survivor of an attack by evil "chaos" djinn. A grieving mother djinn (from a different group of djinn associated with learning and order) came upon the girl and, close to dying herself, chose to gift the girl with her djinn fire. That girl, Fatima, is later found by a passer-by and raised as his own, alongside his own daughter. Now both girls are older teens, of marriageable age. Fatima works as a messenger while hanging out at a djinn-owned bookstore. Her "sister" is a whiz at making cosmetics, but she's considering getting married, which would leave Fatima without a place to live. Meanwhile, a war is brewing between the humans, the djinn of order  who oversee the area, and the chaos djinn who are threatening to invade. Thrown into one emergency after another, Fatima reclaims the previously hidden djinn fire she carries, and along with it some of her benefactor's memories and traits. Now calling herself Fatima Ghazala, she's taken under the protection of djinn emir Zulfikar, but though she likes him, she values her independence and developing power. This should appeal to readers who liked The Desert Spear and other similar fantasies.

 

- Review by Colleen, age 14.


I Wish You All the Best Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338306125
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Push - May 14th, 2019

I loved this book, especially all of the random nods it gives to various fandoms. The story was super-great. Ben is non-binary (does not identify as either male or female) and their parents aren't really okay with it. Kicked out of their home, Ben has to go live with their older sister, who is married and hasn't talked to their parents in years. It's pretty overwhelming adjusting to a different family and a different school while negotiating depression and anxiety. Then Ben develops a total crush on Nathan. The story follows Ben as they sort out their life and relationship and become their own person.

 

- Review by Colleen, age 14

 


On a Scale of One to Ten Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338323764
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chicken House - May 14th, 2019

Tamar struggles with self harm among other mental illnesses. Her condition has only worsened since the death of her friend, Iris. Eventually, she is sent to Lime Grove, a psychiatric hospital. There she meets other patients and becomes close with a few of them. She embarks on her journey of recovery accompanied by her new found friends, but something is holding her back. Tamar continues to blame herself for Iris's death. This book follows her and her friends' time at Lime Grove and Tamar's road to fully understanding what happened to Iris. I found this book very moving. Scott does a terrific job of making her readers fall in love with her characters and root for their recovery. I would recommend this book to older kids who can understand the severity of mental illnesses and people who are interested in reading about the recovery of characters. 

-Review by Jewell 


Stepsister Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338268461
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - May 14th, 2019

Everyone knows the tale of Cinderella... however does anyone truly know the story of the stepsisters? Yes, almost anybody can tell you that these two were wretched, horrible individuals to Ella, but does nobody care about the fact that these sisters were neglected, ignored, and told they would get nowhere in life based only on their ugly looks? This is the story of Isabelle, the step-sister that just doesn't fit in the box of being a young noblewoman of perfection, like everyone has tried to transform her into her whole life. But when Isabelle has the chance to make herself beautiful by finding the three lost pieces of her heart, she sets out on a journey that leads to her re-discovering her inner-beauty- the identity of a brave, fearless young woman she lost so many years ago. This book was an incredible read, and I kept thinking, "Oh my gosh! How come I've never thought of this story from this viewpoint?" It was a fabulous, refreshing new take on a classic, and I loved how Isabelle identified the person she wanted to be while making amends with those she's hurt in the past. This will not be a disappointment to fairy tale lovers alike, and goes to prove that no one needs to be the "perfect figure" that society claims everyone has to be, but rather encourages to differentiate yourself and show the world who you truly are.

-Review by Hailey, age 14


Finale: A Caraval Novel Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250157669
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - May 7th, 2019

 

CARAVAL LOVERS REJOICE! Oh my goodness, I pretty much freaked out and did a little happy dance in the bookstore when I heard the last book in the Caraval Trilogy was available! This ultimate closer of a novel was absolutely a dream to read, as sisters Scarlett and Donatella are now faced with the cold hard reality of the real world. Although here, nothing is a game anymore and there are no second chances and exceptions for anyone. Tella doesn't know what her heart is telling her, as she so badly wants Legend to love her, but doing so will make him loose a part of himself he's never willing to give up. She struggles as she determines who she can trust, and needs to ensure her vision of what's she's fighting for isn't clouded by the irresistible promises of an enemy. And Scarlett must turn to being selfless and face newly discovered truths of who she is head on- even if it means loosing Julian, Tella, and those she loves in order to save the world. Stephanie Garber went out with a miraculous bang in this final addition, with an ending so emotional tears came to my eyes and I practically swooned aloud. As sisterly passion and un-conditional love conquers all, as the book truthfully quotes, this is "an ending worth waiting for". So please, Stephanie Garber, I need a fourth book ASAP! 

-Review by Hailey, age 14


Again, but Better: A Novel Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250299253
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wednesday Books - May 7th, 2019

Again, But Better is the debut novel of one of the most followed booktubers of today, Christine Riccio. This book revolves around a college student named Shane who is studying abroad for a semester in London. Again, but Better is a story of finding yourself and being brave enough to take a chance. It is full of adventure, travel, and love with hints of magic mixed in. I love Christine Riccio’s writing style and I fell in love with the story.

-Review by Ava, age 13


Last Things Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062875068
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - May 7th, 2019

Last Things is the most popular band in their town. With prodigy lead singer and guitarist Anders Thorson, the band's future seems promising. However, the chaotic crowds don't satisfy Anders. He feels as though he doesn't deserve it, that they aren't seeing the real him, only the rockstar mask he puts on for shows.Soon enough, he feels as though he can't even take credit for the songs he writes. He feels darkness and pain while he is writing. Thea, an obsessive fan of Last Things, knows this darkness. She spends all of her time watching the woods, making sure that it doesn't reach out and take Anders. But she can't protect him forever, and soon the dark things will try to take everything. This book is such a page turner! From beginning to end it is mysterious and thoughtfully written. Highly recommend!

-Review by Jewell


Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781524720964
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - May 7th, 2019

This was a terrific book and I want to know what happens next IMMEDIATELY! It brings together a diverse cast of characters from the far future, all from different backgrounds and cultures. There was a lot of humor interspersed, like the galactic tips sprinkled in between chapters like pages from the "Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy" and Scarlett's musings on the pros and cons of her 392 ex-boyfriends. One of the main characters of the book is Aurora, who was headed to a colony on another planet in the not-so-distant future. She's placed in a stasis pod for the long journey and enters the Fold, a space warp kind of like a "Wrinkle in Time." However, her ship gets lost in the Fold and 200 years later it's still floating around, with Aurora, the sole survivor, (completely unaware of all of this) still in stasis. Enter Tyler, an up-and-coming member of the Aurora Legion, a neutral aid organization a little like the Peace Corp, which helps people in interplanetary conflicts. He's headed into the draft as the highest-rated team captain and takes a ship into the Fold just to burn off some energy the night before the draft. There, he finds Aurora and rescues her, arriving back late and with only the dregs of the recruits to choose from. He winds up with a ragtag team made up of Scarlett, his twin sister; Cat, with whom he has a romantic history; Finian, a techie who has a crippling disease and wears an exosuit to help him handle the effects of gravity; Kal, a member of the warrior class of the Sildrathi race (they look a lot like elves and I truly appreciate the Lord of the Rings humor), and Zila, a dispassionate science expert with a penchant for attacking her fellow crew members. This mismatched crew, all of whom have big assets as well as liabilities, find themselves embroiled in a big space conspiracy spanning the galaxy, with tendrils trailing back into prior civilizations. They're not sure which side is right but must act to save the whole universe. I'd recommend it to fans of Skyward by Brandon Sanderson.

 

- Review by Colleen, age 14


How It Feels to Float Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525554295
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - May 7th, 2019

Biz has grown accustomed to barely staying afloat. She stays teetering at the edge of a depression-filled abyss, using her relationship with her tight knit friend group as well as her chats with her dead dad as a way of staying in touch with the real world. However, Biz begins to slip when her best friend and possible love interest moves away and her friend group isolates her. Soon enough, Biz finds herself unable to complete her daily routine. Instead of floating, she sinks deeper and deeper into a tired, hopeless reality that she can't seem to find a way out of. Her mother attempts to bring her out of her misery by signing her up for a photography class. There she meets new friends as well as discovers new ways to communicate with her deceased father. Will the photography class snap Biz out of her dismal trance? Or will Biz's past prove itself to be too overwhelming? I would recommend this book to those who are interested in reading a first person perspective of mental illness. The characters' roles in the plot and the elusiveness of this story kept me interested and I had a hard time putting this book down.

 

-Review by Jewell


With the Fire on High Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062662835
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - May 7th, 2019

This book is about a teenage mom, Emoni, who is in senior year and is struggling to raise a toddler, Emma, raise enough money to go on a field trip to Spain, and keep her grades up enough to pass her last year of high school. She was raised by her grandmother, after her mother's death at birth and her father's yearly visits. Emma's dad, Tyrone, picks up Emma to spend time with her every other weekend. I would suggest this book to people who have a passion for cooking and a knack for getting out of sticky situations. Probably for people 15+

-Review by Emma, age 12


Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781534430655
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon Pulse - May 7th, 2019

This book was about a teenager named Nimanthi Kumara-Clark who is struggling with a lot of different problems. Her mother reappeared after her unexpected departure years ago. When she found out about her mother's background, she decided it was best to keep it a secret from her dad. Her best friend, Charles, is angry at her after a saddening attempt to express his feelings to his crush. Nima's old crush, Ginny, doesn't like her back. Her former kind-of-friend, Gordon, is a jerk and dealing with a big personal problem. Her new friend, Deidre, is a drag queen and is very supportive. Her relationship with her new crush, Winnow, has gotten off to a rocky start. And finally, her friend, Jill, has got some serious backstory with Nima's mom. This book is a great match for people who feel like they have too much going on their life and people who are used to chaos. I would suggest this book for people who are 14+.

-Review by Emma, age 12