Teen Advisory Board Reviews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALL ADVISORY BOARD MEETINGS WILL BE VIRTUAL VIA ZOOM. EMAIL CHLOE AT CHLOEPBKSCO@GMAIL.COM IF YOU ARE INTERESTED. 

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

 

Click here for more information about the Advisory Boards. 

 

 

 

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If This Gets Out: A Novel Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250805805
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order 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


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Spin Me Right Round Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781547607105
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Bloomsbury YA - December 7th, 2021

 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


Any Sign of Life Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062691934
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - October 12th, 2021

Trigger warning: Do not read this book if you can't handle gruesome details like the up close and personal process of millions of human bodies decaying.

I actually have some trouble with rot and gore myself, but I still like reading apocalyptic fiction and this story sounded really interesting. Set in the near future, the story has definite parallels with the COVID-19 crisis we're still in, except instead of a 2 percent death rate, the new pandemic has a near 100 percent death rate. When she awakes from a 6-day-coma looking and feeling like the walking dead, normally athletic and self-sufficient Paige discovers that everyone around has died. Rescuing her dead neighbor's filthy, thirsty dog, she sets out to discover what happened and to try to survive on her own. The only human voice is on the sole radio station left on the air. It plays an endless loop of old news, announcing that the government had declared martial law and anyone stepping outside their homes would be shot. Eventually, Paige finds a handful of other survivors, and discovers that the plague was not an accident, and it's up to this ragged band to rescue the future of humanity, and indeed the planet. Along with a riveting storyline, this book provides a really good commentary on modern society and how we deal with crisis (not well.) I really hope there's a sequel to this book. It ends with many questions still unanswered and I'm desperate to know.

-Review by Rowan, age 16


Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781534496194
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - October 12th, 2021

This stunning sequel to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, was well worth the eleven year-wait. These two books are some of the best books I have ever read, and a few of the only ones that I can remember, even after reading them months ago. They will change your life. Give you a new perspective on so many different things. The struggles Ari and Dante face are very tough, but the way Benjamin Sáenz has crafted the story does not focus on these obstacles, but on the solutions they create. It is set during the AIDS epidemic, but that does not change the love, hope, and magic, weaved into this story.

-Review by Krin


The City Beautiful Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781335402509
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Inkyard Press - October 5th, 2021

This book was amazing, with a unique plot, believable characters and a lot of great details. Honestly, it was also educational, providing a window onto areas of Jewish culture I had no idea existed. It's set back at the turn of the previous century at the Chicago World's Fair. The main character, Alter, is an immigrant from Romania trying to earn enough money to bring his family over to America. He's struggling to keep his religion in a world that's not friendly to Jewish people. Another strike against him is that he's gay, which is not exactly welcomed in this time period. There have been a lot of murders of Jewish boys in Chicago, and Alter gets drawn in because one of them was a friend of his. That friend's ghost possesses Alter with the goal of tracking down and killing the person who's responsible for the murders. The story is rather dark, even grim, but it's really good, and it encompasses a lot of issues that modern readers care about. The storytelling is both entertaining and emotional and it brings to light a lot of marginalized perspectives that have not previously gotten a lot of attention. Both teens and adults will get something out of this complex, yet relatable story.

-Review by Rowan, age 16


Once Upon a Broken Heart Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250268396
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - September 28th, 2021

Stephanie Garber is one of my favorite authors of all time, and I practically squealed when I saw her newest release after the Caraval trilogy (another treasured series of mine). I eagerly devoured all 400 pages in two days, and I was so set on finishing it that I brought it on the plane with me...even though I had less than 20 pages left and had to carry it for the rest of my trip. The extra weight in my backpack was well worth it!

To my great delight, Once Upon a Broken Heart is set in the same world as the Caraval series, and there's even the surprise return of some fan favorite characters (Not to worry, though! Even if you haven't read Caraval, this novel is steel a STELLAR read). Our protagonist, Evangeline Fox, is a fierce female lead (her rose gold hair not to be forgotten), who makes a deal with the Prince of Hearts to stop her true love from marrying another. But making a deal with a Fate always leads to a slippery slope of consequences and Evangeline must choose how far she's willing to go for a happy ending. This high-stakes adventure is set in a lush, magical world where love and death go hand in hand, the pacing perfection and characters so enchanting you'll never want to leave the pages. Once Upon a Broken Heart is easily one of my favorite reads of 2021, and I highly recommend it to the dreamers, romantics, and fantasy lovers! 

-Review by Hailey, age 16


All These Bodies Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062977168
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Quill Tree Books - September 21st, 2021

When a string of serial murders finds its way to the small Minnesota town of Black Deer Falls, a young aspiring journalist wants to take the story. These murders have finally put Black Deer Falls on the map but Michael Jensen wants something simple, the truth. This last killing was different, the murderer left behind his accomplice. And she will only talk to Michael. As Michael takes her story she offers an inexplicable account of what happened. She gives reasoning behind the “Bloodless” murders, if you want to believe it. The two teenagers get closer as the book comes to the only end it could. There were many things I didn’t see coming while reading this. It put a very interesting supernatural spin on serial murders.

-Review by Isabelle, Age 14


Not Here to Be Liked Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780063038363
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - September 14th, 2021

How do you be yourself, but also seem like a person everyone likes? How can you be feminine, but also be a leader? These are the questions that are addressed in the book Not Here to be Liked. Eliza, the main character, explores what it means to be a leader, and how being yourself rules over everything else. Within the two covers of this novel, the pages are jam-packed with romance, self-discovery, and blooming confidence. Michelle Quach does a wonderful job weaving unique characters into an interesting plot, making the book a one-of-a-kind find.

-Review by Krin


Not Here to Be Liked Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780063038363
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - September 14th, 2021

Eliza Quan, a strong-willed senior in high school has dreamed of being editor and chief of her high school’s newspaper, the Bugle, ever since she joined the paperI appreciated how persistent Eliza was to get what she wanted throughout the whole book and although she had many people who did not like her, it did not change her determination. I believe that Michelle Quach had very strong messages throughout the book especially about empowering females and breaking gender stereotypes. Any young girl especially above the age of 13 will appreciate this book and take the messages into their real world. 

-Review by Hannah, age 14


Borders Cover Image
By Thomas King, Natasha Donovan (Illustrator)
$24.99
ISBN: 9780316593069
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 7th, 2021

This graphic novel was an interesting exercise in perspective and a window onto part of our culture's history we prefer to overlook. The main character is Native American. Her family lives on the Canadian side of the American corner. The mom and kid want to cross the border to visit the main character's older sister in Salt Lake City in the U.S. The border patrol officials don't like it when they give their nationality as "Blackfoot" rather than American or Canadian, and they are detained. Ultimately the local TV stations get wind of the story, and due to the publicity that exposure brings, they're allowed to go over the border. One of the lessons of this book is how governments can be really inhumane, and you have to appeal to people's common humanity to get justice. This is just one small story, based on true events, but it plays out in different ways all across our culture and this book might help raise awareness.

 

Review by Rowan, age 16


Artie and the Wolf Moon Cover Image
By Olivia Stephens, Olivia Stephens (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781728420202
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graphic Universe (Tm) - September 7th, 2021

I wasn't expecting this graphic novel for young teens and teens to be so good. The story was compelling and the art was great - I liked the individuality of the characters and how they were drawn, and the overall color palette used. The main character, Artie, does film photography as a kind of tribute to her dad, who has died. She sneaks out one night to take pictures and runs into a wolf that turns out to be her mom, who is secretly a werewolf. It turns out there is a very small, all-Black town in the middle of the woods founded by people who got werewolf powers when they escaped from slavery. Artie is a descendant and her powers are latent. She can't change into a wolf at will, and her mom is not eager for her to assume full powers, as the werewolves are embroiled in a war with the vampires, the secret identity of a group of snotty rich white people. Artie learns that her dad was human and had been killed by vampires. I really enjoyed the dynamic of "found family" among the werewolves in the woods. Overall, it's a good book, a fast read, and a story that should appeal to all ages.

-Review by Rowan, age 16


Both Sides Now Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780593322819
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - August 24th, 2021

This wonderfully crafted story by Peyton Thomas will have you laughing, crying, and punching a wall, all at the same time. The characters are so honest, and the struggles they face are so real, that it feels you are right alongside them. Both Sides Now is a story about figuring out who you are, and how doing the right thing sometimes feels wrong. Peyton Thomas has created a world where the characters' emotions and thoughts run so deep that the line between reality and the story is blurred. This book will have your attention from the first page to the last.

-Review by Krin 


Vampires, Hearts & Other Dead Things Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781534474574
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - August 24th, 2021

Vampires, Hearts, and Other Dead Things is about a highschool aged girl named Victoria whose father has cancer.  Victoria and her dad have always been very close, and have always believed in vampires, but that belief has never seemed so important to Victoria until now.  She believes that she can save her father if she can just get a vampire to turn her so that she can go home to turn her dad.  Victoria plans a trip to New Orleans, where she and her father would have gone to find vampires, had he not been on his deathbed.  She doesn’t have to search for long until she finds who she thinks is a vampire, and per his requests, she undergoes a series of challenges that are meant to show that she can enjoy life to its fullest and wants to live for eternity.  Victoria finds these challenges increasingly hard, because she is full with sadness for her father and grief that she refuses to let out.  Along the way, she fights the battle of romance - will she choose the guy who has always been there for her, even when she wasn’t there for him, or will she choose the guy who is seemingly a vampire who has also caught feelings for her?  Once she has completed all of the challenges, she finds out that not everything was as it seemed….will Victoria be able to save her father and live in a happily ever after world?  Or will she have to watch him fade away, knowing that she could have saved him?  Vampires, Hearts, and Other Dead Things  is a wonderful book for anyone looking for a tear-jerking summer read.

 

-Review by Eden, age 12


Like Other Girls Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781368039925
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Disney-Hyperion - August 3rd, 2021

Where do you draw the line between being yourself and fitting in? Britta Lundin explores this question through the eyes of a high school girl trying to find herself. Like Other Girls is a story filled with passion, confusion, betrayal, and loyalty. It is inspiring, and the author captures this story in the perfect light.

-Review by Krin, age 13


They'll Never Catch Us Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780593114322
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Razorbill - July 27th, 2021

They'll Never Catch Us, by Jessica Goodman, is a fun summer read. It's relatable not only for cross country runners or people in competitive sports, but for anyone- whether you are competitive in academics, or a sibling rivalry, or anything- we all have a bit of that "competitive fire" inside of us. Being a mystery fan, I thought I had the storyline all figured out... but then came a giant plot twist that had me second guessing all of my initial assumptions!

 

- Review by Eden, age 12 


Red Wolf Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062411624
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperTeen - July 27th, 2021

Red Wolf was an absolute joy to read; as a lover of fairytale retellings, I was curious to see what Rachel Vincent's spin on Little Red Riding Hood may look like. The plot follows sixteen-year-old Adele, who wants nothing more than to settle down with her lover and begin life as an adult in the village of Oakvale. Yet once Adele discovers a covert family history--and with it secrets that could get her killed--the life she imagined so clearly begins to crumble. I was initially worried that this book may be tacky--especially if there was a play on "werewolves''. However, the family history seamlessly and creatively ties this aspect into the plot, as Adele is from a lineage of female shapeshifters, who protect the villages from dark creatures in the woods. This added an intriguing and mystical element while maintaining a perfectly paced plot. All of the characters were lovable and developed with care, Adele being my personal favorite though the side characters proved to be equally worthy of their time on the pages. This is no doubt a new fantasy, fairy-tale-esque story that needs to be shared...and I can't wait for the sequel! 

-Review by Hailey, age 16


Red Wolf Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062411624
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperTeen - July 27th, 2021

Red Wolf was an absolute joy to read; as a lover of fairytale retellings, I was curious to see what Rachel Vincent's spin on Little Red Riding Hood may look like. The plot follows sixteen-year-old Adele, who wants nothing more than to settle down with her lover and begin life as an adult in the village of Oakvale. Yet once Adele discovers a covert family history--and with it secrets that could get her killed--the life she imagined so clearly begins to crumble. I was initially worried that this book may be tacky--especially if there was a play on "werewolves''. However, the family history seamlessly and creatively ties this aspect into the plot, as Adele is from a lineage of female shapeshifters, who protect the villages from dark creatures in the woods. This added an intriguing and mystical element while maintaining a perfectly paced plot. All of the characters were lovable and developed with care, Adele being my personal favorite though the side characters proved to be equally worthy of their time on the pages. This is no doubt a new fantasy, fairy-tale-esque story that needs to be shared...and I can't wait for the sequel! 

-Review by Hailey, age 16


The Right Side of Reckless Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781335402486
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Inkyard Press - July 13th, 2021

The points of view in this story create a unique plot that shows how what we think of as ‘right’ can be wrong. The characters in this book are unique, honest, and most importantly, they reflect the real world. The Right Side of Reckless is a critical read for all teens. Whitney D. Grandison devoted so much emotion and real-life struggles to this raw story about the true meaning of ‘right’. 

--Review by Krin, age 13


If You, Then Me Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780063008649
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - July 6th, 2021

If You, Then Me is about an 8th grade girl named Zia who gets an opportunity that she has wanted her entire life, but has to overcome more than a few struggles on her way to greatness.  This book describes her journey to being more independent through romance, bad influences, and making hard decisions.  Zia's struggles are relatable to any average person, even of a different age.  It took me a while to finish this book because of its slower pace and very detailed explanations of coding/engineering.

~Review by Eden, age 12


Blood Like Magic Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781534465282
Availability: Backordered- Not Available Right Now
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - June 15th, 2021

This modern fantasy from a Black persepective combines magic and technology and explores complex ethical questions. I like the book's inclusionary nature, with a diverse cast of characters from different racial backgrounds and also from the LGBTQ community, all of whom are fully developed characters rather than stereotypes or mere representations of one characteristic or idea. It has a strong story and was compelling enough to keep me reading. Those who liked this story should try the book Legendborn. The opposite might also be true.

-Review by Rowan, age 16


Sisters of the Snake Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062985590
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperTeen - June 15th, 2021

This story, based on the trope of twins who were separated at birth and raised in greatly differing circumstances, could have been done so badly. Instead, the author builds on the classic theme in an original and arresting way. In a fantasy version of India, Rani, one of the twin daughters of the ruler, has been raised to the privilege of her rank, but her twin Ria was stashed away in an orphanage, all memory of her existence wiped. A street urchin, she steals to survive. Rani, as the acknowledged princess, has always been able to access her magical birthright, an affinity with snakes. A few others have use of ancient memory magic and fire magic, and there's rumor of death magic, the secret of which has been lost. Rani is engaged to be married to a longtime friend and though she likes him, she's growing disenchanted with the prospect of marriage and her constricted life. She just wants freedom. Ria would be perfectly happy to continue on her carefree - and threadbare - existence with her street thief friend and mentor, until she finds her name on a list of conscripts into the army as the country faces imminent war. Seeking a big enough heist to allow her to escape this fate, Ria embarks on a bold mission to steal jewels at the palace and is caught by her twin. The two girls, who look just alike, switch places. Ria finds she can access the snake magic as well, and she uses it to survive and spy at the palace, while Rani sets off on a quest to find a mysterious jewel to restore her country and avert war. The twins find themselves working on different aspects of the same problem as it becomes apparent there's rot at the center of the kingdom that must be rooted out before it's too late.

Review by Rowan, age 16


We Can't Keep Meeting Like This Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781534440272
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - June 8th, 2021

We Can't Keep Meeting Like This is a heartwarming story perfect for all romance novel-loving teens (and grown-up teens). This story is written from the viewpoint of a teenage girl, Quinn, and follows her through a summer of loss, hope, and love. Rachel Lynn Solomon does an amazing job capturing the real troubles and triumphs faced by many teenagers today. I strongly recommend this to anyone who needs an escape from reality, and a way to rely on something bigger than themselves. This is for you.

-Review by Krin


Love & Other Natural Disasters Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062991232
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperTeen - June 8th, 2021

Have you ever been so focused on what you think you want to happen, that it seems impossible when the happy ending turns a corner and ends another way? Especially when the happy ending with the turn of the corner is even better than the simple one? I have done that many times, and one of them was when I read this book. Though this book follows the same plot that many romance novels follow, and it is most of the time very predictable, it has a twist at the end, and is a great read for lazy days on the weekend. 

-Review by Krin


Jay's Gay Agenda Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780063015159
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - June 1st, 2021

The book Jay's Gay Agenda is about 17 year old Jay Collier, who is the new love-desperate gay teen in town! This book is packed with the complexities of boy troubles, friend drama, and finding your true self.

-Review By: Soleil, Age 13


Better Together: A Novel Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250760067
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wednesday Books - June 1st, 2021

Two sisters. Two opposite sides of the U.S. One camp. Better Together is the teenage version of 'The Parent Trap', with a twist. Two long-lost sisters meet at a summer camp, and who knows what comes of it, especially when one doesn't know the other exists. Christine Riccio weaves in emotion, romance, and so much more into this one-of-a-kind 'rom-com-dram' as she calls it. It's so full of hijinks that it maybe just works.

 

-Review by Krin


Where the Rhythm Takes You Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780063018525
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - May 11th, 2021

This is one of the best novels that I have read. It has a light storyline and is a perfect read to get your mind off these stressful times. The integration of many different perspectives, lifestyles, and points of view are just a few of the many reasons this book is impossible to put down. If you are looking for a romance that will tilt your world, this book is for you.

 

-Review by Krin


Meet Cute Diary Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780063038837
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quill Tree Books - May 4th, 2021

Meet Cute Diary is a contemporary love story that transports you into a world of twists, turns, leaps, and bounds. A world where challenges can be transformed into steps to accomplishment, and where love can turn your world upside down. It sounds familiar, doesn't it? This book shines a light on reality, the good and bad. Emery Lee with make you fall hard for the main character of this book, and not let that feeling leave, even after you have closed the book.

-Review by Krin


All Kinds of Other Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062962492
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Quill Tree Books - May 4th, 2021

This book was great - super relatable and funny. It's set in 2015 on purpose because it's not completely up to date in terms of technology or pop culture. The story is told from the perspective of two boys, Jules and Jack. Jules is cis and gay. He has to deal with a super-controlling mom, an activist who always wants to be on the right side of issues but who doesn't fully grasp what her son is going through. Jack, who is trans, has just moved to L.A. temporarily while his dad tries to build a career in Hollywood. Jack, who is of East Indian background, came with his dad because he wanted to live life as a guy without being questioned. Then someone at his new school outs Jacks past without his permission. Jules has to figure out a lot of stuff too, like how to deal with his mom when, well-meaning but completely obtusely, she says he doesn't have to feel he has to go out with a "girl," (referring to Jack.) The story really speaks to the gay and trans experience, but it still could be enjoyed by a wide audience. It also addresses intersectional discrimation.

=Review by Rowan, age 16


The Block (The Second Book of The Loop Trilogy) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781338589337
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Chicken House - May 4th, 2021

This compact book was really well written and compelling. Gritty and hard-hitting. it rides the line between science fiction and psychological horror. It's an incredibly fast read. I looked up and I was already halfway done with the book.  I thought, "I could do homework ... or I could finish the rest of the book." This is the second in a planned trilogy set in a futuristic, super stratified dystopia where the rich essentially make themselves into cyborgs, leaving the poor to suffer with no status, dignity or resources. Luka, the main character, was imprisoned in the first book (The Loop) for a crime his sister actually committed. He's slated for execution unless he agrees to be a test subject for experiments set up by the AI which runs the prison. The AI has decided to take over the world and destroy the non-cyborg humans through a zombie plague. The prisoners, however, having been subjects of this research, have immunity to the plague. They escape and try to save humanity, but are caught. That's where the second book opens, with Luka in another, even more brutal prison. This book centers on figuring out why the AI is doing this and what it plans. Making the story trickier to sort out, you never know if what you are reading is what's actually happening or if the character has been tricked into virtual reality. The plot might be far-fetched, but the story is more than just what happens, bringing up underlying issues which resonate in the real world.

Review by Rowan, age 16


In Deeper Waters Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781534480506
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - April 20th, 2021

This book was the ideal carefree, heartwarming pandemic read.

It's got everything I could want in a book: princes, pirates, mermen, magic. It plays off all of the fun, relaxing tropes in fantasy and romance. The story was full of high action, suspense, with fun, believable characters that the author doesn't torture too much. I also loved the cover design. The main character, Tal, is a prince, but not the heir, as he's the fourth child in his family. He has been hidden away for most of his life ever since his fire magic emerged - the same magic his great-grandpa used to kill and dominate. Finally, Tal is allowed to emerge from his seclusion to go on the obligatory coming-of-age sea voyage. He ends up running into a pirate ship that has been totally abandoned except for a prisoner chained in the told. Tal sets the prisoner free with his magic. Though thankful for his release, the prisoner, Athlen, remains mum about his history and the circumstances that led to his being imprisoned. Tal, who feels an immediate bond with the prisoner, gives in to Athlen's pleas to "Just let me see the sky," only to watch the mysterious youth jump overboard. Tal is torn up over his part in Athlen's apparent sucide - but on his next shore leave, he discovers Athlen, safe and well. The story only gets better from there. I would recommend this to fans of A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue. It's in the same vein,but a little more rose-tinted, with significantly fewer gritty relationship problems.

-Review by Rowan, age 16