Teen Advisory Board Reviews












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


Click here for more information about the Advisory Boards. 




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smART: Use Your Eyes to Boost Your Brain (Adapted from the New York Times bestseller Visual Intelligence) By Amy E. Herman, Heather Maclean (With) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781665901215
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - October 25th, 2022

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

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

Review by Michael, age 14

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Nothing Sung and Nothing Spoken By Nita Tyndall Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063087446
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: HarperTeen - October 18th, 2022

Nothing Sung and Nothing Spoken is a book about Charlotte Kraus, a fifteen year old girl who goes by Charlie, set in 1938, Germany. Charlie finds her best friend Geli irresistible, so when Geli leads her to a secret club that plays forbidden music, she cant pass up the idea of having a secret to share with her. As WW2 starts, these girls want to resist the Nazi party even more, but Charlie also needs to keep her family safe. I liked this book a lot. It had a good balance of romance and action, with great character development. I could really feel where almost every character in the story was coming from. I would recommend this novel for people who enjoy fantasy-realism.


-Review by Maddie 

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Freestyle: A Graphic Novel By Gale Galligan Cover Image
ISBN: 9781338045802
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Graphix - October 18th, 2022

This graphic novel was really original and fun to read, with believable, diverse, and well-fleshed out characters.

The main characters are Cory, who doesn't like school that much but who really enjoys the freestyle street dancing he does with a group of friends, and Sanna, his science partner-turned-tutor who at first seems kind of brainy and stuc-up and later becomes a very close friend. Cory and his friends from the dance group have done this informally for several years, but this year, the leader of the group has gotten really bossy. Focused on winning a dance competition, she wants to dictate every movement and take away Cory's ability to freestyle, which is the part he loved the most. Meanwhile, Cory's grades are suffering due to all the rehearsals so his mom grounds him from practice until he can get his grades up. The tutor his mom has chosen turns out to be Sanna, who Cory originally didn't like because as his lab partner she just did all the work. He resists her tutoring at first, until one day at recess he sees her hidden behind a wall practicing her cool yo-yo moves. He's inspired and begs her to teach him the yo-yo tricks, but she'll only do so if he also. The rest of the book balances the dynamic between Cory and his original group of friends dealing with their leader's ambitions and his growing interest in the competitive yo-yo world. Eventually those two worlds come together.

I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to upper elementary or middle schoolers who like the graphic novel format.


Review by Michael, age 14

Don't Let In the Cold By Keely Parrack Cover Image
ISBN: 9781728256764
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sourcebooks Fire - September 6th, 2022

This book is a teen thriller about two stepsisters named Lottie and Jade, who rent out a cabin for a night in Tahoe. Late at night, a solar flare causes their power to go out and a stranger named Alex appears, claiming to be lost, and seeking shelter from the horrible blizzard. At first, everything seems normal when he is there. They think it’s weird there’s someone lost this late at night, but they don’t mind. But then Lottie sees him talking outside with two other people who stopped at the cabin earlier, thinking it was a friend’s house.  The tension in the story builds nicely as the news says that the blizzard will last 3 days, and they will be stuck there longer than they had planned. And then the house gets set on fire, so they are forced outside and must survive to not freeze to death. I really like this book because it was suspenseful, and the settings added a creepy feeling. this book is a great read for teens who are into mystery and thriller.


-Review by Jack

Over My Dead Body By Sweeney Boo, Sweeney Boo (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Sweeney Boo, Sweeney Boo (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780063056305
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperAlley - August 30th, 2022

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

-Review by Michael, age 14

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

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

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

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

-Review by Michael, age 14

Welcome to St. Hell: My Trans Teen Misadventure: A Graphic Novel By Lewis Hancox Cover Image
ISBN: 9781338824438
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graphix - June 7th, 2022

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

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

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

-Review by Rowan, age 17

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

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

-Review by Hannah, age 14

Spin Me Right Round By David Valdes Cover Image
ISBN: 9781547607105
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury YA - January 4th, 2022

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

-Review by Rowan, age 16