Teen Reading Reviews

Teen Book Reviews

See what titles your peers have read and loved!

Biography

Anne Frank the Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Anne Frank is a Jewish girl who was left with no choice but to leave her home due to the Nazi invasions in Germany. Her family moved into a Secret Annex, where another family and another man joined them later on. This diary is suspenseful, thrilling, and most importantly, profound.

I liked this book because Anne Frank not only explained what was going on in the Secret Annex, but she also gave the readers insight into what was happening in the political world. However, there were some parts that I disliked. One of the main parts that I disliked was when Anne was mad. When she was mad, she would write down insulting statements in her dairy, which made the contents of it seem questionable.

Classic

 

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

"To Kill A Mockingbird" has a few main characters, it's not just based on two or one characters. First there's Boo Radly who is rumored to be a bad person who harms children. There is also Scout who is the stubborn but  smart daughter of Atticus. Atticus is a lawyer who defended Tom Robinson, an innocent black man. Then there's Jem, the older brother of Scout. This story takes place in a quiet neighborhood. Boo is characterized as a mockingbird.

I liked this book because it had a nice plot and metaphorically gives many points of the wrong and the right way to treat people.

 

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

Bilbo Baggins is your typical Hobbit - he loves to read, relax, and cook. He wakes up one morning to a knock on his door and wonders who it could be. He opens the door to find a dwarf. This process happens for quite some time until he meets Gandalf, a wizard that has come to ask Bilbo for a favor. Gandalf explains that they are going on a quest to retrieve gold from a very dangerous dragon named Smaug. After hearing about this, Bilbo immediately refuses as he wishes to stay in the comforts of his home. However, Gandalf and the dwarves are able to convince him to go on the quest. Right from the beginning of the journey, they come across one of many problems. Throughout the story, the group works together to overcome the hardships and obstacles that stand in their way of the gold.

I really liked the characters and the relationship that they develop throughout the story. My favorite character is definitely the main one, Bilbo Baggins. I really liked his own self-development in the story. In the beginning, he was very reluctant to go on the adventure and just wanted to stay in the comfort of his home. However, he went on the adventure and I think that adventure really brought out the "true" side of him. Bilbo, however, couldn't have gone on the adventure without the help of the brave dwarves and the wise wizard, Gandalf. Throughout the story, the whole group is faced with issues and problems from different types of enemies. From goblins and wargs, low self-esteem and low food supply, and the mighty Smaug, the Hobbit contains lots of problems for the protagonists to fight through to get to the prize they desire most - lots and lots of gold.

 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This is a dystopian book that resembles a whole new world. In this world, books are forbidden, since they are described as useless, forgotten, and meaningless. If a book is found in someone's home, firefighters would be called down to burn the inside of the house down. Firefighters are doing this because all houses became fireproof, thus leading to no jobs for the firefighters. However, a firefighter named Guy Montag discovers the importance of books after he brought one home after he burned a lady's house down with her inside (because she didn't want to leave her books). He then went on a mission to undo the bad in his country and restore it back to normal. 

I liked this book because every single paragraph had some sort of hidden meanings and so many allusions. It also had a very interesting plot, and since I find dystopian books interesting, I really enjoyed this book.

 

 

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Santiago = main character/ the old man Manolin = the little boy Santiago also known as the old man sets his journey to go on another fishing trip yet this trip takes an unexpected turn when he stays up for a few days straight with little food and hasn't caught a fish in a while.

I liked this book because it was short and contained many literary elements which expanded my English skills.

Dystopian

Divergent by Veronica Roth

The book "Divergent" is a dystopian novel and it is the first book in the "Divergent" trilogy series. People are separated into five factions. Once they are of age, they take an aptitude test to determine which faction they will best thrive in. They can choose to join the faction that they will most likely succeed in or they can stay in their original faction with their families. The five factions are: Amity, the peaceful ones; Abnegation, the selfless ones; Dauntless, the brave ones; Candor, the honest ones; and Erudite, the intelligent ones. The main character, Tris from the Abnegation faction, happens to score three different factions on her aptitude test. Out of the three, she chooses to join Dauntless. The thing is, no one is supposed to score for more than one faction on their aptitude test. 

I liked the book but it wasn't the best. The writing style could be improved, but the plot was intriguing. I liked how it showed that people could belong in more than one faction because in situations where people are judged by their group it would be nice to know that there's more than one group they could be in.

 

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Thirty-five girls from Illéa are chosen to compete in The Selection to win the heart of Prince Maxon and to be crowned the next princess. America Singer has lived her whole life as a Five and the thought of becoming a One and having everything she could have dreamed of scares her. She questions everything and whether or not this was worth leaving her secret love, Aspen, who was a caste below her, behind. When America is swept into the palace, she finds herself face-to-face with so many questions and the chance of a lifetime. 

I loved this book because it kept me on the edge of my seat. I wanted America Singer to win so badly because she didn't even know or understand what a good princess and queen she would be and I find that so important. The Selection made me understand that even when I feet like something wouldn't work out, it will as long as I keep on pushing and going. Not only is The Selection an amazing book, it teaches an important message to the readers. I have never read any kind of book that is like The Selection and I believe it should get more recognition. 

Fantasy

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

The book "Heartless" is a retelling of "Alice in Wonderland". The main character, Catherine, adores baking and wants to open a bakery with her maid, Mary Ann. However, that isn't what her parents want for her. When the naive King of Hearts courts her, her parents are ecstatic. Catherine, on the other hand, is not. She wants to marry for love and she does not love the King. Yet what is she going to do with her parents pressuring her? And what happens when she meets the mysterious Court Jester? It seems that everyone wants something from her that she doesn't have.

I adored this book. It had references to Edgar Allan Poe and I understood them. I loved how it fit the fairytale of Alice in Wonderland. It also showed that you can't name someone as a villain. All we are, are hurting people. Besides, hurting people, hurt people. I loved the last sentence of the book and how Catherine was passionate about what she wanted to do.

 

Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkal

Celia Sand and her best friend Anya have been misleading the followers of the widely spread religion of Profeta for a long time. The two believed that tattooing the devotees of Profeta guided everyone to a better fortune, but Celia soon discovers that she is spreading lies through their revered ink.

In order to escape the brutal prison-like temple that Celia and Anya have been serving in for years, the friends join the Rabble Mob, a traveling troupe of magic. At first, it seems that all is solved, but the two soon discover that they haven't left everything behind. 

This book is full of wonder, magic, and whimsy, which I love. "Ink in the Blood" was a fascinating read, but only in the second half. Unfortunately, this story didn't spark my interest in the beginning. In addition, while the content felt like it was for a YA audience, the writing at times seemed like it was written for middle grade readers. However, that was just my take on some parts of the story. Overall, this was an enjoyable read. I'm glad I stayed for the end.

 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

When Kaz Brekker is offered the deal of a lifetime to break into the seemingly impenetrable Ice Court of the North, he recruits a team to bring back a scientist with a secret that can destroy nations. Together, a spy, an ex-convict, a runaway, a gambler, a Heartrender, and a con have to put aside their desires to murder each other and try not to get killed.  
To obtain more background knowledge of the Grishaverse, I suggest reading the "Shadow and Bone" trilogy.

This was a fantastic and imaginative read. Bardugo has managed to create a world with layers and nuances that many other authors can't achieve. The world building was amazing for me. "Six of Crows" is a very character driven story, and I loved everyone that was introduced. Their stories will stay with me for a long time. This story may be a bit slow in the beginning, but it becomes amazing as you read on. I read this book in one sitting, and I just couldn't put it down. 

Historical Fiction

Refugee by Alan Gratz

This book is about three refugees, each of them in different locations in different generations. There is a Jewish boy named Joseph running away from the Nazis during World War 2, a Cuban girl sailing on a raft to escape her country in 1994, and a Syrian boy escaping war in his hometown in 2015. They all have different refugee stories, but face similar hardships. 

I liked this book because every single chapter was interesting and I felt as if I were the characters seeking refugee.

Mystery

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

In "A Good Girl's Guide to Murder", Pip Fitz Amobi has to create her senior year capstone project. She decided to try to resolve the murder of Andie Bell who was presumed to have been murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh who had then killed himself five years earlier. However, Pip knew Sal and she didn't believe he could have done something like that. So she uses her chance to work on her project to finally be able to uncover the truth of Andie Bell and bring justice back to the Singh family.

This book is one of my favorites because the author used so much detail that enabled you to know everything the character knew. This helped me to be able to solve the murder along with the characters which made reading it much more fun. I also love murder mysteries, which made it no surprise that I loved this book so much.

 

 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
In "And Then There Were None" 10 people are invited to a mysterious island known as Soldier Island. Each of them had received a letter from the mysterious "U.N Owen" inviting them to the island. However, one by one each of the guests turns up dead. Soon, the remaining guests discover that these deaths are not by accident and that if they don't do something they will all have the same fate. 

I liked this book because it is not like any other horror book. It doesn't include zombies, clowns, or anything supernatural. I also liked this book because it was written by one of my favorite authors, Agatha Christie!

Non-Fic

Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul Letters by Jack Canfield

This is a book filled with letters from teenagers who went through many hardships, such as depression, suicidal thoughts, loss of loved ones, and many more. Before, I was very self-centered, and I always thought that I was the saddest person in the world, but as I read through this, I felt very ashamed of my behavior and felt very lucky that I did not experience any of the things the other teens have felt in the book. These letters are not stories, but real difficulties the people our age faced. I hope you feel the same sympathy as I do when reading this book. 

I really encourage other people to read this book because It made me realize that there are other people at my age who are facing much more difficult things than I am, and it made me realize how lucky I am compared to the other teens that have written the letters.

 

Educated by Tara Westover

In "Educated," Tara Westover writes about her life as a Mormon girl growing up in Idaho... that doesn't do/go to school. Throughout the story, we see multiple conflicts in Tara's life, and they all seem to be related to her family and the lack of education that they have. In the story, Tara talks about her relationship with her parents and siblings, mainly focusing on her older brother Shawn. The relationship that they have is quite an odd one and many of the conflicts that she has usually have Shawn involved in them. Whether these conflicts be physical, emotional, or mental, they definitely have a big effect on her when she goes to college. Tara has to balance between two worlds, the one that she grew up in and the one that she wants to live. She often has many conflicts with herself and these conflicts stem from the things that her father and brother, Shawn, say. Even with all this going on, she still finds ways to do well with school. She learns of many things, from the History of the Holocaust to bipolar disorder. However, the biggest thing that she learns is that education can play a big role in one's life, and with the lack of education in her family's life, she has to endure the troubles and conflicts that come as a result. 

I definitely enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend it to everyone to read because I feel that everyone can relate to it in some sort of way - education or not. I can see a lot of kids dealing with the same conflicts that Tara had and I think this book does a great job of addressing how to deal with those conflicts.

 

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

This book is mainly about an overweight black teenage boy from Jackson Missippi, who struggles with family, financial, and school issues. As a young boy, Kiese was extremely overweight due to the lack of money for healthy food, and the number of secrets his mother has kept from him about his father. Growing up, he has been more aware of how black people are being discriminated against, and he decided to act upon it. I would recommend this book to older high schoolers, however, since there are plenty of parts that younger people should definitely not read. There are countless important messages/quotes in this book, but the most important one would be: It's not about making other people feel what you feel. It's about not feeling what they want you to feel. 

I really loved this book because it was intense, meaningful, and touching. This book really stood out from the other books I have read since I was able to feel the pain that the author felt as he was growing up. 

 

The Iliad by Homer

This book is about the great Trojan war between the Greeks and the Trojans. This all started when Paris gave the golden apple to Aphrodite and kidnapped Helen from Menelaus (the king of the Greeks and husband of Helen). The Trojans refused to give back Helen and it started the great war. Achilles is a great fighter and is part of the Greek army. Read to find out what which army won, the Greeks or the Trojans! 

I liked this book because it has a lot of adventure in it and is very mysterious as to what is going to happen next.

 

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Before reading "Outliers", I just thought that to be successful, you just needed to work hard, be super smart, and be lucky. After reading "Outliers" I learned that where you come from, the attitude that you have, and the opportunities that you get can really contribute to how successful you can be. The book has lots of studies that are interesting and they clearly support Malcolm Gladwell's factors to success. I believe that anyone who reads this book will find a way to connect with it.

I didn't really know what to expect when I borrowed "Outliers", but I am really happy that I chose to read it because I really liked how Malcolm Gladwell was able to analyze the factors that one needs to become successful. The book contains short stories that are very informative and interesting, which makes it really fun to read.

 

Parkland by Dave Cullen

"Parkland" follows the aftermath of the Florida school shooting in 2018 and the teenagers affected by the shooting. Dave Cullen crafts a comprehensive narrative of the fight for more gun control laws in America through the eyes of a group of Parkland survivors. In this book, Cullen examines one of the most important movements in this country's history, one that is still going on today. 

"Parkland" was very informative about the inside of the gun control movement. I can see readers in the future starting in depth conversations about the effects of mass school shootings and what they mean for our future.

 

The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell

From fashion trends to the rapid spread of diseases, "The Tipping Point" explains that if you make small changes to three things - The Law of the Few, The Stickiness Factor, and The Power of Context - the result can be completely different. 

I recently read Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" and I really liked all the stories and examples that showed how people became successful. Shortly after reading "Outliers", I heard about another book that he wrote called "The Tipping Point". The story talks about how little things can make a big difference. Just like "Outliers", the book is filled with examples of this concept. I liked learning about the concept that small changes can make a big difference and I really enjoyed reading "The Tipping Point"!

Realistic

 

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

This story takes place in a town called Mica in Arizona. It is about an eleventh-grade girl named Stargirl who is different from others, but the book was written from the point of view of a boy named Leo Borlock. Stargirl was homeschooled until eleventh grade, and started coming to the public school in Mica. During the entire school year, the students' perspectives on Stargirl changes. There are many events that change the way they feel about Stargirl, and how Stargirl thinks of herself.

I enjoyed this book because it shows how people can be different and everyone doesn't have to be the same. 

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This book is about an African American boy named Khalil who was shot by a police officer in a poor community called Garden Heights. The thing that made this case special was that the boy wasn't doing anything wrong. The main character, Starr, was a witness that night, and she went through all kinds of things following the incident. 

This book was amazing because the author really put in lots of details and it was a touching story.