Our Latest News and Reviews:

The Forgetting - YA Review by Brooke H



Reader: Brooke H.
Age: 16
Title: The Forgetting
Author: Nicole Maggi
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: 02/03/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Overall, I thought this book was pretty good.  I really loved how there was a good message within the story. The subject of sex trafficking is something I never thought about, but this novel made me more aware of the problem, and it left me with a desire to get involved. I also really liked the protagonist's transformation throughout the book from someone who just went about her everyday life really only thinking of herself to someone who saw the world around her. I do think that some of the side characters could have been better developed. I didn't really fall in love with them, but I know that with just a bit more development, I could have, particularly with the character of Annabel. I also think the romantic relationship between the protagonist and Nate developed way too quickly and unrealistically.  Also, the writing sometimes seemed amateurish to me, like something a random teen could write for fun rather than that of someone who writes for a living. Despite these things, I did enjoy the book. The mystery unraveled nicely, and I wasn't expecting the end.
Memorable or Forgettable: What made the book most memorable for me was the heavy topic of human trafficking that was interwoven with the rest of the plot. I can respect any book that will raise awareness among younger people.
Cover: I'm not really a fan of covers that basically just have a person on the front, but this one did interest me.  The darkness of it, the font of the title, and the glowing heart were all nice touches. They added some mystery and intrigue to the cover.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal


tags:  mystery / romance / suspense / human trafficking / ya lit




Cuckoo Song - YA Review by Rayna Grace C



Reader: Rayna Grace C.
Age: 16
Title: Cuckoo Song
Author: Frances Hardinge
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pub Date: 05/12/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: If this book was 200 pages shorter, I would be able to finish it. Every other aspect of this book is fantastic (with the exception of a few minor blunders) but the useless description throughout the entire book drags it down so much as to make it barely readable.  I have made it through about two-thirds of the novel, but it has taken me a month of serious dedication to do so. I am sorry, but no one needs a 15-candy description of a window in a strange candy store— after about three candies, it is understood that candy is displayed in the window. No one cares how the trees swayed like dancers under the autumn sun when Triss was out for a walk; unless the description allows the reader to understand a character more clearly, is vital to the plot, or provides necessary thematic symbolism, it is not needed. No matter how beautiful the details, if they are irrelevant they must be removed for a book to hold any reader’s attention. Please, I am begging everyone involved in the creation of this book, hack this thing up. The erroneous details and explanation must be removed if anyone-- not just teens-- will truly enjoy this book.
Memorable or Forgettable: If the description was not an issue, I would have remembered this book as a wonderful novel with a refreshing new take on changelings. Although I think that the story would have been more captivating if the main character was not the exception to the rule in the feelings/bloodthirst department, I still really like the book’s overall theme about fate vs. free will and the power of acceptance in friendships. The characters were strange, yet comforting in their blatantly imperfect and gently endearing mannerisms, from Penny’s exhausting curiosity/rebellious nature to The Shrike’s calm and dangerous wild-card persona. The slow incorporation of history into the story was happily peculiar, too, but the overly analytic descriptions made the roaring twenties setting seem dull and pretentious.  For example, the scene in the speakeasy that lasted 10 minutes for the characters but took millennia to explain on paper. Even though the metaphors were almost lyrical, they were too drawn out and crowded  by other details in the book. I’m sorry, I am back on the ‘too many details’ tangent. I just cannot stand to see this book waste so much potential because of too much content. All in all, I will remember this book because some serious chopping needs to happen before it will reach anywhere near its full potential.
Cover: The cover is creepy and surprisingly relatable to the story. I think it fits the book pretty well, but it isn't the most enchanting cover I have ever seen. 9/10
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal


tags:  fantasy / changelings / ya lit




Red Queen - YA Review by Claire W



Reader: Claire W.
Age: 13
Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub Date: 02/10/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The basis of the plot was a tried and true story, but Aveyard does a fabulous job of making it her own. The book keeps you guessing at every single turn. The main character, Mare, has 3 different boys who are basically devoted to her. But she is always able to look past that and at the bigger picture.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was extremely memorable because of the gigantic twist at the end.
Cover: The cover was pretty good and very much reflects the contents of the book.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Mare Barrow lives in a world split by blood. Silvers (the elite group) have special powers and are the only people eligible to wear the crowns. Reds are considered dirt and do all the jobs no Silver would ever think of doing. Mare is a red blood. At the age of 18 if you don't have a job you are required to serve in the army. Mare finds a job at the castle to save herself from the army so she can keep supporting her family. But it is full of people she despises. The first day on the job it is discovered that she has powers just like Silvers but she has red blood. In order to cover it up, the Queen comes up with a plan to disguise Mare as a royal who grew up in a red community. Mare gets mixed up in a revolution and ends up being loved by two brothers.


tags:  fantasy / dystopian / magical powers / romance / intrigue / ya lit




Palace of Lies - YA Review by Ruby F



Reader: Ruby F.
Age: 14
Title: Palace of Lies (The Palace Chronicles)
Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 04/07/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: My favorite quality of Palace of Lies was the dialog of the main character, Desmia. She's quirky and bold, and that shows through the writing style. The plot was an interesting twist, and not as cliche as your typical princess-saves-kingdom novel.
Memorable or Forgettable: Before reading Palace of Lies, I didn't find Margaret Peterson Haddix's books even vaguely interesting or intriguing. I can relate to some of the main character's situations and Haddix really did a great job with the dialog.
Cover: I loved the cover of Palace of Lies. It is a simply picture but it does its job of recapping the book's contents.
Age Range: 12 through 13
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal


tags:  suspense / The Palace Chronicles series / ya lit




Seaborne #1: The Lost Prince - YA Review by Tristan HB



Reader: Tristan HB
Age: 13
Title: Seaborne #1: The Lost Prince
Author: Matt Myklush
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pub Date: 05/26/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The character development was amazing in this book, and it’s impossible not to feel something while reading this book.
Memorable or Forgettable: The most memorable part in this book is that the author, who used to work at MTV, could write a story like this.
Cover: The cover did tempt me to pick up the book and it does reflect a part in the book.
Age Range: Under 12 through 13
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Annotation: child born at sea turns out to be the possible heir to an island. He must face dangerous tasks to prove he is the heir.



tags:  adventure / mystery / pirates / ya lit



Storm (The SYLO Chronicles #2) - YA Review by Derek



Reader: Derek D.
Age: 13
Title: Storm (The SYLO Chronicles #2)
Author: D.J. MacHale
Publisher: Razorbill
Pub Date: 03/25/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book is the second book in the SYLO Chronicles series. I really liked this book because it was full of action, suspense, and a couple of plot twists. The four main characters from the first book - Tucker, Tori, Kent, and Olivia - grow closer together as they travel across the country searching for answers. Even though they sometimes break each other’s trust and get angry at each other, they always look out for one another and stick together to the end. The situations that they get into are also very interesting and full of action. They meet lots of characters on their cross country quest. Most of those characters are only in a short part of the book, but they are still noticeable. The plot of the story is very fascinating and answers many questions from the first book, but still leaves some to be answered in the next.
Memorable or Forgettable: The action and plot of this book helped make it really memorable. Also, the characters and their development also made reading this an unforgettable experience.
Cover: The cover does reflect the contents of the book, but it only shows an image of something that happened near the end of it and doesn’t show the overall contents of the book.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal


tags:  action / adventure / apocalyptic / dystopian / science fiction / SYLO Chronicles / ya lit



Firefight - YA Review by Simon D-S



Reader: Simon D-S
Age: 14
Title: Firefight
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pub Date: 01/06/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This was a very well rounded book , The dialogue was quite real, and I liked it. The plot was good and well paced with just enough plot to balance out the constant explosions.... And sure, there might be some character development in there somewhere, but the important part is that the second book in the Reckoners series is HERE people! Sorry, but it is SO good that it is just the best.
Memorable or Forgettable: Okay, let's get something straight. Steelheart is one of the best books written ever. So, once you accept that, you can understand how frickin’ amazing and awesome Firefight is. I am SO excited for Calamity which comes out next year. Very memorable and really good.
Cover: Yep. The metal explosions were a sure way to make me pick it up.
Age Range: Under 12 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Additional CommentsRead it. Right now. Stop what you are doing and find it.
Annotation: With Steelheart defeated in Newcago, David and Prof head to defeat a new high epic: Regalia, an epic with absolute control of the sea.


tags:  science fiction / dystopian / superheroes / The Reckoners series / ya lit




Firefight - YA Review by Nick B



Reader: Nick B.
Age: 15
Title: Firefight
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pub Date: 01/06/15
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The story is absolutely amazing. The author creates a suspenseful story in which he keeps you guessing the motives of the characters until the very end. The idea of superpowers driving everyone who has them to be corrupt is incredibly original and interesting.
Memorable or Forgettable: The author has great character development. The ideas and thoughts of the characters are very realistic. The characters and story are so realistic you forget you’re reading a book. The sensory details and descriptions of the characters make the book memorable and enjoyable to read.
Cover: I think the cover is a bit ironic. It consists of flames and a fiery skyline.  Whereas the book takes place in a paradise surrounded by water. The cover reflects a couple major scenes from the book, but I would have rather seen the city on the cover since it seems very eye appealing.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal


tags:  science fiction / dystopian / superheroes / The Reckoners series / ya lit




Elena Vanishing - YA Review by Sophie L



Reader: Sophie L.
Age: 14
Title: Elena Vanishing
Author: Elena and Claire B. Dunkle
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Pub Date: 05/19/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Overall, I liked this book. The beginning was a little confusing, the setting wasn't explained very well in the beginning but eventually it made sense. The character descriptions were good throughout the book. Elena Vanishing is about a girl who has an eating disorder-it was a very heavy topic and it was hard to read at some points. Not only was it hard to read, but the fact that this story is true made it even harder. This book made me look at eating disorders in a new way, and I've never read a book like this. I don't think most people know the risks and consequences of eating disorders and this book explained that and was a look into the mind of someone with an eating disorder. Throughout the book, Elena had a voice in her head telling her that she was fat and very negative things about her. This was interesting for me to read and understand more about eating disorders.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book is very memorable because it was unique, and also because it was true and all of the bad things that happened to her actually happened. It made me think a lot about how it can be very hard to overcome obstacles in life, but it is possible to get through it.
Cover: I like the cover design and it reflected the contents well because it was a spoon and the book is about eating disorders.
Age Range: 16 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal


tags:  memoir / anorexia / ya lit




The Bunker Diary - YA Review by Claire W



Reader: Claire W.
Age: 13
Title: The Bunker Diary
Author: Kevin Brooks
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Pub Date: 04/01/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book was heartbreaking. Linus is just such an interesting person. The way he develops to care for a nine year old named Jenny who was also kidnapped. I can barely think about the book without sobbing.
Memorable or Forgettable: The whole idea of the book was completely horrifying. But so riveting at the same time.
Cover: I liked the cover a lot because it fits in right along with the book.
Age Range: 16 through1 8 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Additional CommentsI feel this book so deserved the award it won.
Annotation: Linus was just trying to help someone. But he was tricked and kidnapped. He wakes up in a bunker, put there by an unknown man. Linus calls him the Big Man.


tags: suspense / ya lit