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Mortal Gods - YA Review by Claire W


Reader: Claire W.
Age: 13
Title: Mortal Gods
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pub Date: 10/14/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The whole plot is really great. You can tell that the author really spent time researching the Trojan war and Greek mythology. This is the second book in a series and it flows very nicely from the first. The plot felt like it was leading up to a very predictable ending but I was pleasantly surprised. Character development was great. The author does a great job of showing Cassandra's mourning for Aidan. She also shows her inner turmoil really well and believably. The dialogue was good, not great, but good. Also the setting was pretty good. The only slight problem was the passage of time was pretty warped.
Memorable or Forgettable: The book was quite memorable for me because not many authors try to write a book about Greek mythology because it involves a lot of work. But Kendare Blake did and it was well worth it.
Cover: I liked the original cover of the first book much better. And the girl on the front of the second book cover has the wrong color hair which bugs me quite a lot.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Cassandra still can't believe that Aidan her boyfriend, who was really Apollo, is dead. Every day she wakes up with new hope that he will appear and say the whole thing was just a joke. But Athena is keeping her going. Cassandra has the ability of prophecy and to kill gods. But she is on the side of Athena, Odysseus and, Hermes. All the gods are dying in a different ironic way. Athena is going to choke of feathers. Hermes will die of malnourishment. Aphrodite is rotting from the inside out. And Hera is turning to stone. But part of Cassandra just wants to kill all the gods (good or bad) just to rid them of her life. All she wants to do is stop fighting and make the Gods leave her alone forever.


tags:  fantasy / The Goddess War series / Greek mythology / paranormal / romance / ya lit



Summoned - YA Review by Allen D


Reader: Allen D.
Age: 14
Title: Summoned (Redemption's Heir #1)
Author: Anne M. Pillsworth
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pub Date: 06/24/14
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Summoned is a book for people who enjoy magic or The Alchemist, by Michael Scott. It is a book full of adventure and has a very steady plot line.
Memorable or Forgettable: It is unforgettable because of how the author carefully uses every character he enters.
Cover: The cover is why I picked it up. And it reflects its contents very well.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal


tags:  fantasy / Redemption's Heir / ya lit



Amulet #6 - YA Review by Sam D-G


Reader: Sam D-G
Age: 14
Title: Amulet #6: Escape From Lucien
Author: Kazu Kibuishi
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pub Date: 08/26/14
Galley: No
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The author of the Amulet Series obviously has a huge imagination. As the story goes on Kibuishi delves deeper and deeper into the details and concepts of his magical world. The books are brimming with many interesting characters. However, some of them are a bit one dimensional. The fast paced, thrilling plot of these novels will make it so once you pick one up you won't put it back down until you've finished it... About thirty minutes later.
Memorable or Forgettable: One great quality of this book is the likability of the characters. They are easy to sympathize with, and you will always want to know what happens next. The author does a good job of stringing the entire story together with an overhanging plot... You always know whatever happens next will be even more intense then the last.
Cover: This would be one of the books I would say you could judge by the cover. It has a big, cool looking, robot and some people with glowing stones. In the background there is a mysterious face with glowing eyes watching them. It definitely draws you in.
Age Range: Under 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional CommentsIt's a graphic novel.
Annotation: It's the next installment of a captivating series of graphic novels in which a brother and sister are transported into a magical land ravaged by war. In this land robots live among people and there are rare mysterious magical stones that give the user mystic powers.


tags:  graphic novel / fantasy / ya lit



While We Run - YA Review by Katie J


Reader: Katie J.
Age: 14
Title: While We Run
Author: Karen Healey
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Pub Date: 05/27/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I didn't like this book. At all. It's the sequel to When We Wake, and I definitely didn't like that book. If anything, this book was worse than it. It might just be the genre of the book, or a way of writing I'm not used to, but I really didn't like this.
Memorable or Forgettable: It was forgettable because I didn't like how it was written and I didn't like the characters.
Cover: The cover didn't really make much sense to me.
Age Range: 12 through 13
Quality: 1Q How did it get published?
Popularity: 1P Yech! Forced to read it


tags:  science fiction / dystopian / suspence / cryogenics / ya lit



Endgame: The Calling - YA Review by Claire W


Reader: Claire W.
Age: 13
Title: Endgame: The Calling
Author: James Frey, Nils Johnson-Shelton
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pub Date: 10/07/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: First off the book was so confusing I had to stop reading it and even than I had a headache. There really wasn't a plot or much insight into the character. There wasn't any dialogue to even talk about.
Memorable or Forgettable: Only that it is one of those books that has hidden clues in it to find a prize in real life.
Cover: The cover was okay. But it didn't enhance the book.
Age Range: Under 12 through 15
Quality: 1Q How did it get published?
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest


tags:  dystopian adventure / puzzle challenge / ya lit



Tomboy - YA Review by Grace KL


Reader: Grace KL
Age: 15
Title: Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir
Author: Liz Prince
Publisher: Zest Books
Pub Date: 09/02/14
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This graphic novel felt very authentic and real, as it should of course, being a memoir.  As it portrayed Liz's childhood, it showed her growing into her identity, so the character development was very strong here.  I also enjoyed how the author balanced showing her feelings at the time, communicated through dialogue in the scenes, with how she feels later, shown in the captions.
Memorable or Forgettable: A memorable quality of this book for me was the way the book focused on a large chunk of Liz's life.  It was fun to watch her confidence regarding her identity grow and grow, especially towards the end of the book.  It would have been easy to make this book solely focused on gender identity, but it chronicles other aspects of Liz's life as well, which made for a satisfying read.
Cover: The cover very accurately reflects the book.  The face on the cover shows the sort of unamused expression that readers will become familiar with throughout the book.  However, the words "graphic memoir" were really what tempted me to pick up the book.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal


tags: graphic novel / graphic memoir / gender identity / ya lit



Nil - YA Review by Gwyneth P



Reader: Gwyneth P.
Age: 13
Title: Nil
Author: Lynne Matson
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Pub Date: 03/04/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I thought it was a wonderful book. The elements of desperation for survival and questioning things we take for granted as lucky as we are were fantastic. I loved the way that it was never predictable and there was never anything that seemed cliché. It surprised me, which I enjoy thoroughly. I also loved the rushed feeling of it - the realistic time frame of what it would actually be like and the survival elements with all the desperation blended together were very interesting. The way the plot was designed and set about was very well articulated and logical which I always appreciate. It is a great and very original example of survival, its effects, and all the emptiness inside of it; the parts after the thrill where people process. I do wish that there would be more description of emotions and exploration of the island and history of the people on it, but other than that it was thoroughly enjoyable and held a great message for me. The main characters weren't very developed.  I felt I understood background characters much more and I realize it was supposed to be rushed. The dialogue I found very emotional and compatible with my own experiences which I thought was also quite amazing.
Memorable or Forgettable: I loved the process of thought that I knew was there behind all of the plot's secrets that I always wanted to discover. It never left me wishing for more interesting content and it was always full of a new mystery just itching to be solved. I loved the way all the characters were very relatable and I felt I always knew what they were experiencing.
Cover: The cover, I think, is beautiful and definitely reflects Nil's beauty and her ugliness and desperation lying in waiting underneath as the days tick by.
Age Range: 12 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Annotation: Charley is swept out of a Target parking lot to an Island and wakes up naked in the middle of a field of rocks. She discovers other people like herself and learns she is on Nil, an island where there is no escape unless through elusive gateways.  She must catch one within 365 days of her arrival on the Island or she dies. She meets the Island leader, Thad, and they become very involved even as she helps him try to leave the Island with his limited time left.

tags:  dystopian romance / science fiction / adventure / survival / ya lit




Salt & Storm - YA Review by Ella O



Reader: Ella O.
Age: 14
Title: Salt & Storm
Author: Kendall Kulper
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pub Date: 09/23/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The story of Avery Roe. The granddaughter of the witch of the island. Avery is in line to be the next witch, but her mother who was denied the role is determined to stop her. Avery was told that witches needed pain to make magic but didn't realize that pain comes in different forms.
Memorable or Forgettable: The ending will be memorable for me because of how it took me by surprise.
Cover: I really liked the title so that was what encouraged me to pick up the book.  The knot on the front of the book does reflect the contents of the book and I think it should stay there.
Age Range: 12 through 13
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments: Beautiful - if tear jerking - plot twist at the end there.
Annotation: A beautiful book with twists and turns that grasps you tightly and doesn't let go till the end.


tags:  historical romance / coming of age / supernatural / magic / ya lit




Killer Instinct - YA Review by Katie J


Reader: Katie J.
Age: 14
Title: Killer Instinct
Author: S. E. Green
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pub Date: 06/07/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: There were so many plot twists in this book, it was crazy. Let me just say that if you were to hire anyone for a serial killer case, don't hire me. I suspected everyone but the killer to be the killer. That being said, I don't think anyone could guess who the killer is. I literally could not put this book down. It was plot twist after plot twist, and I think I screamed a little when she revealed who the serial killer was.
  This book is about a girl, Lane, who is obsessed with serial killers. Her mom works for the FBI, specializing in serial killers, of course. Lane occasionally sneaks into her mom's office and steals information. Then everything changes when a serial killer nicknamed The Decapitator comes to her home town. The Decapitator's claim to fame is how he or she delivers the bodies. First a head is found, then an arm, a leg, the other arm, and the other leg. It's kind of graphic. Her mom gets stabbed by the killer. I can't say anymore without giving away the killer, but it's awesome.
Memorable or Forgettable: Plot twists. Did I mention there were a ton of them?
Cover: It definitely caught my eye and reflected the contents very well.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest
Additional Comments: I wouldn't read this if you don't like blood and gory things.
Annotation: A serial killer book that will keep you on the edge of your seat with page after page of plot twists until the very end.


tags:  thriller / serial killers / ya lit



The Empire of Shadows - YA Review by Claire W



Reader: Claire W.
Age: 13
Title: The Empire of Shadows
Author: Miriam Forster
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub Date: 11/04/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The description throughout the entire book was great and really made you feel like you were in the story. However, the plot was a bit confusing. This is a prequel novel so maybe it would have been less confusing if you had read City of a Thousand Dolls first(the sequel). Now for character development it was pretty bad. You can see exactly what is going to happen to the main character Mara. It is very obvious that there is another book afterward that was written before. Also as soon as you meet the first prominent male character you just know that he and Mara are going to get together and have a child that is a huge part in the next book. The dialogue was very lacking and didn't fit with the setting and suggested time period.
Memorable or Forgettable: The only "original" thing about this book is that it has people who can turn into animals. This is a topic that has been done but the author didn't have a twist on it so it was also just a bit dull.
Cover: The cover was actually the only reason I picked up the book in the first place. It was pretty and mysterious looking.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal


tags:  fantasy / dystopian / ya lit