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Being Sloane Jacobs - YA Review by Ruby F


Reader: Ruby F.
Age: 13
Title: Being Sloane Jacobs
Author: Lauren Morrill
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pub Date: 01/07/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Being Sloane Jacobs was a great book, but I don't think it's one I could read over and over again without getting bored. In the book there are two girls with the same name- Sloane Jacobs - and I thought that was a little too much of a coincidence, but the story was never boring and it was full of unexpected twists. I think both of the Sloane's mature and develop a lot throughout the book, but I think that parts of the story line didn't fit in. The plot is how two girls, both named Sloane Jacobs, switch places at a skating camp. One for figure skating, one for hockey. They didn't get caught until the very end of the story, and I just thought to myself- that wouldn't really happen! I did enjoy reading the book overall, but I'd safely say that it's more of a feminine book.
Memorable or Forgettable: Well, I'd never read a plot like this book before. It was a very interesting and unique story line. I also liked the character's attitudes, and how they changed throughout the book.
Cover: Actually one of the main reasons I decided to choose the book was because of the cover. That being said, I don't really think it was a reflection of the book. Very pretty with pastel colors, but I just didn't relate the cover to the actual story.
Age Range: 12 through 13
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

tags:  coming of age / identity swapping / alternating view points / ya lit



Monstrous Affections - YA Review by Ella O


Reader: Ella O.
Age: 13
Title: Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales
Author: Kelly Link and Gavin T. Grant
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 09/09/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I can't exactly narrow it down since there were several stories, but I thought that they all had fairly good plots. The dialogue was more mature in some stories than others, but is well round over all.
Memorable or Forgettable: I loved all of the stories - some more than others - but I did find their uniqueness enjoyable. I liked seeing the authors' points of view on tales about vampires, kraken and other lore.
Cover: I loved the cover. I liked the art and, while I don't think it reflected much of the contents, it gives you the right idea of it being a book of beastly tales. Others might disagree, but I hope the cover stays the same.
Age Range: 14 through 15
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments: I don't normally like short stories because I feel they end too soon, but these stories were longer than others and a bit scarier so I enjoyed them more.
Annotation: A collection of about 15 different stories that are long enough to not have a lack of details but short enough to only consist of around a dozen pages per story.

tags:  anthology / short stories / monsters / ya lit



Grasshopper Jungle - YA Review by Courtney D


Reader: Courtney D.
Age: 17
Title: Grasshopper Jungle
Author: Andrew Smith
Publisher: Dutton Books
Pub Date: 2/11/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book is weird, but a good kind of weird. It starts out as a coming of age story. You get to learn a lot about the characters. The main character, Austin, is telling the story as if it’s a history book for future civilizations. This makes the book very interesting because he is funny and tries to include everything, including all of his embarrassing or inappropriate thoughts. Part way through the book, science goes wrong and the book changes from a coming of age story into a science fiction story. I found myself screaming “what the heck??” many times in my head because of the weird details, but I was interested the entire time. I would recommend this to teenagers 16 or older who like science fiction.
Memorable or Forgettable: There are many aspects that make this book memorable. It managed to mix two genres of writing brilliantly. It was so much different from any of the books I have read before. The narrator was funny and did not leave anything out, no matter how weird the details were. The book also has a great ending that I will always remember because of how unique it is.
Cover: Someone recommended the book to me. I then saw the cover which made me really want to read it. It is simple and unique but still manages to tell a lot about the book.
Age Range: 16 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Austin is a 16 year old who is dealing with normal high school problems: he's confused about his religion, friends, and sexuality. Oh, and giant praying mantises have taken over Iowa so it's almost the end of the world.

tags:  realistic science fiction / coming of age / GLBT / ya lit



The Vault of Dreamers - YA Review by Claire W


Reader: Claire W.
Age: 13
Title: The Vault of Dreamers
Author: Caragh M. O' Brien
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Pub Date: 09/16/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I thought the plot was great and fairly unique. I felt like I was really in the book living her life.
Memorable or Forgettable: The reality TV show concept isn't super original but the whole idea was unique.
Cover:  I loved how the cover was someone's multicolored eye. It looks super duper cool.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Rosie has been accepted into a reality show where artists go to school and are filmed. But suddenly she finds a secret about the game show that could derail the whole system.

tags:  psychological thriller / science fiction / dystopian / reality TV / ya lit



The Falconer - YA Review by Solvi W



Reader: Solvi W.
Age: 15
Title: The Falconer
Author: Elizabeth May
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Pub Date: 05/06/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book:  If you like steampunk/fantasy, mystery, lots of gory action, romance, or the Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices, this is your type of book. The protagonist and all her allies are very deep, dark, and likable, and have many clever lines throughout the book.
Memorable or Forgettable:  I really liked the characters, the action, and the romance. The book was a very lush page-turner, and ended on an amazing cliffhanger. I want to read more!
Cover: The cover consists of a red-headed woman in a blue dress, holding a knife. I figured I was going to be reading something very dark and mysterious, and I was right.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional CommentsYou can sort of tell that this is unedited, but I will recommend it to others when it comes out in bookstores!
Annotation: A young woman living in a steampunk version of Scotland finds that she has the power to kill fairies. She plans to use her gifts to avenge her mother's death and save the world.


tags:  fantasy / romance / action / steampunk / Scottish lore / ya lit




Eyes Wide Open - YA Review by Courtney D



Reader: Courtney D.
Age: 17
Title: Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines
Author: Paul Fleischman
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 09/23/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I would recommend this book to people who like nonfiction or are interested in the environment. It goes into deeper detail about what is really happening to our environment, what the causes are, and reasonable things we can do to help it (or what will happen if we don’t). The book is not all propaganda, but instead tries to accurately inform people on what is happening to our world. It does this in a way that is easy for the average person to understand.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was memorable. It was not the most interesting book, but it taught me a lot of new information. It is nice to learn more than what the media tells us. I will definitely try to make an effort to do some of the simple steps from the book that can help our environment.
Cover: The cover interested me because it has a girl who is protesting something and is surrounded by police officers. She has a sign that says “no fracking.” I had no clue what that was, but I knew it had something to do with the environment. This enticed me to read the book to find out more about this and other environmental problems.
Age Range: 12 through 18 and up
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal


tags:  nonfiction / climate change / global warming / environmental issues / ya lit




Love Letters to the Dead - YA Review by Claire W



Reader: Claire W.
Age: 13
Title: Love Letters to the Dead
Author: Ava Delleria
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pub Date: 04/01/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book has a fantastic character. She develops amazingly throughout the book. But also shows that sometimes it takes longer then people might think to recover from tragedy. The plot was well crafted and greatly executed.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book made me cry and feel immensely happy at the same time. It was extremely memorable because I have read no books similar.
Cover: I loved the cover of the book. It was related to the book and was pretty.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Lauren is still grieving for her sister. She was so close to May and has fallen apart at her death. She moves schools to the school her sister used to go to. She gets to start anew.  As the school year goes by, she thinks she has recovered from her sister's death because of a relationship with a boy named Sky.


tags:  contemporary / realistic fiction / ya lit




Mafia Girl - YA Review by Perrin S


Reader: Perrin S.
Age: 16
Title: Mafia Girl
Author: Deborah Blumenthal
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Pub Date: 03/01/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The characters in this book fell flat and weren't emotionally deep or interesting. The plot was hardly ever backed up by good reasons and most things seemed to happen because "the plot Demands it." The love story was painful - two characters with no chemistry were pushed together in such an awkward way that I cringed when they were together. Also the author has an annoying tendency to explain things way too much, and never lets the story tell them.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book lacked interesting plots or ideas. A large part of the story had no action or emotionally interesting scenes. Although the concept of the book is intriguing, it needed more work before it should have been published.
Cover: No. It didn't tempt me. What tempted me was the title and the cover didn't really have anything else to offer. Though it does look well done and reflects the story well, it really had no impact on whether I read the book or not.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal


tags:  coming of age / high school drama / mafia / ya lit



Tabula Rasa - YA Review by Aiden J



Reader: Aiden J.
Age: 14
Title: Tabula Rasa
Author: Kristen Lippert-Martin
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pub Date: 09/23/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Overall, this book was very entertaining and has a good plot line. Once I started the book I couldn't put it down. The imagery in the book was very well done.
Memorable or Forgettable: The book was memorable because it has an amazing mix of action, mystery, and adventure.
Cover: The cover of the book made me want to pick it up, but it doesn't reflect the contents.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal


tags:  science fiction / dystopian / action / suspense / ya lit




Barbarian Lord - YA Review by Veronica K


Reader: Veronica K.
Age: 13
Title: Barbarian Lord
Author: Matt Smith
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pub Date: 07/01/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The characters were not relatable. They seemed to just exist, not really have a life and personality. The plot was very good at not existing in any way. The dialogue did not work. Not very well done.
Memorable or Forgettable: This was really just stupid. There was no real life to this book. It really went in one eye and out the other.
Cover: It was there. Yeah.
Age Range: Under 12
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Additional CommentsThis, if published, will probably earn a few points because it is by Matt Smith.


tags:  graphic novel / sword and sorcery / Vikings / Nordic lore / ya lit