Torn - YA Review by Hannah W.

Reader: Hannah W.
Age: 16
Title: Torn
Author: David Massey
Publisher: Chicken House
Pub Date: 07/30/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The concept of the book was not bad, but the author did nothing to enhance this concept, therefore the final product was less than pleasing. The character development was weak, the main character appeared immature and foolish. The plot was unrealistic and silly.
Memorable or Forgettable: The book was very predictable; it was the typical love story, initial spark, the struggles, then happy ending. The interesting setting of the book (Afghanistan), did not make up for the unoriginal love plot. In addition to the predictable love story, the book was very confusing, the explosion and battles were very hard to follow.
Cover: The cover is quite good and accurately reflects the contents the book. The cover is very dramatic, such as the book. The drama of the cover is exciting and makes a potential reader pick up the book.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

tags: war / death / action / contemporary / realistic fiction / romance / ya lit

Goodbye Rebel Blue - YA Review by Claire W.

Reader: Claire W.
Age: 12
Title: Goodbye Rebel Blue
Author: Shelley Coriell
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pub Date: 10/01/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The book starts off in detention, not the best place to start, because it is kinda boring. But I felt it would be able to make it up later on in the book. In detention, they have to make a bucket list and well, I felt it was kinda pointless, but the main character, Rebel, is forced to talk to this girl, Kennedy, who is in detention for the first time and is a bit jittery. Rebel is quite rude and mean to her as Kennedy says goodbye after detention, but it doesn't seem to bother her one bit. The next day Rebel finds out the Kennedy was killed in a single car accident. She starts to believe that it was her fault, because she was so rude and mean to Kennedy. Rebel decides that it is her responsibility to complete Kennedy's bucket list. Kennedy is involved in everything and anything and her bucket list is fairly long and has some almost impossible tasks that Rebel needs money and support for, that she just doesn't have.
Memorable or Forgettable:  I liked that Rebel's bucket list was also in the book, but I thought her bucket list made her look stupid and oblivious.
Cover: I picked it up because I thought Rebel's hair looked really cool and thought the book would be great.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments: I thought the book may be a little over my age range in topic but it was perfect.

tags: contemporary fiction / realistic fiction / death / ya lit

Eleanor & Park - YA Review by Maryn J.

Reader: Maryn J.
Age: 13
Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pub Date: 02/26/13
Galley: No
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I can't really describe this book in words. It was more emotional, something you feel and express through thoughts. Eleanor & Park was a lovely book, a sweet and touching romance that is entirely relatable. This story played a very realistic angle, which made it excellent. There was a swirl of emotions and tenderness in this book, which made it really readable. I liked that this story took place in the 80's, yet you could still relate to the characters and events in this book. It was beautifully crafted and Ms. Rowell told this story extremely well.
Memorable or Forgettable:  It was memorable for me because the romance wasn't a cliché and an over-played theme. The characters were not typical -- the male, Park, was Asian, and the female, Eleanor, was bigger and was not the skinny supermodel that can be found in most novels. The storyline made you want to reach out to the characters, characters that are relatable and not perfect, which you don't find in most books.
Cover: The cover was intriguing. It's very simple but it tells a lot about the book in just a quick, doodle-like drawing of two people listening to music. I liked the cover; it wasn't my favorite (I tend to like action shots), but it was a good one for the book.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Welcome to the life of Park; a typically accepted teen who never quite fit in. When he meets big, clumsy Eleanor, he wouldn't have guessed that offering her half of his seat would lead into a touching, beautiful romance that they would never forget. Ever.

tags: contemporary fiction / romance / coming-of-age / historical fiction / realistic fiction /
 ya lit

Horde - YA Review by Nick B.

Reader: Nick B.
Age: 14
Title: Horde (Razorland #3)
Author: Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Fiewel and Friends
Pub Date: 10/29/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The author does a great job of starting and ending the final book in the Razorland trilogy. It was written so that it made you think, but it was very detailed. Unlike some authors that have a inconclusive ending to a series, hers is very conclusive and explanatory. I would highly recommend that people read this trilogy.
Memorable or Forgettable: The covers of the books in this series were all very well done. They tell you about the book, while not giving anything away and look awesome. I also really liked the ending, because it was a strong one instead of weak, and that's the end of all our problems ending.
Cover: The cover was amazing. It reflected the contents, looked cool, and was very attention grabbing. The only cover done better than this is Quarantine's. It was a very artistic, non-stereotypical cover.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

tags: science fiction / fantasy / dystopian / post-apocalyptic / horror / zombies / adventure / romance / ya lit

YA Books Publishing in September - Revisit the Reviews

Looking for a brief respite from homework?  Take a look at reviews posted by TKB members for eight books being published this month:

Title: Waiting for the Queen: A Novel of Early America
Author: Joanna Higgins
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Pub Date: 09/15/13

Review By: Grace KL (Age 14)

Title: Antigoddess
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Pub Date: 09/10/13

Review By: Brooke H (Age 14)

Review By: Marie W (Age 14)

Title: Baygirl
Author: Heather Smith
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 09/01/13

Review By: Hannah W (Age 16)

Title: Fallout
Author: Todd Strasser
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 09/10/13

Review By: Logan (Age 12)

Title: Until Today
Author: Pam Fluttert
Publisher: Second Story Press
Pub Date: 09/23/13

Review By: Tori H (Age 13)

Title: Scorched
Author: Mari Mancusi
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: 09/03/13

Review By: AJ G (Age 17)

Title: This Song Will Save Your Life
Author: Leila Sales
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Pub Date: 09/17/13

Review By: Kit K (Age 15)

Review By: Pazao L (Age 12)

Title: More Than This
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 09/10/13

Review By: Guanani (Age 17)

Click on the reviewer's name to read the review (opens in a new window).

Winger - YA Review by Lyric K.

Reader: Lyric K.
Age: 14
Title: Winger
Author: Andrew Smith
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pub Date: 05/14/2013
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I over all like the humor and the writing style, but the plot is mundane, except the end and a few parts where the main character gets drunk. The other parts were just the main character wondering whether or not he should like the hot girl or the real one.
Memorable or Forgettable: It was a boarding school / juvenile delinquent book that shouldn't have happened.
Cover: No. I dislike photo covers with real people on them. I read it because other people said it was good.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Additional Comments: Don't read it.
Annotation: Ryan Dean West is a whiny, 14-year-old senior in a boarding school for bad kids. The whole book is him whining about his life, but then everything turns out all right. (Except for the fact that the only good character in the book gets killed!)

tags: contemporary fiction  / realistic fiction / coming of age / sports / boarding school story / humor / ya lit

So Much It Hurts - YA Review by Tori H.

Reader: Tori H.
Age: 13
Title: So Much It Hurts
Author: Monique Polak
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 09/01/2013
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Polak did a really good job of showing who Iris was through her thoughts and dialogue, which exposed her feelings and weaknesses. The author is amazing at character development. She is good at showing how Iris changes throughout the book. The dialogue is very descriptive and powerful. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes drama and romance.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was memorable, because it really teaches you why people stay in an abusive relationship. Just because someone hurts you doesn't mean you don't love them, but sometimes you have to let them go.
Cover: The cover tempted me to pick up the book. It was of Iris with her head in her hands, crying. It was a good reflection of the contents. Very intriguing, because it makes the reader want to find out why?
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Annotation: Meet Iris, a seventeen-year-old girl who works at an ice cream shop and wants to be an actress. One day Iris meets Mick, a thirty-one-year-old, well-known director from Australia, and he likes her. She is overjoyed, and they start a secret relationship. Iris falls in love, but she doesn't know what she's getting into. Mick has a temper, and when he is mad, he uses his fists to express his frustration. What will Iris do now that she is in an abusive relationship?

tags: realistic fiction / romance / ya lit

Game - YA Review by Madeline L

Reader: Madeline L.
Age: 12
Title: Game
Author: Barry Lyga
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 04/16/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book is terrifying yet uplifting in its own freaky sort of way.  I can't even be sure if I like the book, but it was very well written.  It's a big book that I read in literally days and even a while after that I was very creeped out yet wanting to re-read the book.  It is impossible to guess where the story is going with so many twists and turns.  Right when you think you can put it down, another clue pops up and gives you another reason to keep reading.
Memorable or Forgettable: One thing that is definitely memorable is how understanding you feel of the characters, even when you have never been in that situation.
Cover: The cover is intriguing and relates to the book in ways I thought it never could.
Age Range: 14 through 18
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: This book is about the son of a serial killer.  But not any serial killer - one of the most brutal and famous serial killers.  This boy, striving to prove that he is different than his father, helps solve different crimes while hoping his fate will be different.

tags:  psychological thriller / suspense / serial  killers / ya lit

A Really Awesome Mess - YA Review by Madeline L

Reader: Madeline L.
Age: 12
Title: A Really Awesome Mess
Author: Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pub Date: 07/23/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This is a good book. The way it's written has you loving and hating every person at the same time.  One minute you'll be wanting them to kiss, the next absolutely despising the idea.  It is a book that rotates chapters and the way you hear what happens from two perspectives intrigues me to read all day.  It's a nearly impossible book to put down.  Although I cannot relate to any parts, I feel like it's me.  The book had a great realistic feel that I can never forget.
Memorable or Forgettable: One thing I definitely can't forget, and in a way can understand, is how one minute the characters would be ripping each other's heads off and the next minute they were a united force.  Just so interesting!
Cover: I love the cover because it has a simple yet packed feel - very interesting.  However, it only represents half the story.
Age Range: 12 through 16
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Annotation:  Two teenagers, Justin and Emmy, arrive at Heartland Academy (a school saying it will "fix them").  While despising the school, they become friends and make plans to bust out of the school, if just for one night.

tags:  coming of age / ya lit

The Book of Broken Hearts - YA Review by Tara L.

Reader: Tara L. 

Age: 13
Title: The Book of Broken Hearts
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub Date: 5/21/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The strong stylistic element was character development. I really liked the plot, because I think it really suited the book.
Memorable or Forgettable: The qualities that made it memorable were the characters. I personally really liked the characters, because they were all a big part of the book. It wasn't just a random person for a chapter or two.
Cover: The cover did tempt me to pick it up, and yes, it did reflect the contents.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Unlike most romance books it doesn't have the expected love triangle. It has suspense and mystery through the whole book.

tags: romance / realistic fiction / contemporary / ya lit

Nantucket Blue - YA Review by Tara L.

Reader: Tara L.
Age: 13
Title: Nantucket Blue
Author: Leila Howland
Publisher: Hyperion
Pub Date: 05/07/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: In this book, I really like the plot and character development.
Memorable or Forgettable: The memorable qualities are the way the author writes it, and how the story ends.
Cover: Yes, the cover did tempt me to pick it up, and yes, it did reflect the contents.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Cricket's best friend jules' mom dies, and that changes everything, possibly even their friendship. Will their friendship end? Will she be with the guy she has liked for a long time? Read the book and find out.

tags: contemporary romance / ya lit

Love Disguised - YA Review by Emily L.

Reader: Emily L.
Age: 15
Title: Love Disguised
Author: Lisa Klein
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Pub Date: 07/30/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The detail in this book made me feel like I was actually in London along with Meg and Will. It made me feel like I personally knew each and every one of the characters.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book will be memorable for me because it really felt like I experienced everything the characters did. I actually formed attachments to the characters, like they were people that I actually knew.
Cover:  The cover is actually what made me pick up this book. If I didn't see the cover, I would never have had the pleasure of reading this amazing book.
Age Range: 16 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments: This book is for more mature readers. If you can't focus very well, I would not recommend this book for you.
Annotation: Love Disguised is a fiction that goes back and forth between the points of view of William Shakespeare and Long Meg. Long Meg was known to be William Shakespeare's muse; this book tells the story of how Long Meg and Will fall in love. nIt also tells about the friendship between Will and Mack, who is actually Meg in disguise.

tags: historical fiction / romance / historical romance / ya lit

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer - YA Review by Brooke H

Reader: Brooke H
Age: 15
Title: Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer
Author: Katie Alender
Publisher: Point, imprint of Scholastic
Pub Date:  09/24/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Honestly, when I first saw this book, I thought it looked absolutely ridiculous. I grabbed it, however, because I had read and liked another book by the author, and I have a crazy obsession with Marie Antoinette. Despite what I had originally thought. . . I actually really enjoyed the book. It tied in mystery and murder (murders happening throughout Paris) with history (French culture and a certain controversial queen). This book had a lot of mystery and suspense with a dose of romance, and I loved how the antagonist happened to be my favorite historical figure. And let's not forget the cute French guy. You can NEVER go wrong in books with cute French guys. :)
Memorable or Forgettable: I thought the most memorable thing about this book was Marie Antoinette, portrayed as a hate-filled ghost with a craving for revenge. I was glad that they included some history and facts about her, because many people, including most of my friends, have no idea who she is. Another memorable aspect was the setting: France. Now I want to go to France after reading this! I also love how the character of Colette grew throughout the book in her judgment and choices.
Cover: The cover was memorable and definitely reflected the contents . . . but it actually turned me off. If not for my love of all things Marie Antoinette, I probably would not have read it at all. As I mentioned before, the cover made me make an immediate conclusion that the contents must be ridiculous. Also, it was pretty embarrassing to carry around. As a book-lover, I get asked a lot what I'm reading, so I would have to show people when asked, and they would look at me with a face that plainly said, "I thought you were above something like that," and I would find myself having to defend my choice to read it. I think that this book defines the phrase, "Don't judge a book by it's cover."
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

tags: mystery / thriller / historical fiction / romance / ya lit

The Neptune Project - YA Review by Katie J

Reader: Katie J
Age: 13
Title: The Neptune Project
Author: Polly Holyoke
Publisher: Disney/Hyperion
Pub Date: 05/21/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: For a Disney book, I had some pretty low standards set for this book, seeing that the only Disney books I've read were about princesses and singing jocks and nerds, but this book was surprisingly good!
This book is about a girl named Nere, who is much more comfortable in the water than on land.  Then she finds out that she was genetically altered to survive in the ocean and there were a bunch of other kids altered too.  The name of this project is called, you guessed it, the Neptune Project. Oh, she also has "dead" father, who, of course, isn't dead. All in all, not bad for a Disney book.  If it was published by anyone else I would be disappointed, but my standards for Disney are low enough as it is, so this book wasn't too bad.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book didn't have any memorable or forgettable qualities, although it was a different take on the mermaid trend. It was memorable because it was the first and it will probably be the only book released for teens that was published by Disney.
Cover: I liked the cover and I thought it reflected the contents really well.
Age Range: Under 12 through 13
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Annotation:  It's a Disney book. Need I say more?

tags:  science fiction / adventure / ya lit