Inhuman - YA Review by Michelle M


Reader: Michelle M
Age: 15
Title: Inhuman
Author: Kat Falls
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pub Date: 09/24/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book was an adventurous and refreshing read. The main character built strong relationships with people who were strangers at the beginning of the book, as well as going through her own change when she transformed from a soft city girl to a survivor in the wild. The plot became more complicated as the story went on and resulted in a satisfying ending.
     The dialogue was decent but I preferred the plot voice. The main character was a believable and easy character to relate to and I admired how the author was able to balance out her personality.Memorable or Forgettable: This book has a little something for everyone. It has the thrill of danger and adventure with plenty of science fiction in the mix, mystery from a missing father with a criminal job, desperation and friendship, as well as a hint of romance.
Cover: I think the cover suited the book well, it's eye-catching and it piqued my interest. The cover shows the isolation of the city from the outside world and manages to convey different ideas of restriction and exploration at the same time.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments: I thought that the plot had a bit of a slow take-off, but it was necessary for laying the foundation of the story.

tags:  science fiction / mystery / adventure / dystopia / romance / ya lit



Sky on Fire - YA Review by Grant D


Reader: Grant D
Age: 13
Title: Monument 14: Sky On Fire
Author: Emma Laybourne
Publisher: Feiwel And Friends
Pub Date: 05/28/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I would not recommend this book because of a few reasons: I felt that there was little character development and almost all the dialogue was predictable and not grabbing my attention.
Memorable or Forgettable: I found this book forgettable because it felt like just another action book trying to be the next big thing. The writing felt as though it was trying too hard.
Cover: I didn't like the cover that much because it made the book look like another zombie apocalypse book with all the blood and gloom.
Age Range: 12 through 13
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: In this action filled adventure, fourteen kids are trying to escape madness and horror. They are faced with the crucial decision of whether to stay or go.

tags:  dystopia / apocalypse / Monument 14 series / ya lit



Scorched - YA Review by AJ G


Reader:  AJ G
Age: 17
Title: Scorched
Author: Mari Mancusi
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: 09/03/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book wasn't bad, but it also wasn't good. It seemed like the author had a lot of interesting ideas, but didn't know how to put them all together quite yet. It seemed like The Hunger Games, but before the end  of the world, which was caused by Jurassic Park, except with dragons instead of dinosaurs, and the girl caused the apocalypse, and the two love interests were twins from the future who were locked in an ideological war with each other. Plus telepathy. So not a super strong plot, but at times there was very strong character voice, and it was super funny, because almost every character was really sarcastic, which I love.
Memorable or Forgettable:  I think the characters were all really forgettable. They were all rehashings of character archetypes we've seen countless times before. Trinity was like a less independent version of Katniss. Throughout the book the author tries to make her seem independent, but she still depends heavily on both of the twins to save her, and can't decide between them. Connor is the classic knight in shining armor, torn between duty and love. Caleb is the troubled soul, who gets saved by the girl. And Trinity's grandpa is the bumbling adult. None of them had any original personality traits. The only reason to remember this book is the dragons.
Cover: I think the cover is certainly vibrant and it will stand out on the shelf. But I think it's really unrelated to the book, sine the dragon is in it's egg for most of the story. The egg is described as being really beautiful, and I would've loved to see it on the cover, more than the comic book drawing that is currently there.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

tags:  fantasy / time travel / dragon mythology / ya lit



Losing It - YA Review by Hannah W


Reader:  Hannah W
Age: 16
Title: Losing It
Edited By: Keith Gray
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Pub Date: 09/01/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Since each chapter was its own short story there was not a lot of character development, but the characters still seemed realistic. Similarly there was not one uniform plot, however the overall message of the book was: everyone has a story to tell about virginity and the consequences of losing one's virginity.
Memorable or Forgettable: The short stories were all unique: different countries, different perspectives, different sexual orientations. Yet the stories fit together because they focus on a very complex and difficult topic that is a part of everyone's life.
Cover: The cover is intriguing. It looks white at first glance, but then the reader realizes the cover is actually a white bed, which reflects the subject of the book. The cover is simple and plain. It contrasts the complexity of the book, but also shows that sometimes things are not what they appear to be.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Nine great YA authors come together to form a book of short stories. All of these stories show a different perspective of "losing it."  What does it mean to be a virgin and what does it mean when one is no longer a virgin?

tags:  virginity / short stories / ya lit



This Song Will Save Your Life - YA Review by Pazao L


Reader: Pazao L
Age: 12
Title: This Song Will Save Your Life
Author: Leila Sales
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Pub Date: 09/17/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Funny. Interesting. Witty. Unique. These are some of the words that can be used to describe this book. Leila Sales wrote about something that actually matters and most people actually care and can relate to. This story was about a girl facing the hardships of high school and how she figured herself out by realizing her true talents. The author made this book, the characters, their dialogue and everything else very realistic and joyful. There were scenes that were powerful, crazy and ecstatic while it was balanced out with filler chapters. It was filled with a lot of emotions and Sales did a good job at expressing those feelings. I really recommend this book to everybody.
Memorable or Forgettable: The thing that made it very memorable for me and kept me reading was how realistic it was. I really connected to it and at one point of my life I had the feelings that Elise, the main character, had.
Cover: I really loved the cover. It was really unique and different. Instead of just having a picture that had nothing to do with it, then the title at the top or bottom like usual, the picture actually related to the DJ theme and the title was something very different. It is unexplainable. That is how awesome it is.
Age Range: 12 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Annotation: After a try at being popular and a failed suicide attempt, she gives up until she stumbles onto the BEST underground dance party on a Thursday. That night, she also stumbles onto her first real and true friends along with how important her life is.

tags:  coming of age / ya lit



The Princess in the Opal Mask - YA Review by Grace KL


Reader: Grace KL
Age: 14
Title: The Princess in the Opal Mask
Author: Jenny Lundquist
Publisher: Running Press
Pub Date: 10/22/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: At the moment, I can't decide whether I would recommend this book.  The political maneuverings were well described and the identity themes were quite well done.  However, the dialogue in tense or action scenes did not flow, and I had difficulty picturing the setting.
Memorable or Forgettable: One nice part of this book was that romance was not the main theme of the book, as it has been in other books like this one that I have read recently.  The parts where the two main characters grappled with their own feelings versus their duty to the two countries also felt very real.
Cover: The mask on the book conveys a sort of mystery which was involved in the book.  I would have liked to see something pointing to Elara's background on the cover as well.  One thing I liked about the cover was that the mask stood on its own--either of the girls could be wearing it.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

tags:  suspense / fantasy / ya lit



Gorgeous - YA Review by Katie J


Reader: Katie J
Age: 13
Title: Gorgeous
Author: Paul Rudnik
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pub Date: 04/30/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Eh. That's what it was. Eh. It wasn't horrible, like one I would tell my friends and fellow TKBers not to read, but it wasn't one where it stood out as being a great book. It was OK. It didn't stand out in my mind (in fact I completely forgot about it until now) as either amazingly good or horrendously horrible. If you want a boring read about living happily ever after, be my guest. But don't say I didn't warn you.
     It is about a girl whose mother dies, she meets the man, and he promises to make her look like a supermodel using only 3 dresses. Well, then it's the old girl meets prince, they fall in love, get married, blah blah blah. Oh wait, I forgot something! This stylist figure (the man she meets), yeah, he died 20 years ago! That's really the only cool factor.
Memorable or Forgettable: It was just BORING!!!
Cover: I thought the cover was cool. Really, it is, look at it!
Age Range: Under 12
Quality: 1Q How did it get published?
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest
Additional Comments: EH...

tags:  fantasy / satire / Cinderella story / BFYA nominee / ya lit



Black Helicopters - YA Review by Katie J


Reader: Katie J
Age: 13
Title: Black Helicopters
Author: Blythe Woolston
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 03/26/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: WOW! Just WOW! there is no humanly possible way that I can explain this book! It's so complicated that I would sound crazy trying to explain it! Go buy a copy and tell people about it because this is a book that needs to be shared! It is one of the few books that isn't paranormal romance twilight stuff! This is a real book!
Memorable or Forgettable: Everything about this book is amazing!
Cover: It was definitely calling my name!
Age Range: Under 12 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Additional Comments: AMAZING!
Annotation: OMG!! There is no way I can explain it! Just get a copy!

tags:  suicide bomber / mystery / thriller / conspiracy theory / BFYA nominee / ya lit



Antigoddess - YA Review by Marie W


Reader: Marie W
Age: 14
Title: Antigodess
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Pub Date: 09/10/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: After I first heard about the book I knew I had to read it. I am pretty interested in the Greek gods after reading a number of other fictional books about them. The characters where nicely developed though I felt that Athena needed to show her wisdom more. The reason for this comment would be that it felt like Demeter used more wisdom. There were a number of surprises throughout the book which made me latch onto finishing the book. The dialogue was pretty realistic and seemed as if some of the characters were people I might run into.
Memorable or Forgettable: A memorable quality would be bringing back the characters the gods and godesses might have worked with. Another thing would be the suspense kept me reading it without breaks. A great thing that was memorable was making the gods and godesses seem like mortals.
Cover: The cover didn't really tempt me to read the book though it was a great reflection of the book.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Additional Comments: I'm for sure interested in the series and will be looking forward to seeing the other books come out.

tags:  suspense / mythology / ya lit



Spirit and Dust - YA Review by Emily L


Reader: Emily L
Age: 15
Title: Spirit and Dust
Author: Rosemary Clement-Moore
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pub Date: 05/14/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book:  I loved Rosemary Clement-Moore's characters. Daisy is very smart and snarky. I love how she's always determined to do the right thing. She always had a sense of humor, even in stressful situations.This is a very suspenseful book and I really got into it. One thing that I wasn't a big fan of was the whole "save the world" thing that was going on.
Memorable or Forgettable: It was very well written but kind of cliche.
Cover: The cover could be more unique. It's almost like every other book cover. It's just another a girl looking dramatic.
Age Range: 14 through 15
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Annotation: Daisy Goodnight is a teenage girl that can talk to the dead. SHe's been able to do this since birth. She's so good at it that she assists the police with homicide cases. This book takes place in Minnesota where Daisy is helping the FBI solve a murder/kidnapping.

tags:  paranormal / suspense / mystery / magic / romance / adventure / ya lit



YA Books Publishing in August - Revisit the Reviews


Heading to the library or book store?  Take a look at reviews posted by TKB members for five books being published this month:

Title: Taste Test
Author: Kelly Fiore
Publisher: Walker Books
Pub Date: 08/27/13

Review By: Katie J (Age 13)







Title: Maybe Tonight?
Author: Bridie Clark
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Pub Date: 08/06/13

Review By: Claire W (Age 12)






Title: Prep School Confidential
Author: Kara Taylor
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pub Date: 07/30/13

Review By: Logan D (Age 12)

Review By: Claire W (Age 12)




Title: Love in the Time of Global Warming
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Pub Date: 08/27/13

Review By: Sophie D (Age 17)







Title: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Author: Genevieve Tucholke
Publisher: Dial Books
Pub Date: 08/15/13

Review By: Kit K (Age 15)

Review By: Grace O (Age 17)




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


Ink - YA Review by Brooke H


Reader: Brooke H
Age: 15
Title: Ink
Author: Amanda Sun
Publisher: Harlequin
Pub Date: 06/25//13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book:  I really liked this book. The concept was very intriguing and original, so it was a very interesting read. I also really loved the characters. They were all strong and complex, and I loved how they developed throughout the book. Another thing I loved about this book was the fact that it took place in Japan. It was very interesting to read about the culture and how different it is from American culture.
Memorable or Forgettable: In my opinion, the most memorable parts of the book are the fact that it is set in Japan, so the characters' day-to-day lives were very different than here in the US, and the dark, paranormal concept.
Cover: I thought the cover was really interesting, because it is a different style of art than you see on the average book, and it reflects the fact that the book is centered in Japan.
Age Range: 16 and 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

tags:  suspense/ paranormal romance / multicultural / Japanese high school / Shinto folklore / Paper Gods series / ya lit



Will & Whit - YA Review by Pazao L


Reader:  Pazao L.
Age: 12
Title: Will & Whit
Author: Laura Lee Gulledge
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pub Date: 05/07/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Will and Whit wasn't just a novel, it was a graphic novel. The images were amazing and very well drawn. I couldn't imagine the pictures better. The dialogue between the characters weas realistic along with the characters themselves. The characters were very well developed. I also liked the plot because it was different from other stories and graphic novels but I also thought that the part where Will gets over her fear of the dark was too easy and sort of unrealistic. All she had to do was not think about it and it went away like that and never came back.
Memorable or Forgettable: The thing that made this story really memorable was the amazing and well-drawn pictures. There were a couple pages that weren't completely drawn out but it was still cool.
Cover: The cover sort of tempted me but also turned me off. I don't think it reflects the contents whatsoever but it's a nice cover. At first, I thought it was going to be a short story but it wasn't.
Age Range: 12 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional CommentsI would like to see how this story is like in novel form. It would be cool.
Annotation: Will Huckstep, a brave and artistic girl tries to get over her family's past but while she does that, she makes lamps to help her get over her fear of the dark. She wants an electronic-free summer and she gets it with a blackout from a hurricane, Hurricane Whitney and a planned art carnival. She spends her summer not knowing that she's going to face her fears.

tags:  graphic novel / ya lit



Until Today - YA Review by Tori H


Reader: Tori H
Age: 13
Title: Until Today
Author: Pam Fluttert
Publisher: Second Story Press
Pub Date: 09/23/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book:  I loved this book because it was unpredictable and thrilling. The character development was amazing! It continued throughout the book, but in a good way. The events in the book shaped the characters, they never stopped changing. It was a very action packed book, but emotional action. It was very unique, I haven't read anything like it.
Memorable or Forgettable: I would say the emotional action was the biggest one. I also think that when she saw this little girl at the hospital who the hospital suspected was abused. She helped the girl realize that it was okay to tell. So she saw herself in this girl. That this girl had the same fight she did. It was memorable.
Cover: It was a very weird cover. The only thing that made me look at this book is the sulking girl off to the side.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: This thrilling book is about a teenage girl who is sexually abused. She has no one to turn to, so she keeps a secret journal of the truth. One day her journal is gone and her secret that she has been hiding forever is about to be revealed.

tags:  sexual abuse / coming of age / ya lit



Mistwalker - YA Review by Brooke H


Reader: Brooke H
Age: 14
Title: Mistwalker
Author: Saundra Mitchell
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Pub Date: 02/04/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I honestly don’t know whether or not I liked this book.  There were times where I’d be excited by whatever was happening, and I’d want to keep reading, but there were also times where I’d be really bored. Something I liked about the book was how original the concept was; I don’t think that I’ve heard of this type of thing in any other books.  I also liked that Willa (the main character) had something that she really enjoyed and was passionate about, rather than the bland, hobby-less characters you often get in books now. I didn’t like, however, how many fishing concepts and names were used all at once at times without explaining the meaning of said concepts, to the point where I, as someone who doesn’t fish, would get completely lost. I also thought there might be more romance between Grey and Willa, so I was kind of disappointed when nothing really happened there.  I guess it was alright, but I would have liked to see more building of their relationship, romantic or not.  The ending also confused me a bit; I thought that it should have been explained better.  The book wasn’t all bad, though.  I suppose it was pretty good overall. I wouldn’t run to my friends and try to force them to read it, but I wouldn’t say that it was a waste of time either.
Memorable or Forgettable: I thought, even though I wasn't sure how much I liked the book, that it was pretty memorable. The whole concept of the book was very intriguing.
Cover: I really liked the cover for the book! It was interesting, and it reflected what the book was about. If I were looking through the bookshelves at a bookstore and saw it, I would probably pick it up to see what it was about.
Age Range: Under 12 through 13
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

tags:  fantasy / coming of age / ya lit



Solstice - YA Review by Tessa J


Reader: Tessa J
Age: 12
Title: Solstice
Author:  P.J. Hoover
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pub Date: 06/18/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I really did like this book, it was interesting enough for me to read all the way through, which I usually only do for good books. The global heating crisis actually seemed very realistic and probable. The idea of heat bubbles, and domes to protect the city from the sun, were very creative and captured my attention. What I didn't really like as much was how easily Piper fell in love with Shayne, who the reader later finds out is Hades. It seems too cheesy for Piper to immediately be attracted to him at first sight. I would have preferred that they'd gradually fallen in love, so it would be more realistic. I did like the way Greek mythology fit into the global warming problem, which was a creative idea. Global warming and Greek mythology are an interesting mix, which made the book fun to read.
Memorable or Forgettable: Solstice is a memorable book, mostly because of the creative mix of global warming and Greek mythology. The way it was portrayed is really interesting and made me enjoy the book more.
Cover: The cover is very similar to the story, and I actually did decide to check the book out because of the cover. I think it depicts the contents very well.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation Piper lives in Texas in a time when there is a global heating crisis across the whole world, threatening to destroy Earth. On the day she turns 18, her whole life is changed when she finds a world she never knew existed, a world of gods and monsters. Now Piper must find out her true identity before the world spins out of control.

tags:  dystopia / mythology / fantasy / romance / ya lit



The S-Word - YA Review by Grace KL


Reader: Grace KL
Age: 14
Title: The S-Word
Author: Chelsea Pitcher
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pub Date: 05/01/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book had a very calculating yet raw voice, which ended up working well.  The dialogue occasionally seemed rather improbable for the high school setting, and the characters were often described using some sort of label, but that was fitting since labels make up part of the theme of this book.  Angie, the main character, developed greatly through the book.  She starts out bent on justice for her friend's tormentors.  As the book progresses, her ideals and methods of pursuing justice change drastically.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was very memorable because it honestly tackled some serious topics, such as rape and suicide.  The plot kept me guessing at what was going to happen next.  It also tackled different themes, like labeling and gender roles in society, which were very present in the book without seeming forced.
Cover: This cover screams at you.  I was initially afraid of picking it up and being forced to defend my reasons for reading it.  However, it does fit the nature of this book, and the main character's method of expressing the injustice of her friend's death.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Annotation: When Angie's best friend Lizzie is branded a slut by their high school, Lizzie decides to take her own life.  When graffiti and pages from Lizzie's diary start appearing around the school, Angie decides to find out the truth.

tags:  bullying / suicide / ya lit



Dirty Little Secret - YA Review by Claire W


Reader: Claire W
Age: 12
Title: Dirty Little Secret
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publisher: MTV Books
Pub Date: 07/16/13
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I really liked the book because it was a plot that was slightly different than the rest of books coming out lately. But there was no interesting dialogue, there was just a lot of meaningless talk.
Memorable or Forgettable: Well it was the usual story with a twist on it. Girl get in trouble and falls in love with a boy who is off limits or a player. It turns out that they really love each other and end up together. But the country music was a great addition. I just wish it had one more twist on it to make it different.
Cover: The cover did tempt me but I feel it didn't tell you what the book was about except for the country part.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional CommentsIf there is going to be this much PDA in a book you need to have warning on the front of the book in big letters. I had to skip a few chapters.

tags:  romance / coming of age / ya lit