Buzz Kill - YA Review by Maryn J



Reader: Maryn J.
Age: 13
Title: Buzz Kill
Author: Beth Fantaskey
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 05/06/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Wow. That's all I could really say when I set down Buzz Kill after spending my whole day finishing it. In the beginning, I thought it was absolutely cliché. After I kept reading, I realized it was much more than that. Millie, the narrator, is extremely relatable. And Chase is your typical high school quarterback, except for the fact that he watches foreign films and doesn't have any friends. The romance between the two is supremely frustrating but it's an innocent touching thing. Many chapters ended with cliffhangers, and often they ended up being funny or completely surprising. So many people are to be suspected, and as each one get crossed off the list I became more and more confused. Just when you think nothing is around the corner, it's there, waiting to jump on you. A great read for a yucky weather weekend that you can finish in one sitting.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was unforgettable. The characters were full of life and you got to really understand what they've been through. There were a lot of funny undertones to the story and that made it compelling. Chase's personality is absolutely perfect; he's totally jock-dork cute, which you almost never see in a book. Overall, very thought provoking.
Cover: The cover and title were ironically funny, and though pretty simple, the cover was bright and sparked interest. It reflected the contents but just barely, going with a less important plot point in this story. In the end, I liked the cover.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality:  4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Millie Ostermeyer decides to make a list on who would want Coach Killdare, a hated but talented coach, dead. One year later, Coach Killdare is murdered. Millie takes it upon herself to solve the crime, and along the way she might just fall in love with the seemingly perfect and most puzzling jock ever, Chase Albright. In this fast-paced story, you'll fall into the town of Honeywell and never want to fall out of it.

tags:  mystery / suspense / romance / ya lit




Eleanor and Park - YA Review by Bjorn H


Reader: Bjorn H.
Age: 14
Title: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pub Date: 02/26/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book:  Early in this book, it was hard to relate to the characters. It seemed as though they were far off and did not really exist. Later though, they became quite real. They went through some of the same problems as other people would. The plot voice was creative and well put together. Character development was perfect.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was memorable for me because of how well the stylistic elements were put together. It was also memorable to me because of how well the characters developed over the course of the book.
Cover: The cover tempted me to pick up the book because it was mysterious and made me want to learn/read more.
Age Range: 14 through 15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Annotation: This book is a beautifully put together, romantic, intelligent work of art. It can make you cry and laugh at the same time. It will make you understand what it means to love.

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



Parched - YA Review by Eoghan


Reader: Eoghan G.
Age: 13
Title: Parched
Author: Georgia Clark
Publisher: Holiday House
Pub Date: 03/14/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Dystopian is all the rage right now, though authors don't often the need to change the plot. The author of  Parched on the other hand has gone to extremes to make a new spin on dystopian novels. With interesting characters and exciting technology the book makes you want to read it. I actually finished under the covers with a flashlight to finish it.
Memorable or Forgettable: The characters were the most memorable part of the book. Both well written and well described. Each of the characters had their own personality. Meaning that they were like nothing I have ever seen before. The setting was always in great detail as well.
Cover: The cover was interesting and appealing to the eye. The cover shows Eden the domed city where everything is perfect.
Age Range: 14 through 15
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Fast paced. Action packed. Plot to over throw the government. Main character is a confused girl and unsure what to do. Over used and cliched, yes, but at the same time new and fresh. Dystopians are usually all the same and few ever reach above that. The book Parched does that with ease.

tags:  adventure / dystopian romance / ya lit



Paradox - YA Review by Alexis F


Reader: Alexis F.
Age: 14
Title: Paradox
Author: A.J. Paquette
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 06/25/2013
Galley:  Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Paradox had a good plot and I enjoyed reading it, but it seemed like the characters had unreal personalities at times (mostly in the beginning) and there could have been a lot more detail.  By the end (second half) it started to get pretty interesting.  It would have been better if it started out a bit faster.  I really liked how everything led up to the end and it all made sense (in my opinion.  Other people might think differently) and there was a lot of twists which was pretty cool.  At times I thought I knew exactly what was going to happen next, but it turned out that I was totally wrong!  I sort of like that (it was unexpected).  The three words I have to describe this book are:  Bloody, space, bug.  Yeah, it's interesting...
Memorable or Forgettable:  It's one of those books that I definitely won't forget, but that's only because there was a giant freaky bloody space worm! Yes, you have to read the book to find out...
Cover: I was interested in the cover mostly because there was a girl standing in front of a giant worm that was exploding out of the ground.  The funny thing was that the girl just stood there like it was totally normal to see a giant worm exploding out of the ground!  The title kind of stood out to me to for some reason.  Really it just looked interesting.  The cover definitely represents the book.
Age Range: 12 through 13
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

tags:  science fiction / postapocalyptic adventure / ya lit



Hero Worship - YA Review by Tristan HB


Reader: Tristan H.B.
Age: 12
Title: Hero Worship
Author: Christopher E. Long
Publisher: Flux
Pub Date: 01/08/14
Galley:  Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Sometimes the characters were bad and troublesome, but there were also reliable characters too.
Memorable or Forgettable: It was memorable the way things were, like the surprising twist in the development of the book.
Cover: The cover showed you that this was about superheroes and it was. (sort of)
Age Range: 14 through 15
Quality:  5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments: This is romance, action and adventure. Most of those are a good combo in a book.

tags:  action adventure / superheroes / ya lit



White Space - YA Review by Alyissa S


Reader: Alyissa S.
Age: 13
Title: White Space
Author:  Isla J. Bick
Publisher: Egmont USA
Pub Date: 02/11/14
Galley:  Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: White Space is an amazing book for many reasons.  The first being the impossible happens at every turn. The second reason being the plot is well thought out. The final reason White Space is an amazing book is that you can really picture what is happening like a movie. The characters were really well developed - you can really connect with the characters and what they are going through emotionally. The characters were well explained about themselves - they seem like real people. White Space is an amazing book but after awhile it got confusing, then again started to make sense.
Cover: The cover matched the story because the crows on the cover symbolize the dead souls in the story.
Age Range: 12 through 13
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Additional Comments:  If I had only 3 words to describe White Space it would be mysterious, creepy, and impossible.
Annotation: Have you ever hear of the phrase "We all turn into stories in the end?"

tags:  thriller / supernatural / Dark Passages / ya lit


Smoke - YA Review by Alexis F


Reader: Alexis F.
Age: 14
Title: Smoke
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pub Date: 09/10/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book:  Smoke was well put together (in other words, well written) and it had very realistic characters.  I've read four other books by Ellen Hopkins so I was expecting what the plot was going to be about, but really this was a lot different.  Smoke is definitely one of my favorites because it's focused on things that happen all the time, but yet people decide to try to ignore it.  In a way I find these books to be inspirational to a lot of teens which is absolutely awesome!  Smoke will most likely keep every reader's interest (especially mine) because it's realistic.  You don't just want to pick up a book about magical fairy lands all the time (and if you do, you probably need to take a break every once in a while).  You want to read about things that are real (or at least seem that way) - Smoke does that!
Memorable or Forgettable: I never forget about any of the books I read, but some things that make Smoke especially memorable is the fact that it's about a teenage girl trying to figure out her life (and no, it's not a big sappy love story or all weird).  I like to read about how other people think (even if they happen to be fictional) and reading about a girl coming from the situation that she's from (it's pretty crazy mind you), it's interesting and informational.
Cover: The cover of Smoke didn't really interest me.  It was more the fact that Ellen Hopkins was the author.  Smoke is actually the sequel of Burned (but I haven't read that yet) so  maybe the first book explains the cover a bit more, but I believe the cover is supposed to represent what goes on in the book.  In Smoke, there's a girl finding her life again after something of a disaster happens (in the first book).  So, the cover as well as the title is supposed to show that after the fire (disaster) there is the smoke (leftover of the fire.  Still there, but mostly a memory).
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

tags:  realistic fiction / contemporary / Burned / ya lit



The Killing Woods - YA Review by Eoghan G


Reader: Eoghan G.
Age: 13
Title: The Killing Woods
Author: Lucy Christopher
Publisher: Chicken House
Pub Date: 01/07/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book:  I only could read the first chapter. It tried to be suspenseful, but failed miserably. The title of the second chapter was Damon - well the first was called Lucy showing it was going to switch point of views. So I didn't even need to read the book to know there was going to be one of the most cliche plot twists ever: the second main character is thought to be killer, but really isn't.
Memorable or Forgettable: The characters were very two-dimensional and weren't very well written. The setting seemed very dull.
Cover: The cover made me want to read the book, but I have no idea if it reflected the contents because I could only force myself to read the first chapter.
Age Range: 12 through 13
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest

tags:  mystery/suspense / psychological thriller / ya lit



Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out - YA Review by Elise S


Reader: Elise S.
Age: 17
Title: Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
Author: Susan Kuklin
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 02/11/14
Galley:  Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book:  I loved that this book was a plain and simple look at life. It didn't have an agenda. There weren't very many frills or bells. It really was a window into somebody else's world. This is the best way to make change. So much about being transgender or gender neutral, or even the process of questioning your identity, is misunderstood. The teens in this book were not there to represent all trans people, but to represent their experiences. With honesty, grace, and humor, they educated the reader about what it means and has meant to them to be not cisgendered.
Memorable or Forgettable: The personal quality of the book is what made it truly memorable to me. This is how real learning and understanding happens, by sharing life stories! That's what made it so exciting to read, the potential in the book to change the world! Honestly, I think this exact kind of book, this book itself, should be in every school library around the world. The pictures were gorgeous too, with the same funny, honest, cool quality as the interviews.
Cover: Awesome cover that totally fit the book. It was interesting, and the very aspect of it being a real person will make it standout anywhere. I want to find the final copy of the book just to look at all the beautiful pictures in full color!
Age Range: 12 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Six teens from around the country, all who identify as transgender or gender neutral, all who have their unique backgrounds. They share their stories plainly in this compilation.

tags: non fiction / transgender / ya lit



The Bird King: an artist's notebook - YA Review by Ella O



Reader: Ella O.
Age: 13
Title: The Bird King: an artists notebook
Author: Shaun Tan
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine books
Pub Date: 03/02/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: There wasn't a plot or main character.  And the only dialogue/ words were the occasional bit from the author and titles of the artwork.
Memorable or Forgettable:  The art, again, was amazing and unforgettable art, though it was sometimes hard to find the titles of the artwork because knowing the titles always helps you understand the work more.
Cover: Yes the book tempted me very much and the cover did reflect the contents.
Age Range: 12-13
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments: Make the titles BIGGER!
Annotation: It's all art, amazing art. If you like original ideas or plays on words (phrases) this is the best book.

tags:  ya lit





The Shadow Prince - YA Review by Lian S


Reader: Lian S.
Age: 17
Title: Into the Dark: The Shadow Prince
Author:  Bree Despain
Publisher: Egmont USA
Pub Date: 03/11/14
Galley:  Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I initially picked up Into the Dark because of the bizarre summary on the back of the book. The phrase that stuck out to me in particular was "Our heroes-- destined for each other-- know nothing of the stakes their fated courtship entails." It made me think that the book would be utterly ridiculous and overly full with characters acting not because of how they think but because of what they are fated to do.
Because of this, I was pleasantly surprised when I started to read. I found that the characters are relatable, and that they are driven by their own thoughts and emotions, not by the plot. It doesn't quite fit the genres I usually read; romance doesn't generally appeal to me in books. However, the romance in Into the Dark, while being completely obvious from the start, sort of snuck up on me in its own way. I found that I genuinely like the dynamic between Daphne and Haden because it felt so real.
I often don't like modern cultural references in novels because it feels like they make the book incomprehensible to anyone reading it ten years from now. However, this book seemed to create a balance: it talked about songs that are entirely modern but that will last. For instance, a portion of a chapter focuses on the song "I Will Follow You Into The Dark" by Death Cab for Cutie. I know that song, and most people I know know that song. Because of this, we can relate to it and add meaning to the book.
In short, Into the Dark was far better than I expected, and a pleasure to read.
Memorable or Forgettable:  I read this book about a month ago, and though I have read several books since, I can still talk about it freely. This is because Into the Dark stuck out in my head. There are a lot of images from the book that come to mind like people's conversations and the way I pictured various settings.
It was one of those books that somehow made me pay attention when I read. Because of this, my memories of scenes in the book feel rather like memories of my own.
Cover: The cover doesn't perfectly reflect the contents, in my opinion, but it does fit with the slightly ridiculous summary on the back of the book. I want to point out that that summary is what made me read Into the Dark in the first place. Personally, I think both the cover and the summary do their jobs well.
Age Range: Under 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments:  I am still not entirely sure whether Into the Dark is the title of the book, or of the series. There are two titles here, and it bothers me that I can't figure out which is which.

tags: coming of age / dystopian romance / Into the Dark / ya lit


Love in the Time of Global Warming - YA Review by Frannie M


Reader: Frannie M.
Age: 14
Title: Love in the Time of Global Warming
Author:  Francesca Lia Block
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Pub Date: 08/27/13
Galley:  Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I particularly enjoyed this book because it defied every one of my expectations. I found myself predicting the plot throughout the story, but I was consistently proven wrong, something that is exciting in a book. Pen's journey was fun to follow, and the parallels to The Odyssey made it even more enjoyable. Each character was distinct and I found myself becoming attached to all of them. The character development in this story was also fantastic, and seemed very realistic, which can be hard to find. Each new character Pen met on her journey enhanced the story, as did each new danger. No part of this book was superfluous, it all fit together beautifully.
Memorable or Forgettable: The ending of this book was what made it particularly memorable for me. The end (without revealing too much) leaves many things unresolved, but it did it in such a way that I wasn't bothered by it, as I frequently am by cliffhangers. The end was satisfying, while still keeping with the mystique that was carried throughout the book.
Cover: The cover was beautiful; it was why I chose this book in the first place! The butterflies seemed like a random addition to the cover to make it prettier at first, but I discovered later that they make up a large part of the story. This cover was an excellent representation of the story.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity:4P Broad general teen appeal

tags: coming of age / post-apocalyptic / magical realism / ya lit




Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer - YA Review by Ella O


Reader: Ella O.
Age: 13
Title: Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer
Author: Katie Alender
Publisher: Point
Pub Date: 10/21/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book:  The main character starts out in one of the oh so common cliques but changes her ways in the end for the good of herself.
Memorable or Forgettable: The plot and the slight every once in a while surprises.
Cover: Yes, the book did tempt me but I think the title did more so. Yes, the cover also reflected the contents.
Age Range: 12 through13
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments: Amazing! hope I get to read more books like this.
Annotation:  very thrilling, a good mystery though not impossible to figure out. nice side love story.


tags: mystery / suspense / thriller / ghosts / fantasy / paranormal / historical fiction / ya lit









Independent Study - YA Review by Eli S-M


Reader: Eli S-M
Age: 14
Title: Independent Study
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Children's Book Group
Pub Date: 01/07/2014
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I would not recommend this book. It has two major flaws. First of all, its plot seems much too close to the Hunger Games. Many authors are writing in a similar vein these days, after the success of the Hunger Games, but this book was closer than most. Second of all, either the character is incredibly paranoid, or some of the tests the government uses to determine whether you live or die are ridiculous, such as who gets out of the room the fastest after class is dismissed.
Memorable or Forgettable: It was forgettable, mainly because it seemed much too close to the Hunger Games. It used the girl versus dystopian government framework, which other books have admittedly done. This author, however, didn't add her own twist, which made it seem almost identical to the Hunger Games.
Cover: The cover design is fairly attractive and did tempt me to pick up the book. It does reflect the contents of the book.
Age Range: Under 12 through 15
Quality:  2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

tags: coming of age / dystopian romance / The Testing / ya lit



The Nightmare Affair - YA Review by Ella O


Reader: Ella O.
Age: 13
Title: The Nightmare Affair
Author: Mindee Arnett
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Pub Date: 03/05/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Plot was a pretty basic one and character development was good showing growth in knowledge.
Memorable or Forgettable: The twist ending made it memorable but the otherwise often used plot made it forgettable.
Cover: The title tempted me much more than the cover and it did not reflect the contents.
Age Range: 14 through 15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Additional Comments: This book is based more toward girls (sorry guys).
Annotation: Good plot line with a sprinkle of surprises and a twist ending. Slightly dark, romantic, vulgar.


tags:  urban fantasy / contemporary / The Arkwell Academy / ya lit





Love in the Time of Global Warming - YA Review by Hannah W


Reader: Hannah W.
Age: 16
Title: Love in the Time of Global Warming
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Publisher: Henry Holy and Company
Pub Date: 08/27/13
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The character development was not very strong, mostly because the main character was not portrayed well. The plot appeared to be very predictable like all end of the world stories. However the flashbacks were a nice way to give the reader more information on the main character.
Memorable or Forgettable: Personally I didn't like this book I thought it over dramatic so much so that it was not relateable. There are many movies and books are about the end of the world and this book didn't stand out for any others.
Cover: The cover is very artistic. I really like the use of a silhouette; it gives the reader an element of mystery about the main character. The background reflects the content of the book:  destruction of society.
Age Range: Under 12 through 13
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

tags:  coming of age / post-apocalyptic / magical realism / ya lit



Willow - YA Review by Tara L.


Reader: Tara L.
Age: 13
Title: Willow
Author: Tonya Cherie Hegamin
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 02/11/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The character development is good. The ending of the book was awesome too.
Memorable or Forgettable: The best quality of the book is how it was written.
Cover: I like the cover and think it does reflect the contents.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Annotation: Willow is a book that really shows how bad slavery is and I think that's important.

tags:  historical fiction / coming of age / ya lit




Mistwalker - YA Review by Pazao L.


Reader: Pazao L.
Age: 13
Title: Mistwalker
Author: Saundra Mitchell
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 02/04/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The book was alright. It wasn't my favorite book but it also wasn't a horrible book. I enjoyed the twists and turns the book took but other than those twists, the book was more bland.
Memorable or Forgettable: The book was memorable to me because it's about something that you usually don't read and hear about. It isn't the usual cliché romance book.
Cover: The cover is amazing and it really reflected the story. The cover was the one thing that really made me pick up the book.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

tags:  romance / supernatural / magical realism / ya lit



Are You Experienced? - YA Review by Nick B.


Reader: Nick B.
Age: 14
Title: Are you Experienced?
Author: Jordan Sonneblick
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pub Date: 09/03/13
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Jordan Sonnenblick creates another memorable book going out of his normal genre and writing a scifi/historical fiction book. He tells the tale of a boy traveling back in time by playing a guitar signed by Jimi Hendrix to discover the cause of his uncle's death. He uses great historical references and ideas to make the book an amazing story. I enjoy how he portrayed a fifteen year old boy. I would love to discuss this book with others to share opinions on the author's usual writing style portrayed in this book. I highly recommend it.
Memorable or Forgettable: The author's unique writing style in a science fiction book made this a great read. I loved how the author used the setting of the book. It is a great book to learn about decisions and choices in life.
Cover: The cover was the main reason I read the book. It shows a young man with "hipster hair" playing an electric guitar. I liked how it related to the story and portrayed the book well.
Age Range: Under 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity:  5P Everyone wants to read it

tags:  science fiction / historical fiction / ya lit



Winger - YA Review by Audrey M.



Reader: Audrey M.
Age: 16
Title: Winger
Author: Andrew Smith
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pub Date: 05/14/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The voice of Ryan Dean really feels like that of a teenager, which is uncommon in books for young adults that are written by adults. It was also a chapter book with pictures, which I found highly enjoyable.
Memorable or Forgettable: The characters felt real. When something bad happened to one of the characters that happened to share a name with one of my friends, a sudden feeling that something terrible had happened to my friend in real life washed over me.
Cover: I thought the cover was decent. The only problem I found with it was that the boy on the cover was a little to grown up looking to pull off the look of a scrawny, fourteen year old nerd-boy.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: A fourteen year old boy navigates his way through his junior year of high school, at a boarding school. He deals with sexy older women, and jock jerks.

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



Radio Girl - YA Review by Maria D.



Reader: Maria D.
Age: 15
Title: Radio Girl
Author: Carol Brendler
Publisher: Holiday House
Pub Date: 08/01/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book is creates a story around a real historical event (Orson Welles's "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast.) It has elements of suspense and also elements of humor. I thought that this book could have spent more time talking about Orson Welles's radio broadcast because I thought that the part of the book in which it talked about the broadcast was the best and most exciting part of the book, although it was only three or four pages at the end of the book. I would recommend this book to someone because it was very enjoyable to read , but wasn't the best book I have read.
Memorable or Forgettable: The parts of this book that were memorable to me were the historical aspects of the book.
Cover:  The cover of this book wasn't very tempting to me but it also didn't deter me to read it.
Age Range: Under 12 through 13
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

tags:  historical fiction / ya lit



Sex & Violence - YA Review by Elise S


Reader: Elise S.
Age: 17
Title: Sex & Violence
Author: Carrie Mesrobian
Publisher: Carolrhoda LAB
Pub Date: 10/01/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Sex & Violence is completely, relatably, honest. I know Evan, a lot of Evans, actually. The Evans of my life frankly make me uncomfortable a lot of the time, but reading this book, seeing the world through their eyes, was a refreshingly uncomfortable experience. The author completely immersed me in Evan's life and trauma. I never really liked him as a person, but I always related to him, which is the best thing an author can do.
Memorable or Forgettable: Being a Minnesotan myself, I loved the care and appreciation with which the author wrote about life on a lake. There were so many little details that made me giggle - the weird, only-in-Minnesota names, pontoon culture, Cub Foods, cabin friends. It was essentially a love letter to Minnesota, and made me look at my summers with a new eye. Especially since I read it while at my grandparents' lake cabin!
Cover: The design of this cover was absolutely beautiful. I loved the simplicity and abstractness. The font was also pretty awesome. However, I have a problem with the title. I understand the statement it's making, and it does kind of relate to the book, but I'm frustrated about what the book loses. The story Sex & Violence tells is super important, and I have a lot of friends who I know would love the story and relate to the characters. But they're not going to read it because of the title. Carrying around a book titled Sex & Violence is uncomfortable, you have to think about who might see it. This pretty much rules out school and home, or anywhere around family, which is most of an average teen's life. So while I appreciate the effort, I think that the overall result is losing readers.
Age Range: 16 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

tags: realistic fiction / ya lit



Steelheart - YA Review by Simon DS


Reader: Simon D.S.
Age: 13
Title: Steelheart
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pub Date: 09/24/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The elements of this book were well crafted. The dialogue was believable and the plot kept chugging along at a fast pace, however, the main character was a bit unrealistic, devoting his whole life to killing Steelheart. The sensory details however, were amazing. I felt like I was watching an blockbuster action movie.
Memorable or Forgettable: I really liked the in- depth thinking the author put into the universe of the book. I also found it interesting that the author portrayed almost every one with super powers as evil. Finally, I wouldn't be surprised if they made this book into a movie, because I feel this would make a good film.
Cover: The cover was okay, it didn't make sense at first until I looked closely/ read the book.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Newcago. Ruled by the cities resident epic, or meta- human. His name is Steelheart, and he killed David's father. Now, ten years later, David is seeking for revenge against Steelheart. He hopes to join the Reckoners, the mysterious organization that traps and kills Epics.

tags:  coming of age / post-apocalyptic / Reckoners / ya lit



Doon - YA Review by Claire W



Reader: Claire W.
Age: 12
Title: Doon
Author: Carey Corp, Lorie Langdon
Publisher: Blink
Pub Date: 8/27/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Every chapter the point of view switched since they didn't repeat events. Sometimes I wanted to know where Ve was but the chapter was about Kenna. The other thing was Ve really changes and becomes happier but Kenna seems to get more and more unhappy even though she finds a really really nice boyfriend. I didn't find the dialogue hard to understand since I lived in Scotland for a year but I think other people might have.
Memorable or Forgettable: I loved the plot; it was similar to other things I had read but with a twist. I also haven't read very many books that describe the scene so well. The descriptive language was just amazing.
Cover: The cover was the reason I picked up the book. The cover was just beautiful and done so so so well.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation:  Veronica (nickname Ve) just wants to get away from her life and now she has an opportunity to get out of the country. Her best friend Mackenna (nickname Kenna) grew up in Scotland and wants to go back this summer. So Ve decides to tag along and get away from her bad life at home. Once they get to Scotland Ve starts seeing a very handsome boy in a kilt but no one else can. Now she is starting to wonder if the legend about Doon may be true.

tags:  fantasy / magic / romance / A Doon novel / ya lit





These Broken Stars - YA Review by Claire W



Reader: Claire W.
Age: 12
Title: These Broken Stars
Author: Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pub Date: 12/10/2013
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: At the beginning of the book the dialogue is pretty sparse because Tarver and Lilac are trying to talk as little as possible but as the book moves on the dialogue gets richer and richer.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was completely original in my case. I had never read anything like it. The characters also grow throughout the book which is fun to watch.
Cover:  I loved the cover but the back of the book is what made me pick it up. But in the book they say that Lilac's dress in navy blue but the cover had her wearing a teal blue dress.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Tarver and Lilac are thrown into a survival situation. The ship they were flying on was thrown out of hyperspace and now they are together on a planet. They both dislike each other an d have a really really hard time working together but when they finally figure it out everything is much smoother.

tags:  science fiction / romance / Starbound / ya lit