The Staff of Serapis - YA Review by Tristan HB


Reader: Tristan H.B.
Age: 13
Title: The Staff of Serapis
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Hyperion
Pub Date: 05/20/14
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The characters are very stubborn and when they meet each other they're not exactly trust worthy of each other.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was memorable because mythology is hard enough to understand in our time, but when two different types of mythology meet each other it's crazy.
Cover: The cover showed the teen girls that are the main characters in this book fighting a lion.
Age Range: 12 through 13
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
AnnotationThis book is about Greek and Egyptian myths when two main characters in a series cross paths.

tags:  fantasy / mythology / adventure / ya lit



To All the Boys I've Loved Before - YA Review by Brooke H


Reader: Brooke H.
Age: 15
Title: To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 04/22/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I thought this book was pretty good.  I thought the author did a really great job with character development, and the plot, while being a bit cliche, still had some unique points to it.  The family dynamic was also really sweet.  It was great that the author didn't focus solely on the boys the main character loves/loved.  I thought this was the perfect book for when you are feeling like a cute, fun read.  One thing I didn't like was that the story seemed to have unnecessary parts, or more often, parts that ran on unnecessarily.  This wasn't a big deal though, because it wasn't enough to lose my interest, and I can see how these particular parts may have helped with the development of the characters and their relationships.
Memorable or Forgettable: The most memorable thing for me was, without a doubt, the characters.  They were all so lovable and the author definitely had me rooting for them.  The main character was relatable and easy to connect to,  and the other characters that interacted with her, like her family and the boys who received the letters, were well-rounded to the point where I could definitely picture them as real people.
Cover: I didn't love the cover of the book, but I didn't not like it either.  It didn't turn me on or off to the book.  It did reflect the story, though.  The book was all about the letters the main character wrote and the consequences of those letters, so the girl writing a letter on the cover clearly matched this.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

tags:  contemporary / realistic fiction / romance / ya lit



Fire & Flood - YA Review by Veronica K



Reader: Veronica K.
Age: 13
Title: Fire & Flood
Author: Victoria Scott
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pub Date: 02/25/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This is quite a wonderful book if you like it when characters do not actually interact with each other in a normal fashion, characters are walking stereotypes, and the plot is literally a badly written Hunger Games. The Pandoras are amazing.
Memorable or Forgettable: The Pandoras. They were amazing. It kind of seemed as though Scott wanted to write a book about them, but also wanted humans. They are seriously the only part of the book I will remember, because the rest was kind of like Professor Binns from Harry Potter wanted to tell the story.
Cover: What? It has a cover? Huh. That is so weird. Why is the feather burning? The book had absolutely nothing to do with that. Or fire and flood, for that matter.
Age Range: Under 12
Quality: 1Q How did it get published?
Popularity: 1P Yech! Forced to read it

tags:  science fiction / ya lit




Fallout - YA Review by Lou O


Reader: Lou O.
Age: 18
Title: Fallout
Author: Todd Strasser
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 09/10/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book is fun to read but down right stupid. The 'Lost' wanna be style of writing is quaint at best, very rarely adding to the story other than to give the reader unnecessary background info. A combination of the author's creepy Freudian imagery (which was clearly a preadolescence projection on the part of our author) as well as the racist themes that are so innocently deflected by the main character's "wide eyed innocence" and "color blind" nature is just an insult to the civil-rights movement.
Memorable or Forgettable:  The number one quality I'll remember from this book is the haunting sexual subtext. The main character is a middle school boy and he has WAY too many sexual thoughts. None of them are overtly sexual but that's what makes them worse. Either the author is projecting his own sexual frustrations onto this character, or his character is highly disturbed. Take your pick.
Cover: The cover tempted me, kinda. While it was stylized it was too simplistic and wouldn't warrant a second glance from me. The only reason I picked this book up is because I randomly chose it.
Age Range: 12 through 13
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest

tags:  suspense / alternate history / ya lit



The Cellar - YA Review by Alexis F


Reader: Alexis F.
Age: 14
Title: The Cellar
Author: Natasha Preston
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: 03/01/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book:  It was a good book in all, but there were a few things that needed a little bit of work.  The plot and character were definitely interesting.  It's not every day that you pick up a book that happens to have a serial killer with OCD in it.  The only thing that I can really "complain" about (really it's not complaining at all, but whatever) is that  there seems to be things missing that should be there.  When the main character (Summer...  who sort of turns into Lilly for a while ) gets thrown into the cellar, it seems like all she thinks abut is having her boyfriend come and rescue her.  I've debated a lot about whether this makes her weak, or smart.  In the end I picked weak, but that's just my opinion.  Sure she thinks about smashing a frying pan over her captor's head a few times, but other than that all she does is sit around and whine...  then again, I think a lot of people might do the same thing in her situation.  Now that I think about it, that might be what made it more realistic than other books.  In all it was a pretty good book (if you don't mind reading about people getting killed - A lot).
Memorable or Forgettable: It was a memorable book for sure.  No, it didn't make me afraid of my basement or anything, but its plot had this sort of addictive feel.  Trust me, that's pretty weird coming from a person that gets freaked out even thinking about killers and stuff like that.  I didn't like how it ended though (so I'll most likely forget about the ending), but I'll remember the rest of it for a very long time.
Cover: The cover did reflect the content, but it didn't tempt me to pick it up.  A single flower on the steps of a freaky and dark cellar.  You could tell that it was going to be a little scary (or maybe a lot).  I don't really look at the cover of the books that I read.  If they have a good hook on the back, then I'll try them.
Age Range: 14 through 15
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

tags:  mystery / thriller / contemporary / realistic fiction / ya lit



Dorothy Must Die - YA Review by Claire W



Reader: Claire W
Age: 12
Title: Dorothy Must Die
Author: Danielle Paige
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Pub Date: 04/01/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book was great. This is the aftermath of a story most people know. But the author has turned it into an amazing story. It fits along with The Wizard of Oz perfectly and is well done. The plot was great. The character development was very well done. I feel like the main character, Amy, was greatly changed throughout the book. I read this book in less than 2 days and still couldn't read it fast enough. I never felt that there was a single slow part in the book at all.
Memorable or Forgettable: Well the setting wasn't original but still great. The author truly captured the feeling of Oz itself. You really feel like you are walking on the yellow brick road too. But the interesting twist in the story was so so so well planned out.
Cover: The cover was great. It hooks you and gives you a clue to what the book is about. The cover is simple and complex at the same time.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional CommentsThis book was just all around great.
Annotation: Amy Gumm lives in Kansas. But all she wants is her mother to start acting like a mother and to get out of Kansas. But one night she gets her wish. She and the trailer her mother and her lived in, is swept away to Oz. There she finds Oz in complete disarray because of DOROTHY.

tags:  dystopian fantasy / Wizard of Oz / revisionist writing / ya lit




Capricious - YA Review by Tori H


Reader: Tori H.
Age: 13
Title: Capricious
Author: Gabrielle Prendergast
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 04/01/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book had great character development throughout the book and the plot, voice, and dialogue was well done. The stylistic elements were strong.
Memorable or Forgettable:  It was another coming of age book so I won't remember it at all in a month or so.
Cover:  It was an odd cover that didn't reflect the book at all. It didn't tempt me nor turn me off though.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

tags:  coming of age / verse novel / ya lit



The Falconer - YA Review by Claire W


Reader: Claire W.
Age: 12
Title: The Falconer
Author: Elizabeth May
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Pub Date: 05/06/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book:  I believe the plot of the book was just okay. It could have used a bit more work. The dialogue didn't fit in with the time period and the development was not well done.
Memorable or Forgettable: The book wasn't really either. But it sorta fit into the steampunk theme which is being done a lot lately.
Cover: The cover was great. But the only thing I have to say is that the cover reminded me of Brave the movie and was similar in the setting and main character.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
AnnotationAileana has hated fairies ever sense her mother was killed by one.  She has decided to start killing them before they strike their next victim. But besides killing the faerie, she has to keep up her social image to please her father. Even though most of society believes she murdered her mother.

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



Premeditated - YA Review by Katie J


Reader: Katie J
Age: 13
Title: Premeditated
Author: Josin L. McQuein
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 10/08/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book was AMAZING!!!  For some reason, I love sad and dark books, so this one was awesome!  It is pretty sad.  It is about a girl named Dinah.  Dinah's cousin tried to commit suicide by cutting her wrists when a summer romance didn't quite work out the way she planned it.  Dinah goes to her cousin's school and tries to blend in so she can hunt down the boy who caused her cousin (I think her name is Clare) to attempt suicide.  For a while, the author talks about Dinah "befriending" the kid who caused her cousin to attempt suicide.  After a while, Dinah discovers the truth about the "mystery" (I don't know what else to call it) and, well, I won't ruin for you.  This was a great book and if you like to read deep sad books that make you think, read this book!!!
Memorable or Forgettable:  I liked this book because I think that it is very realistic.  I think that the plot really could happen and has probably happened many times to girls.
Cover: I didn't love the cover.  I felt that it didn't really reflect the contents of the book.
Age Range: 12 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional CommentsREAD THIS BOOK NOW!!!

tags:  thriller / real life issues / ya lit



The Falconer - YA Review by Perrin S


Reader:  Perrin S.
Age: 15
Title: The Falconer
Author: Elizabeth May
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Pub Date: 05/06/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: To me, the main character felt shallow - she was basic, single minded, and predictable. The style of the book's writing was lacking any intensity, was dull, and was overall very simple. The plot was dull, it didn't feel like anything important changed. Especially for a story about a kick-butt female warrior it was fairly disappointing and didn't live up to its potential.
Memorable or Forgettable: The story and characters felt like it had been done before, many times. I didn't find anything in this story that was new or interesting. This book felt like a poor copy of any and every other fantasy book.
Cover: This cover is absolutely beautiful. The colors are bright and attractive, the color combined with the knife makes it eye catching. The cover has an intense tone that I hoped was mirrored in the book. The cover was a good representation of the best parts of the book and was why I picked up the book in the first place.
Age Range: 12 through 13
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest

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



If You Find Me - YA Review by Rosy W



Reader: Rosy W.
Age: 14
Title: If You Find Me
Author: Emily Murdoch
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pub Date: 03/26/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book was strong almost everywhere. However the characters were particularly well developed, to the point where I was rooting for them and felt they were practically real people.
Memorable or Forgettable: It was memorable because it was a story I hadn't read before but slightly skewed. It was a totally untouched topic.
Cover: Not provided
Age Range: Not provided
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Slow paced for the first few chapters, this book will grab you. It's about the uncommon upbringing of two girls and will take you by surprise.

tags:  coming of age / BFYA nominee / ya lit




Deception's Princess - YA Review by Devon K


Reader: Devon K.
Age: 17
Title: Deception's Princess
Author: Esther Friesner
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 04/22/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: It's okay. The plot is decent, the voice is convincing but has strange and confusing tense use.
Memorable or Forgettable: Read last comment.
Cover: The cover was not memorable and was decently representative of content.
Age Range: Under 12 through 13
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Annotation: Maeve is a princess prized by her father. The king spoils her and guards her jealously. Her journey to maturity.

tags:  high fantasy / historical fiction / adventure / ya lit



Steelheart - YA Review by Eli S-M


Reader: Eli S.-M.
Age: 14
Title: Steelheart (Reckoners #1)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pub Date: 09/24/13
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book is definitely worth reading, as it features an original, interesting world and plot and an intelligent, likable, main character. The world perfectly combines sci-fi, dystopian, and superhero cliches. The plot fits perfectly within the world, and the main character's lack of superpowers takes it in an unexpected but satisfying new direction. The main character himself is intelligent, and his classification system for superheroes adds clarity to what otherwise might be a confusing new world.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was memorable mainly because of its original world. Not only does it explore what a sudden influx of invincible superheroes might actually do to the world, it takes place in a near-future sci-fi setting that is unique all on its own.
Cover: The cover did tempt me to pick the book up, and it does fairly accurately describe the book's contents.
Age Range: Under 12 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

tags:  science fiction / dystopian / superheroes / Reckoners / ya lit



Audacious - YA Review by Tori H


Reader: Tori H.
Age: 13
Title: Audacious
Author: Gabrielle Prendergast
Publisher: Orca 
Pub Date: 10/01/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book had great character development throughout the book and the plot voice and dialogue was well done. The stylistic elements were strong.
Memorable or Forgettable: It was another coming of age book so I won't remember it at all in a month or so.
Cover: It was an odd cover that didn't reflect the book at all. It didn't tempt me nor turn me off though.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Annotation:  I have risked losing true love. I might have finally learned that self-serving actions can have public consequences. I am Ella.

tags:  contemporary / coming of age / ya lit


Summoned - YA Review by Rayna Grace C.



Reader: Rayna Grace C.
Age: 15
Title: Summoned (Redemption's Heir #1)
Author: Anne M. Pillsworth
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pub Date: 06/24/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: From what I gathered from the 70 pages I could muster reading, this book had clear plot development, but poor character development for the major characters and utterly lacking in foreshadowing. I tried for over a month to finish this book, but despite my iron will I just couldn't do it; the lack of suspense made it too difficult to read. The clearest example of this was in the first few pages, when the writer tried to weave a mood of suspense and mystery into the story surrounding an old newspaper ad the main character found which asked for a magic apprentice, dated 1895 but offered an email address in its contact information (!!!!). The realization that anything was amiss at all with the ad was thrown in at a seemingly random time, like it was paraphrased and pasted in from a different part of the story because the editor wanted it moved. There was no building of suspicion or any fear exhibited from any of the characters that saw the ad, even though it was the spookiest thing ever (seeing as it was also found in an ancient book within a bookstore’s shelves— which was not listed in any of the store’s inventories, so it was given away to the main character for free). Not only was this confusing for the reader, but it made the book seem dull. If the protagonist was not the least bit concerned, why should I have cared? The remainder of what I read of the book continued in a similar fashion, where spooky things would (or should have been) happening and everyone was acting really laid-back and nonchalant about every plot development.

        The other major issue with this book was that the author somehow managed to give the minor characters unique personality traits (although sometimes they seemed more like labels the reader was supposed to memorize rather than a live person) whereas the major characters did not feel like characters at all, but more two different narrators with different sets of vocabulary. Their personalities barely showed through at all and they ended up being quite passive throughout the entire first section, not making very many choices that either thickened the plot or revealed their nature. Furthermore, the teenage protagonist’s perspective was painful to read because none of the descriptions of scenery or people were vivid or in any way provided a good vision of what is should have been depicting. Using the correct slang seemed to be more important to the author than the actual content at some points, which made the book frustrating to read. The adult main character, however, provided good imagery of people and places, which makes me think that the author believed she needed to dumb down her vocabulary and writing style to fit the character, but really it was overall boring and somewhat insulting not only  to my own intelligence, but to all teenagers across the board.

        So, long story short, the major characters in this book were boring, the teenage main character seemed too dumb, and there was no suspense whatsoever.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was forgettable because the main characters were not relatable or the teensiest bit interesting, the only “cool” trait about them being the ancient magic that was thrust into their lives, which doesn't count because that characteristic must exist for any of the plot to occur. Furthermore, the absence of suspense throughout the novel makes the point of reading the book unclear to nonexistent.
Cover: I think this cover is alright, the vivid colors caught my eye on the shelf immediately. However, when I walked around with this book at school, two different people on one day asked if it was a comic book because apparently the cover has a comic book style. Honestly, I didn't notice the similarities until after it was mentioned and I stared at the cover for a while, but just to prevent confusion for consumers later I thought it should be mentioned.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality:  2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

tags:  fantasy / Redemption's Heir / ya lit




Chorus - YA Review by AJ G


Reader: AJ G.
Age: 18
Title: Chorus
Author: Emma Trevayne
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Pub Date: 05/27/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book:  I don't think I would recommend this book. It's the sequel to Coda, which I think is most accurately described as being like The Matrix, but with music shoved into the plot line. The sequel is really not much different. The main character is the younger sister of the protagonist in Coda, which would be fine, if she wasn't quite as whiny. She spends a solid third of the book complaining about how she doesn't want to take on the burden of saving everyone from the miraculously restored Corp. Quick tangent about the Corp, it was almost too miraculously restored. It just sprang back up in about a day. Returning to the main character, she seems to think that being a hero is the single worst thing that you can do. It takes her twin brother attempting to shoot her to get her to accept that she has to do something. And even then she only does it because she was going to anyway, just later and only for herself. The writing in this book was fine, but I just really disliked the main character. I also disliked that whenever music was referenced (which is quite a lot) there is no real description of the music. All the descriptions are something like, "The drums were beating wildly, like my heart, and the guitar was like an extension of my hands, and my voice sang out such beautiful and inspiring words." The author never gives you a snippet of what the song is actually about, through lyrics. While that isn't a necessary part of writing about music, it would provide the reader with a better understanding of what the music was like, beyond the main character's music being good and natural and the Corp's music being evil and synthetic.
Memorable or Forgettable: The reluctance of Alpha (the main character) to take on the role of the protagonist was a really different narrative than you would traditionally find in a book like this. Even in Coda, the other book in this series, Anthem takes on the role of the hero unblinkingly. This could have worked better than it did in the story if, for example, Alpha had done less whining about how she wasn't a leader and tried to find a cure for her flashbacks while biding her time, or something. I just didn't see the whining as essential or helpful to the story. Another memorable aspect was finding out about other cities beyond the Web that had survived the apocalypse. Typically you wouldn't even have a sequel to a post-apocolyptic story, but you almost never see surviving communities other than the one where the main character grew up. I would have loved to hear more about how Los Angeles and Seattle had survived differently than the Web, because they obviously don't have the same evil music. Backstory wasn't necessary to the plot, I guess, but it would've been cool.
Cover:  I like the cover. I think it fits with the contents in an interesting, but non-direct way. It's not a depiction of the main character, or even a picture of a person, which I really appreciate. I'm so tired of seeing the same model and cover photo on every book. I also like that it isn't a drawing or picture of something in the book. You can tell automatically that it's about music, which I think was an issue with the cover for Coda. I also like that this cover is more colorful. I was immediately drawn to it when I saw it, because it has such a bold design. It definitely will stand out on the shelf.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

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



The Tragedy Paper - YA Review by Ella O


Reader: Ella O.
Age: 13
Title: The Tragedy Paper
Author: Elizabeth LaBan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 01/08/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Good character development from both views and both a good and tragic ending.
Memorable or Forgettable:  I'll remember this book because of the characters and their development. These characters reminded me a lot of people I know.
Cover: The cover does reflect the contents but the title and reviews from others were what made me choose it.
Age Range: 12 through 13
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation:  great story that goes between two points of view.

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



The Cellar - YA Review by Pazao L


Reader: Pazao L.
Age: 13
Title: The Cellar
Author: Natasha Preston
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: 03/01/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book:  I thought this was a good book for those people who don't mind a little killing and violence. The Cellar had a lot violent killing scenes that were very well explained and detailed; in other words, it was disturbing for me. Other than those particular scenes, I really enjoyed the book. I thought the plot line was very unique and interesting. I could not put the book down, except when it came to the more disturbing scenes. I sort of liked how Natasha changed from one perspective to another, but there were some parts that I was confused about whose view it's from. Something that kept me reading was the fact that the characters had a goal to reach and were working on the succeeding. The main character was pretty well explained. I liked her, but I thought that she was sort of rushed. I also thought the supporting characters weren't developed enough, like Lewis and the girls in the cellar with her. I liked how Natasha allowed us to view Clover's thoughts and feelings and not just Summer's, the main character. I felt like the characters were very natural and realistic, and I would like to get to know some of them. I am really glad I got the chance to read The Cellar because it made me aware of my surroundings.
Memorable or Forgettable:  I think the part I will remember the most would be all the violence because I am not used to reading these kinds of books, and it diversifies my reading logs.
Cover: Covers are usually the first thing I look at before I actually read the description. The cover of The Cellar was very cool and interesting. I thought it really reflected the book and was a good choice. I read The Cellar on Wattpad, and I think the original cover that Natasha had was better looking.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

tags:  mystery / thriller / contemporary / realistic fiction / ya lit



The Prince of Venice Beach - YA Review by Pazao L


Reader: Pazao L.
Age: 13
Title: The Prince of Venice Beach
Author: Blake Nelson
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 06/03/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book:  I really liked this book. It was one of the best almost published books I have read in a very long time. I love the main character, Cali. He was very real and I felt like I was there with him on his journey. I also loved the plot of this story. It's about a topic no other author writes about. It's unique and different, and that's a positive thing. I learned quite a lot about the life of how a runaway lives. It also changed my stereotype that all runaways are not smart and are doing the wrong thing. Everything in this book was realistic. There was nothing about it that seemed fake or unreal. I didn't really enjoy the ending, but it had to happen, so what am I going to do to stop it? The ending is not what I thought it would be, but it was still good. Overall, this book is amazing!
Memorable or Forgettable: I really loved everything about this book and I don't think I will ever forget it.
Cover: The cover is really good. It really made me want to finish the book. It also really reflected the contents.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Annotation:  A runaway boy, Cali, living on the streets of Venice Beach, playing ball with other runaways, and solving cases for private detectives who either can't do their jobs, or are too lazy to do it. He has friends, who are basically his family, and then strangers he meets and greets on the streets. He gets a hard case from a detective and has to decide whether or not he should continue to work for him with a help of a friend he makes on the way.

tags:  mystery / realistic fiction / contemporary / ya lit



Breakfast Served Anytime - YA Review by Alyissa S



Reader: Alyissa S.
Age: 14
Title: Breakfast Served Anytime
Author: Sarah Combs
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 04/08/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Breakfast Served Anytime is a very inspirational book for several reasons. The first reason is it goes by the quote "friendship is a journey" which plays a big role when Gloria goes to geek camp.  The second reason is the book is well written  The final reason Breakfast Served Anytime is very inspirational is because the title plays a part in the story in the end, which made the story understanding
Memorable or Forgettable: The most memorable part of the book is when they went on that helicopter ride for Calvin's birthday.
Cover: The cover of the book matches a part of the story when they go to the egg drop.
Age Range: 14 through 15
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Will you jump or stay?

tags:  coming of age / gifted and talented / contemporary / realistic fiction / ya lit




The Crossover - YA Review by Tristan HB


Reader: Tristan H.B.
Age: 12
Title: The Crossover
Author: Kwame Alexander
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pub Date: 03/18/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The emotion and problems are the best elements in this book.
Memorable or Forgettable: It was forgettable because it was classic brother rivalry when it came to girls.
Cover: The cover tempted me to pick it up because I thought a book about basketball would be good. The title does reflect the contents of the book.
Age Range: 14 through 15
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest

tags:  sports / realistic fiction / African American / ya lit



Winger - YA Review by Frannie M


Reader: Frannie M.
Age: 15
Title: Winger
Author: Andrew Smith
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing
Pub Date: 05/14/13
Galley: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Spoilers Ahead!

Winger was such a fantastic book for me because it provoked an amazingly wide range of emotions. I went from laughing at Ryan Dean's drawings and jokes to tearing up at Joey's death. I became so attached to the characters that I went through a short period of numbness after finishing the book. I couldn't bear to start another book, so I just let all of the leftover thoughts from Winger float around in my head. Andrew Smith did a wonderful job of writing from the point of view of a real teenager. By the middle of the book, I felt like Ryan Dean was simultaneously my best friend, the cute boy I had a crush on, and my silly little brother. When he finally plucked up the courage to kiss Annie, I legitimately had to put the book down and give a little whoop of pride. Ryan Dean, like all of the best characters, had some serious flaws. His relationship with Megan really humanized him, and I understood his struggle of whether or not to continue things with her. Another thing that I appreciated about Winger was that some things were left unresolved. Ryan Dean's friendship with JP, for example, was never completely mended. I both loved and hated the ending of this book. I hated it because it was so abrupt. One minute they were all laughing in their Halloween costumes, and the next they were mourning. However, I definitely understood why the author did this, and I think it made Winger a better book. The ending needed to be abrupt, because that's often how it is in life. One minute everything is normal and the next something completely crazy happens. Though I wish I could have read more about Ryan Dean, the ending really brought the whole story together, and made the book very profound.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was very memorable for me because it wasn't like the books I've read recently. It didn't have to be dressed up by wars or mutations, it was just a teenager's story, albeit a funny and odd one.
Cover: The cover definitely made me pick the book up because it is so striking and in your face. I liked it even more when I reached the corresponding point in the story.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

tags:  realistic fiction / boarding school / ya lit



Suspicion - YA Review by Claire W


Reader: Claire W.
Age: 12
Title: Suspicion
Author: Alexandra Monir
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Pub Date: 12/09/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book had a great plot. It started out with Imogen 7 years ago and then jumps back to the future. The plot was well written for the most part except the end which was really rushed and fast-paced. Character development was great. You get to see Imogen at 10 and at 17 because of the flashback. The ending took a turn I didn't expect at all and was just okay.
Memorable or Forgettable: Well I love all books placed in Europe because I have a personal connection to that. But this was a great story, especially if you love Prince William and Duchess Kate. It has great supernatural aspects and wraps everything up in the end.
Cover:  I love the cover. The maze on the front is mysterious and a really great hook
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity:  4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Imogen once spent every summer in Wickersham, England. But that ended when her parents died in the fire along with her Aunt and Uncle. After that she traveled back to the U.S. to live with her best friend's parents. Then 7 years later a problem arises. Imogen was far off from receiving the throne, but tragedy has hit Wickersham, and now Imogen is the only relative left. Can she go back to Wickersham without horrible memories resurfacing?

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