Violent Ends - YA Review by Jarod D



Reader: Jarod D.
Age: 16
Title: Violent Ends
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub Date: 09/01/15
Galley: No
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book reaches out to everyone from the parents of children to the LGBT community. The book tells the story of multiple people and their points of view; however, it does not reveal the reason for the event. Instead, the authors write the book in a way that everyone can draw their own conclusion, which portrays the reality of events such as these.
Memorable or Forgettable: The book is memorable because it allows bias, without letting any single bias dominate another. Each character has their own ideas about why the school shooting happened. I also enjoyed how the points of view pointed at a single subject, but did not all converge into one full picture of what happened and why it happened.
Cover: The cover of the book was the whole reason I picked it up. It seemed unusual, as we often see color in our world and deny the idea of emptiness. Overall the cover portrayed the book's context to a "t."
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q - Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P - Everyone wants to read it
Additional Comments: This is my favorite book since I joined TKB.
Annotation: School shootings. They're happening all over the world for a multitude of reasons. Everyone always wants to know why.Why would anyone want to do such a terrible thing? What no one ever asks, is what about everyone else? How has it affected them and what is going to happen next? In this book, Violent Ends by Shaun Hutchinson and 16 other authors, you get to see inside the lives of the people who have lost their best friends and their precious loved ones.


tags: tragedy / school shooting / multiple narrators / ya lit



The Novice - YA Review by Evan W



Reader: Evan W.
Age: 13
Title: The Novice (Summoner Book One)
Author: Taran Matharu
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pub Date: 05/05/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The whole plot of the story was great overall, but kind of reminded me of the plot of Eragon. The character development wasn't perfect, but there was good character development. There was some good dialogue, but nothing's perfect unfortunately. The dialogue was very funny at times though. I really liked the world the author created because it was just a very interesting thing and reminded me of The Lord of the Rings - one of my favorite books of all time. It was an amazing book overall.
Memorable or Forgettable: This was a memorable book because it had a lot of amazing characters and a great plot. I think it was really memorable and had a great story and a world that was simply great, but the story was kind of predictable and unpredictable at the same time. In other words, I loved it.
Cover: The cover accurately reflected its contents, although all it showed was Fletcher with his demon and his weapons and a ball of wyrdlight in his hand. It kind of convinced me to pick up the book, but there could be better options for a cover.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 5Q - Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P - Broad general teen appeal


tags:  fantasy / adventure / The Summoner Trilogy / ya lit



Symphony for the City of the Dead - YA Review by Theo S-M



Reader: Theo S-M
Age: 13
Title: Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad
Author: M.T. Anderson
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 09/22/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The book's writing is amazing, the charters are well created, and the story is well done.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book packs alot of facts in, which kept me very interested. I learned alot from this book and did not put it down. 
Cover: Yes the cover is amazing and reflects the contents well.
Age Range: 14 through 15
Quality: 4Q - Better than most
Popularity: 3P - Some teen appeal
Annotation: This book is about Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and its very long siege that caused many people to starve and freeze to death. The book also focuses on a musician's life in Leningrad.


tags: nonfiction / World War II / music / politics / ya lit



Illuminae - YA Review by Simon D-S



Reader: Simon D-S
Age: 15
Title: Illuminae
Author: Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pub Date: 10/20/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book was one of the best books I have ever read. The plot, characters, and unique way of communicating the story made it into a truly amazing read. First off, the characters in the book were believable and realistic. Both main characters had many layers and quirks that made them imperfect and therefore real. The plot was insane. Like, take the genres of mystery, sci- fi, romance, and horror, and put them in solitary confinement for two weeks with knives. That is essentially how the plot of Illuminae is. I make it sound bad with that metaphor, but it is actually really good. Finally, the way they tell the story is great. The usage of emails, ship communications, images, and word collages tell the story perfectly.
Memorable or Forgettable: I will probably never forget this book, as it is one of the most unique I have ever read. Think novel, but with a taste of comic book. Let me make that clear. It is not a comic book. Don't tell people I told you that. What I mean is that it makes words have art. I know I am being vague here, but just read the frickin' book.
Cover: The cover looked cool, with all the creepy writing and stuff, but I couldn't tell if I was cheating by reading it. You'll see.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 5Q - Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P - Everyone wants to read it
Annotation: After the destruction of their home planet by an enemy corporation, Kady and Ezra must put aside their breakup to uncover the truth of their predicament.
Additional Comments: It's not a comic book!


tags: science fiction / dystopian / suspense / ya lit



Wonders of the Invisible World - YA Review by Sam T



Reader: Sam T.
Age: 16
Title: Wonders of the Invisible World
Author: Christopher Barzak
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 09/08/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I didn't really connect with any of the characters. Aiden is sort of annoying and too over-the-top-emotional; Jarrod just feels dull. (As with most novels involving over-the-top teen romance or stream-of-consciousness monologues, I tended to skip over a lot of this book). His mother deceived him for his whole life, and his brother is never really in the picture. The only person I barely felt a connection to was his dad, a laconic but goodhearted man, and he died halfway through.
     The story seems to have little coherence and almost no stakes. Considering that, as the back of the book says, death is inevitable, it's sorta pointless reading about some harbinger of death that can't really be stopped very well. It feels less like an interface between author and reader and more like some senior's emotional monologue about his half-baked, semi-spiritualistic ideas about life and death. Or something. I'm not entirely sure what the author is trying to say. 
     We readers are not active in the story; we're just stuck on the slow amusement park ride based off of it.
     World-building was not great. I felt lost at times. It would have been an interesting, fascinating premise for a world, but I wish that it was written better and went more into the backstory of the world itself. I didn't understand half of what any of the characters were talking about. Like Aiden Lockwood, I felt lost and confused by this strange world that was never really fully explained.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book is only really memorable due to the difficult time that I had reading it. I just eventually got tired of being confused. I didn't really see much of  a story, and the romance really distracted from the main theme of the book, if there was one at all. It's just a weird, mushy emotion-filled, thrill-less story with little coherence or consistency.
Cover: It didn't really interest me at all, and I don't really know what it had to do with the content. The tree painting was really pretty, but that's about all that it's got going for it.
Age Range: 14 through 15
Quality: 2Q - Needs more work
Popularity: 2P - Only for special interest
Additional Comments: I was also pretty confused by the bizarre use of the word "story" throughout the second half of the book. I don't understand this concept at all, and especially not in the already-cluttered universe of the book.
     There's also a strange quote from Cotton Mather (yes, the semi-horrible guy who essentially caused and supported the Salem Witch Trials) at the beginning of the book from Mather's book that shares the same title that seems to have been thrown in there randomly. I don't understand its significance, and I don't really care to know.
     This book might only appeal to fans of ontological, existential LGBT psychic supernatural teen best-friend road-trip heavily-philosophical tomes.


tags: supernatural / romance / LGBT / ya lit



Dreamstrider - YA Review by Allen D



Reader: Allen D.
Age: 15
Title: Dreamstrider
Author: Lindsay Smith
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Pub Date: 10/06/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book is powerful in many ways. Their is a monotheistic religion that is powerful and almost believable. The writing is smooth and is almost so perfect it's hard to put it down.
Memorable or Forgettable: It was memorable by how the author made the story flow real nicely. I didn't like some parts of the religion though. She really could've moved it from realistic to OMG!
Cover: The cover actually deflected me. I didn't understand the point of it and to be honest, only picked up the book so I could stay on TKB.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 4Q - Better than most
Popularity: 2P - Only for special interest
Annotation: Dreams turn into Nightmares in Dreamstrider. In Livia's world she feels a Darkness tugging at her from the shadows, and the nightmares are continuing to grow larger.


tags: fantasy / action / political intrigue / ya lit



Charmed Deception - YA Review by Caroline H


Reader: Caroline H.
Age: 12
Title: Charmed Deception
Author: Eilis O'Neal
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pub Date: 10/27/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book was very suspenseful; it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it. The character development was kind of weak at first, but it became stronger as the story went on. The plot was kind of predictable (girl with forbidden power finds someone else like her, the other girl is imprisoned, her new guy friend helps her break the other girl out without the evil forces finding out, etc.) but other than that it was a great book. My only other complaint is that the dialogue was kind of sappy at times. 
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was memorable, but there were many clich├ęs, including the addition of the extremely clingy guy character and the protagonist with the forbidden power who goes against the odds to bring equality to the world. The dialogue seemed somewhat fake at times. The story was pretty well done, though, and all in all I enjoyed reading it.
Cover: Personally, I really don’t like this cover. It actually reflects the contents pretty well, but the design and colors are kind of unattractive. 
Age Range: under 12 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q - Better than most
Popularity: 3P - Some teen appeal
Additional Comments: Maybe it's just me, but this book sounds like Harry Potter...


tags: fantasy / magic / romance / ya lit



Illuminae - YA Review by Eli S-M



Reader: Eli S-M
Age: 16
Title: Illuminae
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pub Date: 10/20/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This is an interesting and highly original book that features a unique format, setting, and plot. The setting, a convoy of company and government spaceships on the run from the fleet of a rival company, is original and exciting. The plot manages to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the book's 600 or so pages by constantly throwing new challenges and danger at the characters. Illuminae does suffer from a lack of clear explanation surrounding some of the events at the end. It seemed as though some things happened just so that the book could have an exciting climax.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was extremely memorable, mainly because of the unique format. The story is told as a series of ship's logs, security camera footage summaries, and emails between main characters. This format has its advantages, but also its disadvantages- it's very hard to get into the character's heads and understand their motivations. It did, however, certainly make the book memorable.
Cover: The cover was somewhat interesting, and neither tempted me nor turned me away. It did not accurately reflect the book's contents - I had absolutely no idea what it would be about until I started reading. 
Age Range: 12 through 18 and up
Quality: 3Q - Readable
Popularity: 4P - Broad general teen appeal


tags:  science fiction / dystopian / suspense / ya lit



dotwav - YA Review by Simon D-S


Reader: Simon D-S
Age: 15
Title: dotwav
Author: Mike A Lancaster
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pub Date: 11/24/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book had some semi-realistic teen characters, interesting and different plot, and some technology problems. The teen characters in this book are semi-believable and realistic, with one of them having an anger management issue, which is a real thing that happens. The reason I include "semi" is because he has this problem essentially go away because of this weird brain chip which I will talk about later. The plot is kind of unrealistic, with one of the main characters having a hacker/musician uncle and that uncle having a friend who has something like a photographic memory and a huge library. (I want that library.) The plot has good pacing however, allowing for a good read. Where the book has its most interesting issue is with technology. The author has the agency that one of the characters works for just give him this little brain chip that allows him to a) get rid of his anger management issue and b) just be a pro at everything. This got a little stupid at times, as the character would be like "Accessing kung fu files...." and I was like "no."
Memorable or Forgettable: The idea of the different sound waves was really cool and the author used it well. I will probably remember this book for its straight up trippy ending. You are totally just putting the book down and going "Whaaaaaaaa....?" I went to bed questioning my sanity the night I finished reading it.
Cover: The sound wave image is pretty cool. It also pulls off the effect of going through the ears.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 3Q - Readable
Popularity: 4P - Broad general teen appeal


tags:  science fiction / techno-thriller / ya lit



The Beast of Cretacea - YA Review by Sam T



Reader: Sam T.
Age: 16
Title: The Beast of Cretacea
Author: Todd Strasser
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 10/13/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I liked the book a fair amount; it was a good story that was interesting and riveting and kept me on my toes. I also liked the characters, as all of the different characters and character groups were very interesting and I felt a connection with them due to good characterization and good use of emotion and backstory. Finally, I also enjoyed the adventure and danger aspects of the novel, and I found the fight over the serum and the hierarchy of their future society interesting.
     One thing that personally irked me off a little as a science nerd was that the book's depiction of the Cretaceous Period was often inaccurate. The author made up a fictitious stingray-like creature, and added in creatures that did not exist yet such as bats and deer. (It would be like setting a book in the 1940's and including iPhones) Scenes like the pterosaur picking someone up would also have been impossible in real life. Popular culture depictions of prehistory are almost always wildly different than reality, and I'd desperately hoped that this book would be different. Of course, it is important to mention that the book was written well enough so that my belief was mostly suspended, but the fact that the author did not do his homework bugged me at the back of my mind as I read.  Overall, it was a good and interesting story, and the concept was great, although some parts of it were flawed. I also thought the ending was a little bit of a letdown - he never finds his brother nor his parents.
Memorable or Forgettable: It was memorable and interesting because it did a very interesting, unexpected and original retelling of a famous book, Moby Dick, that I have never read. I thought it was a unique enough concept that it stood out somewhat.
Cover: The cover was okay. I feel that maybe it gives a little too much away about the beast and prevents readers from imagining it themselves. Although it could have been a little better, I thought it was still interesting enough to warrant my attention.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q - Better than most
Popularity: 3P - Some teen appeal


tags: science fiction / maritime adventure / coming of age / Moby Dick / ya lit



When You Leave - YA Review by Chloe B.



Reader: Chloe B.
Age: 14
Title: When You Leave
Author: Monica Ropal
Publisher: Running Press
Pub Date: 04/07/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book was a mystery and, unlike some mysteries, in the beginning it wasn't too slow paced and still managed to give you a good idea of characters and their personalities. Good characterization. I also really enjoyed the plot of this book - towards the end of the book I really couldn't put it down. In the beginning of the book where the main character, Cassie, was dating Cooper was adorable and romantic. Although I found the fact that Cassie's best friend Mattie was mute sort of unnecessary and tedious. A few times there was some wording that I found confusing. Also, at one point in the book, Cassie mentions falling in love with Mattie and I felt like that exact statement should've been elaborated on more - it wasn't really brought up again until towards the end of the book.
Memorable or Forgettable: Like I said, this book had a very good plotline and good character development. And I did enjoy reading it. However, it isn't one of those books that I'd read over and over again.
Cover: I'm pretty impartial to the cover. In this book the main character has a lot of struggles but I feel like the cover of the book makes it look more sad than it is. It doesn't really have too much to do with the plot.
Age Range: 14 through 15
Quality: 3Q - Readable
Popularity: 4P - Broad general teen appeal


tags: mystery / romance / ya lit



The Court of Fives - YA Review by Dana F



Reader: Dana F.
Age: 14
Title: The Court of Fives
Author: Kate Elliott
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 08/18/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I really liked the setting because it was creative and detailed, and the characters because they had depth and were all pretty well developed. The plot points, however, were a bit lacking. There were several different things going on, the Fives, some magical elements, family drama, and romance that were never really tied together. It felt like a bunch of random points were just thrown in.
Memorable or Forgettable: I really liked the idea of this book, but I felt like it wasn't very well executed. It was kind of confusing and a lot of the time I was wondering why that whole part was necessary. I thought this book was about something other than what was given to me.
Cover: I like the colors and design of the cover. It sort of reflected the contents.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 2Q - Needs more work
Popularity: 4P - Broad general teen appeal


tags: fantasy / adventure / ya lit



Sweet - YA Review by Sam T



Reader: Sam T.
Age: 16
Title: Sweet
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pub Date: 06/02/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I more or less liked the characters, even if they were slightly annoying. After a while I kind of got sick of hearing Viv complain about her weight and Laurel fawn over Tom. The only likable character was Cubby the cameraman, and he's dead. And maybe Derek.
     The book took a turn for the ridiculous halfway through. It was a wild ride, but I can't call it "good", either by comedy standards or by non-comedic ones. I know it's sort of supposed to be funny, but parts of it are too disgusting to make it so. Reading the book is sort of like watching Sharknado- you can't really take it as a serious book, even if the writing was better and less sassy. The book is too ridiculous and childish for older readers but too gory for the youngsters.
     The constant parenthetical statements were kind of annoying, and I got a little tired of hearing Laurel talk. That being said, the author doesn't really craft different narrative voices  for Tom and Laurel; the hallmark of a good book is one where you can take a sentence and immediately know which character said it. This book does not do that. Tom sort of narrates like a Laurel clone.
     The book is supposed to be a social commentary, but I'm not sure who it's targeting. Celebrities? Fat people? People who shame fat people? Skinny people who think they're fat? American society? To be honest, I don't really know and I don't really care.
     Killing off America in the last chapter was a gutsy move, and I have to applaud the author for bravery, but it still really really disappointed me. Sometimes making a risky, original plot development makes a book more interesting; sometimes it ruins it. This ending was the latter.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was only memorable for its campy ridiculousness. Otherwise it was more or less dull. The story seemed recycled, the characters were thin and flat, the story was outlandish. In addition, it was not nearly funny enough to be a comedy but not serious enough to be taken seriously. Overall, it was generally not amazing, but surprisingly not a complete failure.
Cover: The cover was a little confusing. It was hard to tell if I was holding the book upside down or not.
Age Range: 16 through 17
Quality: 2Q - Needs more work
Popularity: 3P - Some teen appeal
Additional Comments: The quality rating is probably more like 2.6 or 2.7, but there were no intermediate options. At points I'd say that it actually reached maybe a 3.4 or 3.5 but the overall average was probably around 2.6.


tags: horror / romance / ya lit



The Rig - YA Review by Sam T



Reader: Sam T.
Age: 16
Title: The Rig
Author: Joe Ducie
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pub Date: 10/06/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I liked the characters, even if they were a little cliched at times. I really felt connected to them. I also thought the dialogue was okay, although everyone (regardless of country) sounded a little British at times. I thought, however, that the superpowers seemed a little over-the-top, unrealistic and ridiculous, and the "magical meteorite" was not a very original nor interesting idea. Overall, I liked the book, although I was also disappointed by most of it.
Memorable or Forgettable: It doesn't really seem that memorable, besides the superpowers thing. It seems to rely on the "genius escape artist kid" trope too much, which is unfortunate because that is far too overused.
Cover: The cover was okay and more or less seemed to reflect the contents.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 3Q - Readable
Popularity: 3P - Some teen appeal


tags: science fiction / supernatural / dystopia / suspense / action / ya lit



After the Red Rain - YA Review by Sam T



Reader: Sam T.
Age: 16
Title: After the Red Rain
Author: Barry Lyga, Peter Facinelli, and Robert DeFranco
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pub Date: 08/04/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I really liked the characters, and felt attached to them, although I thought some of the romance was a little cliched. I really liked the storyline, and thought it was supenseful, although it seems like the authors made Rose a little too powerful and gave him a little too many different abilities. However, I really did like the idea of a plant-human hybrid, although some of the other genetic hybrids, like blue rats and tooth-weeds, seemed a little too outlandish.
     I was also frustrated that there seemed to be some unexplained inconsistencies, such as: if Deedra was rescued from the Red Rain machines as a baby, and the Red Rain happened a long time ago, why isn't she super old? If it happened more recently, why don't people remember what it was like more clearly?
Memorable or Forgettable: It was mostly memorable for the unique storyline and the plot twists, although it frustrated me that it left some questions unanswered. Although it had a unique idea, it also seemed to rely a little too heavily on conventional tropes of the genre.
Cover: The cover was somewhat interesting and mostly related, although I'm not quite sure what the spiky things that she's standing on are. Also, the general image of the cover seems sort of familiar, as I believe I've seen similar covers on other post-apocalyptic books.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 4Q - Better than most
Popularity: 4P - Broad general teen appeal


tags: action / dystopia / post-apocalyptic / romance / ya lit



Dreamstrider - YA Review by Alyissa S



Reader: Alyissa S.
Age: 15
Title: Dreamstrider
Author: Lindsay Smith
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Pub Date: 10/06/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Dreamstrider is amazing. This book is really well written, but the transitions could been a lot better - like how they end the chapters was poorly done. The characters were great but the character development was slow for the main character and fast for everyone else. I wish they had explained the empires better but that's okay, they made it up by describing the characters down to the core. Finally they shouldn't have friend-zoned that hard - like we get it!
Memorable or Forgettable: The qualities that make this book memorable were the cover and the characters.
Cover: The cover did make me want to pick it up because it was different from the other covers. The cover did reflect the contents.
Age Range: 14 through 15
Quality: 4Q - Better than most
Popularity: 4P - Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Being a spy is cool but being a body stealer, now that's a different story.


tags: fantasy / action / political intrigue / ya lit



The Serpent King - YA Review by Veronica K



Reader: Veronica K.
Age: 14
Title: The Serpent King
Author: Jeff Zentner
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pub Date: 03/08/16
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: In the beginning, this book felt slow. The plot didn't make much sense to me, and it didn't feel like it was going anywhere. But it picked up fairly quickly, and that helped it along. 
     The characters were amazing. I felt like I knew them, why they were doing certain things, why they thought the way they did. I liked how different chapters were in different perspectives. Other people have tried this, like Rick Roirdan in his Egypt and Roman series, but I think this book is the only one I've read that truly pulled this technique off. It really helped me understand the characters. Honestly, I think the characters are the best part of this book.
     There are a few details that I would have liked added, that I think would have added to the plot, and the book in general. Some of the songs Dill wrote would have been nice. We got to see Lydia's blog, so why not the songs? Also, more from the dad. Dill Sr. seems to be the reason Dill Jr.'s life is so miserable, but we don't learn much about him. I get that the book is about the kid, but I think the dad would have been able to further expand on the kid's character.
Memorable or Forgettable: Why is this book memorable? The emotion. There are bad books where the characters don't feel. There are okay books where just the characters feel. And there are good books where the reader feels. This is a book where you get weird looks in public because you are crying over it. Spoilers: Seriously! The author took the character I related to most and murdered him! And the characters are reacting, and the writing is reacting, and this is basically an emotional bomb! So yeah. This book is memorable because of the emotion.
Cover: I guess the cover is okay. It doesn't really sway my might-read-the-book-ness. It does reflect the contents.
Age Range: 12 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q - Better than most
Popularity: 4P - Broad general teen appeal


tags: coming of age / Southern fiction / ya lit



A Court of Thorns and Roses - YA Review by Perrin S



Reader: Perrin S.
Age: 17
Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pub Date: 05/05/15
Galley: No
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I'll start off by saying that I am a big Sarah J. Maas fan. And this book had alot of the things I like about her other books. Such as tone, the way she writes in her genre and the way her characters are developed and represented. There was one aspect that I was not a huge fan of. The story is set up with a certain pacing and arc. And within the last third of the book, that completely changes along with the plot. This sorta threw me out of the story, it felt like a whole other book had been pushed into the last part of this one. For the most part I don't know how to feel about this. Once I got back into the story, I liked the plot at the end and I still like the book as a whole. But I am frustrated with that part. 
Memorable or Forgettable: Again, I'm a Sarah J. Maas fan, so this book is sitting in the V.I.P section of my bookcase, but if it wasn't written by her I don't know if it would have been memorable to me. It was a mostly well done book, but the plot and characters seemed to be similar to alot of other stuff that's out in YA right now and I didn't find anything in the book that really made it stand out. But like I said, I think its really well written and very enjoyable. I wish more books with similar plots were written this well. 
Cover: Yes. Beautiful cover. It was dramatic without looking cliched or fake. Loved the colors, and I loved that there were parts of the cover that I didn't understand until I finished the book. Good Job on this one!
Age Range: 16 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q - Better than most
Popularity: 4P - Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Very interesting and intriguing story. Good, entertaining book to read. 


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



Becoming Jinn - YA Review by Caroline H



Reader: Caroline H.
Age: 12
Title: Becoming Jinn
Author: Lori Goldstein
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pub Date: 04/21/15
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The story and plot were great, and there was a lot of character development throughout the book. However, it felt like the characters seemed a bit fake at times because of their dialogue/actions. It also felt like the story just stopped at the end, like it was rolling down a cliff and suddenly fell off. Other than that, I really enjoyed this book because you can relate with the characters and get to know their stories.
Memorable or Forgettable: The emotional experience made this book a worthwhile experience, just because you can relate with the characters in some ways and feel their emotions. But it was also kind of cheesy and the plot was pretty predictable in some places. So I have mixed feelings about this book.
Cover: The cover made me pick up the book in the first place. It does reflect the book, and it made me want to read it.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 4Q - Better than most
Popularity: 4P - Broad general teen appeal


tags: fantasy / romance / teenage genie / ya lit



No True Echo - YA Review by Sam T



Reader: Sam T.
Age: 16
Title: No True Echo
Author: Gareth P. Jones
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pub Date: 10/13/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I really liked the twists and the interesting idea of having alternate timelines created by going back in time and changing one decision. I also liked the characterization and the suspenseful plot. Although it was very confusing and hard to understand in parts, the book is still a good, entertaining read.
Memorable or Forgettable: It was mostly memorable because it took the genre of a time-travel story and the trope of repeating the same day over and over (like in Groundhog Day) and did something interesting and slightly unexpected with it.
Cover: It sort of turned me off at first because I didn't quite know what it was supposed to show. I understand the echo-like design and the repetition, but I don't know why the main character is floating. I don't understand the design choices completely.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 4Q - Better than most
Popularity: 3P - Some teen appeal


tags: psychological thriller / time travel / ya lit



Losers Take All - YA Review by Nick B



Reader: Nick B.
Age: 16
Title: Losers Take All
Author: David Klass
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Pub Date: 10/20/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book had realistic characters that helped a slightly realistic plot create an interesting story. In the book the Senior students are forced to play at least one sport at their sports enthusiastic high school. The characters are not thrilled about this as most of them are more interested in academics. As one who attends a school in which it is almost the opposite of the one described in the book, I think the academic characters are portrayed very well. The thoughts and knowledge of sports fits those of a majority of students at the school I attend. Where as a sports enthusiast, I can also relate to the hopes and dreams of the characters making them realistic and believable.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was memorable because of the interesting story. A group of non-athletic kids and kids uninterested in sports are forced to play a sport their senior year. These kids are the minority at their high school so they decide to form their own c-level soccer team. Without any athletic talent among most of the team, they turn into an internet sensation for losing. They even claim to be the worst soccer team in the world. This deeply upsets the school since most of their sports teams dominate every other team. This interesting story made the book memorable. 
Cover: I liked the cover of this book. I thought it was an interesting cover and was designed fairly well. The red foam finger with the title LOSERS across it was extremely humorous to me. This is one of the covers that was fairly original. I would read this book just from seeing the cover.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 3Q - Readable
Popularity: 4P - Broad general teen appeal


tags:  humor / sports / ya lit



Timmy Failure: Sanitized for Your Protection - YA Review by Evan B



Reader: Evan B.
Age: 11
Title: Timmy Failure: Sanitized for Your Protection
Author: Stephan Pastis
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 10/06/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The narration is very funny and melodramatic, and the art is done by it's author, Stephen Pastis, who happens to write the comic 'Pearls Before Swine'. It's an extremely sarcastic read that makes you cringe at the main character's arrogance. Authentic, brutally funny, and well written, this book is a winner.
Memorable or Forgettable: As I said, I love the dialogue, but I adore the illustrations. The drawings were unforgettably minimalistic and Timmy's way of describing his enemies is precious.
Cover: I have already read the first Timmy Failure, and of course I loved it, so this was a must for me.
Age Range: 14 through 15
Quality: 5Q - Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 2P - Only for special interest
Annotation: Timmy Failure is an incompetent detective with a huge ego and an unlikely enemy - the sweet Molly Moskins. After an odd birthday party the duo and their polar bear, Total, end up in Chicago. This hilarious book pokes fun at the cliched 'kid detective' genre and really says what a real kid would do when faced with a case.


tags: humor / kid detectives / Timmy Failure / ya lit



The Dogs - YA Review by Veronica K



Reader: Veronica K.
Age: 14
Title: The Dogs
Author: Allan Stratton
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: 09/01/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I didn't like this book. It read less like a novel and more like an informational text. The situation the characters are placed in makes no sense. Cameron, who everyone calls smart, is actually extremely stupid. And the "extremely paranoid" mother would have been locked up a looooong time ago. Assuming that didn't happen, she would have locked her kid up fairly quickly in the book. All in all, it makes no sense.
Memorable or Forgettable: It's forgettable. It was written in a way that takes your time, but not your mind.
Cover: The cover is boring and forgettable. I'd say it reflects the contents.
Age Range: 12 through 13
Quality: 2Q - Needs more work
Popularity: 3P - Some teen appeal


tags:  horror / psychological thriller / supernatural / ya lit



Awake - YA Review by Sophie L



Reader: Sophie L.
Age: 14
Title: Awake
Author: Natasha Preston
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: 08/04/15
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: First off, I love the genre Natasha Preston writes in. I've read The Cellar so there was an expectation to be met by this book, and it was. The plot was really creative. The only big problem I had with the plot was that a lot of the book revolved around the main character not remembering what happened in her life before the age of 4. I have maybe 2 or 3 memories from before the age of 4. I really would have prefered an age like 6 or 7. Otherwise, I loved the unexpected turns the story took. However, I didn't so much like the writing itself. A lot of the dialogue seemed like what people don't actually say. I know some of the characters were in a cult and that would have influenced their speech, but the dialogue also wasn't great among the normal characters. I think I spent about 2/3 of this book internally screaming, "HOW CAN YOU WANT TO KILL YOUR CHILD OR ANYONE AT ALL FOR THAT MATTER!!" Good books give me emotions, so this book is good.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book has so many things that most other books don't have, really memorable characters and the way they feel about each other (such as wanting to kill your child).
Cover: Great cover! It was just enough like The Cellar so I could recognize the author. Very aesthetically pleasing and reflective of the contents.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q - Better than most
Popularity: 4P - Broad general teen appeal


tags:  thriller / cult / ya lit



Reawakened - YA Review by Sam T



Reader: Sam T.
Age: 15
Title: Reawakened
Author: Colleen Houck
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pub Date: 08/11/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I just wasn't a fan of this book at all. I picked it up thinking it might be an action-packed thriller about Egyptian mythology. Instead, the book begins with Lily, a girl who accidentally bumps into a magical Egyptian prince wandering unseen around a museum, who then casts a spell on her to make her his forced travelling companion. For some reason, he needs to leech off of her life force, which doesn't make sense because he already has solar power. All Lily does is follow him around, fall in love with him, and explain useless cultural references for him which he would have figured out anyway. All Lily seems to talk about is how awesome her "gorgeous sun-god boyfriend" the ever-oblivious Amon is (who isn't even her boyfriend, considering they never really kiss), and indeed he seems to have no faults. He can teleport, can use solar power, can levitate things, can manipulate time, shoot fire from his hands, make his skin glow, and make glowing swords from nothing using magic. Want to look inconspicuous? Amon can use Jedi mind tricks to keep hidden. It seems quite unclear why Lily is actually necessary. Amon's powers seem to be able to do whatever the plot wants them to. Lily, meanwhile, is just along for the ride. And, if not for the fact that Amon's canopic jars have been lost (what sort of Egyptologist forgets to keep that sort of stuff together with the mummy they were found with?) then Lily wouldn't be there at all. Lily seems only to talk about Amon's perfectness and how strict and terrible her parents are. I had to skip multiple paragraphs while trying to read this book because I got tired of Lily focusing more on Amon or on her dull life than on saving the world, which they never really got that far with. There were multiple times where, when reading, I thought, "Okay, Lily, I know you love Amon and he's perfect and your parents are restrictive and whatever. We've already established this almost five times in this chapter now." The "saving the world" part never seems very urgent because they waste time eating, almost-kissing, talking, staring at each other, and dancing at a nightclub in Cairo. By the time they actually began trying to save the world, I had already lost interest. It's also kind of weird how she falls in love with her kidnapper. She just stops being angry at him after a while and suddenly starts falling in love. Also, why does an Egyptian prince have light-ish skin and hazel/green eyes? Is that truly necessary? The characters are paper-thin. I couldn't care less if one (or both) of them were buried by falling rubble in an underground tomb.
Memorable or Forgettable: It seems forgettable because it seems unoriginal. It seems to have taken pieces from Night At The Museum, Twilight (with mummies instead of vampires and without the love triangle), The Mummy, and many other works of fiction. Where originality is needed, it instead relies on well-known tropes of the genre to get by.
Cover: It wasn't that interesting to me, as I was only slightly interested enough when I read the back.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 2Q - Needs more work
Popularity: 4P - Broad general teen appeal


tags:  romance / adventure / Egyptian mythology / ya lit



Careers - YA Review by Theo S-M



Reader: Theo S-M
Age: 13
Title: Careers: The Graphic Guide to Finding the Perfect Job For You
Author: Dorling Kindersley Limited
Publisher: Peguin Random House
Pub Date: 03/03/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book is a non-ficton book about careers - it is pretty straight forward. It is a good book that is way more informative than I thought it would be. In a weird way it was fun to have a look around the book. I mean  it is a non-ficton book. But it is fun to compare jobs of people you know.
Memorable or Forgettable: For every job there is a little icon that I strangely enjoy.
Cover: The cover is a perfect refelction of the book, and it did draw me in to the book (originally as a joke).
Age Range: Under 12 through 18 and up
Quality: 3Q - Readable
Popularity: 3P - Some teen appeal


tags:  non-fiction / career guide / ya lit



Another Day - YA Review by Courtney D



Reader: Courtney D.
Age: 18
Title: Another Day
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pub Date: 08/25/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This is book is a treat for fans of the book Every Day. This companion book is told from the perspective of Rhiannon and her experience of meeting A, the human who wakes up in a different body every day. While it is written in a similar style as Every Day, Levithan gives Rhiannon a very clear and unique voice. It is fascinating to see A through her eyes and learn how meeting A affected her daily life. My only problem with this book is that it was not the most interesting read since it was the same story as Every Day, but that is to be expected of a companion book. 
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was not very memorable just because it was so similar to the companion book. The other book however is an extremely memorable book because it is such an interesting topic and story. Both books tackle difficult ideas such as gender, sexuality, and what it means to be human. 
Cover: The cover is very similar to the book Every Day which caught my attention since I liked that book so much. It would also catch the attention of someone who hasn't read the first book which may prompt them to start reading both of them.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 3Q - Readable
Popularity: 4P - Broad general teen appeal


tags:  romance / ya lit