The Forgetting - YA Review by Brooke H



Reader: Brooke H.
Age: 16
Title: The Forgetting
Author: Nicole Maggi
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: 02/03/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Overall, I thought this book was pretty good.  I really loved how there was a good message within the story. The subject of sex trafficking is something I never thought about, but this novel made me more aware of the problem, and it left me with a desire to get involved. I also really liked the protagonist's transformation throughout the book from someone who just went about her everyday life really only thinking of herself to someone who saw the world around her. I do think that some of the side characters could have been better developed. I didn't really fall in love with them, but I know that with just a bit more development, I could have, particularly with the character of Annabel. I also think the romantic relationship between the protagonist and Nate developed way too quickly and unrealistically.  Also, the writing sometimes seemed amateurish to me, like something a random teen could write for fun rather than that of someone who writes for a living. Despite these things, I did enjoy the book. The mystery unraveled nicely, and I wasn't expecting the end.
Memorable or Forgettable: What made the book most memorable for me was the heavy topic of human trafficking that was interwoven with the rest of the plot. I can respect any book that will raise awareness among younger people.
Cover: I'm not really a fan of covers that basically just have a person on the front, but this one did interest me.  The darkness of it, the font of the title, and the glowing heart were all nice touches. They added some mystery and intrigue to the cover.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal


tags:  mystery / romance / suspense / human trafficking / ya lit




Cuckoo Song - YA Review by Rayna Grace C



Reader: Rayna Grace C.
Age: 16
Title: Cuckoo Song
Author: Frances Hardinge
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pub Date: 05/12/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: If this book was 200 pages shorter, I would be able to finish it. Every other aspect of this book is fantastic (with the exception of a few minor blunders) but the useless description throughout the entire book drags it down so much as to make it barely readable.  I have made it through about two-thirds of the novel, but it has taken me a month of serious dedication to do so. I am sorry, but no one needs a 15-candy description of a window in a strange candy store— after about three candies, it is understood that candy is displayed in the window. No one cares how the trees swayed like dancers under the autumn sun when Triss was out for a walk; unless the description allows the reader to understand a character more clearly, is vital to the plot, or provides necessary thematic symbolism, it is not needed. No matter how beautiful the details, if they are irrelevant they must be removed for a book to hold any reader’s attention. Please, I am begging everyone involved in the creation of this book, hack this thing up. The erroneous details and explanation must be removed if anyone-- not just teens-- will truly enjoy this book.
Memorable or Forgettable: If the description was not an issue, I would have remembered this book as a wonderful novel with a refreshing new take on changelings. Although I think that the story would have been more captivating if the main character was not the exception to the rule in the feelings/bloodthirst department, I still really like the book’s overall theme about fate vs. free will and the power of acceptance in friendships. The characters were strange, yet comforting in their blatantly imperfect and gently endearing mannerisms, from Penny’s exhausting curiosity/rebellious nature to The Shrike’s calm and dangerous wild-card persona. The slow incorporation of history into the story was happily peculiar, too, but the overly analytic descriptions made the roaring twenties setting seem dull and pretentious.  For example, the scene in the speakeasy that lasted 10 minutes for the characters but took millennia to explain on paper. Even though the metaphors were almost lyrical, they were too drawn out and crowded  by other details in the book. I’m sorry, I am back on the ‘too many details’ tangent. I just cannot stand to see this book waste so much potential because of too much content. All in all, I will remember this book because some serious chopping needs to happen before it will reach anywhere near its full potential.
Cover: The cover is creepy and surprisingly relatable to the story. I think it fits the book pretty well, but it isn't the most enchanting cover I have ever seen. 9/10
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal


tags:  fantasy / changelings / ya lit




Red Queen - YA Review by Claire W



Reader: Claire W.
Age: 13
Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub Date: 02/10/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The basis of the plot was a tried and true story, but Aveyard does a fabulous job of making it her own. The book keeps you guessing at every single turn. The main character, Mare, has 3 different boys who are basically devoted to her. But she is always able to look past that and at the bigger picture.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was extremely memorable because of the gigantic twist at the end.
Cover: The cover was pretty good and very much reflects the contents of the book.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Mare Barrow lives in a world split by blood. Silvers (the elite group) have special powers and are the only people eligible to wear the crowns. Reds are considered dirt and do all the jobs no Silver would ever think of doing. Mare is a red blood. At the age of 18 if you don't have a job you are required to serve in the army. Mare finds a job at the castle to save herself from the army so she can keep supporting her family. But it is full of people she despises. The first day on the job it is discovered that she has powers just like Silvers but she has red blood. In order to cover it up, the Queen comes up with a plan to disguise Mare as a royal who grew up in a red community. Mare gets mixed up in a revolution and ends up being loved by two brothers.


tags:  fantasy / dystopian / magical powers / romance / intrigue / ya lit




Palace of Lies - YA Review by Ruby F



Reader: Ruby F.
Age: 14
Title: Palace of Lies (The Palace Chronicles)
Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 04/07/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: My favorite quality of Palace of Lies was the dialog of the main character, Desmia. She's quirky and bold, and that shows through the writing style. The plot was an interesting twist, and not as cliche as your typical princess-saves-kingdom novel.
Memorable or Forgettable: Before reading Palace of Lies, I didn't find Margaret Peterson Haddix's books even vaguely interesting or intriguing. I can relate to some of the main character's situations and Haddix really did a great job with the dialog.
Cover: I loved the cover of Palace of Lies. It is a simply picture but it does its job of recapping the book's contents.
Age Range: 12 through 13
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal


tags:  suspense / The Palace Chronicles series / ya lit




Seaborne #1: The Lost Prince - YA Review by Tristan HB



Reader: Tristan HB
Age: 13
Title: Seaborne #1: The Lost Prince
Author: Matt Myklush
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pub Date: 05/26/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The character development was amazing in this book, and it’s impossible not to feel something while reading this book.
Memorable or Forgettable: The most memorable part in this book is that the author, who used to work at MTV, could write a story like this.
Cover: The cover did tempt me to pick up the book and it does reflect a part in the book.
Age Range: Under 12 through 13
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Annotation: child born at sea turns out to be the possible heir to an island. He must face dangerous tasks to prove he is the heir.



tags:  adventure / mystery / pirates / ya lit



Storm (The SYLO Chronicles #2) - YA Review by Derek



Reader: Derek D.
Age: 13
Title: Storm (The SYLO Chronicles #2)
Author: D.J. MacHale
Publisher: Razorbill
Pub Date: 03/25/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book is the second book in the SYLO Chronicles series. I really liked this book because it was full of action, suspense, and a couple of plot twists. The four main characters from the first book - Tucker, Tori, Kent, and Olivia - grow closer together as they travel across the country searching for answers. Even though they sometimes break each other’s trust and get angry at each other, they always look out for one another and stick together to the end. The situations that they get into are also very interesting and full of action. They meet lots of characters on their cross country quest. Most of those characters are only in a short part of the book, but they are still noticeable. The plot of the story is very fascinating and answers many questions from the first book, but still leaves some to be answered in the next.
Memorable or Forgettable: The action and plot of this book helped make it really memorable. Also, the characters and their development also made reading this an unforgettable experience.
Cover: The cover does reflect the contents of the book, but it only shows an image of something that happened near the end of it and doesn’t show the overall contents of the book.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal


tags:  action / adventure / apocalyptic / dystopian / science fiction / SYLO Chronicles / ya lit



Firefight - YA Review by Simon D-S



Reader: Simon D-S
Age: 14
Title: Firefight
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pub Date: 01/06/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This was a very well rounded book , The dialogue was quite real, and I liked it. The plot was good and well paced with just enough plot to balance out the constant explosions.... And sure, there might be some character development in there somewhere, but the important part is that the second book in the Reckoners series is HERE people! Sorry, but it is SO good that it is just the best.
Memorable or Forgettable: Okay, let's get something straight. Steelheart is one of the best books written ever. So, once you accept that, you can understand how frickin’ amazing and awesome Firefight is. I am SO excited for Calamity which comes out next year. Very memorable and really good.
Cover: Yep. The metal explosions were a sure way to make me pick it up.
Age Range: Under 12 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Additional CommentsRead it. Right now. Stop what you are doing and find it.
Annotation: With Steelheart defeated in Newcago, David and Prof head to defeat a new high epic: Regalia, an epic with absolute control of the sea.


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




Firefight - YA Review by Nick B



Reader: Nick B.
Age: 15
Title: Firefight
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pub Date: 01/06/15
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The story is absolutely amazing. The author creates a suspenseful story in which he keeps you guessing the motives of the characters until the very end. The idea of superpowers driving everyone who has them to be corrupt is incredibly original and interesting.
Memorable or Forgettable: The author has great character development. The ideas and thoughts of the characters are very realistic. The characters and story are so realistic you forget you’re reading a book. The sensory details and descriptions of the characters make the book memorable and enjoyable to read.
Cover: I think the cover is a bit ironic. It consists of flames and a fiery skyline.  Whereas the book takes place in a paradise surrounded by water. The cover reflects a couple major scenes from the book, but I would have rather seen the city on the cover since it seems very eye appealing.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal


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




Elena Vanishing - YA Review by Sophie L



Reader: Sophie L.
Age: 14
Title: Elena Vanishing
Author: Elena and Claire B. Dunkle
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Pub Date: 05/19/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Overall, I liked this book. The beginning was a little confusing, the setting wasn't explained very well in the beginning but eventually it made sense. The character descriptions were good throughout the book. Elena Vanishing is about a girl who has an eating disorder-it was a very heavy topic and it was hard to read at some points. Not only was it hard to read, but the fact that this story is true made it even harder. This book made me look at eating disorders in a new way, and I've never read a book like this. I don't think most people know the risks and consequences of eating disorders and this book explained that and was a look into the mind of someone with an eating disorder. Throughout the book, Elena had a voice in her head telling her that she was fat and very negative things about her. This was interesting for me to read and understand more about eating disorders.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book is very memorable because it was unique, and also because it was true and all of the bad things that happened to her actually happened. It made me think a lot about how it can be very hard to overcome obstacles in life, but it is possible to get through it.
Cover: I like the cover design and it reflected the contents well because it was a spoon and the book is about eating disorders.
Age Range: 16 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal


tags:  memoir / anorexia / ya lit




The Bunker Diary - YA Review by Claire W



Reader: Claire W.
Age: 13
Title: The Bunker Diary
Author: Kevin Brooks
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Pub Date: 04/01/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book was heartbreaking. Linus is just such an interesting person. The way he develops to care for a nine year old named Jenny who was also kidnapped. I can barely think about the book without sobbing.
Memorable or Forgettable: The whole idea of the book was completely horrifying. But so riveting at the same time.
Cover: I liked the cover a lot because it fits in right along with the book.
Age Range: 16 through1 8 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Additional CommentsI feel this book so deserved the award it won.
Annotation: Linus was just trying to help someone. But he was tricked and kidnapped. He wakes up in a bunker, put there by an unknown man. Linus calls him the Big Man.


tags: suspense / ya lit




Backlash - YA Review by Veronica K



Reader: Veronica K.
Age: 14
Title: Backlash
Author: Sarah Darer Littman
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pub Date: 03/31/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The characters were amazing. They interacted well, they were real people, and I can see the problems that they have actually being a problem that a real person can have. The plot moved quickly enough to be interesting, but slow enough to make sense. What bothers me stylistically about this book is the nonlinear plot. (Part one is after a character tries to kill herself, part two is previous to that, and part three is the same time as the first part.) That bothers me, but it worked, and I can see other people liking it.
Memorable or Forgettable: What really stood out to me is the family set up. Both younger siblings felt like they were dragged into their family problems against their will, and that their parents did not understand them, and that everything was against them. This is almost exactly like a lot of people's lives, and nobody wants to mention it. There are actually a lot of problems in this book that a lot of people are scared of mentioning, and that is what will make this book memorable.
Cover: The cover turned me away. Not a good cover. But that is just me, and I am special, so it is probably okay. Except for the fact that it did not reflect its contents as well as it could have.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal


tags:  coming of age / social media / teen suicide / dysfunctional families / ya lit




My Best Everything - YA Review by Ruby F



Reader: Ruby F.
Age: 14
Title: My Best Everything
Author: Sarah Tomp
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pub Date: 03/03/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I really enjoyed reading My Best Everything. The story line was unlike any other book I'd read before and it had just the right amount of action. There was an insane amount of character development in not just the main character Lulu, but in the lesser characters as well.
Memorable or Forgettable: My Best Everything was a wonderfully written book. The thing that I appreciated the most about the story was that it was a completely original and unique novel.
Cover: The cover was as alternative as the story line itself, and I loved the simplicity of it. It didn't quite come off as a reflection of the contents, but it's certainly an interesting illustration.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal


tags:  coming of age / ya lit




Infected - YA Review by Katie J



Reader: Katie J.
Age: 14
Title: Infected
Author: Sophie Littlefield
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pub Date: 01/06/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I loved the main character in this book. First, she's a runner like me, which just makes her awesome right away. Second, even though her uncle and mom both died, she isn't dependent on anyone but herself. And finally, she ends up defeating the bad guys with her awesome ninja-ish track skills.
Memorable or Forgettable: The best part of this book was definitely the main character and how she's not afraid of anything.
Cover: I like the cover, but I think it could have been better.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Annotation: Carina, a high school track star and the niece of a scientist whose research deadly agents will do anything to obtain, is injected with a performance enhancing drug that will kill her unless she can find the antidote in 36 hours.


tags:  suspense / action / ya lit




The World Without Us - YA Review by Veronica K



Reader: Veronica K.
Age: 14
Title: The World Without Us
Author: Robin Stevenson
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 02/15/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The plot moved quickly enough, the story made sense. The thing that felt wrong was the characters. I do not really buy the whole Mel and her parent’s relationship. That did not really make sense. And I felt like I was outside the characters. An amazing book takes you along with the characters, inside their heads. This felt more like I was watching from a distance.
Memorable or Forgettable: I think the only reason I will forget it is because this is the third or fourth book I read like this in two or three months. It did not really move me in any way to make it stand out amongst them.
Cover: What? The cover? Oh, yeah. Um, that is a pretty picture. It reflects the contents well.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal


tags:  teen suicide / ya lit




Firefight - YA Review by Theo S-M



Reader: Theo S-M
Age: 12
Title: Firefight
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pub Date: 01/06/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book is the best book ever.  It has a great plot and characters and pretty much everything else.
Memorable or Forgettable: Everything will make this book stay in my mind forever.
Cover: Yes!
Age Range: Not provided
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Additional CommentsIt’s almost as good as Harry Potter.
Annotation: David and the rest of the Reckoners have taken over Newcago, but keeping it free is no small task. Powerful Epics are streaming from Bablyon restored so a small group of Reckoners head there to meet another cell.


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




Firefight - YA Review by Eli S-M



Reader: Eli S-M
Age: 15
Title: Firefight
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pub Date: 01/06/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I would wholeheartedly recommend this book. While the interactions between characters were occasionally a little stiff and unnatural, Firefight's positive qualities far outweigh its negative ones. The pacing is excellent- action lies around every corner, secrets unfold at just the right times to keep you reading, the fight sequences are exciting, and the mysteries keep you guessing.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was extremely memorable. Like the book before it, Steelheart, much of what made Firefight memorable was its unique world. Epic powers and weaknesses continue to be exciting, cinematic, and intriguing. The near future, post(ish)-apocalyptic setting is described and implemented wonderfully. More so, the flooded city of Babylon Restored allows the characters to explore a new, dynamic environment that differs greatly from the steel skyline of Newcago. In this way, the world of Firefight manages to feel both different and fundamentally the same as the world of Steelheart.
Cover: The cover tempted me to pick the book up. The skyline of Manhattan is displayed at the bottom, which does reflect the book's contents, but the object in the center of the page does little to represent Firefight.
Age Range: Under 12 through 17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Firefight is the second installment in The Reckoners series, which follows a young man as he works with a shadowy group to assassinate the twisted, super-powered individuals, called Epics, that have taken over his world. In Firefight, the Reckoners travel to the city of Babylon Restored, formerly known as the borough of Manhattan, in order to confront the powerful and manipulative Epic called Regalia.


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




The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters - YA Review by Nick B



Reader: Nick B.
Age: 15
Title: The Rise And Fall of the Gallivanters
Author: M.J.  Beaufrand
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pub Date: 05/12/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The book was very deep in certain areas of the plot where as other areas could have been a little bit more developed. I thought the plot was fairly interesting. The book is about a band that chooses to enter into a contest at a brewery’s grand re-opening. The brewery was shut down because a dead girl was found in one of the vats. The band gets back together after breaking up and goes through some emotional issues. They agree they would all like to be in the contest. They then begin to practice. While the lead guitarist and singer, Noah, goes through an experience to change his outlook on life. Overall it was a decent book that I think could have had better developed characters and imagery, especially with the plot of the story.
Memorable or Forgettable: The cliff hanging chapters and plot made it quite memorable. The author had a very low key dramatic suspense writing style that made me keep reading. The author gave the characters an interesting background and storyline that also made it memorable.
Cover: The cover reflected the contents of the book pretty well. It’s a picture of the lead guitarist and main character Noah. I liked the cover because I enjoy punk rock which is the reason I picked up the book. I thought it was an excellent cover to choose for the book.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest


tags:  mystery / ya lit




The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters - YA Review by Katie J



Reader: Katie J.
Age: 14
Title: The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters
Author: M.J.  Beaufrand
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pub Date: 05/12/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I liked this book a lot. It was a little confusing, which is why I didn't nominate it for a Teens' Top Ten. It was very well thought out, but I think even one extra page explaining the Marr and Ziggy would've made all the difference in the world. Also, knowing who David Bowie is, since they compared one character to him repeatedly, would probably have helped a lot.
Memorable or Forgettable: It was memorable because of the characters. They were all very strong, especially the girls. That made me very happy. Most books just don't have strong females, so that's part of the reason why I liked this book a lot.
Cover: I think the person on the cover reflected the main character very well. I was happy be able to see what he looked like when things were happening to him, like his nose ring getting pulled out or his hair getting cut.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal


tags:  mystery / ya lit




In the Afterlight - YA Review by Perrin S



Reader: Perrin S.
Age: 16
Title: In the Afterlight: A Darkest Minds Novel
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Hyperion
Pub Date: 10/28/14
Galley: No
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The characters in this book have all developed since the first book and even since the beginning of the third, all while staying true to their character. The plot points test the characters in interesting ways while moving the story along.
Memorable or Forgettable: The most memorable part of the book was the characters.  They are interesting and loveable and butt heads in interesting ways. The characters made this book.
Cover: It was dramatic and dark with the right touch of color.  The symbol on the cover tempts you to know more.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
AnnotationThis is the third and final book in the Darkest Minds trilogy. And is a worthy finale to the series, filled with action, drama and good old fashioned war philosophy.  All good things to have in a book.


tags:  dystopian / science fiction / Darkest Minds series / ya lit