Teens Review Books!

This summer, the library is proud to present book reviews written by local teens themselves. If you would like to review a book, let us know at youthservices@northriversidelibrary.org.

Latest Reviews

PanicPanic by Lauren Oliver

Review by Arden K.

Panic. That is the name of the competition held throughout every summer in the town of Carp. Only the graduating seniors of that year are allowed to enter, and by the end of the summer, there will only be one winner. The game is held in secret; so much so that the police are aware that something is going on but can never figure out who to blame, or how to stop it. This year, the winner will receive sixty-seven thousand dollars, and the price that everyone will be forced to pay for a chance at the money may not be worth it.

Heather Nill was not planning on joining the game. She did not consider herself to have any of the traits necessary to win. She was only there to support her best friend, but when she makes a split-second decision, her life will change drastically. Even if she survives the summer, her life, and her view on the people around her will be altered forever.

Dodge Mason has been dreaming about the day he would be eligible to compete in Panic. All he wants is to take revenge for something that happened in the game two years ago, and he will do anything to ensure that justice is made. He had always been an outcast at his school, but in order to win, he may need to put his trust in more than one person to come out on top.

This novel is pretty fast paced, and it is told by following both Heather and Dodge throughout the summer. Lauren Oliver, the author, does a good job of foreshadowing and keeping the interest, while the plot twists in the book are enough to keep anyone guessing.

Graduation DayGraduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau

Review by Courtney K.

Set in the dystopian future years after a nuclear war, The Testing is a program that uses harsh methods in choosing its leaders – yet it brings about results. Seventeen-year-old Malencia (Cia) Vale has survived the Testing and is now at the University, but she is not safe. Cia has to figure out which of her friends she can trust and confide in about a dangerous mission given to her by the President of the United Commonwealth. In a series of life threatening events, Cia must find the courage to kill or be killed. She must trust some for the safety of all, and struggle to discover if she can really handle having the deaths of people on her hands. In the epic conclusion to The Testing Trilogy by Joelle Charbonneau, there will be love, loss, and trust.

The Distance Between UsThe Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Review by Courtney K.

Caymen Meyers has never liked the rich. After her rich father left her and her mother before her birth, she hasn’t had the best experiences with wealthy people. She works at the porcelain-doll shop owned by her mother, and doesn’t pay any attention to the rich until she meets Xander Spence. Xander is different than the other rich people that Caymen has met, and she starts to fall for him. She believes he is just using her as a distraction, because she’s poor and he doesn’t know people that don’t have a lot of money. After a shocking discovery, Caymen questions Xander’s loyalty and his intentions. This easy read is enjoyable, romantic, and you will fall in love with Caymen’s dry humor!

Alice In ZombielandAlice In Zombieland by Gena Showalter.

Review by Marina G.

Alice Bell, the daughter of a supposed mad man, is the protagonist. Her father sees creatures that no one else can and teaches his daughter to fight them. Her whole life changes in one moment. Ali’s story revolves around avenging her family and surviving. In order to do that, she must trust her school’s bad boy, Cole Holland, who’s harboring his own secrets. Alice must learn who to trust and how to survive before it’s too late.

This book is a modern retelling of Alice in Wonderland, featuring zombies. Showalter creates a world of magic and mischief, while building a complex group of fighters full of catchy and memorable characters. Ali, the relatable hero, is witty, charming, and full of determination and bravery. The sequel Through the Zombie Glass was released September 2013, while the third and final book, The Queen of Zombie Hearts, is being released September 2014.

Something Strange And DeadlySomething Strange And Deadly by Susan Dennard.

Review by Marina G.

Eleanor Fitt is living with her mother in Philadelphia in 1876. Her brother is missing, the family is almost broke and on top of that, the dead are rising. Eleanor has been receiving letters from her brother which make it seem as though he’s being held by the evil necromancer who’s controlling the dead. Desperate to save her brother Elijah, she teams up with the Spirit-Hunters, comprised of inventors Daniel and Joseph and martial artist Jie.

This novel involves flawed, but still strong, characters, especially Eleanor, who is stubborn and witty. It combines steampunk, action, adventure and a hint of romance. The book will keep you on the edge of your seat in suspense and is full of unexpected twists and turns that leave you wanting more. The second story in the series, A Darkness Strange and Lovely, was released July 2013, while the third and final novel, Strange and Ever After, will be released July 2014. A prequel involving the character Daniel, titled A Dawn Most Wicked, was released June 2013 and is available only as an eBook.

The Curse Workers Series by Holly Black.

Review by Sam G.

Cassel Sharpe, the odd one out in his mob family, is the protagonist of this series. Although he doesn’t have the special powers that the rest of the mob has, he can steal, lie and sneak just as well as the rest of them. Cassel’s story revolves around the mystery of his past as well as the hardships of trying to overcome his mob background and live a normal life while seeking out the hardcore mob heiress who just happens to be the girl of his dreams.

This series is a fantastic blend of adventure and modern fantasy. It creates a seamless world where we all wear gloves and fear the supernatural minority that can “work” you with a touch of a hand while building a complex and intriguing curseworking mafia full of unforgettable characters. Cassel, the unlikely hero, is fun, witty and hilarious in this fast-paced series that keeps the twists coming.

Books in this series, so far:  White Cat (2010); Red Glove (2011); Black Heart (2012).