TeenLit Book Reviews

August 2005

Trickster's Choice

Tamora Pierce

The new series, Trickster's Choice, by Tamora Pierce follows Aly, the daughter of the much loved Alanna from the Song of the Lioness series. The book follows after she is swept up by a race of people she has never known before, on an island she has only heard of in stories. When Aly goes sailing and is captured by pirates, she is sold as a slave on the Copper Isles. Bought by no one, she is given away with another slave to the Balitang family. But soon she learns that there is a reason behind her adventure. Kyprioth, the god of the sea around the Copper Isles, and a trickster, has chosen her to create the destiny of the Isles. He makes a wager with her. If she can keep the Balitang children safe for the entire summer, then he will send her home. It will be a long road, with many dangers ahead. But some times even things like friendship and love come out of the worst situations. Trickster's Choice, by Tamora Pierce, is a great story for anyone ages 13 to 17 who loves a good fantasy. I think that most readers will give it two thumbs up and won't be able to wait for the rest of the series to hit the bookstore.
Reviewed by Kelly. Grade: ----- in , - Link directly to entry

Mondays are Red

Nicola Morgan

Mondays Are Red by Nicola Morgan, is a fictional novel about Luke Patterson, a fourteen-year-old victim of synesthesia. After almost dying from meningitis, Luke wakes up from a coma with shifted senses- he begins associating colors with days and smells to music. He also encounters a terrifying yet intriguing monster in his head named Dreeg. Dreeg promises Luke unlimited power and a perfect girlfriend; Luke must resist these temptations in order to save his soul from complete deterioration. I found Mondays Are Red to be a captivating and slightly dark novel that highlights the versatility and endless possibilities of the English language. I rate this book a 3 (1-4, with 4 being the best). Nicola Morgan uses endless adjectives and descriptions to accurately depict the mind of someone with synesthesia and describe how the disease's curious powers affect somebody's creativity. Her writing is strongly related to poetry and the imagery she uses is wonderfully detailed. The only criticism I have is that the plot tends to be somewhat far-fetched and unrealistic. I recommend this book for middle-school students because it is not challenging to read and sparks creativity.
Reviewed by May. Grade: ----- in Rhode Island, US, - Link directly to entry

February 2005

Trickster's Choice

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes Risika is one of those who few vampires who homans see in her true form, or at least not outside of the shadows of the night. She is a vampire and has been for about three hundred years. At one time she went by the name of Rachel, but that person has long been gone, pushed away by the need to survive. Risika is still not at peace with who she is and the others of her kind. Only through facing the truth can she find what she is looking for. In the Forests of the Night is another of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’ great fiction stories that introduces the reader to the mystical world of vampires. Just as with her previous books, Amelia has managed to create a great story with wonderful description and plot. On a scale of one to four (four being the best) I would place this at 3.75. It is an easy read, appropriate for teens ages 13 to 16, and would appeal to anyone who enjoys the world of fantasy writing. Kelly S., Parker CO, USA
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Alias: Disappeared

book by Lynn Mason Rating: 3 For ages 13 and up. In Disappeared, college studen and amateur spy for the CIA, Sydney Bristow, is on her second mission, on which she has to pretend to be a dangerous arms dealer. She goes to Scotland and stay at a haunted old castle with other arms dealers, and she is all on her own, unlike in the first book. This is Sydney needs to use all her spy training to survive. Although I like the story, this book is not as good as Alias: A Secret Life. The castle is described very well, but the rest of the scenery and characters are sketchy. But this book has enough action and excitement to keep me reading so I give this book a 3 out of 4. Lucy L.,Dallas, Texas
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Alias- A Secret Life

by Laura Peyton Roberts Rating: 4 For ages 13 and up. A Secret Life, is based on the tv show, Alias. In this book, the main character, Sydney Bristow, is a college student who also happens to be a spy for the CIA. She gets sent to Paris to pose as a rich wife of an internet millionaire so she can find out if a clothing designer is laundering money is actually corrupt. This is Sydney's first assignment, so she is nervous at first. She gets into the assignment well when she finds out that Noah Hicks, an agent she likes, is posing as her husband. I gave this book a 4 out of 4 because it kept my interest the entire time. I like how the author described Paris in detail and how I can relate to Sydney, even though she is a spy. This book is well-written and the action is great. I especially like knowing how a spy works. This is a fun book to read! Lucy, Dallas, Texas
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January 2005


Christopher Paolini

Rating: 2 Eragon takes place in the medieval times in a fantasy land called Alagaesia. The story begins when Eragon, a fifteen-year-old farm boy, finds a beautiful blue stone. After shopkeepers refuse to take the stone instead of money, he sets it aside, and the rock hatches into a dragon. Though he keeps the dragon a secret, its presence is known by Ra'zac soldiers, who believe that Eragon and his dragon could fulfill a prophecy that would bring Alagaesia peace and destroy the Ra'zac forever. In a surprise attack, the Ra'zac manage to kill Eragon's uncle; thus Eragon goes out to find the soldiers and get his revenge. With the local storyteller and his dragon along, he travels through Alagaesia, with the fate of the Empire in his hands. When I picked up Eragon, I was expecting something great. All my friends had told me that they couldn't put the book down, it was just that brilliant. Unfortunately, I could not see what was so great about this book. The whole fantasy world was just too foreign for me to be able to easily relate to it. In addition, I felt the book dragged a bit much, and lacked enough buildup and direction, though it wasn't outright boring. However, if you really liked Lord of the Rings (the book), I am sure that you will fall in love with Eragon. I obviously don't hold the majority opinion, so give this book a chance if you're a fantasy fan. Kelly Palto Alto, CA
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Stephanie Spinner

Rating: 3 (1-4, 4 being the best) This book is appropriate for students in middle school. The vocabulary used in this book is not difficult and the storyline is easy to understand. Although this book is on a topic involving mythology, you don’t have to have an interest in ancient history to enjoy the story. Quiver is set in Ancient Greece around the year 200 B.C.E. Atalanta, the abandoned princess of Arcadia, has advanced warrior skills. She can shoot a bow better than Jason, the leader of the Argonauts. She can run faster than any mortal. How does all this good fortune come to Atalanta? The Greek goddess, Artemis, goddess of the hunt, wild animals, the moon, and pregnant women, gave Atalanta these skills. Meleager is the prince of Calydon and the leader the Great Hunt of Calydon. He is one of Atalanta’s only true friends. Castor is Atalanta’s mentor, and he is also a very skilled hunter. The final minor character is King Iasis, father of Atalanta. He abandoned her in the forest where she was raised by a bear. The story starts off during the hunt at Calydon. The giant boar is still loose, but Atalanta is close on its trail. Atalanta hits the boar with one of her arrows and lets Meleager kill it. Meleager gives the boar to Atalanta as a trophy, which causes havoc in the hunting party and ultimately leads to the death of three people, including Meleager. Upon the death of her closest friend, Atalanta returns home to her village in Arcadia. There she receives news that she is the daughter of King Iasus, and is escorted to the palace. Her father turns out to be a drunk. He is also very sickly and is going to die in the next couple of weeks, and he needs a male heir. He orders Atalanta to marry and provide him with an heir. This is all well, except for the fact athat Atalanta promised Artemis that she would never marry. I like this story- it is full of surprises. The author does a good job of telling a story in very few words, but it leaves the reader with many questions unanswered about the minor characters. Their stories aren’t as important as Atalanta’s, but I need more detail to understand what makes them act the way they do. The author also thought that having the gods conversing among themselves at the end of every chapter would add something to the story, but in my opinion it didn’t. Overall this book is still worth reading. By, Joseph Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
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Gossip Girl

Cecily von Ziegesar

Gossip Girl Review The first three books in the Gossip Girl series are Gossip Girl, You Know you Love Me, and All I Want is Everything, by Cecily von Ziegesar. They are "light" fiction, not meant to betaken seriously for plot or deeper meaning. I would rate these three books as a 2 on a scale of 1 to 4. These books should only be read by a mature teen who knows that irresponsible behavior, drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, and bad values do not make one popular or cool. With that in mind, the first book starts with the beautiful, popular, rich girl, Serena returning to the Upper East Side of Manhattan from boarding school. Her best friend, Blair, has turned against her and has turned her other friends against Serena too; but that shouldn't be a problem for Serena. The second book is full of applying to colleges, that is Ivy League Colleges. Most of the girls do not try hard in school, but with all of the money in their families, they think daddy could easily make a big donation and secure his daughter's spot. The third book takes a different tone. Serena and Blair become best friends again and start planning awesome parties and getting into all sorts of trouble; after all, it is winter vacation. The strengths of these books are that they are fun to read, and once you start to read them, they are hard to put down. The weakness are that nothing meaningful actually happens in them. They are full of obnoxious teenagers who do obnoxious things, but they are well written. If the reader can understand that the characters are not doing the right thing, they may end up enjoying these books. By Julia, Menlo Park, CA
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Define Normal

Julie Ann Peters

Genre- Fiction..Family Troubles/Relationships Rating- 3 1/2 I would recommend this book to Middle School kids and High School teenagers, both male and females. "Normal" Is there such a thing? Should someone be condemned because they are different as some people may say. Of course not! Antonia and "Jazz", so different in so many ways, and yet alike and others. Antonia who was always helping out, or taking part in things, she then decides to volunteer in the new "Peer Counseling" program at school, only to find out that her new person to counsel was Jasmine Luther. "Jazz" is anything but ordinary. While hating each other from the start of the counseling sessions, they never knew what exactly their relationship could turn into. Both thinking the total opposite of what actually happens. We would like to think that "Jazz" would be the one living in the slums, having no money or outlook on life ect. and we should also like to think Antonia, straight A student lives in a huge mansion, great parents, and a great life. But this book make's society's way of thinking very much so, wrong. As the story proceeds an amazing turn comes-about. Antonia lets down her barriers by letting "Jazz" become a part of her life. Define Normal is an extraordinary book about how someone so normal, and so differant as we would like to think, can actually be alot alike, just give the person the time of day and you will come to find out they aren't so different after all. This novel, was an all-around great book. It deals with conflicts many teens will go through. The book could have been written in a little better detail, but otherwise a wonderful book. I recommend this book to all! Jill Sturgis, SD
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A Corner of the Universe

Ann M. Martin

Hattie Owen is a 12- year old citizen of a small town called Millerton. Her father owns a boarding house in which he lives with his wife, Hattie, and a few friends. For instance, Angel Valentine is a friend that lives with them. One day Adam (a cousin that Hattie doesn’t even know exists) comes home because his school for the mentally retarded closed. Then, when the carnival comes to town, Hattie meets a friend named Leila. Together they think of a way in which to sneak Adam out of the house to go to the carnival with them. At the carnival Adam goes on the Ferris wheel, but it gets stuck! Adam throws a fit and, well…I don’t want to give away the ending. This book is about how Adam has to deal with disability. Adam is really pretty normal, but he can get really angry all the time. A great book in which the whole plot is as realistic as can be. The story has a sad ending. So, if you are looking for a "happily ever after" ending, I don't recommend it. This is a sad and realistic fiction book that I would rate 3 out of 4, with 4 being the best.
Reviewed by . Grade: ----- in , - Link directly to entry

Jingle Boy

Kieran Scott

Rating: 3.5 Genre: Fiction (But could happen to someone) This book was funny, sad, and happy all in one! It is definitely a great book. I would recommend this book to both boys and girls. The ages I would say this book is for is anyone in middle school or older. Have you ever had one of those days, where you think things can't get any worse. Well..try living Paul Nicholas's world for a week. Paul loves christmas, and to top of his love for christmas, he had the best girlfriend in the world, and he was getting the Jeep that he always wanted. Great, right?..that is, until things take a sudden turn for the worst when he and his best friend are in the mall and loose Paul's special santa hat. Paul looses his great girlfriend, to a MALL santa, gets framed for something he didn't even do, and his house almost burns down! Paul goes from high-spirted loving christmas type guy, to a hating christmas type guy. You can't blame him though. Paul's life is on a downward spiral, spinning out of control to fast. Can things ever get better for him...or will they continue to get worse? Well I'm not going to tell you- you are going to have to read and find out for yourself! I thought this book was great, even if you don't like stories about Christmas. I think everyone should read this story! Jill Sturgis, South Dakota, USA
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Graham McNamee

Rating: 3 (1-4, with 4 being the best) I would recommend this book to high school males because of the word choice, the plot, and because of the themes of the book. The book is about Duncan, a traumatized 17 year old boy, who lives in modern Toronto. Six months before Duncan starts his story, he is swimming in a lake when he heard a girl screaming. He thought it was typical for a girl to scream, so he paid no attention to her. Then he saw people running in to the water and he realized what was happening... the girl was drowning! Duncan swam over to the girl, but he just couldn't reach. The girl died and now Duncan, traumatized, can’t go near the water. Right now Duncan is working in the Toronto Subway Lost and Found, or as Duncan calls it, the tomb. He is monitored by Jacob, a former subway conductor. Duncan sits in the back of the lost and found on his lawn chair and reads books people left behind on the subway. One day he picks up a white leather book that looks like a diary. Inside that book Duncan reads about a man who drowns rats, starts fires, and is planning to kill three women. So, Duncan consults his friend Vinny, a crippled genius. They both do research on a murder’s acceleration, how a criminal evolves into a killer. The steps are: first they kill small animals, then they start fires, and finally they commit murder. Could this diary belong to a murderer? The only weakness of Acceleration was that the author added quite a few minor characters that did not help the story in any way. I thought the author did a good job explaining Duncan and Vinny's actions. The author also used good word choice in describing the dialog of inner city teens- it was very descriptive and true to life. Joseph M. Colorado Springs, CO
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October 2000

Girls in Love

Jacqueline Wilson

Readers Needed: This is a chick flick, no guys aloud. There also is some odd differents in the culture so 12 and up Preview: Well this is one book that every girl out there can relate too, even though it about a teenager in England and her two best friends. She has pretty bizarre taste, with a painfully and pitifully ordinary life. The book starts out in there holiday home in Wales where Ellie (the focal character) is introduced to a boy named Dan. Which afterwards in the story becomes the main focus of the entire account. Ellie doesn't even try to make friends with the pathetic Dan who was twelve and going into 9th grade. Ellie is absolutely uninterested in Dan, so to get him off her back she gives Dan her address to write her sometimes since he lived in London. Ellie hoping he had misplaced her address gets back home and goes back into her unpopular, typical English existence. Her best friends equally seemed to meet up someone over the summer holiday so Ellie begins to tell some serious tales about her dream Dan, which is a concoction of genuine Dan and a hottie she walks by to go to school. All simultaneously this is one interesting book that will have you thinking your just discovered yourself a new best friend named Ellie! Rating 4+
Reviewed by Candace. Grade: ----- in Brooks, - Link directly to entry

Christmas with Anne and other Holiday Stories

Penny Colman

Christmas with Anne and other holiday stories was a terrific book . This book was written by L. M. Montgomery . I think this book is more for kids in the ages group of 13-15 . Anne is a very lively spirited girl. She has adventures and troubles that she works through. this book is very interesting. I think pretty much anyone would enjoy this book. You meet a lot of funny and enjoyable characters. From family members to friends . And the stories always keep you Guessing What will happen next. From reading the 16 stories you can learn many valuable lessons of life. I recommend this book to every one .
Reviewed by Jessica. Grade: ----- in , - Link directly to entry

Stoner and Spaz

Ron Koertge

I would rate this book as a 3. Ben is your average 16 yr. old whose parents are dead, lives with his grandmother, and has cerebral palsy. Normal right? Absolutely! Expecially compared to Colleen, a girl who is completly strung out on drugs and doesn't have many trustworthy friends. But these two find something in eachother they never thought they would - someone who sees them for who they really are. I really liked this book because it delt with many issues many teens face, such as drugs, embarrassment, and peer preasure. I liked how it was told from a guys point of view. I haven't read many books that are like that.
Reviewed by Hailey. Grade: ----- in Fremont, - Link directly to entry
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