TeenLit Book Reviews

October 2006

Clair de Lune

Cassandra Golds

Cassandra Golds' Clair de Lune tells the fictional story of a who couldn’t speak but who could dance. Clair de Lune lives with her grandmother because her mother died when she was born. Clair de Lune doesn’t have any friends because she is so different. People judge her because she doesn’t have any parents and because she lives in poverty. I would give this book a three (out of 1-4, with 4 being the best) because it is interesting and because it has some French words in it. Somebody who likes different languages and fictional stories with realistic characters would enjoy reading this book.
Reviewed by Araceli. Grade: ----- in East Palo Alto, CA, - Link directly to entry

Smallville: See No Evil

Cherie Bennet and Jeff Gottesfeld

The title of the book is Smallville: See No Evil by Cherie Bennet and Jeff Gottesfeld. The genre of this story is science fiction. The rating I would give this book is a 4 (out of 1-4, with 4 being the best) because I really enjoyed it. I think children my age-- ”teenagers” should read this book because I found it interesting and engaging. The main characters are Lana Lang and Clark Kent and the story takes place in Smalleville. The main conflict of the story is that Clark wants to go out with Lana and she already has a boy friend, and from there the drama unfolds. Clark inadvertently lands the lead in the school play, opposite his favorite leading lady, Lana Lang. Aside from stage fright wracking his nerves, there’s an un explained force at work. Mysterious “accidents” befall several cast members and it appears the drama builds throughout the story. I would recommend this book to teenagers looking for an interesting television-based science fiction story.
Reviewed by Diana. Grade: ----- in East Palo Alto, CA, - Link directly to entry

September 2006

Be Healthy! It’s a Girl Thing: Food, Fitness, and Feeling Great

Mavis Jukes and Lilian Cheung

Be Healthy! It’s a Girl Thing: Food, Fitness, and Feeling Great does just what the title says. This book provides a general overview of what’s important for young girls to eat healthy, exercise, and living a fit lifestyle. It is divided into chapters, and each has many small sections, which make it not only a fast read, but an easy reference book as well. On a scale of 1-4, with 4 being the best, I would rate this book a 4. The audience is probably pre-teens and young teen girls, as the advice is good but rather general. Some of the books strengths are its many external references, index at the back with definitions of the words, and the little changes you can incorporate into your daily life immediately. It doesn’t seem like you have to change your whole life to be healthier; you can start at breakfast, add in exercise, and little by little make these changes. It would be good to have more detail but then the book might be too long or too complicated. I think this is a great guide for girls who want an easy and safe way to be healthy, without making too many changes!
Reviewed by Jo. Grade: ----- in California, USA, - Link directly to entry

June 2006

Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood

Ann Brashares

The book I read from TeenLit was Girls In Pants:The Third Summer Of The Sister Hood, by Ann brashares. This book is fiction and I woud say that girls from the ages of 12- 16 should read this book. Girls In Pants is about 3 teenage girs who are best friends. These three girls are graduating high school and are spending their last summer together. All three girls have their own problems and now have one more; having to separate for the frist time, each going to a different college. I would rate this book a 3- it is confusing at times with so many main chracters and all, but this book had a good plot and the characters brought life to the story. In my opinion wasn't a great book but it was an alright book, but a good read if you're looking to relax.
Reviewed by Margarita. Grade: ----- in Palo Alto, CA, - Link directly to entry

Girls Out Late

Jaqueline Wilson

The title of the book I read is Girls Out Late, by Jaqueline Wilson. The genre of the book is fiction. I rate it a 4 (on a scale of 1-4 with 4 being the best), since it was very good overall. I think girls who are at least 12 years old should read this book. This book ia about three best friends who one night go to a place they are not supposed to. They meet boys who are very mean to them. Then one friend meets a guy she loves and spents the whole time with him and leaves her friends for him. At the end of the book the girls become friends again and it is like old times. This book teaches many good lessons about freindships and growing up. The most important lesson is that a guy may not be worth dropping everything at such a young age. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to a friend.
Reviewed by Eliana. Grade: ----- in Palo Alto, CA, - Link directly to entry

May 2006


Carl Hiaasen

Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen is a story about the tumultuous life of Roy Eberhardt. Moving from the mountains of Montana to the suburbs of Florida was the worst thing that could have happened to Roy Eberhardt, or so he thought. Heloved living in the mountains of Bozeman and everyday was a new adventure. When his dad was transferred to Florida, Roy was devastated. He couldn't imagine how there could be any excitement in the suburbs of Florida. His theories were soon proved wrong when he got caught up with some friends in an attempt to save baby owls. Their hilarious pranks and tricks intended to scare off the land-owners keep you laughing the whole time. I recommend Hoot to anybody who is looking for a fun, upbeat adventure. I would rate this book a 4 (with 4 being the best) for anyone looking for a good read, just in in time for summer.
Reviewed by Zach. Grade: ----- in Littleton, CO, - Link directly to entry

April 2006

The Guardian

Nicholas Sparks

I cannot even begin describing this book. Many words come to mind; astounding, marvelous, inspiring, anything along those lines. The main characters are Julie, Mike, Richard, and Julie's Great Dane, named Singer. They are all so realistic and vivid, I feel as if I could pass anyone of them on the street. (However, a Great Dane would be conspicuous in a small town.) Julie's husband, Jim, passes away when she is only twenty-five. Four years later, she is ready to start dating again. When a stranger, Richard Franklin, comes into town, they start dating. After a couple weeks, Julie decides that Richard doesn't "float her boat." She stops dating Richard because she finally begins to understand her feelings toward Mike, her husband's former best friend. When Julie tells Richard she doesn't want to see him anymore . . . I don't want to give it away- read the book! This is the first book by Nicholas Sparks thatI have read. I am really pleased the his romance novels are . . . well . . . romantic. Simply, utterly romantic. Most romance novels I've encountered weren't the least bit romantic. There is no downside to the book. Unless, of course, you count the chilling fear it gives you as a downside. I would definitely rate this book a 4.
Reviewed by Kirsten. Grade: ----- in Gibonsburg, OH, - Link directly to entry

March 2006

Lyra's Oxford

Philip Pullman

‘Lyra’s Oxford’ would be best for young people ages 12 and up. In Pullman's short novel, the main characters are; Lyra Silvertongue and her daemon, Pantalaimon. The setting (of course) is in Oxford, England. A witch’s daemon is sent to find a supposedly insane alchemist. However, the witch’s daemon isn’t used to cities, so it enlists Lyra’s and Pantalaimon’s help. One of the weaknesses’ is that to understand it fully, you have to have read Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy. In addition, the other (to me) is that it is only fifty pages long. Its strength is that even though it is short, you can tell it is Pullman’s work, due to his distinctive, creative style and themes. He writes stories that should be digested thoroughly, instead of devoured.I like that it has a map of Oxford, and some pictures.
Reviewed by Kirsten S.. Grade: ----- in Gibsonburg, Ohio, US, - Link directly to entry

October 2005

The Center of the World

Andreas Steinhöfel (Translated by Alisa Jaffa)

Had I not had a transatlantic flight to fill, I never would have had the patience to finish this novel. The abstract, pretentious title gives no clue to the book’s content, but aptly describes the author’s opinion of himself. Although the novel was almost huge enough to bring the plane down into the ocean, nothing about the main character in all 466 pages, not even his name, has stuck in my memory. Oh, except he is gay, a fact that Andreas Steinhöfel expects us to find so riveting that no further characterization is necessary. I think the author is aiming at ‘gritty realism’, but he tends to miss this mark. His sub-plots are unlikely (featuring some unlikely sexual exploints), and his characters are unlikable. I recommend this book to you only if you are locked in a library, and have read every other book there. 0 out of 5.
Reviewed by Josh. Grade: 12th Grade in England, - Link directly to entry

The Burn Journals

Brent Runyon

This is not a book that could be called a joy to read, but it is one that I guarantee will leave a lifelong impression in your mind if you choose to subject yourself to it. Reading The Burn Journals often feels like reading fiction, in fact I got a chill every time I glanced at the cover, and was reminded that the central character has the author’s name. Being a teen is not easy, although few of us would decide to kill ourselves to escape it all. Brent Runyon did, at fourteen. Suicide remains a powerful taboo, and nowhere outside of this book could you find a more honest, up-front, or graphic confrontation of the issue. Somehow, you will find yourself strongly identifying with an eight-grader who set himself alight, you might begin to feel what it is to be a self-conscious, hormonal teen in a ruined body, but you will never understand what made Brent throw a gasoline-drenched towel round his shoulders and strike that match. This autobiography is suitable for all teens, a must-read for boys of Brent’s age especially. 5 out of 5.
Reviewed by Josh. Grade: 12th Grade in England, - Link directly to entry

August 2005

Garden of Angels

Lurlene McDaniel

Garden Of Angels is a touching and inspiring story about the Quinlin family. The story is set in 1974 in the small town of Conners, Georgia. It is a time when the United States was engaged in the Vietnam War and when few people knew and talked openly about breast cancer. The story is told from the point of view of Darcy, a straight A high school freshman who is not as popular or as pretty as her older sister, but is a very endearing character due to her strength, wisdom and courage. As the story unfolds, Darcy’s mom is diagnosed with breast cancer. While the Quinlin family struggles to accept this sad news, Darcy also struggles with the powerful feelings she has for Jason, the new boy in school. Amidst all the conflict in her life, she finds solace in her mother’s beautiful garden. Garden Of Angels has touched me so deeply that I was literally teary-eyed while reading the book. It has brought back memories from my own life, back to the time when my sister-in-law was diagnosed with cancer and I was one of the people who helped care for her. The story affirms the fact that regardless of time, setting or race, the emotional effects of cancer to the person diagnosed with it, as well as to the people who surrounds her, is basically the same. The pain of witnessing the one you love suffer, the emotional struggle, the hardship of letting go and finding the courage to move on is so skillfully and realistically portrayed in the story. If you like to read a story about the strength of a family, the beautiful relationship between mother and daughter, the ravages of war, falling in love for the first time and an unwavering faith in God, then Garden Of Angels is the book for you. Author Lurlene McDaniel really is a profound writer. I look forward to reading more of her work. I would rate this book a 4. I recommend it for any young adults or older.
Reviewed by Espie. Grade: ----- in Guam, - Link directly to entry


Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

I read the fiction novel Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. Danica Shardae is the heir to the avian throne, the Tuuli Thea is the title she will inherit soon. Her guards tell her that she must be careful, as the only remaining heir, and that the serpiente, the culture her people have been at war with for longer than anyone can remember, are evil. No one can remember why they are fighting, how the war was started, or even what peace is, besides what is in songs. The only reason they are still at war, is because both cultures wont stop until someone has won, or they are just fighting to avenge all of those who were killed in the innumerable battles. After the loss of too many family members, friends, and people, Danica will do anything to stop this war, and maybe create a peace with the enemy she has never known anything other than lies an fear. Zane Cobriana is the heir to the serpiente throne, Diente is the title he will inherit when he chooses his mate. He has been raised in this bloody war fare, and is just as determined as Danica to end the war, if not more so. When they are both proposed with a plan that could end this war, but what they need is for them to be able to trust each other, and therefore have their people trust each other, but is trust more than they can give? I recommend this book to both boys and girls ages eleven and up. I would rate it a 4, on a scale of 1-4 with 4 being the best. This book is a wonderful book that embraces what teenagers feel like, and what war can cause. All in all a wonderful book full of descriptions and emotion.
Reviewed by Madison. Grade: ----- in California, US, - Link directly to entry

August 2005

American Patriots: The Story of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert Storm

By, Gail Buckly and adapted for young people by, Tonya Bolden

I would recommend this book to teenagers in grades 6-8, regardless of gender. Anyone who has taken an American history class will know a lot of the information that is written in this book. American Patriots is a quick read (219 pages) and is very easy to understand. I would rate it a 3 (1-4, 4 being best). This book covers the following wars: The Revolutionary War, The War of 1812, The Civil War, Indian Wars, Spanish-American War, World War I, Spanish Civil War, World War II, The Korean Conflict, Vietnam, and Operation Desert Storm. More information is written about modern wars (past 70 years), then is written for older wars. Eighty-four pages are written on Wars within the past 70 years. This is compared to 118 pages covering 150 years. One of the strong points of this book is that the author makes many personal connections involving her ancestors. Another positive aspect is that Gail Buckley tells the story of the war, and then goes back and says how the Blacks contributed to the American cause in that war. A third part of this book that I liked was that it was historically accurate. I did research on information I thought was questionable, but everything I checked was correct. The only major weakness of this book was that I knew a lot of the information on the wars from American History, and I could predict was going to happen next. In that respect this book was somewhat boring. Overall, I would suggest this book to a friend.
Reviewed by Joseph. Grade: ----- in Colorado, US, - Link directly to entry

Demon In My View

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Demon In My View is a stereotypical science fiction novel, but it does the cliche well. This book is a 4 on a 1-4 scale, 4 being the best, and is aimed at girls aged 14 to 17. The story chronicles a week (or so) in the life of Jessica Allodola, the highly intelligent loner who also happens to be an acclaimed author, writing under the psuedonym Ash Night. Things start getting a little weird when the characters in her book show up in her town and at her school. They're vampires to boot. Jessica forages into the nightmare world of her books to discover horrifying and sometimes darkly cool things about herself and the demon world she thought was only in her head. The author, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, writes superbly and creates a story that if simple in deliverance lacks nothing in plot and suspense. This book comes highly recommended especially since the author is a teenager.
Reviewed by Nicole. Grade: ----- in Colorado, US, - Link directly to entry

Goddess of Yesterday

Caroline B. Cooney

Goddess Of Yesterday, written by Caroline B. Cooney is a historical fiction book written about a young girl named Anaxandra, who, at the age of six, is taken as a hostage, and raised by her captor, King Nicander and his wife Petra. Raised as if she was their daughter, she is a happy, thriving young woman until the day the pirates came and burned her home. Orphaned, and left alone, she builds herself a shelter until king Menelaus comes and takes her with him. Assuming the identity of a princess, she is safe, until she meets Helen of Sparta who knows she is not a princess. When Paris of Troy robs the city, Anaxandra poses as Helen's daughter while the real princess escapes. Now what can she do? Should she assume the identity of another in order to survive? I recommend this to all girls about the ages of twelve to sixteen, although older girls might enjoy it also. On a scale of 1-4, with 4 being the best, I would rate this book a 3. It will help to know a bit about Greek mythology when reading this to help you understand how early Greeks based their behavior on their belief in the gods. This is a wonderful story that can take you right into the life of this struggling teenaged girl, who is caught in the middle of a war. Cooney puts so much description, and character building into this book you get caught up in it and forget you are not really aboard a ship during a storm, or watching Queen Helen at a feast.
Reviewed by Madison. Grade: ----- in California, US, - Link directly to entry
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