Library Ninja: Teen Reviews

Teen Review by Ta'Quell M...The Winner's Curse

Publisher's Summary: They were never meant to be together. As a general's daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can't help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other.

Set in a new world, The Winner's Curse is a story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

This book was beautifully written. There is an underlying suspense that doesn't overwhelm the mood of the book but also keeps you intrigued long enough for you to want to know what happens. The relationship between Kestrel and Arin is complicated but leaves you optimistic.

In the end, I truly believe that this book should have been called Karma of Secrecy. I believe the explosive ending is caused by so many secrets. Marie Rutkoski, the author, did amazing job at resolving the huge conflicts of the Valorian's society but also creating more problems for the next book. Overall this book is amazing, just be ready for everything you thought to be wrong.

4 Stars - Great. Definitely Worth It

Written by Ta'Quell M.

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6/13/2015 Add a Comment Share this:

Teen Review by Hannah W...The 100

I spent my spring break like any normal, well-adjusted teenager should: binge-watchng TV shows on Netflix. One of the series I uploaded to my brain was The 100, a gripping post-apocalyptic tale about a group of delinquent teenagers sent down to earth from The Ark, the space station where all of humanity has lived for the past century in order to test the planet's viability for re-colonization.

I admit, I was skeptical. The plot sounds stereotypical and formulaic, but it really worked for this show. I was hooked. So when I found out my new favorite series was based on a book, I had to check it out. I was devastated to find that the plot was entirely different from the TV adaptation, but I quickly became invested. The 100 by Kass Morgan follows four different characters: Wells, the privileged goody-two-shoes son of the Chancellor, Clarke, the former girlfriend of  Wells, Bellamy, a lower class worker who will do anything to protect his sister, and Glass, one half of a star-crossed love affair who remains on the space station. Every character must make life or death decisions on a regular basis, and the consequences are often catastrophic.

From the intense political drama unfolding on the Ark, which is only hinted at, to the struggle to survive on a planet no human has set foot on in 100 years, which is all too realistic, The 100 is addictive. The emotional conflicts of the characters are well-developed- by this I mean you will be in physical pain due to the emotional trauma of reading this book- and the physical conflicts build suspense perfectly. However, some fairly predictable moments and the radically convenient and sort of overused plot device of isolating a group of teens reminded me that this was, in fact, a YA book, not an Actual Parallel Universe of Feels-Related Suffering.

For fans of the CW show as well of fans of a really good book, I definitely recommend The 100. 4 Stars - Great. Definitely Worth It.

Written by Hannah W.

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4/8/2015 Add a Comment Share this:

Teen Review by Cheyenne K....Princess Ben

Publisher's Description: Benevolence is not your typical princess and Princess Ben is certainly not your typical fairy tale. With her parents lost to unknown assassins, Princess Ben ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia, who is intent on marrying her off to the first available specimen of imbecilic manhood.” Starved and miserable, locked in the castle’s highest tower, Ben stumbles upon a mysterious enchanted room. So begins her secret education in the magical arts: mastering an obstinate flying broomstick, furtively emptying the castle pantries, setting her hair on fire . . . But Ben’s private adventures are soon overwhelmed by a mortal threat facing the castle and indeed the entire country. Can Princess Ben save her kingdom from annihilation and herself from permanent enslavement?

Princess Ben is a fairy tale about a princess who is not accepted in her world. She finds herself in a locked room when she defies the queen. With nothing to do she finds a secret room and in that room is a book that holds some pretty interesting things.

You have to read Princess Ben's story to see what she does for her country with that exiting book. It has mystery and suspense threaded all along the story plot. With her parents lost to assassins, she has to find out that all she needed to do was be herself. Her aunt, the queen, is desperate to marry Ben off to the first suitor who will take her but Ben will have none of that, if she gets a say or not.

You will find yourself liking this book even if you don't like fairy tales. Never underestimate what a girl can do. Prince Chamberpot and his father will find she is quite the handful and maybe you will too! 4 STARS!!!

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3/14/2015 Add a Comment Share this:

Teen Review by Tara....The Clique

Publisher's Description: Massie Block: With her glossy brunette bob and laser-whitened smile, Massie is the uncontested ruler of The Clique and the rest of the social scene at Octavian Country Day School, an exclusive private girls' school in Westchester County, New York. Massie knows you'd give anything to be just like her.

Dylan Marvil: Massie's second in command who divides her time between sucking up to Massie and sucking down Atkins Diet shakes.

Alicia Rivera: As sneaky as she is beautiful, Alicia floats easily under adult radar because she seems so "sweet." Would love to take Massie's throne one day. Just might.

Kristen Gregory: She's smart, hardworking, and will insult you to tears faster than you can say "my haircut isn't ugly!"

Enter Claire Lyons, the new girls from Florida in Keds and two-year-old Gap overalls, who is clearly not Clique material. Unfortunately for her, Claire's family is staying in the guesthouse on Massie's family's huge estate while they look for a new home. Claire's future looks worse than a bad Prada knockoff. But with a little luck and a lot of scheming, Claire might just come up smelling like Chanel No. 19. . . .

The Clique is a drama filled book series. It really got to me because those things that they do in this book happens at school everyday. It's addictive once you get through the first chapter. It's about these 5 girls and they go to a school named Octavian Country Day, in short OCD. Their names are Massie Block, Alicia Rivera,Dylan Marvil, Kristen Gregory, and Claire Lyons. The fifth girl is a newcomer to the place and they make a group called the Pretty Committee and Claire wants to be in the group but Massie, aka the "the leader" wont let her but as the summary says "with a little luck and a lot of scheming" she just might get in. The problem is, getting out. 5 stars!

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3/1/2015 Add a Comment Share this:

Teen Review by Jordan W....Maximum Ride Manga 1

Publisher's Description: Fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride knows what it's like to soar above the world. She and all the members of her "flock" - Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman, and Angel - are just like ordinary kids, except they have wings and can fly! It may seem like a dream come true to some, but for the flock it's more like a living nightmare. When the mysterious lab known as the "School" turns up and kidnaps their youngest member, it's up to Max to organize a rescue, but will help come in time?

Maximum Ride: the manga 1 is a amazing manga book about six bird hybrid children that are trying to live a normal life, but they are forced to move place to place running away from human-wolf hybrids called erasers. 5 stars!!! The story goes on to explain the details of the mysterious erasers and a diabolical scientist named Jeb.

But, just wait the next book. It will probably be even better. Signing off-Jordan.

Other books in the series:

Teen Review by Cheyenne K....Birdwing

Publisher's Description: Once upon a time, a girl rescued her seven brothers from a spell that had turned them into swans. But one boy, Ardwin, was left with the scar of the spell's last gasp: one arm remained a wing. And while Ardwin yearned to find a place in his father's kingdom, the wing whispered to him of open sky and rushing wind. Marked by difference, Ardwin sets out to discover who he is: bird or boy, crippled or sound, cursed or blessed. But followed by the cold eye of a sorceress and with war rumbling at his kingdom's borders, Ardwin's path may lead him not to enlightenment, but into unimaginable danger.

Birdwing is a really good book for people who enjoy reading fairy tales. Birdwing is a book that takes a common fairy tale and then goes on to explain what happend after "happily ever after." This fairy tale puts a twist on a story about 6 boys being turned into swans by their evil stepmother and what happens AFTER their sister saves them from the curse.

I think you should read this book because It puts action and perseverance into a good story. You will never want to put this book down once you start reading it. This book shows you that nothing is too hard if you put your mind to it. 4 STARS!!!

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1/3/2015 Add a Comment Share this:

Teen Review by Katie B....Belzhar

Reading Meg Wolitzer’s Belzhar was very refreshing; the original struggles of the very real characters and the unique twists made for a very pleasing read that I’ll definitely be re-visiting.

Jam’s amazing british boyfriend, Reeve, is gone, and there’s nothing she can do about it, or the paralyzing depression that's taking control of her life. There’s also nothing she wants to do about it, but her worried family members are thinking otherwise, and ship her off to the Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school made specifically to help heal “emotionally fragile” teens. Jam doesn’t want to be there, and she certainly doesn’t want to be placed in an exclusive english class that’s studying the depressing works of Sylvia Plath. But Jam and the four other troubled teens of Special Topics English soon discover that the journals that were intended to document their problems have more to them than meets the eye. The world of Belzhar gives the kids a way to turn back the clock and re-live the lives they once had. But why have they been given this chance? And at what cost?

Stop what you’re doing. Sprint to the library. Check this book out. 

Belzhar presents a story that will keep you guessing until the end, rooting for every character, and hoping for their triumph. Relatable, entertaining, and completely unique, Belzhar is definitely a read to check out.

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12/12/2014 Add a Comment Share this:

Teen Review by Katie B....Uncaged

What do you do if you’re on the run in the sketchy part of Hollywood with only $58, some camping gear, and street smarts? If you’re Shay Remby, you kick butt, take names, and start taking down the country’s most corrupt medical business—with your awesome butt-kicking and name-taking friends.

Odin Remby is in hot water after his group of animal activists’ raid on a lab goes wrong and leaves a high-schooler in the hospital and a very, very angry corporation with a reason to track him down to catch him—he’s swiped some suspicious files that could possibly undo their entire operation. 

Running away from his home seems like the best thing to do to escape a dangerous company that isn’t afraid to break laws to save face and get what they want.When Odin disappears without a trace or an explanation, his protective sister Shay doesn’t think twice before piecing together the few clues he left behind to try and save him from whatever danger he’s in—and soon finds herself in Hollywood, with no idea what she’s up against.

What’s the best thing about John Sanford’s and Michele Cook’s Uncaged? The engaging action? The fantastic settings? The turns and twists that you won’t see coming? No, no, and no again; the thing that really makes Uncaged memorable is it’s amazing characters. As soon as Shay hits Hollywood, she meets some very interesting, and very diverse people; they’re the reason that the story is so memorable and fun.

Bored? You won't be if you check out Uncaged; the first fast paced novel in the Singular Menace saga. You’ll definitely enjoy it and be eagerly anticipating the next book in Shay’s story.

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12/7/2014 Add a Comment Share this:
Topics: Books, Teen Reviews

Podcasting for Teens!

Podcasting is a great tool for teens and those that feel that their voices aren’t being heard, to stop waiting until someone gives them that chance and go out their to create their own media. But first, you must be thinking what’s a podcast?! 

Podcasting is a prerecorded audio program that can either be streamed online, or downloaded and sent to an mp3-enabled device. Podcasting allows for you to develop your writing, research, speech, and audio-editing skills all in one project!

The best part about podcasting is that you can make it about whatever you want, in fact, that’s the driving force behind many of the most popular podcasts today; the desire to not “fit in” and to create and deliver content to narrow groups of people and interests. Are you the otaku-iest otaku there is? Make a podcast reviewing and recapping your favorite anime and manga, interview others that are as passionate about Japanese culture as you are, and visit local anime conventions and interview guests and attendants on how they feel about the panels and what coming up in the world of anime.

Love bad movies (I do!), grab a group of friends, pop a few cans of soda and rip into the worst films you can find! Maybe you spend your days and nights playing Minecraft—no problem! Whip up a podcast, and companion YouTube channel reviewing your favorite mods and servers.

With all that said, here are my Top Three podcasts to give you some inspiration on what you could do with podcasting:

1.     Welcome to Nightvale

Imagine your everyday local radio news show done in a town that’s a cross between H.P. Lovecraft, Edger Allen Poe, and a Stephen King novel.

That’s Welcome to Nightvale! It’s an odd blend of the creepy and macabre, humor, and sleepy morning news that just works so well together! Visit iTunes and listen to the pilot episode!                                                 

**And Remember Do Not Approach The Dog Park!**

2.     Stuff You Should Know (By

Have you ever been curious on the orgins of Play-Doh, sushi, tattoos, the Yakuya (Japanese mafia) or skateboarding? Then the 600+ episode podcast Stuff You Should Know, is right up your alley. Twice a week, tune-in and listen as hosts Charles Bryant and Josh Clark cover the history and application of the topic for that day.

Whether it’s finding out how the movie rating system works, to discussing the ethical implications of the death penalty, Charles and Josh will keep you entertained and informed during the whole ride.  

3.     Library of Games

  Based in the Chicago Public Library’s You Media teen space (think Chicago-style version of the Studio) this podcast is created, produced, and hosted by local teens with a passion for video games, gaming news and journalism, and an interest in podcasting, blogging, and video production.

It runs long, but if you really have a desire in gaming and want to look at other teens for inspiration on creating your own gaming content, look no further than Library of Games! Check out their website here. Teens also write and upload articles, reviews, YouTube videos, and designs for the blog!

During the month of October, the APL will be doing it’s own podcasting workshops, come on by and learn how to do a podcast of a different theme each week! We’ve switched some things around, but this week we’re doing an interview-based podcast. Next week, we will be creating music reviews! 

Written by Amina D., YTC Intern

10/20/2014 Add a Comment Share this:

Teen Review by Katie... Hanging By A Thread

Welcome to Winston, California, where you can find sun, sand, fireworks, and annual murders. Wait, what?

Clare Knight and her mother are just settling in to their new life in Winston, a small town where Clare’s mother grew up, and where her eccentric Nana lives. Although Clare has heard of the infamous 4th of July disappearances that have occurred the last two years, she had no connection to them until she discovers that her childhood friend, Rachel, had something to do with the murders that Clare hasn’t been told about. Clare, an amateur seamstress who salvages old items to create new ones also stumbles upon a raggedy jean jacket that belonged to Amanda, the victim of the second murder. How does Clare know? She’s got a secret—when she touches clothes, she can see into the pasts of their owners, especially if an injustice has been done. Murder is a big injustice, but will Clare be able to use her superpower to solve the mystery and keep her friends safe before the killer strikes again?

Hanging by a Thread was definitely a unique read: a typical small town murder with superpowers involved? Count me in! I was satisfied by the ending and was never bored by the mystery and plot. I was disappointed, however, by Clare herself. She was fresh and interesting, but also seemed extremely petty at certain points. The desire to have a boyfriend and grow up quickly sometimes overpowers her common sense. Luckily, good character development cleans up that mess and overall, the book was interesting and entertaining: a good mystery read for the summer.

Other books you may enjoy by Sophie Littlefield

6/16/2014 Add a Comment Share this:
Topics: Books, Teen Reviews