book review

Review by Aila

October 7, 2021

The Outsiders Hinton

4 stars of 5

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

Are you a young adult reader looking to get into the classics? Do you like the Sharks vs. the Jets theme in West Side Story? Or do you just love to read in general? Either way, this is the book for you! 

S.E. Hinton's debut novel, The Outsiders, is a coming-of-age novel in first-person perspective from the view of the main character, Ponyboy Curtis. After both of his parents were killed in an automobile crash less than a year before this story takes place, Ponyboy is living with his two older brothers, Sodapop and Darry. Ponyboy is a member of the lower socio-economic group nicknamed the “Greasers,” for their greased-back hair. One night, after a major incident with the Greasers rival group, the “Socs,” short for socials (the West-side rich kids), Ponyboy and one of his closest companions, Johnny, are on the run. 

Review by Alanna

May 4, 2021

Counting by 7s

4 and a half stars of 5

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Counting by 7s, a New York Times bestseller written by Holly Goldberg Sloan, illustrates an incredible tale of loss, hope, and personal growth. From the first-person narration of main character Willow Chance, readers are able to gain insight into Willow’s troubled life and are immediately drawn to her story. Different from all the other kids her age, Willow is precise, smart, and calm. Adopted by parents who love her and her quirks, Willow is comfortable and happy with her life. But when an accident shakes her world, she is forced to learn to make new connections and rediscover who she really is.

Review by Alanna

June 1, 2021

Historically Inaccurate

4 stars of 5

Historically Inaccurate by Shay Bravo

In Historically Inaccurate, Shay Bravo weaves a dramatic story around a present day, culturally relevant theme. Following her mother’s deportation, everything in Soledad “Sol” Gutierrez’s life changes in an instant. The novel follows Sol, a new student at Westray Community College as she tries to fit in. Forced to navigate through a new set of family dynamics and a drastically different home environment, Sol shares with the reader a heartfelt story as she faces many struggles and learns the importance of being herself. 

Review by Hayden

March 19, 2021

American Royals

4 and a half stars of 5

American Royals by Katharine McGee

The New York Times bestseller, American Royals, by Katharine McGee, is an amazing romance, fiction, and alternate history novel. The first in its duology, it is a third-person limited point of view, focused on the lives of the American Royal family. In this Royal family, George Washington became the King of America after the Revolutionary war. Now, in the present time, the Washington family still rules, and they have a lot of conflict. The complex plot and character relationships makes it a book you can’t put down!

PRE-PUBLICATION Review of Advanced Reader Copy by Hayden

Review date: February 1, 2021 - Publish date: February 2, 2021

This is not the Jess Show

Review by Hayden

This is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey

3 and a half stars of 5

This Is Not the Jess Show, written by Anna Carey, is a newly-published young adult thriller novel. It is a very fast-paced book with lots of action, written in the first person point of view of Jess Flynn. The plot-twisting story begins with seventeen-year-old Jess Flynn simply living through her junior year of high school.

Jess is a seemingly average high school student in the ‘90s. Her daily life consists of dealing with strict parents, a new crush on her old friend, and her sister’s rare blood disease. However, things start to get very weird at school. She hears strange chanting when she wakes up in the morning, and half the school is absent from a strange flu epidemic. Suddenly, Jess’s own dog seems off, and a tiny device with an Apple logo has fallen from her friend’s backpack. At this point in the novel, the story completely changes direction as Jess starts to pick up and put together all of the unnatural things in her town.

Review by Hiba

April 15, 2021

Elatsoe

5 stars of 5

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger is an amazing mix of fantasy, mystery, and paranormal fiction.  This magical novel focuses on Elatsoe who is a young teen girl with origins from the Apache tribe.  Elatsoe’s world is filled with monsters, ghosts, magic, legends of heroes, and a multitude of abilities.  It is quite similar to our world except for these magical entities and capabilities.  

PRE-PUBLICATION Review of Advanced Reader Copy by Hiba

Review date: November 30, 2020 - Publish date: January 21, 2021

Your Corner Dark

4 stars of 5

Your Corner Dark by Desmond Hall

Desmond Hall’s "Your Corner Dark" is an action-packed thriller following the story of a young man as he faces some of the most tragic events in his life.  I would give this book four stars for its intriguing plot and eye-opening setting that shows the actual situation of Jamaica.

The story begins by introducing the main character, Frankie, and showing the reality of his country, Jamaica.  Frankie has great dreams and plans to escape his poverty through his scholarship to the University of Arizona.  He has worked hard his entire life, so he could become an engineer in America. 

Review by Katie

January 25, 2021

Secret History by Donna Tartt

4 stars of 5

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History by Donna Tartt begins with its climax: The murder of a dear friend is revealed with equal parts remorse and resign, creating an immediate sense of intrigue before it circles back to the birth of this chronicle. The Secret Historyis a murder mystery dressed in pompousness. It tells the story of Richard, a young man studying classics in college with a group of people who are excited to step over boundaries of morality to pursue their fantasies. The consequences of their unbelievable actions prove to be repulsive, yet each character is addicting in their own way.

PRE-PUBLICATION Review of Advanced Reader Copy by Katie

Review date: December 2, 2020 - Publish date: March 2, 2021

Yolk Mary H K Choi

4 stars of 5

Yolk by Mary H. K. Choi

Mary H.K. Choi’s Yolk opens with a warning of the book’s descriptions of disordered eating and body dysmorphia. The warning is written personally and tenderly, indicative of the entire book’s cathartic and human story. Yolk is a young adult novel that follows Jayne, a college student living in New York. It chronicles her life cracking open upon the revelation that her estranged sister, June, has cancer. The diagnosis chaotically brings them together, opening the floodgates of their relationship, Jayne’s view of herself and her world, and the ultimate totality of death and loss.

Review by Samantha

January 27, 2021

The DoOver

3 stars of 5

The Do-Over by Jennifer Honeybourn

The Do-Over by Jennifer Honeybourn stars Emilia, a high school girl who loves spending time with her best friends Marisol and Alistair. Emilia’s life seems to be perfect, but then she is asked to prom by two guys: her crush Ben (the most popular boy in school), and her best friend Alistair. Not wanting to mess up her friendship, Emilia chooses Ben, but after dating for a few months, Emilia realizes that she isn’t content with her choice. When a fortune teller at the town fair offers Emilia a crystal that will take her back in time to redo a moment in her life, Emilia jumps at the chance to take it and reverse her choice. Although it seems like a good decision, going back in time and making changes doesn’t turn out the way Emilia expects. When one small tweak begins to unravel her life, Emilia doesn’t know what to do. This book explores Emilia’s life and the difference that each small choice truly makes.

PRE-PUBLICATION Review of Advanced Reader Copy by Samantha

Review Date: April 27, 2021 - Publish Date: May 04, 2021

Counting Down with You

5 stars of 5

Counting Down With You by Tashie Bhuiyan

A story of hope, bravery, and perseverance, Counting Down With You by Tashie Bhuiyan is a spectacular novel starring Karina Ahmed. When Karina’s parents travel to Bangladesh for a month to visit extended family, Karina finally feels free from their strict rules and pressure about her future as the doctor they want her to be. Convinced by her favorite teacher to tutor Alistair “Ace” Clyde, her school’s resident bad boy, Karina dreads their first study session. However, as they study together more, and get to know one another better, both Ace and Karina realize there is more to each other than meets the eye. An honest story of a teenage girl dealing with relationships, family drama, and mental health, this book is a page-turner that will leave you wanting a sequel as soon as you are done!

Review by Samantha 

March 9, 2021

Ill Be the One

4 and a half stars of 5

I’ll Be The One by Lyla Lee

I’ll Be The One by Lyla Lee is full of love, empowerment, and complexity. This novel features Skye, who is a confident and bold teenage girl, even though she doesn’t fit the mold of the thin K-pop star she sees on television shows and social media. Although she is plus-sized and isn’t quite the status quo of K-pop stardom, Skye loves K-pop and has been singing and dancing for years. Defying her mom’s wishes for her to just lose weight and stay out of the public light, Skye decides to audition for a K-pop competition show that is being cast in California where she lives. If she makes the show, Skye will be seen on television in America and Korea. However, that’s not even the most stressful part of auditioning for the show. On the day of her audition, Skye sees famous celebrity model Henry Cho is there to audition too. Dealing with Skye’s fears and insecurities is a big part of this book, but the story isn’t limited to just that. This book also explores Skye’s experience trying to be the first plus-size K-pop star, while also dealing with teenage relationships, friendships, drama, and more. 

Review by Samantha 

February 25, 2021

The Cruel Prince

5 stars of 5

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is a novel about a normal girl named Jude who was kidnapped by her parents’ murderer to live in the High Court of Faerie. Jude and her two sisters, Taryn and Vivi, are raised by their kidnapper - a military general named Madoc who is Vivi’s biological father. However, Jude’s life isn’t without complications. She is human, which means she is despised by the fey living in Faerie, especially Prince Cardan. Ten years after being taken from her home and parents, Jude realizes she wants to win a place at the Court, but in order to do this she must take a huge risk and defy both Cardan and Madoc. On her journey, Jude quickly realizes that Faerie isn’t what she thought, and that betrayal, danger, and deception play a larger part in the Court than she had ever known. 

PRE-PUBLICATION Review of Advanced Reader Copy by Samyukta

Review Date: June 16, 2021 - Publish Date: August 3, 2021

Mercury Boys Chandra Prasad

5 stars of 5

Mercury Boys by Chandra Prasad

Mercury Boys by Chandra Prasad was an enthralling read. This book was filled with twists and turns that kept the reader hooked throughout the story. Mercury Boys combined high school life with a little bit of magic and history, creating a thrilling book. It features the main character, Saskia Brown, who moved across the country to Coventon, Connecticut. One night, she accidentally discovered something that could change her life. She found that a daguerreotype, one of the oldest forms of pictures, when mixed with mercury, could create a way to travel to the past. 
Review by Samyukta
 
February 22, 2021

Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera CR: Bloomsbury

4 stars of 5
 

Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera is a beautiful story about dealing with damage from the past, friendship, culture, love, and magic. This book was so captivating that readers won't put it down. This story is an adaptation of the Greek myth; Orpheus and Eurydice. The book is about Eury, who moves to the Bronx to stay with family through some difficult times. She is followed by a dark force of evil bent on taking her with it. She expects the worst from it, until she meets Pheus. Pheus is a kind, talented person with a soft spot for Eury. The two of them deal with family, evil, and  drama together. This book makes the readers ask, "Will love prevail in the hardest of times?"

Review by Sweksha

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

4 stars of 5

The novel “Everything Everything,” written by Nicola Yoon, is centered around 17-year-old Madeline Whittier, who suffers from SCID, more commonly known as “bubble baby disease.” Due to her condition, Madeline has been trapped inside her house in Los Angeles with her doctor mother for 17 years. Things change, however, when a new family moves into her neighbor’s house.

PRE-PUBLICATION Review of Advanced Reader Copy by Sweksha

Review date: January 12, 2021 - Publish date: February 2, 2021

Review by Sweksha

Love is a Revolution ARC

4 stars of 5

Love is a Revolution by Renee Watson

Love is a Revolution written by Renee Watson is centered around Nala Robertson, a young woman exploring her identity. On an open mic night at her cousin’s birthday party, Nala meets the perfect boy, Tye Brown. As the two grow closer together, Nala begins to lie about her passions and her identity. The novel follows Nala’s life and relationships with her friends, family, and Tye. One of my favorite components of this novel is the character development.In the beginning of the book Watson describes a standard family living a relatively normal life. However, as the novel progresses, you can see the underlying issues and the tension increasing between the family members. This novel evokes several emotions, making it the perfect combination of romance and reality.

Review by Sweksha

October 30, 2020

The Cage

5 stars of 5

The Cage by Ruth Minsky Sender

“The Cage,” written by Ruth Minsky Sender, is a nonfiction novel based on events surrounding the Holocaust. Riva Minska (a thirteen-year-old girl) narrates the horrors her Jewish family faced during these difficult times. 

In my opinion, “The Cage” is a fantastic book that incorporates all the elements necessary for an interesting story. The events were well-developed and unpredictable, which encouraged the reader to continue reading. The characters that Ruth Minsky Sender incorporated were also easy to understand and visualize. In the beginning of the story, Sender developed each person thoroughly and gave the readers a chance to bond with them. Throughout the novel, as the victims suffered traumatic events, the reader could imagine what exactly they were feeling.

Review by Sweksha

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

3 stars of 5

Nicola Yoon, the author of the well-known novel, The Sun Is Also a Star, provides a new and diverse view on the controversial topic of immigration. The story is centered around Natasha Kingsley, an illegal immigrant and Daniel Bae who is an aspiring poet. Both Natasha and Daniel must work together to overcome challenges and obstacles which will allow them to rise to their full potential. 

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