Teen Reviews -- Summer 2011

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Article in Young Adult Fiction category.

Book, movie, and CD reviews that have been written by teens participating in the 2011 Teen Summer Reading Program, "You Are Here." Posted with permission of the reviewers.

Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best.

Book Reviews

The main reason that I loved this book was because it was fantasy. But the suspension was another reason. Because Gemma and Kirtak (my two fav. characters) were meant to be together from the start. But they kept trying to deny it. And it wasn't till near the end that they relized that they could not deny it. My least fav. character turned out to be Pipa. Because she betrayed Gemma. I encourage all to read the first in this trilogy, A Great and Terrible Beauty.

My rating: 4

Review by Paige, grade 8


The first book of the 39 clues series, the maze of bones, is a great read. Its full of action, suspense, and mystery which will keep you hooked till the very end. Although the beginning is a bit slow and some of the other families are a bit irritating it is still a wonderful book. Even though it is filled with action and suspense there are many humorous parts between the 3 main characters which gives a lighter tone to the book. Over all this is a book I recommend to anyone who loves a good mystery.

My rating: 4

Review by Clare


The second book to the Strange Angels novel was....okay. It had some funny parts in it and the characters were great, none of them were boring. They all had some importance to them. The reason I was not a huge fan of the book was because it dragged on and it didn't start off in a very upbeat way. I would recommend this book to older readers (teenagers) because there is some language and it's detailed when it comes to the death of zombies or other characters. I would also recommend this book for someone who is patient and can handle a slow moving story. I'm not that kind of person, so that's why I didn't enjoy this book that well. The thing I loved about this book was three characters. Shanks the werewolf, Graves the Loup-garou, and Christophe the djamphir. I loved Shanks because he is quick to act and he stands up for himself, even against someone he fears. Graves was once a normal boy but then got bit by a werewolf, thus becoming a Loup-garou. Leader of the pack, he is quick to protect Dru against anyone. He's a smart mouth just like Shanks but they cover that with their charm. Last but not least, Christophe (who I just called Chris) is a djamphir (vampire). He is a charming, but powerful vampire. He has powers none could believe, but you never know when he's using them. He is a mysterious person that I have some suspicions on but you have to read it too see if you agree. If you have the patience. ;)

My rating: 3

Review by Marlayna


If you enjoyed the Hunger Games trilogy or into science-fiction novels, then this first book of three is perfect for you. Set in the future about a girl named Tally, the book focuses on her difficult process of turning pretty - what all 16-year-olds are turned to by the government. However, after meeting a friend named Shay, her dream of turning pretty is changed forever.

A thriller of adventure and suspense - a must read for the summer!

Review by Anonymous


Robin McKinley has written many good books (The Blue Sword, The Hero and the Crown) and though this one has some beautiful moment, it's not on the same level as some of her other works. This book was an interesting read, if you can get past the beginning. The start is very slow paced, and the first 30 or so pages are descriptions of the world this book is set in, and how the humans and pegasi met and formed their Alliance. After that period of almost nothing but the settings and characters being formed, and a long history explained, the pacing picks up. The middle is very well-written and entertaining, with beautiful descriptions of the pegasus' land, especially of their caves. The action continues from there, but the book ends right in the middle of a moment of tension, and you can't help but wonder why the author chose to end it there. It felt so incomplete, like all the characters were left balancing on the edge of a cliff, and you didn't know whether they would fall or not.

My rating: 3

Review by Kayleigh


These are the coolest books in the universe. I would recommend these books to anyone who likes mystery, humor, and of course cats!

My rating: 5

Review by Shelia, grade 8


It starts with Melody and Frankie as new girls and learning to fit in at the high school. Melody is a normal girl in an area that is filled with Monsters, though people don\'t know that. Frankie was created by her parents and is one of the monsters, but she just wants to be who she is not some put on person. Her naivete coupled with her pop culture knowledge made her a great character to watch develop. Melody on the other hand was an ordinary girl until her father helped her along with some cosmetic surgery, now she is the girl all the girls are jealous of at her new school and this causes problems. Not to mention the one guy she is interested in seems to have two very different sides. There has been recent Monster Sightings in Oregan. Melody thinks that the guy she likes is in very close connections with them. Melody and Frankie have a time they meet but they don\'t really pay attention to each other until something weird happens in Merston High (the school they go to). This story is very funny and interesting. It will keep you hooked to the book.

My rating: 5

Review by Annesha, grade 6


Love, Stargirl is overall a very good book. It was a fairly easy read. I almost didn’t want to stop because of the lovely descriptions. It is in the young adult section, but I think that 10, 11, and 12 year-olds could easily read this. It is the sequel to Stargirl and I highly recommend it. Love, Stargirl was from a different point of view from its predecessor, Stargirls. I especially loved the hint of romance.

My rating: 4

Review by Hannah


Stormbreaker: The Graphic Novel was overall great. However, I do recommend reading the actual Stormbreaker book beforehand because the graphic novel was unclear at times. It did stay close to the plot-line most of the time but sometimes strayed away. Although, I do recommend reading this because it helps you put a good picture in your mind.

My rating: 4

Review by Hannah


I liked the book because it was fun, and the writing was good. It was about a boy named Derek who didn’t want to work during the summer. His parents had different plans though. They think that the ideal summer would be better spent off at a reading camp. It was very good and would recommend it to anyone even a few ten year olds who would enjoy it.

My rating: 4

Review by Deija


This book was very good. Percy Jackson and Harry Potter lovers will die for this book. It’s about a girl named Theodosia that removes curses on her family’s museum. She finds ancient Egyptian curses within her parent’s artifacts, then one day, after hiding this secret, she stumbles on a secret society that deals with curses. This secret society also deals with the serpents of chaos, an evil organization that uses their magic to try to take over the world. I love this book because of its exciting plot, and fair share of clif hangers. If you are a fantasy lover then you will love this book.

My rating: 4

Review by Abbey


I am J is a realistic fiction book about a transsexual teen named J. He struggles to understand himself while dealing with the judgements and misunderstandings of those closet to him. My favorite character was Chanelle, a transsexual J meets. I wanted to know more of her story. I would definitely read a spin-off book about her! Because of mature themes and explicit language, this book is definitely for teens.

My rating: 4

Review by Elizabeth, grade 10


I love Joan Lowery Nixon's books. She's such a lovely, well descriptive writer. I love how she makes me want to keep reading right from the beginning. She has a little bit of everything romance, humor, and suspense. Another thing I like is each of her books has a meaning. I learn from her books even if I don't realize what I've learned until the end. Sometimes I don't realize the meaning until the end. That's why I like her books.

My rating: 5

Review by Allison, grade 10


I liked Going Postal because it shows Moist von Lipwig, the main character, shifting from an uncaring swindler to a compassionate man who cares for and loyally supports his friends and employees. At the end of the book, he makes a choice that brings down a bad regime but saves lives and supports his friends.

My rating: 5

Review by Sharon, grade 12


Spinx's Princess is a historical fiction book that tells about the life of Nefertiti, a beautiful woman who became queen of Egypt. Almost nothing is known about Nefertiti's actual life, but Esther Friesner portrays how Nefertiti deals with the trials of her life and becomes a strong woman.

My rating: 4

Review by Sharon, grade 12


Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is a dystopian novel that reflects a lot on human nature. It emphasized the power of words on society and how different upbringings can affect one's outlook on society. My favorite character was the Savage, because he was able to see that to know happiness, people must also know unhappiness.

My rating: 4

Review by Sharon, grade 12


I liked the book because I like the plot, the idea that there is a race to find 39 clues around the world. My least favorite character is Irina Spasky because she is evil and tricky and she also tries to kill them many times. I would recommend this book to kids age 9 and up.

My rating: 4

Review by Emily, grade 9


I loved the book because it is about friendship and an undercover mission that brings four children together. My favorite character was Reynie because he is so smart but nice and thoughtful. I also like Kate because she is so resourceful. I think that boys and girls ages 10 or up would like this book, but if you are like the four main characters: Reynie, Sticky, Kate, or Constance, meaning you are very gifted, I would say you could read it even if you are younger.

My rating: 5

Review by Emily, grade 9


I loved Sea of Monsters because it puts a twist on mythology and continues the first book,The Lightning Thief. My favorite character is Annabeth Chase because, being the daughter of Athena, she is wise and pretty. She also keeps calm during disaster and dreams big. I think people of all ages would like it, as long as they had already read The Lightening Thief.

My rating: 4

Review by Emily, grade 9


This book is an interesting reflection of supernatural myths and legends from many places. Its vivid description of Fairyland and the style of its writing draw the reader in to follow September, the main character, on her journey.

My rating: 5

Review by Sharon, grade 12


This book reflects on the essential nature of humans and tells a dark coming-of-age story about the loss of innocence.

My rating: 4

Review by Sharon, grade 12


  • Stolen by Vivian Vande Velde

This book is interesting and well-written - starting with a girl who doesn't remember anything about her past or herself, and following her events as she tries to remember who she is - and eventually she does, in a shocking twist.

My rating: 5

Review by Sharon, grade 12


KC’s mom is getting married to the president. The people and the press know everything about their intimate wedding and honeymoon. KC and Marshall use their sleuthing skills to figure out how all the top secret info if getting outside of the White House. I recommend this book for anyone who loves a good mystery.

Rating: 5

Review by Jackson, grade 6


I LOVED THIS BOOK! You would think that by looking at it that it would be boring, but it's really not. This book explains all the back stories of the Vampires and Wolves of the Twilight books. I discovered a lot of new things about Alice and James and a bunch of other Vampires. You can't really have a favorite character because all the back stories make you feel sorry for all of them. Well maybe not all of them, some of their back stories gave them no reason to be hateful. I don't want to give out any information because there might be some out there who haven't read the books yet (seeing the movies do not count). I would recommend this book for major fans of Twilight or people who are interested in becoming an author. The beginning of the book is a conversation with Stephenie Meyer's favorite author, Shannon Hale. This book also includes some art sent in by fans, a playlist and quotes that connect to the songs, time lines, different covers from all around the world, outtakes, and frequently asked questions. This book is the best thing to get if you want to know about all about the Twilight books.

Rating: 5

Review by Marlayna, grade 9


Beyond the Chocolate War is the sequel to The Chocolate War. It contains the same characters, but feels like it's missing a main character. The book lacks the emotion and suspense of the first book, and doesn't have as strong or clear a message. I recommend the book for those who read The Chocolate War and want to see more, but I found the book very lackluster.

My rating: 2

Review by Elizabeth, grade 10


This book is one of the most exciting and most intriguing books I have ever read. It's full of action, humor, and suspense which kept my eyes glued to the book until I got to the last page. What really makes this book special is how it is told. The narrator refuses to tell much about any of the characters and constantly thinks about how he really shouldn't be telling you this story, but surprisingly it makes the book even more wonderful. I recommend this book to anyone who loves suspense and wants to read a book like they have never read before.

My Rating: 5

Review by Clare, grade 7


The Princess Test is an awesome book. It's about this super-sensitive girl. She has to have everything just so, which comes in handy when she ends up at a castle, taking a test to decide if she's fit to be the prince's wife. Gail Carson Levine is a really cool author. She adapts fairy-tales and adds details and twists. They are always funny and interesting. Her books are great reads. Some titles include Ella Enchanted, Fairest, Cinderellis and the Glass Hill, and Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep, or Cinderella, Snow White, Cinderella again, and Sleeping Beauty. I totally recommend her books!

My Rating: 5

Review by Caroline, grade 7


The reason I like Game Informer is because it keeps me informed about new game or cheat codes. It talks about a lot of games rated E,T, and M. You can get Game Informer from Game Stop. It tells about games for PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, PSP, Wii, and PC.

My Rating: 3

Review by Marshall, grade 6


I think Incarceron is an okay book because the part where the prison is alive doesn't lead to much action. My favorite character is probably Kiro because he is tough. This book is probably for ages 11+ because of language.

My Rating: 3

Review by Ishpreet, grade 7


The Usborne Book of Really Awful Jokes by Leonard Le Rolland This book is an okay book because most of it has corny jokes but it has a few funny ones. There isn't a character so I don't have a favorite one. This book is for anyone who likes jokes.

My Rating: 3

Review by Ishpreet, grade 7


I think this book is great because it is full of humor. My favorite character is Asterix because he is smart. This book is for anyone who can read and love fighting humor.

My Rating: 5

Review by Ishpreet, grade 7


I think The Candy Shop War is an amazing book filled with action and magic. The main character, Nate, is my favorite character because no matter what happens, he won't give up. I also think this book is for anybody 9 and up.

My Rating: 5

Review by Ishpreet, grade 7


This book is told from an interesting viewpoint, detailing one girl's struggle to survive in Nazi Germany during World War Two. From the start this book pulls the reader into the main character's world.

My Rating: 5

Review by Sharon, grade 12


This book is cleverly written and commentates in a funny and sometimes disparaging way on humans, religion and the world. Though possibly offensive to religion, this book is still a good read.

My Rating: 5

Review by Sharon, grade 12


Maskerade by Terry Pratchett One of Terry Pratchett's funny and well-written Discworld novels, Maskerade deals with Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg as they go to the city to find Agnes Nitt, who is singing for the opera. Like all of Pratchett's books, Maskerade is funny but has a serious theme.

My Rating: 5

Review by Sharon, grade 12


Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett Like all of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, Carpe Jugulum is cleverly hilarious. The witch Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg have to deal with modern vampyres that aren't easily defeated. Like all his Discworld books, Pratchett uses fantasy and humor to convey a serious theme.

My Rating: 5

Review by Sharon, grade 12


Wow! The Regarding the... series is AWESOME!!! It's a series of scrapbooks, journals, letters, etc. that tell a story. The main characters, in regarding the bees, are a 7th grade class and a substitute named Florence Waters, a famous fountain designer. When the bees arrive, will this class be ready?

My Rating: 5

Review by Caroline, grade 8


An interesting book about reconciliation of cultures, Libyrinth is a good read for any fan of literature. It tells the story of Haly, who can hear the words in books, and her friends as they try to stop the Eradicants.

My Rating: 5

Review by Sharon, grade 12


William Bloom tells the life story of his father in tall tales and jokes as his father is dying.

My Rating: 4

Review by Sharon, grade 12


Terrier is a good book for fans of Tamora Pierce's Tortall books - as rich in detail as the others, it tells an entirely new story about Beka Cooner trying to become a Provost's Guard and the mystery she uncovers.

My Rating: 4

Review by Sharon, grade 12


This steampunk novel combines past and future as it tells the stories of Deryn Sharp, a girl who dresses up as a boy to be a midshipman on a hydrogen-breathing fabricated creature, and Aleksandr, the runaway heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary and its walking machines. Westerfeld tells the story of World War I as it might have been.

My Rating: 5

Review by Sharon, grade 12


This book, The Name of This Book Is Secret, is an interesting, unique book that contains many secrets, as revealed in the title. I liked the book, however, it got a little annoying every time the author would refuse to share a bit of information "for the reader's own safety." I really liked Cass because she was resourceful. I think people of all ages would like the book.

My Rating: 3

Review by Emily, grade 9


Little House in the Big Woods is an interesting and excellent story about the author's own childhood living in the 1860s to 1870s time period, post-civil war. She talks about her family, her chores, and other adventures. I like Laura because of her playful personality. This book is an easy read, but is very interesting and would definitely be appropriate for all ages.

My Rating: 3

Review by Emily, grade 9


I really enjoyed this book b/c it was action-packed and had a really complicated plot. It was very entertaining and had an unexpected ending. The idea of killing aliens that only a limited few can actually see is a great story line for a book.

My Rating: 4

Review by Megan, grade 10


This book is an old favorite of mine and I always enjoy rereading it. It can be slow at times, but brings back simpler times. This is a great book for all ages.

My Rating: 4

Review by Megan, grade 10


Gripping, frightening, and occasionally beautiful, The Hunger Games throws the reader into a world where children are not safe and death is a form of entertainment. I loved this book and could not put it down in the short time it took me to read it. A page turner and a story that kept me up thinking about the characters and their struggles as they fought for life, love and rebellion. Slightly controversial, recommend for anyone over the age of 14 or 15.

My Rating: 5

Reviewed by Mary, grade 11


Paper Towns is a wonderful mix of adventure, mystery, and classic high school moments. John Green has an exceptional way of making the characters realistic and unique at the same time. The story changes constantly from lighthearted to gripping to over the top funny without breaking pace of the mystery that is Margo Roth-Speigleman. Recommended for girls and boys, and adults over the age of 13.

My Rating: 5

Reviewed by Mary, grade 11


Paper towns is an amazing book, taking an epic tale and adding light humor along the way. The reason I give this book a 4.5 out of 5 is just because of the ending being slightly unsettling. GREAT BOOK!

My Rating: 4.5

Reviewed by Dave, grade 9


I REALLY enjoyed this book! It constantly had me on the edge of my seat! With never a dull moment throughout the entire book! This book is a must read for anyone who enjoys a mixture of action, science fiction, and even a little romance. This book is extremely entertaining and one of Patterson’s best!

Rating: 5

Review by Abby, Grade 6


The BFG was about a little girl name Sopie. She was kidnaped by a Giant. The Giant took her to Giant Land. He was nice but the rest of them weren't. All the other giants got caught and the BFG lived in England with Sopie.

Rating 5

Review by Mariah, grade 7


I loved this book, because I learned courage and can see how the main character change her characteristic. My favorite character was Zachariah, he is very kind and brave. My least favorite character is Captain Jaggery. He pretend he is generous and he tries to kill Charlotte. I think the people who likes mystery books will love to read this book.

Rating 5

Review by EunYoung, grade 8


I like the Graveyard Book because you can't stop reading. It is exciting, witty, sinister, and creepy in a way that wants you to keep turning the pages. My favorite character is Silas, Bod's Gaurd. This book is good for people of all ages, especially children 7-13. If you like exciting, or fast-paced themes this is a great book!

Rating 4

Review by Lindsay, grade 8


Close to Famous is about Foster and her Mom moving to Culpepper, West Virginia to get away from Huck, an Elvis impersanater. Foster loves making cupcakes and hopes one day she can go on Food Network and have a show. I loved this book because it shows how hard it is to move to a new town but how Foster gets through it by baking cupcake and other treats. My favorite character is Foster because she loves to bake and believe in herself. I, also, love to bake so I loved hearing about her cupcakes. I'd recomend this book to anyone going in/in middle school who likes to bake and a good story that will keep you wondering whats next!

Rating 4

Review by Caroline, grade 7


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is about Francie Nolan growing up in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. I loved this book because its a page turner and a very interesting story. Its a long book but its very interesting so you'll want to keep on reading. My favorite characters are the Heaven tree and Francie Nolan. Both of these characters relate to each other and in some ways can relate to your life. I think girls who are in middle school and like classic books would enjoy this book. I really enjoyed it and hope others like it too.

Rating 4

Review by Caroline, grade 7


Someone to Love Me is an excellent book. As a reader, I feel as though this book taught trust. Not only trusting your own heart but everyone around you. This book is great for young girls who are entering junior high or high school. They will learn that you are your own judge in life and about the power of saying no in a situation. I rate this book a 4.5/5 and recommend it to readers all over.

My rating: 5

Review by Catherine, grade 11

Movie & CD Reviews

Vexille is a computer animated Japanese film set in 2077. Japan has been isolated for ten years by a barrier that distorts all electro-magnetic radiation, effectively cutting off all communications except official transmissions and all forms of surveillance in order to protest the banning of robotics research in 2065. Because of new proof that Japan has continued illegal robotics research, the titular character, Lt. Cdr. Vexille Serra, and her American Navy unit SWORD, is "unofficially" dispatched. SWORD is ordered to transmit a signal that would allow American satellites to image Japan and they are to discover what exactly Japan has been doing for the past ten years.

The movie left quite an impression on me, especially the main characters. Vexille is a strong woman who isn't afraid to get dirty but still cares deeply about the people she becomes attached to. Though she is rescued, she refuses to be a damsel in distress. Vexille is computer animated, but it's in an almost anime style which looks awkward on occasion. As you get into the movie, it's easy to forget that they aren't human actors, but then something will snap you back out, and it'll look slightly odd again. The English dubbed version I watched was good; it was hard to believe that this wasn't an originally English film. The lips mostly matched up, though it got worse nearer the end. However, one thing I disliked about their English voices was that almost everyone had American accents, even the Japanese. Not exactly what you would expect from Japanese speakers who haven't really spoken to anyone else for ten years.

All things considered, I liked it, though it's better for older teens/anime fans. Fans of Macross Frontier and Gundam Seed will probably like it. Though it has a very different plot, it has a similar feel.


My rating: 5

Review by Darcy, grade 10


The movie version of this book is well done and very true to the book. However, I did not like how some scenes of reconciliation which happened in the book did not happen in the movie. It is also hard to get a sense of Harry's internal conflict about Dumbledore, which is also an important aspect of the book.

My rating: 4

Review by Sharon, grade 12


I liked this CD a lot because all of the songs were written by Taylor Swift. I like that her songs can relate to almost any teenage girl. The only thing I really didn’t like were some of the slower songs. I really love her more upbeat songs. This is my favorite CD out of all of Taylor Swift’s CDs because it has the most lyric variety. Her past CD’s have been mostly about love. My very favorite song on this CD is “Long Live” and my least favorite was “Haunted.” I would recommend this CD to all Taylor Swift lovers.

Rating: 4

Review by Allie, grade 6