Teen Reviews -- Summer 2013

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Article in Young Adult Fiction category.

Book, movie, and CD reviews that have been written by teens participating in the 2013 Teen Summer Reading Program, "Beneath the Surface." Posted with permission of the reviewers.

Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. Newest reviews appear at the top of the list for each star rating.

Book Reviews

Five Stars

Some of my friends had me get this from the library, they talked about it so much that I just had to check it out. And I am so happy that I did. Cass had me hooked from the very first paragraph. I stayed up until midnight reading this and as soon as I finished it I bought the second one on my nook. THE SELECTION is a beautiful written book that I am going to read over and over again until I get so sick of it I put it in a box and put it in my closet until I go to college.

The thing I loved most about this book was hearing about all of the outfits the Selected got to wear to all of the events. It made me wish I liked there even though they have a caste system worst (and in some ways better) than the one they used to have in India. In this novel all of the gowns that the young ladies wore were hand sewn by each of the Selected personal maids.

If someone asked who my favorite character was I would have to say America because she is so independent and so opinionated. I feel that is the way all women should be, well most anyway. I like how she talks the Prince Maxon sometimes, she treats him as an equal not like a One (the highest caste.) You see more of this personality in the second book, which I loved.

There are some parts in the book I am like, okay, come on America. Make your move, he isn’t going to wait around forever.

The end of the book left you with such a huge cliff hanger that you will want to pick the second one up as soon as you finish the first one.

Review by Paige, grade 10

  • Fever by Lauren DeStefano

The thrilling squeal to Wither, main character Rhine continues on her journey to find her brother and reach her home back in Manhattan. Rhine and her friend/lover Gabriel trek up the East Coast of a futuristic America. But while they get closer and closer to their goal, Rhine gets more and more sick. Dangerously high fevers and ultra severe flu symptoms show up but there is no cure until...one day, her old enemy shows up on her doorstep when she is at her weakest point! What happens to Rhine? Does she find her brother? Read this fast paced adventure to discover her journey.

Review by Megan, grade 12

Cactus aka Yamada-San asked out Fujioka-Kun, but was rejected. Then a snobby rich prep student comes in and makes a scene! Fujioka-Kun is not happy. Yamada-San bumps into an old friend of Fujioka-Kun's. Things get crazy! The rich boy fed up with Fujioka-Kun. He makes a plan to get Fujioka-Kun expelled, and it works. Yamada-San pleads for the rich boy to let Fujioka-Kun back in school! So, to prove the rich boy's love, he let's him back! But who knows what they will do!?

Review by Ariana

I love this series! It's 1 of my favorite series and this book was 1 of my favorite book in the series. I like how Harry found this connection to Voldemort even though it lead to Someone's death. I also like the connection because it shows he's actually 1 of the few people who can defeat him. My favorite character was Harry mainly because he's the person the series is about. I LOVE HARRY POTTER!!!

Review by Lipi, grade 7

If you're reading this it's too late is an exciting book written by Pseudonymous Bosch. It's a thrilling novel mixed with humor and suspense. My favorite character is the Homurculus. It is a small creature that is grumpy and has a humorous but bad attitude. My least favorite character is Mr. L. He is a evil man determined to have a young life forever. He goes to extrmeme ways. People in middle and elementary school will enjoy this book. Especially people who enjoy thrills.

Review by Henry, grade 7

Out of My Mind is a wonderful book for all ages. The main character, Melody, is disabled and I love stories that show people doing something unthinkable. My favorite character was Melody because of her personality, and my least favorite characters were Rose and Claire. Rose seemed nice, but then let Melody down, and Claire was just plain mean all the time. I think that this is an excellent book and that everyone should read it.

Review by Alexis, grade 7

Project Sweet Life is an amazing book because it's so interesting how these 15 year old boys will do anything to make easy money without getting a summer job. My favorite character is Dave because towards the end of the book he uses his brains in a smart way to solve the mystery. I recommend this book to teens who are willing to make money without having a summer job.

Review by Anfaz, grade 7

I loved this movie because of the way they made it alive .It seemed so real. My favorite character was Pi Patel because of his amazing adventure. I would love to see what I would do in his situation. I think people who are from ages 12 and up would love this movie.

Review by Roshan, grade 7

I liked Ben Hur because of the journey of Ben Hur had. He was a prince and their paddling boats in Roman ships and then being a chariot race winner. My favorite character was Ben Hur because he is smart and determined. I think people who are 12 and up.

Review by Roshan, grade 7

I loved this book because of the suspense and action. My favorite character was Dan because he proves if you try your hardest you can achieve. I think people who like the first 4 books will like the book. Also, people from ages 9-14 would like this book.

Review by Roshan, grade 7

I loved this book because of the creative writing by Jude Watson. My favorite character was Dan because of his creative and imaginative thinking. I think people who like the first 5 books will like this book. Also, people from ages 9-14 would love this book.

Review by Roshan, grade 7

I loved this book because every page I read, there was danger. My favorite character was Maximum (Max) Ride. She was a great leader and she was bird mutant. My least favorite character was Ari. He was mean bully and he is Eraser. I think people who like mutants or fantasy should read this book.

Review by Lynn, grade 11

I loved this book. I thought it was very interesting & I couldn't put it down. I loved how Anne Frank wrote. She seemed to be absolutely truthful in her journal, and I liked that. I could really relate to her, as I think many can. I laughed out loud at parts and was devastated when I read the end note, even though I already knew that the members of the Secret Annex met unfortunate ends, including Anne. Afterwards, I was slightly overwhelmed by thinking about all the individual lives that were cut short in WWII. I only had one dislike of the book: that her dad edited it! Who would want their dad editing & reading their journal? But all in all, this book was amazing & one of the best I've read!

Review by Gypsy, grade 9

Inkheart is a wonderful, exciting story. I loved it because characters got to come out of the books. There is also a movie which is really cool to watch. My favorite character is Meggie because she read Tinkerbell out of the book and because she shared her father's gift. I think all ages could enjoy it except for really small kids.

Review by Alexis, grade 7

I love this book because it was from a teenage's perspective. My favorite character was Ruby. I think this book is for people who are 12-17 or are just big fans (like me) of Sarah Dessen.

Review by Jamesha, grade 9

  • Son by Lois Lowry

I loved it. It always kept me intrested.

Review by Anna, grade 7

A little boy named Willy is going to race in a dogsled race, because his grandfather is very sick. While his grandfather is sick a tax collector comes bye and Willy's grandfather is sick, he doesn't have the money. So the tax collector has to take the house, but there is a lot of people racing in the race, and one of them is Stone Fox. He has never lost a race.

Review by Cameron, grade 6

I liked the story about Nikki!

Review by Maureen

Conspiracy 365 by Gabrielle Lord
This is a series of twelve books that I am reading. I love these books becuase they are filled with action, worry, and suspence. Callum Ormond is my favorite character. He is a hunted fugitive and is now on the run. Callum is only 15 years old and he has to survive 365 days. I think that people who like action book would like this. Ages 10 to 15 would probly like it.

Review by Isabel, grade 7

I love this book because it had a lot of action in it. I had a lot of favorite characters. This book is filled with action, humor, and mystery. This book is for kids who like action and humor. I loved this book and so will you. Their are 4 books in this series so read them all.

Review by Soumil, grade 8

I love this book because it is about a bunch of friends putting something together. My favorite character is Kate because she never gives up and you can tell she is kindhearted and determined. She didn't stop trying to earn money for her dad's b-day present. This is a great book for kids that are thinking about having a lemonade stand.

Review by Abigail, grade 6

This book is awesome. It is a giant book of poems. I think this is a great book for someone who likes humor and rhyming!

Review by Abigail, grade 6

A World Away is about a 16-year old named Eliza, who has been Amish all her life. She has never tried on a pair of jeans, never made a phone call, or watched TV. She is asked for a nanny job for two kids, and excited accepts. She learns the good, bad, and the ugly of learning of love, life, and lessons of the non-Amish world. She learns that most of the time, the life your blessed with is the life your meant to belong to, even if it doesn't seem that way. This was a phenomenal book!

Review by Anna, grade 9

I liked this book because it made you think about what is going to happen next. My favorite character is Meg. I like Meg because you can tell she is adventerous and likes taking risks. I think kids from 4th grade to 7th grade would like this adventerous tale.

Review by Abigail, grade 6

I liked how the author made the setting feel like the future and it could happen. I felt like every chapter Lena was changing and starting to realize love is good and it is something to celebrate. I liked how the ending was put together. I feel like this was a fast paced book that left me wanting more at the end. I thought it was a great book.

review by Megan, grade 9

I like it because it was kinda like me. My favorite character is Nikki J. Maxwell. Recommend to 10, 11, 12, and 13 year olds.

Review by April, grade 6

I felt that Beautiful Creatures had a great story line. I liked that they placed it in the real world. It made it feel like it could happen. I liked how they made the connection with Lena and Ethan. It made it feel magical. All around it was a great book that most people would like to read.

Review by Megan, grade 9

It's very captivating with major romance and mystery. A simpleton guy from a small town finds out that this new summer time city isn't all its cracked up to be. There are real vampires and some aren't as friendly as they seem. It is truly a must read for the summer.

Review by Robin

This book is easy to read and keeps you wanting to know more. Personally, I loved Gus, he was sweet and hilarious. This book is perfect for anyone in middle school or up!

Review by Amanda

The book I'm doing my review on is "Matilda." I picked Matilda because it's one of my favorite books. I also enjoyed the movie. Matilda is about a little girl growing up on her own in a family she doesn't belong. She discovers that she has magical powers. In the end she was adopted by her teacher which she loved, and they lived happily ever after.

Review by Mariah, grade 9

Curing disease seems to be the new big thing around books these days, yet out of all of them this just might be my favorite. First starting it I thought it was as boring as all heck and put it down, but like anything you can’t start something and not finish it so, I did and absolutely loved it. I highly highly recommend it and if you have the same trouble as me, push through it: I promise it gets better, way better. The characters are really interesting, but I think it is the plot that is the most intriguing. I would recommend this for the young adults age group (teens).

Review by Dominique, Grade 10

Clearly with a rating of five, I enjoyed this book. It was a play off of the original story “Cinderella,” a story that I basically hated as a kid because the main heroine was pathetic and never stood up for herself. The tomboy Cinder is the exact opposite, someone people can actually relate to and an all around likeable character. Cinder was very much original because it didn’t take the exact same story/plotline and rewrite it as a modern story, but took the basic skeleton of the story and added tons of new components making it a new story. It might have been pretty predictable throughout, but overall was really good, so I’m excited for the next 3 books!

Review by Dominique, Grade 10

This book was outstanding! Yes, it was and is most definitely meant for an older audience (teens and such) but half of the obscenities are what make this book so great. I’m sure a lot of teens can relate to what went on in this book. It was hilarious, thought provoking, heart wrenching, and just about every other emotion there is all at the same time. I myself did not enjoy the back cover’s description. I don’t think it made for an intriguing sort of “explanation”, but ignore the back. I did and LOVED this book. So obviously I recommend this book, along with his other books which are also really good.

Review by Dominique, Grade 10

This review is on “Witness”. I chose this book because it is a good/sad book. This book is about a lot of different things but it’s basicly about a Klu Klux Klan group in a small town in Vermont. This book is very racist but it ends up being good in the end. My favorite character was Esther Hirsh a 6 year old girl from New York.

Review by Mariah, Grade 9

My book review is on “The BFG.” Also known as “The Big Friendly Giant.” This is a very popular children’s story. I read it for the first time when I was in 2nd grade. This book is mainly about a little girl named Sophie who lived in an orphanage, and one night she was awake and was kidnapped by a friendly giant and taken to giant land where many giants lived. In the end the giant was able to come live with everyone and treated normal. My favorite character was Sophie because she was intelligent.

Review by Mariah, Grade 9

I really liked this book. With many twists and turns it made for suspenseful and exiting reading. I was so happy with it I ended up reading the whole 11-book series in about a month!

Review by Russell, Grade 7

This book was really great. I had seen it on shelves for quite some time and it wasn’t until a while that I picked it up and really saw its…awesomeness. Although I must say it got a little confusing eventually.

Review by Russell, Grade 7

Bloomability is about a girl who’s family moves a lot – ever 6 months to a new place. Soon she is sent to Switzerland, which she hates, and learns how to speak Italian, Spanish, Japaneze, and French at an American School. She soon makes close friends w/ some of her peers and goes on a skiing trip w/ them. Two of them are burried in an avalanche, and I won’t tell you if they survive. She soon loves this school and can not bear to leave her friends (some who are not coming back next year) and their is no guarantee she will. She soon learns the value of friendship and that no one will ever forget her.

Review by Kaylin, Grade 6

As the main character has a much different personality than me, I felt so bad when he ran into troubles, and gave me more views on other people’s lives. I could also relate to him in a lot of this book.

Review by Russell, Grade 7

With very conflicting view on the main character, this book offers a very interesting plot, never knowing when the maze of twists and turns will come to an end.

Review by Russell, Grade 7

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

Responsible Rosalind, future astrophysicist Skye, Jane the author, and shy batty along with their father are on their way to the summer of their lives at Arundel, home of Jeffrey and the despicable Mrs. Tifton. There will be love. There will be brownies. There will be butterfly wings, bunnies, and bulls. There will be heartbreak, writing, and piano. And, there will be Algebra and roses.

Review by Talia, Grade 7

Four Stars

As the person I am, I have read almost all of Meg Cabot's books. This series is by far the best that I have read of hers. She actually make the person who is in the position of Hades seem normal and like someone who was actually a man. Someone who knows what it feels like to die, through that he shows more sympathy than in other characters I have seen who have played the role of Hades. I also loved how John has more background, something more interesting, than the normal stories about the lord of the dead.

This book is a lot less confusing than the first book, which is good. Where the first book flips between past and present a lot, this book stays with Pierce the entire time.

This book also explains a lot more in a lot more detail, mainly because the main character is not as clueless in this book than in the first one. Some of my favorite parts are when she sees the curtains fluttering. I like this because the curtains are white and seem symbolic in a place of death. It makes me think that there is innocence and purity in the Underworld. It also makes me think that Pierce is getting to start over, that the white curtains mean a clean slate for her. It is kind of like the pomegranate in the Underworld, everyone thinks it is one thing, when it actually means something else entirely.

Some parts of the dialogue were a little weird for me. I don't know why, but whenever someone puts something with and "Oh," in front of a name it just sounds ridiculous.

Review by Paige, grade 10

I loved this book. When I read the first one I couldn’t believe it was over. There had to be more to Rebecca’s story, and I was right. This book takes you back into the life of Rebecca Brown, a normal teenage girl who can see ghost, but not all ghost, just the ones that let Rebecca see them, or if you are holding a hand of a ghost. That is how Frank notices Rebecca; he saw her with Lisette the year before when they walked to her house in the Treme.

In this part of the Ruined series you can really see the characters flourish. There is Rebecca who shows that she is strong and confident (most of the time.) Anton who now shows that he only believed in ghost because of the curse on the Bowman family and believes that Lisette was the only ghost in New Orleans and tries to fight it off when Rebecca tells him otherwise. Ling, a ndw character, who is like a confidante for most of the book, but then she really shows her intelligence in the end. Then you have Toby, who you think is even more of a nut case than in the first book.

The only bad thing about this book is that it is really confusing at the end. What happened to Delphine? Why did she move on? Was it because she saw that Frank was moving on? Then the Epilogue was kind of confusing too. It kind of leaves you wondering what is happening here? Does this mean that Paula Morris is thinking about writing a third book, making this into a large series, or just keeping it down at two?

Review by Paige, grade 10

This book was amazing, however it was too short. Throughout the entire book I felt like something more could be explained. Or what as explained could be elaborated more on. However, Josephine did an excellent job with what she wrote. Everything made moresense in this book than any of the others, (which is what she wanted to do, I think.) and was beautifully crafted so everyone (well, almost everyone) got their happy ending.

Reading through this series it was exciting to see how each person changed and developed, even though some did not. Characters people didn’t like very much get some justice behind them and end themselves with very noble acts.

The only true problem I had while reading this story was the epilogue. It felt way too long and that the author was trying to rap up a story that wasn’t completely closed. I feel that if she wanted to Josephine Angelini could write another novel that explains more of what ends up happening to everybody. Some parts I was okay with the wrap up (Jerry and Kate) and others I wasn't (Lucas’s situation).

Review by Paige, grade 10

I like this book because the boy was nice.

Review by Tiffany

1812: A War That Forged a Nation by Walter R. Borneman
Not knowing much about the war of 1812, or having an intense desire to put forth the extra participation in the history of our country, this non-fiction is written with the intention of getting the attention of the younger generation. Younger generations on occasion associate history with school, and in the beginning of the summer that is the last thing anyone wants to think about. This story of the war, the living conditions, and the tensions of the years preceding 1812 until the years dating after the war, shows relations to the present. The relations are not in the difficulties, but more so in the language and thoughts of America's founders. These similarities cause the formation of fantastic relationships. These relationships are between the reader and the historical figures, in this historical review. This author is successful his attempt to connect the present and the past. This written piece is helpful in preparing for future history based classes, as well as impressing friends and colleagues with esteemed knowledge of a historical event. Over all, this piece is a needed read, if not for the historical knowledge, then for the extreme vocabulary.

Review by Hanna

This adventure with Katie Kazoo is as wild as always. Her teacher Mrs. Derkman moves in next door. What a surprise. Once again the magic wind comes and turns her into Pepper. Pepper (Katie) does some crazy stuff and then when she turns back into herself she fixes everything. Pepper is my favorite character.

Review by Abigail, grade 6

Francine and Muffy have a bet that Francine can't be nice for a whole week. Muffy bets her Princess Peach watch. Arthur and his friends push Francine to the limit but she holds back her temper. My favorite character is Muffy. Find out what happens to Francine as she tries to be nice for a whole week.

Review by Abigail, grade 6

This book is amazing! It's about 2 rabbits named Hazel and Fiver who try to leave their home warren. It really makes you think about how rabbits live in the wild and how similar and at the same time how different rabbits are to humans.

Review by Johanna

I loved Fairest because it was about things like love and hatred and there were a lot of details which helped me get an image of the story in my head, making the story better. My favorite character was Ijory because he was nice to everyone. I think someone who enjoyed magical things, like fairies, would like it.

Review by Amelia, grade 6

A girl named Amu Hinamori wants to be her true self. She ends up with 3 character guardians who help her. People that work for Easter steal her eggs and guardians! She has to protect them and save the characters.

Review by Ariana, grade 6

I’d say this was a pretty good book. If you enjoy modern adaptations of classic books or old fairy tales, I think you would enjoy this book. This book is really inventive, gorey, and definitely draws the reader in. Although the end was sort of anticlimactic, the whole rest of the book was really enthralling, though you still want to know what happens in the next 2 books. I would recommend this for maybe the younger teens and older kids.

Review by Dominique, Grade 10

The book I choose to do this review on is “Middle School.” I choose this book because it comes from a great series. This book is about Georgea Khatchadorian who plans to do good in her middle school but along the way her brother fails and it brings her reputation of a “good student” down. My favorite character is Rafe, which is the brother who is failing in school.

Review by Mariah, Grade 9

Three Stars

Two Stars

One Star

Movie, Music and Audiobook Reviews

Five Stars

  • Rango starring (voices by) Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy

I decided to do my review on “Rango” because it’s a very extravagant movie due to the fact that the animals talk! In this movie there is a chameleon “Rango” who has to find his inner voice. In the beginning he gets dropped out of his car and is stranded in the desert. He becomes the sheriff of a small town which has a evil plotting major who has all of the water to build a new town. My favorite character was “Rango” which is the main character.

Review by Mariah, grade 9

Four Stars

  • Holes starring Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Patricia Arquette, Tim Blake Nelson, Dulé Hill, Shia LaBeouf

The movie I'm doing this review on is "Holes." I decided to do a review on this movie because it's one of my favorites. This movie is mainly about Stanley Yelnats gets sent away to a correctional camp for stealing shoes, that he was wrongly accused for. There family believes in this 100 year old curse that his great great grandfather put on them. In the end he finds a treasure chest that was meant for him all along, but throughout the whole movie they would look back into the past and tell the story of "kissing Kate Barlow." Which was one of my favorite characters, my other favorite character was Theodore aka "Arm pit."

Review by Mariah, grade 9

  • Zathura starring Jonah Bobo, Josh Hutcherson, Dax Shepard, Kristen Stewart, Tim Robbins, John Alexander

The movie I’m doing this review on is “Zathura”. I choose Zathura because it is a good movie. Zathura is about two brothers who are left at home with their older sister. (Which she doesn’t watch them well). The two brothers play a game called “Zathura” which comes to stop the bad things from happening they have to finish the game. My favorite character was the “Robot”. Even though they only showed him once he was funny. My least favorite character was the older brother, because he was mean and had a bad attitude.

Review by Mariah, Grade 9

Three Stars

Two Stars

One Star