Tag Archives: Book Shorts

The Blood of Olympus: too much of the same?

olympusTitle: The Blood of Olympus

Author: Rick Riordan

Six Word Review: A continuation of a long series

Stars: 4/5. It was a fairly decent book with a common plot however the long winded sense of the series lowered the potential for me.

I started reading because I had read the previous books in the series.

This book reminded me of EVERY OTHER book that was similar to this including all of the books in the series.

What I loved was Riordan did add a new spark to the plot and made it more interesting; however, it still had too many rehashed themes to enjoy these new ideas.

Websites of Interest: The Blood of Olympus – Heroes of Olympus: The Online World of Rick Riordan

Sunny, Northeast Teen Adviser


Storm Breaks Ships — Risky Rescue Attempted

 Finest Hours: True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue

Authors:  Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman

Summary:  In 1952, a ship was torn in half during a massive storm off of New England.  Survivors were stranded on both halves of the ship.  During the rescue, the Coast Guard realizes that not one, but two ships were broken in half that day. During the storm, recovery efforts put both victims and rescuers at risk.

Six Word Review:  Storm breaks ships — risky rescue attempted.

I give this 8/10 stars because the story itself is great, but it went into a lot of unnecessary detail.

Gut Reaction:  A ship can break in half?!?

Discuss:  The explanation of how the ships were poorly built and could split half-way was really interesting.

I think that this book would be best for someone who is already interested in maritime books, survival stories or military heroes/rescues.

If the main character was stuck on a deserted island they would…get caught in a storm.

More true Coast Guard rescue stories.

–Amy, Librarian, Magnolia



Book Shorts: Belle Epoque

Belle Epoque_from_catalogTitle: Belle Epoque

Author: Elizabeth Ross

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Maude Pichon, a plain, impoverished girl in Belle Epoque Paris, is hired by Countess Dubern to make her headstrong daughter, Isabelle, look more beautiful by comparison but soon Maude is enmeshed in a tangle of love, friendship, and deception.

I started reading it because…I loved the picture of a rather plain girl on the cover and how it matched the book description I kept reading because… I’d never read anything about this time period in this place, and I liked the commentary on beauty vs. art within the storyline.

Gut Reaction: An unexpected thought-provoking hit with a realistic and flawed character.  I loved the passages in French.

If the main character were stuck on a deserted island, she would… shake a tree, fell a coconut, crack it open, save the shell to catch water and dew, and weave herself a shelter.  Then she’d sit on the beach, gaze at the sunset, and tell herself she was better off on the island than being married to the old butcher at home because at least this way she could appreciate beauty.

Six Word Review: Self-determinism trumps societal expectations and aesthetic.

This book reminded me of Midnight in Paris because… of Paris (!) and because both movie and book have themes underlying the storyline about who determines beauty (Belle Epoque) and what determines  the “Golden Age” (Midnight in Paris).  Strangely enough, in a way both works come to similar conclusions.

Websites of interest:

Book Shorts: Escape from Eden

Title: Escape from Eden Escape from Eden / Elisa Nader

Author: Elisa Nader

3-Sentence Summary: Mia is a sixteen-year-old girl living in a religious cult, “Edenton,” led by a corrupt Reverend and isolated in the South American jungle. As she approaches womanhood and the responsibilities of that title in Edenton, Mia begins to realize that her world is not only far from heaven, but much closer to hell than she dares imagine. Also, coincidentally, a really hot guy with a bad attitude shows up and wreaks havoc for the Reverend as well as Mia’s heart.

Six Word Review: Paradise ain’t nice so let’s leave.

I started reading because… I really enjoy adaptations of Adam and Eve. I think the original story offers quite a bit of food for thought and I take great interest in unique interpretations. I kept reading because I was on a plane. So it was this or the in-flight magazine.

Star Rating: 5/10. This had such potential to be unique! It was clear that the author was trying, and there were some interesting plot points and characters, but ultimately I was disappointed by the tropes. I have the feeling that if this adaptation was written for adults instead of young adults, it would have been very different–but unfortunately, the pages are riddled with forbidden romance instead of the deep symbolic importance this ancient story deserves. Continue reading

Book Shorts: Alif the Unseen

Alif the UnseenTitle:  Alif the Unseen
Author:  G. Willow Wilson

Summary:  Alif, a half-Indian, half-Arab hacker living in a generic Islamic military country, is forced to flee his home after his aristocratic ex-lover gives him a mystical book supposedly written by inhuman hands. He and his childhood friend have to hide from the government’s omnipotent Internet security program, and end up being aided by an enigmatic jinn, an American scholar, a holy man, and a famous hacker prince.

I started reading it because…  Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, so it caught my eye.

I kept reading because… I liked the Internet culture setting and the realistic personality of the main character. I enjoyed the analysis of the hacking community’s response to events such as the Egyptian revolution and the detention and persecution of fellow hackers.

If the main character were stuck on a deserted island, they would…  freak out about having no Internet while trying in vain for cell phone reception.

Six Word Review:  Hacker, jinn oppose government with book.

This book reminded me of Alphabet of Dreams by Susan Fletcher because they both wove magic and harsh reality together in a middle eastern setting.

Websites of interest:  Alif the Unseen

— review by Lexie, West Seattle teen volunteer WTS

Book Shorts: The Future of Us

Title/Author: The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
3-Sentence Summary: Emma and Josh, two high school students from the year 1996, discover their future Facebook pages in a strange AOL accident. The two were close friends for a long time, until a rift 6 months before– and the unexpected future becomes their only means of mending the past. Fifteen years later, it would seem that fortune does not favor Emma, and she sets out on a quest to change her fate; on the other hand, Josh receives a life more fantastic than he dared to dream, and plans to secure his destiny.
Six word review: Another reason to hate social media.
1. I started reading because . . . I love Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler as individual writers, and was curious to read their collaboration. I kept reading because Josh is a compelling character, if a bit of an archetype.
2. Star Rating: 6. The premise was unique and the writing was decent, but the story was simply not strong enough for me to suspend disbelief.
3. I loved: the concept & the chapter division. I hated: the predictability of the plot & characters.
4. If the lead characters were in a high school yearbook, they would be voted:
Most Reliable: Josh Templeton
Biggest Flirt: Emma Nelson
5. On a deserted island: Emma Nelson would probably still try to access Facebook. Josh Templeton would probably doodle in the sand with a stick until rescue came.
6. What else you got?
7. PSA: If your Facebook posts resemble those of future Emma Nelson, you are posting way too much information of the mundane and overly personal varieties. Please stop.

–Maddie, Teen Center Adviser

Book Shorts: Colin Fischer

Colin FischerTitle:  Colin Fisher
Author:  Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz
Summary:  A boy with autism teams up with the high school bully to get to the bottom of a cafeteria crime.

I started reading it because… It has a character with Asperger’s Syndrome.

I kept reading because… Colin’s way of searching for truth is fascinating, and the character is written in an authentic way.

If the main character(s) were in a yearbook, they would be voted Most Likely To:  Make Enemies and get Bullied

Six Word Review:  Super observant teen proves bully innocent?

This book reminded me of Marcelo In the Real World because both main characters have a diagnosis on the Autism spectrum and both juggle moral dilemmas.