Tag Archives: lean mean teen reviews

Shadow and Bone: Dark Tale in a Magical World

shadowandboneTitle: Shadow and Bone

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Six Word Review: Dark tale in a magical world

Summary: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart. (Book summary from author Leigh Bardugo’s website.)

I liked the Darkling’s character. His character seemed to be a perfect balance between evil and good. Bardugo did a nice job characterizing him.

I hated the main character, Alina. She was your typical naive character who had no idea what was happening. She acted confident but she was lying to herself.

I rate this book 7/10 stars, because the story was amazing and the world was captivating. The only thing I hated were a few of the characters.

I kept reading because I loved the story and I wanted to see what would happen with Alina and the Darkling. It was so beautiful and rich that I couldn’t put it down. The world Bardugo created was so captivating that I had to keep reading. The twists kept me on the edge of my seat.

–Rachel, Green Lake Branch

Three kids tessering (time-traveling) to save Earth

A Wrinkle In Time – Cover

Meg Murry has always felt like the odd one out.  She’s bullied at school, teased by most everyone in the town, mostly the post woman. Here’s the thing, Meg’s father has disappeared and she hasn’t heard from him for years now. Meg’s life seems to be dragging along until one day Charles Wallace, her younger brother who is practically a genius, brings home an elderly woman called Mrs. Whatsit (that’s really what they call her, weird I know).

Along with Mrs. Whatsit comes Calvin O’Keefe, a tall and lanky athletic boy who is older than Meg and lives with his crazy mother.  Mrs. Whatsit, along with Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which (two other elderly women), take the three children, Meg, Charles and Calvin, and ‘tesser’ or wrinkle (travel) accross the 5th dimension to save Meg and Charles Wallace’s father who is trapped on Camazotz, a planet on which a mysterious evil force called IT resides.

Throughout the rest of the novel, it’s a power struggle between IT and the darkness against the children, who have the fate of the Earth resting in their hands.

To summarize this book in 6 words? Three kids tessering (time-traveling) to save Earth.

I would give this book 8/10 stars because it is definitely one of the better books I’ve read.

I started reading this book one afternoon as to humor my mom who had been wanting me to read it for years now, and once I got going, I couldn’t stop.

My gut reaction to this book was: action and time travel, with a couple of totally awesome kids. Continue reading

Teen Reviewed: The True Meaning of Smekday​

Title:  The True Meaning of Smekday True Meaning of Smekday

Author: Adam Rex

Summary: The year is 2013, and Earth has been invaded and conquered by aliens. 11.5 year old Gratuity Tucci (or “Tip” for short) is left with no one but her cat Pig after her mother gets abducted by the aliens.  She sets out for Florida to try to find her mom, and along the way she forms an unlikely friendship with an alien named J.Lo.  These two are thrown into a hilarious and witty adventure that involves flying cars, animals called koobish, and lots of cats as they do their best to save the world.

I started reading it because it was recommended to me by one of my teachers.

I kept reading because it was fast-paced, funny, and I grew very fond of the characters. I never stopped laughing, and I always wanted to know what happened next.

If Tip was in a yearbook, she would be voted “Most Likely to Change the World and Not Take Any Credit for it.” If J.Lo was in a yearbook, he would be voted “Worst Driver” or “Most Likely to Eat a Urinal Deodorizer.”

This book reminded me of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy because it is quick-witted and funny.

I would recommend this to anyone who likes to laugh.  A fun read that will bring a smile to your face no matter how old you are.  😀

–Hannah, 16, Greenwood


The Little Prince: Little boy makes you think a lot.

thelittleprinceThe Little Prince was written in French by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who also did the beautiful illustrations you will enjoy throughout the book. Luckily, it has been translated by Katherine Woods, who did a wonderful job.

The Little Prince is about a magical young boy who tells a story of how he has travelled from planet to planet meeting all sorts of people. Continue reading

Teen Reviewed: Kafka on the Shore

Title: Kafka on the Shore

Author: Haruki Murakami 

Summary: This story, like all of Murakami’s novels, is the the equivalent of reading a dream, one you don’t fully understand until the end. It’s less of a book as it is the recollection of thoughts, memories, and happenings of two people: teenage Kafka Tamura, the runaway living in a library; and simple-minded Nakata, who lost his memory during a freak wartime accident. Nakata can speak to cats and predict what time fish will fall from the sky, and Kafka finds himself in strange situations, like waking up soaked in blood or seeing ghosts of still breathing acquaintances.

Little stories intertwined, eventually making sense.

I started reading because… I love Haruki Murakami’s writing. His stories never fail to interest me, and after reading and enjoying Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed by this one.

I kept reading because it’s near impossible to tear one’s self away from a book that works in the same way as a maze. Each chapter brings new information, advances the story and its mystery, but you don’t know how any of it connects or why it matters. More than halfway through the book you have yet to learn why the wartime accident that impaired Nakata happened, and it was the first thing you read about.

On a deserted island, Kafka Tamura would probably… read. After all, of all places for a teenage boy to run away to, he chose a private library in a tiny village.

Anything else to know? Kafka’s father prophesied his son’s fate, the same fate as Oedipus: you will kill your father and know intimately your mother and sister. This aspect of the novel has led to the accepted view of Kafka on the Shore as a modern Greek tragedy that explores the idea of fate and will.

Online resources: An essay on the incorporation of the Oedipus complex in the book; more on Haruki Murakami.

– Greta, 16, Teen Center Adviser


Teen Reviewed: Storm Front

storm frontStorm Front: Book One in the Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher.

I absolutely loved this exciting book Jim Butcher has woven. Think of it as grown up Harry Potter for action hungry teens like me. Harry Dresden (I know right!? HARRY!?) is a Wizard/Private Investigator who helps out the Chicago PD with unexplainable supernatural cases. His ad reads as follows:

  Continue reading

Teen Reviewed: Cirque du Freak

Birth of A Killer Cirque du Freak is one of my favorite series of all time. It’s up there with Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. I recently finished re-reading this twelve book (but the books are short) masterpiece. I just love it. The characters in this incredible Vampire story are its main highlight.

Wait… did he just say vampires? “Loren! Vampires are lame! The only good vampires are the incredibly attractive ones that are having sex all the time like in Twilight or True Blood!” Let me explain. Cirque du Freak follows the the journey of the Half-Vampire Darren Shan (The book is written in the first person, almost like an autobiography of the author of the same name). You will love these books if you enjoy cohesive universes and recurring characters that matter because you truly care about them. I would give this a 9/10 because it is one of the best stories ever told.

On a desert Island, Darren: would do anything to survive–and he would, with the help of his almost super human vampire abilities.

My six word review of Cirque du Freak would be “Exciting action-packed vampire saga is addictive”

Quick note, the Cirque du Freak movie under the name of the second book The Vampire’s Assistant is not a bad movie. It’s not a good movie though, and I must warn you DO NOT watch this movie before you read the books. They did an annoying-Hollywood-franchise-ruining thing where they take the beginning of the first book and part of the last book, cutting out all the really interesting in between stuff. I believe it’s about the journey, not the destination. The movie also spoils one of the biggest plot twists ever near the end of the series so remember: You have been warned…

–Loren, 15, Teen Center Adviser