Tag Archives: teen book review

Book Review: Shutdown

Book: Shutdown
Author: Heather Anastasiu
Recommend: A strong ending to an excellent series!

I wish that more people knew about this one. Honestly, it is one of those series that just hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. This is the third and final book and it kept me on the edge of my seat most of the time.

I have to say that my favorite thing about this series is not the main character. Don’t get me wrong, Zoe is a strong character but Adrien really makes this series work for me. I really enjoy the complexity and struggles with this character, especially after what happened to him in the previous book. I also LOVE how the author handled the issue. She didn’t miraculously solve it for the characters, she made them deal with the whole thing even though it was the harder thing to write.

I honestly think that the biggest flaw is the same one that I see creeping up over and over again in YA fiction, the predictable ending. We knew what was going to happen and how it was going to end long before you got there as a reader. Authors need to create a more creative ending. Really.

I loved this book and am sad to see this series end. It is definitely worth picking up this series which starts with Glitch. Check it out 🙂

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Awaken

Book: Awaken
Author: Meg Cabot
Recommend: Worth finishing the series but only just…

I loved the first two books in this series. It was actually fun to read which was shocking considering how much the author usually annoys me. However, this book seemed to have far too much going on with no breath between any action sequence – at all. The author was attempting to go for fast paced and exciting but it became so frenzied that it toppled over and caused me as a reader to become annoyed and detached due to the fact that it never slowed down. This one needed to be longer and not quite so easy to predict.

It wasn’t all negative though. the story was decently pulled towards a reasonable conclusion and I find it satisfying to reach the end, even though I was not even remotely as enamored with the characters as I had been. I also think that it would have been better if I had read them as a complete set instead of having to wait for book three. By the time it came out, I was so far removed from the first two that it was hard to get back into it.

Not a bad read but nothing that made me super excited to check out.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Magisterium

Book: Magisterium

Author: Jeff Hirsch

Recommend: Absolutely! This is book is much better than his debut!

This is the second book I have read by this author and when I read the synopsis I could tell that this was the book he really wanted to write. His first book was intended to really get his name out there so that something this original stood a chance. Don’t get me wrong, The Eleventh Plague is a good read but it pales in comparison to this one.

Mageisterium is the story of a world divided. Glennora has grown up in Collisium and dreams of traveling to the stars, leaving everything behind her. She has been told that the world beyond the border is a nuclear fall out zone where nothing can survive. However, when her father’s latest invention forces her over that line, she find out that everything in her life has been a lie and nothing is quite what it seems.

Okay, besides the fact that it is really hard to remember that Glenn is actually a girl, this book is amazing. Without giving away too much, it was not at all what it seemed to be and that was a wonderful thing after having read one too many dystopian novels of late. This one will suprise you and will be a fun ride. There are some places where it is somewhat predictable, like I knew immediately who the evil queen was going to be – no question and rolled my eyes when I was right on but it really didn’t detract from the story at all. The author had an intersting solution to the problem and it didn’t all tie up in a nice neat bow at the end.

While this is not the best thing I have ever read, the author’s inventiveness makes it a memorable and worthwhile read. I see this one joining my library very soon.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Prized

Book: Prized

Author: Caragh M. O’Brien

Recommend: If you read Birthmarked, this is a great follow-up.

I mostly loved the first book in this series and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the other two. I’ve got a reading pile a mile high but I jumped this close to the top when I got them in. I was not disapointed when I got into the second book.

A second book can sometimes be a bit risky. I’ve seen many authors completely bomb book two by following something far too formulaic. If it is too similar to a popular series like Twilight or The Hunger Games, the reader is going to be turned off because it is just going to feel like a rip off of either one. This book, doesn’t fall into that trap or many of the others that can befall book number two.

The biggest thing this author did right was the love square. First of all, she admits it’s a problem. Second, she actually makes the choice hard on the main character. As I reader, I actually like both of the guys she doesn’t choose better and so you actually feel bad for them. I get why she had the main character make the choice that she did, but for once it wasn’t clear cut, in my opinion.

I also thought the conflict between Gaia and the main female character was amazingly well done. I wanted to reach through the cover and smack them both – repeatedly but I was also able to be sympathetic towards both characters.

I think the biggest flaw in this book was that in the effort to make it not all about solving the puzzle, it was almost too easy and the information showed up far too late. It would have been much better if the information about her grandmother had been doled out in smaller pieces rather than handed to the reader all at once. The author needed to spread that out more. I also think that sometimes the emotional reactions of the characters were just a bit off but it could all be explained away with what Gaia finds out at the end – I guess.

Throw in a visit to the stocks, the most disturbing autopsy I’ve ever read and more drama than I knew what to do with, this was a great follow up and I can’t wait to get started on the third (which I just might do as soon as I finish up this review).

Final Rating:

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Book Review: The Lost Code

Book: The Lost Code
Author: Kevin Emerson
Recommend: If you like the legend of Atlantis… maybe

I picked this up knowing that I was probably going to be disappointed. I love stories about Atlantis but the idea of YA based on it felt like unless the author was very talented that it would go very very wrong. While this didn’t go as badly as it could have, I wouldn’t jump right to success either.

I think the biggest problem with the book was that the author made some vital mistakes. Mistake number one was setting this in a dystopian future. Just because dystopia is the rage for YA doesn’t mean that everything should be. I think this book would have gone over much better if it had been set in the past. if they had kept the camp and everything else but simply put it during the early days of the cold war or the like. Mistake number two was Lilly. There were simply so many issues with this character. She was completely inconsistent which leads me to the flaws with the main character who was head over heels for someone that simply made no sense.

That being said, I will give this author some serious credit for originality. it is nice to read something new for a change. I loved the fact that the author thought out the consequences of some of his actions, although others created issues. I loved the risk he took and I honestly think that if he ignores much of the dystopian aspect in the next book and focuses on the search, it will be much better. I also have to give him serious credit for writing one of the most disturbing scenes I have ever read period. There is a scene where the main characters find a lab that is truly horrifying. The author says just enough to give a clear mental picture without crossing the line too far. The mental images he created in this scene were so intense that I had to stop for a moment.

That being said, I think this author took a huge risk that didn’t pay off completely but had some great points never the less.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Rise

Book: Rise

Author: Anna Carey

Recommend: Definitely, but only if you’ve read the first two books in the series.

I had less than an hour to read this one. I saw it on the shelves while wondering Barnes and Noble on a long lunch hour. I picked it up, plopped down at a table and began to race through the book, eagerly devouring the conclusion to one of my favorite trilogies lately.

Eve is a mess after the shooting of Caleb and she is definitely showing it at the beginning of this book. Her hatred of her father and everything he stands for has only grown since she lost Caleb but she goes through the motions – all while secretly planning his assassination all while dealing with her sham of a marriage to Charles. When she find out that she has one last piece of Caleb left, everything changes and she puts her life on the line to stop her father forever.

This one was  a complete roller coaster ride to the end and when you think it’s all over, the author throws you for a welcome tailspin. I think the only thing I would say could be a negative about this book is that the author takes Eve away from the action one too many times. I know why she does it but it almost seems like a cop-out to keep her alive. I would have rather seen her in the middle of the action, continuing to fight and somehow escaping the inevitable. I think it would have made for a more exciting storyline. However, I really liked the fact that she brought back some of the issues from the first book to show that they weren’t forgotten. I also love the fact that she doesn’t make things too easy on Eve. The major complication in this book is almost funny in a way but also very bittersweet for the character, not to mention dangerous. I love the transformation of the character from a girl scared of her own shadow to a leader who seems to be able to overcome almost anything when necessary. A very large change but without losing the heart of the character.

My biggest frustration with this book was the ending. While I loved how she concluded the story, she needed to write about five more pages. It was just plain mean to leave us where she did. I wanted to see the moment she walked into that room! UGH! A few more paragraphs wouldn’t have killed her. Of course I’m among the group who loved the prolonged ending to Return of the King and I wanted just a bit more this book too. When you cut the story just short of a huge payoff for the readers, it’s just frustrating for them. It really didn’t need to be long or dragged out, but it needed to be!

Great end to such a fun series. I’m rather sad that there isn’t another Eve book to wait for.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: The Fault in our Stars

Book: The Fault in our Stars
Author: John Green
Recommend: Most definitely… a must read book.

I’ve heard a lot about this book. Those of you who read my blog often know that I tend to avoid books with tons of hype until much later. This is another example of this but I finally picked this one up. I wish I would have picked this one up sooner. I read this book in one sitting simply because I couldn’t put it down.

First of all, this book comes from Hazel’s point of view and is written by a male author. Often, this doesn’t go well. However this guy somehow seemed to figure out how to write a teenage girl in a way that was believable. She is a wonderful character and learns so much through the course of this book. Augustus is also wonderful and flawed. Then there is the whole thing with the author of her favorite book. The symbolism that the author uses with the author character is wonderful.

The only somewhat negative piece of this book is that while some of the plot lines are necessary, in some places the plot line feels a bit cheesy. There I said it. I know this won’t necessarily be the popular view on this book but I pretty much knew how it was going to end long before we got there. I think the author of her favorite book, Peter Van Houten was the most original part of the storyline. The whole way things turned out, while sad was extremely predictable. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved it, I just wish the author had done something a bit more interesting with the ending.

Overall a wonderful read and not one to be missed. This is not your typical teen fiction.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: The Eleventh Plague

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Book: The Eleventh Plague

Author: Jeff Hirsch

Recommend: An easy, fun, post-apocalypse read.

Confession: I picked this one up for the cover alone. It’s a great one. I didn’t even read the jacket flap before it found the inside of my book bag. Sad but true. I really do try to not judge books by their covers but sometimes it happens. I had a feeling this was either dystopian or post-apocalypse and I was right with the second one. Honestly this reminded me a bit of The Postman meets the The Passage (minus the vampires) written for younger teens.

Steve is a scavenger. He wanders what is left of a civilization he can’t remember looking for scraps of what they had lost when their whole society collapsed due to an overwhelming plague. When his father is injured, he has no choice but to trust a group of strangers and he ends up in a small pocket settlement in what used to be a gated community. However, in this world a single error can tear everything apart.

I think the best thing about this book is that while there was a small romance, it wasn’t overdone. It wasn’t the focus of the book. In the end, Steve made his choices based on what he needed and not what a girl wanted. While that would bother me normally, for some reason in this book, it was a refreshing change of pace.

It was enjoyable. I wouldn’t go as far as memorable, but not bad for a debut.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: The Last Princess

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Book: The Last Princess

Author: Galaxy Craze

Recommend: Definitely. A dystopian fairy tale for teens.

I saw this and have to admit that I got this one for the cover alone. That combined with the name of the author and the summary, I knew I had to try it. I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed. This was a quick read and I enjoyed every second of it.

After everything falls apart, the world is trying to bring itself back together. Then, the royal family of England is attacked by rebels known as the New Guard under the lead of the man who killed the queen years before. A soldier for the opposing side allows one princess to escape. With her father killed and her siblings captured, she is the only one who can save what is left of their world.

I really enjoyed this story because the girl makes mistakes more often than she gets things right, especially in the beginning. However, her heart is in the right place. It was an enjoyable read.

However, I think that the writing is rushed and there are a few leaps that go a bit too far. Some explanation as to what happened to the earth and why the New Guard is fighting against the royals would have been helpful. Also Wesley needs a whole lot more time to explain his motivations.

I am looking forward to the next book but I hope there are quite a few answers.

Final Rating:

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Book: Behemoth

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Book: Behemoth

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Recommend: Worth reading but getting a bit frustrating!

The second book in the Leviathan trilogy, this book continues to follow Alek and Dylan as they run around Istanbul attempting to do what is best for each of them and not being able to stay out of each other’s way. Both characters seem to move closer to their goals only to have everything change when Dylan’s secret is threatened and Alek’s succession is in question again.

Great second book, building the conflict while seeming to move towards a resolution. Creating impossible elements while still managing to move the story along. At this point I really just want Alek to figure out what is really going on with Dylan and why they get along so well.

I really enjoy this series but I am ready for them to figure it out already!

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Glitch – the Matrix meets 1984

Book: Glitch

Author: Heather Anastasiu

Recommend: I can’t wait for people to discover this one! What an amazing teen read!

Very rarely does the cover of a book accurately tell a part of the story but with this book the cover pretty much gives you an idea of what you are in for. In a future society after a war, society moves underground, and everyone had a port in the back of their neck in order to block almost every emotion except for pain, necessary to preserve life. People are pair together, not for love, but genetic compatibility and no one seems to care that they have no rights or freedoms. Well almost all of them. Zoe is the exception because she is anomalous, a glitch. Society doesn’t’ have complete control over her mind. The she sees the beautiful bright blue eyes of another boy connect with hers and her life will never be the same again.

I thought this was a wonderful book filled with everything that makes a teen novel a great read. There is a fight against society, obstacles to overcome, new skills to be explored, and of course a bit of a love mess to untangle. This book also includes a rich dystopian society built on the backs of the common people, a conspiracy that was shocking, and a muddled idea of who is on what side. This book was a fast paced romp through many different ideas that somehow work seamlessly together.

I would say that the biggest flaw with this book was the fact that in some places I found the book a bit too predictable. There were a couple times that I knew exactly what was coming long before it showed up, although every time it was a welcome twist. I don’t want to get into specifics because I don’t want to ruin the story but there are a couple things in the last 75 pages or so that I saw coming but it wasn’t too distracting.This is one I might be suggesting to everyone who asks for the next fun piece of teen fiction to read.

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

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Book Review: Hush, Hush

Cover of "Hush, Hush"

Book: Hush, hush

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick

Recommend: This was a fun, light read 🙂

I picked up the first three books in this series at the library this a couple of weeks ago. I went to renew my books and the second book in the series was on hold and not renewable. It immediately told me what the next books on my reading list were going to be. I settled in to my couch and started reading. I finished the first book in a couple of hours.

Nora gets partnered with the strange new transfer kid in her biology class. While she finds him annoying, something else is drawing her in. Unfortunately bad things keep happening around Nora. Someone is after her and it just might be her new lab partner.

While this read was a bit fluffy, it was just a lot of fun to read. Just the right balance of suspense and romance. Besides the fact that the author couldn’t seem to pick something other than biology class, apparently the only place to meet scary boys (Twilight anyone?), this book is fast paced and engaging. Definitely worth the time and energy if you are a fan of YA fiction.

Final Rating:

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