September 16, 2014
Cadence is very privileged and during the summer she vacations on a private island with her family and a group of four friends called “The Liars.” Three of them are her cousins except for Gat, who Cadence not-so-secretly finds attractive. For several years everything is great, until one year when everyone starts to compete for the biggest house on the island. With this, tension rises and a tragedy occurs leaving Cadence with a head trauma and no clue about what happened. Two years later, she is back on the island and eager to learn what has happened; but with everyone sworn to secrecy it is going to be hard to find out.
This book is my idea of a near flawless YA mystery novel. Although the writing style could sometimes be annoying, the numerous good qualities make this barely an issue. The storyline was full of suspense and the characters are unique and captivating. I enjoyed how real the book felt and I thought the author did a fantastic job with the character growth and descriptions. Honestly, I could not put this book down! This book is definitely worth reading if you love a good mystery.
The most memorable moment is the conclusion because it is so unexpected and emotional.
Reviewed by Rylan, grade 7, Tuckahoe Area Library
September 16, 2014
When we got to my room, I didn’t know what to do or say to Kevon, this foster kid who was older than me. Who was going to be sleeping in my room even though I didn’t even know his last name. So I said the first thing that came to my mind. “Why did they take you away and put you here?”
Kinda Like Brothers, by Coe Booth
(Click on the cover to find a copy in our catalog.)
September 13, 2014
Alex is still grieving her father’s death. But when she finds out that her best friend, Becca, has been diagnosed with cancer, she realizes that she needs to be strong. Especially so because Becca has a special favor to ask of Alex. Since she was nine, Becca, had kept a running “bucket list” of things she wanted to do before she died. Now that she actually may be dying, Becca hands over the list to Alex and asks her to complete the items on the list for her. Although hesitant at first, Alex soon realizes that Becca’s bucket list may lead her to really start living… and maybe even loving again.
I didn’t really like this book all that much. It had a few good parts here and there: I really liked seeing Becca and Alex’s friendship grow and Alex herself realizing that there was so much more she could do with her life. I also liked watching Alex’s relationship with the mysterious Leo Dietz bloom into something more than just “friends.” But the majority of the book was filled with meaningless arguments, half-hearted sadness, and often boring situations.
Watching Alex live through Becca’s dreams was enjoyable. It was nice to see how close the two of them were and how best friends can really change your life for the better.
Reviewed by Asha, grade 10, Twin Hickory Area Library
September 12, 2014
This book introduces the reader to the lives of four different teenagers living across the United States.There’s Hudson, a mechanic from a small town who is confused about what he really wants from his life; Elliot, who will do anything to convince his best friend to fall in love with him; Bree, a runaway who is still trying to cope with the loss of her parents and quite possibly her sister; and Sonia, who is scared to admit what she really wants. All four of these teenagers meet one very special girl: Leila. When each of them is feeling their lowest, Leila swoops into their lives to help them, and then leaves just as quickly. But maybe Leila needs some help figuring out her life too…
I honestly loved this book. It was different because it technically told 5 different stories (including Leila’s personal story), but they all somehow were brought together. I liked how even though Hudson, Elliot, Bree, and Sonia had never met or even heard of each other, they were still somehow connected by Leila, who left a lasting impression on each of their lives. It was always surprising and left me wanting more. I really enjoyed picking out the different themes of the book: love, loss, hope, disease, faith, and so many more. This book was very complex but still so relatable.
For me, I really loved seeing how even though each of the characters thought their life was over at some point, they always ended up realizing that there was always hope and there was always a chance to start again.
- Reviewed by Ahsa, grade 10, Twin Hickory Area Library
September 10, 2014
High school senior Sohane, was struggling to understand her identity as a Muslim feminist when her sister was tragically murdered. After her younger sister’s, Djelila, death, Sohane is guilt-ridden, believing she did not accept her sister and instead judged her negatively. Sohane’s younger sister, Djelila, had fundamentally different beliefs on religion and modesty which caused them to grow apart in high school. Sohane is a devout Muslim, who dresses modestly, avoids risky behavior, and is studious. Djelila, on the other hand, appeared to doubt the existence of God, dressed in a more risqué manner, and was a popular basketball player. The story shows how Sohane learns to accept the differences between herself and her late sister, eventually finding closure.
I enjoyed reading this book because of the strength of the characters, Djelila and Sohane. Both demonstrated bravery and free thinking, despite a lack of support from their certain members in their community. I found myself cheering inwardly when Djelila daringly rebuked the arrogant, sexist perspective of Uncle Ahmed, who believed a girl’s sole purpose should be to become a respectful wife. I also felt admiration for Sohane who continued to stand by her beliefs by wearing a head scarf, despite the backlash from her school’s administration.
The event in the I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister that stood out the most to me is when Sohane decides she no longer wants to have a separate personality for each aspect of her life. Instead, she decides to blend her home and school personality to be true to herself all the time. She chooses to display her identity to everyone by wearing a head scarf to school. She explains herself, saying, “I wish the whole world could know what I am. Who I am.”
Reviewed by Maya, grade 9, Twin Hickory Area Library
June 10, 2014
“Here, she told me to give you this.” She passes me a folded note and walks away. What are we, in third grade? Still, the anticipation owns me.
He Said, She Said, by Kwame Alexander
June 4, 2014
Some of you will be graduating from high school soon and you might be hearing your first commencement speech. Graduation speeches can range all across the board, from deadly boring to truly amazing and illuminating. Some graduation speeches have become famous and have been watched millions of times, like Steve Jobs’ speech to the 2005 class of Stanford — 15 minutes that are definitely worth a listen. National Public Radio (NPR) has created a database of 300 of the best commencement speeches given since 1774. You can search them by date, school, theme and name. Hear what President Kennedy said to the American University Class of 1963 and what J.K. Rowling said to the Harvard Class of 2008. They even have Kermit the Frog addressing the Southampton College Class of 1996! Many of these speeches are full of hope for what that graduating class might do with their futures and the world’s future, and some are just really, really funny. And remember to wear sunscreen.
June 3, 2014
After Julie’s Grandmother Mariam dies, Julie tries to reach her spirit using an Ouija Board. In doing so, instead of reaching Miriam, Julia releases a spirit named Grant. Grant is the twin brother of Clark who died in a car accident a year back, and he is now able to possess Clark’s body every now and then, having no intention of leaving. Now Julie and Clark must send Grant back to where he came from before Grant sends Clark there first.
I personally really liked how the characters acted. Julie was able to put the pieces together with just enough information, and she was determined to stop it so she could save herself, her family, and her friends. Every moment of the book I tried to predict what would happen next, like would the plan work, or would it only cause more danger? Thinking back, I was also surprised about how much effort and thinking it took to try and get rid of a spirit. I also really liked how Grant and Clark had very different personalities, because it made the story a lot more interesting.
One of the most memorable parts in my opinion is when Julie met Grant. It gave you a sense of his personality, and that allowed you to predict what he wanted. Seeing how much the characters differed, but also had their similarities was really interesting to me, giving a new look to the story.
Review by Aislinn, grade 6, Twin Hickory Area Library
June 3, 2014
This book is a love story about Eleanor and Park, as the name suggests. Although this book may seem shallow to some, it is anything but. It describes the life of two misfits, while discussing important issues in our society (such as body image, abuse, and race). Park is a biracial boy (Korean, White) and Eleanor is an overweight red-head. On their school bus, they fall in love over mix tapes and comic books. This insightful book has caused controversy in some school districts, but critical acclaim has been overwhelmingly positive, as the story remains true to the real life of a teenager.
I loved this book! I would definitely give it five stars. The writing style was so simple and strong, and it is rare to read books like that. The combinations of intriguing topics made for a great, thorough and well-written book. I found this to be a great read and I think this book was eloquent and meaningful, unlike the cheesy teenage love story people have come to expect.
All of the plot twists and turns made me gasp, and feel surprised in this great novel. I thought the book was wonderful, and I could not wait to read more. The most memorable thing about this book, in my opinion, is how these different characters bonded over the love of out-dated pop culture items. The connection created by Rainbow Rowell was powerful and real, a symbol of a great writer. These characters make insightful observations, which I noted and appreciated. Many famous authors, such as John Green, have given this great book great reviews. All in all, I think this book is one of my favorites.
Review by Yashodhara, grade 7, Gayton Library
June 3, 2014
This book is about three peoples’ summers in Long Island. It all started with the artistic, poetic main character named Claire. She was taking care of her younger sister, Izzy, because their mother was recovering from a stroke at a hospital. At first, everything is normal, but then she meets Brent and Max. These characters have complicated lives, and the book is narrated by all three of them. Max, the senator’s son, had been using pain-killers and is being helped by Barkley. Barkley suffers with schizophrenia. Over the summer, this book shows how one small move can change everything, like a see-saw swinging on a fulcrum.
Personally, I thought this book was a little slow in the beginning until I realized the background and details of all of the characters. I thought the plot line was very interesting, as it did not follow the typical plot structure of a typical teen book such as this. I thought that as the book progressed, it was a real page turner. It kept me on the edge as I was nervous and apprehensive to find out what would happen next.
One memorable thing in this book, “Before My Eyes,” was how the Senator’s son, Max, was using pain killers. Usually, we, as a society, think that being the child (son/daughter) of a politician is fun, as you get fame. This book shines light on the fact that this is not always true. Max’s parents were too preoccupied with preparing for reelection rather than focusing on their son. This was the reason Max was taking pain killers, and if it had not been for this, the story would’ve been entirely different.
Review by Yashodhara, grade 7, Gayton Library