Five boys-Grant Perkins, Shep Moore, Henry Carlisle, Logan McCullar, and John Michael Forres- go hunting, but only four of them come back. Kate Marino, an intern from the attorney’s office, has to investigate the death of Grant Perkins. The case was supposed to be left alone, but Kate wanted justice for Grant for more than one reason. Meanwhile, the boys are having trouble holding it together and they make sure that no one knows the truth, especially not Kate.
I thought this book had the perfect amount of mystery to add to the suspense. The true emotions hidden in the boys are revealed in the detective tape and it is shocking how different they are in public. The scenes were each connected and that made it easier for me to understand the book. However, their were too many people in the scenes. Some of the mysterious scenes are ruined because of all of the people being in the scenes.
One memorable scene in this book is when I discovered that Stone couldn’t see. I like how it didn’t stop him no matter what. It shows how devoted he is to his job and the cases he gets.
Reviewed by Miranda, Grade 6, Libbie Mill Library
A 16 year old black teen who has witnessed the two fatal shootings of her childhood best friends, tries to make sense of the world. Starr Carter witnessed the first shooting when she was ten. It was a violent crime in a violent neighborhood, and goes unsolved. After that shooting, Starr’s parents send her to a predominately White suburban school far from home. By sixteen, Starr felt no connection to the neighborhood kids she started school with. That changes when Starr is the sole witness to the police shooting death of her other best friend, who was unarmed. The shooting gains national attention. After the shooting, Starr starts to notice injustices. As Starr started noticing casual racism in her community, she suspects that it may cost her one of her friendships. The effect of the shooting changes Starr who slowly grows into the responsibility of using her best weapon, her voice.
I thought the book was influential as a teenager close to Starr’s age. I couldn’t put it down and it was a real page turner. The story line was moving, and influential for me as a Black girl around Starr’s age. I felt the author was trying to tell me that it’s worth speaking up about things that are relevant to me even if there is a price to pay.
When Starr demanded that police brutality needs to end was a very empowering moment in this book. Readers will feel inspired because it is important for teenagers like Starr to have their voices heard.
Reviewed by Stephanie, Grade 10, Libbie Mill Library
This book begins with a young woman named Scarlett who lives in constant terror of her truly horrible father with her younger sister. She has only dreamt of the mystical world of Caraval in which you can play a game riddled with magic for a grand prize of a wish. Soon, she is whisked into the game. After her sister gets kidnapped, she has only one thought, and that is to save her sister from the enigmatic Legend, master of Caraval. She must find her way through a world with secrets at every turn to bring back what she loves most.
I thought this book played on our emotions of uncertainty and suspicion, creating a mysterious air about the book. I liked how the Garber used the uncertainty in a good way, making you curious instead of scared. Though Legend never legitimately appears in the book, you can understand his character based how he run the game. I don’t really know how the writer did this, but it really enhances the novel.
One thing that struck me odd was how common magic was and how easily people talked about it. Another aspect that left me thinking was the way Legend grants the prize for winning. A final question that was left unanswered is that how does one live a normal life after the traumatic experiences she had during Caraval?
Reviewed by Sid, Grade 6, Twin Hickory Area Library
Rosalyn Elmsworth lives in a world of magic, and those who don’t have it. In the heart of London, years before she was born, the worst crime was committed. Andrew Ichor, now long gone, created a machine, working on his father’s research. When it was turned on, the results were catastrophic. Now, the world is divided in two. Those with green eyes, and those with grey. People with green eyes have powers, and people with grey eyes do not. The color of your eyes are random, so even the child of two green eyed, or gifted people, could have grey eyes, and be one of the ashkind. Rosalyn, or Rose, is a gifted person, with many powers. On the other hand, she has a deadly secret. Her and her father are both gifted, but are also both monsters. Will Rose be able to keep her secret, or will she have to reveal it?
I think that this book was amazing! It was very well written, and had tons of detail. I loved every twist and turn, and every surprise this book threw at me. I could not put it down. Rosalyn is a really amazing character. There were so many plot twists and lies. I cannot wait until the sequel arrives! I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves adventure and mystery.
One memorable thing from the book was Tabitha. Tabitha is a small girl with a terrible secret. She is considered a Demon, because her eyes are a very dark shade of grey. Even though she is considered evil, Tabitha is a sweet and kind girl.
Reviewed by Pranithi, Grade 6, Twin Hickory Area Library
Dinah, former princess of Wonderland is on the run to escape a sudden catastrophe of murder of her brother set by her father, the King of Hearts. Now deserted in the peculiar but lavish Twisted woods along with her war stallion, she is given an option of never coming back to her once-known kingdom or fighting till death for the right of her throne. When she is confronted by one of the King’s sworn enemies, she finds herself fighting her own battle inside her breaking heart. Even before she can decide to go to war, she must struggle to find what she truly wants and the dark secrets that lay beneath it.
What I loved the most was the heartbreaking romance of Dinah and Wardley, her childhood stable friend. Though her love for him is endearing for all readers, she finds that Wardley’s feelings are far beyond what she thinks. The situations that come to her in the woods are also tragic with detail and does leave her with more of a shattered heart. This is the second installment to the Queen of Hearts Series and as it leaves off on an anticipating cliffhanger, I hope to find the third book soon with her as queen.
The undeniable thing about this novel is the beautiful way Dinah’s old caregiver, Harris describes the sense he feels of the unbreakable queen coming back as a new, changed being. His suspenseful thought was not on how she would come back as the heir of Wonderland, but who she would be when she got there.
Reviewed by Ashley, Grade 6, Tuckahoe Area Library
Apollo, a well known Greek God, has angered the one and only, Zeus. His father punished him by stripping him of his powers and making him mortal. No longer being a God, he gets robbed and is humiliated by telling them he a Greek God. A good thing is that a young girl named Meg McCaffrey helps him out by attacking the robbers with fruit. When he stupidly says that anyone can be his master at the moment, Meg claims it, making her his master. As a God, he knows the famous Percy Jackson and knows that Percy can help him out. They then go seeking for Percy Jackson and Camp Half-Blood, a camp for Demigods. But at the camp, things get awkward, especially with his children; since they can’t call someone the same age as him their dads. Even worse, communications and the Oracle of Delphi no longer work, preventing prophecies and Iris messages to the other camp, Jupiter and anywhere else. With those things happening, the woods are starting to weird people out, campers are missing and people muttering random things while walking into the woods, and not being seen after that. Well, now it’s Apollo’s job to find them, and get things back to normal.
This book was great and Rick Riordan has well-placed humor in this story. Apollo has a lot of self-pity, repeatedly criticizing his own mortal looks and acne. Usually, people think of Gods as strong, but probably not the way Apollo is. When fighting as a regular human, he is weak and fragile, unable to do much defense or attack.
A memorable thing is Apollo’s arrogance and cowardice. He doesn’t care for others throughout the book, worried about his acne in the beginning, and not focusing on the big things. When he has to do a job, he doesn’t want to do it, either.
Reviewed by Ben, Grade 7, Glen Allen Branch Library
This book was about a teenager named Will. It’s his first year at a high school not specifically for blind kids. He has to learn how to navigate the school, peers, and a new girlfriend. When he’s approached with the possibility of sight, he realizes that everything he thought might not be true.
I thought this book was very touching and sweet, especially the idea of exploring whether love is actually blind. After all the craziness and action in real life and fantasy, it was nice to read a calming book for a change. I feel like I could imagine a conversation between myself, Will, and his friends at lunch, or anywhere for that matter. I also enjoyed the references, like the ones to SparkNotes and Doctor Who fanfiction!
When I first picked up this book, I wondered how much detail would be in a book where most or all visual cues were gone. I was pleasantly surprised by how Will explained all of his world through auditory cues. It was actually kind of fun to see the world in a different way.
Reviewed by Shreya, Grade 8, Twin Hickory Area Library
Alderpaw is a cat part of a group named Thunderclan. There are three other clans named Shadowclan, Riverclan, and Windclan. He is a medicine cat, usually taking care of an apprentice named Twigpaw. Alderpaw has just returned from gorge looking for Skyclan, which is an exiled group, but he gets negative results. A band of cats tracked him down, with bad plans. The cats come in and drive out Shadowclan. Twigpaw fears for her littermate, Violetpaw, who is in that clan. Violetpaw is forced to either run away with the others or stay in Shadowclan with the new evil group. When Shadowclan crumbles, Thunderclan decides to take in the homeless Shadowclan cats. Tensions rise as fear of attack ripples through other clans, and bridges of trust start to fall. But the most fearful wonder is which clan is the next target.
I feel like this book is one of the best in the series. The changes in point of view help the reader stay on track of the plot. The events are well written, and take strong impact in the interest of the book. Although this story has much fighting, there can be well-placed humor in context, amusing the book’s audience.
The most memorable part is Shadowclan becoming a part of Thunderclan. Although they were taken in as “guests”, they still try to take control of the clan, giving tips and attempting to say orders, showing the pride of Shadowclan.
Reviewed by Ben, Grade 7, Glen Allen Branch Library
This book is about a girl named Sefia in a world without written language. However, a secret order exists that does know how to read, and they protect a book that tells the entire history and future of their world. Sefia inherits the book when her father is killed and learns to read. She goes on a quest to exact revenge on those who killed her father, joined by the mute Archer, who she rescues from a human trafficking ring that forces boys to fight to the death.
did not like this book. I found that the writing style in the beginning was overly descriptive, and the situations in the beginning run-of-the-mill and stale. My original impression of this book was that of deja vu, which is never a pleasant feeling when reading. Later, the plot becomes more original, though by that point I was already bored and so none of the interesting new story felt interesting or even especially new. Also, the idea of entwining one book into another, while interesting in theory, winds up a bit confusing in practice.
The most memorable part of this book is the character Captain Reed. Although the addition of pirates in books like these is commonplace, the stories attached to Reed are, in my opinion, the most interesting parts of the book.
Reviewed by Addie, Grade 10, Libbie Mill Library
Leah Lobermeir couldn’t feel more self-conscious about herself and her life. After all, people call her vulgar names, make fun of her for being overweight, and overlook her. Leah’s “best friends”, Kristy and Corinne, outdo her in everything: looks, boys, and money. Leah wishes that her life could be normal, that she could be skinnier and popular, that her mother wasn’t so drunk all the time and her father was still alive… until that fateful day. When Leah, Kristy, and Corinne meet a man they dub Mr. Corduroy, he gives Leah his phone number so he can talk to Kristy. But Leah has other plans. She phones him, gives herself the name Ashley, and bonds with him. She continues to act like Kristy, and Leah can’t stop thinking about him. Things get very scary and sketchy, however, and Leah realizes that she must put an end to their relationship before things go terribly wrong.
I’ve never seen any novels by Aurelia Wills, so I thought I’d give this one a shot. I’m sure glad I did! This book is beautifully written and really depicted haunting themes that I never envisioned reading about. It really made me realize that we only see what meets the surface, not how someone truly is on the inside. I found this book to be relatable because, like Leah, I have many layers that you need to peel away before discovering the real me. I also have far from a perfect life. This novel should be read by all teenagers growing up because it really opens up your eyes to other issues in the world. The situations were so mysterious and kept me on the edge of my seat. I enjoyed the way Aurelia Wills was able to take the reader into the mind of Leah. I imagined myself in her shoes and wondered what life would be like if I was in her place.
I really admired the way Leah admitted her mistakes and learned from them. It’s very hard for people to own up to their actions, yet Leah was able to comprehend them and ensure that she didn’t do the same thing again. I also loved how she tried her best to remain strong, though she had many rough patches in her life. It’s not easy to keep yourself together, so I applaud Leah for being able to do so.
Reviewed by Mitali, Grade 9, Twin Hickory Area Library