Tag: Read + Review

Read + Review: Secrets, Lies, and Scandals by Amanda K. Morgan

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In a small town, five teenagers are internally connected through a murder of their most hated teacher. Each one of them have their own secrets and wake up each day terrified to what will happen next. Ivy is the school’s queen and finds a spark with Mattie, a shy, worrisome teenage boy. Kinley, the smartest girl at the school, finds a relationship with the a rebel boy, Tyler. She soon finds out that her deepest and most disturbing secret will be revealed and could ruin her entire future. And lastly Cade, whose family is torn apart and struggles to keep his anger in. All five students are complete strangers at first, but the murder brings them closer than ever, and it is all their job to keep their secret between one another.

Throughout this book, I was always at the edge of my seat and wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next. Although the characters were written with much details, it was hard to remember which character was which. However, the writing style and tone throughout the book formed a horror and chilling atmosphere which really brought out the mystery in the story. The surprises were very shocking and kept me hooked throughout the reading.

The plot conflicts were very twisting, especially with what goes on in the characters’ lives and how they deal with the situation(s). I really enjoyed how the author wrote the book in different perspectives and incorporated multiple stories into one. If you enjoyed the book I Know What You Did Last Summer or the show Pretty Little Liars, make sure to keep a lookout for this book!

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Reviewed by Allyson, Grade 9, Twin Hickory Area Library

Read + Review: The Quest to Uncharted Lands by Jaleigh Johnson

Read + Review: The Quest to Uncharted Lands by Jaleigh Johnson

The risk of danger, the emotion of fear, and the idea of spectacular wonders no one could possibly resist causes Stella Glass to sneak onto the first ship capable of passing the Hiteran Mountains: The Iron Glory. During the past five years after peace was obtained, the Merrow Kingdom and the Dragonfly Territories worked together to create a ship to travel to the Uncharted Lands. People from all over Solace have been chosen to undergo this momentous and risky voyage, including Stella’s parents. It had been decided that the journey is too dangerous for children, but Stella can’t let her parents leave her behind, into an uncertain realm, where all kinds of possibilities exist, many hinting to the notion that her parents may never come back to Stella. But once Stella is aboard the Iron Glory, she realizes that she’s dealing with more than the risk of being caught. Stella Glass is facing the possibility that now looms before her: A failed expedition, or in other words, death. Someone on board is trying to sabotage the ship, to keep it from succeeding its mission to reach the Uncharted Lands. With the help of another stowaway, a mysterious boy of many secrets, they attempt to save the Iron Glory and its passengers, before it’s too late.

The Quest to the Uncharted Land is awesome! Every bit of the book was enjoyable. This book is quick, with plenty of action. The plot is amazing, and the characters inside the plot complement it, with the turmoil, strained bonds between themselves, the discoveries, and the adventure. The characters’ personalities, memories, and backgrounds were unique and special, creating characters you instantly care for. There were little bits of the book that hinted to the two previous books before it: The Mark of the Dragonfly and The Secrets of Solace, both also by Jaleigh Johnson. It was really fascinating to see how they were connected. All in all, The Quest to the Uncharted Lands was a wonderful ending to the World of Solace series. You do not necessarily have to read the other two books to enjoy this one, but I personally recommend reading The Mark of the Dragonfly and The Secrets of Solace before The Quest to the Uncharted Lands, in that order, to get a better understanding of Solace and the different kingdoms of Solace, along with its variety of people.

One memorable thing about this book is Stella Glass’s skills. Thanks to her parents, she is a good healer and aspires to be one as her occupation. Stella is also an alchemist, able to make smoke bombs and other things along those lines. These two separate talents that make up Stella creates a very intriguing and awesome character in this book.

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Reviewed by Christine, Grade 7, Twin Hickory Area Library

Read + Review: Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin

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This book takes place in a London finishing school that is not as it seems. Rather than etiquette, the girls at Stranje house are taught in the trades of war, espionage, and diplomacy. The novel is told by a girl called Tess, who had inherited from her mother before her a curse of maddening, prophetic dreams. With an old friend turned to treachery, Napoleon rising to power, and England on the chopping block, the girls at Stranje house have a lot to worry about.

Overall, I did enjoy this novel, despite the annoying writing style and shallow, cliche characters. I did come to appreciate the storyline and the thought put into the book, however. It was an intriguing (although a bit recycled) plot that did have you marginally interested in the characters’ whereabouts and well-being, which is what I look for/value most in books. There were a handful of parts here and there that I didn’t quite understand, but those were most likely because I had only realized that this was the second novel of a series a quarter way through the book!

I’ve been thinking for a good while now. I’m scraping the very floor of my mind, yet I truly cannot come up with anything that was particularly memorable about this novel besides the disappointing cliche-ness of the characters. I feel bad having to say this.

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Reviewed by Lexi, Grade 8, Tuckahoe Area Library

Read + Review: The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud

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The Empty Grave is the fifth and final book of the Lockwood and Co. series by Jonathan Stroud. It follows Lucy Carlyle who is a psychic investigator for the psychic agency of Lockwood & Co. in London. It has been 5 months since Lockwood & Co. had discovered unnatural occult experiments by Tom Rotwell, the head of the large Rotwell Agency, and the eerie “Other Side,” where spirits dwell. Since then, the Problem, the epidemic of hauntings in Britain, has only gotten worse. Lockwood and Co. must figure out why and how to solve the Problem once and for all. To do this, Lucy and her friends will have to face foes both spectral and human. To do this, they will have to rely on some shady yet surprising allies in this thrilling conclusion to the Lockwood and Co. series.

“The Empty Grave” is the perfect conclusion to a great series. I really liked everything about the book. The pacing was mildly quick, the character depth was great, and the best thing about the book was it’s grammar. It felt nice to pick up a book with quirky puns that made me giggle once in a while. The criticism I have about the book is it’s conclusion. It hints at things and a blossoming romance but never really confirms anything.

The most memorable thing for me about this book were the characters. The book was only as good as its characters because it relied so heavily on character depth and character development. Many of the characters had large and interesting backgrounds which all turned the book more interesting with side-stories and how their stories came into the overall plot of the book.

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Reviewed by Aswin, Grade 8, Twin Hickory Area Library

Read + Review: Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden

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The story is about a group of freed slaves on Sherman’s March to the Sea, during the Civil War. Each one has their own sad story about their life in slavery, from fathers being whipped for a minor mistake to young children leaving their family forever. Mariah’s father was killed in a flooded dungeon, and her mother was killed from whippings. She followed the march with her younger brother, Zeke, where she met a man named Caleb and started to develop feelings for him. The plot follows the ups and downs of what occurred during the march.

I thought the book was amazing. It was well-written and so descriptive. I liked how the book’s plot tied in with the real historical events of the march. Also, this wasn’t your typical cliche romantic novel. It has so many twists and turns, some of which brought tears to my eyes.

The ending of this book was so memorable. It was extremely sad, and none of the events before would have foreshadowed how the book ended. The ending of this book was a symbol of how life can be extremely unfair something. It may not have been my desired ending, but it was an honest one nonetheless.

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Reviewed by Heer, Grade 7, Twin Hickory Area Library