South Kingstown Public Library Teens

Black Hole Sun–A Teen Book Review

Ever wonder what others teens are reading? Here’s one of our latest reviews!
Check out a list of all the book reviewed by teens here.
Want to earn community service by writing book reviews? Check out the Teen Book Review Board here.

And now, on to the review….

Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill

Rating: 5 Stars

Black Hole Sun attracted me because of its intriguing title and book flap summary. If you have read any of David MacInnis Gill, you will like this book. It is a great Sci-fi with better characters. I rate this at 5 stars because of its great plot, dialogue, and characters.

Black Hole Sun is about a futuristic bounty hunter called Durango, or just “Chief”. As he leads his unlikely crew the deaths of his old crew and his family weigh on his mind. Durango and his small crew head towards Outpost Fisher Four, a mining center on Mars, to kill the mighty Dræu and their fearless queen. When Durango finds himself in a pinch, he must do everything to keep his friends – and the miners, alive.

I would recommend this to Sci-fi fans and readers looking for something sharp and witty, with a good story.

~~Submitted by Rye, Grade 7

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Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

Chiko is a scholar, not a soldier. He wants to follow in his father’s footsteps by going to school, finding a way to help people and (hopefully) someday marry his beautiful neighbor Lei.
However, Chiko’s life takes a drastic turn when he is unwillingly forced to serve in the Burmese Army. Trained in guerrilla warfare tactics, he is taught that it is his job to fight against the uprising minority refugee groups that are hiding along the Thai border. But he can’t help but question, what are they really fighting about?

Tu Reh has watched his be burned down and his family killed, simply because they belonged to the Karenni ethnic minority. He is now in hiding, one of the rebels fighting against the oppression of the Burmese soldiers.

After a mission gone horribly wrong in the jungle, the two boys cross paths. Suddenly, Tu Reh must decide whether to save Chiko’s life. Is Chiko different than the rest of the heartless soldiers that Tu Reh knows? Or are all Burmese soldiers the same?

Perkin’s has written a story chronicling the challenges of friendship and the struggles faced by those in modern day Burma.

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Green Witch by Alice Hoffman

In a post apocalyptic world torn apart by war and fighting, Green is alone. The Horde, technology fearing tyrants, have killed her family and her love Diamond is missing. The people who are left begin to turn to her to record the stories of what has been lost, leading Green to realize that she has her own story to finish.

Setting out, she starts searching for answers from women who have been branded as witches. What has become of Diamond? Will she ever find him again? And if she does find him, will she still love him the same?

In this stand alone sequel to Green Angel, Hoffman has created a haunting story about the search for truth, hope and love.

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Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien

For as long as anyone can remember, it has been the same. It is the duty of those living outside the wall to help support and serve those living within the wall, in the Enclave. For Gaia and her mother, the midwifes of Sector 3, that means each month handing over the first three babies they deliver to the inside, to be raised by adoptive parents within. Unlike life on the outside, these babies are promised all the comforts and education available.

Gaia’s world changes forever though when she comes home one night after a delivering a baby to find that her parents have been arrested and are being held prisoner on the inside. After a soldier questions her about the mother’s midwife practices, Gaia realizes that her parents are in grave danger and that sneaking into the Enclave to rescue them may be their only chance of survival.

In Birthmarked, O’Brien has done a wonderful job creating dystopian future where the only hope of survival lies within one girl who unknowingly holds the key to unlock the mysteries of science and genetics that are slowly destroying a society.

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Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Luck and smart. That’s what you need.

In a post apocalyptic future, Nailer makes his way the only way he can along America’s Gulf Coast–by squeezing into the tiny ducts of shipwrecked oil tankers, salvaging any bits of copper wiring he can find. It’s dangerous work; and everyone is always looking for a Lucky Strike, something to earn them enough money to buy their way out to a better life.

After a “city killer” storm swipes though the region, Nailer and his friend Pima come across shipwrecked clipper ship. Filled with silver and other salvageable metals, they realize that if they can keep it a secret long enough, they may have just found their Lucky Strike. For Nailer, this could mean the chance to escape his violent, drug addicted father. Things get complicated though, when they find a girl, barely alive, still aboard the ship. Now they are faced with a choice…kill the girl and salvage their Lucky Strike or risk everything to help her hoping that she can lead them to a better life? Because to survive out here means you have to be lucky and smart.

The recent winner of the 2011 Printz Award for Young Adult Literature, Bacigalupi has created a fast paced dystopian adventure that likely will appeal to readers who liked the Hunger Games and are looking for more futuristic survival stories.

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New Finds & Hidden Treasures

New Finds & Hidden Treasures is our new weekly book spotlight! Every Monday we’ll let you know about one of our great books from the new section as well as a related hidden treasure that you may have missed the first time around.

Check out this week’s titles:

New Find…
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With the Great War brewing, Alek’s and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.

And a Hidden Treasure…
Airman by Eoin Colfer Conor Broekhart was born to fly.

It is the 1890s, and Conor and his family live on the sovereign Saltee Islands, off the Irish coast. Conor spends his days studying the science of flight with his tutor and exploring the castle with the king’s daughter, Princess Isabella. But the boy’s idyllic life changes forever the day he discovers a deadly conspiracy against the king. When Conor intervenes, he is branded a traitor and thrown into jail on the prison island of Little Saltee. There, he has to fight for his life, as he and the other prisoners are forced to mine for diamonds in inhumane conditions.
There is only one way to escape Little Saltee, and that is to fly. So Conor passes the solitary months by scratching drawings of flying machines into the prison walls. The months turn into years, but eventually the day comes when Conor must find the courage to trust his revolutionary designs and take to the skies.

Other titles you may like:

  • Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
  • Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

Sound good? Check the library catalog for availability. And don’t forget to check back for all new suggestions next Monday!

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Purple Heart

Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick

While stationed in Iraq, Private Matt Duffy is injured while out on patrol. He remembers he and his squad chasing a vehicle, then continuing on foot into an alley. He remembers gunfire, and a rocket-propelled grenade hitting the wall behind him.

After that Matt remembers nothing. TBI the doctors call it, traumatic brain injury where his mind shuts out any other details of the event, as well as his ability to recall simple everyday words and actions. As he works to regain cognitive functions, Matt begins to get flashes of what else may have happened in that alley that day. He slowly realizes that he may have killed a civilian, a child. Or did he? His memory is still fuzzy and unreliable, leaving Matt struggling to learn the truth.

McCormick creates an interesting story, really generating a feel for what day to day life may be like for an injured soldier in Iraq, emphasizing that what the rules are and what is really acceptable can be two very different things.

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All the Broken Pieces


All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg

“Hey! Watch it Frogface.”

“Because of you, my brother is dead.”

The words echo in Matt Pin’s mind everywhere he goes. Some people openly stare and sneer at him; others won’t even look at him. To many people, he is an unwelcome reminder of the Vietnam War. Airlifted out of war torn Saigon, Matt has been given a second chance in life, a chance to try to live a normal childhood safely in the United States.

However, as the son of Vietnamese woman and American soldier he never knew, Matt isn’t sure where he belongs. He often thinks of his mother and younger brother, as well as a terrible secret that he was forced to leave behind. Would his new family still want him if they knew the truth?

Turning to baseball and music, Matt struggles to find peace and acceptance in this vivid and compelling verse novel.

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Earthgirl by Jennifer Cowan


Earthgirl by Jennifer Cowan

Everyone should want to protect the environment and save the world, right?

That’s the outlook of budding activist Sabine “Bean” Solomon. While riding her bike, Sabine is hit with a leftover McDonald’s meal tossed from an SUV that is idling in the bike lane. After a slight altercation with the driver that ends up being posted on You Tube, Sabine begins to realize that there is something seriously wrong with the world, and maybe it’s time that she did something about it.

However, not everyone is willing to embrace Sabine’s newfound environmental and consumer consciousness. Her parents won’t buy organic food from the local co-op (where Sabine now works after having quit her job at the corporate hole that is The Gap). Her friends scoff at carrying resuable bags. Her sister even joins the Girls Intelligence Agency, a marketing group that gathers polls teens in order to find the next big consumer trend. Sabine finds herself frustrated as she slowly alienates everyone around her.

Until she meets Vray. Vray is smart, gorgeous and is completely dedicated to “the cause”. The seem perfect for each other, with Vray teaching and guiding Sabine about what it means to be an activist. But where is the line between being dedicated and being a radical? Does the end justify the means, so long as it benefits and draws attention to “the cause”? What kind of activist is Sabine?

This is a timely and eye opening book, focusing heavily on issues that are not often found in teen literature, making for a great read for anyone who wants to get involved in responsible living.

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Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists and Other Matters Odd and Magical


Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists and Other Matters Odd and Magical edited by Deborah Noyes

In Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists and Other Matters Odd and Magical popular authors such as Vivian Vande Velde, David Almond, Margo Lanagan, Cynthia Leitich Smith and others explore the strange and varied spectrum of “freaks and marvels” that originally gained popularity through traveling circuses and carnivals (Noyes does address in the introduction how these exhibits have shifted from being popular to being seen as “cruel and exploitive”). There are stories that you would expect to be in a collection like this, ones of a Bearded Lady, a dwarf, a psychic and a swami, but there were also ones that delved a little deeper into the odd side of things. Cecil Castellucci tells a story about learning to keep alive a feisty family heirloom. Annette Curtis Klause melds together carnivals and Egyptian history in “The Mummy’s Daughter.”

While all of these stories were enjoyable, I think my favorite part was the inclusion in the collection of several comic style stories, most notably Matt Phelan’s story of a Jargo* act gone wrong.

This is a great collection for anyone with an interest in the culture of carnivals or who likes their stories a little odd and creepy.

*A Jargo act was one where two men dressed as either a horse or giraffe.

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