South Kingstown Public Library Teens

Teen Book Reviews

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 reviews…

truelegend True Legend by Mike Lupica

Rating: 4 Stars

What attracted me to this book was that I am a log-time reader of Lupica books and I am also a basketball fan. I rate this at 4 stars because it is a good book, but not the best book I’ve read this year.

The book is about a high school basketball star Drew “True” Robinson who has already earned himself a name with ESPN and basketball fans everywhere. It seems that he is an all-around player; He can shoot the jumper, pass the rock, and dunk like LeBron. Drew also has many problems during school with making better than a D and worrying about Callie Mason. He also meets a playground legend at his local basketball court, dunking and shooting like nobody else Drew has seen. When Drew gets in trouble on and off the court, it is on him and his teammates to carry themselves to the Championship game.

I would recommend this book to sports fans, Lupica fans and readers looking for something new. It is a great read and Mike Lupica has lots of other books if you like this one.

Submitted by Rye, Grade 7

faultinstarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

The book The Fault In Our Stars is about a girl named Hazel Grace. She has thyroid cancer, and is forced by her parents to go to a cancer support group. She is dreading it, and really doesn’t want go. When she’s there, however, she meets Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor who lost his right leg to osteosarcoma. This book is their story.

This book was good for a few different reasons. I knew it was going to be good, because I had been hearing a lot about the author, John Green, for a while. But I got more than I expected. It was sad, but it had a humor element to it. It had love, but it also had friendship and finding yourself. I’ve heard people that have said it’s predictable, but to me I was constantly being surprised. The characters were all well written and relate-able, and they were all easy to love.

I would recommend this book to people who like romance, and even people who don’t. also, if you like sad books, this is definitely the book for you.

Submitted by Zoe, Grade 7

into_the_wild001Into the Wild by John Krakauer

Three Stars

Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer, is a story of a boy’s journey into the Alaskan wild to learn more about himself and humanity. It follows the life of Chris McCandless, or Alexander Supertramp, as he journeys throughout the United States.

Initially, I thought that Into the Wild seemed like a good read. It had both emotional character portrayals and interesting information and stories. But soon, I came to dislike the author’s style. Although this book focuses on McCandless, every few chapters seem to focus on some other explored who met his end in the wild. The author most likely did this to distinguish McCandless’s motives from the others’. In practice, it only detracted from the story and somewhat confused the reader.

Although the placement of different stories was somewhat odd, the writing itself was engaging. It allows the reader to feel as if they have some perspective on McCandless’s life. Although his decisions may seem crazy to many readers, the author makes us understand that he was a kind, generous person, and makes his choices somewhat reasonable. It also manages to avoid a major flaw in the movie version: making McCandless into a saint. Although the book takes his side on most issues, it makes it clear he was not perfect, and his life’s problems were his own fault in addition to others.

Although this book is by no means the best book I’ve read recently, it was an interesting novel. It reveals much information about the life of a brave, caring man, a man who tried to find himself in nature. Although the author’s style isn’t perfect, it is good enough to allow the reader to feel some of what McCandless must have felt. A fairly interesting read.

Submitted by Noam

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Teens Suggest Reading…

Teen Read Week
October 14-20

One of the goals of Teen Read Week is to encourage teens to read for fun. Sometimes though, with school, sports, clubs, family…well, life…finding time to read can be hard. And even when you do find time, there is always the big question. “What should I read?”

For the next few days, we’ll be sharing some reviews written this past summer by teens. See what others have read and recommend…maybe you’ll find your next book!
And don’t forget, there is still time to sign up for the Teen Read Week Read-A-Thon on Saturday, October 20 from 1:00-4:30 p.m. at the Peace Dale Library!

Schooled by Gordon Korman
This book is about a boy named Capricorn Anderson. He has lived at Garland Farm with his grandmother, Rain. Until now. Rain breaks her hip and needs to have eight weeks of rehab. For the first time in his life, Cap needs to go to a real school. At this school, the strangest kid in 8th grade is elected class president.
That would be Cap.
He is made fun of and laughed at, but he doesn’t care at all. After a while though, people start looking up to Cap, and start liking him, not hating him. He starts changing everyone’s opinion of him and the way he acts. Lastly, he brings the whole school together. Three words to describe this book: unique, funny, and exciting. I would definitely recommend it to others!

  • Reviewd by: Grace M.
Cloaked by Alix Flinn
This book is about a teenage boy who goes on an adventure to find his father, free some swans, and to rescue a frog. A magical one. But he doesn’t believe in magic. He is just an ordinary, shoe repair boy.
However, everything changes when he goes on this journey.
I think this is a great book and I would recommend this to teens that love adventure and fantasy books. The words I’d use to describe this book are magical, adventurous, and funny. I would encourage both boys and girls to read this book, along with other books written by this author. If you aren’t sure if you will “absolutely love the book” like I did, pick it up, start it, and I will guarantee you will love it as much as I did.

  • Reviewed by: A Teen Reader
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Three words I’d use to describe Leviathan are exciting, suspenseful, and unexpected.
I think of the word exciting because things happen that are exciting like when Prince Alek learn to use a cyclops stormwalker. Also, when Deryn Sharp dressed up as a boy so she could join the Navy.
I think of the word suspenseful because of when Prince Alek was using the stormwalker, they were spotted and had to battle. Also when Deryn was flying, she was caught in a storm!
In addition, I think of the word unexpected because when Alek was using the stormwalker, battles occurred!
I would recommend this book to everyone!

  • Reviewd by: A Teen Reader

Be sure to check back tomorrow for more fun reading suggestions from teens!

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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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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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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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Sisters of the Sword

Sisters of the Sword by Maya Snow

What a great start to a new series! Sisters Kimi and Hana want nothing more to become Samurai warriors…something quite impossible in 1216 in feudal Japan. Lucky for them, their father, the Jito, or ruler of the province, teaches them basic fighting techniques, believing that women should be able to defend themselves in case of an attack. However, their training is brief, for girls (especially daughters of the Jitoare meant to practice tea ceremonies and calligraphy, not fighting with swords and daggers.

The girls’ world is forever changed though when their uncle commits the horrifying and treacherous act of slaughtering their father and two older brothers, forcing the girls to flee for their lives. Not knowing if their mother and younger brother escaped, they disguise themselves as peasant boys in order to take shelter at a dojo. Run by Master Goku, it is no only the same dojo where their older brothers had trained to become samurais, but where their cousin Ken-ichi is currently studying.

Will the girls be able to keep the secret of who they really are and avenge their father’s death? Or will Ken-ichi’s father track them down?

Perfect for middle school readers, Sisters of the Sword is just the first in the series, be sure to look for Chasing the Secret and Journey Through Fire

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Zach’s Lie

Zach's Lie

Zach’s Lie by Roland Smith

Jack Osbourne has always lived a normal, suburban life with his parents and sister. Until the night he is woken up in the middle of the night by men who threaten to kill him, his mother and his sister if they don’t do exactly what they say. That was the night that changed everything. The night his father was arrested for drug trafficking, forcing he, his mother and sister into the Witness Protection Program. The night he became Zach Granger.

The Grangers live in a tiny town in Nevada’s Ruby Mountain, where everyone knows everything about everybody. Zach and his sister “Wanda” have made new friends, and their mother is on her way to opening a bookstore right in the center of town. Things are finally starting to look up. Will Zach’s family be safe here in their new haven, or is it just a matter of time before the danger from their past catches up to them?

Zach’s Lie is a great suspense thriller, perfect for fans of Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series; I can’t wait to read the sequel, Jack’s Run.

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