UNDER the COVER
Book Reviews by Teens
Volume 3 - Number 1
Welcome to our online back to school issue of UNDER the COVER, featuring book reviews written by students (and a few graduates!) from Old Orchard Junior High School and our newest group of reviewers from Fairview South School. These students were chosen by their teachers to read and write about new books for young readers. Some of the books haven’t even been published yet! This special “sneak peek” was provided by Skokie Public Library and several book publishers. Why? So that students could give their peers a heads-up about what’s new in fiction for junior high and young adult readers. If the books aren’t on the shelf at school or Skokie Public Library, be on the lookout… they’ll probably show up soon!
If you missed other issues of UNDER the COVER, you can still find them in print and on the Web!
- The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
- Alive and Well in Prague, New York by Daphne Grab
- Being by Kevin Brooks
- Billy Bones: A Tale From The Secrets Closet by Christopher Lincoln
- Birth of the Pack by Petru Popescu
- Climbing the Stairs by Padma Ventkatraman
- Do Not Pass Go! by Kirkpatrick Hill
- Eggs by Jerry Spinelli
- Exodus by Julie Bertagna
- GuyAholic by Carolyn Mackler
- Hit and Run by Lurlene McDaniel
- How to Raise Your Parents by Sarah O’Leary Burningham
- Learning to Swim by Cheryl Klam
- Lessons From a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles
- Maddigan’s Fantasia by Margaret Mahy
- The Midnight Twins by Jacquelyn Mitchard
- Nick of Time by Ted Bell
- The Penalty by Mal Peet
- The Postcard by Tony Abbott
- The President’s Daughter by Ellen Emerson White
- Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
- The Ruby Key by Holly Lisle
- Savvy by Ingrid Law
- Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
- Talent by Zoey Dean
- Tamar by Mal Peet
- Truancy by Isamu Fukui
- Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams
- Up All Night by Peter Abrahams, Libba Bray, David Levithan, Patricia McCormick, Sarah Weeks, and Gene Luen Yang
- Waves by Sharon Dogar
- What-the-Dickens by Gregory Maguire
- Wings: A Fairy Tale by E.D. Baker
Reviewed by Minnie P.
How would you feel if you skipped an entire year of your life? That’s what happened to 17-year-old Jenna Fox, or at least that’s what she’s told her name is. After falling into water and nearly drowning, Jenna Fox is thrown into a coma that lasts for one year. Even after waking up, Jenna is having problems remembering the girl she was and how to live again.
Gradually, Jenna recollects her memory of her friends, her family, and her life. But as her memories come back to her head, questions follow, too. How did the doctors manage to get her out of that coma? What was happening inside the family while Jenna was away? No one wants to answer these questions for Jenna, and she doesn’t know why.
This realistic fiction book is great for teenagers and young adults aged 14 and up. What I like about this book is that it contains well-written short poems between chapters which poets may be interested in, like me. In my opinion, this book is also exciting and it’s hard to predict what will happen next without reading on. If you like books with not a lot of violence, but still a lot of suspense and surprises, then The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson is for you! (Junior High Fiction PEA)
Reviewed by Julia O.
The book Alive and Well in Prague, New York is an unpredictable wonder. You can guess all you want but you will never guess the ending without reading the whole book! Matisse Osgood is a high fashion girl from New York City, but when she has to move to Prague, New York, the tiny country town that no one knows about, she wants to pull her hair out! She and her best friend in New York City are growing apart, her dad has Parkinson’s disease which is slowly killing him, and now she has to move!
If you like a book loaded with drama and some mistrust, then you better pick up this book. But I caution you, if you start reading you can’t stop! I finished this book the fastest of all the books I’ve ever read because I was hooked in by the drama! I recommend this book for teens 13 and up for some inappropriate language and situations. I also think this is more of a book for girls; it’s a lot about how girls think and boys might get confused.
Obviously I like the book and I think you will, too. Sometimes questions that you have will not be answered until the end of the book, but I guarantee you will enjoy it a lot! Hurry and pick up your copy, you won’t be disappointed. (Junior High Fiction GRA)
Reviewed by Amanda G.
Old Orchard graduate
“Don’t make me pull the trigger. I don’t want to, but I swear I will.”
Robert Smith is a 16-year-old boy on the run. He goes into the hospital for a simple endoscopy, but after that, everything changes. Robert isn’t exactly human. He functions like a normal human being, but inside he’s different. Robert wakes up in the middle of surgery and wonders what he is. After the doctors in the room refuse to tell him, he kills one of them, leaves two unconscious, and takes one doctor with him. Being is about Roberts’s journey: who he meets, what he does, and what he finds out about himself.
Kevin Brooks is a phenomenal author! His writing kept me on the edge of my seat so that I wanted to keep reading. The story is filled with drama, suspense, action, and romance! In the beginning, the book did go kind of slowly, but it was definitely worth continuing to read!
I think that most teenagers would love this book because they can relate to the feelings and emotions that Robert goes through.Beingby Kevin Brooks is one of the most intense books I’ve ever read, and definitely is one of my favorites! (Adult Fiction-Teen BRO)
Reviewed by Alvin R.
Billy Bones is supposedly about a young skeleton named Billy, his parents Mr. and Mrs. Bones, and their secrets that lie in their closet. Billy is really sad about not ever seeing the real world again. But then this girl named Millicent shows up out of nowhere and with Billy’s parents’ permission he goes with Millicent back to the real world to experience life again. There he and Millicent have a great time and experience having fun. I wrote supposedly because even though I read the story I still did not understand it.
I personally like books about sports and fantasy so this book didn’t keep my attention; it basically put me to sleep. But people who would be interested in this book are people who are into science fiction because this story involves reincarnation. Also people who can easily get involved in books about skeletons, ghosts, etc. The age level for this book would probably be for the middle school students. Even though I didn’t enjoy the book that doesn’t mean you won’t so go ahead and check it out when it comes out in August. Hope you enjoy. (Youth Fiction LIN)
Reviewed by Clara W.
Old Orchard graduate
Do you like books with magic, magical creatures, or magical powers? If you do, then this book is for you! Birth of the Pack has tons of magic and a lot of adventure throughout the whole book.
Lily Willison and her friends Nikki, Arielle, and Grazia start a girls’ soccer club called the Weregirls. Little did they know that they would be in a battle of good and evil. After Lily’s father dies, he contacts her from the dead, and tells her that she and her friends have magical powers. After learning about their powers, the Breed, an enemy of the Weregirls, awakens. Andra Hewlit is the chosen leader of the Breed, and also Lily’s soccer rival. She wants her own powers, and will do anything to destroy the Weregirls.
There were some parts of the book where I couldn’t put it down because it was so exciting that I felt like I was in the book fighting evil! At other times it got boring, which made me not want to continue reading. I loved how Petru Popescu used so much detail and descriptive language in her writing. Within the whole good and evil battle, Lily has a bit of romance also. I would recommend the book to girls only, because it seems more of a “girls’ book.” Birth of the Pack is only the start of a great series to come! (Junior High Fiction POP)
Reviewed by Smita J.
Climbing the Stairs is a story in which you get to know the experience of a 15-year-old girl named Vidya during the British rule in India during World War II. She has dreams of going to college, which was not very common for a girl in India. But, as she starts seeing her destination come closer and closer, a road block comes and shatters her dreams. She then has to move into her father’s extended family’s house in Madras, a place she dreads to even think of.
This is a historical-fiction story since it talks about a girl’s life in that time and that could have been the situation for many girls throughout the country. This book would be more suitable for girls in their teenage years, since it is from Vidya’s perspective, and a teenage girl would better understand her feelings and opinions.
I liked this book since I am Indian myself, and I could understand what the feelings of the people were. Also, I liked to learn a little more about the thoughts and feelings of people in India. I had already learned about it from my Grandpa, but I wanted to know more.
Personally, I think that this book could have a better ending, since it is a bit rushed, and it leaves you wondering what would happen next. I also think that you can predict at times what is going to happen next. That part is the only negative element about the book, but otherwise it is a great book, and I hope you enjoy! (Junior High Fiction VEN)
Reviewed by Brad S.
If you love books with drama and loads of different emotions then you will love to read Do Not Pass Go! by Kirkpatrick Hill!
It starts off in Alaska with a normal family having normal problems, just like your family might have. The family of Deet, the main character, spends way too much money, so his dad gets a second job to pay the bills. Then his dad starts to take drugs because he has been falling asleep while working. Deet’s father is arrested after a policeman stops his car and realizes that his father has been taking drugs. Will Deet be able to handle all of these major problems?
What I really liked about the book, was that it really went into depth about how the characters were feeling. For example, when Deet’s father was arrested, it was almost as if I was with him and was feeling his pain and suffering too. I also liked how the author made every character an important character, so even if they did a small thing like protecting a friend, it was still an important feature in the book.
There were times, however, when Hill included way too much about a situation, and it became boring. I also didn’t like all the journal entries because I really didn’t think they mattered very much in the outcome of the book. Overall, I really enjoyed reading Do Not Pass Go!, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone. (Youth Fiction HIL)
Reviewed by Kristen C.
Old Orchard graduate
If you love realistic stories with a lot of hilarious and adventurous content, you should definitely read Jerry Spinelli’s Eggs. It all starts out with a 9-year-old boy named David. Ever since his beloved mother died in a fatal accident, he has become bitter and feels that life is unfair. He is no longer able to enjoy life. Until, during an Easter Egg Hunt, David meets a mysterious girl named Primrose. When he suddenly discovers more about Primrose’s life, his blossoming friendship with her leads them to many spectacular adventures, where he begins to learn the pleasures of life and starts to deal with his mother’s tragic death.
Spinelli doesn’t make the story very detailed or descriptive, but does include enough to catch the reader’s attention and imagination. Reading this heartwarming and delightful book has really taught me the importance of love and how others can bring out the best in a person. The message in this powerful story captured my heart, and I feel sure that Eggs would be enjoyed by readers of all ages! (Youth Fiction SPI)
Reviewed by Emma L.
Have you been trying to protect our planet from global warming? Well this book shows that the people aren’t working hard enough to save Earth. The ice caps are melting and the strong Mara, the main character, has to bravely step up to save her people on their island that is flooding. Trees are practically extinct and families are moving toward higher land in order to stay alive. When Mara finds information about sky cities that are saving millions of refugees from the rising waters, Mara risks her people’s life and they try to make it safely off their island.
This is a great book about the future and quite realistic considering scientists’ predictions about the Earth’s global warming. Mara’s journey is a dangerous adventure, and on the way she meets new friends who she will try to save. Even though the beginning and some other spots are slow, it is worth reading. It is cool to see the author’s visions of future technology although it sometimes gets a little confusing. Exodus would be a good read for any person from ages 12 to 15. It is a good book for girls and guys because Mara isn’t too girly; she is very heroic and strong. I highly recommend this fascinating science fiction story. (Youth Junior High Fiction BER)
Reviewed by Rikki A.
Old Orchard graduate
The book I read was GuyAholic by Carolyn Mackler. The main character, V, is the type of girl who likes to hook up with different guys and doesn’t like having relationships that last for more than two weeks. That all changed the day she got hit in the head with a hockey puck, and, a few days later, received a visit from the guy into whose lap she fell. Knowing the history of V, you would never expect that she would fall in love with anybody, but I was wrong!
Carolyn Mackler, the author, threw in a lot of surprises along the way, which I really liked. For example, while driving to see her mom in Texas, she hooked up with another guy because she had broken up with her boyfriend.
The only thing I didn’t like was that the book moved so quickly, that, before I knew it, I was smiling brightly and the book had ended. Girls who like drama, romance, and scandal like I do, will definitely like reading GuyAholic by Carolyn Mackler!! (Junior High Fiction CHA)
Reviewed by Harley D.
Old Orchard graduate
Hit and Run by Lurlene McDaniel starts out with the four main characters talking about dates for a party. Another girl from school disappears after the party, and everyone wonders what really happened to her. The four main characters tell their version of what happened, which isn’t confusing since the author develops their personalities so well. It makes the reader guess about what happened to the girl, all the way through the book. There is a big surprise and shock at the end that you won’t want to miss.
It was a fantastic book, and I couldn’t put it down! There were great details throughout, that actually helped create pictures in my head and made me feel like I was in the story. Readers who like realistic fiction mixed with a little mystery, should read Lurlene McDaniel’s Hit and Run! (Junior High Fiction DEA)
Reviewed by Maham S.
How to Raise Your Parents is a book about many different voices coming together to write about how times have changed and so have the lives of young adults. This young adult book talks about how parents and their teenagers communicate and how sometimes you might have to go a little “Freaky Friday” to realize how the other person feels and how hard it is for parents to let go of the kid inside that loved being a kid. Parents, I know that raising us teenagers can be a little hard and annoying, but this book is truly a survival guide for taking care of teens. Teenagers and young adults, I know with having parents that constantly bother them all the time, How to Raise Your Parents can help these teens overcome parental troubles without getting yelled at. It is full of tips including curfew, what music to listen to, and more.
How to Raise Your Parents is an informative and entertaining book if you are over the age 11. It talks about everything you need to know about how you can deal with siblings, parents, teens, and pre-teens. After the first chapter you won’t be able to put the book down. In my opinion, you will love this book. I personally have no bad comments about it other than the fact that mostly girls would relate to the material better then guys. Also, don’t let the cover fool you parents, this also tells mom and dad about how to raise your kids, and siblings. This book has many different perspectives, so if you don’t agree with one opinion, there are other options that you may agree with. This book also describes what it’s like to be in another person’s shoes and how to survive daily troubles. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to read and needs to survive the life of a teenager... or even the life of a parent! (Youth Nonfiction 646.78B)
Reviewed by Aphrodite L.
Old Orchard graduate
If you like girly books that have a bit of romance, Learning to Swim by Cheryl Klam is definitely the right book for you! It is about a girl named Steffie, whose Mom, named Barbie, has affairs with older men. Steffie absolutely doesn’t like that at all, and she’s trying to make Barbie do the right thing. Even though Barbie is making wrong decisions and making them move because of her affairs, Steffie thinks that a boy named Keith is very cute and has a crush on him, but he already has a girlfriend. To complicate things further, Keith has asked Steffie to take swimming lessons. If she agrees to the lessons, she will see him every day. If you want to know if Barbie will finally make the right decision, and what will happen with Keith and Steffie, you should definitely pick up this book.
I really liked Learning to Swim because Cheryl Klam describes everything so well. The book is very fast moving and a definite page-turner. The situations in the book are all things that people go through. The only thing I didn’t like about the book, was that the beginning moved very slowly, making it somewhat boring. In general, I would definitely recommend it to girls, but I wouldn’t dare to recommend it to guys! (Junior High Fiction KLA)
Reviewed by Amara F.
Lessons From A Dead Girl is about two girls named Lain and Leah. Lain was new to their school and she was alone for two months. She was invisible. Then Leah meat Lain and they enjoyed spending time together. Leah wasn’t a very bright person but she was very popular and everybody wanted to be like her and hang out with her. Leah would try to do things with Lain that she simply wasn’t ready for; things that made her feel uncomfortable and embarrassed, but she never spoke up because she didn’t want to be alone and friendless. Leah was slick about doing things with Lain she was telling her friend that they were practicing for when they get older. It seemed like their friendship was strong, but in the inside Leah was stealing Lain’s innocence.
If you’re a mature reader who could handle serious issues you should readLessons From A Dead Girl. I thought it was an interesting book because it had a lot of drama in it and you will want to keep reading until you can’t put the book down any more. I would recommend this book to junior high and high school kids. If you’re a boy on the other hand, I wouldn’t recommend this because of the serious female issues addressed in this novel. (Adult Fiction-Teen KNO)
Reviewed by Kristine E.
Old Orchard graduate
Do you like to read stories about a heroine’s adventurous, magical journey? Margaret Mahy’s Maddigan’s Fantasia is the book for you!
Garland and her family’s traveling circus troop, Maddigan’s Fantasia, leave Solis once each year to earn a living by performing in other towns. But on this year’s journey they will also have to get a new solar converter for Solis, because the old one is failing. Garland and the Fantasia will face a lot of problems to win the converter and give it to Solis. They will have to fight the evil Nennog which is stopping them from obtaining the converter. Also, Garland will meet Timon, Eden and Jewel, who claim to be from the future.
I couldn’t put down the book after I started reading it! I liked the way Margaret Mahy wrote about the destruction that had happened in the world. That’s why, in Garland’s time, they are still rebuilding the world. This is like the real world, where, little by little, new, negative things are occurring, and most of them are caused by humans. I really liked the story, although Garland and the Fantasia having problems in each town the circus goes to, made some parts a little boring to read. Packed with magic and adventure, Maddigan’s Fantasia is a very good book that no reader will ever forget! (Youth Fiction MAH)
Reviewed by Summer B.
The Midnight Twins is an extremely suspenseful story. It is about two girls, who are identical twins, but they have different birthdays and they were born in different years. Only two minutes apart, Meredith was born at 11:59 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and Mallory was born at 12:01 a.m. the next day and year. On their 13th birthday they are almost killed by a fire that is started on their roof. They were able to save their siblings, but almost don’t save themselves. After the fire, they begin to have strange visions, and they begin to drift apart and feel as if they were half not one. They have to work together to stay close.
I would recommend this book for girls of ages 11 to 14 because the language is too advanced for anyone under 11 and it is too tedious for anyone over 14. I just warn the reader that there are a few scary parts like the angel of death. Twins will especially love this book if they have experienced a similar incident like the fire. I loved this book and I’m not even a twin. I just think it is amazing how twins can have such a close bond. I absolutely suggest this book. (Youth Junior High Fiction MIT; Adult Fiction-Teen MIT)
Reviewed by Theo N.
Nick of Time takes you back to the times of World War II. It is written mostly from the perspective of Nick McIver, who lives on Greybeard Island off the coast of England where his family owns the lighthouse. Nick is an adventurous fellow who sails with his trusty dog Jip. Everything seems to be going alright with Nick, until he finds a mysterious treasure chest and meets a scary man by the name of Billy Blood who wants the treasure. Everything for Nick goes downhill from there.
I personally think that this is an extremely interesting book. Even though the beginning of the book is a little boring, if you stick it out and keep reading, you get trapped in the web that Nick of Time spins. I would like to read another sequel to this book, and have the feeling that it could be as good as the Harry Potter series some day.
Anyone over the age of 10 could read this book, even though there is some tough vocabulary. I would recommend it to guys ten years old and up. I assure anyone who reads this book, that they will eat it up and still be hungry for more. (Youth Junior High Fiction BEL)
Reviewed by Tony C.
The book I chose to review is The Penalty by Mal Peet. I wanted to read this book because it’s about one of my favorite sports: soccer. This book is about a kid called El Brujito who lives in San Juan and is a very good magician and soccer player. Then one day while he was playing soccer he got injured and had the opportunity to win the game with a penalty kick. He missed the shot and the entire team was disappointed in him. Soon after he missed the kick, he ran away from home. As the story continues people begin to investigate what happened to the young soccer player and where he is now. The story was interesting for the first part but at the end there was a lot of murder and a lot of violence with some weapons that are not supposed to be used.
I would recommend this book to a boy or girl in 7th to 12th grade who really loves soccer. I think young readers should read this book with caution because of the violence, language and weapons use. (Youth Junior High Fiction PEE)
Reviewed by Gillian F.
Have you ever had a mystery within a mystery? Well the story The Postcard by Tony Abbott, is exactly that. The mystery all starts when Jason’s grandma dies. He finds a mysterious postcard in her desk. He then finds a magazine that his grandma’s boyfriend wrote a long time ago. He thinks the story in the magazine seems suspicious because it has some connection to the postcard. He finds clues in the magazine and discovers more and more about the story and his grandma. He learns that this grandma had problems which connect with then and now. I like how the suspense keeps building up, and how past and present are all connected. It is interesting how his grandma’s boyfriend gave the clues and how they were hidden. I think the novel is good for both guys and girls because it’s not like a chick flick or anything, so guys would understand this story. I’d recommend this to people of ages 10 to 13. If you like mystery and suspense, then pick this book. (Youth Fiction ABB)
Reviewed by Emily T.
The President’s Daughter by Ellen Emerson White is a great book. It tells the story of a high school girl, Meghan Powers, whose life is a little bit different than most. Her mother is a much respected Senator, and now is planning to run for President. Meghan isn’t very happy with her decision and would like her life to stay the way it was. But, during her mother’s campaign to be the first woman President, Meg goes through many changes in her family and lifestyle. I really liked this book, although it was a little slow in the beginning. But during the middle and end, I really felt that I knew the characters and that I was in the story with them.
I would recommend this book to teenage girls 13 and up. Some content was not appropriate for children and there was some inappropriate language. But, I really liked this book because it shows situations that every day people don’t have to go through. I liked The President’s Daughter because I got to know the characters and really feel for them. (Youth Junior High Fiction WHI; Adult Fiction-Teen WHI)
Reviewed by Tracey Y.
Fairview South graduate
Everyone knows that fairy tales have princes, enchanted castles, and a happily ever after. Well, Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock is not an average fairy tale. This story revolves around a young princess, Benevolence. Her kingdom is at war and she has to take the throne after her aunt, Queen Sophia, who wants to marry her off to a far away prince. Then she stumbles across an abandoned basement with magical items, and she starts to teach herself the art of witchcraft. She gets better and better, but will she be able to save herself and her kingdom?
This book can be enjoyed by junior high students and maybe some high school students who love fantasy. This book takes you away to a far off land where there are many tragedies, yet Ben’s attitude cheers you up. There’s some drama in here since it deals with the death of Ben’s mother and uncle. It starts off tedious in the beginning, but if you keep reading it, then you’ll want to read it everyday. I couldn’t even put the book down after I read the first two chapters. (Youth Junior High Fiction MUR)
Reviewed by Paul R.
The Ruby Key by Holly Lisle, is one of the greatest books I have ever read!
The book is about two siblings, Genna and Danrith, who want to save the lives of their family and the other people in their village. Their Uncle Banris, made a deal with Kai Lord, the leader of a group of powerful, magical beings. Uncle Banris would let the village people die by sacrificing them to the Kai Lord, and Uncle Banris would become immortal. How will Genna and Danrith, two teenaged humans, try to save the villagers and outwit powerful Kai Lord? The many, unexpected twists and turns in their adventures will keep you in suspense until the end of this fantastic book!
I liked how Holly Lisle came up with such great ideas, so things would happen that I didn’t expect. Nothing really happened in the first chapter, but after that, the suspense began and kept going.
Teenagers will love The Ruby Key because it includes adventure, humor, and romance. Although the book is one inch thick, I didn’t want to put it down and didn’t even notice the length. I’m sure you will love The Ruby Key, too! (Youth Fiction LIS)
Reviewed by Jordan G.
Almost everyone has heard of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Spiderman. But there are others with superpowers, and some are just 13 years old! In Savvy, Mibs Beaumont and her family, who live in Kansaska-Nebransas, have incredible superpowers. One day something happens to her Poppa, so Mibs, Fish, Samson, and the pastor’s two children stow away on a bus to find him. When the bus starts going the wrong way, events start getting a little crazy as their powers become uncontrollable. When this adventure is over, no one on that bus will look at a Beaumont the same way.
This is a book for all ages. If you like action, excitement, and suspense, this is the perfect book for you. I enjoyed reading this book because of the detail, exciting plot, and not knowing what would happen next. If anyone asks me if I know a good book for them to read, I would recommend Savvy. (Youth Fiction LAW)
Reviewed by Jess K.
The book Sweethearts is about a girl named Jennifer and a boy named Cameron who were each other’s only friend. Suddenly Cameron doesn’t show up to school, and Jennifer gets worried. Kids say Cameron had been dared to jump off the school roof and he had died. He landed right in the middle of the road and got hit. Jennifer and her family move to a new better-off place. There Jennifer Harris changes her name, has a lot of friends, and is dating. Jennifer’s new name is Jenna V. Jenna is much happier at her new school. Her best friends Katy and Stephanie are always by her side, and even gave her a nickname: J.V. One day Jenna goes to school thinking it’s an ordinary day, but she was shocked to find Cameron still alive. Now, Jenna has to struggle with the fact that people are spreading rumors about her troubled past. In her past she stole, was overweight, and had one friend. Now she doesn’t know what to do. Read this and find out what happens to Jenna and Cameron.
I would recommend this book to girls over 12 years old. If you’re the type of girl who has either lost a best friend or lost someone close to you, I recommend you read it. I like this book a lot and it kept me entertained. The book Sweethearts is one of the best novels I have read and I hope this convinces you to read it. I guarantee you will love it!! (Youth Junior High Fiction ZAR)
Reviewed by Chanel B.
If you love teen girl drama you should definitely read Talent. This book has two main characters, Mac and Emily. Emily is a girl from Iowa, who takes a trip with her mom and BFF to L.A., California. Emily and her BFF Paige end up sneaking out of their hotel to try and sneak into a Premiere party for Davey Woodward. Emily and Paige adore the cute movie star Davey. Emily ends up getting into the party without Paige and that’s where Mac comes into the story. Mac was at the party and she gets into a cat fight with her enemy Ruby Goldman. Ruby tells Mac she has this huge surprise for the new school year coming. Mac lies and says she has something too. Mac said she is going to get the girl across the room into Davey’s movie. The girl across the room happens to be Emily. Mac gets Emily to try out. Will she make it into the movie? Read the book and find out. (Junior High Fiction DEA)
Reviewed by Chris H.
Old Orchard graduate
Tamar is a book written by Mal Peet that would probably appeal to 8th grade boys. It is about two Dutchmen who were trained in England and parachuted into occupied Netherlands to help lead the Dutch resistance against the Nazis. The two men named Tamar and Dart take on the identities of Christiaan Boogart and Ernst Lubbers. They are constantly in danger of being found and must survive all sorts of dangers.
The book also has a second story going on at the same time. It takes place in 1995, and the main character is a girl named Tamar. After she turns 15, her grandfather commits suicide. As the story continues, Tamar goes on a journey to learn the truth about her grandfather and his past.
Mal Peet did a good job describing in detail what was going on throughout the book. She did jump around in the story too much and at times that could be confusing. With a huge twist at the end, the book was a great story full of excitement, and it will force you to keep reading. Definitely a book to put on your list! (Junior High Fiction PEE; Adult Fiction-Teen PEE)
Reviewed by Gil M.
Truancy takes place in a mysterious nameless city that is full of conflict. Tack is student in this city, and can’t take the pressure school gives him. One day, in the uninhabited District 19, Tack meets Umasi, an enigmatic boy currently living there. Umasi teaches him patience, wisdom, and how to defend himself in combat.
Umasi also tells Tack about the Truancy, an organization of expelled and runaway kids, which oppose the Educators. Unfortunately, the next day something happens at school that would change Tack’s life.
This book is realistic fiction. It is a good book for anyone that likes action and adventure. I recommend it for those who are 13 through 18 years old. Despite the inappropriate language throughout the story, Truancy is a good book and I really enjoyed reading it. Truancy left me a good message at the end of the book. I feel this story can be understood and interpreted by anyone who reads it. (Adult Fiction-Teen FUK)
Reviewed by Peter K.
The story Tunnels brings you through places of the Earth you would never expect to reach alone by helping you dig your way deep down to a mysterious world. This great story focuses on the life of a boy who loves to dig. As a child, he would go with his father, Dr. Burrows, on archeological digs. Will really enjoys his life with his father, mother, and his perfect sister. All is well until his parents get in a big fight, and soon after his father disappears. Will’s life after the disappearance of his father would never be the same. Will with his friend then finds a tunnel in his father’s cellar. They started digging through it soon to find a huge surprise.
This book is excellent fiction. I personally thought that Tunnels is a great adventure. I could not stop reading it. The beginning is filled with secrets, but I was happy to discover the answers towards the end of the book. `It is an exciting book because it is action-packed. I would recommend this book to kids who are ages twelve and up, and who really like to read books filled with action and secrets. Overall, this journey towards the deeps of the earth stands out from all other books. (Youth Fiction GOR)
Reviewed by Aalvia A.
The book Up All Night is a collection of six stories. Almost every story talks about a teenager going through problems with someone in their life. But the last story, “The Motherless One,” is a comic where a young monkey tries to find his true mother. He later found out that a rock gave him birth. Another story that I like was the “Orange Alert,” it talks about a teenage girl who tries to learn to drive but her step-father won’t let her. There were also many stories that I thought were boring and I didn’t understand like “Not Just for Breakfast Anymore.”
The book Up All Night has many interesting stories and some stories that will put you to sleep. The stories that I enjoyed were “Phase 2,” “Orange Alert,” and “The Motherless One.” The story that I didn’t like a lot was “Not Just for Breakfast Anymore”. I would recommend this book to kids from the ages 12 and up. There are enough stories in the book that every reader should be able to find one that they love! (Youth Nonfiction 813.008U)
Reviewed by Jocelyn W.
Old Orchard graduate
Every summer, Hal and his family go to their summer house. Last summer Hal found Charlie, his older sister, on the beach, unconscious. She has been in a coma ever since, and no one knows what happened to her. Hal’s dad has decided that they should return to their summer house this summer, while Charlie remains in the hospital. While there, Hal gradually learns more about what happened the previous summer and begins to unravel the mystery of Charlie’s accident.
Waves by Sharon Dogar is a realistic story about young love and determination that is a mixture of drama, mystery, and romance. The story is told from two different perspectives, Hal’s and Charlie’s, which works very well but can become confusing at times. Waves is sure to make you laugh and possibly even cry. The book would probably appeal more to girls because it is emotional at times, but some guys would enjoy it too. (Junior High Fiction DOG)
Reviewed by Nancy H.
What-the-Dickens is an okay book in my opinion. This story is focused on a 10 year old named Dinah and she is trapped in a house with her brother Zeke, her little sister Rebecca Ruth, and her guardian Gage. Since they have no entertainment, Gage tells them a story of a rogue tooth fairy named What-the-Dickens and his adventures. Meanwhile, this story also revolves around Dinah and her siblings staying in their house during a dangerous storm and some problems occur.
This book is modernized fantasy and probably for girls from ages 9 to 12. This book is so-so because it is kind of repetitive. It also has some adventure in it, but there isn’t an overload. Some parts have good humor and I had a little laugh from it. There is also a lot of fantasy in it, of course.
If you like fantasy, this just might be the book for you. This story is packed with tooth fairies, or otherwise known as “skibberee.” You’ll follow the adventures of What-the-Dickens and you’ll absolutely love his character. Even though I wasn’t too thrilled with this book, I highly recommend this for fantasy lovers. (Youth Fiction MAG)
Reviewed by Kelly K.
In this book Tamisin is a young teenage girl whose world turns upside down when she sprouts wings from her back. She then discovers a magical world filled with fairies, goblins, and unicorns, or in other words, fey. She is taken there by the new school cutie, Jak, only to realize later that she was kidnapped. Now she must overcome her new self to save Jak and her mother, and prevent a war between the fey. Can she overcome her mistrust to help save this new world or will it end with a war?
In my opinion this story was a modernized fairy tale and is for girls between 12 and 14. This is not for boys because half of the book is from the perspective of Tamisin. Girls can really connect with Tamisin because she feels like she does not belong with normal people, since all her hopes of being normal die when she sprouts wings. This story is also dotted with love between Tamisin and Jak. It is a good story of growing love and trust. You will like Wings if you like fantasy. (Youth Fiction BAK)