The cold weather gave our Teen Advisory Group the opportunity to bundle up indoors and catch up with lots of books over the last few months. Now it’s time to finally celebrate springtime, and for you to see if you agree with their reviews!
Fallout by Todd Strasser
It’s 1962 in the United States, and the threat of nuclear war hangs by a thread. The characters fight to get into a fallout shelter, and then they must face the consequences of their actions. The book gives a good insight on life in the 1960s, as well as on the Cuban Missile Crisis. It’s also a great expansion on the “What If?” question. —Monica P.
Battling Boy by Paul Pope
This story begins in Arcopolis, which is overrun with monsters. One day, the hero of the city is killed. After that, an enormous monster begins to destroy the city. Somewhere, there is a planet where there is a hero and his son. The boy is coming of age, and his father sends him to Arcopolis to learn to be a hero. I really liked the art and I love the story. I liked the way in which it was printed, and I honestly think that other people my age would love this book. —Carol M.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Tired of how they were treated by their owner Mr. Jones, Old Major (a pig) suggested that they revolt against him and create a society in which all the farm animals would be equal. However, he dies before the revolt occurs. While the idea of total equality seemed attractive, in the end the pigs take over as the dominant class because they are the smartest animals. Within the pig class there are two different ideas of leadership: Napoleon (who wants to rule everything) and Snowball (who wants to build a windmill for the benefit of all). Though Snowball is most favored, Napoleon uses brute force to take over. From that point, everything goes to hell as the situation gets worse and worse. Besides being entertaining and well-written, I feel that other teenagers should read this novel due to its heavy references to other governments which they might not know about because some schools abridge this information. Also, reading this book will help you to become a more cultured person! —Caitlin G.
Find Me by Romily Bernard
Wick’s father has a criminal past, and Wick follows in his footsteps. A crime comes along at school and Wick’s sister gets pulled into it, along with the unexpected. I feel that this book was very original. like a non-police side of a Law & Order episode. Plus, it’s a book centered on computer hacking, which rarely comes along. —Monica P.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Holden Caufield is a sophomore who has flunked out of yet another private school and is now somewhere in California near Hollywood. In this place, he re-captures the story of what happened to him last Christmas and all the events that led up to that situation. He also explains how that major event affected him and why he went to California. I recommend this novel for young adult readers due to its casual language that makes it easy even for reluctant readers. Additionally, it addresses several issues many teenagers face during that point of their life. Overall, The Catcher in the Rye is a page-turner! —Caitlin G.
The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher
This book is about high school. It’s about how one decision changes the way people look at you. It’s about friendships and how they can be destroyed. Why am I recommending this book? I have no words. And that’s a good thing. —Carol M.
Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block
Earthquakes and tidal waves separate Pen and her family and she sets off to find them in the aftermath of this apocalypse, her journey eerily parallelling The Odyssey. Heavily influenced by Homer’s The Odyssey, this book reintroduces mythology into our memories. There are many queer characters, for diversity, as well as an apocalyptic world much different from the dystopian new government novels coming out these days —Monica P.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beloved is about a runaway slave named Sethe who is cursed with her memories and can’t seem to catch a break as something is always going on in her home (a strange woman coming to her home and her house being haunted by a dead baby). Throughout the novel, she’ll have sudden flashbacks to Sweet Home, the place she ran away from. As the readers continue, they watch Sethe deal with her memories and try to make a life for herself. Honestly, this book might be difficult to read for young adults, but as you read along it becomes easier, and the plot pulls you in as things become more intense. —Caitlin G.
Red by Alison Cherry
In Iowa there is a town full of redheads called Scarletville. Since they have recessive genes, they think very highly of themselves. However, Felicity St. John is not an actual redhead. She dyes her hair, and someone finds out and tries to blackmail her about it. This might be a girly book, but it has a relatively subtle way of suggesting the racism in our world. —Monica P.
Entangled by Amy Rose Capetta
Cade is a human who is alone. Or so she thought. Her life changes when she meets a hologram named Mr. Niven and discovers that she was created in a lab to be with a boy named Xan. It is then that the static in her head dies and she begins to receive images and thoughts from him. He wants to be with her. He wants her to save him. I loved this book so much! It literally kept me at the edge of my seat. Once I grabbed the book, I couldn’t put it down until it ended. I did wish that Cadence and Xan would get more time together. Maybe, a next book? —Carol M.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This novel follows the story of Charlie, a 15-year-old boy. Although he is intelligent, he is painfully shy and anxious to start his high-school life. Once he starts, he meets Patrick who is actually dating a football player. Later on, he is introduced to Patrick’s stepsister Sam, and it is love at first sight. However, as time goes on he eventually screws up big-time and his struggle with his flashbacks worsens. I recommend this novel because Charlie is such a realistic character. I feel as though it’s a more realistic approach of how freshmen, and even sophomores, juniors and seniors feel throughout the school year. Socially, high school is the roughest time of a person’s life, so seeing someone who is also struggling is relieving. —Caitlin G.
Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau
As a sequel to The Testing, this book picks up at the right time. Like The Hunger Games and Divergent it is about rebellion in a dystopian society, but this series is more intellect-based. This book allows us to overexamine and exercise our own deductive reasoning as well as merely keeping track of the story. —Monica P.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
Just as the title suggests, this autobiography tells the true story of Frederick Douglass as a slave and during his struggle for freedom. Some of the most memorable moments of this book take place at the beginning where Douglass mentions that he was kept in such ignorance that he did not know his whole identity, including his origin or his age. I am recommending this book because many teens nowadays don’t know the depth of slavery besides what they learn in school. And if their parents don’t show them anything, that can lead to greater ignorance and racism. Hopefully, teens will become more educated while reading this book. —Caitlin G.
This is How I Find Her by Sara Polsky
For five years, high school junior Sophie has been caring for her bipolar mother, who tries to kill herself by overdosing. During her stay at her aunt’s house, Sophie unravels unsolved situations and begins questioning it all. This novel deals with mental illness and responsibilities at an early age, which makes for a good topic. —Monica P.
The Fallout by S.A. Bodeen
This is the story of a boy named Eli and his family. They had lived in an underground shelter for six years, believing that the rest of the world was gone. Eli discovers that their father lied to them, and breaks the rest of the family out of the shelter. Then they enter the outside world and try their best to adjust. I really did like this book a whole lot. It makes the characters and the audience experience the inexplicable joy of simple things (like going to Costco, for example). —Carol M.
Curses! Foiled Again by Jane Yolen
As a sequel to Foiled, this graphic novel continues the adventures of a colorblind girl fencer in NYC, although she spends over half the book in denial. However there is more action, unlike the first book, which was really just a huge prelude. The ending notes that there will be a third book to make a smoother transition. The simplicity of the art style, the casual language, and recurring jokes are highlights. It made a good sequel, quickly summarizing the previous events. —Monica P.
Okay, that’s all for now. Many thanks to our Teen Advisory Group members for their reviews, and to all of you for reading them! Starting in the fall when our TAG starts up again, we will be posting our reviews of books, movies, music and more to our Kingsbridge Library Teens Tumblr so that we can share them more quickly and more frequently. We’ll be gathering those reviews several times a year to be shared here on the Stuff For the Teen Age blog, as well. Stay tuned!