27 June 2017

Review: Into the Hurricane

Into the Hurricane
by Neil Connelly

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: June 27, 2017

INTO THE HURRICANE is pretty much about what you’d expect it to be about: two kids getting trapped in a city while a category 5 hurricane passes right through it. Eli, one of the protagonists, is a depressed teenager who witnessed his older sister die. While Eli has some extreme views on life, he is a very relatable character due to his interests. Max, on the other hand, initially seems to be the complete opposite of Eli, but throughout the book, we see that they really have more and more in common than either they or we realized. As expected, a relationship forms between Eli and Max, but I really liked that it was formed appropriately over time, and never even started until the end of the book. I really liked this because it portrays a sense of realism, and does not distract anyone from the real threat. The main antagonist in this book is not the rifle wielding, car stealing, cult-like family they encounter, but Hurricane Celeste, which threatens everyone on the island.

This book really reminded me of THE MARTIAN, due to its “man vs. nature” theme. They both have their environments try to destroy their protagonists. The characters somehow find a way to escape, only to have another disaster sent to them. There is some death caused by the hurricane, but in my opinion, there was not enough. While unfortunate, I feel it would have been more realistic if at least one more character died due to the hurricane.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and while I had some minor problems with it, it was not enough to detract from my enjoyment of reading it. INTO THE HURRICANE is a bit shorter that I would have liked for this plot, but Connelly has still done a great job for the length that it is. This thriller really allows you to relate to its nicely developed characters, while still telling a great story. 

Review: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
by Mackenzi Lee

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: June 27, 2017

THE GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE is by Mackenzi Lee and follows the story of Monty, Percy, and Felicity. Monty lives in 18th century England, and is now getting ready for his tour of the Continent with his best friend Percy and his sister Felicity. Monty is a young bisexual lord, and while he hopes to spend his tour flirting with Percy, his father hopes that the tour will set him on the right path. But, what should have been a regular tour of France turns deadly when they are attacked by highwaymen. So begins their adventure through many of the great European cities to escape the highwaymen and figure out why exactly they are being chased.

One of my favorite parts about this book was how diverse it was. The characters all had something unique about them, from having a disability to being an amazing feminist voice. The author is also able to really show us the various struggles that these characters would have faced during this time. We are able to experience the poor treatment of women and Africans from a point of view not from now, but from the 18th century. Another part of this book that I enjoyed was the main character. Monty is not your typical lord with charming manners and swoon-worthy philosophical quotes. He is a bit of an alcoholic with a serious attitude problem. But that is what makes it more real. Instead we get to see his character development as he learns and matures throughout the book. Another part of the book that I enjoyed was the setting. Throughout the whole book we are traveling and experiencing new places. We get to see what various cities were like during this time.

If you are looking for a book that will take you across Europe that has adventure, romance, and a bit of magic, you should definitely check this out!

22 June 2017

Teen Readers Council Application 2017-2018

Thank you to all of our 2016-2017 TRC members!! You're all shining stars.

Do you want to join the Teen Readers Council? We have open spots for the 2017-2018 school year! You too could read and review new teen novels before they're released!

All you need to do is download and fill out an application and then email or snail-mail it back to us! (By August 20th, 2017.) You can also get hard copies of the application at Children's Book World.

Check out the application HERE

Need some inspiration for your application? Take a look at the TRC reviews of some popular books from 2016-2017!

Nick's review of BECK

Mariko's Review of ONCE AND FOR ALL

Layla's Review of THE HATE U GIVE

Juliette's Review of SCYTHE

Isaac's Review of BANG

20 June 2017

Review: Such a Good Girl

Such a Good Girl
by Amanda K. Morgan

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: June 20, 2017

SUCH A GOOD GIRL by Amanda K. Morgan is about a high school senior named Riley Stone. She is perfect. Riley gets straight A's and has never done anything bad in her life. She accidentally falls in love with her French teacher and she suspects he loves her back. The decision they will have to make will change their lives forever. She has to figure out the best course of action. I really enjoyed this book. The plot was very interesting and it was set up nicely. The book was concise. There is a really crazy and surprising ending.

13 June 2017

Review: An Uninterrupted View of the Sky

An Uninterrupted View of the Sky
by Melanie Crowder

Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication Date: June 13, 2017

AN UNINTERRUPTED VIEW OF THE SKY is a poignant novel that offers a glimpse into Bolivia's corrupt judicial system. When protagonist Francisco's father is wrongly accused of drug production and sent to prison without a trial, Francisco and his eight-year old sister, Pilar, are forced to move into the jail with their father. When Francisco and his sister receive an invitation to live with their grandparents in rural Bolivia, Francisco must decide whether to leave his father in the prison or keep the family together under increasingly dangerous conditions. 

Initially, I thought that the plot was a bit far-fetched, but an author's note in the back explains that the novel is based in fact and contains a list of sources that readers can consult for further information. One section of the novel that I found particularly eye-opening was a conversation between Francisco and a police officer which reveals that the law that imprisoned his father, called the 1008, is actually a result of the US incentivizing Bolivia to make drug-related arrests. The author did an excellent job crafting characters that felt real while still accurately portraying the far-reaching impacts of American foreign policy. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is passionate about human rights. 


12 June 2017

Review: More of Me

More of Me
by Kathryn Evans

Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: June 13, 2017

MORE OF ME tells the story of Teva… and her multiple other selves. Every year on her birthday, she splits into two and the newest version of herself takes over her life. As her 17th birthday is coming up, she decides that she’s had enough so she does everything she can to keep her future as she battles with her relationship with her mother, boyfriend, and friends. I loved this book and thought it was very clever and written well with beautiful language. It was a very unique spin on a typical high school story.

07 June 2017

Review: Once and for All

Once and for All
by Sarah Dessen

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 6, 2017

Does true love only happen once? Sarah Dessen is back with ONCE AND FOR ALL, another well-crafted, heart-touching novel that seeks to answer just this question. Louna’s family has been in the wedding planning business for as long as she can remember, and somehow the romance of getting married just isn’t captivating when you’re the wizard behind the curtain. Plus, Louna is still recovering from the losing Ethan, the unquestionable love of her life. She thinks her story is over until Ambrose- a hyperactive, polysyllabic playboy- tries to convince her otherwise.

While the synopsis sounds cheesy, this book is anything but. The writing is beautifully exquisite, the characters rich and deeper than expected for a summer romance novel. The detail in the setting and plot is impeccable, and it’s impossible not to be drawn into Dessen’s world. Dessen does a unique job of addressing a stage of loss not often talked about: not grieving, but moving on.


06 June 2017

Review: Words in Deep Blue

Words in Deep Blue
by Cath Crowley

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 6, 2017

WORDS IN DEEP BLUE by Cath Crowley is a delightfully John Green-esque narrative exploring the relationship between two recently reunited teenagers, Rachel and Henry, and the world surrounding them and the Howling Books bookstore. Once close childhood friends, a misunderstanding led them to lose touch when Rachel moved away. However, a personal tragedy causes her to return to the city, and to Henry as well. As both Henry and Rachel struggle with the chaos happening in their lives, their friendship slowly begins to piece back together, reigniting some long lost feelings and conflicts.

This book was a great read to kick off the summer, finding a perfect balance between lighthearted fluff and deep raw emotions, packed with genuine surprises and developed characters. Some of the best moments were not between Henry and Rachel, and actually came from side characters like Henry's sister and father. The story was realistic enough to not seem like a cheesy fairytale, but with just enough idealism to avoid becoming bleak. Crowley's tale is a refreshing jaunt from the stale YA romance hallmarks that are becoming cliche and boring, and was such a delight to read. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a new take on classic YA storylines, or anyone who just wants a good book to enjoy.