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TeenTober 2019 – Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Legendary by Stephanie Garber is the second book in the Caraval trilogy. There will be Caraval spoilers in here so beware but none for Legendary.

While Caraval was written in Scarlett’s perspective and didn’t give us much insight into Tella’s personality, Legendary is entirely narrated by Donatella. For this reason, it took me a while to warm up to the book because obviously, I’d developed a connection to Scarlett in the last one and switching it up so drastically did not endear to me. I came around eventually though I still wasn’t as taken with it as I was Caraval.

In Legendary, Caraval is to perform at Empress Elantine’s 75th birthday and Tella plans to use this chance to find out Legend’s true name and fulfill her part of the promise she made with a “friend”. When Caraval starts though, Tella realizes that this performance is quite a bit different than the previous and that the dangers may no longer be a part of the game but as real as you and me.

I would give Legendary an 8.5/10 because I wasn’t very impressed with the ending… I was expecting a few mindblowing plot twists like Stephanie delivered in Caraval but I was VERY disappointed with the actual results. That said, I did enjoy the story and plotline overall and I’m definitely going to give the final book a read!

Teen Book Review – Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Hey all! How is school life? Hope you’re not being overload

Anyways, I’ve been reading up a storm lately and one of my favourites so far is Caraval by Stephanie Garber.

Caraval is the story of two sisters, Scarlett and Donatella, who have been trapped on their island with their abusive father for their whole lives. Growing up, Scarlett had always dreamt of attending Caraval, an incredible performance given once a year in which the audience participates in the games; however, given that their last attempt at escape had resulted in their father murdering the nice boy who’d been stupid enough to help them, Scarlett had long since dismissed that dream as an impossible wish. Yet, dreams have a knack for coming true, especially if you wish for them enough.

Thoughts: Caraval has been on my To-Be-Read List for so long that it was a such a relief to finally get around to it! It was the perfect blend of mystery and magic, romance and danger. I was hooked through and through. The plot twists were very, very good and the story was told in a way that made me just as confused as the characters (this may sound like a bad thing but it’s actually very good in this case, just let me explain). The audience members that participate in Caraval are thrust into a mystery they need to solve, with performers and a set that makes everything seem super realistic. Therefore, saying I was as confused as the characters means the story was so well written it was hard for me to differentiate between acting and reality. To describe Caraval in one word: Spellbinding; which is which my rating is a 9/10.

Teen SRC 2019 – Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Ever since I saw this beautiful minimalistic cover at Costco, I knew I had to read it and I’m so glad I finally got the chance to.

Dumplin’ is about a girl named Willow who’s fat, obese, overweight, whatever you want to call it. And she knows, and she’s come to terms with it. She’s never had a problem with it… until she meets Bo, the star football player. Desperate to get her “spunk” back, Willow joins a beauty pageant, shocking just about everyone around…

I loved this book so so much and found myself laughing throughout because Willow’s charisma and humour just really made it relatable. A toxic body image is something that’s enforced upon us every time we go on social media, read a magazine or see a poster up in the mall. It’s a very prominent problem in our world that needs to be talked about. This book was an amazing and inspirational story that made my heart sing (ok maybe that’s an exaggeration but you get the point) and gave me a lot of hope and confidence.

My final rating is an 8.5/10 because I feel like the “wanting to change for a guy” is quite downgrading in my book but the fact that Willow overcomes that is an amazing feat to me. Would definitely recommend!

Teen SRC 2019 – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

So here’s the thing… I didn’t enjoy this book very much. I’d heard of it of course and I was so excited to try it but then it just fell very short.

What I like in a book is something that will hit me emotionally and then leave me reeling for days after I finish. I’d thought I would get that for sure from this story, given the overall talk surrounding it and the fact that it covers many controversial topics. However, this book actually took me very long to finish because it didn’t intrigue me or impact me much at all. Now, before you guys come for me saying that maybe the story isn’t meant to be intense and fast-paced, that maybe it’s supposed to be a detailed and accurate representation of the side of society that isn’t talked about, even if that gives it a slower storyline, I want you to know that I get it. I know that the message this story spreads is heard by many and that is no doubt one of the key factors to its success and popularity in the book-world; but when I’m rating it as a piece of writing, as a piece of literature, I can’t say I loved it.

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Teen SRC 2019 – Take Your Last Breath by Lauren Child

Take Your Last Breath by Lauren Child

The sequel to Look Into My Eyes, this book was highly anticipated (by me) and I was not disappointed in any way. Following the same characters, Ruby has found herself with yet another mystery to solve, and this time it takes place on the wide-open ocean.

One thing I love about the series is that Ms. Child gives peeks into what’s happening with the villains/culprits such as short conversations or a simple description of their actions which gives you info not even Ruby has. This has always kept me completely intrigued with the story as every time this happens, I feel as if I should be able to figure the mystery out but I still never do 🙁 When the plot twist is finally revealed I go back to all the little details and just question HOW I didn’t manage to figure it out.

Final rating from me is a 10/10 because this series just can do absolutely no wrong. I loved it from start to finish and was hooked from the first sentence. I’ve grown up with Ruby and re-reading the series now has just made me realize how lucky I am to have had her as a role model during my same years of “pre-teen awkwardness”. Highly recommend to any mystery lovers regardless of age or gender as well as someone looking for a book that will get them thinking.

Teen SRC 2019 – Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter

Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter

The thrilling conclusion to the Embassy Row trilogy, this book did not disappoint. Having enjoyed the first book more than the second, I was a bit nervous for this finale. Thankfully, it was very fast-paced and took quite a bit of will-power and some much-needed reasoning from my mom to make me put it down last night. I finished it today morning and I think that’s the fastest I’ve ever read a book of that length.

Synopsis (may include spoilers from previous books but not this one): Grace Blakely has just found out that she is, in fact, royalty. A direct descendant of Amelia, the little princess who survived the royal massacre 200 years ago, her brother is the rightful king of Adria and she is the lost princess. However, she isn’t the only one who knows it and there are forces at work to find and kill her and her brother like they did her mom 3 years ago. This is the story of Grace’s journey in trying to discover what her mom found that lead to this constant game of cat-and-mouse and trying to find out who she can truly trust in this world built from stunning lies.

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Teen SRC 2019 – See How They Run by Ally Carter

See How They Run by Ally Carter is the second book in the Embassy Row trilogy. Since I described the story in my review for the first book already, I’m just going to give a very basic bit of context and focus on my thoughts in this one. If you feel like you’re missing some of the details, please read my review of All Fall Down and it should fill you in.

On Embassy Row, embassies of all the countries stand side by side on one street so with two steps you could go from America to Iran. Grace, the protagonist, lost her mom 3 years ago and the entire plot revolves around her death and the causes of it.

Ally’s plots are always amazing so I wasn’t surprised when I found myself waking up early to finish this book. Her plot twists are UNREAL and I can never seem to guess them. This book was a bit more cliche then the last one but thankfully it wasn’t too much so or else I might not have enjoyed it as much as I did because sometimes a little cliche can really help your story.

The final rating is an 8/10, it’s good writing and a VERY good plotline but I don’t think I liked it as much as the first book. Currently reading the last book and I’m hoping I get so shook I have to put the book down and scream 🙂

Teen SRC 2019 – Look Into My Eyes by Lauren Child

Look Into My Eyes by Lauren Child is technically a children’s book BUT the writing and plot are absolutely too amazing to not share. The rules for the SRC are that we may write reviews for Children’s Books as long as we believe they are not “childish” or “juvenile” and would appeal to teens which is exactly what I think of this series.

This book is about a girl named Ruby, the only child to popular socialite parents. However, she’s definitely not a simple party girl. She’s an honest-to-goodness genius who created a code at 8 years old which troubled Harvard professors. This level of intelligence is hard to go unseen which is why she is quickly invited into a spy agency called Spectrum where she’s to work as a code-cracker, nothing more. However, Ruby’s just a little too smart for her own good…

Thoughts: This is my all-time favourite series. ALL. TIME. And if you’ve read my reviews, you’d know how high my standards are so… GO READ THIS RIGHT NOW! It’s the most underrated series I know and deserves SO MUCH MORE love. This is perfect for mystery lovers and the plot twists are inSANE. I have literally never been able to correctly predict a plot twist in this series but now as I re-read I pick up on SO MANY HINTS that were written so well they completely escaped my mind. Another thing, I love romance in my books and this is the first book completely without a love story that has captured my complete and absolute attention (but if you survive on that chemistry this might not be for you…) so it may just do the same for you too! Final rating is a 10/10 baby, no flaws whatsoever.

Teen SRC 2019 – Royals by Rachel Hawkins

Royals by Rachel Hawkins is a fun, lighthearted romance/drama story that made me laugh so hard and wish I were living in the book.

It’s about a girl named Daisy who’s older sister Eleanor is engaged to the Scottish Prince. However, having a soon-to-be-princess as her sister means Daisy has landed quite a few tabloid articles too, and not all of them are positive. Over the summer, Daisy and her family are invited to Scotland to properly meet the royal family and their relatives + friends (dukes and duchesses, bishops etc.) where she meets the prince’s younger brother Sebastien and his best friend Miles. Throughout the story, Daisy gets into many adventures with them and goes through the process of learning how to behave royally, making maaany mistakes throughout…

I give this book a solid 9/10 but I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. It’s a 9/10 for me because I happen to like cheesy, cliche and fun romances but it’s definitely not for everybody 🙂 If you do decide to give it a try though, I daresay you’ll at least crack a smile because that’s the effect Daisy had on me!

Teen SRC 2019 – Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

If this review were being read to you like an audiobook, you wouldn’t even be able to hear it over the sound of my tears. Thankfully, I’m just joking (although that’s not the case for Heartless), surprisingly I didn’t cry for this although it definitely hit me straight in the feels quite a few times.

Crooked Kingdom is the sequel to Six of Crows which I absolutely loved. This is a huge book, hence why it took me so long to finish but I have finally concluded and gathered my opinions.

Spoilers for Six of Crows but not Crooked Kingdom: Following their raid on the Ice Court to rescue Kuwei Yul-Bo, Kaz and the Dregs are working to free Inej from Van Eck’s grasp. OK I’m done, you can open your eyes now LOL.

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