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TeenTober 2019 – With the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo

With the Fire on High

With the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo is a heartfelt book about Emoni, a girl who’s gone through a lot and still holds her head held up high.

Emoni Santiago is that girl everyone warns you about not becoming; the girl that become pregnant when she was a freshman and now has a daughter. But, like her best friend and Abuela (grandmother) know, if you get to know her past her rough exterior, you will get to know a loving girl passionate about cooking the most delicious dishes she can.

When Emoni, who’s struggling through her last year of high school sees culinary classes being offered as an elective, she knows that it’s where she belongs. But from the trip to Spain she can’t afford, the strict teacher that makes her want to drop her only passion, and her very own Babygirl, Emoni doesn’t know how she’ll be able to face the challenges.

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TeenTober 2019- Overturned by L.R. Giles

Overturned

Riveting, suspenseful, brilliant. From the moment I opened Overturned by L.R. Giles, I could tell this story wasn’t one I would be forgetting soon. Strong, beautiful writing combined with a captivating plot makes Overturned the gem that it is.

It isn’t easy being the daughter of a convicted killer, but Nikki Tate’s poker face never cracks. By operating illegal poker games in the basement of her family’s casino, Nikki knows she’ll be able to save enough money to get herself out of Vegas and into a good college with her friends. After all, what more could life possibly throw at her?

But then her father (who’s always claimed to be innocent) gets released from jail just before his death sentence. He comes back into the family and Nikki’s world flips upside down once again. With her father’s sudden overturned conviction and the cute new boy at school, is Nikki’s life on the turn for the better? Or will the secrets that almost cost her father his life end up taking hers instead?

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Teen SRC 2019- The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks

The Nameless City - Hicks, Faith Erin

Beautiful, compelling, sweet. The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks is a graphic novel about a young native girl, a sheltered outsider, and their determination to save the home they love.

When aloof and immune Dao (the most recent nation to have conquered the Nameless City) soldier, Kaidu arrives to the Nameless City to train, he instantly falls in love with this city rich in history and diversity. Trouble is brewing, though, and his father, General Andren is in the middle of it.

Rat, a native orphan living with the monks hates the Dao and everything they stand for. They stole her parents away from her, and now they’re taking her city, too. When she makes an unlikely friendship with Kaidu, she knows that she will do anything to keep the city, and her friend, safe.

This book almost made me cry. With gorgeous pictures and well written dialogue, it has what every good book does: a heart. It’s well-paced, and enough details are given without doing any info-dumping so that readers won’t feel lost, or bored.

I give the Nameless City a 9/10. It’s not my usual genre, but a friend recommended it to me, and I’m glad they did. It was odd, finishing the book so fast and I decided to read it a second time, taking care to appreciate the artwork and facial expressions instead of only the writing along the way. Would definitely recommend to readers of all ages.

Teen SRC 2019 – Exo by Fonda Lee

Front Cover

In the book Exo, written by Fonda Lee, aliens have ruled Earth for almost a century and there’s been peace for almost as much time. Some people still believe humans should fight for their freedom, but Donovan Reyes doesn’t agree. His dad is the prestigious Prime Liaison of the Earth colony and Donovan’s exo, an alien technology attached to his body (exoskeleton, you could say) will guarantee him a high-ranking army position in the future, for sure.

Everything goes wrong, though, when he’s kidnapped in one of his missions by a human revolutionary group bent on killing him. When they learn of his connection to the Prime Liaison only do they let him live, as a bargaining chip. But Donovan knows his dad, and he knows that the Prime Liaison won’t sacrifice anything for the planet’s safety, not even his own son. Donovan doesn’t have much time, and he has to escape before the Sapience leave him for dead, killing the future of a peaceful Earth along with him.

Exo gets a 8.5/10. It’s a surprising interesting take on the usual dystopian story, and I loved each of the characters. The plot kept me at the edge of my seat, and I enjoyed the ending. I would recommend it to all dystopian fans.

Teen SRC 2019 – Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Dayton

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Dayton are a collection of six stories, each set further in the future than the last. Each of them tells the story of a teenager whose life are affected, in either a positive or negative way by gene-editing technology.

Each of the stories are unique and interesting, but I only enjoyed about half of them. It’s scary to imagine what life will be like in the future, and while the author has portrayed it beautifully, reading about a gentically modified boy-dolphin gave me the creeps. Also, the stories were short and abruptly having to switch between each of them interrupted the flow of the story. Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful gets a 6.5/10. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t recommend it to others.

Teen SRC 2019 – The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

The Princess Diaries - Cabot, Meg

I’ve seen the movie, we’ve all seen the movie, except (obviously, I think) the book is so much better (no offense intended to Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews, LOL, the movie was great.)

Amelia Thermopolis isn’t the popular girl, the nerdy girl, she isn’t even the artsy girl. Mia is just a regular kid with regular kid problems when her dad tells her that he is the prince of a small European country which makes her, Mia, the princess of Genovia. Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo can choose to stay in Manhattan and continue pretending to be a normal girl (not a princess) on the condition that she will take princess lessons from Grandmère (grandmother in french) in preparation of when she will ascend to the throne. Her father will also donate a hundred dollars a day to Greenpeace in her name if she agrees to the princess lessons. Mia, being the steadfast vegetarian she is, accepts because of that last part.

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Teen SRC 2019- The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

The Pearl Thief - Wein, Elizabeth

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein is a mystery, historical fiction and romance novel all in one.

Before Verity, there was Julie. (The Pearl Thief is the prequel to Code Name Verity, a best-selling book by Elizabeth Wein which you should totally read right now if you haven’t 0_0 i’m serious) Julia Beaufort-Stuart comes home to her grandfather’s estate from boarding school, expecting one last summer of relaxation, of appreciating grandfather’s large estate grounds before it, and all of her grandfather’s possessions are sold off.

What she didn’t expect is waking up in the hospital her beautiful hair cut off because of an injury on her head that made her unconscious for almost three days. Julie is unsettled, especially when she starts to realize that her having hit her head might not have been an accident. One of her family’s employees has disappeared, and the last day he was seen was the same day she was injured.

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Teen SRC 2019- Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin

Someday We Will Fly - DeWoskin, Rachel

Stunning, compelling, and heartwrenching. Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin is the story of a Polish-Jewish refugee escaping the Nazis in Poland for Shanghai, China, inspired by true stories of the past.

After her mother vanishes from Warsaw, Lillia, her father, and baby sister Naomi escape Nazi-occupied Poland and arrive in Shanghai, China. With little money for even food, and no mother to look after them, Lillia knows she will never feel at home in this city. As the weeks go by without sign of her mother, Lillia sees herself grow into a woman she doesn’t recognize. She feels like she’s been broken into pieces that can never join to make her whole again.

But despite all of that, she’s not alone. Lillia finds herself in a small community of rag-tag friends and neighbours, and with their help, Lillia can’t make herself whole again, but maybe she can learn to survive and keep Papa and Naomi safe until her mother comes home.

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Teen SRC 2019 – My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane

My Lady Jane is a historical fiction book with a fantasy twist, and it’s one of my favourite book (of course I don’t have just ONE favourite book.)

Edward is dying. He is the king. He shouldn’t be dying. But he is, and he will die, never even having gotten his first kiss. Life’s no fair.

Lady Jane Grey would rather spend her days curled up with a book than have to go to any of the social gatherings her mother is so keen on making her go to. But when she is told that her beloved cousin is dying and she must marry in order to save the throne, she decides she must do her duty and agrees to the marriage. But there’s something off about her intended, and she’s determined to find out what.

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Teen SRC 2019 – Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Noggin

Hilarious, real, compelling. Noggin by John Corey Whaley is a fresh new take on the cliché woke-up-in-the-hospital-with-amnesia trope spun into a breathtaking new tale.  

Travis Coates was dying at sixteen when he decided to cyrogenically freeze his head in the hope that some time in the future, doctors and scientists could bring him back to life. Five years later, Travis wakes up in the hospital with his head attached to someone else’s body. And having some athletic guy’s biceps is the least of his problems; the best friend that came out as gay to him before he died now has a girlfriend, Travis’s own girlfriend is engaged and Travis is almost certain his dad is cheating on his mom.

As I’ve mentioned before, this plot line closely resembles the common amnesia plot line with a whole new side to it as Travis had to get used to having an entire body that didn’t belong to him. There were many parts of this book that I loved: Travis’s relationship with his mom is the sweetest parent-child relationship I’ve read in a YA novel, Travis and Kyle’s friendship, (small spoiler here) Travis finally meeting the family of his body’s donor (spoiler over). There was one major aspect of the story, though, that got on my nerves. Travis’s girlfriend is engaged, and many, many times Travis makes advances on her despite her having clearly said she doesn’t want him.

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