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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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The winners are…

So exciting!!! We finally get to announce who the winners are for the Teen Summer Reading Club 2019. And the winners are:

The Alternate Reality Scavenger Hunt:
The teen who accumulated the most points playing in our BookCity Alternate Reality is: Lucian C.

The Most Book Reviews Written on the RPL Teen Hub Blog:
This teen wrote 29 reviews in 2 months (8 of which were written on Aug. 31st): Inshal K.

The Design for the 2020 Teen Summer Reading Club Contest:
We had several beautiful designs submitted this year (and it was really hard to choose). Next year’s theme (which was chosen by our Teen Ambassadors) is The Roaring 1920’s. The winner is: Trinity L.

We have to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone that participate this year in all of our teen programs. You really made this year’s Teen SRC 2019 a success! We had 22 teens competing in this year’s Book City Alternate Reality, 56 teens participating on the Teen Hub blog, 109 Book Reviews written, 21 teens escaped our Rebel Revolt Escape Room, and some truly beautiful submissions for the Design Contest. It was such a great summer and we have our wonderful teens to thank! So THANK YOU again!

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 – 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- 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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