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TeenTober 2019 – Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

After reading both the Cinder series as well as Heartless, Marissa Meyer has become one of my favourite authors, so I was beyond pumped to hear that she had released a new series. Now, Renegades isn’t very new anymore but it’s my first time reading it so we’re just going to pretend that none of you guys have ever read this book and that this is the first time you’re hearing about it 🙂

Summary (no spoilers, don’t worry): Renegades takes place in a world newly born from the carnage Ace Anarchy created during his reign. It’s a world full of prodigies, who possess superhuman powers, and a large group of them has deemed fighting crime and rebuilding the world their ultimate goal. These, are the Renegades.

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TeenTober 2019 – Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult

Perfect Match

Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult

In the course of her everyday work, career-driven assistant district attorney Nina Frost prosecutes child molesters and works determinedly to ensure that a legal system with too many loopholes keeps these criminals behind bars. But when her own five-year-old son, Nathaniel, is traumatized by a sexual assault, Nina and her husband, Caleb, a quiet and methodical stone mason, are shattered, ripped apart by an enraging sense of helplessness in the face of a futile justice system that Nina knows all too well. In a heartbeat, Nina’s absolute truths and convictions are turned upside down, and she hurtles toward a plan to exact her own justice for her son — no matter the consequence, whatever the sacrifice.

The paragraph above was the summary at the back of the book. Jodi Picoult, in my opinion, is a fantastic author. She has written so many books, and I have read only a small portion of them (I would suggest My Sister’s Keeper, Leaving Time, Keeping Faith, and I’m now reading the Tenth Circle). Each of her books deal with a different moral issue that is so moving in so many ways, and in this case, it is sexual abuse toward young children. While this may be a heavy topic for many of us (definitely for me), she crafts the story so well, with so many twists and turns, it is impossible to stop reading. Nina and her family, the main characters of the story, goes through hardships and challenges no family should go through… Do they make it? Or does their family break apart? Read on!

TeenTober 2019 – Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

There is a world where people with silver blood rule over the people with red blood. All red blooded people without a job when they turn 20 years old will be conscripted into the army. Mare is a 19 year old girl without a job and resorts to pick-pocketing. One day, she meets somebody named Cal who is a silver prince and he hired her to work at the palace. There, Mare found out she had powers, like the silver, but stronger than them.

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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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!

TeenTober 2019 – Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, illustrated by Maira Kalman

Why We Broke Up, written by Daniel Handler and illustrated by Maira Kalman

From author Daniel Handler (AKA Lemony Snicket) comes the story of Min Green and Ed Slaterton. Predictably, these two have broken up.

I found Why We Broke Up to be an enjoyable, if not particularly thought-provoking read. It relied heavily on archetypes (eg. “that one artsy girl”, “the playboy jock”, “loyal friend-zoned best friend”, etc.), which was a little disappointing, but effort was made to make sure that each character had their own quirks and motivations. It’s a book with lots of “we’re young and stupid and completely in love” vibes, if you like that sort of thing. (I do.)

One thing that I found the story did really well was the lack of “perfect” characters– the main character, Min, has a ton of shortcomings, along with the other characters, and they’re all addressed and handled fairly well. This is one of the areas in which Why We Broke Up really shines– the characters are pretentious, yes, but they feel real. Relatable, even. I mean, who isn’t a little pretentious over here? We’re a bunch of teenagers on a blog about reading books. C’mon. Personally, I enjoyed it most of the time.

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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 Book Review – Internment by Samira Ahmed

Internment

Internment by Samira Ahmed is a dystopian novel, but it’s not your usual aliens-have-invaded one. Instead of focusing on technology, space travel, or wars, Samira Ahmed focuses on another relevant topic in our society; hate. She takes the racism and xenophobia that is present in today’s world, and the experience of people such as the Japanese during World War 2 to create a horrifying yet very real story set in near-future America.

The main character of this story is Layla Amin, a strong-willed Muslim girl living in America. Her character is well-written, with many unique traits, and a developing personality. She’s a breath of fresh air after over-used and stereotypical Muslim characters. America is a country running high on Anti-Muslim and Islamophobic ideas and the setting of this story is very similar to how the world would have been for Japanese people in America and Canada during World War 2 or for Jews in Germany during the same time.

Internment by Samira Ahmed gets 8.5/10. There was your usual romantic subplot (sigh) and some of the things were slightly exaggerated, but it was a compelling read nonetheless. The ending was breathtakingly good, but not realistic enough, again, to be perfect. Overall, it’s a book I enjoyed, and one that I would recommend.

P.S. The cover is GORGEOUS.

P.P.S. The library doesn’t have a hard copy of this book, but there is an audiobook, and an ebook.

Teen Book Review – Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

Far From the Tree - Benway, Robin

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway. tells the story of three siblings that were put up for adoption by their biological mother.

Grace, the middle child, knew she was adopted, but was never interested in finding out anything about her biological family, not until she had to give up her own daughter for adoption. Now, she aches for the hole Peach (her daughter) has left behind and wonders if her bio mom felt the same way after giving her up all those years ago.

Maya, the youngest sister, had always felt a bit like an outsider; the only brunette in a prominently red-headed family. Her parents adopted her three months before they found out they were pregnant with Lauren, her younger sister. She used to be close to Lauren, but now everyone feels like they’re drifting apart. Of course, the fact that she has an alcoholic mother, and parents that can’t be in the same room for five minutes without yelling doesn’t help matters.

Joaquin, the older brother never got adopted. Being a boy, and half-Mexican might have something to do with it. His latest set of foster parents are perfect, though, maybe too perfect. So is Birdie, Joaquin’s now ex-girlfriend. Joaquin knows he will ruin everything, he knows that he will manage to hurt them. He doesn’t deserve them, and trying to explain that to them will hurt too much. So Joaquin does what the years in foster care has taught him to do; keep his secrets and fears close to himself, and not get too attached.

This book was wonderful to read. It touched important topics, such as foster care systems, teen pregnancies, racism, and the need to belong. Parts in this book made me want to cry, while some made me laugh. It was written in three different perspectives, which is my favourite style of writing, because it feels like reading three different books at the same time. The only thing about this book I didn’t like was the predictability of the plot and the characters. Other than that, AMAZING. I give it a 9/10.