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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.

Teen Book Review – Neighbourhood Girls

Neighbourhood Girls, written by Jessie Ann Foley, is about a girl named Wendy Boychuck, whose father gets arrested unexpectedly, especially for the fact that he was a cop.

Because of this, Wendy suddenly becomes the talk of the town. She is isolated and rumours start to form about her. So when Wendy starts her new school year, she gets approached by ‘the popular girls’ and doesn’t get bullied anymore. The only price was to leave her best friend. So yeah, she ditched her only real friend.

What’s more, is that her private school is closing due to low budget and staff. In a quest to get over the pressure, stress, and guilt, Wendy decides to lie low and stick with the popular kids. However, Wendy starts to realize just how bad of an influence her new ‘friends’ are giving her. Her only reason for not leaving is her fear, which would increase her chance of getting made fun of, so she stays with them unwillingly. It’s the right choice…right?

This book was okay, but I seriously died and I hated the ending soooo yeah. I’ll give it 3/5 stars.

P.S I bought this book so it’s not at the library yet.

Teen Book Review – The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Sun Is Also A Star

Written by the author of Everything, Everything, Nicola Yoon, The Sun is Also a Star is an amazing read that will keep you up at night, constantly wondering what will happen next.

Natasha is big believer in Science and Facts. She doesn’t believe in love or hope, not when her family’s going to be deported to Jamaica 12 hours later.

Daniel was the good kid, the shining star in his parent’s eye, but when he isn’t all of that he is a heartfelt poet.

Both of their lives change in less than 10 hours, when they collide in the busy city of New York. Science, Fate, Luck truly is the recipe for love

Crossroads: A Meeting of Nations (2nd Edition)

Image result for crossroads socials 9 textbook

Crossroads: A Meeting of Nations (or more simply, Crossroads) is a non-fiction anthology about historical events. It covers topics like the Fur Trade and American Revolution in an attempt to give snapshots of what was happening at the time.

This book is not fun to read. Sure, it’s well written and sure, it’s probably accurate, but it’s not very interesting. It talks about the life of people like Samuel de Champlain and Jacques Cartier, but gives them no substance. I had no sense of who Champlain or any of the characters were, for the matter. This book tells me what these people did but never who they were as characters with thoughts and feelings. But reading the book, fleshing out any character would most likely be pointless because characters are brought up and forgotten about within literal pages. This happens often, leading to many characters with barely any substance. It would make sense for an anthology series to have many characters, but the amount of characters with no personality to speak of in this book is startling.

I will give the book that the history behind it can be fascinating. Learning about how colonists came to America and other historical events was interesting to an extent. To an extent. There is no flavour to this text. I could never feel emotion in the voice telling me about the Fur Trade or the Boston Tea Party or any part of the book. It was just bland. I wish I could say I even finished this book. But after reading select chapters, I gave up. Nothing drew me back to finish this bland piece of cardboard.

All in all, Crossroads is a book that you probably won’t enjoy. There are no likeable characters because the characters there are barely characters and the writing falls flat on its face, tasting like sandpaper. That’s why I give this book my rating of: A glass of water/10- Very bland and very boring. I mean, we should all probably have it at some point in our lives, but there are so many other more colourful, more interesting things we could be trying instead of this.  

HAPPY APRIL FOOLS!!!

Teen Book Review – Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Image result for queen of air and darkness

I was originally going to review another book this month but then I remembered that I needed to return this book soon due to others having holds on it. Therefore, I’m writing this review now before I lose the book and can no longer skim through for the details. So, this month I read Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare; aka Book 3 of the Dark Artifices, a spinoff from the Mortal Instruments or better known as the Shadowhunters series.

To start off… This book is ENORMOUS. I couldn’t bring it to school in fear of having my shoulders fully dented by the sheer weight of this thing… I’d say the only other book I’ve read of this size would be Kingdom of Ash, from the Throne of Glass series. I cannot reveal too much of the plot since this is still a pretty recent release but I can say the Emma and Julian (the two main characters) have a lot to deal with in this book and there are actually numerous side plotlines happening throughout which revolve around the Blackthorn siblings as well as the Seelie and Unseelie faerie courts. A few new characters are introduced although not many deaths of old ones. I think I’ll stop here and give a rating: 4/5 stars. Not a perfect rating…BUT I have absolutely nothing against the plotline or characters or even the writing. I just feel as if everything was wrapped up a bit too perfectly to be realistic/believable for me. Other than that, I highly reccommend it :))

Teen Book Review – The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

Written by Sara Shepard, author of the Pretty Little Liars Series, and a show on ABC, The Lying Game is a book that had so many twists and turns, I couldn’t put it down.

Separated at Birth, Emma, and Sutton were identical twins living two opposite lives Sutton has it easy, getting adopted sooner into a rich family, where as Emma had spent her childhood living off of thrift store clothes and bouncing from foster home to foster home.

When Emma and Sutton decide to meet up, things go terribly out of plan. Sutton disappears and Emma has to step in, pretending to be Sutton. Overwhelmed, Emma struggles to keep up with Sutton’s Lifestyle.

Will Emma figure out the reason behind Sutton’s disappearance, or will she end up having the same faith as her sister.

This was an AMAZING READ, I literally couldn’t put this book down. I wouldn’t recommend this book if you want a short and quick read.

I would rate this book a 6/5 stars ✨✨✨

Teen Book Review – Sadia by Colleen Nelson

Fifteen-year-old Sadia Ahmadi is a proud muslim who is passionate about basketball. Her best friend, Mariam however wants to be noticed, and not be shunned for wearing her hijab, and starts de-jabbing (removing her hijab), at school every morning. Conflicted, Sadia tries to convince Mariam not to, but watches fro the sidelines her best friend being transformed into a completely different person.

When tryouts for an elect basketball team is announced, Sadia jumps at the opportunity. When tournament day comes, Sadia is faced with a difficult question; Should she wear her hijab and not play, or remove the hijab.

This was an amazing book, that really opened my eyes and broadened my perspective. I could not put this book down. I felt connected to the characters and could almost feel what they were feeling. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a fast read. I would rate this book a 5/5 stars Rebecca

Teen Book Review – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

First off, Happy New Year everyone! May 2019 treat you well :))

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This week I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and I found it really quirky and cute but not as relatable as I thought it would be. That aside, I must say I enjoyed it far more than Eleanor and Park, also by Rainbow Rowell, which was the second hyped-up book that didn’t meet my standards (after The Hate You Give). Fangirl is about a young woman named Cather just getting used to college life. Her twin sister, Wren, has always been the risk-taker and the extrovert while Cath stayed in the background and lived in the fictional universe of popular series: Simon Snow, and now, in college, she’s feeling isolated more than ever. At the beginning of the book, Cath is super shy and goes out of her way to blend in and disappear. When she’s in her room, she avoids her roommate as well and instead focuses on the Simon Snow fan-fic she’s been working on her whole life. As the story progresses, however, she meets new people…whether she wanted to or not and starts to open up more and more.

Like any Rainbow Rowell or John Green book, there isn’t really a plot and the main component is just continued character development and relationships, which sadly, bores me quite a bit. However, I did like this book, just not as much as I probably would’ve had it had a more intense storyline. Overall rate: 4/5 stars, nice light read.