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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 – Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Intense and quick-paced, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins is the perfect finale to a stunning series.

Disclaimer: There will be spoilers for the previous books here but none for Mockingjay itself.

Through perseverance, determination and sheer luck, Katniss has managed to escape the grasps of the Capitol once more. Peeta, however, was not so lucky, having been taken captive by the Capitol and suffering both mental and physical abuse.

Now known as the Mockingjay, Katniss is a symbol of the rising rebellion against President Snow’s dictatorship and is working with the rebels to support their cause. Throughout the book, the effects and consequences of war are explored, making this a very realistic story (which is a good thing!).

I thought this met and exceeded the hype put around it as the conclusion to such an exciting story. The ending wasn’t perfect, making it so much more believable because wars have casualties, that’s just plain fact. I really loved this book and the entire series to be completely honest. Would DEFINITELY recommend it to anyone! The messages from this book were received loud and clear, a full 10/10 stars from me.

Teen SRC 2019 – Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Hey friends! So first of all, if one of you has already written a review on Catching Fire (since it’s a very popular book), let me know and I’ll add a link to your review!

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins is the sequel to The Hunger Games which I have also reviewed before (click here). It takes place in a country where the Capitol (and its citizens) have all the power and dictates over the other cities, also known as districts. Every year, to reinforce fear in the poverty-stricken districts, the Hunger Games are held. They are essentially fights-to-the-death between 24 unlucky competitors for the grand prize of glory, survival and rest of their life in luxury. It is cruel, gory and completely senseless because all it ends up being is entertainment for the bloodthirsty capitol citizens. *SPOILER FOR HUNGER GAMES, NOT CATCHING FIRE* The shocking co-victory from Katniss and Peeta in the 74th Hunger Games has stirred an uprising in the districts. President Snow notices this and starts to threaten Katniss before their Victors’ tour around the districts. Then, an unexpected twist comes along… *OK DONE!*

Thoughts: Love, love, loved this book. This series isn’t popular for no reason! It’s an amazing example of character development, world-building and plot set-up all being spectacular and blending smoothly together. It definitely deserves its 9.5/10. The 0.5 off is because it didn’t make me feel too emotional but other than that, literary perfection; You can’t not find it interesting.

Teen SRC 2019 – Extras by Scott Westerfeld

Although I didn’t like the book all that much, props to the cover!!

Lol, I’m back!! With the last book of the series I’ve been reviewing for the past month 🙂 I understand if you guys hate me by now but what kind of evil creature can just stop reading mid-series? Not me, that’s for sure. Also, honestly Inshal, just win the grand prize already and spare my pain of trying to match you. With finals approaching I’m literally surrounded with books I would LOVE to read but just CAN’T and it’s killing me.

Extras by Scott Westerfeld is the technically the last book in the Uglies series but it’s a little detached from the original storyline. The plot was completely new but the characters we have grown to love are still there, don’t worry, they’re just joined by a few new ones. It starts off a bit slow but once we got over the one boring part, things moved along pretty fast once more. I didn’t like this book as much as the others because it’s really hard to adjust to a whole new story when you’re still so hung up on what happened in the previous books. I also thought the plot was WAY too rushed despite being slow in the beginning and also very…odd. It didn’t really make sense to me because it had nothing to do with the previous books and had taken on almost a whole different genre which made it super unrealistic for me. Another thing is, the romance was honestly so bad it might as well have been non-existent. It was wayyy to hurried and not well-developed at all, not very satisfying… However, the worldbuilding is of course, still fantastic and the ways of their world were very interesting to me. Moreover, since it is the last book of the series, it made me feel a sense of completion despite it not being really connected to the other books, which gives it bonus points in my rating.

Overall, I’d rate this book a 7/10 because I really loved the world and I feel like so much could’ve come out of it but the plot was not good enough to match the setting. You wouldn’t really be missing anything if you just skipped this book so… I would still say it’s an ok read, not great though.

Teen SRC 2019 – Specials by Scott Westerfeld

Hey, yeah, I know some of you are probably getting tired of me posting about this series but hopefully, I’ve actually inspired a few to read this series too.

Specials by Scott Westerfeld is the finale of the Uglies trilogy.

Riveting and very fast-paced, this book was an amazing wrap-up to the series. Although I didn’t cry during the sad scenes, I definitely would have had it been at night, because reading right after math homework doesn’t help anyone get into their “feels” ok. Anyways, yes, I can promise some sad scenes but I actually loved that the author made legitimate sacrifices in the story because that made it SO much more realistic. I’ve read many stories where everyone ends up living happily ever after and although that means I’m super happy, it’s also just impossible that there were ZERO casualties. Another thing I liked about this series was the world-building, because as far as I can tell, there aren’t any plotholes I can think of which means that it’s just the right amount of detail, spread evenly between character development and the description of their world.

All in all, I would rate this book a 9/10. Not the best of the best but pretty darn close. The plot is amazing but the story itself is just missing that special something 😉 (did you see what I did there? ok i’ll see myself out). Definitely go read this series though! You won’t regret it and we can talk about it after 😀

Teen SRC 2019 – Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

Hey guys! I finished the sequel to Uglies: Pretties by Scott Westerfeld; so here’s the review for y’all 🙂

*Note: I’d recommend you read my “Uglies” review first. It’ll help you get a way better feel for the series and understand my synopsis a bit more, I wouldn’t want you to get lost and not want to read the book because of that.

My thoughts (no spoilers): I remember saying Uglies was fairly fast-paced but didn’t leave much of a long-lasting impression on me and Pretties is a little bit better than that. It too has a very gripping plot that made me unable to put it down but once I finished, aside from maybe an hour of that “returning to reality” feeling, I was fine. What this means is that it’s a really good plot but the emotional side of the book could be improved. Overall it’s a 4/5 stars from me, not unreal but a very good read nonetheless. In reference, I will definitely be reading the rest of the books but not necessarily crying over them.

Synopsis (a few minor spoilers that you can also get from reading the back cover): Tally is finally pretty. She now parties every day in New Pretty Town with her best friends and her biggest worry is whether she’ll pass the initiation to become a member of a Pretty clique. But one day, she gets a letter from her past that acts like the pulling of a plug. All of a sudden, her old memories are flowing in and she remembers the dark side of being pretty.

Teen SRC 2019 – Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

This weekend I managed to finish Uglies by Scott Westerfeld and begin a little of the sequel, are you proud?

Summary (no spoilers, I’m not EVIL): This story takes place in a dystopian world where at age 16, everyone is given a surgery to make them incredibly pretty. After the surgery, they are taken away from “Uglyville” and into “New Pretty Town” to live. The story focuses around a girl named Tally who is just weeks away from her operation. Her best friend, Peris, has already moved to “New Pretty Town” and she’s left alone and ugly. One day when she’s sneaking into “New Pretty Town” to visit Peris, she meets another ugly trying to do the same thing: Shay. They become fast friends and soon, their operation day is coming up. Tally is super excited to finally become gorgeous but Shay is skeptical. She confesses that she doesn’t wanna turn pretty and is going to escape the city to a place where she won’t have to get the surgery. Tally grudgingly promises not to tell and bids goodbye, but the day Tally is scheduled to receive her surgery, she gets an unwelcomed surprise…

Thoughts: I’ve been meaning to read this book for SO long and I’m glad I finally got around to it because it’s honestly pretty good. There are many plot twists and a lot of mystery so you’re not reading through too much filler. The world-building is also better than I expected and I believe this could honestly be a possible future of our world. I wouldn’t say it’s AMAZING but I’d say it was a good read. Final rating: 3.5/5 (I feel like that’s a bit harsh but it just didn’t leave a lasting impression on me). I’d recommend this to fans of dystopia, technology, science fiction and a little bit of mystery.

Teen SRC 2019 – Taken by Erin Bowman

Taken by Erin Bowman

In Claysoot, there are no men. Only boys. On the occasion of every boy’s eighteenth birthday, they get taken. Gone. Disappeared forever. They call it the Heist. People think that the boys have been taken over the Wall. Gray Weathersby’s birthday is mere months away. He is prepared to meet his destiny until he finds a letter from his deceased mother that made him question everything. What lies beyond the Wall? Climbing the Wall is suicide, but is it really worth being Heisted instead? What secrets is Claysoot’s government hiding from the people? When Clay’s brother was Heisted, where did he go? Is he still alive?

I give this book a 4/5 because this book builds of suspense and secrets so it was harder to write a review about it. But I feel like it was like The Maze Runner; boys get taken away. I did not enjoy The Maze Runner very much (I returned it on page 14) so I was mildly surprised that I enjoyed this book. ANNNNDDDDD, of course, there is a lllloooovvvvveeee triangle.

There are 3 books in the series and a novella. The books following are: Frozen, and the next one is Forged. The novella is Stolen.

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.