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Teen Book Review – Warcross by Marie Lu

Teen Book Review – Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross

Hey all, long time no see! I hope everyone is safe and healthy 🙂

Recently, I re-read Warcross, the first book of a duology by one of my favourite authors, Marie Lu.

The story takes place in a futuristic world, when real life is drab and grey and run-down, so people all over the world put on a pair of high-tech glasses daily to enter the colourful and vivid virtual reality of Warcross. 18-year-old Emika Chen, our protagonist, is a bounty hunter, and tech genius. She catches criminals the police don’t have time for by hacking through the dark web, and it’s her only source of income. However, when a hack goes wrong, and she accidentally reveals herself to the creator of Warcross, her life takes a DRASTIC turn.

I honestly really liked this book! It was jam-packed with action, which is one of my favourite things about Marie Lu books, so I was super glad this was no exception! As well, the world is very realistic, because it’s not hard to believe that in the future, we could have something similar to Warcross. That made the reading experience a lot more immersive, as what Emika was going through seemed super probable, it wasn’t hard to connect to the story and its characters. I also very much enjoyed the plot twists although I was able to guess a few of them. They made sense, and weren’t a complete shock, which can actually detract from the actual writing. All in all, I give this book an 8.5/10. It was a great read!

Teen Book Review – Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane is a great novel about Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule’s search for Rachel Solando who went missing from Ashecliffe island’s hospital for the criminally insane . It seems that Solando managed to escape from a locked cell completely undetected by some orderlies playing cards and slipped past two guarded checkpoints. Swimming back to land would be out of the question for anyone other than the best swimmers, which makes her disappearance even more intriguing. While Daniels jumps at the chance to solve this case it seems like there might be an ulterior motive behind his enthusiasm. The island is a very interesting setting, as it contains 3 wards in separate buildings and the ever mysterious lighthouse that is quarantined off by heavily armored guards and an electric fence. Daniel begins to doubt the reality of his choice to come to the island as events occur that suggest his life is in danger. Shutter Island is a great novel that will surely take you on a roller coaster of emotions. With great mystery, and an intense horror movie vibe it is sure to get your adrenaline pumping. I would recommend the novel and rate it 10/10

Teen Book Review – An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

Depending on your view, this book will have one of two effects. Either make you feel like a failure who’s been living an underwhelming and lazy lifestyle, or it will inspire you to achieve greater and greater things in life. The book is really a story about Chris Hadfield’s career and how we became the household name and Icon in Canadian and Aeronautics we know him to be today. When he was young he never had the goal to be an astronaut, but he took every opportunity that came his way and made the most out of all of them. Chris writes more about the journey rather than the goal and even if he became a commercial airline pilot the story would still be the same. It would still follow his choices and how they impacted his career path. Overall this novel is really about life rather than the life of an astronaut.I think this book is a must read book that emphasises the importance of striving to achieve. I would rate this book a 10/10

Teen Book Review – The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

The Unwanteds

In Lisa McMann‘s fascinating fantasy series, The Unwanteds, twins Aaron and Alexander Stowe are forced to be separated, in a land of unfair and unjust rules. In the land of Quill, children are separated into Wanteds, Unwanteds or Necessaries. While being an artistic is a death sentence, Aaron is treated like royalty as a Wanted and sent to university. I absolutely love Lisa’s stories because the detail and creativeness that goes into her stories is incredible. A fantasy series filled with magic, art, and wonder is just my cup of tea. With magic and creativity, Alex and his friends bring the stories to life with their special talents and unique ideas. If you love magic and fantasy, I definitely recommend this spectacular series.

Congratulations and thank you for a great summer!!

Wow!! What a great summer for our blog with all of your contributions! We had so many well written and thoughtful book reviews this summer. I don’t know about you, but my list of books to read has definitely expanded because of all your suggestions.

In total, we had 19 contributors to the blog who wrote 106 book reviews in total! That’s 53 reviews written a month in July and August! We also had 8 teen moderators who helped us keep the blog and reviews posted and up to date, so a big thank you to them for all of their hard work!

We have decided to let everyone who has been writing reviews this summer to have the ability to keep writing reviews throughout the school year. So keep writing those awesome reviews!!

And now the big announcements! The winner of the Most Reviews Written Grand Prize goes to… Alina C!!! Alina wrote 28 book reviews this summer and all of them made the book sound intriguing!

And the winner of the Most Thoughtful Comment Grand Prize goes to… Max! max has made some wonderful and thought provoking comments and reviews throughout the summer.

Congratulations to all our winners!! And thank you again to all of you for participating in this summer Teen Summer Reading Club!

Teen SRC 2020 – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I originally discovered To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee in my sister’s extensive book collection and I decided to finally read it after months of anticipation.

The novel introduces the Finches (Atticus, Jem, and Jean Louise). The Finches are as normal a family as you can find in Maycomb, Alabama. The story follows the Children (Jem and Jean Louise Finch, and sometimes Dill) as they learn about their father’s hopeless struggle to defend a black man accused of rape. The novel also contains a side plot where they learn about Boo Radley, Macyomb’s local mystery.

The novel flows excellently from chapter to chapter and page to page; readers are drawn in by Lee’s incredible storytelling. The novel does a great job of introducing readers and its own characters to racial bias and injustice. With the rise Black Lives Matter protests in the United States and around the world, the morals and message woven into the story are more than relevant. I would wholeheartedly recommend this novel to anyone who wishes to read about racial injustice and rate this an 8.5/10

Teen SRC 2020 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Rowling, J.K.: 8601404281891:  Books - Amazon.ca

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

You’re probably wondering why I’m reviewing Harry Potter all of a sudden… and I can explain.

It took me almost 5 years to become a calm, hidden Harry Potter fan, and in about a month, TikTok has reversed all of that hard work. My entire FYP is Harry Potter edits and thus, I have been re-reading the books, and re-crying about how I’ll never get to go to Hogwarts. But, enough about that, let’s get on with the review.

Summary (Spoiler-Free): After another uneventful summer, Harry Potter has finally returned to Hogwarts for his third year. He has a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher: Professor Lupin, and Hagrid, his friend, has begun teaching Care of Magical Creatures. Oh, and did I mention a vicious Death Eater has escaped from Azkaban? Well, he has, and he goes by the name of Sirius Black.

Every single review I write for the Harry Potter series is going to be biased because I am in love with their world. In. Love. No other words for it. The plot lines are always amazing, full of mystery, suspense, and action. The characters are very well built as well, with Harry being an extremely likeable protagonist, and Ron and Hermione exceptional characters each on their own.

I believe though, that the true magic lies in the emotional aspect of this read. First, J.K. Rowling created a universe so real, so layered and magical and mysterious, that it’s impossible not to get lost in it. And, secondly, the characters are written so realistically that one feels they could very well pop out of the book, flesh and blood. These combine to create a story that leaves the line between fantasy and reality blurred, a feeling that I absolutely love experiencing. In addition to this, reading the series reminds me of my childhood, and I can relate to growing up, right along with the Golden Trio, which adds to the overall nostalgia, and hiraeth.

Hogwarts is my home, and I will laugh, cry, and grieve with Harry Potter, until the end of time.

I think it’s obvious what my rating is, and I’ll leave you with a quote from Dumbledore because although I talk about missing Hogwarts, you must remember that “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” So, go make the most of your life, and live it like you would as the main character of a story.

As well, here are a few songs that I recommend listening to, if you’re missing that magical feeling.

  1. Leaving Hogwarts – John Williams
  2. Welcome Home, Son – Radical Face
  3. Harry’s Wondrous World – John Williams
  4. Dragon Flight – Alexandre Desplat

Teen SRC 2020- A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder - Jackson, Holly

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson seemed like an interesting read (the cover is amazing, and i judged the book by it, fight me 😉 ). But then, the synopsis ended up disappointing me. It sounded like the book was a mash-up of literally every other YA murder mystery. We have our usual ‘good’ white girl protagonist, our suspect from a marginalized community, with a name like ‘Sal Singh’ to make it extra obvious. We have the popular/mean girl murder victim (Andie) and the lazy/racist reporter. Then, of course, Ravi. The younger brother of previously mentioned murderer that killed his girlfriend then himself (Sal Singh). Of course, Ravi is the cute but very reserved and intense love interest.

The first quarter of this book made me want to chuck it at a wall. But I kept going and… it improved. BY A LOT.

The characters stayed flat. Only Pippa (protag) had some sort of character arc, and even that was half-hearted. No, the only thing that redeemed this book was the mystery. It was SHOCKINGLY well-planned and thought out. I didn’t guess the murderer and wouldn’t have in a thousand years, but IT MADE SENSE.

The romance ended up growing on me, and the relationships between the characters are okay. I don’t have much else to say, so the rating: 8/10. Boring and stereotyped characters, but BRILLIANT mystery. Enjoyable, and suspenseful, but seriously– too many cliches.