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August’s Teen Book Club

August’s Teen Book Club

Welcome to the August’s Teen Book Club! Can you believe that half the summer has already passed! Even though the library is open in a small capacity, we still can’t meet in the library, so we’re doing a book club here on the blog. Participate by commenting below this post and start discussions with other teens. And there’s prizes!! Remember, 1 teen will win 1 Book Prize each week for a thoughtful comment in the monthly Teen Book Club.

For the month of August, let’s talk all about Romance in books. Should romance always be a plot point in books?

To get you started, here are some questions for you:

  • Romance is great and lovely, but should it be in almost every book?
  • Did the romance make sense, or did it ruin the story?
  • Why is romance such a large part of teen books?
  • Does the romance in the story help the character or the plot?
  • What is your favourite romance book or storyline?

Teen SRC 2020 – Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Hello everybody! Something that is hilarious is that I’m reading the book that I won! This book is about a girl named Audrey, she is suffering from a social anxiety disorder. Audrey’s brother, Frank, is obsessed with video games, but his mom is not a big fan of them. I relate to this book a lot. My brother loves playing video games, but my mom does not understand why he wants to play video games more than, for example reading a book. I used to have this problem as well, I was so immersed in video games and playing them for hours every day not realizing all the time that went by. Last year at my school, I created a PowerPoint on the pros and cons of video games. Turns out, video games can improve hand-eye coordination, split decisions are crucial for playing most video games. Who knew?

It was humorous when Ann (mom) was doing all the disciplining and Chris (dad) was not being a role model to the kids, using his phone and sometimes agreeing with the kids. I am not a big fan of Linus and Audrey. Though, most teen books are somewhat about romance. I enjoyed that Audrey found confidence with Linus to step up. This book is so informal, in a good way. I’ve always been interested in books with a kid’s perspective. Dear Dumb Diary, Diary of the Wimpy Kid and Big Nate! They are all informal and that is why this book review is very informal. I’ve seen so many book reviews in my life, they end up sounding like a Harvard Acceptance Letters. I hope you understand what I’m trying to say. Kudos to all those amazing teens with awesome book reviews, and to all those authors who write books that always make me laugh. Thank you to the makers of this book review contest for giving me a chance to type my totally informal feelings of teen books. Finding Audrey is the first book that I reviewed that wasn’t making me drown in my own tears. I love this book!

Teen SRC 2020- The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager - Philippe, Ben

When I first started reading The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe, I didn’t expect much from it. I was wrong. So, so, so wrong. It’s an amazing book but before I start telling you exactly why, let me tell you what it’s about.

Norris Kaplan is a Black kid from Montreal and he is moving to Austin, Texas. Being an only child of divorced parents, living with his dad’s new family is not an option. And Judith (immigrant, professor, all-around cool mom), doesn’t have many options when it comes to a job. So Texas it is. Norris knows he will hate it. If you ignore the fact that it is TEXAS we’re talking about (and the tiny little detail of Norris’s skin colour), there’s the heat, the lack of hockey, and perhaps even more glaring than the Texas sun, his lack of friends.

Norris promises his mom that he will try. And trying means reigning in his sarcastic and often caustic tongue, limiting his thoughts to the pages of his counsellor-given notebook. Enter: Maddie, kind (?) cheerleader, Liam, budding hockey enthusiast (rich, too), Aarti, beautiful and witty photographer (Norris is in love). Even Patrick “Hairy Armpits”, school bully, is given a chance in Norris’s new Texan life.

But then things start to go awry (see: Norris’s inability to keep his mouth shut and general tendency to be a jerk) and soon he has as many enemies as friends. Seems like his sweat glands had the right idea… Texas isn’t the right place for him and might never be.

I know what you’re thinking. This is just another new-kid-finds-his-tribe type of book. And it is, (kind of), but not so cliched. (arrogant Black French Canadian protagonist might have given that away.) There are the usual party scenes, and quirky date scenes, of course, but there are also other more poignant plot lines. Norris’s relationship with his parents, for example, the complexity of which I loved. There’s also discussions about depression, racism, and what it means to be yourself. Best of all, there’s no preachiness in the book, or lines stolen from a therapy/parenting book. The characters feel real, and they act like real, flawed teenagers. The wittiness of the dialogue alone is a feat. Norris’s character development is WONDERFUL and gosh, this book really is a feel-good story that will break your heart and make it whole again.

Alas, I am but a judgemental critic and The Field Guide to the North American Teenager gets a mark shy of a 100: 9/10. Why? The chapter headings (you’ll have to read the book to understand) were off-putting and a hassle. There were also some stereotypes in the book I could have done without (see: Indian girl with strict parents, Black absentee dad) but the plot lines did okay with them in the end.

Overall, this is a book I would recommend to everyone, and if you’re looking for your next read, you’ve just found it. (P.S. Isn’t the cover just GORGEOUS?)

Teen SRC 2020 – Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm: Orwell, George: 8601417743553: Books - Amazon.ca

Hey guys! Summer School is almost over, and as a result, I’ve had more time to read! Animal Farm by George Orwell is a pretty short book though, so that may be why I was able to finish it so quickly.

This story starts at Manor farm, where Old Major, a very old and wise pig, shares a story/chant about the animals rioting against their owner and running the farm themselves. After Major dies, the animals really do riot, and they take over the farm. They start off living peacefully together, all animals are equal and they all help each other. However, things start changing, subtly yet consistently, and one begins to wonder whether all animals are equal after all…

Honestly, I really really enjoyed this book. The entire story is an analogy for the Russian Revolution and I recently just learned about that in Summer School, so it tied together very well. This is probably my favourite of the classics I’ve read so far, probably because it was short, yet very well written. Normally I find classics drone on and on about absolutely nothing important, so Orwell’s style was extremely refreshing. Every little detail contains multitudes of significance, and it just blows my mind how Orwell was able to organize all that in a way that showed, and didn’t just tell. My final rating is a 9/10 because once again, the writing is extremely powerful, and this is definitely a book where you will find new hints no matter how many times you’ve read it. If you’re looking to get into classics, this is the book to start with. The ending was also one that made me just sit down and say “wow,” so please do give it a read! It’ll take around a day or two MAX.

Teen SRC 2020 – This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

This Dark Endeavour - Oppel, Kenneth

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

In this prequel to Mary Shelley’s Gothic classic, Frankenstein, 16-year-old Victor Frankenstein undertakes a dark journey that will shift his life into a new shape that no one predicts. Victor’s twin, Konrad, has fallen ill, and no doctor is able to cure him even after performing drastic operations. Reluctant to let go his brother, Victor calls on his attractive cousin, Elizabeth, and best friend Henry on a hazardous search for the ingredients to create the forbidden Elixir of Life. Impossible odds, perilous alchemy and a bitter, sour love triangle that threatens their quest at every turn. Victor knows he has no option of failing. But his victory depends on how far he is willing to push the boundaries of nature, science, love, and loyalty. Along the way he has to decide how much he is prepared to sacrifice, a piece of him, his love, or his own inseparable twin.

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Teen SRC 2020 – The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

The Blood of Olympus - Riordan, Rick

Hey guys! It’s been a while… jeez. I promise I’ll be posting a lot more after Summer School’s over, so around the beginning of August.

Anyways, today I’ll be reviewing yet another nostalgic read: The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan.

This is the last book of the Heroes of Olympus, and boy did I cry. I also finished it at like Midnight so I was really in my ~feels~

Summary: Again, I’m assuming you’ve read the first 4 books as I write this summary, so if you haven’t, jump down to My Thoughts! Percy and Annabeth have come back from Tartarus and managed to close the Doors of Death. However, their troubles are far from over; Nico, Reyna, and Coach Hedge are still struggling to bring the Athena Parthenon back to camp, and Leo and the rest of the crew are on the Argonaut II trying desperately to fulfill the prophesy and stop Gaea. Unfortunately, the Earth Mother is growing stronger and more conscious every second…

My Thoughts: Brilliant. When has Rick ever let me down?? This is definitely not yet a teen book, but I can attest to the fact that you would like it. The characters have gone through so, so much, and the entire world and plot is SO well thought-out and executed, which just doesn’t happen much anymore… And, remember how I promised you guys I don’t hate romance? Well this is my proof. Percy and Annabeth: absolute chef’s kiss. And best of all? The story isn’t overly focused on their romance!! It’s subtle, yet super duper deep and always developing! SHOW, not TELL!! Now that’s how you do it ladies and gents :)) When I finished it, it felt like a part of my childhood was leaving and that’s why I was like sobbing at midnight so… warning??

Before I leave, my final rating is a 10/10, wouldn’t say anything less. (oh, and Hazel’s 13… HAhaha I’ll let you ponder over that).

Teen SRC 2020 — Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

https://secure.syndetics.com/index.aspx?isbn=9780307356543/MC.GIF&client=richplvtls&type=xw12&oclc=

Aldous Huxley‘s Brave New World is a captivating read that has new relevance in our ever-changing world.
A 1930s dystopia written in the midst of a far different time of crisis, the story follows a futuristic London in which industrialization has optimized everything and the happiness of society takes precedence over scientific progress and thought.
In what seems to some like a utopia, and to others a well-oiled machine, select people find themselves deviating from the principles programmed into the minds of citizens from birth.

Bernard Marx is one of these people, who unlike his peers, sees the droning and repetitive nature of these societal norms as unfulfilling. While everyone else attends social gatherings and consumes the drug Soma, Bernard seeks value and isolation in his activities.
This culminates in him visiting an isolated community following norms more like ours, where the principles of science and societal control collide as a native boy of the community leaves with him to tour the hyper-industrialized London.

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Teen SRC 2020 – The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

The Rest of the Story

This story is about a girl named Emma Saylor Payne. She doesn’t remember her mother (Waverly) very well, she died when Emma was 12. But, she does remember the stories that her mother told her, the big lake with nice cold and clear water that went on forever. Now, it’s just Emma and her dad. Her dad remarried and they went on their honeymoon. Sadly, due to the issue of Emma not having a place to stay, her dad had to think, Emma’s grandma had an idea for Emma to stay with her mother’s family. During her 3 weeks at north lake, she slowly familiarizes herself even though the last time she’d been there was when she was 4. Emma knows what north lake looks like from imagining it from when her mom told very detailed stories. But, Waverly didn’t describe the people there. Emma’s journey awaits by introducing herself to these soon to be friends, hopefully…

Teen SRC 2020 – The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

The Downstairs Girl

A historical fiction mystery with a witty protagonist not afraid to speak her mind. You can’t go wrong with a book like this, but adding proper POC representation, unconventional family troubles, and career goals is just icing on the cake.

Introducing: Jo Kuan. She lives with her stand-in father, Old Gin, in the basement of a print shop, in 1890’s Atlanta. Having just been fired from a millinery (apparently customers are uncomfortable with her directness. Or maybe it’s her Chinese features. Probably both.) Jo has no choice but to take up position once again as a maid for Caroline Payne, the downright cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the city. If memory serves right, Jo is going to have her work cut out for her, especially now that she’s started anonymously penning the column “Miss Sweetie.” She started the column so that the newspaper shop (also secretly serving as her home) can stay in business.

But as each article starts voicing more and more progressive ideas, the elite of Atlanta pick up pitchforks. How could someone so openly write against segregation, encourage women to ride the bicycle, and–gasp!– promote a future for women that ISN’T marriage? Jo knows that if Miss Sweetie is unmasked as a Chinese commoner, it could mean her life. But having had a taste of the freedom words can give, Jo isn’t ready to give up so easily.

I absolutely adored this book. The summary I (tried to) give above is just a fraction of the plot, all of which is completely riveting. Stacey Lee’s writing style is unique, and honestly, at first, I didn’t know what to think about it. The funny expressions grew on me, though, and I ended up loving her style. Don’t let the cover put you off (the potential wasted on portrait covers is a hill I will die on)– this book is worth a read.

CONGRATULATIONS! This weeks winners are:

Best Review of the week: Inshal K.Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

The Most Thoughtful Comment on our Book Club goes to Stephanie. Find it here!

Can you believe that we’re half way through the summer? With only 1 more month to go, I think there’s going to be a bit of race to see who wins the grand prizes this summer!! So keep writing those great book reviews!

Although only one book review counts towards an entry for the weekly prize draw, multiple entries count towards the end of summer grand prize. And don’t forget to participate by commenting on the monthly Book Club to win prizes too!