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Teen SRC 2021 – The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie

The A.B.C. Murders - Christie, Agatha

Agatha Christie, as you’ve probably heard me say many times, is a wonderful mystery writer and I was very eager to pick up The A.B.C. Murders, which is one of her most critically acclaimed novels. It has even been made into a show! (I am still debating whether to watch it because I get scared easily…)

A quick synopsis: Hercule Poirot is retired, but, like a Prima Donna, always comes back for a “final” performance. This time, his “cream of the crop” crime starts with an anonymous letter, taunting the fact that a murder is to happen on a particular date in Andover (a small British town). The letter is signed as “A.B.C.” Hastings, the narrator and Poirot’s trusty Watson-like friend, doesn’t give much thought to the letter until the day arrives and a Mrs. A. Ascher is murdered in her store. Then the next letter arrives for Bexhill-on-the Sea, and Poirot knows he needs to find A.B.C. before the murderer makes his/her way further down the alphabet.

I will keep my review brief at the risk of spoiling things, but this book was plotted marvellously. The A.B.C. Murders had a great amount of suspense, shocking twists, a lot of humour, some grisly descriptions, and even vague shadows of romance. There is a psychological element to the novel as well, which involves the historical time period and the first World War, which I absolutely adored. Also, this isn’t common to most Christie novels, but The A.B.C. Murders even had an underlying moral theme. It wasn’t too in-your-face, but if I picked up on it, then others might too. (I can’t explain anything, though…the struggle of writing spoiler-less reviews!) Also, I should mention that I’m very biased towards Hercule Poirot. I will read anything with him in it because where else am I going to get delightful lines like “I send the vegetable marrows to promenade themselves to the devil”? Also the friendship between Poirot and Hastings is so adorable and their banter makes everything in this book so much better.

The only bad thing about this book is that it ended and that there aren’t a hundred more like it. 10/10, I thoroughly enjoyed!

Congratulations! Teen SRC Winners Week #8

As summer is coming to a close, thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s Teen Summer Reading Club! We have really enjoyed reading your thoughts about the books you have read this summer.

The 8th and final weekly prize winners are Angela and Casey. Congratulations to you both.

We still have one final prize to give away and that is the grand prize! This will be awarded to the teen who has written the most book reviews this summer. The winner will be announced on Friday. Stayed tuned.

Teen SRC 2021 – Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu

The book Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu is told in the POV of Ethan, a boy who was kidnapped and found four years later, and Caroline, a girl whose autistic younger brother was kidnapped for a few days. The story moves forward as Caroline tries to find out what happened to her brother by talking to Ethan, and Ethan deals with triggering flashbacks and memories.

This book talks about trauma and how to move on for it. I thought the plots were amazing, and some of the quotes were deep and insightful.

The ending though…I wouldn’t really call it an ending. It just abruptly cuts off. I was disappointed because the book was really good.

7/10

Teen SRC 2021 – This is How We Fly by Anna Meriano

I would call myself a casual Harry Potter fan. I have memories of the books and movies from when I was younger. So when I saw This is How We Fly by Anna Meriano, a book about Quidditch in real life, I was curious.

Ellen Lopez-Rourke just graduated high school, and she has one summer left until she’s off for college. Her plans are thrown out the window, however, when her step-mom grounds her for the whole summer. Her only out is begging to join the local Quidditch team with her friend, Melissa. Ellen expects a bunch of Harry Potter nerds, but what she finds are committed, loyal team members playing a super athletic game. Quidditch is just the distraction Ellen needs from her drama with family and friends, but she’ll find she can’t outrun them for long.

I enjoyed this story about finding yourself and finding community. This book captures the feelings of a teenager moving on to adulthood, and of someone finding a supportive place where they feel they belong. There are plenty of aspects of Ellen’s life, such as her struggles with identity and social activism, that succeed in rounding her character. There was growth from each character presented, I just wish the book had better handled Ellen’s relationship with her step-mom. Overall, an interesting read.

Teen SRC 2021 – Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter

While I can’t say I loved absolutely everything about Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter, there are a few things that left me completely astonished. First, the characters. Namely, Maddie and Logan. How – and I repeat – how did the author manage to make me grow so attached to the characters in just a mere 304 pages? It’s like I really know both of them in real life; let me just say the characters are so incredibly lovable and the plot development between them is not only enticing but heartwarming.

One thing I wasn’t super interested in for this novel was the plot. Well, okay, not the actual plot, but rather the fact that the book was marketed as a mystery novel, and yet I didn’t really pick up on any suspense-building, plot twists, or anything like that. It was certainly a very adventurous read, but I’m not sure I would leap as far as “mysterious.”

Overall, I thought it was a sweet book despite the misleading genre; honestly I think there’s more romance than anything, but it’s very well-written and no cliche personality traits in any of the characters. 7/10!

Teen SRC 2021 – Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao

I cannot even begin to explain how much Our Wayward Fate, a teen romance book written by Gloria Chao, blew my mind. See, this was another one of those books I decided to read just from glancing at the cover and barely skimming through the blurb. I was expecting an amusing anecdote, maybe a relatable story at most. What I wasn’t prepared for was the most heartfelt, lovable romance novel with amazing characters.

I’m not going to go through the plot synopsis here, but the general idea of the book was about an asian boy called Chase Yu who moved to a new school in Indiana, with no other asian kids whatsoever. …Well, with the exception of Ali Chu. The two begin to bond throughout the book, but when Ali’s mother forces her to stop seeing Chase, Ali has to find out more about this mysterious classmate.

HANDS DOWN the best plot twist ever. Unexpected, mind-blowing, heartbreaking and the good kind of dramatic. I enjoyed reading this book, 9/10!

Teen SRC 2021 – Permanent Record by Edward Snowden

Permanent Record : Snowden, Edward: Amazon.ca: Books

Permanent Record is a book about the life of Edward Snowden, beginning from his childhood where he “hacked” his house’s time by setting back every single clock in the house so he could stay home longer. Eventually, he went into the government to work and created “The Heartbeat” This document would scan for any unique documents that may have useful information in and store it. This let him learn a lot about the government that wasn’t normally seen by the public. He found out that the government was doing mass surveillance on the public and was storing all this information as part of a permanent record. Snowden eventually blew the whistle and had to seek refuge in other countries to avoid being taken by the government.

The book was fairly interesting, and pretty easy to understand. Although there were some more technical terms, they were all still pretty simple. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the collection of information on the internet more and also how it works.

Teen SRC 2021 – The One by Kiera Cass

The One (The Selection, Book 3) eBook by Kiera Cass - 9780007581214 |  Rakuten Kobo Ireland

At first I wasn’t particularly drawn to the entire The Selection series, because I had read some of the summaries online, and I just didn’t feel all that inclined to read about a bunch of princesses trying to win over a prince’s heart. I decided to give the general plot of The One by Kiera Cass the benefit of the doubt, though, and tried to convince myself that there would be other aspects of the books that I would like. Glad to say I was right about that!

First of all, even though I admit the plot does sound kind of ridiculous, Kiera does have a way of illustrating it and making it feel more real. I actually did enjoy the fantasy, some of the plot twists, and most definitely the romance. I like how you can slip into their world and kind of escape from reality when you are reading.

What did I hate? The characters. For the love of God, could you please give us some actual, decent characters who don’t have the classic “nobody-likes-me” mindset. It gets so annoying, and honestly just gets in the way of most of the other amazing stuff that is worth reading in the book. America’s attitude was just completely off, in my opinion, and the other characters had no personality.

I still feel rather disappointed by this book, but I am glad that there were at least a few things that I found enjoyable. I probably will get around to reading the other books, although I wouldn’t exactly say I’m excited for them; I’d say maybe a five out of 10 for this novel.

Teen SRC 2021 – Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows eBook : Bardugo, Leigh: Amazon.ca: Kindle Store

I’m going to be honest, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a book that I had been highly anticipating for the longest time. It had been on my TBR for months and I was really excited when I finally got to read it. What I didn’t know was that the book would turn out to be quite a big disappointment.

At first I thought the book was pretty interesting, but I think this book introduces a bit too many characters right at the beginning. I thought the introduction/1st sentences were good, but by the time I got to the second chapter, I really didn’t want to read the book anymore. That’s literally all I have to say, the rest of the book was just a repetitive pattern of flipping back, being bored, and pushing through every word.

I have to say though, I did like most of the fantasy aspects of the novel, and honestly after reading They Both Die at the End, nothing can really have a lower rating than that one. I just didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would, but it still gets maybe six out of 10.

Teen SRC 2021 – Better Together by Christine Riccio

Better Together by Christine Riccio

I’m not gonna wait for the conclusion. I would give Better Together by Christine Riccio a seven out of ten for the writing and a hundred out of ten for the cover. I’m sorry, try to prove me wrong; there are literally two sides to the cover, each illustrating one sister.

The writing itself was more of a short anecdote that I found to be lighthearted and entertaining. There are no really heavy or deep concepts in this book in my opinion, I think it was just a casual, fun, read. That being said, I really loved the writing style and the character development in this book, along with the plot twists. I absolutely loved the contradiction of the two personalities of the sisters too as it made the book extremely satisfying to read. Overall I just think it was a light sort of book, the type that gets you out of a reading slump; I’d give it- oops, that was already covered in the introduction, wasn’t it?