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Teen SRC 2021 – #murderfunding by Gretchen McNeil

#MurderFunding - McNeil, Gretchen

A fast-paced creepy book with many gory murders, #murderfunding by Gretchen McNeil makes up for its poor characterization and cheap tropes with action scenes and suspense. 6/10 for incredibly poor representation (POC especially, watch out) and cringe-worthy teenage slang. Seriously, I don’t know how editors approved the “teen” slang in this book–I’d rather hear teenagers speak like any regular adult than speak like they did in this book. “For reals” made an appearance, and an attempt to say that a character was “salty” (see: frustrated, annoyed) resulted in “less salted”. I LAUGHED SO HARD.

Anyway, I didn’t love this book much, but it was fast-paced and emotionally bland enough to get me out of a reading slump, which is great. There was some attempts to be political in this book, but they failed incredibly hard–resulting in an almost conspiracy-like feel. I did enjoy the formatting of discussion forums/articles on the Internet, but once the Russian meddling plot line was added, that began to feel cheap, too.

Overall, if you’re looking for a quick, creepy thriller, this is it. Otherwise, find something else.

P.S. This is the sequel to #murdertrending, which I read but then forgot mostly about. It is possible to read #murderfunding (2nd book) without having read the first (which got better ratings than this one, btw), but there is some confusing vocabulary to get through at the start. My suggestion: pick up #murdertrending first, then this one if you enjoy it. Happy reading!

Teen SRC 2021 – The Ballad of the Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

I had high expectations for The Ballad of the Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins because of the original trilogy and…it lived up to them! I’d give it an 8/10. The only downside of this book is that the exciting part doesn’t start until very late in the book.


This book was told from the perspective of the one and only President Snow. He is in his last year at the academy and hopes to win the prize that will help him into university, which he otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. A way that he can win this prize is if he mentors the winner of the 10th Annual Hunger Games. When he is assigned the girl from district 12, the lowest of the low, he is embarrassed but still determined to win. The story continues as he tries to help Lucy Gray, the tribute, win the Games.

***SPOILERS BELOW**

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Teen SRC 2021 – Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

In the kingdom of Astrea, Princess Theodosia Eirene Houzzara was imprisoned and inside her own palace since the day her mother, the Queen of Fire, was murdered by the conquering and merciless Kalovaxians. She was merely 6 years old when the Kaiser invaded her land and destroyed her family. Ever since Theo was forced into the title “Ash Princess” to insult the Astreans and the suffering country. Regardless, Theo kept grasping on the speck of hope that someone will rescue her from the horrid palace and aid her in reclaiming the throne. Now, 10 years have passed and Theo finally realized she needed to take action herself against the Kaiser and fight for her kingdom again. Throughout these years, Theo witnessed her people perish and land being abused. She is determined to take revenge and revolt on the battlefield against the malicious Kaiser.

At first, I was intrigued in this book because I hoped to see Theo grow into a powerful female lead. However, the book displayed her as a cowardly, naive, and indecisive girl despite the traumas she had experienced. I was also quite skeptical about the teen romance involved because everything seemed childish for a young adult fantasy novel. Even the names of the people, objects, and land were unnecessarily long and strange. I did not like this book because I think the reading and comprehension level is too simple for me.

You can find Ash Princess here and more of Laura Sebastian here

Teen SRC 2020 – Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Thunderhead - Shusterman, Neal

Hey guys! This week I will be reviewing Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman, which was actually my book prize from the SRC, and also the sequel to Scythe, which I very much enjoyed. I have a lot to say about this book, so I have included a TL;DR at the end!

Before the summary, I’ll just say that I’m pretty sure I have read this book before… but I completely forgot! I only figured it out when, at key points of the story, it kept jogging up a memory in my head, it all felt very deja vu. Anyway, that actually made the experience of (re)reading this book cooler than usual because I started to wonder whether it was the Thunderhead who had tampered with my memories.

SUMMARY (Contains spoilers from Scythe… so you may want to read that first!): Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch are no more. After their apprenticeship, Citra has been replaced by Scythe Anastasia, who gleans with honour and compassion. Rowan, on the other hand, has transformed into Scythe Lucifer, whose goal is to rid the planet of scythes who are neither honourable nor compassionate. Meanwhile, the “New Order” scythes continue to recruit, leaving the “Old Order” scrambling. The Thunderhead is not happy, but it cannot do anything that interferes with the scythedom. He can only watch, and grieve, in silence. Once again, we see the flaws of a seemingly perfect society.

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Teen SRC 2020 – Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451: A Novel: Bradbury, Ray: 8580001038919: Books ...

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury uses the genre of science fiction as a paragon for the author’s message, in which an unbridled oppressive government will damage its society by hindering the creativity and freedom of their people. The dystopian sub genre that outlines a futuristic technocratic and totalitarian society that demands order and harmony at the expense of individual rights is a meticulous representation of the novel. 

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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 — 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- Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman

Dry

Living in a time where dystopian books are common and overdone (the more apocalyptic and doomsday-ish, the better) it’s truly rare to find a book that will leave you with chills running down your spine. Dry, by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman does exactly that.

The idea behind this book is also unusual but not entirely unimaginable; what if the taps were to suddenly go dry? What if there was no more running water, and what if everyone around you suddenly became a thirsty water-zombie that would stop at nothing to get a few drops of the stuff? I know what you’re thinking. No running water, the end of the world, and ZOMBIES? Not another apocalypse book!

And while I don’t consider myself an expert on sci-fi or dystopian novels (not really my genre), I think this book did some things differently that changed it from an overused cliche doomsday book to something special.

First: This novel is narrated by a multiple person perspective. The first few characters stuck throughout the story, but others were just here to offer ‘snapshots’. I found it interesting because we didn’t just see what the Tap-Out meant for Alyssa, Kelton and their friends but for a whole host of different people. Living the apocalypse isn’t really fun when you don’t get the whole experience, am I right?

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Teen SRC 2020 – The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner - Dashner, James

In the Maze Runner, by James Dashner, Thomas wakes up in the Glade with no memory of his past just like everyone else. The only thing they all remember is their name. Glade is filled with boys his age, with some who already been here for 2 years.

They all contribute in order to keep everyone alive; they raise livestock, grow food, build, etc. and the most crucial and dangerous job, the runners. The runners spend everyday running in the giant maze surrounding Glade, attempting to solve it and escape. Every night the doors close, and no one can get out or in.

However, this all spins out of control only a day after Thomas arrived. They had the first girl to arrive, she came a day after Thomas which is peculiar as the for the last 2 years only one child arrives every 1 month, the “controllers” had stopped sending supplies, and those who had “changed” all suspect Thomas of something Wicked.

I liked this book so much I finished it in one day. To see all as the plot unfolds, and have the secrets and answers come out. When I first started, the first couple chapters were so confusing as they spoke in “glader slang”. But as I continued it all started to make sense. I loved the plot and the story but I hated the ending. I would rate it 8/10 and definitely recommend it.

Teen SRC 2020- The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

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The Chrysalids by John Wyndham has the author focusing on a variety of issues that individuals are constantly challenged with in life. The people of the fictional village of Waknuk have to struggle against constant prejudice, intolerance, and ignorance within their community. There is a constant theme of using faith as a source of control over the population, as the novel beckons its readers to understand how fear has the ability to shape and manipulate society.

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