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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.

Teen SRC 2020 – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2nd Book in the Narnia Series) by C. S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - Lewis, C. S.

The real world is boring; it’s dull, unimaginative and uninventive, so we create fantasies as a way to escape into a magical, different, unique world. We watch movies or plays to experience something more interesting than the harsh realities of everyday life, so we dream. Authors like C.S Lewis and J.K Rowling show us this gloomy world, and then beneath everything they give us something extraordinary. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, four rather ordinary children, Peter, Susan, Edmond, and Lucy are about to take an exceptional adventure. When they come across a wardrobe, there is a path into a more interesting realm, in which they experience something spectacular.

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Teen SRC 2020 – Prince Caspian (4th book of the Narnia Series)

Prince Caspian - Lewis, C. S.

Prince Caspian by C.S Lewis has the Pevensie siblings spending a whole year dreaming about returning to Narnia. However, when they finally get pulled back into Narnia, they realize a very important thing, “Things never happen the same way twice.” They then discover time passes differently in Narnia, and that thousands of years had already passed and everyone they knew has passed on. Narnia has been corrupted by a cruel, cold blooded leader who killed his way to his spot, and now the children have to gather up the talking animal’s courage in order to fight back against the tyrant and have circumstances return to a peaceful state.

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Teen SRC 2020 – The Miserable Mill (the 4th book in the Unfortunate Event Series) by Lewis Snicket

The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket

The Miserable Mill by Lewis Snicket has the children heading to Paltryville where they hope to uncover more of their parents’ past. They arrive at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill where they meet “Sir”, the owner of the mill and his pushover partner “Charles”. They make a deal with Sir and agree to work at the Lumbermill until Violet comes of age.

“The deal is this: I will try to make sure that Count Olaf and his associates never go anywhere near you, and you will work in my lumbermill until you come of age and get all that money. Is that a fair deal?” -Sir

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Teen SRC 2020 – The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket

The Reptile Room - Snicket, Lemony

The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket

Uncle Monty appears like a kind-hearted and secure person. The Baudelaires like him and it feels like they have finally found their perfect caretaker. They each have their own room and their own duties for the trip they’ll be taking. They’re very eager for the experience and everything seemed to have clicked together. Until Stephano, Uncle Monty’s “assistant”, who is really Count Olaf in disguise, appears in the picture. Everything falls apart as the children desperately tries to persuade the others that Count Olaf is up to mischief once more. But no one even looks twice before dismissing them. Once again the children are left on their own to survive.

It feels that every time they’re given a slight crack at a new life, it’s snatched from them. The relationship between the siblings is exceptionally strong and their strengths really compliment each other. They make an extraordinary team & they each pull their weight when needed. The story shows how sometimes adults dismisses children as a reliable source. But many times because they don’t notice them, children often hear the most I rate this 7/10 as I still really enjoyed it however, why is the only adult helping the Baudelaires an incompetent banker? Shouldn’t there be other RESPONSIBLE adults involved in the process before giving the children to the next caretaker?

Teen SRC 2020 – The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket

The Wide Window

The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket

The children have managed to escape being captured by Count Olaf yet again and now they are at their new guardian, Aunt Josephine. She lost her husband and now lives alone at the top of a cliff, in a house that is right above Lake Lachrymose. However, she worries about everything that might possibly happen, and completely obsessed about grammar. The circumstances there are quite boring but the peace is quickly broken when Violet runs into “Captain Sham”. The children immediately recognizes the man as Count Olaf Right away. However, no one believes them that Count Olaf is back to his old schemes. Therefore, the children are on their own again.

By the third book of this series the formula is already really obvious. Mr Poe pushes the kids to another rookie relative, Count Olaf turns up in a disguise and the children recognizes him automatically. All the adults just dismisses them and their accusations. Count Olaf almost captures the children. They then use each of their own skills (Inventor, book worm, and biter), the children forestall Count Olaf and the follower chosen . Mr Poe coughs, calls the police, and lets Olaf escape; and repeat. Because the pattern is obvious and annoying I am enjoying the series less and less, I would rate this book 6/10. At the start it was interesting and intriguing, but now its really irritating.

Teen SRC 2020 – The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis

The Horse and His Boy - Lewis, C. S.

The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis

It takes place during the Golden Age of Narnia, with the Pevensies ruling at their peak. The two main characters and horses are escaping from Calormen and travelling north of Narnia. On their travel, they learn of the Prince of Calormen’s plan to overtake Archenland. They then have to race the Calormen to Archenland in order to warn the King of Archenland of the incoming attack.

Although the story is set in the countries to the south of Narnia (Calormen and Archenland), which gives it a quite different experience then the previous books. I always find the visual imagery and the feelings of each character as they evolve fascinating. But he revived his deceitful, dirty, turban-clad race, the Calormen. A lost fair skinned boy grew up among them and he is depressed until he is finally reunited with the beautiful, white, and kind people of Narnia. His representation of the people of Calormen is dreadful . When he says “Calor-men”, by calor is he implying people of the hot countries or is it the not inconspicuous way of indicating colored people? However, the descriptions reveals it all; the people are described as dark skin, wears turbans, and savage slave owners. Their leader is a dishonest war-dealer. This land and its people are consistently compared against the fair-skinned, wise and free-thinking people of Narnia and Archenland. However, all of this could be seen from another point of view. Lewis may have been trying to describe the life as it was years ago in that area. There were slavery in those communities too as it was in the western world, and there were child marriages in their society. Besides that, the story came off strongly and all the scenes and visuals are really detailed. I still really enjoyed the story and how it was different from the first two and I rate it 8/10.

Teen SRC 2020 – Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins

Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane - Collins, Suzanne

Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins

After Gregor swore to never go down to the Underlands again, the Underlanders kidnapped his little sister to lure Gregor down. As he is essential in another prophecy that requires him to find the great, evil white rat called the Bane and slay it. He has to decide between his own personal morales and the future of everyone’s lives.

It’s much darker and gorier, characters still dealing with their grief from the previous book, with ethical dilemmas, some dreadful consequences that will affect all the Underlander’s future,allies not being understanding and good as they appear. Twitchtip is so sassy and really adds a huge element to the book. Photos Glow-Glow and Zap were really annoying but humorous as well. I really like the new characters that had been added and unlike other stories death is actually a thing in this series. I would rate this 9/10 and I can’t wait to read the next one.

Teen SRC 2020 – Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief - Riordan, Rick

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson was always said to be “special” because of his behaviour but he had no idea how special he really was. After just narrowing escaping death. he arrives at Camp Half Blood and immediately sent back out on a quest. Zeus’s lighting bolt has gone missing and Percy has to return it to him or else a war is going to erupt.

After I first finished reading this book, I was confused about the mythology parts. But after researching and finding out about the relationships between each character it become much more clear. Throughout the entire story, the adventure is written through the eyes of Percy Jackson. Because it isn’t told in a 3rd person’s view, it makes the entire story come to life and each emotion the character feels can be experienced by the reader. I have read many books from the 3rd person’s view, or it changes POV. throughout the book; it leaves less space for surprises for the reader but it gives the reader and anxious feeling on what is going to happen when the secret is revealed. I prefer 1st person view than 3rd person as I do love a good twist. In this story, Percy Jackson is a person who’s fatal flaw is wanting to save his loved ones. His rivals often use it against him, and he is forced to decide on what is more important. This leads the ethical questions that he often ponders about. I would rate this book 8/10. I actually tried to read this book a couple years ago and I had such a hard time connecting everything, so I gave up before finishing chapter 2. Now I am really glad I revisited it and I am excited to finish the rest of the series as well.

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

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

Harry Potter is in his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry and his friends investigates the deadly Sirius Black, an escaped prisoner from Azkaban who they believe is one of Lord Voldemort followers and the reason Harry’s parents died. Now the rumors are that he is coming for Harry as well.

There’s a distinct change in mood, style, and a maturation in the writing and scenes. As the characters grow older, the challenges they faced became more intense and grave. The schemes became shadier especially in relation to Sirius and his connection in the murders of Potter’s parents. It all just got so much better. The entire story felt less soft and less feel-good. For the first time it seemed like if Harry didn’t gather up his confidence he could actually die. He owed tons to Lupin here, a hugely essential one in the development of Harry. This one is my favorite so far and I would rate it 9/10.