Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert is great. I read it after I finished her most recent series The Hazel Wood, I recommend that as well. But this book has somewhat graphic descriptions, kind of minor love interests, and dual perspectives from the mom and the daughter, it’s really interesting to keep switching and see how their choices impact the present. There’s not much to complain about, although at the start it took me some time to get through it. It’s a creepy mystery that wraps up nicely I’m pretty sure it’s a standalone and this book has witches in it, I really liked the main character Ivy and I would rate this book a 9/10 because I liked the perspectives and Ivy.
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Teen SRC 2022 – Wilder Girls by Rory Power
As Global Warming continues, ice from thousands of years before melts. The parasites inside them are released. These parasites, later named The Tox, spreads to an island called Raxter where there’s a private school for girls.
Hetty, Hyatt, and Reese, three close friends, are among many of the students who are infected with The Tox. The infected start developing second spines or hearts, claws, and gills, but those who can’t take it are perished.
Everyone has only one choice, to stay inside in quarantine and wait for food and supplies to be delivered. But when Byatt is sick enough to be taken to the isolation room, Hetty knows some things have to change.
However, by the time Hetty sneaks in to see Byatt, she’s already disappeared.
This is a great book and I would definitely recommend it to people who like the dystopian genre.
Teen SRC 2022 – Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
The book I recommend is called “Ace of Spades,” a splendid suspense novel. The main characters were a girl, Chiamaka and a boy named Devon. Two of them were the only two black students in this white-washed private school, Niveus, and became the elite school’s senior class “perfects” in their final year of high school. To become a “perfect,” you will need to achieve outstanding performance in your grades, extracurricular and contribution to the school. It was no surprise that Chiamaka was chosen, but it was strange for Devon to become ‘perfect’ since he is the “invisible” person in the school and doesn’t do much at school. Nevertheless, the beginning of the school year seemed excellent for them, and everything was under control until they were constantly being targeted and coincidently getting into trouble. Thus, together, they try to find out the truth about who is messing up with their senior academy life and who was the backstabbers.Read More
Teen SRC 2022 – The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Psychics have always told Blue Sargent that her true love would die if she kissed him. All her teenage years, she spent swearing off on boys, especially the Aglionby boys or alias Raven boys. Standing next to her psychic half-aunt watching the soon-to-be-dead pass by, she sees a spirit for the first time, a Raven Boy. “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve her half-aunt said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him”.
In Maggie Stiefvater‘s book The Raven Boys we follow Blue Sargent’s life as it tangles with those she dreads the most the Raven Boys. Being the only non-psychic in her matriarchal house she struggles with identity issues and her new-formed friendship with the rich, members of high-class society, the Raven Boys certainly is not helping. But she can’t help but be drawn to the four Aglionby Boys, Gansey who is on a quest that has encompassed the other three, Ronan, the strong hot-headed boy; Adam, the poor scholarship student who can’t fit in with the others; and Noah, the tacit member of the group.Read More
Teen SRC 2022 – Shooter by Caroline Pignat
A lockdown surprises 5 grade 12 students, and they all end up in the same washroom. Alice, is an introvert who is really good at writing, she also has the responsibility to take care of her autistic brother Noah. Isabelle is the popular girl that everyone wants to be friends with, who has a big ego and sometimes only cares about herself. Then there’s Hogan, who used to be a football player, but is now someone feared by many because of the rumors going around that he killed his brother, he may seem scary but in the inside, he just needs someone to understand. There’s also the last guy named Xander, he’s socially awkward and sometimes says things that shouldn’t be said out loud. He’s always snapping pictures of random moments with his camera he calls “The Tank”. After a while, Isabelle gets a text from her best friend Brianna that this lockdown is not a drill, and there’s an actual shooter roaming around in the school, and it also turns out that one of the people know more about this shooter than they realized, and together they try to figure out what the shooter is trying to do, and how to stop them.
Teen SRC 2022 – Following by Jeffry W. Johnston
I am currently reading this book called the Following by Jeffrey W. Johnston. This book is about a boy named Alden who likes to follow people and find out their secrets. He’s training himself to become a private investigator some day. But one day, Alden decides to start following and spy on a popular boy at school, named Greg Matthes. As Alden follows Greg into an old deserted park after school, he first sees them verbally fighting from a distance. A few minutes later, Alden seemingly witnesses Greg Matthes murder his own girlfriend, Amy. Alden saw her lying on the floor but couldn’t get a clear sight of her at the distance. He also thinks he saw blood on Greg’s backpack. Alden started to worry in fear. He ran from the area as fast as he could. Was Amy actually murdered by Greg, or was what he saw not really the situation? Now Alden has to figure out what he could have seen there and the secrets Greg is hiding.
This book is a fast paced read and an interesting novel that keeps you reading until the end. My rating of the book: 9/10
Review by Muskaan Rana
Teen SRC 2022 – Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Galaxy “Alex” stern isn’t your average twenty-year-old at Yale and she worries she’ll ever be “average”. She can see ghosts. And her ability brings misery to her when she gets involved in a low-level drug deal. In Leigh Bardugo’s new dark twisty thriller, Ninth House, we follow the life of Alex stern, the only survivor of a multiple homicide that she shouldn’t have survived. When laying in the hospital bed she is allowed to turn her life around and begin fresh at the prestigious Yale University, she knows it’s bound to come with a catch. And what’s the catch? She is to be the newest member of the “ninth house” a secret society flourishing in yale looking over the arcane proceeding of the “ancient eight”.
Her life becomes intertwined with the dark secrets that run through New Haven’s secret societies when there’s a dead girl on campus, and only Alex seems to think there’s more to the story than meets the eye. She often wonders why doesn’t she just let it go; the societies have come up with a neat answer to the girl’s death. It would be convenient for her to just let it be, focusing on the new opportunities Yale brings her. But she feels for the girl, she knows what it feels like to be not cared for, to be pushed under the bus with a “nevermind’. She knows what it feels like to fight the world for the injustice it brings to you, “I want to survive this world that keeps trying to destroy me”. Following the girl’s death, she discovers drug deals, corruption, and cover-ups. She finds the truth beneath the facade run by the secret societies, dark ambition, and sinister motives to get power.
Leigh bardugo has created the best-written morally grey character that I just couldn’t help but sympathize with. Leigh’s world-building is amazing and mesmerizing and something I got lost in. Although the book proved to be more dark and troubling than I had expected, the brutal past of the characters just added to the full effect of the book and I loved every single second of reading it. If you liked The Atlas Six or Dance of Thieves, this fantastical world created by Bardugo is a perfect addition.
I rate this book a 9/10!
Teen SRC 2022 – The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is about a group of explorers who ventured to the deep Amazon jungle in search of a lost species of the extinct dinosaurs. The young journalist, Mr. Malone, in order to impress a young lady named Gladys decided to meet with the famous professor, Mr. Challenger, a grumpy and obnoxious person. The scientist visited inside the land of dinosaurs before, but many people are still skeptical of his discoveries. Professor Challenger refused to go there first and instead sent the expedition with professor Summerlee, Mr. Malone and Lord John Roxton. Upon arrival to the Amazon, the explorers found out that the letter with the instructions was just a blank piece of paper. To everybody’s surprise, Professor Challenger appeared himself. He led the expedition to the remote plateau. To get there, the explorers had to find a very long tree and make a bridge. Once the voyagers crossed the bridge, the two native helpers destroyed the tree and escaped. The adventurers were now stuck on the plateau. They came across many species of plants and animals but the most terrifying discovery was the existence of the ape man tribe, extremely aggressive and hostile. After many tribulations, the adventurers managed to escape the plateau and return to England with a trophy.
I liked this book because it is about natural science and biology. I rate this book four out of five.
Teen Book Review – Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong
**this review contains spoilers for These Violent Delights (book 1) so beware!!
I absolutely loved These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (read my review here) and I was very excited when a friend got me a signed copy of Our Violent Ends (thank you, Sophie!). The sequel to this duology picks up only a few weeks after the ending of the last book, so everyone in the city is still reeling from Marshall Seo’s death at Juliette’s hand. Now, the monster that has supposedly disappeared is sending blackmail notes to the Scarlet Gang and Juliette knows she has to find a way to stop the city (and her family) from ripping itself apart again… all of this while nursing her broken heart and secretly keeping Marshall alive. Meanwhile, Roma is struggling to reconcile the idea of Juliette, his former lover, cold-bloodedly shooting his best friend. Still, every time he tries to exact revenge Roma is unable to kill her, which drives a wedge between him and his cousin, Benedikt. While the White Flowers and Scarlet Gang’s rivalry turns bloodier and bloodier on the streets of Shanghai, the political beasts awaken alongside the real monster. Will Roma and Juliette be able to save their city and each other?
My two gripes with These Violent Delights was 1. the main romance and 2. the ending. HOWEVER, Our Violent Ends gave me everything I wanted and more. It is definitely a 10/10 for me, so I’ll just go ahead and say that now. First of all, the romance. Roma and Juliette had barely any chemistry in the first book, but they knocked this one out of the park. There was significantly more banter, and a lot of tropes that–despite being cliché–I completely fell head-over-heels for. Second of all, I won’t say much about the ending, and I know it might not be for everyone, but I actually loved it a lot.
Then, the PLOT. As intricate as the first book was, the sequel raised my standards even higher. The historical setting was astoundingly well-incorporated into the story, and if you know anything about Chinese history or the Shanghai Massacre, it is a joy to read about. The back-stabbing betrayals, the plot twists, the high-stakes action scenes, the emotional realizations… some of it was a little overdone. After all, how many times can you play the ‘faked my death’ trope? But still, overly dramatic scenes WORK in this genre, and Our Violent Ends was just so much fun to read. I would fully recommend. Again: 10/10!
(P.S. this book review is dedicated to Ms. Chung, who I want to thank for all the encouragement and support 🙂 )
Teen SRC 2021 – The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie
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!