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Teen SRC 2021 – Anna and the French Kiss

So… I haven’t read a pure romance YA novel since The Selection (which I did not enjoy very much… oops) was a thing, which was a LONG time ago. But this quarantine I caved, and finally read the mother of all YA romance, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.

I assume everyone has heard of this book before, because it’s commonly hailed as THE YA romance, so I won’t give too thorough of an introduction; if you’re interested, there are synopses everywhere on the internet, and you should be able to find a much more detailed summary quite easily!

So anyway, this is the story of an american girl by the name of Anna Oliphant, an outgoing, clumsy, aspiring film critic who is sent to a boarding school in France by her father. At first, she’s terrified, which is understandable considering the major culture shock and the abruptness of this change, but as she spends more and more time in the city of light, she starts to change her mind…

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Teen SRC 2021 – Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone

Click’d, a book by Tamara Ireland Stone, is about a game that Allie Navarro made at her CodeGirls camp that helps you make friends. She is really excited to share it with everyone at her school. As Allie works on her game harder than ever, it suddenly makes a huge mistake. Click’d sends out a really embarrassing photo that was never meant to be sent. Allie tries desperately to fix her game, and as she does, there is triumph and sadness, victory and failure. Then more and more embarrassing pictures are sent out, and Allie might have to drop out of Games for Good, a really big competition for coders. Click’d is a book about drama, friendship, accepting failure, and learning from it.

I liked this book because it had some very real-life moments in it, that have even happened to me and my friends. I feel like this book is really good for people who love the drama genre, or who are just looking for an interesting book. Click’d was very well-written, and fun to read.

TAMBA Author Interview – Jennifer Honeybourn

My friend, Rosie, and I were recently given the opportunity to interview the author of numerous YA and middle school novels, Jennifer Honeybourn! Some of her works include: When Life Gives You Demons, Wesley James Ruined My Life, Just My Luck, and many more!

We asked her a few questions about her writing process and her journey as an author! Here are some of her insights:

It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to be an author! But it took me a while to get there and for me to realize that I had a YA voice. 

Ideas are everywhere. There are really no original ideas (there were wizards long before there was Harry Potter!), it’s just about taking something and putting your own spin on it! Ideas usually come to me as a mashup, getting inspiration from different things and then writing it in my own way. Find a new way to tell a story!

As a writer, you want to focus on the story engine, the thing that will drive the character. What goal will pull the character through the story and how will it change them? 

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Teen SRC 2020 – China Rich Girlfriends by Kevin Kwan

China Rich Girlfriend - Kwan, Kevin

On the eve of Rachel’s Wedding, she should be overjoyed by her beautiful ring, wedding dress, and a an who is willing to give up all his inheritance  just to marry her. But yet, she grieves of the thought that her birth father won’t be able to walk her down the aisle. That was the case until an announcement made a huge turn in events. In this second book, Carlton a Ferrari crashing bad-boy, Colette a celebrity who is constantly chased by paparazzi, and Rachel’s unknown father who she has been dying to meet. While Astrid is learning that having a newly tech, billionaire husband has a downside. Drama, gossip, rumors, and secrets unfold as they travel through auctions, clubs, estates, and VVIP after after parties.

I love this series. Its sassy, funny, bold, and so much drama! Reading this book was so enjoyable and relaxing. Even though I prefer the first book as it focused more on Rachel and Nickolas, but I think the second one was more pointed towards Carlton and Colette. I am still really fond about the story but I just wished Rachel and Nickolas had more depth in the plot. I would rate this book 7/10 and I definitely plan on watching the movie when it comes out.

China Rich Girlfriend and Kevin Kwan’s other works can be found here.

Teen SRC 2020 – Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Title details for Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan - Available

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan stars Rachel Chu, an economic professor in NY dating Nicholas Young, her boyfriend of two years. She agrees to visit her boyfriend’s family in Singapore for the summer. She expects a humble experience and just spending quality time with the one she hopes to marry. However, she is faced with massive parties, homes that looks like palaces, and with the man every girl in Asia wants to marry right by her side, she is basically a prey with a huge mark on her. Not only does she have to deal with all the constant rumors and two sided people, but her significant’s mother definitely hates her guts. Nicholas Young’s mom, Eleanor Young, is very strict about who her son should, or shouldn’t marry. And conveniently, Rachel is probably the highest on the “shouldn’t marry” list. As she tries to survive in this new environment, she will have to decide who is her allies and who is her foe.

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Teen SRC 2020- Slay by Brittney Morris


Kiera Johnson leads a double life. Being one of the few Black girls at her school, she behaves the way she needs to: smart, helpful, and unproblematic. Even Kiera’s family and her boyfriend, Malcolm, expect her to act a certain way. The only time Kiera is truly herself is when she’s Emerald, the queen in a virtual reality game called Slay. Keira made Slay to celebrate Black excellence, and her multitude of players come from across the globe. Of course, no one in Kiera’s real life knows she made the game, or even that she plays it.

But when a Black boy is murdered for game money, for SLAY money, Kiera’s two very separate lives come crashing together. Kiera is filled with guilt for having created a game that took a boy’s life, but she doesn’t have time to grieve. Media outlets, and the internet has pounced on the game, on HER game, calling it racist and exclusionary. Everyone now has an opinion on SLAY, but Kiera doesn’t know what to do. Not saying anything, she might become complacent to the injustice, but speaking up could risk exposing her identity. Worst of all, Kiera now risks losing SLAY to Dred Scott, a racist troll. Emerald would fight for justice, Kiera knows. Emerald wouldn’t bow down to anyone. But will Kiera?

Slay is an absolute masterpiece. I have to admit to having an aversion to video-game related books, but Slay has dispelled that notion. The world-building in this book is amazing, the details exquisite, and I wished I could see a game like SLAY in real life. Kiera is a well-developed character, but some of the side characters are more likable, at least to me. We are also told how SLAY has impacted people’s lives by having a few chapters told in another perspective, a technique I will always love.

Slay by Brittney Morris gets 9/10. The ending was a bit too unrealistic for my taste, and there were some unnecessary scenes. (and i’m sorry, but the cover!! A portrait cover, *sigh*, and far too much pink, which doesn’t match with the story’s vibe.)

Overall, Slay opens up many important discussions about safe spaces for minorities, identity, and what Black excellence looks like at an individual level. That might sound preachy or way too serious, but I promise you, it’s not. The story itself is captivating and there is a mystery aspect to it as well (yayyy!!). Coming from a minority background myself, Slay feels like a hug after a tiring day, a hug that says “I see you and I feel you.” 100% recommend, whoever you are and whatever you like reading.

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 Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give eBook: Thomas, Angie: Kindle Store

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas features Starr Carter, an African American teenager who sees her childhood best friend, Khalil Harris, being shot and killed by a police officer after a routine traffic stop escalates into Khalil’s untimely demise. Starr is then forced to decide whether she will adhere to the unspoken laws of her local neighborhood and stay silent about the injustice she had witnessed, or testify in front of a grand jury and join an ongoing movement to end racist/xenophobic violence and police misconduct in communities across her area.

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Teen SRC 2020- Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

The Fountains of Silence

The year is 1957, and Spain is under the iron-fist rule of General Francisco Franco. Daniel Matheson, a Texan teen, is visiting Spain with his family. With his passion for photography, he hopes to take the perfect picture for his portfolio, a picture that will also somehow convince his dad to let him pursue his dreams.

But Spain isn’t the perfect tropical paradise it seems for its American tourists and soon, Daniel finds himself falling– for his maid, Ana, and for the secrets some people would do anything to keep buried. Ana herself is enchanted by the American freedom promised by the hotel magazines. She dreams for a life for herself and her family away from Franco’s tyrannical rule.

Daniel and Ana are the main characters, but we are also given glimpses into other people’s lives. For example: Julia, who is Ana’s older sister, and a new mother, is drowning in secrets and fear. Her brother, Rafael, who works both at a slaughterhouse and a cemetery is fighting with the past and his memories. Fuga, Rafael’s friend wants to bullfight more than anything, and Daniel’s mother is struggling to find out where she belongs.

As any Ruta Sepetys book, Fountains of Silence is as rich in history as it is in humanity. This book brought to light an injustice often overlooked in history: Spanish babies were stolen from their families, proclaimed dead, but instead given to other families of a higher creed. I loved the historical accuracy of the book, but sometimes grew bored with the many first-hand documents.

A beautiful romance, a suspenseful historical fiction, and everything I search for in a novel. 9.5/10, only because I didn’t like the large skip in time (it throws me off) and some parts felt dragged on. Otherwise, STRONGLY RECOMMEND!!

Teen SRC 2020 – Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell & Katie Cotugno

Rules for Being A Girl

Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell & Katie Cotugno

Marin, who is a top student and the editor of the school newspaper along with her best friend ,Chloe. Marin dreams of going to Brown University and her future seems vivid. Everyone, including her, admired their young, charming English teacher, Mr. Beckett, who is always constantly praising her writing and having tons of conversations about books with her. But that all came crashing down when he crosses the line of their friendship by trying to kiss Marin and terrifying her. Was this incident on her? Did she accidentally lead him on? She had trusted him and thought he valued her for her skill as a student. What angered her even more was that she felt like there was nothing she could do. As no one even questions Mr. Beckett, dismisses the case right away, and even suggested that is was Marin’s fault when she had finally gathered the courage to tell the school board.

Not even her best friend who has been recently acting cold and distant believed her. She felt alone and betrayed by everyone around her, the one person who has been with her though thick and thin didn’t believe she has been hurt. But she doesn’t stay quiet, instead she uses the power of the school press to push back by writing an article called “Rules for being a Girl”. She also starts a feminist book club where she finds allies, romance, and betrayals from the least expected people. She gradually learns the way the world discriminates against girls. Her eyes slowly opened up to the cold, casual sexism all around her. In their extremely sexist school where the principal spends everyday obsessed with girl dress codes she has to learn to change the rules that has already been set in stone.

This book was short and easy to read which is better suited for the young adult audience. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a provoking story. I really enjoyed reading this breathtaking book. Even though it is fiction there are many sections of it that are quite realistic. It really brings the discrimination the society has against women into the spotlight. This story was a perfect representation of a he say she say case. I liked how the author mentioned how supportive her family and fellow feminist book club members were which was where she got her strength to hold her place. Her best friend, Chloe, and her peers show how people can sometimes be pushed away by those closest to them. There was so many red flags in the relationship between Mr. Beckett and Marin and I could painfully see how he had gradually manipulated her. In conclusion, I rate this book 8/10, because the straightforward style did a great job at getting the message through, it felt a bit too simplistic at times. However, overall this book was fantastic and definitively recommend.