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Teen Book Review- The Cousins by Karen McManus

I’ve read every single one of Karen McManus‘s books, starting with One of Us Is Lying, so when I saw her newest–The Cousins, I knew I had to read it too. (It’s already been established from my other reviews that I like mysteries. 😀 )

Milly, Jonah, and Aubrey are the Story cousins, whose parents, along with uncle Archer, were disinherited by their grandmother, Mildred Story, twenty-four years ago (via a cryptic letter). Milly, Jonah, and Aubrey barely know each other, and have never even met their grandmother but that all changes when a letter from her arrives, requesting their presence back at the family island. Thinking this may be their chance to re-enter the Story will, Milly, Jonah, and Aubrey’s parents all force their children to accept.

But things are not what they seem at the island, and as clues start popping up around them, the cousins try to unbury their family’s dark history.

I had seriously high hopes for this book and I blame it on Agatha Christies’ And Then They Were None and on We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I expected the ‘creepy island where everyone gets murdered one by one’ trope, but McManus played it differently–the island is a tourist spot, crowded with other people. There also isn’t any thriller aspect to the story, which, I admit, disappointed me.

If examined as a mystery, however, it passes the bar. I did not see the end coming, like at all (in a good way), but once they had solved it, I found it a bit…lukewarm. It’s not bad or average, but it won’t knock your socks off, either is what I’m saying.

Something I do always appreciate with all her books, though (and it shone particularly well in this one) is the characters. Even with the multiple perspectives, we are given so much depth that I couldn’t help but falling a little in love with each of them! The side characters, too! Like no spoilers, but there is one side character in particular that was super well-written. In regards to the writing, I found the plot to advance at a very good pace, with a perfect proportion of description and dialogue.

All in all, if you enjoyed any of her other books, you will love this one too. 9/10.

P.S. See? I CAN write a normal sized review. 😀

Teen Book Review- Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Allegedly - Jackson, Tiffany

TL; DR: This is the first book I am at a loss on how to review. 4 or 9 /10.

So. I don’t know how to start the review for Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson and that’s a first. I usually have a million of things to say (notice the average length of my reviews, hahaha) but for this one, I am still grappling.

Before I go into that, the premise.

Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say. Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home. There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

Just from that you know that this thriller is going to be intense. And it really was.

First of all, why is this a YA novel? The protag is 16 years old but the topics in here are HEAVY and well… don’t open it expecting your typical YA stuff. Although that isn’t exactly fair either, because it does have a bunch of your typical YA stuff.

To give (some) structure to the review, I’ll break it down like this. Characters: 9/10. The arcs are strong, and the main characters are EXTREMELY complex and well-written. The side characters on the other hand are lacking, and stereotypically so. Writing: 7/10 Some lines catch you off-guard with their beauty but the overall style was just average. Romance: 8/10. I am still iffy about the romance, but oh well, it’s YA! Importance/Issues Discussed: 10/10. Now that’s one thing I can’t criticize Allegedly for. It takes the most uncomfortable, least-discussed, nitty gritty of the world and forces you to grapple with it. Just… astounding.

Notice how I didn’t rate the plot. Because the plot is *continuous screaming*. Without any spoilers, this is my plea to authors everywhere: DO NOT INCLUDE A PLOT TWIST IF THE ONLY THING IT’S ADDING TO THE BOOK IS SHOCK VALUE.

The ending felt incomplete and it was a long way for me to go to end up unsatisfied. I can’t give the book an overall rating because it’s either a 4/10 or a 9/10. Take from this review (which ended up being long despite what I said at the beginning, super sorry!) what you will and go forth with indecisiveness on whether to read Allegedly or not. 🙂 You’re welcome.

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- 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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Teen SRC 2020 – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.'” – Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo blew my mind. Honestly, I was a bit weary when I first picked up this novel. It’s a well-known book, and I’ve seen it everywhere- from my local library to my school library, it was always at the front of the bookshelf. At this point, so many people were talking about it. However, I was still a little suspicious because I usually don’t enjoy fantasy novels (totally just a lack of imagination on my part). Still, I decided to give it a read after all the big talk, and I don’t regret it at all.

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Teen SRC 2020 – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” – Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is genuinely one of the most influential novels speaking out against racism written in our time. Especially now, in the times of people using their voice to campaign for what’s right, this book brings a whole new light to the controversial issues that have existed for generations.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this novel is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Starr Carter who lives in two different worlds- a poor neighbourhood where she lives, and a fancy prep school she attends. Starr navigates through many feelings of grief after seeing her childhood best friend, Khalil, murdered by the police. When his death makes national headlines, Starr faces a choice that can change the entire community that surrounds her- does she defend her friend when confronted by a horrendous amount of outside pressures?

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Teen SRC 2020 – Matched by Ally Condie

Matched

Hey guys! I’m back again, and I managed to publish a whole lot of your reviews so go check those out! I think Angela’s taking up editing now so phew 🙂

This week, I read Matched by Ally Condie and… I have very mixed feelings about the book.

Matched takes place in a dystopian world where everything is carefully controlled by officials, and all things are empirical, or calculated, from the food portions you can eat to the person you marry (with whom you are Matched with at 17 based on compatibility). Cassia, our main character, has been Matched with Xander Carrow, her lifelong best friend, and she is ecstatic about this… until the glitch on her Match card one night. The flash of a different boy’s face appears only for a single second, but it is enough to both terrify and intrigue Cassia. In interacting with the second boy, Ky, Cassia learns more and more about the dark sides of her seemingly utopian world.

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Teen SRC 2020 – Legend by Marie Lu

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“Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.” – Marie Lu, Legend

Legend by Marie Lu is possibly one of my favourite books of all time. Honestly, I’m quite a sucker for dystopian novels because the rush I get when I’m reading is so wild. The pace that Marie Lu sets for this book is exhilarating, and there are no dull moments in this book.

This story is told through two POVs between Day (Daniel Altan) Wing and June Iparis. Day is an infamous criminal who’s on the run from Republic officials with the help of his friend, Tess. At the same time, June is a prodigy, recently graduated from a Republic academy (although she’s had a good share of rulebreaking herself). When June is set on a mission to hunt down Day, they end up colliding, and everything starts to unfold as they find out their real enemies and underlying secrets.

I enjoyed this novel because the action and the plot twists were invigorating. Every time I thought I had something figured out, something just had to go wrong. I had my breath held the entire way through because of how fast-paced it was (which I love), and I couldn’t put the book down until I reached the end.

However, I felt like there were still pieces missing. I would’ve liked some more details about the world revolving around them. I had so many questions about their surroundings that were left unanswered. I also would’ve liked more time spent on Day and June’s chemistry. It felt rushed, and I wanted to see more development between them.

Lastly, I just want to put it out there that Tess and Day have the most intriguing friendship ever. Their friendship is so well developed to the point where it felt like they were siblings. The way that they cared for each other is a dream most people have, and they were always there for each other. Their backstory was so heartwarming, and it helped me realize how much time it takes to develop sincere trust. I feel like side characters don’t usually get the same amount of admiration as main characters do, which is quite a bummer- but I don’t see how anyone could not adore Tess!

All in all, this novel was an astonishing read, and I would definitely recommend it. My rating for this novel is an 8.5/10 because there were some missing pieces to the story that I would’ve enjoyed seeing.

Till next time,

Max.

Teen SRC 2020 – The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is a captivating narrative regarding the moral ambiguities of science and the duplicity of human nature. Dr Jekyll is a benevolent, well-respected and brilliant scientist who meddles with the malevolent aspects of science, as he aims to discover and breed his depraved alter ego. He does this through transforming himself into Mr Hyde, a monstrous being who is unable to repent or accept responsibility for any of his heinous actions.

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Teen SRC 2020 – The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells demonstrates the power to transform the human body using advances in scientific achievement. The novel itself is an enthralling and entertaining tale of terror and suspense, and it is a significant Faustian allegory of the dangerous capabilities of unregulated and unbridled scientific endeavours many decide to embark on. The Invisible Man is able to endure as one of the most notable stories in science fiction, in which Griffin, a brilliant and progidouous scientist uncovers the secret to achieving invisibility, but his grandiose ambitions and the power he unleashes causes him to spiral into intrigue, madness, and murder.

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