Teen Book Bits

Teen Book Bits are written reviews of books in our collection from our Teen Book Reviewer volunteers. 

You can view the reviews here or visit the TAG Goodread's Bookshelf for more reviews.

You can also see Teen Book Bits showcased on our Facebook, and Instagram.

Many thanks to our Teen Volunteers for their recommendations!

Reviews by Alexandra
Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi

Restore me is a wonderful, addicting book. It is set in a world of destruction and despair, where the oligarchy government is strong and ruling. After Julliette finally manages to kill Anderson and claim the task of being the supreme commander of North America, she struggles with both personal and political dilemmas. Even with her allies and friends, threats to her life and unannounced guests make her new job harder than she thought. Then, when least expecting it, hurtful truths unveil themselves and Julliette is pushed to not believing the people she once trusted. With the world carefully watching her every move, she must get through the newfound struggles of her present, and her past.

I liked how hooked and inclined I was to this book; the characters were believable and made the story. The multiple unexpected twists and turns really made me continue to read and want to know what would happen next. The plot and setting of the book were very creative and overall, it was a very exciting read.

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Reviews by Angelina
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

This book is by far my least favourite book of the series. Harry finally starts realizing all the things Dumbledore never told him, and how he put Harry on to the task of finding horcruxes while purposely keeping information from him. I feel that Dumbledore was the real villain in this story; he had so many opportunities to stop Voldemort during his rise to power, but decided against it. The way he needed Harry to die all along was sinister, and that is before the realization that he sent Harry on a quest right before, and leading, to his death.

The redemption of Snape was completely unwarranted, and was undeserved. Snape terrorized children so badly that Neville’s Boggart, the creature that shows a person their worst fear, was Severus Snape. He was completely unfair to Harry due to unresolved issues from his childhood. Snape constantly threw the behaviour of Harry’s dead father in his face. I don’t care if he loved Lily and turned into a spy for Dumbledore for her. If he truly loved her then he never would have joined the Death Eaters, who’s main goal was to punish muggle-borns, which was what Lily was. If Lily never died, Snape would have remained one of the most loyal Death Eaters. It is because of these reasons that I believe Snape was not in love with Lily, but infatuated. There are many other reasons that I dislike this book, but these are the main ones.

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Reviews by Ava
Elena Vanishing : a Memoir by Elena and Clare B. Dunkle

With a great plot, accurately reflecting mental illnesses in a real image, no sugar coats here. Ever wondered what life looks like through an anorexics eye? This by heart is an influential book for you. I personally couldn’t place this beloved novel down, the remarkable way the authors included every raw detail, it puts shivers down your spine.

Elena is in her late teens, battling fiercely a lose-lose war with anorexia. She goes inpatient in her second home (Germany) the summer before her senior year.Swapping from three hospital institutions she becomes stubborn and the book leads on. Similar to her older sister Valerie, as she struggled as well. She frequently has ups and downs with her anorexia. You can see Elena is stubborn even from the first few chapters, it is one of her most distinct traits but it wears down over time definitely.

In the novel it is understandable to the eye that Elena is a strong girl, even when at war with herself. She is passionate about many things and has the perfectionist view of life, as that is common with the disorder. Despite what Elena had gone through, she still stayed optimistic which I value. I think Elena taught me that no matter what happens, you can indeed get through it. On top of that, she has also enlightened me that even if someone seems to be doing well, they might not be. You can choose to be kind to everyone, support them and present the little things to make their day because you never truly know what's going on in their life.

There are 100% not enough books on mental illness, and most don’t portray it realistically. As Elena Vanishing is a non-fiction novel based on what she had been through, displaying her story how she perceives it, this is the book that portrays it well. Elena and Clare B. Dunkle’s writing has touched me in so many ways and presented to me that anything is possible.

I would recommend this novel to anyone wanting to learn about the sorts of mental illnesses, and looking for good storylines. I naturally have to dispute a trigger warning on the book though, as it is easily triggered to those who are struggling.

Elena shows different struggles someone could genuinely have around you, revolving around mental illness. This influential book definitely uncovered my eyes as it could yours as well. Everyone occupies a different story, and Elena accurately displayed it well 10/10.

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Four teens ( the liars ), every summer they have gone to the island owned by their grandfather. A suspense packed book. The liars don’t talk much to each other unless it is one of their summers spent on the island. 

We Were Liars isn’t high on my favourite books list, I found it very slow. Throughout the book I was questioning where it went, but then the biggest plot twist happened. This is a coming of age book. A lot of people enjoy it. I enjoyed it, just not as much as I thought I would. Although it is a well crafted book !! 

I adored the character Gat, I perceive him as the one who made the book great. Gat is a great person, with more realistic views on life, than the rich Sinclair family. 

I personally liked the writing style, I have pulled a chunk to display it. 

I plunge down,

down to rocky rocky bottom, and

I can see the base of Beechwood Island and

my arms and legs feel numb but my fingers are cold. Slices

of seaweed go past as I fall.

And then I am up again, and breathing.

I’m okay,

my head is okay,

no one needs to cry for me or worry about me.

I am fine,

I am alive.

I swim to shore.

I rate We Were Liars with a 7.5/10, as it was well crafted but I do now have a raging hate towards the main character, Cadence.

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Reviews by Cate
Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

Seventeen–year–old Jamie Goldberg is no natural at talking to people, never mind going door–to–door canvassing for his district’s special election.  Unluckily for Jamie, his little sister Sophie’s bat mitzvah is coming up, and his mom is convinced it’ll be good practice for his toast.  Of course, it does help that Maya Rehman is canvassing with him.  Her parents have separated and cancelled their family vacation, and her best friend Sara is going off to university in the fall, and Maya is absolutely sure that this is going to be the worst summer.  She hasn’t seen Jamie since they were kids, and they barely know each other.  When her mom tells her that canvassing with Jamie might be a good way to spend the summer, she isn’t complaining – not when a car is involved in the deal.  But as they begin spending more time canvassing together, they realize that it’s not so difficult to make a change – and they also realize that they might be falling for each other.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It was sweet, light, and laugh-out-loud funny (typical of Becky Albertalli).  I would recommend this for ages 13-17. Rating – 7/10.

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Closeted sixteen-year-old Simon Spier has been emailing with a boy who goes by the name Blue for quite some time.  They don’t know each other’s identities – all they know is that they are both juniors at Creekwood High.  But when the emails fall into the hands of Martin, the awkward jokester, Martin blackmails Simon: if Simon doesn’t help him get together with Simon’s friend Abby, Martin will expose Simon’s sexual identity – and the emails with Blue – to the entire school.  Meanwhile, Simon is starting to fall for Blue, and is desperate to figure out who he is.  As Simon was failing to guess who Blue could be, I was failing to guess how Becky Albertalli does it – this coming-of-age novel was comforting, hilarious, and heartwarming.  I absolutely adored this book. 

Age recommendation: 14-17. 

Rating: 7.5/10.

My favourite quote: "'What’s a dementor?' she asks.

I mean, I can’t even. 'Nora, you are no longer my sister.'

‘So it’s some Harry Potter thing.'"

*There is a movie based off of this book; it’s called Love, Simon.  I watched it with my little sister and we were laughing so hard we could barely hear the movie.  It’s pretty different from the book, but if you liked the book, you’d definitely enjoy Love, Simon.

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A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Content warnings: Violence, drug abuse, sexual abuse

Five years ago, popular eighteen-year-old Andie Bell was murdered.  The entire town of Fairview is convinced that the murderer was her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who committed suicide shortly after Andie’s death.  Everyone is convinced.  Except for Pip Fitz-Amobi, that is.  She’s sure that Sal couldn’t have been the killer.  So for her senior year capstone project, Pip decides to look into Andie’s murder.  As she digs deeper and begins to realize that maybe her suspicion was correct, her research grows darker and more dangerous until Pip herself is at risk.  She has to decide which is more important to her: solving the mystery of Andie Bell’s death, or her life?  This book was told between Pip’s perspective; and her capstone project notes, interviews, and research.   A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder was perfect for fans of thrilling, dark murder mysteries. There are two more books in this series and I loved them as well.

Age recommendation: 14-18

Rating: 8/10

My favourite quote: “Sometimes remembering isn’t just for yourself; sometimes you do it just to make someone else smile.”

Note: This book is in Libby for OverDrive.

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One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Four stereotypical teenagers: Addy, the popular cheerleader; Nate, the troublemaker; Cooper, the jock; and Bronwyn, the nerd.  Each of them has a horrible secret they’d do anything to protect.  But would they even murder a fellow student? Simon, the creator of Simon Says, a gossip app all about the kids from Bayview High, knows each of their secrets.  He dies right before he is about to post all of their secrets on his app.  Police suspect that it was murder. But who was it?  Told in all four perspectives, this book is one of those thrillers where you keep guessing and guessing wrong.  I could not stop reading it.  It was very addictive, but not very well-written in my opinion.  I would still definitely recommend it if you’re looking for an entertaining read.  I find that this author, Karen M. McManus, is not a particularly good writer but she does have the skill of making sure the book stays glued to your hands and your eyes stay glued to the pages.

Age recommendation: 14-18

Rating – 7/10

*There is a show based off of this book, also called One of Us is Lying.  I only watched one episode but I thought it was pretty well done, just a bit stretched thin.  I think it would have been better off as a movie.

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One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus

It’s been over a year since Simon died, and the games aren’t over at Bayview High.  In fact, they’ve only just begun.  This time, it’s an anonymous texter.  Truth or Dare?  If you chose not to text back, your deepest, darkest secret is revealed to all of Bayview High.  And the dares are becoming deadly.  Maeve (Bronwyn’s younger sister), Knox, and Phoebe are caught in the middle of the web.  When the game goes a little bit too far, they have to race to figure out the anonymous texter before they are targeted.  I thought this book was even better than the first one and I can’t WAIT for book 3 (I’m pretty sure it's coming out next year).  And the ending – WOW.  Like I said last time, not the best quality writing, but it still gets your mind racing.

Age recommendation: 14-17

Rating: 7.5/10

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You’ll be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus

Ivy, Cal, and Mateo were best frends in middle school, but they’ve barely talked in years.  When they all decide to ditch school together just for old times’ sake they end up seeing another Carlton High student (Brian “Boney” Mahoney) ditching and follow him to what turns out to be his own murder scene.  Of course.  They are all somehow tied to Boney, and they have to figure out who murdered him before the police begin to suspect the three of them.  What was cool about this book was that it was told over the course of only one day.  I always find it incredibly impressing when authors do that – it is so hard to tell a whole story in such a small period of time and still have the readers invested in the characters.  What was not cool about this book was that I didn’t like it one bit.  I don’t normally feel that reading books are a waste of time, but I just wished I had been reading a different, better book instead.  I actually had it all figured out and I was thinking, “man, this is gonna be such a sick ending,” but then it wasn’t at all what I thought.  But it wasn’t one of those good twists where you have the rug pulled out from beneath your feet.  It was one of those twists where you wonder why the author even did it at all.

Age recommendation: 14-17

Rating: 3/10

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The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

Content warnings: Racism

It’s 1992 and L.A. is on fire after four white LAPD officers were acquitted after beating Rodney King to death.  Seventeen-year-old Ashley Bennett is trying to ignore it all as best she can, but it’s hard when protests are everywhere.  It’s hard when her mentally unstable older sister is taking part in the protests.  It’s hard when her family is shattering.  It’s hard when she realizes that maybe she doesn’t love her best friends as much as she used to.  That maybe they’re a little racist, and she’s been compartmentalizing it.  And it’s hard when she accidentally starts a rumour that could potentially ruin the future of one of her fellow Black students.  As Ashley navigated friendships, relationships, senior year ending, and being a Black girl in the 1990s, I was enamoured.  I loved this book so much I got it for one of my best friends for her birthday just so that I could have someone to talk to about it!


Age recommendation: 14-18

Rating: 9.5/10

My favourite quote: “Sometimes being different means hiding pieces of yourself away so other people can’t find them.”

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Sadie by Courtney Summers

Content warnings: Pedophilia, violence, sexual abuse, drug abuse

Nineteen-year-old Sadie Hunter has taken care of her thirteen-year-old sister, Mattie, on her own since her addict mother abandoned them several years ago.  They barely had any money and food, but Sadie made it work. When Mattie is murdered, Sadie sets off to find the man who she is convinced murdered her sister, and kill him.  It is told between Sadie’s perspective, following her as she traces the clues to find the man and a podcast called The Girls as it follows two steps behind her.  This book was incredible.  I could not put it down.  It’s haunting and thrilling and heart-pounding and mesmerizing.  I loved the way it was written as well.  I thought the ending was very interesting because it was open to the reader’s interpretation.

Age recommendation: 14-18

Rating: 9/10

My favourite quote: “Sometimes I don’t know what I miss more; everything I’ve lost or everything I never had.”

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

“My full name is Cadence Sinclair Eastman.

I used to be blond, but now my hair is black.

I used to be strong, but now I am weak.

I used to be pretty, but now I look sick.

It is true I suffer migraines since my accident

It is true I do not suffer fools.

The rich, beautiful Sinclair family seems perfect.  But is that all a lie?  Seventeen-year-old Cadence Sinclair Eastman has spent every summer since she was seven at the Sinclair family’s private island off the coast of Massachusetts with her cousins Johnny and Mirren and their friend Gat – known as the Liars - but she missed Summer Sixteen (as she refers to her summers) on a trip around Europe with her father, and she can’t remember anything that happened during Summer Fifteen.  All she knows is that something bad happened, and this summer she is determined to find out what it was.  I could go on for pages about the writing in this book.  It was beautiful, almost poetic.  And the ending!  The most unexpected twist I have ever read.  This book is one of my absolute favourites. 

Age recommendation: 13-18

Rating: 9.5/10

My favourite quote: “Always do what you’re afraid to do.”

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Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

My parents and I have books in common, whether it’s my dad borrowing my YA novels or me practically joining my mom’s book club, so when they recommended Daisy Jones and the Six for me I was all in.  They were right. There are no other words except that this book is just SO GOOD.  Daisy Jones & the Six is a fictional rock band from the late sixties, so real and believable that after my mom read it she looked up their music only to be disappointed when it was nowhere to be found.  Daisy Jones is a young woman growing up sneaking into clubs and getting into trouble, and her gorgeous voice is beginning to get noticed around the same time Billy Dunne’s rock band is getting famous.  When the two forces are combined, magic happens.  But will Daisy and Billy change history or ruin eachother? Daisy Jones was written in oral history which I absolutely adored and found to be an impressive and interesting writing style.  I would recommend this beautiful and unputdownable historical fiction novel to almost anyone.  My one complaint is that it isn’t true, because now all I want is to listen to their music!

Age recommendation: 14-18

Rating: 9/10

My favourite quote: “When you have everything, someone else getting a little something feels like they’re stealing from you.”

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The first thing I have to say about The Perks of Being a Wallflower is DON’T WATCH THE MOVIE BEFORE YOU READ THE BOOK! Don’t get me wrong, the movie is amazing and I would definitely recommend it (after you read the book). I’ll admit something to you - I committed a reader’s crime and watched the movie before reading the book and I’m still mad at myself for spoiling it for myself.  I hope you don’t make the same mistake. Of course, after I watched the movie, I just HAD to read the book. 

After the horrible incident in middle school that left Charlie with no friends, he’s beginning high school feeling lost and alone.  Perks is written in letter format and it feels like Charlie’s writing them to you. Charlie writes about everything, and it’s an experience unto itself to see the world through Charlie’s eyes.  This book is also one of the saddest books I’ve ever read - when you think it just couldn’t possibly get worse, it does - so keep tissues and a pet to cuddle handy.  Sometimes I wonder why I torture myself with these terribly distressing novels, and then I remember - it’s because they are SO good:)


Age recommendation: 14-16


Rating: 8/10


My favourite quote: “We accept the love we think we deserve.”

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Content warnings: physical abuse, emotional abuse, child abuse

Set in 1986 in Omaha, Nebraska, Eleanor & Park was recommended to me by my English teacher. I know what you're thinking. Let me guess: "Oh, gosh, not another boring book you have to read for English! I'm going to stop reading this review right now." Wait! Please keep reading. It's not what it looks like, I promise. This book is actually REALLY good, trust me. (I would tell you if it was bad. I've done reviews that made it quite clear that I wasn't exactly in love with the book - but this one I am in love with for sure.)

It all starts with an adorable meet-cute on the school bus - but I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let me tell you about the main characters first. Eleanor has curly red hair, a self-deprecating, sarcastic personality, and is very good at pretending everything's okay and making do with what she has. She's the new kid in town - she's just moved in with her abusive stepfather.  Park, a quiet guy who offers her a seat on the bus on Eleanor's first day of her new school, wears all black, loves rock music, is an expert at taekwondo, and just wants to be left alone - until he meets Eleanor. Eleanor's life is already a struggle, with kids constantly teasing her about her hair and weight, and it's only getting harder with her horrible stepfather, but spending time with Park makes it all disappear for a moment.  They begin to fall for each other as Eleanor's situation at home gets worse, and she soon realizes that her time with Park is running out - and it might be getting to the point where she needs to find it in herself to ask for help.

Age recommendation: 14-17

Rating - 8.5/10

My favourite quote: "Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something."

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They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman

This, for me, was one of those books you feel like were just written for you. You know what I mean? Personally, this book had everything I could dream of - a dramatic murder, a prep school with secrets, perfection that comes with a cost, and such vivid writing that made me feel like I was living inside of the book.

On Gold Coast, Long Island, inside the fancy, expensive private school Gold Coast Prep, there is a secret society called the Players.  They are the perfect beautiful, golden teenagers that had to go through horrible tests freshman year to prove that they were worthy of being Players.  The Players have the most glamorous parties, are the most popular kids in the school, and have access to the Player Files, which help them cheat their way to perfect grades and Ivy League colleges.  Jill Newman, one of the Players, has never been quite the same since her best friend Shaila was murdered freshman year by her boyfriend, Graham.  Now, three years after Shaila's death, Jill and her friends are finally Senior Players - they run the school.  Jill is sure that this year will be her year - until she receives a text message from Graham's older sister, claiming Graham's innocence, claiming that it wasn't him. Jill becomes determined to figure out what really happened, although she knows that this will put her perfect life at risk of falling apart.

Age recommendation: 15-18

My rating: 9.5/10

My favourite quote: "Why did the boys have the power? Why did they make the rules while we dealt with the consequences?"

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 Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Here’s the moment all you fans of Simon have been waiting for – set one year later, in Simon’s best friend Leah’s addictive perspective.  Seventeen-year-old Leah Burke is known for not caring what other people think of her, but the truth is, she cares more than her friends know.  Even though Leah’s best friend, Simon, is openly gay, she’s afraid to come out to her friends. With college hanging over her friend group like a thundercloud, her friends are beginning to splinter apart, and Leah is left in the middle, especially when she realizes she might have feelings for one of her friends.  But Abby’s definitely straight… or is she? This book was a perfect tapestry of bravery, first love, and friendships, with humour tying it all together. Leah had one of the best personalities of any book character I’ve read.  I would recommend not reading this in a public place if you’re not comfortable with strangers looking at you like, “umm… are you okay?” when you burst into random cackling fits.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Age recommendation: 14-17

Rating: 7.5/10

My favourite quote:   “I gape at her. ‘Did you just dog-ear Harry Potter?’

‘Oh boy.’ The edges of her lips curve up. ‘Should have known you were one of those people.’

‘One of those people? As in, I’m not a monster?’”

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: YOU are one of those people;)

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Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli

When I saw another Becky Albertalli book in the library, my hand immediately went for it.  Becky Albertalli does NOT disappoint.  Kate Garfield and her best friend, Anderson Walker, are known for always crushing on the same guy.  Nothing ever happens, but it’s always fun for them to swoon and go over every insignificant detail together.  When they both fall for one Matthew Olsson from drama camp, it seems like just another one of those crushes that never went anywhere for them to obsess over.  But then Matt shows up at their high school and Kate falls harder than ever before.  And of course, so does Anderson, and their friendship begins to crack.  I didn’t like this book quite as much as this author’s other books, but I still thought it was hilarious and sweet and an overall fun read.  I found it a bit predictable, and the word f-boy was SO overused (I’m sure it averaged once a page, and I am not kidding!), but I’ll be forgiving, because the rest was great.  I find that it’s very hard to write a happy book that’s actually good – in my opinion, most good books are sad – but Becky Albertalli does it again.

Age recommendation: 13-17

Rating: 7/10

My favourite quote: “Even as it’s happening, it’s like it already happened. That same pre-emptive nostalgia feeling. Like it’s a story we’ll tell in some not-so-distant future.”

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Reviews by Ella
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code is a truly perplexing mystery. When the last of the four sovereign of the brethren is found murdered a chain of events is set into place...the only problem; only the sovereign knew the secret, which had been passed down for over 2,000 years. When an unknowing granddaughter (Sophie) discovers her grandfather's death she finds that he has left her a trail of clues to discover the truth, along with a symbologist who happened to uncover the truth in a manuscript he sent for a pre release review.

I loved everything about this novel; filled with bemuse puzzles and complex multiplex riddles; and with plot twists and unexpected reveals that honestly left me astonished and untrusting...questioning all the characters.
I absolutely give this book a 10/10, and I look forward to reading the sequel The Lost Symbol.

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The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

I found the Lost Symbol to be a truly perplexing book; although I found it followed the same plot as its predecessor “the Da Vinci Code”. The puzzles and mysteries in this book were not nearly as mind-bending to solve and were honestly fairly predictable (the unpredictability and plot twists being my favourite feature of The Da Vinci Code.) I was terribly disappointed to find out that Sophie was not a character but rather Katherine, I am not fond of change and this was really an obstacle in my determination to read the series (I have decided that they are no longer worth my time after reading two). I suggest you choose 1 of the five books to read as one you’ve read 1 you've read them all. This book has mature content and I would not suggest it to anyone under grade 9.

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Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

I found this book to be so at first I wasn’t really sure what to expect but as I began reading it I found that I couldn’t set it down as I was dying to know what was going to happen. I was completely shocked by the turn of events at the end. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who’s interested in a not so cheesy romance book. I for one hate the hallmark endings but this book is nothing like that really honestly give it a chance you will be surprised by the twists and turns. And the dialect, so many amazing words that you just don’t see in YA books anymore. - Ella

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A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

This book is honestly my new favourite book by far. It’s amazing in this modern take on beauty and the beast is not what you’d expect the beast is… well, the beast is desperate and giving up on the chance that he will find a girl to love him and the beauty is not what you'd expect either in the best way possible. There is so much more detail that any of the previous takes on beauty and the beast. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who loves warfare strategy kingdoms magic fantasy and an unforeseen romance that isn’t at all cheesy this book has an amazing story line plot and a small chance event that could actually save a kingdom. - Ella

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The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

This is one of the most extraordinary books I have ever read and not at all what I expected from it. Irene is a librarian, but not just any librarian... but a librarian from a secret society known as the library which concedes out of time and place uses a magic known as the language. This book is again, absolutely amazing and I can't wait to get home to crack the spine of book 2. I don't know what I expected but it certainly wasn't what I just experienced. The book which I thought would be mild and knowledgeable was surprisingly quite violent, graphic and overall extremely entertaining. I absolutely suggest reading it and anyone is looking for a few new words to expand your dialect... this is the book for you. 

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Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman

A very deep book about tragedy, acceptance and finding yourself. I really loved the book, it was recommended by my librarian to read for a school assignment and I was pleasantly surprised. I found familiarity in the sarcasm in the perspective of the protagonist and was completely shocked when the twist came around in the final chapters. This book is bound to leave an impression and I would highly recommend it. Although I would suggest for a more mature audience. P.S the dialect in this novel is phenomenal.

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Reviews by Hope

Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill

TW: Drugs, Sex, Rape, Domestic Abuse

The story takes place in Montreal’s red light district, following the lives of 12 year old Baby and her father Jules. Baby loves her dad, despite the neglect and abuse she faces, Baby thinks her dad can do no wrong. Baby and Jules go through life together until Jules gets sick with Tuberculosis and ends up having to stay in the hospital. Baby ends up going into foster care and finding that she does actually want a stable home life. She gets comfortable living with the family until Jules gets better and takes her back. Jules ends up going to rehab not too long after and she ends up moving in with the neighbours, Mary and her two boys, Johnny and Felix. Baby starts getting close with Felix and trying to avoid being around Johnny, as the 18 year old is very inappropriate with her. Later on Jules is out of rehab and comes back to her once again, but his attention to her is minimal, he is not the same as before he left. Baby craves attention, she spends a lot of her days running around town and hanging out with the wrong people. She runs into Alphonse, the neighbourhoods pimp, who gives her the attention she thinks she wants. Baby at this point is 13, and Alphonse ends up sleeping with her and then prostituting her. Baby starts dating a young boy named Xavier, innocently in love with him. Alphonse is still using her to earn him money so that he and Baby can both get their fix of heroin and have a bed to sleep on.

This book is definitely not for the faint of heart. It had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. It makes you think about how many kids have/are living lives like this. Baby slipped through the cracks, ended up like her father, was raped and stolen away from her childhood. Multiple times throughout the book I was in tears, scared for Baby and somehow I was also scared for her Jules. The book is heart-aching and terrifying, it opens up your eyes and heart as you follow along with the life of Baby and her loss of innocence at a young age.

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Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement

TW: Sex Trafficing, Drugs, Rape, Murder, Kidnapping, Self-Harm.

This book talks about the dangers of human trafficking in Mexico through the life of Ladydi Martinez. She lives in Chulavista, Mexico and area dominated by sex trafficking and drug cartels. Ladydi talks about how the girls and mothers had to make themselves look like boys so they were able to avoid being stolen by the cartels, as they took the women regardless of beauty, but they would leave the boys and men alone. Ladydi lives with her mother and her sister, her father having left for America to pursue a better life. The book goes through the lives of all of the women in this small village and the lengths they go to, to keep themselves and their daughters protected. Ladydi has to be on edge at all times, even when she is at home with her mother. Her mother is a drinker and at one point shoots Ladydi’s friend Maria one night, mistaking her for her husband. Ladydi becomes a nanny but her friend's brother Mike kills the family. Mike ends up implicating Ladydi, and she gets sent to a women's prison.

This book is a great read and helps you understand the horrors of sex trafficking and the effect that it has on the families, the lengths they go to keep their people safe and the dangers of being a woman. It's not a light read, but it is a short read. You won't want to put the book down, you’ll be gripping the pages not wanting to put it down. It definitely had me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

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Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

This book follows the lives of Libby Strout and Jack Masselin, two teenagers who both have their own life struggles. Libby is overweight and struggles a lot with existing as herself, and Jack has prosopagnosia, a neurological disorder that takes away his ability to recognize faces. The two of them become an unlikely pair, and a romance starts to bud between them. Throughout the book we see their mental problems becoming an issue and both of them trying to deal with them, in semi unhealthy ways. The book is narrated by both of them, alternating chapters between the two. It gives you a good insight into why they are doing what they are doing and what they think while they are doing it. You really get to go in depth with these characters and I found as though they felt real, almost as if you knew them like they were your friends. Jack and Libby both help each other through their issues, Libby helps Jack find a doctor to get him a proper diagnosis for his prosopagnosia and Jack is helping Libby find love within herself.

This book is very heartwarming and makes you feel as though you are a part of and included in the story. It made me laugh and cry, it made me feel for and understand the characters. The book helped me understand issues I have never gone through and helped me get a different perspective of things that I have gone through.

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The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

This book follows three different timelines, the first one is set in the present, following Kim Knox, the mother of Tallulah and the grand-mother of Noah. This time frame follows the times after Tallulah and her boyfriend Zach’s disappearance. The second timeline is set a year into the future, this one follows Sophie Beck, a young writer who moves to the town that Tallulah disappeared in. Sophie is suffering from writer's block and ends up stumbling upon the disappearance of the two teenagers, following the case and ending up working with Kim trying to solve the case. The third and final timeline follows Tallulah, a year before the disappearance. She talks about the issues that she is having with college and with her boyfriend Zach. She ends up befriending an outgoing girl named Scarlett, the girls whose house her and Zach were at the night that they disappeared. This book gives good detail and the second you think you have pieced it together, some new evidence comes forward and you are left adding everything up again. Lisa Jewell did a great job at writing a page turning thriller that leaves you wanting more at every turn.

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An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

The overall plot of the book revolves around a young girl (Isobel) who paints for the fair folk. She receives her payment in enchantments, spells she carefully phrases as to not get anything with tricks. The Autumn prince (Rook) comes to her to get a portrait painted, but she paints something within the portrait that he didn't like seeing. Isobel paints human characteristics into the portraits of the fair folks, and in Rooks she painted human sorrow, it is what she saw in his eyes, the emotion that she couldn't quite put words to. Rook is so furious that he sprints her away to the Faye kingdom so she can stand on trial for her crimes. Rook and Isobel face challenges throughout the book and have to rely on one another to get through the treacherous path to the kingdom.

This book will definitely be in my top #10 favorite books, it's a good mix of thrill and romance that leaves you wanting more. The scenes where Rook is pretending to not care while also risking everything to protect her will be my favorites. If you're looking for a good romance/action book, An Enchantment of Ravens is for you!

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I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

This book is narrated by Noah and Jude, twins with completely different personalities. Jude is confident, talkative and enjoys spending her time doing adventurous activities, Noah is shy, quiet, and spends his time drawing. Noah and Jude are competing to get into the prestigious art school in the area, Noah very upfront with his talent and Jude hiding hers out of embarrassment. They are also competing for the attention of their mother, a battle that Noah is winning. Early on in the book, their mother dies, a car accident on the way to meet her secret lover, a man later introduced more in the book. Noah and Jude fall out, they become shells of their old selves. They battle the things life throws at them, as well as battling each other.

This book is a hard one to put down, it leaves you wanting to know more with every chapter. I loved being able to dive into both of the twins' lives, getting to understand both sides of the story and desperately wanting them to work it out. I was not disappointed in the ending, it left everything perfectly said. If you're looking for a heart wrenching (and warming) story that delves into the messy lives of twins, then this is definitely the book for you.

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

This book is about first loves, family issues and the messy lives of teenagers. The story follows Eleanor Douglas, a fiery, quick witted, redhead and Park Sheridan, a nerdy sweetheart. Eleanor has a really troubled home life, dealing with an alcoholic step-dad and living in poverty with her 4 younger siblings. She is picked on in school for being heavy set and dressing primarily in men’s clothes. Park, although not picked on, has never really felt connected to the students or people around him and deals with a never satisfied dad. The unlikely pair found each other getting close, connected through a shared bus seat, comic books and music. The two of them get closer, and eventually fall in love. Eleanor is still dealing with the abuse at home, and Park is struggling with his dad. The two of them stick up for each other, Park dealing with Eleanor’s bullies and Eleanor helping Park be confident in his identity.

The ending of the book picks up speed and it peaks in conflict that has you gripping the edge of your seat.

This book had me crying and hoping, wanting everything to work out. The two of them had a love that seemed too pure for the world, they were able to be together while facing the conflicts of the world. Eleanor and Park is a good read, especially if you're looking for a sappy but real love story.

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An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

This book involves Colin, a child prodigy who fears he will no longer continue to be a genius when he grows up. Colin has dated 19 Katherines, all spelled the same way, and after his recent girlfriend, Katherine of course, breaks up with him, he is sent into a spiral. Colin and his best friend Hassan decide to go on a road trip together. They make their way to a small Tennessee town, where they meet Lindsey and her boyfriend Colin, who the boys call “The Other Colin” or “TOC” for short. Lindsey's mother hires Colin and Hassan for a special project, recording interviews from the people around the town to gather information so she can put together an oral history of the town. Throughout this story, Colin gets closer with Lindsey and Hassan meets Katrina, who later on ends up sleeping with “TOC” and causes a fight/breakup. Colin and Lindsey explore the past of the town and learn some things that were probably better left unknown. Their relationship buds and the two of them become very fond, breaking Colin’s Katherine record.

This book is light-hearted and fun, following a boy trying to figure out life, and the fun people he picks up along the way. I loved this book because it was an easy read, it also helps that I happen to love John Green. The book was well written and followed a fun storyline.

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Reviews by Jacob

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare

The story follows fifteen year old Clary Fray as she finds herself suddenly able to see demons and Darkhunters. Then the next thing she knows, her mother disappears, and monsters are stalking her apartment. Thrust into a strange new world, where werewolves roam the streets of Chinatown, and vampires ride above New York on flying motorcycles, Clary struggles with her new Shadowhunter friends to try and figure out what happened to her mother.

Fast paced story with action, mystery, comedy, and romance, all of which were very well done. I’ve seen this series on shelves in a lot of bookstores, and was always interested in what it was about. Suffice it to say, it didn’t disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and will definitely be reading the rest.

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Reviews by Joanne

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

“A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini is a captivating story set in Afghanistan as it spans 30 of the country’s eruptive events. We follow two generations of Afghan women along with those around them as they try to raise a family, get by surviving, and find a semblance of peace as history unfolds around them.

Mariam starts the story as a quiet child who resents her mother and her decisions, not realizing the amount of shame and misfortune she had to deal with to become a strict figure. For the first part of her life, she had to endure being an illegitimate child that was only allowed to see her father once a week. Then she is plagued by guilt after her mother commits suicide after running away towards a real relationship with her half family. Due to this event, she does not overly protest against her marriage to Rasheed. It was jarring to see Miriam turn bitter, resentful, and fearful, almost like her mother was throughout her marriage to Rasheed.

Laila also goes through massive hardships that make her more submissive than she had been before to survive her situation. Throughout her marriage to Rasheed, Laila’s independence is challenged. Yet she endures it because she is willing to take on limitations for the sake of her children's security. You see how her mindset is far from the one she held earlier on in the story as she used to pity her friend and other women being forced into and making compromises in marriage.

By providing two different stories about an Afghan woman’s experience, Hosseini has provided insight into their unrepresented struggles and experiences. Even though their stories are riddled with heartbreak and loss, Miriam and Laila’s mother-daughter love for each other and the family they created under their abusive husband is in my opinion, the driving force behind the climax of this story. I truly loved this book and would give it a 9/10.

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 Reviews by Kate
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

"The Poet X" by Elizabeth Acevedo is the story of Xiomara Batista, a teenage girl living in Harlem who keeps a journal of her life in the form of poems. Throughout the novel, she discovers her love of slam poetry and uses art to find her voice.

This book was powerful and vulnerable all at once. Xiomara's struggle to find her own identity while others in her life push their narratives onto her is both familiar and authentic. Her struggles with being a first-generation American, a girl, Dominican and having a very religious family are all met with her relentless passion for poetry, making the story deeply personal.

Acevedo's writing cuts out all the unnecessary chatter and takes you to the heart of each character instantly. This was a story about love, forgiveness, voice and poetry, and it is impossible to put it down”

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Reviews by Margaret
 The Drowning Summer By Christine Lynn Herman

This story is about two girls named Evelyn and Mina. Six years ago three teenagers were killed. They were found with sand dollars over their eyes, and everyone believed Evelyn’s father did it. The two girls summoned a ghost so he wouldn’t be arrested. Mina’s family is full of mediums who guide spirits to their final resting place, but with the threats of ghosts becoming more dangerous the two childhood friends must uncover what really happened to the three teen’s years ago.

I personally enjoyed the story because of all the twists and turns as the two gained more information, this made it feel much more like a real mystery. The story was also a bit of a romance and I liked how it was added in. As it was fun to try to piece together the mystery, I also wanted to keep reading to see when the girls finally got together. Overall The Drowning Summer was a great book, and I’d give it an 8/10.

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Briar Girls by Rebecca Kim Wells

This book is about a girl named Lena who was cursed at birth by a witch, her skin can kill people. She meets Miranda who is from the Gather, a town filled with magic inside the mysterious woods known as the Silence. Miranda plans on saving the sleeping princess from the Silence, where Lena wants to free herself from her curse, they decide to join together and help one another. But on their journeys Lena soon comes to realize the truth about her family and her power.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I think it was well written, the phrasing and wording I found were fairly entertaining and the plot was pretty good. The system in the Gather had quite a few things to explain but I think it did a good job clarifying what was going on. This was a nice book and I would give this one an 8/10.

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B*Witch by Nancy Ohlin and Paige McKenzie

This book is about Iris who recently moved to Sorrow Point, Washington, and just wants to make it through her first day of school. At her school are two secret witch covens, both with three girls. She joins them as they receive a mysterious letter, although the two covens don’t get along well they work together to solve the mystery that becomes much bigger than they expected.
I definitely liked this book as it was fun trying to piece together the mystery as I was reading. I also found it nice how even though Iris was the main character the other witches were just as important and had their own chapters from their perspective. The beginning was a bit slow leading up to the more interesting parts of the book but on the other hand it was also a great way to get to know more about the characters personality and personal life. I’d give this book a 7/10.

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Witch Rising By Nancy Ohlin and Paige McKenzie

This story is a sequel to the book B*Witch. It’s about two witch covens from Sorrow Point, Washington, who have to hide their witch identities due to a law against them, along with many people called ‘Antima’ who are basically witch haters. Currently there is a new group of people called the New Order similar to the Antima, and now along with trying to solve the death of a witch they must stop the New Order to save all witches.

This was a really good book and I enjoyed reading it. There was a lot going on in the story but I think it did a good job on explaining it. I like how different chapters have it from the perspectives of different characters, it shows other pieces of the story and the importance of each character. Overall I really enjoyed reading this book, and I would give it a 9/10.

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Listen to Your Heart By Kasie West

This book is about a girl named Kate, who loves everything about the lake and her family’s marina. She doesn’t really like talking to people but when her friend convinces her to join the podcasting class, she gets casted as one of the hosts, which she finds she’s pretty good at. A boy calls in on the show and talks about a girl he likes, and she has a suspicion on who it is. 

This was probably one of my favourite books I’ve read, the main plot was a great idea for a story and for a romance it was really cute, especially the ending. As the story progressed the author still found ways to make the book interesting and entertaining, so I didn’t want to put the book down. I like how you still got to know and learn quite a bit about some of the more minor characters, it made it feel more authentic. I would give this book a 9/10. 

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The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Inheritance Games is about a girl named Avery who one day inherits almost everything that belonged to a billionaire whom she had never heard of. The man, Tobias Hawthorne, had recently died, and all of the family members, including his four grandsons, wanted to know what they’d be given in his will. Once Avery moves in she must follow clues to find out why the billionaire included her in his will.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Inheritance Games. It was nice how throughout the book you learn more about the characters and their own stories. I feel that each character was well written and had their own unique personality that made them distinguishable from one another. Like many mystery books, I found myself not wanting to put the book down, it had many fun twists as Avery began to discover the clues. Overall, I think that the story was put together quite well, and held an interesting plot. I would give this book a 9/10.

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Reviews by Shanna
I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here by Gayle Forman is a young adult fiction novel about a girl, Cody, who’s best friend, Meg, suddenly commits suicide and blindsides Cody with this decision. Cody decides to research her friend’s background to find out more about her. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and its characters and plot. I found the style of writing interesting, because the narrator, Cody, discovered information about Meg at the same time readers did, so readers go on a journey with the narrator as they are reading. The plot was interesting as well, because there were many unique characters who assisted Cody in different ways. I liked how this book was a wonderful combination of different genres, including mystery, adventure and romance. I also enjoyed how the main character, Cody, was very personable and explained her feelings to make the readers feel included. However, the novel was slow in the beginning, taking many chapters to introduce its characters. Overall, I would definitely recommend I Was Here by Gayle Forman to mystery, adventure or romance novel lovers and I look forward to reading more of her books.

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Four: A Divergent Collection by Victoria Roth

Four: A Divergent Collection by Victoria Roth is the fourth novel in the Divergent series. This novel is a prequel to the other three books: Divergent, Allegiant and Insurgent and is told from the perspective of the supporting main character, named Four. This novel is a dystopian, fantasy story about Four’s life before he met Tris, the main character in the other Divergent novels. I really enjoyed this novel because it provided a window into the past life of four, an integral character in the previous novels. It was also very interesting to hear from another narrator and to have another perspective on the story. I wished this book continued past the point it did, to include other parts of the series from a different perspective. Overall, I would definitely recommend Four: A Divergent Collection to any readers who have finished reading the Divergent series because it was an interesting addition to the series that is worth reading.

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard is a young adult fantasy novel about a world which is separated by blood colours: the silver-blooded are rich, powerful and have special abilities and the red-blooded are poor and weak. However, one girl, Mare, is red-blooded, but has special abilities. Using her power, she joins a group to bridge the gap between the Silvers and the Reds. I enjoyed this novel because it was exciting and encouraged me to continue reading. The characters were interesting because readers were unsure whether they were going to betray Mare and the good cause. I liked how there were many plot twists and readers never knew what was going to come next in the novel. I also enjoyed how the main character, Mare, was not afraid to speak the truth and fight against the leaders, even if it would get her in trouble and put her in danger. Overall, I would definitely recommend Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard to fantasy and adventure lovers and I look forward to reading the remaining books in this series.

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Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant by Veronica Roth is the third novel in the Divergent series. This novel is a dystopian, fantasy story about Tris and her friends, Christina and Tobias, who escape the world that they are in to explore the outside world. I enjoyed this novel because it was the completion to the Divergent series, following Divergent and Insurgent. It was interesting because it differed from the other novels, which both took place inside the city. Readers were able to learn about new characters and plot lines, which was exciting. However, the novel was quite slow at the beginning and took a long time for the action to begin. Once the action began, the novel was very suspenseful and exciting and kept me wanting to read more. Overall, I would recommend Allegiant to anyone who has already read Divergent and Insurgent, and I would recommend the entire Divergent series to anyone who enjoys reading fantasy and dystopian novels.

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Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong

Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong is a mystery novel about a girl, Skye, and her friend, Jesse, who investigate a shooting from three years ago, in which Skye’s brother was one of the shooters. Together, Skye and Jesse try to prove Skye’s brother innocent. I enjoyed this novel because it was suspenseful and exciting and I never knew what would happen next. There were also many interesting characters, some of which had unexpected personalities. I thought it was interesting how, even three years after the shooting, people still treated Skye like she was to blame for the shooting even if she was not involved. This novel, however, was quite sad, because multiple kids were shot, and it was scary, because Skye and Jesse solved a mystery with many consequences. Overall, I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes horror or mystery novels and it is one of my favourite mystery novels I have read.

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The Big Four by Agatha Christie

The Big Four by Agatha Christie is a mystery novel in which the famous detective Hercule Poirot and his assistant Captain Hastings, solve a mystery of four millionaires trying to achieve world domination. Poirot and Hastings have to try to stop them before too much destruction occurs. I really enjoyed this novel because the characters are funny and smart, and the plot and mystery were very interesting and unique. This mystery is unlike any other that I’ve read, and it was very suspenseful and surprising at many points. The only negative aspect of this novel is that it was quite slow at the beginning and through the middle until the end, when most of the action occurred. Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I would recommend it to anyone who loves mystery and action packed novels. Also, Agatha Christie has many other excellent mystery novels and also a few movies.

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Good Girl Bad Blood by Holly Jackson

Good Girl Bad Blood by Holly Jackson is the second novel in the Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series. In this novel, the two main characters, Pip and Ravi, start a podcast about the crime case they solved in the last novel. However, one of their close friends goes missing and they have to find him before it’s too late. I enjoyed this novel because it was very exciting and mystery is one of my favourite genres. Also, the characters are relatable and kind. It was a great continuation to the first novel, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. I liked that the characters were already familiar and that they progressed from the first novel. However, this novel had a long introduction and took a long time for the mystery part to start. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and this is a great novel if you enjoyed reading A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder or if you are a mystery fan.

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Off the Record by Camryn Garrett

Off the Record by Camryn Garrett is a novel about a high school girl who was chosen to write a profile of an actor in a new movie for a famous magazine. I enjoyed this novel because it was quite informative and interesting and near the end, I never knew what would happen next. There were also many interesting characters, some of which had unexpected personalities. I enjoyed how I learned so much about how journalism works. This novel, however, was very slow in the beginning and in the middle, which made me not want to continue reading. However, near the end, the book became much more exciting and eventful. Overall, I would recommend this novel to anyone who is interested in journalism and writing.

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With Malice by Eileen Cook

With Malice by Eileen Cook is about an eighteen year old girl, Jill, who mysteriously wakes up in a hospital with many injuries, but does not remember what happened. The story is about her trying to discover how she ended up in the hospital in the first place. This story is really interesting because Jill does not remember what happened, but she is trying to figure it out at the same time as readers are. I enjoyed this book because of how unexpected it was. There were many twists and turns and it always surprised me when I read it. However, this novel was a little slow moving and ended on a very unclear note, which was a little disappointing after reading the novel. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, but I think there are other mystery and adventure novels that I enjoyed more, such as a Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and One of Us Is Lying, so I would recommend those novels over With Malice.

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Family of Liars by E. Lockhart

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart is a prequel to the We Were Liars novel, written 27 years before. In this novel, the main character from We Were Liars, Carrie, tells the story of her family to her son, Johnny. There are some big secrets in their family that are revealed during the novel, which are very surprising and unexpected. I enjoyed this novel because it was unique and a mystery novel, which is one of my favourite genres. Also, the characters were all different and relatable. It made the aspects of the original novel, We Were Liars, make sense and this novel added more detail to decisions made in the sequel. I liked that the characters were already familiar and that they progressed from the first novel. This novel was well-written and fun to read. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and this is a great novel if you enjoyed reading We Were Liars or are a mystery fan.

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An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green is a romance novel about two friends, Colin and Hassan, go on a road trip after Colin breaks up with his girlfriend, Katherine. Then end up in a small town in Tennessee, where they meet Lindsey, who ends up becoming Colin’s girlfriend. The story follows these three along an adventure, which is exciting and fun to read about. The characters are all very unique and have their own interesting and fun traits. The book was written in a similar style to all of John Green’s other books, like the Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska. The writing style is very easy to understand, which I enjoyed. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery novels of John Green’s novels, or anyone who wants an easy, quick read.

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When We Collided by Emery Lord

When We Collided by Emery Lord is a teen romance novel about the adventures of two strangers who meet one summer, Vivi and Jonah. The two get to know each other throughout the novel and become very close. I really enjoyed this book because it was a unique romance novel, and all the characters were interesting and fun to read about. I also liked that the characters were relatable and that there were a lot of plot twists throughout that kept readers not knowing what to expect. This was written in an interesting way, with both Vivi and Jonah telling the same events from each of their perspectives. There was a very big plot twist at the end, which left the book on a cliff-hanger, so readers can interpret the ending as they would like. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes romance novels and I would be really interested in reading some of Emery Lord’s other novels because I really enjoyed this one.

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Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han is the third and final book in the series, To All the Boys I Loved Before. It is a romance novel about a student in high school, Lara Jean, who navigates through her final year of high school with her friends and boyfriend. It was a really funny and entertaining book and was really easy and quick to read. I found this book interesting because of the characters’ personality traits; they were really relatable and all had their own unique personalities, which I liked. These characters and the storyline continued from the first and second books in the series, which should definitely be read before this book. This book wrapped up any loose ends and finished the story of Lara Jean. There are also movies made of each book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who read the first two books and I recommend the series to anyone who likes romance books.

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One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus is a mystery novel, which is a continuation of the One of Us Is Lying series. This novel is about three kids at a high school who become friends and solve the mystery of who started a dangerous Truth-or-Dare game at their high school. I found this story interesting because I really enjoyed the first novel of the series, One of Us Is Lying and this novel continued with some characters that remained the same, but some new ones that were also interesting and unique. I really enjoyed the suspense of the novel, and how it kept me wondering what would happen until the very last chapter, when the secret was revealed and was not what I expected at all. The only negative about this book was that it was a little confusing to follow if you have not read the first novel, or if you do not remember the characters and their traits, because they are mentioned a lot in this novel. Overall, I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mysteries or who enjoyed One of Us Is Lying.

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 The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a young adult novel about a girl, Avery, who inherits almost all of the money of a billionaire, Tobias Hawthorne, who she does not know at all and has never met. Hidden in his will is a series of clues that Avery follows throughout the book to try to find why Tobias left the money to her. This book had so many twists and turns that made it so interesting, exciting and fun to read. I also loved all of the characters in the book, who each had their own unique personality traits, including all of the Hawthorne family members. This book was also a great combination of mystery, action and romance genres. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes any of those genres. Also, there is a second novel in the series, called the Hawthorne Legacy, which is also great and which you should read if you enjoy this one.

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 The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is the second novel in a young adult series about a girl, Avery, who inherits almost all of the money of a famous billionaire, Tobias Hawthorne, who she does not know at all and has never met. This book continues Avery’s journey as she tried to uncover the mysteries of the Hawthorne family. There are many secrets revealed in this book that were surprising and exciting. Like the first book, I really liked the characters, who each had their own unique personality traits, including all of the Hawthorne family members, more of which were introduced in this book. This book was also a great combination of mystery, action and romance genres like the first novel. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes any of those genres. There is a third novel out as well that continues this plot. I have not read it yet, but I am very excited to read it.

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Are You Sara? by S.C. Lalli

Are You Sara by S. C. Lalli is a mystery and romance novel about two girls, both named Sarah, that each get into rideshares, but they take each take the wrong car home. One of the Sarah’s is killed and the other tries to solve the mystery and figure out who did it. This book has so many twists and turns and I could not put it down. I really liked how the Sara that is alive tells the story from her perspective, but there are also flashbacks from the perspective of the Sarah that died to give more context to readers. There are also many other storylines in the book as well, some of which are there to distract readers from the main storyline, which also adds to the suspense and interest. The only negative is that this book does contain some mature themes, so may not be appropriate for younger readers. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy mystery and thriller novels.

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It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover is a romance novel about a girl named Lily, who has just moved to Boston. She meets Ryle, and falls in love with him, but her old love, Atlas returns, who challenges Lily and Ryle’s relationship. This novel covers some mature topics, including abuse in relationships, so I would only recommend this novel to older readers. I really enjoyed this book and could not put it down. It was well-written and had many twists and turns that made it really exciting. The characters were all unique and had both positive and negative characteristics that made them seem relatable and like real people. I also liked how the book was narrated by Lily, the protagonist, because it explained how she felt through each of the events that occurred. I would definitely recommend this novel to readers who enjoy romance novels, but I think that this novel is only appropriate for older readers. 

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is a young adult mystery novel that tells the story of a woman, Bernadette, who goes missing. The story is told through emails, letters and other documents compiled together by her daughter Bee, to find out how she went missing. The story is written in such a unique way, with not much narration, but with letters and emails. It was really fun to read. The characters all had their own unique traits which were revealed more and more throughout the story. By the end, readers can try to solve the mystery as well. The one negative aspect about this novel that I didn’t enjoy was that at the end, it became a little slow and it was hard for me to want to read the end, because there was not as much action as at the beginning. I would recommend this novel to mystery-lovers. I also know that there is a movie that was made of this novel, which I will watch soon as well. 

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Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen is a young adult romance novel about Auden, a teenage insomniac, who travels to a beach town, Colby, to spend the summer with her father. While in Colby, Auden meets Eli, a fellow insomniac. They begin spending nights together, doing fun activities and building a relationship together. I liked the plot line of this novel, because it was unique and interesting. There were many different plots at once, between Auden and her dad, Auden and her mom, Auden and her friends and Auden and Eli. All of the plots intertwined together at the end, which was unexpected. However, the book was a little slow at the beginning and it took some time for the main plot to begin. I would definitely recommend this novel to any readers looking for a relaxing summer read. Sarah Dessen has many other similar novels that I have not read yet, but I am excited to read soon!

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 This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith is a young adult romance novel that revolves around two teenagers who meet by chance over email, Graham and Ellie. Graham is a famous actor and Ellie is a student from a small town. Yet, despite their differences, they fall in love with each other. I really liked this novel because it was very different from others that I have read. There were many ups and downs and twists throughout the entirety of the novel, which left me not knowing what would come next. I also really liked the characters, as they were sweet and relatable to readers. I would recommend this novel to any readers who want a relaxing, easy summer read. The author, Jennifer E Smith, also has another great book, called The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, which I would recommend to anyone who enjoyed this novel.

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 You’ll be the Death of Me by Karen McManus

You’ll be the Death of Me by Karen McManus is a teen mystery novel about three friends who reconnect coincidentally, Ivy, Mateo, and Cal. They decide to skip school for the day and go do fun activities, but instead they happen to follow a classmate and see his death. The three friends then have to solve the mystery of what happened to him. I really like all of Karen McManus’ books, because they are all different, but they all have wonderful, exciting plots, so I can never put the books down. This one however, was not one of my favorite books by her, because it did not have as many layers of mystery to solve, so it wasn’t quite as interesting as others. I would recommend One of Us is Lying to readers that are interested in reading her books. That book was my favorite book I have ever read. But overall, I still really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to Karen McManus fans.

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy is a young adult novel about a teenage girl, Willowdean, and her friends, Millie, Amanda and Hannah, who compete in a beauty pageant to prove that everyone can, even if they’re not traditionally “beautiful”. It’s a really nice, easy read and has a wonderful message, about focusing on what you think of yourself and not what others think of you. The plot, characters, relationships between the characters and struggles experienced by the characters seemed real and true to life. The main character, Willowdean, was quite endearing and funny in her dialogue with others and her inner thoughts. The only negative of this novel, however, was that it was quite predictable what was going to happen. As a reader, I could guess what events would unfold later in the book, which made it a little less exciting. There is also a movie created based on this book, also called Dumplin’, that’s on Netflix. I would recommend both the book and the movie!

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Once And For All by Sarah Dessen

Once And For All by Sarah Dessen is a young adult romance novel about a girl, Louna, who works at her mom’s wedding planning business. She meets a boy Ethan at one of these weddings and really likes him, but a tragic incident happens to Ethan, killing him and causing Louna to close herself off to others. The novel is about Louna finding her way. I liked the plot and the realistic nature of the novel. All of the characters had their own traits and characteristics that were unique to them. However, the novel was quite disjointed and flashed back and forth often between the past, with Louna and Ethan, and the present with Louna and her mom and family. It was sometimes a little confusing to follow, because I didn’t know whether chapters happened in the past or present. However, I still was hooked on reading this book and will definitely read more of Sarah Dessen. I have already read a few, but she is a very prolific author and I will read more in the future!

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 Nothing More to Tell by Karen M McManus

Nothing More to Tell by Karen M McManus is a young adult mystery novel about a girl, Brynn, who left her school after the murder of her favourite teacher but has now returned to find out how he died. Karen M McManus is one of my favourite authors, because all of her books are so fascinating, and I can never put them down. This one was no different. I really liked all of the characters and found that they all had unique traits. Throughout the book, I was continually surprised by them and what was revealed about them. I was definitely not expecting the ending of the book. I think that this was one of my favourite mystery books that I have read because it was so interesting. The only thing was that there were a lot of characters, and the novel was a little confusing at times. However, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves mystery books!

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 Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen is about a girl, Sydney, whose brother, Peyton, caused a drunk driving car crash. While her family is focused on him, Sydney becomes very close with another family. The plot focuses on Sydney’s journey with her new friends and with her family. I thought that the plot line was very interesting and the narration by Sydney was realistic and relatable to readers. The story showed both the positives and the negatives of the situations that all of the characters experienced. There were also many different characters that experienced different difficulties at different times, which all made for a really interesting read. However, the book was a little confusing at times because of all of these simultaneous plots. Overall, though, I really enjoyed this read and am looking forward to reading more of Sarah Dessen’s novels in the future.

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 Reviews by Sienna

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

I watched the movie Dumplin about a year ago and discovered that it was based on a book so I had to pick it up and it was not a disappointment. All the characters were unique and easy to root for and the message about body positivity was very uplifting. The only critique I have of this book is that I wish that it focused on the pageant a bit more. As much as I enjoyed the progression of the protagonist and her love interest’s relationship I think it should have been more of a side plot compared to the preparations for the beauty pageant which I found far more interesting. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. It is perfect for anyone who needs a fun and heartwarming read in the summer.

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A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier

I absolutely loved this book! It is a definite five stars. My favorite part about the story was it’s atmosphere. While reading you will immediately transported to the hotel in the Swiss Alps where the story takes place. The details about the hotel that are mentioned throughout the story such as the activities for the guests and the meticulous way the people in charge run everything really helped to show the hotel’s grandeur. The book can best be described as a mix of a Disney movie and Wes Andersen’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. The protagonist, Sophie was a great protagonist. Her wit and appreciation for the small things in life makes it very enjoyable to read her inner dialogue and she actually acted like a 17 year old which is refreshing since I’ve found that a lot of books make teenagers behave like adults. Sometimes in stories with large casts of characters such as this book, I sometimes find it hard to keep track of who’s who. I had no trouble with this while reading A Castle In The Clouds because of how distinct every character was. From the 9 year old son of a billionaire who’s favorite hobby is taunting Sophie to a Russian oligarch in disguise, this book will even make you want to know more about everyone in the story no matter how small their role in the book is. I honestly could have just read a book on the day to day business of the hotel and I would never be bored. Overall, this is one of the best books I’ve read all year and I envy anyone reading it for the first time.

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She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick

She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick is about two girls named Molly and Alex. Molly is painfully awkward around everyone except her mom and she’s been crushing on her classmate, Cora for four years but they’ve barely spoken. Alex is Molly’s polar opposite, she’s a huge flirt and has the charisma to befriend or date anyone she wants. Before Alex’s fist day of college she and her girlfriend break up. Her girlfriend says she can’t trust Alex. Molly and Alex meet at a party and Alex decides to try to help Molly get the confidence to ask Cora out to prove to her ex that she’s trustworthy but both Molly and Alex slowly realize that they might be falling for each other. Molly and Alex were both really different characters who go through different struggles throughout the story but the authors did a great job finding common ground between the two which gave them a cool dynamic. I also really liked how although Cora isn’t the main love interest of the book we still get to know her throughout the story so she feels more like a fully fleshed out character instead of just an obstacle in the way of Molly and Alex getting together. Anyone who were fans of books like To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and Heartstopper would love this book.

Sidenote: Apparently the authors of this book are married which is really sweet :)

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I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

Every time I pick up a book written by Casey McQuinton I think that I’ll just casually read the book over a week or so and move on. I am wrong every single time. I finished the book “I Kissed Shara Wheeler” in a day and I can’t go a day without thinking about it. The premise is that the most popular girl at the high school in a very traditional small town in Alabama but only after spontaneously kissing three of her classmates and leaving clues for them all around town. The main character Chloe was one of the three who was kissed and she’s determined to find the whereabouts of her academic rival. Based on this plot, you might think that Shara could just be one of those standard “missing girl” characters who’s just there as a plot device but that could not be further from the truth. Even before we meet her, you can feel Shara’s looming presence throughout the entire book. Through the clues she leaves and the stories that the characters tell about her, Shara becomes as fleshed out as all the main characters who Chloe directly interacts with. Since Shara was such an interesting character, while reading this book I was constantly on the edge of my seat wondering what happened to Shara. There were so many twists in the story and every time I thought I knew where the book was going the plot would go in another direction. I won’t spoil the ending but I’ll just say that I did not expect it but it made perfect sense based on what we learn about Shara. Overall, I would give this book five stars and would recommend it to everyone. You may not know it yet but you need this book in your life.

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Good Omens by Terry Pratchett

Good Omens is probably one of my favorite books of all time. I have never read anything quite like it. The plot follows an angel called Aziraphale and a Demon called Crowley who are tasked with staying on earth to sway humans to their respective sides. Over the 6000 years that they live on earth, the two fall in love with humanity (and each other if we’re being honest). When plans to start Armageddon are put into place, Crowley and Aziraphale decide to work together to try to save their world. This book is hilarious and had me laughing aloud at some points while also having interesting ideas about the concept of good and evil. I won’t go into spoilers but in the book we see both heaven and hell and quickly realise that the two places are eerily similar to each other, Crowley also makes a point that a world that was ruled by heaven would be almost as bad as one ruled by hell. The story shows us that the concept of good and evil does not truly exist and we need to prioritise free will over enforcing an ideology in society. Good Omens is a great book to read and once you’ve finished it I would recommend watching BBC’s adaptation of the book since the TV show is one of the few adaptations that does its book justice.

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The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Since my Instagram entirely consists of bookstagram content I’ve seen The Love Hypothesis on my feed at least a million times. I finally got around to reading it and I can see why a lot of people liked it. In the book our main character Olive needs her friend to think she’s dating someone so she kisses the first person she sees; Adam Carlsen, a young professor at the university that Olive is getting her Ph. D. Both Olive and Adam realise the benefits they would get from dating people so they decide to fake a relationship. I really liked Olive as a character, her motivation to study biology to find a cure for the cancer her mom died of really made me sympathise with her. It was also really cool that she’s getting a Ph. D. in biology, its great representation for women in STEM. Olive and Adam had great banter, especially when they went for their weekly coffee “dates” and they’d argue about Olive’s overly sugary coffees she’d order. My only main issue with the book was that although we see Olive is a very caring person it didn’t seem that realistic that anyone would put the amount of effort that she did into fake dating just so that her friend wouldn’t feel bad going out with someone she briefly dated. If Olive was given another reason to fake date that made the scheme a bit more high stakes I think the story would have been a bit more interesting. Overall it was a fun book to read but I would recommend it to people 17 and older since it deals with mature themes, fans of Tessa Bailey and Coleen Hoover would definitely enjoy this book.

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Reviews by Skylar
On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

Content Warnings: Drug and alcohol use, gang activity and violence

Bri, the main character in On The Come Up loves to rap. She became absolutely in love with hip hop after her aunt introduced her to it. She’s wanted to be a rapper her whole life just like her dad; Lawless; who was shot right when he was getting big - when she was very young. She wants to do everything he did, and more. Bri’s mother, Jay, makes this dream very difficult for her. With her grades slipping, she needs to concentrate much more on getting her grades up, and much less on rapping. That’s what her mom wants her to do, at least. Bri though? She’s determined to make her dream come true, but dealing with her father’s death, and her mother’s addiction, is that possible for her? This book was SO well written, I couldn’t stop reading it. I am a huge fan of Angie Thomas, and would very much so recommend this book!


Age recommendation: 13 - 17


Rating: 9/10

My favourite quote: “Never let yourself drown while trying to save somebody that don't want to be saved.”

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Content Warnings: Under-age alcohol use and prescription pill addiction


Seventeen-year-old Cady has been coming to Beechwood every summer since as long as she can remember. It’s her Grandfather’s private island, off the coast of Massachusetts. It’s her favourite time of the whole year. Not because of seeing the littles and her aunts and grandparents. Of course she’s excited to see them, but she’s excited to see her three favourite people. The Liars. Her two cousins - Mirren and Johnny, and their friend Gat. She missed the summer when they were all sixteen, when she went on a trip with her father, and she can’t remember a single thing that happened the previous summer, thanks to the head injury she suffered that summer during a terrible accident. An accident so incredibly terrible, that she can’t remember what it was. When she returns for summer seventeen, she’s determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. What happened during summer fifteen? Read to find out :) 


Age Recommendation: 13 - 17


Rating: 8/10


My favourite quote: “Do not accept an evil you can change.”

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Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Content Warnings: Murder, violence, and talk about suicide


Imagine a world where you can’t die. No, wait. You can’t die unless a scythe kills you. You can’t die from old age, sickness, or an accident. None of that. Would you like it? Citra and Rowan sure don’t - not one bit. So when a scythe asks the two of them to be his apprentices, it seems like such an easy no, until they’re told that if they do it, their families will get a year of immunity each, during the time that they’re doing their apprenticeship. Wanting to please their parents, they both follow through. Everything’s going well until they find out that whoever is ordained - whoever succeeds in becoming a scythe - must glean the other as their first kill. Who will win? Who will die? Read to find out! This book was incredibly well written. I honestly couldn’t stop reading it, all I wanted was to know how it would end.


Age Recommendation: 12 - 15


Rating 8/10

My Favourite Quote: ‘We must, by law, keep a record of the innocents we kill.”

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They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

Content Warnings: Death, Violence, Sexual Content



I’m calling from Death Cast.

I regret to inform you that sometime in the next twenty-four hours, you’ll be meeting an untimely death. 

On behalf of everyone here at Death Cast, we are so sorry to lose you.

Live this day to the fullest, okay? - They Both Die At The End, Adam Silvera


Meet 17 year old Rufus Emeterio. Rufus was in the car with his parents and sister one day when their car crashed. He was the only survivor. He has been living in an orphanage, which is going pretty well - he’s made some new friends, and he’s finally getting over the deaths of his three favourite people. Meet 18 year old Mateo Torrez. Now that his father is in a coma, Mateo has been living alone. Sometimes Mateo lives in his small apartment, and sometimes at his best friend, Lidia’s apartment. Never anywhere else. In the world these two boys are living in, you get a call from Death Cast, warning you that sometime in the next 24 hours, you will die. The purpose of this is so that you can live your last day to the fullest. So when Mateo and Rufus both get this call, they both go on the Last Friend App, where they meet each other, and spend their last day doing everything with the company of the other. Mateo and Rufus are very different people. Will they get along? Will they become friends? Could they ever be more than that? Who will die first? I guess it doesn’t matter, because don’t they both die at the end?! I adored this book SO much, and I especially enjoyed reading a book that took place only in one day. I would recommend it to literally anyone :)


Age Recommendation: 13 - 16


Rating 9/10

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Reviews by Tryaksha
Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Ignite Me was a really good book! I loved it! The Aaron Warner action I got in this book was amazing, and the Aaron in this book is just chef's kiss! If you haven't read the first two books please go read those!! Ignite me is basically continuing what happens in Unravel Me. Juliette is a new person who wants to face her fears and to destroy Anderson. Now in this book you get Aaron and Juliette action, which are cute little scenes together! Also quick warning for all the Adam Kent lovers (which I really hope you are on Warners side) but he does some things that are very not it, and you will hate him for it:) You might think that this is going to be a nice kind of happy book but you're wrong. There are sad scenes in this book that will make you feel very sad for a specific character.. Overall this book had me blushing, sobbing, warm, and wanted to make me sleep on the highway!! Anyways I give this book a 4.8 stars out of five! 

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