Teen Book Bits

Teen Book Bits are written or video 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, Instagram and TikTok page.

Many thanks to our Teen Volunteers for their recommendations!

Video Reviews

Video Reviews on Youtube
Title and Author Reviewed By: Youtube Link Library Catalogue
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller  Angelina View on YouTube Borrow the Book

 

Written Reviews

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown - Review by Ella

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 - Review by Ella

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

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 – Review by Ava

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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The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo - Review by Kate

"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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Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon - Review by Ella

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 - Review by Ella

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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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Review by Angelina

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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