Teen Book Reviews

Are you a tween or teen looking for your next favorite book? Find out what other teens think by reading these Juvenile and YA book selections chosen by and reviewed by teens.

Teen Book Reviews are provided with the help of teen volunteers in the community who earn up to three service hours by submitting book reviews.

Interested in writing a Teen Book Review? Submission application and guidelines are here.

Heroes of Olympus: Mark of Athena
by Rick Riordan
Reviewed by Navmika, 14

Mark of Athena is the third book in the Heroes of Olympus series. The book follows the journey of seven demigods. The chosen seven embark on a quest to save the son of Hades, Nico, and to find the Mark of Athena. The demigods face many challenges during their journey to Rome. In Rome, they battle giants to save Nico and one demigod ventures alone to complete her part of the quest.

Mark of Athena is one of the best books in the Heroes of Olympus series. It relates to all sorts of readers. There is action, mystery, mythology, romance, and comedy. From beginning to end, there wasn’t a boring chapter. It is one of my favorite books that I have read because of the plot twists. The character development in the book was amazing and it connected all the characters together. It was interesting to see how the two camps worked together during the quest. Although they had their difficulties, everyone played a key role in the book. My favorite part of Mark of Athena is the ending, the cliffhanger made me immediately want to read the next book in the series. Personally, I haven’t read a better cliffhanger before, the ending will shock you. Mark of Athena is well written and a great read for almost all types of readers.

Samurai Rising
by Pamela Turner
Reviewed by Lucas, 15

Samurai Rising tells the captivating story of the samurai, Minamoto Yoshitsune. His father, who was a samurai, kidnapped the emperor of Japan. The emperor of Japan had mercy on them and sent the boys to be raised by monks. At fifteen he left to be a samurai. Soon, he heard a rebellion his half-brother, Yorimoto, had made against their opposing clan, the Taria. Yoshitsune joined them and led the Minimoto clan in the Samurai Civil War.

Samurai Rising has easily taken its spot as one of my favorite nonfiction books. I was left speechless at every twist and turn. Turner made a breathtaking book through her effortless quality of writing and the equally amazing story. It's a beautiful story, however I wished the pacing of the battles could have been more engaging. I would strongly recommend it if one wants to read it for the story and not the action. However, there is no doubt the battles were ingenious. Yoshtisune's innovation left me on the edge of my seat every time he squeezed a win. My other critique was how definitive everything was stated in the story. I found myself unimmersed in the story from how often I questioned if it was just speculation. Overall, the “underdog rising up” part of it made it a very satisfying read and her writing made it even more enjoyable.

by Veronica Roth
Reviewed by Trinity, 18

Divergent follows a girl named Beatrice who lives in a dystopian world that divides people into five separate communities based on a fundamental trait they possess. She must make a decision that will decide the course of her life, which faction she will choose. However, she realizes that she doesn’t want to be just one thing, causing her to be seen as a threat. Along the way, she makes friends, discovers more about herself, and finds someone who makes her feel like she belongs.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the dystopian world, especially as an introduction into the dystopian genre. The main character is able to determine how to interpret the world without the constraints of disappointing her family or her faction. Divergent gives an interesting perspective on conformity and the negative aspects that result when others try to be someone they are not. Beatrice, also known as Tris, must navigate being a natural non-conformer in a world where conforming is the norm. If you enjoy book series, I would recommend this book as well as Insurgent and Allegiant.

We’ll Always Have Summer
by Jenny Han
Reviewed by Audrey, 13

In the exciting third book of The Summer I Turned Pretty series, Jeremiah asks Belly to be his wife. The book is about the exciting day for Jeremiah and Belly to finally become Jeremiah and Belly Fisher. There are two problems though. None of Belly or Jeremiah’s family wants them to get married! Also, it seems as though Belly might be falling in love with someone she cannot quite seem to forget…

I think that this book wraps up the series perfectly, with an epilogue at the end to answer all those questions! I would recommend this book to almost any girl 12 through 15. I do not think that boys would like it though, because it is definitely directed toward girls. I also would definitely recommend this to anyone who is a fan of coming of age or realistic fiction, but I would not recommend it to people who aren’t a fan of that stuff. I say this because all of it could happen to you or me, but in my opinion, that is part of what makes it so great! Overall, I would recommend We’ll Always Have Summer to any girl who wants a new realistic fiction and mature novel to read. Happy reading!

The Naturals
by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Reviewed by Madeline, 15

It’s been five years, and Cassie’s mother is presumably dead; however, the body was never found. Cassie has a gift for reading people, leading her to join the Naturals, a special group of teenagers who work to solve murders in an FBI program. Cassie joins to possibly uncover the secrets of what truly happened to her mother, although fate has more in store for her. As discoveries begin to unfold, danger lurks around the corner.

Imagine being invited to join a top-secret program to assist the FBI in solving cases. That is exactly what The Naturals is about. I found that this book was extremely intriguing, and each page kept me wanting to know what would happen next. I loved watching relationships unfold between the characters, as well as the mystery that slowly built up in the book. It was definitely suspenseful, and I definitely did not expect the ending of the book, which was shocking! As Cassie raced to find what may have happened to her mom, I felt as though I was experiencing it with her. Not one part of the book made me feel like setting it down, and I’m sure anyone who loves reading any type of book would love this one.

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