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.

The Unteachables
by Gordon Korman
Reviewed by Kayla, 12

Zachary Kermit, a teacher at Greenwich Middle School, plans to retire soon. However, the superintendent doesn’t want to pay for Kermit’s early retirement, so Kermit is assigned to teach the infamous class of troublemakers known as the “Unteachables”. Though ignoring each other at first, Kermit and his class slowly began to get to know each better. Their relationship grows throughout the book. Then, a sudden problem pops up—and it’s up to the Unteachables to save their teacher.

I recommend this book because it’s very interesting and has a lot of humor in it. I also like that it doesn’t have any scary or dark scenes. However, the part that I find most interesting is that the story is told from different characters’ views, so it shines more light on the tale and, as a result, helps you understand the story better.

The Inheritance Games
by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Reviewed by Emma, 18

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes follows the story of teenager Avery Grambs as overnight Avery finds herself transformed from a normal high school student to the world’s richest teenager at the hands of one Tobias Hawthorne. In an exciting series of puzzles, riddles, and plot twists Avery Grambs seeks to answer the question “why me?” Along the way she faces danger, disinherited daughters, and the most dangerous of all: the Hawthorne Grandsons.

I highly recommend The Inheritance Games. The novel is thrilling for all of the right reasons. Barnes excellently combines family secrets, high school politics, too much money, and blossoming romance into a story that is impossible to put down. Barnes’ puzzles and riddles captivate the reader into wanting to solve the mystery as badly as the main character. There is never a dull moment in the Hawthorne House. Between mysterious siblings, loyal staff, devoted housekeepers, and a girl that completely disrupted the entire system there is always a reason to keep reading. Perhaps the best thing about the novel though is that it brings the reader along to solve the mystery. If not paying close attention, there is always a clue to miss. Everything is connected and just like Tobias Hawthorne, Jennifer Lynn Barnes does nothing unintentionally. The Inheritance Games is sure to captivate from start to finish.

by Marissa Meyer
Reviewed by Esha, 17

Catherine’s dream is to be a baker one day and have the best bakery in the Kingdom of Hearts with her best friend, but that may not be possible if she becomes the future queen of Hearts. Then comes Jest, the royal court joker whom Cath has an instant connection with. She decides she doesn’t want to give that away even if that means rejecting the king and getting into trouble.

I devoured this book in one sitting! It enraptures you from the very beginning with vivid descriptions of the desserts and royal balls. It puts you on edge from the very beginning because you want to know how she’ll navigate their relationship with the king's proposition. So I kept waiting to see every interaction between Jest and Cath. I loved the whimsical aspects of the book that were similar to Wonderland-like Raven, Hatter, Cheshire Cat, etc. I definitely did not see the ending coming and even though I feel like the end was a bit rushed, the book did such a good job for a Queen of Hearts retelling. Highly recommend it for fans of Alice in Wonderland and fantasy retellings in general.

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, by Jeanne Birdsall, is a whimsical book about four sisters’ misadventures during their summer vacation. The sisters explore, make friends (including a boy who literally dives headfirst into the story), and get into trouble. This, in addition to personality clashes, a clumsy dog, a bull with an infamous reputation, and some camouflage hats, is the Penderwick family’s unforgettable summer.

I first read The Penderwicks when I was eleven years old, and I have read it three times since. This is one of my favorites because it’s not a mystical adventure (I do love to read those too) but a story about everyday life. For example, you are getting ready for a party-but wait! Your little sister has gum in her hair, the dog just threw up on your other sister's shoes, and now you’re going to be late et cetera, et cetera. This story explores the challenges people go through daily, like when a friend is going through a hard time with his family, and you want to help, but you don’t know how. This story relates to the struggles of life in a heartfelt way, and I can practically guarantee this story will leave you with a smile and a craving for gingerbread with whipped cream and strawberries.

The Outsiders
by S.E. Hinton
Reviewed by Ethan, 12

The Outsiders is a novel about the rivalry between greasers and Socs based in the 1960s in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Socs are a group of rich teenagers who dress nicely and live on the West side of town. The greasers are poor teenagers who grease their hair, get jumped by the Socs, and live on the East side of town. One night something went wrong involving seven teens, a fountain, and a switchblade. Now two greasers are on the run from the police hoping they won’t get caught.

I would recommend The Outsiders. I liked how the author described the characters and settings in such detail. The vivid detail allows the reader to create a picture of the character or setting in his/her mind very clearly. One example is, "He had an elfish face, with high cheekbones and a pointed chin, small, sharp animal teeth, and ears like a lynx.” I also enjoyed the suspense. Sometimes the chapters would end with a saying that made you want to know what was next. In conclusion, if you like a detailed, suspenseful action-packed story, this is the book for you.

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