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.

Turtles All The Way Down
by John Green
Reviewed by Alexis, 13

In Turtles All The Way Down, John Green follows the story of Aza Holmes, a teenage girl who suffers from anxiety and OCD, when she begins her search for a missing fugitive billionaire, her neighbor’s father. As Aza furthers her search, the book explores her friendship with her best friend Daisy, and her confliction when she starts to have feelings for her neighbor, despite the fact that she’s still searching for his father.

I recommend this book to anyone over the age of 10, because it deals with complex topics such as mental health issues that should be taken seriously and understood. John Green does an excellent job of conveying Aza’s emotions throughout the book, and I personally enjoyed reading the book. Whether you can relate to her struggles or not, it provides great insight into Aza’s mind, which is a hard feat, considering how much her anxiety continues to plague her throughout the book. The plot is well-written but can be hard to follow at times due to the amount of subplots.

The Giver
by Lois Lowry
Reviewed by Revanth, 13

The Giver by Lois Lowry is about a boy named Jonas. He lives with his parents and his sister, Lily, in a dwelling. He is nervous about his ceremony of twelves. This is where an eleven gets promoted to a twelve and gets his assignment. They have to do this job forever. Since Jonas doesn’t know what he is going to get, and doesn't know what he wants to get, he is very nervous. On the day, Jonas gets one of the most important jobs and learns a daunting and agonizing truth.

I recommend The Giver, winner of the John Newbery Medal, to every person above the age of twelve who likes dystopian stories. The theme is you, and your life matters. It's about a world where everything is colorless, but looks perfect. Some would even call it a utopia, but it's not... It's the opposite, a dystopia. When you start reading you won't want to stop because you'll want to find out what's going to happen next. It's filled with many plot twists and when I got to the end of the book I was surprised by what Jonas had done. This book will also leave you with questions that you have to answer yourself.

Shadow and Bone
by Leigh Bardugo
Reviewed by Liz, 13

Shadow and Bone, written by Leigh Bardugo, is a high fantasy or dark fantasy novel. It takes place in Ravka, a Russian inspired country in the Grishaverse. It is written from the first person point of view from the perspective of Alina Starkov, who is a soldier in the first army. She soon finds out that she is the Sun Summoner, and perhaps one of the most sought after Grisha in the world.

This book has an extremely developed fantasy world. The countries feel very realistic and detailed. The well rounded characters that seem like real people augment the book’s plot, making them just one of the many amazing things about the series. Speaking of the plot, it has several plot twists that keep you guessing. I love the way that Bardugo develops the Darkling, the trilogy’s antagonist. So many books have flat and static antagonists that just seem purely evil, which (usually) isn’t realistic. However, the Darkling has many traits and he has good reasons for doing the things he does. I think he may be the most developed and hard to hate antagonist in any book I’ve read. Shadow and Bone is overall one of my favorite book series, and I would definitely recommend it.

There’s Someone Inside Your House
by Stephanie Perkins
Reviewed by Lorelai, 15

Makani Young is a senior at Osborne High School, living with her grandmother after a recent move from Hawaii. She is just trying to make it through the year, until a mystery killer begins to kill off students, one by one, each murder more grotesque than the last. When Makani becomes a target herself, after a narrow escape (with the help of her new boyfriend), she is forced to confront her past.

If you are looking for a book that is fast-paced and exciting then this is a great novel to choose! I found myself unable to stop reading for the first half of the book. Although, when the killer’s identity is revealed, the plot starts to slow and become less interesting. It is not a very complex horror novel, but if you want an easier read this could be for you. Most of the characters are likable, or even relatable to an extent. I like that we get to see the world through both Makani’s perspective, and also from the perspectives of the people who are murdered. The main problem with the book for me is that the killer’s discovery happened so early on, and their motivation seemed strange. This was fairly easy to overlook though, and I overall enjoyed and would recommend this book to audiences around 13-18 years old.

Better Than the Movies
by Lynn Painter
Reviewed by Madeline, 15

Liz Buxbaum, a hopeless romantic and lover of rom-coms, finds herself entangled in a movie of her own. It’s Liz’s senior year, and she has one goal: to finally score Michael, her childhood crush. To help her, she hires her next-door neighbor, Wes, to help her catch Michael’s attention. What Liz doesn’t know is that a simple quest to catch Michael’s eye will lead to her finding a different romance, one she didn’t expect.

Better Than the Movies is one of my favorite books. It is a fast-paced, fluffy romance story… but also with Taylor Swift and rom-com movie references! I would highly recommend this book since it’s just so easy to fall in love with. The characters are so well-written, and I found that they were relatable, especially Liz. Seeing the real life struggles that teenagers face presented in the book is really what made it remarkable. Also, who can’t love Wes?! Every interaction between Wes and Liz made me smile, and I couldn’t put the book down. The development between the two is really what makes the book so special and unique. I still think about this book and the imprint that it left in my mind, and I just love how it’s one of those books you can reread over and over without getting bored.

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