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.

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.

by Kristin Cashore
Reviewed by Katie, 17

In a world where people can be born with powers, called “Graces,” Katsa has been Graced with killing. She has superhuman strength, agility, and resilience and can kill with her bare hands, as she had first done when she was eight years old. However, her power is not her own as long as she is under the command of her uncle, King Randa, who uses her Grace as a weapon against those who disobey him.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to read fantasy. The time period seems to be somewhat medieval, with different kingdoms and fantasy elements mixed in. As for the plot, nothing in this book is ever as it first seems and the turns it takes are completely unexpected. One of my favorite parts was the development of the characters, specifically Katsa and Po, as they travel to uncover the truth behind the kidnapping of Po’s grandfather. Although I typically avoid books that feature romance, this one was great. The way their relationship progresses was incredibly enjoyable to read because it wasn’t unnatural or forced as they often tend to be in YA fiction. Overall, if you like fantasy books, or even if you don’t and you’re just looking for a book that will keep you engaged the whole way through, you’re not likely to regret picking up Graceling.

Things You Can't Say
by Jenn Bishop
Reviewed by Phoenix, 12

Things You Can't Say is about Drew, a 12-year-old boy whose father committed suicide 3 and a half years earlier. Drew spends his time either helping out the library or playing with his best friend. When the new girl (Audrey) comes to help at the library and Drew's mom has a surprise friend that is staying the night. As Drew goes through changes he worries he will be like his dad.

I would recommend this book to almost everyone because it has a bunch of aspects of life. The book has you double-guessing yourself throughout your read because Drew, the main character, is double guessing himself too. You come to feel for everyone in the book as you read it because they have their troubles as well. I loved the mystery aspect because it kept me intrigued about what would be true and what would be false. All of the characters are thought out and very fun. It isn't a huge book but it still has length. Some people that only like action books and don't like emotion at all might not like this book, but most people will enjoy this read.

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