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Staff Reviews: For Teens

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring books and DVDs for teens! (For reviews of books for all ages, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews also are published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates. The book reviews on this website represent the personal opinions of the individuals who created them and do not represent any official views of the Marathon County Public Library.


Cover: 'Renegades'

"Renegades" by Marissa Meyer

★★★★★ Sixteen-year-old Nova’s world is ruled by the Renegades, a group of Prodigies (humans that possess a special ability/superpower), who used their abilities to defeat Ace Anarchy and his Prodigy compatriots who were responsible for creating fear and destruction during the Age of Anarchy. Despite Renegade promises to protect them, Nova’s parents and sister...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Spill Zone'

"Spill Zone" by Scott Westerfeld

★★★★★ In the early 70’s the Soviet science fiction authors, Arkady and Boris Sturgatsky, wrote ”Roadside Picnic” about the changes in the environment in places around the world after what is assumed to be an alien visitation. They wrote about a changed world, where artifacts from these locations displayed unusual and bizarre properties and effects, and the ways...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: fiction, graphic novel, science fiction

Cover: 'Jane, Unlimited'

"Jane, Unlimited" by Kristin Cashore

★★★★★ Eighteen-year-old Jane is adrift. After the recent death of her beloved Aunt Magnolia, who raised the orphaned Jane, she dropped out of college and is working at the campus bookshop when she gets an unexpected invitation. Her former tutor, Kiran Thrash, invites her to the spring gala at her family’s island estate, Tu Reviens. Jane might not have accepted...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'There's Someone Inside Your House'

"There's Someone Inside Your House" by Stephanie Perkins

★★★ Makani Young is still getting used to her new school and her new life in rural Nebraska when a sudden string of grotesque slayings rocks the community. Some of the most well-liked and talented students at the high school are turning up murdered in incredibly bloody and gruesome displays - including the lead in the fall musical and the star of the football...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, suspense

Cover: 'Eliza and Her Monsters'

"Eliza and Her Monsters" by Francesca Zappia

★★★★★ In real life, Eliza strives for invisibility at school, where she’s known for being quiet, awkward, and (in the eyes of her classmates) a freak, and at home, where she’s the unathletic anomaly. In the digital world, she’s Lady Constellation, the creator of a wildly popular webcomic, Monstrous Sea, and her two best friends (Max and Emmy) are the keepers or...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here'

"Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here" by Anna Breslaw

★★★★ Fifteen-year-old Scarlett Epstein is crushed when her favorite television show, Lycanthrope High, is cancelled. A popular author of fanfic related to the series, she mourns the loss of a creative outlet as much as the series itself. Her online fanfic friends encourage her to get a life “IRL” (in real life) and to expand the scope of her creative writing....

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Hate U Give'

"The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas

★★★★★ Sixteen-year-old Starr has become adept at navigating life in two distinct worlds. One is her black urban neighborhood of Garden Heights, where her father operates a small grocery store. The other is her suburban prep school in which she is one of a handful of black students, which lends her a certain cachet that overrides the income disparity between her...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Piecing Me Together'

"Piecing Me Together" by Renée Watson

★★★★★ Jade is a junior at the best private school in Portland.  She is a talented artist and a bright student, determined to learn Spanish and one day travel the world.  Unlike most of her classmates, Jade is on scholarship and she is painfully aware that this school, and the opportunities it presents, are her ticket out of her poor North Portland...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Anna and the Swallow Man'

"Anna and the Swallow Man" by Gavriel Savit

★★★★★ Seven-year-old Anna did not realize it that morning in Krakow, Poland, that when her father left her in the care of a pharmacist friend, he would not return. It was November 6, 1939, and her father, a linguistics professor, was one of the many Polish intellectuals summoned by the Gestapo, arrested, imprisoned, and ultimately sent to concentration camps. Her...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Sad Animal Facts'

"Sad Animal Facts" by Brooke Barker

★★★★ For those of you who like animal trivia facts, this book is for you. There are over 150 hand-drawn illustrations with little known facts about your favorite animal. For example, did you know that a koi fish can live 200 years? Or that gorillas can catch human colds or that camels can drink 30 gallons of water in 15 minutes? This book is a quick read...

Audience: adults, children, teens | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Pearl Thief'

"The Pearl Thief" by Elizabeth Wein

★★★★★ Fans of Code Name Verity will appreciate the opportunity to get to know the nearly sixteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart as she is enmeshed in a mystery at the estate of her late grandfather, the Earl of Strathfearn, in 1938. She’s not looking forward to saying good-bye to the Scottish estate, which has been sold to pay off family debt, but she’s happy to...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Enchantment Lake'

"Enchantment Lake" by Margi Preus

★★★★★ Seventeen-year-old Francie bolts from an audition and hops on a plane from New York City to Minnesota after receiving a troubling call from her great aunts Astrid and Jeannette. She hasn’t visited her aunts’ home in northern Minnesota since her father’s death seven years prior, but she has fond childhood memories of Enchantment Lake. However, she cannot...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Caraval'

"Caraval" by Stephanie Garber

★★★★★ Scarlett Dragna has dreamed of attending the mysterious Caraval, an annual, multi-night, and itinerant event in which the audience participates in the magical spectacle and competes for a prize. She’s written to Master Legend, the mysterious creator of the event over the course of seven years. Soon to be married to a man whom she’s never met (but sees as...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Passion of Dolssa'

"The Passion of Dolssa" by Julie Berry

★★★★★ Dolssa de Stigata is a young noblewoman of eighteen who draws the attention of church authorities when they learn that she is telling family members and friends of the bond she shares with her beloved Lord. Sentenced to death along with her mother, she is mysteriously freed before she is to be dragged into the flames and begins a life on the run hiding from...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Hunted'

"Hunted" by Meagan Spooner

★★★★★ In this retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Meagan Spooner weaves the classic tale with Russian folklore to create a dark adventure full of magic, heartbreak, and destiny. Born to an aristocratic family, Yeva has always felt something is missing in her life. She is bored serving as one of the baroness's ladies and she only truly feels comfortable when...

Audience: teens | Genre: young adult

Cover: 'Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars'

"Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars" by Nathalia Holt

★★★★★ This book is an account of women who were human computers (and later computer programmers and engineers) at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in California. Rather than choose one of the occupations most commonly pursued by women of their time (teacher, nurse, or secretary), these women put their math and science skills to work in order to generate equations and...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'A Study in Charlotte'

"A Study in Charlotte" by Brittany Cavallaro

★★★★★ Jamie, a descendant of John Watson, is still adjusting to life at his new boarding school and recovering from a recent and disastrous encounter with Charlotte Holmes (descendent of Sherlock Holmes) when the pair become prime suspects in the death of a fellow student. It seems someone is intent on framing the duo, but who could it possibly be? They weren’t...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Heartless'

"Heartless" by Marissa Meyer

★★★★★ Do you like Alice in Wonderland? Want to know how the Queen of Hearts got to be the way she is? Then this is the story for you! The author of the Lunar Chronicles does it again by bringing a different view of a fairytale to life. This story follows the life of a young woman named Catherine, who lives in the land of Hearts and is the daughter of...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Heartless'

"Heartless" by Marissa Meyer

★★★★ Everyone knows the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland to be a mad tyrant. But, how did Catherine, the future Queen of Hearts, become so heartless? Cath has no desire to marry the awkward and timid King of Hearts. Instead, she wants to open a bakeshop and spend her days baking macaroons and cakes for the Kingdom of Hearts. Her parents,...

Audience: teens | Genre: ya fiction with adult appeal

Cover: 'Gemina'

"Gemina" by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

★★★★★ "Gemina", the second installment of the Illuminae Files, jumps to the intended destination for the survivors of the Kerenza attack—Jump Station Heimdall. At Heimdall, preparations for the annual Terra Day Celebrations and scheduled maintenance of the wormhole are underway. Hanna, the often-indulged daughter of the widowed commander, is running late for the...

Audience: teens | Genre: ya fiction with adult appeal

Cover: 'The Many Faces of Josephine Baker: Dancer, Singer, Activist, Spy'

"The Many Faces of Josephine Baker: Dancer, Singer, Activist, Spy" by Peggy Caravatnes

★★★★★ Most people recognize Josephine Baker as that dancer in the banana skirt.  But Josephine Baker was a far more complex character than can be summarized in one sentence.  Starting life in the poorest slums of East St. Louis, Baker went on to gain international fame dancing and singing on stage and eventually on screen.  An extravagant dresser...

Audience: teens | Genre: biography and memoir, nonfiction

Cover: 'The Girl From Everywhere'

"The Girl From Everywhere" by Heidi Heilig

★★★★★ Sixteen-year-old Nix has only known life as a time-traveling vagabond on her father’s Portuguese tall ship. (Yes, it looks like a pirate ship.) Her father, Slate, has a special ability to navigate to any location at a specific point in time, even mythical locations, as long as he has an authentic map created on that date. Nix has been to 21st century New...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Strong Female Protagonist'

"Strong Female Protagonist" by Brennan Lee Mulligan, Molly Ostertag

★★★★★ I don't always cry while reading books.  Mostly my sniffles are reserved for a good romance, but the graphic novel "Strong Female Protagonist" got me sniffling. "Strong Female Protagonist" tells the story of Alison Green, AKA Mega Girl, a former superhero turned college student.  After Alison is confronted by the damaging results of her...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, graphic novel, superheroes

Cover: 'After the Woods'

"After the Woods" by Kim Savage

★★★★ Almost a year ago, Julia and Liv went for a run in the woods. Seeing her friend attacked launched Julia into action, attacking the man and allowing Liv to get away. Julia ended up spending two mysterious days with this man. The novel opens almost a year later, with Julia struggling to remember what happened, how she got away and learning to deal with the...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Uninvited'

"Uninvited" by Sophie Jordan

★★★★★ It seems as though every time you turn on the news you hear/see reports of violence. What would happen if there was a way to test and see who would be most likely to commit those crimes before they happen? This book delves into an example of that. Author Sophie Jordan writes a very well done novel exploring the possibility of being able to test DNA to see...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

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