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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: 'Need'

"Need" by Joelle Charbonneau

★★★★ The teens in Nottawa Wisconsin high school are joining the newest, hottest networking site and answering one question: what do you need. In exchange for a minor task, the NEED site will fulfill their request. One of the teens, Kaylee, is desperate to help her brother who needs a new kidney. Others are asking for backstage passes to a concert, new iPhones...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Dumplin''

"Dumplin'" by Julie Murphy

★★★★★ Sixteen-year-old Willowdean Dickson (“Dumplin’” to her mother) is not afraid to describe herself as a “fat girl,” and she is comfortable in her own skin until her attractive and athletic workplace crush (Bo) shows an interest in her. She is horrified to realize that she is more self-conscious about her body now that she is the object of someone’s attraction...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'My Diary from the Edge of the World'

"My Diary from the Edge of the World" by Jodi Lynn Anderson

★★★★★ Gracie Lockwood lives in Cliffden, Maine, an ordinary enough sounding city, but it is anything but ordinary. Her world is populated with flying dragons, sasquatches, giants, mermaids, witches and angels. Gracie loves her home, but when the dreaded Dark Cloud begins hanging around, apparently in search of her sickly brother Sam, her family flees in a...

Audience: children, teens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'Their Fractured Light'

"Their Fractured Light" by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

★★★★★ Two years ago, Tarver and Lilac survived the Icarus crash that was planned by LaRoux Industries. One year ago Flynn and Jubilee shared the truth about the corrupt LaRoux Industries with the entire galaxy after an investigation on the planet Verona. In the final installment of the Starbound trilogy, we meet Sofia and Gideon. Sofia is looking to kill Roderick...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, fantasy, science fiction

Cover: 'The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly'

"The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly" by Stephanie Oakes

★★★★★ When the reader first meets Minnow Bly, she is being arrested for beating a homeless man. From that moment on, we are swept into the world of Minnow Bly. When Minnow was young, her family joined a the Cult of Kevin. Being a Kevinian meant believing the stories that the Prophet told about God and the outside world, including the fact that the those on the...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, award-winning, morris award winner, realistic

Cover: 'Between the World and Me'

"Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates

★★★★★ In this letter to his adolescent son, Coates reflects upon what it means to grow up and live in the United States while inhabiting a black body. It is a combination of history, social commentary, and memoir as Coates explains to his son the complexities of his own journey to adulthood and explores the larger context of the history of race in the United...

Audience: teens | Genre: nonfiction, award-winning, alex award winner

Cover: 'Forgotten Bones:  Uncovering a Slave Cemetery'

"Forgotten Bones: Uncovering a Slave Cemetery" by Lois Miner Huey

★★★★★ I'm always curious about the past and how important it is recognize the impact the past has on the present. This book, "Forgotten Bones: Uncovering a Slave Cemetery" really piqued my curiosity. I enjoy reading about how these relics from the past are discovered and analyzed. In this case, the cemetery is located near Albany, NY, and discovered during an...

Audience: teens | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Blackthorn Key'

"The Blackthorn Key" by Kevin Sands

★★★★★ An orphan, Christopher Rowe feels lucky to be chosen as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn, a great and kind apothecary. In order to keep recipes for his medicines and potions secret, his master uses complex codes and puzzles which Christopher is being taught to decipher. But when his master is brutally killed and a strange cult appears to be...

Audience: children, teens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'Illuminae'

"Illuminae" by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

★★★★★ It’s a good thing that seventeen-year-old Kady broke up with her boyfriend that morning. If she hadn’t broken up with Ezra, she wouldn’t have driven to school that day. She and Ezra survived the attack on their tiny plant of Kerenza by BeiTech Industries because they were able to make it to the port and escape with others on three different vessels. Kady is...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, science fiction

Cover: 'Winter'

"Winter" by Marissa Meyer

★★★★★ In the final installment of The Lunar Chronicles, Princess Winter joins Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress in a revolution to bring down her evil stepmother, Queen Levana. Winter is beautiful, kind, and the people of Luna adore her. When Levana orders Winter's death due to her beauty and popularity, Winter escapes thanks to Jacin, her lifetime friend and love...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'All the Rage'

"All the Rage" by Courtney Summers

★★★★★ Romy Grey is an outcast and has been branded a liar because she accused Kellan Turner, the eldest son of the county sheriff and the head of a national automotive parts chain, of sexually assaulting her. The sheriff blamed Romy for what he deemed a consensual encounter—after all, she had been “chasing him,” and wasn’t her attire and inebriated state evidence...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, realistic

Cover: 'The Rest of Us Just Live Here'

"The Rest of Us Just Live Here" by Patrick Ness

★★★★ Mikey and his small, close knit group of friends live in a world where extraordinary and unbelievable things happen on a regular basis. As Mike and his friends navigate their senior year of high school, strange supernatural events continue to occur while a bunch of other kids systematically die. Although his group is never the hero of the story and their...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Walls Around Us'

"The Walls Around Us" by Nova Ren Suma

★★★★★ Ballerinas, a juvenile detention facility, and a murder--what happened the day two ballerinas were found dead with Ori and Violet at the scene? Ori is the best ballerina at the studio, earning all the solos and leading roles, while her best friend Violet is always in the background. Ori comes from an unstable, poor home, while Violet has adoring, well-off...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'All the Bright Places'

"All the Bright Places" by Jennifer Niven

★★★★★ Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, and Finch calmly provides directions that bring Violet back to solid ground. Violet, in turn, directs him. Finch, who already has a reputation as a “freak” is content to let the world believe the Violet is the hero. Violet, who is struggling with the death of her sister the previous spring (as...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Carry On'

"Carry On" by Rainbow Rowell

★★★★ Simon Snow is “The Chosen One,” or so he’s always told by his mentor, the Mage of the Magickal World. Simon wants to enjoy his senior year at the Watford School of Magicks, but being “The Chosen One” means being attacked by the Humdrum, an evil being who wants to take down Simon and is leaving magical dead spots all over the world. Besides the Humdrum,...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'The Girl at Midnight'

"The Girl at Midnight" by Melissa Grey

★★★★★ Seventeen-year-old Echo is resourceful, quick-witted, and quick on her feet, which serves her well as a pickpocket and a thief who is navigating the real world via methods of the magical world. Having fled abusive parents at a young age, then seven-year-old Echo’s path intersected with a mysterious figure, Ala, late one night at New York City Public Library...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Crenshaw'

"Crenshaw" by Katherine Applegate

★★★★★ Crenshaw is a humongous, black and white cat who surfs, does tricks, takes bubble baths, speaks words of wisdom and appears when Jackson needs him most. Crenshaw is also imaginary. Jackson, who is almost in fifth grade, is beginning to see all the signs, even though his parents don’t really talk about it. Often there is no food, his parents aren’t able to...

Audience: children, teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Mosquitoland'

"Mosquitoland" by David Arnold

★★★★★ Her name is Mary Iris Malone (though she prefers Mim), and she is not OK. Why isn’t she ok? Events of the last year or so in order: her parents divorced, her dad remarried, her mom moved to Cleveland, and Mim reluctantly moved with her dad and step-mother to Mississippi, which she has dubbed Mosquitoland. She’s not allowed to contact her mom. Also, her dad...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The 5th Wave'

"The 5th Wave" by Rick Yancey

★★★★★ Cassie’s world is under assault by alien intruders. It is a world without electricity, which was knocked out by the first wave. The coasts were decimated by tsunamis in the second. Third was a bioweapon in the form of an illness with a 97% kill rate. The fourth wave is Silencers—assassins who exterminate any humans who survived. Cassie is convinced that...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, science fiction, survival

Cover: 'The Eighth Day'

"The Eighth Day" by Dianne K. Salerni, David McClellan

★★★★ In this fantasy adventure, thirteen-year-old orphan Jax Aubrey discovers a secret eighth day. The eighth day is an extra twenty-four hours between Wednesday and Thursday. Jax along with other gifted people live on the eighth day, an extra day of the week. Jax meets a mysterious girl named Evangeline imprisoned next door locked in the eighth day. The girl is...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'This Shattered World'

"This Shattered World" by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

★★★★★ Captain Jubilee “Lee” Chase is a soldier serving on the politically volatile planet of Avon and tasked with keeping order and maintaining the current cease fire. Flynn Cormac is a leader within the rebel group, but he would rather negotiate than attempt a violent rebellion. Circumstances bring the formidable Chase and pacifist rebel together, and, despite...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, science fiction

Cover: 'No One Else Can Have You'

"No One Else Can Have You" by Kathleen Hale

★★★★★ Seventeen-year-old Kippy Bushman is reeling from the murder of her best friend Ruth, not to mention the revelations in Ruth’s diary. Ruth’s boyfriend—Colt Widdacombe—seems like the perfect suspect—he has a history of violent behavior and a sense of entitlement that might lead him to believe he could get away with it. However, Kippy is convinced that the...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Dead to Me'

"Dead to Me" by Mary McCoy

★★★★★ Sixteen-year-old Alice has been waiting for four years for her older sister Annie to come home. Alice knew one thing—her wealthy, reputation-conscious, Hollywood-insider parents had not been truthful about the reasons for then sixteen-year-old Annie’s rebellious departure. Summoned to her comatose sister’s hospital bedside, Alice decides that she cannot...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'We Are All Made of Molecules'

"We Are All Made of Molecules" by Susin Nielsen

★★★★ This is the story of a modern blended family. Thirteen-year-old Stewart, his widowed father Leonard, and his cat Schopenhauer move into the home of Caroline and her fourteen-year-old daughter, Ashley. Caroline’s ex-husband lives in the Laneway home in their backyard. Academically gifted student Stewart is transferring from his private school where being...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, realistic

Cover: 'Love Letters to the Dead'

"Love Letters to the Dead" by Ava Dellaira

★★★★★ When prompted by her English teacher to write a letter to a dead person, Laurel writes a letter to Kurt Cobain, who was her sister May’s favorite musician. It proves to be a therapeutic and deeply personal exercise, so Laurel decides not to turn in the assignment and continues to write letters to a variety of dead people (such as Amelia Earhart, John Keats...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, yalsa top 10, award-winning

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