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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: 'Bones of Faerie'

"Bones of Faerie" by Janni Lee Simner

★★★ Folklore and post-apocalyptic fiction collide in "Bones of Faerie," a young adult novel by Janni Lee Simner. Liza is a teenage girl who lives in a world greatly affected by a war that took place several years before she was born. This war was between the world as we know it and Faerie, a realm where magic is commonplace and nature supersedes technology...

Audience: children, teens, tweens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'Glass Town: The Imaginary World of the Brontes'

"Glass Town: The Imaginary World of the Brontes" by Isabel Greenberg

★★★★ This graphic novel of historical fiction is an excellent blend of fantasy and reality. In the prologue, readers meet Charlotte Brontë in 1849. As the only survivor of her siblings, she is haunted by memories of their make-believe kingdoms Glass Town and Gondal. These memories come in the form of a conversation between Charlotte and her character Charles...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: graphic novel

Cover: 'Greenwood'

"Greenwood" by Michael Christie

★★★★ Author Michael Christie's novel tells the story of four generations of the Greenwood family, whose lives all revolve around trees: Jake, a guide through one of the last old-growth forests to survive the Great Withering; her father Liam, a carpenter who grew up wandering the wilds of Canada with his mother Willow, a dedicated but non-violent eco-warrior...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, far Away...'

"A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, far Away..." by Paul Hirsch

★★★★ Oscar-winning editor Paul Hirsch breaks down his career movie-by-movie, and in the process provides an inside look at an integral part of making movies, but one that seldom receives much attention. Directors, actors, score composers and even cinematographers receive praise (or criticism) for movies they make, but the editor is the one responsible...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, movies

Cover: 'The Invisible War'

"The Invisible War" by Ailsa Wild

★★★★ World War I was a time of great changes when it came to warfare - from mustard gas to the Browning Automatic Rifle, the way the world fought wars had changed. Unfortunately, medical science hadn't caught up with many of these changes. Soldiers suffered from debilitating wounds that often led to a slow, painful death or traumatic amputations. Many soldiers...

Audience: teens, tweens | Genre: graphic novel, nonfiction

Cover: 'The Sun Is Also a Star'

"The Sun Is Also a Star" by Nicola Yoon

★★★★★ Natasha is going to be deported at 10pm tonight. Daniel has an interview that he isn't interested in attending as his parents are. Is it fate or coincidence that Natasha and Daniel meet this morning? To Natasha it is pure coincidence but for Daniel, it's meant to be. As the day unfolds and they learn more and more about one another, and...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Faithful Spy'

"The Faithful Spy" by John Hendrix

★★★★★ This creative, colorful, biography tells the life story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor, a member of the German Resistance, and double agent working for the Abwehr during World War II. Bonhoeffer opposed Hitler’s ideology of Aryan supremacy early on in his rise to power, long before the outbreak of the second world war. He watched with...

Audience: children, teens, tweens | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Norroway'

"Norroway" by Kit and Cat Seaton

★★★★★ Once upon a time, a mother with three daughters decided it was time for them to marry. "Look out the back door and the first thing you see is your destiny." The first daughter sees a wealthy farmer.  The second daughters sees a fine prince.  The third daughter sees a large black bull.  So begins the fairy tale, "The Black Bull of Norroway...

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

Cover: 'Oh My Goth'

"Oh My Goth" by Gena Showalter

★★★★ Ever since Jade Leighton's mother died in a car crash, she's been working hard on shutting down and blocking people out, convinced that making connections with people would only cause her more pain.  Feeling like an outside, Jade dresses as a goth, with plenty of black, and has made "friends" with other outsider goth students at her school....

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, slice of life

Cover: 'Pandemic'

"Pandemic" by Connie Goldsmith

★★★★★ I love a good book about pandemics. For whatever reason, they fascinate me. Learning the reasons behind the Black Death or Ebola can be an adventure story and "Pandemic" covers everything you need to know.  This book was very readable, with great pictures of viruses, bacteria and  insects, as well as interesting side notes that help clarify...

Audience: children, teens | Genre: nonfiction, epidemics, health

Cover: 'The Price Guide to the Occult'

"The Price Guide to the Occult" by Leslye Walton

★★★★★ Rona Blackburn's daughters, granddaughters and great granddaughters have lived on Anathema Island for many years. Rona's powerful witchcraft has been passed down to each daughter, yet each one only inherits one of Rona's mysterious powers. Nor Blackburn wants to live a quiet unremarkable life, so when she's gifted with the ability to hear the plants,...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, urban fantasy, witchcraft

Cover: 'The Ravenous'

"The Ravenous" by Amy Lukavics

★★★★★ To outsiders, the Cane girls are a lovely group of five sisters.  Transferring from base to base, following their itinerant father, who is often gone, the girls stick together no matter what.  So what if their home life is chaotic and dysfunctional.  As long as everything looks ok, it will be.  Juliet is the oldest, a pianist who gave up...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: realistic, family drama, horror

Cover: 'Sadie'

"Sadie" by Courtney Summers

★★★★★ Sadie is alone in the world.  Her sister was murdered and her mother has abandoned them.  With nothing to lose, Sadie sets out to find the person she believes is responsible for her sister's death.  Told from two perspectives, Sadie's own and from the perspective of a podcast producer/narrator, this novel is an intricate puzzle.  The...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, realistic

Cover: 'All the Things That Could Go Wrong'

"All the Things That Could Go Wrong" by Stewart Foster

★★★★★ Seventh-grade student Alex worries about everything, including worrying about worrying, but mostly about everyone dying and all the germs on people and surfaces everywhere. He always wears gloves and washes his hands compulsively, so much so that his skin is cracked, raw, and painful. Because of his OCD he is picked on at school and bullied repeatedly,...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'I Am Still Alive'

"I Am Still Alive" by Kate Alice Marshall

★★★★★ Jess Cooper is still alive, for now. Suffering from injuries from an accident that claimed the life of her mother, Jess is shuffled off to her only surviving relative, her father, who she hardly remembers, and who, she discovers, is living much further off-the-grid than she ever could have imagined. She hates it in the middle of nowhere and desperately...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Hearts Beat Loud'

"Hearts Beat Loud" (DVD)

★★★★ Frank (Nick Offerman) is a middle-aged single father whose life is on the verge of change. He’s considering closing his small Brooklyn record store due to poor sales and his daughter, Sam (Kiersey Clemons), is just weeks away from going off to college in California to study medicine. Both lovers of music, Frank and Sam write and record a song one night in...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: movies

Cover: 'Half-Witch'

"Half-Witch" by John Schoffstall

★★★★ Lizbet Lenz and her father Gerhard, a very unsuccessful magician, are always moving from town to town, usually quite speedily before being thrown out. Her father’s spells always seem to turn out wrong so they are forced to flee, but when they arrive in Abalia, Lizbeth, desperately tired of all the moving, really hopes they can stay. But after yet another...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Fat Angie'

"Fat Angie" by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo

★★★★ Angie has issues:  her parents'' divorce, her annoying older brother, her missing presumed dead sister, the bullies at school, her weight.  Angie''s life changes  when KC arrives at school.  KC is everything Angie''s not, but that doesn't stop them from becoming friends.  As their friendship blossoms into a romance, Angie must...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Prim Improper'

"Prim Improper" by Deirdre Sullivan

★★★★★ Meet Primrose “Prim” Leary, the quirky and charming 13-year-old star of Deirdre Sullivan’s Prim Improper.  Prim is coping with the sudden loss of her mother, and you might expect a story like this to be dark and brooding, but Prim tells her tale (in diary form) with a precocious and wittily observant voice that delves into sensitive – and even...

Audience: children, teens, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Leah on the Offbeat'

"Leah on the Offbeat" by Becky Albertalli

★★★ In this direct sequel to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the focus shifts from Simon to one of his best friends, Leah Burke. It’s about a year after the conclusion of Simon, and Leah and her friends are in the home stretch of their senior year. The gang experiences visiting colleges, getting ready for prom and figuring out how they’ll stay in each other’...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, contemporary fiction, lgbt

Cover: 'And She Was'

"And She Was" by Jessica Verdi

★★★ 18 year-old Dara Baker is a recent high school graduate with big dreams. Living in a small town in New York with her mother, Mellie, Dara has aspired to be a pro tennis star as long as she can remember. She’s on the verge of entering her first major tournament when she finds out a shocking secret: Mellie is transgender and is actually her biological father...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, contemporary fiction, ya fiction with adult appeal, lgbt

Cover: 'Mary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein'

"Mary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein" by Lita Judge

★★★★★ Dark and beautiful watercolor illustrations bring Mary Shelley's biography to life in this captivating graphic novel. Told in verse, this was a quick read and peek into Mary Shelley's odd, dark, and intense life. Mary was barely sixteen when she left home to follow the man she loved, the married Percy Shelley. It was a daring move for a 19th century British...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, biography, horror

Cover: 'The Upside of Unrequited'

"The Upside of Unrequited" by Becky Albertalli

★★★ Molly and Cassie are 17 year-old fraternal twins who have always been extremely close. But ever since Cassie started dating her girlfriend, Mina, the two sisters have started drifting apart. Molly feels like she’s being left behind and longs for a boyfriend to share her life with and spend time with. The thing is, Molly has had 25 crushes so far in her...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, contemporary fiction, romance

Cover: 'Frogkisser!'

"Frogkisser!" by Garth Nix

★★★★★ Anya is a princess in a tough situation but with quite a gift. She is the Frogkisser. When Rikard, her evil, power-hungry, sorcerer stepfather takes over the kingdom of Trallonia and begins transforming people that get in his way into frogs, lizards and other critters, Anya discovers she has a magic gift all her own. With some magic lip balm and the...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

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