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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: '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

Cover: 'The Martian'

"The Martian" by Andy Weir

★★★★★ I just had to write a quick review of “The Martian” by Andy Weir after recently seeing that they have made it into a movie to be released soon!  The book has everything that a science fiction reader could ask for. It’s a story of a man getting stranded on Mars, which we all know is not a very human friendly place to be. He must survive for a long...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: fiction, science fiction, award-winning, alex award winner

Cover: 'Beastkeeper'

"Beastkeeper" by Cat Hellisen

★★★★★ Snow is predicted and her mother is freezing, so Sarah immediately looks for signs that they’re moving as they always do when it turns cold. But this time her mother walks out without Sarah and her dad. As she’s struggling to cope without her mother, her grieving father starts changing into a hairy, wild creature. Before he transforms completely, he drops...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'March: Book Two'

"March: Book Two" by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell

★★★★★ "March: Book Two" is the second graphic novel in a trilogy that recounts the Civil Rights movement from the perspective of Congressman John Lewis, a key figure of the movement. This volume picks up the story in late 1960 in Nashville and recounts events including the Freedom Rides in 1961, Lewis’s incarceration in Mississippi, and the March on Washington in...

Audience: teens | Genre: nonfiction, graphic novel

Cover: 'Sold'

"Sold" by Patricia McCormick

★★★★★ Even though this book addresses a topic that is hard to read about, "Sold" is one of the best books I have read in awhile. The prose was beautifully told in verse, making it a quick read. A story about human trafficking is one I have never heard before, but one that needs to be told. Lakshmi is sold into human trafficking by her debt-ridden stepfather. Not...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, novel in verse

Cover: 'Gabi, a Girl in Pieces'

"Gabi, a Girl in Pieces" by Isabel Quintero

★★★★★ Entering her senior year of high school, Gabi, a Mexican-American girl, tries to make sense of her teenaged world. Gabi's life is not short of drama: her best friend Cindy is pregnant, her other best friend Sebastian just got kicked out of his parents house after coming out, her dad is addicted to meth, and Gabi feels shamed for being a girl by her over-...

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

Cover: 'Paper Towns'

"Paper Towns" by John Green

★★★★★ Graduation is rapidly approaching, and Quentin, a fairly well-adjusted senior, has his future planned out—skip prom (why bother?), go to graduation, and start at Duke University at the fall. He is not one to take risks or draw attention. Then his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, childhood playmate, current acquaintance, and long-time unrequited crush, comes...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl'

"Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" by Jesse Andrews

★★★★★ Greg Gaines is a high school senior who has mastered the art of blending into the social woodwork at school. He’s friendly with the many cliques and social strata while being careful not to appear allied to any single faction. His limited experience with girls in junior high was unsuccessful, so he’s given up on dating during high school. His only friend—...

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

Cover: 'Red Queen'

"Red Queen" by Victoria Aveyard

★★★★ Looking for a new dystopian series? Give this excellent debut novel a try! Mare Barrow is a thief living in a village with the rest of her family, born into poverty because of the color of her blood. The Reds are a lower caste than the aristocratic Silvers, who have superhero-esque abilities in addition to silver blood. Mare is offered a chance to work...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, dystopian, ya fiction with adult appeal

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