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TeenZone

Staff Reviews: For Teens

Check out these book reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring reviews of fiction and nonfiction for teens! (For reviews of books for all ages, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) These book reviews also are published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.


'Heartless' by Marissa Meyer

"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: Fiction With Adult Appeal

'Gemina' by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

"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: Fiction With Adult Appeal

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

"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, Nonfiction

'The Girl From Everywhere' by Heidi Heilig

"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

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

"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 Novels, Superheros

'After the Woods' by Kim Savage

"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

'Uninvited' by Sophie Jordan

"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

'An Ember in the Ashes' by Sabaa Tahir

"An Ember in the Ashes" by Sabaa Tahir

★★★★ This is the story of Elias, a soldier for the Martial Empire, and Laia, a slave for the Martial Empire. Their lives are separate and lived with separate purpose until their paths cross. They begin to realize that they are much more similar than they once had thought and destiny seems to lead them to one another. As a debut novel by this newcomer to the...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fiction With Adult Appeal

'The Weight of Feathers' by Anna-Marie McLemore

"The Weight of Feathers" by Anna-Marie McLemore

★★★★★ This is a story of feuding families, superstition, love, and a hint of magic. While it may strike familiar chords, this is a beautifully written story not to be missed. The Corbeau family, descendants of tight-rope walkers, has a traveling act that showcases their balancing skills as they artfully jump from one slender branch to another in the tallest trees...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Teen Awards, Morris Award Winner

'How It Went Down' by Kekla Magoon

"How It Went Down" by Kekla Magoon

★★★★★ Tariq Johnson hurried down the sidewalk, hunched over a bit carrying stuff and wearing a hoodie. A shopkeeper calls after him, and a bystander steps in to stop him, thinking Tariq stole something from the corner store. Someone says, “He’s got a gun,” and the bystander steps back, arms raised. He doesn’t see a gun when two shots are fired and Tariq Johnson...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Realistic

'The Shadow Hour' by Melissa Grey

"The Shadow Hour" by Melissa Grey

★★★★★ This follow up to "The Girl at Midnight" did not disappoint! Echo and her diverse crew may have survived their quest to discover the firebird, but the promised peace is a distant promise at best. Hidden away in a London safe house, they’ve escaped the detection of the two warring races (the Avicen and Drakharin) who covet the firebird and consider them...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Action Adventure, Fantasy, Romance

'Every Last Word' by Tamara Ireland Stone

"Every Last Word" by Tamara Ireland Stone

★★★★★ Samantha is not looking forward to the start of her junior year of high school. She enjoys the freedom of summer, particularly the freedom she finds on her summer swim team, where she can be “Sam” and can escape the scrutiny of her cadre of cool girl/mean girl friends, the Crazy Eights, who insist upon calling her Samantha. Then she meets Caroline, who is...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction

'Hour of the Bees' by Lindsay Eagar

"Hour of the Bees" by Lindsay Eagar

★★★★★ A whole summer stuck in the intensely hot New Mexican desert helping her parents clear out her grandparents' sheep ranch and move her ailing, dementia-ridden, temperamental grandfather, who she has never even met before, is not even remotely what twelve-year-old Carol (Carolina) expected or wanted to be doing with her summer. Then she meets her grandfather...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction

'The Forbidden Orchid' by Sharon Biggs Waller

"The Forbidden Orchid" by Sharon Biggs Waller

★★★★★ As the eldest daughter of ten in a rural village in 1861 England, Elodie knows and fulfills society’s expectations by helping her mother and caring for her younger sisters. Her father, who hunts exotic plants in China, is rarely home except for his annual Christmas visits. Elodie shares his interest in science and botany and makes the small greenhouse at...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fiction With Adult Appeal

'The Shadow Queen' by C. J. Redwine

"The Shadow Queen" by C. J. Redwine

★★★★ For nine years, Lorelai, Crown Princess of Ravenspire, and her younger brother Leo have been living as fugitives presumed dead. With former servant Gabril as their mentor and advisor, they have quietly been planning their challenge to the evil queen’s throne. Queen Irina, their aunt and step-mother, uses dark magic to keep control of the kingdom, draining...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

'Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories' by Stephanie Perkins

"Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories" by Stephanie Perkins

★★★★★ "Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom." Summer is here and so is the latest young adult short story collection edited by Stephanie Perkins. This is a great summer companion to Perkins' other anthology, "My True Love Gave to Me", which...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Romance, Short Stories

'Vivian Apple at the End of the World' by Katie Coyle

"Vivian Apple at the End of the World" by Katie Coyle

★★★★★ Unlike her parents, who are devoted followers of the Church of America and the teachings of Beaton Frick, sixteen-year-old Vivian Apple does not believe the prophesized Rapture event will occur, and she attends a Rapture’s Eve party at the home of her friend Harp. However, Vivian returns home the next morning to discover two holes in the roof and no sign of...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction

'Emmy and Oliver' by Robin Benway

"Emmy and Oliver" by Robin Benway

★★★★★ On a Friday before a three day weekend in second grade, Emmy, Drew, and Caro saw their friend Oliver get into his father’s car for a regular weekend visit. Oliver’s father abducted him, and it would be ten years before Oliver re-entered their lives. The book, which is told from Emmy’s point-of-view, starts with news that Oliver has been found and explores...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction

'Lady Renegades' by Rachel Hawkins

"Lady Renegades" by Rachel Hawkins

★★★★ This final installment of the Rebel Belle trilogy finds Harper trying to adjust to normal life months after David, fearing his growing powers, fled Pine Grove. Then a teen girl with paladin powers appears out of the blue and attacks Harper as a threat to David. Concerned that David is creating additional paladins intent on destroying her, Harper sets off on...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Paranormal, Series

'Trouble Is a Friend of Mine' by Stephanie Tromly

"Trouble Is a Friend of Mine" by Stephanie Tromly

★★★★★ Sixteen-year-old Zoe Webster still can’t quite believe how her life has changed. After her parents divorced, she and her mom moved from Manhattan to a small town in upstate New York where she does not fit in. She can’t wait to get out and sees mid-year admission to an exclusive private high school in Manhattan as her ticket out. Then she meets Digby, who is...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction

'Falling into Place' by Amy Zhang

"Falling into Place" by Amy Zhang

★★★★★ Liz Emerson planned her car “accident” carefully. She was determined not to be found by a loved one or provide any indication that her accident was actually suicide—she did not want the people she cared about to carry the burden of wondering what they could have done. Despite the fact Liz executed her plan, Newton’s laws of motion had escaped her and she...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction

'Dogtag Summer' by Elizabeth Partridge

"Dogtag Summer" by Elizabeth Partridge

★★★★ Tracey (Tuyet) is “con lai”, half breed; she has been told that she has the face of the enemy. Half Vietnamese and half American, her father was an American soldier serving in Vietnam. Adopted by an American family in California, she is not sure where or how she fits in. With the help of her best friend Stargazer she begins searching. When they discover an...

Audience: Children, Teens | Genre: Fiction

'A Night Divided' by Jennifer A. Nielsen

"A Night Divided" by Jennifer A. Nielsen

★★★★ Overnight, twelve-year-old Gerta’s world changed and her family was divided, forever it seemed. She woke up one August Sunday morning to a barbed-wire wall dividing East and West Berlin. Just a few days earlier, her father, a member of the Resistance movement, and brother Dominic became trapped on the other side of the wall after traveling to West Berlin a...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

'Nothing Bad Is Going to Happen' by Kathleen Hale

"Nothing Bad Is Going to Happen" by Kathleen Hale

★★★★ Kippy Bushman is still recovering from the physical and psychological damage caused by her investigation into her best friend Ruth’s death. She and her father have a rocky relationship, her former tormenter Libby is the closest thing she has to a friend, and the sociopath who killed her friend Ruth continues to contact her. At least things are going well...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'The Rosemary Spell' by Virginia Zimmerman

"The Rosemary Spell" by Virginia Zimmerman

★★★★★ Books and words have always been important to Rosemary and her best friend Adam, so when they discover an extremely old book in a locked cabinet in her father’s old study, they are excited beyond words. Is it perhaps a secret, magical, ancient book? Did it once belong to Shakespeare or perhaps to Constance Brooke, an elderly poet suffering from Alzheimer’s...

Audience: Children, Teens | Genre: Fiction

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