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TeenZone

Staff Reviews: Teen Award-Winning

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.


'Far From the Tree'  by  Robin Benway

"Far From the Tree" by Robin Benway

★★★★ What exactly is a family? Are they your biological relatives? The people who raised you? Or are they the people you choose to surround yourself with every day? Far From the Tree explores the idea of family in all its forms as it follows three siblings who reconnect as teenagers after being given up for adoption in infancy. There's 17 year-old...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult, YA Fiction With Adult Appeal, Award-Winning

'The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly'  by  Stephanie Oakes

"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

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

"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

'Love Letters to the Dead'  by  Ava Dellaira

"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

'The Martian'  by  Andy Weir

"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

'Gabi, a Girl in Pieces'  by  Isabel Quintero

"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

'In the Shadow of Blackbirds'  by  Cat Winters

"In the Shadow of Blackbirds" by Cat Winters

★★★★★ This powerful debut from Cat Winters is unforgettable! Set in 1918 during the peak of the Spanish influenza pandemic, the story follows Mary Shelley Black, who moves to San Diego after her father's arrest. Mary Shelley moves in with her widowed aunt, who is fascinated by séances and a local spirit photographer. Mary Shelley struggles with the constant fear...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Award-Winning, Morris Award Winner, YA Fiction With Adult Appeal

'I'll Give You the Sun'  by  Jandy Nelson

"I'll Give You the Sun" by Jandy Nelson

★★★★★ Fraternal twins Noah and Jude have always sworn loyalty to each other above anyone else, but events during the summer before they start eighth grade and the months that follow fracture their relationship. Jumping ahead three years, we see that the artistic, socially-isolated Noah, who had constantly expressed himself through drawing (whether just in his...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, YA Fiction With Adult Appeal, Award-Winning, Printz Award Winner

'Kingdom of Little Wounds'  by  Susann Cokal

"Kingdom of Little Wounds" by Susann Cokal

★★★★★ Susan Cokal's "Kingdom of Little Wounds" is not for the faint of heart. Some reviewers have proclaimed that this is not a book for teens, in spite of its Printz Award. The book charts the course of the imaginary Scandinavian kingdom of Skyggehaven beginning with the oldest living daughter's wedding to seal a treaty. At the wedding feast, the queen rips the...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Award-Winning, Printz Award Winner, YA Fiction With Adult Appeal

'Grasshopper Jungle'  by  Andrew Smith

"Grasshopper Jungle" by Andrew Smith

★★★★★ Printz winners tend to be edgy and controversial. "Grasshopper Jungle" by Andrew Smith is no different. Set in a small Iowa town, "Grasshopper Jungle," at its simplest is the end of the world as we know it wrapped around a coming of age story, but that description just doesn't do it justice. Austin and his friend Robby break into the local second hand shop...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Award-Winning, Printz Award Winner, Science Fiction, YALSA Top 10

'We Should Hang Out Sometime'  by  Josh Sundquist

"We Should Hang Out Sometime" by Josh Sundquist

★★★★★ In his autobiography, Josh Sundquist asks each of the girls he "hung out with" since Middle School to see why they never went to the boyfriend/girlfriend stage. His background on each of the girls he liked, as well as his investigation is filled with humor and graphs.  This book, for ages 12 and up, is an engaging book that causes one to think...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Nonfiction, Award-Winning, YALSA Top 10

'An Abundance of Katherines'  by  John Green

"An Abundance of Katherines" by John Green

★★★★★ Colin Singleton is a highly intelligent child prodigy who finds himself repeatedly dumped by girls named Katherine. While on a road trip with his best friend, Colin seeks to prove a theorem that will help predict the future of any relationship. A wild boar, ten thousand dollars in cash, and other escapades add to the adventure of this coming-of-age tale....

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Award-Winning, Printz Award Winner

'This One Summer'  by  Mariko Tamaki

"This One Summer" by Mariko Tamaki

★★★★★ Every summer Rose and her parents visit Awago Beach.  There are the timeless jokes (Rose's father jokes about Rose being born at the turkey farm) and the old summer only friends, in Rose's case, Windy.  This summer is different.  Rose's mom and dad aren't getting along and Rose thinks she knows why:  Rose's mom wants to have another baby...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Realistic, Award-Winning, Printz Award Winner

'Looking for Alaska'  by  John Green

"Looking for Alaska" by John Green

★★★★ This story follows the main character, Miles, a.k.a.  “Pudge “ as he leaves his public school in Florida and travels to Culver Creek, a boarding school in Alabama.  He is on a quest to seek his “Great Perhaps,” or his greatest journey that could be if only he just tries.  He is paired with the roommate, who goes by  “The Colonel,” and...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Romance, Tragedy, Award-Winning, Printz Award Winner