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Staff Reviews: Teen fiction

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: 'Iron Widow'

"Iron Widow" by Xiran Jay Zhao

★★★★★ Action-packed and brimming with righteous fury, the plot of this novel will take the reader through a unique blend of Chinese mythology, modern anime themes and superhero-like action sequences. The narrator Zetian is a young, spirited powerhouse bent on destroying the unfair patriarchal systems that caused the death of her sister at the start...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: fiction, science fiction, mythology, chinese mythology, fantasy, futuristic

Cover: 'The Song of Achilles'

"The Song of Achilles" by Madeline Miller

★★★★★ This is a beautifully-written romantic interpretation of the tragedy of Achilles and Patroclus, this time told from Patroclus' perspective. It tells of his childhood, how he met Achilles, and their time growing up together. The classic story sees new life in the form of modern prose adorned with heaps of beautiful imagery that pays homage to Homeric...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: fiction, romance, historical fiction, tragedy, lgbt

Cover: 'The Dead and the Dark'

"The Dead and the Dark" by Courtney Gould

★★★★★ One chapter in and I was immediately hooked on this story about a family who move to a small town called Snakebite for their latest ghost hunting investigation. But when Logan and her dads show up, it immediately becomes clear that not everything is as it seems. Something is wrong with this town, and it's not just their extreme distrust and disrespect of...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'House of Hollow'

"House of Hollow" by Krystal Sutherland

★★★★★ How would you live your life if you and your two sisters mysteriously vanished when you were young, only to return a month later with no memory of what happened and nothing but identical scars on your throats? Soon after returning, all their eyes turn black and their hair turns stark white, but the mystery of what happened is never found. Iris chooses...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, young adult

Cover: 'Dairy Queen'

"Dairy Queen" by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

★★★★★ This book was so true to life about a teen girl growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. The author writes with detail about the daily and seasonal work that always needs to be done on the farm. Throw in some unexpected happenings like illness or surgery and the daily routine changes for everyone.  DJ finds herself in charge of many chores while her...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'One Was Lost'

"One Was Lost" by Natalie D. Richards

★★★★★ In this intense young adult thriller, a small group of students are hiking on a senior field trip. When a flash flood cuts off three students from the other four, the students quickly realize this is no ordinary field trip. When they wake up dazed with their supplies missing and chilling words written on their wrists, they realize they're not alone in the...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Clap When You Land'

"Clap When You Land" by Elizabeth Acevedo

★★★★★ This novel, written in verse, follows Camino Rios in the Dominican Republic and Yahaira Rios in New York City. Both are unaware that the other exists, but as Yahaira's father leaves on his usual summer flight to the Dominican Republic, Camino will soon find out her father's plane will never land. Yahaira and Camino's worlds collide when they soon find out...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Chaotic Good'

"Chaotic Good" by Whiteny Gardner

★★★★ All Cameron wants to do is design clothes. She can knit socks, deconstruct a sweater and sew a straight hem. Designing clothes and costumes for superhero movies is her dream job. But when she visits the local comic shop in her new town, she’s shocked at the way she’s treated when she enters. All she wants is some reference pictures to help her create her...

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

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: '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: '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: '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: '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: '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: '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

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