Lin Manuel-Miranda and the Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton

An exciting musical unlike any before. Bringing together these unlikely genres – hip hop, theatre, and history — with a diverse cast of people from various races playing the founding fathers, Hamilton is changing history.

With its Original Broadway Cast Recording available to all, makes it feel as if you too, are there watching the show. Follow the lesser known story of Alexander Hamilton, an ambitious young man from the Caribbean who against all odds becomes an important role in the birth of a new nation and an important figure in American History.

He starts his journey meeting new boisterous friends and people of history, and joining the revolution under General George Washington’s command. With Aaron Burr, his friend and rival narrating parts of his story, Hamilton quickly rises above expectations, creating allies and enemies. He is a rebellious and arrogant protagonist whose portrayal is excellently fleshed out.

The quick pace of each of the songs, the thought in the lyrics, and the emotions in their voices will leave you entertained for hours, and teach you something too. There is a momentum in each of the songs that leaves you breathless and excited. With characters you love and hate, scenes that lift you up and break your heart, this musical will make you care about the Founding Fathers, even if they aren’t from your country. Hamilton is a musical that is changing history, and is absolutely worth a listen. – Danielle A.

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Zenn Diagram

Wendy Brant

Eva Walker is a math genius, who sees everyone and everything in her surroundings as explosive bombs filled with emotions. Eva possesses the ability to read all the secrets, insecurities and fears that individuals hold by simply touching someone or something that belongs to them. As this power becomes beneficial towards her math tutoring sessions with struggling students by touching their calculators, she also sees it as a curse where she learns that it is just best to keep her hands to herself to stay away from all the trouble. That is until she meets Zenn Bennett, who makes that nearly impossible. With Zenn giving Eva violent and dark visions, Eva cannot suppress her curiosity but to take risks to uncover Zenn’s past.

This book is of nothing more than forbidden love, inexplicable natural powers and dark pasts. It started off with such a casual encounter between the two main characters, but ended with a modern happy ending after facing their biggest hardships. I thought it was such a great book because the conflicts that Eva were encountering were so relatable to me and I love the connection between Eva and Zenn. The tension starts to build when the truth unfolds, as always, and it was so unexpected creating major plot twists. I definitely enjoyed reading this book and would recommend to other youth or young adults out there. However, I would like to give out a warning that there are graphic and inappropriate scenes for those of certain age (14 or under). Aside from all that, the plot is well put and it has a solid ground for the settings, characters and their backstories, and the little bits and pieces that help make the story flow. Overall, Zenn Diagram is great choice to read. – Angie C.

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One Dark Throne

Kendare Blake

The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent. In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

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The Way We Fall

Megan Crewe

16 year old Kaelyn lives on a small island along with her mom, dad and brother. Being the quieter type, she vows to speak out and interact with more people this year. Kaelyn writes a journal directed to her former long best friend Leo, who has left the island to attend school. She hopes to speak with him when he next visits.

However, a fatal epidemic no one has seen before begins to sweep the island. What starts off as a severe itch with coughing and sneezing, develops into the victim spilling their secrets and being terrified at something only they can see. With her father as a microbiologist on this small-scale island, Kaelyn hopes he will discover a cure for everyone who has been entangled in this severely contagious disease. But what started off looking bad now looks even worse.
The connection is soon broken off to the mainland, and power starts running out. The amount of people being admitted to the hospital overwhelms the nurses and doctors. Doctors start dying, as well as nurses, teachers, parents, and kids. The island is placed under quarantine and resources start running out. Homes become abandoned and the uninfected break in to scavenge what supplies are left in order to survive. The people Kaelyn has known her whole life and the ones she loves are slowly being taken away from her. Kaelyn becomes a fighter using her new found inner strength along with new bonds she has made.

This book is exciting, terrifying, and thrilling, as you know that everyone is terrified, but they keep pushing forward. The book had a bit of a slow beginning, but once involved in the plot and characters it is hard to put down! Many people can closely relate to the characters and/or the plot which makes this book appealing and unique. – Juliana M.

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Everything, Everything

Nicole Yoon

Madeline is sick, so sick she can’t leave her house. Madeline has a rare disease which makes her allergic to anything and therefore everything. Madeline is content with the life she lives and is happy with her mother and nurse, Carla. They play games together, she reads and does classes from skype and sometimes even meets her teachers in person for the special occasion. Madeline sometimes she wonders about the outside life and wishes for freedom, but she puts on a smile on her face for her mother who takes care of her. Madeline’s outlook is that she should only hope for things that she can have, until her new neighbours move in. Madeline is suddenly drawn to the new boy next door, Olly. Soon they start emailing and IMing. Finally Madeline’s nurse allows her to meet the new boy secretly without Madeline’s mother knowing and Madeline starts feeling new feelings she hasn’t before. Her heart starts beating faster, her stomach starts to flip. Her and Olly soon grow from new made friends to romantic interests, but something about Olly is different and makes Madeline realize that she isn’t living and she wants more. She realizes she wants to explore, even if it’s only for a day.

This book is one of the best books I have ever read in my entire life. Even the end made me hug the book for a good five minutes. Madeline is a girl who knows what she wants but she can die trying to get to her goals. The bravery that Madeline shows is important for everyone to acknowledge. She was such a strong character and she is a very good role model for all. The author of this book crafted it amazingly and I really really enjoyed it. – Fatima S.

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Pushing Perfect

Michelle Falkoff

Kara is the perfect girl. She wakes up with her perfect face, eats her perfect food, goes to her perfect school and gets prefect grades! Just one problem. She isn’t perfect, and that’s one of her biggest fears, not living up to people’s expectations. Kara always works hard and tries, but when she starts freaking out about her SATs and college prep, she decides to take a step out of the perfect pathway. She discovers an amazing pill which helps her with her panic attacks and makes her feel invincible. She swears to only take it once for her SATs and never again, but when someone catches her buying prescription drugs without a prescription from a fellow high school student, she fears the chances of making Harvard or any other school for that matter are very low. With that one picture, she is controlled by a trickster and becomes one of their minions. She soon discovers that she is not alone and that many have been blackmailed just like her to do things in this evil plot. With the help of her new friends and even some old ones, she tries to unravel the mystery which is bigger than anyone could have expected.

Pushing Perfect is definitely an enjoyable book, boring at times but always able to keep me reaching for the next page. The suspense was amazing, and watching Kara grow out of her comfort zone and go from a brainiac who lost her only friends to a socialite who is always on top of her grades and in control of her life is incredible. Kara has a very relatable personality and I think many teenagers will be able to relate to the pressures that she goes through as a student with high expectations set on her shoulders and not having the reassurance that she is able to live up to them perfectly like everyone thinks.

A lively book with the feelings of pressure into trying new things, sadness and loss of friends that everyone goes through sometimes, regret, love and betrayal form the people you trusted the most. – Fatima S.

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She Said / She Saw

Nora McClintock

This novel is told from two points of views: sisters Tegan and Kelly Tyrell, who have completely different interests. Tegan (the older sister) sees her life in a novel, but Kelly (the younger sister) views her life as if it is a movie. You can know which sister is narrating by the style and the name of the sister after the chapter’s number. The novel focuses on the shooting of Tegan’s best friends, Martin Genovese and Clark Carson, when they are driving home from a party in Clark’s car. Tegan, who was not shot and is the only witness, says that she did not see who did it. Unfortunately, nobody believes her; not the police, not the victims’ families, not her best friend, not even her sister Kelly. Everybody thinks that Tegan is hiding something and each person uses their own way to find it, which drives Tegan crazy because she claims that she has nothing to hide. The novel also shows the struggle Tegan experiences after seeing a murder and how her relationships with other people have changed after the incident. Tegan must decide whether to stand up and do the right thing or to stay out of the way.

The novel contains mystery, twists in plots, and gives a sense of suspense. In my opinion, I enjoyed reading it and I recommend it because I found it a little different. Most of teen books focus on romance and drama, but this novel focuses on mystery and crime. It was a good move for me to try another style of teen books. Overall, this is a good book enjoyed by teens for all genders, not recommended for people under the age of 14 years. – Suzan N.

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Maria Boyd

This novel focuses on a guy named Will Armstrong and is told from his point of view. He is a jock, and a guitar playing 11th grader that goes to an all boy school named St. Andrews in Australia. He was once a good student, but when a major incident happened six months ago, he began trouble-making and breaking the rules, which got the school staff and his mother worried about him. When his trouble-making goes too far, he is put in the school musical as a punishment. Since Will thinks the school musical is lame, he does not like the punishment and thinks of it as torture. When he joins the musical, he becomes friends with people he never thought he would, crushes on a female lead, and can control his sadness and emotions from that major incident. The novel shows how Will’s character developed over the time he is placed in the musical.

In my opinion, Will is one of the best novels I have ever read. It contains suspense, irony, drama, romance, adventure, and comedy; it has it all. It also got me to think about trouble-makers differently. Maybe the trouble-makers at your school act like that because of an event that happened in their lives, just like Will. What I learned is two things: 1. you don’t have to end your life if something really bad happens to you or your loved one. Just live your life and 2. Don’t judge people by their actions. If you just try to talk to them or befriend them, you realize that there is more to them than it meets the eye. Overall, it is a great book, and I strongly recommended for teens of all genders. Not recommended for people under the age of 12. – Suzan N.

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Dark Eyes

William Richter

Wallis Stoneman is adopted. She was born in Russia and lived there for about five years until she was adopted by a wealthy couple from America, Claire and Jason Stoneman. Wallis adapted to the wealthy lifestyle very quickly and started to enjoy it until she realized she was adopted. Angrily, she fled home and accepted the life on the streets with her runaway friends, Tevin, Ella, and Jake. It wasn’t until she encounters a package revealing her history back in Russia and her biological family that Wally goes frantically looking for the answers to her questions that could result in putting herself and the people around her in so much danger that some people may not come back alive.

Dark Eyes is a novel with a vast amount of unexpected turns that would keep readers at the edge of their seats. There wasn’t really a moment to breathe with all the action and Wally’s constant search that would keep her up at night. The book could have done better by explaining a little more about how Wally is feeling throughout all the events and how stressful it really was. Wally’s relationships were also unexpected and kind of forced upon to keep readers reading, which I personally find was unnecessary. The book did come together near the end, tying up all loose ends. This book is the kind that you would like after a long boring day, wanting some excitement. Overall, Dark Eyes was a very entertaining novel that I would recommend to anyone wanting a book to relax with after a busy dreadful week, to simply dive into a mystery with unexpected turns that no one other than William Richter could think of. – Celine J.

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Margaret Stohl

This is the sequel to Icons.

Dol, Ro, Lucas, and Tima have destroyed the first Icon base with the help of Fortis, their merk and leader of the rebellion. Destroying the first base led to their mission of taking out all other icons, the next one being in the middle of a canyon. Where one path ends, another begins as Dol has a reoccurring dream that is driving her crazy with suspicion. Dol also must choose between Ro or Lucas as confirmed from the last book that she is in love with both. The more time the Icons spent with Fortis, the more they realize how much they don’t know much about their merk friend and how many secrets that he hides. Secrets that are about them, about the Lords and how he may not be their friend after all…

I found Idols a very interesting book. It is very like the previous book, having tons of adventure and action, and the pressure we see put upon Dol as she is their leader. We also see the romance she has with Ro from the first book and how it affects her with Lucas in this book. We also see how Dol is very confused with her emotions for the two as the series is based on the emotions of these four teens. I did prefer the first book to this one just because the plot in this book floated off into a sci-fi romance theme. I also was disappointed in a way from the ending of this book was very sudden, leaving a lot of loose ends. I personally enjoyed Idols but was slightly disappointed at the ending; still is a book that I would recommend to anyone else. – Celine J.

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