by Brittany Cavallaro

5 Stars

A Study in Charlotte : Cavallaro, Brittany: Books

Written by Brittany Cavallaro, A Study in Charlotte is a young adult mystery adventure novel. Jamie Watson had always dreamt of solving mysteries with Charlotte Holmes and following in the footsteps of both of their great-great-great-grandfathers. When he and Charlotte both end up at the same boarding school, she makes it clear she does not have the same dream. Although, when they are both framed for murder, they are forced to work together to prove their innocence and find the real killer. 

This book was super easy to read. I was immediately intrigued by the characters and plot. I also really enjoyed the faster pace, it did not drag on but it also never seemed rushed. I loved the dynamic between Charlotte and Jamie, a know-it-all girl with an awkward, empathetic boy. They complimented each other, made for a perfect pairing and the aspects of a slow burn romance were adorable. Serious topics like mentions of rape, substance abuse, and murder were never romanticized and were handled really well. There was no shortage of references to the original Sherlock Holmes stories; they fit into the novel and were satisfying but not overpowering. Brittany Cavallaro did an excellent job pulling the reader into the book with her writing- filled with plot twists and mystery, it really made you think. This was a perfectly witty and charming re-imagining of Watson and Holmes as a modern-day crime-solving duo. I immediately wanted to pick up the sequel and continue reading about these characters.

Megan S.

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by Angie Thomas

5 Stars

Concrete Rose : Thomas, Angie: Books

Concrete Rose is the prequel to Angie Thomas’s first novel, The Hate U Give (THUG). It doesn’t matter if you have read THUG or not prior to picking up Concrete Rose because it stands beautifully on its own.

This book follows the life of Maverick Carter, a seventeen-year-old boy whose father is a former gang legend. To help his mom pay the bills, Maverick starts dealing for the King Lords. Maverick feels as though he has it all figured out, that is until he finds out that he is a father. Suddenly, Maverick needs to learn what it means to be a man. Even after the loss of a loved one. As we follow the main character on his journey to fatherhood, we fall in love with Angie Thomas’s writing. It’s funny yet serious, romantic yet realistic. It’s very relatable and gives a strong sense of what life could be like for a teen parent.

For those who have already read THUG, you will appreciate all the small linkages and references back into that story. For those who haven’t read THUG yet, an interesting cliffhanger awaits at the end of the novel!

I think that any teen or young adult reader will enjoy this book. I read it in three days, even during school hours, as I could barely put it down! This is even a book I’ll enjoy re-reading!

Emily O.

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by John Green

5 Stars

Paper Towns : Green, John: Books

In their childhood, Quentin and his neighbour Margo stumbled upon the dead body of a man who had shot himself in the park. Margo’s investigation of his death evoked a love for mysteries that is still present today. Fast forward to the current day, and Quentin’s dreams of going to prom with Margo are far-fetched, considering she rarely speaks to him. However, during the middle of the night, only a couple of weeks before graduation, Quentin hears a knock on his window and finds Margo standing outside. They spend the entire night carrying out an extreme revenge plan on all of Margo’s enemies, and Quinten believes the chance to befriend his now solitary neighbour is much closer than before. Plans are made to meet up at school the following day, yet Margo never shows. It is not uncommon for Margo to disappear, and she often leaves clues of where she has gone. The significance of this disappearance, however, is that the clues are specifically intended for Quentin.  

The story of Paper Towns tells the adventures of Quentin and his friends on the search for his runaway neighbour in hopes of finding her before they graduate from high school. What the future holds for them is unknown, but what Quentin does know is that Margo only wants to escape Orlando, Florida, what she considers to be a ‘paper town’.  

Paper Towns is a captivating novel that combines contemporary romance with mystery and suspense. I loved the structure of the novel, and I found the characters to be very relatable. The plot was intriguing and fast-paced, creating a book you do not want to put down. I would highly recommend this novel to teens interested in contemporary fiction and mysteries.

Emily B.

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by Jamel Saeed and Sharon E. McKay

5 Stars

Yara's Spring: Saeed, Jamal, McKay, Sharon E.: 9781773214399: Books -

The historical/young-adult fiction Yara’s Spring, written by Jamel Saeed and Sharon E. Mckay, illustrated by Nahid Kazemi, was a heartbreaking but yet uplifting book at times. It tells the story of a 10-year-old girl Yara when the Arab Spring and Syria became the center of a cruel civil war. By the time she was 14, the olden days when she would happily walk through the peaceful streets to meet her friend Shireen for dance classes were gone. Aleppo was split in two. Anyone that tried to cross between borders East and West Aleppo could’ve been easily killed by snipers. She spent most of her days inside her house as President al-Assad’s helicopters dropped bombs on houses, apartments, the streets literally anywhere. One of those bombs had sadly killed Yara’s parents, which caused her to be trapped under garbage. Yara, her Nana Maha, her little brother Saad survive along with Shireen, and her twin brother Ali began a slow and unpredictable trip to Jordan. Lots of their weeks were spent bribing soldiers, going through back roads, facing danger, dehydration and exhaustion. Even when she has safely arrived in Canada, Yara struggles with guilt and hesitation over leaving Syria, the trauma and anxiety of losing a close family household, her parents, family and friends. This story is inspired by Jamel Saeed’s own experiences from when he was in Syria at a young age and the struggles he faced. It also confronts the reality of the fight for democracy, or the unbelievable conditions children are forced to face in their own struggle for safety.  

This book is most definitely a must-read, but it may have some difficult situations for younger children to read, so I recommend this book to children over the ages of 12 and up. Nevertheless, I rate this book 5/5 stars! 

Hoda D.

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