by Kristin Cashore 

5 Stars

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1) by Kristin Cashore

Graceling is the first book of the Seven Kingdoms Series written by Kristin Cashore and was published on October 1, 2008. This story follows a young woman named Katsa and her adventures with Po, a young Lienid man, as they attempt to figure out the mysteries and reasons behind the kidnapping of Po’s grandfather. In this world, there are abilities called “Grace”, which allowed one to have an excellent talent for a certain task. For Katsa, it is the Grace to kill. Throughout her entire life, she was trained to kill or torture those who King Randa, the king of Middlun and Katsa’s uncle, wanted, which were mostly morally evil. Though Katsa had an idea to do what is morally better than to be her uncle’s “pet”. After her escape under King Randa’s grasp, she finally had the chance to do what she thought best, as she helps her Lienid companion solve the mystery. 

The writing of the characters in this book is amazing, as each character and their behaviour are expressed in a clear way. For example, Giddon, an underlord of King Randa who had worked with Katsa countless times. Though as the chapters progress, his negative personality shows. His jealousy getting the best of him, his snarky replies towards others, and special treatment towards Katsa- until a certain point of the story. Another example would be Po, who was introduced as a mysterious person, one with a confident and cautious atmosphere. Though as the story progresses, he is seen as a caring person and a well-suited companion to Katsa, as they go wander through the lands of this world.

As for the setting, the world seems to be one of a fantasy and medieval sort. With the descriptions of the lands, cities, transportation, and powers. Just like the characters, the setting is clear, as the language gives off the impression that the era is medieval or somewhat something similar to it. With plenty of descriptive writing, it brings the atmosphere of the story to life. For example, somewhere a third beyond the book, Katsa looks out from an inn as she sees the rainy weather. Another example of well-written descriptive writing can be found on page 95, chapter 13, “Katsa watched the grass moving around them. The wind pushed it, attacked it, struck it in one place and then another. It rose and fell and rose again. It flowed, like water.” Clearly, this book is fantastic when it comes to the plot, characters, and setting, as it brings the reader into the world of Graceling

Nyjel C.

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by Traci Chee

4.5 Stars

We Are Not Free

The Historical Fiction/Young Adult Fiction, We Are Not Free, written by Traci Chee, was an addictive and intriguing book. It was also quite unusual. The author featured 14 Japanese American teens during the perspectives of 14 Japanese American characters. Usually, in books that have 3-5 characters, each character has had his/her chapter. I never personally liked that. But the way Traci Chee had Frankie, Tommy, Ike, Twitchy, Mas, Shig, Minnow, Stan, Bette, Yum-yum and Yosh have their own chapters and perspectives. It was a different book. I never read anything like it, but once I started reading it, more and more, I literally couldn’t put it down! All the 14 teens had different characteristics like bravery, artistic, leadership, talent, loveable, athletic, funny, considerate, friendly, humble, intelligent, sensitive, outgoing and optimistic. The story is about all the 14 teens’ lives turning upside down after over 100,000 people of Japanese descent have been removed from their homes in San Francisco and forced into hard labour camps. These 14 Nisei (a person born in the US or Canada whose parents are from Japan) teens gather to compare their perceptions as they are all facing racism and prosecution to pull them all apart. This book is historical fiction directed at young adults, but in some parts, there is crude language. This story is based on all the lives we’ve lost, especially during WWII. I would recommend this book to ages 12 and up. This is historical fiction and young adult. The book deals with the creoles and discrimination and other races at that time when they were treated badly during WWII. Characters do go through some of the hard times in life for the Japanese and other races at the time that were treated really poorly during WWII. It may have situations and events that are hard for some children under 12 to understand. Nevertheless, I rate this book a 4.5/5 star. It’s an amazing read and an emotional read!

4.5 Stars

Hoda D.

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by Jenny Han

4 Stars

Book Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before – Eagle Eye

Written by Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a young adult romance novel. Lara Jean Covey is the main character and a sixteen-year-old girl who lives in Virginia and is very close to her older sister Margot and younger sister Kitty. In a hatbox given to her by her mother, she keeps love letters written to all of the boys that she has loved before – five in total. By writing these love letters, she is able to pour her heart and soul out and release the emotions and true feelings that she would never say in real life. One day at school, Peter Kavinsky, one of the boys she wrote a letter to, approaches her and tells Lara Jean that he does not feel any attraction towards her. Initially, Lara Jean expresses confusion, however, she quickly realizes that Peter has received the love letter she wrote to him years ago. Horrified, she rushes home to make sure the remaining letters have not been sent out, but she cannot find the hatbox. She eventually discovers that her younger sister Kitty had sent out all of the love letters. With all of the letters sent out, Lara Jean must cope with her out of control love life. 

Personally, I found this novel to be quite charming and relatable. The novel is fairly short and will not take long to finish, I was able to finish it within a day. Some may find parts of the story to be cheesy, however, I thought that the book was wholesome and relaxing to read. Anyone who enjoys teenage romance novels will absolutely fall in love with this book! 

Emily K.

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by James Dashner

5 Stars

The Maze Runner - Wikipedia

The Maze Runner, by James Dashner, tells a story about a young boy named Thomas, who awakens in a strange elevator with all his past memories forgotten. As he emerges from the earth, he finds himself in a grassland, surrounded by dangerous stone walls that form a maze. In that maze, he also finds himself living in a community with a bunch of other boys who call themselves “The Gladers”. As Thomas slowly starts to gain back his memory, such as his name and age, he also discovers more sinister clues about the boys and the location he landed in. After learning about how the maze surrounds them all, Thomas is determined to help find a way out of this unknown maze with the help of his friends. The journey won’t be easy, as anyone who dares to find their way out of the maze will be haunted and attacked by the Grievers.  

I personally enjoyed reading this action-packed book. Dashner adds the right amount of clarity, detail, and mystery to help engage the reader. The way the plot moves and the different types of events that are happening forces the reader to keep thinking and imagining what will happen next. This is a key feature in Dashner’s writing style. It is a dystopian science fiction book about boys, who have been trying to find their way out of this maze for three years. However, everything changes when the protagonist (Thomas) arrives. I strongly urge you to, if you haven’t, give this book a read, especially if you love reading dystopian science fiction books. 

Ahmed Q.

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by Teresa Toten

5 Stars

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B: Toten, Teresa: 9780385678346: Books -  Amazon.ca

Adam Ross is a very closed-off individual with many issues. Struggling with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anger management and family issues, he has a very hard time fitting in with his peers, that is until he meets Robyn Plummer in an OCD support group. 

The moment he sees her, Adam instantly falls for Robyn, vouching to do everything in his power to protect her, to be the Batman to her Robin. She provides Adam with an escape from reality, but as soon as he leaves the support group, things get worse. Adam finds out his mother had been receiving threatening letters telling her to end her life; this sends Adam into a downwards spiral. Will Adam end up with Robyn? Will he find out who has been sending his mother those letters, or will he continue to suffer on his own, refusing the help of others?

In The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, Toten highlights what people suffering from mental illness fear the most, knowing what the problem is but not knowing how to fix it. This novel shows us that it’s okay to ask for help; it is not a sign of weakness but one of bravery and strength. It is truly a rollercoaster of emotions that always has the reader on the edge of their seat, just waiting for what will happen next.

I very much recommend this novel. It can get quite dark sometimes, but that is the grim reality of life, and this story is very realistic. You truly feel a connection with the main characters, especially Adam; it is an excellent read and does not disappoint.

Vlada E.

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by Anne Brashares

5 Stars

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

The Here and Now is a teen science-fiction novel written by Ann Brashares, that blends the catastrophic effects of climate change with time travel (from the 2090s to 2010), adventure, and teen romance. This story is about a seventeen-year-old girl named Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve-years-old along with her mother and a few hundred others. However, they did not come from a different country, but from a different time. A future where a mosquito-borne illness has evolved into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in wrecks. 

Prenna and the others who escaped from the future must follow a strict set of rules which are, never reveal where they are from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside of their community. “Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.” Prenna does as she is told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will someday ravage the earth.

Everything changes when she falls in love with Ethan Jarves. Ethan is not a member of their community, and his relationship with Prenna is forbidden. In essence, a catalyst for her to question the strictures under which she lives. Quickly after she is confronted by a homeless man who proposes she may be able to prevent the disastrous future by changing the present. But why? If a disastrous future can be avoided, isn’t it rational to try? Rather, as the community believes, is it more important to “respect time’s integrity and her natural sequence”? 

This exhilarating, unforgettable, and heartbreaking story is a must-read. I really enjoyed reading this book. Reading this book had me really excited to know what was going to happing, but it also made me disappointed. Overall it was a good teen fiction book. I loved everything in the story except for the ending. I am not satisfied with the ending. I think there should be a sequel. Other than that, this book is amazing and must be read by anyone who loves a romantic thriller.

Angie L.

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by Nicola Yoon

5 Stars

The Sun is also a Star: NICOLA YOON: 9780552574242: Books - Amazon.ca

Natasha believes in science, facts, and things that can be proven with evidence. She doesn’t care for fate, and she most certainly doesn’t care for love. Not that she has time to worry about either of those things. She and her family are being deported to Jamaica in twelve hours, and she is going to do everything in her power to stop that from happening.

Daniel wants to be a poet. In fact, he is a strong believer in fate and the way of the universe. But that’s not the path his parents have planned for him, and rather than following his dreams he plans on meeting his parent’s high expectations. This changes when he meets Natasha. He knows something greater is at play—it’s destiny, decided by the universe, and he can’t let Natasha go.

The Sun is Also a Star explores themes of fate and destiny, and how they compare and connect to science and reasoning. Both main characters are people of colour, and I really enjoyed the chapters that explain the history behind elements of their cultures as they are mentioned. I also like Yoon’s style of storytelling, which includes the main storyline, the cultural history parts, pieces of the characters’ pasts, and side characters who only appear in a few scenes but are crucial to the story.

This book is perfect for those who are just getting into reading, and people want a quick or fast-paced read that will hold your attention, because the entire story takes place over twelve hours. I think this is a five-star read, and I really enjoyed reading it!

Michelle G.

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by Rick Riordan

5 Stars

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1) | The lost hero, Heroes book,  Heroes of olympus

Jason has amnesia. He wakes up on a bus full of kids he doesn’t recognize, and a girlfriend and best friend he’s sure he’s never met. His friends inform him they go to the Wilderness School for “troubled youth,” but he has no idea what he’s done, or why he’s even there, but he can tell that something is terribly wrong.

Piper has a way with words. She’s been sent to the wilderness school for stealing a BMW, except she didn’t really. She simply asked the car dealer for it, and he obliged. But Piper’s dad is missing, her boyfriend Jason doesn’t recognize her, and she’s having awful nightmares that may lead her down a horrible path. 

Leo is good with tools, he’s known for his expert ability with them. He spent his childhood running from foster home to foster home but finally feels comfortable with his friends Jason and Piper. Of course, with his luck, things take a turn for the worse. 

Monsters attack the three on a field trip, and Jason can somehow fight them off using wind powers. However, it’s not Jason who saves them, but some teenagers calling themselves demigods, flying down from a chariot. The trio is taken to a place called Camp Half-Blood, where they learn they are children of the Ancient Greek gods. But Jason, Piper, and Leo are special even amongst demigods and must embark upon a quest that could determine the fate of the mortal world. 

This is the first book in the series after the Percy Jackson books, and I think fans of those books will love it. The Lost Hero has lovable characters, an excellent plot, and like all of Riordan’s books, plenty of humour. I’d recommend it to younger audiences or anyone who read the Percy Jackson books!

Michelle G.

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You’re Next

by Kylie Schachte

You're Next by Kylie Schachte

Flora Calhoun has a history of finding dead bodies. First, it was Lucy, a classmate whose body she discovered while out for a jog. Now, years later, Flora is still resentful toward the polices inability to arrest the killer.

At school, Flora now has a reputation for sticking her nose in other people’s business and getting into trouble. One night, Flora receives an unexpected phone call from Ava McQueen, a girl who captured her heart, then stopped talking to her.

When Flora arrives to help Ava, she finds her bleeding on the pavement, and Flora is launched back into her memories of finding Lucy. Now, after finding not one, but two bodies, Flora sets herself out to find the murderer, no matter the cost.

Kylie Schachte has written a gripping thriller! An intense story with a flawed main character, You’re Next is bound to be your next favourite read.

by Karen M. McManus

4 Stars

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus: 9781524714680 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

At Bayview High, everyone has secrets. Thanks to Simon Kelleher, runner of the school’s notorious gossip app, About That, those secrets are displayed for everyone to see. In one week, Simon is planning his juiciest reveal yet, but unfortunately, the plan is interrupted. The day before the reveal, five students enter detention–Bronwyn (the brain), Cooper (the athlete), Addy (the beauty), Nate (the criminal), and Simon himself. Only four of them make it out alive, the same four students whose deepest secrets were scheduled to be released the next day. But Simon is dead, and the four are now the prime suspects in his murder. 

Everyone has secrets, but who would go this far to prevent them from getting out?

This book is perfect for fans of The Breakfast Club, Riverdale, Pretty Little Liars, and Love, Simon, since it feels like a crossover between all of them. This book is fast-paced, exciting, and the plot twists will continue to shock you and keep you guessing. It also has a bit of everything, from drama to mystery to coming of age, friendship and romance. I’d recommend this book to people who enjoy teen dramas, people looking to get into mysteries, or anyone who may have gotten bored of reading and needs something that moves along quickly to keep them interested. I’d also recommend listening to the audiobook if you like that format because it’s read by a full cast! I’d rate this book 4 out of 5 stars and suggest reading the sequel, One of Us is Next, or Karen McManus’ other book Two Can Keep A Secret if you want more.

Michelle G.

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