Teen Book Recommendations

Reviews:

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo
Review by Parker C.

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo is a perfect conclusion to her King of Scars duology. A multitude of characters both new and old fight for both their lives and their countries, facing numerous enemies along the way. Nikolai, the King of Ravka, and Zoya Nazyalenski, his head general, struggle to control their newfound powers – and demons – as they strive to protect their country from the threat of the Fjerdan army, which is much larger and far more powerful. Meanwhile, their grief-filled spy, Nina Zenik, remains undercover in Fjerda, balancing her thirst for revenge and her loyalty to her own country. Everyone must choose a side in this thrilling novel. Rating: 4 and a half stars

 

 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Review by Gabby D.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is about a group of young adults called the Dregs, who are faced with a challenging task, that will require quick-thinking, courage, and committing an impossible heist. The reward for this heist is 40,000 kruge, (which is their currency), and Kaz Brekker, the money-driven and ambitious leader of the crew, knows he has to find a group of the best thieves and trick artists. This book had thrilling plot-twists, relatable characters, and complicated relationships. Six of Crows is especially great for anyone who loves dystopian and fantasy books, but this book is an amazing read for anyone! I would recommend this book is for anyone ages 12+. Overall, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a great read.

 

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Review by Sara S.

This book was great! I’m not really one for books with a mystery, but if you are interested in this genre then this is a good book for you. A story about a teen girl, Avery Grambs, who mysteriously receives a billionaire’s (Tobias Hawthorne) entire fortune, along with meeting the Hawthorne family. With most of the Hawthornes against her and doing whatever they can to get rid of her, she tries to solve the mystery of why she received the fortune in the first place. Rating: 8 out of 10

 

 

 

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Review by Parker C.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is a story of magic and consequence that follows a mortal girl by the name of Jude Duarte who seeks to carve a place for herself in a world where many tell her she does not belong. As Jude learns more of Faerieland and the cruelty behind the royalty that rules it, her heart hardens, her knives sharpen, and she must place her trust carefully in a world where betrayal can come with a simple twist of words. Rating: 4 and a half stars

 

 

 

The Wicked King by Holly Black
Review by Parker C.

The Wicked King by Holly Black picks up where the previous novel, The Cruel Prince, leaves off, in the aftermath of High King Cardan’s forced and bloody ascension to the throne. With him sworn to her for a year and a day, Jude must act as his advisor while battling her own conflicting feelings for him, who she once thought she simply despised. Enemies of Jude, of High King Cardan, and of Faerieland itself make themselves known, and Jude must use all that she has learned to protect all that she has worked to achieve. Rating: 5 stars

 

 

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
Review by Parker C.

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black is the final novel in the Cruel Prince Trilogy, and is just as enthralling as the previous two books. Now the High Queen of Faerie alongside High King Cardan, Jude must make unfathomable decisions as she learns just what it takes to be the Queen of a land that once looked down upon her. Curses are placed, trust is broken and gained, and Jude must face the love that she refuses to accept. Rating: 5 stars

 

 

 

The Crown by Kiera Cass
Synopsis by Jordan G.

This book is the final book in The Selection series and the sequel to The Heir. As Queen America recovers from her heart attack, Eadlyn narrows down the Selection men to the six Elites: Kile, Gunnar, Ean, Hale, Fox and Henri (along with his translator, Erik). The story also introduces Marid Illea, the son of one of the most prominent families in the country and directly descended from its founder, Gregory Illea. Eadlyn first bumps into Gunnar, to whom she reveals that she cannot decide if she has romantic feelings for anyone in the Elite. They kiss, and both realize neither are attracted to the other, and Gunnar leaves, with her permission. She then goes on a date with Henri, accompanied by his translator Erik, which is awkward due to the language barrier. She finds herself falling for Erik.

Eadlyn comes up with the idea for a broadcast that will allow the people of Illea to speak to her as their leader, in order to improve her image and connect with the people. The broadcast is well received, especially after Marid, who is visiting to wish the Queen well, gives his support. Eadlyn then transitions to Queen, as her father wants to spend time with her mother, which is received well. She confesses feelings for Kile, and at the same time Hale and Ean confess love for one another, at which point Eadlyn gives them her blessing and allows them to leave the Selection so that they can pursue a relationship. 

Marid turns on Eadlyn and proposes they marry to unite their families, threatening to spread rumors about her if she declines. Upset, she runs to Erik, and the two agree that because of their circumstances it isn’t meant to be despite their love for one another. Eadlyn goes on a date with Fox, and after he confesses his love for her, thinks she should choose Kile instead, and Kile proposes to her. She almost accepts, but realizes her heart is with Erik, and allows Kile to leave the Selection, urging him to follow his dreams of becoming an architect. Eadlyn then makes her own proposal to Henri-but he sees how much love her and Erik have for one another and refuses. With no one left, Eadlyn turns to her father-who surprisingly tells her to ignore duty: just as he did by marrying America, who was a Five, and as Ahren did, by eloping with Camille, and to marry Erik, whom she loves. 

The story ends with Eadlyn and Erik married with public support, and Eadlyn having declared Illea a constitutional monarchy. In the epilogue it is seen that her and Erik have one daughter, named Kerrtu, and are expecting their second soon. 

 

The Heir by Kiera Cass
Synopsis by Jordan G.

This book is set twenty years after the events of The Selection series, after the marriage of Maxon Schreave and America Singer. The King and Queen have dismantled the caste system that once ruled their society, and have two children, a set of twins: Eadlyn (born first, therefore the heir to the throne) and her brother Ahren. 

Although most people are happy that the caste system is dissolved, caste discrimination is far from over and it causes much unrest and violence within the country. King Maxon encourages Eadlyn to host her own Selection, in which thirty-five young men from around the country compete for Eadlyn’s hand. She hates this idea, but after seeing how heavily the country’s politics weigh on her, she decides to host the competition. However, she asserts it will only be for three months and she may not even find a husband. Her parents are also unaware she plans on making this as difficult as possible for her potential suitors.

The young men are chosen at random, one from each province, and a man named Kile Woodward, son of Marlee and Carter (America’s best friend and previous participant in Maxon’s Selection) is chosen. Eadlyn and Kile hate each other, but they cannot redraw the names. Eadlyn begins the competition by being purposefully cold, but realizes after a parade through the city when people hurl food and insults at her that the people of Illea do not love her. She attempts to prove she is taking the Selection seriously by publicly eliminating eleven participants, which backfires after they all leave hurt and angry and the media labels her self-important and smug. 

She goes on a few dates with the remaining contestants in order to prove her dedication: one with Kile, who pleasantly surprises her by revealing his plans to become an architect. She goes on dates involving music, fashion and cooking, all of which she enjoys but finds she has trouble getting close to the contestants. She also learns that many poor people don’t believe dissolving the caste system benefitted them, and want to see the end of the monarchy. 

Eadlyn attempts to ease tensions by inviting the French Princess Camille to the palace. Camille and her brother Ahren are madly in love, and Eadlyn is upset to find how much the people adore Camille and how she is the picture of grace and humility. Jealous, she advises Ahren to break up with her, but instead finds they eloped to France. Ahren leaves her a letter, explaining that he loves Camille and advises her to handle her power with the same grace and humility that she does, and not to wield it like a weapon. This is why the people want to see the end of the monarchy, he says-they do not trust her to be their ruler. 

Eadlyn is angry at her brother and runs to find their parents, but instead finds their room empty but decorated with pictures describing their lives and love for one another and their children. As she is looking, her guards alert her that her mother had a heart attack at the news and is in critical condition. Eadlyn rushes to the hospital wing to find her father and the remaining selected men praying for her recovery. She now understands that she must open her heart to love, and is now willing to do so, as she’s seen how powerful it is for others.

 

The Seventh Sun by Lani Forbes
Review by Parker C.

The Seventh Sun by Lani Forbes is an enthralling start to its trilogy, following two main characters and a host of other colorful individuals. Set in a world of sacrifices and rituals that are strictly maintained to keep order, a young prince named Ahkin has to ascend the throne after the untimely death of his father. Before he can claim his title, Ahkin must choose a bride out of numerous royal daughters sent, one from each state under his empire. One, named Mayana, who is descended from those whose blood controls water, has an instant connection with Ahkin. But in choosing her, all the other princesses must die, and Mayana has a secret that could ruin it all. Rating: 4.5 stars

 

 

The Jade Bones by Lani Forbes
Review by Parker C.

The Jade Bones by Lani Forbes picks up after the shocking betrayal that ended the previous book, leaving Ahkin questioning his whole world and Mayana to realize she was right in her thinking all along. Stuck together in the underworld with only a few days to get out, the two must face various trials and tribulations, all while maintaining a turbulent relationship fraught with broken trust and false pretenses. Meanwhile, aboveground, Yemenia lives under the rule of Ahkin’s twin sister, who uses her newfound power to finally voice her own opinions, out of her brother’s shadow. But her hunger for power doesn’t stay hidden for long, and Yemenia soon learns of her plots which may destroy the world as she knows it. Rating: 4.5 stars

 

The Obsidian Butterfly by Lani Forbes
Review by Parker C.

The Obsidian Butterfly by Lani Forbes is a captivating finale to the Age of the Seventh Sun series. We see Ahkin, Mayana, Yemenia, and Ochix as they fight to save their sun and their people. Loyalties are tested, relationships are healed, and rituals are cast aside as the truth comes out about how unnecessary they truly are. But not everyone is willing to cast aside their traditions despite the words of Ahkin and Mayana, who traveled through the underworld itself and survived with the aid of their own god. Now the characters must all come together to fight the rising evil, which is centered around Ahkin’s own twin sister. Rating: 5 stars

 

 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Review by Gabby D.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a story about 16-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster, who has lung cancer. Hazel is forced by her mom to go to a support group for teens with cancer, to get her out of the house, and that is where Hazel meets Augustus Waters, a charming survivor of osteosarcoma, who she shortly falls in love with. When you read this book, you will not feel like you are reading, it will feel like the events of this book are actually happening around you. This book lead me on an emotional rollercoaster, I laughed, I smiled, I cried. This book was a compelling book, with a great message, and lovable characters. This book is great for anyone ages 13+, and I would 100% recommend it. This book honestly changed my outlook on life, and it is a must-read for sure! Therefore, The Fault in our Stars by John Green is an amazing book, that I would recommend to anyone!

 

The Odyssey by Homer
Review by Waliullah K.

Every country in the world has at least one masterpiece in literature. England has Pride and Prejudice, India has Mahabharat, and The USA has Huckleberry Finn. Greece has two masterpieces. The poems The Odyssey and The Iliad. The Odyssey is a sequel to The Iliad. Both stories were attributed to the author Homer. The Odyssey tells the tale of a man named Odysseus who tries to get back home to his ever faithful wife Penelope. Now, before you read this book, you must know that this book was written over 2000 years ago and in a different culture. For example, in Ancient Greece, people often gave strangers shelter and let people in their houses. In return, the stranger returns the good nature of their hosts. We don’t do this in our culture, but this tradition was common in Ancient Greece, so keep that in mind while reading The Odyssey. The Odyssey is also pretty descriptive, and lengthy, with at least taking 9 hours on average to read. I read it in 6 hours, as I’m a very fast reader, so be prepared for the very descriptive nature of the poem. It also starts in the Middle of things, a common trope in Ancient Greek Poems. Overall, The Odyssey is a good poem, but you do need context and background to fully appreciate it. It’s a solid 8/10, in my opinion, and I would highly recommend it.

 

Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Synopsis by Jordan G.

This book is a prequel to the Lunar Chronicles series and tells the story of the cruel Queen Levana Blackburn of Luna. The book begins with sixteen year old Levana, newly orphaned after her parents, King Marrok and Queen Jannali, who were assassinated by a shell. Shells are the people of Luna, a futuristic city on the Moon, who unlike the rest of the population, are born without the Lunar gift, called a glamour. This gift allows the user to change his or her appearance and even control minds.

 Levana’s older sister, Channary, is then crowned queen. Channary and Levana are opposites, and this is why Levana hates her, and believes she should never be queen. Levana is intelligent and diplomatic, and far more interested in the actual governing of Luna than her sister, who only cares about being beautiful and the luxuries that being a queen affords her. Levana is also incredibly skilled at using her glamour to change her appearance, as her older sister left her deformed after manipulating Levana’s mind and forcing her to walk into a fire as a toddler. 

Levana has also been in love with Sir Evret Hayle, a royal guard, for many years, despite him being ten years her senior and completely in love with his wife, Solstice, a beautiful and talented seamstress. Any action he takes for her is then seen as affection by a deluded Levana. 

As Levana predicted, Channary is an awful queen, but eventually becomes pregnant with an heir, a girl, who she names Selene. Meanwhile, the Council of Luna plots to introduce letumosis, a virus which the Lunar people are immune to, to the people of Earth, who will become dependent on Luna because of the cure, which only they can provide. Later, Evret’s wife dies giving birth to their daughter, Winter, and Levana believes it to be fate. She begins lusting after Evret, who rejects her, but eventually glamors herself to look like Solstice and manipulates his mind to fall in love with her. This only lasts a short while, however, and Evret is distraught to know he is being manipulated into a relationship with a sixteen year old girl. Eventually Levana manipulates him into sex, and the morning after, he resigns to marry her. 

Levana then becomes insanely jealous of Channary, who proves to be an awful queen but loving and devoted mother to Princess Selene. Levana also fails to become pregnant herself, and realizes that she is no good with children after attempting to parent Evret’s daughter, Winter. She plots to kill baby Selene but the infant is saved when Channary becomes sick and dies-leaving Levana as queen regent, until Selene turns 13. Levana refuses to give up her role as queen-and thus plots to murder Selene, by manipulating Selene’s nanny to fall asleep in the nursery with a candle lit, supposedly burning the two of them alive. However, rumors fly about Selene’s supposed escape off Luna. 

Winter, Everett’s daughter, grows to be more and more beautiful as time goes on, and Levana goes mad with jealousy when it is suggested that the girl would be even more beautiful than Levana herself. In her desperation she pleads with Evret, questioning if he ever even loved her at all, to which he says no, and admits he felt forced into the marriage for Winter’s sake. Levana removes her glamour and reveals her true self appearance, that of burn scars, paralysis and disfigurement, and is heartbroken when Evret states he still does not love her. Levana begins to slip into madness as her perfect appearance and family come crashing down. She pulls a sheet over her head so that she will never have to glamour or look at herself again, and orders all mirrors in the kingdom destroyed. She plots the assassination of her husband in order to secure an alliance with Earth, and one morning, an assassin breaks into their quarters, shooting Evret. Evret believes he has stopped an attempt on her life, and as he dies he pleads with her to take care of Winter. Winter, having witnessed the effect that the Lunar gift had on her father and the citizens of Luna, vows never to use her gift, causing her to develop Lunar sickness, which made her hallucinate and go insane. Winter is shut away from public life and the book ends with Levana reigning unopposed, setting up a marriage alliance between herself and Emperor Kai of Earth, as it is in the beginning of Cinder.

 

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Review by Sara S.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I loved it so much I ended up reading it in one day! This book tells a story about two college kids, young and in love, and how their pasts and reputations will interfere with their relationship, making it very complicated. The journey of these characters will definitely keep you interested and on your toes. You won’t want to put it down. I cannot wait to read the second book in the series, Walking Disaster!

 

 

 

Delirium by Lauren Oliver 
Review by Gabby D.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver is a dystopian romance about a world where love is thought of as a disease. Lena, an average seventeen year old girl, has always followed the rules, that is, until she meets Alex. This book had the best qualities of a romance book and a dystopian book. It had a very sad and shocking ending, and this book made me sob. It really shows how love can both save you and destroy you and it had a very meaningful message. This book moved me, and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. Read this book right now!

 

 

1984 by George Orwell 
Review by Waliullah K.

There are many books that try to tell the tale of how Humanity fell from grace and why. Some say there was a natural disaster. Others, like Huxley, say we created something that turned us into a new, terrible society. But one man named George Orwell wrote a book that said that it would be Governments that would destroy our society and turn us into mindless cogs in a machine that doesn’t need cogs. This book is called 1984, a book that warns that Governments are going to destroy us if they gain too much power. The plot of this story is that of a man named Winston who tries to cheat the government by having a romantic relationship with a woman named Julia. Now the plot is very simple, but where the book really shines is its political themes. It goes into detail about oppression and how the government changes information to fit their own agenda. I would recommend this book if you want to read a book about what would happen if a government gained too much power. It would take on average 5 hours to read this book, as it’s around 300 pages. Overall, it’s an 8/10.

 

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Review by Gabby D.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera takes place in a world where before you die, you get a call that says you have 24 hours to live. In this book, you follow the last day of Mateo Torrez, an introverted person who barely ever leaves his house, and Rufus Emeterio, an orphan in foster care who had to witness the death of his parents and sister. In this universe, there is an app called Last Friend where Deckers, people who are going to die soon, can make a new friend to spend their last 24 hours with. Mateo and Rufus become each other’s Last Friend, and the reader follows their journey, where they overcome their fears, say goodbye to their loved ones, and leave their last marks on the world in small ways.

I liked this book, and it was a good concept, however, the book moved kind of slow at times, and the ending of the book didn’t make me feel as sad as I expected to feel. The last 24 hours of the main character’s lives were spread out over 389 pages, and the book explained every little detail, but that made the plot move kind of slow, and the book didn’t really pick up speed until close to the end. However, it is a quite enjoyable read, with a good message. All in all, They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera is not the best book I have ever read, but it was a good read, so I would recommend it.

 

2021 Nutmeg Book Nominees

Middle School  High School