Books Reviewed by our Teens

These are reviews written by Auburn Hills Public Library teens!

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Rated ★★★★★

See You at Harry’s

Jo Knowles

This book does a very good job of showing the reader what grief is like, and will resonate very deeply with younger readers. With the main character only being a middle schooler, I highly recommend younger readers to read this book. Every feeling in this book was fully conveyed to me Sadness, Greif, Embarrassment, Guilt, Friendship, and so much more.

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Rated ★★★★★

Cinder

Marissa Meyer

Think about Cinderella, but with a twist. The author does a really amazing job of making it seem as though you are in the book's universe. It makes you completely forget about everything going around. It is a book that just makes you not want to put it down. There are a lot of twists and turns that will have any reader at the edge of their seat reading in anticipation of what might or might not happen. I can truly say from the bottom of my heart that this is one of my favorite series. At first when you pick up the book many will have their doubts, I mean who mixes cyborgs, fairytales, and dystopian futures? Cinder did and it was just magnificent.

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Rated ★★☆☆☆

Reverie

Ryan La Sala

Truthfully, this isn’t a book that I have enjoyed because the plot was very confusing. In the book there is a lot of visual imagery and descriptions, however although it is amazing at times, it also took away from the story. It felt like there was too much description and not enough plot. The writing didn’t really feel as if it was from a YA book, it felt as though it belonged in a middle grade book. I felt as though there wasn’t enough of an explanation of the magic system.The characters seemed very underdeveloped and I didn’t get to learn much about Kane, other than the fact that he was gay. The ending felt very predictable and rushed because nothing happened at any other point in the book. Everything felt a little disjointed and messy and overall I was pretty disappointed with this book.

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Rated ★★★★★

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

V. E. Schwab

This book was one of my 16 five star reads out of almost 300 books. It follows a woman named Addie LaRue who was taught by her mentor to "never call on the gods that answer after dark". After her parents try to force her into a marriage with a man that she has no interest in marrying, she calls upon a god after dark. She asks him to make her free and not belong to anyone which is exactly what he does; he makes her immortal and makes it so that people forget her immediately after they walk away from her. Until someone does remember her. If you like really action packed books I probably would not recommend this books for you, because this book is more about Addie's character development. The writing style is very lyrical and I loved it.

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Rated ★★★★★

The Poppy War

R. F. Kuang

This was one of my favorite books of 2020. The main character is based off of Azula from Avatar the Last Airbender. The character development in this book is amazing. I would, however, suggest that everyone checks the trigger warnings before reading this book, which include: abandonment, ableism, abuse (emotional and physical), addiction (to opium), animal death/cruelty, assault, blood, bones, bullying, character death, decapitation, drugs, fatphobia (unchallenged), fire, genocide, gore, hostages, human experimentation (without consent), infertility, massacres, misogyny, mutilation (sometimes genital), murder (including children), profanity, racism, very brutal rape (past, recollected), self-harm, skeletons, brutal torture, violence (including against children), war and war themes. The writing style seemed to be kind of like a wikipedia article at some times but other than that I loved it. I love platonic soulmates relationships, so Kitay and Rin's relationship was amazing.

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Rated ★★★★★

The Dragon Republic

R. F. Kuang

This book was one that broke my heart but I loved it because of that. If you didn't really like Rin and Nezha's relationship in the first book, you might not enjoy this book that much. I, personally, loved them, especially because of the fact that they represent opposite elements. I loved the quote, "Fire and water looked so lovely together. It was a pity they destroyed each other by nature," just because of how well it summarizes their relationship. The emphasis on the story of the Emperor and Tearza is amazing because of how well it foreshadowed everything that happened between them. It also reminds me of the concept of history moving in cycles, which is a common belief in Chinese culture. It also reminds me of the quote from this series which is "Oh but history moves in such cruel circles," which is a quote from Nezha as well as Rin (it is said in The Burning God by Rin and Nezha thinks it during The Drowning Faith-- his novella). I didn't enjoy how Altan, the only dark-skinned man in the series, was demonized in this book. Although the series was presented as one that tries to combat colorism, it felt as though it tried to "prove" it and I didn't enjoy it. Something that I noticed in this book was that Nezha was Venka's Altan; to put it in a way that my English teacher would be proud of Altan : Rin :: Nezha : Venka. I think that is why it hurts to see how their relationship has changed after the events of The Poppy War. But overall this book is one of my favorites and all I'm gonna say is that there is a very good reason as to why I have read it seven times.

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Rated ★★★★★

These Violent Delights

Chloe Gong

I am in love with this author's debut novel; the writing style is amazing. I love the fact that we get to have another morally grey woman to fall for. Juliette is an incredibly accurate representation of how it feels to be a part of two cultures but feel as though you belong to neither. Plus we love a woman with a dagger. Roma is fun too ig, but I love how everyone in the fandom (including Roma) all agree that she is above the rest of humanity.

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Rated ★★★★★

The Drowning Faith

RF Kuang

I have read this novella 15 times in the past two months. That says a lot about my mental health, but it also means that this novella is amazing. I love how it gives us an insight to Nezha's character. I love watching his heart break and it stomps on my heart in the best way possible. My favorite quote from this novella is "She's the only divine thing he's ever believed in, the only creature in this vast cruel land that could kill him. And sometimes, in his loveliest dreams, he imagines she does."

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Rated ★★★☆☆

Serpent & Dove

Shelby Mahurin

This book isn't necessarily my favorite but I really liked it. It is essentially a marriage of convenience story between a witch and a witchhunter. This book also has the "there was only one bed" trope and I love the way that it was done in this book. My main criticism of this book is that the only black character (Cosette), was nicknamed Coco. This felt as though her character was being reduced to her skin color.

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Rated ★★★★★

The Wrath & the Dawn

Renée Ahdieh

"What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?" he whispered. "If I'm a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed." The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest. "No." His hands dropped to her waist. "Destroy me." “I love you, a thousand times over. And I will never apologize for it.” Pain. So much pain. The entire worldbuilding of this book was pure magic. The romance and the story were enchanting, and I found myself fully immersed in this world. Shazi and Khalid delivered all of the angst and yearning we were promised, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The diversity is everything to me, never in my life have I ever felt represented in a book until now. A halal arranged marriage made my heart flutter so much. The plot was just immaculate, I was constantly drawn in and captivated.

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Rated ★★☆☆☆

Paper Princess

Erin Watt

Personally, I didn’t really enjoy this book because the writing style had a very “wattpad” like vibe. By that I mean that it was very unprofessional and that isn’t what I like to see in a published novel. The characters weren’t very likable either. I also didn’t like how dramatic everything was in this book. The reason why I’m even giving this book 2 stars is simply because it was incredibly entertaining.

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Rated ★★★★★

Something, Maybe

Elizabeth Scott

As a lightly cliche but well written romance novel, Something Maybe is a pretty nice read. In my opinion, Scott certainly did a good job writing the characters. I personally liked the unique character concepts of the parents in this book; particularly because of how different they are from the standard tropes. I’d recommend this book to any fans of the teen romance genre.

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Rated ★★★★★

The Goddess Test

Aimée Carter

The Goddess Test has an interesting take on greek mythology, with its modernized pieces and intriguing characters. It follows Kate Winters, a girl returning her terminally sick mother to her childhood home, where Kate meets someone who claims to be Hades, the god of the underworld. Through this meeting, he offers Kate a test of immortality to be his eternal wife and a way to keep her mother alive for more time than she had left. The characters interested me with their unique rendition of greek gods and goddesses, as they created intriguing characters out of well known names like Demeter and Hades. I’d recommend this book to fans of YA romance.

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Rated ★★★★★

The Tail of Emily Windsnap

Liz Kessler

The Tail of Emily Windsnap is a cute fantasy fiction read for younger audiences. When I was in middle school I really enjoyed this book and the series. It’s about a girl who learns the truth about herself and her father, while making a special friend along the way. I’d recommend this book to young fiction readers. I’d also recommend the rest of the series.

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Rated ★★★★★

The Fault in Our Stars

John Green

The Fault in Our Stars is a bittersweet classic romance novel that tells the story of two terminally ill teenagers who fall in love. I call it a classic as the movie for this book seemed to spark a number of other romance movies with illnesses involved since then. I liked The Fault in Our Stars particularly because of how the characters confronted their issues in a somewhat “edgy” yet understandable way. An example of this is how the blind character reacts to getting broken up with. Overall, I’d say this book does an excellent job of expressing the heartbreak of accepting having a terminal illness.

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Rated ★★★★★

Switched

Amanda Hocking

Switched is about a girl discovering her true identity. It’s the first of the Trylle series, and opens the trilogy pretty well. I particularly like the descriptiveness of the scenes that really helped me visualize the story. Overall, this is a good fantasy novel with several creative concepts. I recommend this book and its series to any fans of the Iron Fey books or YA romance fans.

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Rated ★★★★★

Torn

Amanda Hocking

While some sequels can happen to be lackluster, Torn does an excellent job on following where the first book left off. I liked the way the character interactions and developments carried out in this book, especially since it didn’t seem like a filler book where middle books in trilogies often do. Something that stood out to me is how the book also somewhat explores the class system of this world as the main character, a trylle princess, visits the home of another, who is of the working class. Again, I’d recommend this book to any fans of the Iron Fey books or general YA romance fans.

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Rated ★★★★★

Ascend

Amanda Hocking

A great ending to the trilogy; Ascend really wrapped up the story in a satisfying way that left me curious about Hocking’s other writings. This book shows incredible character development with the main character as she shows how she’s grown so much stronger than before. Along with that, the events really tie together in a skillfully creative way with a beautiful ending that really feels good to close the trylle series on. As previously, I’d recommend this book to any fans of the Iron Fey books or general YA romance fans. To those who’ve read this series, I’d next recommend the Kanin series by Hocking as it tells the story from a different tribe in this creative world.

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Rated ★★★★☆

Frostfire

Amanda Hocking

While it can be a little odd on pacing, I enjoyed Frostfire as a follow up to Hocking’s Trylle series. I enjoyed the contrast in society in this tribe as it gave some insight on the troll world. I somewhat wished there was a little more development in character relationships but expected that the first book of a trilogy wouldn’t dive too deep in those details. I’d recommend this to fans of Julie Kagawa’s writing and YA fans.

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Rated ★★★★★

Ice Kissed

Amanda Hocking

Ice Kissed is another well written sequel by Hocking. It continues right where Frostfire left off with quality story depth and excitement. Hocking’s writing proceeds to fascinate me with beautiful descriptive properties. It did happen to contain a rather mature scene so I feel obligated to say that the reader's discretion is advised. I recommend this to fans of YA novels and the twilight series.

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Rated ★★★★★

Crystal Kingdom

Amanda Hocking

A good end to a good trilogy, Crystal Kingdom wraps up the Kanin series pretty well. This series finale seemed to really show lots of shining change in the main character. Along with such, there are many parts and details that truly come full circle. It was also incredibly satisfying to see characters from the Trylle series make an appearance and see how those characters developed as well. I’d recommend it (and the series) to those who enjoy the YA genre and the Iron Fey novels.

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Rated ★★★★★

A Dog’s Life

Ann M Martin

As a child, I found “A Dog’s Life” to be one of my favorites to check out from my elementary school’s library. It’s sad yet beautiful writing really imprinted on me and has stayed with me for many years. The Book is about a stray dog named Squirrel as it goes throughout it’s life. I feel that throughout the emotional events, one can really learn to have more empathy towards stray dogs, where it’s often lacking as stray dogs are viewed poorly. I recommend this book to any children around 7-10 years old.

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Rated ★★★★★

The Angel Experiment

James Patterson

As a classic sci-fi novel to me, Maximum Ride is a special middle school favorite of mine. Patterson really does a good job at creating an elaborate plot that’s pretty believable in terms of details. I really enjoyed the way the characters each have a good level of depth to them and how the reader can develop a nice relationship with said characters. I’d suggest this book and the series to any young adult sci-fi lovers since it’s overall very well written. I would not, however, suggest the 2016 movie adaptation as it does a poor job of representing the characters.

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Rated ★★★★☆

The Iron King

Julie Kagawa

The Iron King is a captivating romance fantasy with an intricate world. While a bit cliche here and there, I liked it because of its charming take on fey/fae/faerie and the characters that grow on you. Kagawa’s writing really paints a hauntingly enchanting world with strong descriptive scenes and character interactions. I’d recommend this book to fans of the twilight series based on the character similarities. I also recommend reading the whole Iron Fey series.

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Rated ★★★★★

The Giver

Lois Lowry

The Giver is an insightful piece of writing that I feel tells that there cannot ever truly be a perfect society. It takes place in a world where in a futuristic world after eliminating all conflict of pain and war, everyone has settled for a set system where there are no colors, few emotions and everyone has their lives practically completely planned out for them. Their jobs, their partners, and even their children are all set into a system. As the main character finds that we really do need colors, emotions, and pains, the readers can find that while it can seem pretty ideal at first, people need to experience issues sometimes. If your life has no problems, you’re not really living it.

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Rated ★★★★★

The Tale of Despereaux

Kate DiCamillo

The Tale of Despereaux will always be a book I’ll remember with fondness as it’s one of my childhood all time favorites. It follows a number of characters, the main character being a little mouse with large ears and a large heart on a special quest. I liked this particular book because of the adorable pictures that were paired with such dark concepts. I’d recommend this book to families as it’s a easy read fantasy, but suggest considering the topics within before reading. I’d also recommend the movie to the readers.

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Rated ★★★★☆

The Iron Daughter

Julie Kagawa

Despite being the second book of the Iron Fey series, it was the first book I had read and remains my favorite of them to this day. As a sucker for star-crossed romance, The Iron Daughter really hits the target for cliche novel lovers. To be honest, the last time I read it was in early middle school, and returning to it after all this time really puts it into perspective just how cliche it really is. While the main character can be a little unlikable at moments, the overall world and characters of the book are pretty fascinating. I’d recommend The Iron Daughter to fans of the Twilight series.

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Rated ★★★★★

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald

A great read, in or out of the classroom. The Great Gatsby is a classic tragedy with several themes within. It follows a young man in named Nick Carraway as he witnesses the story of his eccentric neighbor unfold before him. Along with the interesting character depth, I really enjoyed the symbolism throughout the book, especially with the colors. I'd recommend this to fans of historical fiction as it takes place in the roaring 1920s; the Jazz age. Rated 5/5 Stars!

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Rated ★★★★☆

Speak

Laurie Halse Anderson

"Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson is an insightful story about a girl who suffers the aftermath of sexual assault. Despite being unlikable at times, the characters are pretty well written. Something that stood out to me is how this book confronts a sensitive topic in a realistic yet empowering way with subtle imagery and characterization. While there is some mature content, I'd suggest this book to the teen age group. I think it gives a good message to others. Rated 4/5 Stars.

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Rated ★★★★★

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Garth Stein

"The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein is a heartwarming story about a dog's recollection of his life. As I dog owner myself, I definitely related to this book in a very fond way. While it somewhat follows the well-known puppy tale story line, the writing really gets you attached to the characters throughout the book. I recommend this book to fans of "A Dog's Purpose" and "Marley & Me". Also, I recommend the movie to those who read it. 5/5 Stars!

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Rated ★★★★☆

Where She Went

Gayle Forman

Picking up a couple years after where "If I Stay" left off, "Where She Went" by Gayle Forman tells a realistic answer to the typical question of "what's next?" when finishing a book. It does so in a way that's realistic, even if it means it wasn't the happy moving on that readers might've anticipated. I particularly enjoyed how the book was told in a different perspective than the first book, as it gave lots of insight on that character's views and their relationship to the main character of the first book. Overall, "Where She Went" does a touching job of depicting the development of the characters after the traumatic events of "If I Stay". I'd suggest this to readers of the first book. 4/5 Stars

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Rated ★★★☆☆

The Hobbit

J. R. R. Tolkien

While I admit it's not really my style, The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien is an overall well written book. To generalize, it's about a recluse going on a quest with several companions and learning the value of friendship and adventure. It has a nice story line and a good theme, but I felt that the pacing was a little inconsistent. The characters were charming, but can take a bit to grow on you since there's so many. Personally, I'd probably recommend this book to Harry Potter fans because of the fantasy genre and adventure style writing. 3/5 Stars

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Rated ★★★★★

If I Stay

Gayle Forman

If I Stay is a lovely book about a car accident survivor struggling through a coma. I enjoyed it because it was pretty insightful on the value of life and how easily things change. Other than that, the characters are well written and very likable. I'd probably recommend this to fans of "The Fault In Our Stars", along with advising them to read the sequel called "Where She Went". This book also contains some mature language, so that's something to keep in mind if needed. 5/5 Stars!

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