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Welcome to the book blog, featuring reviews for teens from InfoSoup librarians and users!

Reviews by Elizabeth: (Seymour) Muehl Public Library

Title: Lockdown
Author: Walter Dean Myers

Reese Anderson is given an opportunity to spend time helping in a nursing home as a break from an institution he has been housed in for two years. He is being punished for a crime involving drugs. He is only 14. At the nursing home, he meets a resident named Mr. Hooft. Although their relationship is contentious at the start, they eventually get to know one another. It turns out that Reese grows to understand some lessons about life from Mr. Hooft. By the end of the book, the reader feels very hopeful that Reese will be able to get his life on track. This book is truthful because you never know who you are going to meet who might help you on YOUR life's journey. The only thing I wished for from this book was more conversations between Reese and Mr. Hooft. Although, I must admit, what was portrayed was probably realistic because they would have not had that much time to spend together/talk.

Author: Fern Schumer Chapman

This book written in the voice of Edith (Tiddy) explains the anguish of being sent to America, from Germany, as a child to be protected from the Nazis. It is a poignant story because the author explains how harrowing the ship voyage was; how unfamiliar everything in Chicago was; how difficult school and life would be for an immigrant who was lonely and homesick and shunned as World War II took up speed on this side of the Atlantic. What makes it all even more compelling is that the author was writing this based on true events in her family. This is a very important book and I highly recommend it to middle schoolers all the way on up. The double images of stars, the star of David, and the stars for the American military came together in a lovely synergy of loss to TWO groups on p. 200.

Author: Varian Johnson

Recommended by the CCBC, I found this book fast paced, clever, and suspenseful. Jackson Greene comes from a line of heisters (is that a word?!) and he decides to pull a heist for the benefit of his friend Gaby who he really likes. Gaby is running for class president in the middle school but her competition, bad guy Keith, seems to have it already all wrapped with the help of unsavory Dr. Kelsey who is the principal. Jackson gathers a group of talent around him to assure Gaby's win. Just when you think you know what is actually happening things get switched up. As the reader you feel double and maybe even triple crossed yourself! Generally, you might not want to support lies and tricks and subterfuge. But for this Robin Hood like figure? Oh, yeah, you want him to win, win, win with that brilliant mind of his. Another book is set to follow. I look forward to it.

*Also, I must note that "The Greene Code of Conduct", although particularly worded for this heisting family, includes some philosophies that work for general living!

Author: Marie Lu

The book is great. The focus is on the villain, instead of the hero. It’s one of the few books that has no clear side of “good guys” or “bad guys.” (At least, in the beginning.) Since the setting is medieval, I would assume that readers of fantasy, and science fiction genres would like it. Again, I think the book is great, and I definitely recommend it.

Reviewed by storymaker

Author: Jennifer E. Smith

I give it five stars. The movement of the two protagonists and their turmoil are very lifelike. I also appreciate how Lucy got books from each of the places she traveled and how it didn’t work out perfectly right away but how they rolled with the punches.

reviewed by Stacy_Morgan

Author: Jenny Han

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is not your average love story. There are plot twists, heart breaks, and  many surprises. The ending leaves you wanting more. It’s about a girl who has loved 5 boys in her life. Each time she’s loved a boy, she’s written him a letter professing her love. What you could probably guess is she never sent them, never had plans to send them, and the boys will never read them.  That is, until someone else decided to send them. Now she goes from having a love life that was almost non-existent, to one that is spiralling out of control.

reviewed by annakristina34

Author: Kendare Blake

The plot and everything is good, but the beginning is confusing, and the ending is horrible and sad. If there was a sequel, I would give it a 4, because series books end in cliffhangers. Other than the ending, I loved the book.

reviewed by naturelover 64


Author: Maya Van Wagenen

Maya is an exceptional young woman offering us an exceptional book. She stumbles across an old guide to being popular, by Betty Cornell, and begins an experiment in her middle school to see if the tips still apply and will possibly make her "popular". Maya is mature, introspective and funny. She gives us glimpses of her solid family. She has loving parents who offer her church and adventures in nature, support and guidance, set to a background of challenges and violence. (They are living very close to the Mexican/Texas border which makes some school experiences surreal like drug dogs checking lockers.) Maya is sensitive about not being exclusive. She also grieves for a lost sister. Her voice is real and likeable. Yay for a great young voice! She also has a respect for her elders like Mr. Lawrence and Betty. She realizes that wisdom spans the generations. Some of her conclusions, after her experiment, are that all kids have something to share and everyone feels awkward in the hierarchy. So true! And so real for all settings and stratums of society. LOVED THIS BOOK!