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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

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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

Nifty!

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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!

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Author: Jerry Spinelli

I listened to this book on Playaway, fun, fun.

The title comes from a change to the Robert Frost line "Miles to go before I sleep", being "Smiles to go before I weep".

Jerry Spinelli never fails to tell a good story. Will Tuppence is the protagonist in this book. He has two close friends, Mi-Su and B.T. but things get awkward when both B.T. and Will are interested in having Mi-Su as a girlfriend. The other tension in the book is Will's little sister Tabby who is so darn annoying to him. Will is interested in the cosmos and atoms and science. He also likes chess. Ultimately,he is a typical teenager trying to figure it all out. This is a good "slice of life" book.

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Author: Andreas Portes

Anika is a young girl trying to make sense of the world. Her father lives in Romania and she lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with her mother, stepdad and assorted siblings. Anika is the youngest.

Anika is trying to figure out the interrelationships at work and when to be courageous. She is trying to figure out interrelationships at school and when to be courageous. She is trying to figure out interrelationships at home and when to be courageous.

Two boys are vying for Anika's attention. One is named Logan who is a deeply poetic and artistic person. Unfortunately, his home life is violent. Logan is not considered a "cool" kid so Anika is very secretive about her relationship with him. Jared is a very cool kid and when he singles Anika out, it is astonishing to everyone. He respects Anika's independence but what is his real motive with her? Anika is trying to choose but her choice is made for her in an unexpected and sad way. The book is great in the way the plot takes off.

Becky is everyone's cruel nemesis and a strong bully at school. She is also deemed one of the "cool kids" so everyone feels uncomfortable crossing her. In the fabulous climax of the book, Anika finally tells Becky what everyone has been thinking. Much like when the witch in The Wizard of Oz has cold water thrown on her, Becky finally fades to nothing when the truth is told.

Written in first person, you see all through Anika's eyes. I really liked her relationship with her mom. She also has a lovely scene toward the end of the book with her stepdad.