Our teen reviewers tackle the latest novel in verse from Ellen Hopkins, an epic fantasy featuring goblins, and Tanya Lee Stone’s nonfiction work based on the acclaimed documentary Girl Rising.
ANDERSON, Natalie. City of Saints and Thieves. Putnam. Jan. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780399547584.
Gr 7 Up— Tiny Girl has lived her whole life with one ambition—killing the man that murdered her mom. But her ambition is under threat as she uncovers more and more dangerous secrets about her past.
I thought the cover was original and intriguing. I have never seen anything like it. Although it is a good cover, I feel it deceives the actual content of the book. This is a book of dark deeds and the cover gives me the impression of a more lighthearted book.
The setting and characters are the most intriguing part of this book. The location of the book pulls readers in and forces them to keep reading. The characters, unlike that of many books, are very unrelatable to teens who might be turning the pages. I believe this has a powerful aspect that keeps readers guessing, wanting to know more and more about this person’s life.
At the beginning of the book, I was unsure as to how the book was going to continue. They gave away a very good part of the book early in the plot line. But in the end, the characters encountered a new problem that led them on an exciting journey into their pasts. Before the book even started, there should have been a vague story of Tiny Girl’s mom getting killed. This could have been done to intrigue readers and keep them turning the pages.
Overall, I was not disappointed by this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good book.—Ben C., 14
HOPKINS, Ellen. The You I’ve Never Known. S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry. Jan. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781481442909.
Gr 9 Up— Ariel Pearson has lived a lonely life. She has a father who moves them back and forth across the country, a mother who left when Ariel was three, and revolving door of almost-not-really friends. Maya has and abusive mother and a dead dad. Maya doesn’t need a husband. She doesn’t need a baby; she needs an escape from her childhood.
I like the cover, it shows the truth in the life that Ariel, the main character, has and also the lies that have been woven into Ariel’s life. This is one of those brilliant books that has a secret hiding just under the words. As you read, it hides until you see it, or until it bursts from the lines smirking and arrogant about how long it’s fooled you.
This book is written in both verse and prose. Sometimes the verse seems forced; it reads like a cut-up paragraph, not a poem. I think the author should have either committed to the verse and made it sound like a poem, or have written the book in entirely in prose.—Cosette M., 15
JAE-JONES, S. Wintersong. St. Martin’s Griffin. Feb. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250079213.
Gr 9 Up— A dark fantasy story about a selfless girl stuck in the background and a goblin king who made a terrible mistake. I liked how beautiful the cover was. It really made me want to know more about the book. Also, the very beginning section really drew me in.
I loved the characters. Liesel changes so much over the course of the book, and her personality made me keep reading. The Goblin King also changed dramatically. At first he was a fantasy, then a mysterious stranger, then an evil king, and finally an honest human. —Kaitlyn H., 14
STONE, Tanya Lee. Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time. Random/Wendy Lamb Bks. Feb. 2017. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9780553511468.
Gr 8 Up— This book features the stories of girls across the globe struggling to get an education and how important it is for everyone to get an education.
I enjoyed the cover. I liked how it highlighted one girl but showed other smaller images of other girls in the back ground. I think that it relates to the book because the highlighted girl is looking off into the distance. Like she is looking ahead to a better future.
It was sad and moving to learn that there are millions of girls that are not in school. It made me feel very grateful to have a safe life and a great school. I also was empowered by the fact that girls all over the world are standing up for education and not just letting themselves be pushed around.—Alice G., 13
The book Girl Rising describes the stories of many girls and their struggles to get an education.
The amazing stories of all the girls and the facts that were incorporated into the book were really amazing to read and learn about. This book will empower you to help the people you may not have what you have.—Veronica C., 13
WIGGINS, Bethany. The Dragon’s Price. Crown. Feb. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399549816.
Gr 7 Up—The book is about a world taken by dragons, but in some places the humans have revolted and came upon power. One thousand years later, Sorrowlyn has been thrown as a sacrifice.
The cover most definitely expressed the mood and the idea of the story.
I loved the idea of the “gift” and the ability to go from nothing to formidable.
The only disappointing part about the book was how slow the middle part of the book. I jumped around, but that’s just me.—Dane V., 12
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