February 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Teens Review Marieke Nijkamp’s Debut, Eve Bunting’s Latest, and More

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The teens of the Kitsap (WA) Regional Library YA Book Group tackle thrillers, sci-fi, romance, and a debut novel about a school shooting.

forbiddenBUNTING, Eve. Forbidden. Clarion. Dec. 2015. Tr $ 17.99. ISBN 9780544390928.
Gr 6 Up–
This book is about a young girl who comes from a wealthy family, but then goes to live with her mean aunt and uncle. But the town is unfriendly, and there’s a reason…. When I first looked at the cover, I thought it was the Statue of Liberty, but now looking closer, I realize it’s a Siren, like on the front of boats which makes perfect sense. I liked the colors, and how they all go together.

I liked the characters, how Lamb is so mean, like the uncle and aunt, but how Eli was so mysterious and nice. Also, I liked the plot, how at first it seems really normal, if not a little mysterious, but, gradually, you get to know more and more of why and what is happening in the town. I thought that while the voice of the main character fit with her character and background, it was just really formal.—Kaitlyn H., 13


This book is like a sleep pill. In 19th-century Scotland, orphan Josie is sent to live with her aunt and uncle where everything is dark and sinister and the boy she is attracted to is forbidden. So she goes in search for answers, uncovering dangerous secrets wrapped with greed.

I guess the cover did reflect the book’s contents, with the blueish-green ship’s figurehead representing the Wrecking practice. I wanted to finish this book so I could review it and not have to have an unfinished book sitting on my pile at my house. That’s pretty much the only reason why I read this book.

If you like literature and writing voice set in 1800, then this book is for you. But don’t hesitate to look up the following words: cantankerous, thankee, the phrase “ails him,” blaeberry jam, pious, “some hae meat an’ canna eat…”, aye, stockings/jersey/trousers/kerchief, twill, villainous, sleet-cold, the phrase: Liverpool Lass, brooch, and my most favorite phrase out of this book: “HOLD YOUR TONGUE YOU BESOM. Anyways, this book was just plain boring!!!!!—Sam G., 14

Elwood_InheritELWOOD, Tessa. Inherit the Stars. Running Pr. Dec. 2015. pap. $ 9.95. ISBN 9780762458400.
Gr 8 Up–When your father rules a piece of the universe certain things are expected of you: always be regal, always be loyal to the family, always protect your people. However, Asa puts everything on the line when she takes her sister Emmie’s place in an arranged marriage to protect her comatose sister, Wren, from being unplugged. For the cover, I liked the futuristic vibe that the city in the background had in combination with the planets. I liked how it showed the protagonist and how she wasn’t facing forward. But I don’t get why she is wearing that dress and isn’t she supposed to be near-bald? I think that it reflect the contents pretty well.

The most compelling aspect of the book was the complicated relationships between the characters. Asa loves Wren and Emmie, but resents people thinking of her as exactly like them and expecting her to live up to their example. Asa’s father alternates between being an almost ordinary father figure and as cold as ice. Asa’s family is a messed up, but that is the beauty of family life jumbled with politics.

I was very disappointed in the lack of description of the setting and adherence to the norms of teen dystopian fiction. I couldn’t believe that they didn’t even mention why the blight was so bad. Or why it affected crops. Or what its symptoms were. Or how manufacturing the energy created it. It wasn’t even mentioned whether this was an alternate dimension or a future of the human race. How did space travel work? Don’t even get me started on the Giflons. The one unique species in this book was impossible to picture and only made one inconsequential appearance. Any sort of vehicle could have taken their place and there was no mention of how they evolved or genetic experiments.

On top of this, Asa and Eagle’s relationship was basically Katniss and Peeta’s, with Eagle’s mother playing an enthusiastic Effie. The bit with dead staring at Eagle and Asa was supposed to be deep, but it was so similar to Kate Booram’s Winterkill (Abrams, 2014) that it lost its meaning.

I know I am a harsh critic, but the way the author used the themes worked. It gave the book an edgy, exciting feel. Next time the author publishes a book, she could be a little more original. —Audrey C., 13

morrill_trouble with destinyMORRILL, Lauren. The Trouble with Destiny. Delacorte. Dec. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553497977.
Gr 7 Up–
Set on the beautiful cruise ship, Destiny, Liza stumbles around (sometimes literally) trying to figure out the world of romance, competitions, and responsibility, and with the guiding hand of her friend Sofia, finally gets it.

The cover is BEAUTIFUL!!!! I love the backdrop of a play. (And it’s a connection to the book—the way they play with each other’s hearts!) It’s just really aesthetically pleasing and the colors are also really nice (and they complement each other). I also like that the people’s faces aren’t showing, so you’re not sure who the guy is or what Liza looks like.

Liza is completely clueless as she stumbles through her drama-filled cruise aboard Destiny, both the ship and concept. Inexperienced in the world of romance, Liza can’t see what’s right in front of her face for most of the book. Instead she has fantasies about Lenny, the boy she knew in summer camp who somehow shows up right when tensions are running high. He seems like the perfect boy to Liza, whereas Russ is simply the annoying guy she has to keep out of her hair.

On top of shaking their heads at Liza and her obliviousness, readers will want to sink into the wonderful-sounding cruise. Their boat, Destiny, is filled with just about everything you could possibly want: a bowling alley, two pools (with hot tubs and a water park–like slide), all you can eat buffets, live music every night, lounges, and even a wedding! You can imagine leaning against the cool railing of the boat on a perfectly warm and breezy ocean air sweeping into our face from the sparkling turquoise water that the sun is setting behind, talking with Liza’s elegant and wise friend, Sophia.

Morrill’s writing style is too sarcastic for me, personally. However, it does give Liza’s character more personality and a bit of sass. However, Liza’s character is one which I found hard to connect with, her whole life is marching band, and she has to deal with so much drama. With her friends I had a similar problem: the characters are just very unique and specific. But in the case of Huck, I’d say that his character is very stereotypical. It’s pretty clear that Huck is very into fashion and he’s friends with mostly girls, which, I’m sure, is not what all gay guys are like.—Charlotte F.,13

nijkamp_this is where it endsNIJKAMP, Marieke. This Is Where It Ends. Sourcebooks. Jan. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781492622468.
Gr 8 Up—
In 54 minutes, everything changes. In 54 minutes, 39 are shot and killed. Less than an hour can reshape your life. In one school, one person, with one gun, changes everything. A brother, a boyfriend, a classmate. A wish of revenge. Unfolding through the eyes of those close to him, a story of tragedy and loss; yet, through it all, hope.

I really like the simplicity of the cover. A black background and sticks of chalk shattered by a single bullet was an interesting and accurate analogy of the contents. I think the most compelling aspect of the book was the way it was told. Each chapter was only one or two minutes passing in the book, and having several different perspectives gave insight into what was happening elsewhere. There was nothing that really disappointed me in the book. The only thing is at first it’s a little hard to keep all the characters and what they’re doing straight, but it’s not really a problem. Within a couple chapters, you get to know them enough and can easily follow the story.—Naomi D., 13


I believe this book could influence other teens to read it because of the comparison of the events occurring in the book.        I believe other teens will enjoy the book. The plot took place in an educational environment, making a connection with teen readers.

I loved the amount of detail in the cover and the colors used. The cover definitely reflected the content. I loved the point of views described in the book to add the emphasis on the plot.—Marcos Y., 17

AND YET ANOTHER TAKE! (Our reviewers were really interested in this title.)

The book is told over 54 minutes by the students at Opportunity High. A former classmate (Tyler) locks all of the students and teachers in the auditorium after an assembly. He brought a gun with him and starts to shoot. He has a grudge against most of his school. Tyler’s younger sister Autumn is there too. They both lost their dear mother and it changed their family.

The cover of the book for me was at first a little confusing, I could not tell what it was. Then when I turned the book over to read the summary it made a little more sense. But I wish the cover reflected the content more, instead of broken chalk, maybe a picture of a school, or a gun? Since the whole book is about a school shooting.

What I really enjoyed about this book was the fact the author switched up on who was narrating the story. I really got to see what was going on in a lot of the characters minds, instead of just one. This really got me thinking about each of the characters.

At the end of the book I was disappointed that SPOILER Tyler never got to face justice for what he had done. This book is filled with a lot of feelings between the siblings. It was a good book but I would not recommend it if you don’t like dark stories.—Catelynn G., 13

zimmerman_rosemary spell_ZIMMERMAN, Virginia. The Rosemary Spell. HMH. Dec. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544445376.
Gr 5 Up–
The Rosemary Spell follows the lives of Rosemary and Adam after they find a mysterious book with a strange spell inside. Overall, this book is a great read, having you at the edge of your seat with every page turn, and making it almost impossible to set the book down. For Zimmerman’s first book, I think it was absolutely amazing! I hope she writes more in the future, and eventually writes Pelagia’s Boats as well!

I liked the cover. The cover did reflect the contents of the book, and I know that when I first saw it, I was hooked and wanted to find out more about what was inside. The plot was amazing!! It seemed to get better and better as the book went on! I just loved it so much! The idea of losing someone in the void and having to try so, so hard to hold onto the memories of them is interesting, and I loved the poetry aspect of the book. I also liked how Zimmerman added a little history element with all of the Shakespeare facts.

Another thing that I thought was cool about the book was Zimmerman’s references to the book, Pelagia’s Boats. At first, I had never heard of it, and wanted to try to find it so I could read it, but then, as I finished the book, I read through the handy section at the end titled “Rosemary’s Bookshelf” (which was another part of the book that I really liked). Pelagia’s Boats is a book that Zimmerman hopes to write in the future, and I thought that was super cool that she added it into her story.

I wasn’t particularly disappointed in anything, but there were just one nit-picky thing. It really seemed like all the characters were the same to me. If I were asked to pick out different adjectives for each one, I probably wouldn’t be able to. There were no certain traits that made them each stand out in a certain way, which was kind of disappointing. But, this didn’t exactly take away from my reading experience, so it wasn’t that big a deal as I was reading the book.—Zoe D., 13


What happens when someone just, well, disappears? Do they die? Do they hang around in space for a while? Can they be saved? The determination of young Rosemary and Adam to find their best friend and sister, Shelby, proves that if you fight to always, always remember someone, they can be saved.

The cover has a cool image on it, and I really like the font of the title! Though the cover image could be a bit more relevant to important themes of the book.

The most compelling aspect of the book was mainly after Shelby disappeared, and it was the desperate way in which Rosie and Adam longed for Shelby and almost died to save her—very emotional! Also, the way in which the author depicts Rosie’s and Adam’s close friendship is endearing and compelling.

I thought that the writing style was the slightest bit dull (mostly in word choice) and that adjectives and adverbs were often repeated several times on one page. On the other hand, I thought that the plot was VERY well crafted-no disappointments there!

I think that this book would be a perfect match for many 11-, 12-, and 13-year-olds because it is not a super mature book but it’s a great book with that hint of fantasy that many young teens and preteens enjoy.—Vivian P., 13



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