March 17, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Teens Review “Cure for the Common Universe” and More

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Gaming. Anorexia. The Manson Murders. There’s something for every kind of YA reader in this roundup by our teen reviewers.

cure for commonHEIDICKER, Christian Mckay. Cure for the Common Universe. S. & S. Jun. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481450270.
Gr 9 Up–
If you like to play video games this book is for you. The main character Jaxon is taken to video game re-hab. He must get 1,000,000 points to get out of rehab and make it to a date with a girl he met at a car wash at the beginning of the book.

The cover is really cool, it doesn’t have anything to do with the book. But I think that’s cool. The most compelling part of the book was when the main character meets the other “Players” at V-hab.

The book had a rushed ending and we didn’t get to know enough about Serena.–Carter W., 13


The book is about Jaxon who plays a lot of video games. One day he’s forced to wash his stepmom’s Xterra, and after a big argument, he storms out of the house and goes to wash the Xterra. When he gets there he meets a girl, and makes her laugh, he asks her out and she says yes but when he gets home his dad forces him to go to video game rehab. Now he has four days to make a million points doing things like cook, play sports, and cross-stitch, but he’s determined to make his first date ever.

I liked the cover a lot. It was really colorful and had a lot of things to look at. It also had an 8bit video game theme which was intriguing.

This book is really good! The most compelling aspect was Jaxon trying to get to his date with Serena and really wanted to find out if he was going to make the date or miss it and end up falling for Aurora.

I was disappointed in the ending. It didn’t really have a resolution. I was left with a whole bunch of questions, like did he ever get with Serena and did he treat his family better after? I think this book would be so much better if its resolution tied up more loose ends and answered more questions.–Jacob H., 17

faerieMARJARA, Eisha. Faerie. Arsenal Pulp. Jun. 2016. Tr $14.95. ISBN 978155152618.
Gr 9 Up–It’s about a highly imaginative girl named Lila who sees herself as a half-human fairy trying to get her wings but trying to undo womanhood. She is being treated for anorexia. Lila explains how it feels when your mind is taken over by an eating disorder and how far you will go to get to your deadly goal.

The colors on the cover are pretty. I really like how the title font is styled, but I feel like the girl should be tan or dark-skinned because in the book Lila talks about her mom being Punjabi. The girl’s skirt is ugly and it should be something more flowy.

The book is about a creative, Punjabi girl who was an overweight child named Lila. As she turns18, she decides to end her life by starving herself. She is sent to a hospital to recover from anorexia. I love that there is a book as a girl explains what goes through the mind of someone with an eating disorder and how it takes over your whole life. Because when you have one you don’t care or are afraid of death. It takes over everything and Lila really spoke to me.It would change to different plots and skip time, and I want to know what happened at that time.–Stephany S., 17

3P JKT Geeks_Guide.inddSARVENAZ, Tash. The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love. S. & S. Jun. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481456531.
Gr 9 Up–
Nerd dude Graham has been in love with his best friend ever since they were kids. He’s freaking out because he doesn’t know how to tell her. OF COURSE he decides to do so at a ComicCon when their favorite writer is making an appearance. But turns out she’s kind of a butthole and now his whole view of love is tainted.

The cover fit the book perfectly. A complete nerd who secretly is in love with his best friend, is all shown on the cover. You can tell he’s a struggling nerd, but nerds always win in the end so it’s cool to see the story unravel.

The best part was the moment that he finally had enough courage after failed attempts and missed opportunities to tell her that he’s actually been in love with her since before their first ComicCon.

Just like some books, or even most books, it can take a while for the story to make sense in the beginning. But otherwise a good book all around.

If you can relate to love and loss and the love for comic books, Hogwarts, and many more nerd references, read this book.–Isabella S., 17

giftedSWAIN, H.A. Gifted. Feiwel & Friends. Jun. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250028303.
Gr 7 Up
Gifted is a great read about a futuristic society, where music belongs to someone, and you can’t sing or recreate it. The son of one of the richest companies goes off and meets a unique girl who is at the bottom of the pyramid.

I liked how cool the cover looked, with its detailed, mechanical dragonfly. It really made me wonder what the book was about.

I really liked the characters. At first, Orpheus seems like a snooty rich boy, with everything he could possibly want, but then we see his family. Zimri is a hardworking girl with a special personality. I think that it’s cool to see how they act in their home environment, along with unfamiliar ones. Also, I think it’s cool how at first Arabella seems like a nice girl struggling to adapt, but then turns into a typical, mean celebrity.

It was really hard to get into the book for the first couple chapters. There were so many names and new ideas, that it was really hard to understand everything. But once you got into it, it was really good.—Kaitlyn H., 13

UMMINGER, Alison. American Girls. Flatiron. Jun. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250075000.
Gr 8 Up–
Anna is done with her life at home, so what should she do as a responsible 15-year-old? Steal her mom’s credit card and fly to California to stay with her half-sister of course! However, what began as an act of rebellion quickly morphs into obsession as Anna occupies herself in a project researching the dark history surrounding the Manson murders.

I loved the art on the cover, but it was marred by a giant black space on the bottom half filled with clips of reviews. I wish a more visually appealing design could have been found. I also wish the title had been a bit more prominent.

The most compelling aspect of the book was how it incorporated historical events into the story, especially considering how important that particular period in time was to the development of our country.

I wasn’t disappointed by the writing, but I did find it a bit dry and the book slow. I wish there had been more suspense, and it wasn’t hard to figure out what would happen next.—Isabel T., 14           

american_girlsANOTHER TAKE

Anna was done with her crazy, messed up, home life, she just wanted to run away, and what better place to go than LA, where her sister lives. Life there takes her by surprise, and she wonders if her home wasn’t so bad or if the Hollywood dream is all it’s cracked up to be.

The cover is smart and intriguing.  It caught my eye and made me pick up the book in the first place.

I loved the way it was written—with the thoughts that any normal 15-year-old would have. It made the whole book so relatable; there was such a sense of insecurity.

I never thought I would get so much out of a book.—Rachel F., 14

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Empowering Teens: Fostering the Next Generation of Advocates
Teens want to make a difference and become advocates for the things they care about. Librarians working with young people are in a unique position to help them make an impact on their communities and schools. Ignite your thinking and fuel these efforts at your library through this Library Journal online course—April 24 & May 8.