Book Reviews

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CORTLAND FREE LIBRARY TEENS

Welcome to the Cortland Free Library Teen Book Review Blog!



Newt's emeraldNewt's Emerald by Garth Nix
Teodora's Rating: ★★★

Review:
Set in the Regency era, Newt's Emerald follows the story of Lady Truthful as she solves the mystery of a priceless and powerful heirloom's (the Newington Emerald) disappearance and possible theft. Knowing that a young woman shouldn't be searching the streets of Europe in search of the Emerald, she disguises herself as a man. In her disguise, she meets Major Harnett, a man who is almost as mysterious as the stolen Emerald. Major Harnett agrees to help the disguised Lady Truthful search for the heirloom. However, they may be searching for something much more powerful that could already be in the wrong hands.
I'll admit it: A Regency era romance with magic seems like a hard premise for a story. Did Nix nail it? Sort of. I felt as if the magic elements (which include glamour magic, talking to animals, and weather control) were poorly executed. The story would have read the same without them. The pacing was also uneven. The first two thirds of the book moved smoothly, albeit rather slowly. However, the last third was moving so fast; making the climax and conclusion hugely rushed. The characters were nothing special and experienced little to no character development, however I don't think that was necessarily such a bad thing. The romance aspect was fine and plain. The best part about this book was the writing. The language easily captivated me. Overall, I would recommend this book to fans of the Regency era or fans of Garth Nix's works.

What did you think of the book?
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Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: February 1, 2016, 9:00 pm

Take the reinsCanterwood Crest: Take the Reins by Jessica Burkhart
Michaiah's Rating: ★★★★★

Review:
When Sasha Silver and her horse Charm arrive on the Canterwood Crest boarding school campus, she is both nervous and excited! But when her arrival doesn't go as planned, Sasha soon wonders if she really belongs at Canterwood. It also doesn't help that a few of the girls there don't like her and that they are SUPER competitive. Do you think Sasha will stand her ground and stay? Or will she pack her bags and leave?
Whether you like horses or not, I think this is a great book for anyone to read. I LOVED it! It has a little bit of humor at times, but it also can have you so into it, you don't want to put it down! It is the first book of the Canterwood Crest series, so if you read this book and like it, there are more to read!

What did you think of the book?
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Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: February 1, 2016, 8:44 pm







The lovely bones
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Allee's Rating:  ★★★★★

Review:
The Lovely Bones is about a young girl who is murdered by her newest neighbor in the quiet town of Norristown, Pennsylvania. The young girl, Susie, watches from her own personal heaven as her death affects her family. It is a tragic tale, but also an inspiring one. It is a good read for teens as it teaches a lesson on the value of life. The Lovely Bones is a wonderful book and a must-read for teens.


What did you think of the book?
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Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: February 1, 2016, 8:33 pm
To kill a mockingbirdTo Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Kelly's Rating: ★★★

Review:
For it's time, To Kill A Mockingbird was actually pretty well written. It had 2 parts: Part 1 acted as an intro to the book and Part 2 acted as the real story. I thought it was good, but I do have a couple of complaints. My biggest complaint was the fact that the story took a long time to progress. My second complaint is about the character development. There wasn't an overflow of characters, which was good, but there were only a few characters who were recognized and considered "important." I liked this story a lot because it felt like a real-life story. It was a nice change of pace. It was also a good history lesson! I found out more about segregation and life back in the the Great Depression in 1935! 
What did you think of the book?
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Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: September 18, 2015, 4:34 pm

To kill a mockingbirdTo Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Conley's Rating: ★★★★

Review:
Don't judge anything by age. At first, I was very skeptical, but as I kept reading I fell in love with it. The book follows the young life of a girl named Scout and highlights points in her life from when she was 5 through 7. In the tiny town of Maycomb, Alabama, Scout has to grow up dealing with her father's lawyer business and her brother's adolescence. All the characters are deeply detailed and seem like real people. It all leads up to a stunning ending no one could have seen coming. Overall, the book kept me entertained throughout the entire adventure. Definitely a must read for anybody. 

What did you think of the book?
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Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: September 18, 2015, 4:21 pm


The hostThe Host by Stephenie Meyer
Teodora's Rating: ★★★★★

Review:
In The Host, Earth is now inhabited by parasites that take over their human host's minds. These parasites called "souls" usually don't encounter any resistance from the former occupant of the mind. Wanderer, a soul occupying a human named Melanie, is one of those rare cases. Bombarded with thoughts, memories, and the loves of Melanie's past life leads Wanderer to leaver her own kind and travel into the unknown. The Host caught me by surprise. I had expected a corny love triangle and extensive sci-fi action. While having many edge-of-your-seat moments, what I got was a heartfelt story filled with emotion and tough choices. One thing I praise the author for, is writing in the unique perspective of the character Wanderer, the parasite, and the conflicts both physically and mentally between Melanie, the prisoner trapped within her own mind.

What did you think of the book?
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Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: September 8, 2015, 4:34 pm
The angel experiment Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride #1) by James Patterson
 Danielle's Rating: ★★★★★

Review:
The Maximum Ride series is a great read. It's about a 14 year old girl named Maximum Ride and her "family" of mutant bird kids who are living in a country house. They previously had escaped from a laboratory called "The School" with help from one of the scientists. If you enjoy action packed stories then you will love this 8 book series.
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: December 18, 2014, 5:07 pm
LegendLegend by Marie Lu
Darian's Rating: ★★★★★

Review:
June is chosen to find Day who is charged with the murder of her brother, Metias. After she goes undercover to solve the murder she begins to find out that there are more things left untold and that there is more to the story than meets the eye. Is Day really the killer?


What did you think of the book?

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Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: November 13, 2014, 7:49 pm
Warm bodies : a novelWarm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Darian's Rating: ★★★★★

Review:
R is a zombie. He doesn't remember his past. All he knows is that he is different from all the rest. R and his best friend M go into the city to find food(humans.) The day R saves a beautiful young girl is the day he realizes he is really changing. He can begin to hear his heart beat. He knows when he saves the girl that he must keep her protected. They begin to fall in love.


What did you think of the book?
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Author: Betsy
Posted: October 6, 2014, 7:40 pm
DivergentDivergent by Veronica Roth
Josh's Rating: ★★★★★

Review:
"The test doesn't work on you!" Beatrice Prior is from Abnegation, a faction that believes that the way to peace is total selflessness. She, however, has other thoughts. When it comes time for her to choose her faction, her destiny, she relies on an aptitude test to tell her where she really belongs.
 
The results are inconclusive. She is Divergent. She will be hunted down, and killed.

Divergent was a very thrilling and thought-provoking book. Roth showed that a single virtue is not enough: we need to be "brave and selfless and smart and kind and honest." She also made manifest the danger of a lust for power; how it ruins friendships and corrupts even the most honorable individuals.







What did you think of the book?
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Author: Betsy
Posted: October 6, 2014, 7:27 pm



The dogs of winter
The Dogs of Winter by Bobbie Pyron
Allee's Rating: ★★★★

Review:
I enjoyed reading the story The Dogs of Winter by Bobby Pyron. This story is about a young boy who finds himself abandoned on the streets of Moscow after his mother leaves him. The boy, Ivan, wanders around in search of his mother. Soon he gives up hope of finding his mother and ever sleeping in a proper bed again. Throughout the story, he learns to fear the place they call the orphanage, meets unlikely allies, and becomes friends with a pack of street dogs. But soon they're more than just friends; they're family. And they give him a reason to live once more. A good book worth a read!





What did you think of the book?
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Author: Betsy
Posted: October 6, 2014, 7:24 pm


Mockingjay
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Josh's Rating: ★★★


Review:
In this third installment of the Hunger Games series, Katniss must make a choice. Will she cast aside all doubt and become the Mockingjay? Or, will she flee from the Capitol with her friends and family, and seek to establish an independent life of her own?

Honestly, I was very disappointed with this conclusion to the series. At some times the plot proceeded so quickly that it was confusing. At others, it was almost unbearably depressing :(  




What did you think of the book?
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Author: Betsy
Posted: October 6, 2014, 7:09 pm


I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Josh's Rating: ★★★★★

Review:
Number Four, commonly known as John Smith, is one of the last survivors of an alien race called the Lorians. He has been hiding his entire life; running from place to place in a frantic attempt to escape discovery by the Mogadorians. As he grows up, he begins to develop special powers called Legacies. Will he receive his Legacies in time, or will the Mogadorians catch him and murder him like Three, Two, and One? I really enjoyed this book. The author did a very good job of showing the tension between Four's duty/survival and his desire to remain a normal kid. I can not wait to read the next book in the series, The Power of Six!



What did you think of the book?
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Author: Betsy
Posted: July 14, 2014, 7:23 pm

Violet & Claire by Francesca Lia Block
Iva's Rating: ★★★★★

Review:
Though this book has a very simple theme (the power of friendship), it is told in such an original way so as to make the story unforgettable. It is complete with a girl who truly believes she is a fairy, a fling with a rock star bad guy, Hollywood partier, and a cheery poetry class. More so, Block's voice resonates whether she is writing in the format of a movie script of journal entry (and she does both in the course of the novel), and her diction is heartbreaking beautiful simply put. This book is one of the best YA reads I have ever read, and I do not say this lightly.




What did you think of the book?
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Author: Betsy
Posted: July 14, 2014, 7:14 pm

Panic by Lauren Oliver
Teodora's Rating: ★★★★✩

Plot Summary:
Welcome to Carp. A small, dull town in modern New York. It remains dull all year except in the summer. A game, a challenge, is played each summer in Carp to give citizens some entertainment. Played in secret, the tasks are often times life-threatening. The only reason graduates play is for the prize money.

Heather and Dodge both have the same goal; to win. Along the way they will form (and break) relationships, test friendships, uncover secrets, and discover what really matters in life. Do they have what it takes to not panic?

Review:
This book moved slowly for me at first, but quickly fastened the pace as the plot thickened. The book moved smoothly and the author was great at explaining the main characters' emotions. This book is for teens since it contains foul language. Over all, a good read for those who love suspense.



What did you think of the book?
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Author: Betsy
Posted: July 14, 2014, 6:48 pm


Golden by Cameron Dokey
Teodora's Rating: ★★★★✩

Plot Summary:
Rapunzel is taken by birth by a sorceress, Melisande, when her vain mother makes a deal. Her mother can take the Rapunzel from Melisande's garden if she could love her newborn child. When Rapunzel is born, her head is bald and shows no chance of growing hair. Growing up with her mother, Rapunzel learns the power of love. Melisande tests Rapunzel to free an enchantment on her daughter, Rue, whom Rapunzel has never heard of. Soon jealousy invade both girls, but they will have to overcome it or Rue will be permanently cursed.

Review:
The start of the book was slow and had no action. I liked the twist about Rapunzel being bald.
Author: Betsy
Posted: July 14, 2014, 6:18 pm


Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer
Teodora's Rating: ★★★★★

Plot Summary:
Artemis is now a brother and should be having a normal life, but is anything ever normal for Artemis? Artemis Fowl's mother is sick with a magical disease and the only cure is the brain fluid from an extinct lemur. Now Artemis travels back in time with the fairy Holly Short to stop the lemur from being extinct facing their most intelligent foe, ten-year-old Artemis Fowl.

Review:
I loved this book to pieces. Seeing the back story of characters has always caught my interest because I can see what characters had to face before they became what they are.
Author: Betsy
Posted: July 14, 2014, 6:07 pm



Before Midnight : A Retelling of "Cinderella" by Cameron Dokey
Teodora's Rating: ★★★★★

Plot Summary:
Cendrillon had a horrible start in life. Her mother died giving birth and now Cendrillon's father pretends Cendrillon is non-existent. One day, she wishes that she can have a loving mother and two sisters, and she finds out a year later that her father has been married. Now Cendrillon lives with her new step-mother and step-sisters who do nothing of her bloodline. Cendrillon has to make many choices, but will she make the right one?

Review:
I loved that the writer added a back story to the tale of "Cinderella." It made the character real.
Author: Betsy
Posted: July 14, 2014, 6:07 pm
Artemis Fowl. The lost colonyArtemis Fowl:  The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer
Teodora's rating:  5 out of 5 stars

In the fifth book of the best-selling series, Artemis Fowl is again outsmarting the fairies below ground by tracking hidden species, the demons.  However, he soon gets more than he bargained for when a young demon imp appears and a 12-year-old girl is first at the scene.  using help from the fairies of the Lower Elements and others, Artemis must save the demon race before they are only found in zoos.  I rate this book a five out of five because it lives up with the series.  Also, the book pleasantly surprised me at the end with an unexpected twist.
Author: Betsy
Posted: July 14, 2014, 5:52 pm

These broken stars




These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Josh's rating: ★★★★★

An enormous spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace, sending thousands to their doom.  Out of the multitudes aboard, there are only two survivors:  Lilac LaRoux, the richest lady in the world, and Major Merendsen, a heroic young soldier.  Can they forget about social boundaries and learn to work together, or will they die, lost somewhere in the galaxy?

This book was interesting to the last page!  I especially enjoyed the conflict between Lilac's feelings toward Tarver and her sense of obligation towards her father and society.  These Broken Stars is a true thriller, a fantastic work of art from the distant future.


Author: Betsy
Posted: May 23, 2014, 1:35 pm


More Than This by Patrick Ness
Kyra's rating: ★★★★★

The book was honestly much better than I expect and the plot twist was major.  Very enjoyable!
Author: Betsy
Posted: May 22, 2014, 6:05 pm


Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Iva's rating: ★★★✩✩

When I heard that Stephen Chbosky had warmly praised a new book, I could not wait to read it.  I counted down the days until it came out and then stalked the library website until I could order the book.  My excitement quickly died once I read the first few chapters.  The whole novel is a shallow imitation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The characters remind me of Chbosky's except that they are less likable.  The plot and conflict have minor differences that do nothing to add originality or life to the story.  And finally, the format of the novel, only different from Chbosky's in that Laurel (Dellaira's protagonist) addresses her letters to dead people while Charlie addressed his to a stranger, does nothing for the novel as Dellaira's voice is nowhere as captivating as Chbosky's.

So, why the three stars?  If I hadn't read Perks first, I probably would have loved this novel.  Also, KURT COBAIN and JIM MORRISON!

Author: Betsy
Posted: May 22, 2014, 5:54 pm

                                     Now I'll Tell You Everything by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Now I'll tell you everything

Lydia's rating: 5 out of 5 stars


In the novel Now I'll Tell You Everything, Alice tells her life from the day she goes to McKinley college to now.  If you have read the rest of the Alice series you will love this one.  Alice reunites with an old flame and meets new ones.  She goes on the ride of her life in her college years and gets her dream job. She starts her own family and lives happily ever after.  This was an amazing book; it's very worth it to take this book off the shelf and check it out!
Author: Betsy
Posted: May 22, 2014, 4:49 pm

Wild born




Wild Born (Spirit Animals #1) by Brandon Mull

Allee's rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In Wild Born, four children discover they have the rare bond with spirit animals.  Not only is it rare for this bond to form, but the animals summoned are none other than Briggan the wolf, Essix the falcon, Jhi the panda, and Uraza the leopard.  The four children, Conor, Rollan, Meilin, and Abeke set out on an epic quest to save Erdas from the Devourer.  A great book to read if you are into fantasy and animals. A great page turner!
Author: Betsy
Posted: May 22, 2014, 4:42 pm

Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Gabbie's rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I stumbled upon this book in the library and was interested after reading the inside cover. I am so glad I picked up this book. This novel portrays the life of Allyson, a girl who has never questioned who she is and her goals in life. By chance, Allyson meets the Dutch actor, Willem, who helps her realize life is more than  plans and time. Life is full of accidents. After one day together Allyson goes through a change, and she spends a year trying to discover who she wants to be. I am in love with this novel, and am impatiently waiting for the sequel.
Author: Betsy
Posted: October 24, 2013, 7:53 pm