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Cortland Free Library Teens

Teen Book Review Blog

The red pyramidThe Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Teodora's Rating: ★★★

Review:
Sadie and Carter Kane have never been close, even though they are siblings. Sadie has been living in England ever since their mother died with her grandparents, while Carter travels around with his Egyptologist father. Things are not what they seem, however, when the Kane siblings see their own father encased in a coffin and go to Manhattan with their uncle, Amos. Now, in order to save their father (and the world), Sadie and Kane have to learn ancient magic and deal with gods that are definitely not the stuff of myths. And they only have five days.
I absolutely love Egyptian ancient culture and learned a ton of neat stuff while reading. Riordan has a humorous pop culture style that weaves its way into this first book smoothly. One of my favorite things about The Red Pyramid is the description of the gods. They are colorful characters that cooperate with modern life in their own ways while still preserving the ancient Egyptian life. I will pick up the second book in this series for sure.
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: May 5, 2017, 6:19 pm
Magi 23 : the labyrinth of magic, vol. 23Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic Vol. 23 by Shinobu Ohtaka
Teodora's Rating: ★★★

Review:
Aladdin continues his story of the past world. Sheba has integrated herself as a member of Solomon's group, yet she wonders about the leader's past. What is the reason for trying to unite all species and create a Utopian society? As the group gets closer to creating this perfect dream, it begins to unravel and the one man who will try to sabotage their victory is the one man Solomon hates the most: his father.
Ohtaka's art is as stunning and detailed as ever. Sheba was entertaining and brought some humor to this thrilling manga (especially with her attempts to get Solomon to go on a date with her). Overall, this volume of Magi is a good segway for the next volume.
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: May 5, 2017, 6:05 pm
Inu-yasha. Vol. 1InuYasha Vol. 1 by Rumiko Takahashi
Teodora's Rating: ★★★

Review:
1997, Tokyo - Kagome lives at her family's shrine, but could care less of the legends that her grandfather tells. However, all that changes when a demon drags her through a well and into Feudal Japan! Estranged with her new surrounding, Kagome finds out she is the reincarnation of a powerful archer and bears the much desired Shikon Jewel that demons will kill her for to become unstoppable; including the half-demon InuYasha.
InuYasha exceeded my expectations. After reading the first volume, I became addicted with the anime just to know what happens next. I love stories with cultural historical influences and this manga captures Feudal Japan with magical touches like demons based off the folklore. The art has that classic and nostalgic manga feel that you can only get in the 1990s and I absolutely love the humorous expressions Takahashi draws. There is the perfect balance of funny and serious that makes InuYasha an enjoyable read. Would recommend to those who like some action, some history, and a little bit of romance.



Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: May 5, 2017, 5:54 pm
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Vol. 1 by Akira Himekawa
Teodora's Rating: ★★★

Review:
A long time ago, darkness and shadow was sealed in what was known as the Twilight Realm. Light and darkness have lived separately for years until internal conflict in the Twilight Realm promises to bring chaos and shadows back to peaceful Hyrule. Enter Link: a mysterious young man who has integrated himself into the daily life of a small village. He has many friends, though some questions his trustworthiness; especially when strange things happen.
I love the Legend of Zelda franchise and had high expectations for this series based off one of the games. I was not disappointed. It starts with a backstory not shown within the game and adds depth to some of the most important characters. The drawings are impressive as well. Twilight Princess is the start of a manga series that fans of the game can appreciate.
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: May 5, 2017, 5:38 pm
The sword of summer
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
Allee's Rating: ★★★

Review:
Magnus Chase is a story of a simple boy from Boston. He's lived through a troubled past and is now faced with an interesting future. Perfect for those who look for a good laugh. The story is packed with humor. It's also about bravery and loyalty.
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: April 7, 2017, 10:04 pm
Thou shalt not road tripThou Shalt Not Road Trip by Antony John
Lydia's Rating: ★★★

Review:
Young adult Luke has written a best seller on his life journey named "Hallelujah." Now Luke is going on a cross country book tour escorted by his older brother Matt. Unbeknownst to Luke, Matt invites his girlfriend and Luke's ex-crush. While on this eye-opening journey Luke misses book signings and questions what faith really means to him. Using excerpts from what would be "Hallelujah" Antony John is also able to make a connection of the "old language" that is used in the Bible.
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: April 7, 2017, 9:57 pm
Secret originsStory Thieves: Secret Origins by James Riley
Michaiah's Rating: ★★★

Review:
After their last adventure ended, Owen and his half-fictional friend Bethany have sworn not to jump into any more books. Books though... Not portals. Jupiter City is a comic book world once filled with brightly costumed superheroes. But now, the Dark has taken over the city with his shadows. Most of the heroes have either been mind-controlled or have disappeared completely. The only hero left who could have defeated the Dark is Doc Twilight, but he's been imprisoned. Owen and Bethany will need help from old friends to defeat the Dark. But will they actually defeat the Dark? Or will the Dark defeat them?
This book is really good! Once you start it, you won't want to put it down! It has an amazing story line and it definitely keeps you guessing throughout the book. This is the third book in the Story Thieves series. So if you liked the first two books, you'll like this one as well!
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: March 31, 2017, 3:50 pm
Red : the true story of Red Riding HoodRed: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Leisl Shurtliff
Michaiah's Rating: ★★★

Review:
Red isn't afraid of anything, except magic. So when Red's Granny falls ill, Red must find a cure - even if it has to be a magical one. So with the help from an annoying blond-haired girl named Goldie, Red embarks on a journey to find a cure for her Granny. A journey that will take her through dwarven caves, to a haunted well, and an enchanted castle. Along the journey, Red and Goldie are followed by a wolf and a huntsman - two enemies each seeking help to defeat each other. But one just might have the solution that Red is looking for. 
This book is really intriguing! It has some humor in it, but it also has you so you don't want to put it down! This author is really talented - she's really good at twisting fairy tales, and all of her books relate to each other. This is an amazing book, and I would recommend it to anyone. 
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: January 20, 2017, 5:32 pm
Puella magi madoka magica. Vol. 3Puella Magi Madoka Magica Vol. 3 by Magica Quartet
Teodora's Rating: ★★★

Review:
In this final volume, Madoka learns what Magical Girls are really fighting against and what would happen to her if she accepted Kyubey's contract. Meanwhile, Homura, another Magical Girl, prepares to fight a witch that will kill her if she continues fighting alone. Her reserved nature and commitment to stop Madoka from becoming a Magical Girl is revealed. When Madoka comes to Homura on the battle field however, she will be surprised at what this girl who is destined to be the world's greatest Magical Girl will do.
After three volumes, I've finished this dark Magical Girl series. My final impression: it is just not meant for me. I'm sure that others can enjoy this series for its grim yet spelling themes. This series is also a popular anime by the same name. I felt, however, that the series was too short. The series did not give me enough time to envelop myself in this world of Magical Girls. I did enjoy the ending. It was bittersweet and a bit unpredictable. The art continued being great with an amazing fight scene. I did have a problem with one chapter that continued to go through numerous time lines. Writing paradoxes like the ones in manga are indeed confusing and, at the start, so was this one. Overall, I am glad that I picked up this series and experienced what it had to offer.
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: January 11, 2017, 4:32 pm
Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Vol.  2Puella Magi Madoka Magica Vol. 2 by Magica Quartet
Teodora's Rating: ★★★

Review:
In this second volume of the popular magical girl manga series, Madoka's friend, Sayaka decides to make a contract to become a magical girl in order to save the boy she loves. With Madoka tagging along, Sayaka begins a new life as a magical girl. But, her life is falling apart. A new magical girl threatens her over valuable territory and Sayaka is running out of time to confess her feelings to her crush. As Sayaka becomes more recluse from her friends and life, Madoka begins to consider if becoming a magical girl is worth it, and secrets about the cat, Kyubey, begin to break to the surface.
The second volume, I felt, was more enticing than the first. Sayaka's mental transformation was darkly written and I loved it. Her relationship with the boy she loves in an emotional ride. Also, Kyubey starts to get more of a backstory. The art is very nice, however sometimes the transitions from page to page were a tad choppy. I would recommend reading the rest of this series or just picking the first volume up.
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: January 6, 2017, 7:18 pm
ProdigyProdigy by Marie Lu
Allee's Rating: ★★★

Review:
This book is about a future United States that is warring with itself. Day and June are tasked with assassinating the new Elector of the Republic, and are part of a grand scheme to take it over and restore peace with the hope of returning the United States to its former glory. But is June, originally born and raised in the Republic, ready to kill? Loyalties will be tested.
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: December 19, 2016, 4:07 pm
Children of IcarusChildren of Icarus by Caighlan Smith
Teodora's Rating: ★★★

Review:
Every year, children from the ages ten to sixteen are chosen to become angels. Their task is simple: enter the temple dedicated to Icarus. A dream for many, but a lie for all. There are no angels, only monsters. When a girl enters the maze with her best friend, Clara, she learns just how cruel the labyrinth is. Will she, and her new acquaintances in the deadly maze, ever find the end and return home safe?
Children of Icarus could've been a really good book if it weren't for one fatal flaw: the main character. She is so dull that she is hardly given a backstory and lacks any name. This is a bold play from the typical main characters as she seems like a background character more than anything. This is the first book in a trilogy; so I am hoping for some redemption for this poor character. More mystery prepares the next books for one high-paced adventure and even prepares the main character for change. Every time the author describes the interactions between the characters and the monsters of the labyrinth, I could not dare to put the book down. I'm looking forward to future books in this series and would recommend it to people who enjoyed The Maze Runner series.
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: November 16, 2016, 4:05 pm
The helpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett
Lydia's Rating: ★★★

Review:
Through the eyes of 3 women in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi you are able to see and feel what is is like to be in a southern town during segregation. Abileen and Minny, two black maids, tell the tale of fear and depression for what their lives are and what they could become. Skeeter Phelan learns that although she has had a hard life, she is white and better off than black people, but she can't leave it at that. Skeeter has an idea, write a book telling what it is like to live as a black maid, but will it become a success or fail even before it starts?
This book is worth at least one read through if not more!
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: October 21, 2016, 3:43 pm
The hobbit, or, There and back againThe Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
Kai's Rating: ★★★

Review:
The Hobbit is a great book about an ordinary and rich hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo goes on an adventure to help the Dwarfs take back their home.
I really liked this book because it was a great page turner and was very exciting. There was a lot of fantasy involved and I think that people who love to read adventure and fantasy stories will love to read this book.
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: October 7, 2016, 5:17 pm
The hobbit, or, There and back againThe Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
Michaiah's Rating: ★★★

Review:
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, non-adventurous life, living in The Shire. Then Gandalf the wizard and thirteen dwarves show up on his doorstep and tell him they want him to accompany them on a dangerous adventure to reclaim the hoard of treasure stolen from them by the evil dragon Smaug. Bilbo reluctantly joins them on their quest, encountering trolls, goblins, elves, giant spiders, and deep within a cave, a creature known as Gollum protects a special ring. 
This is an amazing book! It has a really good story line and it can make you laugh (and possibly cry). There aren't a lot of details that Tolkien threw in there that you have to get through. It's a great book and I think anyone would enjoy it! 
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: September 21, 2016, 2:41 pm
A world without youA World Without You by Beth Revis
Teodora's Rating: ★★★

Review:
Bo has a secret. He is a hero learning how to control his time-traveling powers at an academy meant for kids just like him. But it's all in his mind. When his girlfriend at the academy with the "power" to turn invisible commits suicide, Bo believes that she is only stuck in time and he can save her. Bo's world quickly falls apart as he begins to understand reality and break away from the fantasy in his mind. 
A summary can not do A World Without You justice. The entire time reading it, I was delightfully surprised by just how vivid and convincing Bo's mind really was even though I, the reader, knew it was all a lie. For example, Bo describes the time stream as being a collection of strings, a tapestry of fate, with frayed ends leading to numerous futures. Such colorful writing that really exemplifies 'show, don't tell' is just one of the reason's why Beth Revis's book is a must-read. Bo's sister, Phoebe, gives her point-of-view in various chapters; a clever plot device to bring readers in touch with reality including her own story with all its troubles. Filled with so many great characters, beautiful writing, and a most intriguing concept, I was sucked into this book. The ending, though I won't spoil anything, managed to make me feel sad, yet smile. Would recommend to all; especially those who are interested in the inner workings of the mind. 
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: September 21, 2016, 2:04 pm
The stolen chaptersStory Thieves: The Stolen Chapters by James Riley
Michaiah's Rating: ★★★

Review:
Owen Conners and fictional magician Kiel Gnomenfoot wake up in a burning library with absolutely no memory as to how they got there. Then they're told by a weird guy in a question mark mask and a Sherlock Holmes hat, that Bethany , their half fictional friend, is in great danger, and if they don't figure out where they are, where she is, and why, she'll drown. Unfortunately they can't figure out why Kiel has lost his magic, why the police are after Owen, and why they can't remember what happened before they woke up. Can Owen and Kiel save Bethany and escape? Or will it be too late by the time they get to her?
This is a really great book! There are so many twist and turns, you won't want to put it down! Since their memories were erased, the books starts several chapters in, so that kind of gives the story it's own original twist, which admittedly, I found confusing at first but once you read the first chapter it all makes sense. The author is really talented and knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat! This is the second book in the Story Thieves series, so if you've read it's prequel and you liked it, you'll fall in love with this book as well! 
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: August 2, 2016, 3:13 pm
Magi. 3 : the labyrinth of magicMagi Volume 3 by Shinobu Ohtaka
Teodora's Rating: ★★★

Review:
After being found by the desert-faring Kouga tribe, Aladdin begins to learn about the legendary bird-like Rukhs that he can see when others can't and what they symbolize. Adjusting to the tribal life for only a short time, Aladdin and the rest of the Kouga tribe are offered the chance to join the Kou Empire to achieve peace. An offer that seems so fair, yet may lead to bloodshed when the wrong people get involved.
Magi Volume 3 created a more serious atmosphere to the series with the corruption of the general of the Kou Empire's army. The lesson of solving problems with words is very prevalent. It was exciting to discover more about the Magi of this world and especially be given a more formal introduction of a Magi by the name of Judar. I'm already looking forward to his role in this wonderful manga series.
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: July 7, 2016, 6:44 pm
It's kind of a funny storyIt's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
Teodora's Rating: ★★★

Review:
Craig Gilner is an ambitious New York City teenager who has big plans about his future. He has managed to get into the prestigious Executive Pre-Professional High School after studying diligently and that's the first step in completing his plan. Overall, Craig is a model teenager that others can admire. Then, one night, he breaks and his life is never quite the same. Suffering through depression, Craig struggles to continue being a model teenager at school, forcing himself to eat food, and becoming obsessed with his condition. After planning to kill himself one night, Craig takes action and gets checked into a mental hospital. With five days to get better will Craig be able to "shift" his brain out of depression? And will he finally learn what it means to live?
It's Kind of a Funny Story is also kind of a realistic story. Craig Gilner suffers through depression just like many other teenagers his age, making the story all the more relatable. Ned Vizzini gives a powerful insight of the daily struggles that one has to go through and tugged at my heart strings. It was quite suprising that Ned Vizzini was facing his own depression like Craig, but unfortunately lost the battle and took his own life. All of the characters presented something new to me (especially those in the mental ward) and there was barely a dull moment. My only issue with It's Kind of a Funny Story was the rushed ending and lasting character development; but overall this is a must read for all teenagers.
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: July 7, 2016, 6:37 pm
Magi. 2 : the labyrinth of magicMagi Volume 2 by Shinobu Ohtaka
Teodora's Rating: ★★★

Review:
Following the first volume of the Magi, the young Aladdin and his newfound friend, Alibaba have managed to defeat their first dungeon baddie, but at the expense of Aladdin's strength. Wile looking over his friend while he rests, Alibaba has the displeasure of coming face-to-face with the downright cruel Lord Jamil and two of his highly skilled slaves. Taking Aladdin for mysterious reasons, Lord Jamil then forces Alibaba to lead them to the treasure room and is given no choice but to comply. But Alibaba has some tricks up his sleeves. 
What a great second volume from the series! With more entertainment and character development, I was flipping pages with no plan to stop. Alibaba took the spotlight and used it well, showing his cleverness, loyalty and other character traits along with an unexpected backstory. Paired with amazing art (especially during an exciting fight scene), Magi is one manga I'll be sure to continue. 
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: July 7, 2016, 6:03 pm
Puella magi madoka magica. Vol. 1Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Volume 1 by Magica Quartet and Hanokage
Teodora's Rating: ★★★

Review:
Madoka Kaname is your typical school girl who is about to go through some not-so-typical events that might just change her life forever. After dreaming of a teenage girl and a catlike creature asking her to make a contract to become a magical girl, Madoka is shocked to see the characters from her dream come to life when she wakes up. What's even more shocking is that magical girls are real and that she and her friend, Sayaka, can become one too! But is being a magical girl all it's out to be, even if her greatest wish can come true?
Being a magical girl is not all about pretty dresses and defeating bad guys in this world. There is a cost to pay that maybe is not worth it. Madoka Magica had created a darker side of the happy-go-lucky franchise; which I congratulate the authors for managing to deal with this risky move. The artwork was very clean and depicted emotions and actions fluidly. All of the characters had a set personality that made them different from each other with plausible motives that made them relatable. The story was quick-paced though sometimes lingered too  much with details on how the world works; even for a first book. My biggest problem with this manga has nothing to do with the story, but the dark theme which I am not a fan of. With no doubt, I would recommend this manga to those who would enjoy a dark twist on a light topic. 
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: June 3, 2016, 5:34 pm
The hero's guide to storming the castleThe Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy
Michaiah's Rating: ★★★★

Review: 
Prince Frederic. Prince Liam. Prince Gustav. Prince Duncan. They are the Princes Charming who longed to be called by their real names, not "Prince Charming" as the bards had named them in their tales. But after they stopped an evil witch set on destroying their kingdoms, they finally got the fame they so desperately sought. But after a failed attempt at a rescue mission, their fame didn't last very long. Then the princes discover a powerful magical item that could fall into the wrong hands. The League of Princes must once again band together to save their kingdoms: fighting off bladejaw eels, the mysterious Gray Phantom, and an evil warlord bent on ruling the world.
Much like it's prequel, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, this book is really interesting, very funny, and really fun to read! A lot of the time, sequels are never as good as the prequels are. However, that is not the case with The Hero's Guide trilogy! They are all equally as intriguing as the one before, if not more! The last book in the trilogy is The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw. So if you liked the first two books, you'll definitely like the third one too! 
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: June 3, 2016, 5:19 pm

Dealing with dragonsDealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
Michaiah's Rating: ★★★★

Review: 
Princess Cimorene's parents want her to be the perfect, proper princess... Something she's not. Cimorene is headstrong, tomboyish, and smart. But she's bored. So she runs away to find some excitement. In doing so, she manages to hook up with the dragon Kazul, one of the most powerful and dangerous dragons around. Pretty soon she has to deal with a witch, a stone prince, and some very irritating wizards. 
This is a very good book. It's really intriguing and also really fun to read! It is the first book of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, so if you like this one there are more following! 
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: April 27, 2016, 5:18 pm
Story thievesStory Thieves by James Riley
Michaiah's Rating: ★★★★

Review: 
Owen thinks his life is boring. Well, other than the fact that he's reading the Kiel Gnomenfoot series. Then one day he sees his classmate Bethany climb out of a book. Soon, he finds out that Bethany is half-fictional and she has been jumping in and out of books trying to find her father who is a fictional character. Pretty soon Owen cooks up an idea that would definitely make his life NOT boring anymore: By tricking Bethany into bringing him into a Kiel Gnomenfoot book so he can be the hero. But his idea could totally ruin the book series if he goes through with it. So will Bethany figure out his plan and stop him before it's too late? Or will Owen end up making a mistake he'll regret?
I thought this book was very intriguing! It is a great book and I recently found out that it's the first book of a series. I was pretty ecstatic when I found out! So more books will be following! The author has also written the Half Upon A Time trilogy too. What's funny is that he has the characters mention it in this book! 
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: March 10, 2016, 5:15 pm
The hero's guide to saving your kingdomThe Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
Michaiah's Rating: ★★★★★

Review:
Prince Frederic, Prince Liam, Prince Gustav, and Prince Duncan. If they don't sound familiar, then you might know them better as "Prince Charming." They are the Prince Charmings of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and Snow White. They are completely different people, yet they all have two things in common: they all hate the name "Prince Charming" and they don't like bards. Nobody knows their real names thanks so those bards who simply named them as "Prince Charming" in their tales. But when Cinderella runs away and Prince Frederic goes off to find her, he meets up with the other three princes. Together, they go off in search of Cinderella, encountering a giant, a thief, and an evil witch who cannot stand the Prince Charmings. So will they all come out alive and succeed in their mission? Or will they fail miserably like everyone expects?
This book is hilarious! I think anyone who read this book will burst into laughter. It made me laugh a lot! It is the first book in The Hero's Guide trilogy. They are all really funny and have very interesting story lines. I think people of all ages will enjoy this book.
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: February 24, 2016, 9:02 pm