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CORTLAND FREE LIBRARY TEENS

Welcome to the Cortland Free Library Teen Book Review Blog!

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
Hotel RubyHotel Ruby by Suzanne Young
Teodora's Rating: ★★★

Review:
Audrey Casella's life can't get worse. She doesn't know how to reject the guy who likes her romantically and whom she likes platonically, she is grieving over the death of her mother who died three months ago, and now she and her brother are going to be sent to live with their grandmother. Everything is going downhill... that is, until her father checks them in at The Hotel Ruby for the night. Audrey is whisked into all the addicting glamour of the hotel and the attention of the attractive Elias Lange. Who would ever want to leave? But The Hotel Ruby is not normal, as Audrey soon discovers. Parties in ballrooms every nights, eerie music playing on the thirteenth floor, and the always smiling concierge are only a few of the strange things going on. The hotel staff warn her about the dark history  of the hotel. A history that she may become part of.
The Hotel Ruby contains many thrilling genres such as romance, mystery, and horror. Unfortunately, many of them are weak in execution. The premise of the book is interesting and instantly reminded me of The Lotus Hotel in the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series by Rick Riordan. The hotel captures its guests due to its intoxicating nature and keeps them. This may lead the reader to many heart pounding moments. However, the only heart pounding is Audrey's. Her romance with Elias seemed a bit forced with barely any time for them to create chemistry, but it still works. Audrey's brother and father were definitely not on the top of her mind and she instead spends her time swooning over her new found crush and partying with the hotel staff. The first half of Hotel Ruby had me ranting a bit as many of the questions Audrey should have been looking for answers for were ignored until two-thirds into the book. At that point, things were certainly getting more interesting and thrilling. The ending was the most powerful thing about Hotel Ruby, in my opinion. If only this great thrill could have an equally enticing mystery element at the beginning. I would recommend this book to anyone who has time to get to Hotel Ruby's great ending. 
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: February 15, 2016, 8:05 pm
My life next doorMy Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Lydia's Rating: ★★★★★

Review:
Samantha Reed is just a teen girl and basically a shoo-in for ivy league colleges, but she hasn't had the chance to live like a real teen. With a politician mother in the public's eye, she didn't get much living outside her mother's perfect box until now. She meets her next door neighbor, Jase Garrett, who comes from a hectic family and instantly falls in love. No matter how much her mother hates it, the two of them are destined to be together.
Author: Cortland Free Library
Posted: February 11, 2016, 6:19 pm


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.

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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!

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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.


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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! 
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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. 

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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.

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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?


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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.


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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.







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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!





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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 :(  




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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!



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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.




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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.



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Author: Betsy
Posted: July 14, 2014, 6:48 pm