Recently in Teen Book Reviews Category

The 2013 Official Teens' Top Ten Winners!

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2013 Teens Top Ten.pngThe readers have spoken!  As mentioned in our last blog post here, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) sponsored this year's Teens' Top Ten survey, asking students what their favorite recently published novels were.  And here are the results:

  1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Disney/Hyperion)

  2. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Scholastic/Scholastic Press)

  3. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Harper Collins/Katherine Tegen Books)

  4. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (Harlequin Teen)

  5. Poison Princess by Kresley Cole (Simon & Schuster)

  6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic/Scholastic Press)

  7. Crewel by Gennifer Albin (Macmillan/Farrar Straus Giroux)

  8. Every Day by David Levithan (Random House/Alfred A. Knopf)

  9. Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross (Egmont)

  10. Butter by Erin Jade Lange (Bloomsbury)

The list can be found here. Yours truly reviewed two of these titles, which you can read here and here
 
Which ones did you read?  And which ones did you feel should've made or not made the list?  Let us know. 
 
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"Code Name Verity" by Elizabeth Wein

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CODENAMEVERITY.pngHalfway through Elizabeth Wein's compelling and exciting novel, Code  Name Verity, the author pulls the rug right out from under us with an unexpected plot twist.  Without giving too much away, don't believe everything you read about in the first half of the book. 

Set during World War II, Wein's novel focuses on two female protagonists, one of whom is the title character.  Both women are shot down by the Nazis while on an intelligence mission over France in 1943. One of them, Verity (not her real name, but a code name), is subsequently tortured (some grim moments here) by the Gestapo to write down important classified information about Allied invasion plans.

As Verity seemingly jots down on any scrap of paper the information her captors demand, she relates to the reader about her intelligence training, various adventures and misadventures as a member of the Air Transport Auxiliary, and her strong friendship with Maddie (AKA "Kittyhawk"), who managed to wind up being the only Scottish female enlisted pilot flying bombers for the RAF (historically unlikely, as Wein herself points out, but it does give good backstory).  When their plane got shot down, Maddie seemingly disapeared after the crash, leaving Verity to fend for herself until she was captured.

To say more would spoil the fun of reading this teriffic adventure.  Not just a action/adventure/suspense thriller, Code Name Verity also spotlights such themes as the true strength of friendship and individual loyalties, and how we all can find validation in ourselves, as well as being brave enough to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Good historical background detail and powerful characterzation -even though it's taking place 60 years ago, Verity, Maddie, their families, the various RAF personnel, and even the Nazi interrogators (who aren't the usual cardboard bad guys) are vivid and riveting people- make Code Name Verity a great read!  And that climax! 

Don't wait!  Reserve a copy online from us here.

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2013 Teen Summer Reading Reviews Now Online!

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TEENSUMMERREADING.pngA big thank you to everybody who took part in this year's Teen Summer Reading program.  Reviews that you sent us of the books you've read this summer are now posted online for you and your friends & classmates to see.  You can read them by clicking here

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"Mississippi Trial, 1955" by Chris Crowe

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MississippiTrial.pngOn July 18th, one of the witnesses to the infamous Emmett Till lynching in 1955 passed away.  Willie Reed was a black teenager in Mississippi at the time and heard the 14-year-old Till's horrible screams as he was tortured by two white men for having allegedly whistled at one of their wives. ( Click here to read Willie Reed's account.)

A trial was quickly held, and despite eyewitness testimony and evidence, a jury, after less than an hour deliberating, found the two men innocent. The men later admitted their guilt in a magazine interview.  And Willie Reed, who changed his name to Willie Louis for fear of retaliation, fled Mississippi for Chicago.    

The story of Emmett Till's shocking murder provides the backdrop for Chris Crowe's excellent novel Mississippi Trial, 1955 (click here to reserve our copy).  The book's protagonist, Hiram Hillburn, spends the summer in his old Mississippi hometown with his grandfather, thinking he can relive his happier youthful days. 

One day his grandfather's housekeeper introduces him to her cousin's nephew from Chicago, Emmett (introduced as "Bobo") Till, and the two share a brief friendship before the subsequent murder.  Hiram, who later gets to watch the trial of the two suspects, quickly discovers that he may know more about who was responsible for Emmett's tragic murder, which changes his perceptions about life forever.

Though a coming of age story focusing on its (white) protagonist, Mississippi Trial, 1955 vividly shows the evils of racial prejudice and it's effects on blacks and whites.  Crowe's writing is fast paced and to the point, focusing on Hiram's plight, while highlighting the important historical context of the situation.  (The Till lynching and it's aftermath helped fortify the emerging Civil Right Movement that was already taking form in 1955.) 

If you're looking for something to read this summer (especially if you're taking part in our summer reading program), Mississippi Trial,1955 is recommended!

For more about the Emmett Till murder, check out this site.  Thanks to CT for pointing out the Crowe book to me. 

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Submit book reviews

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beats_sm.jpegWe love getting book reviews from our teens; so far we've got 22 posted, but we'd love to see more!  Join Teen Summer Reading today!  Sign up, log your reading, submit reviews and attend a program.  Win chances to win our grand prize, Beats by Dr. Dre headphones!

Teen Summer Reading Reviews Are Now Online!

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summerreadingreviews.pngA big thank you to everyone who's registered for our "Beneath The Surface" summer reading program that also sent us reviews of the books they've read.  We've posted some of the reviews online here

If you'd like to sign up for our program and submit reviews for us to post online, click here to register.   

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Teen Summer Reading Reviews Now Online!

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TeenSummerReadingReviews.pngIf you took part in this summer Teen Reading Program and you submitted reviews of the books you read, we've got good news for you.  The various reviews sent to us are now available online here.  So go ahead and show your friends the reviews you sent at our "Express Yourself" page.   There's lots of titles representing various genres, with works by Ally Carter, Roald Dahl, Mike Lupica, Melissa Marr and Rick Riordan, among others.  And you and your friends might want to read some of the books reviewed by others too.  So check them out here

"I Am Legend" By Richard Matheson

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Imagine you're the last man on Earth.  Imagine you're the only human in a world populated by actual vampires who come out at night with only one purpose...  TO DRINK YOUR BLOOD!!!!

That's the cool set up to Richard Matheson's classic horror/science fiction thriller I Am Legend.  First published in 1954, I Am Legend focuses on Robert Neville, the last survivor of a bizarre worldwide plague that killed everybody and then revived them as mindless vampires.  Stuck in his house, Neville must, night after night, barracade himself against the zombie-like legions of the undead, hoping that he'll eventually encounter other human survivors like himself. 

Then one day, Neville discovers that he's not alone.  That there may be other humans out there. But they may not be friendly ones...

Terrifying from start to finish, with a powerful ending, I Am Legend is a fantastic novel to check out! Click here to reserve a copy from us!

Review: "Unwind" by Neal Shusterman

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9-27-2011 3-20-26 PM.pngToday, we've got a guest book review of Neal Shusterman's novel "Unwind" by Hannah:

This dystopian novel deals with the touchy topic of abortion. It takes place after a war, with one side for abortion, the other against it. After years of fighting, both sides come to the mutual agreement that aborting unborn babies will indeed be illegal.  However it is now legal to "unwind" your children between the ages of 13-18. This is the process of sending your children to a harvest camp, where they will be painlessly taken apart, with their body parts being used as organ donors.

The story centers around three teens who must avoid getting "unwound". The reasons for being "unwound" are as unique as the teens themselves. By working together, will these three ordinary teens have what it takes to beat the system? Or is there no avoiding their cruel fate?

Recommend? Yes.  "Unwind" kept me up at night thinking "What if?" days after I had finished it.

Rating: Love it

Thanks Hannah!  If anybody would like to reserve a copy of "Unwind", click here.

Check Out Our "Staff Picks" Reviews

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books.png  The staff at Greenwich Library, when time permits, have been posting reviews of books and graphic novels that you might find interesting.  On the Staff Picks blog, we've recently included reviews of such titles as "The Alchemyst" by Michael Scott, "Gym Candy" by Carl Deuker, "Heist Society" by Ally Carter and "Wolves, Boys, And Other Things That Might Kill Me" by Kristen Chandler.  There's also ones on graphic novels like "Superman: Earth One" by J. Michael Straczynski and company.  But don't take my word for it.  Click here to read our reviews for yourselves!  And let us know what you think!

Greenwich Library Teens


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