Teen Zine

Book Review: Yes, No, Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saaed

Yes No Maybe So written by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed is a story about how two individuals with different personalities come together to work on political matters. The two main characters, Jamie Goldberg and Maya Rehman spend a lot of time together and eventually fall for each other. Jamie is shy while Maya is outgoing so they balance each other out extremely well. Jamie and Maya navigate cross-cultural relationships and discover much about themselves as the book further develops.

I would give this book a five out of five-star rating. It does an extremely fantastic job of capturing diversity, highlighting activism, and offering a swoon-worthy romance. My favorite line from the book is when Jamie, “turns quickly back to the tangelo display, cheeks burning as I grab one from the bottom of the pyramid” (Albertalli, Saeed 3). This is my favorite line because it showcases the innocence of Jamie’s action after catching Maya’s eye. It shows how flustered Jamie feels after making eye contact with Maya. I would recommend this book to lovers of the romance genre. This book offers Jamie’s and Maya’s points of view which I appreciate. Sometimes I want to know what the other love interest is feeling/thinking and I’m able to explore both worlds in this wonderfully crafted novel.

Availability: Electronically and in the Library

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Reviewed by: Luna (15)

Book Review: Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer is a science fiction novel that will send chills down one’s back as one read. Miranda, the main character, lives in a normal family in America but then a natural disaster causes her family, and all the other families, much harm. The moon has been knocked close to the Earth, causing many natural disasters to proceed. There are moments where Miranda and her family are cold because they don’t have the right sources to create warm heat. A part in the book that stuck with me is when Miranda and her grandmother had to fight a man at the grocery store for the grocery cart. Food is a limited source and everyone is trying to bring home something for their families to eat. However, the fight for the shopping cart was just one of the difficulties faced by those hit by this natural disaster. As the book develops, the characters start to face even more difficulties they never imagined facing before.

I would give this book a five out of five-star rating. Pfeffer crafted this book in an incredibly creative way that captures every heart-pounding moment of this chilling novel. This book will leave readers on the edge of their seats wondering what will happen next on every page. I would recommend this book to lovers of works of science fiction. This book does a very good job portraying that as long as the human spirit doesn’t diminish, no natural disaster can get the best of anyone.

Availability: Electronically and in the Library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reviewed by: Luna (15)

Book Review: The One by Kiera Cass

The One by Kiera Cass is the third installment of The Selection series. America, the main character, lives in a world divided by castes. America and her family do not live in a very high caste. In the first book, she has a boyfriend but then is allowed to compete against other girls for the prince’s heart. She doesn’t want to do this as she is in a committed relationship of her own; however, if she wins her family can step up in the caste world and she can provide much financial support for them. America’s current boyfriend lives in a caste lower than her and he thinks it wouldn’t be very helpful if she wedded him, as she would have to move down a caste, so he insists she go to the “competition” to win the prince’s heart. This upsets America because her boyfriend is telling her to go off to win another guy’s heart so they break up. Flash forward to the third book, America is taking this competition seriously. She genuinely has romantic feelings for the prince. However, there are still several girls left in the competition as well as disapproving parents which makes America’s position to win much more difficult.

I would give this book five out of five stars. It is beautifully written which will have young adult readers of all ages swooning left and right. The character development of all the characters is wonderfully crafted. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoyed the first and second books in The Selection series.

Availability: Electronically and in the Library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reviewed by: Luna (15)

Book Review: Sidetracked by Diana Harmon Asher

Seventh grade is not an easy year… for anybody. The main character of Sidetracked, Joseph, is starting seventh grade, and he struggles with worrying too much and attention deficit disorder (ADD), making middle school an even bigger obstacle. However, seventh grade may be different for Joseph as he joins the cross country team and meets Heather, the new girl. With a new team and new friends, seventh grade may not turn out the way Joseph was expecting. Still, that doesn’t mean that there are no more worries for Joseph; he must face bullies, French class, and new things to fear.

Sidetracked was a pretty good book. I thought the book was funny and cute, and I enjoyed the message. I liked the personalities of the characters, and I enjoyed how the author described Joseph’s emotions. The book’s plot line was not the most exciting, and the story had little suspense, but I still enjoyed the read as I liked the calm flow and was able to see Joseph develop as a character. I also liked how I could relate with Joseph in certain situations. Overall, I thought Sidetracked was an amusing and pleasant story. I would recommend this book to middle school and high school students for a fun, casual read.

Availability:  Electronically

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reviewed by: Sarah (15) of MNHS

Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon is a swoon-worthy and heartfelt story that will keep readers wanting to come back for more. Maddy, the main character, is allergic to the world so all of her seventeen years of existence she has been confined to living in her house with just her mom and her nurse. She isn’t allowed to step foot out to the real world because if she does, then the consequences will be fatal. She hasn’t experienced much of life but when a boy she finds fascinating moves in next door, Maddy realizes she will fall head over heels for him. This boy is Olly, and he also finds Maddy fascinating.

As the story develops, Maddy and Olly develop a closer relationship. They get to know each other despite Maddy’s fatal condition. They eventually decide to embark on an adventure together which lands Maddy in a terrifying state. This book will take one through a roller coaster of emotions. I would give this book a five out of five-star rating. Genuine lovers of the romance genre will greatly enjoy this book as well as Nicola Yoon’s other romance books. This book is fantastic for those who want to treat themselves to a nice escape from reality.

Availability: Electronically and in the Library

Rating: 5/5 stars

reviewed by: Luna (15)

Book Review: One by Sarah Crossan

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to completely share your life with someone? In the book One, author Sarah Crossan explores what it would feel like to have a conjoined twin. The entire book is written in stanzas like a free verse poem through the first-person point of view of Grace. Grace is conjoined to her twin sister Tippi, and the two girls share everything. Still, Grace has her secrets…

Grace and Tippi have been homeschooled but will be going to school for the first time as juniors in high school. The book describes Grace’s life at home, school, and other places as a conjoined twin. People treat Grace and Tippi differently, but the girls still make new friends. Each individual in the family also faces challenges in multiple different aspects, including health and financial struggles. In the end, Grace and Tippi must make a choice that would change their lives.

I really enjoyed reading One! The free verse style of the book made it a very different and interesting read. The topics that the book covered were eye-opening. I never thought of what it would be like to have a conjoined twin, which made it fascinating to see how similar and different my life is compared to Grace’s. I really enjoyed reading Grace’s thoughts and seeing her development as a character. This book evoked a wide range of emotions and explored several themes. I recommend One to anyone who is looking for a book in a different style and an eye-opening read!

Availability: Electronically and in the Library

Rating 5/5 stars

Reviewed by: Sarah (15) of MNHS

Book Review: Four by Veronica Roth

Are you a fan of Veronica Roth’s novel Divergent? Then you will also devour her book Four! This book delves deeper into Tobias’s story and will reveal more of his past. Four is a collection of shorter stories from Tobias’s perspective. Three stories take place before Tobias met Tris, describing his life before, during, and after Dauntless initiation. The final section of the book lines up with the book Divergent. The last story occurs around the time of Tris’s Dauntless initiation, and the book concludes with other short scenes involving Tris. Throughout the book, Tobias develops as a character through his experiences and as he makes new friends and enemies.

It is good to note that you do not need to read the whole Divergent trilogy to read Four; you only need to read the first book Divergent to understand Four.

I found Four to be an excellent read, especially since I was interested in Tobias’s interesting and complex character. Although Four did not have a lot of suspense or action, I thought Four was very cool to read and as good as Divergent. The connections and parallels with Divergent made Four very intriguing and fun to read. I liked how I could learn more details about Tobias’s past in depth, and I thought the author did a splendid job developing Tobias’s personality in this book. I recommend Four to any reader that loves the book Divergent and is curious to learn more about Tobias.

Availability: Electronically and Physically in the Library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reviewed by: Sarah (15) of MNHS

Book Review: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

P.S. I Still Love You is the second book in the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series. In the first book, the main character, Lara Jean, and her love interest, Peter Kavinsky, pretended to date for their personal benefits. However, they eventually caught feelings for each other and are now in a real relationship. Being in a relationship comes with its ups and downs. For Lara Jean, a down is when a past (almost) boyfriend of hers re-enters her life. She finds herself awfully conflicted and doesn’t know what to do.

I would give P.S. I Still Love You a five out of five-star rating. I believe it followed the first book very well. Jenny Han, the author, did an amazing job writing this sequel. One of my favorite parts of the book is when Lara Jean engages in a wholesome conversation with her past (almost) lover, John Ambrose McClaren, and he responds, “‘I still get nervous, Lara Jean’” (Han 306). This is one of my favorite parts of the book because it is the center of the conflict, and is where Lara Jean finds herself questioning which boy she really wants. I would recommend this book to individuals who enjoyed the first To All The Boys I’ve Before book because it is an extremely well-written continuation.

Available: Electronically and Physically in Library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reviewed by: Luna (15)

Book Review: Stupid Fast by Geoff Herback

Stupid Fast was a great read! The story takes place in Wisconsin through the first-person point of view of a high school boy named Felton Reinstein. Felton used to be an awkward, short kid that everyone teased and called names like Squirrel Nut. After his growth spurt, however, Felton became big and fast with great potential to become a sports star. Still, even after Felton’s popularity grew, few of Felton’s problems were resolved. Felton continued to face challenges with dissolving friendships, strained relationships with his mother and brother, jealous teammates, a new girl in the neighborhood, and the constant internal fighting in his own mind. It turns out that being a jock is not enough to solve it all.

I enjoyed reading Stupid Fast. The book had a casual tone, which made it interesting and different from most books that I have read before. I thought the book was funny and very amusing. Furthermore, Stupid Fast explored many important themes on life, family, growing up, self-identity, passion, love, and friendship. I loved how the author portrayed Felton, as it made the story feel realistic and as if I could put myself in Felton’s shoes. I would recommend Stupid Fast to any teen or high schooler, regardless of whether they are into sports or not.

Available: Electronically and Physically in the Library

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reviewed by: Sarah (15) of MNHS

Book Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Always and Forever, Lara Jean is the final installment to the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Series. The main character, Lara Jean, is living her senior year to the fullest. She has a picture-perfect boyfriend who she’s planning on going to the same college, her dad is about to get married again, she continues to make a strong bond with her sisters, and she goes on many class trips. However, things start to go downhill when she doesn’t get accepted into her dream college, UVA. She has to wonder where she will go and what she will do with her future because going to UVA was her only plan.

I would give this book five out of five stars. All the characters were extremely loveable. I found myself relating to Lara Jean often. She loves baking, strives to do well in school, and enjoys keeping items, even if they aren’t of much value, for memories, which are some things I also like to do. One of my favorite lines from the book is as Lara Jean is cleaning her locker, she tells her friend Lucas how she’s sad to part with old stuff and he jokingly mocks her. “Lucas can mock me for being nostalgic all he wants” (Han 234). This is one of my favorite lines because I too also get sad when parting with nostalgic items, even if there is no point in keeping them. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy a good romantic read.

Available: Electronically via Overdrive

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reviewed by: Luna (15)