Teen Book Review: My Brother Sam Is Dead

My Brother Sam is Dead  by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Reviewed by Fallon D., Northwest Library

Sam Meeker is just 16-years-old when the Revolutionary War breaks out.  He leaves his college life at Yale to become a rebel soldier against his family's wish.  The rest of the Meeker family lives in Redding, a Tory town where they run a tavern.  Tim, at just a few years younger than Sam, tells the story of his and his family's struggles with the effects of the war and his undecided opinions on the war.

This book was really interesting. I have read a couple books on the Revolutionary War, but this one really illustrated that the Revolutionary War, just like any war, is not just two sided; the good guys and the bad guys.  Naturally, because we are Americans, we think that the rebels had a just cause and did good things.  But both sides stole from honest people, and all sorts of horrible things like tarring and feathering people. 

I think everyone should read this book because it shows how war is more than what we think it is. 

VOTE NOW – NPR’s Poll of the Best YA Fiction!

NPR (national public radio) has polled their audience for a list of the top YA fiction — from the suggestions of readers and listeners across the country, they compiled a list of a hundred titles or so — and now it's our turn to vote!!


Each person can vote for up to ten of the books, and then the ranked list of the best YA fiction (as voted by us!) will be released in a few weeks.

I voted — man it was hard to decide between some of these beloved titles!  Some of my favorite-ever books I chose not​ to vote for, because I don't consider them YA books.  And, where the heck was Ender's Game on this list?!?!  Yeah, yeah, I read their explanation of titles they chose not to include, but … Ender's Game!!

Take a look at the list, make your selections, and let us know what you think.

Teen Book Review: The Monstrumologist

The Monstrumologist, by Rick Yancey

Reviewed by Fallon D., Northwest Library

     12-year-old Will Henry is apprenticed to Dr.Warthrop, a scientist of Monstrumology; the study of monsters and hunting them.  Will chronicles his experience when a stranger in the night comes bringing their scariest discovery yet: a dead Anthropophagi in the midst of a eating a teenage girl.  This discovery catapults Will Henry and the Doctor into a dangerous hunt for the carnivorous beasts, and the horrifying truth of how they came and bred in their small town.

Why I picked it up: I don't usually read horror novels because of the lack of good storyline, but this one was a Printz Honor book and seemed interesting.

Why I finished it: It was surprisingly well written!! I had to find out if Will Henry and the Doctor were going to survive.  The only problem I had was that it was all about men and boys and I would have liked to see some girls in there.

I'd recommend it to: Anyone who likes fiction, even if you don't like horror, although it is very gory.

Teen Book Review: Monster

Monster by Walter Dean Meyers

Review by Fallen D., Northwest Branch

16-year-old African American Steve Harmon is on trial for murder of a drug store owner.  The other suspect, James King, is a "thug" Steve knows from from his neighborhood in Harlem, New York who asks Steve to check the drug store for cops. Steve is accused of doing this so King and another man can rob the store.  He records the trial as a movie that he feels left out of and chronicles his tough life in jail, surrounded by criminals.
This book was not what I expected it to be.  From the description, I thought it would be just Steve describing his life in jail, how he got there, and a little about the trial.  But mostly it was his movie of the trail and he sometimes talked about jail.  It was little bit hard to follow in parts because of the format, but the book turned out to be okay in the end.  Maybe the form it was written in threw me off, or because I was expecting something different.  I usually don't read books about crime, but the book was highly acclaimed and if you like books about crime, you will probably like this book.

Teen Book Review: Taran Wanderer

 Taran Wanderer   Taran Wanderer, by Lloyd Alexander 


Review by Fallon D.,  Northwest Library

            Taran Wanderer is the fourth book in the Prydain Chronicles, a series inspired by Welsh myths.  With Princess Eilonwy on the Isle of Mona to become a lady, Taran dreams of marrying her.  But he feels he should learn his parentage first and sets out with his companion Gurgi.  At first, the journey seems straightforward, going to the magical Mirror of Llunet.  But on the way, they run into rivaling lords,wizards,old friends,bands of unfriendly warriors, and various craftsman.
            This book was not as good as the preceding novels, but it was still a great book!  This novel is more of a coming of age book than the other ones in the series, and the agenda of the characters is not as urgent, and that's why it was not my favorite.  But I love medieval-style adventure books, and that is just what this book and series is.  You may not be a fan if you don't like authors that can be a bit wordy, but if you enjoy books like Christopher Paolini's Inheritance, the Prydain Chronicles are worth reading!

Teen Read Reviews Rincon Valley

The Rincon Valley teens are busy reading this summer.  Check out what they are saying:

Reviewed by: Mariah, 9th grade
Title & Author: 7 Souls by Barnabas Miller
Book Description: Mary Shayne is killed and due to a spell must relive the day of her death in 7 people’s bodies.
Why I picked it up: It seemed interesting and I enjoy murder mysteries.
Why I finished it: It’s now my new favorite book! I couldn’t put it down.
I’d recommend it to: People who like a mystery that keeps you guessing until the end.
This book rated: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Mariah, 9th grade
Title & Author: White Darkness by Geraldine McCraughrean
Book Description: Sym Wates goes on a trip to Antarctica with her uncle and Titus Oates. It’s a crazy quest to survive until the end.
Why I picked it up: The book summary made me want to read it.
Why I finished it: In every chapter, more and more secrets were revealed.
I’d recommend it to: People who enjoy a good book filled with surprising secrets about each character.
This book rated: 4 stars

Reviewed by: Mariah, 9th grade
Title & Author: American Born Chinese by Gene Yang
Book Description: In this graphic novel, everyone is not who they seem. It follows the lives of an American born Chinese and a monkey king.
Why I picked it up: The illustrations were very talented and the book was a Printz Award winner.
Why I finished it: It was strange, and had a strange ending. It ended abruptly and I thought there was more.
I’d recommend it to: People who are fans of both suspense and surprise should read this.
This book rated: 2 ½ stars

Reviewed by: James, 12th grade
Title & Author: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Book Description: This science fiction is a melee of comical events surrounding an everyday character thrust into an unimaginable world.
Why I picked it up: My uncle gave it to me and I finally got around to reading it.
Why I finished it: It wasn’t terribly long, but filled with twists and turns every page.
I’d recommend it to: Anyone who has ever had an interest in scfi, past or present.
This book rated: 3 ½ stars

Reviewed by: James, 12th grade
Title & Author: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Book Description: This book analysis the split second decisions we make as humans and how important they are to us as individuals.
Why I picked it up: It was recommended to me from a friend.
Why I finished it: Gladwell is a compelling writer and his discussion of this topic is fascinating.
I’d recommend it to: Anyone interested in how we function, or looking for an intriguing read.
This book rated: 4 stars

Reviewed by: Carolina, 9th grade
Title & Author: Your Eyes in Stars by M.E. Kerr
Book Description: Jessie’s father is the warden at the local prison. Then comes Elsa from Germany.
Why I picked it up: The title sounded very interesting. I read the summary and found out it took place in the 1930’s.
Why I finished it: I wanted to find out more about Slater, Jessie, and Elsa.I hoped their mom’s would get along.
I’d recommend it to: Anyone who likes a good friendship story without a lot of fluff.
This book rated: 4 stars

Reviewed by: Cecilia, 9th grade
Title & Author: Please Read (if at all possible) by Kate Engelbrecht
Book Description: It is a book of pictures that supposedly describe girls but most of the pictures were of girls posing in front of a mirror.
Why I picked it up: The title sounded interesting.
Why I finished it: I was hoping some more meaningful pictures would show up, like a girl playing soccer or an instrument.
I’d recommend it to: I didn’t see anything positive in this book so I wouldn’t recommend it.
This book rated: 3 stars

Reviewed by: Ameelvi, 10th grade
Title & Author: Feed by M.T. Anderson
Book Description: Set in the future everyone has a feed embedded in their heads that broadcasts sales and ads. It’s basically the internet in your mind. One feed malfunctions and leads to a tragedy.
Why I picked it up: The summary sounded interesting.
Why I finished it: It felt like I was learning about another culture.
I’d recommend it to: Scifi lovers.
This book rated: 4 stars

Reviewed by: Pratiksha, 7th grade
Title & Author: Into the Woods by Lyn Gardner
Book Description: Storm and Aurora Eden live peacefully at Eden End until their mother dies while having a baby. After, their dad disappears and leaves the Eden sisters on there own. Before the mother dies she gives Storm a flute which has given the Edens trouble. A crazy Dr. is trying to get it and only Storm can save them. The flute has extremely powerful powers that could be the fate of the world.
Why I picked it up: I saw the title and read the summary and I loved it.
Why I finished it: The plot was so good I couldn’t stop reading it.
I’d recommend it to: People who like adventures, sad, and love stories.
This book rated: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Emily, 9th grade
Title & Author: Every Second Counts by Lance Armstrong with Sally Jenkins
Book Description: Lance’s life after beating cancer and winning his first Tour d’France, up until he won his fourth.
Why I picked it up: My dad recommended it because I had nothing else to read.
Why I finished it: It was very interesting and informative, not at all boring.
I’d recommend it to: Cycling fans.
This book rated: 5 stars