Teen Book Review: Wither

Wither  by Lauren DeStefano

Reviewed by Fallon D., Northwest Library

Because of modern science, 16-year-old Rhine now has four years left to live.  Males live to 25 years and females to 20.  Beautiful teenage girls are whisked away to marry rich land owners in order to keep the human race from dying out, and Rhine is one of them.  Even though her new life is paradise from her rough life in Manhattan, Rhine has only one idea on her mind: escape.

Why I picked it up: One of my friends recommended it to me, and I was unsure about it , but when I saw it was on YALSA's Teens' Top Ten, I decided to read it.

Why I finished it: Even though I did not think this book was good, I wanted to know if Rhine escaped.  I thought the book was going to be more about her escape, when it was more romance (of course, I hate romance).

I'd recommend it to:  Although I did not enjoy this book, I can definitely see other people loving this book, especially if you like books where the world is falling apart.   

You’ve read their hot titles, but check out some lesser-known ones….

You've read all about Katniss, Peeta, and Gale, but have you checked out the awesome series Suzanne Collins wrote BEFORE ​The Hunger Games​?

You've read about Liesel Meminger's adventures with Death, but do you know what Marcus Zusak wrote before The Book Thief​?  

Or what Maggie Stiefvater wrote before Shiver and the Scorpio Races?


Check out this fun article about "B-Sides" of YA literature, for some suggestions of great reads that are a little less mainstream.



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: 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!

Chaos Walking movie announced!

Did you love the Chaos Walking trilogy as much as I did?  It's just been announced that they are making it into a movie, hoping to find "the next Hunger Games!"


Hunger WHAT?  Chaos Walking needs no comparison– just read book one "The Knife of Never Letting Go" and see for yourself!  Click below to find a copy or place a hold–>

The Knife of Never Letting Go


Time to Battle it out again!

If you recall, last year we posted about the Battle of the Kids' Books, hosted for the past few years by School Library Journal. This is a bracket-style showdown between some of the best books for kids & teens, with each matchup "judged" by a well-known author. And it's that time of year again!

This year's Battle of the Books began last Tuesday March 13, with an epic showdown every day– judged by a wonderful group of authors of teen and tween books (Sara Zarr! Gayle Forman! Jeff Kinney!).  There are three more matchups left in Round One, and then we move on to the re-matches in Round Two.

One thing that I keep thinking about as I follow this contest – how on earth do you choose between two such excellent books that are so different?  It is interesting to see how each judge considers the choices thoughtfully, in order to make the decision.  Click here to read the thoughtful reviews – and to see which books will be moving on to the next round!