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Teen Book Reviews

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These reviews are for teens, by teens, although adults are known to enjoy some of these titles too! Teens, if you are interested in writing book reviews for SBPL, visit our For Teens page. You can receive 1 service hour for each book review, up to 5 hours per month.

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Recent Book Reviews

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Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump by Winston Groom
Review by EB
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Are you looking for a light, funny book to read? If so, I recommend Forrest Gump by Winston Groom. This book follows Forrest Gump, a man with an IQ of around 70. Forrest sometimes struggles to understand people and their behavior, but he possesses some remarkable talents. Forrest is a great athlete, mathematician, and musician. Initially, Forrest is sent to a special school, but one day a football coach recognizes his talent and recruits him for a high school team. For a while, Forrest becomes a football star, until his academics prevent him from playing on a team. He then gets sent to war in Vietnam, travels to China, plays in a band, and has many more adventures, all the while thinking of Jenny Curran, a girl from high school. Forrest Gump has many adventures as various people discover his talents. Forrest’s life is far from boring as he plays ping pong, escapes from headhunters and cannibals, befriends orangutans, and starts a fishing empire. If you are looking for a hilarious read, I strongly recommend Forrest Gump. You'll be laughing out loud on every other page!

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The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Review by LP
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The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is an intriguing novel that explores the theme of isolation and identity. It has a very odd narrative and thought provoking symbolism. The story's main character Gregor Samsa, a young male who wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into a giant insect-like creature. Not only does he go through a physical transformation, but those around him change as well. One thing Kafka really highlights to his audience is the cruel acts of human existence through Gregory's transformation. The author makes the readers question the nature of identity, and how much of it is related to an individual’s appearance. Kafka has a very detailed writing style. The vivid descriptions of Gregory Samsa's physical and emotional state really highlight to the reader the nightmare it truly was. His powerful imagery and metaphors really enhance the sense of unease that spread throughout the narrative. Leaving a deep impact on readers. In the midst of adversity, it really serves as a commentary on the dehumanizing effects of current struggles to keep one's identity. One of the most admirable aspects of this novel is the ability to have empathy for Gregory, despite his uncommon circumstance. The author really paints a sympathetic portrait of a male trapped in the body of an insect that he has no control over, yet still longs for a connection with his family. This highlights the theme of isolation. The Metamorphosis is a must read for anyone interested in reading a powerful story.

we were liars book cover
We Were Liars

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Review by Lizzy S.
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We Were Liars is narrated by the main character Cadence Eastman, a 17-year old who spends every summer on her family’s private island. Two years prior, a mysterious tragedy occurs on the island, and Cadence suffers a head injury so she can’t remember what happened. Cadence tries to remember what happened despite her family’s best efforts to keep it from her. This novel is plot-driven and I found that it didn’t provoke much thought and wasn’t intended to teach a lesson. However, I enjoyed the book because as Cadence uncovered the details of what occurred that summer, I could not put the book down. As Cadence accepted that she is selfish, she lies, and she has a lot of self-pity, her memories were clear and she understood the full picture of what occurred that summer and why. This book is very entertaining and I never would have expected the plot twist. But, if you are looking for a book to make you think, this might not be the right one. The writing in this story is poetic and I think the prose represents Cadence’s fragments of memories. Cadence has many flashbacks in this novel, and since they sometimes happen in the middle of a chapter unannounced I often didn’t know if I was reading a flashback or something in the present. This made the story a little confusing, but I still could understand what was going on. We Were Liars is a short novel and a quick read. I think it is the perfect length for the story because it didn’t drag on, but I was satisfied with how it ended and I don’t think there was anything more to say. Overall, I would recommend this novel because it is a page-turning young-adult mystery with a plot-twist that will shock you.
 

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If He Had Been With Me

If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin
Review by Izzy S.
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If He Had Been With Me is about Autumn’s high school experience and her complicated relationship with her next door neighbor and childhood best friend, Phineas or “Finny." Autumn and Finny grew apart in high school, but Autumn always had feelings for Finny and wishes they would’ve stayed best friends. This novel is primarily character driven and there is a lot of character development throughout the story. My favorite thing about this book is that I could really relate to Autumn’s emotions and friendships; it felt very similar to my own teenage experience. I also liked how the story showed Autumn’s flaws, mistakes, and regrets, because it made the book so much more relatable and true to real life. The relationships between the characters in this book are shown in a very genuine, realistic way, and Autumn’s emotions all felt very raw and authentic. I felt so emotionally attached to Autumn because the book was like her diary and I felt like I experienced all the emotions she felt. To me, this was more of a coming of age novel than a romance because it is about the joys and challenges of growing up. I think the moral of the story is that to live your life to the fullest, you must try to live with no regrets or missed opportunities. Overall, I would recommend this book because it is so easy to relate to as a teenager, even though I personally didn't like the ending.

hunger games book cover
The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Review by Sofia
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The Hunger Games is an exciting dystopian novel. The story follows Katniss Everdeen, a courageous and resourceful young woman thrust into the heart of the Capitol's twisted spectacle known as the Hunger Games. The book is set in a time of war between the people and the Capital. In this era, there are annual hunger games which take readers on a journey through a bleak future where in order to survive you need to be ruthless. The concept of the Hunger Games—a televised fight to the death between teenagers from each district—is as horrifying as it is captivating. This book has a strong female protagonist that displays characteristics of leadership and bravery. She doesn’t follow the rules and will do anything to protect the people she loves. As Katniss navigates the deadly arena, readers are drawn into a thrilling and suspenseful tale of courage, betrayal, and resilience. What sets The Hunger Games apart is its unforgettable cast of characters. The book captivates emotion and draws the reader to each of the characters, it displays a variety of different personalities within each character and gets readers attached to each of them. Katniss is a flawed yet compelling protagonist, driven by her love for her family and her fierce determination to survive. Alongside her are a host of memorable allies and adversaries, each with their own motivations and struggles. Peta is a gentle soul character with a warm heart and strong physic, he becomes one of the most loved characters in the novel from his loving personality and friendly manner. The Hunger Games is the perfect book for any dystopian fans.

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