Newest Teens Reviews

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The Waking Land by Callie Bates

4star.jpg Fantasy

They need something to believe in, something beyond crowns and kingdoms. They need to believe in the old stories. In the power of the land.

It was fourteen years ago that Elanna's life changed completely. Fourteen years ago that her father's plans of revolution fell through, and at the tender age of five, King Antoine held a pistol to her head and took her hostage. Raised by the King, Elanna grows into adulthood suppressing her magic and resenting the parents she once loved. Now twenty, Elanna prepares for either study or marriage, until King Antoine dies and she's condemned to death for treason. On the run, Elanna encounters her father's men, and finds herself moving from one imprisonment to another. Her father it seems, wants to carry out the revolution that failed fourteen years ago, he wants to unite the people in creating a fair kingdom and he wants Elanna to be the face of the rebellion. He wants her to be the Steward of the Land capable of powerful magic to make the very Earth move. Elanna must to decide which side she'll align with and how she will shape her destiny. Can she deny her people the help they desperately need to build a new world? Full review...

The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Ethan and his family are moving to a little town in Georgia from the big city of Boston in a last ditch attempt to help Ethan get over the loss of best friend Kacey. And the move does give Ethan a great deal else to think about. There's living in Grandpa Ike's dilapidated old house and the uncommunicative Grandpa Ike himself. There's a new school with a new pecking order to navigate. There's a new friend in Coralee, who has a great line in tall stories and who likes adventures almost as much as Kacey did. But it's hard to leave grief behind, especially when you feel as guilty as Ethan does... Full review...

Surrender by Sonya Hartnett

5star.jpg Teens

Anwell lives with his physically abusive father - vicious corporal punishment for a minor infraction is a constant threat - and his mentally abusive mother who loses no opportunity to belittle her young son and express her disappointment in him. Anwell is not popular at school and his life at home is severely proscribed. So, when Finnigan appears, Anwell is grateful for a friend. Finnigan is strange and wild and full of a dark freedom. He doesn't even go to school. Full review...

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices 2) by Cassandra Clare

4.5star.jpg Teens

After the cataclysmic events of the devilishly macabre 'Lady Midnight', Cassandra Clare produces another melodramatic magical mêlée for its sequel, conjuring up new risks and agonisingly painful decisions for the Blackthorn family and their friends. Their troubles are by no means over as they face the aftermath of Malcolm Fade's reign of madness and the malicious machinations of the cohort [a sect of power-hungry Centurions who want to punish Downworlders and minority groups with draconian legislation]. Above all Julian wants to keep his siblings safe but his self-destructive love for Emma and the reappearance of Annabel threatens to tear them apart. Full review...

Resurrection by Derek Landy

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Skulduggery Pleasant – the sharply dressed and wise-cracking skeleton – is back and he needs help. A small group of disgruntled sorcerers have banded together and have plans to use their unique set of skills to wage war on the mortal world. Others have tried this in the past but this particular group have a scheme that should guarantee their success: they're going to resurrect a terrifying evil. Despite his powers, Skulduggery can't defeat them alone. He successfully persuades his former partner – Valkyrie Cain – to join him for just twenty-four hours. But will she stay when the time runs out? Will they be able to save the world? Full review...

Like Other Girls by Claire Hennessy

4.5star.jpg Teens

Like Other Girls is a story about a girl called Lauren. She is not like other girls, though she does sometimes like other girls. For one, her mum is the headmistress of her school, for two, she doesn't fit in to a clique, and for three, her boyfriend thinks she's mad. Lauren's world has been turned upside down by a revelation of someone close to her and when something enormous happens to Lauren, she has no one she can turn to, or so she believes. Full review...

Rook by Anthony McGowan

5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

When Nicky and his learning-disabled brother Kenny come across a rook being attacked by a sparrowhawk, they chase off the raptor and rescue the rook.Kenny is convinced that a good dollop of love and affection is all that's needed to keep the bird alive but Nicky is sceptical. And in any case, Nicky has other things to worry about, like avoiding the bully at school and finding a way to talk to the girl he likes. In the previous two books in this sequence, troubles were dogging Kenny and the boys' father but in Rook it's Nicky who could do with a helping hand. Things are about to go wrong. Will Nicky find a way through? Full review...

All The Things That Could Go Wrong by Stewart Foster

5star.jpg Teens

Alex has OCD, and as if that wasn't awful enough, he's getting badly bullied at school. Dan's the guy who's bullying him, but he's not really sure why he is apart from the fact Sophie says he should. The only thing Dan does know is that he really misses his brother, Ben. All the Things that Could Go Wrong follows both Alex and Dan's stories as they just try to make it through the days. While Alex fights his OCD and his bullies, Dan fights his loneliness and all the anger that he seems to have inside him now. You might think this is going to be a cut and dried story of the nice boy who's being bullied and the bad boy who's doing the bullying, but it isn't. Full review...

Troublemakers by Catherine Barter

4.5star.jpg Teens

Ever since Alena can remember, it's been her step-brother Danny and his boyfriend Nick who have looked after her. Her mother died when she was just three years old. It might be small and unorthodox, but Alena's family is a loving one. However, simmering political tensions in London, triggered by a series of bombings, threaten to spill over and shatter the stability of the only family Alena has ever known. Faced with complicated questions about family and politics, Alena finds herself looking back into the past, at the life of activism that her mother led, a life that her brother has always been suspiciously secretive about, in the hope of finding some answers. Full review...

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash

4.5star.jpg Teens

It's camp. It's supposed to be fun.
Well excuse me for not having the time of my life.

That simple piece of dialogue is the key to this autobiographical graphic novel. Why is Maggie not happy at camp? Forget the way she's isolated by being a sleep-walker, and ignore the fact she's from a different state to every other girl around, and practically only there to obey her mother's family tradition – she's all of a sudden become an ace shot on the rifle range, and can boss the Backstreet Boys-themed talent performance. But those aren't enough for Maggie to feel settled and like she's enjoying her summer, and anyway they do come with their own problems. No, the bigger problem is something else – the fact that she seems to be falling in love with one of the counsellor campers, there to look after the welfare of the younger inmates – being potentially a lesbian is a shock to our narrator. Full review...

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus

5star.jpg Teens

'The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars?' Sign me up, please. But this YA mystery is more like a teenage Agatha Christie: it's twisty, complex, and at several points I began to wonder if the final reveal would be that everyone was the murderer. Full review...

Marvel: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

5star.jpg Teens

Doreen Green moves from California to New Jersey and, quite by accident, embarks on a journey to become a hero. A fantastic origin tale for the brilliant Squirrel Girl character this story is engaging, fast-paced, hip and extremely cool. What would a person be like if they had the proportional strength and agility of a squirrel? Wonder no more. Full review...

Steve and Frandan Take on the World by Ron Butlin

4.5star.jpg Teens

Like many books for confident readers and teens, our heroes are the victims of cruel bullies – to be precise, as we are well into the twenty-first century here, of the cyber kind. But this isn't some worthy self-help, tell-an-adult book, nor is it a gloomy book about young people who can't see the point of going on. Nope – these guys take the unusual (and, in the light of later events, utterly daft) decision to simply sail away into the sunset, to take a break from civilisation, online Thor and his idiot Viking horde, and the insanities in general of all adults. In their defence, it seems a sensible move at the time... Full review...

Contagion: Book 1 (Dark Matter) by Teri Terry

4.5star.jpg Teens

It's not a spoiler if I tell you that Callie dies because she does die and she dies in the first few pages of Contagion. Callie - Calista - disappeared more than a year ago. Her brother Kai is still looking for her, hopeful that she will be found alive and well. But Callie isn't alive and well. She's been taken to a secretive medical facility on the island of Shetland, experimented on, and then burned to death. But Callie survived the burning in non-corporeal form. How? Full review...

Passing for White by Tanya Landman

5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

In 1847, in Macon, Georgia, Benjamin was a slave. He was a talented carpenter too, but on November the 19th he was unnerved: a white woman was looking at him, smiling and being polite. What was going on? He wasn't just unnerved, but nervous: you see, Benjamin was looking at the white woman, looking her in the eye and a slave could get himself killed for less than that. Only this wasn't a white woman: this was Rosa, who was mixed race. She could pass for white, but she too was a slave. Rosa and Benjamin eventually married, but it didn't stop Rosa's master from taking sexual advantage of her and when she found that she was pregnant she had no way of knowing who the father was. Full review...

The Harder They Fall by Bali Rai

4.5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Cal loves comic books. He also dreams of being a superhero and saving the day while simultaneously winning the heart of the girl (Freya being the girl, hopefully). Batman is his favourite superhero. But Cal's world outside his daydreams is not particularly superhero-like. Because Cal is a bit of a geek and he is being bullied by mean girl Anu, who makes him complete homework assignments which she then sells on to lazy classmates. Still, it's not all bad. Cal's parents are lovely and the gorgeous Freya is making friendly overtures... Full review...

Release by Patrick Ness

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Adam lives in small-town America in a deeply religious household. His father is an evangelical preacher. His brother is at a Christian college training to be an evangelical preacher. Adam is used to a restricted life and he is also used to an atmosphere of suspicion. Because Adam is gay. And this must be unspoken because to acknowledge it would lead to... ... well, best not to think about that. Full review...

Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell

4star.jpg Teens

And when did I volunteer to die down there just so two lousy humans could live?

Enter the world of the Jan'Tep, powerful mages with the ability to draw on the seven magics. Then meet Kellen, who despite being the son of one of the most formidable mages in the clan, has no magical ability whatsoever. Full review...

Countless by Karen Gregory

4.5star.jpg Teens

Hedda is 20 weeks pregnant. It was a one-night stand, so there's no father on the scene. She's 17. She's in the grip of an eating disorder and has been for years. Her best friend recently died. She's living in a grotty flat because her relationship with her parents has broken down. I think we can all agree that the situation is dire. Full review...

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

4.5star.jpg Teens

Julie Beaufort-Stuart - Lady Julia to you and me, if you please - has just returned to Strathfearn. It's 1938 and her grandfather, the Earl of Strathfearn, has recently died, leaving a mountain of debt behind him. The family's ancestral home has been sold to meet the debt and the death duties and will soon become a school. But, as the contents of the estate and its treasures are catalogued and renovations are underway, there is time for Julie and her family to spend the summer making their goodbyes - to home and landscape and to friends, including the McEwans, a family of Highlands Travellers, loved by the family but hated by the authorities. Full review...

The Fallen Children by David Owen

5star.jpg Teens

Life is tough on the Midwich Estate. Kids living there don't have much hope in the future. They're already judged by their poverty, their religion, their race. Carving out a prosperous future from this inauspicious place seems like a pipe dream. But, in their various ways, Siobhan, Keisha, Maida and Morris are all trying - whether that means making plans to get out, or developing strategies to cope with life as it has been dealt. Full review...

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

5star.jpg Teens

Garden Heights is a neighbourhood notorious for all the wrong reasons: poverty, drugs, shootings, it ticks all the ghetto stereotypes. It's also the place that sixteen-year-old Starr Carter calls home. Even if most people there only know her as 'Big Mav's daughter who works in the store', Garden Heights is where she was born and raised. It's where she can be herself and not care about what people think or how people expect her to act - a freedom that isn't afforded to her at the posh suburban high school where she is one of just a handful of black students. However, Garden Heights is also where her childhood friend was shot in a drive-by. And now, it's the place where Starr witnesses the devastating, fatal shooting of her unarmed friend, Khalil. At the hands of a police officer. It's an event whose repercussions will irrevocably change her life, and the lives of everyone around her. Full review...

Masquerade (Micah Grey Trilogy) by Laura Lam

4star.jpg Teens

It's been a remarkable journey for our young protagonist. It wasn't long ago that Micah Grey was still living the life of Iphigenia Laurus, daughter of a noble family, trapped in a gilded cage forever hiding her true self. Since running away, Micah has managed to reinvent himself, first as a circus acrobat, and then as a magician's apprentice. Along the way he's discovered love and friendships that have helped keep him afloat, even as betrayal and tragedy seem ready to strike at every turn. But there's only so long he can keep running. His powers are growing, the Chimaera are returning, and Ellada is about to reach a violent tipping point. Full review...

The Challenge by Tom Hoyle

3.5star.jpg Teens

One ordinary afternoon, Ben's best friend Will goes missing. Soon after, twins Sam and Jack move to Ben's school and take an interest in him. It turns out both twins have an obsession with enacting challenges they set each other, and it doesn't take long for Ben to get involved in their strange game. But with every new challenge they set him, he starts to wonder whether they might be slightly unhinged… Full review...

Girlhood by Cat Clarke

4star.jpg General Fiction

Girlhood focuses on a group of friends; Harper, Rowan, Lily and Ama, who are fast approaching the end of term at an elite boarding school in the middle of nowhere. The arrival of Kirsty causes a seismic shift in this previously supportive friendship group and Harper soon finds herself caught between her old friends and the mysterious new girl who seems to have so much in common with her. But is Kirsty who she claims to be? Full review...

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

4.5star.jpg Teens

Where are you guys? Text me back.

Ending three lives with seven words becomes Carver's reality when he sends a simple, impatient text to his best friend. His best friend who is driving and on the way to pick him up at any moment. His best friend who in replying to his text, rams into the back of a truck instantly killing himself and their other two best friends in the car. Full review...

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

4star.jpg Teens

Juliet has always written letters to her mother. The award-winning photojournalist wasn't at home much and letters always seemed somehow more personal and intimate than email or Skype. And Juliet is still writing those letters even though her mother died in a hit-and-run accident, rushing home to surprise her daughter by arriving earlier than expected. Juliet leaves them at her graveside, overwhelmed with grief and guilt. If her mother hadn't come home early for her daughter, she would still be alive today. Full review...

Stargazing for Beginners by Jenny McLachlan

4star.jpg Teens

Meg loves space. And when we say Meg loves space, this doesn't quite explain how much Meg loves space. Meg loves all things space to the exclusion of almost everything else. She has a space mural in her bedroom. She belongs to a stargazing club with her grandfather. She is determined to become an astronaut one day. And she dreams of winning a competition that will earn her a place on a trip to NASA in Houston. Full review...

The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Set in the Philippines at the beginning of the last century, Ami lives with her mother on Culion Island. It's a beautiful place covered in lush forests and surrounded by a blue sea that matches the sky. It's Ami's home and the only place she has ever known. But Culion is an island for people with leprosy who are sent there to live on the edge of the world away from civilisation. Ami's mother is among the infected but Ami herself remains untouched, so when government official Mr Zamora arrives to transport the islanders who are free from the sickness to another island, Ami's world is torn apart. Banished across the sea to an orphanage, Ami is determined to get back home and crosses great lengths to return to her sick mother once more, on the island at the end of everything. Full review...

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

4.5star.jpg Teens

Cassandra Clare is particularly impassioned about her latest book as it is set in the City of Angels where she grew up. She recalls, "I was an imaginative teenager, always seeing supernatural creatures and potential magic around every corner". Her novel is imbued with her love of film noir, classical texts and the murky literary gothic world of Edgar Allan Poe. These influences charge her urban crime fantasy with mystery and imagination. It works as a standalone though will appeal especially to teenage fans of 'The Mortal Instruments' who will be happy to rejoin the brave Shadowhunter warriors Emma and Julian last seen battling for their lives at the age of 12 during the Dark Wars in 'The City of Heavenly Fire' and now facing painful decisions. Full review...

The Private Blog of Joe Cowley: Straight Outta Nerdsville by Ben Davis and Mike Lowery

3star.jpg Teens

A lot has happened in the life of our hero Joe since we first met him. A lot must have happened in the third book in the series too, as we start here with him in a very new situation. He's in London, not the Midlands town of his upbringing, and three of his flat-mates and buddies are a band about to be signed by a major label, with him as their ostensible manager. And he's got a new, cosmopolitan girlfriend. But this is a teen diary book full of the comedy of embarrassment, and nothing can ever be expected to go his way… Full review...