Newest Teens Reviews

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The Loop by Ben Oliver

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Set during the aftermath of a Third World War where methods of punishment for criminal activities have been amped up to a horrific level by machines, The Loop follows the precarious existence of adolescent Luka Kane. In a world of Have and Have Nots where Alts [cyborgs] have power over Regulars, he is trapped inside a living hell with no chance of escape. A detonator has been sewn inside his heart connecting him to a trigger held by the guards who can end his life with one squeeze. Luka is taunted by limited access to his memories and relentlessly drained of energy through a gruelling daily torture ritual. Doomed to Delay [a risky medical trial where he is a guinea pig for Alts in place of execution] after Delay he is in despair. His prison is based on the model of an infinity loop designed to make its inmates suffer. With the only glimmers of hope being the rumours of rebellion outside and the visits of sympathetic Alt guard Wren, can Luka ever be free? Why has he been imprisoned? What waits for him if he can break the loop? Full Review

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Degrade (Tesla Expansion) by Mark Lingane

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Degrade opens as it means to go on - with inyerface, banging action. Poor Arid, alone in the desert since his parents were killed, has a narrow escape as two mega-rigs fight it out and his is pretty much destroyed. He finds himself rescued by the mysterious-but-fascinating Ella and on board the Moonlight under the suspicious eyes of its leader, Queen Bea. Bea's eyes flash with recognition when he tells her his name - Arid Geiger - but before he can find out why that is, there's an assassination attempt and Arid is under suspicion and imprisoned. An escape facilitated by Ella - Queen Bea's daughter - sees Arid and her other daughter, Frey, stranded in the desert.... Full Review

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Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

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The people of the town Lucille believe that all the monsters are gone. Their children are raised to understand that they were saved by the angels, those who rid the town of evil, and there are no monsters anymore. But one day, Jam accidentally cuts herself, and bleeds a little onto one of her mother's paintings. The blood awakens a bizarre, terrifying-looking creature named Pet, who somehow comes to life and declares that it is here to hunt the monster. Though Jam tries to convince it that all the monsters are gone, Pet is certain that there is one, still, and that the monster is hiding in the home of her best friend, Redemption. Full Review

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer: The Graphic Novel by Leigh Bardugo, Louise Simonson and Kit Seaton

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Diana, being unique on her island, is the victim of a lot of taunts, and claims of nepotism. It's only her unique status, and her mother being Queen, that has her with any standing at all, her naysayers declare – even though she has clearly fought to be a strong young woman. Perhaps too strong for the island, however – for every Wonder Woman origin story has her quickly leaving home for the World of Men, and this Diana is the heroine of yet another Wonder Woman origin story. A shipwreck disturbs her leading performance in a running race, but the survivor she drags from the waters is only going to disturb a lot more... Full Review

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Jane Eyre: a Retelling by Tanya Landman

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A young woman, fresh from living with horrid relatives who could care less about her, and years in a dreary school, moves into Thornfield Hall with only one intent – to have something like the life she wants – and with only one job, to tutor a young half-French girl, whose father is almost always absent. When he does turn up he seems to be dark, brooding and troubled – but that's nothing compared to the darker, more broody and even more troubled secret in the house. Yes, if you know Jane Eyre then you know the rest – but if you don't, for whatever reason, this is a wonderful book to turn to. Full Review

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Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

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Pablo, a college drop-out, is working at a New York bodega. He's massively in debt, he's avoiding his mother, and he finds his joy in creating unusual snacks with random ingredients! Whilst working one evening, he's surprised to discover that the girl he is chatting with as he serves is a super-famous pop star and, as unlikely as it may seem, they start a relationship. With one character who is trying very hard not to be seen or noticed by anyone, and the other who is seen and followed and hounded by everyone all over the world, it's an interesting clash as they come together. This isn't just a love story though, and actually it's really just Pab's story, about the journey he takes in his life via his meet-up with Leanna Smart. Full Review

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Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo

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In the city of Creije, Tavia, a magical con-artist, specialises in wowing gullible tourists with cheap charms and trickery. However, when a new and powerful form of magic unlike anything seen in decades begins trickling onto the streets, nearly killing her close friend Saxony, Tavia begins to worry. At the same time, her childhood best friend Wesley, the youngest underboss in the city, discovers that Dante Ashwood, kingpin of the Creijen criminal underworld, has his sights set on world domination. It's now up to the four unlikely allies to bring down his plans... Full Review

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Batman: Nightwalker: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Stuart Moore and Chris Wildgoose

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Teens, Graphic Novels

The young man called Bruce Wayne is a very noticeable one – he can hardly go anywhere without people – bystanders, paparazzi, and suchlike – reminding him he's a billionaire at the age of eighteen. Feeling rather stuck with the legacy he's inherited from his murdered parents, he wants to do charitable deeds. But one night, when he speeds off in his posh new car in pursuit of a criminal, he goes too far as far as the authorities are concerned, and gets given the most unlikely stretch of community service instead – cleaning in the home for violent criminals that is Arkham Asylum. There he learns of some other people who also allege charitable intent – the Nightwalkers, a gang who steal any ten-figure bank account contents they can, and murder the owner. Can he get close to one of them and get the truth of their schemes, or will the manipulative Madeleine be a step too far for the young do-gooder? Full Review

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Lighthouse of the Netherworlds by Maxwell N Andrews

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Teens, Fantasy, Confident Readers

The phrase about never trusting a book by its cover is something I put on a par with comments about Marmite. You're supposed to love it or hate it and I'm halfway between, and likewise the old adage is halfway true. From the cover of this I had a child-friendly fantasy, what with that name and that attractive artwork of an attractive girl reaching for an attractive water plant. That was only built on by the initial fictionalised quotes, with their non-standard spelling, as if texts of scripture in this book's world predated our standardised literacy. But why was I two chapters in and just finding more and more characters, both human and animal, and more and more flashbacks, and no proof that this was what I'd bought in for? Full Review

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Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Teens, Graphic Novels

Harleen Quinzel is new in town. She always, to me, seems new in town, even if she's been around a long time, for she always has a very fresh attitude, and seems to look out of those large eyes at everything anew each time. But here she is new in town, and the town is Gotham City. Expecting a year-long furlough from life with her mother, she finds her gran dead and herself with no option but to stay with a bunch of drag queens. She also finds school is a drag, she also finds the whole neighbourhood is being redeveloped by a large and uncaring corporation – but she also finds two characters that will have a big impact on her life. One is a civil-minded lass called Ivy, the other someone she only meets at night – a lad with a singular graffiti tag and a mind for violence and chaos, who calls himself The Joker… Full Review

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Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Teens

Amara's twelfth birthday is coming up and she wants nothing more for it than a trip to New York to meet her father's side of the family. But her father hasn't spoken to Amara's grandfather for many years - Amara doesn't know why - and both her parents are resistant to the idea. But Amara is nothing if not persistent and a school family history project provides her with the perfect wedge. Eventually, her parents give in and off she goes... with a secret mission from her mother: to bring her father and Grandpa Earl back together again. Full Review

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Somebody Give This Heart a Pen by Sophia Thakur

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Anthologies, Teens

Sophia Thakur's debut anthology is a collection of poems that are all unique, whether in relation to their style, length or theme. The collection is split into four sections, titled 'grow','wait','break'and 'grow again', guiding you through a process which is one of the foundations that the anthology is built on. Each section begins with a foregrounded title page containing various small pieces of writing, ranging from a quote by a Nigerian playwright, to African proverbs. This provides a nice introduction to the section before you are immersed into the beautifully written and eloquent poems that Thakur has clearly put her heart and soul into. Full Review

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Rose, Interrupted by Patrice Lawrence

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Teens

Rose and her brother Rudder have recently escaped from cult-like fundamentalist Christian sect, the Pilgrims, along with their mother. While Mum works endless hours at agency cleaning jobs trying to keep the rent paid on their tiny flat, Rose and Rudder are trying to navigate the worldly world. It's not easy when everything is new and the rigid rules you've always lived by are suddenly missing. Full Review

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I Hold Your Heart by Karen Gregory

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Teens

Gemma has just started her A levels at school. She's a keen student and she has a good, close set of friends. Gemma loves country music and in her spare time she enjoys writing and singing country songs. She's pretty good at it too. Home life is busy - Gemma's brother Michael has a chance at a football career and the whole family, propelled by Gemma's rather over-invested dad, is supporting him with everything they've got. Gemma hasn't had a serious boyfriend yet, so when the handsome Aaron appears and an instant attraction fizzles between them, Gemma is keen to see where romance could lead... Full Review

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The Evil Occupants of Easingdale Castle by Ray Filby

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Teens

Jason likes chess. He's pretty good at it too - a level eight on his computer programme, with level ten being Grand Master level. He's also good at systems, having contributed to the relational database that has streamlined his school's administration. Jason's school, Easingdale Comprehensive, is very big on technology and its head, Mr Johnston, is keen to involve his pupils wherever they show promise. So Jason's friends have also helped out. Liz is great with hardware and helped with the school's card reader system. Becky has a flair for software and has recommended lots of curriculum-enhancing apps. And Bill is a talented programmer... Full Review

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The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Dyslexia Friendly, Teens

This is a dyslexia-friendly, science fiction novella for young adults. It tells the tale of Hugo, an unwanted and rather lonely android, who makes a living for himself mending time-travel watches. When one of his clients demands that his broken watch be mended, Hugo realises there is a mystery to be solved, and is only too ready to help. An exciting journey of discovery unfolds, which takes Hugo out of his drab attic workroom and into a scary adventure with some amazing new friends, exploring regions of the planet never before known to exist. Full Review

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Disbelieved: Skin and Bone CSIs by Beth Webb

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Teens

Anelise - Annie - has been living with her cousin Joe and her aunt, an eminent forensic scientist, since her mum died and her naturalist father went abroad on a research trip. So she does wonder sometimes whether the minor premonitions she has - who's on the other end of the ringing phone, or at the door when there's a knock - are in her imagination. But to foresee a serious accident and then for it to actually happen? And the dreadful headaches. Something's going on. Luckily for Annie, Joe is convinced and also willing to help. So they start to investigate the accident... Full Review

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The Collective by Lindsey Whitlock

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Teens

Illinois Territory, Collective Homesteads of America. It's certainly an unusual place. Some people live in sunken houses, buried into hillsides to disguise how large their property is at times of austerity, among other reasons. Others are called Foresters, for they live and work in trees – forever playing and resting in trees as children, but farming in amongst them and living between them too. These two sides hate each other – so perhaps this is less of an unusual place than at first sight. Our drama kicks off when the small area the Foresters live in is placed under compulsory purchase – the residents are given a pitiful amount to clear out, before they get manfully cleared out. It's probably the Hills that are behind this, what's more. Our hero, Elwyn, has just left the trees for the Hills, to live with an uncle and learn their ways – he's just of age to decide things for himself, and he has decided to see how the other half lives. This has, of course, opened himself up to no end of prejudicial judgement. But what's this – as soon as he reaches the Hills he sees a third way of living, in a lovely colonial-style mansion, where everything sparkles and shines with crystalline light. What does it mean that he feels destiny-bound to this even posher, newer and more hopeful life? Full Review

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The Dog Runner by Bren MacDibble

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers, Teens

Set in a dystopian Australia, this is the story of Ella and Emery and their dogs travelling across the outback together. A red fungus has wiped out all the crops and grasses, and with the food chain grinding to a halt, society is collapsing. Ella's mum has been gone for a long time - she left for work one day and then never came home. Ella and her half brother Emery have been living at home with their dad and their dogs, hoping for the best, but one day their dad decides to go out and try to find Ella's mum. When he also fails to return, Emery decides that their best chance of survival is to set out with the dogs to travel across the outback to his grandfather's house where, he believes, there will still be food and a safe place for them to live until their father can find them again. Full Review