Here's another installment of book reviews from the Teen Summer Reading Program...
From Alex A.:
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, by Jon Meacham, is tremendously well written. The book is about Thomas Jefferson and his extraordinary life, including facts about him that you never knew before, quotes from his personal letters, and much much more. One of the things that I like about this book is that all the events and the dates that go with them are accurate. It is always better and much more interesting to readers if the author can get his or her facts right. Another thing about this book that is so interesting is how the author wrote it. This book would be great for doing research on Thomas Jefferson, considering that it is made out of facts. In the end, this nonfiction high school book that contains 505 pages has earned a 4 out of 5 from me. Thomas Jefferson would be proud of this great work of nonfiction.
From Ani B.:
Saving Zasha, by Randi Barrow
It is right after World War II ended, and 13-year-old Mikhail finds a dying man and his dog in the forest. Although he and his family try to save the dying man, they don't succeed. They manage to keep the dog, whose name is Zasha. They have to keep Zasha a secret, because owning a German Shepherd was considered traitorous at the time. Mikhail will do anything to save Zasha. I admire how the character, Mikhail, puts himself in danger numerous times in order to save the dog he has come to love.
From Patrick C.:
Time Between Us, by Tamara Ireland Stone
I never read any time travel books before, and after reading Time Between Us, it's for sure not my last. Time Between Us was a perfect blend of romance, tensions, and heartbreaking choices.
When you do a time travel book, you have to make it unique and exciting or it will be cliched. The time travel aspect in Time Between Us was surprisingly fresh and different. Add some great characters like Anna and Bennett and you have a great story of two star-crossed lovers against time. Anna lives in 1995 Chicago while, mysteriously and oddly, Bennett lives in 2012 San Fran and they cross paths. The only thing on Anna's mind is to travel the world (she even has a map with red pins on places she plans to go in the future). But meeting Bennett changes her life and she discovers more than what lies in her cold and way too quiet town of Chicago.
Anna and Bennett's relationship was a bit shaky at times for me but it held strong all the way to the end. I loved the scenes where Bennett takes Anna to all sorts of places, but only places in his year and never messing up the past or future. Anna was fun and likable and she made the book light and easy to read.
Time Between Us also faces readers with questions of mixing time travel with love. Will it be worth it? How long can I wait? It's a perfect summer book, and I can't wait to pick up #2 for Bennett's perspective!
From Lacey F:
Perfect, by Ellen Hopkins
Four teens--Kendra, Cara, Andre, and Sean--all try to reach their goal of being or doing perfect. Kendra is willing to go through any surgery and even starve herself to reach the perfect weight for her modeling career. Cara risks rejecting her parent's ideals to find a more perfect love. Andre is torn between following the paths of his ancestors to be a lawyer and his heart to be a dancer. Sean is into completing a perfect baseball season only to lose something he treasured most.
I loved this book and ALL books by Ellen Hopkins, because they're totally relatable to a wide audience. Everyone has tried to be perfect, but what will you do to reach it. What is perfection to you?
The Time Capsule, by Lurlene McDaniel
Adam and Alexis are seventeen, and are in their senior year of high school. Their lives are pretty good, and Alexis believes that the pediatric leukemia Adam had is forever in the past...but she jinxes it. Adam relapses...and so does his sister's life. The Time Capsule is a pretty good book. I recommend it for anyone who enjoys a realistic but fictional dramatic cancer-themed book. Even though the two main characters are soon-to-be college aged, I believe that a twelve-year-old could read this.
Ungifted, by Gordon Korman
I love Gordon Korman so of course I wanted to read this book.It was very good. It highlighted some of the flaws of the gifted program here today in America. It honestly made me think twice about how others felt about me being in the gifted program and them not. It made me feel what I used to feel about others who were in the gifted program. This book is about Donavon Curtis who, in an attempt to escape his punishment for wrecking the school gym, manages to accidentally get sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction (a school for only high intelligent super-genius kids). He manages to win the hearts and love of the kids there, and hides out for about 4-6 weeks. But as always, the teacher wins. He still ends up keeping his super genius friends, though, which is the most important thing...
Remember, for each book review you write, you will be entered in one of our bi-weekly prize drawings. Only the people who write a review in each two-week period are entered in that drawing, so it's good odds, and the prizes are nice! Second drawing is TODAY (July 5) at 5:00, and if you miss your chance this time, the last one is on July 19th! Please note that these should be books appropriate to teens! In other words, teen or adult titles are A-okay, but no Amelia Bedelia or Captain Underpants!