Teens

Posts Tagged ‘Book review’

Curl Up & Read: Symptoms of Being Human

Posted on April 1st, 2016 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

symptoms

Title: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Read by: Anna, a Teen Central Librarian

Summary: Riley Cavanaugh is attending a new school, has debilitating anxiety and a congressman father running for re-election, and hasn’t come out yet. To anyone. Riley is gender fluid, which means some days Riley identifies as a boy and some days Riley identifies as a girl. With all of this going on, how on earth is Riley supposed to blend in, make friends, come out, and survive high school?

Genre/sub-genre: LGBTQ contemporary fiction

Series/Standalone: Standalone

Length: 335 pages

Personal thoughts: 

“People are complicated. And messy. Seems too convenient that we’d all fit inside some multiple-choice question.” – Riley Cavanaugh

This book is long overdue, because until now, stories about gender fluid people have been non-existent. Real and relatable, Symptoms of Being Human is a great look into what it means to be different in a way most people aren’t used to. No pronouns are used for Riley in the book, yet the author’s writing makes it feel very natural, not forced. Preferred pronouns (of which there are a lot of options) aren’t even mentioned by Riley’s therapist and transgender support group, which felt odd to me. Yet the lack of pronouns does serve as a reminder of just how binary society considers gender, and how much we gender everything without even thinking about it.

Riley’s story is very character driven. Riley’s parents are realistic, fully-developed and caring adults, just trying to do the best they can without knowing Riley’s secret. While there were a few minor friends I wanted to know more about, I loved Riley’s two friends from school. Solo and Bec were as well rounded, quirky, and engaging as Riley and they stood out as cool people I’d want to be friends with if I could.

This is a powerful and inspirational story that won’t let you go. I highly recommend this title for anyone who may identify as gender fluid and those who want to know what it means to be gender fluid. That said, I also highly recommend this title for those people who enjoy contemporary teen fiction and are just looking for a good read. Read on!

 

 

anna250-150x150Looking to borrow this library book? Look no further!

Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow this book? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.

 

*”Curl Up & Read” posts book reviews by Anna, one of the Teen Librarians at Teen Central, on the first Friday of every month.

The Illustrated Man – A Review

Posted on June 23rd, 2015 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

the illustrated man

(Book 2 of 8 of my Summer Reading book reviews.)

Title/Author: The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

Read by: Anna, Teen Central Librarian

Summary: In the arcane designs scrawled upon the illustrated man’s skin swirl tales beyond imagining: tales of love and laughter, darkness and death, of mankind’s glowing, golden past and its dim, haunted future. Here are eighteen incomparable stories that blend magic and truth in a kaleidoscope tapestry of wonder–woven by the matchless imagination of Ray Bradbury.

Series/Standalone: Standalone

Genre/sub-genre: Science-fiction

Diversity: Yes. For example, one story, “The Other Foot”, deals with the interplanetary segregation of blacks and whites.

Relatable characters: Yes.

Would I recommend this to others?: yes.

Personal thoughts: I enjoyed reading each story and was very glad they were extremely short as I don’t think they would have been as enjoyable had they been longer. However, I did feel as if I was meant to learn a lesson with each story, which Bradbury has done with his work before, so I wasn’t too surprised. For example, there were a few about what would happen if books were banned and one about perseverance when you feel as if all hope is lost. I think the one that really stood out for me, though, was the very last one entitled “The Rocket”. The outcome of that story was not what I was expecting at all, and so heartwarming, compared to the others. It was the perfect way to end the book. If you enjoy science-fiction, I highly recommend this collection of short stories set in the future when interplanetary travel has become “the thing to do”. When reading this, you very quickly realize that just because it’s the future and we can travel to other planets, that doesn’t mean our human problems have gone away.

The Recruit – A Review

Posted on March 20th, 2015 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

The Recruit

 

Title/Author: The Recruit by Robert Muchamore

Read by: Anna, Teen Librarian at Teen Central

Summary: A young boy finds a way out of his rough life after his mother dies, when he is given the opportunity to train as a spy for the British government.

Series/Standalone: Book one out of twelve.

Genre/sub-genre: Mystery/Thriller/Espionage

Diversity: Some of the more minor characters came from different backgrounds.

Relatable characters: Yes, though some of the characters seemed a lot older than their stated ages.

Would I re-read?: Perhaps, though I am really looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

Personal thoughts: This was a very fast read for me, as I couldn’t put it down. It was also something that I wish had been around when I was a teen because I know I would have loved it back then too. The characters were great, and James’ first mission was interesting because it did leave him with a lot of questions about the validity of what the government was doing versus what common civilians were trying to do, and what large companies sometimes get up to. If you enjoy reading about spies, I encourage you to pick up this book, you’ll be glad you did!

Princess of the Midnight Ball – a review

Posted on February 4th, 2013 by mdevine in Books, Reviews - Staff

 

I am a collector of “The 12 Dancing Princesses” The original “12 Dancing Princesses” by the Grimm Brothers is well grim as is most of the stories that were never originally intended for children. I love how writers interpret this fairy tale and “Princess of the Midnight Ball” is no exception.

Princess of the Midnight Ball brought a different spin on the story although retained some of the originally story plot. Princess Rose and her sisters were put under a curse that was struck by 2 bargains with their mother, Queen Maude and King Under Stone. The price: Queen Maude had to pay was to dance for King Under Stone every two weeks. When the Queen would miss a ball, the number of nights increased. Queen Maude died when the youngest princess, Petunia, was 2 years old. The princesses then had to take up the payment for the two struck bargains made with King Under Stone.

Along comes Galin, the hero of the story, home from the war. It took a while for the war to end as well as for him to get home. Since his father and mother both died during the war, he went to find his mother’s family to see if they could let him stay with them for a while and know of a job for him. His Uncle Reiner was the chief gardener of the castle so Galin was given a job as an under-gardener. Galin’s first meeting with one of the princesses, Rose, that resulted in a mishap. Galin eventually picks up the task of wanting to find out the reason for the princesses’ shoes to be worn out every three days. He guessed that they had to be going somewhere. He received permission from the King to monitor the grounds to see if the princesses came outside to go to their intended destination. No luck. Eventually, he was able to get permission to find out what was going on by sitting in the Princesses’ room. He has a few tricks up his sleeve to help him be unnoticed and to follow the princesses. He becomes determined to save them from King Under Stone.

Since this is a retelling of a fairytale, you know there has to be a happy ending. But it’s how Jessica Day George gets to the happy ending that keeps the reader in suspense.

Because I have been reading various adaptations of “the 12 Dancing Princesses”, I had no idea how the story would go. I love how authors can take the premise of the story and change it to a new location with more or less details depending on the intended audience.

I could imagine the storyline in my head as I was reading, what the characters looked like and the scenery. I like a book that brings out my imagination. So I would recommend this book to everyone who loves to use their imagination.

Graffiti Moon – A Teen Review

Posted on April 4th, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Teens

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Read by: John, a teen at the Copley Teen Room

Graffiti Moon is a brilliant story about the awkward moments and true aspects of teenage love.
Ed is a graffiti artist who goes by the name of Shadow, spraying raw emotions onto the city walls.
Lucy blows glass, crafting her memories into tranperant art.
Lucy wants to find shadow. He is here dream man. Simple enough? No.
Lucy and Ed have actually dated before, which ended with Ed touching her butt and Lucy breaking his nose.
On their last night of senior year, follow them on a misadventure of expression of art, poetry, reality vs.
expectation, and a struggle to accept one’s self.
I enjoyed this and laughed for the first time in a long time reading about Ed, his poetic yet mischevious friend,
lucy and her supposedly psychic friend as each chapter shows different aspects of the same amazing night. I couldn’t
put the book down and regreted finishing it so fast.