Book Reviews for Teens

Demon in My View by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. Ages 13-18 / Grades 7 - 12. Reviewed by Laura Nedelak 

Jessica enters her senior year in high school as she always has, ostracized, isolated and feared by her classmates.  Her long, flowing dark hair, pale complexion and dark eyes in combination with her abrupt, dismissive and introverted manner help strike fear in anyone who tries to get close.  Caryn, a new student at the school, finds this out instantly when she attempts to befriend Jessica during the first week of school.  Jessica spends all of her free time at her computer and has written and published a successful, vampire novel.  Alex Remington, another new student at the school, sets Jessica aback as his appearance is strikingly similar to the main vampire character, Aubrey, in her novel.  Jessica tries desperately to not accept any of Alex's advances but is inexplicably drawn to him.  Meanwhile Caryn, from the Water line of Witches, understands Jessica's fears are real and that Alex is indeed a vampire.  New alliances are forged between healers and the destructors (vampires and witches), vampire and villainesses defeated and monumental changes occur when both sides collide in DEMON IN MY VIEW.  Now a decade old, DEMON IN MY VIEW, could still be considered a must-read for anyone who is an avid reader of horror, the occult or the supernatural.

Seeds of Time by K. C. Dyer. Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13. Reviewed by Libby McKeever

This is the first title in the Glen Eagle trilogy, an exciting contemporary/time fantasy series set on the West Coast near Vancouver. Darrell is sent to the summer school while her mother is away working and struggles to comes to grips with the painful loss of her father some three years earlier. Her prosthetic foot is a constant reminder of their horrific motorcycle crash and her loss.  KC Dyer has created a time fantasy that revolves around the mysterious alternate school of Glen Eden where Darrell and her two friends, Kate and Brodie, discover a portal though time characterized by unusual petroglyphs hidden in a cave on the beach in front of their school.

In her art related history class, Prof. Tooth tells a story about a boy, Luke, who only lived until he was 19 before being struck down by the Black Plague in the 14th century. The portal in the cave, transports Darrell back to 1350 Scotland where she encounters Luke Lainson who is not surprised by the arrival of "Dara" for it had been foretold him by his aunt who had "the sight." Both Luke and Darrell are threatened by forces seemingly beyond their control and both struggle to find the knowlege and strength in order to survive.

Readers who enjoy this novel will want to follow Darrell's other adventures back to different periods of time in Secret of Light and Shades of Red.

 

Kat's Fall by Shelley Hrdlitschka. Grade 7-12 / Ages 13-18. Reviewed by Laura Nedelak

Fifteen-year-old Darcy has cared for his eleven-year-old sister, Kat, since the time his mother was convicted and incarcerated for purportedly, tossing Kat off the balcony when he was just four years old and Kat was a baby.  Kat, deaf and prone to epileptic seizures, idolizes Darcy and communicates with him through sign language, a skill their father has never bothered to learn.  After serving her sentence, becoming drug-free and learning to sign while in prison, Darcy and Kat's mother is paroled.  Although Kat is excited about being reunited with their mother, a mother whom she never knew, Darcy feels the exact opposite-anxiety, mistrust, resentment and fear.  Never having received any emotional support from his father or absentee mother, Darcy uses self-inflection as a means of coping.  Things really fall apart for him when he is charged with a crime he didn't commit. Through the course of proving himself innocent, Darcy is forced to come to terms with some realities he previously was unwilling to accept that begin to facilitate his healing.  KAT'S FALL captures the essence of what it means to be a child caring for a child and all the complexities of what that relationship holds.  It is a heart-rending story that is meaningful, compelling, and relative.  

The Bonemender by Holly Bennett. Grades 6-10 / Ages 11-15. Reviewed by LIbby McKeever

Gabrielle is unique amongst her peers; she a princess in the royal household of Verdeau, unmarried at 27 and a bonemender of such exceptional talent that she is able to knit damaged tissue together with concentrated thought. Loved by her family, she cherishes a special bond with her younger, fun-loving brother Tristan who is able to lighten the mood of this serious, talented healer. Though very gracious, Gabrielle's solemn demeanor has left suitors a little rattled and unsure, and it appears that her life is mapped out before her, one of devotion to her family and her craft. That is until one day two lone Elvin scouts appear at the palace, one of them in desperate need of her skills. During the elf's subsequent convalescent period, the royal household learns that the Kingdom of Verduea and the entire Krylian Basin is threatened by imminent invasion from the Greffaires, the ruthless countrymen from Gref Oris, a land bordering the inhospitable mountains to the north.

Readers enjoy the sequels The Bonemender's Oath and Bonemender's Choice , to continue to enjoy the account of Gabrielle's quest for love with Féolan, the unfolding of her true identity and the inevitable bloody clashes that plague the territories. 

Inferno  by Robert Stevenson. Grades 7-12 / Ages 13-18 Reviewed by Laura Nedelak

Emily moves to a new town with her parents, starts a new high-school and her only friend from her old school has moved far away.  She starts the new school year feeling dejected and friendless.  She decides to change her name to Dante, insists everyone calls her that and quickly becomes the thorn in her teacher's side.  Dante meets a young, teenage, female drop-out named Parker. Parker has some intoxicating qualities; she is not only unique-looking with albino colorings, she is extremely anti-establishment and rebellious.  Parker runs with the "wrong" crowd and Dante, in her desire to get closer to Parker, befriends these questionable characters.  As a result of some of the sticky situations she now finds herself in, Dante begins to question why she is so infatuated with Parker.  The feelings and emotions expressed by the author to describe what Dante is going through seems so real and the circumstances so gritty, INFERNO makes for an incredibly moving portrayal of a young girls search for personal identity and sexual orientation

 

Out of the Cold. (A Robyn Hunter Mystery) by Norah McClintock. Grades 6-10 / Ages 11-15. Reviewed by Libby McKeever

When Billy suggests that Robyn comes with him to help at the downtown drop-in centre, she agrees. Maybe her friends are right; she needs something to take her mind off Nick. Nick's sudden disappearance has left Robyn confused and hurt. While Robyn waits for Billy at the drop-in centre, a boy named Ben is assigned to show her around. Although he doesn't know Robyn, Ben is immediately hostile, assuming she's a rich kid doing her token, good deed. Robyn is determined to prove him wrong but as she gets more involved with the centre, and digs into the mystery surrounding one of the homeless men who often visits there, she also finds herself in danger.

McClintock's well crafted novel "Out of the Cold" is the fourth in her "Robyn Hunter Mystery" series. Crime buffs will enjoy this fast-paced story which will take them into the reality of homeless people and the series of events that can radically a change person's destiny.

Other stories in the "Robyn Hunter Mystery" series are Last Chance, You Can Run and Nothing to Lose. Norah McClintock has won five Arthur Ellis Awards for Mistaken Identity, The Body in the Basement, Sins of the Father, Scared to Death and Break and Enter. She was also nominated for the Arthur Ellis award for her nonfiction title, Body, Crime, Suspect and for the Anthony Award for No Escape.

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. Grades 6-10 / Ages 11-15. Reviewed by Laura Nedelak

Fourteen-year-old Mia Thermopolis, a self-described "geek", lives in a loft in Greenwich Village with her artist mom.  Mia, a freshman at "Albert Einstein Secondary School", finds herself struggling with Algebra, all the regular teenage anxiety as well as the irregular fact her Algebra teacher is dating her mom.  To complicate matters further, she finds out her father (who hasn't lived with her mom since Mia was a baby) is a prince who makes her the heir to a fortune and the throne of a small European principality.  Mia is then subjected to "princess lessons" from her dreaded Grandmere, all the while, keeping the fact a secret from everyone including her best friend, Lilly.  Mia confesses to Lilly about her infatuation with school heart-throb, Josh Richter, and is stupefied when Josh breaks up with his long-term girlfriend (who has openly bullied Mia forever) to ask her out.  Things start to go really badly for Mia when the press reveals her new identity but readers will be impressed by how she rises to the occasion.  The PRINCESS DIARIES is a very funny, engaging story about a typical, young girl gaining strength and resilience through the most a-typical of situations.  Set in New York at the start of millennium, the writing is so witty and clever it will surely inspire readers to want to read other books in the "PRINCESS" series.