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Teens

Carry On

Reviewed by Nicolai Hughes, Teen Advisory Council

Carry on coverCarry On by Rainbow Rowell is a great book for anyone who was a fan of the Harry Potter series, with a similar setting, and a comparable, but more diverse, cast of lovable and complex characters. It’s very progressive and modern, with several LGBTQ+ protagonists and heavy pop culture references throughout. It offers great representation for minorities. Despite appearing to be a lengthy novel, it's an easy read with a simple writing style, so it doesn't take too long to finish. This is great read if you like both magic and coming of age type stories, or if you're interested in fantasy novels that focus more on the characters than the world.

Vampire Academy #1

 

Reviewed by Minhal Farrukh, Teen Advisory Council 

 

 

Vampire Academy CoverRichelle Mead’s Vampire Academy follows Lissa Dragomir, a Moroi princess who carries a rare gift of harnessing the earth’s magic and the protagonist Rose Hathaway, a dhampir and a guardian whose blood contains a blend of vampire and human into a world involving vampires. Thea best friends are on the run from the most dangerous and strong vampires, Strigoi, but were caught and taken back to the St. Vampire Academy, a school for royal vampires and their future guardians.

36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You

Reviewed By Bayan Saidam, Teen Advisory Council
 
Bright Pink Book Cover36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You is a White Pine 2019 nominee written by Vicki Grant, an author of 14 award-winning novels native to Canada. This book follows the story of two polar opposites, Hildy and Paul, that end up in a University psychology study made to test if two strangers can fall in love by answering 36 intimate and deep questions. Hildy is an awkward and quirky goody-two-shoes that comes from a privileged background whereas Paul is a complete bad boy who lived a rough life and likes to hide his struggles from the people around him. Paul signed up for the study to earn the $40 that was promised whereas Hildy did it out of pure curiosity and the science behind it. Will 36 questions be enough to make these polar opposites fall in love?

The Marrow Thieves

By Cheri Dimaline


The Marrow ThievesThis dystopian feels all too real and familiar. Climate change and rising sea levels have reclaimed and changed much of the land, engulfing entire cities. Humans have lost the ability to dream, and are being driven crazy and dying because of it. The only cure is in the marrow of indigenous peoples, but harvesting the dreams from them causes death.

 

French is a young indigenous lad fleeing for his life in the wilderness. With recruiters on his heels to drag him off to re-opened residential schools, every day is about survival, not only from the men that hunt him, but also from the elements. While on the run with other indigenous people fleeing the recruiters, he learns about his people's past; their stories, their language and their customs. But trusting even his own people can lead to terrible consequences.

Escape from Syria

By Samya Kullab

Escape from Syria book coverThis tale gives a fictional but all too real account of a family’s flight from war and the terrors of a refugee camp. Told from the point of view of Amira, it gives some light background to the war and the reasons why so many people fled. Once out of Syria, the family settles in Lebanon, but Lebanon is fearful of war coming to them, and does not allow most Syrians to work or own homes. Out of money, the family are forced to live a meagre existence in a refugee camp.
This story also touches on the difficulty of getting out of the camps to a safe country, of getting medical attention, of educational opportunities. It doesn’t take sides, just tells how things are. Though moving to Europe or North America means having access to these things, it also shows a new set of difficulties, learning a new language, new rules, new geography and climate.

Black Chuck

Black Chuck book cover (Windigo)Réal and Evie are mourning the death of Shaun - his best friend, her boyfriend, and the father of her unborn child. They are struggling to reconcile their feelings about his death, and even though they weren't very close before Shaun's death - their guilt and knowledge that maybe Shaun wasn't the all-around good guy he wanted people to see is bringing them together.

This book has some very dark themes but if you like the tv show Supernatural at its darkest points, you will likely enjoy the mix of indigenous mythology, grief and tragedy along with some amazing and vivid writing.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

By Holly Black

a pale hand dangles with the book title on it

 

In 'Coldest Girl...,' Holly Black has created a vivid world that's not too different than ours -- except that everyone knows the truth that vampires exist. When parents are absent, teenagers have "sundown parties" where no one can leave, and they've shut the doors and windows and warded off the vampires for the night.

A Blade So Black

By L.L. McKinney

A black teenage girl holds up a blade, framed in an ace of spades

In this brand new fantasy novel (the first in a series), Alice Kingston is an African American teenager, surrounded by police violence in Atlanta, when she suddenly enters the dreamscape world of Wonderland, and is transformed into a fully-fledged hero.

A Blade So Black

By L.L. McKinneyA black teen girl holds up a knife framed inside an Ace of Spades

Dumplin'

By Julie Murphy

Dumplin' book cover: a woman in fancy dress lifts her arms triumphantly

Did you watch the movie Dumplin' on Netflix or plan on watching it when it's out on DVD? Willowdean (called "Dumplin'" by her beauty queen diet-obsessed mom), is a Dolly Parton-obssessed teen who is confident in her own body - even if other people call her "fat." It's a funny and quick read about a beauty pageant takeover, drag queens, and friendship.