Looking for a new YA book? Check out these rave reviews of contemporary fiction, fantasy and nonfiction from teens at the Bainbridge branch who are part of the Teens' Top Ten and School Library Journal book review program.
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone IT WAS SO AMAZINGLY PERFECT!!!!!!! Samantha, a sophomore in high school, was diagnosed with OCD at age eleven and has been on meds ever since. Keeping a secret this big from her popular friends is harder than it looks. This book is guaranteed to become the next Fault in Our Stars. It has everything: A twisty ending, character conflicts so heartbreaking you wish you loved the book a little less so you could put it down and read something else; romance, poetry; it’s so heartbreaking and humorous at the same time. I love this book so much, and I don't often say that about books. After finishing it, I think my life has changed forever. –Sam G., 14
I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka & Martin Ganda Caitlin comes from a fairly normal family that lives in the United States. She had never even heard of Zimbabwe until she was assigned a pen pal from there in school. Martin lives in Zimbabwe, where living in poverty is considered normal. Becoming pen pals changed both of their views on the world. Caitlin sends Martin a dollar bill to show him what United States currency looks like. The money was equal to 24 Zimbabwe dollars and supported his family for two weeks with better food than they had eaten for a long time. The most compelling aspect of this book is that it is a true story and shows you what life for many people in Zimbabwe is like now. Poverty often seems like it exists in a different world here, even though we know it is real. This book has opened up my mind more to poverty and to different cultures. –Olivia C., 13
The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell I loved almost everything about this novel, and so far it has been the best book I've read all year. Seventeen-year-old Sora doesn't want to die, but he doesn't want to linger on in the grip of ALS. The writing is absolutely gorgeous. Sora has such an authentic voice, and his relationships with his family and friends are so well-developed that by the ending your heart aches not just for him, but for all of them as well. I actually laughed out loud during some of his exchanges with his grandfather, even as I was recovering from fits of tears. This character development and emotional depth makes The Last Leaves Falling a resonant, powerful read. –Ella W., 15
Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) by Amy Spalding Riley and Reid are hilariously stupid when it comes to interacting with the opposite sex. You'll be swooning right along with Riley through Amy Spalding's descriptions of Riley's crushes- not to mention you'll be laughing at her awkwardness that we can all relate to in some way or another. And, of course, you can't even compare anyone to Reid- he's trying so hard and failing at equal measures, if you aren't laughing at one character, it's the other. -Charlotte L., 13
The Novice: Summoner Book One by Taran Matharu An orphan boy finds an Orc scroll, summons a demon and then enters a world of demons and people who can control them. I think that the most compelling part about this book was that the elves, dwarves and demons kind of reminded me of The Lord of the Rings and Eragon combined. I just love the voice and the way the book was written as well. It is disappointing that the book was not longer and I have to wait for the next book to come out. -Sam C., 14
Prairie Fire by E.K. Johnston The sequel to the Morris Award-winning The Story of Owen, Prairie Fire follows the travels of a dragon slayer named Owen as told from the perspective of his bard as they go through adventures that don't all end happily ever after. The best thing about this book is easily the dragons. Johnston works dragon slaying and lore into crevices other authors would have left blank and it makes the world feel alive in a beautiful and corrupt way. -Ari J., age 15
To stay up to date on brand new YA titles that our local teens are loving (or not), take a look the Kitsap Regional Library teen reviews on SLJ