Teen Book Reviews – April 15, 2021

Our teen volunteers have been reading & reviewing some books with heavy themes of racial injustice, grief, and second chances. Check out their reviews below.

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Reviewed by Mia

Ghost Boys is a fiction novel about a twelve year-old boy named Jerome, who lives
in Chicago. Jerome has had an encounter with a police officer that has unexpectedly
left him dead and a ghost. While being a ghost, Jerome meets other “Ghost Boys” and
sees their stories, and how they were both similar and different from his own. Jerome also
meets a girl named Sarah, who is about his age–but is alive–and they share their
stories and connect with one another throughout the book.
My Thoughts:
I think that Ghost Boys is a great read! This book deals with racial injustice issues as
well as some peer pressure. Ghost Boys was an interesting book and I was able to
finish it pretty quickly. Overall I liked how this book was structured–it went back and
forth between Jerome being alive and dead. This helped me to understand what Jerome
was going through at different times. Sometimes the book does not go in
chronological order, which can be a bit confusing. I feel like Jerome, Sarah, and Carlos
are mostly relatable characters, as they are close to my age. Although I have not gone
through most of the things they have, I can see racism in other places.
I hope you decide to read Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, and enjoy it as much
as I did. 🙂

The Hate U Give  by Angie Thomas

Reviewed by Adharsha

The Hate U Give is a truly inspiring and amazing story of a teenage girl, Starr Carter, and her story, how she fights for her innocent black friend, Khalil after he is shot by a white police officer for no reason. Throughout the book, the reader sees her open, fiery personality, and the struggles she must overcome to achieve her goal is astonishing. The crazy life she must live with her unusual, blended family adds depth to the story, and the author adds in significant details, such as the hatred and anger between different black gangs in the same town, and how Starr has a completely different high school experience that most others in her town because of the fact that she goes to a private, white high school.

I loved watching Starr push through in her fight to prove that Khalil, and so many others like him, are innocent. Reading about her experiences literally brought me to tears; although I knew that the kind of discrimination people still undergo is truly horrible, Angie Thomas still allowed me to see more into this prejudiced world. Thank you, Angie Thomas, and thank you, Starr, for bringing your story and so many others’ to light.

Rating: 20/10

One Small Thing by Erin Watt

Reviewed by Samrah

The book One Small Thing by Erin Watt has been one of my favorites yet! This book is about a teenage girl named Beth who lost her sister in a car accident. After this tragic accident, her parents haven’t taken their eyes off Beth. They keep her isolated and protect her every second, so another accident won’t ever happen to her. Beth is frustrated with her parents and just wants to go out and live her life. She one day sneaks out to a party where she meets a boy named Chase and they hit it off really well. She later finds out Chase goes to the same high school as her and is thrilled. From her friends and family, she learns soon enough that Chase was the guy in the car who accidentally killed her sister. He had spent 3 years in juvie and is very sorry, but no one buys it. Except for Beth, who seems to see Chase as a person who made mistakes in the past but now is a better person. Chase tries to distance himself from Beth, but they both always find themselves together. As Beth and Chase go through many tough problems in their life, they both always find a way to console one another.

I love Beth and Chase because they both are struggling but always fight and find their way to happiness. As Beth’s friends, parents, and pretty much the whole town hate Chase, she always has his back and is there for him. Erin Watt is an amazing author and has written another book called When It’s Real, which is slightly similar to this book, but at the same time is completely different. I definitely recommend this book and it is a great read. You won’t be able to put it down!