Teen Volunteer Book Reviews – February 18, 2023
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (2013)
Reviewed by Vaanya
The book Enchanted (The Woodcutter Sisters Book 1) written by Alethea Kontis, was published in 2013. It is a wonderful and adventurous book that takes you into a blissful fantasy. It has all of the typical fairytale stories but with a uniqueness added by the author. The author bounces around and focuses attention on different characters in the story, not just the main character but her family and all of her sisters and their unique lives. Each sister is named after each day of the week and has special qualities that they were blessed with. The family has lost one of their sons who wasn’t named after the days of the week to the royal family. Their hearts have been cold to the royals ever since. One of the daughters befriends a frog in the forest, and as the fairytale goes, they talk and fall in love with one another – but, remember reader, there are always tangles in fairytales when it comes to falling in love.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (1951)
Reviewed by Diya
The novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger was published in July of 1951. The book is
told from the perspective of Holden Caulfield who is a teenager that has recently been kicked out of prep school. The book is set in the 1950s and discusses themes such as angst and loneliness. Holden must find his way through society as an outcast who seems to dislike virtually everything. Holden struggles with his love life and he must figure out how to navigate through the several changes in his life. Holden also struggles with loss as he had lost his brother, Allie. The novel is centered around Holden’s thoughts and experiences.
I personally felt like this novel often contained a lot of complaining which I sometimes found irrelevant and annoying. However, the way the story was told through Holden’s eyes was entertaining because he is very blunt and honest with the reader. The topics that were discussed were also relatable to young adults as Holden discusses love, loss, and friendship. All in all, I would recommend this novel to young adults who enjoy a comedic read.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)
Reviewed by Abigail
Their Eyes were watching God centers around Janie Crawford, as she progresses through three marriages seeking a sense of agency in this 20th-century classic. Hurston’s novel deals mainly in concept of marital roles and self-empowerment in women.
As the story progresses, Janie’s mindset shifts from viewing love as an obligation and marriage as the extent of her life goals, to taking a long personal journey to come into her own sense of self-worth. In each of the three relationships, she learns something new about herself and learns the difference between domineering, transactional relationships and long-lasting love.
This novel is one of the most famous books to be written by an African-American author and is considered a Harlem Renaissance classic. Overall, the book carries a good message about the African American experience and the universal human journey for self-acceptance. I found this book to be very eloquently written and a must-read for more mature audiences.
Scythe by Neil Shusterman (2016)
Reviewed by Lily
Scythe, the first of a series, is a dystopian novel written by Neal Shusterman. Before digging into the book, I was excited, as Shusterman is one of my favorite authors. The plot follows Citra and Rowan, two adolescents taken as apprentice scythes. In this futuristic society, all illness and death has been eradicated and people who suffer mortal injuries can be easily revived. Thus, scythes are necessary to “glean” people, killing them to manage the population.
This concept is very interesting and compelling. Throughout the book, I felt that the author did a great job of writing character relationships between the protagonists and their mentors. My favorite character was Scythe Curie, Citra’s mentor. One thing I didn’t particularly like was as the book went along, it seemed more rules for scythes were being added. I would’ve preferred all the scythes’ rules to be established at the beginning.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to middle school and high school students who like dystopian novels such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, Uglies, and more.