Teen Volunteer Book Reviews – March 9, 2022

This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter (2018)

Reviewed by Diya

In the novel This Heart of Mine, C.C. Hunter does a beautiful job of exploring young, heart-throbbing love through the eyes of both Matt and Leah. Because Leah suffers from a heart condition that forces her into carrying around an artificial heart, she is an outcast in school – a feeling many teens can relate to. Matt, on the other hand, is part of the popular crowd in high school, along with his twin brother, Eric.

However, when tragedy strikes the twins, Eric is found dead and Leah’s life is saved. Leah finds herself in an odd but incredible relationship with Matt. The two set off on a journey to reveal the truth about Eric while simultaneously falling in love.

This novel is sure to evoke sorrow, joy, rage, and sympathy. Hunter does an exceptional job of creating a page-turning masterpiece while every detail sucks the reader deeper into the love-filled thriller. I would recommend this young adult novel to those who enjoy reading about romance and tragic events. The characters honestly portray the ups and downs of young love which make the story realistic. All in all, This Heart of Mine is a relatable and enthralling  story of a beautiful connection that may not have been found if it weren’t for tragedy.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (2005)

Reviewed by Braneeth

Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is one of the most popular fictional, mythology-inspired books of all time. The series follows Percy Jackson, a human whose father, Poseidon, is one of the most powerful of the Greek gods. Inheriting his father’s power over the sea, the book follows Percy’s adventure throughout the world to heal the tension between the Gods of Olympus, as well as a fight against a sinister but mysterious force. Along the way he meets other demigods, both friends and foes, who help contribute to Riordan’s world of mythology and magic.

My Opinions
Many older teens now are familiar with Percy Jackson – it may have been one of the most popular series of our childhood, second only to Harry Potter. Not only is it a series of 5
action-packed books, but it is unique in the sense that it combines the modern world and Greek mythology into one. The book is filled with real Greek mythological ideas including monsters such as the Minotaur and Medusa, ranging to weapons such as Zeus’s lightning bolt. The buildup throughout the series also makes for a very gradual but intense plot, all leading up to a great finale in the fifth book of the series.

It is important to understand that the book is mostly targeted to younger teens, and not the older age group. The book can be a bit simple regarding its plot and tone, which can make older readers feel a little out of place. However, for younger readers who are interested in mythology it is definitely a must-read. If you enjoy this first book, make sure to read the rest of the series, as well as Rick Riordan’s other books.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (2015)

Reviewed by Lily

I had heard lots of great reviews of Everything, Everything, so I decided to read it. This book, written by Nicola Yoon, is a romance with a twist. The main character, Maddie, has SCID, meaning she is allergic to virtually everything. Because of this, she has never been outside of her house, never been around anyone other than her mom or her nurse, Carla. But then, a boy her age moves next door, and her world changes forever. Maddie instantly falls for Ollie, looking through the window. They email each other, and eventually he is able to visit her. As per usual teen romance novel, both are equally perfect, and choose love over simple logic. Maddie’s mother is very protective, because Maddie’s dad and brother died in a car crash when she was little.

Throughout the story, Maddie learns what it means to have nothing, and everything. She decides to run away to Hawaii, one of her lifelong goals to visit. Ollie comes with her, but her mom doesn’t know. But in Hawaii, she has an allergic reaction, and is rushed to the hospital, and everything changes with a surprising plot twist. The story completely changed directions, which frustrated me. I felt betrayed, like what had been building up the entire plot had been thrown away.

I enjoyed this book, because I felt it was very well written. It made me think about what it would be like to never go into the “real world”. I feel like it was sort of relevant to today, because even though I’m not sick, we’ve all lived this experience of staying home during the pandemic. I am not a huge fan of romance novels, or “love at first sight”, but I liked the unique aspect of Maddie’s disease. One of my favorite quotes from the book was “Everything is a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It’s up to you.” This quote really stuck with me and made me reflect on life. This book made me feel a lot. I feel like the words in the book were very carefully chosen. However, I was a little lost at the end and thought the story could have been better without the plot twist. In spite of this, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.

Divergent by Veronica Roth (2011)

Reviewed by Akhila

The book Divergent by Veronica Roth is set in a dystopian/post-apocalyptic version of Chicago. In this society, people are divided into five factions characterized by their virtues: Dauntless – bravery, Erudite – knowledge, Amity – friendship, Candor – truth, Abnegation – self-sacrifice.

The story revolves around the main character, Beatrice (Tris) Prior, as she struggles to find her identity after not fitting into any one faction. After she takes a test, her test results show that she is “divergent,” meaning she doesn’t fit into a single faction. At her Choosing Ceremony, she ends up choosing to join Dauntless. In Dauntless, she starts training and makes friends with other Dauntless recruits, including Christina, Will, and Tobias. They are put through numerous physical and mental tests to rank their abilities and skills. Tris is soon faced with a crisis, when one day she wakes up to see everyone acting as if they were being controlled by an outside force. Tris fights alongside her friends and family to protect the people she cares about from mind control.

This book was super entertaining and thrilling. I loved Divergent, and the remaining books in the series as well. In Divergent, Tris experiences love, pain, and betrayal, and is faced with violent situations. She faces struggles and hardship in her friendships, family and romance. This book is one of my favorites and I definitely recommend it!