Teen Volunteer Book Reviews – September 23, 2022
The Fear by Natasha Preston (2022)
Reviewed by Claire
The Fear by Natasha Preston was published in 2022 and is a YA thriller that’s a New York Times bestseller. A terrifying meme that originated from Izzy’s town is going viral. The meme asks people to repost the way they’re most afraid to die. Izzy herself doesn’t repost, finding it to be creepy and suspicious. Everyone believes her to be paranoid, until her classmates start showing up dead in the ways they fear. The murders keep finding Izzy, and she decides to try and stop the killer herself. She suspects another kid in her class, a boy named Axel with a grudge against the popular crowd. Or it could be his cousin, Tristan. Izzy soon ends up on the path that will lead her to the murderer, and something far worse than she could ever imagine.
I had a hard time putting this book down, I got so wrapped up in it. I thought Izzy was an interesting main character for this book. She often jumped to conclusions about who the killer was, seemingly convinced one person was the killer until someone else did something fishy and she turned to them. She was very involved in the murders, due to the fact that the killer was interested in her and she was often in the wrong place at the wrong time. A unique plot element was that rather than being someone the killer was after, she was someone they specifically weren’t killing because she didn’t repost the meme.
I loved the setting of this story, and how every place was described in detail. I found the plot very gripping, with a mystery you couldn’t wait to figure out and a multitude of characters with their own quirks and faults. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good mystery that will have them on the edge of their seats until the very end.
The Wim Hof Method by Wim Hof (2020)
Reviewed by Braneeth
The Wim Hof Method is a one-of-a-kind self-help book written by a man nicknamed “The Iceman.” The book describes a process that anyone can use to boost their strength, happiness, and vitality. This process is a combination of meditation/breathing as well as cold exposure. It also entails a description of building the right mindset: discipline, willpower, and awareness. Some of the author’s credentials include ridiculous feats such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in only shorts and running a half-mile in the Arctic wearing only shorts.
From personal experience, I can attest that this book is unique in its approach to self-help. Most books focus solely on breathing and mindset, but the idea of cold exposure is a complete game-changer. For many people, cold exposure for more than a couple of seconds in their daily showers seems far-fetched. However, the book guides you through a slow and incremental approach to help increase your tolerance over time.
One downfall of the book is that there is some background information that does take a while to develop to the methods of the book itself. This background can be distracting and even sort of unnecessary to the overall idea of the book. However, once the book picks up on breathing techniques, cold shower exposure, and positive mindsets, the effects that they can have are instantly apparent. Many readers have found that following the techniques of the Wim Hof method can help both your mental and physical state. Peace, joy, and awareness are some of the elements this book aims to help boost. Meanwhile in terms of athletics and health, following the methods preached in this book could definitely increase endurance and recovery time.
I would definitely recommend giving this book a try to readers of all ages who are trying to build discipline and health within their life. The book’s methods are incremental, meaning you’ll never face a step that you aren’t ready for, and I found the effects of following these methods very beneficial.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (2007)
Reviewed by Diya
The novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher explores the concept of depression and suicide. The very heartfelt novel was a pleasure to read and I felt very connected with the main protagonists, Clay and Hannah. Hannah Baker is struggling with the rumors swirling around her name, and she finds herself in situations where lives are ruined or even destroyed. After concluding that nobody cares about her, Hannah makes up her mind to commit suicide. Hannah decides to record a series of tapes explaining her decisions, and after her passing, she issues the tapes to be passed around to the people that were involved in her decision to take her life.
This book was a very heavy book that contains many intense topics. However, I personally felt very moved by the characters and Hannah’s view on life. It opened up my eyes to the idea that people do not know what others are going through and the importance of kindness. Being in high school, I could relate to Hannah’s struggles and thoughts which made the book very relatable. I would recommend this book to high school students because it does deal with heavy topics, but it is written in a beautiful and compelling way.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)
Reviewed by Saimah
Brave new world is a dystopian novel written written by Aldous Huxley. It features a world that forces us to make comparisons with our own world, and realize the scary similarities and how we are edging towards that world. Some examples of this include the fact that people rely on drugs to forget their pain, the growing divide between social classes, and rapidly advancing technology. However there are many things that seem very wrong to us that they do in the book, like conditioning or brainwashing people, making babies in factories and much more. In the novel, we can see Bernard, the protagonist, is confused about what to do – he sees the imperfections in this “brave new world.”
Overall I did not enjoy the book that much and would not recommend it because the language is hard to read and the concepts and thoughts are disturbing.
Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt (2015)
Reviewed by Cynthia
Orbiting Jupiter is a young adult fiction novel narrated by Jack Hurd, a twelve-year-old boy living in a farm in rural Maine whose family begins to foster a fourteen-year-old boy named Joseph. Joseph has a problematic record and even has a daughter who he has never met before, causing others to treat him poorly. However, as Jack gets Joseph to open up to him and learns about his past, he realizes that Joseph is actually a caring person, and all he wants is to see his daughter named Jupiter.
I am glad that I read this bittersweet novel. The characters, especially Joseph, feel realistic, and I felt a wide range of emotions from reading this. Joseph’s closed off and violent personality contrasts with his caring nature, and I found myself wishing for his happiness. His unfortunate character shows that you can’t judge people based on limited details about their past. The pacing in this novel is done well, and I especially like the way the author shows how Joseph changes. If you wish to read a sad yet touching and hopeful story, you should read this novel.