The American Bison by Andy Hirsch

Name: Joshua

Grade: 10th

Title: The American Bison

Author: Andy Hirsch

Published in: 2021

Pages: 122

Rating: 3 stars

Ever wondered what exactly are these animals named Bisons and despite being hunted for decades, America was finally able to put an end to the hunting? If those meet your requirements and you want a quick story and none of those 3 hour documentaries this is the book for you! The narrator is a girl whose family accidentally crashes into grounds that only Bison have access to. This story is about the narrator trying to explain what Bison are to her parents, who don’t know what is going on. From being hunted to near extinction to laws being passed to give them a second chance of survival.

The book is pretty good. While it isn’t something I feel like I’d remember this is still a pretty fun read especially since I was bored. As important as this is to history I can’t really relate to the characters as for the most part this is just a documentary that is supposed to educate younger audiences. However, ignoring the fact I can’t exactly relate to certain characters, this is definitely a fun read.

I recommend this book as it teaches kids about history. This book is essentially an educational documentary that is kind of changed into a graphic novel/comic to appeal to most kids and teens. This is definitely something parents can purchase for their youngsters as it is something they are willing to learn more about compared to a 500 page book talking about everything on earth. Definitely a great book for any youth.

Interested in being a book reviewer? Check out the book review guidelines here.

The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

Name: Molly

Grade: 11th

Title: The Spanish Love Deception

Author: Elena Armas

Published in: 2021

Pages: 473

Rating: 5 stars

“The Spanish Love Deception” by Elena Armas follows Catalina Martín and Aaron Blackford on their fake dating escapades that tarted all with one single phrase. “I’ll be your date to the wedding” is what Aaron Blackford uttered one day after overhearing Catalina’s desperation in finding a date. This one line changed everything between them and challenged their feelings for each other. Catalina’s sister was getting married and she told them her boyfriend would be coming because she couldn’t fathom facing her family (and her ex) alone and single. She couldn’t stand the pitying looks she would get when she would come home single and she didn’t want people to see how her breakup six years ago was still affecting her, so she lied and told them her boyfriend would be there. This was dilemma one. Dilemma two was Aaron Blackford being her best and only option. Aaron Blackford, the man she blacklisted, her enemy, someone she couldn’t hold a civil conversation with, a workaholic grump. There’s no way she’s taking him to the wedding… right? As the story progresses, she quickly learns that Aaron Blackford is a different man than she previously believed and that he may not be as bad as she thought. 

I really liked this book because it had some of my favorite tropes as well as others I like. It was a fake dating, grumpy-sunshine, and enemies-to-lovers book and it was written really well in my opinion. The enemies bit didn’t come through that well because their hatred was formed on a basis of practically nothing, so if you’re reading it for enemies to lovers, maybe choose a different one, but if that isn’t important, definitely give this book a try. I loved seeing the progression in the relationship between Aaron and Catalina and the fact that it started as fake dating made it a five-star book. I loved how the grumpy-sunshine trope was written and how other tropes like one bed, enemies-to-lovers, workplace romance, and more were incorporated without making it overbearing. I really liked the characters and the storyline was very fun and different. My favorite character was Aaron Blackford because I always love seeing the grumpy counterpart showing their feelings for the sunshine. 

I would definitely recommend this book because it was a really good read. I read it in one day and there were barely any moments that were slow or boring. If you like fake dating or grumpy sunshine, try this book because I think these tropes came through well. If you like “The Love Hypothesis” you will probably like this one because they have similar tropes.

Interested in being a book reviewer? Check out the book review guidelines here.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Name: Siddharth

Grade: 10th

Title: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Author: Suzanne Collins

Published in: 2020

Pages: 517

Rating: 4 stars

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is a prequel to “The Hunger Games” book series. It follows President Coriolanus Snow in his teenage years, when he is about to graduate from the Academy. Although the Snow family, which consists of Coriolanus’s grandmother and cousin, maintains the appearance of being wealthy, in reality they have nothing but their generations old penthouse apartment. This is a result of the war that occurred about a decade prior. So when the tenth annual Hunger Games comes around, and it’s announced that students from the academy would have the opportunity, Coriolanus sees it as an opportunity to earn a scholarship to the University and escape his family’s poverty.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I liked that the book showed a different perspective of the Hunger Games. It showed the views of the luxurious Capitol, who saw it as punishment for the Districts rebellion. The story sort of invokes a feeling of disgust, as you read about how casually the citizens of the Capitol regard the deaths of the children in the arena. This, however, is only a sign of the good writing that continues throughout the whole book. Pretty much the only thing I didn’t like was that the book was a little more drawn out than it needed to be. At 500 pages, there were a couple boring parts.

I would definitely recommend this book, as it was very enjoyable to read. Again it was interesting seeing the Hunger Games from a totally different perspective. I would recommend this book to all teens, but mainly fans of the original Hunger Games series.

Interested in being a book reviewer? Check out the book review guidelines here.

The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta

Name: Aracely

Grade: 10th

Title: The Heartbreak Bakery

Author: A.R. Capetta

Published in: 2021

Pages: 338

Rating: 4 stars

“The Heartbreak Bakery” is a story about a 17-year-old Syd, who is agender and doesn’t go by any pronouns. Syd works at a bakery and recently has broken up with someone. And suddenly, anyone who eats her brownies, breaks up with their loved ones. Syd is now looking for recipes to help those who had broken up get together again with the help of the bakery’s delivery person, Harley.  

I love reading this book. It shows a message of trying to achieve goals and dreams through tough situations. And even if something is about to end, it doesn’t mean that it will disappear. The way the author included the theme of being another gender than everyone else impacts the world about people’s identities. This book shows that being a different gender doesn’t mean that it is weird, and instead is normal and special, explaining that everyone is different yet equal. The way Syd is presented as an agender person shows that people will always be people, meaning that no one, ever, is a “monster.”

I recommend reading this book, to anyone and everyone. This book represents not only the importance of achieving goals but the importance of being different from others. The book shows how important it is to accept one’s identities and choices, and even if one option is popular, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take the other. 

Interested in being a book reviewer? Check out the book review guidelines here.

Heartstopper: Volume 1 by Alice Oseman

Name: Molly

Grade: 11th

Title: Heartstopper: Volume 1

Author: Alice Oseman

Published in: 2020

Pages: 263

Rating: 5 stars

“Heartstopper: Volume 1” is the first volume of the Heartstopper graphic novel series and follows openly-gay Charlie Spring and rugby player Nick Nelson on their journey of friendship and more. Charlie is a year 10 at Truham Boys school while Nick is a year 11, and when they meet, their friendship progresses quickly and soon they are playing rugby together and hanging out outside of school. For Charlie Spring, this friendship becomes more and he begins to fall for Nick Nelson, the “openly-straight” rugby boy, however, what he doesn’t know, is that Nick is beginning to feel things for Charlie as well. He may not know what exactly he is feeling, but something other than friendship is in the back of his mind. The first volume focuses on their budding friendship and Charlie’s feelings for a boy he believes is straight. 

This graphic novel was amazing. I loved the depiction of the story and how fast of a read it was. I love how their friendship was portrayed, as well as the fact they embody the friends-to-lovers trope. This graphic novel gets five stars because I love Nick and Charlie’s story and I had been wanting to read it for a really long time and it definitely lived up to my expectations. Alice Oseman is extremely talented and everyone should read Heartstopper. My favorite character is Charlie Spring because his story makes the readers sympathize with him as he used to be bullied for being gay and he is an overall really sweet character. He may overthink a lot, but he is a great friend and will for sure make a good boyfriend. I love seeing Nick and Charlie’s relationship form which made me super happy because they are really cute together. 

I would recommend this book because I think it is a really good coming-of-age story. I loved that it was a graphic novel, so if you like those, you should definitely give this one a try. I read a lot of LGBT+ centered books, so if you read books like that too or want to read more of that, heartstopper is the perfect book to read. I watched the new Heartstopper show on Netflix after I read this one and I liked being able to compare the two, so if you have watched Heartstopper, you should also read the graphic novels. If you were planning on watching Heartstopper, read the first two volumes of the Heartstopper graphic novels first because although they may differ somewhat, there are a lot of similar aspects, so if you want to avoid getting spoilers, I would read the books first.

Interested in being a book reviewer? Check out the book review guidelines here.

Jujutsu Kaisen Vol. 4 by Gege Akutami

Name: Gabby

Grade: 8th

Title: Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 4

Author: Gege Akutami

Published in: 2020

Pages: 197

Rating: 5 stars

The 4th volume of the Jujutsu Kaisen series. In this volume, Jujutsu high is currently investigating these strange sets of mysterious deaths that have been happening. This is where the main character, Itadori Yuji, meets a new character, whose name is Junpei Yoshino. Junpei is a student who is often bullied at his school. What Junpei doesn’t realize is that he befriends the one and only Mahito, the one who is responsible for all of the mysterious deaths that have been happening. Mahito has a plan in mind that involves Junpei, and also hopes to involve Itadori in it as well.

As always, the Jujutsu Kaisen series never fails to disappoint me! I really liked reading this volume, especially when I got to see the two new characters. Junpei is quite the interesting character and I hope that I’ll be able to see him in future chapters! Mahito too, for some reason, haha. His character design is quite interesting. Kind of reminds me of Dabi from Boku No Hero Academia, probably because of the stitches on his face. Plus, there were quite a lot of panels of Itadori, which I enjoyed seeing since he is my favorite character after all. Nothing that I disliked about this volume! Jujutsu Kaisen never fails to disappoint and my opinion will always stay the same about this series!

Definitely a recommendation if you haven’t read any of the Jujutsu Kaisen books yet. But keep in mind, this is the 4th volume! Make sure to start at the 1st volume of the Jujutsu Kaisen series before reading this one, you wouldn’t want to get confused and not know any of the character or story plot of the book!

Interested in being a book reviewer? Check out the book review guidelines here.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Name: Molly

Grade: 11th

Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea

Author: T.J. Klune

Published in: 2020

Pages: 396

Rating: 4 stars

“The House in the Cerulean Sea,” by TJ Klune follows Linus Baker, a Case Worker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, during his time on Marsyas Island Orphanage. Linus Baker is given a highly classified assignment where he has to travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, home to six dangerous children. The orphanage houses a gnome, an unknown green-blob, a sprite, a wyvern, a were-Pomeranian, and lastly, the Antichrist. Linus was tasked with watching over the island and deciding if these six children will bring about the end of the world. There are many secrets on the island since the children are seen as dangerous, but Arthur Parnassus, the master of the orphanage, would do anything to keep them safe. As Linus learns more about the children and grows closer to Arthur, he becomes less fearful and has the decision to destroy this family or watch the world fall apart. Linus Baker used to not think twice about closing an orphanage but throughout his stay on the island, he understands what it means to be a real family, and he learns to not let prejudices get in the way of seeing the children for who they are.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a bit slow at times and it took me around four days to read, which is why I rated it four stars, but overall it was a really good book. I really liked the fantasy aspects of this book and I loved all of the characters. My favorite character is Lucy who is the antichrist because despite who he was destined to be, he was able to not let the darkness inside of him take over and was able to just be a six-year-old boy. I loved his personality, as he was really funny, and I loved his relationship with both Linus and Arthur. This book made me feel happy because it was about finding family in the most unlikely circumstances. 

I would recommend “The House in the Cerulean Sea” to everyone. I love the found family trope and this book did a really good job with it, so if you like found family, this is for sure a book you should read. I think reading LGBT books is important and while it doesn’t focus on the gay romance and is a fantasy fiction book, it has a gay relationship and is definitely a book you should read if you want to read more LGBT books. This reminded me of the book, “Ms Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs because they are both fantasy books where the children don’t fit into society and include the found family trope.

Interested in being a book reviewer? Check out the book review guidelines here.

Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye

Name: Molly

Grade: 11th

Title: Date Me, Bryson Keller

Author: Kevin van Whye

Published in: 2020

Pages: 323

Rating: 5 stars

“Date Me, Bryson Keller,” by Kevin van Whye is an LGBT young adult novel that follows two characters, Kai Sheridan and Bryson Keller over the course of a week. Bryson Keller is the typical popular boy, captain of the soccer team with all the girls at school wanting him, yet he doesn’t have a girlfriend. Why? Because he believes that high school relationships are a waste of time. This sparks the beginning of the dare. Bryson Keller’s dare is to date the first person that asks him out Monday morning or he will have to ride the bus for the rest of the year. He really likes his car and doesn’t like the bus, but it’ll be easy right, he just has to prove himself right. The dare was going well for him until a boy asks him out. Kai Sheridan changed the game for Bryson Keller. From the time Kai Sheridan told Bryson Keller to date him, to the end of that week, Friday, the dare went on, and they fake date. The book takes the readers through their journey in finding themselves and shows the budding friendship between Kai Sheridan and Bryson Keller. However, as the dare goes on, Kai and Bryson fight against feelings that are undeniable and inevitable, and the readers are shown a different side of Bryson Keller. 

This book was very good. It was a quick read for me and helped me get out of a reading slump. This book gets four stars because it kept me hooked and I love the fake dating trope. I love books with gay representation and this book surrounded two LGBT teens grappling with their sexuality. I really liked the concept of the book and how it was formed on the basis of a dating dare. My favorite character is Kai Sheridan because of the bravery he displayed when asking Bryson out as he had to confide and trust him with the topic of his sexuality to do so. This book made me happy as it takes the readers through the beginning of their relationship and shows them falling for each other.

I would recommend this book because it is a good, quick read. If you like the fake dating trope or LGBT books, definitely give this book and try because it does both of those justice. Reading LGBT books is especially important, so “Date Me, Bryson Keller” should be on your to-be-read lists. People who want to read more LGBT books or those who like the fake-dating trope or YA coming of age romance comedies would like this book. This book reminded me of “Boyfriend Material” by Alexis Hall because they are both gay fake dating books.

Interested in being a book reviewer? Check out the book review guidelines here.

Jujutsu Kaisen Vol. 1 by Gege Akutami

Name: Gabby

Grade: 8th

Title: Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 1

Author: Gege Akutami

Published in: 2019

Pages: 191

Rating: 5 stars

The 1st volume of “Jujutsu Kaisen” is about this high schooler named Itadori Yuji. He’s a normal guy just living his life. Until a certain incident occurs in the school at night time. His two friends, or clubmates, are taking off the seal of some sort of object that Itadori found in a small shed. The object that the two clubmates take the seal off of only brought them trouble once it was fully unsealed. These sort of monsters, creatures, come and attack the two students. Only for Itadori to find out that they’re called “curses.” When Itadori consumes the object, he becomes a half curse himself. Something or someone called “The King of Curses” only brings chaos into the world, and that King of Curses is living inside of Itadori’s body. Itadori meets some new other people along the way, this school he now has to attend called “Jujutsu high,” known for exorcising curses for those who can see the creatures.

The first volume was absolutely amazing, just like all the other manga in the Jujutsu Kaisen series. I loved everything about it! The art style, the characters, the story line, and even the little bonus comic at the end. There’s nothing that I don’t like about this manga, I love Jujutsu Kaisen a lot and I could read the manga everyday if I can. My favorite character, the one and only, the main character himself, Itadori Yuji! To me, Itadori is really underrated. Everyone else prefers Gojo, Fushiguro, or Kugisaki. But for me, I prefer Itadori, and it’ll stay that way. I feel like I would get along well with Itadori, due to his energy and all the good vibes that he just radiates off of him.

I feel like teens that are into a sort of thriller, action, drama, adventure type genre would most likely be interested in a series like Jujutsu Kaisen. Or those who just want an exciting manga to read! To me, Jujutsu Kaisen kind of reminds me of the Naruto series. Probably because of Itadori’s energy matching along with kid Obito’s energy. Or maybe it’s just that the two of them are my favorite characters. Still, Jujutsu Kaisen is a great series that you should read, even if you haven’t!

Interested in being a book reviewer? Check out the book review guidelines here.