Youth book reviews


Younger readers

The books reviewed in this section are for people aged 12-18, and deal with a wide range of themes and issues. We recommend parents have a look at the book first if they have concerns about it being suitable for younger readers.

Spoiler alert!

Some reviews may expose vital plot developments! 


Summer Reading Club 2018-19 Book Reviews


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First Love by James Patterson and Emily Raymond

The book First Love by James Patterson and Emily Raymond initially attracted me because of the author James Patterson. Having delighted in reading many of his books, I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed. Glancing at the cover I noticed the tittle “First Love” and the text positioned underneath it. Uttering those words aloud, I became hooked, as I love the romance genre as well as works of realistic fiction.

This novel tells a story of a renowned good girl Axi Moore who leaves her often drunken father, to embark on a road trip with her carefree and rebellious best friend Robinson. On their trek the pair break many rules together but the book takes a drastic turn when the friends find themselves on the run from the police. Compounding their woes Robinson collapses, leaving the friends to wonder if these precious moments together might be their last.

I rate this book a three out of five, and although it is not up to the high standard of James Patterson’s other books, I would still recommend it to fans of his work. People enticed by tragedies or romances would enjoy reading First Love.

Reviewed by Tilly


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Escape from Mr Lemoncellos Library by Chris Grabenstein

This is the first book in a 3 book series, which is good because if you get into it, there are two more books you can read that you will like. It is set in Alexandriaville, Ohio in the USA and it is fiction.It is about a 12-year-old boy named Kyle, who loves all sorts of games. So when Kyle hears that the world’s most famous game maker has designed the new public library and is having an invitation only lock-in on the first night he is determined to be there. The lock-in turned out to be much better than he had anticipated and the prize was beyond his wildest dreams.

Reviewed by Liam


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Icebound by Dean Koontz

Icebound tells the story of a group of scientists who end up trapped on an iceberg in the middle of a storm. I enjoyed the book to begin with, as it falls under my favourite genre: crime/mystery. However, as the book progressed I found it became more unrealistic and I had trouble believing what was happening. The ending was also rather quick. However, on the whole I liked this book. I would recommend it to people who enjoy crime and mystery novels or who are looking for a quick and somewhat easy read. I’d recommend it to people 16+.

Reviewed by Maddison


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Wundersmith: the calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Wundersmith is the second book in the 2017 series Nevermoor. It was written by Australian author Jessica Townsend. Wundersmith is set one year after the events of the first book Nevermoor, where 12-year-old girl Morrigan Crow has just been inducted into the prestigious elite wunderous society, where the people all have wonderful and amazing abilities such as breathing fire under water or riding dragons. But Morrigan does not have an ability like anyone else. She is a wundersmith, a feared and so called evil ability to have. Morrigan must get through the year.This book is a fantastic book to read and will leave you on the edge of your seat with suspense and magical enjoyment.

Reviewed by Lilly


Nowhere Jon Robinson.jpgNowhere by Jon Robinson

This is a story where teenagers are kidnapped and placed in prison because of crimes they committed but they have no memory of them. The story explores each characters’ personality to a high level which I particularly liked as it made them more relatable. However, Robinson could have experimented showing different perspectives of a wider range of characters such as the guards, the prisoners who thought they were innocent and the ones who though they were guilty. The teenagers in the story are not chosen at random, they all share a special skill that some want to take advantage of. The characters are set on breaking free, and as there is a sequel, it leaves you on a cliff-hanger. I would recommend Nowhere to fans of mystery of sci-fi.

Reviewed by Olivia


January Conspiracy 365 Gabrielle Lord.jpgJanuary: Conspiracy 365 by Gabrielle Lord

Conspiracy 365 is about the Ormond riddle. If you like action and mystery this is the book for you. Straight away you’re thrown into the action after a strong man tries to converse with Cal on New Years Eve his life goes downhill. But drifting off to sea in a sabotaged boat, and being accused of the attempted murder of his younger sister and uncle is not the worst of it as he is now being chased by two criminal gangs wanting to know or the Ormond riddle. Will the gangs catch him, what is the Ormond riddle and who actually tried to kill his family – this book has you hooked from the very beginning till the startling end. If you like this book, other books you may like are The Wonderling by Mira Bartok, The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon, and The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart. I rate it 4 and a half stars!

 Reviewed by Alyssa.


Finding Audrey Sophie Kinsella.jpeg

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Audrey’s daily life is affected by an anxiety disorder. She starts talking to Dr Sarah who helps her to make progress throughout the disorder. Audrey’s progress is slow and steady but when she meets Linus, her brothers friend, everything changes. They become friends and Linus becomes the one person Audrey can connect and express her fears with. As their friendship intensifies and they form a romantic connection, Audrey’s recovery speeds up.

Reviewed by Myriam


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Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland

I really loved the book Wings of Fire because it is funny and is about dragons. I recommend this book to ages of 8+. I also give this book a 4/5 stars.

Reviewed by Kalia


Talons of Power Tui T Sutherland.jpgTalons of Power by Tui T. Sutherland

Wings of Fire is a fantastic series of eleven books plus a winglets collection and a book of legends. Talons of Power is the 9th book in the series and it’s a great book. It’s about a dragon who has a secret. The story is his journey of coming out of his shell, telling his friends his secret and fighting the bad guy. His secret is that he has magic and he’s too scared to tell anyone because he’s afraid he will have to use it so much that he’ll go crazy like his ancestor Albatross. His name is Turtle. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to read action packed, fantasy books with hidden plots you don’t find until you re-read it like I did. This book fits in well with the other books in this series, all of which I have read.

Reviewed by Erin.


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Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas

This is an exemplary culmination to her now seven-book series. Maas is an American fantasy and young adult fiction author, now with two complete, wide-known series. Although this book falls into the fantasy and YA fiction genres, it also contains a nicely entwined historical fiction background. Kingdom of Ash includes an intense storyline which some readers can find greatly enjoyable. This novel flows quite gracefully from one character’s perspective to another’s without becoming confusing. Maas has thoroughly detailed scenes while still retaining some mystery and cliff-hangers.
I found Kingdom of Ash enjoyable as I could easily feel as though I was watching a film through reading this book. I also concluded that the characters and their actions were relatable and understandable, but not predictable, which I believe helps keep the story interesting.
Personally there is no part of this book I could consider changing as I found this book continuously alluring. Kingdom of Ash gives off a different feel as there was little to no cliché-moments. Maas has once again created an extremely compelling book. Due to this book being the end of a large series, I would recommend this whole series to anyone who enjoys or finds inspiration from strong, independent female protagonists. Kingdom of Ash includes character development in every one of the main characters. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book series, and I hope more readers do too!

Reviewed by Ruyayah



Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

Tomorrow when the war Began follows the lives of seven teenagers who return from a camping trip only to find their countries been invaded and most of the population captured. Inspired by the wonderings of how today’s youth could cope with the problems their descendants faced one hundred years ago, Marsden has seized the essence of the human spirit and how one fights for one’s beliefs. With a plot and storyline that is both riveting and horrifyingly realistic, this book will leave you breathless with excitement and fear for the complex, yet wonderfully written characters. I recommend this book to anyone with a good reading level and a taste for adventure and thrills.

Reviewed by Patrice


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Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant is the final book of Veronica Roth’s explosive divergent trilogy. I really liked reading this page turner and would strongly recommend it if you loved The Hunger Games and the Twilight series.This third book is about Tris Prior, Four(Tobias) and the few friends they trust as they adjust to the information revealed in insurgent (book 2). By taking a huge risk and going outside the fence they discover if life outside the city really is better.I recommend you to read, Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant as you will not regret it.

Reviewed by Ella


A Map for Wrecked Girls Jessica Taylor.jpegA Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor

This is about two teenage sisters; Emma and Henri, who get shipwrecked on a deserted island after a boating accident. A boy named Alex also gets shipwrecked on the island. As Emma and Alex get closer, Emma and Henri fall further apart. To survive they must first survive each other. I loved reading this book as it has suspense at the end of each chapter, willing you to read more. It’s the kind of book that you need to keep reading to find out what happened in the past and present. A great book filled with action, adventure, friendship, and a little romance.

Reviewed by Lily


You don’t Know Me by Sophia Bennet.jpgYou Don’t Know Me by Sophia Bennet

Sasha, Jade, Nell and Rose love singing together, but when one of their songs gets put in the largest music competition, Killer Act, they are surprised to make it into the top nine. Now they have the pressure to sing live on TV with the competiton and stick together. But when celebrity judge Linvs forces the girls to drop Rose from the band, the public have something to say about it.I would rate this book 9/10 as it is very engaging and relatable.

Reviewed by Saffron


Geek Girl all that Glitters Holly Smale.jpgGeek Girl: All that Glitters by Holly Smale

Harriet is a very smart girl who know lots of things, but the one thing she has no clue about is making new friends in grade 6. She only has to make new friends because her old ones are avoiding her, and she knows even less about being a glittering supermodel!Apparently - now she is…..Does Harriet crash and burn? Or does she finally get her time to shine.

Reviewed by Emelia 


Other Book Reviews


Yellow by Megan Jacobson.jpegYellow by Megan Jacobson

This book features content that would not be appropriate for younger teens

If fourteen-year-old Kirra is having a mid-life crisis now then it doesn't bode well for her life expectancy. Her so-called friends bully her, whatever semblance of a mother she had has been drowned at the bottom of a gin bottle ever since her dad left them for another woman, and now a teenage ghost is speaking to her through a broken phone booth. Kirra and the ghost make a pact. She'll prove who murdered him almost twenty years ago if he makes her popular, gets her parents back together, and he promises not to haunt her. Things aren't so simple, however, and Kirra realises that people can be haunted in more ways than one. This is a awesome book. So far, I think this should win the category. The main character is endearing and highly individualistic. The plotline is in some ways quite predictable - we are introduced to the 'weird' character with the blinking sign above their head saying 'this person will soon be your friend, not the popular crowd you currently hang with.' Then, the plotline does 90 degree turns, 10s, 360s, and spirals to amazing places that are familiar and predictable yet tackled with an energy and portrayed hauntingly. The side characters have depth and really fleshes out the protagonist. In many ways this book has a simple storyline, yet after reading it you will have a new appeciation of how an author can take familiar elements and shape them into something amazing.
VERDICT: A must read for all teens.

Reviewed by Valentine (library staff review)


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One Would Think the Deep by Claire Zorn

This book features content that would not be appropriate for younger teens

Sam has always had things going on in his head that no one else understands, even his mum. And now she's dead, it's worse than ever. With nothing but his skateboard and a few belongings in a garbage bag, Sam goes to live with the strangers his mum cut ties with seven years ago: Aunty Lorraine and his cousins Shane and Minty. Despite the suspicion and hostility emanating from their fibro shack, Sam reverts to his childhood habit of following Minty around and is soon surfing with Minty to cut through the static fuzz in his head. But as the days slowly meld into one another, and ghosts from the past reappear, Sam has to make the ultimate decision … will he sink or will he swim. Author Claire Zorn has had a novel on the short list 3 times now, and is building a impressive resume of works. This review is going to be more of an overview of all three:

Claire's first novel, Sky So Heavy, is an apocalypse teen drama about 2 brothers in Sydney who have to survive after they are basically abandoned by their parents - it had weird pacing, but was quite enjoyable. This latest novel is a teen growing/up relationship novel that I found somewhat similar to her last novel, 'The Protected,' in that it involves a death in the family, the ensuing drama, and emerging secrets. I much preferred 'The Protected' however, as that book had an excellent air of poignancy about it. 'One...' has a main character who I found very un-engaging. He is annoying in his immaturity and his decision-making; we find out why he is like this as the story continues, but this did not make him any more relatable - I found that I had such a strong dislike for him that I didn't 'forgive' him.

The novel is set in South Coast/Wollongong which will make it very relatable to our local readers, but thinking back it didn't really add anything to the story, or if it did it was just to contrast the fact that it is 'outside Sydney.' Surfing and music plays a central theme in this book, so they are some hooks that may get you to read it.
VERDICT: If your reading material has to have a male protagonist, read it. Otherwise, I would prioritise reading The Protected.

Reviewed by Valentine (library staff review)


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The Truth About Verity Sparks by Susan Green

The year is 1878 and our heroine Verity, an orphan, is only thirteen years old. As the story begins, Verity has already been working as an apprentice for two years to Madame Louisette, the hat maker. When Verity is falsely accused of theft, she loses her job and it seems that Verity might end up on the street until an unlikely rescuer appears who changes Verity’s life forever. This delightful and well written book is hard to put down.

Book review by Sharon (library staff member)


Youth book review cover

Ship Kings: The Coming of the Whirlpool by Andrew McGahan

Dow Amber’s home is the small village of Yellow Bank, nestled at the foot of the Great Plateau and far from the ocean. Dow’s destiny was to be like his father, a timber cutter, but Dow’s dream was to be something much greater. One autumn, Dow accompanies his father to cut timber on the high plateau and it is on this trip that he sees the ocean for the very first time. This exciting and fast paced book follows Dow as he overcomes many obstacles to fulfill his dream of becoming a sailor, his ultimate battle with The Maelstrom and his encounters with the Ship Kings.

Book review by Sharon (library staff member)