A guest review by Teen Room Staff Jeremy!
The Hobbit takes place in Middle Earth, a realm full of humans and elves, dwarves and orcs. The prelude to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series centers on Bilbo Baggins, the uncle of Frodo Baggins. In this novel the great Gandalf the Grey, a famous and incredible wizard, sends a group of dwarves to Bilbo’s house, telling them that Bilbo would make a great thief. Once the dwarves are settled in Gandalf arrives and explains as little as possible, a trait he shows many times throughout the series. Bilbo and the dwarves eventually figure out that they’re going to try to steal from a great dragon. Little do they know that during their journey many incredible wheels of fate will be set into motion, with Bilbo finding a certain ring, and the dragon leaving its cave, the book remains full of action and suspense throughout.
While I normally say I’d recommend this book to anyone, in this case I won’t. It does have some graphic scenes, and it gets a bit wordy, so I would recommend it to more advanced readers.
P.S. Check out the graphic novel version too!
A guest review from Teen Room Staff Cat!
Colin Singleton is a child prodigy, and he only dates Katherines. He always ends up getting dumped by Katherines, too. After Katherine number nineteen, he and his Judge Judy loving friend, Hassan, take a road trip. This lands them in Gutshot, Tennessee, the location of the grave of Archduke Ferdinand. There Colin works on his Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability.
An Abundance of Katherines is one of my favorite books. The characters are rich and hilarious. Colin and Hassan’s use of foreign languages add to the characters. Colin’s attempt to solve the problem of his relationships using math is a fascinating concept, which interested me a lot. This is another great book from John Green.
Does the holiday season have you thinking about curling up with a good book? Try Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle! Three of the best teen authors around join forces to produce three interconnected holiday stories that include a teacup pig, fourteen cheerleaders, and a man who dresses in tinfoil!
Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson follows Jubilee through what has the potential to be the worst day of her life. Her parents get arrested and she gets shipped via train to her grandparents’ house in Florida. To make matters worse, her boyfriend doesn’t seem to care! When the train gets stuck in the snow outside of a small southern town, Jubilee has had enough—she escapes to the shelter of a Waffle House, and that’s when the adventures really begin!
John Green’s Cheertastic Christmas Miracle combines fourteen cheerleaders and cheesy waffles—what more could a guy want? Tobin discovers that what he really wants was under his nose all along.
Finally, in the Patron Saint of Pigs, Lauren Myracle ties it all together. Addie is heartbroken over her recent break-up, and can’t seem to focus on anyone except herself. When one of her friends, her boss, and the guy who has hated her since the 7th grade all tell her that she’s self-absorbed, she begins to realize that they’re right. A little interference by a “Christmas Angel” forces Addie to work hard for someone else. Will her friends appreciate the effort? Will Tobin take a chance? And will Jubilee’s holiday improve?
I loved this book. The parrot in Maureen Johnson’s story makes this book worth reading, and it only appears on one page!
The Boyfriend List: (15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and me, Ruby Oliver) by E. Lockhart
Ruby Oliver (Roo) suffers from panic attacks, so at 15-years-old, she is sent to a shrink (Psychoanalist) to help her cope. As part of her therapy, Dr. Z suggests that she make a “Boyfriend List.” Too bad for Roo that the list got loose at school! Her life is turned upside down in ten short days: her former best friend and her boyfriend are together, and Roo has become a social outcast! And worst of all, now she has to relive it, moment by awful moment with Dr. Z! Check out what happens to Roo in The Boyfriend List!
E. Lockhart continues Roo’s story in a series that will soon have four books:
#2 The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them
#3 The Treasure Map of Boys (Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon—and me, Ruby Oliver
And coming next year:
#4 Real Live Boyfriends
P.S. I know you're not supposed to judge a book by the cover, but aren't these just the coolest covers?
If you can get your hands Graceling, do it! It's so good!
Graceling takes place in a fantasy world where there are normal people, and there are people who are "graced" with special abilities. These Graced people are marked by eyes that are different colors. The special skills of the Graced are varied and include swimming, fighting, and more. The main character is a woman named Katsa who is Graced with the ability to kill. Katsa lives in her uncle's kingdom and serves as his personal army, carrying out his personal vendettas, even if she doesn’t agree with him. She has secretly formed the Council, which acts to provide justice and fairness for those who have been accused and abused.
One day Kasta decides that she doesn't want to hurt the person he asks her to hurt. Because she disobeys him, she's forced to flee his kingdom. Although she is strong and independent, Katsa doesn’t travel alone. She has the help of Prince Po, who is also Graced as a fighter. Together, they travel to rescue Po's niece, Bitterblue, and save the kingdom from a corrupt king. While rescuing Bitterblue, Katsa must push her Grace to the limit, surviving a dangerous trek over impassible mountains and a perilous sea voyage all while keeping Bitterblue’s identity a secret. Can Katsa and Po get Bitterblue to safety, or will they be captured?
Kristin Cashore has written a marvelous masterpiece of strong characters, high adventure, mystery, and just a tiny hint of romance.
The companion book, Fire, is available now—and I must say it was AMAZING! I can’t wait to read her next book, which will be called Bitterblue!
A guest review from Teen Room Staff Cat!
Psyche in a Dress is a very modern retelling of the Roman (or Greek) myth of Psyche and Eros. Very Modern, and is written in verse. Francesca Lia Block is very modern and unorthodox, and it shows in this book.
Psyche is a film maker’s daughter. Her mother left when she was little. She starts being visited every night by Eros, or Love. He has only one rule, she must never see him in the light. For a while all is well. Then Psyche heeds the advice of her sisters and looks at Eros. She sees he is beautiful, but he wakes up and finds her breaking his one rule so he flies out the window. Psyche is heartbroken. She travels around looking for Eros and trying to earn his love back.
I liked this book. It was unlike many books I had read. There is a deep mythological undertone, and Block seems to fit most of the gods, and some of the myths in the book without trouble. The poetry can make it difficult to follow. Some things didn’t click until later in the book, and I had to reread some passages to really understand what happened. I wished Block had spent more time on the Eros and Psyche part. It seemed to be over within a few pages.
I don’t think you need to be familiar with the myth to read this book. It will help though, since the author tends to leave out details about the myth itself. This is definitely a very mature book. I would not recommend this to a young audience, but to anyone else it is definitely worth a look, and it is a very quick read.