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Teen Committee Recommendations!

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Y.A.R.C. (yark), n. 1. Young Adult Review Committee. 2. A select group of local teens and young adults reading and writing reviews of brand-spanking-new books. 3. Awesome.

Here are reviews for some of the books our teen committee members have enjoyed. All of these titles are available now (or for pre-order) from Village Books and Paper Dreams!

To learn more about our YARC program, click here.

 

 

Past 2023-24 Reviews >>

NEW AND UPCOMING RELEASES!

 

 

Staff Pick Badge
The Worst Ronin By Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Faith Schaffer (Illustrator) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780358464938
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperAlley - May 21st, 2024

This is a strange story. It’s set in medieval Japan, but the characters have wi-fi, smartphones, and email, and they use modern colorful language. Chihiro is a spunky teen girl who is training to become a samurai. When a being made of grief attacks a village and her crippled father is called into duty, Chihiro steps up to the challenge. I was impressed by how the author managed to insert modern technology into the medieval setting, while simultaneously switching between different characters and their past and present. I recommend this graphic novel to readers looking for stories about strong, adventurous, and brave female characters.

- Marley, 14, Young Adult Review Committee member


Staff Pick Badge
Another First Chance By Robbie Couch Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781665935302
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - May 28th, 2024

River wasn't expecting to spend the summer after senior year back in his old high school for two weeks. But that's exactly what happened when he is blackmailed to take part in a mysterious social study. In the study River will have to navigate friendships both new and old, while grieving his best friend. Another First Chance is a bittersweet novel with a touch of mystery.

- Coco, 16, Young Adult Review Committee member


Staff Pick Badge
Stepping Off By Jordan Sonnenblick Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781339023175
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - June 4th, 2024

I could not put down this book! Jordan Sonnenblick spins a fantastic tale of a quiet high schooler navigating his complicated love life and messy family dynamics during the Covid-19 pandemic. The unpredictable plot kept me guessing about what was to come. I recommend this book to other teens who like books about relationships and who are prepared to relive the Covid pandemic.

- Marley, 14, Young Adult Review Committee member


Staff Pick Badge
Take All of Us By Natalie Leif Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780823456611
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Holiday House - June 4th, 2024

Five years ago, a parasite infested the waters of a west Virginian town. Ian, used to anxiety and strokes, gets infested with the parasite during an evacuation in the mall. Determined to survive, he bands together with a former rival and a jaded prepper. I admired the author for how even in an apocalyptic setting the tone in the book was still mostly light because of Ian’s anxiety. I would recommend this book for people who like queer romance and darker humor.

- Gwen, 14, Young Adult Review Committee member


Staff Pick Badge
Heiress Takes All By Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316566759
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - June 4th, 2024

Years after her parent's divorce, Olivia finds herself desperate to get revenge on her dad and pay her mom's medical bills. The solution to both? She gathers a ragtag team — including a baker and her former English teacher — to sneak into her dad's wedding and pull off the perfect heist. This book dropped me right in the middle of the action, the fast pace pulling me out of a reading slump. I would recommend it to fans of The Inheritance Games.

- Autumn, 15, Young Adult Review Committee member


Staff Pick Badge
Moonstorm By Yoon Ha Lee Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780593488331
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Press - June 4th, 2024

I’m not usually a reader of science fiction, but this beautifully crafted book took my breath away.  The first sentence drew me in and wouldn’t let me stop reading.  Hwa Young is such a strong protagonist that you will root for till the end.  Follow her as she embarks on a school excursion that ends in disaster, and will change her life in ways she could never imagine.  Hwa Young has always dreamed of becoming a lancer pilot, her chance comes sooner than she thinks.  When a startling encounter with her past surfaces out of nowhere, she must decide where her true loyalties lie.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves science fiction, and to those who don’t as well.

- Eleanor, 14, Young Adult Review Committee member


Staff Pick Badge
Looking for Smoke By K. A. Cobell Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780063318670
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Heartdrum - June 4th, 2024

Looking for Smoke is a thrilling and empowering novel that explores complex plot points and intricate character relationships. The story begins with the discovery of a dead girl from the Blackfeet reservation, where the four teenagers who had last seen her become the primary suspects in her murder investigation. The teens all have mysterious pasts with the girl, and they must work together to solve the murder while questioning each other's trustworthiness. The book's writing is beautiful, and the story is so engaging that I could not put it down. I highly recommend this book to young adult and teen readers.

- Cassie, 16, Young Adult Review Committee member


Staff Pick Badge
Louder Than Words By Ashley Woodfolk, Lexi Underwood Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781338875577
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - June 4th, 2024

If you like books with strong female leads who know exactly who they are, you will love Louder than Words. Louder than Words follows teen Jordyn

Jones and her journey as the new girl in her new school. Being the new girl is hard enough, but when a mysterious podcast is on the brink of sharing her secret to the whole school, Jordyn has to take a stand. Difficult teachers, mean classmates, and social anxiety stand in the way of Jordyn uncovering the truth of the cryptic podcaster. This is a fantastic book and I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn how to use art in powerful ways. 

 

- Phoebe, 14, Young Adult Review Committee member


Staff Pick Badge
Seasick By Kristin Cast, Pintip Dunn Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780593649305
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Press - June 11th, 2024

If you are looking for a good summer read then I would recommend Seasick. This book gives the entertainment of a good thriller with also the enticement of a good mystery. This book got into lots of questions, and that's when I got most interested. So I recommend giving it a chance for the summer especially. P.S. Careful when reading on cruise. 

- Rose, 15, Young Adult Review Committee member


Staff Pick Badge
Brownstone By Samuel Teer, Mar Julia (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Samuel Teer, Mar Julia (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9780358394747
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Versify - June 11th, 2024

Brownstone is an endearing story about finding family and navigating the complexities of heritage and where you fit in your community. It was a sweet, quick read, this graphic novel had pockets of humor while still depicting the hardships that were faced. The illustrations were awesome and brought the story a lot of depth.
 
- Lola, 14, Young Adult Review Committee member
 


Staff Pick Badge
Two Sides to Every Murder By Danielle Valentine Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780593352052
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - June 25th, 2024

Set in an old summer campground that closed sixteen years ago after three murders, two girls solving separate family mysteries stumble on each other in the woods. And they are being hunted. Two Sides to Every Murder is a thriller; the author keeps you guessing about the identities of the murderers, past and present. This book will appeal to any teen looking for a good story or looking for an introduction into the murder mystery genre.

- Marley, 14, Young Adult Review Committee member

 

The reopening of long-closed Camp Lost Lake is the catalyst for murder and secrets untold. In a DNA test, Olivia finds out that her dad isn’t really her dad. But before she can figure it out, Olivia gets caught in a twisted web of lies and death. Reagan has lived on the run almost her whole life. Determined to clear her mom’s name, she travels to Camp Lost Lake to get answers. I loved the way the author found the perfect balance between keeping suspicion away from the culprit while also hinting at it vaguely. I thought this was a great book and would recommend it to people who like murder mysteries.

- Gwen, 14, Young Adult Review Committee member


The Midnight Game By Cynthia Murphy Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780593705568
Availability: Not in-stock currently-usually arrives within 1-14 business days
Published: Delacorte Press - July 2nd, 2024

Six strangers meet IRL, their only ever contact being in the vivid thriller world of 'The Midnight Game. I absolutely adored The Midnight Game, the writing seemed to animate itself and leap out of the pages. Their goal is simple, to summon the Midnight Man and survive the night. Little do they know the Midnight Man is not the only one out to get them. This book transported me and character development was great. I would recommend this book to people who like thriller books with a little bit of gore and romance. 

- Gwen, 14, Young Adult Review Committee member

 

The Midnight Game is a deliciously chilling novel, composed of twists, turns, and a complex cast of characters. A group of teens meet up in the dead of night to summon a mysterious entity known as the Midnight Man. As long as they follow a short list of rules, they'll leave unscathed. But as the clock strikes midnight, they soon realize that this game might not be as fun as they'd hoped. I couldn't put this book down! Every page kept me hooked until I read the entire thing in just one night. If you are a young adult horror fan, then The Midnight Game is a must-read.
 
- Cassie, 16, Young Adult Review Committee member


Staff Pick Badge
Unbecoming By Seema Yasmin Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781665938440
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - July 9th, 2024

Yasmin crafts an honest depiction of an America not too distant from our own following teen activist Noor and perfectionist Laylah. Abortions are illegal and well-meaning people do risky acts of great courage...sometimes ending with the wrong results. This rise-up novel will have you wanting to rise up and rally! Through a fast-paced plot filled with wiretappings and illegal mosque clinics, Yasmin reminds us of a valuable lesson: you can do everything right and still get it wrong. But, in the end, it's not about perfection but progress.

- Kaatri, 18, Young Adult Review Committee member


Staff Pick Badge
A Magic Fierce and Bright By Hemant Nayak Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781665921817
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - July 9th, 2024

In the jungles of India, Adya has made a good life working with her brother to sell machines to people after electricity was wiped out by magic years ago. Is her ability to bring machines back to life craved by the governments waging wars around her? Of course! but it’s fine. Yet when enemies drop hints of her sister’s whereabouts, she can’t help but let herself get thrown into the politics of the magic torn country. I loved the characters - more specifically Useless the Cat and the motorbike. Their personalities were so vivid, and I found myself chuckling at the motorbike’s strange humor. And the creatures in the jungle were so enticing! Yaksha seem so interesting. I love the way Adya grows to support and carry the people she finds and builds a community. I just love this book, and I really hope you will too.

- Aubrielle, 14, Young Adult Review Committee member


Pre-Order Now Badge
The Blonde Dies First By Joelle Wellington Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781665922456
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - July 30th, 2024

The Blonde Dies First is a story that shows the importance of trusting your gut when it comes to people who make you uncomfortable, and also ice cream. I would recommend it to anyone who considers themself a horror buff, or who likes the book The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand.

- Autumn, 15, Young Adult Review Committee member