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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (review by Sophia S. ’15)

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although this book’s plot is the worn out story line of a secret princess-assassin fighting a hidden evil with the help of a handsome prince and a captivating guard, the author inserts just enough originality to captivate the reader’s attention. The saving graces include perfectly timed and honed humor scattered throughout the dialogue, surprisingly sophisticated character development, and only a brief flirtation with the cliche of the girl torn between the two male protagonists (the author expresses disinterest in that age-old struggle before the end of the book). Maas sets up a sequel perfectly, and I will definitely read the second novel. Overall, avid readers of Tamora Pierce and Cassandra Clare will enjoy this action-packed and light romance. – Sophia S. ’15

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Unwind by Neal Shusterman (review by Nikita R. ’16)

Unwind (Unwind, #1)Unwind by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Imagine a world where teenagers are at a constant risk to be “unwound,” or have their body parts harvested to be donated later, by their parents. This sociological dystopia can be viewed in Neal Shusterman’s novel Unwind, a must-read. Poignant and illustrative, the story not only fully draws the readers into a grippingly heart-rending world but also raises questions about many current societal controversies, for instance abortion. Told from the viewpoints of three different desperate teenagers, Unwind is an engaging tale about a fight to survive while questioning existence itself. The first book in the Unwind Trilogy, Unwind is especially recommended for readers who appreciate powerful, complex characters, but will be relished by people of any age. – Nikita R. ’16

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Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman (review by Mrs. Vaughan, Harker librarian)

Soon I Will Be InvincibleSoon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The world’s population includes nearly 2,000 super-powered beings. Some, like the recently escaped from high security prison Dr. Impossible, intend to rule the world. Fortunately the Champions, the world’s most famous team of superheroes, are bent on saving it. Narration flips between the obsessed evil genius Dr. Impossible and rookie Champion Fatale and leads us on a break neck ride through Impossible’s latest attempt at world domination in which he threatens a self-engineered ice age. The story includes wonderful action sequences, an imaginative set of beings that only a die-hard comic book fan could dream up and the very human side of these personalities. A pure delight from beginning to end, fans of Artemis Fowl, Ender’s Game and Terry Pratchett’s DiscWorld novels will love Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible. – Mrs. Vaughan, Harker librarian

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Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (review by Mrs. Vaughan, Harker librarian)

Code Name VerityCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wein’s novel is wonderful! Deeply researched and eminently plausible, this fictional account of two young British women — one a pilot and one a spy — during WWII is gripping and heartrending. The novel is told from alternating points of view including the gripping narrative of the captured spy “Verity.” So involved in Wein’s plot, I felt as if I was abandoning the characters when I put down the book — and read it in one sitting. She’s done an amazing job a creating two powerful characters and embedding them in a thrilling tale of espionage, history and undying loyalty. Code Name Verity is an excellent choice for both adult and young adult fans of historical thrillers. – Mrs. Vaughan, Harker librarian

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When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (review by Mrs. Vaughan, Harker librarian)

When You Reach MeWhen You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Stead’s book accomplishes what I like best in a novel. The story of twelve-year-old Miranda is beautifully simple, yet littered with moments of wonderful insight.
Miranda is not especially anything — not suffering some great injustice nor blessed with exceptional intelligence or beauty. Maybe it is her ordinariness that makes her and her story so hypnotic. When the story opens she’s inexplicably estranged from a life-long friend and neighbor Sal. In the void, she ends up making some surprising — and yes, even magical — discoveries elsewhere. L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, a favorite of both the author and Miranda, provides a subtle time travel motif.
While When You Reach Me is at home in the genre of young adult literature, somehow it doesn’t read like Stead was writing it just for teens. Adults should read it, too. This book is a lovely and perfect small miracle. – Mrs. Vaughan, Harker librarian

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