Teen Reviews: December 2009
Nothing But Ghosts
By Beth Kephart
Beth Kephart's Nothing but Ghosts is about a teenage girl trying to cope with the death of her mother while also struggling to rediscover her identity. On her route to self-discovery, she becomes immersed in a mystery, which helps her to both accept her mother's death and realize her personal identity.
Kephart cleverly connects the pain of losing a loved with the joy of falling in love. Her writing is descriptive; her prose helped me understand and experience the story as if I was a part of the book. I learned many different things from Nothing but Ghosts. Most importantly, I learned was that although letting go can be hard, it can also open new doors with new opportunities. Nothing but Ghosts is an extraordinary story filled with many highs and lows; overall, it is a great book!
Reviewed by Lisa Edouard, 15, Massachusetts
Oh. My. Gods.
By Tera Lynn Childs
Life was going just swell for Phoebe Castro. She's on track to get accepted to the school that she and her two best friends have been dreaming of since kindergarten. Then her mom returns from a family reunion with a new fiancé, and things start to take a strange turn. The family moves to a Greek island, where Phoebe learns that her stepdad runs a secret school for the descendants of Greek gods! As if the kids at her regular high school aren't bad enough, these ones come with good looks, brains, and supernatural powers. Suddenly, Phoebe has to keep up her grades and compete with some of the fastest people in the world if she wants to get ahead!
Fans of high school dramas and Greek mythology will certainly like this book. I found the plot a bit obvious and there were too many melodramatic scenes -- but otherwise it is an enjoyable read.
Reviewed by Meagan Cleveland, 19, Canada
By Melissa Francis
Ariel Jane Ashe is a 17-year-old girl with regular problems. Regular for a vampire, that is. AJ's world is turned upside down when her mother marries her boyfriend's father, she may have immortalized a classmate, and her best friends have sucked her into their feud.
The week after her mother's wedding, AJ deals with an undead stalker, an overly helpful teacher, and an intricate web of lies. Add in an evil ancestry and you've got the makings of a great vampire novel for young adults.
The story is gripping and the plot is interesting and exciting until the very end. The characters are easy to relate to, so much so that the book was hard to put down. It's hard to wait for the follow-up novel Love Sucks! to find out what happens next in this series!
Reviewed by Chloe Chidester, 18, Austria
The Goldsmith's Daughter
By Tanya Landman
Candlewick Press, 2008
In The Goldsmith's Daughter, women and girls in the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan are forced to perform housewife duties and are considered invisible to all men and boys. Girls have to cast their eyes and their chins down to show their inferiority. At birth, Itacate was said to bring doom to everyone around her. When her father, a goldsmith, discovers her skill for creating delicate and well-crafted pieces of jewelry and statues, he uses her talent to help him. Itacate becomes her father's apprentice and helps him in secret since women are forbidden from holding this job. Itacate's talent attracts the attention of the emperor yet she must conceal her gift to save her and her family from execution. This is not all she has to worry about. A prophecy told to her at birth will threaten Itacate's future as she finds her family and her town in the middle of a chaotic war with Spaniards.
I was hesitant about reading this book because it is historical fiction and I don't usually this genre, but after reading the first few chapters, I was drawn to the story. The vivid and descriptive details mixed with the suspenseful plot glued me to my seat. However, the names of the Aztec gods were hard to remember. There were many times when I forgot which god controlled which part of the earth! Although this was a bit confusing, I enjoyed reading the novel.
Reviewed by Mabel Lee, 16, Massachusetts
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