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Middle Grade and Teen Book Reviews

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

Exciting book reviews from my talented summer interns! Get ready to discover your next favorite read!

Middle school boy reading a book to review

Welcome back, book enthusiasts! Today, I am absolutely thrilled to present you with another round of captivating middle grade and teen book reviews from my brilliant L. B. Anne Author Apprentice summer interns!

Their ages range from 10 to 17, and they have poured their hearts into crafting thoughtful reviews of their favorite books.

Without further ado, let's dive in and view these novels through the eyes of some talented young readers.

Dork Diaries

The book I chose is Dork Diaries written and illustrated by Rachel Renee Russell and her daughters Nikki and Erin. There are 17 books in the series. I'm up to book 4 and so far this is my favorite. Which is why I'm choosing book 4 to write about.

Dork Diaries is about a girl named Nikki who transfers to a new school for middle school.

Each book has a different plot and storyline. Tales from a Not-So-Graceful Ice Princess is about Nikki competing as a figure skater, her ups and downs, and her rivals with other girls.

This book had some really hysterical parts that had me literally laughing out loud. This book is so funny and full of teen drama. If you're looking for a fun teen adventure book. I highly recommend reading dork diaries I'm really enjoying reading them and looking at the illustrations. By Liora *For grades 4 and up

We Were Liars

Hi, I’m Layla, one of L.B. Anne’s interns and I have to write a blog about a book I read. Last year, I did a book review on my first YA book. That book began my love for YA books. So, I figured since I love them so much why not write about another?

This book is called: We Were Liars. A lot of people have probably seen or read this book, but I’m writing from my own perspective.

The main character’s name is Cadence Sinclair. She comes from the “perfect” family. On the outside, the Sinclairs seem so perfect: all of them are blond, no one is a failure, no one is needy, and everyone is happy. But that’s just the outside, no one ever sees the inside.

The Sinclairs vacation on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts during the summer. Cadence hates how perfect her family is. In rebellion, she dyed her hair black. She suffered from a sickness and missed out on a few summers. Coming back to her cousins made her a bit happy. But every time she told her mom she was going to hang out with them her mom gave her the weirdest look. Toward the end of summer, Cadence remembers something bad, very, very bad.

I loved this book and although a lot of people say the ending was predictable, I do not. That may just be because I’m younger, but I don’t know. I cried a few times. And I might have thrown it at the wall. It was a book that kept me interested throughout the whole thing. The book has a romantic but brutal feeling to it. And the cover makes me feel like swimming. It has a bit of heavy swearing (probably part of why it's YA) so depending on what you’re allowed to read I would rate it 12+. And overall, 9/10.

*Disclaimer: For Grades 7 and UP.

The Sound of Drowning

Hello! I’m Kaylah Molien and I’m here to do a book review of this book called The Sound of Drowning by Katherine Fleet.

When I first saw the cover, I found the words on the outside quite interesting. It says, “One boy makes her feel whole, the other alive.” I thought this was ironic since the book is called “The Sound of Drowning”, which usually, drowning doesn’t really make you feel alive… but once I finished reading the book, it made more sense and I found myself wishing there was more.

This book takes you on a roller coaster of emotions and blows your mind in the process. I had to stop and call my friend to explain to her what happened in this book before I exploded in amazement. Even though she had never even heard of this book and I basically spoiled the entire thing for her, she was still interested in reading it because of how interesting it sounded.

The Sound of Drowning is a very relatable book that puts lots of things in a certain perspective and it changed my mind about a couple of things. When I got to the end, I felt that I had already (well, I thought I had) known how the end would go but I was awestruck to see how it ended. I actually shed some tears while reading this book! 10/10, I completely recommend it!

*Disclaimer: For Grades 9 and UP.

The Girl Who Looked Beyond the Stars

The Girl Who Looked To The Stars is an amazing book that is not only about a girl who can see angels but about a girl trying to find who she is.

Sheena Meyers, the main character/protagonist, is a quirky girl, who is an only child but is close to her parents. The book mainly centers around her and a few characters.

Sheena has two best friends: Chana and Theodore, who are practically always with her. Chana is a very extroverted person who tends to get along with everyone. Theodore is more of a protective brother but can also be fun and silly. Sheena takes her friends on an adventure chasing an angel she is positive she saw at a hospital. On her way, she meets an old man, who helps her learn who she is and a weird new kid. Soon later in the story, she learns that she's something different, that she has a gift, but the more she learns about it the more danger she's in. Somewhere in the world, there is an evil thing that will do anything to make sure she doesn't become what she's born to be.

I love how this story takes a first-person view of Sheena’s life, how it’s a fun odd adventure, but also how it also has deeper meaning in it. There are spiritual elements that I really enjoyed and could relate to her. The murk is an evil presence that is trying to hold Sheena back. Sheena still fights to learn who she is. Her story is about her trying to find who she is, but it can also come with consequences. Sheena’s discoveries change her view of life and make her realize that she has a destiny that can affect the world.

Her fun adventure keeps you on your toes wondering what might happen next. It's great for anyone, if you're looking for a suspenseful, funny story The Girl Who Looked To The Stars is for you. By Jael Fabien *For grades 6 and up

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a book about when Greg Hefley is in middle school and is trying to fit in with his friend Rowley. Greg’s older brother Rodrick decides to make a deal with Greg to help him and guide him through middle school to try to impress girls and fit in. Rodrick then shows Greg his book which has all the ways to be popular and fit in. Greg uses all that information and tries it out while also signing up for the talent show. Their parents find out what they were doing and then Rodrick gets grounded. Toward the end of the book Rodrick and Greg sneak out to the talent show so that Rodrick can play with his band, Loaded Diapers. By Carsyn *For grades 3-6

May Your Vision Be True

May Your Vision Be True is my favorite book. Book seven of the Sheena Meyer Series is the most suspenseful book in the series.

The plot is about the struggle between special people called Gleamers (light) and a dark force called the Murk (shadow). The main character is a 13-year-old Gleamer named Sheena Meyer, who is dramatic, a brave leader, and has friends who help her in the battle against the Murk.

The whole series is awesome! My favorite part of May Your Vision Be True is the part where Sheena discovers the hidden sanctuary behind an out-of-order locker in the boy’s locker room when she tries to find Teddy’s notebook. He has written notes about Gleamers in it.

In general, I love the Sheena Meyer Series because it has the message of hope in seemingly hopeless situations. It has an intriguing plot, and even in the most tense parts, there is something that Sheena or another character says or does that sends me into side-splitting laughter. Highly recommend! By Lexi *For grades 6 and up

Hi! My name is Sage, and I loved reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

This book came at exactly the time I needed it. Just like the main character, Ari, I was 15 when I first read it. I related so much to him and Dante, they were both trying to make sense of the world in a place that felt like it was so often against them. The main characters spoke Spanglish to their families, they loved art, and they were queer. They were everything I needed to find in a book. I felt seen.

I’ve taken to rereading it every summer, and each time I come away with something new. This month I read it again, and it’s as good as I remember it. The first time I read it, I enjoyed Ari’s funny inner dialogue. This time, I realized the secrets of the universe weren't somewhere out in the world, they instead could be found in the people and things we love. It is a sweet story about family, coming of age, and romance, set in 1980s Texas.

Nine years after the publishing of the first book in 2012, Benjamin Alire Sáenz released a sequel, Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World. There is even a movie adaptation set to release in September 2023. I can only thank Benjamin Alire Sáenz for writing a story that has helped so many kids and people feel understood. I rate Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe a 10/10! If you read this story, I hope you enjoy it and find the beauty in it like I have. *For grades 7 and up

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