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Teen Book Reviews

Read and Submit Book Reviews for Community Service

Teen Book Reviews

Submit a Teen Book Review

Teens in grades 6-12 can earn community service by reading and reviewing new YA books!


  • Teens can read and review 2 books per month
  • Each book will be worth 2 community service hours
  • Teens may review any new book from our YA selection
  • The reviews should be between 100-250 words.
  • The review should discuss elements such as how the plot flowed, writing style, flaws in the story and overall enjoyment of the book. Do not provide a summary of the book.
  • Book reviews must be submitted electronically below.

Book review submissions will be reviewed by the Teen Department before community service is awarded. We reserve the right to deny community service credit if the review does meet the criteria presented above.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to the Teen Department at 914-941-2416 ext. 336.

Submit a book review.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

5 stars

We were liars about 4 teens Candece, Johnny, Gat and Mirren who spend summer together which ends up solving a mystery. The book itself is split into 5 different parts, which piece together at the end of the book and play out in a domino effect. E. Lockhart filled this book with poetic writing and filed a suspenseful story with love, family and grief. The plot was executed very well as there was enough detail and nothing was dragged to keep the reader hooked. The book really shows that it is difficult to find beauty in tragedy but it isn’t impossible. There were no holes and it was full of surprises. This book takes many interesting twists and turns leaving the reader shocked and full of emotion. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves mystery, suspense and some romance; it is one of the best books I have ever read.

The Fall of Rome by Martha Southgate

5 stars

Rashid Bryson, the main character in Martha Southgate’s Fall of Rome, is struggling to find motivation after his brother Kofi Bryson was killed. He seeks new challenges and decides to join a new school called Chelsea. Unfortunately, this new school is an all white school with minimal colored people attending there. He meets the only black teacher named Jerome Washington. He thinks he is helping Rashid succeed at Chelsea, but in the end his efforts will work against him. Teen readers will enjoy reading this book because it shows the struggles of dealing with a loss and dealing with people who try to bring you down. I highly recommend this book because it shows that many people will try to bring you down but the faster you get up the better.

The Maze Runner by Rick Riordan

5 stars

Thomas arrives at a place in a dark elevator with no memory whatsoever of his past. He doesn’t even know his last name. He is surrounded by about 50 teenage boys. Their leader Alby, welcomes him to the Glade. He learns that they are surrounded by a Maze, and the only way out of there is to solve it. Most of the boys have been there for years. Thomas goes on a quest to solve the Maze so he can free everyone, but it is not going to be easy as the Mazes creators, WICKED, made it close to impossible for them to succeed. With many sad, funny, and intense moments, this book will leave you with cliffhangers every chapter making you want to keep on reading. I would highly recommend this book for the teen reader who loves a book with action and drama.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

4 stars

Clap when you land is a story about 2 sisters who lose their father in the 9/11 crash, but one of them lives in NewYork and the other lives in the Dominican Republic. The story shows how deeply one can be affected by the loss of an important figure in their lives. Both characters live completely opposite lives with different morals, interest and relations yet they both love their Papi. The book helps the reader understand that you must keep pushing through the faults and hardships in life, as it will only hold you down. The author never fails to bore the reader, as each page is full of detail, figurative language and emotion. The author beautifully writes both sisters emotions and hardships through poetry, with deeper meaning. I would recommend this book to someone who likes to read realistic fiction and poetry.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

4.5 stars

The book allegiant is written in a dual narrative, alternating between Tris and Tobias. Personally, I think it was executed well. As the trilogy continued along with the plot there were many instances that occurred which would not have been expected by the reader, heightening the interest in the book. There was also much character development and detail put into the relationship of Tris and Tobias. There were many revelations and things exposed which go against the characters morals to show what they are willing to do for one another and the things they are willing to forgive for the sake of love. But the book does go by very slowly and was not as straightforward, many details were dragged. I think there were some holes in the plot leaving many to assume what the characters were feeling or doing and lack of detail on the emotional aspect of things. All in all I would recommend this book to someone who enjoys a thrill and rebellion.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

4 stars

Insurgent revolves around the story of Tris. In the second book of the series, Tris and Tobias learn that every choice has a consequence and that everyone has a secret waiting to be uncovered. Personally, out of all three books I believe that this was the book with the best plot flow and detail providing the reader with enough information to understand what is going on. There were many parts in the book in which good parts were overshadowed by unnecessary details which were not relevant to the plot. The plot had very few holes but there were instances where you did not want to continue as it went by very slowly and was dragged at some points. This book is where Tris discovers who she is and what she believes is her purpose in the faction war. I would recommend this book

Divergent by Veronica Roth

4 stars

I think that the plot of the book flowed smoothly, there was immense character development in all characters, especially Tris and Four. The author unraveled different layers of the characters as the book progressed; the characters were people we as readers did not expect to be. The plot had no holes as it flowed easily and everything fell into place. The author’s writing style was mainly through Tris’s perspective to keep the story glowing smoothly(first person). I think that this was key for this book because each character came from a different story, with different emotions and different interests, each with different morals but aimed for the same goal. The author loved character development as each character changed because of one another. But sometimes the author fails to be descriptive, the bad guys all seem to have the same characteristics and the good have the same, it is very simple yet has a complex plot. I would recommend this book to people who like to read about dystopian societies and realistic fiction. Overall I enjoyed the book.


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

3 stars

The main character, Hazel knows she is dying of cancer. Despite the miracle that bought her a few years, Hazel never saw herself as anything but terminal. When she makes an instant connection with another survivor, Augustus Waters, at a youth support group, she was determined to not begin any sort of romance with him. She saw it as pointless. Regardless of her efforts to maintain their friendship nothing more than that, a friendship, it became impossible to deny that they were in love. Later in finding out Augustus’s painful secret, Hazel learns that loving others is worth it, even if it ends with some hurt. I definitely recommend this book, as it brings awareness to a sensitive and not talked enough topic. This tragic story about teens fighting cancer will leave your stomach-turning. Hazel’s story is not only about fighting cancer but also about deciding to love and be loved, even when you know it will cause pain.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

4 stars

Junior lives on an Indian reservation where there is little hope or money. People that live there aren’t seen as becoming successful. Junior grew up getting bullied and constantly beaten for the way he looks. His only way out of this hopeless area was using his brain. Junior is smart, good at drawing, and what makes him stand out from his friends and relatives is that he has that ambition to become successful. When he makes the bold choice to reach for more by attending an all-white school, his life only becomes more difficult. Junior is determined on his journey to succeed and escape. Junior knows that the only chance he has of getting a decent life was to find a way out of the reservation. In a book with many sad moments, that may be the saddest thing of all. Teen readers will get learn a lot from Junior’s story. It shows that there is always light, even in the darkest moments. I recommend this book as it is a funny and powerful novel about growing up on an Indian reservation. It reflects the struggles of a Native American boy attempting to break away from the life he was originally “destined” to live.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez

5 stars

Julia Reyes, a smart but rebellious teen who lives with her parents and older sister, Olga, the “perfect Mexican daughter”. It was always about being the Perfect Mexican daughter. But Julia was everything but that. The Perfect Mexican daughter was Olga’s role. The tragic accident that left Olga dead results in the broken hearts of many. No one seemed to acknowledge that Julia was also suffering. Instead of providing Julia comfort, her mother uses her grief to point out all of Julia’s failures. It’s not long before Julia finds out that Olga wasn’t the saint everyone thought she was. In attempting to discover Olga’s secrets, she came to a realization of why her parents were so afraid of Julia building a different life for herself. Julia became determined to find out Olga’s truth. Who really was Olga? Not only does this book go into the Mexican culture but it also uncovers the harsh realities connected with death, poverty, and immigration. I highly recommend reading this book as it also reveals the relationship between Mexican immigrant parents that are firm in following tradition and first-generation children who are “Americanized”.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

4 stars

The story of Lara Jean, a girl who instead of admitting her crushes out loud, writes each crush a love letter confessing how she felt. Each letter was sealed and hidden in a box under her bed. One day, Lara Jean come to find out that her secret box of love letters was mailed out. All her crushes from her past end up confronting her about the letters. From her first kiss to her sister’s ex-boyfriend, her secrets were out. She never had the intention of mailing these letters but Laura Jean had no idea something good would come out of this. In the attempts of bringing this crazy situation back to normal, Laura jean somehow ends up not only in a love triangle but also in a fake relationship with Peter- one of the boys that received a letter. I recommend this book as it is an exploration of teenage growth and young love. The plot of this book will bring butterflies to your stomach.

One Of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus

4 stars

Drop everything you’re doing right now and go and get yourself a copy of the book one of Us is Next by Karen McManus, a sequel to her 2017 young adult mystery-thriller novel, One of Us is Lying. It’s a novel full of mystery and thriller as the three main characters Maeve, Phoebe, and Knox, become affected by a truth or dare game started by an anonymous texter. Where new friends’ secrets are getting revealed to the public via school-wide texts. Where choosing the truth could mean unveiling your darkest secrets, but picking dare could be a dangerous or even deadly one. The plot is a very easy-going one that jumps right into the novel from where it left off while remaining engaging and not boring. I found the idea of the whole truth or dare game that the teenagers were involved in to be very intriguing and fascinating to see how the game was going to escalate. However, one flaw I found in the novel that, for many, could not be a defect is how overly dramatic some parts got made to be, especially towards the end. However, the writing style makes up for it. It’s essentially what captivated me, how the story is told from the first-person point of view of the three different students while still having a shared narration that allows the reader to feel close to each of the main characters.

Three Things I Know to be True by Betty Cully

3 stars

Three Things I Know are True by Betty Culley is a saddening book, focusing on the idea of recovering from tragedy. Throughout this brutally honest book, the main character must find peace in the fact that her family will never be the same. This book was fairly entertaining and very easy to read, despite the fact that it was written in verse. The author managed to get to her point rather fast, but in a way that wasn’t to blunt. My biggest critique of this book, however, was that it would pick up a side story or theme and never complete them. This was somewhat annoying. This is a very menial complaint, though. This book would not be something that I would recommend, but I would not advise you against reading it.

Maybe This Time  by Kasie West

4 stars
This book didn’t end up on my favorites list, even though I wanted it to. I generally like romance, but this book was just too cliche for me. The plot is sturdy and flows relatively well. Every chapter is an event and i liked the main character’s voice. Sophie is very ambitious and likable. I felt that the interactions between the characters were slightly unrealistic, but Sophie and Micah’s fears, problems, and situations are very real and genuine. Micah and Sophie’s friendship is complex and again, realistic because it shows what real friendships are like. Andrew and Sophie’s characters are written pretty well, and the dramatic irony Kasie West uses emphasizes who they are. If you like romance, this could be the book for you.