Category Archives: Teen Book Reviews

Reviews of YA books you’ll love.

Writing Fellowship for Writers 21 and older



Although this isn’t a opportunity for teens I had to post this. 

The PEN America Emerging Voices Fellowship (EV) is a literary mentorship that aims to provide new writers who are isolated from the literary establishment with the tools, skills, and knowledge they need to launch a professional writing career. 

Emerging Voices is a rigorous national fellowship that is based in Los Angeles, with weekly meetings and an intense reading and writing schedule. If you are not a resident of Los Angeles, and you are awarded the fellowship you will need to relocate for the seven month period, from January to July of 2019. Housing is not provided. 

Components of the Emerging Voices Fellowship Include:

  • Guidance from a professional mentor.
  • Private Author Evenings with writers, agents, and publishers.
  • Genre-specific master classes.
  • UCLA Extension Writers’ Program classes.
  • A professional voice instruction class and recording session.
  • A submissions workshop.
  • A volunteer opportunity.
  • Authors photos and professional bio.
  • Three public readings in Los Angeles.
  • A $1,000 stipend.

Applications Must Include:

  • Completed short answers.
  • A professional CV or résumé. Please list any writing experience, education, and publishing credits. 
  • Two current letters of recommendation written by people who are either familiar with your writing, or can attest to your ability to complete a long term project. Letters must include the recommender’s current e-mail address and phone number. 
  • A writing sample of up to 20 pages of double-spaced fiction or creative nonfiction, or 10 pages of single-spaced poetry. 

People ineligible for the Emerging Voices Fellowship:

  • Those who have an M.A., M.F.A., Ph.D., or minor in Creative Writing.
  • Students currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs.
  • Writers who have published one or more books through major publishing houses, university presses, or established presses.
  • Current professional magazine and or newspaper feature writers or editors.
  • Writers who are widely published in top-tier literary journals and/or magazines.
  • Anyone under the age of 21.

For more information go to

Application fee: $10.00 USD

Application Deadline: August 1, 2018 at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time


Teen Book Review- Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles



Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles was a novel about twin  Marvin and Tyler Johnson who live in Sterling Point, a rough gang invested neighborhood. In spite of it all Marvin is  an honor student with nearly perfect SAT scores and a plan on getting into MIT. There best friends are Ivy and G-Mo. The four of them make up “the nerds”. They all try to make it through life, a life where the police always see them as suspects regardless of what they do or don’t do.

After Tyler starts to associate with a known gang member things start to change between him and Marvin. Then one night after a crazy party that ends up in a shoot out Tyler goes missing, leaving Marvin to search for his twin and blame himself for his disappearance. Tyler’s body is later found, (This isn’t a spoiler it’s the book jacket) and Marvin discovers that a police office murdered his brother. Now he tries to come to terms with the truth and how he plans on handling it as he tries to find justice for his brother.

I loved this story. It’s a touching and emotional journey. That will make your heart ache. I loved this book. It took me on an emotional journey, one that will be difficult to forget.

# teen books # YA

Teen Book Review- One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus


One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus, is a great book! The book was pitched as The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars. Four teenagers, Bronwyn, the brains; Copper, the jock; Abby, the beauty; Nate, the criminal; and Simon, the outcast are all called to detention after being caught with cell phones that were found in their backpacks. They not only all deny having cells phones but they also claim that the phones found weren’t theirs.

A car accident occurs bringing everyone’s attention to the window. The next thing they know Simon starts having an allergic reaction to the water he was drinking and no one can locate his Epic-pen or the pens in the nurse’s office. In the end Simon dies and the four remaining students are soon accused of murder. 

One by one their most private secrets are reveal when Simon’s app About That releases information about them. This book keeps you hanging on as each student’s life is wrecked as their private lives and secrets become public. 

Great book! READ IT NOW!

#teen books #mystery books

Teen Book Review- Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter


I just finished reading If I Save You First by Ally Carter. This teen book is a thriller. I don’t come across many in YA. The story centers on the life of Maddie, a young girl who moved to Alaska after her father, a former Secret Service bodyguard for the president, is almost killed after foiling the kidnapping of the First Lady.

The story begins when Maddie and Logan are ten years old and there’s a party at the White House. The Russian president is attending and security is high. Maddie and Logan discover that the First Lady is being kidnapped and Maddie’s father saves her, killing the kidnappers but also almost getting killed himself. After the attack Maddie’s father moved to Alaska with Maddie. Maddie was heartbroken over the move because she had to leave Logan, her bed friend.

After Maddie moves to a small cabin in Alaska she finds herself without friends and living in isolation with her father. Logan on the other hand has grown up and become a security menace for his bodyguards who he constantly ditches. Maddie and Logan are reunited when his parents send him to Alaska to stay with Maddie and her father. Of course all hell breaks loose. Without giving the story away there’s lots of teen angst and battles and Maddie fights to save Logan from the same people who tried to kidnap his mother. It’s a great ride and lots of fun.

Maplewood/South Orange Literary Festival


Next weekend on Friday June 8th and Saturday, June 9th the townships of South Orange and Maplewood are hosting a literary festival. There will be lots of your favorite authors attending this event. 

The book festival will also have an extensive children’s area, with over 40 children’s and YA authors, as well as a kids “fun zone,” featuring games, music, food, face-painting and fun for kids of all ages. 

Below are some quotes by past attendees quote from the book festival website. 

“I was thrilled to be part of the first Maplewood-South Orange Book Festival.
Great venue, and I enjoyed seeing kids really excited about books.”
TRACEY WEST, author of the popular “Dragon Masters” series for children

“It was quite a weekend with great events and wonderful writers both on Friday night and Saturday. I truly look forward to seeing the Festival grow into a highlight of our very literary community.”
JUDITH LINDBERGH, Director, The Writer’s Circle Creative Writing Workshops

Check out the website for more information.

Teen Book Review- Dread Nation by Justina Ireland


The novel Dread Nation by Justina Ireland is The Walking Dead meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The story takes place right after the end of the Civil War soon after the dead starting to rise and wreak havoc on the country. The novel focuses on the life of Jane, a young girl who is attending Mrs.Preston School of Combat Training. The girls are trained in hand to hand combat and weaponry in order to become Attendants or protectors of white women from affluent families from zombies/shamblers.

The backdrop of the story does focus on how terribly Jane and other young African-American people are treated. Some people are experimented on while most are forced to give their lives in order to protect people who treat them as sub-human, not caring at all about their lives and sometimes killing them without any cause.

In the midst of everything Janes finds herself falling in love as she fights back to save herself and the people she loves. Great book! Can’t wait for the sequel!


Teen Book Review- The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo




This book is special and unlike any other novel I’ve read. #Acevedo’s protagonist Xiamora, a young teen living in #Harlem. She talks about her growing sexuality and how her family’s strict religious views of the world effect how she feels about her place in the world. She feels of being an outcast in her world but one day she meets a new teacher who introduces her to writing.

I love this book. I have to own it! There are a million ways that it’s perfect. I have to admit that I don’t read too much poetry but the way Acevedo tells the story of Xiamora through her poetry is beautiful and lyrical.


#The Poet X

Teen Book Review- The Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi


Wow! I just finished reading Tomi Adeyemi’s novel The Children of Blood and Bone. The story focuses on Zelie, a young girl who has silver hair, grey eyes, and the dark skin of a diviner – a group of people who has the possibility to hold magic in them but now it’s gone. People like Zelie are oppressed by King Saran, the ruler of Orisha fears them because at one time the Maji, diviners who have  magic used their power to destroy.

This book is like The Lord of the Rings meets The Black Panther.  It’s an epic journey that follows Zelie as she tries to bring the magic back to her people so that they can have the power to finally fight back. There are so many surprises , and twists and turns that I know your going to love this book because it really is a good as everyone says.

Teen Book Review – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas



I just finished reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This book was powerful and timely. The book is sort of nod a to the Black Lives Matter movement but not in a “in your face” kind of way. It tells the story of the friends and loved ones who lost someone to an unjustified police killing. It’s heartbreaking and honest. The story centers on the life of a teenaged girl named Starr Carter. Starr navigates between two worlds. One, Garden Heights, a low-income neighborhood that most people would deem as the ghetto. Garden Heights has gangbangers, drive-bys, and poverty but it’s also a place where people care about and love each other. The other world is the world of Williamson, a posh prep school in a predominately white suburb where she desperately tries to “fit in.” She has a white boyfriend, rich friends, and a chance to have a better life. Her two worlds couldn’t be more different, and because of this, she hides her life in the Gardens from her prep school friends.

One night while leaving a party with her childhood friend Khalil, the police stops their car and kills her unarmed friend, leaving Starr and the key witness and the only person who can fight for justice. She’s torn between speaking up for her friend and torn between keeping a low profile so she can continue blending in at Williamson.

She soon learns that it’s impossible to do both and soon finds her world crumbling when she is called to testify against the cop who killed her friend. This book will take you on an emotional journey that has you rooting for Starr as she tries to do the right thing.

It’s hard not to think about the deaths of other unarmed men and woman who the justice system has failed, but in the midst of reading the story, you’ll enjoy a beautiful coming of age story filled with teen crushes and first loves. It’s the kind of combination that keeps you wanting more until the very end.

Teen Book Review- Hollow City by Ransom Riggs


Hollow City by Ransom Riggs the second novel in the Miss Peregrine School for Peculiar Children series takes the crew of peculiar children on a journey to save their beloved headmistress Miss Peregrine who was trapped in the body of a bird after being kidnapped by Wights.

This novel introduces the reader to the world of peculiar animals and more peculiar children who are fighting to survive after Wights and Hollows have started to take over the loops created to protect them. This book has a lot more action and twists than the first. It all helps to keep it interested to the last page as I kicked myself for not having the next book on hand so I could start reading it!

Next book Library of Souls!