New Reviews: Summer 2018

What have we been doing this summer? Reading! Lots of reading.

Not only are we excited to be bringing back the quarterly update with our latest reviews, but also to use the cool new tools built into the site.

    • Click the book cover and go straight to the full Reading Tub review.
    • Use the Tabs to get a quick excerpt to get one-sentence reader reaction, the author’s name, and genres.

BTSYA read lead succeed

Last but not least, look for the Be the Star You Are! logo. These are the books read and reviewed by Cynthia’s Teen Star Reviewers.

Picture Books & Easy Readers

Binx the Jinx

Young readers (cat lovers or not) will instantly love Binx and cheer Gin. They’ll also be attracted to the bright colors and illustrations.

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Author: Michelle Hird
Genre: Feelings and Emotion; Friendship

Blue Ocean Bob Discovers His Purpose

BTSYA read lead succeed

Beautiful illustrations and an inspirational message will appeal to young readers and adults alike.

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Author: by Brooks Olbrys
Genre: Concepts, Inspiration, Personal Growth, Series

Gloria’s Voice; The Story of Gloria Steinem – Feminist, Activist, Leader

Excellent, reader-friendly presentation of societal views in the 1950s-1970s, and the role that Gloria Steinem played in changing opportunities for women. The illustrations are wonderful and there is detailed information about various spreads in the back that make them even more special.

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Author: Aura Lewis
Genre: Biography

Up in the Leaves; The True Story of the Central Park Treehouses

Simple, descriptive text complements beautiful illustrations. Colorful expressions of Bob’s adventures, but subtle enough to make for a great bedtime story, too.

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Author: Shira Boss
Genre: True Story

Middle Grade

Anton and Cecil: Cat’s Aloft

This is a book that begs to read aloud! It is a fun, fast adventure and the suspense is paced well, inviting readers to keep reading.

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Authors: by Lisa Martin & Valerie Martin
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Series

The Doldrums

Friendship and family take center stage in this story about a boy who has adventure in his genes! With this ensemble of engaging, quirky characters, there is great (if sometimes subtle) humor, too.

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Author: Nick Gannon
Genre: Adventure, Family, Humor, Series

The Titanic Mission, The Fantastic Four Book 2

Readers will be spellbound not just by the adventure but by all of the facts about the Titanic itself.

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Author: Dan Gutman
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Series

The Downward Spiral, Lock & Key Book 2

BTSYA read lead succeedPlenty of action and suspense create a compelling mystery you can’t put down. The writing drops the reader into James, Moria’s and Sherlock’s world and takes them on a thrilling ride.

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Author: Ridley Pearson
Genre: Mystery, Family, Series

The Scavengers

Suspense, adventure and humor fill this story from beginning to end. Anyone who likes zombie-like creatures will love this book.

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Author: Michael Perry
Genre: Adventure, Science Fiction (Dystopia)

Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate

If you have a swashbuckling adventurerer in your house, you’re going to want to travel the high seas with Timothy.

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Author: Adrienne Kress
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy

The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts

Oliver has an innocent voice and readers will cheer for his future success. The short chapters help move the story quickly, adding plenty of action to the story.

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Author: Avi
Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction, Family, Series

Wicked Bugs

The Meanest, Deadliest, Grossest Bugs on Earth

Short chapters, “cute" illustrations, and section headings like “Serious Pains" and “Unwelcome Invaders" will have readers busy for hours. We especially love that you don’t have to read the book in chapter order.

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Author: Amy Stewart
Genre: Animals, Nonfiction

Young Adult

This collection also includes crossover titles.

2 States; The Story of My Marriage

BTSYA read lead succeed

2 States is written beautifully and will appeal to teens and young adults. It is an engaging, captivating, and interesting story.

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Author: Chetan Bhagat
Genre: Relationships, Diverse Characters


Short chapters packed with suspense will keep you reading, and Daisy’s spunk and resourcefulness will have you cheering!

Of Note: There is violence, and Gritting is definitely a creepy dude.

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written by: Tania Unsworth
Genre: Horror, Mystery

Flatland; A Romance of Many Dimensions

BTSYA read lead succeed

Math, physics and science fiction lovers will be over the moon for this book.

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Written by: Edwin A. Abbott
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance

Time and Again

BTSYA read lead succeed

Fascinating and quick-paced, Time and Again will keep readers not only turning pages, but wondering about time travel themselves.

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Author: Jack Finney
Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
BTSYA read lead succeed

A summer read you can’t help but enjoy.

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Author: Jenny Han
Genre: Coming of Age / Growing Up


Plenty of action and suspense keep teens turning the page, chasing zombies and other bad guys.

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Author: Michael Thomas Ford
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy