Reviews and Recommendations

Noteworthy Book Review

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

A Book Review by Vanassa LaFleur, West Orange Public Library Teen Book Reviewer

Jordan Sun, a junior theatre major at Kensington-Blaine Boarding School, hasn’t landed any auditions since she first arrived at the school, and it was becoming critical. It didn’t help that she had an alto voice, when most parts were for sopranos. She almost gave up until she had an idea; it was so crazy it just might work. The Sharpshooters, the elite all-male a cappella group, had an opening available. With that opportunity and her low voice, Jordan Sun became Julian Zhang and a roller coaster of events ensued.

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate is a relatable novel that deals with many real, teen issues like gender identity, sexuality, relationships, and many more that appeal to much of the young adult audience. I personally really enjoyed this book because of how it broke so many norms in regards to society. It is an example of coming to terms with oneself through difficult situations that many teens experience. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys books relating to music, theater, or just a very relevant realistic-fiction novel


When Dimple Met Rishi Book Review

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

A Book Review by Mariana S., West Orange Public Library Teen Book Reviewer

When Dimple Met Rishi is a story of young love between two young adults who just graduated high school written by Sandhya Menon. Dimple just wants to go to her dream college, Stanford University; but, her old-fashioned Indian parents want her to get married to a guy they already picked, Rishi. When Dimple first found out that her parents picked out Rishi, someone she doesn’t know, to be her husband she totally freaked out. The last thing on her mind was marriage and she didn’t want to even date this Rishi guy. Dimple had a hard time agreeing with her parent's views, she wanted to find a man on her own time, and of her own choice. Rishi, on the other hand also had Indian parents and was the complete opposite of Dimple, he agreed on everything his parents wanted for him. He believed that his parents knew what was best for him. Even though deep down, he didn’t want to do what he was told to do. When Rishi first found out about how his parents agreed on him dating Dimple, he was ready to date her. How will Dimple and Rishi handle the situation at hand? Is it possible for them to at least become friends? Will Dimple and Rishi ever date?

This book shows how love can happen in the least expected ways. I would highly recommend this book for readers who love stories based off of romance, friendship, and diversity.


The Odds of Lightning Book Review

The Odds of Lightning by Jocelyn Davies

A Book Review by Arthi Sivendra, West Orange Public Library Teen Book Reviewer

Three years ago, Tiny, Luella, Will, and Nathaniel were the best of friends for as long as they could remember. However, after one fateful summer, this all changed, high school began and they all went their separate ways.

Believing she is unremarkable and unimportant, shy Tiny has dove deeper into her shell. Luella and her large personality have taken to the stage of the school theater. After reinventing himself, Will is almost unrecognizable as the popular co-captain of the soccer team. And Nathaniel has kept complete focus on his studies, trying hard to live up to the near impossible standards his brother has already set.

Now, the night before the SATs, they cross paths once again at a party during one of the worst storms the city has ever seen. Though they are reluctant to dig up the memories of that one all but forgotten summer, fate sends them on an all-night adventure through the streets of New York City teaching them that sometimes you need to look to the past to make way for the future.

Jocelyn Davies vividly writes fully developed characters whose flaws make them relatable to teen readers. The text switches from the present to the past to reveal aspects of the story and characters as the main plot progresses, this keeps the readers interested while still preserving key events until they are relevant to the plot to have them make a bigger impact. In addition to the past and present text, each chapter is narrated from the perspective of one of the four protagonists. This allows the readers to understand the characters on a deeper level in order to empathize with them and become invested in their journey. Davies intertwines magic and science to create a wonderful reading experience. I would highly recommend The Odds of Lightning by Jocelyn Davies for teens who enjoy well written, magical stories about the strength of friendship.



When the Moon Was Ours Book Review

When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore 

A Book Review by Emma, West Orange Public Library Teen Book Reviewer

When the Moon Was Ours is a peculiar book about a girl and a guy who are trying to find their identity in life. Although many people find this book inspiring, I found it a bit hard to get through. I usually like my books to be fast paced, so a slower paced book is a change for me. The author also used symbolism throughout the novel which I found difficult to understand at times. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to complete this book, but if you enjoy symbolism and slower paced books, I’m sure you would like this book. When the Moon Was Ours was not the perfect match for me, but it could be yours.


Alex and Eliza Book Review

 Alex & Eliza by Melissa De La Cruz 

A Book Review by Vanassa Lafleur, West Orange Public Library Teen Book Reviewer

Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz is a historical fiction novel that follows the lives of founding father Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler on their journey to love during the Revolutionary War.  Elizabeth, also known as Eliza, is the middle sister of the Schuyler family, one of the most prestigious at the time. She is a modest woman who is passionate about fair rights for all and winning the war, unlike her sisters, Angelica (who is sharp-tongued and witty)  and Peggy (a belle whose beauty can’t be beat). Alexander is a colonel and an aide-de-camp to General George Washington who grew up on the island of St. Croix with a tough childhood. When they first meet at a ball thrown by Mrs. Schuyler, they could never have imagined what was to come in the future. Of course it would come with its fair share of trials and tribulations along the way. Together, they would eventually become one of the most influential couples in American history. 

This book is perfect for lovers of historical fiction, romance, and the Broadway show, Hamilton: An American Musical,much like myself. The author herself was inspired to write the book after seeing it in New York City. The novel is full of tiny references and nods to the play through both chapter titles and dialogue. In addition, there is a little bit of everything. Some action takes place as well as moments of suspense. The way that their unique but beautiful love story is told will make your heart swoon and keep you glued to the book. I personally finished this book really quickly as I found myself continuously wanting to know what would happen next. You can find out more by picking up the book in the library today! I highly recommend it. - Vanassa Lafleur    


Pushing Perfect Book Review

Pushing Perfect by Michelle Falkoff

A Book Review by Arthi Sivendra, West Orange Public Library Teen Book Reviewer

Kara Snow has always been known for being perfect in every aspect of her life. From being at the top of her class and having a seemingly picturesque family, no one could imagine Kara as anything other that perfect. Unfortunately, Kara is not as perfect as she seems. Inside, she is crumbling under all of the pressure, whether it comes in the form of her social life or academic woes. Having gotten used to throwing up as many walls as possible to avoid people finding out the truth, Kara is terrified at the prospect of anyone seeing that she is anything but perfect.

The problem with everyone thinking you’re perfect is that it becomes so much harder to keep up the act. Soon, Kara gives in to her overwhelming anxiety and does the unthinkable: she breaks the law. Her out-of-character actions land her in a completely new and exciting world with unlikely friends. However, Kara finds out this new world comes at a price. Kara is surprised to find herself being blackmailed by an anonymous person who somehow knows all of her secrets. Scared and confused, Kara and her new friends grow closer as they work together to uncover an intricate drug-plot lying under the surface of their pristine city streets all while trying to keep their own wrongdoings under wraps.

The high-stakes atmosphere of the novel will keep the readers intrigued as to what happens next and the mysterious blackmailer will leave them wondering who they can trust. The pacing is fast enough to be interesting, especially when the main conflict of the story arises. In addition to the text’s action-driven plot, fellow teens will be able to identify with Kara’s insecurities and stress associated with being a high school student. Kara learns to deal with these relatable feelings through the strong bonds she creates with her friends, which is an important lesson for any young reader. Pushing Perfect by Michelle Falkoff takes its reader on a fun adventure as Kara learns that maybe being perfect is not all it is cracked up to be. 

This book is recommended for any teen who enjoys realistic fiction with some added suspense and adventure. 


The Sun is Also a Star Book Review

Review written by Emma, West Orange Public Library Teen Book Reviewer

Review of: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

   The Sun is Also a Star is a deeply inspiring book that is absolutely breathtaking. Nicola Yoon, the author, takes the reader into what seems like an ordinary day in New York City. Although, this day is anything but ordinary. To be more precise, this day consists of 12 hours filled with intense emotion. What heightens the book to another level is that the author tells the story from two different points of view. The first is told from a girl, Natasha, whose life revolves around logic and facts. Her life takes a dramatic turn because she finds out that she is hours away from being deported to Jamaica. The second point of view is from Daniel, a guy whose life is filled with passion for poetry and love. He’s grown up to be the son that makes his parents proud, after all, his parents do hold high expectations. When the two bump into each other on the crowded streets of New York City, Natasha never expects to fall in love with Daniel, a person who seems like he has grown up in a completely different world.

Nicola Yoon has easily become my new favorite author because of this unforgettable book. I can promise you, this book will be extremely hard to put down, as I know from completing it within a couple of days. This book is for those who are the looking for a spectacular book that seems like it is based on reality, not a sappy romance novel with a predictable ending.



Delirum by Lauren Oliver Book Review

Review written by Emma, West Orange Public Library Teen Book Reviewer

Review of: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

In a dystopian society, love has been classified as a serious disease, so serious that it took 43 years to find a cure. In Lauren Oliver’s outstanding book filled with great passion, she presents the story of 17-year old Magdalena Haloway who is growing up in a society in which love is a crime. The day she turns 18, she will be forced to undergo a procedure that supposedly cures her of a disease that is within every person: Love. She saw first-hand the way love dismantled her mother and is determined not to go down the same road. In fact, she is eager to get the procedure over with so she can be normal and fit in with everybody else. But what happens when emotions are threatening to get the best of her and Magdalena meets an exotic boy from the other side of the tracks? With only a matter of days before her surgery, what will she do?

Delirium is a book for anyone who has ever wanted to take a risk in life and follow your heart. It is for people who are looking for that one book that makes you think, “Wow, that was really good!” Delirium was nearly impossible for me to put down, and I know the same thing will happen to you.


My Seventh Grade Life in Tights Book Review

Review written by Cynthia Makachi, Teen Advisory Group Member

Review of: My Second Grade Life in Tights by Brooks Benjamin

Hey everyone! This is Cynthia from the library's Teen Advisory Group. A book that has recently released that I would like to recommend is My Seventh Grade Life in Tights by Brooks Benjamin. I was able to read an advanced copy of it and I just have to say it is an amazing book. It really brought me into the world of dance and the complications it can bring to someone. It also was an extremely funny book alongside true friendship and finding one's self. For any reader, especially realistic-fiction readers, I highly recommend reading My Seventh Grade Life in Tights.


Crenshaw Book Review

Review written by Kristen Julia Anderson, Teen Librarian

Review of: Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

I finally got around to reading Katherine Applegate’s novel Crenshaw.  The book is about a young boy whose imaginary friend, Crenshaw a giant Black and White cat who enjoys bubble baths and purple jelly beans, returns unexpectedly and just when he is needed most.

Those who enjoyed My Neighbor Totoro may draw parallels between the two tales, after all Crenshaw is first described as a giant cat carrying an umbrella on a surfboard and one of the most well-known images of Totoro (a sort of cat-like creature) is of him holding a tiny umbrella in the rain waiting for the cat bus.

Also like My Neighbor Totoro, Crenshaw depicts an imaginary friend who may or not be a child’s way of coping with a highly stressful situation. Crenshaw depicts a family’s struggle with homelessness as shared through their son’s, Jackson’s, point of view. Whether or not Jackson fabricates Crenshaw to deal with his family’s situation, the loss of home and stability, or if Crenshaw appears because Jackson needs him is hinted at but never explained, but that only adds to the wonder of the book.

While I can see older readers enjoying this book as well, I especially recommend it for middle grade reader’s 4th-6th grade.