Reviews written by Angela Blount, Staff Reviewer

252 results - showing 1 - 15
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Ordering
June 18, 2019 (Updated: June 18, 2019)
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Young Adult Fiction
Pain Is A Monster

4.5 Stars This low-fantasy middle grade story is at once hefty and heartrending—despite its relative brevity and target audience age. Thirteen-year-old Conor O’Mally has a lot to deal with. His mother is ill, and has been for some time. His father abandoned them...

June 12, 2019
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Young Adult Fiction
Lost and Found?

A first-person past-tense telling exclusively from the perspective of Maia, a depressed high school sophomore with some ambitious—if half-formed—plans for running away from home just before summer break. (She doesn’t seem to see it as running away so much as setting out to find her reclusive whale scientist mother.) ...

April 02, 2019
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Intro to Earthsea

“The wise needn't ask, the fool asks in vain.” My first exposure to Ursula K. Le Guin’s work, I’m a little sorry to say. I’m not sure what’s taken me so long… but I CAN now see some of her influences in more recent...

March 19, 2019
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Young Adult Fiction
A Superb Foray Into Sci-Fi

Sanderson raises the YA sci-fi quality bar in this high-flying story of human survival, friendship, legacy, loss, and confronting enormous odds. “Sometimes, the answers we need don't match the questions we're asking." … "And sometimes, the coward makes fools of wiser men.” ...

March 12, 2019
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
Eustace Returns to Narnia

Set somewhere around a year after the events of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace Scrubb remains much better off for having had the experience. Back at the fairly dreadful school he’s attending in the real world, he encounters a crying classmate named Jill. In attempting to lift her...

March 07, 2019 (Updated: March 07, 2019)
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Young Adult Fiction
Down With The Matriarchy

The dark YA fantasy tale of a brutal matriarchy, and its vicious method of choosing its rulers. On an island kingdom steeped in magic and sadistic tradition, triplet girls are always born to the ruling queen. When they come of age, it is expected...

March 03, 2019
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)  
 
4.0
Learning Value 
 
4.0
Archaeology and Faith

A reading experience that combines the Bible with actual archaeological finds and information—bringing scripture to life in a more vivid and academic (yet accessible) way than children typically encounter. The book is divided into two distinct sections. The first 85 pages convey select portions of the Old Testament, and the...

February 23, 2019
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Young Adult Fiction
The Cult Life

Told entirely from the first-person perspective of Minnow, beginning from the point she is arrested and placed in a juvenile detention facility. At first, her unreliable narration leads readers to think she has been placed in this facility because it’s suspected she somehow caused death and destruction at the isolated...

February 16, 2019
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Young Adult Fiction
A Classic Retold

Based loosely on the tale of Cinderella, The Blood Spell is the fourth standalone installment for the Ravenspire series of fairytale retellings. On the surface, this book is in the same vein as many a dark YA fantasy. The magic system involves fae, wands, and transmutation; with...

December 10, 2018
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Land O The Lost

Consider this a sort of D&D primer for intro-level youth. Told in second-person present-tense, this fantasy is styled after the beloved choose-your-own-adventure books of yore. It also features a vast array of renowned D&D art, with works ranging from sepia to full color. As...

December 10, 2018
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
You are ALMOST a Wizard...

Told in second-person present-tense, this fantasy is styled after the beloved choose-your-own-adventure books of yore. It also features a vast array of renowned D&D art, with works ranging from sepia to full color. As the story opens, you are given a more extensive backdrop of information than...

November 24, 2018
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Choose Your Own Escape!

Told in second-person present-tense, this fantasy is styled after the beloved choose-your-own-adventure books of yore. It also features a vast array of renowned D&D art, with works ranging from sepia to full color. As the story opens, readers know two things: that you are a human fighter,...

November 24, 2018
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Choose Your Own Quest!

Nostalgic parents rejoice! Told in second-person present-tense, this fantasy is styled after the beloved choose-your-own-adventure books of yore. It also features a vast array of renowned D&D art, with works ranging from sepia to full color. The story opens with you knowing just...

November 10, 2018
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Young Adult Fiction
In Space, No One Can Hear You

X-men Gen X (i.e. the teen version) meets Aliens-lite in this survival-in-space story. Told in first-person past-tense from the sole perspective of a junior guard named Kenzie, the story takes place on a corporation-run orbital prison for juveniles. The book is a mashup of reliable tropes:...

November 06, 2018
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Young Adult Fiction
Angst In Space

Sporting a diverse ensemble cast, this book is rife with themes of team-building; and not simply setting aside differences but learning from them. The storytelling is split between 4 third-person POVs: Vesper—the overly driven daughter of an emotionally constipated Admiral, Cormak—the hotshot orphaned identity thief (er…...

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