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Teen Review: The House of the Scorpion

June 14, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (1)

Review by Prayash, member of the Dawes Road Youth Advisory Group

The house of the scorpion  by nancy farmerThe House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer is an extremely thought-provoking story. It is about an individual who faces many challenges in his life, including the sense of marginalization and his own identity being viciously judged by others. The main character, Matteo Alacrán, is a clone. He was brought to life by scientists who made him only to use his organs for transplanting them into his original “owner", who also happened to be a powerful drug lord in Mexico. Matteo's life story wasn't supposed to be a long one. He lived in a dark abandoned shed, never to have seen daylight. He had never experienced a life outside of his own area, and was far from understanding basic human characteristics. After all, there wasn't really a point. He was only made to be used.

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Teen Review - A Thousand Pieces of You

May 2, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Sohinee

A Thousand Pieces of You
The concept for A Thousand Pieces of You, by Claudia Gray, is both beautiful and insane. It's a book about destiny, fate, parallel universe, with actions and sprinkled with romance making it an all around amazing read. The book is about, without giving too much, a daughter, Marguerite, of two scientists who figured out how to 'dimension hop'. After a an orchestrated car accident caused her father's death, Marguerite chases her father's killer, her parent's graduate student, Paul, through parallel dimensions. Marguerite is so very relatable. She doesn't know anything about her parents work, parallel worlds, but she wants to do the right thing. Overall the book was a great read and bits and pieces of other genres. I would recommend this book to all fans of the Shades of Magic trilogy by Victoria Schwab



The Firebird Trilogy

A Thousand Pieces of You Ten Thousand Skies Above You  A Million Worlds With You

Place a hold on A Thousand Pieces of You, by Claudia Gray, read the ebook or listen to the eaudiobook.

Place a hold on the second book in the Firebird Trilogy, Ten Thousand Skies Above You, read the ebook or listen to the eaudiobook.

Place a hold on the third book in the Firebird Trilogy, A Million Worlds With You, read the ebook or listen to the eaudiobook.


Teen Review - The Leveller

March 22, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Asifa, Cedarbrae Youth Advisory Group member

The leveller  by julia durangoThe Leveller is a novel about a game that allows a person to play with their minds in a virtual-reality gaming world while they are asleep, or in a sleep-like state. The protagonist of the book, Nixy Bauer, is a girl whose job is to bring kids back from the virtual-reality game if they have been in it for too long. When the game’s developer (who, mind you is quite rich) finds out that his son has decided to “commit suicide” by staying in the game, he decides that Nixy should be the one to go after his son and take him out of the gaming world. Turns out, the guy is actually stuck in the game and cannot get out. It’s up to Nixy and the boy to figure out how to get out of the gaming world.

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Anti-Valentine's: Recommended Reads for the Unromantic

February 9, 2017 | Amy | Comments (0)

Pink hearts everywhere. Candy that says “Be Mine, Valentine”. Pet names and mushy stuff. Maybe it just isn’t for you. So here’s a list of books we recommend that are romance-free-zones (at least 95% romance-free, anyway), with no love triangles in sight.

(A. J. Hartley)
High above the city, Ang works a dangerous job repairing chimneys, towers, and spires as a steeplejack. Death from a fall is a real possibility, and even the best of the best sometimes take a spill. So the death of Ang’s apprentice from an apparent fall isn’t that surprising. But when Ang finds out that her apprentice was murdered, the crime is overshadowed by the greatest theft her city has ever seen. Determined to unravel the mystery and find justice for her friend, it isn’t falling to her death that becomes the greatest danger to Ang…

This novel is hard to put down once you get started, full of action and excitement from the very beginning. Hopefully a sequel will be in store, too!

Recommended for fans of Parkour, bungee jumping, or girls who kick butt.

There’s also a short-story prequel, available as an eBook!


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Teen Review - Frostblood

January 10, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (1)

Review by Fariha, with "thanks a ton to HBG Canada for providing me with an ARC! All quotes are from the ARC and are subject to change."

Rating: 2/5 stars
Release Date: January 10, 2017

Frostblood coverFrostblood by Elly Blake was one of the 2017 releases I was eagerly waiting to get in my hands because it’s a High Fantasy novel by a Canadian author that involves powers of frost and fire, a deadly tournament and a thirst for revenge. What more could a girl want? Possibly for the book to be actually good, whoops.

As excited as I was, the very first chapters disappointed me. I hadn’t realized that the book was in first person, which is my least favourite of the POVs (2nd person might be slightly uncomfortable but it’s interesting) and I find 1st person to usually be very un-atmospheric in fantasy. I also wasn’t a fan of the writing style, it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t unique or memorable. The events that were occurring seemed abrupt but not engaging. I felt my hopes for the book crashing around me as I read the first couple pages. Also, the beginning of the book required empathy, or at least sympathy, to make any impact from the readers but there was nothing that made the reader empathetic. Oh, look, something terrible that happens in literally every other book happened! I care so much!

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Your Bookmark Here: Vassa in the Night

January 8, 2017 | Cameron | Comments (0)

VassaIn the mystical and magical land of Brooklyn lives Vassa and her not so pleasant stepmother and constantly  bickering step sisters. The wealthy and glamorous people put on their absolutely adorable shoes and go out partying often. There is a huge cultural divide between the upper class people and the working class and they don't mix. Magic is often to be found and dealt with but many times it is wiser just to leave magic alone. 

The local convenience store is run by Babs Yagg (think legend Babba Yagga) who has no issues with beheading shoplifters or dealing with people with her own personal sense of justice.  One night Vassa is sent out by her bickering step sisters to get light bulbs. This is very much a death sentence as she knows what can happen at the convenience store, but she herself has her own little piece of magic that she carries with her. Vassa just may be able to free her Brooklyn neighborhood from Babs but only if the playing field is level and fair. 

Vassa in the Night is a thrilling modern take on a fairy tale. Indulge yourself and give it a read.

Place a hold on Vassa in the Night, by Sarah Porter.        

Top Ten Teen Holds of 2016

December 27, 2016 | Debbie | Comments (0)

Want to know the hottest books of 2016? Well, a lot of great teen books were published in 2016 and we've rounded up the most popular for you. These were the top ten placed on hold at Toronto Public Library this year. These books are in hot demand, so place your holds now!

The Crown The Glass Sword United as One Lady Midnight The Last Star

Court of Mist and Fury Torch Against the Night The Fever Code Stars Above Raven King

  1. The Crown, by Kiera Cass (ebook)
  2. Glass Sword, by Victoria Aveyard (ebook)
  3. United as One, by Pittacus Lore (ebook)
  4. Lady Midnight, by Cassandra Clare (ebook)
  5. The Last Star, by Richard Yancey (ebook)
  6. A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah Maas (ebook)
  7. A Torch Against the Night, by Sabaa Tahir (ebook)
  8. The Fever Code, by James Dashner (ebook)
  9. Stars Above: A Lunar Chronicles Collection, by Marissa Meyer (ebook)
  10. The Raven King, by Maggie Stiefvater (ebook)

Teen Review - Red Queen

November 25, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Reviewed by Sohinee

Red Queen coverA world with two races of people: one with red blood and one with silver blood. Silvers, high class people with different abilities. Reds, lower class people slaving away their lives to live and survive Silver cruelty. Mare Barrow, a thief and a Red girl trying to make ends meet. While trying to scrounge up money for her best friend to prevent him from being shipped off to the war, Mare falls into Silver hands as they discover she, a girl with Red blood, has Silver blood. Mare becomes betrothed to Prince Maven when her powers are discovered. She becomes split between who she is and what they are forcing her to become.

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UGLIES reviewed

November 3, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Vaishnave

UgliesUglies by Scott Westerfeld is good in my opinion but it didn’t leave me in awe or wanting more. The book is about a 16-year-old girl named Tally who is waiting to have a plastic surgery operation to make her pretty. Everyone goes through this process and she can’t wait to party in New Pretty Town. Her best friend Shay doesn’t want to turn pretty. She runs away to the mysterious camp called Smoke where her boyfriend David awaits, leaving Tally a set of puzzling directions in case she changes her mind and decides to go too. But Tally wants to be pretty and she is excitedly awaiting the surgery and has no wish to run away.

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CODE WHITE reviewed

October 30, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Reviewed by Catherine

Code whiteA Code White in a hospital means a bomb threat. Big hospitals, like Chicago's Fletcher Memorial, get these threats on an annual basis. All have been resolved without incident, except for the next heart-stopping twelve hours.

Scott Britz-Cunningham has written a thriller, combining his top notch medical knowledge with a science fiction twist. And the scary part is, the technology may be possible in upcoming years at your local hospital.

Inside fictional Fletcher Memorial, a medical breakthrough is happening. A blind boy is getting a brain implant replacing his broken visual center. The medical team behind this consists of Ali O’Day the neurosurgeon, assistant to the head of neurosurgery, Dr. Helvelius. Kevin O’Day, creator of the artificial intelligence Odin, is still kind of in love with Ali, but Helvelius is too.

Read to find out: who gets their heart stopped, shocked, restarted, and flatlined.


October 28, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Reviewed by Fariha

The rose societyIt is easier to obey without a tongue, and easier to kneel without legs.

A couple months ago, I had read The Young Elites and attempted to read Rose Society. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in my Young Elites review, I couldn’t get through the book and I had to put it down. However, I decided to pick it up again a couple months later because everyone was just so enamoured by it. This time, I’m glad I got to the very end because, while I still thought the first two-thirds of the book was boring, the last 100 pages has me intrigued and excited about Midnight Star.

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END OF DAYS reviewed

October 27, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Sohinee

End of DaysDystopia, romance, bad-ass female lead? The Penryn and End of Days trilogy is the perfect series for you. I've never read anything more down to Earth and realistic, than this series, even though it is set in a post-apocalyptic world that fallen angels are tearing apart. Penryn isn't a Katniss, nor is she a damsel in distress. She is a relatable girl who deals more with apocalyptic problems such as protecting her sister and estranged mother, than with chasing after boys, which was been one of the plots in many dystopian novels. Don't get me wrong there is romance, but its natural growth of emotions than a love at first sight sort of a thing. 

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TALON reviewed

October 13, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Sophia, age 18

Talon-book-coverDo you like fire-breathing dragons? Are you interested in fantasy? Well this is the book for you!

Talon is one of the most phenomenal books I’ve read in a long time.

There’s something for everyone whether it’s secret societies, dragons, soldiers, adrenaline-filled action and adventures. Talon has it all!

From the very first line, “Observe. Assimilate. Blend in,” I was hooked instantaneously by its scintillating and cryptic meaning.

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October 9, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Sohinee, age 16

A court of mist and fury -coverUsually sequels never live up to the high expectations of the first book but A Court of Mist and Fury exceeded expectations. Author Sarah J. Maas depicted Feyre as such a sympathetic and broken character that we couldn't help but share her pain, anger and loneliness. We see her trying to to fit in the Spring Court, adapting, trying to love and care. Her nightmares are so vividly described that we can imagine it. Along with Feyre we also see some changes in other characters: Lucien, the fae who almost had her killed, attempting to defy Tamlin's orders to help Feyre, Tamlin shutting her out and treating her like property and lastly Rhysand, the cold and cunning High Fae, who killed and tortured other faes, we see a side of him that was unexpected.

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October 8, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Reviewed by Sanjana, age 18

Cursed childI personally really liked Cursed Child. It answered many questions readers had from the ending of the Harry Potter series, and quite frankly, left us with even more (in a good way). People say that they didn't enjoy it as much as the original Harry Potter books because it was "too different", but there's one major factor that they aren't considering (apart from the fact that J.K. Rowling wasn't the only author): the style in which it is presented is completely different. It is presented in a script format versus the regular narration format to which we are so accustomed.

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GLASS SWORD reviewed

October 6, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Reviewed by Cedarbrae Youth Advisory Group member Shree

Glass swordVictoria Aveyard did it again with the sequel of Red Queen, Glass Sword. This begins from the point it was last left off. Mare Barrow is now on the run from the new king of Norta, Maven, who has reached a whole new level of evil and crazy in this book. Mare knows she has got to find all the newbloods on her list before mavens find them. Cal has been locked up all this time, as he cannot be trusted but still Mare longs to save him and redeem herself; but the Scarlet Guard do not support her opinions. So with a small group of followers by her side, she decides to find every newblood out there and train them for the battle that is coming towards them.

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THE CROWN reviewed

September 29, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Reviewed by Cedarbrae Youth Advisory Group member Shree crownThe Crown, the last installment of the Selection series by Kiera Kass has been one of the most anticipated books of this year. The journey that began with America Singer and Prince Maxon, continued by their daughter Eadlyn, ended with this book. And it was a lot to take; unlike the first three books of the series which had been about the selection of Prince Maxon. The Heir was something else, it introduced us to a new character, Eadlyn Schreave – the queen to be, who won the race by seven minutes. Her selection story became complex in the fourth book and left us with such eagerness that only the Crown could end.

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September 9, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Fariha

The_Hero_of_Ages_-_Book_Three_of_MistbornWell this trilogy has totally messed me up. I love it so much. This trilogy might be my favourite trilogy ever. Ever! If you haven’t read Mistborn, just read it. Read it. It’s incredible and scientifically proven to be impossible to dislike. READ IT. This trilogy reminded me of the reasons why I am madly in love with High Fantasy. The action, the plotting, the magic, the intricate world-building, ahhhh!! Speechless

The different point of views were great once again. It’s one of my favourite things about the novels because they make me feel so much closer to the cast of characters. True, not everybody could pull off multiple 3rd person POVs but Sanderson seamlessly weaves the different POVs together to create the masterpiece.

This was an incredible ending to an incredible trilogy and I’m very happy with it. Admittedly, it did not wrap up everything with a bow nor did everyone go on to live happily ever after and I did shed some tears but I was also blown away.

One of my favourite things is how many details and events from the first and seconds books, no matter how small and insignificant it may have seemed like at the time, played huge roles and revealed secrets in this novel. This shows how carefully planned the story arcs and worldbuilding is.

As of now, I only have two complaints about the trilogy. Firstly the writing style. It is not bad by any means and it more than gets the job done but it doesn’t feel like magic. I like my fantasy to have a certain type of prose, as if I myself am reading magic itself but the novels read in a more Sci-Fi Dystopia way. This isn’t necessarily bad and it’s just a personal preference but it sometimes threw me off.

Secondly, I would’ve liked a couple more female characters. True, we had Vin, Tindwyl, Ariellene and Beldre. However, only Vin felt like she was one of the main characters (the only female one) and Tindwyl was only in one of the three novels. The others, while pretty clever or just alright, weren’t as badass as either Vin or Tindwyl and I wanted Vin to have a girlfriend or two with whom she could seek company. Yet, most main characters were male and the women, while kinda important, were seen more as so-and-so’s girlfriend/wife/lover. That really frustrated me at times.

If you have yet to read this trilogy for some insane reason, do pick it up. This is now one of my all time favourites because of its worldbuilding, characters and character development, the humor, the adventure, the politics and how Brandon Sanderson does not cower away from anything. The amount of times things have seemed hopeless in these novels are uncountable, yet the characters pulled through by being clever and using their wits and talents. This is definitely a must-read for Fantasy fans.

Read Fariha's reviews of the first two books in the series:

The Well of Ascension

The Final Empire


Teen Game Review : Overcooked

September 3, 2016 | Christine | Comments (0)

Review by Chelsea, age 12
  Overcooked by Ghost Town Games Poster Image

Overcooked by Ghost Town Games is a fun, cooperative game for your and your friends! It involves a great amount of teamwork, quick thinking, and of course, cooking. Can you master the art of cooking and save your city by feeding the meatball beast?

The pros of the game are:

  • it will improve your communication and teamwork skills
  • you could learn some new cooking recipes
  • you'll have fun!

The cons of the game are:

  • it's not fun if you don't have a friend around
  • you should be prepared for lots of yelling and impatience at the beginning of the game

My friends and I spent hours playing this game! It's a difficult challenge: you have to make a selected amount of recipes within a period of time! In the beginning (or tutorial), a monster appears, and it's hungry. You and your friend(s) work hard to create many salads for the monster! When you're finally finished, the monster is still not satisfied. So, the man that you are with opens a time portal and all of you escape! He brings you back in time to learn the ancient art of cooking, so you can save the city when you're ready! Are you up to the challenge?

Four Teen Reviews by Tiffany

September 3, 2016 | Christine | Comments (0)

Reviews by Tiffany, age 18


A story about hope in an enchanting world with a unique protagonist – it will leave you breathless.

Atlantia by Ally Condie Cover ImageAlly Condie’s Atlantia left me in pieces. I was literally brimming with emotions by the time I put this book down at 2:30 in the morning. The novel teaches us about the consequences of prejudice and stigma through the divide between humans and “sirens,” both of whom are living in an underwater world, a place they call “Below.” These “sirens” aren’t mythological sirens, but are actually a rare group of people with the ability to control “normal” people with their voices. Instead of revering the sirens’ power, people shunned them for it. This resulted in some sirens being placed under the watchful eye of Below’s leaders and other sirens hiding their powers, such as the protagonist, Rio. She and others like her know that others will fear them just because of the powers with which they were born. And, needless to say, throughout this novel, we’re taught that sirens aren’t just monsters. They are humans, too. Different, as Rio mentions, but still humans.

The characters in the novel are wonderfully unique and realistic. Rio, for example, isn’t super trusting of others, but she isn’t hostile to them either. She’s quiet and isn’t loud-mouthed, but at the same time, she isn’t meek or a pushover. She’s got dimensions to her, rather than having just a single dominating trait to her.

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The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage

August 31, 2016 | Alice | Comments (0)

Thrilling Adventures of L&B coverCharles Babbage created plans for a calculating machine. Ada Lovelace read them and added notes that included the first glimmers of computing. Computers were nowhere in sight and were still a century away... but what if they weren't? What if these two teamed up and created this machines, turning it to problems of all kinds, including crime-solving? This is the starting place for this fun romp in graphic form that also gives real historical context in footnotes that will satisfy even the most curious historian. Originally a webcomic series, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage makes for a hefty book all collected together, but it also means it can be read in episodes that keep it nicely paced. 

Teen Review: The Darkest Minds

August 27, 2016 | Alice | Comments (0)

The Darkest MindsReview by Jamia, age 12

The Darkest Minds, by Alexandra Bracken, is a book about a disease roaming around in the United States causing death rates to increase alarmingly. Children in the United States are getting powers because of this disease. The story is about a girl by the name of Ruby Daly going on an adventure and understanding her powers on the way.

I feel that the Darkest Minds is a great book for anyone who loves a good dystopian and/or loves X-men. This book is quite long but you'll enjoy every chapter. Good thing this book is in a series, because it made me want tor read more about Ruby and the hardships she has to go through. The Darkest Minds is a unique book that I'm sure many will love.

Teen Review: The Hunger Games

August 26, 2016 | Alice | Comments (0)

Hunger GamesCoverReview by Mishaal, age 13

The Hunger Games has been very famous among teens lately, everybody kept recommending it to me, so I finally decided to check it out. Believe it or not, this book (along with the others in the trilogy) are now right at the top of my list of favorites! Suzanne Collins (the author) wrote this story with the perfect blend of thrilling action, mystery, adventure, suspense and even a little bit of romance! The story unfolds in the country of Panem, which stands where a place called "North America"  used to be. Every year, the wealthy and powerful Capitol of Panem holds the "Hunger Games" to remind the rest of the twelve poor and struggling districts of Panem, that they are indeed, under the complete power of the Capitol.
What are the Hunger games, you ask?

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Teen Review: City of Bones

August 25, 2016 | Alice | Comments (0)

City of bonesReview by Zainab

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare is easily the best fantasy book I have read. Most people find it crazy when I say I hate fantasy. I hate it and I can put up a fight because of it. City of Bones has been a life changer for me, I am not joking.

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Book Review: Unwind

August 6, 2016 | Alice | Comments (0)

UnwindUnwind, by Neal Shusterman

Review  by Kate

I first stumbled upon this book after seeing a short film inspired by a chapter in this novel. I thought the film looked cool, so I decided to read the book. The story follows Connor, Risa and Lev, three kids from very different backgrounds who have been marked for unwinding. "Unwinding" is the process where parents can give up their child to have their body parts and organs harvested, and reused in someone else's body.

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