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Book Review: A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton

When Ari learned she was the next in line to receive the ages-old curse of Medusa, she wanted to deny and ignore her tremendous powers. But with Violet held captive by Athena and the twisted games Athena is playing with all those Ari holds dear, including kind-of boyfriend Sebastian, Ari has no choice but to accept and implement her powers, even if it means losing herself.

Ari’s story went from gripping to binding. I couldn’t put it down until I had read every last page, and then I checked for more. With chilling descriptions and grotesque games, this is a novel for older readers. Ari faces a timeless dilemma of fear versus love that is made fresh by the Greek lore and the darkness of New 2. It’s a creative masterpiece with just the right combination of mystery, action, romance and heartbreak. With its relatable characters, this pair of books, Darkness Becomes Her and A Beautiful Evil, will always be in my Top Ten.

Reviewed by Marissa, grade 9

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Book Review: The Wild Queen by Carolyn Meyer

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This is the story of the headstrong and confident Queen of Scots, Mary Stuart. From her early years in Scotland to her last years lived out as an English prisoner, this is a book that leaves a reader with great sadness at the way poor Mary’s life crumbled into ruin. Once a fearless leader, prepared to rule her country as well as France, her power was slowly stripped from her by the betrayal of those she loved and trusted most.

I had never before heard of Mary, Queen of Scots, but now I cannot get her somber story out of my head. Betrayed and abused, ill and injured, she resisted as much as she could, determined to be a strong Queen for her people. In the end, she was mocked and hated by her subjects and charged with a murder she had no part in. Yet still, in her last hours, she was majestic and queenly, regardless of the twenty years she had been imprisoned. An eye-opening experience for older readers.

Reviewed by Marissa, age 15

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Book Review: The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone

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When Louise gets a love note she doesn’t know what to think. She suspects the neighborhood pizza boy and while deciding if she likes him she uncovers the secrets and memories to a story she made herself forget.

I love the way the author describes friendship. Louise and her friends give a really good example of what a true friendship is and means. However, the character acted too young for her age and the book was too predictable. Also, some sections didn’t contribute to the story and the book went off topic a lot.

I’d rate it two stars –  I’ve read a lot better. I was disappointed at how good the author’s other books were and how young this book seemed.

Reviewed by Madison, age 14

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Book Review: Swear by Nina Malkin

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Just when Dice’s life is tipping back towards normal, (aside from her cheerleader-turned-goth cousin) she finds that her powerful gift is required again — this time to locate best friend Marsh’s missing boyfriend. Who is really controlling this twisted game — Dice or Sin? This novel is even more powerful than the first (2009’s Swoon) — the characters pop and the tension of an irritatingly unwanted love traingle makes Dice and Sin’s love sizzle.There was nothing I didn’t like about it. The cover is full of mysterious splashes of foreshadowing — I like it more now I’ve read the book. This is a powerful and enjoyable read. I recommend it to all those who enjoy practical, realistic magic.

Nina Malkin seems to grow stronger as a writer in this second novel. The love triangle she creates is much stronger with an increase in tension and need. All of her charaters are more defined and her descriptions are more vivid. Even Dice’s unique and quirky voice is strenghened. The twists and supernatural elements are very well handled, making Swoon — and all that happens in this little town — more captivating.

-Marissa, age 15