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Teen Corner Book Reviews

Historical Fiction

History is more than just a bunch of dates. Novels based soundly in the past can help us to better understand where we came from, where we are, and where were heading. Oh, and they make for some pretty fun reading too!


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Page 10 of 11


Stealing Freedom

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Carbone, Elisa(1998)
Stealing Freedom
Young Adult

I truly enjoyed the book Stealing Freedom. The book is about a slave's journey to freedom and the people who affect her. Ann Marie Weems and her family, excluding her father, have been slaves. Their master has never split a family, but when her family is separated she is saddened. When her father finds a way for everyone to be free Ann's master refuses to let her go. Ann tries to cope, but when she moves she meets more friends and falls in love, she is faced with a decision to escape and leave her beloved Alfred. I think you should check this book out to discover what happens to Ann, her family, and Alfred. This was a really good book and I recommend it for people who really enjoy Historical Fiction.

Reviewed by Alexis, Train Your Brain Summer Reading

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Reader's comments about this book

It is the greatest book I have ever read. I would recommend this book for ages 12 and up. It tells you a lot about what African- Americans had to overcome.
-Rebeckah, Charlotte, N.C.

This is a great book. It shows us a really vivid picture of the lives of African-American slaves.
-Michelle, MD

I LOVE this book! It is so inspiring to read the story of a girl my age doing something like escaping slavery. It's so cool!
-Jessica, Wyoming, MI

I love this book so far because a girl who is that brave is a girl who will have a great influence on young and old people. This book is really inspiring and I think that it should be read by more people.
-Jenny, FL

Excellent. A true novel. Anyone 7 and up. 5 stars easily. A great class book. Great excitement. Loved it.
-Ross, Gunter, TX

This book was truly amazing!
-Alyson, Nixa, MO

It was pretty kewl and vivid
-Melissa, Alexandria, Louisiana

I loved this book it was so amazing,and it truly shows how cruel slavery was and how well thought out the underground railroad was. I would recommend this book to any teenager- even if you are not a huge reader(such as myself).
-Nichole, MD

I love this book a lot!I like how it tells you the adventure of her running away and her feelings.
-Tierra, VA

This book was OK. It was sort of confusing to me, but I loved how it took place in my hometown.
-Brenna, MD

This book was amazing. i loved every page, especially the romance between Ann and Alfred.
-Tiana, NJ

Sorry to spoil the book, but its SO sweet how Ann gets married to Alfred...
-Alaa, Windsor, ON

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The Upstairs Room

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Reiss, Johanna(1972)
The Upstairs Room
Young Adult

The book that received most of my attention during Train Your Brain was The Upstairs Room. It reminded me of the Anne Frank story. It is about a young girl during the Holocaust. She and her sister have to hide in a room for two years. The two sisters were separated from their parents and they were scared. Eventually everything worked out for the best, and the worst...

Reviewed by Reniqua, Train Your Brain Summer Reading

Reader's comments about this book

This was a great book! You could learn so much about the past when the Holocaust was happening. It was sad but very interesting.
-Aly, California

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The Ransom of Mercy Carter

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Cooney, Caroline B.(2001)
The Ransom of Mercy Carter
Young Adult

It was a long march for the captives of the Indians after the fort at Deerfield, Massachusetts was taken over in 1704. Thirteen-year-old Mercy Carter started telling the other children to learn the Indians' names and they'll treat you better. Even though friends and relatives were killed, many of the children grew to like their new life and love not their capters now, but their parents. Readers of this novel will be able to better understand how some captives would have refused ransom and decided to stay with their adoptive families.

Reviewed by Mel B., North County Regional

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Reader's comments about this book

Awesome Indian captive story. Magnificent.
-Leia, Cornelius, NC

Catherine Cooney has gone to a new level with this book. Full of adventure, readers will be walking beside Mercy feeling her fears and will to survive against the odds in this harsh territory. I am now a Cooney fan!
-Michelle, Charlotte, N C

This realistic, well written story is very good.
-Jori, Midlothian, VA

Really good, great book. I loved it. Intense and interesting, you get inside Mercy's heads
-Anonymous, N/A

Outstanding historical novel. Used it in my fifth grade class in conjunction with the study of the hostilities between the English and French during Queen Anne's War in colonial New England.
-Paul, Westfied, MA

This is good and interesting.
-Kasandra, Ponca City, OK

An amazing and well-written book. It truly gets across the dangers of the French and Indian War.
-Marcus, Chisago City, MN

This is a great book, it gets right into the action quickly without getting too complicated. This story really paints a picture in my head of what the war was like. This great book also makes me feel as though I were there.
-Stephen, Greencastle, PA

This was an amazing, eye opening novel. Caroline was a magnificent and smart woman. This book would be recommended by me any time!
-Kathryn, Coral Spring, FL

This book is mesmerizing. I could not put it down. Well written and a quick read for adults. You must dig deep to understand why some children decided to stay with their captors and others return. Overall, this book should be recommended to all young people to read.
-Eme Funderburke, Roosevelt, New York

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Bud, Not Buddy

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Curtis, Christopher Paul(1999)
Bud, Not Buddy
Young Adult

Guided by a flyer advertising a musical group that had mysteriously upset his mother before her death, ten-year-old Bud (not Buddy) sets off on a journey to Flint, Michigan to find his father. Although Bud's mission and discovery is serious, the story begins with a comical scene when a son in a foster home attempts to jam a pencil in Bud's nose. This will make a great read-aloud with slapstick and laugh-out-loud humor.

Reviewed by Nancy S., Morrison Regional

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Reader's comments about this book

A very moving story about a young, orphaned boy who vows not to give up until he finds his family. A simple but touching story.
-Abby, Charlotte, NC

A feel-good book that will warm your heart.
-Michelle, Charlotte, NC

This book is actually really good!
-Keenah, Toledo

This book was touching. I really liked it a lot!!!!!
-Lydia, NY

This is a great book! I could not put it down. Every one should read it!
-Liv, Maine

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The Ballad of Lucy Whipple

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Cushman, Karen(1996)
The Ballad of Lucy Whipple
Young Adult

Lucy has been determined to return to her home in Massachusetts since her widowed mother moved her family to a small mining town in California to run a boarding house for rough and boisterous miners. Just as Cushman brought Medieval England to life in The Midwife's Apprentice and Catherine, Called Birdy, so she brings the western frontier to life using a strong-willed female protagonist. Lucy shares her miserableness and sense of injustice in this first person narrative, but it's the letters to her grandparents in Massachusetts that add a punch to the text.

Reviewed by Nancy S., Morrison Regional

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Reader's comments about this book

This humorous tale is from the view of a distressed pioneer, California Whipple. She hates her name almost as much as she hates the place she lives. So she changes it to Lucy Whipple. Through many trials and tribulations, Lucy realizes that life in the great west isn't the worst thing that could happen; and in fact, Lucy learns a great number of valuable lessons in her journey. Through and through, an enjoyable read! Another dazzling classic by Karen Cushman!
-Abby, Charlotte, NC

You must read this tragic story written in a humerous way. You won't be disappointed.
-Jori, Midlothian, VA

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The Devil's Arithmetic

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Yolen, Jane(1988)
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The Devil's Arithmetic
Young Adult

Hannah is tired of hearing about tradition and remembering Jewish history. People are always telling Hannah to remember, but one night with her relatives, Hannah no longer needs to remember, she experiences. Somehow, someway, when Hannah opens the door to Elijah, she is Chaya. A young, frightened Chaya living in 1942 with her Aunt Gitl. How did she get there? And what will happen to her? But suddenly, her life with Aunt Gitl spins out of control. The German soldiers take over her village, rounding up the Jews like cattle and taking them to a horrible place. "The stomach of a werewolf" Hannah calls it. A Nazi Death Camp. And when she returns, Hannah no longer needs to remember. She has experienced.

Reviewed by Abby F., Charlotte, NC

Reader's comments about this book

This book was a brilliant, dazzling tale of the Nazi regime, and brings to startling reality how truly horrific World War II was.
-Katya, Charlotte, NC

I thought this book was really good. I didn't really understand the Holocaust but now it is clear. It tells how people starved, sacrificed food for the younger ones! It's amazing how so many people cared about each other. But it is sad what the Jewish people went through! I think the author did a great job on this book!!!!!!
-Monica, Clarkesville, Georgia

It`s awesome!
-Riya, Pineville, NC

I read this book in school and watched the movie. It was sad, and I cant believe that Jews had to be hated literally to the point of death, and it`s sad that even this tragedy doesn`t open the eyes of the racist in our country.
-Ciara Jones, Charlotte, N.C.

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The Darkest Corner

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Herschler, Mildred Barger(2000)
The Darkest Corner
Young Adult

The eyes of Teddy, a nine-year-old girl, were drawn to the body swinging from a tree limb. The horror increased when Teddy recognized one of the men in white robes as her father. The author depicts what life might have been like for a girl whose best friend is black and whose father is in the Ku Klux Klan. The tension is there even in normally innocuous sentences, such as when her father says to her, "I want us to have a long talk as soon as we can, but I have a meetin' tonight." You can read more about the many children who participated in the civil rights movement in books such as Witness to Freedom and Freedom's Children.

Reviewed by Mel B., North County Regional

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Nightjohn

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Paulsen, Gary(1993)
Nightjohn
Young Adult

Sarny lives on the Waller plantation. One day a slave named Nightjohn comes to the plantation with Mr. Waller. In exchange for a lip of tobacco, Nightjohn begins teaching Sarny how to write letters. After a while, it is revealed that he was free at one time, but returned to the South to teach slaves to read and write. But slaves caught reading and writing are punished severely. So when Mr. Waller catches Sarny writing, he looks for someone to blame. The punishment he inflicts has a permanent result. This book is filled with meaningful dialogue and characters. Written from Sarny's point of view, it powerfully portrays injustice, wonderment of the written language, and a spirit of hope.

Reviewed by Jeanenne R., Steele Creek Branch

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Reader's comments about this book

It was a great book!
-Sam, New York

Gary Paulsen has written a wonderful story about the brutal history of slavery. I have enjoyed the novel very much.
-koula, Queensland

It was so action packed.
-Des, KY

I had to read this book in 5th grade an i didn't understand it as well, but now I read it in the 9th and I am well informed about what happen back then. This was a wonderful book.
-Shaishai, Mobile, Alabama

This book was really good, and I enjoyed it a lot.
-Lila, Milwaukee, WI

I had really enjoyed this book because it told of how this slave girl met a new slave night John and escaped seeing how she will live a better life as a free person not as a slave.
-Brandon, Brooklyn, NY

This book is a great read, with characters you will love and hate. I got a sense of what it was really like back then. I actually felt like I was a slave. Great job, Gary Paulsen.
-Danielle, London, Kentucky

A wonderful book.
-Narhonda, Texas

This is a wonderful story of courage and the power of knowledge. This book shows that no matter what you lose or gain in life, true knowledge can never be taken away.
-Evelynette, Detroit, MI

I had to read this book in 7th grade. I absolutely loved it. Its an amazing story and very heart touching. One of my favorites!
-Amy, CA

I love this book!
-Breanna, Mooresville, IN

I read this book this year in 7th grade! It was amazing! I absolutely loved it! I felt like I was in that time period with Sarney!
-Meagan, Brandenburg, Kentucky

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The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

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Avi(1990)
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The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
Young Adult

In 1832, thirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle is bound for Rhode Island from England in the Seahawk. After attending a school for proper young ladies, she is thrust alongside a mutinous crew led by a mad captain. She experiences a hurricane and three deaths on board which change the course of her life forever. Will she remain trapped in the "stultifying role of dutiful daughter" or will she choose her own destiny? Avi casts a sharp look at society and provides a suspenseful, adventurous sea tale.

Reviewed by Loretta T., North County Regional

Reader's comments about this book

This book is sooooo good!!! You have to read it!!! I love the way Charlotte speaks her mind.
-Laura, North Carolina

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle was a great book and I really enjoyed it. I thought it was fantastic because it showed how a young girl can come over so many obstacles when she really wants to achieve her goal. That is exactly what Charlotte Doyle did. I love all of Avi's books!
-Samantha, Train Your Brain Summer Reading

This book was written from a very interesting standpoint. Though I do not usually enjoy books that are set on a ship, I enjoyed The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle because the terms were made clear to you . You became familiar with the surroundings as Charlotte did, and you learned to love the characters. Also, this was an excellent introduction to colonial times.
-Britt, Houston, Texas

This book was sooo great!! When my teacher told us we had to read it, I didn't want to because I don't like to read a lot. As soon as I started reading the book I couldn't put it down. I read all the book and I got an A on my Charlotte Doyle test. I would recomend it to anyone.
-Erica, Atlanta, Georgia

This was a book I read at age 12, then read again later. I loved it, and it made me understand that sometimes, you must choose your own way in life - no one else can choose it for you. I really felt for Charlotte, and I felt so much joy at the end. You will love it too, boys or girls.
-Lauren, Charlotte, NC

Charlotte is a very spunky character that in scary situtations is very brave. This book is an excellent adventure story.
-Emma, Charlotte, NC

I read this book with my 3rd grade class, and it was great. I told my mom to read it and she loved it. I would recomend this book a 1,000 times. IT WAS SO GOOD!!!
-Monica, Nutley, NJ

This was a very inspiring book. It was pretty good even though I am not really into historical fiction-ish stuff that much. Really good, though. I really admire Charlotte.
-Kaitlin, Charlotte, NC

I think that this book is a great book for girls of all ages. It taught me that you need to make your own future based on the things that really matter to you. And obviously, you can tell how much sailing meant to Charlotte even though she had only been doing it for two months! When you find your passion you are able to tell right away that it is what you want to do for the rest of your life!
-Erika, Somers, CT

This is one of my favorite books- Avi is a wonderful writer.
-Kara, Lambert, MO

I love this book! I especially enjoyed the ending. It felt so real and the way it was written made me feel like I was in the story. An absolute must read.
-Elizabeth, Charlotte, N.C.

Man, I really didn't enjoy reading, but this book was enjoying even for me!
-Christian, Matthews, NC

This book is soooo cool I love it! Our 7th grade teacher made us choose a book and I'm lucky I chose this one:).
-Matt, NY

This is an awesome book! Our 5th grade teacher read to us about a chapter or two each day and it was so exciting! I would recommend it to anyone.
-Amanda, California

I was 12 the first time I read this book, and from the beginning, I was hooked. Now, four years later, I have lost count of how many times I have re-read this amazing story. Whenever I`m sick or bored, `The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle` is the first book I reach for on my shelf. It`s a wonderfully crafted book.
-Rae, Matthews, NC

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Time Capsule: short stories about teenagers throughout the Twentieth Century

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Gallo, Donald ed.(1999)
Time Capsule: short stories about teenagers throughout the Twentieth Century
Young Adult

We are now residents of the Twenty-First Century, but it never hurts to look back on the century before. Gallo`s anthology is a fascinating collection of stories, each of which is set in a different decade of the Twentieth Century. Especially interesting are `The Electric Summer` by Richard Peck, based on his aunt`s experiences at the St. Louis World`s Fair in 1904, and `Fourth and Too Long` by Chris Crutcher, about a young man who is kicked off his high school football team in the 1960`s because his hair is too long. All together these stories offer a compelling look at the century we have just left behind.

Reviewed by Snow W., South County Regional

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