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Teen Corner Book Reviews

Humor/Satire

"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility," according to James Thurber. Whether you are looking for slapstick, irony, or quirky characters, these books will make you laugh out loud.


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So Not Happening

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Jones, Jenny B.(2009)
So Not Happening
Young Adult

Bella’s mother has just remarried and is forcing her to move to Oklahoma from New York City. Not only does she have to give up her friends and her boyfriend, but now she has to live on a farm(!) with her annoying stepbrothers and her stepfather, who she’s sure is hiding something. To make matters worse, a blog entry she writes describing her new life is leaked all over school, making her the girl that everybody hates. Now officially friendless, Bella stumbles upon a mystery (while investigating the school cafeteria’s trash for the newspaper – ew!) involving several football players and a dangerous secret society. This fun novel mixes humor with a bit of teen angst and just enough suspense to keep even reluctant readers interested.

Reviewed by Christine B., South County Regional

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Missing the Boat: The Offered Salvation and Inevitable Demise of the Churamane

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Chinsang, Wayne(2008)
Missing the Boat: The Offered Salvation and Inevitable Demise of the Churamane
Young Adult

Noah has just sent out invitations to come join him on a fabulous cruise he is having. Only the species selected by God get to come so they may continue their race after The Flood. Not everyone gets an invite, but two lucky Churamanes do. There is a reason you have not heard of the Churamanes. Sadly, the Churamanes are lazy and definitely not the smartest because they miss their time slot to hitch a ride aboard Noah`s great ark. As the rain starts, the Churamanes reflect on the life they have had together with their many litters of babies and the love they have for each other. This feel-good and funny graphic novel will have you laughing, but also appreciating the little things you have in life.

Reviewed by Maeve C., University City Regional

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The Absolute Value of Mike

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Erskine, Kathryn(2011)
The Absolute Value of Mike
Young Adult

Mike is in trouble! His genius father took a job for the summer overseas. Mike is sent to his great-aunt and uncle’s house to stay. Mike’s father thinks the relatives have lined up an elaborate engineering project that will get Mike, a less than stellar student, into an elite high school and prepare him for college. What Mike finds when he arrives are elderly relatives teetering on the edge of competency, a town full of equally unique individuals, a $40,000 adoption bill due in just weeks for a town scheme, and no engineering project. How will he explain everything to his dad? How will he get through the summer? You’re sure to laugh as you discover “the absolute value of Mike!”

Reviewed by Larisa M., Morrison Regional

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Curveball: The year I lost my grip

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Sonnenblick, Jordan(2012)
Curveball: The year I lost my grip
Young Adult

Peter Friedman, star pitcher, ruins his arm the summer before his freshman year of high school and wonders how he will ever cope with the loss, let alone tell his best friend and pitching partner AJ that he won’t be playing baseball anymore…ever. After a bumpy start, Pete’s freshman year starts to improve as he gets closer to Angelika, the cutest girl in his photography class, but life is still throwing curveballs. While he struggles to prepare for the inevitable talk with AJ, Pete also worries about his grandfather’s increasing bouts of forgetfulness. Will Pete fess up and stop keeping secrets or will he strike-out with everyone he cares about? Sonnenblick’s honest character-driven novel will have you crossing your fingers for a homerun.

Reviewed by Tracy P., Independence Regional

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Uncommon Criminals

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Carter, Ally(2011)
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Uncommon Criminals
Young Adult

Kat is not in the family business but not truly out of it either. She is still a thief, but now she has a higher purpose. She is returning items to their rightful owners. When she is approached by an elderly woman with a sob story about the infamous Cleopatra Emerald, it could be deadly. For this job, she will need her crew or at least some of them. There are only 2 problems. The first one is that family members have been forbidden to steal the Emerald. The second one is that the jewel is cursed. Tragedy has befallen everyone who has ever touched the Emerald. Can they pull it off and get the Emerald to its rightful owner, or will they be caught?

Reviewed by Linda K., North County Regional

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Being Nikki: an Airhead Novel

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Cabot, Meg(2009)
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Being Nikki: an Airhead Novel
Young Adult

In this sequel to Airheads, Emerson is settling into supermodel Nikki Howard’s life, sort of. Because of her work schedule, she misses lots of classes. She hates posing for the pictures everyone wants to take, but she needs to keep up the charade to keep her family safe. The amnesia story is believable enough for most of Nikki’s friends, until Nikki’s brother arrives at her door and tells her that their mother is missing. The problem is Nikki’s brother does not believe she is Nikki, or the amnesia story, so now he thinks his sister is missing as well. Emerson feels like she has to help him; he is her family, kind of. How can Emerson help without angering her all-powerful employer, and her real family?

Reviewed by Linda K., North County Regional

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The Daughters

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Philbin, Joanna(2010)
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The Daughters
Young Adult

Lizzie, Hudson and Carina have been friends since they were little. They have one major thing in common, they all have famous parents. Lizzie Summers is tired of her supermodel mother, Katia, making her stand for pictures. Doesn’t her mother know that she isn’t pretty and the photographers don’t want her picture? That is until a couple of journalists ask her what it feels like to have the hottest mom in the world. She forgets the rules for a moment and tells them what is really on her mind. Oops! When the video they took goes viral, things change. Lizzie is approached by a photographer who thinks she is the new face of pretty. Can Lizzie’s friends help her navigate the often dangerous media world?

Reviewed by Linda K., North County Regional

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Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature

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Brande, Robin(2007)
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Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature
Young Adult

Have you ever lied to your parents? Mena hated lying, but she had to. Mena was looking forward to the start of school, until Denny and the letter she wrote him ruined her life. Now it is going to be awful sitting through classes with the Holy Rollers who used to be her friends. It seems luck is on her side when she gets paired with someone new as her science partner. He doesn’t judge her about the letter to Denny. He is funny and smart. Things would be fine if she could get out of all the lies she told her parents so that she could go over to his house and work on their science project together. What’s a girl to do?

Reviewed by Linda K., North County Regional

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How to Be Popular

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Cabot, Meg(2006)
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How to Be Popular
Young Adult

Steph Landry has been picked on by the popular kids since she spilled a red big gulp on Lauren in the fourth grade. This is the year everything changes for her. Since finding the book “How to be Popular” earlier this summer in the attic of her soon-to-be step-grandma, Steph has been planning her rise to popularity. Steph uses the steps in the book to win the popular crowd over or at least get them to notice her. The first week of eleventh grade changes her life, but is it for the better? Of course, Lauren, her worst tormentor, is resistant to her moves especially when her quarterback boyfriend, Mark Finley, is nice to Steph. What will happen now that Lauren is out for blood?

Reviewed by Linda K., North County Regional

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Heist Society

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Carter, Ally(2010)
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Heist Society
Young Adult

All Kat wanted was a normal life. After Kat pulled off her biggest job, she was out of the family business. Or so she thought. When the headmaster’s car was found on the fountain, security cameras point to her as the culprit. Kat got kicked out of school. Her father is in trouble and they have a limited time to help. He is accused of stealing paintings from someone who is bad to the bone. Kat’s father didn’t do it; he was in another country. Kat and her friends can save him by stealing the paintings back. But the paintings are in the most secure building in the world. How can she and her friends pull off their biggest job in just a few short days?

Reviewed by Linda K., North County Regional

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