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Teens Talk About Award Winners

2013 February 8
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Now that we have all had a chance to talk about the Youth Media Awards, it’s time to hear what teens think about the books and authors that won. Here is what they had to say:
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth WeinCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book

Abbie, 16 says:


Since for the first half of the book I couldn’t really identify the plot, the individual characters really kept me reading. I liked Von Lowe a lot, despite his obvious shortcomings, but then again he was only doing what he was ordered. I liked how his character showed that people, even if they are Nazis, cannot be generalized or judged right away. I also liked Verity/Julia. You never, ever read a book where the heroine completes such an immoral crime — and I really appreciated that (in this book). Although I was mad at her sometimes, I never hated her for her crimes, because honestly I would have done the same thing in her place.

Of course, that’s what I thought before I realized she wasn’t a coward at all and actually quite a genius, but anyway … When Verity’s section ended, I was like… “Um, there are still like 100 pages left, and I’m done with the book…?” But that’s where the intrigue really picked up. I started to see how everything laced together, and couldn’t stop reading.

I wish I could recommend this to like everyone I know! It is just such a unique, original book. Unlike any WWII book I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot of them.

Abigail, 12 says:

Two best friends, one is a pilot one is a spy, they crash land in German occupied France. The passenger and pilot get separated. Will these two friends find each other again? Read this book if you like adventure and suspense. What I liked was that she was so descriptive. I recommend this book to all readers who are seventh grade and up. The only thing I didn’t like was the cussing. But someone who is captured wouldn’t say “oh darn,” so I understand. Otherwise this book was a great read, and it had me on the edge of my chair the WHOLE time. Another thing I liked about this read was how it has Julie writing half, and then it has Maddie writing half. Elizabeth Wein showed fantastic talent and great potential. One last thing, I love how Julie has different identities all through her life as an agent. Once again, it shows how great Elizabeth’s writing is! I was glad I read this book.

The Fault In Our Stars by John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars, written by John Green, narrated by Kate Rudd, and produced by Brilliance Audio
Odyssey Award Winner

Chloe, 16 says:

I have read ALL of John Green’s other books, and I must say, this one seems to stray from his usual formula, and I couldn’t be happier about that. Plus, it has a fantastic sense of humor (“Lonely, Vaguely Pedophilic Swingset Seeks the Butts of Children.” LOVE IT <3), interesting characters, and a neat ending. No loose ends. I couldn’t tell you the purpose of the book to save my life, but I definitely don’t regret the time I’ve spent on it.

Jenny, 14 says:

A relaxing read, Green will charm readers with his language. This is a book about facing problems most teenagers won’t have to deal with, but a lot of teens will be able to connect with the characters’ feelings. Finishing the book with a bittersweet ending, Green will leave readers thinking about all the things we ought to be thankful for.

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth FamaMonstrous Beauty, written by Elizabeth Fama, narrated by Katherine Kellgren, and produced by Macmillian Audio
Odyssey Award Honor

Claire, 12 says:

I love the way the book is putting two stories together. It is like a cloth wound of yarn of history, mystery, love, and the supernatural. It takes a long time, but until the last stitch, it is confusing and makes you wish to see more. This is a wonderful book. It is a historical mystery with magic and supernatural twists. It kept me on my seat.

Gina, 17 says:

I have grown up with stories of the supernatural my entire life, and I believe that this book was a great portrayal of them. Whenever there are mermaid stories, authors sometimes classify them as mere seafolk that are wonders around the world. However, mermaids were originally cast off as monsters and dangerous creatures. I was excited to find out that Elizabeth Fama used that aspect to write her novel. She uses her knowledge of the supernatural in a divine way. Even when she added the concept of ghosts into the plot, I felt that it blended in nicely without them just popping up out of nowhere. Elizabeth Fama is an amazing author. She wrote of the characters in great detail and thoroughly described the events and thoughts of the characters in a sense that I truly believed it could have happened. I also enjoyed that the author wrote with a word choice that was easy for teenagers to contemplate and understand while also using a more sophisticated vocabulary.

Abbie, 16 says:

With all the random time-traveling happening, the mysterious people appearing from the past, the church stuff goin’ on, and Hester being all like, “Oh I can’t be in love!”, I kept thinking … “How on earth is the author going to wrap these up, or at least connect them?!” At this point, I still don’t know, because I didn’t finish the book *guilty shiver*. But that’s good news — I still want to know, because that means I am going to finish it, or at least skip to the end and read that. (I try not to, reading the ending first is like the worst thing you can do to a book, but I might have to because life is too short to read every single book you want, sadly.) If the book doesn’t properly wrap up at the end, THEN I will be disappointed. So far … The whole “people from the past” doesn’t sit to well with me. Fantastical creatures are acceptable in books like these, but to add in time travel or hallucinations or whatever they are seems a bit fantastical or far-fetched. Ironic … too fantasy for fantasy.

Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. DanforthThe Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth
William C. Morris Award Finalist

Emily, 14 says:

I really wanted to like this book, but I felt like it was really overwritten. The big turning point in the book didn’t even occur until page 242, more than halfway through the book, and Cameron’s character wasn’t compelling enough to really make me care about her. Because of this, I began skimming through long descriptive passages in the book to get to the dialogue, and eventually stopped reading the book altogether. If the book had been shorter and the conflict had arisen sooner, I think the book would have been a lot more interesting.

Bomb by Steve SheinkinBomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

Preston, 13 says:

The book intertwines different story plots that are each related to each other in a different way. However I found that some of the language that’s used could be removed from the book to make it cleaner. A very fascinating book. A perfect nonfiction book.

Riley, 16 says:

Bomb is a fantastic read. I am a voracious reader, and was concerned that a non-fiction, young aduilt book would not be enjoyable. Wow, was I wrong. Bomb is a fantastic literary review of the “cool” part of world history. Everyone learns about World War 2 in school. Yet I was never privy to the amount of espionage that went on surrounding the development of the worlds most devastating weapon. Overall a very enjoyable read. I may make an unusual compliment: even though I am very familiar with what this book talks about, I wasn’t in the least bit impatient as I read this book. A joy to read.

— Kate McNair, currently reading Muchacho by LouAnn Johnson

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