two-sentence book reviews, part 1 (young adult fiction)

back in the day, i used to post a full review in an individual blog post for every book i read. after rebooting my blog in the late fall of 2009, i changed that practice to posting 3 or 4 “mini reviews” at a time — one paragraph each.

but in 2011, i’ve gotten behind, and haven’t posted any reviews. i kept meaning to, but just didn’t get around to it. so, i’m catching up. and i’ve decided to do it in a different way, since i have 27 to post.


for each review, i only allowed myself two sentences. in each, the first sentence is a summary of the book, and the second sentence is my opinion of the book. i’m still giving 1 – 5 stars (5 means “excellent”, 4 means “worth reading”, 3 means “ah, take it or leave it”, 2 means “take a pass on this one”, and 1 means “do NOT buy or read this book – it sucked, imho).

up first — 7 young adult fiction books:

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, by Josh Berk
3 stars
A deaf boy chooses mainstream schooling and winds up solving a murder. There could have been so much to mine in a coming of age story for the deaf protagonist, but the murder mystery gets tacked on, feeling like a mediocre Hardy Boys plot.

Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story, by Adam Rex
4 stars
A pudgy unpopular 15 year-old gets “turned” and realizes he’ll be this way forever. Good fun, and a great way to look at the inner life of a 15 year-old (who would want to stay there?).

Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver
4 stars
The 2nd-in-command of a “mean girls” pack has to re-live the day of her death over and over, hoping to learn some lessons along the way. Great writing and good insights, though a tiny bit cliché.

Delirium, by Lauren Oliver
4 stars
In a future time when the government controls everything, and every adult has been medically “cured” of the “disease” of love, a 17 year-old female narrator wrestles with love and free will in the weeks before her procedure. A bit sappy at times (surely, teenage girls would love this), but a very well written story with more social commentary and insight than most young adult fiction.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan
3 stars
Two identically named teenage boys, with separate (and eventually, coincidentally colliding) stories wrestle with loneliness, sexual orientation and friendship. Well written, but heavy handed in its agenda.

Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly
5 stars
A suicidal American girl finds herself and redemption from her guilt while unraveling the mystery (at times, mystical) truth about an 18th century political fugitive in Paris. Stunningly written, with fascinating detail; it’s rare to see compelling young adult fiction mixed with chunks of historical fiction.

Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys
5+ stars
A Lithuanian teenage girl narrates the story of her family being carted off by Stalin on a crushing journey across Siberia. Insightful and honest; the best YA fiction I’ve read in a while.


categories still to come for the remaining 20 two-sentence book reviews: memoir (3), illustrated novel (3, leadership (3), theology/christian living (3), youth ministry (2), fiction (2), and ‘other’ (1).

5 thoughts on “two-sentence book reviews, part 1 (young adult fiction)”

  1. Revolution is a GREAT book! I haven’t read such a good book in a long time. Thanks for letting me borrow it marko!

Leave a Reply