Middle & High School Book Reviews

We are seeking book reviews from middle and high schoolers! If you’re interested in writing a short review (a sentence or a few) or a long review (a paragraph or more) about a book you’ve recently read, please email the review to Caitlyn Clark, Children’s & Young Adult Librarian, at cclark@clamsnet.org.

The Vanishing Trick

The Vanishing Trick 
By Jenni Spangler

This is her first book for children.  Anyone who likes mysteries will like this.  It is an amazing book.  It is mysterious, exciting, and a little bit scary.  

There are four main characters.  My favorite is Charlotte because she seems a bit rude and negative at first but then she becomes sweet.  Felix is the calmest of the three kids.  The three things he loves best are his missing brother Isaac, his violin, and third, his best friend Charlotte.  Leander is an orphan who is stealing to survive.  One day he meets Madame Pinchbeck, who is the perfect villain.  She steals children and captures them.  She is “beautiful, magical, and powerful.  She will offer you safety … but at what price?”  

The book is magical and the illustrations are wonderful.  There are no illustrations inside the book but I liked the cover art, especially the fancy key and keyhole.  Ms. Spangler’s writing kept me engaged – it was a page turner that I wanted to read all in one day.  It was impossible to put down.

The ending was my favorite part but I won’t spoil it.  It was a lovely book.  I hope she writes more books like this one.  If she does I will be looking forward to reading them and writing more reviews.  I would say it was for ages 7 and up.

By Elsa K. 

Violet and the Pie of Life

Violet and the Pie of Life by Debra Green

Twelve-year-old Violet views the events in her world as math problems: conflicts that pi, charts, and calculations can solve. When it comes to her parents’ arguments, she uses math to graph the number and intensity of fights per month, and a division calculation to show how they actually do more things than just nag and complain.

Math makes Violet feel calm, even when she’s dealing with the recent absence of her father who left her and her mother, grasping onto the strands of a tumultuous friendship, and navigating middle school. The pages include drawings of equations, graphs, and flow charts that make Violet’s love of math more relatable to readers. These details also make the plot’s problems clearer for visual readers and learners.

Violet teaches readers what to do when they’re feeling awkward around new friends, such as asking to sit with a new group of friends in the cafeteria. It’s a story of broken homes, imperfect friendships, the stress of a school play, and exploring new relationships.

When readers first meet Violet, she’s tolerating her parents’ constant bickering, but by the end she understands that she can thrive in a world where she and others are allowed to make mistakes and learn.

Violet and the Pie of Life

Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams

The book I am reviewing is “Grandpa’s Great Escape” by David Walliams.

David Walliams writes lots of exciting, adventurous kids’ books.

In this book, a boy named Jack saves his Grandpa from something really BAD (I won’t spoil it) because he loves his Grandpa so much — even more than his parents! The book is exciting, adventurous and so BRILLIANT!!! His books are very funny too! It had parts about World War II and I learned all about the RAF (Royal Air Force) and Spitfires.

I love the way the author describes the characters and I love the art on the cover and the illustrations.

I think it’s a lovely book and everyone should read it.

P.S. another of my favorite authors, Roald Dahl, was in the RAF and flew a Spitfire in World War II.


By Elsa K.