I know I haven’t posted any teen book reviews recently, but now that my committee work is done for a little while I had some time to catch up on reading for fun!

Nil by Lynne Matson Nil cover

I’d heard about this book from another librarian who told me it was one of her favorite teen books of 2014, and now I can definitely see why she loved it.  It’s the story of a girl who disappears one afternoon from a Target parking lot and finds herself transported to a very unusual place.  The island of Nil is populated by a variety of warm-blooded creatures, including cats, dogs, warthogs, hippos … and humans.  We see this amazing and dangerous place through the eyes of Charley, who just arrived, and Thad, who arrived 267 days ago.  This is a great page-turner filled with action, suspense, and romance, and it would be an excellent choice to recommend to fans of The Maze Runner.

Moon Knight: From the Dead by Warren EllisMoon Knight cover

This is a gripping and imaginative story about a masked vigilante with a black-and-white sense of justice.  The book is broken up into a series of stories in which we learn about Moon Knight and we see him use his detective skills, his fighting skills, and his mystical abilities to fight all different kinds of criminals.  He reminds me a lot of Rorschach from Watchmen, which probably explains why I found his character so dangerous and so appealing.  The artwork by Declan Shalvey is especially impressive, featuring black-and-white and color images that can capture the quality of a fever dream.  This is a Marvel graphic novel set in the Marvel universe, but you can enjoy it even if you don’t follow their other titles.

The Fourth Lion by Jeff Ayers and Kevin Lauderdale The Fourth Lion cover

Full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from co-author Kevin Lauderdale, but I warned him that if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t review it.  So you see, if I didn’t like it we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.  Okay?  Okay.

This is the story of a group of high school students who find themselves tangled in an international scandal … but they don’t realize that at first.  All Jake and his sister Kayla know is that Jake’s best friend Amar has gone missing, and that there are several confusing aspects to his disappearance.  The first is that Amar lent Jake a very unusual laptop shortly before he disappeared, and the second is that Amar’s father (the Indian ambassador) doesn’t seem to be overly concerned that his son is missing.  As the story unfolds, the cast of characters slowly expands and we see the teens using their collective brainpower to try to unlock the laptop’s contents and to figure out what happened to Amar.  The story is both exciting and smart, and the teenage characters talk and act like actual teenagers.  By which I mean they spend part of their time using the problem-solving parts of their brains and part of their time getting pleasantly distracted by their romantic interests.  Readers will enjoy watching the teen protagonists use everything from modern high-tech skills to Sherlock Holmes stories in order to solve the mystery.

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