Category: Teen Books

ascendance 1 asendance 2

Synopsis:  In the kingdom of Carthya, a royal prince is missing.  A fiendish plot finds the royal family dead (although no one knows it yet) and four pretenders trying for the crown.  Full of twists and turns that leave the reader learning secrets as fast as the characters, this is a great plot with a lot of action and intrigue.  In the second book, the character who becomes king must save his country from the pirates in a most unusual way.

Ben:  This book had me looking back several times because the main character revealed things I hadn’t noticed earlier.  The plot was good and very engaging with a twist at the end.  At the very end you get the “wait, what!” factor that makes you read the whole book again.

Mom:  I love a good action plot that is clean and focuses on great writing, not shock value.  This book really makes you think about the plot and how you could have missed certain things.  I love the way that the main character, Sage, hides his thoughts from the reader and almost from himself, so you have to reconstruct your perspective several times.  Clever and engaging!


Heros-Guide-Galley-Cover1Synopsis:  Do you think you know who Prince Charming is?  Think again!  This book tells the story of four Prince Charmings who inhabit four familiar fairytales – Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and Snow White.  Each Prince is his own person with very different personalities and failings and goals.  They ban together after being rejected by their respective princesses to save their kingdoms.  Fate sometimes works in their favor and sometimes  against them, with totally hilarious results.

Ben:  Totally awesome! Made me laugh so hard my family thought I was insane. I could not put this book down.  Such a great twist on the “Prince Charming” stereotype.

Matthew:  I couldn’t put it down. This has to be the best “fairy tale” I’ve ever read. All the characters have funny personalities and back stories that really add to the book.

Mom:  What a delightfully funny book!  Most fairytales only interest girls, but this one immediately caught my boys’ attention.  I laughed out loud a few times!  Everything here was respectful of marriage.  Three princes were not yet married to their princesses; one was married and happy but got really lost.  (You’ll understand when you read the book!)  I highly recommend this book – can’t wait for the sequel.

InfinityRing-book1-flatcoverSynopsis:  Infinity Ring is a series like 39 Clues, where each book has a different author.  The premise is that history has been altered by the evil SQ corporation, and needs to be put right before the world collapses into chaos.  Our heroes, Dak, Sera, and Riq, have missions from the rebel group Hystorians in which they must correct the breaks in history.  This first book sets the backstory, and lands the adventurers in the time of Christopher Columbus.  Once the book is completed, there is a separate adventure/game on the website involving a different time period.  Each book will have a separate bonus adventure on the web.

Matthew:  I liked the Infinity Ring series.  The plot really got my attention.  My favorite parts were actually the sarcastic remarks the characters said when they were arguing.  This book combines two of my favorite story elements: time paradoxes and humor.

Mom:  James Dashner is one of my favorite authors and he has a wonderful creative imagination.  The book was engaging and funny and a very quick read.  It almost belongs in the steampunk genre, with lots of fun changes to modern history that kids are sure to pick out.  I hope that future authors keep to the same line, with no swear words or inappropriate situations.  I spent about 2 hours playing the online game, which is set in the French Revolution.  It was somewhat challenging, but not so much that a preteen would give up in despair.  The graphics are really cool.  All in all, this is cool enough that it will tempt a reluctant reader to give it a try.

8100267From the  inside front cover:  A powerful secret.  A dangerous path.

Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets.  Only his father knows the truth about Rigg’s strange talent for seeing the paths of people’s pasts.  But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him – secrets about Rigg’s own past, his identity, and his destiny.  And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.

Rigg’s birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead.  He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent  . . . or forfeit control of his destiny.

Matthew:  A very intriguing book, in particular the dealings with time. Card has a whole new take on the time paradox, which was confusing at first, but eventually grew to be my favorite part of the book. If you are interested in mysteries, space exploration, time exploration, and the many possibilities of evolution this is the book for you.

Mom:  Wow!  I thought about this book for a long time.  There are two separate and very different plot lines which converge at the end in a surprising way.  Unlike Card’s Enders’ Game, this has no bad language, which makes it a much more readable book.  Since the plot is so complex, I wouldn’t recommend this for younger readers.  I found it fascinating!


From the inside jacket:  As champions of the Brotherband competition, Hal and the rest of the Herons were given one simple assignment: safeguard the Skandians’ most sacred artifact, the Andomal.

They failed.

To redeem themselves, the Herons must rack down the thief Zavac and his pirate crew and recover the Andomal.  But that means traversing stormy seas, surviving a bitter winter, and battling a group of deadly bandits willing to protect their prize at all costs.

In the second chapter of John Flanagan’s companion to the blockbuster series Ranger’s Apprentice, the Herons learn that even Brotherband training and the help of Skandia’s greatest warrior may not be enough to ensure that they return home with the Andomal – or their lives.

Ben:  Truly exciting, adventurous, I read for three hours straight and loved it.  If you ignore this book, you are a sad person.  I really liked the fact that there were a lot of sailing terms. You could almost be there in the action.  It was easy to follow and not confusing.

Mom:  I like to read John Flanagan for a couple of reasons.  First, there is little in the way of objectionable material.  No swearwords, no sexual suggestiveness, no moral relativism, just a good clean adventure.  There is some violence, because this is a book about battles and fighting.  But the good guys are really good and the bad guys are really bad and deserve what they get.

That brings me to the second reason I enjoyed this book.  Mr. Flanagan’s main characters are good people who are trying to do good things.  They have flaws and faults, but they are  constantly trying to improve and change and they are aware of how their actions affect those around them.  I think most teenage boys connect to that and would like to sail with them.  If you just want to escape for a few hours, this book (and all of the Ranger’s Apprentice series and the first Brotherband Chronicles) will do the trick.

Welcome to Family Style Books!

Want to find a great new teen or middle-grade book to read?  We can help!  Our family enjoys reading and we often find ourselves stealing each other’s books.  We want to let you know what we are reading and what we recommend.  What makes this blog different is that both teens and parents will be reviewing the same book, so you get the benefit of both perspectives.

My name is Melissa Marwedel and I have four children. My teenage boys love science fiction, magic and adventure books, while my pre-teen girl likes history and  fantasy.  The 2 year old is fond of board books and stealing bookmarks.

We care about good books and great authors.  We usually steer clear of books with lots of violence, bad language or inappropriate situations.  With each review, we will make an effort to warn you if there is anything we would consider questionable in our home, so you can make an informed decision.  There are so many good books out there, though, that I know we will have lots to share with you.