Teens Review Cremer's The Inventor's Heart and Schrocke's Freak City

Bookmarked, the high school library book group at PFTSTA, recently finished its gig reading and reviewing books for the online newsletter from School Library Journal called, SLJTeen. The students have been submitting reviews twice a month for the last 18 months. You can read all those reviews here: http://sqworl.com/thwdxz

Since the students are still reading books pre-publication that the publishers are sending to us, I thought that I could post their book reviews here. Students self-select the books that they want to review from the ones sent to us by the publishers. All of their opinions about the books and authors are their own. The teen reader loved the alternate history presented in The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer, who visited PFTSTA in 2012. The next book, Freak City  by Kathrin Schrocke, was first published in Germany several years ago, but it's initial publication in the US is January 2014. 

CREMER, Andrea. The Inventor’s Secret. Philomel. April 2014. Tr. $18.99. ISBN 9780399159626

In a parallel universe where Great Britain has just won the Revolutionary War, a resistance brews since a punishing Empire took charge in the country, Britannia. Deep into the Catacombs, Charlotte brings ‘Grave’, a boy who seems to have lost all memory of WHO he is, WHY he was running, and WHAT he is. As Charlotte learns that her labyrinth-like home has even more twists and turns than she expected, she must prepare to seek answers, trust her peers, not fall in love, play dress up, and even take up some ‘needlework’.

What I especially love about this book is the fact that it mixes this sense of ‘reversed’ important history with a kind of ‘vintage’ sci-fi. I love the book’s cover with the steam punk heart; this is what really drew me to this fantastic book because the cover art seemed so intriguing. I love how easily you fall in love with the characters and how Charlotte struggles throughout the book to not fall in love with a boy who says, “I’m not who you think I am.” There’s so much mystery and so many questions throughout this book as every answer comes with another question. As I kept reading, it was impossible to put this book down, highly 
recommended! Review written by Isabelle O. age 14

SCHROCKE, Kathrin. Freak City. Scarlet Voyage. January 2014. Tr. $17.95 ISBN 9781623240059

Mika’s ex-girlfriend has left him heartbroken. Then, the beautiful and mysterious Leah catches his eye. But soon Mika finds out that Leah isn’t your typical girl—she’s deaf. Over the summer, Mika takes sign language classes to better communicate with his new love interest. But with his ex looming and ties between his friends and family weakening, Mika isn’t sure that his world—the hearing world—can merge with Leah’s.

I enjoyed getting an insight into the deaf world. There aren’t a lot of fiction books about deaf people so I think Freak City is a very unique book. It gives readers a deeper understanding of the deaf culture: how the deaf communicate, how they enjoy music. I recommend this novel to anyone interested in an out of the ordinary quick read. Review written by Paris E. age 17


  1. I loved the steampunk details that filled this story - the floating city itself, the exploding mice, the spies in the form of crows and rabbits. I thought it was great that Charlotte has a pet gun named Pocky. I can't wait for more books to find out what happens next for these characters.


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