By Teens, For Teens – Into the Wild & A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

Posted about 2 months ago by Jennifer Deuell

Welcome back to our next installment of By Teens, For Teens. This blog post series consists of all teen-generated content. This time we have two book reviews for you to enjoy!

Book Review:

Into the Wild: Jon Krakauer: 9780385486804: BooksInto the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book tells the story of Chris McCandless, a young man of great potential who struggles to be fulfilled living the traditional life his parents have planned. Narrated in Jon Krakaeur’s familiar voice, this predictable plotline shifts into a gripping novel. The book attempts to not only show McCandless’s life in biographical terms, but also show the reader the factors (both real and imagined) that push and pull him through life. McCandless is a very ambitious man, certainly not in the traditional sense, but ambitious in the way that he craves a life he can’t quite reach. He longs to live off the land and be free from societal drains that might prohibit his freedom of thought and philosophy. This vagabond, London-esque life may be attainable for some people, but we as the readers are always subconsciously aware that it won’t be possible for McCandless. Still, we follow him as he winds through America, wishing and hoping we can stay in this stage of the book forever, and that Chris will never reach his destination. We know that once he arrives in Alaska, completing his quest, things will be over for him, and therefore over for us. Krakauer has a way of making his audience commiserate and empathize with his subject. Despite the unhealthy nature of McCandless’s mental state, I still felt myself yearning alongside Chris, even reflecting on my displeasure with such trivial things as paying a mortgage or working a nine-to-five. This book is unexpected. It is unexpectedly interesting, it unexpectedly prompts self-reflection, and unexpectedly widens any reader’s perspective. It is a thoughtful case study on human nature studying those afflicted with an incurable wanderlust. 

Book Review: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (9781984896360): Jackson, Holly: BooksA Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

As mystery is one of my favorite genres of books, I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. This book is about a girl named Pippa who begins investigating a murder case in her town that has been closed for years. She is convinced that the real murderer is still out there. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder was filled with many unexpected twists that left me shocked and the plot points were unpredictable.  I also really loved the diversity that was in the book. In a lot of stories, I feel as though the diversity within characters is forced, but not with this book. There were also heavy topics discussed in the book. They were written and talked about well. The formatting of the book and each of the chapters is something really unique and was enjoyable. There are journal entries, screenshots, newspaper articles, and more. All of these aspects allow the reader to feel as though they are solving the murder too. This book was really addictive and intriguing. Some of the reasons why I did not give A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder a 5-star rating is because the first half of the book was a little repetitive, but got more exciting towards the second half of the book. I also felt as though some of the elements in the book were really hard to believe and not realistic. Parts of the book seemed far-fetched and coincidental and everything came together perfectly, which for crime is not realistic at all. Overall, I loved A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and I recommend it to anyone who loves mysteries and solving crimes.

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Jennifer Deuell

Jenn Deuell is the Young Adult Coordinator with Richmond Public Library. She is a native of Fredericksburg, VA but has lived in Richmond for long enough that she now considers it home. She loves all things YA and can usually be found curled up at home with a good book (rainy day or not). Her other hobbies include traveling and spending time with family, including her three rescued pit bulls. For YA reading recommendations from Jenn, visit Bookologist.

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