Teen Reviews: Hope and Survival

Two of our Teen Reviewers, Gavin and Callum, review some incredible books all about hope and survival. They’re sharing their thoughts about some truly heart-stopping, thought-provoking stories. Look out for more teen reviews coming soon!


Contagion by Teri Terry


Contagion Reviewers: Gavin, 13 years old
Recommended age of book: 13+
Genres: Action and Love

Gavin’s plot summary:
When Calista Tanzer goes missing Shay remembers the day she does and reaches out to her brother. Calista was being held in an underground bunker and when the bunker explodes a strange flu spreads all over Britain. Shay and Kai go on the run and Calista is there to help Shay along the way through telepathy.

Gavin’s thoughts on why this book is worth reading:
This book is worth reading because it always makes you want to keep reading because of all the action and the story line. I like the way they switch between different characters point of view to make you understand what’s going on very well.

What is the hook for new readers?
This book is worth reading because of how exciting and how well put together it is – It is the type of book that you will find hard to stop reading.


The Ones that Disappeared by Zana Fraillon


Ones That Disappeared Reviewer: Callum, 14 years old
Recommended age of book: Young adult (Few curse words throughout the book nothing too heavy). However, could appeal to a younger more confident reader, up to and including adults.
Genre: Drama, action and adventure, fantasy

Callum’s plot summary:
A book about modern day child slavery. Kept by a ruthless gang (the snakeskins), three children manage to escape. Separated, scared and looking after a small child Isa, Esra will do whatever she can to find her friend Miran, who was captured by the police, who they have always been told they mustn’t trust. Hiding in the shadows of the forest, Esra and Isa is found by Skeet, a boy with his own story. Together they will create a man out of mud. A man who will come to life and lead them through a dark labyrinth of tunnels until they finally have the courage the step above ground. Only then they finally have the courage to tell their story. And only then can they finally be free.

Callum’s thoughts on why this book is worth reading:
When I first read the plot summery I thought this sounds good, then I got the ‘they made a man out of mud’ and it seemed a bit childish… However, this book is brilliant, I like the fact each chapter flashes from one main character to the other, hearing the story from every side and learning about each story they have to tell. The characters all have their own back story and their own personalities, I also like how maybe the quietest of the characters turns out to be much stronger then he’d ever been given credit for. The book is all about hope, the willing to continue and the courage to carry on when the odds are against you. It has a powerful plot of bravery, and inspiring friendships, and an insight in to a world that you’d much rather ignore than admit that it’s still happening today. This book is great in its own merit, but I feel it could adapt itself to different situations in people’s lives, like for people who are maybe being bullied, have lost someone or maybe who’s life at home isn’t great, throughout the pages you are reminded to tell the stories of happier times, to tell stories of a future you will find and most of all to remember who you are your name and no matter what life throws at you, you are somebody and somebody out there cares.

What is the hook for new readers?
If you like books with a real sense of bravery and courage, fiction based on what’s happening around the world every day, you’ll enjoy this book.

Find out more about The Ones that Disappeared here.


Fancy having a stab at a review yourself? Go to the Teen Reviews page to sign up and we’ll see whether we have a book that matches your interests available.

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