Teen Book Reviews: A Dog’s Purpose and Three Dark Crowns

Teens: did you know that you can earn community service credit for writing a book review and submitting it to us? Today, we’ll hear from two teens who did just that. Find out more about how to earn community service hours from home at cheshirelibrary.org/teens/.

A Dog’s Purpose reviewed by teen volunteer Madelyn:

W. Bruce Cameron’s novel, A Dog’s Purpose, highlights the love dogs have for their owners from the canine’s point of view. To start, the young dog is a puppy in a stray litter. He learns about his love for people, however he was soon euthanized. After this life, the young dog is reborn, becoming Bailey. He learns the satisfaction of being a “good dog” for his owner Ethan, while experiencing years of love and trust. Bailey would risk his life for Ethan, and after devoting years and years to his owner, he feels he has fulfilled his purpose. However, when he passes, he simply wakes up in another dog’s body! Here, Bailey finds that his journey is not yet finished, and he has a lot more to learn. As he continues to reincarnate, he strives to find his meaning in this crazed world.

Bailey is reborn as a female German Shepherd, who grew into a police dog named Ellie. Ellie is sadly shot while trying to save a kidnapped girl from drowning. Next, reborn as a corgi named Tino, he strives to help his owner find happiness while he watched as she grew from a college student to a mom of three. Bailey reincarnates again as a St. Bernard/Australian Shepherd named Waffles. Here, Waffles is neglected and is abandoned after years of being tortured. Waffles soon then makes his way back to his old master, Ethan, where they reunite. Bailey narrates his triumphs and how life is all about having fun, saving others, finding someone to be with, not getting upset over the past and future, and most importantly living for today. Overall, I found this book to be incredibly impactful and it helped me gain a new point of view while reflecting on my past pets as well as my current ones.

5 Stars.

Three Dark Crowns reviewed by teen volunteer Claire:

Three Dark Crowns, by Kendare Blake displays the hardship of sisters to a new level. Out of three sisters the same age, only one can become queen of Fenbirn. Each sister is blessed with a gift from the goddess, and until the age of sixteen, live among others with the same gift. However, in the year they turn sixteen, they must kill each other until only one remains for the crown. Arsinoe, the naturalist queen is shown to be the weakest and seemingly giftless. Naturalists are supposed to be capable of blooming plants and taming animals, but Arsinoe can’t even grow a mere daisy. Katherine, the poisoner queen, also has a weak gift. Poisoners are capable of ingesting deadly poisons and skillfully poisoning others. Finally, Mirabella is the elemental and strongest sister. Elementals are able to control elements of the Earth, although Mirabella is only shown to be using lightning, water, and fire.

My favorite queen was Arsinoe, due to her carefree attitude and interesting attempts to gain power. When she dabbled with low magic throughout the entire book, it was generally looked down on, especially for a queen. However, she did not care about the stigma, and just wanted to focus on surviving. She was not like either of her sisters. While Mirabella displayed love for her sisters and did not want to kill them, Arsinoe was willing to do what was necessary to win. Katherine was not focusing on strengthening her gift and was only focusing on gaining the attention of suitors. My favorite part was near the ending, when a poisoning attempt had failed to poison Arsinoe, and instead hurt her best friend Jules. However, the poisoned chocolates were actually also eaten by Arsinoe, making her realize that she is not a naturalist, but a poisoner queen.

4 stars.

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