Shelf Life: Teen Read Week

Published 7:33 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Teen Read Week is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association. Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users. This year, the initiative took place from October 8-14 with the theme of “Unleash Your Story.”

To celebrate, Polk County Public Libraries collaborated with Polk County Middle School to get teens excited about books! Teens were invited to write book reviews and re-design young adult book covers. Below are some of the many amazing book reviews written by PCMS students. Perhaps you’ll find your next great read!

Harry Potter is still quite popular! Seventh grader Carson Metcalf calls it “suspenseful,” sixth grader Gracie Edwards would recommend it to those “who like magical quests and wizards,” and sixth grader Lawson Carter says it is “full of exciting twists.” Other frequently recommended books were The Fault in Our Stars, called “a romantic tragedy” by seventh grader Katie Cochran, and Serafina and the Twisted Staff, described as “amazing” by seventh grader Chloe Hall.

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If you like graphic novels, sixth grader Jaiden McGill recommends the funny Middle School series by James Patterson. Sixth grader Harrison Ashworth highly recommends Million-Dollar Throw by Mike Lupica: “This book is an outstandingly inspiring book about a kid who went through a lot and still pressed on.” The sci-fi dystopian book The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer sounds quite intriguing when described by seventh grader Andy Ballentine: “In this book, Matt is backstabbed, tricked, and imprisoned, always keeping you on your toes.”

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, which dates back to 1978, is a mystery where “all your fears come alive” according to seventh graders Adair Edwards and Emily Gaul. Seventh grader Clara Monts says there are “wonderful illustrated recipes and tips” in Lucy Knisley’s memoir Relish. If you’re looking for a “great book” with “a lot of action,” look no further! Eighth grader Julia Rising recommends Ungifted by Gordon Korman.

PCMS students also love adventure books! Those seeking adventure should check out Bluefish by Pat Schmatz, according to sixth grader Sarah Gray. Another novel described as an adventure is The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Sixth grader Allie Quoyle calls it thrilling, amazing, and heartwarming. Sixth grader Samantha Durham says Switch by Ingrid Law is entertaining and she “would recommend it to people who love non-fiction adventure books.” The Adventure of the Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was deemed “suspenseful and adventurous” by seventh grader Kayla Kitchen.

I wish I had more room in the column to include all the amazing reviews written by PCMS students! We had so many teens participate in this fun activity for Teen Read Week and I’d like to thank them all, along with PCMS Media Specialist Laura Smith, who coordinated the activities. Next time you’re looking for a great read, ask a teen in your life! I bet they will be able to offer you an excellent recommendation.

Jen Pace Dickenson is the Youth Services Librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit or call 828-894-8721.