Teen Book Reviews

All books reviewed are Lithgow items and can be checked out. Click here to go to our catalog and request a copy: https://minerva.maine.edu/search~S20


Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke

Based off of the movie, Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun, is just as well written as the movie is visually stunning. The book takes place in 1944 Spain and follows 10 year old Ofelia. Her pregnant mother just remarried and they are moving to the countryside to stay with him. While there, Ofelia comes across a fairy who leads her into a labyrinth. In the labyrinth she meets a faun who tells her that she is the reincarnation of Princess Moanna and that Ofelia needs to complete three tasks to return to her kingdom. The book follows Ofelia as she completes these trials.

This was my first time reading a book based off of a movie and I was not disappointed. I have always been a fan of Cornelia Funke’s writing. Funke is amazing at writing books that take place in a fantasy setting. When I first watched the movie I was blown away by the visuals of the creatures that Ofelia encounters. Funke brought them to life with her writing. She has also written the Inkheart trilogy and Dragon Rider.

What I enjoy most of the book is the magical realism of it. It is definitely a fantasy book, but it takes place in the real world. The blend of fantasy and reality make you question whether the fantasy elements are actually there. The book also has illustrations that help contribute to the fantasy aspect by making it feel story book.

There is also a major historical narrative that is being told along with the

main plot. The book takes place in 1944, five years following the Spanish Civil War. The aftermath of the war is used as a backdrop for the main story. The book is told through the eyes of Ofelia, so the conflict is not explained. Instead, the fantastical trials that Ofelia goes through is a means to escape the conflict that she faces in reality.

I would recommend this book to anybody, especially people who enjoy fantasy and historical fiction.


The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried is not the first book I have read by Shaun David Hutchinson and it isn’t my favorite but it is still pretty entertaining. It follows the point of view of two ex-best friends Dino and July, the latter of which just recently died and came back to “life” – quotations because while July is not exactly dead, she isn’t exactly alive either. The plot follows the two of them figuring out why July isn’t dead, how to make her stay dead, all while also exploring their relationship and what caused their falling out as best friends.

The highlight of this book was the relationship between Dino and July. Dino and July are two complete opposites. Dino is soft-spoken and does not want to tell his family that he does not want to work for his parents’ mortician business. July on the other hand says exactly what’s on her mind and is very combative. Throughout the book you can tell how much they mean to one another, as they are able to pick up on the other’s shifts in mood, and can usually tell what the other is thinking. This follows along with their constant bickering (which is quite entertaining). It was always nice to see the two of them make up after a fight.

One of my major complaints about the book is that the pacing is not very consistent throughout it. Around half of the book takes place in one night, while the rest of the book takes place over a few days. The pacing makes the ending feel rushed and takes away from the message of the book.

Overall, the book was a fun read but it doesn’t have much re-read value. I do recommend it for someone who is looking for a book with dark humor.