Our Reviewers

These are our current Pasadena Public Library teen reviewers who contribute book reviews to the Teens Blog, Teen Zine, and/or VOYA Magazine as a partner with our Teen Librarian. Teen Reviewers are assigned notable, new, and/or not-yet-released books to review. If you are interested in becoming a reviewer, please see our requirements after the list of reviewers.


Emily Battaglia is a senior at Flintridge Preparatory School. In between water polo and softball practices, she loves reading fantasy novels and going for walks around her neighborhood with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Despite her inclination towards the otherworldly, she enjoys reading all genres in her spare time. (reviewer since 2021)

Giselle Carlos is a junior at Marshall Fundamental and is passionate about helping others, screenwriting and film, and writing. In between juggling reading the countless unread books on her shelf (she just can’t stop buying more!), she loves to spend time with her family, practice yoga and guitar, and drink boba with her friends. Her favorite pastime is curling up with a good book, especially YA coming-of-age stories. (reviewer since 2021)

Cadence Chen is a senior at Arcadia High School. When her time isn’t taken up by cross country and track practices, she enjoys relaxing with a good fictional story. She prefers fantasy with intricate magic systems and is a sucker for a good romance as well. Besides reading, she also enjoys creating art and playing the occasional video game. (reviewer since 2021)

Hailey Chen is a soon to be eighth grader at Sierra Madre Middle School. She enjoys drawing, basketball, piano, and loves to binge read through her favorite fantasy novels. When she can, she also likes to find romance genre books and loudly react to the scenes as she sees fit. (reviewer since 2021)

Nina Dinan attends Pasadena High School. She reviews nonfiction books and enjoys playing the piano, studying languages, and reading and writing poetry. (reviewer since 2017)

Amber “Bur” Elias attends Marshall Fundamental and enjoys good food, getting way too emotionally attached to fictional characters and meeting new people! Throughout the stay-at-home order, she has taken up painting, yoga, and doing makeup. If you ever find yourself needing a good fantasy novel to pass the time, she’s the one to turn to. (reviewer since 2021)

Jesus Gonzalez is a junior at Pasadena High School.  They enjoy reading, coding, watching anime, playing video games, and spending quality time with their friends.  When it comes to reading they are always down to read a good romance novel before bed or in their spare time. (reviewer since 2021)

Genevieve Harvey is currently a senior at Blair IB High School. She enjoys staying active, whether that is as a volunteer in her community or participating in sports and competitions. She has been a member of Pasadena Library Teen Advisory Board since 2016. Her current hobbies are journalism and reading. (reviewer since 2020)

Isabella Henriquez attends Maranatha High School with a passion for dance and art. Though she enjoys every genre, she tends to lean towards romantic novels and books with culturally diverse characters. She loves to discuss books she is reading with her friends and family, especially when it is one she strongly recommends. (reviewer since 2020)

Sam Redfearn is a student at Marshall Fundamental School. He enjoys climbing, playing bass, and listening to music. He’s particularly fond of mystery and adventure books, but loves all range of genres. (reviewer since 2021)

Jasmine Sov is a student at Pasadena High School. She enjoys reading, writing, and singing. She particularly enjoys reading realistic fiction and everything involving food. (reviewer since 2019)


Qualifications to be a Teen Reviewer

  • Reviewers must be between the ages of 13-17 at the time of initial application
  • Reviewers must live in Pasadena, attend school in Pasadena, or regularly attend Pasadena Public Library events
  • Reviewers are assigned 6-12 books to review per year
  • Reviewers must write a 200-400 word review for each assigned book
  • Reviewers must be able to pick up books from the Pasadena Public Library when necessary
  • Reviewers must have good written communication skills
  • Reviewers must have access to their own email (whether at home, school, or library) and answer their own emails
  • Reviewers are credited with their full name, so all reviewers will need to turn in a signed volunteer contract
  • Reviewers must apply and be accepted by sending in a sample review
  • Any exceptions to the above qualifications can be made by the Teen Librarian


How to apply to be a Teen Reviewer

Please apply by submitting a sample review to Jane Gov at jgov@cityofpasadena.net with the subject:  Reviewer Application.  Attach your review as a Word document or copy and paste it in the body of the email.


Guidelines for Reviewers

Read the entire book.  You can’t give a fair review without reading the whole book.  Sometimes, it helps to also read prefaces and the author notes (usually following the end of the book).

Your opinion is more important than the summary of the book.  Your critical assessment is good, but there’s no need to write a book report.  The review could involve your reaction, your engagement to the text, and/or your opinions about the characters or plot.  You could also suggest whether or not other teens would like the book.

Reviews must be submitted using this form:  https://goo.gl/forms/eUtcMfpXhhmfoFcE2  This link is for official reviewers only.



First paragraph: short summary of the book, with no obvious spoilers.

Second paragraph: your opinion.

Your star rating out of 5 stars.


Your reviews will be credited accordingly.


Reviewer Responsibility

It is your responsibility to notify me if you have a reading restriction. Unfortunately, I can only promise that the book is marked appropriate for ages 12 (or sometimes 14) and up; age appropriateness is based on the book’s publisher, author, and professional book reviewers. If you have other restrictions beyond age appropriateness (such as certain subjects or issues), you have the right to refuse to review the book, but it is your decision only. I will not be checking whether a book falls within your specifications.

If you are claiming service hours for book reviews, you may not “double claim” the hours–meaning, you may not submit the review to another library and get service hours there as well for the same review.

You must read the entire book before writing the review.

Reviews published on another review blog/website or magazine will not be accepted; cross-posting a review on Goodreads, Amazon, LibraryThing, or on your own personal blog is okay.


Tips for writing

Have a set of sticky notes ready to tag quotes or passages that stand out to you.

After reading the book, jot down quick notes about what stood out to you.  Was the ending weak?  Did the characters develop?  Was the plot believable?  Did the writing capture you?

Leave some time between your initial and final review.  Write a draft of your review, and then finish it the next day.  You might change your mind about a certain phrase or opinion you wrote.

Use your words wisely.  Short reviews can be really strong if you’re using the right words, but don’t forget to give examples or details when your point needs it.

The best way to be a better writer is to read… so read lots and lots of other people’s reviews.


Read some samples:

By Hadley, teen reviewer:  http://pasadena-library.net/teens/2015/love-letters-to-the-dead-teen-review/

By Hadley and Kara, teen reviewers:  http://pasadena-library.net/teens/2015/red-queen-teen-reviews/



Teen Advisory Board members Hadley Willman and Kara Eng are currently teen reviewers for Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA), a professional journal for library youth advocates. How did this happen? They’ve demonstrated a combination of responsiveness, dependability, and a series of well-written reviews. Additionally, they’re book and word geeks, so they’re perfect for this role.

Continue reviewing for our library, and you may be the next chosen VOYA reviewer!


Updated 4/13/2017 -Jane Gov

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *