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Review #1 (The Fault in Our Stars)
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a tragic, yet youthful and captivating book. It features a girl named Hazel Grace who meets a boy named Augustus Waters at a support group for people who have cancer. Augustus uses his wish that he received when he first learned of his cancer to fly to Amsterdam to meet a Peter Van Houten, the author of Hazel’s favorite book, An Imperial Affliction. Right from the beginning, Hazel’s sarcasm mixed with Augustus’s charm stuck to me, and have ended being two of my favorite characters in any book I’ve ever read. The writing was very unique, in that it used beautiful analogies, and was able to blend in a lot of humor despite its tragic topic. To any readers out there that enjoy a little mix of everything I would definitely recommend this book.
Review #2 (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky is in a way very interesting in that it is vague so that you have to infer what is happening. This book is about a boy who goes by the alias name as Charlie who is beginning high school and decides to document his life through letters to the his friend, the reader. Charlie has no friends, except for Michael who committed suicide back in eighth grade. When Charlie begins high school he meets Patrick, Sam and many of their friends who teach him how to have fun. I really enjoyed this book because it is in a way, a coming-of-age type of book that really introduces the reader to many different things that are important in realizing that happens to everyone. The author was able to expose the types of things that teenagers and people go through in life. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone of any age.
Review #3 (Lord of The Flies)
Lord of The Flies, by William Golding is chilling, and showed the savage side of a human. This book begins with a plane crash on an island, and a group of boys with no adults stranded. Humanity versus savagery is a big theme in this book. It quickly transitions from them trying to remain together as a group to a chaotic and bloody scene. This book was really creative in the symbolic representations that the author had chosen. And I found it really interesting to how the boys had divided the way that they did, and how much they had changed from British school boys to savages. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys symbolism and the capability of how savage a person can really become.
–Sophie, Columbia, Teen Adviser
If you answered, “yes” to any of those questions, I recommend checking out the book, and now the film, Wild.
Wild, a first-person memoir by Cheryl Strayed, tells the story of her expedition on the Pacific Crest Trail in the summer of 1995. In the four years leading up to her journey, her mother died (Cheryl was 22), her stepfather and siblings became disconnected from the family, and Cheryl turned to drugs to cope with her loss. After wandering around the country for several months, she comes home and divorces her husband. Feeling that she has lost her path in life and having nothing more to lose, she decides to set out, alone, on an 1100-mile long hike from southern California through Oregon. Having never backpacked before, Cheryl describes the physical and mental struggles that challenged and healed her along the trail. Told with the utmost honesty, reflection, emotion, and suspense, the story of Wild is a deep and inspiring exploration.
The film was released in December 2014 and stars Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern. Overall, the film excellently captures the interplay between past memories and current challenges on the trail. Witherspoon portrays Cheryl with true emotion, strength, and bravery. IMBd gives the movie 7.5 out of 10 stars. That’s really good!
So, whether you’re an adventurous type or someone who searches for meaning in stories, a dedicated book lover or a film fanatic, I would recommend reading, or watching, (or both), Wild. It might just make you want to take off on an epic hike of your own!
Check out the book!
Here’s where you can see the movie in the Seattle area.
–RuthMabel, Greenwood, Teen Blogger
Author: Mary Shelley
Summary: Victor Frankenstein has grown up in a loving family with a happy childhood during the 18th century in Europe. However, just as Victor is about to leave for university, his mother dies. Once he has grieved the loss, he leaves for college where his mind his opened to the world of science and he becomes the most skilled scientist in the university. Unfortunately, his potential for success is thwarted by his obsession with the processes of life and death triggered by his mother’s abrupt demise. He becomes so obsessed, in fact, that he creates a living being from scratch. The rest of the novel follows the repercussions of this one fatal action.
Six Word Review: More to it than you think.
I started reading because: I had to read it for school, but I ended up being really interested because the actual story was a lot more interesting and well-crafted than the general understanding of it today. The creature Victor Frankenstein creates isn’t even named Frankenstein. It’s never named; it’s just called “the monster.”
I would give this book 10/10 stars because it had a lot more depth to it than I had initially expected. It examines what social isolation does to people (and monsters) and it also explores the concept of what it truly means to be alive.
I loved the suspense Shelley weaves throughout the story. I was always excited to find out what happened next. I hated the ending. It made sense to have it end the way it did, but I just wish there had been a little more to it.
If the lead character Victor was in a high school yearbook, he would be voted Most Likely To: Be Irresponsible And Selfish.
Anything else we should know? The story is based on a dream Mary Shelley had. She was interested in the concept of life and death because she had many miscarriages.
–Regina, West Seattle, Teen Blogger
If you are a fan of John Green’s novel Paper Towns then I have some good news for you; the movie adaptation of the popular book is set to be released in the US on June 5th, 2015! As an avid John Green fan this news was already exciting, but I am especially thrilled to hear that Paper Towns in particular is being made into a movie. Why, you ask? Simply put, it is because I think Paper Towns will be a better movie than a book.
Now before all you book purists come hunting me down with torches for saying that, please let me explain myself. Believe me, when a studio slaughters a book (*cough cough* Percy Jackson) I am as angry as the rest of you. But not only do I trust both John Green and the production team on this movie, but I also trust the book; that is, I trust that it will make an incredible movie.
Overview of What I Was Thinking Going In:
I must say, preemptively, that I did not enjoy the book Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I thought that though Katniss’s depression and unwillingness to interact with many people was entirely realistic and in character, it made for a very boring point of view for the story to be told in. That problem started setting in around Catching Fire and just kept getting worse as the books went on. It was so frustrating for me to read such an epic conclusion to a series in such a narrow point of view. I hoped that the movie would remedy this problem since the other two movies thus far were told in a third person omniscient perspective, showing us what’s going on in the Capitol while Katniss is going through everything. I was so spectacularly right.
What I Thought Was Done Best:
The way the movie cuts between Katniss and what she’s doing and the riots that start up in other districts is amazing. It feels so seamless and fitting that I don’t understand how it could have been done any other way. The scene where Katniss sings The Hanging Tree, a long-awaited moment for many of the book readers, was my favorite scene by far. It shows how directly Katniss’s actions impact the people in the districts and gives an amazing action scene to boot.
One of the main criticisms that people had with this movie was that “it’s just set-up for the next one.” And you know what? They’re right. The Hunger Games and Catching Fire were build-up to this one too. Does that mean it’s not a good movie? Heck no! Mockingjay Part 1 has its own story arc of exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution just like any other movie. Is it a bunch of kids fighting to the death? No. But this movie definitely has the most impactful action of any of the three movies out so far. The movie ends a bit after what book readers call “The Rescue,” so most of the buildup is to that event. For book readers like me, this event is a very big deal. However, I can understand how people expecting the epic ending of a final installment would be disappointed with how much of the “let’s take over the government” goal is accomplished. It’s worth watching anyway, trust me.
Things to Note Going Into the Movie:
If you are sensitive to strobe lights, close your eyes when people start running down a triangular staircase. It’s safe to look back once the “blast doors” are closed; it’ll be announced. It would be a shame to have your time watching such a great movie ruined by a splitting headache or worse. Please take the precautions necessary to keep yourself safe.
The movie jumps right in where Catching Fire ended. There are a lot of small gestures and references to it that aren’t re-explained for people who have forgotten such things. I recommend re-watching or reading Catching Fire before going to see this new masterpiece. Luckily, both the book and the movie are available through the Seattle Public Library!
My Favorite Scenes (SPOILERS START HERE): Continue reading
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Summary: Melinda is a new freshman in high school. This year should be about a fresh start and new beginnings, but an event that happened over the summer is keeping Melinda from enjoying high school as much as she should. She was invited to her first party and after trying a drink and becoming a bit unsteady, a boy takes advantage of her and rapes her. She doesn’t tell anyone at first. She isn’t even able to name the event or admit it to herself. She spends the year contemplating the event and trying to come to terms with what happened. The ending is powerful.
Six Word Review: Teaches important lesson about rape culture.
I started reading because: The cover really caught my eye. It has a tree on it. Melinda is good at art and she spends the year working on a project that depicts a tree. It’s very fitting because her personal growth coincides with the growth of her art tree.
I would give this book 10/10 stars because it was so good I couldn’t put it down. I read it all in one sitting. The message is so powerful and especially relevant to our culture today.
I loved Melinda’s hippie art teacher. The things he tells Melinda are some of the most quotable lines of the book. I hated that not everyone in the entire world had read this book.
If the lead character Melinda was in a high school yearbook, he/she would be voted Most Likely To: Become A Famous Artist
Anything else we should know? There’s a movie based on this book, but I think it’s really important that you read this book just because so much of the story is told through Melinda’s inner thoughts. It’s titled Speak because Melinda becomes so quiet after being raped and finally speaks out at the end of the book. It’s a powerful component of the story and it’s lost in the movie.
–Regina, West Seattle
Look for something futuristic? Maybe dystopian future?
The first thing I’d have to recommend is the CW show The 100. With the start of the second season in mid-October, the first season was added to Netflix and The Seattle Public Library, and like many teens, I binge-watched it in 3 days. Continue reading
Title: A Separate Peace
Author: John Knowles
Summary: This book takes place at a boarding school called Devon during the first few years of World War II. A coming of age novel, the book starts out with Gene coming back to Devon fifteen years after he was a student there. The book focuses on events that happened while he was a student there. Gene quickly becomes friends with Phineas (Finny), a charismatic, charming student who rooms with Gene. Finny and Gene are opposites: Finny is athletic and captivating while Gene is book-smart and quiet. This leads to some resentment of Finny from Gene (without Finny’s knowledge), but they remain good friends. Finny and Gene create the “Super Suicide Society”, which is just a group of people who want to enjoy their time at Devon while doing crazy and fun activities. One of the things that the members of the society do is jump off of a tree branch into a lake. When Finny and Gene jump off of the branch, the branch is jostled and Finny falls and breaks his leg while Gene makes the jump into the lake. Following the incident, Gene is haunted by what happened during the jump, and for the remainder of the book comes to terms with himself and his actions.
Why I Kept Reading: The characters in the book are of similar age to us teenagers. This makes many of the emotions and experiences very relatable. However, the ideas and motifs presented are incredibly dense and thought-worthy. World War II plays an important part during one of the sections of the book, and the experiences that soldiers have during the war is brought up and considered. The setting is your average boarding school, and very realistic. Character development is well thought out and the potential of all the characters is shown.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants something to read and ponder about. This book is a “loss-of-innocence” book, and shows the transition from boyhood to manhood and how maturity grows over time due to events that happen during one’s life. The struggles of friendship, and dealing with emotions also plays a huge part in this book; something that we all can relate to and understand.
–Matthew, Lake City Teen Blogger
Title: To Kill A Mockingbird
Author: Harper Lee
Summary: A young girl by the name of Scout along with her brother, Jem, and the new boy in the neighborhood, Dill, are growing up during the Great Depression in a racist white community. Scout, Jem, and Dill become fascinated with their neighbor, Boo Radley. He’s lived in the house on their street for years, but they’ve never seen him and as far as they know he’s never left the house. The house is owned by Boo’s brother, Nathan Radley. Scout starts school and then begins to be bullied by the other kids when her dad, a lawyer, decides to take a case defending a black man who is accused of raping a white woman. By the time the outcome of the case is revealed, Scout has learned a lot about people and how important it is to always view things from other people’s perspectives.
Six Word Review: Read for school, reread for life. Continue reading