Tag Archives: high school

Thirteen Reasons Why – Filled with suspense, good life lessons

Title: Thirteen Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher

Summary: No one expected Hannah Baker’s death, but thirteen people would soon find out how their actions and words pushed Hannah off the edge. Clay Jensen is determined to listen to Hannah’s thirteen tapes to figure out her story, and why he is in it. These tapes show a side of Hannah that no one saw, and the truth about who she really was.

Gut Reaction: Filled with suspense, good life lessons.

I would give this book 8/10 stars because it was detailed and had a good plot, but was slow at times.

What I loved: I really liked how the book took the image of a perfect girl in high school and showed the reader that she has feelings and is just like everyone else.

Why: This book always keeps you guessing what will happen next and surprises you with each new tape. The characters are all distinct and have intriguing personalities that draw you in.

Websites of interest:

Thirteen Reasons Why website

-Afsara, Greenwood, Teen Adviser

GWD

My Ethical Dilemma – Privacy and its Unwritten Rules

Privacy-Rights1To what extent is a private moment private? With so many cameras and phones around, pictures and videos have become a much larger part of our lives than before. Candid photos are taken, goofy videos are recorded, and then many of them are put on the Internet, or at least shared with friends. But do you think that you should still have control over what people see and what remains private in your life? Two of my good friends are currently in a fight because of the lax rules our society has surrounding photo privacy. For the sake of privacy (ironically) we will call them Bell and Bae.

Bell is my very best friend, and she has been for several years. We are always together, think with one mind and find each other hilarious. I can’t imagine my life without Bell. She recently started dating someone and he’s a pretty okay guy. They bonded over photos and so he has seen almost all of the horrible photos she has of me on her phone. Needless to say I wasn’t very happy about this, things like bad selfies and me making weird faces aren’t really things I want shown to anyone but her. But because I dislike confrontation I tried to repress my annoyance and move on with my life, which I did. Up until now… Continue reading

Cut the Lights: Compromise and Artistic Vision in Theatre

Cut-the-Lights-CoverTitle: Cut the Lights

Author: Karen Krossing

Gut Reaction: An enjoyable and relatable book, but lacks depth.

You must read this book because… This novel explores the art of theatre through the lens of aspiring director Briar as she set out to produce her very first play, Wish Upon a Star at her performing arts high school. Along the way she must manage an unruly cast, a lethargic stage manager, and hostility from a fellow director, as she quickly discovers that the reality of her production may be very different from her original vision of the “perfect” play.

Cut the Lights is a novel heavily geared to the teenage demographic, even more so than your typical Young Adult book. The characters, setting, and primary conflict are all designed to revolve around one’s life in high school. The novel itself is written in realistic fiction format and as such intends to make the issues it addresses as relatable to the reader as possible. In that aspect the novel is quite successful as the author depicts believable characters facing problems and exhibiting emotions that appear genuine, thus allowing for greater empathy with the protagonist. The beginning of each chapter reads like a play and even includes a series of stage directions. These quirks along with the general humor scattered throughout the novel both add to its appeal.
The glaring issue with the novel lies in its attempt to cover too many issues. The novel is only a short 129 pages, yet introduces topics ranging from difficulty in compromising one’s own ideas to suicide. This causes the novel to seem overly simplistic and superficial. The author brings so much subjects into her novel, yet fails to sufficiently develop and maintain them throughout the novel. A secondary problem stemmed from the sections in the book where the author seems to have fallen into using clichés. The overarching story arc that Krossing utilizes in which protagonist receives challenging task, protagonist endeavors to succeed in their task, everything falls apart and it seems the situation is hopeless, but then the protagonist miraculously succeeding and pulls everything together, is in my opinion, a bit trite and made the ending all too predictable.

Despite its shortcomings, I did find Cut the Lights to be an interesting read. I recommend the novel to anyone looking for a light and quick read, though as I mentioned previously the book is clearly written with teenagers in mind.

Read this if you like…

–Ziqi, Greenwood, Teen Blogger

GWD

Spilled Ink: Today @ Ballard

low res spilled ink

Live music! Art! Literature! Videos!

Ballard Branch Teen Advisors and Ballard High School Ink Club invite you Spilled Ink, a community celebration of fresh artwork in many guises from INK Magazine, Ballard High School’s online journal.

Where? The Ballard Branch 

When? Today Saturday May 2nd @ 6-8 p.m. (You’ll get to be in the library after hours! The Ballard Branch closes at 6 p.m. and will re-open especially for Spilled Ink attendees. )

This event will showcase student works including art and photography, along with a screening of student-produced videos at 6:30 p.m. Live music and spoken word will be performed throughout the evening by local artists Roy Street, Golden Years, Dragon & Android, Ternbern Quertet, Eli Goldberg, Noah Forslun and Sophia Hermann.

There will also be a ukulele jam with members of the Ballard Ukulele Club that all are welcome to join. Players are invited to bring their own instrument to the jam, or play one of the limited number of ukuleles that will be available.

For more info call the Ballard Branch @ 206-684-4089

 

Formal Dance? Don’t Sweat It!

formal happy danceUgh, yes, once again, formal dance season has arrived. I, myself, just had one this past Saturday, my school’s own version called OLOT. But, yes, here they come again, the Spring Flings and spring formals and all the stress that comes with each one of them.

As a girl, I know the rash amounts of anxiety over the dress, the heels, the nails, the hair, the makeup, the group, and not to mention getting asked to the dance in the first place!

But let’s back up a bit, and let’s have me explain the typical etiquette of my school’s spring formal: OLOT.

  • When: usually the 2nd or 3rd weekend of March.
  • Where: This is the dance where the school chooses an off campus venue, whereas our winter dance, TOLO, is held in our school’s cafeteria. This year, we scored the Pacific Science Center.
  • How is works is that it’s a guy ask girl dance. While at most schools the guy just approaches the girl and says, “Hey, want to go to the dance with me?” the ask is actually one of the most important parts. Usually the guy should come up with a pun or have a poster or bring the girl a baked good.

People have gone all out in the past: renting a pig, scavenger hunts, spelling out the letters “OLOT?” in the windows of a school building, or in my case, an ask imitating the scene from Say Anything where the guy wins the girl by holding up the boom box to the window. (Ok, mine was a little different…him and some of his friends just came up to me carrying the boom box playing The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson and he asked me. But close enough).

I’ll have you know that asking season gets catty, especially amongst the female half of the grade. So here’s my first word of advice: if you can, avoid the asking drama. If you get asked, great! If you don’t, that’s fine too! There’s so much silly high school stigma around not getting asked, but so what! You should still go to the dance. Rally up a group of friends and go as a big group! Also, hopefully your school dances have an atmosphere inviting towards people of all sexual orientations and genders. Ask whom you feel comfortable asking, dress how you feel comfortable dressing, and just be yourself!  It’s supposed to be fun, and it’s a whole lot easier to have a good time if you feel comfortable in your own skin! Continue reading

Jet City Seattle Open: High School Improv Competition

Jet City ImprovLike theater? Like funny things?

Like Tina Fey or Amy Poehler?

Then do I have the weekend event for you! Jet City Improv, Seattle’s own Improv Theater is hosting their annual Seattle Open this weekend! The Seattle Open is an improv competition for high school teams where students are judged based on their energy, creativity, and of course, improv. Watch some of western Washington’s most talented high school improvisers in the Semi-Finals and the Finals of the competition this weekend! Returning champs Charles Wright Academy will be there, along with two teams from Ingraham High School and representatives from three other schools! The preliminary round of the competition was last weekend letting only six out of eleven teams through to the second round. The competition will be held at Jet City Improv in the University district and tickets are free (there is a $5 suggested donation)! These students are crazy talented and it is sure to be an entertaining event!

Or if for some crazy reason you have plans this weekend and can’t make it, Jet City is a great place to go year round. They often have themed long-form shows running, as well as their usual Jet City show. It’s fun for everyone and always a good time! Support local improv, local theater and local students and come on out to Jet City this weekend!!!

Jet City Improv 2

Jet City Address: 5510 University Way NE, Seattle, WA  98105

Semi-Finals Showtime: 2:00 PM Saturday March 14th 2015

Finals Showtime: 6:00 PM Sunday March 15th 2015

 

Jet City Improv website (or click the pics)

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler both got their starts in improv, here are links to their books:

–Grace, Greenwood, Teen Adviser

GWD

 

 

 

 

Bloody Monday – hacker boy & friends fight terrorists

bloody mondayTitle: Bloody Monday

Authors: Ryou Ryumon & Kouji Megumi

Summary: High school hacker boy and friends fight terrorists after police dad is framed.

Gut reaction: Ugh characters, hackers are cool, overpowered high schoolers, biological terrorism, Russia, conspiracy

Why: The characters are all two-note, ability and character center. For example, one of the high schoolers, a kid called Kujou, pretty much has only two things going for him: his ability to take down armed terrorists with a freaking bow and arrow, and his obsessive hatred of terrorists which no normal high school student should have. So the characters aren’t developed.

I do like that the main character has potential to develop into a kid who is reckless and doesn’t understand that it isn’t a game which will lead to character development, but the manga is too focused on showing off the awesomeness, so I don’t think that’ll happen. The students are all overpowered. I’m sorry, I don’t know what world you live in, but in mine teenagers can’t hack into the government’s most secure database in, like, five minutes. The story is gearing up for a conspiracy and the high school students are going to end up taking it down in a suitably dramatic way, I can tell.

Who would like this book: Shounen fans, conspiracy fans, hacker fans, shock factor fans. I’ll keep reading ‘cause hackers are freaking awesome to read.  What does this say about me…

–Lexie, 15, West Seattle

WTS

 

Bad Teacher!

PowersMathHomeworktumblr_miqw96gvYB1r4g1p5o1_500Oh, how I dreaded 7th period my freshman year. By the time 1:25 in the afternoon rolled around, it felt like I was being sentenced to my own death. It wasn’t that Algebra II was the bane of my existence, because I’m not even all that lousy at math. It was my cold-hearted, mean, grouchy, short-tempered, overall horrible man I had for a teacher. I don’t know what was worse: his indescribably bad breath, or his almost hilariously unclear teaching method. By the time 2:15 finally arrived, my brain was scrambled and inexpressibly baffled by whatever lesson he had poorly taught us for the day. He was almost as dreadful as Ms. Trunchbull from Roald Dahl’s Matilda. This went on for nine months, four times a week, for forty-five agonizing minutes every day.

The end of the period was just as much a flood of relief as it was a blow at my self-esteem, as I trudged out of that classroom tremendously confused as well as angry with myself. Why don’t I just get it? I would think to myself. Am I just stupid? Continue reading

We Were Liars: Wealthy Amnesiac Liar Seeks the Truth

wewereliarsTItle: We Were Liars

Author: E. Lockhart

Six Word Review: Wealthy Amnesiac Liar Seeks The Truth

Summary: During the summer, Cady lives on a private island owned by her family. She is a Sinclair, a mantra drilled into all members of the family from the day they were born. Sinclairs have blond hair and square jaws, they are ambitious and driven, and most of all, they are normal. But they lie. Cady tries to be normal and fit in with her family, but her severe migraines that developed after a mysterious head trauma two summers ago make it difficult to remember exactly what happened. Whatever it was, she knows it was awful, but no one will tell her the truth. When the story takes place, she is 17 and her parents have finally allowed her to return to the island after keeping her away the previous summer. With the help of her two cousins and a family friend (a group she nicknames the “Liars”), she sets out to remember her past, however terrible the truth may be.

I liked the lyrical descriptions of the island and Cady’s eccentric family members.

I hated how sometimes the story would be written in straightforward, first person prose and then suddenly
with no explanation
it would be
like this
sometimes
with punctuation…
sometimes
without

I rate this book 6.5/10 stars, because the suspense kept me interested and I liked the unexpected twist but I really got annoyed by the random poetry thrown in.

I kept reading because there was a ton of suspense built up and I really wanted to see what dreadful thing had happened to Cady that she couldn’t remember.

Anything else? There is a surprise ending! The entire book basically builds up to the last few chapters. When I found out the truth, everything fell into place but I was still left with some unanswered questions. I liked that this book kept me guessing and really made me think.

— Gabriella, Ballard Teen Blogger
BAL

Of All the Stupid Things: Movie clichés with some important themes

of all the stupid thingsTitle: Of All The Stupid Things

Author: Alexandra Diaz

Summary: This is the high-school-story of three best friends: Tara, “Pinkie” (whose real name is we find out later), and Whitney Blaire, who everyone calls Whitney Blaire and who is referred to as such virtually every time her name appears in the book. Each girl has her struggles: Tara is training to run a marathon amidst troubling rumors about her boyfriend, Pinkie is worrisome and overbearing due to the early loss of her mother, and Whitney Blaire’s affluent parents are never home. Then… a new girl arrives! Will their friendship prevail?

I started reading it because: it had cute cover art (I like cherries) and I wanted a “girly” book.

I kept reading because: as much as I hated the writing and plot development in some places, I wanted to know what happened in the end. Also, I really liked Tara.

This book reminded me of: an oversimplified, badly described version of real life? This book could potentially have turned out to be really insightful, but there were so many unrealistic transitions/plot developments that it kind of ruined it.

Six-word-review: Movie clichés with some important themes.

I would recommend this to: anyone who likes their books easy, fast, and simple, and who isn’t a stickler about the “realistic” in “realistic fiction.”

–Hannah, 17, Greenwood Teen Blogger

GWD