Posted on May 15th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
Tags: book, David Levithan, LGBTQ, review, The Realm of Possibility
The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room for the TBOM group meeting on May 8th, 2013.
This is the stories of multiple teens struggling to find themselves and figure out who they are in the world. It’s told from their multiple points of view in poem and song lyric formats.
This was an interesting read for me because I wasn’t expecting it to be in poetry format. I was expecting a novel. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the way these stories were told. Each poem and song interwove themselves seemlessly with each of the others. Some responded to what had happened in other poems, some wrote their poems to another person who had a poem in the book. It was a unique take on writing a book in verse. Obviously, each person who “wrote” a poem was a character that came from David Levithan’s head, but he did a really great job with the characterizations and making each one as unique as the next. The first poem and the last poem are connected, which was a nice circle back to the beginning once you got to the end. I really felt that the emotions of the teens he was writing about were clearly stated, or were just as confusing for the reader sometimes as they can be for teens in real life. It was realistically done, and a book I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys stories told in this fashion or thinks they would like to try one for the first time. The fact that some of the characters are gay is not stated in such a way as to hit the reader over the head with it, and there are some who appear straight. Some are lesbian. There is a good mix of characters and experiences to round out the story over all.
Posted on May 10th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
Tags: book, Latifa, My Forbidden Face, review
My Forbidden Face by Latifa
Read by: Kevin/Copley Teen Room Intern
My Forbidden Face is the story of sixteen year old Latifa who is from Kabul, Afghanistan. Latifa’s story focuses mostly on how the Taliban’s occupation of Kabul resulted in the loss of women’s freedom and the atrocious degradation women and men received from the Taliban. Yet when she describes her journey to Paris for an interview with Elle magazine, Latifa becomes representative of the fact that the Taliban were outmaneuvered by the women they thought so little of in the first place.
Terrorism in America is usually portrayed by the media as an act of meditated violence that results in the victim’s lost sense of safety, security and sometimes results in death. However, Latifa’s story provided me a much clearer understanding of how terrorism affects a person’s psychological well-being, more than any form of media I had seen or read before. Throughout the book, Latifa refers to herself as a prisoner in her own home. The only way she could think of rebelling at the time was to not go outside, which is essentially what the Taliban wanted. With this picture in mind, Latifa showed me that terrorism can do much more than make one lose their sense of security. It can lead to self-imprisonment.
Another thing I found interesting about Latifa’s story is that she hardly mentions Osama Bin-Laden in her story at all. In the media here in America, we tended to view Bin-Laden as the symbol that stood for terrorism. Yet, as seen in Latifa’s story, he is merely an after-thought, just some rich guy who gives the Taliban money. And with that in mind, Latifa shows what the daily life of being occupied by a terrorist group is like. I have not read a single newspaper article or seen a news broadcast that brings this reality to life as well as Latifa’s story. You should really read this book. Your perspectives on what terrorism really is all about may change the way you think about it.
Posted on May 5th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
Tags: book, John Green, Looking For Alaska, review
Looking For Alaska by John Green
Read by: Kevin/Copley Teen Room Intern
John Green’s Looking for Alaska focuses on Miles Halter’s first year at a prestigious boarding school in Alabama. Miles decides to leave his family and “school friends” in Florida to find what he describes as the “Great Perhaps.” In other words, he wants to find adventure, excitement, girls, and true friendship. Miles narrates the reader through his experiences with sex, smoking, alcohol, love, friendship and death. He also meets “The Colonel” (his roommate) and Alaska. Both of whom smoke cigarettes way too much, love sex and drama, and drink alcohol as if it were water.
By coming into contact with The Colonel and Alaska, Miles is placed into a tight group of friends that will seemingly do anything for each other. And there lies the importance of Green’s novel. He shows us that by developing true friendship with others, we have to take on the responsibility to uphold the loyalty, and trust that comes with real friendship.
This book made me laugh hysterically and I am not ashamed to say (this is a grown man typing, mind you) that it made me want to cry. The characters go through so many ups and downs in this novel. And I couldn’t get over the fact that everybody’s life is filled with ups and downs and we have to rely on our friends and loved ones to get through those tough times and celebrate and enjoy everything when we’re feeling invincible. Green has written a true to life novel in Looking for Alaska. Check it out, read it, and experience this story. I suspect you will not be disappointed when you finish.
Posted on April 28th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
Tags: book, Maureen Johnson, review, The Name Of The Star
The Name of the Star by: Maureen Johnson
Read by: Kevin/Copley Teen Room Intern
Maureen Johnson’s novel, The Name of the Star, is narrated by an American high school girl named Rory, who travels to England with her parents for her senior year of high school. Rory decides to attend school in the city of London at a boarding school called Wexford. While receiving an excellent education at her new school and meeting a great friend in Jazza and a potential boyfriend in Jerome, she also receives an ability that allows her to see ghosts after a near death experience from Wexford’s cafeteria food. She receives this new ability at the same time the city of London faces a modern age Jack the Ripper killer. The result is that she becomes the most important witness in London during an incredible time of fear because she has seen the new ripper who has actually been dead for decades.
If you enjoy mysteries, historical fiction, science fiction, ghost stories, romance, action, and unexpected twists in what you read, then you must read The Name of the Star! It has elements of all these genres. It’s a fast paced book that will lead you literally into an underground world of London that exists but the people and things inside may or may not. I just have one question for you: Do you believe in ghosts? Because after reading this book, you might.
Posted on March 20th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
Tags: Beautiful Music For Ugly Childrem, book, DJ, Elvis, Kirstin Cronn-Mills, music, radio, review, transgender, transsexual
Beautiful Music For Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room
This is the story of Gabe, who was born Elizabeth, and who just wants to become a radio DJ as he was meant to be. When he was ten, Gabe’s DJ mentor, John, moved in next door. Supposedly, John was the first radio DJ to play Elvis on the airwaves back in the day. To Gabe, that’s pretty cool. Pretty awesome, in fact. John helps Gabe get a radio show on the local community station at midnight on Fridays where Gabe becomes something of a local celebrity. There’s just one problem. Gabe recently graduated highschool as Elizabeth and most of the school doesn’t realize that Elizabeth has always felt like she was a boy inside. Coming out to his family didn’t exactly go as planned and his parents, struggling with the sudden change, still call him Elizabeth. No one seems to understand who he is. When Gabe wins the heart of a popular girl, things start to get dangerous with threats on his life, and that of his family. Even so, Gabe finds himself falling for his BFF since forever: pretty Paige. But does Paige return Gabe’s feelings, or will another girl take his heart? Gabe has his doubts about love and who he is throughout the story, but ultimately, he remains strong and true to himself.
This was a fast read I couldn’t put down, and one I highly recommend. As the author states at the very end, not every person has the same experiences, yet I found Gabe’s story to be very realistic and inspiring. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that it wasn’t perfect, as life is almost never perfect. The characters were great, and I loved the fact that Gabe wanted to be a radio DJ. Little known fact: that was my dream job when I was in middle school and early high school, so to see her living that dream was pretty awesome, especially when it seems like there are fewer and fewer DJs today than there were years ago. A note about musical taste, Gabe likes a wide variety of things, half of which I haven’t heard of and half of which was popular a bazillion years ago. That’s cool. I like the fact that she doesn’t stick to one genre of music, and I especially like the fact that she doesn’t stick to what’s popular right now. She really knows her music. Overall, this book was fabulous, and I would read it again in a heartbeat.
For those who are interested, at the end, the author included a section about what it means to be transgender and transsexual. She explains the various words that fall underneath the umbrella of transgender, including genderqueer, and what it means to not fall into the “gender binary”. This section is short and easy to understand for anyone who has yet to learn about gender differences. For this section, the author is awesome. She really did a great job.