Posted on March 20th, 2015 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
Tags: Book review, CHERUB, mystery, Robert Muchamore, spies, teen, The Recruit, thriller
Title/Author: The Recruit by Robert Muchamore
Read by: Anna, Teen Librarian at Teen Central
Summary: A young boy finds a way out of his rough life after his mother dies, when he is given the opportunity to train as a spy for the British government.
Series/Standalone: Book one out of twelve.
Diversity: Some of the more minor characters came from different backgrounds.
Relatable characters: Yes, though some of the characters seemed a lot older than their stated ages.
Would I re-read?: Perhaps, though I am really looking forward to reading the rest of this series.
Personal thoughts: This was a very fast read for me, as I couldn’t put it down. It was also something that I wish had been around when I was a teen because I know I would have loved it back then too. The characters were great, and James’ first mission was interesting because it did leave him with a lot of questions about the validity of what the government was doing versus what common civilians were trying to do, and what large companies sometimes get up to. If you enjoy reading about spies, I encourage you to pick up this book, you’ll be glad you did!
Posted on February 13th, 2015 by firstname.lastname@example.org in Reviews - Staff, Reviews - Teens, Teen Services
Edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale
“If your imagination isn’t working-and, of course, in oppressed people that’s the first thing that goes – you can’t imagine anything better. Once you can imagine something different, something better, then you’re on your way.” -Lee Maracle
New to BPL’s shelves, this book is a beautiful collection of art, photography, poetry, personal essays, songs and stories. Put together they tell a story of modern Native Americans outside of Hollywood movies. At times fascinating and sad to learn about current social injustices that Native Americans still face to date. At the same time, this book is a wonderful exploration of universal themes that Teens can relate to, such as bullying and finding one’s own identity.
Pages 84 – 85 features the merging of traditional Coast Salish art with everyday pop culture objects by Louie Gong.
Posted on January 27th, 2015 by email@example.com in Movies, Resources, Reviews - Staff, Reviews - Teens, Teen Services
This older Studio Ghibli film dates from 1988. Grave of the Fireflies, is a tragedy about a young sister and brother and their struggle to survive the fire-bombings of Japan during the Second World War. It is a moving study of humanity’s strengths and weaknesses. Who is your enemy? Who is your family, friend or neighbor? While their father is out at sea with the Japanese navy, their family is further fragmented in a fire-bombing raid. The children seek shelter with extended family but encounter callousness, neglect and exploitation. Some total strangers show more compassion than their own families and the older brother struggles to care for his sister and keep them all alive. The story of these children teaches us all about the horrors of war, and both the angels and demons of human nature. I imagine the title makes reference to the short life and light of fireflies. The artwork shows its age in the rendering style compared to more modern works, but expressions and animation are still top quality Ghibli. The voice acting in the English dub that I saw on Netflix was adequate, but I prefer to listen to the Japanese and read subtitles. This can be challenging during rapid dialog. Audiences should be ready for heartbreak when watching this film. It may be interesting to compare it with The Wind Rises, about the designer of the famous Zero fighter plane. But that recent film deals more with life before the war and Japan’s notable achievement in aeronautics. To me, the most powerful part of Grave of the Fireflies comes at its most cruel moment, when so-called “friends” stoop to staggering depths of avarice and disrespect. Grave of the Fireflies is a great film, but one to be watched with care.
Posted on January 21st, 2015 by firstname.lastname@example.org in Movies, Resources, Reviews - Staff, Reviews - Teens, Teen Services
Featured earlier this month at the Brattle Street Theatre near Harvard Square, The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a splendid new masterpiece from Studio Ghibli. The BPL has several copies on order so place your requests now to borrow a copy when they arrive. Princess Kaguya is a classic Japanese fairy tale about a magical girl who mysteriously appears in a bamboo stalk while an aged bamboo cutter is working in the forest. The tale tells a multifaceted story about family joy and longing, a girl coming of age, and the deeper spiritual mysteries of the human experience. The artwork is revolutionary for studio Ghibli. Set in a more rice paper/watercolor style, the animation, use of light and shadow, and extreme dynamic effects reminiscent of expressionism captivate the viewer throughout the film. The artists employ unique cell work with dappling shadow overlays as the characters interact and move through the bamboo groves and deeper woods. The overall palette of rice paper-style imagery completely immerses the viewer in an authentic Japanese artistic world. The dynamic effects during dream sequences and storm scenes are gripping, even in their minimalism. I strongly recommend this film for all anime fans. Even loyal Studio Ghibli fans will be impressed by this new direction in artistic style. The story is classic and refreshing at the same time. Beyond its imagery, Princess Kaguya is a bold venture into the depths of the human struggle.
Posted on December 18th, 2014 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
Title/Author: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
Read by: Anna at the Central Library Teen Room / Read for our TBOM book discussion group on December 19th.
Summary: Anna is a magician used to traveling with her mother who is a medium. Together they put on shows and seances to make money. It’s mostly a con. But what her mother doesn’t know is that Anna has real paranormal abilities and lately, she’s been getting visions of a very terrible ending to their lives.
Series/Standalone: book one
Diversity: none that stood out
Could I Relate to These Characters: yes
Would I re-read?: yes
Personal thoughts: Once I started reading, I could not put this book down. I love the 1920’s New York City setting and I love stories about magic. I think Teri Brown did a fantastic job bringing them both together. While this is the first in a series, it can be read as a standalone as well, yet, I’m looking forward to reading the second one just to see what might happen next.