Teens

Category Archives: Reviews – Teens

These book reviews have been written by teens you know!

Curl Up & Read: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth

Posted on November 4th, 2016 by vkovenmatasy in Books, Reviews - Teens, Teen Services

miseducation-of-cameron-post

 

Title: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth

Read by: Snipe, Dudley Branch

Summary: This book is about a girl named Cameron Post discovering her sexuality and realizing she’s a lesbian. Eventually her aunt and grandmother, who are conservative Christians, learn about her being a lesbian and kissing a girl named Coley Tyler and they send her to a conversion therapy camp. She’s forced to stay there for about two years until she escapes with her friends Jane and Adam, who were also at the camp for similar reasons. The whole story is about how conversion therapy is wrong for everybody and it damages youth. It keeps them away from exploring their sexuality and leads to them being confused and having negative outcomes.

Genre/Subgenre: Realistic fiction

Standalone/Series: Standalone

Length: 470 pages

Personal Thoughts:

I thought this book was really good. First off, you can tell it wasn’t written by a straight author, which is really important. You need to get this type of experience and dialogue in your narrative from an actual person who’s gay, not a straight person who just heard these things. It deals with people being confused about their sexuality and I think that’s also an important part of the book, because not everyone just knows they’re gay, or that what they are is what they are. It could be relatable to anyone, especially people in this age range, who are also confused about themselves. One of the major important parts of the books is about conversion therapy, which is where gay kids are sent to learn that they’re bad for being who they are. It goes into how the people that run these camps actually think they’re doing some type of good and believe they’re right in doing this, and how you can’t let these types of people be in charge of children, especially ones who are questioning themselves.

The book uses words like “faggot” a lot to describe gay people, which is obviously a slur now, and it also describes a graphic scene in which a boy cuts himself because of the abuse of his father and feelings of inferiority and self-hatred. If you’re a person who doesn’t deal well with those types of scenes you probably shouldn’t pick this book up, or should at least try to skip that scene. If you read the book, you’ll recognize the part where it begins.

I would give this book an 8 out of 10 and would recommend it especially to people in the LGBT+ community and anyone questioning their gender and/or sexual identities.

 
animated-2Looking to borrow the book mentioned in this post? This link will take you to our catalog:

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow these books? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.

 

* “Curl Up & Read” posts book reviews by librarians and teens like you on the first Friday of every month. If you’re a teen and you’re interested in having a book review posted on the Teen Blog, please email vkovenmatasy (at) bpl (dot) org and pitch your idea. We might even be able to hook you up with an Advance Reader’s Copy of something coming out soon, so you can really be ahead of the crowd!

 

Curl Up & Read: Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Posted on October 7th, 2016 by vkovenmatasy in Reviews - Teens, Teen Services

 

Title: Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Read by: Josh, Dudley Branch

Summary: This book follows a girl named Jayden, expected to live up to her parents’ wishes as well as restore her father’s honor by marrying into a more powerful family. After an attack by an enemy tribe, her father loses most of the family’s camels, and their survival depends on her arranged marriage to Horeb, the future leader of the tribe. The responsibility weighs heavily on her and eventually she loses much support following the death of her mother and the betrayal of her sister. After she witnesses Horeb murdering the current leader of the tribe, Jayden is forced to flee the safety of her home with Kadesh, a young man who has been taken in by her family, and takes up the search to find her mother’s lost baby.

Genre/Subgenre: Fantasy

Standalone/Series: First book in a projected trilogy

Length: 389 pages

Personal Thoughts:

I thought this book brought a unique perspective to the heroine’s coming of age and making realistic decisions. Whenever Jayden made a move, it didn’t seem smart but it didn’t seem dumb, either, because the outcome was often affected by outside forces beyond her control. Jayden is learning about the gray areas of life; she discovers that the answer is often neither yes nor no, but maybe. Forming and breaking ties as more and more she sees that standing on her own two feet means abandoning a lot of what she knows: her tradition, family, and ultimately her ignorance of the world beyond. This story challenges the basis of control and belief that ties characters to what they are and how they react to hardliner decisions for their survival and for their needs. Often Jayden sought out the advice of the women in her camp, until one day she saw that respect and face aren’t always a reflection of character. Horeb proved lacking in chivalry and hid a craven, often twisted outlook for others, but ended up commanding his people’s trust and their love. As it were his blunders freed her to do what she had to do, commit herself to a love that was mutual.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book like this one before. I give Forbidden a solid 8.5 out of ten and I would recommend it to fans of the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima.

 

 

josh-iconLooking to borrow a book mentioned in this post? These links will take you to our catalog:

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima

Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow these books? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.

 

* “Curl Up & Read” posts book reviews by librarians and teens like you on the first Friday of every month. If you’re a teen and you’re interested in having a book review posted on the Teen Blog, please email vkovenmatasy (at) bpl (dot) org and pitch your idea. We might even be able to hook you up with an Advance Reader’s Copy of something coming out soon, so you can really be ahead of the crowd!

 

Reading Backwards, Watching in Japanese: Mob Psycho 100

Posted on September 13th, 2016 by jkenney in Movies, Reviews - Staff, Reviews - Teens, Teen Services

mob-psycho-100Hello Otaku! I hope the new school year is starting well for all of our fans back in classes. On the theme of “new things,” our club members at Hyde Park recommended the new show Mob Psycho 100. This new series is an action/psycho thriller combo with clear links back to the world famous and groundbreaking film Akira, from 1988. Mob Psycho 100 anime is produced by the same makers of One Punch Man. On this new team, they assembled director Yuzuru Tachikawa from Death Parade and composer Kenji Kawai from Ghost in the Shell. (reference and link credit: Kotaku.com) 

 

 

 

 

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Tetsuo unleashing his telekinetic power in Akira

 

mob-psycho-100-blogThe hero of the story is Mob, a mild and reserved middle school kid who has trouble expressing himself. He seems generally unremarkable except for his one talent, ESP. ESP stands for “Extra-Sensory  Perception” and is not completely confirmed by science. Some people believe it exists and it is often called the “sixth sense.” Common forms of the phenomena can be referred to as “vibe”, “aura” or “spirit.” Spirit is a common theme in many Japanese anime so it’s not surprising we’re seeing it here. But rather than involving magic or classic supernatural themes, Mob Psycho 100 makes reference to a more scientific approach to tell a similar story.

mobpsycho100[Click image for GIF] The artwork and animation are amazing here and I want to take the opportunity to compliment (and brag about) our wonderful teens at Hyde Park. I am sure you and your friendly Otaku would make the same observations as our teens. First, the artwork is simpler than standard cutting edge titles that are taking advantage of HD resolutions and thousands of brilliant colors. Instead, BONES studio uses a simple art style, like that used for One Punch Man. This allows the artists a lot more time and flexibility to create fantastic animation and psychedelic spirit characters. Really though, the art work and creativity erupt with action and dynamism. The balance of time and effort in the production work is clearly evident. These were some of the first things our teens commented about when we started the show last week. They were right on top of this with critical analysis, examples and their reactions. It was great to hear and they had me sold in less than half an episode. I sometimes wondered why the drawing style was more simplistic. Now I understand.

So check out Mob Psycho 100 on Crunchyroll or Kissanime

john250-150x150Did you know that in addition to physical books and DVDs, your library card gives you access to anime and graphic novels online? The BPL subscribes to Hoopla, a streaming service that allows you to check out and enjoy the media you love on your computer, tablet or smartphone. You can learn more about the BPL’s digital media collections here.

Want company while you’re watching anime? The Hyde Park Teen Anime Club meets on Thursdays at 2:30 p.m.

*”Reading Backwards, Watching in Japanese” features reviews of anime and manga by John, the Teen Librarian at the Hyde Park Branch, on the second Tuesday of every month.

Anime Review: Serial Experiments Lain

Posted on January 27th, 2016 by jkenney in Movies, Programs, Reviews - Staff, Reviews - Teens, Teen Services

serial lain

Serial Experiments Lain [R 17+] is a powerful science fiction anime series from 1998.  This psychological thriller centers on the experience of Lain Iwakura and her introduction to cyber-life in “The Wired” [Internet].  After a tragic suicide by a girl in her high school class, she and many other classmates receive emails from the girl after she has died.  This mystery sets the scene for the main thrust of the story.

Other characters include Lain’s best friend Arisu Mizuki and her larger circle of friends, Masami Eiri – apparent designer and god-like figure of The Wired, Knights – “men in black” who are ambiguously involved with the wired, Lain’s family and father who is a computer expert, and a group of younger children who provide another perspective to the developing sense of cyber-life.

Masami serves as the main foil in the series.  A large portion of the plot centers on ideas of self, divinity, physical versus spiritual, real versus virtual, and other wrenching questions often faced in the teen years.  The visual palette contains strong use of “white field” contrasts and fills as well as other shadow fills using “blood pool” and collage-like patterns.  The white fields get repeated emphasis as a sunlight effect in the morning scenes as Lain leaves her house for school.  After a few appearances, the technique is familiar and the artistic style of the series is clearly set apart.  Its continued use serves to amplify the sense of drudgery and emptiness that Lain experiences going to school.  At the same time, the technique itself is stark and almost blinding, creating a confusing crosscurrent to an otherwise static and low energy scene.  It’s truly masterful.  The soundtrack is very strong with its selection of music and an audio “hum” effect that is used to represent the ever-present activity on The Wired. It is usually combined with views of power lines and transformers at scene changes.

Serial Experiments Lain has received notable praise from the critical community and I strongly recommend it for Anime fans.  You can watch it for free on Kissanime.com and Animefrost.com

Anime Review: Samurai Champloo

Posted on January 25th, 2016 by jkenney in Movies, Music, Programs, Reviews - Staff, Reviews - Teens, Teen Services

samurai champloo

Samurai Champloo is an action [shonen] anime from 2004-2005.  Based on the original manga, this story is an adventure combined with poignant drama and comedy that follows the heroine’s search for the “Samurai that smells of sunflowers.”  We have some episodes available on DVD but the title is widely available over streaming sites.  Ask your teen librarian!

The three main characters are Fuu, Mugen and Jin.  Fuu is a teenage girl with a happy-go-lucky attitude and always seems to be hungry.  She is searching for the famous samurai.  Jin is a ronin [roaming samurai] with the classic stern character of the period.  He wears glasses which were actually available at the time but his are modern and lend a stylish flare to his otherwise quiet character.  He is of course, a master swordsman.  Mugen is another great swordsman but of an unconventional style.  He wears his hair in short crazy dreadlocks, and his sword is curved more like a scimitar with z shaped hilt.  He has a chip on his shoulder and is always looking for a fight.

The art work is quite good with strong “brush lines” and solid earthy colors.  The drawing style is slightly elongated with a linear quality that distinguishes it from other modern series such as Fairy Tail and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.  One great feature of this series is the inclusion of Hip Hop music and samples.  The theme music is a hip hop song that viewers will probably want to listen to each episode.  Hip hop culture and even Chinese kung fu are referenced several times during the series and at least once each with more focus in their own episode.  These elements as well as a few other surprises add an entertaining enhancement to the ongoing story line and themes.  Fight sequences are strong and dynamic, and character development is sensitive and engaging.  Viewers will not be disappointed.