December 2018


Teen Book Talk features book, movie, and local event reviews written by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of a movie, The Upside of Unrequited.

Teen reviewers select which books and movies they’d like to review, and also which local events to attend and review. All opinions are those of the reviewers. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Sahana N., teen reviewer

Book Title: The Upside of Unrequited

Author: Becky Albertalli

Book Format: Book

Year of Publication: 2017

Appeal: Young Adult

Rating: 5/5

 

At 17, Molly Peskin-Suso is filled with love, as unrequited as it may be, its still love. She’s had 26 crushes but never tried anything because of her insecurities of being fat. Her twin sister on the other hand, Cassie is the complete opposite. She’s stunning, looks amazing in whatever she decides to throw on, and is talented in the field of love.

One day, Cassie meets a girl named Mina. She’s immediately smitten and admittedly has trouble confessing to her crush. After she gets a bit more comfortable, Mina and Cassie start to date, making Molly feel lonelier, and more unwanted than ever.

Fortunately, Cassie has an idea and wants to set up Mina’s best friend, “hipster Will” with Molly. Anxious to spend more time with Cassie and maybe even receive her first kiss, Molly wills herself to like the cute redhead that keeps popping up.

When Molly starts her summer job, she meets Reid, a chubby Tolkien super fan with his interesting love for Cadbury mini eggs, and a dorky laugh. Suddenly she finds herself wishing to spend more and more time with this cute guy who seemingly occupies most of her mind. Could this be once more unrequited love? Could this be “Molly crush” number 28? Or could this maybe be true?

I enjoyed this book because it explored many characters. The differences between each were vivid and easily spotted. The main theme of this book was also that different is okay. We see characters of different body weights and accepting that they are beautiful as well. We see characters who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community and are proud to be so. Most importantly we see characters confident in being themselves, teaching readers a good lesson.

Love, Simon fans will enjoy this book very much because it’s written by the same author. Molly is Abby’s cousin and in this book we explore her background. This book doesn’t incorporate any aspects of fantasy but takes you on a journey through real life. That being said, I would still recommend it to any fans of The Selection, Red Queen, An Ember in the Ashes, or YA series with action, just because it’s an easy read and a great story! I would especially recommend it to John Green fans because the two have similar writing styles.

Another reason I enjoyed this story is the way it is told. Molly’s perspective is fresh, new, and unheard of previously. Most books we read with female main characters talk about how beautiful they are. Take Red Queen, the book isn’t centered on beauty but we do understand how beautiful Mare is. In The Selection, America’s beauty is unrefined and unique, making Maxon fall for her from the start. Finally, in The Ember in the Ashes, Laia catches Elias’ eye even as a servant just because of her looks. On the other hand, Molly is a girl who is chubby, a characteristic our modern world doesn’t encourage. We see as she finds herself and who she really is as well as becomes comfortable in her own skin.

 

Teen Book Talk features book, movie, and local event reviews written by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of a movie, Black Panther.

Teen reviewers select which books and movies they’d like to review, and also which local events to attend and review. All opinions are those of the reviewers. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Janice L., teen reviewer

Name of Movie: Black Panther

Release Date: February 16, 2018

Rating: PG-13

Your rating: 5/5

Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction film

Brief Summary:

The movie follows T’Challa, the recently throned King of Wakanda and Black Panther. Wakanda is a mythical, prosperous African nation that replies on its own self-sufficiency to defend its people. Wakanda is introduced as the world’s most advanced civilization that thrives off of the indestructible alien metal vibranium found only in Wakanda that gives people superhuman abilities. The movie begins with T’Challa seeking vengeance by taking down Ulysses Klaue, who infiltrated the isolated nation, resulting in many deaths of the Wakanda people, and stole vibranium. The plot thickens as T’Challa discovers the truth behind how Klaue managed to infiltrate Wakanda and meets the man at the heart of this truth. T’Challa is challenged by this man who has a different perspective on the future of Wakanda’s relations with other countries. T’Challa must reconsider his values and the future of Wakanda as he seeks to defeat the man.

Review:

Although the movie was felt rushed towards the end, I feel that the producers still managed to wrap up the movie well. Overall, I loved the plotline of this movie because it was different from the movies that I’ve watched. This is most likely because Black Panther is my first Marvel movie, so I was surprised by the incredible cinematography in the movie. I was encouraged to watch the movie by my English teacher because we were learning about the Civil Rights Movement and the various civil rights activists during that time period. In addition, almost everyone in my class were impressed by the movie, so I didn’t want to miss out on watching this film!

As my English teacher pointed out, I also found it interesting how Black Panther alludes to the ideological struggle between black activists in the Civil Rights Movement. The perspectives of two main characters in the movie mirror the perspectives black activists held on the most effective method to liberate oppressed people of African descent around the world, more specifically in the USA.

Overall, Black Panther presents an interesting portrayal of conflicting perspectives in the Civil Rights Movement. I would highly recommend watching this movie from this perspective if you haven’t thought about how the movie related to the Civil Rights Movement before. The incredible cinematography and fast-paced nature of the movie made this movie a memorable one.