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.

 

clockwork.princessTeen Book Chat, the book discussion group for high school students (grades 9-12), returns this fall! Books are now available for pickup at the Dublin Library’s Information Desk. The first meeting will be held on Saturday, September 3rd from 1-2 pm.

Teen Book Chat is a little different than traditional book discussion groups, in that each teen picks a different title to read for the month. Each teen prepares a short book talk about the title they’ve read for the month, and then shares their book talk at the monthly meeting. Teens are not allowed to share spoilers or the ending of the book they’ve chosen, so that other group members have a chance to enjoy the story for themselves.

 

 

 

This week for Teen Book Talk, our reviewer has a review of a children’s book, The Grim Grotto (part of The Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket.

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Justin L., Teen Reviewer

grim grottoBook Title: The Grim Grotto

Author: Lemony Snicket

Book Format: Book

Year of Publication: 2004

Targeted Audience: Around ages 9-14; people who have enjoyed other books in the Series of Unfortunate Events (i.e. The Bad Beginning )

Rating: 4 stars

Similar to the other 12 books of the Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket’s The Grim Grotto describes a part of the tragedy of the lives of the three Baudelaire siblings: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny. Violet, at age 14, is an inventor; Klaus, at age 12, is a researcher; and Sunny, the toddler, is a cook with very sharp teeth. The story begins at the Mortmain Mountains, with the three siblings riding on a toboggan down the treacherous Stricken Stream as the snow and ice melt with the arrival of False Spring. The trio are then rescued by Captain Widdershin’s submarine, the Queequeg , and meet Captain Widdershin and his crew, including his stepdaughter Fiona, a mycologist (mushroom specialist) and Phil, the cook. Together, these six heros track the elusive sugar bowl in search of the secrets of the organization V.F.D. and find themselves in the Gorgonian Grotto, where danger awaits…

Things I enjoy about Snicket’s The Grim Grotto include his unique plot, unique characters, and his unique way of storytelling. The characters, settings, and plot in general are very creative and differ greatly from the average fantasy/young adult book, giving the reader a sense of interest. Examples of his creative characters include a tapdancing ballerina fairy princess veterinarian, a fashioncrazed woman in an octopus suit with a tagliatelle grande (a large noodle used as a whip), and a villain with a villainous laugh composed of sniggles, snaggles, and bizarre vocabulary. Though these characters seem to border the ridiculous, Snicket successfully ties them all together and creates an outoftheordinary plot. I also enjoyed Snicket’s storytelling. While most books stick to a single point of view (first, second, or third), Snicket switches between the three throughout the book many times. He uses the third point of view to narrate the story of the Baudelaires, and the first and second points of view are used to narrate the narrator’s personal history and
to warn the reader of the unpleasantness of the tragedy of the Bauderlaires’ lives. Snicket also ties in other topics into his story, a prominent topic in this one being the water cycle. I enjoyed very much Snicket’s creative characters, plot, and creative narration.

The one thing I did not like, however, was excessive description of relatively unrelated topics (this is the reason I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars). Snicket uses descriptions of subjects such as the water cycle to make the reader “yawn with boredom and forget about the troubles of the Baudelaires’s harrowing journey”. While this certainly is creative, I find it to be rather excessive and detracting from the main storyline. The more times Snicket uses this tactic, the more tedious I find it. This is the only major reason for my disliking the book; overall I still enjoyed this book and would both read it again and recommend it to others.

This week for Teen Book Talk, our reviewer has a short review of a favorite book, The Satan Bug by Alistair Maclean.

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Gowri D., Teen Reviewer

satan bugBook Title: The Satan Bug

Author: Alistair Maclean

Book Format: Book

Year of Publication: 1962

Who will book appeal to: Teen – Adult, readers who desire action, suspense, mystery, and thrill

Rating: ★★★★★

 

 

Review: This book was one of my personal favorites. As a reader, I desire action, suspense, and mystery. The Satan Bug, by Alistair Maclean, exceeded the standards I have set for “good books”. In this book, Agent Pierre Cavell learns about the tragic murder of his friend, a scientist at the well-guarded Mordon Research Center. Along with this, vials of Botulinus and the Satan Bug (which is capable of wiping out life on Earth with one small spoon) have gone missing. Angered and sorrowed by his loss of a good friend, Cavell decides to investigate the murder and theft. Soon after, the investigators are faced with a threat – the murderer was planning to drop the vial containing the Satan Bug. Thus begins this fast paced novel, with 24 hours to solve this case.  I would definitely recommend this to readers seeking action, mystery and suspense.

This week for Teen Book Talk, our reviewer gives her take on a Disney movie, Lemonade Mouth (release date 2011).

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Natlie L., Grade 11, Teen Reviewer

lemonade mouthMovie: Lemonade Mouth

Release Date: April 15, 2011

Rating: PG

My Rating: 3 Stars

Genre: Musical, Drama, Comedy

Five students from Mesa High School run into trouble with the school’s authorities, and they all end up in detention. There, they realize that their mutual musical compatibility can lead to the start of a revolution that will overthrow—or at least change—the tyrannical rule of Principal Brenigan, a man who’s obsessed with school sports, sponsorships, and his own reputation. Through their band, Lemonade Mouth, they learn to overcome personal problems, family issues, and foreign obstacles in order to prove to the world that the arts, self-expression, and friendship are all important values that should be upheld.

I’m not a huge fan of a certain dairy product called “cheese,” and it’s a bit unfortunate that this film contains a lot of it. The story itself is just like a pepperoni pizza—very simple and delightful to consume—but the creation of it could’ve used some more pepperoni, not more cheese. By too much cheesiness, I mean much of the plot and characters’ lines are predictable, which made several scenes seem to drag on forever because I already knew how it would end. I credit this lack of suspense to the fact that it’s a Disney film because—let’s face it—Disney productions are always heavy on the cheese, and everyone already knows what that tastes like.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed this film because—cutting out predictability, the fairytale-like ending to romances, and the needlessly tragic backstories—it spreads great messages to its intended audience—little kids. The themes of individuality, self-expression, perseverance and the values of friendship and family are heavily stressed throughout the whole movie. These themes are incredibly important for kids to know because they will always be relevant to real-life situations that kids will encounter in both the near and distant future.

Parents, I say this film is a fantastic way to get your children started on learning about expressing themselves without fear of parental and societal pressures. You can watch with them, and who knows? Maybe you’ll find yourself dancing to the catchy tunes as well!

This week for Teen Book Talk our reviewer talks about a summer movie, Jurassic World. The DVD has been released and is available to be put on hold through the library’s catalog.

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Natlie L., Grade 11, Teen Reviewer

18095805714_64c6c580fd_oMovie: Jurassic World

Release Date: June 12, 2015

Rating: PG-13

My Rating: 3 Stars

Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure

It has been 22 years since the disastrous incident at Jurassic Park, and—in case you’re wondering—no, these people still haven’t learned from their past mistakes. Another theme park featuring genetically-modified prehistoric creatures opens up where its predecessor fell, and this time, the monsters are bigger, badder, and scarier than ever. When the Indominus rex, a gigantic genetically-modified dinosaur with extreme predatory senses and intelligence, outsmarts and overpowers the park’s “top-notch” management, the lives of everyone on the island are jeopardized. It’s up to an unbalanced businesswoman (Claire Dearing), her cynical teenage nephew (Zach Mitchell), his bubbly younger brother (Gray Mitchell), and the dinosaur-whisperer (Owen Grady) to save the day.

I walked into the theater with popcorn in one hand, soda in the other, and high expectations for endless scenes of mass dino-destruction.

I was not disappointed.

As someone who has never seen Jurassic Park, or Jurassic-anything for that matter, I am surprised by the technological expertise that the movie displays. I know it’s already 2015, but I am still amazed by the CG and sound effects. I cannot recall a single point in the movie where I felt that either one of those are off. Whenever the Indominus rex showed up on screen, I got crazy goosebumps up my arms simply due to the combination of the CG team’s hyper-attention to detail, bone-shatteringly good sound effects, and extreme tension built up by background music. The technical aspects of this movie are as close as they can get to flawless in my book.

I’m giving this movie a lot of slack when it comes to character development because I understand that the whole incident took place over the course of one day. It’s difficult to write a character that gives the audience a natural feeling of his or her development when everything happens within 24 hours.

Jurassic World lacks the most in the plot department. Typical adventure-movie clichés are used everywhere and make the plot predictable. Certain characters’ actions made me want to scream and wonder how they could be so unbelievably brainless. It’s almost as if I somehow started watching a horror movie, seeing as these characters also seem to feel obligated to disregard signs like “DANGER” and “NO TRESPASSING”. But how else can the producers get the stars of the show to literally land themselves in the jaws of an indomitable giant lizard? Not to mention, the deaths of certain characters were not as impactful as producers intended for them to be; there was no shock factor, much less any tears. I consider one death in particular to be entirely pointless and a complete screen-time-waster.

This combination of dinosaurs and destruction inevitably calls for a lot of gore and violence, so if that type of stuff isn’t your cup of tea, I recommend that you don’t pick it up, much less consume it. If you’re just looking for an exciting thriller to watch with friends, it’s definitely worth your time and money.

 

 

nimonaDublin Library has a new book discussion group for teens, grades 9-12. Teens can sign up at the Information Desk, and pick up a book. Teen Book Chat is different than the traditional book discussion group in that each participant reads a different book each month, and then prepares a short book talk to present to the group. The group also discusses other books they’ve recently read and enjoyed. Teens get to keep the paperback book that they chose from the library’s offerings each month. Teen Book Chat is also a great space to practice public speaking and interview skills, while in a more informal setting with peers.

The next meeting is Wednesday, March 9th from 4-4:45 pm.

For questions or more information, please contact Mary Ayers Hughes at: mcayers@aclibrary.org