Teen Book Talk features reviews by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of another movie, Wonder Woman, which was newly released in theaters this past weekend. 

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**

Neha H., Teen Reviewer

Name of Movie: Wonder Woman

Release Date: June 2, 2017

MPAA Rating: PG-13

My rating: 5 stars

Genre: Action, superhero, fantasy, sci-fi

 

The latest installment in the DC Extended Universe, Wonder Woman is an exhilarating and empowering superhero adventure that serves as the origin story for one of the comic book giant’s most popular characters. The film, directed by Patty Jenkins, is the first female-led superhero film in more than a decade, and was recently reported to have had the biggest opening ever for a female director.

On the hidden Amazon island of Themyscira, a young Diana desperately wants to be trained as a warrior, but her mother, Queen Hippolyta, initially forbids her to begin training. The queen eventually capitulates, and Diana (Gal Gadot) quickly becomes the strongest Amazonian warrior on the island, wholeheartedly embracing her mission of protecting humankind against corruption by Ares, the god of war.

As a young woman, Diana rescues British spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) from a plane crash, and the Amazons combat the German troops who pursue him. When Trevor describes the millions of civilian deaths and destruction due to the ongoing Great War, Diana is convinced it is her responsibility to help end the conflict. She travels to London with Steve to thwart Ares’ plan for the destruction of humanity, in a quest for justice and peace.

 Wonder Woman has prominent themes of courage, selflessness, and compassion: it features a talented ensemble cast, dazzling special effects, and a compelling storyline. Gadot’s charismatic portrayal of the titular character is definitely the film’s greatest strength, complete with a rousing theme by Hans Zimmer which alludes to both Diana’s moral conviction and might. Jenkins chooses to focus on both the character’s vulnerabilities and strengths, immortalizing her as a truly endearing heroine for a new generation of young girls.

 

Teen Book Talk features reviews by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of another movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The DVD is now available to place on hold at the library (there is currently quite a long hold list!)

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**

Neha H., Teen Reviewer

Name of Movie: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Release Date: November 18, 2016

MPAA Rating : PG-13

My rating : 4 stars

Genre : Fantasy, action, thriller

Set roughly seventy years before the timeline of the Ha rry Potter series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the first entry in a five-part series of prequels that will focus on the events leading up to the climactic duel between Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald and Albus Dumbledore. With a screenplay penned by J.K. Rowling, F anta stic Beasts is directed by David Yates, and produced by David Heyman and Steve Kloves — all of whom worked on the original Harry Potter film ser ies. The film follows the adventures of British magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), after he arrives in 1920s New York City with a briefcase filled with magical creatures.

Newt finds himself directly in the midst of the sudden chaos and turmoil that wreak havoc on New York streets; the mayhem gradually reveals the longstanding tension and deep distrust between the American magical community and the “No-Majs” (non-magical people, the equivalent of Muggles). Although Newt evidently prefers the company of the beloved creatures he carries with him, he encounters demoted Auror Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), her Legilimens sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), and Jacob Kowalski, a No-Maj (Dan Fogler), all of whom help him in his quest to save the American Wizarding World from total anarchy.

Each of the actors deliver superb performances; Oscar-winner Redmayne, in particular, perfectly captures the charisma and charm of Newt. While not quite as emotionally powerful and gripping as on the page, Rowling’s talent still shines through her screenwriting; she expertly conveys the developing relationships between the characters through memorable lines of dialogue.

The thrilling, fast-paced action sequences are supplemented by a lilting score courtesy of James Newton Howard ( The Hunger Games, T he Dark Knight, Maleficent), who incorporates snippets of John Williams’ classic “Hedwig’s Theme” along with refreshingly original elements. However, a few scenes in the middle of the film seem a bit too drawn out, and the magical creatures — which were promoted as the core of Fantastic Beasts — are quickly forgotten in the midst of the action. Nevertheless, Fantastic Beasts makes for an entertaining fantasy adventure sure to enchant audiences; moreover, its underlying commentary about the dangers of intolerance and paranoia is just as riveting as it is deeply unsettling.

This week, for Teen Book Talk, we’re sharing a review of a local event, The Mount Diablo Rose Society’s annual Rose Show, which took place at the Dublin Library on April 22, 2017.

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, (or write a review of a local event that they attended) 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**

Siri P., Teen Reviewer (photos taken and owned by Siri P.)

The Memorable Rose Show

The rose show at the Dublin Library on April 22nd featured the winning contestants and their award-winning roses. There were many different colors of flowers including golden honey, multi-colored, tie-dye, deep purple, bright yellow – you name it. The roses came in all shapes starting with tiny little bundle of petals while some were even bigger than my fist. The number of petals ranged from five to thirty or more. These pictures that I took are only few of the many roses displayed at the show. The flowers filled the place with pleasant aroma and if you closed your eyes, you could feel as if you were in a colossal garden. The contestants arranged the flowers in a creative and stunning manner, leaving the viewers delighted. It takes a lot of dedication and love to grow the roses. You are never too young or old to share the love for nature and what it brings to our lives. Mount Diablo Rose Society hosted an enchanting presentation of roses.

Teen Book Talk features reviews by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of the book, The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.

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**

Jiwon H., Teen Reviewer

Book Title: The Alchemist

Author: Paulo Coelho

Book Format: Book

Year of Publication: 1988

Who will book appeal to?: Adults

Rating: 5 stars

Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist is one of the very famous books throughout the world as it has been translated into at least sixty-nine languages getting into many different readers’ hands. The book begins with a man named Santiago who believes that the recurring dream he has is prophetic. He decides to travel to meet a Romani fortune-teller to figure out what this dream is trying to tell him. Throughout his journey, Santiago meets different people and learns about various values in one’s life. Following what his dream has shown him, his ultimate goal in the journey is to find the treasure at the pyramids, which is based on the interpretation of his dream by a gypsy woman. In the desert, Santiago meets an alchemist who teaches him about alchemy, helps him cross the desert to reach the pyramids, and talks about his wisdom about the Soul of the World.

The story tells the readers many values in our lives, such as wealth, fame, security, and health. Santiago sees how individuals prioritizing the values in different ways. Then, he looks at himself and finds what is most important in his life by the end of his journey. Paulo Coelho introduces philosophical concepts and the manner each reader perceives these varies.  In order to truly understand the message of this book and learn from it, the readers should be able to connect their own conceptions of different values in life to those of Santiago in the book. Thus, I would like to recommend this book to adults who are interested in reading inspirational books. I rated this book with five stars, because I believe that the lessons or the main message of the story is very meaningful regardless of whether or not each reader could fully understand it or get inspired by it after reading.

 

Teen Book Talk returns! After a short hiatus, teen book talk is back, with all new reviews, written by local teens. This week, we’re sharing a review of the film, Rogue One: a Star Wars Story.

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**

Neha H., Teen Reviewer

Name of Movie: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Release Date: December 16, 2016

MPAA Rating : PG-13

My rating : 4.5 stars

Genre : Science-fiction, action

The latest installment in the Star Wars franchise, Rogue One serves as a prequel to 1977’s A New Hope, and follows the Rebel Alliance’s mission to steal the plans for the Death Star – crucial to its later destruction by rebel fleets led by Luke Skywalker.

Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is the estranged daughter of the Empire’s lead engineer for the Death Star, Galen Erso, who holds the key to its destruction. Jyn must join forces with veteran Rebel pilot Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), an Imperial spy, a reprogrammed droid, and other resistance fighters to fulfill the Alliance’s mission. However, things take an unexpected turn when Imperial Commander Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), desperate to please Emperor Palpatine and Lord Vader, begins to freely demonstrate the Death Star’s destructive potential.

Although it was an unexpected addition to the Star Wars franchise, Rogue One certainly delivers, filling in the missing pieces from A New Hope. The film, directed by Gareth Edwards, boasts stunning visuals and fast-paced action sequences, deftly weaving both together into a compelling narrative with messages of loyalty, bravery, and familial love. It features a diverse yet talented cast, and introduces a new strong female protagonist in the form of Jyn Erso, who joins the ranks formed by Rey and Princess Leia. Missing are the familiar rolling title graphics in the beginning, supplemented by John Williams’ iconic theme; instead, the film features a new score composed by Michael Giacchino (who previously worked on Up, Inside Out, and Jurassic World, to name a few). Rogue One draws upon elements of the original Star Wars trilogy for nostalgia’s sake, but is noticeably darker and grittier; it blends together old and new, with a result that is truly satisfying.

 

Teen Book Talk returns! After a short hiatus, teen book talk is back, with all new reviews, written by local teens. This week, we’re sharing a review of the film, Hidden Figures.

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**

Written by teen reviewer, Neha H.

Name of Movie: Hidden Figures
Release Date: December 25, 2016
MPAA Rating : PG
My rating : 5 stars
Genre : Biographical drama

A poignant, inspiring tale of perseverance, determination, and courage in the face of oppression, Hidden Figures is the true story of three brilliant African-American women who worked at NASA in the 1950s and 1960s as “human computers”, and helped the Space Task Group send astronaut John Glenn into orbit around Earth.

Katherine Goble Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) all work in the segregated West Area Computers division of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. When the director of the Space Task Group, Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) requests for a theoretical mathematician to help NASA outstrip the Russians in the Space Race, Katherine is assigned to his team. Katherine struggles to have her contributions recognized and accepted by the team; meanwhile, Dorothy teaches herself the FORTRAN programming language and works toward becoming the supervisor of her group, and Mary pursues an engineering degree from graduate school.

Hidden Figures memorializes the vital, yet widely overlooked contributions of these three women during a crucial period of American space history. The film combines dazzling cinematography and standout performances by Henson, Spencer, and Monáe, to create an engaging, heartfelt masterpiece. This uplifting, feel-good film should not be missed!

 

This week for Teen Book Talk, our teen reviewer shares her views on a teen novel, Mosquitoland, by David Arnold.

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**

Esha C., Teen Reviewer

mosquitolandBook Title: Mosquito Land

Author: David Arnold

Format: Book

Year Of Publication: 2015

Who Will This Book Appeal To: Readers who enjoy books by John Green, Rainbow Rowell, and Jandy Nelson.

Rating: 4/5 stars


In David Arnold’s Mosquito Land, main character, Mim Malone, decides to drop everything, leave home, and go find her mother. She hops on a bus with some cash, and an address, hoping to finally find some closure about her mother’s disappearance and the lack of communication that they’d had for months. Throughout her journey, Mim encounters various interesting people, and develops fleeting friendships as she finds her way closer and closer to finally seeing her mother again. By the end of the novel, Mim has reached new levels of acceptance and has learned to open up her heart in ways she didn’t think were possible before. 

 

I really enjoyed this book. The plot took a lot of interesting turns, so I never got bored while I was reading it. This book is similar (the writing style) to books by John Green, Jandy Nelson, and Rainbow Rowell, so I think that readers who enjoy the Young Adult and Realistic Fiction type novels will really enjoy this book. (There is no material in the book that would make anyone want to stop reading or uncomfortable.)