Teen Book Talk features book, movie, and local event reviews written by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of an older teen book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

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**

Jiwon H., Teen Reviewer

Book Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Author: Stephen Chbosky

Book Format: Book

Year of Publication: 1999

Who will book appeal to?: Teenagers

Rating: 3 stars

The protagonist is a fifteen-year-old boy named Charlie. He is currently coping with the suicide of his friend, Michael, and in order to lessen his anxiety of starting high school without Michael, Charlie starts to write letters to a stranger that he heard was nice but has never actually met in his real life. The letters mainly talks about his daily life at school and how he feels about other people around him. At school, his English teacher, Bill, becomes both Charlie’s friend and mentor. Charlie overcomes his shyness and approaches one of his classmates named Patrick who eventually becomes Charlie’s best friend along with his stepsister, Sam. Throughout the school year, Charlie has his first date and first kiss, deals with bullies, and experiments with drugs and drinking. He makes more friends, loses them, and gains them back again. He also makes his own soundtrack using mixtapes. At home, Charlie has a relatively stable life with his supportive parents. However, a disturbing family secret that Charlie has repressed for his whole life appears at the end of the school year. Charlie goes through several mental breakdowns and ends up being hospitalized.

The letters continue on despite these various incidents that Charlie experiences. I recommend this book to teenagers, especially the ones in high school, because the protagonist with the similar age as themselves will make the story more relatable and understandable, and they can put themselves in Charlie’s shoes. Some readers might not be interested in this story because it covers the dramas in school and they might assume that it would be a story that is too common. However, I think that this story shows the conflicts to its readers in a rather unique way. The format – letters – makes the plot sound more realistic and every book will talk about high school dramas in a different way, so I believe that it is worth reading.

Teen Book Talk features book, movie, and local event reviews written by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of a new movie, currently out in theaters: Dunkirk. As mentioned, the movie is still currently in theaters, so there are no copies available at the library at this time.

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**

Neha H., Teen Reviewer

Name of Movie: Dunkirk

Release Date: July 13, 2017

MPAA Rating: PG-13

My rating: 3 stars

Genre: Drama, suspense, thriller

Acclaimed director Christopher Nolan’s highly-anticipated WWII thriller, Dunkirk, is a complex and harrowing tour de force, full of concrete details and visceral thrills. The film is based on the evacuation of 330,000 Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk in May 1940 after the German advance into France. As with his other films, Nolan deliberately experiments with time in Dunkirk; the narrative is told through three parallel storylines on land, sea, and air which eventually merge.

Dunkirk features the perspectives of several figures with critical roles in the evacuations, including a young British soldier (Fionn Whitehead), a civilian boat captain (Mark Rylance), a British officer suffering from PTSD (Cillian Murphy), two RAF pilots (Tom Hardy and Jack Lowden), and a naval officer (Kenneth Branagh). These perspectives are intricately interwoven amidst the intense action sequences; however, this can all be confusing to viewers unfamiliar with “Nolan Time”. The frequent explosions, along with Hans Zimmer’s forceful score, drowns out the minimal dialogue, making the film difficult to follow.

Nolan’s repeated attempts to disrupt the natural rhythm of the film with his time-bending tricks leave it feeling somewhat hollow and disjointed. Although Dunkirk is undoubtedly technologically well-crafted and visually impressive, its lack of emotional resonance and a cohesive storyline mars the spectacle.

 

Teen Book Talk features reviews by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of a teen book published in 2015. The book, Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon still has a waiting list, but you can add your name to the waitlist here: Everything, Everything.

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**

Hannah A., Teen Reviewer

Book Title: Everything, Everything

Author: Nicola Yoon

Book Format: book

Year of Publication: 2015

Who will book appeal to: teens, and adults who are young at heart 🙂

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

 

Nicola Yoon’s motivation for writing this book is very encouraging and supportive of multiracial kids. Being married to a man of Korean ethnicity and having a multiracial daughter, she beautifully crafts a story around two people of different ethnicities, Madison, and Olly. Madison has lived her entire life in her house, and hasn’t stepped outside for the fear that her Severe Combined Immunodeficiency will be triggered. All she knows is her mom, her nurse and the house. All of this changes though, as a boy who moved in next door completely changes her life, as they find themselves falling in love.

While reading this story, I had a sense of deja vu, as the storyline is very similar to that of The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. Unlike Green’s novel, Everything, Everything incorporates its own uniqueness, with vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, and more. I loved the flair that these extras added to Yoon’s novel, along with the sweet illustrations by her husband.

I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars, but enjoys more lighthearted books, with a more modern twists. It’s a quick read, I wasn’t able to put it down after starting it. Yoon’s take on romance is a reminder that anyone, and everyone, will eventually find true love.

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.