The Help by Kathryn Stockett Call #: STOCKETT Rating: 5/5 Stars Movie: The Help (2011) →Call #: DVD DRAMA Help Review by Jasmyn O.
The Help tells the story of two African American maids working in Jackson Mississippi, along with the story of Eugenia Phelan who had just returned from college. Eugenia, who is the writer, decides to write a book exposing what it’s like to be a black maids with the help of Aibileen and Minny.
I enjoyed reading the book because of the way the author tells the reality of the past, but in a way that is enjoyable for the reader. It also shows the struggles of being an independent woman; for example, Eugenia became isolated from her friends and family, and she had to learn how to deal with her problems by herself. This is the same for one of the maids, Abileen. She has to deal with the struggle that she has lost her son, yet she still goes to work everyday and has to provide for herself. The three main characters, Abileen, Minny, and Eugenia, end up becoming closer, which seems unlikely at the beginning due to segregation. The author also writes this book in a humorous way, in addition to capturing the disturbing facts of history, which makes you not want to put it down.
For the most part, I was not able to relate to the characters, as the three main characters had dealt with so many downs in their lives that they had to overcome. I would recommend this book to people who are trying to learn about the past from the perspective of somebody in the past. Reading this book makes it feel as though you are experiencing it alongside the character; the fact that you feel the emotions of the character while reading made me love the book.
The term “Apple” is a slur in Native communities across the country. It’s for someone supposedly “red on the outside, white on the inside.”
Eric Gansworth is telling his story in Apple (Skin to the Core). The story of his family, of Onondaga among Tuscaroras, of Native folks everywhere. From the horrible legacy of the government boarding schools, to a boy watching his siblings leave and return and leave again, to a young man fighting to be an artist who balances multiple worlds.
Eric shatters that slur and reclaims it in verse and prose and imagery that truly lives up to the word heartbreaking.
Lana Torres has always preferred dragons to people. In a few weeks, sixteen countries will compete in the Blazewrath World Cup, a tournament where dragons and their riders fight for glory in a dangerous relay. Lana longs to represent her native Puerto Rico in their first ever World Cup appearance, and when Puerto Rico’s Runner—the only player without a dragon steed—is kicked off the team, she’s given the chance.
But when she discovers that a former Blazewrath superstar has teamed up with the Sire—a legendary dragon who’s cursed into human form—the safety of the Cup is jeopardized. The pair are burning down dragon sanctuaries around the world and refuse to stop unless the Cup gets cancelled. All Lana wanted was to represent her country. Now, to do that, she’ll have to navigate an international conspiracy that’s deadlier than her beloved sport.
In her small town, seventeen year-old Delia “Dee” Skinner is known as the girl who wasn’t taken. Ten years ago, she witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. And though she told the police everything she remembered, it wasn’t enough. Sibby was never seen again.At night, Dee deals with her guilt by becoming someone else: the Seeker, the voice behind the popular true crime podcast Radio Silent, which features missing persons cases and works with online sleuths to solve them. Nobody knows Dee’s the Seeker, and she plans to keep it that way.When another little girl goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby’s disappearance, Dee has a chance to get answers, with the help of her virtual detectives and the intriguing new girl at school. But how much is she willing to reveal about herself in order to uncover the truth? Dee’s about to find out what’s really at stake in unraveling the mystery of the little girls who vanished.
In the Jim Crow South, white supremacy reigns and tensions are high. But Evalene Deschamps has other things to worry about. She has two little sisters to look after, an overworked single mother, and a longtime crush who is finally making a move.
On top of all that, Evvie’s magic abilities are growing stronger by the day. Her family calls it jubilation—a gift passed down from generations of black women since the time of slavery. And as Evvie’s talents waken, something dark comes loose and threatens to resurface…
And when the demons of Evvie’s past finally shake free, she must embrace her mighty lineage, and summon the power that lies within her.
Emanuela Ragno always gets what she wants. With her daring mind and socialite schemes, she refuses to be the demure young lady everyone wants her to be. In her most ambitious move yet, she’s about to marry Alessandro Morandi, her childhood best friend and the heir to the wealthiest house in Occhia. Emanuela doesn’t care that she and her groom are both gay, because she doesn’t want a love match. She wants power, and through Ale, she’ll have it all.
But Emanuela has a secret that could shatter her plans. In the city of Occhia, the only source of water is the watercrea, a mysterious being who uses magic to make water from blood. When their first bruise-like omen appears on their skin, all Occhians must surrender themselves to the watercrea to be drained of life. Everyone throughout history has given themselves up for the greater good. Everyone except Emanuela. She’s kept the tiny omen on her hip out of sight for years.
When the watercrea exposes Emanuela during her wedding ceremony and takes her to be sacrificed, Emanuela fights back…and kills her. Now Occhia has no one to make their water and no idea how to get more. In a race against time, Emanuela and Ale must travel through the mysterious, blood-red veil that surrounds their city to uncover the secrets of the watercrea’s magic and find a way to save their people-no matter what it takes.
Seventeen-year-old Cordelia Koenig was sure of many things going into her last year of high school. For one, she wasn’t going to stress over the senior project all her peers were dreading—she’d just use the same find-your-roots genealogy idea that her older sister used for hers. Secondly, she’d put all that time spent not worrying about the project toward getting reacquainted with former best friend and longtime crush Kodiak Jones who, conveniently, gets assigned as Cordelia’s partner.
All she has to do is mail in her DNA sample, write about her ancestry results and breeze through the rest of senior year. Done, done and done.
But when Cordelia’s GeneQuest results reveal that her father is not the man she thought he was but a stranger who lives thousands of miles away, Cordelia realizes she isn’t sure of anything anymore—not the mother who lied, the life she was born into or the girl staring back at her in the mirror.
If your life began with a lie, how can you ever be sure of what’s true?
Henri “Halti” Haltiwanger can charm just about anyone. He is a star debater and popular student at the prestigious FATE academy, the dutiful first-generation Haitian son, and the trusted dog walker for his wealthy New York City neighbors. But his easy smiles mask a burning ambition to attend his dream college, Columbia University.
There is only one person who seems immune to Henri’s charms: his “intense” classmate and neighbor Corinne Troy. When she uncovers Henri’s less-than-honest dog-walking scheme, she blackmails him into helping her change her image at school. Henri agrees, seeing a potential upside for himself.
Soon what started as a mutual hustle turns into something more surprising than either of them ever bargained for….
Jason Reynolds’s Newbery Honor, Printz Honor, and Coretta Scott King Honor–winning, #1 New York Times bestselling novel Long Way Down is now a gripping, galvanizing graphic novel, with haunting artwork by Danica Novgorodoff.
Will’s older brother, Shawn, has been shot. Dead. Will feels a sadness so great, he can’t explain it. But in his neighborhood, there are THE RULES:
No. 1: Crying. Don’t. No matter what.
No. 2: Snitching Don’t. No matter what.
No. 3: Revenge Do. No matter what.
But bullets miss. You can get the wrong guy. And there’s always someone else who knows to follow the rules…
Rinn Olivera is finally going to tell her longtime crush AJ that she’s in love with him.
Daniella Korres writes poetry for her own account, but nobody knows it’s her.
Imogen Azar is just trying to make it through the day.
When Rinn, Daniella, and Imogen clock into work at Wild Nights Bookstore on the first day of summer, they’re expecting the hours to drift by the way they always do. Instead, they have to deal with the news that the bookstore is closing. Before the day is out, there’ll be shaved heads, a diva author, and a very large shipment of Air Jordans to contend with.
And it will take all three of them working together if they have any chance to save Wild Nights Bookstore.
After Corazon’s mother catches her kissing her older female teacher, Corazon is sent to the Philippines to live with a half brother she barely knows. There she learns more about loss and love than she could have ever imagined.
Corazon Tagubio is an outcast at her Catholic school. She’s attending on scholarship, she keeps to herself, and her crush on her teacher Ms. Holden doesn’t help anything. At home, Cory’s less-than-perfect grades disappoint her mom and dad, who are already working overtime to support her distant half brother in the Philippines.
When an accident leaves her dad comatose, Cory feels like Ms. Holden is the only person who really sees her. But when a crush turns into something more and the secret gets out, Cory is sent to her half brother. She’s not prepared to face a stranger in an unfamiliar place, but she begins to discover how the country that shaped her past might also change her future.
Home Alone (1990) Call #: BLU-RAY+DVD HOLIDAY HOME Rating: 5/5 stars Series: Home Alone, Movie 1 Review by David D.
Today I’m going to give a review about the best and most enjoyable Christmas movie of all time, Home Alone. This is the first movie in the series out of five, but in my opinion it’s the best one. I would personally rate this movie a 5 out 5 because it’s so entertaining to watch with your family, especially if it’s during Christmas.
The story is about a family who plan a trip to Paris, but the main character Kevin behaves badly the night before the trip. His mom makes him sleep in the attic where she will forget about him in the morning when they are all in a hurry to get to the airport. When Kevin finds out that he was left alone, at first he is terrified, but then he is excited for all the things he is able to do! That excitement will only be with him after some intruders try to break in into his house, but in order to find out more you will have to see the movie!
Other Broken Things by Christa Desir Rating: 4/5 stars Review by Layla C.
Other Broken Things is about a 17-year-old girl named Natalie who, after receiving a DUI, is required to go to AA meetings. She meets an older man named Joe who she ends up falling in love with. Throughout the book, we see Natalie struggle with sobriety, self-control, self-esteem, family conflicts, and her past mistakes.
This book is one of my favorites because of the mature themes it covers. Personally, I’m not the biggest reader. It takes a plot that remains interesting throughout the book to keep me engaged. This book exceeded that and always left me wanting to read more. I found many topics in the book very relatable to my personal life such as the topic of family conflicts and self-esteem. I thought the way the author portrays the dark and difficult aspects of the struggles of a recovering alcoholics made the tone of the book much more personal than other young adult novels I’ve read.
I would recommend this book to older teens (age 16+). This book does include mature themes, and I would not recommend it to children. Overall, after reading it, I felt that I took away more perspective on controversial topics. When picking a good read I prefer one that makes me think hard about it even after I finish. This is definitely a tear-jerker that can help some gain insight when going through a difficult time in life.
Scythe by Neal Shusterman Call #: TEEN SHUSTERMAN Rating: 4.5/5 stars Series: Scythe, Book 1 Review by Ariana K.
Scythe is a book set in the future, where death is caused naturally all with the help of an advanced computer system: Janine as the “Thunderhead” that controls society. Everyone lives in a world with no misery and danger. Scythes are the only ones who can kill and end life on command in order to keep the population under control. Now two teenagers named Citra and Rowan are taken under the control of Scythe Goddard, who abuses his powers and enjoys to kill.
I really like the book. I personally enjoy science fiction books, so this book really caught my attention. Scythe would be perfect for young adults who also enjoy science fiction and action. I had to read this book for the summer going into my freshman year of high school as a summer reading project. I really never read anything like this book, but the only similar book I can think of would sort of be The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I really liked the characters in the book as well, and I like the relationship between Citra and Rowan. This book is just absolutely amazing, and I would definitely recommend it.
Whether you’re looking to follow a real-life adventure or learn more about a topic, our Non-Fiction collection in the Teen Room has something to offer everyone! Stop by the Teen Room in March to see our display of fantastic Non-Fiction titles.
Shane Burcaw is a YouTuber, gamer, and writer who has used his sense of humor to write this absolutely hilarious memoir about his life. Burcaw has spinal muscular dystrophy, and Laughing at My Nightmare discusses everything from his girlfriend to a laugh-out-loud bathroom experience. Whether you’re already a fan of his youtube channel, enjoy in-your-face humor, or just want to read a funny, true story about someone living with a disability, you’ll find something to enjoy in Laughing at My Nightmare!
Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists tells the famous stories of women fighting for their rights throughout history, and includes many lesser known. If you’re looking for a good introduction to women’s rights and women’s history, this is an excellent book to pick up- you’ll fall in love with the drawings and the historical women, and you’ll learn something new too!
Although the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century may be something we’re used to seeing in history books, Congressman John Lewis lived it. The March series of graphic novels are his account not only of his early life, but his involvement in the movement. From organizing a lunch-counter sit-in to preparing for the inauguration of the country’s first black president, Congressman Lewis uses this graphic novel to tell a compelling story about who he is, what struggles he endured, and why he fought.
The 57 Bus follows the story of Sasha and Richard, the fateful day they met, and the aftermath of their meeting. Veteran journalist Dashka Slater details the lives of Sasha (a white agender teen), Richard (a black teen), the history and geography of the city of Oakland, and the justice system with tact and detail; serious and complex topics like racism, LGBTQ+ violence, the education system, and more are deftly handled in The 57 Bus.
Educated by Tara Westover Call #: 371.042 WES Rating: 4/5 stars Review by David D.
This book is about a woman named Tara who overcomes the tough obstacles put in her life by her family. Since she was a child, her parents were very anti-government, so she never went to a hospital and never attended school. Her parents believed that the government was just brainwashing their minds into going to a hospital, taking medicine, or even learning information from a school.
I would rate this book a 4 out of 5 stars because it motivates and teaches you that anything is possible even if you have a lot of problems in your life. Tara Westover is a great example of this because she never got a proper education when she was young, but ended up going to Cambridge University and earned a degree in writing. I would highly recommend that you read this book because you will notice that there is people out there who have it much harder than you do, but with motivation and a strong attitude they can overcome these struggles and succeed in life.
Last month was Valentine’s and like many people, we got into the spirit at the library with romance-themed book displays. But sometimes it’s nice to get a break, and read a book that has absolutely no romance in it whatsoever; whether you’re burnt out on romance, never have enjoyed it, or are just in the mood for something different, try one of these books with little or no romance at all!
This is an older book, but still good for plenty of laughs! When Australian teen Amal, inspired by Rachel from Friends, decides to begin wearing a hijab full-time, her life changes in both expected and unexpected ways. From run-ins with school administration to adventures with her friends, Amal’s story combines laughs with feels in an unforgettable mixture.
When Claudia gets back from a summer vacation, her best friend Monday is missing. But nobody seems to care. The two girls have always been inseparable, and Claudia worries not just for her friend, but about what might happen to her without Monday. Despite resistance from those around her, Claudia starts trying to figure out where Monday has gone, as well as navigate a world without her. But the more she investigates, the more questions she has. Just where is Monday, and why isn’t anyone else looking for her?
Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain, locked in a feud with Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin. But when Lord Blackheart hires shapeshifter Nimona to be his apprentice in this graphic novel, chaos ensues for both sides of the feud. Nimona is full of suprises, and this graphic novel is full of laughs. The phrase “I’m a shark” will never have the same meaning after Nimona.
What happens when you’ve lost all hope and given up – but find you’re still here? That’s what Vicky Cruz has to figure out in The Memory of Light. When depressed teen Vicky wakes up in a hospital after a suicide attempt, she isn’t sure how to move forward. But as she meets other teens facing their own mental health challenges, and gets help from an empathetic therapist, she slowly begins to remember the light. This is a slow, emotional, thoughtful novel inspired by the author’s own experiences with depression.
Aladdin (2019) Call #: J DVD + BLU RAY DISNEY ALADDIN Rating: 4/5 stars Movie Series: Aladdin, Movie 1 Review by Andrea A.
Aladdin is set in the early days of the made up city of Agrabah, Iraq. It is about a young “street boy” who befriends and falls in love with Jasmine, the princess of Agrabah. He desperately wants to be with her and finds no hope in trying, until he finds a magic lamp that holds a genie inside who is willing to grant Aladdin three wishes as a thank you for freeing him. Meanwhile, Princess Jasmine attempts to fight cultural norms that prevent a woman from ruling the city on her own.
I really enjoyed this movie, as it included clever humor throughout the whole two hours and entertaining song and dance scenes. A lot of the time, remakes or any movie after an original movie in a series are usually not as good as the original film. The 2019 version of Aladdin goes against this typical belief. Another thing I really appreciated about this film was all the examples of support for feminism it included throughout the movie. Princess Jasmine was the main feminist icon in the film because of the way she fought for her independence and her say in what she wanted in her life. She also fought against the demanding rules of her own father and city overall that lived in fear of the powerful antagonist of the story, Jafar. Jasmine was such a powerful character because she was able to do both fight for her rights over her own life and also fight to be able to lead her city properly and keep them safe from evil.I was able to relate most to Princess Jasmine in the sense that she had to face a lot of discrimination and double standards as a woman growing up in a male-dominated society.
I decided to see this movie because I was a big fan of the original as a kid and was excited to see how Disney would improve it in a new way. I would recommend this movie to anyone of any age because it includes important lessons and topics that are relevant in today’s society and can also bring out the kid in you at the same time. I feel that the casting of the movie was done very well. Mena Massoud, who played Aladdin, and Naomi Scott, who played Princess Jasmine, both portrayed their characters personalities exactly as they were written; Scott especially brought a very feisty and intense performance to the film. Will Smith had very large shoes to fill as the genie, as Robin Williams was the voice of the original, but his energy and acting was perfect for his role. Overall, this movie brought me back to my childhood while also showing me some important lessons and topics that I might not have picked up on when I was younger. The movie is very dream positive and shows that anyone can be a leader.
It’s time for our monthly author spotlight, and in March we’re highlighting a favorite author of Teen Services Librarian Hannah: Robin Talley!
Robin Talley grew up in southwest Virginia and worked in digital communications for LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, educational equity, and other progressive causes for fifteen years before she turned to writing full-time. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading about queer characters, analyzing Disney movies, and chocolate. She lives in Washington D.C. with her wife and daughter.
Robin’s work addresses the many identities of the queer spectrum throughout time and genre, and here’s her books that you can find in the Teen Room! All summaries are taken from Goodreads.
In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.
Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.
Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept separate but equal.
Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.
Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it.
Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They’ve been together forever. They never fight. They’re deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU—they’re sure they’ll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, theirs is bound to stay rock-solid.
The reality of being apart, though, is very different than they expected. Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, meets a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, but Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.
While Toni worries that Gretchen won’t understand Toni’s new world, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni’s life. As distance and Toni’s shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide—have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?
Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.
Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.
Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.
But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.
Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.
But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.
Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory. And it’s mostly about sex.
No, it isn’t that kind of theory. Aki already knows she’s bisexual—even if, until now, it’s mostly been in the hypothetical sense. Aki has dated only guys so far, and her best friend, Lori, is the only person who knows she likes girls, too.
Actually, Aki’s theory is that she’s got only one shot at living an interesting life—and that means she’s got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It’s time for her to actually do something. Or at least try.
So when Aki and Lori set off on a church youth-group trip to a small Mexican town for the summer and Aki meets Christa—slightly older, far more experienced—it seems her theory is prime for the testing.
But it’s not going to be easy. For one thing, how exactly do two girls have sex, anyway? And more important, how can you tell if you’re in love? It’s going to be a summer of testing theories—and the result may just be love.
In 1955, eighteen-year-old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares with her best friend Marie a secret. It’s not easy being gay in Washington, DC, in the age of McCarthyism, but when she discovers a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in Janet. As she juggles a romance she must keep hidden and a newfound ambition to write and publish her own story, she risks exposing herself—and Marie—to a danger all too real.
Sixty-two years later, Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject—classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. Between the pages of her favorite book, the stresses of Abby’s own life are lost to the fictional hopes, desires and tragedies of the characters she’s reading about. She feels especially connected to one author, a woman who wrote under the pseudonym “Marian Love,” and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity.
In this novel told in dual narratives, New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley weaves together the lives of two young women connected across generations through the power of words. A stunning story of bravery, love, how far we’ve come and how much farther we have to go.
It’s summer 1977 and closeted lesbian Tammy Larson can’t be herself anywhere. Not at her strict Christian high school, not at her conservative Orange County church and certainly not at home, where her ultrareligious aunt relentlessly organizes antigay political campaigns. Tammy’s only outlet is writing secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk…until she’s matched with a real-life pen pal who changes everything.
Sharon Hawkins bonds with Tammy over punk music and carefully shared secrets, and soon their letters become the one place she can be honest. The rest of her life in San Francisco is full of lies. The kind she tells for others—like helping her gay brother hide the truth from their mom—and the kind she tells herself. But as antigay fervor in America reaches a frightening new pitch, Sharon and Tammy must rely on their long-distance friendship to discover their deeply personal truths, what they’ll stand for…and who they’ll rise against.