The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Call #: TEEN ACEVEDO
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Review by Hannah R.

The book follows a teenage girl named Xiomara in high school, as she tries to hide her body from men attracted to her; when men try to come to her and flirt, she makes them back off by fighting or talking back. Her mom is very religious person who has a lot of expectations about her daughter. Xiomara is into poetry and that is how she expresses herself and writes all her feelings down. She soon starts to like a boy that is kind to her and make her forget all the problems that are going on in her life, but things soon take a wrong turn after spending the day with him.

The story is written in poems and while I’m not a big fan of poetry, the way the book grabs your attention makes you want to read more. I really liked this book because of the way it makes you hooked onto it every page, and the author really grabbed my attention. I also loved the way Xiomara expressed her feelings and the way she told her story. This book was not like others I read, and that’s what honestly made me love the book more. Elizabeth Acevedo gave a story of a teenager’s life and how she deals with unwanted attention and disrespect form men. The author also talks about religious parents and the expectations that they have towards you, which I appreciate as someone who has parents exactly like this. The Poet X really tells you things about teenage girls and what they go through, which is exactly why I love the book.

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Little Women Movie Review

Little Women
Call #: BLU-RAY + DVD DRAMA LITTLE
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Based on: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
→Call #: ALC / J ALCOTT
Review by Neila F.

A couple years after the Civil War, Jo March lives in New York and makes her living as a writer, while her sister Amy studies painting in Paris. Their oldest sibling, Meg, is married to a schoolteacher with three kids. Their sister Beth loves to play the piano. She then develops a devastating illness that brings the family back together.


I did like the movie because these “little women” worked hard to get good jobs with good pay. They did more than what women were expected to do; they provided for their family and in the end were rewarded for their hard work with a big house given to Jo from her aunt March. With the house, Jo opened a public school for those who couldn’t afford to send their kids to school. I could relate to Jo because she didn’t need a man to maintain her. She did it on her own, and never asked anyone for help. I decided to see the movie because I saw the trailer and it seemed good. I would recommend this to women because the movie really depicted the women as strong and capable of doing anything they set their mind to.

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A Separate Peace by John Knowles

A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Call #: KNOWLES
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Movie: A Separate Peace (1972); A Separate Peace (2004)
Review by Brian A.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles tells the story of a student, Gene, and his life at Devon School. Gene talks us through his very own experiences with his friend Finny and his fellow classmates. As the school year progresses, Gene and Finny go through very different paths.

I liked A Separate Peace because it was interesting, entertaining, and made an impact on me as a reader. I liked it because I was able to relate to the characters Gene and Finny. Gene was a studious person while Finny was a more athletic type of student. I think of myself as a little bit of both. Also, I was able to relate to Gene because he didn’t know what he wanted to be or what he wanted to do. It was during a reading project at school that I was asked to read a book and do a project. When I was looking through books, I encountered A Separate Peace. The title caught my attention as to what it meant as separate peace. I sometimes got lost in its hefty amount of details but I read it and it was great.

I would recommend this book to any reader who needs a book project for school, or just readers in general, as it is a good book to read anytime and anywhere. This book was unique in a way that I have never read before. Adding to that, the book inspired me that healthy friendships with other people is a great thing to have because you share common interests and are able to talk to them anytime without hesitation. The book also inspired me to think that there can be toxicity between classmates and that can lead to conflicts. Finally, the book marked on me the idea to enjoy life even more because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

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Minecraft

Minecraft
Available Online
Rating:
5/5 Stars
Review by Diego M.

Minecraft is an open world survival game that is both single player and multiplayer. In this game, the player is put into a world made of blocks and must survive off of what they are able to find and create; the player will have to gather or grow food and build a shelter. The game is based around exploration having different biomes and pre built structures for the player to find.

I thoroughly enjoy playing Minecraft, especially with friends. It’s a fun game to play if you like survival, exploration, or being creative. I enjoy building structures like houses and castles because there are no limits to what you can create. Minecraft has many animals and other creatures to encounter, some of which you can tame to own as a pet. Finding new creatures and buildings that you’ve never seen before really makes the game a fun play for hours on end. It has so much content for the player to experience, on top of that Minecraft still receives updates regularly adding new content for players to enjoy. There’s a community of players built around the MInecraft that play games, show off creations and have fun together. The community is brought together at Minecon Earth, a convention for everything Minecraft. Players can ask questions and interact with developers of the game. Minecraft is more than a game, it’s also a community of players; that is my favorite part about the game.

Minecaft is a very popular game; I first heard about it a few years ago and decided to play it. I had a lot of fun playing it by myself but later realized that it is a multiplayer game, so I recommended it to some friends. They played the game and enjoyed it as much as I did; we had fun building houses and exploring. I would strongly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys exploration and creativity. It is one of my favorite games.

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Togo Movie Review

Togo
Available on Disney+
Rating: 5/5 stars
Review by Ben O.

Togo is a movie based off of the true events during the 1925 Serum Run in Alaska, when a deadly diphtheria outbreak began in the city of Nome. The movie focuses on the main character, Leonhard Sepalla, and his lead sled dog, Togo. As they are tasked with sledding the initial 674 miles from Nome to Nenana, Alaska, the pair are faced with difficult obstacles and split-second decisions to save the children of Nome.

I believe that Togo and Sepalla are truly great heroes. I think that the movie definitely did the pair justice, as it showed the audience who were the real heroes of the 1925 Serum Run. Many of the decisions that Sepalla decided to make really shocked me. For one thing, who runs across 40 miles of ice in an ongoing and crazy storm? Even further, Sepalla also decides to run back across the same body of water while it is in the process of breaking, risking everything to take off a few days’ time of going around the mass of water. It was courageous and risky actions like these that had me on the edge of my seat and in awe for a good amount of the film.

I really enjoyed the decisions of switching back between the past and present during the film. In most films, this decision might seem confusing, but Togo does it very well. This aspect really allows the viewer to learn about how Togo and Sepalla bond, while also being propelled further in the story. There is a very well-done balance of this feature that makes the revealing of the backstory satisfying and enjoyable.

The physical presentation of the movie was also very well done. I watched this movie for the short period that my family had access to Disney+, and although this movie isn’t available physically yet, there is news of it being released on DVD and Blu-ray.

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The Help by Kathryn Stockett

 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.  

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Staff New Release Picks: October 2020

It’s been a different year than we expected at the beginning, but one thing that hasn’t changed is that there are incredible new Teen books!

Looking for a new book and a guaranteed good read? Check out one of these 10 titles hand-selected by our Teen Services staff that are coming out in October- all summaries are from Goodreads:

October 6th Releases

Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric Gansworth
Nonfiction

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.

Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz
Fantasy

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.

I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan
Mystery/Thriller

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.

October 13th Releases

Daughters of Jubilation by Kara Lee Corthron
Fantasy

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.

Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald
Fantasy

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.

The Truth Project by Dante Medema
Novel in Verse

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?

Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe
Contemporary

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….

Long Way Down: the Graphic Novel by Jason Reynolds & Danica Novgorodoff
Graphic Novel

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…

This is All Your Fault by Aminah Mae Safi
Contemporary

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.

October 20th Releases

My Heart Underwater by Laurel Flores Fantauzzo
Contemporary

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.

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Home Alone Movie Review

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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!

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Other Broken Things by Christa Desir

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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.

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Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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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.

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