Teen News & Reviews

Sept teen newsletter by teens for teens
–Nabeela

Teen Events at Plymouth Library

Books & Bites - Dear Evan Hansen - Sept 30
— Ella

 

Leftover crafts during the last week of August. Pick up at the library
— Nadinne

School Supplies Take & Make in September

Dungeons & Dragons - September
— Sohil
Call for teen volunteers
— Ella
Teen volunteers - sept 2 meeting
— Sohil
Financial Wellness workshop for all ages - Thurs, Sept 16 - 7pm
–Sohil
English Language Learners - 10am conversation group
-Isha
English Language Learners - 10am conversation group
— Isha

Reviews

Movie & TV Reviews

DVD - Mary Poppins ReturnsMary Poppins Returns

Mary Poppins Returns is the sequel to Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins Returns takes place during “The Great Slump” or the Great Depression of the 1930s. The movie follows the Banks family. Michael and Jane Banks from the original Mary Poppins are all grown up. Michael Banks lives in his childhood home with his three children : John, Annabel, and Georgie. Michael’s wife, Kate passed away a year before the movie takes place.

Michael Banks is struggling to keep up with the bills. His wife had always managed to pay the bills, but it is hard without her. Associates are sent to the Banks family home to warn Michael that his house will be repossessed if the loan is not repaid in full by Friday. Michael’s sister Jane happens to be visiting and helps Michael look for the share certificate that will allow Michael to access the shares in the bank. While Michael and Jane are searching for the share certificate, Annabel, John, and Georgie go to pick up the groceries. While on the way to the grocery store, they stop by a local park. Georgie finds a kite that his father had discarded while looking for the share certificate. He flies it and Mary Poppins descends from the sky with the kite in her hand. Mary Poppins announces that she will become the children’s nanny. Mary Poppins knows that the Banks family is struggling after losing a wife and a mother and has a plan to help them keep their house. Will it succeed or will the Banks family lose their house for good?

Mary Poppins Returns is filled with family love and knowing that what’s most important is who’s right in front of you. If you are looking for a movie that’s perfect for a rainy day, Mary Poppins Returns should be next on your list.

The Goonies

DVD cover- The GooniesThe Goonies is an adventure comedy movie about five kids who call themselves “the Goonies”. The Goonies consists of Mikey and Brandon Walsh, Data, Mouth, and Chunk. Later on in the movie, we are introduced to a girl named Andy and her friend Stef. Brandon, Andy, and Stef are sixteen years old in the movie. Mikey, Data, Mouth, and Chunk are thirteen years old.

Mikey, Brandon, Data, Mouth, and Chunk are all facing foreclosure to their homes. They all meet at Mikey and Brandon’s house for a final weekend together. They rummage through Mikey and Brandon’s attic and discover a treasure map that leads to the legendary pirate “One – Eyed Willy” and his treasure. “One – Eyed Willy” is said to have killed all of his men so they wouldn’t get to his treasure. The kids head to an old abandoned restaurant where the treasure is said to be according to the map. The kids run off there and Brandon is forced to chase after them. Andy and Stef join the group at the restaurant and discover that it is a hideout for the Fratelli crime family : Francis, Jake, and their mother. The Goonies find a basement with a hidden tunnel and hide in it just before the Fratellis discover them. But, Chunk climbed out the window before the Fratellis came down to the basement instead of hiding in the tunnel. He tries to run away and get the police but the Fratellis catch him. They interrogate him until he reveals where his friends have gone. The Fratellis climb into the tunnel to follow the other kids. Will the kids make it to “One – Eyed Willy’s” treasure before the Fratellis or will the kids not be able to make it home?

The Goonies is full of humor and adventure. It is a movie about friendship and persistence. If you are looking for a movie that’s great to watch if you need a laugh, check out The Goonies today.

— Nabeela

Coco

DVD cover - CocoThe movie focuses on the passionate and spirited young Miguel, who dreams and aspires to be a musician like the famous musician Ernesto De La Cruz. However, his family has banned music from their lives for generations because of a past dilemma that brought tragedy in their lives. Because of this, Miguel strives to find a way to reach his dreams and through many struggles ends up in the Land of the Dead. Through this adventure, he meets friends and old family that help him uncover the true past of his family and learn to truly see and appreciate what he has.

This is a great movie filled with love and happiness that will help all ages learn to understand and appreciate the true importance of family.

— Nabeela

Music Reviews

Emotion by Carly Rae Jepsen

Album cover - Emotion by Carly Rae JepsenCarly Rae Jepsen, widely known for her hit song “Call Me Maybe,” garnered a cult following the release of the critically acclaimed album Emotion. Largely using a more alternative production, along with the sound of 80s music, Emotion doesn’t retain much of the sounds of Jepsen’s hit, but at the same time feels like a more mature representation of the feelings in that song. Opener “Run Away With Me” sets the stage for what’s to come on the album, with Jepsen imagining running away with a crush. She doesn’t use complex metaphors (not necessarily a bad thing, I love complicated lyrics) and makes her point clear: she likes this guy and wants them to escape together. Of course, considering she’s imagining this romance, it’s a feeling anyone who’s ever had an unrequited love knows all too well. The Prince-inspired “All That” is a highlight of the album. In the ballad, she sings of a friendship that she hopes will turn into something more, and it’s her asking the other person whether they’d like that too. The sound of the song brings back memories of 80s ballads, her clear intention. My favorite track is “Your Type”. Another track of unrequited love, she sings of a person who she likes, who clearly doesn’t see her as anything more than a friend, because she thinks she’s not his ‘type’. Her raw voice on this track really helps you feel her pain and anguish at loving someone who doesn’t feel that way, no matter what you say or think. This is an album for anyone who’s ever had a crush who didn’t feel the same way. To end, Jepsen’s a hopeless romantic, and to be honest, who can blame her? Haven’t we all had that one crush that we spent so many nights crying about or listening to very depressing music for, just hoping, wishing, maybe that one day they’d give us a chance? All while fully knowing that, as Jepsen sings “I bet I’m just a flicker in your head”?

-Nadinne

Graphic Novel Reviews

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Graphic Novel Cover: Star Wars - The Force AwakensThe Rebels destroy the Death Star and topple the Galactic Empire. Three decades after the Galactic Civil War, the First Order rises and wants to destroy the New Republic. General Leia goes on a search to find her lost brother, Luke Skywalker. Poe Dameron, the New Republics best pilot, finds a map of Luke’s location. Poe gets captured by the First Order’s Stormtroopers and BB-8, his droid runs away with the map.

Poe encounters Kylo Ren who then uses Force and finds out about BB-8 from Poe. Poe gets rescued by FN-2187, now renamed to Finn, and flies in the TIE fighter away to find BB-8. Finn and Poe are attacked by Star Destroyer; however, Finn manages to steal the Millennium Falcon with the help of BB-8 and Rey, a scavenger.

The Falcon is boarded by Han Solo and Chewbacca, however, they are followed by debtors who want to settle scores with Han. Han reveals that Luke exiled himself after his apprentice turned to the dark side, killing and attacking other apprentices. Rey finds the lightsaber that belongs to Luke, and Anakin, his father on the planet Takodana. First Order finds out about Rey, Finn, Han and Chewbacca and attacks Takodana in search of the map and the lightsaber. Leia meets Han finally, however, Kylo captures Rey to take a Snoke but she escapes.

Do you want to know what happens to Han when Han confronts Kylo and the thermal oscillator? Would the rest of the map be revealed that will lead to Luke’s location, the remote planet? Read how the young allies face the threat of First Order and Kylo Ren…get hold of all the volumes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

— Sohil

Grand Theft Horse by G. Neri and Corban Wilkin

Graphic Novel Cover - Grand Theft Horse

I was surprised to find this graphic novel in the nonfiction section of the library. A horse trainer, fed up with the unethical treatment of horses in the racing establishment, steals a horse because she fears for his life, and the lawyer with whom she bought the horse takes her to court for a war of attrition over the horse’s custody? It sounded like the plot of a movie. Instead, Grand Theft Horse is the biography of horse trainer Gail Ruffu, and it’s a perfect fit for the graphic novel medium.

Giving a biography a face like Grand Theft Horse does pulls the reader into Ruffu’s story. The art poignantly portrays the emotional effects of the events that Ruffu went through, rather than simply stating the stresses she shouldered. Seeing her struggle brings a powerful personal touch to the social issues the graphic novel tackles. 

A passionate tale about right and wrong, combating corrupt systems, and unexpected allies, Grand Theft Horse will have readers champing at the bit. 

 -Charlotte P.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Graphic Novel Cover: The ArrivalThere aren’t words to describe The Arrival, perhaps because the graphic novel doesn’t offer any words to the reader. Its 128 pages are entirely wordless, but its lack of language doesn’t mean the graphic novel doesn’t have a story to tell. It opens with a man leaving his home, where the shadows of a huge, spiny creature loom, to find work in a fantastical new land.

The Arrival’s visual storytelling is made richer by its lack of written storytelling. It perfectly captures the feeling of isolation in a strange land–neither the man in the story nor the reader knows the language to orient themselves. Despite that dash of disorientation, the panels of the graphic novel are put together like a film, so the story itself isn’t difficult to follow.

The art style makes The Arrival look like a photo album for a world that doesn’t exist. The city streets are a collage of pipes and tubes and impossible contraptions, where people play nonsensical instruments and peculiar animals traipse alongside their human companions. If you’ve ever read a picture book by Chris Van Allsburg, like The Polar Express or Jumanji, The Arrival’s surreal photo-realistic style will seem charmingly familiar. 

If you’re looking for a story with an inspiring investigation of the immigrant experience, you’ve arrived at the perfect graphic novel for you. 

– Charlotte P. 

Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola & Emily Carroll

Graphic Novel cover: Baba Yaga's Assistant

Masha’s life has just about every necessary ingredient for a traditional fairy tale–a stepmother and stepsister, a magical heirloom from her recently departed grandmother, and an ancient witch dwelling in the inexplicable local haunted woods. The witch, Baba Yaga, even eats children! Instead of waiting for a local prince to throw a ball or a fairy godmother to save the day, though, Masha decides to follow up on a job offer in the paper to become the notorious Baba Yaga’s assistant. After all, Baba Yaga is a grandma, too, right? What could go wrong? 

Baba Yaga’s Assistant has an effortlessly versatile art style. Whether it’s the vibrant colors and dynamic lighting of the forest and Baba Yaga’s home, the soft lines of Masha’s memories of her grandmother, or the round and pastel drawings of the fairy tales Masha references to solve problems, the graphic novel maintains a cohesive identity. The themes and plot don’t manage the same cohesion, but the characters are delightful enough (both in design and personality) for the graphic novel to be an enjoyable read as a whole. 

A unique spin on the fairy tale formula with a proactive, patient, and perfectly pleasant protagonist, Baba Yaga’s Assistant is a wickedly good tale.

–Charlotte P.

Book Reviews

Cinder by Marissa Meyer 

Cover: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

You’ve probably heard about the classic fairy tale Cinderella. Cinderella is treated poorly by her stepmother and stepsisters. She is forced to work as a maid in her own house. Then, she meets the prince and lives happily ever after. But, what if the simple fairy tale Cinderella became more complicated?

Cinder is a cyborg girl. A cyborg is a human who has been surgically repaired in some way. She lives in New Beijing with her cruel stepmother, Adri and her stepsisters: Pearl and Peony. Cinder is a mechanic and has a booth in the market. She gets a few customers but cyborgs are considered second class citizens so those who know that Cinder is a cyborg keep away. One day, while Cinder is at her booth like usual, the famous Prince Kai asks her to fix his broken android, a robot that is designed to look and act like a human. Cinder agrees to fix the android and later makes plans with her sister Peony to go to the junkyard. Cinder wants to find parts at the junkyard to make a car so she can escape Adri. While in the junkyard, Peony contracts a deadly disease called Letumosis and is sent away to a quarantine facility. When Cinder gets home, Adri yells at Cinder and tells her that it’s her fault Peony caught the disease. She cruelly decides to volunteer Cinder for Letumosis testing. Cinder tries to tell the people who perform the testing that she isn’t a volunteer but they won’t listen. Even worse, the queen from a colony on the moon that can use their glamor to control people is making plans that will allow herself to be in control of the moon colony and New Beijing.

Cinder is a story about a futuristic society where your happily ever after doesn’t come easily. There are multiple other books in this series including Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Stars Above and Winter.

-Ella

The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan

book cover - the last thing i remember by Andrew Klavan

Sometimes you study really hard for a test but right when you’re in the middle of taking the test, your mind blanks and you can’t seem to remember the correct math formula. Or maybe you had a terrible experience on the first day of your new job and just want to forget the whole fiasco ever even occurred. Forgetting things or the desire to forget things can be pretty common, but for Charlie West, he’d give just about anything to recover what was forgotten.

He wakes up and sees two guys towering above him, both promising him a long and painful death. Charlie West was a normal kid, spending time hanging out with friends, practicing at the karate dojo, and trying to get a girl’s number. Now, however, tied down to a chair and not being able to remember why he was even there in the first place, Charlie is anxious to recall what got him here. All he can remember is this last, normal day at school. With time ticking down before the poison is injected into his arm, Charlie needs to figure out what went so wrong and led him to this torture room, and fast.

–Ashley

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Book cover: Scythe by Neal ShustermanThe power to control age has been achieved, “death by natural cause” is basically terminated. One can simply ‘reset’ to a younger age or whatever age they desire. Furthermore, the Thunderhead, a powerful system designed to assist the citizens and ensure their happiness, keeps watch over the globe. The only thing the Thunderhead has no jurisdiction over is the Scythedom, and the Scythes are the only true source of population control, as they are the only ones able to kill for good. When a feared Scythe knocks at the doors of Citra and Roman, they are chosen to become Scythe apprentices, of which neither of them want to be. However, now more in depth with the Scythedom, they discover insight to the inner workings of the system, and potential corruption is revealed. The experience opens the door for them to fix the chaos within, as well as a future they had never considered.

-Ashley

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Book cover: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the first book of the seven novels in the series. It starts with the journey of Harry Potter to know his past and go to his future life. The series written by J.K. Rowling is loved by children and everyone that shows the imaginative charming magical life of the boy wizard. Young readers are attracted to the humor and magic that is infused in the book that captivates them and they identify their feelings with Harry of that isolation.

Harry Potter, an orphan 10-year-old lives with his unaffectionate uncle Vernon, unsympathetic aunt Petunia and rude cousin Dudley who treat him poorly. Harry receives unknown letters that the Dursleys do not let him read and hide them from him. Dursleys do not like Harry and they trouble him. Hagrid comes to his rescue on his eleventh birthday and talks about his parents who were a wizard and a witch who were killed by an evil wizard Voldemort and he gave him a lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead. He takes Harry to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he starts his journey in the magical Hogwarts. Harry meets Hermione and Ron who become his best friends. Harry encounters Draco Malfoy, one of the wizards, a young student who does not like Harry. Harry’s discovery of the trapdoor and the invisible clock lead the trio on a secret mission to get the Philosopher’s Stone. His encounter with Professor Snape makes him believe that Snape is up to something. The story goes into detail about the meetings of Draco with Harry and Professor Snape not liking him. It is interesting to read about the stone and how Harry reveals Voldemort is sharing Quirrell’s body. The book walkthroughs the enchanting and thrilling story of the trio’s journey through Devil’s Snare with plants snake-like tendrils challenge, room with flying keys, chess board challenge, and poisonous potions and finally his encounter with Quirrell and Voldemort who struggles to regain a body and power of the Philosopher’s stone to try to gain life and how Harry is saved by Dumbledore.

Do you want to be part of Harry’s fascinating magical journey?

– Sohil

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – By J.K. Rowling

Book cover: Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second book of the seven novels in the series. Harry is imprisoned in his Dursley’s house and is rescued by Dobby, a house elf and Ron Weasley, his friend. He spends the rest of the summer with Ron. Now, it is the second year of Harry Potter at Hogwarts when he returns to school after the summer break. Darco troubles Hermione and everyone sees a message on the wall that they think Darco is a suspect. Different things happen at the school – caretaker Argus Filch’s cat is scared, students get scared, students think that the heir of Slytherin came back to Hogwarts to cleanse the school for those not pureblood. 

Harry discovers the language of snakes, Parseltongue, and everyone finds out about it and finds him guilty for the happenings.  Harry and his friends learn that a chamber of Secrets is opened. Hagrid takes them to the Forbidden Forest where they discover through Aragog, a giant spider, that the girl that died fifty years ago was not killed by a spider. Hagrid and Aragog were innocent. When they return to school, they find out that Ginny Weasley is led to the Chamber of Secrets. Ginny mistakenly opens the diary and when she opens it, it brings to life Voldemort’s spirit. Voldemort is Tom Riddle, who sets basilisk, the monster on Harry. Harry uses the sword of Godric Gryffindor to kill the monster and basilisk’s fang to destroy the diary. Harry saves Hogwarts from Voldemort. 

The second read is a thrilling experience and definitely exciting to visualize the journey with the trio and how they uncover the secret chamber.

– Sohil

How We Became Wicked by Alexander Yates

Book cover: How We Became Wicked by Alexander YatesIn How We Became Wicked, the word wicked has more than one meaning. It does still mean evil, but in this dystopian novel, the wicked are those who have been infected by the wickedness, a plague spread by the mosquito-like singers that has left both the human and natural worlds in shambles. The true, those left uninfected, are few and far between, but the vexed, those who are immune to becoming wicked, are even fewer. The real problem though is figuring out who is who. The vexed are easy enough to spot with their glowing violet eyes, but the wicked and the true are much harder to distinguish, as the wicked seem normal until they politely inform you that they are going to cut your heart out with the butter knife they’re using. This isn’t your ordinary plague/zombie story; at least in those, you know who your enemies are. Join Astrid, Hank, and Natelie as they find out that the line between the wicked and the true may not be as clear as they thought it was.

You’ll be killing for a sequel after reading Alexander Yates’ How We Became Wicked – and hopefully not because you’re wicked yourself.

– Delaney

Sweet and Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley

Book cover: Sweet and Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley

Magic, like everything else in life, has a price. Tamsin, an extremely powerful young witch who was punished harshly for using dark magic, knows this better than anyone. Not only was she exiled from the Coven before she graduated, she was also cursed with the inability to love, taking away more than just her affection. Now, her only way to really feel anything is to steal love from others. One of these people is Wren, a source of magic who is trying to stop a dark sickness that steals memories before it steals her father for good. With Wren’s love for her father on the line paired with the fact that sources dampen consequences to witches when they perform magic, how can Tamsin resist? With a simple yet complex magic system and vivid imagery contrast between the two main characters, this fantasy novel puts a whole new perspective on the importance of love and how dull life can be without it.

Opposites don’t always attract, so when two flavors of magic (and people) are forcefully combined, will they become brutally bitter foes or maybe something a little sweeter? Find out in Sweet & Bitter Magic.

– Delaney

Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson

Book cover: Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine PaetroTandoori “Tandy” Angel is named after an Indian chicken dish, but that’s not the half of what makes her abnormal. When her parents are murdered with no one but herself and her siblings left as suspects, she can’t rule anyone out, not even herself, because when you and every one of your siblings has been raised by authoritative, almost militaristic parents, you don’t really know who you can trust. Every Angel kid excels at something and is held to the highest possible standards, and powerful people can have powerful grudges. I don’t usually read a lot of James Patterson, or murder mysteries in general, but this one had my attention until the very end. The structure was very unique, with the main narrative chapters being sprinkled with short “confessions” of memories, making it all the harder to put down. This book is also part of a series, so if you want to tie up all the loose ends, there’s more to enjoy.

In Confessions of a Murder Suspect, you’ll find that it’s hard to endure questioning from the police when you haven’t even finished questioning yourself.

– Delaney

 

Read More Reviews and Things to Do from earlier Teen e-newsletters!