November 23-24: All libraries will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.
At 17 years old, S.E. Hinton managed to write one of the most memorable and accurate novelistic depictions of what it’s like wanting acceptance and belonging as a teenager. The Outsiders, Hinton’s first novel, remains as one of the best-selling young-adult novels of all time.
Written for teenagers, about teenagers, and by a teenager, The Outsiders captivates its audience with memorable characters (who are memorable for more than their obscure names) and climactic drama, and it leaves the reader with the message of what a blessing it is to be naive, innocent, and young (or, as the book puts it, staying “gold”).
The story centers around the aftermath of a “rumble” between two opposing gangs: the Socs, who are the “rich kids,” and the Greasers, the kids on the wrong side of the tracks. The two gangs are comparable to the Jets and the Sharks in West Side Story (1957). Ponyboy Curtis, a 14-year old member of the Greasers gang, gets tossed into a fast-paced whirlwind of events when one of his friends causes an uproar in the Greaser-Soc rivalry.
This book is extremely well written. The gripping plot progresses fluidly, and the scenes are skillfully sketched out with important and illustrative details before any event unfolds; this helps the reader grasp onto any component the author conveys. The characters are thoroughly represented with flaws and interests, which causes the reader to imagine them as real people dealing with real problems.
The Outsiders still sings a similar song about the trials, violence, and difficult decisions in a youth’s everyday life, despite the differences between 1965 and today. This book makes us realize how important it is to “stay gold” and preserve innocence. The Outsiders is a must-read for teenagers and adults alike.
Check out The Outsiders here.
I wrote this poem for one of my friends when she said she was ugly and hopeless.
Touched by the sun, she dances.
Her golden locks disobey her as they flow from the heart-shaped frame of her pale face.
Like a cascade of sun-kissed wheat, her bangs fall in front of her marble eyes.
Stormy torrents of a deep sea blue fill her eyes like smoke in a crystal ball.
Just as a crystal ball, the rhythm to her tapping feet is an enigma to those who don't try to dance along with this glowing angel.
Her kunzite lips usher songs as she moves her feet to her own beat now.
It's the only way she knows.
Though this dancing beauty knows no bounds, she does not realize that she was sent from heaven.
She cannot see the pearl wings arching from her back.
But the truth is hidden in her enticing eyes, holding many secrets.
For the sun has touched her there too, leaving an imprint of itself in the middle of the raging green seas.
So I ask of you to believe me when I say that this maiden clad in gold rose to the heavens once again.
Believe me when I say that Amber Rose.
Image credit: KaleidoscopePhotos on Flickr.
Last book I read: Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh
What is it: A book with pictures and stories, like a graphic novel. It is a collection of funny stories and observations from the author.
Why I read it: I wanted something funny, and this one looked funny on the cover and was in the area with other comedy.
What I thought of it: I thought the illustrations were really funny and added a lot to the book. It was a fast read but I thought it made me laugh a lot. I looked up her blog later.
Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes. I think some of my other friends would think this is funny too.
Find Hyperbole and a Half here.
Submit your own quick review to [email protected]
Charlie Brown and his friends have returned to the big screen for the first time in years, giving new and old fans alike a consistently entertaining experience.
The Peanuts Movie’s premise is exceedingly simple. Charlie Brown falls in love, as does Snoopy. His crush is on the new kid at school, the little redheaded girl (whose name is never known and whose face is rarely seen). Snoopy meanwhile lives in his fantasy as the flying ace, trying to be with his love Fifi (an entirely new character who looks like Snoopy with a pom pom on his head) and defeat the dreaded Red Baron.
The characters contain all of the traits given to them in previous incarnations, each varying slightly. This is mainly due to the voice cast. As with the other films and specials, children were hired to do all of the voices. The new actors bring different dimensions to loved pieces of Peanuts.
Keeping with tradition, adults talk in an augmented trombone. Snoopy and Woodstock’s noises are all recycled from the other movies in the canon, staying true yet again to the original fans.
The animation of the film is beautiful. Capturing all of the unique poses and moments that recurred throughout Schultz’s comics must have been a hefty task. The 3-D animation captured the visual style of Peanuts while adding dimensions to it. Similarly to last year’s Lego Movie, which looked like stop-motion despite being animated, the animation is the most impressive thing about the film.
The film stays true to the original incarnations in every way. The film remains extremely entertaining and mildly humorous for all of it’s runtime, which was a classic trait of Peanuts. Some modernization and more funny moments may have elevated it further, but the final product remains incredible.
The Peanuts Movie will delight older fans while introducing younger ones to the universe of The Peanuts. It is an excellent film, and definitely worth watching 8/10.
Image Credit: Brandi Korte, Flickr.
Check out more from the Charlie Brown and Peanuts crew here.
Be warned: This film is rated R.
When talking to people about the film Steve Jobs, the reaction is almost the same from everyone. “They made another movie about Steve Jobs? Isn’t one enough?” And I agree with them. There is no need for two films about Steve Jobs to exist. However, the one to have been released in 2015 is the one that should have been made in the first place.
Steve Jobs stars Michael Fassbender in the titular role and Kate Winslet as his Polish assistant. Among the supporting characters, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, and Michael Stuhlbarg contribute their acting talents along with countless other people. The acting truly elevates this movie over other films made recently. Every actor devotes their entire being to their role, and it shows. The audience feels like they are privy to secret information and have a special insight into the life of Steve Jobs never before available to the public. Fassbender especially shines, bringing humanity to a man many thought as heartless and robotic.
The screenplay is the best thing about the film, even better than Fassbender’s devoted performance. Penned by Aaron Sorkin, writer of The Social Network and Moneyball, the script has an intelligent air to it. The writing is elevated, witty, funny, and exciting all at the same time. This is partially due to the way Sorkin decided to structure the film.
Almost every film ever made has had a three act structure, but few are as defined or influential to the plot as this one is. The entire film takes place before a presentation. The first act is before the launch of the Mac, the second act takes place before the Next Cube launch, and the third takes place before the launch of the iMac. In each section there are a few flashback sequences, but everything else takes place in the highly chaotic pre-presentation scramble. This creates every exchange Steve Jobs has contain elevated importance, as he must be on stage momentarily. It is in these moments the various conflicts arise. Steve Job’s friends and family decide that right before these monumental parts in his life are the best time to bring up quarrels. Seems like convenient timing, but more on that later.
Danny Boyle’s direction pushes the film forward, electrifying it and giving every frame importance and urgency. He continually finds ways to make things interesting and new. For example, every act was filmed on a different camera, each one reflecting the time period it takes place in. Little embellishments like this continually make the film feel fresh. For a movie mainly made up of conversations, this is an essential piece of what makes it so appealing and enthralling.
Many criticize the structure and events of the film, like the convenient timing mentioned above. People say that it’s unrealistic and not historically accurate that the events in the film all lined up near the launches. And they’re right. Many of the events in the film, although taking place at some point in Steve Jobs life, didn’t happen when they do in the film. Aaron Sorkin didn’t strive to have a historically accurate movie about Steve Jobs, however. That was already done. It’s called Jobs and it’s awful. He instead created an interesting character study into the man Jobs was. Sorkin changed events around and embellished different parts of his life in order to dive into the man Steve Jobs was. So while not necessarily accurate or probable, the film remains fascinating.
Steve Jobs is one of the best films of the year. All components combine to create an interesting and dynamic story about one of the technological pioneers. Everyone should definitely go see it. 9/10
Image credit: Charis Tsevis on Flickr.
Be warned: This film is rated R.
In talking about the movie Hell and Back, we must first talk about bad movies as a whole. In the world of film, a hierarchy of bad films has been created. The top level I call the enjoyable films. There are films that are definitely not good but not too bad. These movies, such as Pain and Gain, can be enjoyed, just not necessarily cerebrally. The next tier down are where tolerable films live, such as The Green Inferno. These are have good aspects but are widely underwhelming. Intolerable films are worse yet. There is no enjoyment to be had while watching these, just regret. Interestingly enough, all the movies worse than Intolerable steadily become more enjoyable. Films like The Room possess a “so bad it’s good quality.” Hell and Back unfortunately lands under the category of intolerable, full of terrible things.
It focuses on three stoner friends who run a decrepit amusement park. When one makes the other take a blood oath (some stupid thing about a mint) and fails, two must save the other, who is being held captive by the devil. And if it sounds like I’m being vague, that’s only because this film is an awful failure of cinema.
I feel it necessary to discuss the positives first, as this film is so mind-numbingly stupid I could talk for pages about what would make it better. The voice cast is great, featuring Nick Swardson, Mila Kunis, and T.J. Miller to name a few. And they do well with what they’re given (more on that later).
The stop motion animation is cool and well done. Often these types of movies are not very smooth and tend to give me headaches. No headache in my book equals well done stop motion.
There is a recurring joke involving a spirit and a demon. The demon tortures the spirit in an underwhelming way, and the spirit is clearly put out by the punishment. These events happen four times throughout the film. I tell you this for two reasons. First, these jokes are hilarious and had me laughing hard every time the characters returned. Second, these scenes are legitimately the only funny parts of this so called “comedy,” and now that I have told you what happens, you will be less inclined to see the film.
The film’s script is terrible. Less concerned with being funny, more so with how raunchy it can get, the jokes grow uncomfortable. An extended monologue about a tree comes to mind, The script doesn’t make any of the main characters likeable. They all are just terrible with no redeeming qualities. The film gives us no reason to want them to succeed. And I spent the run time hoping they would all die. In addition to being raunchy, it is also incredibly misogynistic. The writers were probably in middle school and just learned about girls existing when they wrote the waste of money.
And really, a comedy should first and foremost be funny. When it fails to live up to that expectation, a comedy fails. When it is additionally stupid and childish, then it becomes a truly terrible movie. This has 4 hysterical parts, and a lot of terrible parts. earning itself a score of 2/10.
Check out some more stop-motion animation films here.
Image Credit: Ros Alhague on Flickr.
Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Book Basics: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Copyright: 2015, Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA, LGBT, coming-of-age,
Star Rating: ★★★½ Borrow It First, Then Buy It
Short Summary: When sixteen-year-old Simon Spier’s secret emails fall into the wrong hands, he has no choice but to go along with being blackmailed, out of fear of his entire Georgia high school finding out that he’s gay. As Simon struggles with keeping his secret, he falls more and more in love with Blue (the guy he’s been emailing) and becomes more and more curious about Blue’s true identity, knowing that Blue is one of his fellow classmates.
What I Liked: This book was absolutely adorable. Like seriously, Simon and Blue’s emails made me squirm and squeal on the inside, it was so cute. Reading the book is like watching baby animal videos on YouTube: it’s just so cute it makes your heart explode. Becky Albertalli did an excellent job of writing Simon and Blue’s relationship and developed it very nicely, even though it was all online. Cuteness factor aside, the main characters were very well developed and there was an awesome message about stereotyping and how the “default” person shouldn’t be straight and white.
What I Didn’t Like: Overall, the writing could have been a bit better. At times, the plot felt a little dry, like it wasn’t going anywhere, and it kind of went in circles. A lot of the supporting characters were undeveloped, which was unfortunate, as they were really awesome people, just not really awesome characters.
In Conclusion: This was a super cute book. As I said before, the writing could have been better, but it had a great central message, and it’s always good to see diversity in YA novels, especially romance novels. If you like romance novels or you’re looking for something different, or you just want something fun and light to read, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is ADORABLE.
Don’t forget to check out my blog for more YA book reviews & recommendations!
Check out Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda here.
Come to a wonderful tea party… Or should I say ScArY PArTy? Come join us for a very happy un-birthday at the Golden Library after hours to solve a Murder Mystery. The characters from Alice IN Wonderland come and have some tea with cookies. Suddenly one of the characters Drops to the floor in misery… THEN THE CHARACTER DIES ON THE FLOOR… Find out who killed the character by asking other characters and finding clues around the library and find the MURDERER!!!
Friday Oct. 23, 6-9 PM
Costumes required, cosplay encouraged
Folds of soft-serve creamy delight curl into the crystalline glass.
Smooth chocolate syrup is marbled with the icy vanilla.
Atop this sugary-sweet delight rests a light puffed whipped cream.
Ripples of fluffy white cream twirl into a peak, held in place only by the stickiness of the ice cream chocolate mixture.
Crushed almonds are sprinkled over the light whipped cream, adding a hint of crunch to the soft dessert delicacy.
Alas, that is not all!
Like a queen sits on her throne, this candy-apple empress stands atop her kingdom of cream.
Ruby staff in hand, the maraschino cherry queen sits amongst the almond bits.
The dessert is complete.
*This entry was submitted by a Lakewood High School student for our Teen Blog Contest*
Image credit: Christi on Flickr.
He had cut the wood by hand. He had spent all day and night splitting wood from fallen trees and old logs, determined to have his work done by the time the sun rose above the mountain valley that surrounded his new property of land. He had been successful. Now, Tomlin had four mounds of chopped wood lined up along what would be the front door of his cabin. Iceland was the perfect place for his new beginning. Or so he thought.
Beyond his small eiker of land, was a forest. It lay dark and abandoned, hidden from the shine of the sun's light by the looming mountains. The sun's warmth and light, never touched the forest. Not even the tips of the trees. Leaving it desolate, dark, and cold.
The villagers of the small town just a few miles down the road, warned not to go into that dark, cold forest. It was said that once you went in, you never came out. The legend behind the forest, was made up from the missing villagers that courageously stepped foot in the woods to find new land, but never reported back.
"To find fortune and new land." One of the villagers had explained to Tomlin. "But was never heard from again. Never let greed control your common sense."
The stories were enough to scare Tomlin away from the woods. But something lurked in those woods that was determined to lead him into doom. A greedy fox sat watching Tomlin. The fox mumbled to himself about how much he hated this new intruder. The land that he now claimed to own, belonged to the fox. And the fox wanted his land back. He did not want to prowl around in the forest where sunshine was not relevant, where nothing lived, where nothing thrived. No he would not be doomed to that forest. He would not be doomed to a lifetime of darkness. But how would he get the new man to leave what rightfully belonged to the fox? Well, the fox had some tricks up his sleeve. This was not the first time someone had tried to steal his land.
The fox slowly walked out of the wood line, swishing his tail back and forth and walking with grace. The man jumped at his approach. "I don't mean any harm." The fox said to the man in his low rhythmic voice. "I actually have an offer to give."
"What might that be?" Tomlin asked, leaning against his shovel.
"In this forest behind me, there waits a cabin that has already been built. If you go into the forest, you will find the cabin waiting. No one lives inside."
"The villagers say not to go into the woods." Tomlin replied. "Besides, I have enough wood to build a cabin here. I'll pass."
So, the fox walked back into the forest. The next day, the fox tried again. This time offering fresh food that the villagers could not supply. But Tomlin turned down the offer again. The day after that, the fox offered a beautiful hidden land that was bigger than just one eiker and had all of the things one person desired. But Tomlin once again denied the fox's offer. The fox tried to trick Tomlin into going into the woods day after day. Plotting new plans, but always getting the same response, and failing each time. Until finally, the fox thought of something that he was sure would convince the human elsewise.
"I'm sorry to bother you again." The fox said as he stepped out of the woods.
"Don't even bother." Tomlin said. "I have already told you no many times now. So, go home fox."
"I know." Said the fox. "But I was just walking around back there last night, when I stumbled upon a cave. When I went inside, I found piles upon piles of riches. Gold, silver, jewels. You name it."
This got the man's attention. Tomlin knew that there was something off about this fox, but the offer of piles upon piles of riches, was just too tempting.
"Really? Then where is this cave?"
"Back in the forest." The fox replied. "Just keep walking and you'll find it. It's not very far at all. There is no way you'll get lost." Then the fox smiled, like mud smeared across the wall, that smile.
If what the fox said is true, then I'll be rich. Tomlin thought. This offer was too good to pass up. So, without thinking about how the fox was a deceitful liar, Tomlin walked into the forest to find the riches. Never to be heard from, or seen again. And the fox laughed and mocked him behind his back as he disappeared into the darkness. Because the fox knew that he had won.
"The fox's land the fox's land!" He chanted as he pranced around. He had won back was was rightfully his. Silly man. All it had took was greed and foolishness and the fox had won.
*This story was submitted by a Lakewood High School student for our Teen Blog Contest.*
Image Credit: Miss Barabanov on Flickr.