Skip to main content

Teen SRC 2020 – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give eBook: Thomas, Angie: Amazon.ca: Kindle Store

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas features Starr Carter, an African American teenager who sees her childhood best friend, Khalil Harris, being shot and killed by a police officer after a routine traffic stop escalates into Khalil’s untimely demise. Starr is then forced to decide whether she will adhere to the unspoken laws of her local neighborhood and stay silent about the injustice she had witnessed, or testify in front of a grand jury and join an ongoing movement to end racist/xenophobic violence and police misconduct in communities across her area.

Read More

Teen SRC 2020- Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

The Fountains of Silence

The year is 1957, and Spain is under the iron-fist rule of General Francisco Franco. Daniel Matheson, a Texan teen, is visiting Spain with his family. With his passion for photography, he hopes to take the perfect picture for his portfolio, a picture that will also somehow convince his dad to let him pursue his dreams.

But Spain isn’t the perfect tropical paradise it seems for its American tourists and soon, Daniel finds himself falling– for his maid, Ana, and for the secrets some people would do anything to keep buried. Ana herself is enchanted by the American freedom promised by the hotel magazines. She dreams for a life for herself and her family away from Franco’s tyrannical rule.

Daniel and Ana are the main characters, but we are also given glimpses into other people’s lives. For example: Julia, who is Ana’s older sister, and a new mother, is drowning in secrets and fear. Her brother, Rafael, who works both at a slaughterhouse and a cemetery is fighting with the past and his memories. Fuga, Rafael’s friend wants to bullfight more than anything, and Daniel’s mother is struggling to find out where she belongs.

As any Ruta Sepetys book, Fountains of Silence is as rich in history as it is in humanity. This book brought to light an injustice often overlooked in history: Spanish babies were stolen from their families, proclaimed dead, but instead given to other families of a higher creed. I loved the historical accuracy of the book, but sometimes grew bored with the many first-hand documents.

A beautiful romance, a suspenseful historical fiction, and everything I search for in a novel. 9.5/10, only because I didn’t like the large skip in time (it throws me off) and some parts felt dragged on. Otherwise, STRONGLY RECOMMEND!!

Teen SRC 2020 – Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell & Katie Cotugno

Rules for Being A Girl

Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell & Katie Cotugno

Marin, who is a top student and the editor of the school newspaper along with her best friend ,Chloe. Marin dreams of going to Brown University and her future seems vivid. Everyone, including her, admired their young, charming English teacher, Mr. Beckett, who is always constantly praising her writing and having tons of conversations about books with her. But that all came crashing down when he crosses the line of their friendship by trying to kiss Marin and terrifying her. Was this incident on her? Did she accidentally lead him on? She had trusted him and thought he valued her for her skill as a student. What angered her even more was that she felt like there was nothing she could do. As no one even questions Mr. Beckett, dismisses the case right away, and even suggested that is was Marin’s fault when she had finally gathered the courage to tell the school board.

Not even her best friend who has been recently acting cold and distant believed her. She felt alone and betrayed by everyone around her, the one person who has been with her though thick and thin didn’t believe she has been hurt. But she doesn’t stay quiet, instead she uses the power of the school press to push back by writing an article called “Rules for being a Girl”. She also starts a feminist book club where she finds allies, romance, and betrayals from the least expected people. She gradually learns the way the world discriminates against girls. Her eyes slowly opened up to the cold, casual sexism all around her. In their extremely sexist school where the principal spends everyday obsessed with girl dress codes she has to learn to change the rules that has already been set in stone.

This book was short and easy to read which is better suited for the young adult audience. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a provoking story. I really enjoyed reading this breathtaking book. Even though it is fiction there are many sections of it that are quite realistic. It really brings the discrimination the society has against women into the spotlight. This story was a perfect representation of a he say she say case. I liked how the author mentioned how supportive her family and fellow feminist book club members were which was where she got her strength to hold her place. Her best friend, Chloe, and her peers show how people can sometimes be pushed away by those closest to them. There was so many red flags in the relationship between Mr. Beckett and Marin and I could painfully see how he had gradually manipulated her. In conclusion, I rate this book 8/10, because the straightforward style did a great job at getting the message through, it felt a bit too simplistic at times. However, overall this book was fantastic and definitively recommend.

Teen SRC 2020 – Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl Book Spoilers | POPSUGAR Entertainment

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is a renowned and critically acclaimed young adult novel which was published in August 2000. Like many of Spinelli’s other young adult novels, Stargirl deals with issues of conformity versus individuality, leaving the novel to resonate with various demographics from young adults to adult educators alike.

    Leo Borlock is an eleventh grader who would like nothing more than to conform within his stereotypical high school environment. However, Leo and the rest of Mica high school become torn away from their conventional existence by the arrival of Stargirl Caraway, a defiant and eccentric student who has been homeschooled her entire life and is now attending high school for the first time.  In the first half of the school year, Leo observes Stargirl’s abnormal actions and how his classmates react to her strange lifestyle.  At first, the students are suspicious of Stargirl’s eccentric nature and are hesitant to socialize with her. As the story progresses, some of the students are influenced by Stargirl’s individuality and become more open-minded themselves.

Read More

TeenTober 2019 – Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult

Perfect Match

Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult

In the course of her everyday work, career-driven assistant district attorney Nina Frost prosecutes child molesters and works determinedly to ensure that a legal system with too many loopholes keeps these criminals behind bars. But when her own five-year-old son, Nathaniel, is traumatized by a sexual assault, Nina and her husband, Caleb, a quiet and methodical stone mason, are shattered, ripped apart by an enraging sense of helplessness in the face of a futile justice system that Nina knows all too well. In a heartbeat, Nina’s absolute truths and convictions are turned upside down, and she hurtles toward a plan to exact her own justice for her son — no matter the consequence, whatever the sacrifice.

The paragraph above was the summary at the back of the book. Jodi Picoult, in my opinion, is a fantastic author. She has written so many books, and I have read only a small portion of them (I would suggest My Sister’s Keeper, Leaving Time, Keeping Faith, and I’m now reading the Tenth Circle). Each of her books deal with a different moral issue that is so moving in so many ways, and in this case, it is sexual abuse toward young children. While this may be a heavy topic for many of us (definitely for me), she crafts the story so well, with so many twists and turns, it is impossible to stop reading. Nina and her family, the main characters of the story, goes through hardships and challenges no family should go through… Do they make it? Or does their family break apart? Read on!

Teen SRC 2019 – Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Ever since I saw this beautiful minimalistic cover at Costco, I knew I had to read it and I’m so glad I finally got the chance to.

Dumplin’ is about a girl named Willow who’s fat, obese, overweight, whatever you want to call it. And she knows, and she’s come to terms with it. She’s never had a problem with it… until she meets Bo, the star football player. Desperate to get her “spunk” back, Willow joins a beauty pageant, shocking just about everyone around…

I loved this book so so much and found myself laughing throughout because Willow’s charisma and humour just really made it relatable. A toxic body image is something that’s enforced upon us every time we go on social media, read a magazine or see a poster up in the mall. It’s a very prominent problem in our world that needs to be talked about. This book was an amazing and inspirational story that made my heart sing (ok maybe that’s an exaggeration but you get the point) and gave me a lot of hope and confidence.

My final rating is an 8.5/10 because I feel like the “wanting to change for a guy” is quite downgrading in my book but the fact that Willow overcomes that is an amazing feat to me. Would definitely recommend!

Teen SRC 2019- American Street by Ibi Zoboi

American Street

After reading her work in Black Enough (read my review here), I wanted to read more of Ibi Zoboi’s writing. American Street is a National Book Award Finalist and I totally understand why. It’s an emotional, riveting, and powerful read that discusses important issues head on.

Fabiola Toussaint and her mother leave Haiti in hope of a better life in America with her aunt and cousins. When her mother is detained in New Jersey, though, Fabiola watches their dreams crumble down to the ground. She is sent ahead to Detroit, being told her mother will join, later. But America is nothing like she imagined. She doesn’t understand her cousins, and her aunt doesn’t seem to even want her here. Little by little, Fabiola learns to live in this new country. Her cousins warm up to her, she befriends a cute boy— except her mother is still being detained and Fabiola can’t truly be home without her.

Read More

Teen SRC 2019- Liberty by Andrea Portes

Liberty - Portes, Andrea

Funny, refreshing, and brilliant. Liberty by Andrea Portes is a spy story unlike any other.

Paige Nolan’s journalist parents went missing, and were presumably captured by terrorists. No one has told Paige whether they’re dead or alive, and there is nothing she can do to help them. Nothing, that is, until she is approached by Madden Carter, a spy from an obscure government agency called RAITH. If Paige goes to Russia disguised as a foreign exchange student and gets the government secrets from a government traitor, she can get the case on her missing parents reopened.

The problem? That foreign traitor she has to wrangle the secrets out of? He’s kind of her hero. He revealed the unconstitutional and privacy-invading spying techniques of the American government to the world, and that is just awesome. The second problem? He is actually, kind of, really… cute.

Read More

Teen SRC 2019 – Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 21535341.jpg

TL;DR at the bottom because I’m apparently incapable of writing shorter reviews now.

Gabi is a book that tackles a multitude of subjects, including body positivity/self image, race, gender, rape, drug addiction, grief, religion, and sex without being too preachy, stretching itself too thin, or cramming anything down your throat, so I applaud it for that alone. (The aforementioned issues also serve as a trigger warning for the book, in case you are sensitive to any of them.)

Beyond these abstract issues, we get the story of Gabi, as told through her diary. A Mexican-American girl in her last year of high school, Gabi’s going through some shi—crap. Her best friend, Cindy, gets pregnant, her other best friend, Sebastian, is trying to come out to his homophobic parents, her father is a meth addict, and she’s constantly told by the people around her that she’s too fat, too white, and never going to be good enough. So yeah. There’s a lot on her plate. But Gabi discovers poetry as a means of self-expression, and she has plenty of humour, cheer, and love to lean on.

Read More

Teen SRC 2019 – Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu

Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu

Afterward

Deep, heartbreaking, and honest. Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu was a wonderful book that explored the kind of tragic event we only read about in the news.

Caroline’s brother, Dylan was kidnapped when she was supposed to be watching him. He is gone for a few horrifying days before he is found, alive and apparently unharmed. With him in the kidnapper’s apartment is Ethan Jorgensen, a boy who was kidnapped four years ago, and was presumed dead.

Caroline is elated to have found Dylan but when her brother is having trouble sleeping, and can’t adjust to life back at home, she wants to find out what happened to him while he was kidnapped. After all, Dylan has nonverbal autism, and can’t speak for himself, and if she had been watching him that day like she was supposed to be doing, he wouldn’t have been taken. Her parents, though, seem happy with pretending nothing happened to Dylan at all. The only place she thinks she can find answers on how to help her brother is with Ethan Jorgensen. And maybe Caroline is the friend that Ethan needs, all along.

Read More