Can You Keep a Secret? (2019)

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

“I love Sophie Kinsella books; she is one of my favorite chick-lit authors. When I saw that they were making a movie out of one of her books, I was extremely excited to settle in and watch it!

Can You Keep a Secret? follows Emma Corrigan (played by Alexandra Daddario) as she traverses the pitfalls of living a boring life in New York. While she is on a plane she divulges all of her secrets to Jack Harper (Tyler Hoechlin) due to turbulence and the fact that she thinks she is going to die. When they safely land, she goes about her boring life, until the CEO of the company she works for comes to town, and it is Jack Harper. So now she has a new boss who knows all of her secrets…and I mean all of them!

I found this movie to be utterly charming, just like Sophie Kinsella’s books! Emma was completely relatable and Jack was dreamy. If you are looking for a cute romantic movie with a little spice, I would definitely recommend this one!

Available through the Bridges Library System

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Reviewed by Holly (Library Staff)

This book took me on a journey back to High School. The main character is a home schooled girl that is attending public school for the first time. The author describes a convergence of two opposing forces, a free spirited youngster and a conventional high school. At first the originality of the girl named Stargirl was refreshing and embraced by many. Then things change. Remembering how important it was to be popular was a common chord in this book. Stargirl also experiences her first love. This book is a quick pleasant read for anyone wanting to escape the adult world and be transported to a simpler time. I read the book because I heard it was being made into a movie. The movie is due to hit theaters in the Spring of 2020. The main character is being played by Grace Vanderwaal, a former winner of America’s Got Talent.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC SPINELLI)

Juliet, Naked (2018)

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

I don’t watch very many movies. They make it to my “To Watch” list and languish there for months or years while I read books instead. But when I heard about this one, I checked it out and watched it immediately and here I am suggesting you do the same.

The premise is quite far-fetched but this gentle romantic comedy makes you believe it could happen. So Annie is in this long-term, dead-end relationship with Duncan, who is far more in love with the music of washed-up, reclusive Tucker Crowe than he ever will be with Annie. Just as Annie begins to seriously question the life choices that have brought her to where she is, she unexpectedly strikes up a soul-bearing email friendship with none other than…Tucker Crowe.

I read the book this film is based on nearly 10 years ago and remember being very touched by it and continuing to recommend it to anyone who likes High Fidelity or any Nick Hornby books or movies. Nick Hornby has a way of capturing such real humanity in his characters, making them completely vulnerable and relatable. I am pleased to report that this delightful adaptation gave me all the same warm feelings that reading the book did a decade ago.

Available through the Bridges Library System


Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro & Cornelia Funke

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

Much, much more than a novelization, Cornelia Funke’s illustrated adaptation of Guillermo del Toro’s 2006 award-winning Spanish film is spellbinding.

Set in 1940s war-torn Spain, this dark fairy tale introduces us to a young girl named Ofelia who is working on completing dangerous tasks in the forest to prove to a wily faun that she is the long-lost princess of an underground kingdom.

As a lover of the film, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I’ve been a Cornelia Funke fan since The Thief Lord (a magical Venetian adventure) and I was drawn like a magnet to this collaboration.

Slightly over-sized for a novel, with atmospheric ornamentation in the margins and stunning black and white illustrations sprinkled throughout, the book itself feels as magical as the text.
It shocks me to say this, but I think I actually love the book more than the movie! The film gets a little too gory for me at times and reading those scenes makes it easier for me to picture as much or as little of the disturbing imagery as I can handle.

Whether you’ve seen the movie or not, I recommend this book to anyone who relishes excellent storytelling and the bloodier side of fairy tales.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC TORO)

Far From the Tree (2018)

Reviewed by Kelsey (Library Staff)

Every family is different, every child is different and there is no right or wrong formula for how to raise “normal” kids. This documentary, a follow up to the New York Times bestseller, considers the different forms family can take and gives a profoundly human look at families raising children that society deems “abnormal”; a son with Down syndrome, a daughter with dwarfism, a son who is gay, and a couple with a nonverbal autistic son. While this movie should be on everyone’s must watch list in an effort to open our eyes to the wider world around us and to see things from another’s perspective, I do believe it will resonate strongly with those parents who have struggled or are currently struggling to understand their own children. At only an hour and a half long, this documentary holds your attention and your heart strings and I definitely had moments of awe while watching it. It won’t surprise you to see the depth of these parents love for their children, but I think it will shock you how “normal” these children are.

Located in DVDs (DVD 305.9 FAR)

Les Miserables (2018)

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

I love both the musical and movie version of Les Miserables. So when I saw that Masterpiece on PBS was coming out with a version of Les Miserables, I knew I had to check it out and watch it. While I was sad that there were none of the typical songs that I love, after seeing who was in the cast I was very excited to watch.

Starring Dominic West (Jean Valjean), David Oyelowo (Javert), Olivia Colman (Madame Thenardier), Lily Collins (Fantine), Josh O’Connor (Marius Pontmercy), Ellie Bamber (Cosette) and Adell Akhtar (Thenardier), the cast brings to life the classic story by Victor Hugo (or at least I think they do, I have to admit while I love the movie and musical, I actually haven’t read the novel!)

I thought Dominic West and David Oyelowo were perfectly cast for their starring roles as Jean Valjean and Javert. Lily Collins was a haunting Fantine, and Josh O’Connor and Ellie Bamber brought young idealism as Marius and Cosette. And Adell Akhtar and Olivia Colman were perfect, at times funny but at times horrible. Basically what I’m saying is I thought this miniseries was perfectly cast.

I would recommend this miniseries to anyone who loves Les Miserables in any of its forms.


Sharp Objects (TV Series)

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

This television show is based on the book from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn, and I had no intention of ever touching it after submersing myself in the reprehensible nature of both the main characters in Gone Girl. It’s hard to watch something when you don’t know who to root for. Sharp Objects main character, Camille, is different. She’s a journalist who carries her troubles with her, or more literally, on her. Sent back to her hometown to investigate another mysterious disappearance and grisly murder, Camille is tormented left and right by familiar things that trigger memories that were once easier for her to ignore than process. She writes tortured by her past which hits the audience in flashbacks making it difficult to discern dream, from reality and memory. Every day is a blur of vodka, unanswered questions and fragments of clues but it was enough to keep me watching. I had to know who did it even though the show is slightly miserable. The musical composition was moving and paired stunningly well with the characters and events being portrayed. I wasn’t surprised to see this was directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, the same director of Big Little Lies which also has a similarly breathtaking musical performance.

Located in TV Series (TV SERIES SHARP)

The House with a Clock in Its Wall (2018)

Reviewed by Kelsey (Library Staff)

Jack Black and Cate Blanchett provide fantastic performances in this adaptation of the children’s book The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs. When ten-year-old Lewis’ parents pass away, he goes to live with his estranged Uncle Jonathan, who is more than a little odd. To start, he picks Lewis up at the bus station wearing a woman’s robe, driving a rust bucket of a car, and takes him to what appears to be a house of horrors filled to the brim with clocks. Not to mention things in the house keep moving and changing, things that had no business doing either. It really isn’t so bad though, all things considered. The neighbor, Mrs. Zimmerman, makes amazing cookies; there is no bedtime, and no rules on what to eat or what to do. There is only one rule in this new house; never open the cabinet in the library. But when Lewis starts to hear strange noises, and rumors about a murder taking place in his new home, he starts to wonder if there is more to this new life than he originally thought. Throw in some magic, necromancy, and shapeshifting and you get a kid-friendly horror flick perfect for the whole family.

Located in DVDs (DVD HOUSE)

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

Rachel Chu (played by the amazing Constance Wu) is a NYU professor, living in New York with her boyfriend Nick Young (played by the extremely handsome Henry Golding). They set off for Singapore to attend a friend’s wedding, and while there Rachel realizes that Nick is not who he says he is, he is RICH! Like crazy rich. And his family is one of the most well-known, old-money families in Asia. This causes problems because Rachel does not come from money, and both Nick’s mother and grandmother look down on her. Will they last? Will his family drive them apart?

There are a few things that stand out in this movie. 1) The location! Singapore is absolutely amazing and I want to visit now! 2) The Cast! This cast is fabulous. Constance Wu is so lovely yet strong as Rachel that you just can’t help root for her. Henry Golding plays the rich but caring love interest to a T. Gemma Chan plays Nick’s cousin Astrid and she is stoic and beautiful even in the face of adversity. Michelle Yeoh plays Nick’s mother Eleanor, and while on the surface she seems like the mean mother-in-law, throughout the movie you come to understand a little more about her and why she is the way she is. 3) Awkwafina! She steals the movie. Awkwafina plays Rachel’s friend from college Peik Lin Goh and oh my goodness is she hilarious. Every time she is on the screen you just have to laugh, whether it is dinner with her family or giving Rachel a makeover. I could watch a movie solely about her character!

Based off of the bestselling novel by Kevin Kwan, the movie Crazy Rich Asians is a sumptuous, spectacular feast for the eyes. Even if you haven’t read the book, I recommend seeing this movie as soon as you can. It is fun, uplifting, romantic, hilarious, beautiful, interesting, deep, and so many more adjectives. Just see it!

Located in DVDs (DVD CRAZY)

I Kill Giants (2017)

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

I Kill Giants features a formidable bunny-ear clad heroine whose troubled home life triggers her imagination to blur the lines between reality and fantasy. This leaves the main character in turmoil, grappling with conflicts resonating from both worlds and devoid of the coping skills necessary to handle her grief. This cinematic counterpart to the graphic novel, written by Joe Kelly, incorporates stunningly picturesque northeastern coastline adding atmospheric gloom and dark notes. The all-female cast is empowering and teaches women that they can fight their own battles and that, at some point, everyone needs a little help. The line that resonated with me after I’d seen the movie was; “All things that live, die. This is why you must find joy in the living, while the time is yours, and not fear the end. To deny this is to deny life. To fear this…is to fear life. But to embrace this…Can you embrace this?”

Available through the Bridges Library System