A Moment Comes by Jennifer Bradbury

Reviewed by Kelsey (Library Staff)

What begins as the story of forbidden crushes quickly becomes one full of tension and religious conflict. Told from three distinct points of view; Tariq, a Muslim boy with dreams of leaving India to attend Oxford; Anupreet, a Sikh girl, whose recent facial scar is an everyday reminder of the violence that permeates her life; and Margaret, an English girl, temporarily living in India with her parents while her father determines the line that will divide India in two. The upcoming partition of India has tensions between Muslims and Sikhs at an explosive level. Forced to decide whether to follow the expectations of their families and society, or do what they think is right, each character has tough decisions to make. When an old acquaintance draws Tariq unknowingly into the violence between the Sikhs and Muslims, the three teens must decide if their differences are too great to overcome, or if they will help each other in the end.

This fictional portrayal of an important time in India’s history gives readers a look at the adversity faced by those living in India during this volatile period. Though the love triangle comes into play throughout the story, the real draw of this book is Bradbury’s descriptive writing that takes us into the mind of each character and gives us a brief glimpse of what it was like to be a teenager living on the edge of danger. A great read that I recommend for teens ages 14 and up.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Overboard (2018)

Reviewed by Kelsey (Library Staff)

When it comes to movie remakes, the remake is generally never as good as the original. This could be because the remake doesn’t hold the same memories, we become attached to certain actors and actresses in a role, or we are just bitter because the movie industry can’t seem to come out with any original ideas. No matter the reason, I went into this movie fully expecting to see a carbon copy of the beloved original and to be unimpressed on all fronts. I will say I was pleasantly surprised. There is no doubt they pulled heavily from the original, but reversed the roles with Anna Faris playing a single mom to three girls and Eugenio Derbez playing a wealthy Hispanic playboy with amnesia. With their humor and the slight plot twists the studio felt like throwing in, this remake was fun enough that I don’t regret the time I spent watching it, but at the same time it isn’t anything I would feel the need to run out and buy for my personal collection. That said, if you are looking for a fun and light family movie that will have everyone in the room smiling and laughing, then this is the perfect fit for you.

Located in DVDs (DVD OVERBOARD)

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)

Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan

Reviewed by Kelsey (Library Staff)

With their family home and all their worldly possessions burned to ash, all that’s left is for Pat and Dom’s family to relocate to some shoddy cottage along Ireland’s coast. The people of the village are equally shoddy to boot, like the old men who haven’t forgotten the Wars. And all that pales in comparison to what’s happening to Dom the longer they stay.

Patrick notices his twin changing right away. It’s as though the life is draining from his body and mind. Then Pat sees Dominick talking to a new friend. A little boy bled of all color, with solid black eyes.

Celine Kiernan’s chilling thriller starts in 1970’s Ireland, but spans back to the Irish War of Independence and World War One. She gives an interesting look into generation relations and the consequences of the 20th century on Ireland and its people. There’s also the small matter of the supernatural world. Kiernan takes a unique approach to the ghostly elements and how they affect the living. The narrator, Patrick, is someone both teens and adults can relate to. He, along with the other characters, help make a moving story about brotherhood and love that is posed like a horror novel.
Available through Bridges Library System

Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee

Reviewed by Kelsey (Library Staff)

Every Falling Star is the memoir of a young man, Sungju Lee, living in Pyongyang, North Korea while Kim Il-sung is in power. He lives with his mother and father, going to school, playing battle games with his father, and leading a happy life. One day Lee’s world is changed forever after the death of Kim Il-sung. He returns home to find his family packing all their belongs and is told that they are leaving Pyongyang to “take a holiday.” They move out to rural North Korea, Gyeong-Seong, where Lee begins to realize that North Korea is not the paradise he has always believed it to be. Instead he finds himself abandoned, facing starvation, and witnessing public executions. Lee bands with a group of boys and struggles to survive on the streets for over five years.

With North Korea constantly being in the news it can be hard to imagine the lives of those who live within its borders, beyond what we see on television. Sungju Lee’s story and struggles brings a sense of humanity to North Korean people, one that is too often missing in the news cycles. Every Falling Star is a story of lost childhood, resiliency, and hope. Readers will quickly be drawn into Lee’s story and left wanting more on North Korea and what is happening today.

Available through Bridges Library System

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

Reviewed by Kelsey (Library Staff)

Five teens with seemingly little to no connection to each other serve detention together one day, but before their time is up, one of them is dead. The question that plagues the characters, as well as the reader as the point of view switches from witnesses Bronwyn to Cooper to Nate to Addy, is: Who is responsible for Simon’s death? The only other person in the room was their teacher; he had left to check on a car crash that happened right outside the classroom window just as Simon drank from a cup laced with peanut oil, to which he was fatally allergic. Secrets from each character’s life – Cooper, the jock; Addy, the princess; Bronwyn, the brain; and Nate, the criminal – are revealed as the story progresses, several of which come to light through Simon’s gossip blog. But how can these secrets be published when Simon, the only person with administrative access to the blog, is six feet under? In their attempt to find out the truth, the four survivors of that fateful detention become unlikely friends and allies as one of them gets arrested for Simon’s murder. This novel will speak volumes to teen readers about the implication of spreading truth and lies, and how to avoid the pitfalls of stereotypes.
Karen McManus drew upon her love of the film “The Breakfast Club” to create a modern-day reincarnation whose thrilling pace and intriguing character development will be sure to linger long after the reader finds out the truth – about everything.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC MCMANUS)

In The Country We Love by Diane Guerrero with Michelle Burford

Reviewed by Kelsey (Library Staff)

A 2017 ALA Alex Award Winner, In the The Country We Love is a heartbreaking and uplifting memoir providing a first-hand account of what happens when a family is broken by the immigration divide and who is left to pick up the pieces.

After a normal day at school, 14-year-old, U.S.-born Diane Guerrero (actress in Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin) comes home to find that her undocumented parents and older brother have been deported back to Colombia. When no one comes to check-in on her, Diane remains in the U.S. alone, relying on the kindness of friends and strangers to finish her education, launch her career, and establish an independent life. Growing-up without the physical presence and support of her immediate family, Diane turns to the performing arts to see her through financial difficulties, mental health crises, and familial and romantic relationship trials.

This non-fiction account and coming of age story exposes the tough choices one young teen had to make to pursue a life true to herself, without the support system of her family. Both teen and adult viewers of the hit TV shows Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, as well as non-viewers alike, will find a timely story about resilience in the wake of an ongoing national debate.

Available through Bridges Library System

Playing for the Devil’s Fire by Phillippe Diederich

Reviewed by Kelsey (Library Staff)

Playing for the Devil’s Fire is the bittersweet journey of a boy coming of age in a small Mexican town broken by drugs, crime, and corruption. This fictional book focuses on 13-year-old Boli’s experiences as his small pueblo is plagued by the Mexican cartel. The story begins with Boli and his friends playing an innocent game of marbles when a severed head shows up in the town plaza. This is just the beginning and soon cars driven by men in flashy clothes arrive, poor neighbors begin turning up with brand-new SUVs, and more bodies begin to appear. Boli’s parents leave for Toluca to get help from the federal police but never arrive at their destination. No one wants to talk about it or do anything to make a change, but Boli has hope that help will come. It does, in the form a masked wrestler who shows up and bans together with Boli in an attempt to save lives, bring back the missing, and stop the town’s destruction. But what hope do a boy and a luchador have against a growing cartel?
Diederich has traveled extensively through Mexico witnessing many tragedies of the Drug Wars, which gives this book a realistic perspective. This book is an attention grabber, full of shocking and grim violence, and is not for the lighthearted. It is a story of corruption and hope, loss and resilience, with an ending that leaves you heartbroken, but with the knowledge that goodness still exists even in the worst of scenarios.

Available through Bridges Library System

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

Reviewed by Kelsey (Library Staff)

The story takes place in Afghanistan where Parvana lives with her family, which includes her mother, father, sister and baby brother. Although Parvana’s parents are both well educated, due to the unrest in the country and the Taliban invasion things change dramatically and swiftly for the family. Her father is no longer able to teach at the University and her mother is unable to even walk the streets unattended or without proper Bur-qua attire (covered head to toe). Parvana can no longer go to school or even risk going outside other than to get water for her family, simply because she is a girl.

Her father, in an effort to provide for the family, ends up reading letters in exchange for cash but is eventually arrested for having a book in his possession. Without a male figure to escort anyone into town, Parvana is forced to dress as a boy and sell tea in the market in order to provide for the entire family.

This book is a page turner and written from the perspective of a young teenage Afghan girl. There are a total of 4 books in the series: The Breadwinner, Parvana’s Journey, Mud City, and My name is Parvana. Ellis wanted to ensure her material was as accurate as possible being an ‘outsider’ writing about it, so she traveled to Afghanistan to research this book and saw first hand what these mud cities and bombed out towns were like. This book has been used across the United States at the middle and early high school levels to raise awareness in the differences in education throughout the world. It is now also a movie and was nominated for 4 awards including: 2018 Critics Choice, 2018 Golden Globes, Best Motion Picture, Animated, and won for Best Animation.

Located in Children’s Paperbacks (J PBK ELLIS)

About Time (2013)

Reviewed by Kelsey (Library Staff)

Don’t let its R rating fool you, this is a heartwarming, romance and family focused film. Had it involved some strategic editing it easily could have been rated PG-13 and would have been accessible to a much wider audience. While the premise of the movie is about time travel, don’t get too hung up on that, or on the reverse don’t expect a lot of sci-fi either if that’s what you are hoping for. This movie falls firmly under the romantic-comedy genre.

Following another disappointing New Year’s Eve party, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) gets pulled into his father’s study for a heart to heart about their family’s greatest secret; the men have the ability to travel through time. Only as far back as their own lives go though, so Tim sets a goal to get himself a girlfriend before the next New Year party. He meets Mary (Rachel McAdams) and it only takes him a handful of tries to get it right. As Tim uses his gift for different things and learns the rules that go along with it (i.e. cause and effect), he is faced with the realization that it can’t fix everything and that eventually you have to just let go and move forward.
I would suggest this movie for anyone looking for a sweet, romantic comedy, with a focus on family and acceptance. There is mild profanity, majority of which takes place in the first half hour, and implications of sex (no nudity).

Located in DVDs (DVD ABOUT)

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