Moana

Walt Disney Studios

The ocean is calling to a young Polynesian girl named Moana, but unfortunately, her father and his strict rules refuse to let her explore the open water to her heart’s content. Nevertheless, her grandmother, who has told her the legendary story of a demigod named Maui and a hero’s prophecy, encourages her to finally set sail in order to fulfill the prophecy. According to the legend, the heart of Te Fiti was stolen from the “Mother Island” herself by Maui, until both his magical hook and the stolen goods were lost in the ocean forever. The rest of the movie showcases the adventures of Moana and her newfound friend, Maui and their quest to cross the seas and return peace to the creator of all things natural and beautiful, Te Fiti.

I think this movie by Disney is excellent for many reasons. First of all, it features a person of colour as a princess who doesn’t have a love interest and is fueled only by her own determination to make change. This is a refreshing spin on the traditional Disney princess stereotype of the women featured depending on a “prince charming” to save her and make her feel worthy. Also, the animation with its vibrant colours and scenery is really spectacular to look at, while the soundtrack, which was developed by several people including Lin-Manuel Miranda, an award winning songwriter and composer, is equally as beautiful.

In conclusion, I think Moana is a great film for the whole family that everyone is guaranteed to enjoy.  — Mady R.

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Words on Bathroom Walls - Julia Walton

Words on Bathroom Walls

Julia Walton

 

Adam has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He sees and hears people who aren’t there: Rebecca, a beautiful girl who understands him; the Mob Boss, who harasses him; and Jason, the naked guy who’s unfailingly polite. It should be easy to separate the real from the not real, but Adam can’t.

Still, there’s hope. As Adam starts fresh at a new school, he begins a drug trial that helps him ignore his visions. Suddenly everything seems possible, even love. When he meets Maya, a fiercely intelligent girl, he desperately wants to be the great guy that she thinks he is. But then the miracle drug begins to fail, and Adam will do anything to keep Maya from discovering his secret.

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Noteworthy - Riley RedgateNoteworthy

Riley Redgate

 

A cappella just got a makeover.

Jordan Sun is embarking on her junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts, hopeful that this will be her time: the year she finally gets cast in the school musical. But when her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out for the third straight year—threatening her future at Kensington-Blaine and jeopardizing her college applications—she’s forced to consider nontraditional options.

In Jordan’s case, really nontraditional. A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshipped…revered…all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Jordan finds herself enmeshed in a precarious juggling act: making friends, alienating friends, crushing on a guy, crushing on a girl, and navigating decades-old rivalries. With her secret growing heavier every day, Jordan pushes beyond gender norms to confront what it means to be a girl (and a guy) in a male-dominated society, and—most importantly—what it means to be herself.

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Maud

Melanie J. Fishbane

 

For the first time ever, a young novel about the teen years of L.M. Montgomery, the author who brought us ANNE OF GREEN GABLES.

Fourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery — Maud to her friends — has a dream: to go to college and become a writer, just like her idol, Louisa May Alcott. But living with her grandparents on Prince Edward Island, she worries that this dream will never come true. Her grandfather has strong opinions about a woman’s place in the world, and they do not include spending good money on college. Luckily, she has a teacher to believe in her, and good friends to support her, including Nate, the Baptist minister’s stepson and the smartest boy in the class. If only he weren’t a Baptist; her Presbyterian grandparents would never approve. Then again, Maud isn’t sure she wants to settle down with a boy — her dreams of being a writer are much more important. But life changes for Maud when she goes out West to live with her father and his new wife and daughter. Her new home offers her another chance at love, as well as attending school, but tensions increase as Maud discovers her stepmother’s plans for her, which threaten Maud’s future — and her happiness forever.

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Three Dark Crowns - Kendare BlakeThree Dark Crowns

Kendare Blake

Three dark queens are born in a glen… this fantasy novel takes place on the isle of Fennbirn, where every generation the queen gives birth to triplets, each one possessing a different powerful magic. But only one can become heir and rule the island, so on their sixteenth birthday, the young queens are unleashed upon each other in a fight to the death for the crown.

Mirabella is an elemental, able to control the winds and fire. Katharine is a poisoner, trained in crafting poisons and immune to them herself. Arsinoe, a naturalist, can command the plants and animals. Raised apart from each other in three cities of magic, the queens have not met since they were children. But as their sixteenth birthday and the presentation ceremony approaches, it becomes apparent that the rise to power of the next queen is dependent on a lot more than their natural gifts, as some of their natural gifts are lacking. Mirabella is the most talented and has the support of the Temple, but Arsinoe and Katharine each have powerful friends and allies willing to risk themselves for the queen who shares their magic.

While the beginning of the book can be a little slow, it builds a world of politics, romance, and danger as you learn about the inhabitants and history of Fennbirn – perhaps though, for those people who like detailed worlds, it is not as fleshed out as we’d like. The love triangle is the most frustrating part of this book, as its intention is unclear. Nevertheless, the story grows towards a climax and cliffhanger that will make you want to read the sequel, One Dark Throne, which will be published in late 2017.  — Lisa WM

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