by Malala Yousafzai

5 Stars

I Am Malala - Wikipedia

The book I am Malala is a really inspiring and motivational story of what she had to go through and how she overcame her fears. Malala Yousafzai lived in Mingora, Pakistan. Born July 12, 1997, she was born in a Pashtun family, with two parents and two siblings. 

It was not easy to live in an area like Mingora. There were lots of Taliban, gunshots, and much more horrible events. At a young age, Malala had to see and go through a lot of horrendous incidents. 

Malala’s goal was to fight for education and to tell everyone that girls should be treated the way boys were being treated. In the old days, the girl’s responsibility was to look after the home, and the boys had to go and make money for the family. Malala thought this was wrong, so she stood for every girl in Pakistan, and she made things right! 

In my opinion, this was a very well-crafted book. It’s not easy to stand up for a whole community when everyone’s against you. You need to have lots of courage like how Malala did. For many girls in Pakistan and in the world, Malala’s a real role model. If it wasn’t for Malala, things would have still been treated the way they were in the old days. Malala was a true fighter, in her childhood she had to face a lot of critical circumstances where she could have lost her life. But she was strong, and she had the courage to keep going and never giving up! I would definitely recommend this book for ages ten and up.

Ahmed. Q

View in Library Catalogue: Print | eBook | Audiobook CD | Young Readers Edition

by Robert Zemeckis

5 Stars

Forrest Gump (1994) - IMDb

Forrest Gump, directed by Robert Zemeckis, is a critically acclaimed drama film starring Tom Hanks in the lead role and a winner of 6 Academy Awards. The movie follows the main character, Forrest Gump, throughout his fascinating life, filled with unexpected twists and turns, all told from Forrest’s point of view. 

Forrest, a kind-hearted man with an IQ of 75 (10 points under the average of 85), recalls the story of his life to curious strangers while sitting on a bench at a bus stop in Georgia. He recounts the many events he has gone through in his life, including achieving a football scholarship to a renowned college and even fighting for his country in Vietnam. President Lyndon B. Johnson awards Gump with a Medal of Honor for his efforts in Vietnam, where he rescued many of his fellow soldier’s lives, bringing them to safety. 

Though he had accomplished so much in his life, it never mattered to him. All he ever cared about was his childhood friend and love interest, Jenny Curran. Once he receives the Medal of Honor, he gives it to Jenny as a gift, telling her he only received it by doing what she told him to do in his childhood when he was relentlessly bullied “Run, Forrest, run!”. 

This is a fantastic film that explores the fact that a person born with difficulties is only ever limited by their own thoughts and if they put their minds to it, are able to accomplish anything. I recommend this movie to anyone 13+. It is a definite 5/5 film that explores important issues.

Vlada E.

View in Library Catalogue: DVD| Blu-Ray

by John Green

4 Stars

Paper Towns : Green, John: Amazon.ca: Books

Paper Towns begins with a prologue taking place nine years before the events of the novel. Quentin Jacobsen and Margo Roth Spiegelman are only nine years old when they discover the body of a man who committed suicide in their neighbourhood park. Fast-forward nine years later, the main characters are seniors at Winter Park High School. Quentin is an outcast, while his childhood crush Margo is a popular girl. Margo reappears into Quentin’s life, showing up at his window one night and recruiting him to help her play mischievous pranks on her boyfriend and friends who betrayed her. The next day, Margo is surprisingly nowhere to be found. With the help of his friends, as well as a series of clues Margo left behind for him, Quentin embarks on a mission to find and reunite with the girl of his dreams. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought that it was quite entertaining to read. However, I did find that the middle of the book was a little long and tedious. Besides that, I loved the way John Green mixed together both romance and comedy. John Green’s writing style is amazing, and this was a great piece. Also, the characters within the book were very relatable, and I felt connected to each of them, especially Quentin. Overall, Paper Towns was a great coming-of-age book and has an amazing storyline that will keep you engaged. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery and adventure novel!

Emily K.

View in Library Catalogue: Print | eBook | Downloadable Audiobook

by Angie Thomas

5 Stars

Hate U Give, The : Thomas, Angie: Amazon.ca: Books

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, tells a story about a 16-year-old African-American girl named Starr Carter. Starr lives in a poor, mostly black neighbourhood of Garden Heights but attends a fancy, wealthy, and predominantly white private school in the city, Williamson Prep. One day when Starr is being driven home from a party by her childhood best friend Khalil, they are pulled over by a white police officer. Khalil, who is black, is instructed by the police officer to exit the vehicle. After leaning into the window to check on Starr, Khalil is shot three times by the officer and killed. Starr becomes entangled in the national news story after witnessing the fatal shooting of Khalil. Tension culminates in a riot after a grand jury decides not to indict the police officer for the shooting. Garden Heights erupts into both peaceful protests and riots. Facing pressure, Starr must find her voice to advocate for what is right. 

I loved this novel and thought it was incredibly powerful. The novel truly speaks the truth about how today’s society is. It shows real-world problems that affect everyone every day. The novel was informative, showing how our society can be around people with different skin tones and cultures. This novel helped educate me on the matters of racism and police brutality. By reading this novel, one is able to understand the injustice the black community has had to face and is continuing to face to this day. I strongly urge all teenagers to read this book at some point, as it will leave you speechless, stick with you forever, and is truly eye-opening.

Emily K.

View in Library Catalogue: Print | eBook | Audiobook CD

by Niki Caro

5 Stars

Mulan (2020 film) - Wikipedia

Produced by Walt Disney Pictures and directed by Niki Caro, Mulan is a live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1998 animated film of the same name. Hua Mulan is a fearless, adventurous, and active young girl living in Imperial China. Under the leader Bori Khan, an imperial outpost is invaded by Rouran warriors. The Emperor of China issues a conscription stating that every family must contribute one man to fight against Khan’s forces. Imperial soldiers arrive in Mulan’s village to enlist, making her elderly father forced to pledge his services as he has no sons. Mulan realizes that her frail father will have no chance of survival, so she decides to flee the village with his armour, horse, and sword to join in his place. She disguises herself as a young man and arrives at the training camp, and trains to become a soldier without exposing her true identity. 

Mulan was an amazing adaptation and fresh take on the classic animated version from 22 years ago. The film focused more on the action instead of the musical element. The film explores incredible themes of family devotion and female empowerment. Powerful messages were also conveyed, such as always persevering and believing in yourself to accomplish your goals. The actress who plays Mulan was wonderful and a great choice for her role. Her special moves within the battles were so articulately performed, which was a delight to watch. Throughout the movie, I was constantly on the edge of my seat in suspense and awe while watching. I would highly recommend Mulan to those of all ages as it is truly an inspiring and beautifully created film.

Emily K

View in Library Catalogue: DVD | Blu-Ray

by Sabina Khan

5 Stars

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali Audiobook | Sabina Khan | Audible.ca

Sabina Khan, the author of The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali, has written about the struggles of being a part of the LGBTQ2S+ in the Indian community through 17-year-old Rukhsana Ali. Readers get to look through the eyes of Rukhsana, who is lesbian and lives in a strict home with her conservative, Bengali parents who favour her younger brother Aamir over her. (Aamir is still a great little brother and tries his best to make things better.) Their parents believe that women are supposed to be great wives and mothers but also support the idea of getting an education and getting a degree.

Rukhsana’s parents one day meet her friend Ariana who is actually her girlfriend. Her parents love Ariana, but when they find out who Ariana really is to Rukhsana, they are appalled and ban the two girls from seeing each other. What will break most hearts is that the parents do not care about the fact that Rukhsana is lesbian they are afraid of what the Indian community will think of them for having a daughter that is a part of the LGBTQ2S+. To fix Rukhsana, her parents trick her into a trip to Bangladesh and try to force her into an arranged marriage. Readers will be torn apart by the tragedy but come to love Rukhsana and her family. Rukhsana teaches everyone that we have a choice to make, and it will affect our futures. The words of her Nani “We must be the masters of our own destinies. I did not learn that until it was too late. You have to fight to take back control of your life. Sometimes you will hurt the ones you love the most. But in the end, it will always have to be your choice.” ( Khan 336)

I would recommend the book to readers who can take sad stories but look forward to a better ending. This book does talk about sensitive topics such as rape and murder, so this is directed to an older audience (15+). I am not a part of the LGBTQ2S+, but it is heartwarming to see strict, conservative parents accept and want to learn about their child’s community.

Lyelle B.

View in Library Catalogue: Print

by Lincoln Peirce

5 Stars

Big Nate: Hug It Out!: Amazon.ca: Peirce, Lincoln: Books

Better prepare your laughing muscle as you prepare to read this hilarious new book. Big Nate: Hug it Out is one of the newest additions to the Big Nate comic series by Lincoln Peirce that explores more events of his sixth-grade school year and preceding summer vacation. Whether you are someone just diving into the series or someone who has enjoyed the books for a while, you will still enjoy this comedic book the same as always. It was so much fun going through the nostalgia and reliving my time reading those comic books smiling and laughing at all the jokes.

The story takes place in Rackleff, Maine and follows sixth-grade student of P.S. 38, Nate Wright, and his friends, Francis Pope and Teddy Ortiz. They are there to support him with most of the troubles that come their way, but no matter, they will still stay friends at the end of it all. But there are also many other characters that you will meet along the way and will get to see their relationship continue with Nate. It could be through comedy or romance or rivalry or something entirely new. “Never a dull moment with Nate and his crazy gang is around,” said Garima from a review on goodreads.com. It will be so interesting and exciting that you might want to read more books, to see the connections to them or for more funny jokes and great stories.

Whatever your comic reading style is, whether it is one-page shorts or longer storylines, and detailed image or simple readability, you can get it all in this book along with the other ones in the series. Maybe Francis will finally end his factoids, or his baseball team will do well, or maybe Nate will finally find love (again for about the 4th time)? Well, you won’t know until you read the amazing book by Lincoln Peirce, Big Nate: Hug It Out! I enjoyed my time reading it, and I hope you will too.

Elijah J.

View in Library Catalogue: Print

by Emily Schultz

3.5 Stars

Little Threats: Amazon.ca: Schultz, Emily: Books

Emily Schultz pulled off a very gripping, slow-burning, “who did it?” story. It is quite the book to read, and we’ll continue speaking of that as we continue.

Emily Schultz’s Little Threats is a story of good-old teenage rebellion while living a luxurious life until it meets its limits. A sixteen-year-old girl in 1993, Kennedy Wynn, is suspected of murdering her close friend in the woods, named Haley Mae Kimberson. This gets her trapped in prison for fifteen years, and she is released at the age of thirty-one in 2008. This drives the story into a new plot, where things aren’t as simple as they seem, and anyone in this Virginia neighbourhood could be the real culprit.

This story brings a very nostalgic feel, as it gives us a taste of 1993, the grunge era. Classic things like old cassette tapes, with grungy songs from the 90s. One cassette is “Extremities, Dirt, & Various Repressed Emotions for Kennedy”. ED&VREK has song references to classics like Creep by Radiohead or Come As You Are by Nirvana, which was a great way to remind the reader of the plot’s 1993 heritage. 

The detail put into the settings, characters, and actions were very well written and described. If you have a very imaginative mind, these details will make Emily Schultz’s Little Threats seem like a movie. 

“and now the Polaroid was the last of her. Haley, full cheeks, light freckles, white tank top, necklace at her throat, her red hair spilling from a sloppy bun, her eyes slightly closed as she laughed, red-lipsticked mouth.” 

Little Threats is overall a good read if you don’t get bored too quickly. The pacing is a bit sluggish, but the story is well-written with plenty of ups and downs, and turn arounds. It receives a 7.5 out of 10 from me.

Gabriel M.

View in Library Catalogue: Print

By Kei Sanbe 

5 Stars

Erased, Vol. 1: Sanbe, Kei: 9780316553315: Books - Amazon.ca

This mystery, science fiction, suspense manga is full of twists and turns, and each chapter leaves you wanting to read more while also leaving you with a lot of unresolved questions. The original Japanese name of ERASED is called Boku Dake ga Inai Machi which means ‘The town where only I’m missing’. The title refers to a time when children in Hokkaido, Japan, went missing. 

This manga is about a man by the name of Satoru Fujinuma, a 26-year-old Japanese man, aspires to be a great name in the manga industry but has had difficulty breaking through, and is usually depressed during his days. Satoru has an unknown ability called “Revival” which allows him to go back in time to prevent tragedies. He is sent back in time to the year 1988 to help save kids from being abducted. 

The plot is interesting because his choices will have an impact on the future, and he can’t rely solely on his ability to save him from danger. Another fascinating thing about this is that the protagonist is in the body of an 11-year-old boy but has the mind of a 28-year-old man, which aids him in decision-making due to his experience. 

There are several points in the manga where the protagonist has reservations about these decisions and is unable to overcome them, resulting in horrific circumstances. When I was reading the novel, I came across a quote that stuck with me: “The future is always blank. Only your willpower can leave footsteps there.” Satoru discovers that the only person on whom he can fully depend for his decisions is himself. 

Benjamin J.

View in Library Catalogue: Print

 

by Tyler Bevins

5 Stars

Ninja: The Most Dangerous Game: [A Graphic Novel]: Amazon.ca: Blevins,  Tyler "Ninja", Jordan, Justin, Magaña, Felipe: Books

The graphic novel Ninja: The Most Dangerous Game is written by Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Justin Jordan, and illustrated by Felipe Magaña. It tells the story of Ninja, a very good gamer that plays a battle royale game. Ninja and his friends receive a box in their mail, and when they open the box, they are “teleported” to a battle royale game. Inside the game, they become characters of it, and they have to play and win the game. 

The plot is very well written, in many instances, the reader thinks something is going to happen, but actually, the opposite of that happens. The book is written especially for battle royale players because the plot is set on a battle royale game. The characters have to go through the same experiences of battle royale players, but they are inside the game, and as the book says, “the last player standing wins the game and all of the others die”. 

Felipe Magaña did a great job of illustrating this graphic novel. Magaña made the players look like it is game, and the objects inside the game are very well-drawn. The effects like powers, teleporting, and others are kind of realistic but at the same time are illustrative, so it has very nice comics. 

The book is short in length and can be easily read in some hours. There should be some more details like explain what are some things for and why some things happened because sometimes the reader could get a little confused. 

Overall, it is a really fun read, and the plot makes the reader want to keep reading forever. 

Even though it is intended for teenagers, youth adults, and battle royale gamers, other groups would also like it because it is very engaging, the reader is kind of forced to think of solutions to some problems that happen in this graphic novel.

Thales R.

View in Library Catalogue: Print