In 2011’s In Time, directed by Andrew Niccol, humans stop ageing at 25 and have an initial one year alive. Time is the currency, and one’s funds are the clock on their forearm, a line of steadily decreasing green digits; and “0000•00•0•00•00•00” means instantaneous death. Although much changed when “the clock” started, the disparity between the rich and poor—or rather the poor and the practically immortal—remains. Will Salas’s working-class lifestyle is relatively benign until Henry Hamilton, a stranger of means who’d had enough of life and a genocidal economy, gifts him his remaining century. Then ensues a mission to dismantle the system built on the wealthy’s notion that “for few to be immortal, many must die.” Having the skills of his deceased father, a notorious “time-fighter,” stolen the daughter of a man worth eons, and the “minutemen” and “timekeeper” pursuing them only adds to the challenge.
The movie is a decent length and plays on the real-world ideology that “time is money,” which makes for a script laced with entertaining double entendres. It does a fair job with the characters. Sylvia, for one, is given a realistic starter personality, allowing for decent character development. This plays a part in executing a slight enemies-to-lovers trope which develops into an even more captivating Bonnie and Clyde dynamic. That being said, Justin Timberlake’s lead called for more charisma and intimidation at certain points. The central relationship needed more authentication, perhaps in the form of little accidental intimacies that distinguish the initial trope and the fate of a certain antagonist. This feels like neglect of an impactful actor and a potentially epiphany-like character development.
Ultimately, the way In Time cleverly merges two fundamentals and is otherwise compelling—the action, romance, and sprinkle of humour—makes it completely worth experiencing. For ages 14+, I definitely recommend it.
In 2009’s The Lovely Bones, directed by Peter Jackson,
14-year-old Susie Salmon narrates the story of her murder. For most of the
movie, Susie resides in an identical but desolate dimension between reality and
the heaven explicitly built for her killer’s victims. Here, she struggles to
come to terms with her own death while watching her family grieve her in the
real world. But Susie’s lingering has devastating effects on her family and the
“In Between.” She must move on so that her family can also.
The movie highlights the conflicts brought on by grief as
well as the importance of acceptance. It also ends on somewhat of a good note,
perhaps encouraging that after the darkest of times, it’ll be ok and life goes
on. What’s particularly special about this film—and where it also becomes
controversial—is that it also seeks to answer the question as to the fate of
the young girls who die in this gruesome manner—at the hands of the vile men of
the world. Some argue that the In-Between is too fantastical, and it thereby
invalidates their suffering. However, it seems like a rather benign
manifestation of our hope for those girls, that they might find in some other
life what they were robbed of in this one. For the story overall, it creates a
harmony of comfort and reality. It balances the crippling anxiety and
hopelessness the film is keen on inducing otherwise, especially since there is
a real lack of absolute justice and closure, which almost allows the audience
to relate to Susie’s family.
Heartbreaking or heart-palpitating at moments and contrarily hopeful at others, The Lovely Bones is a beautiful and horrific story, not for the faint of heart, and accordingly more suitable for ages 14+, but somewhat crucial.
One of Us Is Lying was
my first YA “Whodunit” book, and it did not disappoint. Karen M. McManus writes
in a way that hooks you right from the very beginning and keeps you guessing
until the end!
One of Us Is Lying
follows the story of five Bayview High students, Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, Cooper
and Simon. Bronwyn is an intelligent and introverted girl whose goal is to get
into Yale. Addy is the popular high school girl who wishes to become the
homecoming princess. Nate, also known as the school “bad boy”, is on probation
for dealing and doesn’t believe he has a future doing much else. Cooper is a
star athlete who has many successes ahead of him. Finally, there is Simon, the
outcast and the creator of Simon Says, the high school’s notorious gossip
On Monday, these five students find themselves all wound
up in detention. At the end, only four exit the classroom. Why you ask? Because
Simon is dead, and according to the investigation, it wasn’t an accident. Simon
had planned to reveal dirty secrets on the four survivors the next day. Once
this is found, Bronwyn, Addy, Nate and Cooper all become prime suspects… is one
or all of them guilty?
This novel is definitely a page-turner. It is impossible
to put down once you start reading as you want to figure out what happened to
Simon. The story is told from the viewpoint of the 4 “prime suspects”, so you
get to really relate to each of the characters in unique ways. I thoroughly
enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to any teenager or YA!
“I didn’t invent this twisted system that pits us against each other
and makes us do crappy things for status—but I do know how to play it.”
Ace of Spades in 7 words (because 7 is the perfect number): Queer. Mystery.
Racism. Quick-read. Young Adult. Does this interest you at all? No? What if I
told you it was described as a mix between Gossip Girl and Get Out?
Yeah… I wasn’t able to resist either.
Summary: Chimaka is perfect — everyone says so and everyone thinks so. Devon is
a nobody musician
— no one
thinks so and no one says so, because it’s true. The only thing the two have in
common, besides going to the same school, is their skin color. Oh, and the fact
they’re both being threatened and harassed by someone — or someONES — named ‘Aces’. When
‘Aces’ starts to reveal too many of their secrets… Chimaka and Devon team up to
take them (singular… or is it?) down.
Things I liked: Diversity (black and queer main characters), the writing
(super easy to follow and breeze through), the romance (there is both a
man-loving-man relationship and a woman-loving-woman relationship and they’re
both super cute), the plot twists (while I wasn’t surprised at many of them — I’m black and I’ve
watched Gossip Girl AND Get Out — the few that did
surprise me made me gape at a wall).
Things I disliked: Chimaka (super, super annoying — did I mention annoying?),
the “Plot twists” (again, some of them were great but I predicted the majority),
and the simplicity of figuring out the Aces ordeal.
Final rating: 4 stars
Quote: “When you grow up like this, whether it’s in your nature or not, sometimes survival overpowers doing the right thing.”
If you ask anyone in the town of Fairview who killed Andie Bell five
years ago, they’d all tell you the same answer: Sal Singh. Everyone believes
it, and no one ever asks any questions; no one, except Pippa Fitz-Amobi. She
knew Sal and can’t believe he would ever murder anyone. Especially his own
girlfriend. For her senior project, Pippa decides to look into the case and
solve it once and for all. With the help of Sal’s brother, Ravi, she follows
each and every lead to find the truth about Andie’s murder and Sal’s suicide.
Instead of finding answers, Pippa keeps turning up with more questions. As she
starts getting closer to the truth, someone keeps trying to cover up their
tracks. Pippa starts to get threats, but her interest in the case only grows.
It starts to take over her life. She starts questioning everyone and everything
around her. A detective can never trust anyone. She decides no matter what, she
needs to find out who killed Andie Bell?
I couldn’t put this book down! Each time I thought I solved the mystery, there was a new twist that completely threw me off course. Each character was so complex and had a key role in the story. Pippa’s perspective was very enjoyable to read, and I felt like I could really relate to her character. This is the best murder mystery story I’ve read, and I recommend it to everyone, even if you don’t usually enjoy mystery books. There are elements of comedy, romance and thrill to keep everyone intrigued. The story was so fast-paced, and I was never bored. If you’re looking for an entertaining, suspenseful read, this is the book for you.
The story of Someone We Know by Shari Lapena
takes place in a small, quiet town in New York, where a young teenager named
Raleigh Sharpe has been mysteriously breaking into his neighbour’s homes. After
her mother, Olivia, finds out about her son doing this sort of unpleasant act,
she contacts her lawyer for some advice on how to deal with the situation.
However, she also sends anonymous notes for the neighbours that her son had
targeted, which read a brief apology of his actions. She feels happy about
herself and thought writing apology letters was the right action to do.
However, the action of her son’s break-ins has been known throughout the
neighbourhood. Why would Raliegh Sharpe want to break into his beloved
neighbour’s home, and why so hack their computers as well? Olivia tries to
dismiss her son’s action from her mind and mention it as a memory from the
past, that is until one of her son’s victims is confirmed to be dead. As the
heartbreaking news of the victim named Amanda Pierce starts to spread, Olivia
starts worrying about her son’s innocence, knowing her son wouldn’t do any sort
of action to harm anyone. Who really killed her? Who knows more about what
they’re telling? Will the actions of Olivia’s son travel into a deeper, more
frightening story? Find out by reading Shari Lapena’s novel, Someone We Know.
I found this well-crafted novel to be very enjoyable. The writing and story of the author were so well that they kept me on the edge of my seat with excitement and curiosity. The main suspense started with the first page of the novel, all the way towards the end. The novel overall was a fascinating, fast-paced novel, and would recommend this book for ages 12 and above.
It’s July 4th, and the people in the small town of New
Hampshire are celebrating by putting on a huge parade. Everything starts going
well until a mysterious worker from Garland Mountain Labs is seen himself in a
vehicle and starts to plow through the crowd. Panicking, many people witness
the car’s driver hopping out of the vehicle and touching people. Within a few
seconds, the people of the town drop dead due to the sickness that person had
attained. As worriedness and pressure start to grow, a parade attendee named
Maeve uses a baseball bat to hit the guy and fully knock him out, but not
before the mysterious person touches her. Surprisingly, she seems to be fine
and immediately goes to check on her family, but when she touches them, they
instantly die too. Filled with trembling fear, she flees into the mountain to
hide, struggling with her own grief and confusion.
Scientist expert, Ben Walker is called upon to help
investigate the problem. He must not only find Maeve but to find out the exact
secret weapon Garland Moutain Labs have unleashed. Meanwhile, Maeve looks for a
hiding spot. Filled with terror and exhaustion, she begins to hear voices
inside her head, and her desperation to touch another human being continues to
grow. Will Maeve die? Can Ben Walker exactly figure out the secret weapon? Find
out by reading Red Hands by Christopher Golden.
This well-crafted book was very entertaining, and I
highly enjoyed it. The novel grabs you in the first couple of pages, and it is
then nearly impossible to put down! The energy is held in tension throughout
the entire development of the story. To conclude, this is simply a fantastic
read, and I highly recommend this novel to fans who enjoy thriller books.
Flora Calhoun has a history of finding dead bodies. First, it was Lucy, a classmate whose body she discovered while out for a jog. Now, years later, Flora is still resentful toward the polices inability to arrest the killer.
At school, Flora now has a reputation for sticking her nose in other people’s business and getting into trouble. One night, Flora receives an unexpected phone call from Ava McQueen, a girl who captured her heart, then stopped talking to her.
When Flora arrives to help Ava, she finds her bleeding on the pavement, and Flora is launched back into her memories of finding Lucy. Now, after finding not one, but two bodies, Flora sets herself out to find the murderer, no matter the cost.
Kylie Schachte has written a gripping thriller! An intense story with a flawed main character, You’re Next is bound to be your next favourite read.
At Bayview High, everyone has
secrets. Thanks to Simon Kelleher, runner of the school’s notorious gossip app,
About That, those secrets are displayed for everyone to see. In one week, Simon
is planning his juiciest reveal yet, but unfortunately, the plan is
interrupted. The day before the reveal, five students enter detention–Bronwyn
(the brain), Cooper (the athlete), Addy (the beauty), Nate (the criminal), and
Simon himself. Only four of them make it out alive, the same four students
whose deepest secrets were scheduled to be released the next day. But Simon is
dead, and the four are now the prime suspects in his murder.
Everyone has secrets, but who
would go this far to prevent them from getting out?
This book is perfect for fans of The Breakfast Club, Riverdale, Pretty Little Liars, and Love, Simon, since it feels like a crossover between all of them. This book is fast-paced, exciting, and the plot twists will continue to shock you and keep you guessing. It also has a bit of everything, from drama to mystery to coming of age, friendship and romance. I’d recommend this book to people who enjoy teen dramas, people looking to get into mysteries, or anyone who may have gotten bored of reading and needs something that moves along quickly to keep them interested. I’d also recommend listening to the audiobook if you like that format because it’s read by a full cast! I’d rate this book 4 out of 5 stars and suggest reading the sequel, One of Us is Next, or Karen McManus’ other book Two Can Keep A Secret if you want more.
Anna Cicconi has high hopes for the summer. A fresh start, and a babysitting gig at an elegant home in the Hamptons. What could go wrong? Almost immediately, Anna notices something off about the small town of Herron Mills. After asking some questions she realizes she has stepped into a town that is still reeling from the loss of one of it’s residents; teenager Zoe Spanos. Not only does Anna bear an uncanny resemblance to Zoe, she also finds herself remembering Zoe, even though she has never met her.
But Anna brushes this off, chalking it up to nerves and her lack of sleep.
However, when Zoe’s body is found at the bottom of a lake, Anna can’t ignore the memories she is having of Zoe, and her possible murder.
When Anna confesses, local podcaster Martina Green immediately notices that her confession is full of holes, and sets off to prove the truth of what happened to Zoe Spanos.
A slow burn thriller, Kit Frick amps up the chills in this compelling YA novel.