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Teen Tastemakers: January Picks


Reading + Entertainment

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Teens, Idea Exchange | January 24, 2018

We’re well into 2018 now – how are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? If you’ve resolved to read more books or binge more great shows, the Teen Tastemakers have some recommendations for you! If you’ve resolved to exercise more or complete some other arduous task, take a break – you deserve it – and enjoy our recommendations:

READ (Gemma)

Last month I talked about sci-fi and fantasy novels to end 2017 with, and this time, I’ll be going in the opposite direction with realistic fiction to kick off the new year.

We Were Liars Speak Fangirl

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars follows the story of Cadence, a privileged teen who spends her summers on her family’s idyllic private island, until her fifteenth year when something awful happens to her. The thing is, she can’t remember what. Cadence returns to the island a year later with the express purpose of finding out what happened to her, but as the mystery goes deeper and deeper, she finds the truth is not as simple as it might seem.

We Were Liars is a stunning thriller and mystery, coupled with E. Lockhart’s poetic voice and complex characters to become an excellent novel that you won’t be able to put down.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak is a short novel about a girl named Melinda entering her first year of high school, only to find herself ostracized by her peers for something unspeakable that happened during the summer. Melinda responds in kind, closing herself off from the world around her, and only giving hints to what happened to her through short journalistic accounts of her school year.

Speak is a raw, unforgettable, and realistic story about isolation and tragedy. Though it’s definitely a heavier read with mature subject matter, Speak is an excellent novel you should definitely consider reading.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

On a lighter note, how about Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell? It’s a sweet, funny look at fandom through the eyes of Cath, a college freshman who writes fanfiction about Simon Snow-a book series loosely based on Harry Potter. But in her first year, her twin sister who used to be just as big as a fan as she was, starts to distance herself from their shared past, forcing Cath out of her comfort zone into the larger world around her.

Fangirl is a hopeful, genuine, coming-of-age story with unique and interesting characters, as well as a delightful look at fandom and fan culture.

That’s it for this month, so check out some of these titles if they float your boat!


WATCH (Charlotte)

Probably the most popular way to watch TV right now is on Netflix. The streaming service has been around since 1997, and in 2013 started creating their own content with ‘Netflix Originals’. Here are some of my favourite Netflix Original TV shows.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones is one of the many new superhero shows on Netflix, but this is the best one. It features Krysten Ritter (who was also excellent on Veronica Mars) as a private investigator in New York with superpowers. The antagonist is also played by David Tennant, who is similarly flawless as an actor. 5/5 stars.

American Vandal: The premise for this show sounds kind of terrible. Who would watch a true crime mockumentary about a high schooler expelled for allegedly spray-painting graphic imagery on teachers’ cars, and the teen trying to prove him innocent? In actuality, it’s a clever and hilarious mockumentary that accurately portrays teen life. 4/5 stars.

A Series Of Unfortunate Events: I loved the books (written by Lemony Snicket), and the movie (starring Jim Carry), but this TV show is even better. It continues the zany atmosphere of the books and movies, while diving even deeper. It is also cool to see adaptations of the books the movie didn’t adapt. 5/5 stars.

Stranger Things: By now, you probably have seen this show. It is good. 4/5 stars.

Beyond Stranger Things: This show is hosted by the awesome Jim Rash (the dean on Community), where he talks with the Stranger Things cast members about the show. It’s a cool behind the scenes look, with a lot of laughs. 4/5 stars.

So, next time you’re looking for a new show to watch on Netflix, check out some of these.


Do you have exceptional taste? Do you love books, movies, and music? Would you like to be involved with the library, gain valuable resume experience, AND earn volunteer hours? If you would like to become a Teen Tastemaker, contact Idea Exchange Preston (519) 653-3632, or submit a volunteer application.