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Teen Tastemakers: January Picks


Reading + Entertainment

  • Teen Tastemakers January 2019
    Teen Tastemakers January 2019

Teens, Idea Exchange | January 2, 2019

It’s the new year, which means it’s the perfect time to try something new. Whether you want to binge read a new book series, watch some old favourite movies or television shows, be more active, or see new places, we have recommendations for all these things and more. Read on for the Teen Tastemakers’ January picks:

BOOKS (Gemma)

2018 is winding down, and oh, what a year it’s been! Brexit, the American midterm elections, the Olympics . . . the list goes on and on. But 2019 is coming, and a new year means a new start. With that in mind, here are some excellent book series to binge over the winter holidays and into the new year.

Seraphina A Darker Shade of Magic

The Wayfarers Series by Becky Chambers: This series kicks off with The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. The plot follows Rosemary Harper, a young clerk who finds on a job on the Wayfarer, a ship that travels the galaxy building wormholes. Along with an eclectic cast of characters, she finds purpose, acceptance, love, and family.

The Seraphina Series by Rachel Hartman: This series is set in a fictional medieval world, populated with both humans and dragons, who have struck an uneasy truce to long centuries of war. Seraphina is a young court musician with a terrible secret-her father was human, but her mother was a dragon. As she navigates the increasingly tumultuous political terrain of her country, attempts to uncover a plot against both the human nation of Goredd and the dragons to the north, fellow half-dragons appear in court, creating difficult questions about what that means for her and her secret.

Shades of Magic Series by V. E. Schwab: Another fantasy, Shades of Magic is set in a world parallel to ours, where only a dwindling number of antari, or blood magicians, can cross the border between worlds. Kell is one of these such magicians, until he stumbles upon a force of great evil, and a young woman, Lila, who has much more power than she should.

And that’s it for me! Check out some of the recommendations on this list at your local library branch, and happy holidays!


TELEVISION (Charlotte)

These past few years have been a major 90s throwback. From the fashion to the music, most of it is reminiscent of 28-19 years ago. To continue that trend, here are some awesome 90s television shows.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: After an unsuccessful Buffy movie, showrunner Joss Whedon created one of the most iconic TV shows of all time. Taking place in a small California town, Buffy and her friends fight demons and vampires (obviously) while also dealing with high school, family and romance. It’s hilarious but heartfelt, with plenty of kick-butt action.

Seinfeld: I haven’t seen a lot of this show, but I don’t need to. Because it’s a show about nothing, just four ridiculous people dealing with all the minutiae of daily life in endlessly funny and relatable ways. It’s also considered one of the best sitcoms ever, and even created new slang, like no soup for you! and double-dipping.

X-Files: It’s a relationship as old as time; one person believes in the paranormal, the other is a skeptic. But this time, they solve supernatural crimes together in the FBI. Mulder and Scully get up to all sorts of wacky adventures, whether they be scary or funny. It’s a cornerstone of 90s culture, and has recently come back in a reboot.

So, next time you’re looking for a new show, check out some of these suggestions for a good time.


MUSIC (Madeleine)

Whether you like just listening to music, or singing along, music is awesome. Here are some of my favourite artists and some of their songs:

Alessia cara know it all Alessia Cara growing pains

Alessia Cara is 22 years old, and already a popular singer. She has no need of auto-tune, and her songs are relatable too.

  • Wild Things: Wild Things is my favourite song, since it talks about being yourself.
  • Scars to Your Beautiful: Scars to Your Beautiful is a confidence boosting song, talking about how you’re beautiful no matter what.
  • Growing Pains: Growing Pains talks about getting older, and the worries and stress that brings.

Owl City Owl City Mobile Orchestra Owl City Ocean Eyes

Owl City, a.k.a. Adam Young, is the only member of his band. His music is always charming and relatable. While his songs seem like nonsense, they start to make sense after a while.

  • Fiji Water: This song is funny, and you get to hear a little bit of how Adam feels about his career.
  • Hospital Flowers: Hospital Flowers is an imaginative and meaningful song, and fairly optimistic.
  • Be Brave: Be Brave is another inspiring song, and the story of how Adam met his girlfriend.

Lindsey Stirling Lindsey Stirling

Lindsey Stirling is a violinist… but most of her music is considered Electronic or Dubstep, so she puts a fun twist on an already beautiful instrument!

  • Roundtable Rival: Roundtable Rival doesn’t have any lyrics, and doesn’t need it. You will likely want to dance once you hear it.
  • Shatter Me: Shatter Me does have lyrics, and talks about some of Lindsey’s own problems in life. It’s sung by Lzzy Hale, who has a really powerful voice.
  • The Arena: The Arena is another one of Lindsey’s songs with no lyrics. No lyrics also makes Lindsey’s music great for listening to while studying, since it’s not distracting, as long as you don’t start dancing!


APPS (Ethan)

The number of apps for the smartphone has evolved. With more than 3.3 million apps available on the Google Play Store, there are many apps I can recommend for the New Year.

The first app I recommend is Google Maps. Available for both Android and iOS, this app it has a built-in mapping system with a real-time GPS. It also helps you navigate, see traffic, and locate nearby transit stops. It offers street maps and short-cuts to make sure you get to your destination safely and swiftly.

The second app I recommend is a photo editing app called PicsArt. Although this app is only available for Android, it still has over 100 million downloads. You will be overwhelmed by the number of options you have for customizing your photos. It has a social networking system within the app that lets you share your photos to the public. Its features include collage, drawing on photos, frames, stickers, free cropping, clone tool, tilt-shift, a perspective changer tool and a lot more.

The third app I recommend is a password manager app called LastPass. It is a free password manager that securely locks down your passwords and personal information. It has the ability to auto fill logins in browsers and apps and can generate new and secure passwords instantly. My personal favorite feature is how you can log in with one password instead of remembering thousands. You can also sync your passwords and data across all of your devices. Whether you have IOS, Blackberry or Android anyone can use this amazing app!


MOVIES (Jemin)

Home Alone Frozen DVD

The movies can make people happy, scared, and sad. But so can the weather, especially in the winter.  What movies do you like to watch in the winter?

When I consider winter movies, I always think about Home Alone because it’s a masterpiece for the winter and Christmas. There is a lot of memorable scenes in Home Alone. You can find your favourite parts and watch it with your family at Christmas!

I’ll also recommend Frozen. Of course all the Disney movies are all great to watch, but Frozen is the greatest animation movie in the winter! I watched it with my little sister. It is a wonderful movie and I always think, ‘We could watch this movie at Christmas with my family!’ 


SPORTS (Claire)

It’s important to be active to maintain good health, even if in the winter, all we want to do is curl in front of the fireplace. To keep active, I recommend playing basketball.

During warm weather, many people head onto their driveways to shoot some hoops. However, when it’s cold out, shooting hoops outside is not ideal. A solution is going to a gym with some friends to shoot around or scrimmage.

Basketball is as enjoyable as it is satisfying to see the ball swish through the net, and you are able to improve your ball handling so you can show off all your tricks. As well, basketball gets your fitness level and cardio up.

If you’re really into the sport, join a basketball team! I’ve played for the Cambridge Centaurs for a while and the experience is amazing. Watching basketball is really different from playing, as you are into the game while building your basketball IQ. Although the practices can be intense, it is worth it. You will bond with your teammates and your team will become your second family.

I hope that you will take my advice and head down to the gym to shoot some hoops!



Five Nights in Paris : After Dark in the City of Light

Last year I flew to Paris, France and “Five Nights in Paris: After Dark in the City of Light” was especially helpful to me. I read it before and after my trip to Europe. The book offers a trained eye and a first-person perspective of experiencing the delights of Paris in an in depth and detailed fashion.

John Baxter takes you on a trip through 5 of Paris’s greatest neighborhoods including Marais, Montparnasse, and Montmartre. Further into the book there is a tour of some of the parks and some of the historic landmarks such as Napoleon’s tomb, Arc De Triumph, and the Louvre art museum. As a person who has been to France I can personally say this book genuinely covers every aspect you can imagine. Even some parts of the book recommend cheap and comfortable hotel locations that are close to all the huge tourist attractions and landmarks whilst you travel abroad.

If you are ever looking to take a big trip during the holidays or maybe even make your permanent residence in France this guide is certainly the right thing for you.


FOOD (Zena)

Everyone should have a taste that cannot be forgotten. Whether it represents your hometown, your family, your childhood or your memories. It can cheer you up when you are most devastated and disappointed in life, giving you hope for survival.

For me, the taste in memory is the breakfast that my mother gave me when I was young. Every morning in China I had no time to eat much breakfast. I just got up and felt very sleepy in the morning, and I would eat a simple but nutritious meal at the table. I would squeeze the butter onto a crispy brown toast with soft, luscious scrambled eggs and bacon. Topped off with a refreshing fruit salad with cut apples, bananas and kiwis that give me the energy and the vitamins I need, and with a cup of yogurt that makes the perfect meal!

Nowadays, I am studying in Canada, and my parents stay in China. From time to time, I will miss my country and my family. At this time, such a perfect breakfast will bring me joy and vitality, so that my life will continue on as usual.

What is the taste in your memory? What is its meaning to you?


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 join the Teen Tastemakers, please join us at one of our upcoming meetings.