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Teen Tastemakers: June Picks


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Teens, Idea Exchange | June 1, 2018

It's June! Summer is almost here ... and so are exams. School is definitely important, but you're not doing yourself any favours by getting too stressed out. Enjoy our recommendations for studying, and then relax with some of the best music, books, and television available!


STUDY (Emily)

With exams coming up it’s hard not to become a puddle of stress and confusion. Sleepless nights, no time and an ever ticking clock are enough to get on anyone’s nerves. However there are ways to make exams seem a bit less daunting and ensure a panic free breakfast the morning before. During my years of suffering through exams, I’ve picked up a few tricks that make studying somewhat less horrible. I’m not saying that studying will ever be fun, but it doesn’t have to be sitting at a desk at 4 in the morning the night of the exam either.

Start studying in advance. I know, I know. I’m sure you’ve heard this same line a thousand times from parents and teachers, but trust me on this one. You do NOT want the first time you crack open your textbook to be a day or even a week before. Start studying as soon as possible, even if you haven’t learned all the material yet.

Don’t be afraid to listen to music while you study. I wouldn’t recommend songs with lyrics, because words can be extremely distracting, but there are lots of other options. Some music has been designed specifically for studying and is meant to ‘strengthen brainwaves’. I don’t know if it actually works, but this type of music is smooth and calming. Perfect to listen to while you read notes, practice math or anything in between. Another favorite of mine for studying are movie soundtracks. Lots of great movie soundtracks are available for free from Idea Exchange or on YouTube, and there are tons of different genres to choose from. I find soundtracks from action movies especially motivating but slower soundtracks are great as well.  

Finally, try studying outside. It’s beautiful out this time of year, and after four months of being stuck inside the last thing you want to do is school work. Especially if you have exam free younger sibling bragging about their adventures at every chance they get. Set yourself up underneath a tree or at a table on your porch and soak in some sun. It may not be as quiet as your bedroom but hey, we all know that there will be some kid who has the sniffles or refuses to stop tapping their pencil against their desk during the exam, so it’s in your best interest to practice studying with distractions beforehand. 

Exams may seem terrifying now, especially if this is only your second time taking them, but don’t worry. If you start now you might even get a full eight hours of sleep the night before.


LISTEN (Ethan)

Eagles Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 John Legend Love in the Future Adele 21 Bruno Mars Unorthodox Jukebox Rihanna Unapologetic

As April passes with showers, the month of May brings flowers to many but not to all. Life is not all flowers, in many cases life is more showers than flowers. People have to go through so much in their lives, such as breaks ups, dealing with loss, mental/physical health, addictions and many more. Music is a great way to cope with these life struggles.

The song I Can’t Tell You Why by the Eagles (available on The Eagles Greatest Hits, Vol. 2) is about a failed relationship and dealing with a break up. How the lovers tried many times to mend their relationship but it never works. The song is about loyalty, commitment and trust all things you need to have for a relationship to work. This song teaches everyone a good lesson about how the hard thing to do is often the right thing to do in order to achieve happiness.

Other Recommendations:

  • All of Me John Legend (available on the album Love In The Future
  • Someone like You by Adele (available on the album 21)
  • When I was Your Man by Bruno Mars (available on the album Unorthodox Jukebox
  • Stay by Rihanna (available on the album Unapologetic)


READ (Charlotte)

Turtles All the Way Down book cover The Fault in Our Stars book cover Paper Towns book cover Looking for Alaska book cover An Abundance of Katherines book cover Will Grayson, Will Grayson book cover

John Green has been a powerhouse in YA for a while now, and he recently released a new book, Turtles All The Way Down. So, I’m going to rank all his other books by how much I enjoyed them (or, for ones I haven’t read, how cool the premise sounds).

1. The Fault In Our Stars
This is probably his most well-known book, especially with the movie starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. It tells the story of two teenagers with cancer falling love, and it’s pretty good. It’s sad, but also funny, and there are lots of deep sentences. I enjoyed Hazel’s character, and the romance was actually fairly well-written.

2. Paper Towns
This book was also turned into a movie, albeit a less good one. The book centres on Quentin, a teen boy in love with his neighbour Margo Roth Spiegelman. She brings him on a night of adventure, then goes missing. He then tries to find her. It’s also has some deep thoughts, and Margo Roth Spiegelman is pretty cool. It’s not my favourite though, because I don’t know how I feel about Quentin obsessing over a girl he barely knows.

3. Looking For Alaska
I haven’t read this book, but it seems pretty interesting. It takes place in a boarding school, as the main character meets the titular Alaska, and goes on adventures. It kind of reminds me of the Catcher in the Rye – though I don’t know, I haven’t read that book either. I think I will probably read it sometime.

4. An Abundance of Katherines
I’m not sure about this book. It’s about a child prodigy who’s dated 19 girls named Katherine. He goes on a road trip with his friend, and invents a math theorem about all his failed relationships. It’s definitely weird, and there are parts I liked about, and parts I didn’t. So, I should probably revisit it.

5. Will Grayson, Will Grayson
I also haven’t read this one, a collaboration between John Green and David Levithan about two guys named Will Grayson who meet each other. It does seem interesting, but I’m not sure about the collaboration. I do like David Levithan’s book The Realm of Possibility, but I didn’t really enjoy any of his other books.


WATCH (Gemma)

As spring turns into summer, how about some comedic TV shows to celebrate the changing of the seasons?

  1. Brooklyn 99
    I’ve already talked about this show, but here’s a recap. Brooklyn 99 is a sitcom about detectives in Brooklyn’s 99th precinct, and its funny ‘crime-of-the-week’ premise is offset by well-developed characters and storylines. What’s more, Brooklyn 99 was recently cancelled by Fox, only to be picked up the very next day by NBC. So, you know . . . it’s good.
  2. Everything Sucks!
    Everything Sucks! is a Netflix original, set in a small town in Oregon in the 90s. The cast of characters features AV club nerds alongside theatre kids, and the result is fresh, funny, and honest, with a healthy dose of nostalgia.
  3. One Day at a Time
    A reboot of the ‘70s sitcom of the same name, One Day at a Time features a Cuban family living in an apartment together, and dealing with the trials and tribulations that come with that. The characters are incredibly realistic and sincere, and the comedy is top-notch.
  4. Santa Clarita Diet
    The plot of this comedy is simple-it follows a family of two married realtors and their daughter, whose lives turn upside-down when the mother, Sheila, turns into a zombie. My favourite part of this show is the humour-it is witty, dry, and non-stop. However, a note of caution-Santa Clarita Diet is incredibly gory, and isn’t suited to everyone.