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Teen Blog

Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Month: March 2010 Page 1 of 3

Top Ten: Activism and Politics

Can’t wait until you can vote? Here’s some stuff you can read (or watch) in the mean time.

  1. Wide Awake, David Levithan. In the near future, when Abe Stein is elected president of the United States and his election is questioned on account of him being both Jewish and gay, Duncan Weiss, 17, becomes politically active for the first time, attending protest rallies and rallying his friends in support. 
  2. The Gospel According to Larry, Janet Tashjian. Josh thinks big: he wants to save the world and get the girl. He sets up a website (The Gospel According to Larry) as his clever, witty and (as it turns out) incredibly popular alter ego (Larry), voicing his opinions on consumerism, politics etc, but Larry’s success makes it hard for Josh’s identity to remain hidden.
  3. Noughts and Crosses, Malorie Blackman. In an alternate world Noughts and Crosses don’t mix. Persephone is a Cross and her friend Callum is a Nought, and to complicate things Persephone’s father is both racist and a politician. Inspired by Romeo and Juliet.
  4. Scat, Carl Hiaasen. An eco-thriller. Nick and Marta’s biology teacher goes missing in suspicious circumstances, so they decide to investigate. Illegal pipelines, rare panthers and swamps co-star.
  5. Hoot (Young  Adult DVD, based on book by Carl Hiaasen). Eco-thriller number two. New construction threatens endangered burrowing owls, and Logan is having none of it.
  6. Soccer Chick Rules, Dawn Fitzgerald. Tess’ football team needs funding in order to continue to exist, so Tess perseveres against many odds to ensure its survival.
  7. Going Going, Naomi Shihab Nye. In a small town in Texas Florrie notices the negative impact that chain stores are having on local businesses and organises the residents to take action.
  8. The outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place, E.L. Konigsburg. Margaret is moved to action on behalf of her great uncles when the tower block they live in is declared unsafe and marked for demolition.
  9. In the name of God, Paula Jolin. Nadia is a committed Muslim living in Syria. When her cousin is arrested, Nadia becomes increasingly fanatical. An Amazon.com review says this: “…there are very few novels for young people that give such a comprehensive sense of a contemporary Muslim Arab teen’s daily life and concerns… In framing Nadia’s questions about faith, Jolin creates an essential starting place for teens to examine their own views about Western culture, the Middle East, the division of church and state, terrorism, and how fear and hate, faith and love affect everything.”
  10. I Am the Messenger, Markus Zusak. Ed Kennedy is spurred on to activism by a series of strange messages delivered to him on playing cards.

New Magazines

Entertainment Weekly #1093 – The 10 Best TV Shows on Right Now! (includes Glee yay) | Things the Twilight stars are doing that aren’t Twilight
Entertainment Weekly
#1094 – Post-Oscar special – like all the best and worst frocks | Lots of reviews
Teen Vogue April 2010 – An excerpt of the Sex and the City prequel, Carrie Bradshaw’s High School Years | ‘Are you a facebook narcissist?’ | Mark Indelicato talks fashion
Dolly March 2010 – The scary world of OTT cosmetic surgery | ‘We love clothes that sparkle’ (I know, right?) | “My mum ate herself to death” | Should the deceased live on in cyberspace?
Transworld Skateboarding March 2010 – Skateboards and the people who ride them | shoes | wheels | decks
Playstation Magazine March 2010 – Final Fantasy XIII in all its glory | The 50 most memorable videogame characters of all time | Lots of other reviews

Michael & Anna’s Supercool Movie

Michael Cera, so uncool he’s supercool (Superbad, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Year One, Juno…) is going to be on a big screen near you quite soon (Augusty), in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, where he finds himself – in order to win the heart of Ramona Flowers – having to defeat seven (count ’em, seven) evil ex-boyfriends.

The movie also stars Anna Kendrick, who you’ve seen in the Twilight movies (Jessica), but there’s no Taylor Lautner.

Here’s the trailer:

New Books

Crocodile Tears, Anthony Horowitz (385 pages) – Alex is recruited for a seemingly simple mission – download some data from a computer in a plant engineering lab while on a school mission – but of course in the world of espionage things are never simple. We’re thinking that a normal school life just isn’t going to happen for poor old Alex.

First sentence: Ravi Chandra was going to be a rich man.

Claim to Fame, Margaret Peterson Haddix (256 pages) – Lindsay is a former child star who suffered a breakdown at age 11, partly because she can hear everything anyone says about her around the world. That’d be tough. Now she is 16, and trying to learn how to cope with her talent in a new, isolated place, when a group of teenagers “rescue” (kidnap) her and force her to confront her situation.

First sentence: I was supposed to be doing my algebra homework that night.

Chasing Brooklyn, Lisa Schroeder (412 pages) – a novel in verse. Nico and Brooklyn are haunted by the ghosts of their dead brother/boyfriend and Brooklyn’s best friend Gabe, but neither can admit it to the other.

First sentence: I lost my boyfriend, Lucca.

Same Difference, Siobhan Vivian (287 pages) – “Emily’s life reeks of the ordinary: she lives in suburban New Jersey in a posh gated community and hangs out at Starbucks with her friends in a town where most of the buildings are old, and if they’re not, they’re eventually made to look that way. When Emily heads to Philadelphia for a summer art institute—complete with an eclectic cast of funky classmates and one dreamy teaching assistant—she faces the classic teen dilemma of whether to choose the familiar over the new and exciting, while figuring out who she really is: Emily from Cherry Grove or Emily the aspiring artist?” (Amazon.com)

First sentence: When I was a kid, I drew clouds that looked like bodies of cartoon sheep.

By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead, Julie Anne Peters (200 pages) – A story about “how bullying can push young people to the very edge.” (Book Cover)

First sentence: The white boy, the skinny, tall boy with shocking white hair, sneaks behind the stone bench and leans against the tree trunk.

Eyes Like Stars, Lisa Mantchev (Theatre Illuminata, Act I: 356 pages) – This looks interesting and mighty hard to explain! So I shall quote Suzanne Collins (out from underneath the barcode): “All the world’s truly a stage in Lisa Mantchev’s innovative tale, Eyes Like Stars. Magical stagecraft, unmanageable fairies, and a humourous cast of classical characters form the backdrop for this imaginative coming-of-age.”

First sentence: The fairies flew suspended on wires despite their tendency to get tangled together.

Jonas, Eden Maguire (Beautiful Dead Book 1, 271 pages) – Jonas, Arizona, Summer and Phoenix have all mysteriously died at Ellerton High in one year. This is the story of Jonas’ death, the unanswered questions, and Darina, who has visions of Phoenix, her dead boyfriend, and the others. What are the visions, and who are the beautiful dead?

First sentence: The first thing I heard was a door banging in the wind.

Freefall, Ariela Anhalt (247 pages) – Something bad happened on the cliff one night and the police want to know. Hayden may be up for murder, and his friend Luke is the only witness. Luke must come to terms with what happened and what that means for his friendship.

First sentence: Luke Prescott stood at the top of the cliff, his toes curled over the edge and pointing downward.

The Miles Between, Mary E Pearson (265 pages) – Destiny and three of her friends hit the road in a story that “explores the absurdities of life, friendship, and fate – and also the moments of grace and wonder.” (Book cover)

First sentence: I was seven the first time I was sent away.

Bleeding Violet, Dia Reeves (454 pages) – Hanna, who suffers from bipolar disorder, moves to the town of Portero in Texas, where she meets up with Wyatt, a member of a demon-hunting organisation. Meanwhile, an ancient evil threatens the town…

First sentence: The truck driver let me off on Lamartine, on the odd side of the street.

Stuff (for the teen age)

Stuff for the Teen Age is the New York Public Library’s list of the best stuff for teens from that year. You should take a look! We have some – if not most  – of it. True, the list includes Xbox games, Justin Bieber, and a whole load of manga*, but we have the books and many CDs covered.

They also have a blog you should add to your RSS feed (along with this blog).

* We’re getting in a lot more manga and anime soonish though

New Magazines for the fortnight

We have two weeks’ worth of new magazines. We have been hoarding them!

Simpsons Comics #159 – Excelleeeent
Seventeen April 2010 – ‘The Hair Issue!’ | INTERESTING FACTS : Seventeen was first published in 1944, and was intended for seventeen-year-olds!
Entertainment Weekly #1091 – More on Lost | The Bachelor | Reviews etc.
Entertainment Weekly #1092 – Johnny Depp | Oscar predictions (better late than never) | Reviews etc.
Australian Mad Magazine #455 – Laugh along with Mad magazine
XBox 360 #52 – Bioshock 2 | The new Fallout game | Reviews etc. |
White Dwarf
March 2010 Not so sure what’s in this one as someone was desperate to take it, and we had sat on it for a week.

Songs On Discs

WHITE DENIMAustin, Texas’ White Denim have released two albums to date, we have both at once. Good deal. Fits : Exposion is a double disc of the finest and funnest indie-rock in the entire collection. White Denim seem like they started a band only so they could party more frequently and just by luck happen to be really good. HGHLY RCCD.

massive attackTrailblazing trip-hoppers Massive Attack keep plugging along almost 20 years after their debut with Heligoland, surprisingly just their fifth effort given the career length. They keep things current on this one with appearances from the likes of Damon Albarn, Hope Sandoval and TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe.

Local joke metallers Deja Voodoo continue the schtick on The shape of grunge to come. For those who haven’t heard, think The Darkness, but strip away anything vaguely grandiose and replace with songs about beer. The thinking man need not apply.

Meticulously dishevelled Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro release a fifth, Only Revolutions, despite having a name like they’re a joke pop starlet. Aggressive pop tunes in the vein of Green Day and Blink-182. Reviews seem to indicate that this is their best work yet, perhaps it could be a breakthrough for them and teen bloggers will no longer be confused by their name.

Two more things. What kind of week would it be if there weren’t a three disc dance compilation? Last week apparently, back to form then with Classic big tunes 2009, the name says it all. And in musical DVD news, Metallica’s Seek & Destroy is a collection of live footage from whence or where I know not, the box is in German. I can say though, that there is a nearly 15 minute long version of Seek & Destroy that should test neighbour’s patience.

I’ve put some preview songs on our bebo page for you to listen to.

Separated at Birth: More Title Twins

Spud, John van de Ruit. Hilarity at an exclusive boarding school with Nelson Mandella’s release from prison in 1990 as a backdrop. A runaway bestseller in South Africa (and now consequently being made into a film). Spud’s real (fictitious) name is John.

Sprout, Dale Peck. More hilarity. A coming of age story about a teenage boy whose real (fictitious) name is Daniel and whose hair is green thanks to a dyeing episode. People rave about the memorable characters.

Spray, Harry Edge. Less hilarity (the black sheep of the family). Five teenagers sign up for an assassination, street-fighting game organised by a mysterious “gamekeeper” whose intentions seem a bit dodgy.

Your Perspective on Youthspective

Voting is now open for the Youthspective Competition – People’s Choice Award. This is your chance to choose the photograph that you think best represents your city.

Have a look at the gallery of photos and vote for your favourite Wellington perspective.

What does the winner win? Well, a Lomography SuperSampler Camera and a $50 voucher (thanks to Wellington Photographic Supplies).

More information on Youthspective here.

Almost Amazing Race 2.0: Register Now!

At the end of last week I subtly announced that registrations for this year’s Almost Amazing Race 2.0 are now open. This is the less subtle version:

The Almost Amazing Race 2.0
Friday 16 April 2010
Register your team now!

What is The Almost Amazing Race 2.0?

Teams of max four will race (observing road rules and other laws of the land) around the city, completing challenges that will test them mentally and physically, in order to be the first team to solve the puzzle and be named the winners of The Almost Amazing Race.

So, organise your friends and your wits, make sure you’re free on Friday 16 April, and you could be the almost amazing winners (or failing that, you could have a jolly good time).

You can have a look at last year’s Almost Amazing Race here.

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