Southbury Teen Review Blog

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month May 28, 2014

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Nearly 5 million American children and adolescents suffer from a serious mental illness.  Here is a selection of fiction titles that touch on this subject.

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

Things in Delilah Hannaford’s life have a tendency to fall apart.

She used to be a good student, but she can’t seem to keep it together anymore. Her “boyfriend” isn’t much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.

Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family’s painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

I Will Save You by Matt de la Pena

“Kidd is running from his past and his future. No mom, no dad, and there’s nothing for him at the group home but therapy. He doesn’t belong at the beach where he works either, unless he finds a reason to stay.
   Olivia is blond hair, blue eyes, rich dad. The prettiest girl in Cardiff. She’s hiding something from Kidd—but could they ever be together anyway?
   Devon is mean, mysterious, and driven by a death wish. A best friend and worst enemy. He followed Kidd all the way to the beach and he’s not leaving until he teaches him a few lessons about life. And Olivia.”

Noble Genes by Rune Michaels

It’s tough to measure up to your parents’ expectations. Imagine how much harder it would be if your mother told you that your biological father—whom you’d never met—was a Nobel prize-winning genius? NOBEL GENES is the story of just such a boy. His life consists of a series of halves; his genes are half from a donor bank that featured Nobel winners. After years of testing and tutoring, he only lives up to his mother’s expectations halfway. He spends half his time sharing in his mother’s manic ups and the other half in her depressive downs. And he always has to be half-awake in the middle of the night so that when his mother wakes up and plays with her pills, he can count them and make sure the proper amount are still there before he goes to sleep. 

Perhaps him being a “Nobel son” is a dream. Or a hope. Or a delusion. No matter what it is to his mother, it becomes devastation when he learns that his genius history is a lie. And once the truth is revealed, there is no going back. Even when he thought he discovered the most important truth, in his dreams, he finds one answer that he never imagined. Does it matter who you come from? Or are we all just made from dust?”

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

“In this raw and relatable romance, Bea learns that some things just can’t be controlled.

When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.

But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic…and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.

Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down…and she might end up breaking her own heart.”

Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

September 1973: The beginning of Karl Shoemaker’s senior year in stifling Lightsburg, Ohio. For years, Karl’s been part of “the Madman Underground”- kids forced to attend group therapy during school. Karl has decided that he is going to get out of the Madman Underground for good. He is going to act-and be-Normal. But Normal, of course, is relative. Karl has two after-school jobs, one dead father, one seriously unhinged drunk mother . . . and a huge attitude. Welcome to a gritty, uncensored rollercoaster ride, narrated by the singular Karl Shoemaker.”

Click here for a more complete list of titles.

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It’s Kind of a Funny Story February 12, 2013

Filed under: Movies & TV — Heather @ 11:20 pm
Tags: , , ,

Its-Kind-of-a-Funny-Story-Poster

PG-13, 101 minutes, Focus Features

This 2010 adaptation of Ned Vizzini’s novel by the same name was written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.  Lovers of Vizzini‘s book need not be disappointed by the film version, perhaps owed to the fact that Vizzini himself was one of the screenplay writers.

Fifteen year old Craig Gilner is over-worked and anxious about his high-pressured High School, the fictitious Executive Pre-Professional, modeled after Stuyvesant High School in NYC.  His depression has spiraled out of control until one night he contemplates jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge.  Instead, Craig goes to the ER, where he soon finds himself a patient in the psychiatric unit.

Spot-on casting of Keir Gilchrist as depressed and suicidal teen Craig Gilner, Emma Roberts as self-mutilater Noelle, and Zach Galifianakis as psych ward regular Bobby round out the ensemble.  Look for notable cast members Viola Davis as Dr. Minerva and Jim Gaffigan as Craig’s dad.