BPL Teens Recommend


Book, movie & music reviews by teens for teens! Because who would know better what Berkeley teenagers might want than other Berkeley teenagers? 


Cover of Dewey the Library Cat by Vicki MyronDewey the Library Cat is a nonfiction book about a cat that got to the library by accident. You know those little mail slots? The bookdrop? It ended up in there! The librarians saved its life but they didn’t know who owned it and they decided to keep it in the library for the town. People from all over the world ended up coming to see this great cat and people really liked it.

I really loved this book, it’s one of my favorites. That’s because I love cats! My friend was reading it and I saw that it had a cat on the cover and I asked “why does it have a cat on the cover?” She described the book to me and I said “I so want to read this book!” It’s a really great book because you get attached to the characters, the cat and the librarians, and then at the end it is really sad. I ended up crying at the end. But you have to read it to find out why. 

Reviewed by Anna Ettlinger
Find Dewey the Library Cat at the library. 


Cover of Badlands CD by HalseyHalsey is an indie-pop singer who sounds kind of like Amy Winehouse, but only kind of. She just came out with a new album called Badlands and she also has a couple of earlier albums including an EP called Room 93 that has some remixes on it. This is not the normal music you usually hear. Her voice is really different and the beats are not, like, auto-tuned. It has a more authentic sound to it. And even though she’s on the radio now, people aren’t tired of hearing it yet. Most of her songs are about sex and things like that so it’s for teenagers and adults that are a more mature audience. 

Reviewed by D.H.
Find Badlands at the library.

G-Eazy performing - photo by Flickr user San Francisco Foghorn

G-Eazy is a rap artist from Berkeley. He went to Berkeley High and Willard so if you’re from the Bay it’s some nice music to listen to. G-Eazy is now on the radio, but only one song. He has a few mixtapes and a few albums. His newest album is It’s Dark Out that came out just this year and features some of the songs you would hear on the radio.

G-Eazy is sometimes called white rap but I feel he shouldn’t be categorized like that because he’s still the same rap quality as other rappers. But I feel he’s better because he doesn’t promote violence, he just talks about his lifestyle and that’s perfectly fine. He raps about drugs and sex, but not violence and gangs. There is a lot about B’s and H’s and a lot of cuss words so it’s for older listeners, definitely not for kids!

Reviewed by D.H.

Cover of Fallen by Lauren KateThis is a romantic book – very romantic!

Luce is in love with Daniel. She goes to a kind of insane school where she sees a guy and waves at him. He smiles back and flips her off but for some reason she still feels attracted to him. Because there is more to their story and this is not the first time they have met.  The catch to this love story is that every time Luce and Daniel do something new with each other, she bursts into flames and dies. Then in 17 years she comes back to life as herself. She looks the same but she has new parents, new friends and a new school but she always ends up regrouping with Daniel. Every life she finds Daniel and he finds her and they fall in love. Except this time her life is different. This time she is sent to this psychiatric school because she kissed another guy who caught fire and died. She said she saw shadows after that fire, except those weren’t shadows, they were announcers. And they announce that something’s going to happen. This is the first in a series of four books. I would say it’s a really good book if you’re into romantic stories. 

Reviewed by Humberto.
Find Fallen at the library. 

Cover of Torment by Lauren KateThis is the second book in the Fallen series. It’s still about Luce and Daniel and they’re still in love except that she kisses another guy – a half breed, half-angel and half-human. Well, he kisses her and technically she kissed him back because she didn’t stop it. Daniel was crouching in the darkness, saw them, stood up and turned towards her with a sad face then flew away. And she felt terrible. When this other guy goes to Thanksgiving with Luce, Daniel also goes to Thanksgiving at her place. There are all these people and demons there, too but it’s because Daniel made a truce with them and they fight with each other against the people who are trying to kill Luce. Daniel is trying to make his presence more broad than the guy who kissed Luce. But Luce’s father says that he likes the guy who kissed Luce (even though they don’t know that) while Luce’s mom likes Daniel. They’re all at Thanksgiving together and then it goes down. Her friend doesn’t know anything about angels and demons so when something goes down she’s just shocked. In this book Luce isn’t with Daniel so she doesn’t burst into flames anymore, though there’s certain part at the end that comes and…you have to read the end in order to know if they get back together or not.

You need to read the Fallen before this one so you can know the background. This book adds to the story about how Luce is stuck in a school that he sends her to and leaves her at and she tries to get out. In this book they are trying to kill her but in order to know why you have to read the first book. This is a good book, as good as Fallen and I’m already reading the third book now. 

Reviewed by Humberto.
Find Torment at the library. 

Cover of Into the Wild (Warriors Series - book 1) by Erin Hunter

This is a series of books. Actually it is five series of books with six books in each series. (And there are some extra books.) In the Warriors series there are 4 clans of cats (Thunder, River, Shadow and Wind clans) and a couple tribes (the Tribe of Endless Hunting and the Tribe of Rushing Water). Those tribes live in the lake where Thunder Clan are living now. Each clan has one leader but there’s also the medicine cat, the healer. Most of the books are told from the perspective of cats from the Thunder Clan, but there are one or two chaptesr in the 4th series that’s by the medicine cat from another clan. I like these books because they’re about cats working together. And when they can’t resolve things they fix them. Or fight over them. Also the cats are really cute.

Reviewed by Anna Ettlinger
Find The Warriors books at the library

Cover of The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

This book is about the Lisbon sisters who were very happy … once in a while. Then at a party the youngest sister killed herself by jumping onto a fence while people were at the party. And it turns out it’s kind of a game that the sisters are playing and they start killing themselves one by one. It causes the parents a lot of emotional toll and it’s really sad and complex.

This is not like most books. It’s not a cliché where somebody kills themselves and the whole book is about people feeling sad. It’s not even from the sister’s point of view but from the guys that have crushes on them. It’s not just about suicide, it’s a growing up story and how the sisters are finding their sexuality and coming into womanhood. Because the story is written from the guy’s that have crushes on them point of view it tells their story, but also focuses on the women. It’s a very good book. 

Reviewed by D.H.
Find The Virgin Suicides at the library

Cover of Wonder by R.J. PalacioThis book is about a 10-year-old kid who has been homeschooled for most of his life. He has a disorder to his face from when he was born. The book doesn’t describe it, the only description is “deformed.” He has to go to school for the first time when he’s 10  and he goes to 5th grade. This book talks about his journey through school and how he has to deal with people bullying him. At one point in the book there is a war or whatever with whoever is friends with him on one team and the other people on the other team. Then the students went on a school field trip and kids from another school jump him in the woods. And the people who are against him in the war came to protect him. This kid goes from being bullied, an outsider and totally shy to one of the coolest kids. 

Reviewed by Nani
Find Wonder at the library

Cover of Someday Angeline by Louis Sachar4th and 5th grade kids will like the book Someday Angeline by Louis Sachar. It’s about an 8-year-old that’s in 6th grade and she gets bullied by all the kids at her school and her teacher. She makes a friend and the friend has a teacher and they get along. But Angeline’s mom has passed away and her dad won’t tell how she passed away. Just like Angeline wants to go to the ocean and her dad won’t let her. So one day she goes there by herself and it’s really interesting to figure out what happens. I think kids will like it because it’s about a smart kid and there usually isn’t a kid 3 years younger than you in your grade. This is my favorite book and I’ve read it like 5 times.

Reviewed by Anna Ettlinger
Find Someday Angeline at the library

Cover of Love Letters to the Dead by Ava DellairaSo basically this book is about a young girl named Laurel whose teacher gives an assignment where she has to write a letter to a dead person. At first she starts writing to her sister May who died. She writes about what’s happening in her life and how she meets these new friends that are kind of rebels (they smoke a lot but they’re only in the 9th grade) but she likes them because she can be herself. Then she gets a boyfriend and tells her sister about that, too. But in addition to telling about the present she writes about what happened in the past. Like when May was alive and she used to date older guys and she got sexually assaulted by her boyfriend’s friend. Laurel never told her sister because she loved her a lot and she didn’t want to see her sad.

Laurel and May had a really good relationship and when May died Laurel thought it was her fault because she was there when it happened but she couldn’t do anything to save her; she was frozen from shock. Her mother ended up moving away after that and so Laurel transitioned between her father’s and aunt’s houses. She tells May about how that’s going. When her mom finally comes back, at the end of the book they get together and spread her sister’s ashes because they were too scared to do it before. And at the end Laurel writes the love letter to her sister.

The title of this book is kind of misleading because it’s not like love letter about how much you are in love with someone like when you would write fan mail. It’s not like that. She’s telling the people how much they meant to her. She’s telling their story and how she perceives it and also she’s writing about the present like what’s going on in her life. It’s unique.

Reviewed by D.H.
Find Love Letters to the Dead at the library

Cover of Titanic directed by James Cameron

This movie is about this rich little kid named Rose who’s very pretty (Cate Blanchett  plays her) and Leonardo DiCaprio who is beautiful (he’s beautiful!). He is very poor but he wins tickets in a poker game to go on the ship and on the ship he meets Rose. She tries to kill herself because she doesn’t want to get married to this other rich guy that her parents want her to marry. He stops her from killing herself and they fall in love. And right before the ship starts sinking they do some disturbing stuff that scarred my little mind (I was in 5th grade at the time) but it’s very romantic. And then the ship is sinking and you think “Oh no!” but they make it out alive. Until he dies because of the coldness of the water. She goes on with her life and she finds the necklace that he gave her and it’s very emotional.

This is a really good movie because it’s really cute. It’s a love story and a tragedy at the same time so it’s a lot of emotional toll but it’s a great movie. You should see it in 3D … it’s awesome in 3D!

Reviewed by D.H.
Find Titanic at the library

Cover of West Side Story directed by Robert WiseWest Side Story is about two competitive gangs, one is Puerto Rican and one is white. The Puerto Ricans (the Sharks) just moved to New York and the Jets (the whites) want to kick them out and they just go at it. It’s kind of like Romeo and Juliet because one of the Jets and one of the Puerto Ricans fall in love. I think someone would enjoy this movie because the musical partss were really well produced and well sung. And the storyline is pretty amazing because it’s a musical of Romeo & Juleit but without the “thy” and “thees.” I would recommend it to anyone who loves dancing, singing, music or romantic, classic musicals. 

Reviewed by M.C.M.
Find West Side Story at the library