Charlie is used to being on the periphery of the social lives of his cohort, observing, without fully engaging, all of the drama, parties and relationships that come with the teenage experience. The move from Middle School to High School offers an opportunity for change for Charlie, making friends with some older students who show him what it is like to “participate” – going to parties, meeting new people, and living life to the full. It’s not plain sailing though – hidden to the outside world, Charlie struggles with family relationships, and the all-encompassing guilt he feels over the death of a close relative. Conscious to shake off his wallflower moniker, Charlie tries to live in the moment and change his perspective on life.
Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – Book Review
After meeting online, Simon Spier has been in contact with the elusive Blue over email, sharing their experiences of coming out with one another. It’s not long before the pair are really close, sharing secrets that they wouldn’t even tell their best friends. What’s more, not only do Blue and Simon go to the same school, but they are in the same year – as Simon begins to fall for Blue, he wants to know Blue’s real identity…
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – Book Review
To allow her to express her feelings, Lara Jean decided to write 5 letters to all the boys she has had a crush on in the past. Of course, these letters were never meant to be sent. Until one day, when they mysteriously find their way out of her special hiding space, and all of a sudden, her next door neighbour and her sister’s boyfriend, Josh Sanderson, and the popular loved-by-everyone Peter Kavinsky, among others, know the intense feelings she once had for them. Now she must face the boys who once meant so much to her as she begins to realise that some still do…
One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus – Book Review
Monday afternoon, detention. Four completely different students – Yale hopeful Bronwyn, sports ace Cooper, homecoming princess Addy, Nate, who always seems to be in trouble for something, and Simon, an outsider who maintains a gossip app. This is not the usual, uneventful detention – only four students walk out alive. It isn’t long before fingers are pointed at Addy, Nate, Cooper and Bronwyn. They decide to work between themselves to solve the case, revealing a lot of secrets in the process…
My 2018 Summer Break Rom-Com Rundown
As I’ve probably mentioned before, last summer I took my GCSEs, the culmination of two years of hard work and pain. This also meant that I had a really long summer break, and a lot of time on my hands – probably too much time, if I’m honest. Instead of spending most of my time preparing for my A-levels, (well, I spent some of my time working…) I decided to delve into Netflix’s wide array of Teen Rom-Coms. Now that I’m back at school, I’m turning my attention to my A-levels, so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you.
The 3 I watched have two key things in common; they have very similar storylines (intelligent/slightly awkward girl with a quirky/overenthusiastic best friend who overcomes the obstacles set by a mean “popular” girl to be with a hot “jock” boy), and like most teen Rom-Coms, are set in American high schools. As a British teen, I have no experience of what these schools are like – are they very different from the films? Are they that cliquey? Let me know in the comments!
I have rated each out of 5 for two categories: Realistic to Teen Struggles (RTS) and Feel-Good Factor (FGF). The first is about how well they represent some of the issues that teens face when growing up, and the second is about if they lifted my mood and gave me a positive feeling.
- The Kissing Booth
Based on a book by Beth Reekles
Elle (Joey King) and Lee (Joel Courtney) have been best friends for as long as they can remember, but with this long-term friendship there are rules – one of them being that the other’s relatives are off limits. When they decide to run a Kissing Booth at the School Carnival, things start to get difficult when Elle is paired with her long-term crush, Noah (Jacob Elordi) , who also happens to be Lee’s brother. Will she break their agreement, or stay loyal to her best friend?
I really like the friendship between Lee and Elle – they had such a caring relationship at the beginning of the film. However, I did have a few issues with the film. Noah consistently got into fights and was controlling of Elle’s romantic life, which he had no business meddling with, and Elle agreed to go out on a date with a guy that harassed her. The behaviour of the guys in the film let it down for me, but I did find Elle’s character to be sweet and likeable.
RTS: 2/5 FGF: 3/5
2. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Based on a book by Jenny Han
Lara Jean (Lana Condor) decided to write five letters to all the boys that she has had a crush on – a way to express her emotions. Of course, these letters were never meant to be sent. Until one day, when they mysteriously find their way out of her special hiding place, and all of a sudden her next door neighbour and her sister’s boyfriend, Josh Sanderson (Israel Broussard) , and the popular loved-by-everyone Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), among others, know the intense feelings she once had for them.
This was my favourite of the bunch – it’s about time that a teen rom-com has an East-Asian lead. I loved the sister friendship and support in Lara Jean’s family – I really appreciate seeing teenage girls supporting one another. I think that Lara Jeans is a very relatable character, especially for me – her character was not a cliche. Another highlight of this novel is Peter Kavinsky – not simply for his good looks, but for how well he treats and respects Lara Jean, which I think is really important in teen movies, especially as they are watched by so many. The post-credit scene made me want a prequel, so I’m reading the books at the moment so I can find out before it’s released (review coming soon!)
RTS: 4.5/5 FGF: 4.5/5
3. Sierra Burgess is a Loser
When jock Jamey (Noah Centineo) asks for Veronica’s phone number, it’s not hers he gets – it’s that of Stanford Hopeful Sierra (Shannon Purser). They then decide to work together to win over Jamey, without him knowing that Sierra is writing the texts, not Veronica…
Sierra Burgess is a Loser also stars the charming Noah Centineo as Jamey. I really respect the show for the way they handled body positivity – the unrealistic beauty standard teenagers face is mentioned, but Sierra is confident within herself, and most importantly, shows signs of accepting herself for who she is. However, there are some negatives that I think are worth mentioning. Firstly, and this may be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t think Sierra deserved Jamey. She basically catfished him about her identity, even though she had many opportunities to back out. That’s not how I would have treated Jamey, is all I’m saying. The story did however end nicely, and all was resolved.
RTS: 4/5 FGF: 2/5
Overall, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before came out on top – It was a feel-good movie, one you can curl up and watch on an autumnal day. It doesn’t really follow the book, with many of the scenes in a different order, but I think it works really well, with the personalities of Lara Jean and Peter really coming across.
If you decide to watch any of these, please let me know! If you want to keep up with all things Fiction For Teens, then please don’t forget to check out my Instagram here and my twitter here!
Release by Patrick Ness – book review
Release is one day in the life of seventeen-year-old Adam, a gay teen with a homophobic preacher father from Washington. It’s a big day for him, with heartbreak, love, secrets being told, relationships breaking down; Adam will learn a lot from today…
Every Day by David Levithan – Book Review
Every day A wakes up in a new body. In order to make it through the day without the person suspecting that they are being possessed, A must access the person’s memory in order to learn their routine, personality, likes, dislikes, relationships and how they act towards others. For one day, A must live their life for them, making decisions in their best interests. It has always been like this for A – their surroundings and physical body changing daily. Then one day, A finds themself in Justin’s body, Rhiannon’s boyfriend. As he moves through the day, he grows closer and closer to Rhiannon – he has found someone he wants to be with every day, a constant when everything around him is changing.
Fragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda – Book Review
A month after a terrible flood took her ex-boyfriend Caleb’s life, Jessa is asked by Caleb’s mother to tidy their house to prepare them for moving. As she begins to sort his belongings, she learns more and more about the boy she thought she knew. As the memories overwhelm her, she begins to piece together his story, until she’s left with a picture that is unrecognisable – what exactly happened on that bridge, and was it his fault?
Running Girl by Simon Mason – Book Review
Meet Garvie Smith, a 16-year-old with a genius IQ, and, to his teachers’ and mother’s dismay, the student with the lowest grades. Nicknamed ‘Sherlock’ by his friends, he is known for solving every puzzle that his friends give him. His skills are put to the test when he tries to solve a real crime – the disappearance and murder of his ex-girlfriend, Chloe. He soon learns that people aren’t who they seem – as he delves into Chloe’s secrets, he realises that there is more to the case than originally thought…
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas – Book Review
After winning the competition to be crowned the King’s Champion, assassin Celaena Sardothien is tasked with the dispatching of anyone who dares to challenge the King of Adarlan’s rule. As she has already suffered at the hands of this ruthless king, she offers all of her targets the opportunity to flee, to never be seen again. However, with every death she fakes, she puts the lives of the people that matter the most to her at risk – Dorian, Chaol and Nehemia. As she learns more about the King’s court and it’s secrets, she must decide which side she is on and how much she is willing to sacrifice…