Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged teens

Put This on the {Map}: East King County

Part education, part cinema, all honesty. Put This on the {Map}: East King County gives a youthful face to gender and sexuality through its twenty-six compelling high school narrators. Filmed in Washington State on the east side of Seattle, where there is seemingly no visibility of queer youth, the strength of these young people to comes out on camera. Celebrating who they are is astonishing for any high schooler, let alone a queer one in a community where they are often isolated.

Zero Bridge

Scenes from this film and the emotions they elicited continued to resonate in my mind for hours after I saw it. Zero Bridge is an understated yet profound film that shows us a slice of life in Kashmir, a place most of us know little about. The story follows Dilawar, a seventeen-year-old Kashmiri boy that lives with his uncle and is struggling to find his way. He is driven by a desire to leave Kashmir and hopefully join his adoptive mother in Delhi.

Do Something!: A Handbook for Young Activists

Got kids? Do they have time and energy? Do they care about something? Anything? Then get them Do Something!: A Handbook for Young Activists. Buy it, give it to them, sit back, and feel good about having made a difference in the world. Or at least planting the seed. Do Something! is a very smart book.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

It’s not very often that people take the time to explore the mind of a teenager and it’s even less frequent that this exploration takes place on the Silver Screen. In the current cultural climate, teenagers are nearly an endangered species; 1.6 million are homeless, and those fortunate enough to have a roof over their heads face daily struggles with bullying, body image, sexual predators, and the intense stress of a failing educational system. Even, or maybe especially, those of privilege, who come from stable homes and elite educational institutions are crippled by an overwhelming expectation to succeed.

Easy A

Remember when Superbad was released and everyone was freaking out about what a great teen film it was? Did you wonder why the story didn't include the ways girls break the rules in high school? I did. But the film did have a minor yet interesting female role, Jules, who was made memorable by the candid humor of newcomer Emma Stone. In Easy A, Stone effortlessly tackles her first starring role, and presents a realistic story of teenage identity, friendship, and the challenges of self-discovery.

The Girl on the Train

Upon watching The Girl on the Train, it may not be immediately obvious that this is based on a real event: the 2004 scandal in which Marie-Leonie Leblanc fabricated an anti-Semitic attack by six Arab youth. In fact, the film’s lead character, Jeanne (Émilie Dequenne), seems like a typical teen in need of inspiration.

Sons of Perdition

Exiled boys from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) have been making news and showing up on the pop culture radar for a while.

Boys Lie: How Not to Get Played

I was of two minds while reading Boys Lie: on one hand, I appreciated that Belisa Vranich and Holly Eagleson have taken the time to research and write a “cheat sheet” giving young girls a “BS detector” and helping them separate the good apples from the bad ones. On the other hand, the title of the book might lead one to believe that the authors think all boys lie in order to have their way with girls.


As a Southern woman, I've been told from birth that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. It's a mentality borne from equal parts charm and suppression, and one that is kind of antithetical to the whole business of review writing. In this case, though, I had to find the nicest thing to say about Massachusetts teen talent Kate Cameron and her debut seven-track EP, Conviction. Otherwise, I would have ended up with an empty review.

Perfect Chemistry

I can pinpoint exactly where I fell for the charms of Simone Elkeles’ Perfect Chemistry due to the disappearance of my “reflective” notes in the margins: Chapter eleven. Page sixty-seven. The initial sixty-seven pages were rather laborious, as my first reaction was that it was going to be another predictable American teen novel and—to an extent—it was. Boy meets girl at school. They both proclaim their hatred for one another. Boy makes a bet to woo said girl.

Coffeehouse Angel

Life my feelings for a cup of coffee itself, I had high expectations before opening the book’s cover, but I wasn’t convinced Coffeehouse Angel was for me. At first it seemed kind of bitter, but quickly the story grew on me until I was hooked. Suzanne Selfors’ latest book tells the tale of teenager Katrina Svensen as she faces some typical and not-so-typical growing pains. Like most teenagers, she is trying to find her place in the big world.


Mijeong is a collection of short stories by Byung-Jun Byun in manhwa form.

The Secret Lives of Boys: Inside the Raw Emotional World of Male Teens

The Secret Lives of Boys is exactly the kind of book I love to read. It is a collection of well-written case studies that give the reader a snapshot of teenage boys that most adults today don’t see.

Privacy, Please!: Gaining Independence From Your Parents

Privacy, Please! is a very entertaining and informative book written for teens, but I think parents will find Odile Amblard’s advice just as useful. This 112-page book is written in the second person, which makes it feel very personal. The lighthearted style makes the sometimes serious subjects—such as alcohol and drugs—less daunting.

Green Kids, Sage Families: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Your Organic Kids

We've come a long way since that 1970s TV commercial of a Native American crying at the sight of trash by the side of the road. Green living has finally gone mainstream.

Desi Land: Teen Culture, Class, and Success in Silicon Valley

Desi Land, Shalini Shankar’s ethnographic exploration of Desi teenagers in Silicon Valley during the late 1990s, is a fascinating look at South Asian American youth culture at a pivotal moment in modern American history.  The setting of the book makes it particularly compelling: California during the dot-com boom, when a confluence of "model minorities" are populating an increasingly profitable and technologically advanced work force.

My Brain Hurts: Volume One

Liz Baillie’s character Kate Callahan is everything that I wish I had been in school, as well as everything that I’m glad I wasn’t: a punk dyke; Mohawk-wearing, patches held on with safety pins-styling, multiple girlfriends-loving activist; and all-around New York City street-roamer. Think Diane DiMassa’s _Hothead Paisan _before she turned homicidal and got a cat.

June Rain

This slim novel set in the 1960s concerns a quiet, studious Italian-American teenager, Dante, and his courtship and growing relationship with Helen, a fellow high school senior. The reserved Dante has silently admired Helen from across the classroom for several months when an unexpected rainstorm gives him the chance walk her home with his umbrella and get to know her. Knightley makes it clear that this is not your typical boy-meets-girl story. Dante is attracted as much by Helen’s calm, assured demeanor and her sense of connection with her family as by her looks.