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review 2019-02-17 23:37
YA graphic novel about the teenage Catwoman; falls short of expectations, lacks depth, and is full of foul language
Under The Moon: A Catwoman Tale - Lauren Myracle,Isaac Goodhart

Life pretty much sucks for Selina Kyle, at least for as long as she stays living at home with her mom and the endless stream of boyfriends she brings home. None have been as bad as the latest guy, Dernell, who’s cruel and will even lock Selina up in a closet when he wants to teach her a lesson. When something happens to Selina’s new cat, she can’t take it anymore; life on the streets will surely be better than staying where she feels so unhappy.

Selina joins a small ‘pack’ of street kids, learns parkour, gets close to an old friend and takes on the new name and persona ‘Catgirl.’ Usually more of a loner, she begrudgingly learns she has to trust others if she is going to survive. And she also plans to carry out some not-so-small heists in gritty, crime-addled Gotham City.

 

This YA graphic novel is fresh from the DC Ink line and is written by author Lauren Myracle, who is no stranger to teen and tween lit, writing the bestsellers ttyl, ttfn, l8r, and g8r. This also means some pretty high expectations, because of Myracle’s familiarity with her audience and her success.

‘Under The Moon’ also happens to be about probably one of the coolest female comic book icons, Catwoman, although here we really have a version of her unlike any that has been seen before. Since this Selina is only fourteen years old, she really is a girl, and so calling it ‘A Catwoman Tale’ is definitely a bit of a stretch. And so begins the problems, because if anyone has read or seen any incarnation of this character before, it’s really hard to remove that image or knowledge (only just recently Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas came out as #3 in the DC Icons series).

 

In previous comics and the novel I just mentioned, we see an older Selina, who takes care of her younger sister and is trained under Carmine Falcone, as well as a past that included her mother dying, being a prostitute, as well as training and living in Europe.

 

‘Under the Moon’ gives us a Selina with a wealth of issues: she’s a runaway, she stops going to school as a result (making her a high-school dropout), and resorts to cutting to relieve her emotional pain. While I understand the notion of presenting a teen character who has the inclination to run from her home situation (abuse in the home is a pretty valid reason), or has a problem with self-harming (I will warn readers now about this, because it’s a big trigger), since these may be relatable issues for some readers, I also take issue with that being done in a responsible manner. I feel like these are risky, BIG topics to so lightly insert into a slim 96-page graphic novel, with very little insight. It’s irresponsible to add in a topic like self-harming so casually.

 

Since this is aimed at teens who are 13 to 17, I also feel like the flagrant use of foul language was wholly unnecessary. Unlike another teen DC graphic novel coming out soon after this, Kami Garcia’s ‘Teen Titans: Raven,’ that doesn’t have expletives and talk about things like penis size thrown in, this probably will be the reason for reconsideration for libraries (especially school libraries) carrying this book. I am not naïve about the use of swearing in YA lit, but it seems excessive in ‘Under The Moon’ and distracted me from the story, being used in a way that seemed like it was used to pander to  young readers (who may think it’s ‘cool’ to talk like this).

 

I also got a very mixed notion as to who Selina is because of the swings in her characterization. Her portrayal is quite inconsistent, at once dismissive of the few friends she has, then she acts the opposite way soon afterward (although her compassion towards Rosie in the latter part of the novel is heart-warming). The self-harming comes out of nowhere. She is sometimes self-assured and then not remotely confident. And her connection to Bruce Wayne, which apparently starts in preschool, feels more confusing than it ever is in most literary and cinematic portrayals of Catwoman so far. Him being at public school is yet another diversion from his own origin story.

Something else that irritated me, is Selina’s inconsistent connection to CATS. I wasn’t convinced entirely by the way she came to call herself ‘Catgirl’ despite the event that preceded this juncture.

 

I wanted so much to love this graphic novel: the sentiments of her being a stray and her loneliness are powerful, with these being reasons for her ‘cat-burglar’ behavior, but I found too many problems that I couldn’t look past. Fleshed out and with paying more attention to the deeper issues in this story I would maybe go along with Selina’s backstory, but I can't recommend this, as it is right now (*as always, edits may be made before publication), to the targeted reader group.

 

**Points/extra star for cool artwork.

 

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/38452822-under-the-moon?ac=1&from_search=true
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text 2019-02-14 05:34
A Parent’s Guide: How To Help A Teen with PTSD

 

Teens who suffer from PTSD find coping to be extremely difficult. A recent study revealed that memories that come from traumatic events change according to the individual’s perception of the world around them. Naturally, we fill in gaps to make things make sense in our head. The same happens when individuals recount a traumatic event. Events from the past become tailored to meet the individuals understanding of the world and how they believe things happened. This fascinating discovery helps researchers to gain new answers as to how PTSD affects the brain.

 

Five Ways to Better Days

 

Teens who struggle with PTSD may respond to trauma through what appears to be “naughty” or “defiant” misbehavior. This is a common misunderstanding. It likely that this can make you, as the parent, feel angry, frustrated, and overwhelmed, but you should not act on these responses. Here are 5 quick tips on how you can help your struggling teen:

 

  1. Reassurance. We all need reassurance from time to time, but this is especially important for teens with PTSD. You should make an effort to remind them regularly that they are safe and cared for.
  2. Communication. Bottling emotions up is never a good idea. You should open the line of communication between you and your child. Talk about the trauma. Be an active listener.
  3. Expression. You should remind your child that they should express their emotions. This is a healthy and vital part of the healing process. There are many creative ways to express emotions such as drawing, painting, playing music, writing, etc. Help your teen find something that works for them.
  4. Togetherness. Pay attention and nurture your relationship with your child. Set aside time to do things together as a family. This will help them feel loved and supported.
  5. Boundaries. Set limits. Don’t expect too much from your teen, but also don’t become overprotective. Jumping into the normal routine may not be realistic. Be flexible and adjust but remember it’s nothing permanent. Help them come up with a healing plan.

 

Solstice East can help

 

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls ages 14-18 who struggle with addictive behaviors or other mental health issues. Solstice East emphasizes physical fitness and nutrition as a part of integrating healthy habits into the lives of young women. Students will learn how to cope with their emotions, create healthy boundaries, maintain and nurture relationships, and develop skills useful in the real world. This program gives students the opportunity to develop confidence, a greater sense of self-awareness, and the skills they need to lead happy and healthy lives. Let us help your family today!

 

Article Source: https://solsticeeast.com/blog/a-parents-guide-how-to-help-a-teen-with-ptsd/

 

Residential Treatment Centers
Residential Treatment Centers for Teens
Therapeutic Boarding Schools
Programs for Troubled Teens
Schools for Troubled Teens

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text 2019-02-13 06:33
Risky Teen Behaviors: Differences Between Positive and Negative Risks

 

 

The teenage years are the years in which one develops the desire to fit in. This desire may come with a high cost. During the adolescent years, opportunity and risk seem all the more appealing. A maturational imbalance may prevent teens from good decision-making during this period in their lives as well. While learning from our silly mistakes is an important part of growing up, teens still need guidance on how to better navigate themselves away from risky behavior and towards a rewarding future. First, one must learn the difference between positive and negative risks. Here are some defining characteristics:

 

Positive risks: benefits an individual’s well-being, legal, socially acceptable, does not present severe negative consequences

 

Negative risks: harmful towards an individual’s well-being, illegal, socially unacceptable, may have severe consequences

 

The Risks Our Teens Should Take

 

As puberty hits so does a new wave of potential risks. As a parent, it is important to acknowledge these risks and learn to address them head on with your child. It is your job to put an emphasis on the good as a way to prevent the bad. First, you should know your child and their risky behaviors. Here are some signs that indicate that your child is a positive risk taker:

 

  • Internalizes family values
  • Has strong bonds to society
  • Possesses important socially-desirable long-term goals (academic or other)
  • Feels they have more to lose by taking negative risks
  • Is influenced by peers who take positive risks
  • The Four Friendly Risk Types

 

As a parent you should constantly suggest new ways to take positive risks for your teen. This starts with a conversation and then you can help them put it into action. Physical, social, academic, and extracurricular risks are a couple of categories you should consider talking with your teen able. What they are drawn to will vary based off of their personal interests. Here’s some ideas to get you started:

 

Physical Risks:

 

  • Try a new sport
  • Pursue a new fitness goal

 

Social Risks:

 

  • Spend time with a new group of people
  • Arrive at a party without knowing anyone
  • Attend a summer camp without friends
  • Attend a rally and hold up a sign 
  • Stand up for something you believe in at school even if it is unpopular
  • Pursue a new friendship with the risk of rejection

 

  • Academic Risks:
  • Sign up for a challenging AP course
  • Take a class you know nothing about
  • Join a club that interests you
  • Run for a school office position

 

  • Extracurricular Risks:
  • Adopt a new hobby
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Start your own babysitting business or dog walking
  • Set goals to read more in your free time

 

  • Solstice West Residential Treatment Center Can Help

Solstice West Residential Treatment Center is a program for young girls ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, addictive behaviors, and/or relationship struggles. This program provides individual, group, and family therapy to help students heal and improve from every angle. Fitness, nutrition, and academics also play an important role in this program. Solstice gives young women the skills and help they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, healthy, and capable. We can help your family today!

 

Article Source: https://solsticertc.com/risky-teen-behaviors-differences-between-positive-and-negative-risks/

 

Additional Source

 

Residential treatment centers
Residential treatment centers for teens
Therapeutic boarding schools for girls
Programs for troubled teens
Schools for troubled teens

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review 2018-12-16 04:52
The Belles - audiobook
The Belles - Dhonielle Clayton,Rosie Llewellyn-Jones

Audience: Young Adult

 

We all turned sixteen today, and for any normal girl that would mean raspberry and lemon macarons and tiny pastel blimps and pink champagne and card games. Maybe even a teacup elephant.

- opening lines

 

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In this world, Belles control Beauty and Beauty is a commodity. People are born gray and will pay anything to be transformed. The society is fixated on Beauty - there are even rules to prevent people from going to extremes. For example, a Belle cannot make your proportions so outrageous that they don't look like the natural human form. Camellia (and the other Belles) wants to be the favorite and live in the palace. But, in this world, nothing is as it seems and danger and betrayal are everywhere.

 

So, I think this book was trying to make a statement about how much our society reveres beauty. And how dangerous this could be when taken to the extreme. There are many issues tackled in this book including gender equality, male privilege, the way woman warp their bodies to be "perfect," and the idea that beauty is not just what we see on the outside. It does a good job of raising the issues without seeming preachy.

 

Camellia is fixated on being the Favorite and being the best and she can't handle the idea of failing. But she is naive and doesn't see what is happening around her - the deception and danger. I found the evil character to be very obvious and couldn't believe that Camellia wouldn't see right through her. She often walked right into a trap that a blind person would have seen coming.

 

The world is interesting with the teacup size elephants, giraffes, and dragons. But some of the descriptions are a bit much and I found it distracting. When describing a scene or a place, the author used a lot of imagery and flowery language - too much really. It stood out to me and it shouldn't - I should be able to picture the scene in my head without thinking about how many similes or metaphors the author is using.

 

The audio was very well done. I enjoyed the narrator's accent. I read the first couple of pages on the Amazon preview and I was glad I listened to the audio. There are many words that are hard to figure out how to pronounce. Not having to think about that allowed me to enjoy the story more. 

 

I did enjoy the story and when the ending was more than a bit of a cliffhanger, I was looking for the next book in the series. It doesn't come out until some time next year. If it had been available when I finished this book I probably would have read it, but I don't know if I will still be as interested when it finally comes out.

 

I borrowed the audio from my local library. The book is a Florida Teens Read program nominated book for 2018-19.

 

 

 

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review 2018-12-12 03:03
This is Our Story - Audiobook
This Is Our Story - Ashley Elston

 

Audience: Young Adult

 

 

A ten-point buck and a dead body make the same sound when they hit the forest floor.

- opening sentence

 

 

This story revolves around the mystery of what happened at River Point when five friends went hunting and one was killed. Afterward, the "River Point Boys" decide to stick together and say that none of them knows who fired the shot that killed their friend. Kate is interning at the DA's office and she is determined to get justice for Grant. But it isn't clear who killed Grant and without evidence, the DA could succumb to the pressure from the powerful families of the boys to sweep the incident under the rug. 

 

The story is well-written and seems realistic, except for the fact that Kate is the only one who can find evidence to solve the crime. Adults aren't always as inept as YA novels make them out to be. But, I get it - Kate is the intrepid sleuth (ala Nancy Drew).

 

The plot was slow at times, but I always wanted to keep listening to try to figure out who the killer was. Most of the book is told from Kate's point of view with periodic sections from the POV of the killer (without giving away who it is). I enjoyed hearing what the killer was thinking and planning. I had a hard time keeping the names of the boys straight but that may have been a factor of listening to the audiobook. There are two narrators and they both did a great job. The plot twists, including one that reminds us how technology can hide the truth, make up for the slow parts of the book.

 

Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to YA mystery fans.

 

 

 

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