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Welcome to my final project for LIBR 265-10 Materials for Young Adults for Summer 2011
San Jose State University, Department of Library and Information Science

Young Adult Materials Database

1. 21 by Adele (Music CD)
2. Airhead by Meg Cabot
3. Batman Arkham Asylum
4. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
5. The Breakfast Club
6. The Catcher in the Rye by R. D. Salinger
7. College in a Can by Sandra and Harry Choron
8. Down to the Bone by Myra Lazara Dole
9. Dragon Age: Origins (Video Game)
10. Easy A (Movie)
11. Encyclopedia Britannica Online (Online Subscription)
12. The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal
13. The Fight by L. Divine
14. Final Fantasy XIII (Video Game)
15. Fruits Basket Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya
16. Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 1 by Hiromu Arakawa
17. Game Informer (Magazine)
18. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
19. Hanging on to Max by Margaret Bechard
20. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
21. Hope in Peteince by Beth Fehlbaum
22. Hoops by Walter Dean Myers
23. I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
24. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (Audiobook)
25. Justine (Magazine)
26. Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth
27. Life in the Fat Lane by Cherie Bennet
28. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
29. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
30. Luna by Julie Anne Peters
31. Mango Language Learning (Online Subscription)
32. Mary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Meyer
33. Once A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
34. Ouran High School Host Club Complete Boxed Set (Anime)
35. The Pain Tree by Esther Watson and Mark Todd
36. PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives Compiled by Frank Warren
37. Pride and Prejudice by Nancy Butler (Graphic Novel)
38. Private by Kate Brian
39. Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz
40. Romiette and Julio by Sharon M. Draper
41. A Treasury of Royal Scandals by Michael Farquhar
42. Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons (Music CD)
43. Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
44. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
45. Trigun Complete Boxed Set (Anime)
46. Tutor.com (Online Subscription)
47. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
48. Vampire Crush by A. M. Robinson
49. When the Sun Goes Down by Selena Gomez and the Scene (Music CD)
50. X-Men: First Class (DVD)

Airhead by Meg Cabot
ISBN-13: 978-0545040549
Point, New York, 2008
352 p.

GENRE: Chick-lit

TEASER: Em Watts is dead, well not quite. Em has switched bodies with the most famous teen model in the world. Can she convince everyone that she’s Nikki Howard?

SUMMARY: Emerson (Em) Watts is far more interested in playing computer games with her best friend/secret crush Christopher than having anything to do with the vain popular crowd. All of this changes when a horrible accident causes her to switch bodies with Nikki Howard, famous teen supermodel for Stark. But Stark needs Nikki alive. Now Em is told she is legally dead and she must pretend to be Nikki Howard. But something’s not right with the people Nikki works for and it’s getting harder and harder to convince the world the she is Nikki Howard.

CRITIQUE: The book is written in first person perspective. The main character, Em, is very relatable. She is smart and happy with her life. She doesn’t like the same things as her appearance obsessed sister. She believes that a girl would be seen for her mind and not what jeans she wore yesterday. It was interesting to look at the shift of her character later on in the book. Once she becomes immersed in this superficial world, her opinions begin to change on some things. However, she’s still not happy with her situation and she wants her old life back. She likes being notices my attractive guys but she misses her family and her friend Christopher. I appreciated that even though she could see a deeper side of people like Nikki and Lulu she didn’t completely change her believes and values.

The romantic relationships in this book become quite complicated the instant Nikki is in the picture. I felt rather bad for Em when she though that Gabriel was there for her in the hospital. It’s quite depressing that she is lost in the shadow of Nikki Howard. The only ones who seem to be affected by her “death” are her family and her friend Christopher. There is also a sadness to Nikki’s best friend’s character, Lulu. She seems jaded by her lifestyle and doesn’t appreciate everything she has.

The story is the first in a trilogy so there is a lot that is left unclear. We see hints that the Stark corporation is up to something. There is also a hint at the end that Em might have been able to show Christopher some proof that she is still alive. I wouldn’t say it ended with a cliff-hanger but there are definitely plenty of unanswered questions to keep readers coming back for more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Meg Cabot is the New York Times bestselling author of The Princess Diaries series. The Princess Diaries has sold over 16 million copies and has been translated into 38 languages. She is also the author of The Abandon Trilogy, the Avalon High series, the All-American Girl series.

Cabot worked for ten years as an assistant resident hall director for New York University. She is known to write some of her novels entirely through emails and text messages. She used to write under several pen names but now writes exclusively under her real name. She currently lives in Key West with her husband and two cats.

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: http://www.megcabot.com/

READING LEVEL 12+

CHALLENGE ISSUES: N/A

DEFENSE: N/A

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: In the book, Em is nearly invisible to all boys except Christopher; however, when she is in Nikki’s body, she can’t seem to keep the boys off of her. What kind of message do you feel this is sending to the audience? Do you think Cabot is simply being realistic?

WHY INCLUDED: I initially read this book because my roommate suggested it. I knew Meg Cabot is a popular chick-lit author for young adults. I also knew from working at Borders that this series is heavily marketed to teens.

When the Sun Goes Down (2011)
Artist: Selena Gomez & the Scene
ASIN: B0057UVLQ0
Track List
1. “Love You Like a Love Song”
2. “Bang Bang Bang”
3. “Who Says”
4. “We Own the Night” (featuring Pixie Lott)
5. “Hit the Lights”
6. “Whiplash”
7. “When the Sun Goes Down”
8. “My Dilemma”
9. “That’s More Like It”
10. “Outlaw”
11. “Middle of Nowhere”
12. “Dices” (“Who Says” – Spanish version)

GENRE: Pop

TEASER LYRICS:
I’m no beauty queen
I’m just beautiful me

SUMMARY: when the Sun Goes Down is an fun, upbeat electro-pop album. It is filled with songs of heartache, love, and accepting oneself. This is the third studio album from Selena Gomez & the Scene. It ranked 3 on the U.S Billboard 200. It also stayed for an entire week in the top ten.

CRITIQUE: The majority of the songs are upbeat, dance songs. It was refreshing to hear a mature album that didn’t have to talk about sex. I am not that familiar with Gomez’s work but it seems she is maturing in a subtle way. The content doesn’t get too heavy or dark. There are some very positive messages about being yourself and loving who you are. “Who Says” is a song about body image and inspires girls to feel beautiful no matter what people might say. There are a lot of great beats and the lyrics are rather addicting. All in all this was a pretty good album.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Nineteen-year-old, Selena Gomez is best known for her chracter, Alex Russo on Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place. Selena Gomez and the Scene formed in 2009. Her band consists of Selena Gomez on vocals, Ethan Roberts is lead guitar, Joey Clement is bass, Greg Garman is on drums, and Dane Forrest on keyboards. Selena Gomez is also active in various charitable organizations.

ARTIST’S WEBSITE: http://selenagomez.com/home

READING LEVEL General Audiences

CHALLENGE ISSUES: N/A

DEFENSE: N/A

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: N/A

WHY INCLUDED: I heard that this album was good. I was skeptical because she is usually geared towards a younger audience. I was surprised at how much I like this. I also appreciate the positive spirit throughout the album.

Hanging on to Max by Margaret Bechard
ISBN-13: 978-0689862687
Simon Pulse, Ne York, 2003
176 p.

GENRE: Realistic Fiction

TEASER: Can Seventeen-year-old San juggle school and parenthood on his own?

SUMMARY: Seventeen-year-old Sam should be thinking about graduation and college. Instead, he is changing diapers and worrying about midnight feedings. His former girlfriend Brittany decides that she can’t handle parenthood she leaves. But Sam doesn’t want to give up Max. He tries to juggle fatherhood with school. He struggles to find the balance between being a teenager and being a parent. In the end, he might have to make some difficult decisions for the sake of his son.

CRITIQUE: The story is told in first person point of view through Sam’s character. There are periodic flashbacks to fill in the missing pieces of the story. I appreciated the lack of judgement in this book. It takes an honest look at what it’s like to be a teen parent with little support. He does get financial support from his father; however, her is angry with Sam’s decision and does not provide any emotional support or help care for Max. Sam envies Claire’s relationship with her family. He does have some support from his aunt and uncle.

I was a bit disappointed by the ending but it fit with the realism of the book. It felt a bit rushed but in thinking back, Sam’s life was being rushing into a very important decision. He struggled between being a teenager and trying to be a father. When he leaves Max with his aunt he says he feels empty and lost. He struggles with his identity and his responsibilities as a father. In the end, he knows that the right decision is the hardest one. No matter how much he wanted to try and keep Max, he eventually had to let him go.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Margaret Bechard is a an author and a teacher of young adult and children’s novels. She is a teacher at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She teaches Writing for Children and Young Adults. Some of her other titles are If it Doesn’t Kill You, Spacer the Rat, My Mom Married the Principal, and Really No Big Deal.

Bechard was born in Chico, California, and is the youngest of six childrenShe lives in the suburbs of Portland with her husband and Barney, a Shetland sheepdog. They have three frown sons.

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: http://www.margaretbechard.com/

READING LEVEL: 15+

CHALLENGE ISSUES: Some readers my have a problem with the topic of teen parenthood and mentions of sexual situations.

DEFENSE: I would suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.

CURRICULUM TIES: Possibly Sexual Education

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: Do you feel like the ending worked well for the novel? Do you think Sam made the right choice?

WHY INCLUDED: I included the novel because I love the fact that it’s the father who wants to keep the child and is assuming responsibility. This point of view is not dealt with often enough. There are teen responsible teen fathers out there and it is important for teens to be able to read about them.

21 by Adele

21 (2011)
ArtistL Adele
ASIN: B004P4S4NM

Track List
1. “Rolling in the Deep”
2. “Rumour Has It”
3. “Turning Tables”
4. “Don’t You Remember”
5. “Set Fire to the Rain”
6. “He Won’t Go”
7. “Take It All”
8. “I’ll Be Waiting”
9. “One and Only”
10. “Lovesong”
11. “Someone Like You”

GENRE: Pop, R&B

TEASER LYRICS:
There’s a fire starting in my heart
Reaching a fever pitch, and it’s bringing me out the dark
Finally I can see you crystal clear
Go ahead and sell me out and I’ll lay your ship bare
See how I’ll leave with every piece of you
Don’t underestimate the things that I will do

SUMMARY: Adel’s second album is slightly more mature than her first album. Her songs are filled with stories of vulnerability and loss. This is Adele’s second studio album. The album has been on the top of the Billboard 200 for eleven weeks in the United states.

CRITIQUE: Adele’s vocals are are sultry and soulful. Some of the songs are soul influenced. Others show more influences of rock and pop. Adele shows her versatility in vocals and sound in her second album. Adele is referenced in popular teen drama shows like Switched at Birth. The songs of heartache and love will be easily relatable to teenagers.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Adele is an English singer and song-writer. Her full name is Adele Laurie Blue Adkins. She new at the age of 14 that she wanted to be a singer. She says she was influenced by the Spice Girls. She began sharing her music on MySpace until record labels started to take notice of her talent. She is now signed with XL record label.

ARTIST’S WEBSITE: http://www.adele.tv/

READING LEVEL: General Audiences

CHALLENGE ISSUES: N/A

DEFENSE: N/A

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: N/A

WHY INCLUDED: Adele’s albums are popular with young adult audiences and adults. Her album has gained enormous popularity and it mentioned in teen drama series like Switched at Birth.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
978-1-4169-3450-9
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, New York, 2006
Format: PDF file
448 p.

GENRE: Science Fiction

TEASER: All Tally ever wanted was to be one of the privileged pretties. But is the cost of being perfect too high?

SUMMARY: Tally Youngblood is an ugly. As an ugly she is forced to live in a with all of the other uglies in Uglyville. But soon she will turn sixteen and become a pretty, the privileged upper-class that live in leisure. Before she becomes a pretty, she meets Shay who is scheduled to become a pretty on the same day as Tally. Only Shay doesn’t want to be a pretty. Shay is in league with rebels who are against the conformity of the pretty society. Shay invites Tally to come with her and join them. She refuses but promises not to reveal the location of the rebels. But something happens on the day that Tally is scheduled to become a pretty. Special Circumstances, the secret law enforcers, tell her she cannot become a pretty unless she gives away Shay and the other rebels location. Now they are forcing her to lead the way to the rebel’s hideout. Suddenly Tally’s not so sure she wants to be a pretty anymore. She soon learns the horrible cost of becoming a pretty. But can she stop the Special Circumstances for discovering their hideout, or is it too late?

CRITIQUE: This book was written in third person perspective, which seems to be not as common in young adult fiction as it is in adult fiction. Westerfeld did an excellent job at building the world for this story. I was reminded of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. The pretties are the alphas and everything is supposedly perfect for them. However, this over-engeneered society will be its own demise. We can’t prevent war and conflict by taking away everyone’s free will. It will never work. A rebellion is brewing and the pretties society may come falling down on them.

There are many important issues that Westerfeld addresses in this book, such as: body image, conformity, individuality, social class, and social class. I felt like Westerfeld is making a lot of statements about how our society judges people by appearance and how cosmetic surgery is becoming a norm. When people like Tally are raised to think that this is the right way to be, how can we expect her to feel any differently than she did when Shay asks her to join Smoke?

The book was well written and most certainly thought-provoking. The author gives you relatable characters, unique plot twists, and makes you think about our own society and the importance on body image at the same time. This is a definite page-tuner. I couldn’t put this book down. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Scott Westerfeld is a science fiction author and ghost writer. He compares ghost writing to being able to “driving someone else’s car really, really fast for lots of money.” He was born in Texas and splits his time between New York City and Sydney, Australia. He is married to Australian author Justine Larbalestier. He is also the author of the Leviathan, Midnighters series, Polymorph, and So Yesterday.

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: http://scottwesterfeld.com/

READING LEVEL 12+

CHALLENGE ISSUES: N/A

DEFENSE: N/A

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: Even though this book is written in a futuristic dystopian world, what do you think this book says about how we perceive beauty? Do you think we are headed in this direction?

WHY INCLUDED: I have wanted to read this book for a long time. I find the idea of a futuristic world where people are segregated by appearance fascinating.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
ISBN: 1400052920
Harmony Books, New York, 1980
215 p.

GENRE: Science Fiction

TEASER: This is a journey through space that you will never forget.

SUMMARY: The story begins with Arthur Dent lying in front of a bulldozer that is going to rip down his house in order to build a new bypass. His friend Ford perfect comes along and convinces him to leave foe a bit. He also tricks the foreman into lying in front of Arthur’s house for him while he’s gone. Ford then tries to explain to Arthur that he is really an alien from the an area called Betelgeuse. He tells Arthur that they need to find a way off Earth because it will ironically soon be demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass. They steal away on a Vogon ship but are later caught. They are then tortured with reading of Vogon poetry, the third worst in the entire Universe. After they are ejected into space, they are picked up by the Heart of Gold. The ship’s other passengers are Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford’s semi-cousin, Malvin, a chronically depressed robot, and Trillian, a mathematician and astrophysicist. They are in search of the legendary planet of Magrathea. But once they get there, they encounter more problems. Now Arthur is separated from the rest and must escape from mice that want to cut open his head. how will Arthur get out of this one?

CRITIQUE: The story is told in third person perspective, switching between Arthur and Ford’s characters. It’s easy to see why Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is considered a classic in its genre. In a time when many author’s were writing space operas, Douglas chose to do a parody of sci-fi adventure stories. His characters are unique and well though out. He is famous for his witty prose. many agree that this book exemplified his writing prowess. The world is intelligently written and though provoking. You are sure to get a laugh out of Douglas Adam’s classic tale of adventure and insanity.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Douglas Adams was an English author and dramatist. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is most well-known work. Some of his other titles were Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, The Private Life of Genghis Khan, and many other novels and short stories. He was an advocate of environmental conservation. Douglas died of a heart attack at the age of 49 on May 2001. After his death, author Richard Dawkins said, “science has lost a friend, literature has lost a luminary, the mountain gorilla and the black rhino have lost a gallant defender.”

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: N/A

READING LEVEL General Adult

CHALLENGE ISSUES: Some people may abject to the sexual situations in this novel and heavy drinking.

DEFENSE: I would suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: There are many highly improbable scenes in this book. Which one was the hardest for you to accept?

WHY INCLUDED: I have always wanted to read this book and I kept coming across the title while looking for books for teen boys.

Private by Kate Brian
ISBN-13: 978-1-4169-1873-8
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, New York, June 2006
240 p.

GENRE: Chick-lit

TEASER: The Billing girls are vicious and powerful. They will do anything to keep their secrets. Reed will do anything it takes to become one of them.

SUMMARY: Reed Brennan has been dreaming of going to the ultra-exclusive Easton Academy for years. She’d give anything to get out of her boring town and away from her pill-popping mother. When she gets a scholarship to Easton she thinks it’s a dream come true. She soon realizes how different these people are, but she longs to be one of them. The people she wants acceptance from the most are the glamorous Billings girls. They are a highly exclusive group that is invitation only. But is it worth the constant bullying to become one of them? Reed thinks so, and she will do anything to become one of them.

CRITIQUE: This book was written in a first person perspective through Reed’s character. I found Reed to be very relatable. She is desperate to get away from her verbally abusive mother and start a new life. She is painfully vulnerable to the ridicule that the Billings girls dish out. We also see how easily manipulated she is with her boyfriend Thomas. She shows signs of violence and addiction and Reed just keeps forgiving him. He also pressures her into losing her virginity. Some of the characters are a little one dimensional in the first book. There are a lot of facades amongst Noelle and her crew that have yet to come down.

I was surprised how much I liked this book. I usually scoff at chick-lit novels that center around over privileged girls who are cruel and arrogant. I find it very fascinating how the adolescent psychology was handled. You can really see how teens are pressured by social structures in school. I fear that girls like Reed are more common than I would like to believe. Even if this book is dramatized, I can see a lot of reality in the way these girls behave.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kate Brian is the pen name of Kieran Scott. She has written more than twenty-five novels. The Private series has been made into a web series. Some of her other titles include: A Non-Blonde Cheerleader in Love, The Virginity Club, She’s So Dead to Us, and Brunettes Strike Back.

Kieran Scott was born and raised in New Jersey. She graduated from Rutgers University with a double major in English and Journalism. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and son.

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: http://www.privatetheseries.com/

READING LEVEL 13+

CHALLENGE ISSUES: Some people might object to the presences of drugs, sexual situations, alcohol and immoral behavior in this novel.

DEFENSE: I would suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: How do you think the Billings girls compare to normal high school bullies? Are they really that different?

WHY INCLUDED: Series that feature rich and powerful girls in scandalous situations are quite popular today. Even though I’m not a fan of this type of reading, I felt that I should include it because teens are reading these books. I wanted to see how good or how bad they really are. As far as this book goes, they are not nearly as bad as I expected. I think there are far worse television shows out there.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
ISBN-13: 978-0375832994
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2003
192 p.

GENRE: LGBT Fiction, Romance

TEASER: Paul is completely crazy about the new boy in school, Noah. But love is never easy when you have a crazy set of friends and an ex-boyfriend who wants to reconnect.

SUMMARY: This story is about Paul, a high school sophomore who has been out since kindergarten, is class president, and completely crazy about the new boy, Noah. The story also focuses on Paul’s friends. There’s Infinite Darlene, who is the star quarterback and the homecoming queen. There’s Jonie who is Paul’s best friend whose new boyfriend causes tension within their friends group. Tony is Paul’s friend whose parents won’t let him leave the house unless he tells them he’s going to Bible study or dating a girl. Then there’s Kyle, Paul’s ex-boyfriend, who hated Paul but now is not so sure.

CRITIQUE: The book is written in first person perspective through the main character Paul. The characters are well-written, unique, and memorable. Most importantly to note is that Boy Meets Boy is a love story not a coming out story. It focuses on the relationship between Paul and Noah. The conflicts they face are the same conflicts that are depicted in novels with heterosexual couples.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s written in an alternate reality world that is almost without hate or prejudice. One of my favorite quotes from this book is from Paul when he is discussing his past with his ex Kyle and how he feels Kyle hates him. He says, “It’s a very strange feeling. I’m not used to being hated.” This was such a beautiful thing to read. And it’s true. The main character has been out since kindergarten and experiences very little bullying. While it’s noted that there are homophobic people out there, it is never really addressed as an important issue at school. The only signs of prejudice we see are from Tony’s religious parents. Levithan often gives attention to the conflict between religion and sexuality in his novels. His portrayal of Tony’s parents is honest and thoughtful. They are afraid for their son and they don’t know how to deal with it. Tony eventually gains enough courage to face his parents and tell them that they will have to learn how to deal with his sexuality.

This novel also deals with growing up and staying true to oneself. Paul must deal with the fact that him and his best friend Joni are growing apart due to her new boyfriend. Kyle and Toni also mature in the story as well. Kyle is slowly trying to accept the fact that he is attracted to guys and that it’s not such a bad thing. Toni must gain the courage to stand up to his parents and hope that they learn to accept him. When Paul tells Tonie to move in with him and his family, Toni refuses because he says that won’t change anything. It might not be easy living with his family right now, but leaving them will only convince them that he is living in sin and needs saving. He choses to stay and endure their ridicule if it will help make them eventually see that there is nothing wrong with him.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Levithan is a young adult author and editor. He says he loves editing just as much, if not more than writing. He has written numerous novels featuring strong gay male characters. He is also the co-author with Rachel Cohn of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which was adapted into a film in 2008.

He is also the founding editor for PUSH, an imprint of Scholastic Press that focuses on edgier materials for young adults.Boy Meets Boy is Levithan’s first novel. He is also the author of The Realm of Possibility, Are We There Yet?, Wide Awake, and Marly’s Ghost.

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE http://www.davidlevithan.com/

READING LEVEL: 15+

CHALLENGE ISSUES: Some people may object to the portrayal of a homosexual relationship and transsexuality.

DEFENSE: I would suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.
Defense:

<CURRICULUM TIES: LGBT Studies

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: Levithan has created a world that is much more accepting of gay relationships except when it comes to religion. What do you think he's trying to say about the struggle between homosexuality and religion?

WHY INCLUDED: I wanted to include this book not only because it has a gay couple but that it is more about the love story than the coming out story.

X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
ASIN: B004LWZW42
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 132 minutes

GENRE: Action/Adventure, Superhero

TEASER: See where it all began.

SUMMARY: The story begins with a look at Charles and Erik’s childhood. Erik is a a prisoner at a German concentration camp in occupied Poland. He is being kept there and experimented on so that they can exploit his powers. Charles Xavier catches a young shape-shifting mutant, Raven, stealing food one night and decides to adopt her as his sister. We move ahead to the year 1962. Erik has been tracking down the doctor how experimented on him and killed his mother, Sebastian Shaw. He seeks to get his revenge any way necessary. Charles is now a professor of genetic mutations. Meanwhile, a CIA agent Moira MacTaggert is seeking Charles help in identifying the mutants she saw on an investigation. She gets the help of Charles and Ranen to help stop these mutant terrorists. While investigating them, they run into Erik who has just failed to kill Shaw. Charles convinces him to join them and help stop Shaw and Emma Frost from killing all of humanity. Now they must seek out new mutants and train them to fight their own kind in order to protect the human race.

CRITIQUE: There is very little negatives that I can say about this film. The movie was well cast and well written. The problem with some of these films is that they are taking characters that have been developing and changing for years. They are very complicated and the subtle nuances are difficult to pull off. The writers did an excellent job at exploring the complex relationship between Charles Xavier and Magneto. I also appreciated the attention paid to Mystique’s character, another complex character within the Marvel universe. The score to the movie was also fitting and added atmosphere to the scenes. The only think lacking were the special effects. Normally this can make or break a movie but the writing and character development was so well done that I hardly cared about the badly done CGI.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR: Matthew Vaughn is an English film director and producer. He actually studied anthropology and ancient history at University College London. However, it was short-lived. He soon dropped out and moved to Los Angeles to work in the film industry. He has also directed Kick-Ass, Stardust, and Layer Cake. He is married to supermodel Claudia Schiffer. They have three children together.

WEBSITE: http://www.x-menfirstclassmovie.com/

CHALLENGE ISSUES: Some people might be opposed to the sexual situations, violence, and terrorism that are in this movie.

DEFENSE: I would suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: Discuss the topic of genetic evolution. Do you think that the mutants will someday outnumber the humans? Will humans eventually disappear?

WHY INCLUDED: Comic book movies are becoming immensely popular. I felt that this was the best one this year.