Garrett, Camryn. Off the Record. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2021. 978-1-984-82999-3. 320 p. $17.99. Grades 9-12.
Josie, a high school senior, film aficionado, and journalist, has had her heart set on Spelman College since middle school. She has a great resume and is just waiting for her official early decision acceptance notice. She’s also waiting to hear if she won Deep Focus‘s (her favorite major magazine) talent contest. Josie knows winning will help launch her journalism career. In the meantime, she owes Monique, her freelance gig editor from Essence magazine, an op-ed, but Josie’s anxiety is distracting her. Josie’s parents casually mention that they worry she’s putting all of her eggs in one basket. Josie thinks they just don’t get her, especially since her mom always is pushing her to try a new diet. They try to talk about the “hard time” Josie had in middle school after which Josie switched schools, but Josie insists she’s fine. Josie proves just how fine she is when she is selected as the winner of the Deep Focus talent search. The grand prize will send her on a five city tour for a new film with interview access to the cast and crew. Her parents aren’t so sure about this and only agree if Josie’s older sister Alice – home for winter break from Spelman – can be her chaperone. Alice reluctantly agrees, and Josie leaves for an experience unlike any other. Nothing, however, could prepare Josie for the story a young actress asks her to tell or the feelings Josie develops for the film’s teen star. Is Josie the right person to tell this story, and will it do more harm than good?
THOUGHTS: Readers will empathize with Josie as she struggles to overcome her anxiety and focus on the story she was hired to write. A must purchase for high school libraries.
Realistic Fiction Maryalice Bond, South Middleton SD
Desombre, Auriane. I Think I Love You. Underlined, 2021. 978-0-593-17976-5. $9.99. 309 p. Grades 9 and up.
Emma loves love, particularly romantic comedies. She wants to make film her life’s work, and winning the NYC-LA Student Film Festival and a full scholarship to study film would convince her parents that it’s a worthwhile pursuit. The fact that the love story she wants to tell is a female-female relationship is also important to her as it might finally help her come out to her parents as bisexual. Just as she enlists her friend group’s help and is prepared to start making the gay rom-com of her heart, their friend Sophia comes back from spending a year in Paris and messes it all up. Not only have they never gotten along, as two of the only queer girls at school, classmates constantly try to pair them up, which is super annoying and cliche. Now Sophia, also a film geek, wants to enter the film festival too, but with an artsy, angsty film a-la Paris because she hates love, which is understandable after her parents divorced. The friend group splits into two film-making teams, and a rivalry ensues, but when the filming stops and Emma and Sophia are thrown together in social situations – some orchestrated by their friends – they can’t help but see each other through a different lens… pun intended.
THOUGHTS: A loose retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, this is a mostly lighthearted and fun queer romance told in alternating points of view. While some readers may find the subplot drama unnecessary and the way these friends treat each other frustrating at times, the main plot involving Emma and Sophia and the laugh-out-loud moments redeem its status as a solid choice for your LGBTQ+ students.
Great Filmmakers (series). New York: Cavendish Square, 2015. 80 p. $25.00 ea. Gr. 7-12
Clint Eastwood 978-1-62712-948-0
James Cameron 978-1-62712-951-0
Kathryn Bigelow 978-1-62712-939-8
Peter Jackson 978-1-62712-942-8
Sofia Coppola 978-1-62712-945-9
Steven Spielberg 978-1-62712-936-7
Want a look behind the scenes of your favorite movies? Pick up one of these books about some of the greatest producers and directors of all time! These colorful books include a biography of the filmmakers along with numerous tidbits about the movies they produced, such as how much money each movie made and how long the filming of the movie took. Each chapter also portrays a 1-2 page “Director’s Cut” that delves into details about the filmmakers personal life or actresses/actors the filmmaker has worked with. The final pages of the book include a filmography of all of the movies the filmmaker has acted in, written, directed, or produced, along with the years of movies, and a glossary of terms associated with filmmaking. These books are great to pick up if you have a special adoration for the filmmaker, watch a great deal of movies, or are conducting researcher on one of the filmmakers.
791 Films, Biographies Nicole Starner Biglerville HS/Upper Adams MS