Throwback TV Show for Teens

With quarantine, I found myself bored, and without new episodes of shows coming out, I turned to Netflix and Disney+ with shows from my early childhood years. One I watched over and over in elementary and middle school was H20: Just Add Water. The Australian show originally came out in 2006 and ran until 2010. It was followed by a spin-off 3 years later that ran until 2016. The original series follows three teenage girls as they become mermaids and navigate how to keep their secret hidden from their family and friends while also still maintaining a normal social and school life. The spin off series follows three mermaids who have been mermaids since birth as they discover the human world and deal with threats towards their home.

Since becoming a teenager and entering high school, I began to find new respect for the shows I watched as a kid/pre-teen. Being in high school, especially not as a freshman, allows for me to experience the shows I used to enjoy in a new light since I know some of the struggles they are talking about more, like lots of homework and more friendship drama. Shows, specifically H20: Just Add Water allow me, for at least 30 minutes per episode, allow me to both reminiscence on the past of my childhood as well as appreciate the show in the format it provided for teenage audiences. 

I would recommend this show to anyone who enjoyed shows like this as a kid and want something both familiar and refreshing. I would also recommend that even if you have seen this show before, watch it again if you haven’t recently. Shows like this, and others on Netflix and Disney+ have been great to watch back as a teenager, especially with free time during quarantine and hybrid schooling. 

Unwind Dystology Series by Neal Shusterman

The Unwind Dystology Series by Neal Shusterman contains four main books called, in order, Unwind, UnWholly, UnSouled, and UnDivided as well as two books that are companions titled UnStrung and UnBound. The series is one of many dystopian books that Shusterman has written and the first book was released in 2007 with the most recent being released in 2015. 

The series takes place shortly after the Second Civil War, which was fought between the pro-choice and pro-life people in the United States. The outcome was parents had the right to sign an order for their children between the ages of 13 and 18 to be “unwound” or sent to “harvest kill camps” where their bodies are taken apart and supposedly used to save the lives of others. 

The first book follows Connor, Risa, and Lev who were all sent to be unwound and run away. It then follows them trying to survive while being stuck between the police trying to find them and black market sellers trying to get money off of kids. Throughout the first book, they fight to survive while also meeting other kids who are trying to escape the same fate. The rest of the books in the series follow these three characters and their friends while introducing new protagonists and antagonists with many twists and turns along the way. 

Shusterman uses his writing to illustrate the struggles that teens during this time went through, while being sent away from their families and trying to grow up while still staying alive. Shusterman tries to teach the lessons of growing up and learning who you are in the world as well as what your role is while still being a teenager. This book series would most likely appeal to others who enjoy the dystopian genre. This includes if you enjoyed books such as The Giver, Hunger Games, or Divergent

-Danielle B.

The Unwind series of novels by Neal Schusterman is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Movies During Break

During this break, I have found myself with nothing to do and lots of free time. With it, I decided to watch a whole bunch of movies from “before my time.” I found that even after my family decided to let me watch the movie alone, I would find them coming in to watch with me, then asking me to wait until they had free time to finish it with me. 

My friends also decided they wanted to watch movies with me and kept recommending more and more movies that we could eventually watch together. Then we could talk about them later and watch other movies based on the ones we liked. 

I have found that there are many benefits to watching these movies. Though it may seem to some like you are just sitting around on a couch, I have found that with finals coming up for many teens, it has been a way to destress. Often with current movies, they are all the same and watching one is like watching them all. When watching older movies, they’re often much more interesting and I pay a lot more attention to them.

Another benefit of these movies is that I have been spending a lot less time on my phone. Watching a movie is still watching a screen, but I think it’s been a lot less harmful to watch a movie from farther away than being on my phone close to my face 24/7. 

As for recommendations, if you’re into classic movies from the 80s or 90s, I recommend Dirty Dancing, Dave, and The American President. As for movies from earlier years, Singin’ in the Rain and The Aristocats as well as Breakfast at Tiffany’s are all amazing movies. I do have to warn that some of them carry a PG-13 rating, so check with a guardian before watching. 

Watching movies is something that can be done year round and every day of the week, but especially on breaks when all you want to do is get away from the modern world and all of the issues going on right now. Watching them from past years, rather than one that came out three months ago can be therapeutic in that you can look back on what was good then and what you wish you had now and vice versa. 

So next time you have a long weekend off of school, or a week-long break, take some time to make a list of movies to watch and sit down with some popcorn. You might surprise yourself with what you end up loving.

-Danielle B.

Cute Pumpkin Decorating for Fall

Although Halloween is this weekend, fall is staying for the next month. With that, pumpkins are still going to be in season before the pine trees roll in. Recently, I have seen more and more pumpkins being carved, but with that comes a lot of effort that some parents can’t take the time out of the day to help their children with. But I have also seen some fun ideas for decorating pumpkins that just takes some paint and permanent or paint makers. 

I originally saw this idea from @belleoftheball45 on Instagram. She uses both white and orange pumpkins, both large and small. When I made this, I started with pouring acrylic paint onto a plate and using gloves to make the process cleaner. I used green, white, orange, and black paint. With the green paint, you stick your thumb into the paint and place thumbprints all over the pumpkins. Then, you can repeat with the rest of the colors, although keep in mind that the white paint won’t show up on the white pumpkins and the orange paint won’t show up on the orange pumpkins. I would also recommend using a separate glove for each color.

Once all your thumbprints are on and dry, you can begin decorating them. With the green paint, you can use green and black to make little Frankensteins. With the black, you can make many things including cats, spiders, and mice. With the white, you can make ghosts and with the orange, you can make pumpkins. You are, of course, not limited to just these. Have fun and experiment with this easy pumpkin decorating idea! 

-Danielle B.