It's Complicated : The American Teenager by Robin Bowman (2007) depicts black-and-white images of teenagers, ages 13-19, from all geographical regions, socioeconomic backgrounds, races, religions, and lifestyles. They are photographed on their home turf, on their farms and in their city streets. These teens spoke of faith, God, shoot-outs, children (their own, their siblings, their nieces and nephews), sex, drugs, school, their parents, and the government with honesty and respect. The author's disclaimer states "This book contains statements made by these teenagers -- statements I have no verified. I am not making these statements, I am just reprinting them." The statements of these individuals speak volumes about stereotypes, insecurities, and hope for a positive future. For better or worse, one can't help but to see himself on these pages in one way or another.
Call number: YA 305.235 BOW (Nonfiction)
Faces of Sunset Boulevard: A Portrait of Los Angeles by Patrick Ecclesine (2008) gives a broad picture of Los Angeles, California using images of the people that live, work, and play there. In full-color, the reader meets Olympic soccer players, actors, models, unpublished writers, doctors, politicians, drug addicts, and the homeless. Each person has a story to tell about where they came from, how they got here, and where they are going. The fact that it all revolves around the City of Angels and that the majority of interviews are with adults (with a few teenagers and two kids thrown into the mix) limits the teen appeal of this collection.
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I love fun, real life tidbits of information. These books are easy to flip through, and the people are a blast to get to know.
Reviewed by kate the librarian.