I'll start this off with two of my favorites.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Many of you have probably already read this book, but for those who haven't, I absolutely adored it. Written in the form of letters to an anonymous recipient, it's easy to become attached to the loveable and somewhat confused high school freshman, Charlie. This book follows Charlie's freshman year and the changes that occur within himself after meeting a group of eclectic seniors and a trustworthy teacher. It contains many memorable lines, such as my favorite and possibly most well-known, "In that moment, I swear we were infinite." Chbosky manages to give us a personal and in-depth look into the mind of a rather realistic teenager. Charlie deals with problems that many teens can relate to, but reacts to them in extraordinary ways. I loved this book because it really touched on what it means to be a wallflower and passive-aggressive and naive about situations around you. Perks has been called the modern-day Catcher in the Rye, and while I don't entirely agree with this, I do agree that it is a wonderful coming-of-age novel.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Igby Goes Down
This movie, starring Kieran Culkin, Jeff Goldblum, Ryan Phillipe, and Susan Sarandon, is amazing. Culkin was the perfect choice for the role of Igby, the sarcastic teen on the run from yet another uptight private school that his wicked mother, played by Sarandon, wants him to attend. Along the way, Igby meets Sookie, played by Claire Danes, who doesn't quite make it to his top five list of people he hates, but only because he's already dealing with too many assholes. This movie has brilliant comic timing, is dark and sarcastic, and even brings us a scene of Culkin in tears, which is only one of many emotional moments in the film. It explores his loveless past and his troubled present, and ends, not on a particularly good note, but on one that leaves the viewer satisfied that Igby will end up okay. Igby Goes Down skillfully combines wit, emotion, and humor and makes for a terrific film.
Rating: 5 out of 5