Okay, so, yeah, Juno is a movie, not a book. But it’s a fantastic movie, and, well, a fantastic movie and a fantastic book have a lot in common. Great stories can be found on both screens and pages! This is my justification for talking about a movie on a book blog, but, in all honesty, I think it’s a movie that a lot of fans of YA books will love. As you probably know unless you live under a rock, Juno is a pregnant sixteen-year-old. She’s funny and smart and, like any sixteen-year-old, just working on figuring out the world and her place in it. I love the whole cast of characters here. The script is amazing, and the awesome actors really bring it to life. I love Ellen Page as Juno. And another YA connection: Michael Cera is Nick in the movie of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, a wonderful book written by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. Anyway, the next paragraph contains spoilers. Just a warning, although most of you have probably already seen it. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? It’s out on DVD now!
The issue I wanted to bring up, though, is the fact that Juno is sixteen years old and pregnant, but this is not a “lesson” movie. To me, this was a positive. To a friend of mine (who is very religious, Southern, and socially conservative), this was a negative. He said it didn’t teach the horror of an unwanted pregnancy as a teenager. And, yes, Juno didn’t die or anything. She turned out okay, her life turned out okay, and her relationship turned out okay. She gave the baby to a woman who really wanted a baby. Not that being a pregnant sixteen-year-old was a picnic for her; far from it. But she got through it okay, and, to me, that is the best kind of lesson.
The message I got out of Juno, if I were to search for one? That everything will be okay, no matter how much your life may suck, you can get through it and be stronger for it. I don’t think that’s a message anyone would disagree with, and my friend conceded my point there. My question for you all: in a book or movie for teens, what does having a good “message” mean to you? What importance do you place on it, positive or negative? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts, because I, personally, am not a big fan of message-heavy stories, but apparently some people (like my friend) are, and in fact put the whole value of a story on whether or not it teaches the right message (he hadn’t even seen the movie).