As a fun and engaging website for young people, The Young Folks’ main focus is to deliver a young approach to film, books, music, television, video games, etc. to those in need of a fresh and relatable perspective. We often see a disconnect between professional critics and young people when it comes to pop culture. Therefore, we want to give the young folks of the world a chance to read and learn about the latest in entertainment in a way that isn’t condescending or diminutive of the young people pop culture. Everything written on The Young Folks are by young people for young people (and, of course, the young at heart)!
Founded by Gabrielle Bondi and Luciana Villalba, we are proud of the work provided by our amazing team of writers. Learn more about them later in the post. Click on each writer’s name to see an archive of their work for The Young Folks.
If you would like to make a review request, please visit our Review Policy page & contact us through there. Thank you!
If you would like to join the TYF team, details on open positions, responsibilites and how to apply here!
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Gabrielle Bondi - Co-Founder/ Writer/ Dictator of Taste
She is 24 years old and lives in the beautiful city of Chicago. She enjoys writing about film and books, but occasionally writes about music and television. In addition to writing for TheYoungFolks.com, she also edits, manages the writing staff, maintains the site and its social media handles and works with publicists on press coverage and promotions. In her spare time, she’s either watching more movies or reading more books, while continuously checking Twitter, which she may or may not be addicted to…
Feel free to email her your thoughts, ideas and questions here.
Luciana Villalba - Co-Founder/Writer/Latin American Affairs/David Fincher Enthusiast
22 years old, Hip-Hop connoisseur, David Fincher fan, food addict and soccer fanatic, very passionate about FC Barcelona. Born in Colombia, moved to Miami when she was 14 and currently lives there. In her spare time she usually is listening to music, taking a nap, watching soccer, thinking about food or quoting The Social Network, Gossip Girl or Misfits.
You can contact her at via email here.
Alex Hanavan – Writer
Alex is 21 years old and is currently working on his bachelor’s in Computer Science and Interactive Multimedia. As an enthusiast of all forms of media he loves music, movies, and games. He likes to keep up to date with what’s happening throughout the world of science and technology but wishes that he had more time to actually sit down and read a good pleasure book. Alex plays trumpet and sometimes thinks that he was born in the wrong decade. His favorite video games include the franchises Bioshock, Assassin’s Creed, Legend of Zelda, Uncharted, Fallout, and The Elder Scrolls. You can contact him via email here.
Melissa Berne – Writer
She is twenty-something, born in Miami, raised in Haiti until she was 8, and then came back to Miami. Phew!
She has a passion for movies, music, and books. Though some would say there’s passion and then there’s Melissa.
She is an aspiring entertainment journalist who is an avid social media user. Melissa is obsessed with the movie “The Mummy,” has an affinity for vampires, pirates and sweets.
You can contact her via email here.
Tyler Stevens – Writer
Tyler is 16 years old and lives in Southern California. His passion has always been for film. He’s been reviewing movies for over a year-and-a-half now under the title “Movie Kid Reviews” on his Facebook and is thrilled to now be part of The Young Folks team. Whenever he’s not doing schoolwork, Tyler is probably at the movies, reviewing one he just saw, or cooking up a new screenplay that he’ll direct with friends for short film festivals. In 2012, Tyler and a friend of his made a short documentary, “Free Hurt: Bullying And The First Amendment” which went on to be an Official Contender at the C-Span StudentCam 2012 Film Festival. Tyler’s idols include Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, and more recently he’s taken a liking to the works of Paul Thomas Anderson. His favorite films include “Pulp Fiction”, “Back To The Future”, and “Good Will Hunting”. His hobbies include acting, screenwriting, directing, debating, and mock trial. His goal in life is to be a writer-director. You can contact him via email here.
Brianna Lockhart - Reader/Publishing Intern/Library Aficionado
Brianna is a twenty-something, raised in the swamps of Jersey. Just kidding, she lives at least twenty minutes from those swamps. She’s a publishing intern/library assistant that moonlights as a writer whenever she can find the time. She enjoys going to concerts (anything from Rooney to Springsteen to NKOTBSB), roadtripping, and complaining that she truly belongs in the 1950’s/early 1960’s (THE MUSIC! THE CLOTHES!), the 1920′s, or the 1980′s depending on her mood. She definitely owns more books than she should and reads every chance she gets. If you stop hearing from her, it’s because the book piles have fallen over and smothered her to death in the night. You can contact her via email here.
Catherina Gioino – Movie Encyclopedia
Catherina has been writing since she was 14 years old- screenplays, movie reviews, sports stories and anything in between. Living in New York City, she can tell you any fact about any movie. She writes screenplays in her free time and is a huge Kevin Spacey, Tina Fey and Quentin Tarantino fan. You can contact her via email here.
Ashley Cajero - Writer/ House Lannister sympathizer/Harry Potter addict
The 20-something Colorado native grew up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. While other kids were riding bikes and making dirt pies, Ashley was watching Pokémon. While other teens were getting ready for dances and lounging at the mall, Ashley was reading Harry Potter. Today, while everyone is going to parties and bars, Ashley is right alongside with them, discussing the intricate politics of Westeros to whoever will listen to her. You can contact her via email here.
David Plumer – Writer
David is 16 years old and is an aspiring filmmaker (director and screenwriter). He has been with the Young Folks since the summer of 2012 as sporadic writer. Film is his passion and intends to give whoever happens to read his articles, a unique opinion on film and television. His favorite film is Punch Drunk Love. Some of his favorite filmmakers include Quentin Tarantino, The Coen Brothers Paul Thomas Anderson, Woody Allen, Edgar Wright, Martin Scorcesse, Tim Burton, David Fincher, Alfred Hitchcock, Barry Levinson, Martin McDonagh, Ridley Scott, Robert Zemeckis, Miloš Forman, Spike Jonze, Christopher Nolan, Alfonso Cuaron, and Rob Reiner. You can contact him via email here.
Jon Espino – Writer
This 20-something year old writer is a self-proclaimed film snob and a pop culture junkie. He always gives his honest, critical, and maybe a little bit snarky opinion on everything. So beware and get ready to be entertained. You can contact him via email here.
Annie Rishty - Writer
Annie Rishty is 18 years old and lives in the suburbs New Jersey. She aspires to be a freelance writer and write realistic fiction novels that will allow teens to actually enjoy reading. She attempts to be the Dr. Phil of her friends and acts as a therapist as her friends vent to her. She is probably the biggest fan of Sex and the City, and looks to the character of Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) as an idol. She gets bored of things easily, and likes to switch up her hair color every now and then (currently it is a deep purple to bright red ombre). She loves music by Florence and the Machine and Foster the People, but also has an obsession with Lady Gaga. She’s been called a hipster numerous times, but that’s just people talking. You can contact her via email here.
Also, follow her on Instagram: @annierish and @with_much_color
Allyson Johnson - Boston Editor – Writer – Aspiring Screenwriter – Movie Enthusiast
She is a 22 year old student studying Journalism and Film in Boston MA. She is hugely passionate about film, literature and music. Along with The Young Folks, she also is a writer over at blastmagazine.com.
Stephanie Estrada – Writer
Steph is 18 years old, born and raised in Miami, Florida. Her hobbies include reading, writing, attending concerts and watching old movies. She aspires to be a novelist in the near future and has an uncanny obsession with everything 1920′s and mafia related. She idolizes Jackie Onassis, and when she isn’t reading you can probably catch her watching Goodfellas for about the billionth time. She can be contacted via Twitter (@Stephest21) or via email here.
Evan Griffin - Writer – an aspiring a) film/game critic, b) podcaster, c) voice actor, d) screenwriter or e) all of the above
Living in Boston, Massachusetts, Evan is a 22 year old English major and Journalism minor with a lifelong passion for film, games and literature. He is a living movie quotation machine, and obsessively analytical. Evan will always give an honest and fair opinion with an insertion of wit where appropriate. (Who are you kidding? It’s always appropriate.) He is an aficionado of superheroes, old school video games and (subjectively) awesome movies; his favorites in no particular order or categorization include: Legend of Zelda, Scott Pilgrim, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Lord of the Rings, Spider-Man, Metal Gear Solid, Memento, Shadow of the Colossus, Metroid Alien, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Reservoir Dogs, and a lot of other stuff.
Leigh-Ann Brodber - Writer
Leigh-Ann Brodber is an upcoming enthusiastic journalist. She knows it is a field that is already heavily flooded by diverse opinions, hard criticism and occasional appraisal (when it’s due), but she’s sure she’ll be able to add her own colors to the journalism rainbow soon enough. Leigh-Ann currently attends COSTAATT, a college located in the Caribbean, where she’s pursuing her Bachelors in Mass Communication. She’s written film, stage production and food articles for various websites, and she’s also a born and bred animal rights activist, although she doesn’t think she’ll ever give up her rights to eat chicken. She has helped out at her local hospital many-a-time by indulging in weekly chit-chat with patients under a program called Candy Stripers. She recently started getting help for her long term Facebook addiction, she swears. You can contact her via email here.
Cristina Moreano – Writer
Cristina is 30 years old, born in Guayaquil, Ecuador but is currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina working on her Entertainment Master’s Degree dissertation related to movie marketing. She loves to talk and write about films, TV, and anything related to pop culture. Taking creative photographs is one of her hobbies and enjoys listening to bands such as Oasis, Blur, The Strokes, Kasabian, The Killers, The Lumineers, Arcade Fire, Franz Ferdinand, The Hives…among other bands.
Michaela Nardo – Writer
Michaela is a 20-something Buckeye, YA literature enthusiast, music snob, and English major. She usually sums up her feelings using Spotify playlists, celebrities’ tweets, and long-winded journal entries. Or by blogging, which if you’re interested in, you can find here. If she had to describe herself using 3 TV characters she would probably answer: the feminism and general kindness of Lady Sybil, the sarcastic humor and nerdy-ness of Ben Wyatt, and Mindy Lahiri’s eye for style. And a dash of Landry Clarke for good measure. Contact her at here or on Twitter: @michaelanardo.
Cachie Gonzalez – Writer
Cachie is a 24 year-old, Cuban American girl living in the sunny, yet shady, Miami, FL. Currently a Nurse but still a Nursing student (it never ends). She’s in love with her pets and has a weird love-hate relationship with Hollywood and pop culture in general. She’s a Twitter and Disney enthusiast (that’s putting it lightly) and enjoy writing about other things she loves, such as film, music, TV and traveling. She watches too many shows for her own good and usually has a high opinion about fictional TV/book characters. On her spare time, she’s usually planning a trip, buying concert tickets or updating her Twitter: @thee_cachie.
John Rodriguez – Writer
This 20-something Film School graduate only wants to provide you with copious amounts of entertainment. John Rodriguez is a writer first and foremost, and he has a passion for all things movies, television, music, books, and video games. Entertainment junkie doesn’t even begin to describe John. When not writing, John is toiling away at a boring desk job until he’s done getting his Master’s degree in Mass Communications. Meanwhile, he’ll write about what he loves and is passionate about in order to quench his thirst for storytelling. On weekends, you may see him fighting dragons at a local bar somewhere in South Florida, doing what writers do best. His mom also thinks he’s really cool. You can follow John’s adventures on Twitter: @JohnR_FMF or contact him via e-mail here.
Valerie Zhang – Dreamer, Believer, Reader
Valerie is fourteen years young. She’s located at a boarding school near Boston out of free will. Writing, speaking, and doing impossible math are her passions in life. Unfortunately, she’s a lot more interesting in person, so the internet will only be a mere glimpse into her mind. As for free time, she’s trying to get some. (Doing extra math isn’t helping.) Whoever said high school was easy was an incredible liar- wait, no one ever said that! You can contact her via email here.
Maxwell Haddad – Writer
Maxwell is a 20-something film and television fan that resides in New York City. He holds degrees in both fields. He also likes theatre, books, iced tea, and writing. If you ask the right person, they will admit that he is a Disney fan. You can follow Maxwell on Twitter @cinemaxwell and check out his other writing at Cinemaxwell.com.
James Gilbert – Writer
James Gilbert is an eighteen year old college freshman currently living in York Beach, Maine, with an unflinching desire to return to his home state of Massachusetts. He spends his time watching and studying films, reading books on the rare occasion that he can actually sit himself down to plow through one, doing nothing and everything at the same time with his girlfriend, or making music. He has produced beats for local rappers, but for the past year has been developing a project on his own as a solo act, to release along with a short film and music videos. He struggles with writing biographies. Follow James on Twitter: @gamesjilbert, Tumblr: gamesjilbert.tumblr.com, and Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/gamesjilbert.
Jose Cordova – Writer
Jose is a 23 year old film fan and pop-culture junkie from Northern California. He majored in Mechanical Engineering and probably spent more time watching movies, TV, and video games than he should have during college. He hopes to justify all that “wasted” time by writing about pop-culture and claiming it was all “research.” He finds engineering work a little dry sometimes and enjoys writing about movies and TV to balance that out. Jose hopes to one day have a job at Disney Imagineering and combine his two passions. You can email Jose here.
Aaron Neuwirth – Writer
Aaron is a 27-year old movie fanatic. He is from Orange County, California, but earned a degree or two at UC Santa Barbara. He describes himself as a film reviewer, writer, podcaster, video game player, comic book reader, disc golfer, and a lefty. There are too many films, tv shows, books, etc. for him to list as favorites, but he can assure that the amount film knowledge within his noggin is ridiculous, though he is always open to learning more. You can follow Aaron on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else he is up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com, and check out his podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.
Ivanna Barrera – Intern
Born and raised in Miami. Graduating from FIU in journalism. Lover of all things music with a wide taste ranging from Drake to the Bee Gees. Ivanna must admit that she is a TV show junkie thanks to DVR and On Demand. She also loves staying up to date with all her friends through social media. Traveling is one of her favorite things to do. One of her goals is to travel cross-country through Chile before she’s 30. Keep up with her through Twitter: @ivannasimply
Zenaida Gorbea – Writer & LA Correspondent
Zenaida is an L.A. native, lover of all things Gwen Stefani. Enjoys going to concerts, especially sliding her way through the crowd to get as close to the stage as possible. Zenaida’s passion for pop culture began from watching Spanish gossip shows as a teen during dinner time. She knew that was her calling. Once she was done with college she was hired by Tribune and spent three years interviewing all your favorite actors. Yes, that includes the cast of The Walking Dead, Twilight Saga, Glee, and Once Upon a Time–just to name a few. Follow Zenaida on Twitter and Instagram: GoZenyGo
Yasmin Kleinbart – Writer
Yasmin Kleinbart is a 20 something hiding in Orange County, California. She loves to watch movies with a craft beer in one hand and Pad Thai in the other. When she’s not writing about entertainment, she’s participating in nerd trivia at the bar or trying to beat the Water Temple in The Legend of Zelda. You can contact Yasmin via email here.
Desiree Rodriguez – Writer
Desiree is 21 years old and a lover of all things in creative media. She’s a proud Latina and born under the city lights of Atlantic City, New Jersey. When not watching the latest Marvel movie, she can be found watching the latest episode of Chopped. A long time comic book fan, her heroes include Captain America and Anya Corazon. She’s a lover of anime, especially anything from the 90s, and currently pursuing a certification in TEFL and Creative Writing. Owner of an extensive movie, comic book, manga, anime, and novel collection, she’s always on the prowl for expanding it. Desiree is an aspiring writer with hopes of publishing a book one day. Twitter: @Desiree_N_Rod Tumblr: dnrodriguez
Danielle Villano – Writer
Danielle is a New Jersey native and a proud SUNY Purchase creative writing grad. Her writing has appeared on Storychord and TOSKA Magazine, and her short story, “Stealing Polina,” was released as an ebook by PWP. When she is not writing or playing editor at BiblioSmiles (www.bibliosmiles.com), she can usually be found reading, trying out new restaurants, or making memories with friends. Contact her via email here or on Twitter @daniellevillano.
Sylvia Boyadzhyan – Writer
Sylvia is a wickedly whimsical Californian with the superpower to marry passion and creativity through her writing. She is a critical communication scholar at CSUN, currently working on her Master’s Degree with an emphasis on Popular Culture. She loves to read at the peak of the beach as the ocean breeze gives her strength and water offers her inspiration. Her passion also pours into viewing classic films from the 1930s that accentuate words like darling, love, and the butler did it! Reading, dancing, rocking out at concerts, and debating with her loved ones is what has become of her 21 year old life! You can contact her via email here.
Megan Herring – Writer
Not afraid to get in over her head, Megan is a 20-year-old student at the University of Southern California studying Creative Writing and Film. An adventurous spirit, she enjoys hiking, climbing, SCUBA diving, and playing music in her spare time (if she ever gets any). Originally from the mountains of Missoula, Montana she has immersed herself into the “city life” of Los Angeles working on short film projects, publishing articles, and exploring. Megan has a book published as well as a number of scientific articles online through USCience Review and Scientific American. Currently, Megan writes screenplays and works on film sets with coworkers and fellow students while gaining a foothold in LA. A lover of all things entertainment, Megan is an avid science fiction fan using her background in science and literature to tell fantastical stories via both prose and picture. You can contact her via email here.
Kate Shapiro – Writer
Kate was born in Texas, and she learned everything she knows about life from Dawson’s Creek. Take what you will from that statement. Her addiction to ABC Family shows affects most of her relationships. Twitter: @godkatesusall
Lauren Wengrovitz – Writer
Lauren is an 18-year-old student living in Northern Virginia. She loves to read YA books and watch movies. Lauren is passionate about many things, but reading has always been a huge part of her life. Ever since she first learned to read, her parents have always had to pry books out of her hands when it’s time for other commitments. Lauren loves everything from The Hunger Games and Divergent, to Percy Jackson, mysteries like State of the Onion, and other YA books, like The Fault in Our Stars, and is always eager to try a new book, author, or series. She also loves music, public health, Harry Potter, and the Washington Capitals. Follow her on Twitter: @LRW2014.
Pablo Rosero – Writer
Pablo “Original P” Rosero writes from Guayaquil, Ecuador. He loves music. His favorite genres are indie rock/pop, alternative, fusion and some electronica music. He also enjoys computer games and is big Apple and iOS fan. Pablo loves to find out what’s the next big thing in music and most of the time he does so with little help. Be sure to contact him with heads-up for any new music artist you discovered recently or with any comments or suggestions you might have.