Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Serenity (DVD)

For a movie written and directed by the person who gave the world cult classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, I expected Serenity to be a masterpiece. A pinnacle of sci-fi action awesomeness. 

All the elements were there: A dangerous fugitive. A band of space pirates on the run from a villain so diabolical he would give Darth Vader some serious competition (actually, that would be a good fight!). A failed experiment and a secret the government is trying to keep hidden. Plus lots of edge-of-your-seat action: Epic fight scenes, space chases, and random things exploding.

Sounds awesome, right?

Think again.

Even the (then) state-of-the-art special effects and non-stop action couldn't hide the fact this movie was terrible: Poor acting, weak dialogue, and a plot that struggled to find solid ground while, at the same time, managing to make a mockery of every sci-fi cliche out there. The storyline had the vague feel of a sequel in that it felt as though it started in the middle of things. I felt as if I was missing something. And in the end, things wrapped up far too neatly. I wanted to give this film a fair chance, but it was... Well, it was boring. 

Overall, I was very disappointed.

Needless to say, I can't recommend this one. --AJB 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak

Do you recognize the name of the author, Markus Zusak?  Yes, he wrote The Book Thief.  You would never guess it after reading I Am the Messenger!  It is an entirely different kind of book.  It makes you laugh and sometimes makes you sad.
The main character Ed Kennedy is a 19-year-old taxi driver and fears that life is passing him by.  His brother is successful, his mother doesn't like him much, his Dad just died.  He spends his time playing a card game called "Annoyance" with his friends and his beer drinking dog.  He is in love with Audrey, who likes but doesn't love him. 

The  book made me laugh in the first chapter during a bank robbery, how strange is that!  Then the Ace of Diamonds arrives in the mail and Ed's life is changed as he continues to receive cards - who is sending them and why was he chosen??

Ed becomes the messenger, helping others, but sometimes getting into danger. 
This book will make you laugh out loud, there are great characters (you may even recognize some of your friends)!

This book is best for ages 14+ and the Overdrive audio was great because you got to hear Ed's Australian accent! You'll love, not like it!!  SW

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bone Gap, by Laura Ruby

At first, I wasn't sure how to feel about Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. I'd even tried to read it once before, just after it came out, without success. But it stayed with me, in that place impressionable and unfinished projects linger. I tried it again. And I'm glad I did.

This was definitely one of the strangest things I've read since Wink Poppy Midnight or We Were Liars. Part mystery, part fairy tale, part...I'm not quite sure what, Bone Gap is equal parts fascinating and frustrating. And I wasn't exactly sure what was really going on until the end. But a satisfying read just the same.

Everyone else in the tiny farming town of Bone Gap believes Roza just up and left to reinvent her life elsewhere. After all, that's what people who are destined for better things do, isn't it? That's what the O'Sullivan brother's mom did a few years back, leaving teenage Sean and Finn to fend for themselves. So when Roza vanishes, no one really gives it a second thought.

Except Finn. He knows Roza was kidnapped. He just has to prove it.

To say any more, I'd have to delve into Spoiler Territory, and that's not something I want to do with this book. 

Read it! --AJB

Monday, May 8, 2017

Kill All Happies, by Rachel Cohn

Victoria "Vic" Navarro just graduated, and she is throwing the most epic graduation party her high school has seen since some idiot prankster dug up (the totally evil) Miss Ann Thrope's septic field several years before and put a swift end to the fun. And BONUS! Said festivities will take place at the old Happies Restaurant, the place that was the town's entertainment hub for decades. Bev Happie herself has given blessings to the event. The fact the restaurant and neighboring amusement park will soon be bulldozed to make room for luxury condos, a maga mall, and many other modern developments make the party even MORE epic. 

The catch? Miss Ann Thrope, the town councilwoman who has a huge vendetta against all things Happies, must not find out about the party until after the fact. Should be easy, right?

All is going well until a bunch of nostalgic Happies fans crash the party. 

Then Miss Ann Thrope herself shows up, toting what Vic hopes is a pellet gun (but knowing Miss Ann Thrope, who knows).

What follows is an evening of misunderstandings, disappointments, Drama (with a capitol D), shenanigans, debauchery, and property damage. 

One thing's for sure: This party will go down in history as the most memorable bash Happies has ever seen. But whether that's a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen.

Kill All Happies was not Rachel Cohn's best effort. The novel began with a strong hook. Also, the characters were very well developed. But somewhere around the halfway mark the plot began to drag. Also, the twists and reveals were predictable. The cumulation of which was kind of disappointing. --AJB

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Noteworthy, by Riley Redgate

Jordan Sun, a scholarship student at the ultra-prestigious Kensington-Blane Boarding School for the Performing Arts, dreams of singing in the school musical. Unfortunately, her low vocal range prevents her from making the cut. Again. 

But just when things are looking not so good for Jordan's future at Kensington-Blane (not to mention her whole performance arts future), fate throws her a bone: The Sharpshooters, the school's famed a capella group, needs a new member. This could be exactly the break Jordan needs.

Except there's just one catch: The Sharpshooters are an all male group. That's right. Girls need not apply. Even if the girl is deep-voiced and really talented

But desperate times call for desperate measures. So armed with a new short haircut and a men's department wardrobe, Jordan Sun becomes Julian Zhang, Tenor 1, and the newest addition to the Sharpshooters. 

And the madness spirals from there as Jordan/Julien juggles two separate identities, friendships, rivalries, and romances, all while the boundaries of gender norms and learning what it means to be herself. That sounds like a lot of drama, I know. I realize it also sounds pretty cliche. But I don't want to give too much away. I want you to read it for yourself.

Author Riley Redgate's new novel Noteworthy was a pleasure to read. It sports a cast of diverse and likable characters and has a fun plot that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat wondering how long it will be before the main character's big secret is revealed and what sort of fallout there will be (because one can only keep a charade like this up for so long). Like many books of this genre, the ending wrapped up very neatly, but that was really part of the overall package's charm.

Definitely recommended --AJB

Make a Dreamcatcher

Saturday CrafterNoon
May 6 @ Noon-4 p.m. 
(or until supplies run out)


Stop by the Teen Area this Saturday, May 6, and make a Dreamcatcher as part of our monthly Saturday CrafterNoon. 

This drop-in program will happen Noon-4 p.m., or until supplies run out. That means you'll want to arrive sooner rather than later, because supplies are limited (once they're gone, they're gone).

We'll see you Saturday!


Friday, April 28, 2017

Battle of the Books 2017

Congratulations to: 
Fantastic Books & Where To Read Them, the wining team for the 2017 Middle School Battle of the Books.

Coming in second place was The Feathered Goats

Third place went to The Titans of Text


On behalf of the Oxford Public Library Teen Department and Oxford Middle School, a BIG round of applause goes out to all the teens who participated in this year's Battle of the Books. We would also like to thank the parents, the team advisors, the educators, and everyone who encouraged and helped these teens.

Battle of the Books is a collaborative efford, and it takes a huge amount of teamwork and dedication to make it so successful year after year.

Great job, everyone! Thank you for another amazing Battle year. I hope you had fun (we sure did!).