Friday, December 2, 2016

Can YOU Solve The Ultimate Puzzle?

Do YOU love puzzles? 

Do you love winning prizes?

If you answered "Yes" to both questions, than stop by the Teen Department in December and try your hand at solving The Ultimate Puzzle (yes, it's really called that). If you get it right, you'll receive a small prize, bragging rights, and be entered into a drawing for the chance to win an Ultimate Prize.

You should totally try this. Because who DOESN'T love winning prizes?

Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson

I just finished reading the fourth installment in this series and it is so wonderful that I wanted to give you all a little overview.

Phoebe is a normal girl who one day sees a unicorn transfixed by her own reflection in a lake.  The unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, grants Phoebe one wish and after the customary wish for infinite wishes, Phoebe wishes for the unicorn to be her best friend.  At first, Marigold seems too selfish and vain to be much of a friend but eventually she grows attached to Phoebe too.

Then there are all of the great side characters.  There's Dakota, the popular mean girl who always picks on Phoebe and somehow ends up with sentient hair.  There are goblins, who want Dakota's magical sentient hair.  There is a candy dragon named Todd.  Phoebe has a guy friend named Max who is kind of a nerd.  There is even a lake monster named Ringo.

These comic strips are funny enough to make me giggle out loud like a weirdo.  Plus, who doesn't love unicorns?  Look for the books in our youth department.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Dear My Blank: Secret Letters Never Sent, edited by Emily Trunko

Have you ever really really wanted to say something important to/about someone, but didn't have the courage to sign your name or single out the person or persons you wanted to say this important thing to/about? 

Well, now you can!

And I don't mean by posting a vaguely-worded, passive-aggressive meme on Facebook (as if the world can't figure out that you're talking about your ex or your best frenemy). 

Dear My Blank: Secret Letters Never Sent is a book based on Emily Trunko's Tumblr of the same name. Here you'll find Words of Wisdom to younger selves, hate mail to ex boyfriends or girlfriends or friends, yearnings of unrequited love, musings of regret, and more angst than can be comfortably handled in one sitting. Really, it's all kind of depressing. And sometimes reading it gives you that squeamish feeling of sorting through someone's dirty laundry (or, if you prefer, closet skeletons).

But it's entertaining for the same reasons. And its easy to see how this book could become as popular as Post Secret or Cringe. And I did love Cringe

The only real problem I had with Dear My Blank was in the formatting. Half of the pages feature either dark yellow text on a light yellow background or white text on a yellow background. Often the text is microscopic small. This made for difficult reading, and I was more inclined to skip those pages. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Make A Magazine Tree

Stop by the Teen Department this Saturday to make and decorate a Magazine Tree. No registration is needed to participate in this seasonal craft, but supplies are don't wait until the last minute. Program begins at noon and runs until 4 p.m. (or until supplies run out).

See you there!

Dan vs. Nature

Geeky Dan Weeks is the last person you'd expect to find on a wilderness survival camping trip. He's more the sort to sit safely in his room in suburbia and work on drawing his comic book. And that goes double for Dan's germaphobe best friend, Charlie, who is twice as geeky and ten times as wimpy. Yet here they are. Hundreds of miles from civilization, with the cold ground as their bed and leaves know. 

How did a guy like Dan get himself into this mess?

It's like this: His mom, whose soon-to-be husband, Hank, is a hockey-loving outdoorsman, signed him up. So he can properly get to know his soon-to-be stepfather. Just them. Out in the Idaho wilderness. With nothing but their witts and a Swiss Army Knife. Worse than being out in the sticks? Being forced to bond with Hank, who Dan is positive is no different from the other losers and deadbeats his mom thought was "The One" (before they showed their true colors).

So Dan and Charlie formulate a plan: They will stage a series of increasingly gross and humiliating pranks until Hank can't take it anymore and flees like the cowardly snake the boys are sure he is. But that's easier said than done. Not only do the pranks backfire, but it turns out that Hank may not be such a bad guy after all. 

Dan vs. Nature is pretty much everything you'd expect from Don Calame, the author who penned Swim the Fly and its two sequels: Gross humor, crude language, seriously awkward moments, and plenty teen boy shenanigans. But it's also a coming-of-age story in which all the characters emerge better, more mature people for the torment they endured. There's even a bit of romance, albeit not the swoony fairy tale sort. Although it was likely written with teen boys in mind as a target audience, I think that Dan vs. Nature is something that lots of people (regardless of gender) would enjoy. 

Definitely recommended--AJB

Nine Lives (DVD)

If you're looking for a great movie to take home for the weekend, look no further than Nine Lives. This fun film gives new meaning to Warm and Fuzzy. Literally. Fuzzy. 

Businessman and CEO Tom Brand is...well... How do I put this nicely? He's kind of a jerk. He neglects his family, treats his employees like dirt, and cares more for public appearances and status symbols than he does does about the things that really matter. Example: He's spent all his focus lately on making sure the new HQ of Firebrand Industries is the tallest building in the USA. 

Then his daughter asks for a very specific, game-changing present for her 11th birthday: A cat. Even though he hates cats, Tom finds himself at Purrkins Pet Store, a feline-friendly shop run by the quirky Mr. Perkins (expertly played by Christopher Walken). He picks Mister Fuzzypants, a shaggy, blue-eyed tomcat with an attitude. 

But before Tom can reach home, he is involved in a tragic accident. When he wakes up, he finds himself in the body of the cat he just adopted. His human body? In a coma. At first Tom/Fuzzypants can think of nothing but breaking the curse and returning to his normal life, which leads to some very funny cat antics. Then something happens: Living constantly at home instead of at the office makes him realize just how much he's been missing out on. He also realizes the negative impact his prior awful behavior has had on his family and his company. And Tom/Fuzzypants has a change of heart. But will that be enough? Because time is running out...

Nine Lives was simply adorable! The plot had the right mix of humor and heartwarming, and the acting was superb. Plus, it's "clean" enough that your younger siblings can watch it with you (but it's not juvenile).

I highly recommend it.--AJB

p.s. You don't have to be a cat person to enjoy Nine Lives (although it helps).

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Holiday Stories

It's getting to be that time of year again...

If you're looking for a great Holiday read, look no further than the OPL Teen Collection. We've got a lot of awesome books that are perfect for reading while curling up with a cup of cocoa (or tea? or coffee?) and your favorite blanket.

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, co-authored by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, is the story of two New York City teens who begin a romance over their holiday break. It all begins when Dash, who is...well, kind of a Grinch, discovers a curious-seeming notebook while browsing his favorite used bookstore. After deciphering the clues written inside, Dash finds himself on a scavenger hunt that takes him to several NYC landmarks. A scavenger hunt for romance! Maybe. But can a boy who hates Christmas and a girl who loves it really make it work? You'll have to read the book to find out. Oh...and p.s. If you wanrt more of these characters, you're in luck. Because there's a sequel: The 12 Days of Lily and Dash.

New this month is What Light, the latest novel by Jay Asher. Sierra, whose family runs a Christmas Tree Farm, begins an opposites attract-type relationship with bad boy Caleb while in California for the tree-selling season. Fans of Jenny Han's Summer trilogy will love this one!

Don't have time for a full-length novel right now? Try My True Love Gave to Me and its companion/sequel Summer Days & Summer Nights. These collections are filled with sweet short stories that really do have something for everyone. Another great choice iLet It Snow

Whatever book you're looking for this holiday, we have it! And, if it's not on the shelf, ask! We'll get it for you. --AJB