According to the Mayan Calendar, this Friday (December 21, 2012) is supposed to be the end of the world as we know it. Whether you believe this or not, this is the perfect time of year to check out a book from the Dystopian Genre!
A Dystopia is a story set in a world very much like ours--or sometimes in our world in the distant (or maybe not so distant) future--but with some very significant differences due to a cataclysmic event, social upheaval, or something else that causes drastic changes.
The most well-known in this genre is The Hunger Games, but here are a few more really great Dystopian reads:
In Article Five, the Bill of Rights has been replaced by the Moral Statutes. A young rule-breaker journeys across a dangerous landscape to rescue her mother.
In Wither, the human lifespan has been dramatically reduced because of too much genetic experimentation. This is one teen's story.
In Life As We Knew It, a rogue meteror knocks the moon closer to Earth and causes widespread disaster. A teen keeps a journal about her survival experience.
The Giver. In this classic, a young boy is chosen as his society's next memory keeper--and learns the terrible truth about his world.
Welcome to Elsewhere, a world much like ours--except that everyone ages backward from death to birth. When Liz, 15, arrives here, how will she cope?
Need more? Check out our Dystopian-themed Reader's Advisory bookmark. Or ask the Teen Librarian for recommendations. --AJB
Need a last minute gift? Stop by the Teen Area this Thursday (Dec. 20) between 4-7 p.m. and make a Hot Cocoa Cone. This traditional (and tasty!) holiday craft makes the perfect stocking stuffer for that hard-to-shop-for person. But if you want to keep it for yourself, that's OK too.
Please Remember: Supplies are limited, so as a courtesy to others who want to try the craft, we ask that you make only one cone per person. Thank you!
When a group of boys learn that a mythical pirate treasure was supposedly hidden near their seaside town, they set off to find it. With the riches, they plan to save their homes, which have been marked for demolition by a greedy land developer. Along the way they elude deadly booby traps, have a run-in with a band of wanted criminals, and test the bonds of their friendships. Will they find the treasure they seek? Watch and find out! One thing's for certain, The Goonies is an exciting adventure that will thrill new audiences and bring a happy sense of nostalgia to those who have seen it before. --AJB
What do YOU want to see in the Teen Area? Is there a certain book, movie, CD, or program you want to suggest to staff? Attend the Teen Advisory Board this Saturday (Dec. 15 @ noon) and let us know what you think is important! Because we can't know unless you tell us.
The Teen Advisory Board meets once every other month on Saturday. If you're not able to make it to this session, don't worry. The group will meet again Saturday February 23, 2013.
Attention High Schoolers and NHS Members: You can earn community service hours through regular participation in the Teen Advisory Board.
Incredibly compelling is the best way to describe the memoir Ghosts of War. Ryan Smithson felt the need to do something meaningful after the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. Opting for the military rather than college, Smithson joined the Army Reserves at the age of 17. Two years later he was sent to Iraq as an Army engineer. This novel recounts his experiences while there and after he returned home. His story is not the one you see on the news. This book describes what really happens during daily life as a soldier in a war zone - the danger and boredom, as well as the small moments of humanity. Ghosts of War will make you think about the sacrifices American soldiers make every day to guarantee our freedom. KR
Ryoko is just your average high schooler--IF you can overlook the fact that he's a Manga character (yes, really) trying to adapt to and live in our world.
When a mysterious rift appears between Ryoko's world and ours, Ryoko is sucked through--along with some nasty monsters. He quickly falls head-over-heels with Marissa Montaigne, a pretty classmate with a jealous ex problem. As the two become friends, then more than friends, they begin to learn about each other's worlds. This is depicted with the switching back and fourth from, and sometimes blending of, Manga and western styles of artwork. Despite their differences, and the disapproval of friends and family, these two manage to make things work. The ending, although predictable, is nothing if not satisfying.
Although I typically don't read novel-length comic books, preferring instead stories with an exponentially larger print-over-graphics ratio (all the better to use my imagination with, my dears), I happily dug into Mangaman when it was handed to me by a coworker. I was pleasantly, and appreciatively, surprised. There's drama, there's romance, there's some serious weirdness, there's well-done artwork... But there's also a decidedly strange and unique plot (where the afore-mentioned serious weirdness comes in) that's like something straight out of a made for the Sci-Fi Channel movie. Totally awesome!
The overall: Not sure how well-received this one will be with patrons. The shameless mixing of the two genres/styles could alienate both Otaku and fans of western-style comics. Or it could fascinate them both so much we can't even keep the book on the shelf. As a fangirl of neither, but an appreciator of both, I say this: Like Marissa daring to befriend Ryoko, give Mangaman a chance. You might discover something incredibly cool. I know did! --AJB
Stop by the Teen Area and pick up some of our themed reader's advisory booklists--all fully-annotated and in convenient bookmark format! Did you like the Hunger Games? We've got a booklist featuring read-alikes you might enjoy. Want a re-told fairy tale? A sports story? A funny story? A romance? A novel narrated by an animal? We've got all that and more! Not sure what sort of book you want? Our booklists can help you narrow it down. Pick up one--or ten--today!
Carson Phillips needs to beef up his school resume in order to get into Northwestern, the college of his choice, so he can someday live his dream of getting out of his small town and becoming the youngest ever editor of The New Yorker. The plan: Show up those administrative monkeys by cranking out an amazing, jam-packed issue of the school literary journal. Completely jaded and openly sarcastic about everything within the confines of his small town--including the zombified sheep who populate his high school halls--Carson isn't exactly Mr. Popularity. So getting the requisite contrabutions from other students is harder than scaling Everest with nothing but a toothpick and roll of dentil floss. Unless, of course, Carson has blackmail ammo. And perhaps he does.
For Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old with severe autism, life is strictly routine. And that's just how he likes it. Then something awful happens to shake things up: A neighbor's dog is viciously murdered, and Christopher is falsely accused of the crime. Christopher then makes it his mission to get to the bottom of the case and find the real killer. Like his hero Sherlock Holmes, Christopher sees things others miss, and this makes him the perfect one to crack the case. But can he handle what he discovers when he finally does?
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon may not be for everyone, but it is a fantastic read for anyone looking for something a bit different from the average whodunit. And this book, written from Christopher's unique perspective, is definitely that! So if you're looking for a book that is both absorbing and challenging, check this one out. The way you see the world will never be the same. --AJB
Just a reminder to all We Cause Scenes members: The group will not be meeting this month due to schedule conflicts with many of the members. The program will resume again in January, as scheduled, 1-3 p.m. the second Saturday of each month.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all Scenes members!
Do you love Anime & Manga? Stop by the library Tuesday December 4 @ 4:30 p.m. forOtaku Central, OPL's Anime & Manga club. Watch anime, cosplay, discuss your favorite series, and meet other fans of the genre.
At this upcoming meeting, we will be showingSummer Wars, a FUNimation film. This movie centers around Kenji, a teenage gamer whose only excitement comes from hanging out in his favorite online community. That all changes when he recruited by a mysterious and beautiful girl to play the role of fake fiance and attend her family reunion. Cryptic emails, rogue AI, and lots of danger and excitement soon follow. Kenji is in for the ride of his life!
Otaku Centralis held the First Tuesday of every month (except for elections and holidays). For more information, check out our newsletter or stop by the Teen Desk.
Sometimes the past stays buried. And sometimes it comes back to haunt you--quite literally! Although Sarah had heard about Amber House, the sprawling gothic mansion where her mother grew up, she never visited until after her grandmother's death. She is soon drawn into a generations-long mystery involving ghosts, terrifying visions, and a hidden treasure. Can Sarah get to the bottom of the mystery of Amber House before it's too late?
This shivery mystery/ghost story (complete with a touch of romance) is a definite page turner! The first in a planned trilogy, this is perfect reading for when you want to stay in on the upcoming cold winter nights! --AJB
What happened before Frodo and the Fellowship were assigned the task of taking the Ring of Power to Mount Doom? There's a whole complex story to how the Ring even came to the Shire in the first place. And it all begins with Bilbo Baggins and an incredible journey.
The Hobbit movie is scheduled to be released December 14, 2012. And stories of Epic Adventure are sure to become popular over the weeks leading up to the movie. This also means The Hobbit and accompanying Lord of the Rings series might be hard to find on our shelves. But we do have a display featuring similar books. So if you're looking for something to satisfy your taste for epic adventure, stop by the Teen Area and check out our "If You Liked Lord of the Rings, Try..." display. You'll find what you're looking for!
Do you love Anime and Manga? Stop by the Teen Area this Tuesday (November 20) and check out Otaku Central, OPL's teen-run Anime Club! Watch Anime, Cosplay, discuss your favorite Anime & Manga series, and more! Meet other fans and discover new series.
Club meets 4:30-6:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month (November's date is different due to the election on the first Tuesday). Attendence is FREE! No registration necessary. Questions? Email Alissa @email@example.com.
True that many of you who frequent the Teen Area hadn't even been born when hair bands and hairspray had their heyday, but that doesn't mean you won't enjoy Rock of Ages, the musical comedy/drama/love story set in the mid-1980s and staring some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Small town girl Sherrie comes to Hollywood with a suitcase full of record albums (not on an iPod. Not even CDs) and a head full of dreams. But fame and fortune aren't as easy to come by as she hoped. The closest she gets is waiting tables at one of the hottest rock clubs on the strip. Here, she meets rock star hopeful, Drew, but can their love survive the fame monster, misunderstandings, and the early emergence of boy bands? Featuring music by Journey, Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister, and other bands who were big in the 80s. If you love Glee, you'll enjoy Rock of Ages! --AJB
Attention teens: Do you have a suggestion for a book, movie, or program for the Teen Area? Are you looking for a fun and easy way to earn community service hours? Join OPL's Teen Advisory Board and see how! We meet Saturdays once every other month noon-1 p.m. The next meeting will be this Saturday, November 17.
For more info, stop by the Teen Area or contact Alissa Bach at 248-628-3034.
Are you a high school junior or senior? Are you planning on going to college? We have a great selection of college planning material. You can find SAT and ACT Prep guides, resources to help you with that pesky college application essay, and advice on what to do once you step foot on campus. Not sure if you can afford to go to college? We also have information on financial aid, scholarships and student loans. Come to our College Seminar on Thursday, December 6 at 6:30 to hear expert Sheryl Krasnow discuss financial aid and how to apply for grants and scholarships. Bring your parent - they want to know too! Register for this program at the teen desk or online. -KR
Astrid Jones' life has spiraled out of control: Her mom's agoraphobia is getting worse, her father would rather smoke pot than go to work, her younger sister is making it her life's mission to fit in, and her best friends are forcing her to keep secrets about what they really do on Saturday nights. On top of this, Astrid thinks she might be gay (she's attracted to a female coworker), but she isn't quite sure on that one yet. Naturally she can't talk about any of this to anyone in her narrow-minded, gossip-hungry small town. So she confides in the passengers of planes flying high overhead--and she sends love out to these random strangers. Maybe it'll do someone some good. And maybe, in a round-about way, Astrid will get some of those good vibes back.
Ask the Passengers explores the topics of life, the universe, and everything through the eyes of an unusual, but likable heroine. Part coming-of-age story, part philosophical journey, and part lesson in self-acceptance, this delightful yet deep book will appeal to anyone unsure of who they are or where they're going. Does Astrid ever find answers to the greatest universal questions? No. Not really. But by the end of the story she does have a better idea of who she is and where she's headed. A very memorable read! --AJB
Half-human, half-mermaid Princess Waterlily has only a few months to choose a mate. Otherwise she'll lose the throne and her inheritance to her evil cousin. She's got big plans, though: She'll kiss her longtime crush, Brody, and bond with him for life. Then they'll travel under the sea where they'll live happily ever after. Never mind Brody is fully human and has no idea about Lily's true mermaid identity. Never mind they've barely spoken in the three years they've gone to school together. It'll work out. It has to. But a case of mistaken identity at the school dance bonds Lily with her annoying neighbor, Quince, instead. Oops! The two journey to Lily's undersea kingdom to undo the bonding magic. Along the way, Lily discovers maybe she kissed the right boy after all.
Forgive My Fins may not be terribly deep or introspective. But this light and bubbly romance is definitely fun to read! Perfect for the beach--or curling up on a chilly night with a cup of hot cocoa. And stay tuned afterward for some fun extras, including a recipe for Mermaid Cupcakes, a short story about Quince and Lily's first meeting, and a sneak peek at the sequel!--AJB
Ok, so maybe right now something completely traumatic just happend and your life is, like, totally over. Maybe you discovered your crush (that girl or guy you thought was The One) likes someone else. Maybe you're in danger of failing gym class. Maybe there's stuff going on at home you'd rather not talk about (or even think about). Maybe you're having trouble with a bully (or are a bully). Maybe you're having an identity crisis. Or maybe you did something totally dumb and embarassing and now the news is all over school and all over facebook and now the whole world knows about it and you just want to crawl into a dark corner and die because, of course, you can't face anyone.
Think you're alone in your misery?
Think again. You're not. We've all been there. Many times. Trust me.
Your favorite authors were once teenagers too. And they faced many of the same issues you face on a daily basis. In Dear Teen Me, authors like Ellen Hopkins, Lauren Oliver, Sara Zarr and more pen letters to their teenage selves. These letters cover a variety of topics that are sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartfelt, and sometimes heartbreaking, each one bringing a new, more mature perspective to whatever issue is at hand. Too bad their teenage selves couldn't really read them.
So if you ever wished you could flash forward to adulthood and put the trauma of your teenage life behind you (and, really, who hasn't), this book is for you!
Set in the late 1500s. When Jepp, a dwarf, is sent to become a member of the Spanish Infanta's royal court, he couldn't have anticipated the daily humiliations that would become his life: Donning silly costumes, leaping out of pies, and performing ridiculous stunts--all for the amusement of her Highness. He also couldn't have expected to fall in love with Lia, another dwarf and fellow performer. When something terrible happens to Lia, Jepp agrees to help her escape--with disastrous results. As punishment for this insubordination, Jepp is sent far away to a very unusual new master. Here, he expects to suffer the same humiliating lifestyle he did in while residing in the castle of the Infanta. But sometimes fate can twist in unexpected ways...
This truly unique book explores the age-old argument of fate vs. free will. Are our lives mapped out for us even before we are born? Do we have the power to shape our own destiny? A mix of both? No matter what you believe, Jepp Who Defied the Stars is not one to be missed. --AJB
Get your game on all day this Saturday (November 3) with Teen Gaming Day! We will have board games, card games, and puzzles throughout the Teen Area. There will be new games as well as old favorites. We'll also have the Wii set up in the Community Room if video gaming is more your thing. So bring a friend and your game face--and get ready for a day of fun!
Planning on attending college, but not sure where to start? Expert Sheryl Krasnow of College and Career Counseling Associates, Inc. can help. In the first of a two-part seminar, scheduled for Thursday, October 25, at 6:30 p.m., Ms. Krasnow will discuss planning strategies for the college bound. This helpful seminar will cover such topics as when to take the ACT or SAT, when to apply for college, the application process itself, and more. She will also reserve time for Q & A following the seminar.
Ms. Krasnow will return to OPL December 6 to discuss financial issues such as applying for aid and how to hunt down grants and scholarships.
Space for each seminar is limited, and registration is required. You may sign up online or at the Teen Reference Desk.
Evie has a secret special talent: She can tell you all your deepest, darkest secrets just by holding a personal object of yours. After she uses this ability to shame her small town's golden boy, Evie is shipped off to stay with her Uncle Will in New York City for a few months until things blow over. Evie thinks this sentence will be nothing but parties, shopping, and fun. Sure Uncle Will is a boring old bachelor who runs a creepy museum housing supernatural artifacts, but Evie can overlook this. Then a rash of ritual murders break out, and, because of his knowledge of the paranormal, Uncle Will is asked to assist in the investigation. Evie is thrown into the middle of the danger when she accidentally touches something belonging to one of the victims and learns the killings were committed by Naughty John Hobbes, a fanatically religious madman who was hanged for murder 50 years earlier. Naughty John is back from the grave to complete a deadly ritual said to bring on the apocalypse. Evie thinks she can use her powers to stop Naughty John from completing his agenda. But is she strong enough to end the evil that has been unleashed?
Weighing in at nearly 600 pages and dealing with some decidedly creepy topics, The Diviners is not something to pick up for light reading (literally or figuratively). But expert character development, detailed settings, and exciting plot twists make this one a quintessential page turner. You won't be able to put down! In a word, it's awesome! True, the ending leaves several loose ends, but The Diviners is the first in a planned trilogy. So if you like it, there's more to come. --AJB
Diana and her little brother Georgie live near the creepy (and possibly haunted) Old Willis Place and follow a strict set of rules they must obey no matter what: They're not allowed inside the old house, they must not leave the grounds, they're not allowed to speak to anyone who might visit (not that anyone would), and they must never, ever disturb mean old Miss. Willis. Then a new groundskeeper and his teenage daughter arrive on the scene, and Diana sees the chance to have something she hasn't had in a long time: A friend. She'd break the rules for that. But things aren't as easy as they would seem. Why? Read and find out. There's a twist. --AJB
Hal and his brotherband are back for their third adventure in The Hunters. This exciting and highly-anticipated installment to the new series by John Flanagan (author of the popular Ranger's Apprentice series) finds the boys in hot persuit of the pirate Zavac, who stole a priceless Skandian artifact. The brotherband are mighty warriors, but, ultimately, it is Hal who will save the day.
Look for The Hunters on the New Series Book Shelf at the entrance to the Teen Area. --AJB
Jackson is dead, and Ava can't let go of him. When she's asleep, he's all she dreams of. But soon he intrudes her waking life as well: She catching glimpses of him in the corner of her eye and could swear she hears him talking to her inside her head. The reader soon learns the accident that caused Jackson's demise was Ava's fault--or, at least, she thinks it's her fault. So is Jackson's ghost really back to torment Ava? Or is it just a manifestation of the guilt she feels? Either way, Ava must find a way to free herself and move on.
Although the cover image makes I Heart You, You Haunt Me appear to be a fluffy paranormal romance, this is not actually the case. This novel, written entirely in free verse, is the dark story of a teen attempting to cope with the death someone close to her. Kind of creepy, though, and definitely seasonally appropriate. --AJB
Camden Pike has been devastated since his girlfriend, Viv, died in a car accident two months ago. She was the only good thing about his life. When Camden makes a visit to the site of the accident he sees something like an apparition, but it's not Viv. The apparition is Nina and she's not a ghost. She is actually from an alternate universe. One he can access by slipping through a window. One where things seem the same as this world, but everyone is actually very different. Cam just wants to see Viv again. But Viv in the alternate universe is not like the Viv Cam remembers from his world. Nina is hiding some secrets as well. Not only that but the window allowing him to go back and forth from one world to another is quickly closing. Cam has to decide to stay with the different Viv in the alternate universe or live without her in his own.
Emily Hainsworth's debut novel, Through to You, is very enjoyable. It has just the right amount of romance, mystery and intrigue to keep you hooked until the end. - KR
For those of you who are fans of crossover fiction (fan fic or otherwise), this one's sure to please. This mash-up of Sci-Fi Awesomeness pairs Doctor Who with the cast of Star Trek The Next Generation to battle the most evil and dastardly of all alien bad guys, The Borg! Will the Doctor and the crew of the Enterprise, with their powers combined, be able to defeat the Borg menace? Or will they, like everyone else, be assimilated?
Celebrate these flesh-hungry undead by visiting OPL's Teen Area and devouring one (or more) of our Zombified Reads (see the display above the fiction shelf or grab a booklist bookmark). Why? What other creature values brains above all other qualities or attributes?
In Michael Ford'sZ, a teen plays a futuristic game where he hunts zombies--or is it really just a game? In Jonathan Mayberry'sBenny Imura trilogy, a group of teens must survive a zombie-infested wasteland if they hope to find a better life. In Courtney Summer'sThis Is Not A Test, a group of teens is trapped in their high school during the zombie apocalypse. Daniel Water's Passing Strange paints a more humorous view of the undead, as does Ehrich Van Lowe'sNever Slow Dance With a Zombie. And don't forget Zombies vs. Unicorns, a short story anthology that attempts to answer the age old question of which mythical creature is the most awesome.
Whatever kind of Zombie book you want, whether it's horrifying or humorous, we've got it!
Looking for a spooky good time this October? Join the Southeast Michigan Ghost HuntingSociety, the area's oldest paranormal organization, for a seasonably appropriate presentation featuring some of the state's most haunted places. Experieice photos, videos, and audio of actual paranormal activity! The program will be Monday October 15 @ 7 p.m. in OPL's community room.
In it's 16 years of existance, the SMGHS has conducted over 200 investigations statewide, including: a dental office, soroity house, Durand train depot, and the Purple Rose Theater.
Registration is required for this program. Sign up online or at one of OPL's reference desks. We'll see you there...IF you're not afraid....
It was Battle of the Evil Wizards. All September, we asked who YOU thought would win in an Ultimate Wizarding Duel: Voldemort ofHarry Potteror Sauron of Lord of the Rings. The results are in: 24 of you voted, and Voldemort just barely beat Sauron, 13-11.
Congratulations to our three winners, chosen at random form everyone who voted: Amber Soukup, Victoria Stothers, and Rachel Young.
While in the Teen Area, keep an eye out for the yellow voting box and future contests like this one.
It's a book that, for a variety of reasons, has had its contents challenged by parents, schools, churches, etc. Some popular examples are: 1984, Catcher in the Rye, Perks of Being a Wallflower, and the Harry Potter series. But there are several others--and the list grows each year. For more information on Banned Books Week or for a more complete list of banned and challenged books, visit this site.
So celebrate these your right to read whatever you want by checking out one or more of these awesome books. --AJB
When she hears about the recent political unrest in the United States, Radley, 17, rushes home--even though she'd been in the middle of volunteering at an orphanage in Haiti. Radley's worried about her parents, her friends, her cat. But when she finally arrives, she learns her flight has been re-routed. Radley is alone in a strange city with no money, no cell phone, and no way to contact her parents. In a last-ditch effort, she starts walking home, doing her best to stay out of view of both law enforcement and vigilantes. But her house has been abandoned. Figuring her parents went north to Canada, Radley begins another long journey. Along the way she befriends Celia, another teenage traveler heading for the border. The girls learn to trust each other and eventually come to rely on each other for survival. What will happen?
Safekeeping has dystopina elements, but isn't as dark as others in the genre. This book is mostly about friendship between the two girls and how they're able to survive because of that friendship (the dystopian elements are only vaguely touched on every so often). If you're looking for a dystopia, but don't want anything dealing with global destruction or where characters are forced to fight to the death, Safekeeping is for you. Enhancing this story are black and white photographs taken by the author. A quick read on the lighter side of dystopia. --AJB
Anna has her Senior Year all figured out: She'll finish up her high school career, hang out with her friends, work her dream job at the local movie theater, and her crush will finally ask her out. Then comes a major curve ball: Her bestselling novelist father is shipping her off to Paris where she'll attend a high school for artistic American students, where she won't know anyone and doesn't speak a word of French. Although initially frustrated and homesick, Anna soon makes friends and finds several opportunities to immerse herself in her passion (film and video). She also meets the handsome St. Clair--who seems interested in her as more than a friend! But St. Clair has a girlfriend. And Anna's crush from back home has been emailing and calling her... There are several deliciously romantic encounters and near-misses. But will Anna and St. Clair ever get together? 'Cause it's obvious from their first meeting these two are meant to be A Couple--right? AJB
Have you been thinking about attending our exclusiveHunger Games Lock-In next Friday (October 5)? There's still room to sign up. However, space is limited--and those spaces will likely fill up fast. So sign up soon! You can do so either online or at the Teen Reference Desk.
So what's this program all about, anyway? Well... We'll be playing Hunger Games-themed games, serving pizza & other snacks, and hosting a one-time-only screening of the Hunger Games Movie (PG-13). A fun evening is in store.
Looking for a good movie to rent this weekend? Head on over to the Teen Video Area and check out Pleasantville (PG-13, 2000), starring Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire.
Teenage siblings Jennifer and David can't agree on anything--least of all what to watch on TV. Then, one stormy night, a magical remote control transports them into David's favorite 1950s-era TV show, Pleasantville. Jen and David find themselves cast in the starring roles of this black and white series about life in a Utopian small town where everyone is happy, it never rains, and firemen spend their days rescuing cats from trees (because, of course, there are no fires). Despite trying to "play along" until they can find a way home, these modern teens inevitably have an effect on Pleasantville and its people. These changes are shown by the increasing apparences of color. Soon Jen and David find themselves in the middle of a social and political revolution that will forever change the town and its citizens. But is this change for the worse or for the better? You decide.
This one feels a bit dated (check out the lack of cell phones and the old-school TV that's supposed to be modern), but it's still a good movie. If you're into dystopian stories, or of you just like movies that are a bit different, Pleasantville is a great choice! --AJB
Liked what you've seen so far on this blog, but want even more recommendations? Stop in the library and check out our new Staff PicksDisplay, located next to the New Books shelves at the entrance of the Teen Area. Here you'll find books we've read and enjoyed--and thought you might like too. Some are new releases, but others have been out for a while (and may have even been buried on the shelves). These books are so good we'd offer a money back guarantee if you don't like them. Except--oh wait!--checking out books at the library is FREE!
After his parents mysteriously disappeared when he was only a couple years old, Christian Cage became obsessed with "The Sideways Place," a alternate dimension where he's convinced himself his parents are trapped. This, and an incident involving the suicide of one of his teachers, has made Christian an outcast among his peers. A highly accomplished artist, Christian finds he has the ability to draw the fears and nightmares of people around him. And then bad things happen to those people. Things escalate after an incident of vandalism--which Christian apparently did in his sleep. Christian begins to have violent visions of a WWII era murder that happened in his sleepy little town, but was apparently covered up by a powerful factory owner. When Christian must perform community service at a local assisted living facility, he gets the surprise of his life: Could one of the patients there have the answers to his disturbing visions and the mystery of The Sideways Place? To find out, Christian must face his own darkest fears.
Draw The Dark has about it a certain Stephen Kingish, hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck quality that makes you want to sleep with the lights on and keep checking behind you as you read (because you're sure something's there). This is one of those strangely creepy books that stays with you a long time after you've finished it. So if you're looking for a good suspenseful read as Halloween approaches, this one's for you! --AJB
Think your parents, teachers, boss have high expectations of you? Doing well in your classes, showing up for work on time, being nice to your little brother (or sister)... This is nothing compared to what's expected of Princess Elisa, the main character of Rae Carson's Girl of Fire and Thorns.
Princess Elisa is born with a magical gemstone in her navel, a sign prophecized to mean its bearer is destined for greatness. But Elisa--lazy, whiny, and completely naive about the world outside the palace walls--doesn't feel very heroic. In fact, the most daring deed she's ever performed is to sneak into the palace kitchens to steal pastries. Then on her sixteenth birthday, she is secretly married off to a neighboring king as part of a political contract between the two kingdoms. Her new husband hopes she will be instrumental in an upcoming war. Then shortly after the wedding, Elisa is kidnapped by a band of rebels who live deep within the desert. These people hope that, as the Chosen One, Elisa can save them. But how can Elisa help anyone when she can't even find the courage to help herself?
Girl of Fire and Thorns is an absorbing fantasy-adventure and a great coming-of-age story. Throughout the course of the story, Elisa does a lot of growing up, and it's refreshing to see her transformation from a spoiled princess to a courageous young woman. This is only the first in the planned trilogy, so there's more to come. If you enjoy books by Tamora Pierce and Alison Croggon, you'll like Girl of Fire and Thorns. --AJB
One of our favorite authors in the teen department is John Green. His books for young adults are full of brilliant wit and gripping emotional honesty. His first novel, Looking for Alaska, won the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in Young Adult literature in 2006. An Abundance of Katherines, also a Printz Award Honor Book, is a fun book about a boy who only dates girls named Katherine, and ends up getting dumped each time. Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a realistic story of two boys, both named Will Grayson, meeting by chance on a street in Chicago. Green explores the larger issues of life and death with amazing sensitivity and honesty in The Fault in our Stars. Paper Towns is a fascinating look at the power of imagination and perception when a boy is taken on a wild overnight adventure with Margo, his best friend (and long-time secret crush), who then disappears. Come discover these John Green gems or find other great reads today!
Ahoy, mateys! Strap on yer eye patches and polish yer peg legs, 'cause Wednesday September 19th be National Talk Like a Pirate Day! To celebrate, Oxford Public Library's Teen Area will be holding a special screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (PG-13), featuring everyone's favorite swashbuckler, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), and his crew of misfit pirates. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. Snacks served.
Every day, a traveling, genderless soul named A wakes up in a different body and to a different life. Sometimes it's a guy. Other times it's a girl. Race, religion, economic status, healthy or sickly, anything else... it doesn't matter. The change happens. The only constant is the host body is always the same age as A. It has always been this way. And A has gotten used to it. The only rule is A must not interfere in anyone's life. And A has kept to that rule. But then A meets Rhiannon, the girlfriend of a boy A inhabits. Despite better judgement, A falls in love with Rhiannon and attempts to stay in touch with her. Results could be disastrous.
As with all David Levithan's books, Every Day is highly unique, yet exceptionally enjoyable. This is not a straightforward love story where boy meets girl and everything is peachy (except for some slight drama at some point). The reader never even figures out if A is male or female. Rather, this is about whether we can recognize the inner essence (if you will) of someone we connect with, no matter what that someone looks like. An interesting concept explored in an even more interesting way. And well worth checking out. --AJB
Whether cartooning, animating, sculpting, or life drawing, Facial Expressions is your one-stop shop for how to create lifelike artwork of the human head. This book's 250 + pages contain 100 models of different genders, ages, and ethnicities posing in a variety of moods. All to inspire your artwork. For animators, there's a sequential-expression gallery and a phonemes gallery (how the mouth shapes different sounds), both to help you accurately chart your animation sequence from beginning to end. There's even examples of drawings--some lifelike, some caricature-like--to further inspire you. So if you're looking to get into any sort of artwork involving facial expressions, give this book a browse. You're sure to find it helpful--as well as entertaining! --AJB
Lately, many of you have been stopping by the reference desk asking for memoirs. To help you, we have created a booklist bookmark of many of the great memoirs shelved in the Teen Area. These bookmarks contain the title, author, and brief summary of the book. Stop by the teen desk and ask for one!
You will find memoirs shelved with the biographies throughout the library. If you don't find what you want in Teen, try the Youth and Adult collections. If you're still not finding what you're looking, ask any of the reference librarians to do a search for you. We'll be happy to help. --AJB