Friday, May 31, 2013

Contest Winner

Congratulations to Alana Whims, the winner of the Teen Department's monthly poll. May's question was, "Which fictional band (from a book) would you most like to see in concert?" Alana voted for The Weird Sisters from the Harry Potter books. An excellent entertainment choice for the next Yule Ball--and all magical-type events!

Overall, voters most want to see Lemonade Mouth (11 votes), followed by The Weird Sisters (2 votes), The Copenhagen Interpretation (1 vote) from Going Bovine, and Where's Fluffy (1 vote) from Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist.

Be sure to stop by the Teen Area and check our June's poll: "Vote for the Best Teen Book-to-Movie Adaption". --AJB

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Guest Reviewer: Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers:

After escaping a terrible arranged marriage, Ismae, 17, flees to the convent of St. Mortain. Here, she learns she possesses dangerous powers, bestowed upon her by the God of Death himself. Ismae chooses to stay at the convent and be trained as an assassin. But trouble comes when she receives her first assignment. What happens when Ismae falls in love with the one person she's been sent to kill?

After reading Grave Mercy, guest reviewer Jenna had this to say: "All around a great book! I had a hard time putting it down. The author does a great job describing details and plot."

Anime Club This Saturday!

Attention Anime & Manga fans! Just a reminder that Otaku Central, OPL's teen-run anime and manga club, will be switching to summer hours beginning Saturday June 1. Beginning now, Otaku Central will meet 1-3 p.m. the first Saturday of each month. 

That is:
Saturday June 1
Saturday July 6
Saturday August 3

As before, Otaku Central will continue to offer anime screenings, cosplay, and be a great place to meet other fans. Any questions? Contact Alissa Bach:

Friday, May 24, 2013

Under Shifting Glass

Connections and coincidences dominate in Nicky Singers mysterious and magical coming-of-age novel, Under Shifting Glass. Tweenage Jess feels absolutely lost after her favorite aunt dies. But instead of inheriting the beloved piano as she'd hoped, Jess gets an ancient, dusty desk. She's disappointed... but then, hidden within a secret compartment in one of the desk's drawers, Jess discovers Something truly wondrous: An antique bottle that contains Something that is impossible to define. Constantly swimming, shifting, changing color, and responding to its environment, this Something seems to be alive. And Jess is the only one who can see it. Jess somehow connects this Something with the well-being of her newborn twin brothers, who were born with a potentially life-threatening birth defect. Over the following weeks, Jess explores some of life's deeper questions as she tries to unravel the mystery of the bottle. Besides worrying about her brothers, Jess must face both friend and family drama. In the end,  everything works out fine (or does it?) and the possible nature of the mysterious substance within the bottle is revealed. But the author keeps the reader on the edge until the very end. 

First published in the U.K. in 2011, Under Shifting Glass is an exceptionally unique read. Short chapters make this a good recommendation for reluctant readers, but the story itself is anything but superficial. Many will relate to Jess's struggles: Coping with her aunt's death, worrying about her brothers, dealing with a difficult friend situation, struggling with growing up v. wanting to hold onto that childhood belief in magic. All in all, a fantastic story! --AJB

Free Audio Books! May 30-August 21, 2013!

SYNC YA Literature into Your Earphones

2 Free Audiobook Downloads 

Each Week

May 30-August 21, 2013

This summer, teens and other fans of Young Adult literature will have the opportunity to listen to both bestselling titles and required reading classics for absolutely FREE! Each week from May 30-August 21, SYNC will offer two free audiobook downloads. These parings include a popular YA title and classic that connects with the YA title's theme & is likely to appear on a student's summer reading list. For more information or text syncya to 25827.

SYNC Titles - Summer 2013
May 30 - June 5, 2013
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, read by Rebecca Gibel (AudioGO)
The Tempest by William Shakespeare, read by a Full Cast (AudioGO)
June 6 - June 12, 2013
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood, read by Katherine Kellgren (HarperAudio)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, read by Wanda McCaddon (Tantor Audio)
June 13 - June 19, 2013
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Will Patton (Scholastic Audiobooks)
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya, read by Robert Ramirez (Recorded Books)
June 20 - June 26, 2013
Once by Morris Gleitzman, read by Morris Gleitzman (Bolinda Audio)
Letter From Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr., read by Dion Graham (christianaudio)
June 27 - July 3, 2013
Rotters by Daniel Kraus, read by Kirby Heyborne (Listening Library)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, read by Jim Weiss (Listening Library)
July 4 - July 10, 2013
Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford, read by Nick Podehl (Brilliance Audio)
She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith, read by a Full Cast (L.A. Theatre Works)
July 11 - July 17, 2013
The Peculiarby Stefan Bachmann, read by Peter Altschuler (HarperAudio)
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, read by Simon Vance (Tantor Audio)
July 18 - July 24, 2013
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, read by Erin Moon (Recorded Books)
Hamlet by William Shakespeare, read by a Full Cast (L.A. Theatre Works)
July 25 - July 31, 2013
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, read by Charlie McWade (Scholastic Audiobooks)
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain, read by Steve West (Blackstone Audio)
Aug 1 - Aug 7, 2013
Death Cloud by Andrew Lane, read by Dan Weyman (Macmillan Audio)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, read by Ralph Cosham (Blackstone Audio)
Aug 8 - Aug 14, 2013
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis, read by Katherine Kellgren (Brilliance Audio)
Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, read by Miriam Margolyes (Bolinda Audio)
Aug 15 - Aug 21, 2013
Sold by Patricia McCormick, read by Justine Eyre (Tantor Audio)
Let Me Stand Alone by Rachel Corrie, read by Tavia Gilbert (Blackstone Audio)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Library Closed: May 25-27

Hi readers! Just a heads-up: Oxford Public Library will be closed Saturday May 25-Monday May 27 for the Memorial Day holiday. We will re-open on Tuesday May 28. So if you'll be needing books, movies, or music within the next couple days, be sure to pick those items up before the weekend. Also, please turn in any items that will be due during that time. Hope you all have a safe and fun holiday! We'll see you soon.

p.s. When we reopen, we will be into our Summer Hours. That is: 
Monday-Thursday: 10a.m.-9p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 10a.m.-5p.m.
Sunday: CLOSED

Monday, May 20, 2013

Like Percy Jackson? Try these!

You've read about Percy Jackson's adventures defeating the dreaded Titan Kronos (and maybe you've even seen the movie). You've devoured the first three books in the Heroes of Olympus series. Maybe you've even delved into The Kane Chronicles. And now you're anxiously awaiting Rick Riordan's upcoming book, due out in October. But considering it's only May, that's a long time to wait! And you definitely need something good to read between now and then. Fear not! We've got just what you're looking for. It may not be Percy, Annabelle, Grover, and everyone else at Camp Half-Blood, but hopefully it's close to being as good.

For the rest of this month, the Teen Department will be featuring a display of books you'll very probably enjoy if you liked the Percy Jackson series. This can be found along the top of the fiction shelf closest to the Teen Reference Desk.   And trust us...we did a lot of research to come up with this list of PJ read-alikes. There's even an "Ask the Oracle" game, where the answers to all those universal questions will be revealed to you. But be sure to concentrate on your inquiry. Otherwise, the Oracle might ask you to order her a pizza instead of answering your question (Hey, it's tough being cooped up all those years!). 

And, of course, the librarian on duty is always happy to help you if further reading is what you desire. --AJB

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Fantastic First Lines: Going beyond "Once Upon a Time"

Sometimes, the first line of a book is so great, funny, curious or, yes, even disturbing, that you just HAVE to read the rest of the book to find out what happens next. Sometimes the rest of the book doesn't live up to the awesomeness promised by that first line. But other times... Other times, reading that book with that fantastic first line becomes a magical, transcendent experience from which you emerge a changed person. Or maybe that book just becomes an all-time favoriteIf you read a lot, something like that's bound to have happened to you at least once.

This in mind, OPL's Teen Department is featuring some books with some great first lines. You'll find them in the display window next to the Graphic Novel shelves. Some of them are well known. Others might have gone unnoticed had we not called attention to them. All have first lines that just beg you to continue reading until the final page.

For example:

"A tooth was missing, and that was never a pleasant thing" - Scowler, by Daniel Kraus

"The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World" - Going Bovine, by Libba Bray

"Benny Imura couldn't hold a job, so he took to killing" - Rot & Ruin, by Jonathan Maberry 

"It seemed like a good idea at the time," - Notes from the Midnight Driver, by Jordan Sonnenblick

Curious? Check out the display for more great first lines...and great books! --AJB

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A "Mysterious" find

It's the year 4022, and life as we know it is no longer life as we know it. In fact, little is known about the once-thriving land once known as Usa. Then amateur archaeologist Howard Carson (quite accidentally) makes an incredible,  first-ever discovery: Deep beneath the earth is an ancient burial chamber--still sealed! Within, Carson finds never-seen-before evidence of the primitive culture that was once a mystery to him. As Carson and his team excavate this monumental find, they make educated guesses about the people of Usa's way of life and death. And how wrong they are! 

The Motel of Mysteries is a parody of sorts about the field of archaeology--and how wrong the so-called experts can be when making snap assumptions about ancient civilizations based only on what they find buried beneath the earth. Was that small, domed object a ceremonial head-dress...or was it a cereal bowl used by the children yester-millennium to contain their Fruity Pebbles? Sure, you'll get a good chuckle at the wild assumptions Carson and his team make. And yes, this book IS good for a laugh or six. But it's deeper meaning is this: Who we truly are is not to be defined by appearances or material possessions. I mean, do you really want someone to someday define you solely based on that Gangnam Style ringtone you never got around to changing? Didn't think so. --AJB

Monday, May 13, 2013

Breaking Point

This sequel to last year's dystopian hit, Article 5, delivers just as much excitement as its predecessor. After a narrow escape from prison, fugitives Ember and Chase find themselves on the run from the Federal Bureau of Reformation (FBR). The two take refuge with The Resistance, an underground movement dedicated to overthrowing the government and building a more peaceful and tolarant society. Despite reports of an anonymous sniper picking off FBR agents, Ember still tops the government's most wanted list. The teen has an important decision to make: Continue to run or fight back.

Breaking Point is most definitely the middle book of this trilogy. Although exciting, it leaves many loose ends and unanswered questions. And it's pretty involved. So you'll need to read Article 5 first to understand all that's happening. But that's no reason to miss out on this trilogy.

And p.s.: Expect the third and final book to be released sometime next year!

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Best known for her literary hit Beastly (which inspired a movie a few years ago), Alex Flinn continues her streak of fairy tale re-mixes with Cloaked, a mash-up of The Frog Prince, The Elves and the Shoemaker, and a handfull of random obscurities originally penned by Grimm and Anderson. Unfortunately, this book boasts too many bits and pieces of interwoven fairy tale plots and not enough originality. And the story suffers for it: Characters (even main ones) are never fully fleshed out, bad guys don't feel threatening, romance lacks chemistry, and the ending wraps up too neatly--even for a fairy tale. The concept for the story is a good one. Unfortunately, the execution falls flat. Fans of Beastly will be disappointed, and fairy tale connoisseurs will feel short-changed. 

In Cloaked, we meet Johnny, a teenage shoe repairman (and closet shoe designer) who works at a fancy Florida hotel. When a visiting princess recruits him to go on a mission to rescue her brother, who has been transformed into a frog, Johnny accepts. Armed with a magic cloak that transports its wearer anywhere they desire, an earpiece that allows communication with transformed animals, and a magic ring, Johnny, accompanied by his friend Meg, go in search of said frog. They encounter a tedious amount of fairy tale and magical creatures and situations before finally rescuing the prince and returning him to the safety of his family. In the end, Johnny (rather predictably) gets the girl, convinces the thuggish bad guy to do the right thing, finds his missing father, and lands a $$$ contract to sell his shoe designs. And they all live happily ever after.  

Alex Flinn has a new book coming out later this month. A retelling of Rapunzel. I liked what Disney did with this particular tale, so have high hopes for Flinn's interpretation. Hopefully, she'll go back to what she did with Beastly and focus on modernizing a single tale rather than making an overstuffed mashup of many. --AJB 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Notes from the Psych Ward

How can a story about a suicide attempt and time spent in the psychiatric for said suicide attempt be funny? Easy--if that story is told by Ned Vizzini. It's Kind of a Funny Story details what happens to perfectionist teen Craig Gilner after he is accepted into the (ultra-prestigious and very challenging) school of his dreams, the Executive Pre-Professional High School. At first, life is just peachy. Then Craig finds out the hard way he just can't keep up with the demands of school and life in general. Thus, Craig begins a downward spiral of depression and self-destructive behavior. After a near suicide attempt, Craig finds himself in the mental hospital. And it ends up being the best thing that ever happened to him. How can this be?'ve got to read the book to find out.

Inspired in part by the author's time in the psych ward in 2004, It's Kind of a Funny Story is just that, albeit not in the obvious, in-your-face way The Three Stooges or flatulence jokes are funny. There's dark humor here. And entertaining, often awkward situations. And a cast of characters so unique they couldn't be found anywhere BUT the psych ward. This book has definitely found its way onto the short list of "The Most Unique Books I've Ever Read...and Am So Glad I Did!" --AJB

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

In the maybe not-too-distant future, ocean levels have risen and swallowed the entire East Coast as well as miles of land around the world. With the decrease in habitable land and, in turn, natural resources, the government has placed restrictions on the number of children families may have, among other things. Highly advanced robots are now commonplace. This is how a certain family was chosen to host a very unique and top-secret prototype: a robot child that, supposedly, has been programmed to love. Unfortunately, would-be foster "parents" Henry and Monica didn't realize the level of commitment required of them when they agreed to this task. David, the child robot, becomes unnaturally obsessed with his new mommy. This is taken too far when David nearly kills the couple's natural human child. Fearing danger to her family, Monica drives David deep into the woods and abandons him. Here, David begins a long and frustrating quest to find the fabled Blue Fairy so he can ask her to change him into a real boy. If he is real, he reasons, Monica will love him as her son. His wish is eventually granted. Sort of. Like any decent movie of this genre, there's an unexpected twist at the end.

Artificial Intelligence was directed by Stephen Spielberg and stars Jude Law and Haley Joel Osment (the "I see dead people" kid). I remembered seeing this film in the theaters when it first came out, but didn't remember much about it other than the scene near the end where David first encounters the Blue Fairy miles beneath the ocean (curious? rent it). Wanting for a good Sci-fi movie along the lines of Super 8 or Inception, I rented it.There were many things I had forgotten: Like the circus-like robot demo derby. Or the creepy teddy bear. Or how dark the movie is (it's not Disney, that's for sure). In the end, I'm not sure how to feel about Artificial Intelligence. Parts of it genuinely disturbed me. But it was definitely something that kept me glued to the screen the entire 2+ hours. --AJB

Monday, May 6, 2013

Coming Soon: Summer Reading!

The school year is drawing to a close (yes, only a month left!), and with Summer Vacation comes OPL's Teen Summer Reading Program

This year's theme is "What Do YOU Dig?," and we'll be featuring a wide variety of fun activities that, hopefully, will appeal to almost everyone! From craft projects to movies to sidewalk chalk art. From frisbee-chasing dogs to magicians to a henna artist (always popular!). And of course there's always opportunities to win awesome prizes through reading-related activities. Plus, back by popular demand, there will be an end-of-summer Lock-In (hint: "braaaains!"). 

Signup for the Teen Summer Reading program begins Friday June 7, the first day of Summer Vacation. If you are going into 6th grade in the fall, you may register for TSRP. If you will be entering 9th grade, you can sign up to be a Teen Volunteer, which opens you to all sorts of opportunities--from hours for NHS to workplace experience. 

Details about TSRP will be published in the library's summer newsletter, which should be arriving in local mailboxes within the next couple weeks. Stay tuned! And we'll see you on registration day! --AJL

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Kill Me Softly--A Fairy Tale Gone Wrong

Mira never knew her parents (they were killed in a fire shortly after her birth). Her guardians, two well-meaning but overprotective women, refuse to tell her anything significant about her past except to stay away from the town of her birth (and her parents' demise), Beau Rivage. By her 16th birthday, the mystery of the forbidden town is so great Mira can think of nothing else.So she does what any self-respecting and rebellious teen would do, she runs away to see what the fuss is about. What she finds there is nothing short of bizarre! Beau Rivage seems to be populated by fairy tale characters...and not the bubble-gum sweet Disney-fied versions either: Vivian is obsessed with her appearance, but not in the way one might think. Jewel is constantly choking up flowers. In fact, everyone Mira meets seems to have decidedly odd, well, quirks.  Most notable are those two guys Mira just can't seem to avoid: Felix, who is so charming she can't help falling for him, and Blue, who is so infuriating it's practically hate at first sight. In fact, everyone Mira meets seems to marked for some unavoidable and tragic fate. And it's becoming clear that not every tale ends with Happily Ever After. There's more going on in Beau Rivage than meets the eye. And Mira better figure out what it is before it's too late. 'Cause she's marked for something too.

Although Kill Me Softly is predictable (you'll likely figure out what's going on early in the book and wonder why Mira is so clueless), it's still a highly entertaining story. And there are a few unexpected twists. Not my favorite retelling, but enjoyable enough to recommend. --AJB

p.s. Kill Me Softly is one of the Yalsa Top 10 recommendations for 2013.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Go Ahead... Judge a Book by it's Cover

I'm sure you've all heard the expression: "Don't judge a book by it's cover," either used in the metaphorical sense or in referring to a literal book. But what with all the stunningly gorgeous covers adorning many of our Teen Area books, it's hard NOT to pick a book just 'cause you like its cover. 

And you know what? That's perfectly OK!!

The OPL Teen Area is currently featuring a display highlighting some books that are both beautiful to look at and have great stories inside. You'll find them in the window next to the Graphic Novel area. Stop by and browse and, if you like what you see, take home one... or two... or three (yes, as with all our displays, books from them may be checked out). The Judge A Book display will be available throughout May and, as display books are checked out, new ones will be put out to take their place (it's a constantly changing thing). Be sure to check it out! Hopefully, you like what you see! And read! --AJB

Friday, May 3, 2013

Vote to Win!

You've heard OF them, of course, but you've never actually heard them or anything by them. Fictional bands that exist only in books, that is. And it's really too bad they're only fictional. 'Cause a lot of them sound like they'd be worthy of being added to your "favorites" playlist. At least according to the characters in the books in which they appear.

Well, you may not be able to listen to these awesome, yet made-up bands. Unfortunately. But if you could, which would you be most anxious to hear? Stop by the Teen Area throughout May and vote! 

The choices are:
Where's Fluffy, from Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
Lemonade Mouth, from Lemonade Mouth
The Copenhagen Interpretation, from Going Bovine
Neutral Milk Hotel, from Will Grayson Will Grayson
The Weird Sisters, from Harry Potter

Everyone who votes will be entered into a drawing for a cool prize (winners chosen May 31). --AJB

p.s. My personal vote would be for The Copenhagen Interpretation. Their music is supposed to possess mystical qualities. However, I am curious to know what was the big deal with Where's Fluffy and why Nick & Norah were so desperate to find their secret show (you didn't even get to hear them in the movie adaption, which, I must add, was a total let down).

Things To Do

April 28 thru May 4 is National Screen Free Week and, by now, those of you who have accepted this challenge might be getting a little stir crazy without your TV, computer, smart phone, etc. Fear not! The OPL Teen Area has just the thing to get you through the rest of the week: An extremely entertaining little book appropriately titled 101 Things To Do Before You're Old and Boring (it's on our "Turn off your TV" display). Within this tome you'll find lots to do, from small things to silly things to things that could change the world. To date, I've only completed 68 of the 101 tasks. Granted, some of them DO have multiple steps... How many can you complete in an hour? A day? A week? This summer? Check the book out and challenge yourself! Or you can make it a contest with your friends: Whoever completes the most wins a since of accomplishment (and whatever else is at stake).  --AJB

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Alchemyst

Action, adventure, excitement, suspense, fantasy, history... Michael Scott's The Alchemyst, the first volume in the The Secrets of the Immortal Nicolas Flamel series, has it all and more.

Firstly, forget the decrepit old man Flamel you briefly met at the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The Flamel featured in this series borders on being a butt-kicking action hero. And he's determined not to let his secret formula for immortality fall into the wrong hands. Namely, his nemesis, the equally butt-kicking, and very evil, Dr. John Dee. Aiding Flamel in his perilous quest are a ninja-like vampire and ordinary mortal twins Josh and Sophie Newman, who, as it turns out, may not be so ordinary after all. In fact, they play an essential role in whether the world as we know it is saved or destroyed. There's even a prophecy about them. Sprinkled throughout the series are references to famous characters  and places from both history and mythology (I'm sure you'll recognize some). Not to mention some seriously surprising plot twists and turns. And The Alchemyst only scratches the surface of the adventure in store for anyone willing to tackle this totally awesome series.

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicolas Flamel is probably one of my favorite fantasy/adventure series we own. I love reading books where mythology is featured in the plot, but crave something more in depth than Percy Jackson (which is not to say I didn't enjoy Percy Jackson, 'cause I did). This series was exactly what I was looking for. Hopefully you'll enjoy it too! --AJB

National Poetry Month Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Sierra Neely, our National Poetry Month Contest winner. Sierra, a 6th grader, submitted a Blackout Poem (Blackout Poetry is when you take a random page from a book, newspaper, or magazine, circle certain words, and black out everything else. This creates new meaning to existing text, and is a fun way to get creative)

Here is Sierra's winning entry:

What is the bottom
to their joke?
Going to the ravine
and beating the jacks.
She new better
But it was true.

Congratulations to Sierra!

And thank you to everyone who submitted a Blackout Poem or participated in any of our other National Poetry Month activities! --AJB