Thursday, June 26, 2014

Reader's Bill of Rights

We're now deep into Summer Reading 2014. As this annual event progresses, it's important to keep in mind the 10 rules of The Reader's Bill of Rights (by Daniel Pennac):

The Reader's Bill of Rights
1. The right NOT to read
2. The right to skip pages
3. The right not to finish
4. The right to reread
5. The right to read anything
6. The right to escapism
7. The right to read anywhere
8. The right to browse
9. The right to read out loud
10. The right not to defend your choices

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rock Candy...Rocked!

More than 30 teens showed up for our Rock Candy program this past Monday (June 23) as part of the Teen Department's Mad Scientist Monday series. Those attending not only got to prep their own jar of what will soon be delicious and colorful rock candy, but also got to learn the science behind how crystals form as water evaporates from a supersaturated solution. 

Interested? Stop by the Teen Area and ask for the recipe. We'll be happy to share!

p.s. For a limited time (the next week or two), the rock candy our teens made will be on display in one of the large display cases outside of the Youth Area. Stop by every couple days and watch the sugar crystals grow!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Unreliable Narrators

For many, trust (or the ability to trust) is a very important factor when it comes to interacting with both strangers and the people they know. So why should it be any different with characters in books? Particularly when it comes to first-person narrators.

Because the alternative makes for a more interesting story. Thus, the popularity of the Unreliable Narrator.

Sometimes these narrators are being intentionally dishonest and the truth is revealed as the story unfolds. Other times, the narrator themself is in the dark about what's going on around them and must uncover the mystery along with the reader. Either way, such narrators make for real page-turners that often come paired with jaw-droppingly shocking endings!

Because these sort of books are so awesome, we've set up a whole display to spotlight them. This can be found along the top of the "New" book shelf.

Some of MY personal favorite books with Unreliable Narrators are:

Going Bovine, by Libba Bray: Cameron is diagnosed with Mad Cow Disease, a fatal sickness that will eat away at his mind and body until he eventually bites it. While languishing in the hospital, he is approached by a pink-haired angel who assigns him the task of saving the universe. Accompanied by a neurotic dwarf and cursed Norse god, Cameron embarks on this grand quest.

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart: Two years ago, Cady was in some sort of accident that caused amnesia and terrible migraines.  All she knows is her friends, the Liars, were somehow involved. No one will tell Cady what happened. Not her family, not the Liars, not her own mother. They all say the same thing, that she must remember on her own. When she finally does remember, nothing is the same.

Chime, by Franny Billingsley: Briony is a witch. Her step mother told her as much just before she died. This is why her sister is the way she is, why her father's home was almost swept away in a flood--and then half destroyed by a fire. Briony must hide the truth about herself or else be hanged. It is only when a handsome stranger comes to stay with her family does Briony start to question her step mother's claim. Because witches can't cry. Or love. 

The Adoration of Jenna Fox, by Mary Pierson: Jenna can't remember anything about her life before the accident that claimed the lives of her two best friends. All she has is a box of old home movie videos. As Jenna watches, she learns about her life. But it isn't until she views the last movie, the one that her mother hid from her, that she learns who--or what--she really is.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Teen Review: Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

Teen reviewer Nathan, 16, read the Inheritance Cycle series by Christopher Paolini on a friend's suggestion. Nathan loved this story, which is about a boy who discovers a dragon egg, becomes a dragon rider, and who fulfills his destiny to save his kingdom. He particularly liked the series finale, Inheritance.

"Inheritance is an outstanding book! It keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very last page."

Nathan recommends the Inheritance Cycle (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance) to teens 13 and up. The Inheritance Cycle is shelved in the Teen Series section.

Teen Reviewer: Now You See Them, Now You Don't, by Gordon Korman

Teen reviewer Summer, 11, read Now You See Them, Now You Don't, book 3 of Gordon Korman's On The Run series. Summer really enjoyed this adventure story about two teens who must outwit crafty FBI agents in order to find the strange man who holds the key to rescuing their imprisoned parents.

"A man named Frank Lindenauer has the key to freeing Meg and Aiden Falconer's parents from jail. They cross the country to capture him, but the FBI is trying to catch him too. This book is very entertaining, so it worked out for me. But for Aiden and Meg, it's really hard to get to Frank. The two of them have a big choice to make: Either find Frank and free their parents or live alone and wait for their parents to get out of prison."

Now that does sound exciting! 

Summer recommends Now You See Them, Now You Don't for teens ages 13-15. The On The Run books can currently be found in the Youth Area's chapter books collection.

Mini Lava Lamps

Our Mini Lava Lamp program (part of Teen Summer Reading "Mad Scientist Mondays") was a huge success. Over 30 teens turned up to create their own mini lava lamp from common kitchen ingredients. Check out these photos!

For those of you who missed the program, the recipe is easy:

You will need:
  • One clean small jar or bottle
  • Vegetable oil (like for cooking)
  • Food coloring (a drop or two)
  • Alka-Seltzer tablet
  1. Fill the jar or bottle about 1/2 full with water. 
  2. Add a couple drops of food coloring. Mix and match to achieve the desired color. Remember, the color is very concentrated, so a little goes a very long way!
  3. Fill container the rest of the way with oil, but don't let it overflow. You will see the oil and water separate. This is because these two liquids are insoluble. That is, they don't mix.
  4. Break the Alka-Seltzer tablet into small pieces and add the pieces one by one. The antacid will begin to fizz in the dyed water, causing colored bubbles to rise up through the oil on the way to the surface. This is what creates the lava lamp-like effect.
Have fun :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Teen Reviewer-- 3 Reviews

Veteran Teen Reviewer Kate read, loved, and reviewed three books: Fire and Flood, by Victoria Scott; Rebel Belle, by Rachel Hawkins; and The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. All three books Kate would recommend for teens 13 and up.

In Fire and Flood, Tella's brother is deathly ill. So she enters the dangerous Brimstone Bleed Race where she hopes to win a cure. But there is no guarantee she will win--or even survive. "When I started reading Fire & Flood, I had no expectations. I hadn't seen many reviews for it, but I loved it! This book was a perfect dystopian and surreal story, and Victoria Scott's characters really come to life by the end of the book. This book had some plot twists that I didn't see coming."

In Rebel Belle, Harper Price, a popular homecoming queen type, unexpectedly comes into some serious powers: She becomes a Paladin, an ancient guardian. And who must she protect but her lifelong nemesis! Kate was pleasantly surprised by the book: "The cover made me think it was some girly kind of book, but it was the exact opposite. It was funny, exciting, and an overall great book. The story was amazing and I liked all of the characters. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book."

In Darkest Minds, teenage Ruby survives a deadly virus only to contract terrifying abilities. Having escaped a rehabilitation camp for other survivors, Ruby is on the run. Her only hope is to reach a safe house--but even there, nothing is as it seems. "This was an amazing dystopian read! I loved the author's writing and can't wait to see what she writes next."

Would you like to write reviews for our Teen Book Blog? Stop by the Teen Desk and find out how!

Angelfall -- Teen Reviewer

Teen reviewer Kate loved Angelfall by Susan Ee, a dystopian thriller about teenage Penryn and fallen angel Raffe and their journey to rescue Penryn's kidnapped little sister from the evil angels. 

"The very beginning of the book introduces the reader to this apocalyptic world where angels have taken over the Earth and most of the humans. But some still try to survive."

For Kate, everything about this book, from the characters to the plot development, was perfect:

"I always hate when books have plot holes, but Angelfall was woven together seamlessly. The creepiness of this book was really enjoyable, and the main character, Penryn, was amazing. She was really independent and strong. The book was really thrilling and I enjoyed the action and suspense that came with it. I can't wait to read World After, the second book in the series."

According to Goodreads, World After has been out since November. A third book is expected to be released sometime in 2015.

Kate recommends Angelfall for teens 13 and up.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Teen Reviewer: Over You, by Amy Reed

Teen Reviewer SaTara , age 15, read Over You by Amy Reed after a friend suggested it. This realistic story centers around two best friends, Max and Sadie, and the summer (and the guy) that changes everything about their relationship. Unfortunately, SaTara can't share her friend's enthusiasm about the book and she wouldn't recommend it to others.

"I had a very difficult time getting through this book. First of all, this book was written in first/second person. I'm not a fan of authors who write in second person. I also did not enjoy the characters. The way Max follows Sadie around is slightly annoying. I felt she isn't her own person and only does what Sadie does. I had to skim the last half of the book or I never would have finished it. The writing doesn't make you connect with the characters or feel attached to them in any way. So it didn't bother me if I finished this book or not. I've heard good things about the author's other books, but I wouldn't recommend this book."

Here at the Teen Book Blog, we get a lot of positive reviews. These are helpful, yes. But sometimes a negative review is even more helpful. Thanks for your honest opinion, SaTara--and thank you to everyone who has reviewed for us over the years.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Teen Summer Reading 2014

Tomorrow, Friday June 6, begins the library-wide signup for Summer Reading 2014. The Teen segment of the program, themed "Spark A Reaction," will feature fun activities like Rock Candy Lab, Homemade Lava Lamps, Kitchen Concoctions, Wacky Wednesday, Movies, and more! The season will be capped off with a special Mythbusters-themed Lock-In (by invitation only).

Want to learn more about TSRP 2014? Visit our website for a complete list of programs, dates, and times. Keep in mind that most programs for Teen Summer Reading require registration. You can sign up online, by phone (248-628-3034), or at the Teen Desk.

All teen programs, Summer or otherwise, are for teens 6th-12th grade only. Why? Because these programs were designed with teens in mind. Also, we have limited space and supplies. Parents of younger children/siblings should see the Youth Area for a list of age-appropriate programs.