Friday, August 29, 2014

Waiting for If I Stay

Currently, one of the most popular titles in our library's Teen Collection is If I Stay, by Gail Forman (now a major motion picture, currently in theaters). Needless to say, this book is not likely to be checked in. Bummer!

However, here are a few titles to check out while you wait.

A Need So Beautiful, by Suzanne Young: There is a mysterious force driving Charlotte to do good deeds. Could this be linked to why she'd vanishing from the memories of those closest to her?

Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver: Sam, a typical mean girl, must relive the same day over and over until she gets it right. But there's a twist, of course.

Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevon: Liz is dead, the victim of a hit and run accident. But the afterlife isn't anything like she expected it to be.

Everafter, by Amy Huntley: Madison wakes up in a strange dark void with only one thought in her mind: She is dead. Before she can move on, Madison must examine bits of memory to piece together her life and, eventually, her death.

In A Heartbeat, by Loretta Ellsworth: A teenage heart transplant recipient begins having feelings and impulses experienced by the heart's previous owner, an ice skating champion.  

Let's Get Lost, by Adi Alsaid

Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid was touted by some as "The Next Paper Towns" and others as "The Road Trip Book of 2014." Since Paper Towns is my #1 favorite John Green novel and since I love me a good road trip story (especially during the summer months), I was excited to read it and anxiously awaited the day when it would arrive in my hands. That said, the book had some pretty huge expectations to meet. Upon receiving it, I thought for sure, "THIS will be a book I'm going to want to hug when I finish it!"

Did any of that happen?

Um... Not quite. 

While I didn't dislike the story, I didn't absolutely love it either. My reaction was lukewarm at best. The premise is this: Leila is a teen on a mission to cross seeing the Northern Lights off her bucket list. So she road trips it across the country (in her obnoxiously red car) to do just that. Along the way she meets people and they have adventures and misadventures together. Leila has sort of a Stargirlesque quality about her in that she's kind of quirky-mysterious and has an uncanny knack for influencing (or, in most cases, totally derailing) the lives of everyone she encounters. 

For Example:

Hudson: An auto mechanic with big plans to go to med school. Leila "helps" him by making him miss his big interview with the dean, meaning he loses his one and only chance of getting the scholarship he so desperately needs to attend his college of choice and fulfill his dreams. 

Bree: A teenage runaway whom Leila gets arrested...and later reunites with her estranged older sister (there's LOTS of family drama here, but I'm not giving away any spoilers). 

Elliot: His encounter with Leila begins with Leila almost running him over with her car. She then proceeds to "help" him try to win the girl of his dreams. A girl who, just hours before, rejected him on the premise that she didn't want to ruin their friendship. Awkward!

Sonia: Still grieving over the death of her boyfriend, Sonia feels guilty over the fact she's falling for a new guy. Luckily, Leila is there to swoop in and save (?) the day.

Lastly, Leila tells her story. And, again, no spoilers. But, honestly, by the time I got to this point, I was kind of burnt out on the story. And that made it difficult for me to suspend my belief enough to buy it.

These five chapters read more like separate short stories rather than inter-connected parts of a full-on novel. Not unlike Marcus Sedgwick's Midwinterblood, Let's Get Lost has a choppy and disjointed feel. The reader doesn't get to stay with the characters long enough to become invested in them or their problems. The only character with any staying power was, of course, Leila... And I have to admit I didn't like her very much. I found her to be meddling, nosy, and creating more trouble than she did help (What gives her the right to decide what's in the best interest of someone they just met...and then proceed to screw up their lives? Annoying!). Also, like Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl, there was something not quite real about her (except I liked Stargirl's character). 

The final word: I liked the concept of the book, the idea of it. I was just expecting something different.

Not sure I can recommend this one. --AJB

NEW PROGRAM: #TeenCraftSaturdays@OPL. Saturday September 6 Noon-3 p.m.

You know you have that BIG project due Monday, so why not take a study break and make something cool?

This Fall, the OPL Teen Department is introducing a NEW PROGRAM: #TeenCraftSaturdays@OPL. To be held the first Saturday of each month, Noon-3 p.m. (or until supplies run out), this 100% drop-in program will feature a different cool craft each month. 

September's project, set for Saturday September 6, will be Retro Treasure Boxes. For this, we'll start you off with an old VHS tape case and a table full of art supplies. From there, you use your creativity to transform that tape case into something useful, fun, and retro-esquely hip. 

Upcoming projects are
  • Frankentoy Workshop (Saturday October 4)
  • Book Hedgehogs (Saturday November 1)

#TeenCraftSaturdays@OPL are drop-in only. That means no registration and no wait lists. It also means that when supplies run out, they run out forever. So get here early!

We'll see you next Saturday!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Closed for the Holiday

Just a heads-up that Oxford Public Library will be CLOSED Saturday August 30 thru Monday September 1 for the Labor Day Holiday. 

We will reopen Tuesday September 2. Hours as usual.

Have a safe and fun holiday!

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Ever since that family reunion 10 years ago when she and her cousin, Lindsay, were inseparable, Raina has wanted a sister. Someone to have fun with, someone to share adventures and secrets with, someone who would be a built-in best friend. So naturally she is thrilled when her parents finally, finally bring home baby Amara.

But having a sister isn't at all like Raina imagined. From the start, Amara is grouchy, argumentative, and prone to tantrums when she doesn't get her way. And she doesn't share any of Raina's interests. Except art. And, worse, Amara is the better artist. Naturally, none of this sits well with Raina. Or Amara, for that matter. And when a brother is introduced into the equation, things at the Telgemeier household go from bad to worse. And the years don't improve the situation any.

Sisters, by Raina Telgemeier, is an autobiographical graphic novel that illustrates Raina's summer before high school when she, her mother, Amara, and brother Will road trip it from California to Colorado for a family reunion. As the story (told partly in present day and partly in flashbacks) unfolds, the reader gets a better picture of Raina and Amara's stormy relationship and also of the drama that's going on within their family. Sure, the sisters fight and annoy each other. All. The. Time. But when life throws an unexpected curve ball their way, they're also are willing to be there for each other. Not that that'll admit to that, though. 

Over the years, I've become a big fan of Telgemeier's books. Smile, where we first meet Raina and her family, was (and still is) my favorite of the author's. And Drama was a cute and fun departure from the autobiographical books. Sisters is being promoted as a sequel/companion book to Smile, but you don't have to read one to fully enjoy the other.

Highly recommended! --AJB

Monday, August 25, 2014

Fall Programs 2014

Teen Summer Reading 2014 and all its awesomeness may be over, but don't despair! We've got some exciting new programs starting in September lined up. Check them out!

*New Programs*
#TeenCraftSaturdays @ OPL
First Saturdays Noon-3 p.m. (or until supplies run out)
9/6, 10/4, 11/1
You Know you have to stop by the library anyway because that BIG project is due Monday, so why not take a study break and create something fun? Most projects make use of "upcycling," so they're both fun and environmentally friendly. These programs are drop-in only, so get here early! When supplies run out, they run out forever.

September 6: Retro Treasure Boxes: Use provided craft supplies to transform old VHS cases into retroesque treasure boxes. The predecessor to the DVD never seemed so cool.

October 4: Franken-Toy Workshop: Create creepy new toys from pieces of old ones. Well post photos of our favorite creations on this blog and our Facebook page.

November 1: Book Hedgehogs: Back by popular demand! These adorably literary critters are so cute all your friends will want one--even the ones who don't really like to read.

Bored? Play Games! Saturdays
Third Saturdays, Noon-3 p.m.
9/20, 10/18, 11/15
It may sound counterproductive, but board (not bored) games are a surefire cure for the dreaded affliction of ultimate boredom. The teen staff understands this, so we'll have a TON of games and puzzles set out. Drop in and play!

*Fun Stuff*
October is Teen Read Month
All Month Long
Pick up a Teen Read Month activity card beginning October 1. Read books and do activities and turn your stuff in by October 31 for a chance to win awesome prizes. Sort of like Summer Reading, but not nearly as intensive.

LEGO Program for Teens
Tuesday 10/14
6:30-7:30 p.m.
Back by popular demand! Stop in and make something awesome with our LEGOs. Prizes will be awarded for height, originality, and functionality (your creation does something). Creations will be judged by on-duty library staff.

Halloween Spooktacular Film Festival
Saturday 10/25, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Looking to scare up something fun to do? We'll be getting into the spirit (pun intended) of the season by showing scary/creepy movies all day long. There will be all kinds of treats in store...and maybe a few tricks. Movies will be PG and PG-13.

Stop in and check these out!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Where's The Doctor?

Waldo?'ve already found him. Been there, done that. Or have you?With Where's The Doctor, llustrator Jamie Smart puts a whole new (and timely) spin on Waldo-esque books. In this fun and colorful volume, The Doctor, Amy, and others are hidden among Daleks, Judoon, Weeping Angels (don't blink!), and more. You don't even have to be a "Whovian" to appreciate this book. So.... Where's The Doctor? You won't know until you find him.

Books: Bigger on the Inside