Sunday, April 27, 2014

Teen Reviewer 2 Reviews

Teen Reviewer Kate read and reviewed Megan Shepard's The Madman's Daughter and What I Thought Was True, by Huntley Fitzpatrick

The Madman's Daughter is a book Kate heard about through Goodreads, and she ended up loving it: "This book was equal creepy and wonderful. This historical fiction follows Juliette. She has a tragic past of her mother's death and her father's disappearance. Juliette's father is quite the mad scientist, and the mystery is if the rumors that her father is crazy are true. Either way, she goes searching for her father. The mystery unfolds and the cliffhanger is amazing!" 

What I Thought Was True, a realistic romance, pretty much jumped off the shelf and begged to be read. "After I finished My Life Next Door, I was really looking forward to another of Huntley Fitzpatrick's great contemporary novels. What I Thought Was True follows Gwen, who is unlike most girls in contemporary books. She is loud and isn't afraid to speak her mind, and I really liked the contrast from shy and quiet Sam from My Life Next Door. To get into Gwen's life: Her parents are divorced, but is still in contact with her dad. Gwen lives on an island where her mother cleans summer homes and just got a job taking care of an elderly woman. The romance and depth of this book was just beautiful, and once again I loved (this author's) book."

Kate wouldn't hesitate to recommend either book.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

(Fun) Advice for the College Bound

Headed off to college in the fall (or already there)? Then you absolutely MUST check out Halley Bondy's 77 Things You Absolutely Have to Do Before You Finish College

Trust us, there's more to the college experience than the stereotypes of cramming, classes, and parties. College is the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone and try new things, meet new people, and just otherwise have the experiences you never could have before. Whether you just try one or two of these tips or all 77 of them, this book will help you to make the most of this truly unique time in your life. So go ahead, Try #9...or #27...or even #46. Have fun.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

To All The Boys I've Loved Before

Laura Jean has had a crush on boy-next-door Josh for years! But Josh starts dating her older sister, Margo. Brokenhearted, Laura Jean does what she always does when it comes to boys she'll never have a chance with: She writes him a goodbye letter, pouring all her feelings onto the page, seals it, addresses it....and hides the letter in a special secret hatbox under her bed. When Margo dumps Josh the night before she's to leave for college (in Scotland!), Laura Jean is afraid Josh will disappear from her life forever. Then the unthinkable! Laura Jean begins to get contacted by the boys she wrote the letters to--and they're bringing up things she wrote in the secret letters. Only in the secret letters. It doesn't take long to figure out someone mailed the correspondence behind Laura Jean's back (accidentally? out of spite?)

With Margo away, things between Laura Jean and Josh get more complicated. Then there's classmate (and former crush) Peter, who Laura Jean agrees to date to make Peter's ex jealous. Sure, it's a ruse, but Laura Jean wonders: is there something more between them? Add to the confusion a nasty rumor and a forbidden interaction with Josh. Situations reach a head when Margo returns from college to find her little sister has been intimate with her (Margo's) ex. Drama, drama, drama...but finally a resolution.

And then there's the biggest question of all: Who mailed those letters?

The first in a proposed series, Jenny Han's To All The Boys I've Loved Before is a fun and beachy romance in the same vein as the author's ever-popular Summer Trilogy. Pick this one up if you want a light romance. Look for the sequel, P.S. I Still Love You, due out in 2015.

Monday, April 21, 2014

One Week Left

There's about a week left in April, and that means about a week left for taking part in our National Poetry Month activities

Stop by the Teen Desk and find out how you can create a Book Spine Poem or Blackout Poem. Or just check out one of our many poetry books or novels in verse (ask the librarian to recommend one or browse the collection on your own).

After next Wednesday, our poetry activities will disappear for another year.

Teen Reviewer: A Stone Rose

Teen reviewer Hannah, 11th grade, read A Stone Rose, by Jacquelin Rayner (A Stone Rose is a Doctor Who novelization). She read it on the suggestion of a friend, and really enjoyed it:

"The book is great if you love the show Doctor Who or Sci-fi. It's such an intriguing plot line, and the characters are so interesting. The whole thing with paradoxes is really cool. The Troublemaker and the way everything works out in the end is really interesting. This is a very fun and light read. Great for a weekend!"

Hannah wouldn't hesitate to recommend the book to someone else.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Feeling Starstruck?

Check out our Starstruck Reads!
What do The Fault in Our Stars, Stargirl, Every Soul a Star, and Jepp Who Defied the Stars have in common? Certainly not plot or genre. Are they part of the same series? No... they don't even share authors, much less characters.

The common denominator is all these books have the word "Star" in the title. Curious? Stop by the Teen Area and check out these celestial titles. 

Here's a few you'll find on display:

Dark Star, by Bethany Frenette: It's not easy being the daughter of a superhero. But Audrey has her own special powers...

Every Soul a Star, by Wendy Mass: Ally, Bree and Jack should have nothing in common. But they forge an unbreakable friendship while waiting for the Great Eclipse.

Sorta Like a Rock Star, by Matthew Quick: Amber has always remained optimistic despite the odds, but can she keep up that attitude in the face of tragedy?

Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli: There's a weird new girl in Leo's school. A girl who refuses to conform. Loved or hated by her peers, Stargirl will leave an unforgettable impression on her classmates. Liked it? There's a sequel: Love, Stargirl

William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily A New Hope, by Ian Doescher: The classic sci-fi tale retold in Shakseperian language. But there's still plenty of action. Liked it? Check out the sequel, William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back....and the third book, The Jedi Doth Return, is due out this summer!

They're Magically Realistic!

Not sure if you want to read something realistic (like a John Green book) or pure fantasy (like Harry Potter)? Now you can have the best of both worlds!

Is this the real life?
Or is this just fantasy?
Head on over to the Teen Area magazine room and check out our Magical Realism display! "What is Magical Realism?", you ask. It's not as much of an oxymoron as you might think. Magical Realism is an emerging popular genre that combines elements of fantasy into an otherwise realistic story. Here, you likely won't find any fantastical worlds where unicorns and sparkle ponies frolic with purple dragons under twin moons. But an average high schooler might come to believe a new classmate is a vampire. A boy might go on an seemingly boring vacation with his parents only to encounter a strange pair of sisters who need his help to break a family curse. A otherwise average teen might suddenly wake up as someone completely other than he was the day before--and have to start living life as someone else. Magical Realism isn't pure fantasy...but it isn't straight-up realistic either. It's both. And both is awesome!

Check out these Magically Realistic titles:

Ask the Passengers, by A.S. King: Astrid doesn't really feel like she belongs in her ultra-conservative small town. Luckily she's got the passengers in passing airplanes to talk to...and maybe they can hear her!

Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater: Ronan is just your average prep-school boy...except that he's got a very unusual ability: He can bring objects from his dreams into the waking world. But sometimes his nightmares follow him home.

Moth Diaries, by Rachel Klein: There's a new girl at school. A very unusual new girl. But is Ernessa just really eccentric...or is she a vampire? Read the book and decide for yourself!

September Girls, by Bennett Madison: The last place Sam wants to spend his summer is at the beach with his family. Then he meets DeeDee and Kristal. But these blonde sisters aren't who (or what) they appear to be.

Wrap Up List, Steven Arnston: Gabriella has a week to complete her bucket list. Could kidnapping Death himself work in her favor--or against her?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Love Letters to the Dead

Ava Dellaira's Love Letters to the Dead has gotten a lot of positive hype lately (I've even heard it billed as the next Perks of Being a Wallflower). While it does share some similarities with Perks--the narrator is dealing with the death of someone close to her as well as other other uncomfortable things that are hard to talk about, she makes some wild and crazy friends who both help her and show her the dark side of life--it doesn't quite pack the same punch.

In Love Letters to the Dead, Laurel's older sister, May, recently died--and she believes it's her fault. After all, she was there when it happened. In the months leading up to her death, May took living on the wild side to the extreme, dating much older men, partying, drinking, etc. Sometimes she would take Laurel with her, and that's how certain things happened (sorry, no spoilers). At the beginning of the school year following the tragedy, Laurel's English teacher assigns the class to write a letter to a dead person. Laurel picks Kurt Cobain, May's favorite musician. Over the year, Laurel writes about her life drama to Kurt. She also writes to Amy Winehouse, E.E. Cummings, Judy Garland, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Jim Morrison, and a few other dead celebs and historical figures. Eventually, through her letters, Laurel confesses what happened the night May died and what happened to her. Big Plot Reveals that are easy to guess beforehand, if you're paying the least bit of attention.

The concept of Love Letters to the Dead is intriguing. Unfortunately, the execution didn't go as well as I'd hoped. Laurel had so many dead pen pals it was difficult to keep track of who she was writing to (is this letter to Kurt or Amy or Judy or someone else?). This required frequent backtracking, and that interrupted the flow of the story, making it difficult to stay invested. I found that really frustrating, and if you're the sort who likes to get fully lost in a book, you'll likely be frustrated by it as well. The story would have worked better had the author stuck to one or two dead people. 

On a scale of 1 to 10, Love Letters to the Dead was about a 6. Good, but not fantastic.--AJB

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Betty Cornell's Teen-Age Popularity Guide

On Monday this blog featured Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek, a memoir penned by Maya Van Wagenen about her year following the beauty and lifestyle advice written about in Betty Cornell's Teen-Age Popularity Guide.  This book changed Maya's life, helping her to become healthier, more confident, and, yes, popular.

The Miss Cornell's Guide, originally published in the early 1950s, has been re-issued in 2014 with a special forward by Maya. Betty Cornell's Teen-Age Popularity Guide has chapters on everything from beauty (hair, skin, figure, makeup), wardrobe, health (diet and exercise), attitude and personality, dating, and getting a first job (and how to keep it). Some of the advice is pretty dated. Like, would you really wear a girdle? Do you even know what a girdle is? And, lets face it: The only girl who really brushes her hair 100 strokes every night is Marcia Brady. But other tips, like taking care of your health and mastering the art of writing thank you notes (not texts), is timeless. It's easy to see how this book could've helped a girl like Maya. Or any girl, for that matter--whether she was a teen in 1951 or a teen today.

Did you enjoy Maya's book and now want to see what all the fuss over Betty Cornell's guide is about? Now's your chance to see for yourself...and see if any of Betty's advice works for you too! --AJB

Teen Reviewer: My Life Next Door, Ignite Me, Burn for Burn & Miss Peregrine

Despite school keeping them busy, our teen reviewers still have time to read for pleasure and critique what they've read. Ninth grader Kate recently turned in reviews for five books, all of which she loved.

My Life Next Door, by Huntley Fitzpatrick, spotlights the friendship and, finally, the romance that grows between Sam and Jase, two teens who come from opposite ways of life. "Overall, I loved this book! It was so much fun to see Sam and Jase meet for the first time and become friends. The romance their friendship grows into is so beautiful. This book also had a lot of in-depth side characters, like Sam's friend Tom, who is struggling to find what he wants to do with his life, and Tom's sister, Nan, who always seems to outshine him. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone looking for a fun and happy read." Kate recommends My Life Next Door for teens 16 and up.

Sometimes the final book in a trilogy can feel rushed or anticlimactic. Not so with Ignite Me, by Tahereh Mafi, the final book in the Shatter Me trilogy: "The book blew me away! It was such an epic conclusion to an already amazing trilogy. In this final installment, the main character, Juliette, is faced with so many different choices: Will it be Warner or Adam? War or Peace? In this book, Juliette really fought for what she believed in." Kate won't give away spoilers in the review (in case you haven't read the book yet), but will say this: "The ending really took me by surprise...but it was really the ending that was needed for this trilogy." Ignite Me is recommended for ages 13 and Up.

Burn for Burn, the first installment in Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian's revenge-themed trilogy, instantly grabbed Kate's attention: "This book had me hooked from the start!" she raved. "Mary, Kat, and Lillia don't even know each other, but when the concept of payback is brought up, they all band together to take out their most hated enemies. The different perspective viewpoint really played well in the telling of this story. The writing choices made by the authors was amazing and their words and characters are beautifully described. I loved this book and can't wait to get my hands on the sequel." Burn for Burn is recommended for teens 13 and older. The sequel, Fire with Fire was released in August 2013. The trilogy's concluding book, Ashes to Ashes, is due out in September 2014.

Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and the sequel Hollow City use strange old photographs to tell the story of Jacob, who travels back in time and discovers the secrets his late grandfather had worked so hard to protect. Accompanied by a group of children, each with truly unusual powers, Jacob gets pulled into some dangerous and exciting adventures. Possibly even finds romance. These two books had Kate on the edge of her seat. "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was an absolute work of art! The concept was so different, yet so well done! Hollow City was a great second book, and I really enjoyed the creepy and beautiful photos that came with it." Kate recommends both books for teens 13 and older.

Interested in reviewing a book yourself? Stop by the Teen Desk and find out what you need to to!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek

Can a "How To Be Popular" guide written in the 1950s help an awkward teen from 2012 to build confidence and fit in?

Surprisingly, the answer is "yes"!

When it came to popularity, Maya Van Wagenen often described herself as being "pretty much the lowest level of people at school who aren't paid to be here". Then she discovered Betty Cornell's Teenage Popularity Guide, published in 1951. Her dad had bought it as a joke, but when it came into Maya's hands, she saw it as something as more than just a novelty prop. Before beginning 8th grade, Maya decided to try something: She'd follow the advice in the book and see where it took her, applying Betty Cornell's advice to her life in the 21st century. The results were amazing. Not only did Maya build her own confidence, but she actually gained a certain level of popularity.

Maya's own memoir, Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek, is funny, heartwarming, and, at times, positively cringe-worthy. And it proves that, while trends come and go, some advice is timeless! A definite must-read!

p.s. Want to check out Betty Cornell's book for yourself? We own that too! --AJB

National Poetry Month

Blackout Poetry & Book Spine Poetry
We're halfway through National Poetry Month, and there's still plenty of time (and plenty of ways) to celebrate!

Feel like doing some poetry-related activities? See our back window display (right by the printer) and check out samples of Blackout Poetry and Book Spine Poetry. Then see a member of the library staff to see how you can create some of it yourself!

Poetry Books & Novels in Verse
Not really in the mood to create any poetry? ('cause, after all, creating poetry is challenging... and it can be a lot like homework, if you don't already love doing it) Check out our display of poetry books on top of the curved fiction shelf. Here you'll find both traditional poetry and novels in verse.

Either way, we've got poetry (or poetry activities) to appeal to almost everyone.

Friday, April 4, 2014

April is National Poetry Month

In honor of April is National Poetry Month, we'll be spotlighting all things poetry (note the previous post for William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back, the story of the movie told in Shakespearian-style rhyme scheme--with a bit of haiku thrown in for variety). Keep checking this blog for more novels in verse and, otherwise, poetry awesomeness.

Want to do more than just read poetry? You too can help us celebrate all month long with these fun poetry-themed activities:
  • Book Spine Poetry: Have you ever been browsing the bookshelves and noticed how sometimes the titles relate to each other? With a bit of re-arranging, you can even make short phrases stand out. This is called Book Spine Poetry. Stop by and create a book spine poem of your own. We'll post pictures of the best ones here on this blog and on the library's Facebook page.
  • Blackout Poetry: This is the art of creative destruction! It's also an easy and fun way to express yourself. We'll provide you with supplies and show you how to get started. The best poems will be featured on this blog and on our Facebook.
  • Poem In Your Pocket: Like poetry but don't really want to create any? Simply bring a favorite poem to the library and show it to on-duty staff. Doing so will automatically get you entered to win a special prize (drawing is April 30). The more poems you share, the better your chance to win! 
Check out the display at the back of the Teen Area (located in the small window by the non-fiction section) for ideas. Have fun...and get your poetry on! 

William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back

Get the once more to a galaxy far, far away with William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back!

Lo--many a fortnight hath passed since the destruction of the Death Star (as recounted in volume one--or IV--William Shakespeare's Verily A New Hope), and our young hero, Luke Skywalker, and his rebel friends have taken refuge on the ice planet of Hoth. But the vengeful Darth Vader is scouring the galaxy for them. It is only a matter of time before they are captured. But Luke has a plan! Guided by the spirit of his late teacher, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke and his faithful droid R2-D2 travel to Degobah to seek advice from the elusive, but wise Yoda. It is with this great Jedi master that Luke will complete his training and learn the skills he needs to rescue his friends and maybe even defeat Darth Vader. But the evil dark lord has a carefully-kept secret that, once revealed, could disarm (heh-heh) our young hero. What will happen? Will evil win? Or will good prevail? Methinks you shall have to read this book to find out!

The saga of the original Star Wars trilogy (the only good Star Wars movies worth watching), as told in the style of a Shakespeare play, continues with The Empire Striketh Back. Fans of the first book will be happy to know that this sequel is just as awesome as its predecessor. Read it...and get excited for the third and final volume, William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return, due out this summer! --AJB

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring Break Lego Program!

Spring Break LEGO Program for Teens
Tuesday April 8 @ 6:30-7:30 p.m.

You asked for it, and we delivered: A LEGO program just for teens (because why should the little kids have all the fun?)! 

While the Youth Department's Lego program is between sessions, we're offering our teen patrons a special, one-night-only opportunity to channel their inner architects, inventors, and mad scientists. On Tuesday April 8 @ 6:30-7:30 p.m., the Teen Department will be hosting a special Spring Break LEGO Nightexclusively for teens. Register online or at the Teen Desk, or just drop in. Either way, this is your chance to create something cool! Prizes will be awarded for Height, Originality, and Functionality (your creation does something). On-duty library staff will judge.

This program is for Teens, meaning you have to be 6th-12th grade to attend. For those younger than 6th grade, the regularly-scheduled Youth LEGO Program will resume Monday April 21--and there are still a few openings for that.

Questions? email Alissa Bach or call (248) 628-3034.