Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fearless Fashion, by Alison Bell

Hey Ladies (guys too): It's never too early to start planning your Back to School wardrobe--especially with all the stores having huge blowout sales (if they haven't started yet, they will soon). 

This in mind, a fun book to check out is What's Your Style: Fearless Fashion, by Alison Bell, which can be found in our nonfiction section under Dewey call # T391B. Take a quiz to determine your overall style, and learn about some of the various fashion trends out there and how to identify them in your friends and yourself (for example, I discovered that I'm sort of Hipster/Boho). There's even a chapter about health and beauty (hair & makeup). Plus, there's a ton of great ideas for enhancing your individual style or cultivating an entirely new look.

Overall, What's Your Style: Fearless Fashion is tons of fun. Another great book to check out is Popular: Vintage Wisdom from a Modern Geek, by Maya Van Wagenen. Pair it with it's companion book, Betty Cornell's Teen-Age Popularity Guide for the full experience. --AJB

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Teen Review: Wizardology

Ciaran Grabowski, 11, read and loved Wizardology, a part of the 'Ology' series that is, you guessed it, all about magic, spells, and, of course, Wizards. In this entertaining volume, readers are invited to become apprentices to the Great Merlin himself. They learn how to make a wand, tell the future with a pack of cards, identify magical creatures, and much more. 

Ciaran thought this book was great!

"The book Wizardology is good for people who are interested in wizards and magic. It explains things about Merlin and his secrets." --Ciaran Grabowski.

Wizardology is recommended for teens age 14 and younger. Other books in the Ology series include Dragonology, Egyptology, and Pirateology

Teen Review: The Royal Diaries: Kaiulani The People's Princess Hawaii 1889

Teen Reviewer Elizabeth Grabowski, 12, read and enjoyed Kaiulani: The People's Princess, Hawaii 1889 by Ellen Emerson White. Kaiulani is part of The Royal Diaries series.This historical fiction follows the life of Victoria Kaiulani Cleghorn from 1889-1893 as studies to be the best princess she can be. Meanwhile the throne and the Hawaiian Monarchy is being threatened by some very evil American businessmen. 

Elizabeth found Kaiulani: The People's Princess both entertaining and informative. 

"The Royal Diaries series is really cool because it tells the stories of the lives of a ton of different princesses. And the one about Princess Kaiiulani is really cool to me because my dad went to Hawaii and reading that book tells me more about the scenery, plants, and animals there. It is also cool because I got to learn more about the last princess of Hawaii. I would totally recommend this book to people because it is interesting historical fiction."--Elizabeth Grabowski.

Elizabeth recommends Kaiulani: The People's Princess for teens 15 and younger.

Teen Review: The Seventh Door, by Bryan Davis

Teen Reviewer Jillian Wolf also read The Seventh Door, book three of Bryan Davis' Children of the Bard series. In this fantasy-adventure, teenage Matt and his mother Bonnie must stop the apocalypse by traveling through seven doors (each one containing a different evil). Opening the final door will either doom or save the world, but they won't know until they're there.

"The Seventh Door will keep your attention from the first page. With fast-paced adventure, breath-taking fights, evil villains, heroic characters, and loving sacrifces, you won't be able to put it down." --Jillian Wolf

Jillian recommends this book for ages 13 and up.

Teen Review: The Serpent's Shadow, by Rick Riordan

Teen reviewer Jillian Wolf, 15, read The Serpent's Shadow, the third book in Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles (for those not in the know, The Kane Chronicles are about Egyptian mythology). In this exciting conclusion, it is up to siblings Sadie and Carter to save their family and prevent the evil god Apophis from ending the world. Will they be able to achieve this nearly impossible feat without paying the ultimate price?

Although The Serpent's Shadow was entertaining and "a pretty good conclusion to The Kane Chronicles," there were things Jillian found lacking:

"Although The Serpent's Shadow is packed with action and has a fast-moving plot, I didn't get to enjoy seeing the characters grow as people or learn from their mistakes." --Jillian Wolf.

Jillian would recommend The Serpent's Shadow for all ages.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Teen Review: The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

Teen Reviewer Elizabeth Grabowski, 12, loved The Subtle Knife, the second book in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials (Golden Compass) trilogy. In this exciting follow-up to The Golden Compass, Lyra and her deamon companion have fled their world through a mysterious...and ended up in another. Here, she teams up with Will, a boy from our world. Using a magical artifact, the children learn more about the terrible Authority that threatens to destroy not only their worlds, but all of them.

"The Subtle Knife is really good. I would recommend this book because it is challenging and quite well-written. Also, it has a lot of action and adventure in it and, in places, it can get really intense and exciting!"--Elizabeth Grabowski.

Elizabeth recommends The Subtle Knife for teens 12 and older.

Teen Review: I Heart You You Haunt Me, by Lisa Schroeder

Teen Reviewer Mallory Aldrich, 13, wasn't sure she'd like a novel in verse (where the story is told entirely in poetry), but she ended up really enjoying I Heart You You Haunt Me, by Lisa Schroeder. This story follows Ava and the guilt she feels over her boyfriend Jackson's death. So much so that she begins to believe Jackson has returned from beyond the grave to haunt her...and that knowledge begins to drive her mad!

"I really liked this book because it was a quick read. I didn't think I liked poetry, but I really enjoyed reading this book." --Mallory Aldrich

Mallory recommends I Heart You You Haunt Me for teens age 13-18.

Teen Review: The Host, by Stephanie Meyer

Teen Reviewer Ling Xiong, 14, discovered Stephanie Meyer's The Host through a library booklist and ended up loving it. This dystopian adventure, a departure from the vampire books, centers on an alien parasite determined to take control of the body and mind of Melanie, a human woman, so she can help her race take over Earth. But Melanie isn't willing to give up without a fight...and the parasite learns humans are nothing like she suspected.

"The Host is an amazing book that deserves more credit. The feelings were easy to understand and had some deep meaning, and the love story is epic and heart-warming. There are moments where you shed a tear or two. People are biased over this book because of the movie and the author's other 'cliche' books" --Ling Xiong

Ling recommends The Host for ages 13 and up.

Teen Review: The Luxe, by Annna Godbersen

Teen Reviewer Kati Flanagan, 18, read, re-read, and re-re-read Anna Godbersen's The Luxe (the first in a 4-book series) and loved it just as much the third time around if not more. Set in 1899 Manhattan, The Luxe centers on Elizabeth and Diana, sisters and members of the city's most elite class. But despite their position within society, life is far from rosy for these girls.

"(The Luxe) is a true work of art. The immense romantic detail included in the entire novel allowed me to catch something new each time. This novel is ab exhilarating, extravagant twist on an old-fashioned plot. The appeal lies not only in the romance, but also in the thrill which accompanies each plotted suspense. Anna Godbersen possesses the ability to write with such vibrancy and depth that I feel the characters are my own personal friends and foes." --Kati Flanagan

Although she Kati originally chose The Luxe for it's pretty cover, it seems as if this historical romance/drama/suspense story has become a favorite she wouldn't hesitate to give to a friend. Recommended for teens age 16 and up.

Monday, July 21, 2014

We Are The Goldens, by Dana Reinhardt

Layla has a secret: She's in love. But she can't tell anyone. Not her best friends. Certainly not her parents. Not even her younger sister, Nell, who idolizes her and with whom she's closer to than anyone else in the world. They wouldn't understand. Because this is not just the average high school relationship. Layla is in love with one of her teachers--and he feels the same way (apparently) about her. She's been sneaking out to be with him, lying about where she's been, ignoring her friends, and making excuses to get out of plans (so she can be with him). 

And Nell is the only one who suspects something is wrong. She just doesn't know what. Of course there are the rumors (there are always rumors about this particular teacher), but she doesn't start to believe they might be true until she investigates...

...and what she finds is shocking even beyond what she suspected.

Told from Nell's point of view in an open narrative addressed toward Layla, We Are The Goldens, by Dana Reinhardt is nonstop action. No, not the car chases and explosions type of action, but the dramatic sort that keeps you turning pages. Readers discover along with Nell the mystery of what's wrong with Layla, they learn how she feels moment-to-moment, and share the shock of her final discovery, the one that may finally push her to break her silence.

An awesome book! Read it! --AJB

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Teen Review: Since You've Been Gone, by Morgan Matson

Teen Reviewer Mandalyn Sterner, 16, loved Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson, a story about overcoming fears, daring to break out of your comfort zone, and discovering things about yourself you didn't know you were capable of.

When shy, cautious Emily's best friend Sloane leaves without saying goodbye at the beginning of summer, Emily doesn't know what to do. Sloane was always the one to plan their fun and crazy adventures. It's shaping up to be the worst summer ever when Emily receives a mysterious "to do" list of crazy tasks only Sloane could think up. As Emily tackles the tasks, she gains confidence and learns she doesn't need Sloane to have fun.

"The book was really good. It was a fiction book, but it seemed so realistic. I thought it kept you at the edge of your seat, wondering what would happen next and what the outcome would be. It had a good base, so you didn't get lost."

Mandalyn recommends Since You've Been Gone for teens 16 and up.

Teen Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Just as we love when our patrons discover a hidden treasure within our collection, we like just as much when a newcomer to the department re-discovers an old classic. This is what happened when Teen reviewer Gargi Ramekar, 10, read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the first book in J.K. Rowling's now-iconic fantasy series about how the "Boy Who Lived" defeated "He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named" and had many fantastic adventures in the process.

"This is a great story about Harry Potter, his friends, and the Hogwarts school. I loved the way the author wrote the story and how she built up the suspense. I would recommend this book for all ages. I think you're never too young or too old to read it."

Teen Review: Keturah and Lord Death

It's always great discovering a fantastic book that's NOT something seemingly every single person has read or is reading. Teen reviewer Tabitha, 14, discovered this sort of hidden gem in Martine Leavitt's gorgeous romance Keturah and Lord Death.

In this story, which was a National Book Award finalist, Keturah becomes hopelessly lost in the forest. Near death, she meets a handsome stranger who turns out to be Death himself, come to collect her for his own. But Death takes pity on Keturah, giving her a day to find her true love. If she is successful, she may go free. If not, she must come with him. Keturah eagerly embarks on this quest, assisting other relationships along the way. But as her time runs out she realizes that she'd already found her true love and has no need to look further.

"This book was very good and had a solid plot. It was well-written and makes me wish it would become a movie even though the movie couldn't possibly be half as good as the book because of how great it is."

Tabitha recommends Keturah and Lord Death for all ages. She is happy this book was suggested to her.

Teen Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Lately, there's been a lot of hype surrounding Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy--particularly with the release of the movie adaption a few months back. At the library, the trilogy is so popular we can barely keep the books on the shelves! But is this dystopian story of a teen who rebels against society's rules and regulations worth all that acclaim? Teen reviewer Jack Butzu, 11, thinks so.

"I like this book because the setting is a world where society is divided into fractions that believe different things. The main character, Beatrice, is faced with the problem of choosing a fraction. I liked how Beatrice develops as a character by being herself."

Jack recommends Divergent for teens 13 and older.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What It Is, by Lynda Berry

"Do You Wish To Write?" Cartoonist and writer Lynda Berry poses this question in her visually stunning how-to guide that's almost impossible to put down or fit into any genre or category. Part collage/scrapbook, part autobiography, part graphic novel, What It Is uses memories, imagination, dreams, hopes, fears, past experiences, future maybes, and the mundane-ness of day-to-day life to stimulate the mind inspire writing ideas. Read it cover to cover or open it at random. Either way, you're sure to find that cure for writer's block.

If nothing else, What It Is makes for a very entertaining read.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

This One Summer, by Jillian Tamaki

This One Summer, a graphic novel by Jillian Tamaki, is a brilliant story about friendship, family, and all the confusing and fascinating feelings that go along with growing up.

Each summer since they could remember, Rose and Windy's families met up at Awago Beach where the girls would spend two carefree weeks swimming, watching movies, eating sugary snacks, and just being kids. Needless to say, Rose has been looking forward to summer all year long. But this summer things have changed, and not for the better...and Rose would give almost anything to get back that innocence of those past summers. Rose, now almost a teenager, finds she's occasionally annoyed by Windy's childish behavior (Windy is a couple years younger). Why did these things about her old friend never bother her before? What's more, Rose's mother is constantly angry about something mysterious, something she won't talk about, and this is causing nearly constant tension between her parents. Nothing about Awago Beach is the same anymore, and this worries Rose. 

Then, when things couldn't get any more complicated, they do! Rose and Windy suddenly find themselves in the middle of some very grown-up drama involving a group of local teens. And they are forced to open their eyes to the reality that Awago Beach may not be (and may never have been) the idyllic sanctuary they always believed it to be.

I don't read a lot of graphics, preferring print books, but This One Summer caught my eye--and I'm glad I picked it up. Characterization is phenomenal and the theme (the struggle and confusion of being caught between childhood and adolescence) is something that's universally understood. I'd definitely recommend this one! --AJB

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Teen Review: Out Of My Mind, by Sharon M. Draper

Teen reviewer Georgia, 14, checked out Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper after reading positive reviews of the story on Goodreads. She found this realistic story about a highly intelligent girl struggling with physical limitations that have her bound to a wheelchair, unable to speak.

"10-year-old Melody can't walk or talk or even feed herself, but Melody is sick of being written off as retarded. Truth is, Melody is really smart and she wants to prove it to the world. Now, with the help of a new medi-talker (a talking computer), the world is now open for her to explore."

Georgia suggests Out of My Mind for teens 12-15.

Teen Reviewer: The Mysterious Island, by Jules Verne

Teen reviewer Summer, 11, read The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne. She absolutely enjoyed this classic adventure story about a group of explorers who set out to investigate and survive the dangers of an uninhabited island--and end up getting pulled into an unexpected mystery.

"The Mysterious Island is based on the true story of Alexander Selkirk, who survived almost 5 years on a mysterious island. I would recommend it to others who are interested in an adventure."

Summer suggests The Mysterious Island for teens 12 and up. 

Teen Reviewer: The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

Teen reviewer Logan, 14, read John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. For her, this uber-popular book about two terminal cancer patients who fall in love (which is now an uber-popular movie) definitely lived up to the hype...and then some!

"I absolutely loved the book! The way John Green wrote it was so different than the rest of the books I've read. Every sentence is amazing, and you can't stop reading. The characters were so unbelievable I don't even know how to explain them better than "developed." John Green knew exactly what he wanted in Isaac, Agustus, Hazel, and even Peter Van Horn and the parents. In the end, I loved this book. It definitely leaves an impact on you!"

Logan recommends The Fault in Our Stars for teens 13 and over.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Teen Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Teen reviewer Becca read Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige on a friend's suggestion and thought it was awesome. In this dystopian, Amy, a teen finds herself trapped inside her favorite story: The Wizard of Oz. Only things have gone horribly awry: The Scarecrow is a mad scientist, the Tin Woodsman is cruel military commander, and the Cowardly Lion is a vicious beast. Worst of all, Dorothy is now a power hungry tyrant bent on stealing the land's magic and enslaving its people. Recruited by the Witches, Amy must save Oz before its too late.

"One day a tornado comes and transports Amy off to Oz, but her favorite fairy tale has been twisted. Amy is on the ride of her life to take down Dorothy and her minions."

Becca recommends Dorothy Must Die for teens ages 12-15. 

Teen Review: No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman

Teen reviewer Emma, 12, read No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman. She was thoroughly entertained by this tale of Wallace, a boy who, much to the displeasure of his teacher, voices his negative opinion about a book where a beloved pet dog inevitably dies. A book that just happens to be his teacher's favorite. As punishment for the negative review, Wallace is forced to work on a school play about the very book he dissed. Madness and hilarity follows.

"I would recommend No More Dead Dogs because I thought it was funny."

Emma would recommend this book for teens 12 and younger (but older teens would probably enjoy it as well)