Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday Closings

Oxford Public Library will be CLOSED the following days in the coming weeks:
  • Thursday December 24, 2015
  • Friday December 25, 2015
  • Saturday December 26, 2015
  • Thursday December 31, 2015
  • Friday January 1, 2016
  • Saturday January 2, 2016
We will re-open for regular hours on Monday January 3, 2016. Have a Happy Holidays and New Year! --OPL Teen

Saturday, December 19, 2015

From Where I Watch You, by Shannon Grogan

This book definitely gave me a big surprise! I was attracted to this book simply because of the cover which had a pink heart and an amusing title. I also expected a sweet story about a baker girl who receives romantic notes from an anonymous person. It did say suspenseful in fine print, but for some reason, I didn't think much of it until I actually began reading the story. So beware! From Where I Watch You is not only suspenseful, but it's also creepy and sad. You may not able to put this book down.

The main character Kara is struggling with her sister's death, her father's abandonment, and her mother's sudden and extreme turn to religion. She's got a stalker, she's scarred by a past incident that's keeping her from developing meaningful relationships, and she's trying to figure out how to get to a baking competition in San Francisco, one that will hopefully help her escape life in Seattle. On top of all this, Charlie, the boy she loved for ages, has returned after a long absence.

The mystery of who Kara's stalker will definitely keep you reading and if you love to bake, you will love the baking elements in this story. *JK*

Thursday, December 17, 2015

What We Saw At Night, by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Allie, Rob, and Juliet are best friends because they all suffer from the same fatal allergy to sunlight. This means a lot of night time activities. When the impulsive and free-spirited Juliet takes up the stunt sport of Parkour, Allie and Rob feel they have no cloice but to follow suit. Surprisongly, they discover they quite enjoy the sport.

Then one fateful night, the trio witnesses something terrible. Something that puts all their lives in danger. 

What We Saw At Night by Jacquelyn Mitchard is a unique and suspenseful mystery you won't be able to put down! It is currently found on our New Book Shelf. And if you enjoyed this one, don't miss the sequel, What We Lost In The Dark.--AJB

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Calvin by Martine Leavitt

What is REAL?

What is TRUE?

And is there a difference?

Author Martine Leavitt's fascinating new novel, Calvin, a "true" story narrated by a severely schizophrenic character, will have you asking these questions about your own life before you're through. By the end of the book, you may see the world a little differently. A little more clearly.

I've read only one other book by Leavitt. This was Keturah and Lord Death (about a hopelessly romantic girl who strikes a bargain with, well, Death and loses--or does she?). I'd read it on the recommendation of a friend whose taste in reading material I highly respect. Admittedly...Keturah just wasn't my thing. Calvin is a different story altogether. Although short (less than 200 pages), this story is one of those I couldn't put down. 

Calvin was born the day artist Bill Watterson published the last ever Calvin and Hobbes comic. As a tribute, Calvin's grandfather bestowed upon him a stuffed toy tiger he named Hobbes. A toy tiger Calvin used to hear, before his mom washed it to death when Calvin was nine. There are other coincidences too. The girl next door is Suzie (just like in the comic), Calvin's dad wears glasses (just like in the comic), and Calvin's first-grade teacher was Mrs. Wood (just like...well, close enough). But these are only coincidences...Until, several years after the fatal washing, Hobbes comes back. Only this time he's real. And he won't leave Calvin alone.

Wallowing in the psych ward of his local hospital, awaiting diagnosis and, quite likely, a perscription for some heavy-duty anti-psychotic meds, Calvin comes to a realization: If he meets Mr. Watterson and convinces the famed artist to draw one final comic, one where Calvin is 17, healthy, happy and, most importantly, NOT accompanied by Hobbes, he (the REAL Calvin) will be cured. So Calvin breaks out of the hospital and, accompanied by Suzie and, of course, Hobbs, begins a dangerous trek across the frozen Lake Erie to track down Watterson and become cured.  

The question I, as a reader, had is this: Did any of this really happen? Or was the journey all in Calvin's mind? But even if the later is so, if the adventure was real only in Calvin's mind, does it make it any less real? It really makes you think...


Calvin reminded me a lot of my favorite book of all time, Going Bovine (by Libba Bray and a past Prinz winner) in that both books are about Epic Quests that may or may not have taken place only in the mind of the narrator. Although Going Bovine is still quite a lot better, in my opinion, Calvin is its own brand of awesome. I highly recommend both books. --AJB 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

Love is a powerful thing. Love makes us do silly things. For the majority of us love is ours to choose. But what if it wasn't? What if we were told who to love? Where to love? When the wedding was going to occur? What if our parents were the ones to decide who we spend the rest of our life with?

For seventeen year old Naila this was the hard reality.

Naila is not one to keep secrets from her parents. She lives by their rules, is an excellent student. She doesn't attend after school activities, and has never even had a sleepover. The only defiance she has committed is having a boyfriend, who is even from Pakistan like her family. But since her parents didn't arrange it and don't approve of his family, it's kept a secret. All will be good in a couple of months because Naila is about to go off to college and she can do as she pleases (as long as her parents don't find out of course). Before she heads off to college Naila's parents decide that the family needs to make a trip to Pakistan to visit their extended family. After being there for a month her parents decide to extend their trip for another week. Naila's bags are packed ready to go when the extra week is up. Again her parents inform her that their trip has been extended. Fearful she is going to miss college orientation (and the start of her new life of freedom) Naila decides she is going to get herself home. Only her passport is missing, along with the money she had hidden away. Naila's life falls out of her hands before she realizes it and after it's too late.

Written in the Stars is a book that you will not be able to put down. Tears are shed from chapter to chapter as Naila comes up against different obstacles. You'll begin to cheer for her courage and then cry alongside her when things go (horribly) wrong. The most haunting part of the book is the author's note at the end, Aisha Saeed tells readers how real situations such as Naila's are. That arranged marriages are real around the world and how that women are still "sold" into families. Written in the Stars is an amazing story, however due to several scenes I would recommend this as a read for older teens.

Enjoy and let us know what you think!

The Thing About Jellyfish

Suzy is exceptionally smart and possesses a near-photographic memory for scientific facts and figures. Even obscure ones--like how many jellyfish stings happen worldwide each year. But when it comes to understanding the more life smart side of life... Well, Suzy is more than a little clueless. Like understanding how someone who was such a good swimmer could drown and just be gone. Suzy just can't wrap her mind around it.

At the beginning of 6th grade, Suzy's longtime best friend Franny ditched her for the popular crowd. Then the following summer, Franny drown while visiting the beach. Suzy becomes convinced Franny was stung by a jellyfish and this is what caused her death. Unable to express the grief and the guilt she feels, Suzy loses herself in research about jellyfish and jellyfish stings. She even plans a solo trip to Australia to speak to a renound marine scientist who specializes in jellyfish.  By proving (scientifically, of course) that a jellyfish was responsible, Suzy believes she will come to terms with all the feelings she's unable to express.

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin is a bittersweet coming-of-age story about life, death, and moving on after tragedy. Suzy is a sympathetic character readers will relate to, even if they've never experienced such a loss. Mixed throught are lots of facts about jellyfish (so readers will learn something too). The Thing About Jellyfish is currently found on our New Tween shelf. Highly recommended. --AJB

Monday, December 7, 2015

Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon

For as long as she's been alive, Madeline has been the girl in the bubble. Literally. She's never gone to school, never had friends her age, never even stepped outside her house. The only people she has any contact with are her physician mother and nurse, Carla. Madeline has a rare form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, or SCID. She's allergic to the world. If she left the safety of her bubble, she'd likely die. But Madeline still dreams of a regular life. Of seeing the ocean. Of going for walks outside. Of visiting used bookstores. Of having friends her own age. Of having freedom to come and go as she pleases. But these are only dreams.

Until Olly moves next door and everything changes. Everything. It is only a matter of time before the two are IM-ing each other and becoming friends. Then falling in love. One thing leads to another and, spoiler alert, soon Maddy is questioning her entire existance. That maybe there's more to her story than she's been told. Maybe her entire existance has been a carefully-constructed lie.

Maybe she's NOT sick and never has been.  

Nicola Yoon's heartbreaking and beautiful novel Everything Everything is something I read in a day. This was one of those books that made me feel so strongly for the characters. Made me cheer for Maddy and Olly. Made me so, so angry at Maddy's mom (Maybe Maddy forgave her, but I couldn't). I did guess the twist less than halfway through the novel, but that didn't prevent me from reading on, anxious to see if I had guessed right and, if so, how things would play out (Did Maddy and Olly get back together? Not telling that part). 

Everything Everything. Wow. I highly recommend it! --AJB

Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever (DVD)

Did you know that the Internet's biggest feline sensation, Grumpy Cat, has her own movie? Neither did I...until a friend clued me in. Naturally, curiosity got the better of me, and I had to check it out. I wasn't expecting a lot from this film, so was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It was good. I mean, really good. And not just the "good for a trendy, made-for-TV movie" kind of good. I mean good good.

Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever (PG) finds our heroine Grumpy (voiced by Aubrey Plaza) the least popular pet at a mall pet shop that's about to go out of business unless it starts turning a serious profit. Unfortunately, none of the animals are very attractive to customers. In fact, Grumpy herself has already been returned twice, presumably because of her perpetual scowl, and exchanged for fish. So her faith in humanity, and the world in general, is at an all time low (poor Grumpy). Then, just in time for the Holidays, the pet shop gets a new tenant: JoJo, a dog that's supposedly worth a million dollars! And the pet shop owner already has a buyer lined up. Could this pedigree pooch save the shop? 

Not if the bad guys have anything to say about it.

Enter Zack and Donny: Two bumbling wannabe rock stars (reminicent of Harry and Marv of Home Alone fame) who have been hired to steal the dog so the pet store will go out of business and a more profitable/trendy store can go up in its place. Despite having a combined intelligence less than that of the pet store gerbil, they actually might have gotten away with it...if not for Grumpy and her tweenage friend.

Enter Crystal: A lonely 12-year-old who loves the mall pet store and who, after making a wish for a best friend at the mall Wishing Well (using a "magic" coin she got from the mall Santa), discovers she has the ability to communicate with Grumpy. After overhearing the Donny and Zack talking about the big heist, she and Grumpy foil the evil plan and expose the real criminal mastermind behind everything. And it's the last person she ever expected.

Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever is Home Alone meets Homeward Bound with a bit of Scooby Doo thrown in. Get ready for car chases, near misses, a cat shooting a paintball gun at the bad guys, lots and lots of humor, and some moments that will make you feel warm and fuzzy. This film is sure to outlast it's trendy nature and become a holiday favorite. 

Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever is available to be borrowed through our online catalog. --AJB

Friday, December 4, 2015

Monstrous Beauty, by Elizabeth Fama

Hester, 17, knows she must live without love. She knows that it was love that killed her mother and her grandmother and several generations of women in her family. But are these deaths due to an undiagnosed and rare genetic condition or a curse? Practical Hester doesn't want to believe in curses (or magic of any sort). All she knows is, unless she takes every precaution she can, she will be next. And the plan is going well. It really is. Then Hester meets the strangely puzzling Ezra on the beach and, against her better judgement, finds herself drawn to him. But Ezra is not who he seems to be and, as the reader eventually learns, neither is Hester. A bit of library research and a few well-placed questions lead Hester to the truth about the link between love and death that has plagued her family. A centuries-old murder, a childhood friend, an old preacher, and a strange sea creature all play a part. But can Hester undo the terrible thing that was done centuries before so she can get on with her life? Or will she be the curse's next victim?

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama (found on our New Book Shelf) is a complex and intriguing story that combines elements of mystery, fantasy, horror, and romance. Characters are multidimensional and detailed settings give the story an atmospheric feel. Overall, a fantastic story that comes highly recommended!--AJB

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Need, by Joelle Charbonneau

What Do You NEED?

No, really...

What Do You NEED?

A new social networking site (called Need), aimed specifically at the students of a Wisconsin high school, promises to fulfill the deepest, most desperate desires of its members. Their "Needs". No matter how unusual, the site promises to make that Need a reality. Need a new iPhone? No problem. Need a new wardrobe? Granted. Need a new kidney for your dying brother? As you wish. All members must do to recieve their needs is complete a seemingly minor task in return. Once that task has been completed (and it could be something as trivial as inviting others to join the site), the need is fulfilled. Sounds too good to be true, right? 

It is.

The tasks members are asked to do in exchange for their needs may seem trivial, but they have dire consequences. In some cases, deadly consequences. 

But who is behind Need?

And why?

Author Joelle Charbonneau's latest novel, Need, is suspenseful from the first page. Although the premise distinctly recalled that of Stephen King's Needful Things (published 1991) as updated for a more modern world, this book will nevertheless thrill its intended audience and have them questioning whether the things they think they "Need" would really be worth the price. --AJB

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Pixels (DVD)

And you were told that video gaming would get you nowhere in life... 

As kids, Sam, Will, Ludlow, and Eddie saved the world countless times--in arcade games. Now, as adults, they have the chance to do it again. For real. Aliens, having intercepted a 1982 transmission of classic 80s video games, have misinterpreted what they saw as a threat and have declared all out war on Earth. The gamers have three chances to beat life-sized versions of the video games they excelled at as children. Only this time, if they lose, it's Game Over for real. Not just for their character, but for the entire planet. Guest appearances by Pac Man, Donkey Kong, and Qbert.

Pixels (PG-13), the newest film by Adam Sandler, is a departure from the rom-coms the actor has become known for lately (Blended, Just Go With It, 50 First Dates). It is more a return to Sandler's earlier comedic work. It's not Oscar-worthy acting, but it's good for more than a few laughs. Plus the special effects are pretty cool. Kids and Teens will love it for the action and humor, and parents will experience nostalgia watching the video game characters of their childhood recreated as planet-destroying monsters. Pixels is fun for the whole family.--AJB

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Winter Place, by Alexander Yates

After their father is killed in a car accident, Tess and her younger brother, Axel, have their lives turned upside-down. Not only are they orphans (their mother died when Tess was very young), but they must now move to Finland to live with their only suitable relatives: grandparents they never knew existed. Shortly before all this happened, a stranger appeared in their yard accompanied by a bear. When the same duo appears near their new home, Tess knows something very strangre is afoot--especially when Axel follows them into the snow and vanishes without a trace. Who is this stranger with the bear? Why has he followed them to their new home? The only thing Tess can do is investigate. But the answers are nothing she ever expected 

The Winter Place, a hauntingly gorgeous novel by Alexander Yates, is the ideal read for this time of year. Mystery and Mythology combine to make this coming-of-age story something you won't be able to put down. In a word: Awesome! --AJB

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Rest Of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live Here, an awesome new novel by Patrick Ness, is the story of nerdy-cool indie kids Satchel and Finn and how they save their town (and also the world) from being overrun and enslaved by blood-thirsty immortals from another dimension. There's mysterious deaths, there's a love triangle (with one side being an immortal prince), there's betrayal, and there are several explosions (one of which destroys the local high school on graduation day).

Actually, scratch that. Sure, all of that does, indeed, happen in this story, but only sort of in passing. The real story here is what happens to the (mostly) very ordinary Mike, Mel, Henna, and Jared while all the drama between the immortals and the indie kids is going on. These four teens are dealing with some very real-world problems in the weeks coming up to graduation. Mel is still recovering from an eating disorder that almost killed her a year earlier, Henna is worried about having to join her missionary parents in a nation torn apart by civil war, Jared is struggling with what will happen with his divorced father when he goes away to college (there's also the cat problem, but that's another story), and Mike just wants to graduate and get away from his alcoholic father and politically-obsessed mother (not to mention his OCD is getting worse...and he's in love with Henna). None of these four are the Chosen Ones who will save the world. Yet, somehow, their stories are so much more compelling. Their characters so much more real and relatable. 

The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a fascinating concept that Ness carries out so masterfully you, the reader, forget how very ordinary and uneventful the story actually is (it's about every day life).  But I do the book an injustice by saying this. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is one of the best books I've read lately. Perhaps the best book I've read all year. So if you, like me, ever wondered about the lives of side characters who are so sidelined they barely register as a blip amongst all the zombie fighters, vampire slayers (kissers?), and terminal cancer patients, this is definitelty the book for you. I highly recommend it. In fact, go check it out now! Right now! --AJB

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Positive (A Memoir), by Paige Rawl

Positive, is a biography written by Paige Rawl. Her story was simply beautiful and inspiring. It was about being able to move on from the past and about accepting people as they are. Paige lived her life with HIV since birth. Her childhood was bright with excitement and joy until she learned that her and her mother both had HIV.

Paige was at a school slumber party with one of her best friends, Yasmine. Paige tells her about her HIV positive status and later finds out that her best friend has spread it across the school. She was called PAIDS and suffered bullying constantly. This memoir was about her journey staying positive and finding friends that accept her as she is. The message was really inspiring to me, although I was a bit angry by some of the teachers' responses to Paige's HIV status and couldn't believe that they weren't able to do anything about it. She went through struggles but came out strong. I loved this book so much and will definitely recommend to everyone I know. I'm inspired to make a change for anyone being bullied. *JK*

Friday, November 6, 2015

Interstellar Battles Training Academy

Interstellar Battles Training Academy

November 16 thru December 16

Registration Required - For Teens 6th-12th Grades

Sign up for this mini-reading program beginning November 9. Earn points (tickets) by reading & reviewing books, attending programs, and completing activities. The more you do, the better your chances of winning. Grand Prize Winner chosen randomly on December 17 will win passes to Oxford 7 to see the new Star Wars movie. Five runners-up will also receive awesome prizes. 

  • Build A Driod, Tuesday November 24 @ 6-7 p.m.
  • Spaceship Races, Wednesday December 2 @ 6-7 p.m.
  • Sci-Fi Perler Beads, Monday December 7 @ 6-7 p.m.

Plus BINGO Game Board Activities, drop-in fun, and unlimited book reviews.

Sign up starting Monday Novemember 9. Register online or in person at the Teen Desk. Any questions, contact Alissa Bach 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Lair of Dreams, by Libba Bray

First of all, let me say I am a HUGE fan of Libba Bray's writing. Every book she has written is so different from the rest, and each book is a masterpiece. Each book has a finely-crafted plot, boasts a cast of intricate and well-rounded characters, and pays attention to the smallest of details. Plus there's always humor, drama, romance, and sometimes a bit of horror. 

The Diviners (2012) is a fine example of this. Set in the 1920s-era New York City, this book centers on thoroughly modern girl Evie. But Evie is not your ordinary, dime-a-dozen flapper. She has the unique ability to read the secrets of any object she touches. This talent has gotten her into trouble many times. It also helps her solve a series of grisly ritual murders that have been happening around the city. Murders that have been committed by none oher than...wait for it...the ghost of an infamous madman returned to the Earthly plane to complete the job he began when he met his demise.

When the much-anticipated and much-hyped sequel to this fantastic book came out last month, I couldn't wait to dive into it. And The Lair of Dreams (2015) did not disappoint. In fact, it met--and then surpassed--any and all expectations I had (and believe me when I say those expectations were high indeed!).  

The Lair of Dreams focuses on Henry and Ling, two side characters in The Diviners (fear not, Evie still plays a do Sam and Jericho).Henry and Ling possess the ability to enter peoples' dreams. And Ling can communicate with the spirits of the dead during her dream walks. Their talents take center stage when a mysterious and deadly sleeping sickness begins plaguing the city's citizens. Could this have anything to do with the abandoned subway tunnel and what was found there? And how do Henry's former beau and the Chinese immigrant girl Ling meets while dreamwalking figure into the scheme of things? One thing becomes certain: Only Ling and Henry can put a stop to the sleeping sickness before it claims too many more lives.

Also...Who are those mysterious men seeking out Diviners? And what is Project Buffalo?

The Diviners and The Lair of Dreams (read them in order, people. Otherwise the sequel won't make sense) are both one huge stack of Awesome! Both books are highly, highly recommended! --AJB

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Seriously Wicked, by Tina Connolly

The only thing worse than being a witch, is living with one.

Camellia is your average high school student- needs to study more for her algebra test, has a crush on a boy- band boy, loves hanging out with her best friend, and regularly skips lunch to head to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for her crazy aunt's spell to summon a demon so that she can take over the city. Okay, so she's not that average. But Cam will do everything she can to prove that she is, along with keeping her home life at home. Unfortunately, for Cam as Halloween approaches this becomes more difficult to do. With a demon trapped inside of her crush's body and her ex-best friend becoming someone else, Cam no longer knows what to do and it only gets more confusing for her from there.

Seriously Wicked is a fun fast paced story that will keep fantasy and romantic comedy readers alike hooked. Cam's character is quirky and funny, you can't help but cheer her on against her crazy aunt. Even though this book contains demons, witches, and dragons it is light on fantasy elements- just enough for fantasy lovers and not too much for those readers who usually stray away from the genre.

Seriously Wicked is currently on our New Shelf!


Friday, October 23, 2015

Happily Ever After, By Kiera Cass

For fans of The Selection Series, have no fear the world of America and Maxon is not over just yet.

Author of the series, Kiera Cass, has created several short novels, know as novellas, that have been combined to create this amazing book. Through the four novellas readers gain different view points other than America's, of big events that occurred throughout the series. Readers are able to see into Queen Amberley's own selection process and how she was able to fall for King Clakson, we are able to find out what happened to Marlee and Officer Woodwork that made them doomed to their fates as eights, how Aspen was able to make it through his time as a guard at the palace while still obsessed with America, and get a first hand look at how Maxon felt when thirty five girls invaded his home in order to win over his affections.

I am a huge fan of The Selection series, so naturally I loved each one of the novellas. If you have not read the series, the novellas may be confusing or may create a disappointing story. However, if you are a fan like me, you will learn more details about characters and events that add even more passion, drama and fight to the already fantastic story! Happily Ever After is located on our New Shelf in the Teen Department. If you're a fan enjoy this little extra addition to the story. If not let us help you find a new dystopian style book that may become your favorite!


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

When Marnie Was There (DVD)

Shy Anna, 12, is sent to stay with friends of her foster mother for the summer with hopes the fresh air will help alleviate her asthma symptoms. Despite attempts from local girls to make friends, Anna prefers to be by herself, sketching and exploring the small seaside town. On one of these explorations, Anna comes upon an abandoned mansion that looks somehow familiar. But is it really as abandoned as it appears? One evening, Anna thinks she sees a light in an upstairs window, so she investigates. This is how she meets Marnie, a girl her age who claims to live in the mansion--which really isn't as abandoned as it first seemed. The two girls strike up a friendship and become very close very quickly. But each girl is keeping a dark secret they can't even admit to herself. Then one day Marnie disappears. When Anna goes looking for her, she discovers her new friend may not be who, or even what, she claims to be. Can Anna ever forgive Marnie for not being completely straight with her? And can she ever learn to accept (and forgive) herself?

When Marnie Was There is one of our new DVDs this month. Based on a novel by Joan Robinson and given vibrant screen life by Studio Ghibli (Sprited Away), this is a gorgeous story of friendship, family, and self-acceptance. This beautiful film comes highly recommended! --AJB

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Dumplin', by Julie Murphy

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson, a.k.a. Dumplin', couldn't be more different than her former beauty pageant-winning mother. She's completely at home with who she is and doesn't care if the residents of her beauty-obsessed Texas town (or the world, for that matter) judge her for her appearance. It's only when pretty boy jock Bo shows an interest in her that Will begins to wonder "what if...". Rather than wallowing in self-doubt, Will enrolls her plus-sized self in the annual Miss Teen Blue Bonnet pageant. No matter if she wins the crown or not, Will is determined to prove a big girl belongs on the stage just as much as her skinnier peers. Not only that, she'll have the time of her life while she's at it. One thing is for certain, the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet pageant will never be the same.

The Verdict
Author Julie Murphy's novel is awesome! I absolutely loved the character of Willowdean: Her humor, her conficence, her quirkiness. She's not the sort of girl who bemoans her appearance and wishes she were different (or nearly starves herself to become so). Instead she owns her curves and is totally comfortable with who she is, inside and out. This sort of attitude is inspirational for everyone, whether they believe they are too fat, too skinny, too short, too tall, too freckled...too whatever. Dumplin' is a definite must read for everyone who ever needed a boost of self-confidence. Highly, highly, highly recommended--AJB

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Rig, Joe Ducie

Fifteen year old Will Drake loves a good challenge. His accomplishments to date include breaking out of three juvenile detention facilities leaving behind baffled wardens each time. Which is why he is up for the biggest challenge of his life- breaking out of the Rig. A juvenile detention facility located on an old oil rig in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. The inmates are situated in the middle of nowhere over freezing cold waters with their every movement tracked using watch like trackers secured on their arms. Will is up for the challenge- he needs to get off the Rig. His desperation increases when he finds out that the wardens are interested in more than just creating better members of society that have turned a wrong path.

The Rig is a fantastic read. The author has created a story line that has never been seen before and that will leave readers needing more. The book begins as an adventure story and moves into a mystery with a big dose of science fiction mixed in. The ending leaves readers on the edge of their seats and needing to know what happens next to Will and his friends (possibly a sequel?). Fans of Percy Jackson and the Alex Rider series will love this book. The Rig is currently on our New Teen Fiction shelf, check it out and let us know what you think!


Monday, October 5, 2015

Glow & Games Lock-In this Friday

There are still openings for this Friday's Glow and Games M.U.T Lab Lock-In! Participants will be creating mazes, solving puzzles, playing games, and, in the spirit of the upcoming Halloween holiday, taking part in some seasonal fun. There will be food, Glow Sticks, fun, friends, and maybe even a few surprises.

The Glow and Games M.U.T Lab Lock-In is scheduled 6-9 p.m. Friday Oct. 9 (after hours). This program is open to teens 6th-12th grade ONLY. All attendees must present a permission slip signed by a parent or legal guardian to gain entrance to this program.

Sign up for this program online, by phone, or in person at the Teen Desk. Any questions, stop by or call us (248) 628-3034.

So... You Want To Read A Scary Book.

Absolutely Terrifying!
Definitely Scary!
Welcome to October, the month when, more than any other time of year, our reading taste tends to turn toward the dark side--and by "dark side" I'm not talking Star Wars (that'll be in December). We tend to look for books about witches and demons and ghosts (oh my!) and other things that go bump in the night. A few prefer to read paranormal/supernatural love stories (think Twilight), but if you're anything like me, you desire an honest to goodness scare. You know, the sort of book you read with every single light in the house turned on. 
Definitely Scary!

A Little Spooky!
This is why we've constructed a display of scary books, complete with a scare rating system. Some of the books are not scary at all, but involve close encounters with supernatural or paranormal creatures (think Twilight). Others... well, good luck getting their uber-creeptastic plots out of your mind when you're walking to the bathroom at night (There's nothing lurking in those shadows, right? Better run anyway). Most fall somewhere in between on the scare scale. Either way, we definitely have something to cater to everyone's scary book taste

Stop by the Teen Area for a scary book today! --AJB

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate (Tween)

Crenshaw is a cat, but not just any cat. He surfs, he skateboards, he turns cartwheels. He enjoys bubble baths, loves purple jelly beans, and chasing frogs. He even speaks like a human. Crenshaw was Jackson's imaginary friend back when Jackson was in first grade and his family were homeless. In fact, back then, Crenahaw was Jackson's only friend.

But that was then.

Now in 6th grade, Jackson has become obsessed with science and facts. Anything magical, fictional, and imaginary has no place in his life. Facts and truth are concrete. They're absoloute. They're something Jackson can hold onto. And Jackson especially needs that now, when there's less and less food, when his family has sold off everything but the bare essentials, and when his parents just won't be straight with him about the dire-ness of their situation. When Jackson's biggest fear is becoming homeless again and when it's looking more and more like that fear will come true. Facts, Jackson has decided, are something that will never let him down.

So why has Crenshaw suddenly come back into his life? Because maybe right now is when Jackson needs him more than ever.

Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate, is one of the newest additions to our ever-growing Tween collection. And it was much deeper and more thought-provoking than I imagined (given that it's about an imaginaty cat, I expected sort of a light, fluffy story). However, it is very good and deals with some very real issues in a way children and younger teens can understand and relate to. I thoroughly enjoyed it. --AJB

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ready for Halloween

Tomorrow is October, so we in the Teen Department have been getting ready for Halloween. Today three very creative, enthusiastic, and ever so slightly "batty" volunteers decorated the blank back wall of our magazine room, and it looks awesome! Thank you to Anna, Sophie, and Ella! You guys rock!

Next week after Banned Books Week is finished, we'll be putting up a display of Scary Books. 

Stay tuned! There's lots of great things coming up in OPL Teen!

George, by Alex Gino (tween)

To the world, George, 10, appears to be a boy. But appearances are deceiving. George knows she's really (secretly) a girl named Melissa, and has known this for as long as she can remember. Lately, it's gotten harder and harder for George to keep this secret from her best friend and even her family. Then George finds the perfect way to introduce her true self to the people she cares about: By playing the part of Charlotte in her class production of Charlotte's Web. Despite not getting the part because the teacher "doesn't want to give the part of Charlotte to a boy," George comes up with a plan. And with the help of her best friend Kelly, that plan just might work. At least it will be a step in the right direction.

George is the first book middle school book I've encountered that has a transgender main character, and it is an awesome (Terrific! Radiant!) book! Author Alex Gino handles this very sensitive topic with the utmost care and respect. Characters are realistic and well-rounded. The ending seems a bit tidy, but it is a happy and hopeful one that will leave readers satisfied.

George, just out this month, will soon be available on our Tween shelf.

The Verdict:
George is a beautifully-written novel about family, friendship, acceptance, and not being afraid to be yourself. Fans of R.J. Palacio's Wonder will adore George! --AJB

Monday, September 28, 2015

Violent Ends: A Novel In Seventeen Points of View (various authors)

Kirby Matheson loved reading, played saxophone in the high school band, had friends, had a crush on a girl (and had a different girl have a crush on him). He was a smart, quiet, thoughtful, and seemingly ordinary kid who kept out of trouble. No one could have ever predicted what would come next.

On a seemingly ordinary fall day, Kirby Matheson marched into his school's gymnasium during a pep rally and fired a gun into the crowd. Six were killed and five others were injured before Kirby turned the gun on himself. Nothing could ever be the same again.

Violent Ends: A Novel In Seventeen Perspectives tells the story of that fateful day, but it also tells so much more. Seventeen different stories, seventeen different perspectives, seventeen seemingly-unrelated puzzle pieces that, when fitted together, paints a haunting picture of a very disturbed boy and what could have driven him to commit such a horrible crime. 

Some of the well-known YA authors contributing to this masterful novel are Neal Shusterman, Beth Revis, Kendare Blake, and Shaun David Hutchinson.

The Verdict: 
Haunting, deeply disturbing, and unforgettable. Give to fans of Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher. --AJB

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Goodbye Stranger, by Rebecca Stead (Tween)

I have never read a book written by Rebecca Stead, but Goodbye Stranger was a fantastic surprise, so I am sure this won't be my last book from this author. The writing was simple but profound which is why I think it will appeal to a broad range of readers. The main character of the story is Bridge, who survived from being hit by a car as a child and now, in junior high, has an existential question hanging over her head; did I survive for a reason? That question is built upon as the stories start to take shape and each character has to make decisions about the type of person they are and the type of person they want to be. First romance, social media, and trusting your instincts all played a part in building the book's foundation. I enjoyed the theme of friendships in Goodbye Stranger. Tab, Bridge, and Em are supportive of each other, even if they don't always agree. I also love the fact that the adults were always in the background. They were there in the story and they were not absentee or negligent; they were an influential part in the lives of their kids and I felt their presence in the story, even if they weren't completely fleshed out as characters.

Every character is trying to figure out how to say goodbye to a situation, a friendship, an interaction, or just a way of doing things that isn't working. While the characters were young, I could still relate to everything they were going through, and I think you would be hard pressed to find any adult who couldn't relate this book to things they have experienced both in adolescence and their adult life.

There are two narratives happening and they eventually intersect, but until they do, the reader is treated to two very engaging and, at times, emotional stories. I really really loved the way I came to care about each person in this story and how they eventually found what they were looking for in order to say that special goodbye. I would definitely recommend this heart warming book to readers of all ages. *JK*

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Sleeper and the Spindle, by Neil Gaiman

Once upon a time, a magical sleeping sickness began to spread across the land. Foregoing her impending nuptials to a man she did not love, an unnamed Queen (who had overcome her own sleeping curse and was therefore immune to all magical sleeps) set out with three dwarf companions to attempt to break the curse and free the peoples of the land from their enchanted slumber.

Once upon a time a witch cursed a princess to prick her finger and sleep forever. A well-meaning fairy attempted to adjust the curse so the princess could be awakened by a kiss, but the witch intervened at the last moment and did something no one ever expected. Not even the princess herself. Now a lovely maiden sleeps--and the sleep spreads across the miles. The only one awake is an ancient crone who keeps watch. And the Queen and dwarves are awake too, of course.

No spoilers, but the ending will definitely surprise you.

Grand Master of Fantasy Neil Gaiman takes the time-honored tale of Sleeping Beauty and puts an entirely new twist on it with The Sleeper and the Spindle. Black and white illustrations by Chris Riddle enhance this lovely and incredibly creative retelling. Originally appearing in the short story collection Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales (2013), The Sleeper and the Spindle is now its own separate volume, which can currently be found on the New Book shelf.

The Verdict:
Slightly dark (but, really, what fairy tale isn't that way?), but absolutely gorgeous! Fans of Gaiman's work (and fans of fairy tale retellings in general) won't want to miss this! A masterpiece! --AJB

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Accident Season, by Moria Fowley-Doyle

To most people, October means colorful leaves, cozy things like hoodies and bonfires, and, of course, Halloween. To most people, October is fun. But not for Cara's family. Each year as October approaches, Cara, Sam, Alice, and their mother prepare themselves for the worst. Corners are padded, sharp objects are put away, and extra precaution is taken when driving (or even walking) anywhere. For Cara's family, October means The Accident Season. Some years this just means lots of minor cuts and bruises. Other years, when things are particularly bad, people actually die--like what happened with Cara's father. And this particular Accident Season is predicted to be the worst of them all. What is The Accident Season? Why has it plagued Cara and her family? And what does it have to do with Elise, the mysterious missing girl who seems to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time? To say anything more would mean spoilers. You'll just have to read The Accident Season for yourself.

Author Moria Fowley-Doyle's debut novel is perhaps one of the oddest things I've read this year. It is filled with mystery, intrigue, and atmosphere so thick it could be cut with a knife (if all the knives hadn's been hidden safely away, that is). It will have you watching your back, checking your phone's photo albums for hidden images you may have missed, and wondering what sort of secrets those around you are keeping (and if they know yours). And when all is finally revealed, you may still have questions. 

The Verdict:
A bit slow-going at first, but the mystery of what's going on will keep you turning the pages. A great book to read as October approaches. --AJB

Friday, September 18, 2015


Lately, Disney seems to have abandoned the animated films that put the company on the map (at least temporarily) in favor of live-action movies that retell some their most famous fairy tales. The latest in this lineup is Cinderella, staring Lily James as the title character, Cate Blanchett as Stepmother, and Richard Madden as The Prince. Having really enjoyed Maleficent, which put an entirely new and creative spin on the familiar tale of Sleeping Beauty, I was really looking forward to Cinderella. Hoping for another fresh twist on a somewhat tired old story, I was disappointed to find that this version stuck pretty faithfully to that of the original Disney cartoon...right down to the animated/computer generated mice friends who help Cinderella sew her dress.

James' Cinderella character is so Mary Sue-esque she's really sort of irritating, and there is no chemistry between her and Madden's cardboard Prince. Even Blanchett, who I've enjoyed in other films, fails to capture the true diabolicalness of the Evil Stepmother. The one bright spot in the film is the comic relief provided by Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger, who play the bumbling and overly-dramafied Stepsisters. I wish they'd been given more screen time.

The Verdict:
If you're looking for a truly awesome live-action retelling of Cinderella, skip this and try Ever After (1998), which actually does give the story a bit of a fresh twist, not to mention some actual relationship development between Danielle, the Cinderella character, and the Prince prior to the Big Ball Scene (none of this insta-love that is not at all believable).

According to IMDB, we can expect the next live action fairy tale to be Beauty and the Beast (2017) staring Emma Watson. Hopefully Disney does something creative with this one. --AJB

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

One, by Sarah Crossan

They've been together their whole life.
Is there a life for Grace and Tippi
apart from each other?
Grace and Tippi are as close as any twin sisters could be. Closer, in fact, seeing that they are, quite literally, joined at the hip.

Conjoined twins Grace and Tippi were not supposed to survive past their second year of life. But here they are, 16 years old and about to enter high school for the first time (before that, the girls were home schooled, but their parents can no longer continue teaching the girls). Naturally, there are the usual concerns about being forced to, daily, enter a place where there will likely be cliquish, shallow people who poke fun at anyone who look even a little bit different from the norm (Grace and Tippi look a lot different). But the sisters are soon making friends with people their own age for the first time. Grace even finds a bit of romance with a boy from her class. But just when all seems to be going well, the girls get sick. Really sick. The only way to save their lives is for them to undergo a very risky separation surgery. It's possible one or both of them won't survive, but if, by some miracle, they both make it, how will they survive without being constantly by each other's side? Will they be able to adjust to really having separate lives? The girls face a very important, life-altering decision. And they must make that decision NOW!

Typically I don't go for novels written in verse (the sole exception being Ian Doescher's William Shakespeare's Star Wars trilogy because, come on!, it's Star Wars!), because I find them hard to follow and the stories and characters don't seem as deep and detailed. Particularly those written in free verse. 

But One by Sarah Crossan caught my attention. One, because the premise it sounded really unique. And two, because I'd recently read and loved Nicky Singer's Under Shifting Glass, a Tween novel about a young lady who has conjoined twin brothers. I was delighted to find that once I got past my "This Is A Novel In Verse" mental block (and it didn't take long to do so), the story flowed easily and beautifully. I'm very happy I gave this book a chance, because I ended up loving it.

One is a fantastic choice for older teens who loved Wonder, but are now looking for something similar but geared toward a bit older crowd.

The Verdict: Highly recommended! --AJB

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Azka-BANNED Books

Dennis the Dementor says:
"Read a 'Banned' Book!"
Banned Book Week 2015 doesn't begin until September 28, but we've started the observation early to call extra attention to all the amazing books that have been "banned" or "challenged" over the past several decades. Also, we kind of hope that if you know these books are "forbidden" in some way, you'll be more likely to read them just because you're rebellious in that way (we know we're rebellious in that way).

So stop by the Teen Area and check out the display Azka-BANNED Books (named so after one of our favorite "Banned" books, Harry Potter). Check out a book or two or ten. We promise there are some awesome books here! 

And while you're here, check out our Azka-BANNED Books Contest. For this, we've shredded a "Banned" Book, mixed the pieces together, and placed everything into a jar. To be eligable to win, you must correctly guess the book AND correctly say why it was "Banned" (disclaimer: The book that was shredded was already damagad and discarded from the collection, so no actual library books were harmed for the purpose of this contest). A winner will be drawn randomly from the correct answers. The Azka-BANNED Book Contest is open to teens 6th-12th grade. Winners will be announced Monday October 5, 2015.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

How To Build A Hovercraft, by Stephen Voltz & Fritz Grobe

By now you have, perhaps, guessed that we in the OPL Teen Department totally heart science-y things. We'll take the Mythbusters over crushworthy actors or popular boy bands any day of the week. Science is awesome!

So when I stumbled upon How To Build A Hovercraft by Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe (the original Diet Coke and Mentos guys) while straightening our New Book Shelves, I was ecstatic! Could this book be as great as that viral internet video they did? You bet! Not only does this awesome volume explain the how-to of, and the science behind, the now-famous Diet Coke and Mentos experiment, but it also has a wealth of sweet tricks you can try at home. No C-4 or blast shields required. Astound your friends (and frenemies) with optical illusions... Create a Slinky from Post-It notes... Build your own Airzooka (air cannon) with nothing more than a 5-gallon bucket (or supersize it with a garbage can)... Discover the paper airplane that flies forever... And, yes, build your own hover craft that really works

Yes! Try This At Home... BUT, as with any science experiments, please take proper safety precautions when testing out the experiments in How To Build A Hovercraft.  There are warnings (see the red boxes) with each experiment. Please take them seriously! We can't stress that enough!

The Verdict: Awesome! Awesome! AWESOME!! --AJB

Monday, August 31, 2015

Another Day by David Levithan

Sometimes a companion novel enhances the original story. Other times it misses the mark completely. The later is, unfortunately, the case for David Levithan's newly-released Another Day, companion to Every Day (2012).

Every Day tells the story of "A", a teenager who spends each day inhabiting the body of someone else while trying not to interfere with that borrowed life. Some days that host body is male, other days it is female. A is neither and both genders (a very confusing thing to grasp even if you've read the book, but somehow Levithan, genius that he is, makes it work). This has been A's life since A was born. Everything changes the day A inhabits the body of Justin and meets Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon, a sad but sweet girl who A believes deserves better. There's a connection between A and Rhiannon, and they spend the bulk of the novel trying to make a relationship work at any cost (and there are costs)...even though that relationship is doomed from the start. A somewhat up-in-the-air ending makes things seem like they'll work out for the best, though. And that made everything OK. The whole thing is very tragically romantic in the way that stories about star-crossed lovers always are. I enjoyed Every Day. It was unique, and I enjoyed reading about the world from the perspective of someone who wakes up in a different life each day.

Another Day, the exact same story, but narrated by Rhiannon, wasn't nearly as awesome. The plot was predictable and tedious, and Rhiannon's point of view didn't add much to the existing story (if anything, it took away from it). Perhaps the only difference was how Another Day changed how I perceived the characters. In this book, Rhiannon comes across mope-y, indifferent, and having really low self-esteem. And her character doesn't improve as the story progresses. A comes off as creepy and stalker-y and someone who will stop at nothing to get what he/she/it wants (Rhiannon) and doesn't care who he/she/it hurts to get what he/she/it wants (Justin, Rhiannon, and pretty much every single host he/she/it inhabits as well as the friends, family, and girlfriends/boyfriends of those hosts). The only character I felt any sympathy for was Justin. He may not have been the dream boyfriend by any stretch, but he did care about Rhiannon even if he had trouble expressing his feelings. He didn't deserve to be lied to and cheated on. Further, the ending of Another Day was much more unsatisfying and frustrating than that of Every Day, and that made the story feel unfinished. Perhaps this means an actual sequel is in the works? 

The verdict
I will not deny the awesomeness of Every Day. It is still way up there on my list. But I admit that Another Day changed how I felt about the first book--and not in a positive way. If you too loved Every Day, skip Another Day. This is one companion novel that adds nothing to the original story. --AJB

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Friends, Fugues, and Fortune Cookies, by Michelle Schusterman (Tween)

Friends, Fugues, and Fortune Cookies is the sequel to I Heart Band, by Michelle Schusterman. This is a cute middle school book and it's perfect for ages 8 to 12.

Holly is looking forward to the winter dance and she wants to go with Aaron, her crush. She's so sure that he's going to ask her that she turns down her good friend Owen's invitation, only to find out that Aaron is asking her friend (and former enemy) Natasha.

There's also a band fundraiser going on where the different sections are having bake sales and competing to see who raises the most money. Natasha and Holly are also competing for regional band, so their friendship is in a tense place. Holly also feels awkward around Owen, with whom she usually plays video games, but when she shows up at the dance, forgetting that she lied to him about having a date, she knows she has to tell him the truth to make things right.

What I love about this book is there are lots of good details about middle school; girl drama, romance angst, band details, and some fashion thrown in for good measure. This book is fun, fast pace and clean.*JK*

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

NEW: Nonfiction DVDs

Think science is just for geeks (or nerds, or dorks, or whatever the current term is to refer to someone not cool)? Think again! We have just gotten a wealth of non-fiction videos that prove science is the most awesome thing ever.

Topping my list of "Must Watch" videos are, of course, Mythbusters--seasons 11 through 13. Can you survive on (and escape from) a deserted island when your only tool is Duct Tape? Does Thanksgiving turkey really make you tired? In the movie Titanic, would it have been possible for Rose and Jack to survive? Is there any truth to those crazy viral YouTube videos? Ask veteran Mythbusters Adam Savage and Jaime Hyneman as they calculate, research, and blow things up in the name of science. Every episode is entertaining, enlightening, and educational.  (p.s. My favorite moment involves Tori and a rocket-powered surfboard. Although Grant vs. a box of rats is pretty funny too). Mythbusters will bring out the wannabe scientist in anyone! Just remember: DO NOT TRY ANY OF THIS AT HOME!

For those who want something a little edgier, try Life After People. What would happen to the planet if humans suddenly became extinct? This series combines CGI animation and (seriously creepy) scientific speculation to answer the ultimate question... "What if?". Life After People is perfect for the fan of dystiopian fiction.

Want to check either (or all) of these awesome videos out? They're on the "New" shelf in the Teen Area. Still can't find them? They're probably checked out. Ask a librarian to place a hold for you.

The verdict: Science is awesome! --AJB