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