Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Memory Book, by Lara Avery

Have you ever thought what it would be like to have a memory loss? I never thought about it until I read The Memory Book by Lara Avery. The author introduces to Sammie who suffers from Niemann-Pick Disease. I had to look up the disease and it's real!

Sammie is working towards being a valedictorian and practicing for debate tournaments; the next day, she receives a diagnosis that changes everything. She has NPC, a genetic disease that will slowly eat away her body and will cause her to forget everything and everyone. I can't even imagine what it must be like to be seventeen and to know that you may soon forget everyone you know.

This entire book is written kind of as a letter or journal. It's Sammie writing to herself so that she can look back and remember things. She still thought she could move away and go to college at NYU and become a lawyer. Sammie was a rare case because she didn't start manifesting symptoms until she was seventeen. It was good to see that she had such great determination. She was so focused and she didn't want to let anything get in the way of her plans. I'm also grateful that Sammie's family were so supportive especially her parents even though they fear for her life. They seem to want her to live her life, but at the same time they were terrified that she would forget she's in the middle of the street crossing.

This is a great read but it's incredibly heartbreaking and emotional! It's worth reading every word. *JK*

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Spontaneous, by Aaron Starmer

For weeks, I've been waiting for a book to explode off the shelf and demand to be read. Weeks!

I had about given up hope that something unique would pop out among the seemingly endless stream of dystopians, LGBTQ romance, and stories with unreliable narrators (Not that those aren't good; I've just read so many lately they're sort of blurring together).

I got my wish when Aaron Starmer's red-hot new novel, Spontaneous, crossed my desk. This book, with its sparky, snarky dialogue, fast-paced plot, and wholly original concept, is exactly the thing I was looking for.

Spontaneous is not, as you might think, about living life by making on-the-fly decisions (well, it sort of is). No, it's much more awesomely and hilariously twisted than that. Rather, Spontaneous is a story about the gross, but kind of fascinating, urban legend of Spontaneous Combustion. And this is exactly what is happening to the senior class of New Jersey's own Covington High.

Wait, you say. How can Spontaneous Combustion be hilarious? Isn't it kind of tragic and, well...creepy?

It is all that. But it's funny too. It's all in the delivery.

Spontaneous begins with just another day. It's early fall, not too long after school has started. Mara Carlyle is sitting in class, her mind not on the lecture, when Katelyn Ogden explodes. Literally. As in blood and guts everywhere. Other seniors (and it's just the seniors) soon follow suit. Could it be drugs? Ethnicity? Gender? Terrorists? None of these answers seem to fit. Nothing makes sense. As the body count continues to rise, the mystery deepens. And it's not long before the FBI gets involved. And YouTube. Of course. Because homemade videos about such an explosive (literally) senior class is way more entertaining than anything Netflix could dish up. Mara is a firecracker! She narrates this unique and gory mystery with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek. She is rude, she is crude (after all, she's from Jersey), and she is delightfully an in-your-face way. Add a bit of romance with the town's teddy bear bad-boy, and you've got yourself a solid winner (I mean, that date where they break into the old silo and slow dance to 80s' Monster Ballads...I was swooning)Seriously, how can you NOT love a book like this?!? 

This one's pure gold. It's dynamite!

I absolutely recommend Spontaneous to anyone looking for something 100% original. There are some more mature situations and language, so this one may be better for an older audience. But overall, Spontaneous was awesome! Five stars. --AJB

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sticks & Stones, by Abby Cooper

25689007Holy High Heels. That sums up the life of sixth grader Elyse. Elyse seems average upon first glance, has a great best friend, even has her first boyfriend and she does well in school. But if it's a really warm day out and Elyse happens to wear short sleeves you may happen to notice something a little different about her... words. Elyse happens to have a rare disorder called CAV, when a mean word is said to her it appears on her arms or legs and itches like crazy. Nice words appear too, as a nice cool relief. Within in the first couple days Elyse learns something new about her disease. Words have only ever appeared when said to her, now they are appearing when she thinks them about herself.

Sticks & Stones is a great book that shows readers how important it is to be kind to others and to yourself. We have all been in Elyse's shoes more than once and I love how she shows her personality and puts herself out there despite her CAV. Now as far as I know CAV is not real, however it is a great way to show how words can truly hurt (or itch) us. Sticks & Stones will soon be on the new Tween shelf and should be read by all teens younger and older (even adults too) as the message is truly powerful and one we all need a reminder of. And remember as the school year starts to not only be kind and positive to those around you but also to yourself!


Monday, August 15, 2016

Volunteers Wanted!

Attention Teens!

Do you need community service hours for National Honor Society, Scouting, or other service group? Do you love the library? If you answered “Yes!” to one (or both) of these questions, consider becoming a Teen Volunteer for Oxford Public Library! To get started, stop by the Teen Desk and fill out an application. Teen Volunteers must be in grades 6-12.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Two People that are NOT J.K. Rowling

Image result for harry potter and the cursed child We all feel the pressure from our parents- when we're little it's the pressure to eat our vegetables and to clean up our dirty clothes. As we get older it's the pressure to choose the right electives or make the right teams. And so on, and so on. Even if you happen to be a wizard, you still feel the pressure from your parents. And it happens to multiply (by a billion) if your dad is Harry Potter. When you're a child of the "boy who lived" life can't be normal, because your dad's not normal (just check out his head!). This is the life for Albus, son of Harry and Ginny Potter. The just average, wrong house obtaining, broomstick ruining wizard that can't seem to live up to his father's potential and his hefty name.

Image result for harry potter and the cursed child Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a book that accompanies the series, notice how I did not say the eighth book to the series. It was written by two authors and was written as a play, not a story or chapter book. Do not be surprised when you pick this book up and see it written as a script, because that is what it originally was. If you have never read a Harry Potter book or even seen one of the movies (shame on you, go to the Tween shelf and find one immediately) do not bother to pick this book up. Since it is written as a play there is very little devoted to description of the characters or even the settings. You must use what you already know about the characters and the various settings in order to set up what's happening. If you have read the books (yay, you!) then yes, this is a must read. Ever since the seventh book ended I've wanted more. More, more more! I pictured everything working out, a happily ever after. It's what Harry deserved after living the first portion of his life under a staircase and then being ruthlessly hunted down by mass murderer throughout his teenage years. But what if that's not the case. If you are a Harry Potter fan then yes, this book will give you a couple hours of sweet bliss because it's more. If you are looking for the next book to become an epic masterpiece, this will not be it. But why trust me? Check out Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, even if you are a slytherin I would love to know what you think!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Congratulations Summer Reading Winners 2016!

Congratulations to the winners of the Teen Summer Reading Program 2016 Prize Drawing:
Kendall Todd
Byron Wolf
Esme Roda
Madison Hunley
Becca Miller-Zelinko
Also, an honorable mention goes to to:

Katie Mansfield

For turning in the most tickets.

Great job to our 2016 winners and to every teen who participated in Summer Reading 2016!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Week of Mondays, by Jessica Brody

Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of The Mondays. 


And this is more than just your average Terrible-Horrible-No-Good-Very-Bad-Day sort of Monday. Everything (and I do mean everything) than CAN go wrong DOES go wrong, from Worst Picture Day Ever to encounters with spiteful mean-girl cheerleaders to ultimate public humiliation. And then the icing on the cake: Her boyfriend, Tristan, dumps her on what should have been the most romantic evening of her 16-year-old life. 

As she cries herself to sleep, Ellison makes a wish to do it all over again. If only she could have a second chance, she can somehow get things right and Tristan won't break up with her. But she never in a million years thought she'd actually get her wish. I mean, this isn't Harry Potter. And those Time Turner thingies don't really exist.

But when she wakes up, she's back to Monday morning. And she's forced to relive the Worst Monday Ever over and over and over again. 

As in Groundhog Day style. 

And eventually she DOES make changes. She DOES do things different. And some things DO change for the better. Lots of things, actually.

But one thing remains the same, no matter what: Ellison always gets dumped at the end of the day.

Can Ellison figure out how fix things so she can make it to Tuesday? Or will she be trapped in Monday forever?

A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody is a quick, fun read...despite it's being predictable. Ellison is a character that really grows on you because she grows over the course of the story: At first she's a shallow, insecure brat. But by the end she's a far more mature, self-confident young woman. It's the sort of character growth you hope will happen. It's refreshing.

Plus, she gets the guy. Just not in the way you'd maybe expect. Actually, I was hoping she'd end up with... Wait! I can't spoil the ending.

You'll just have to read it for yourself. --AJB

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee

Growing up with a twin I've had my fair share of sharing things- birthdays, bedrooms, toys, even friends. However, he (I'm a she) is my fraternal twin. Meaning we don't look a lot alike and aside from things and days, we don't share any of the same physical attributes. Hailey and Clara are also twins, they do look a lot alike (aside from the fact that Hailey has dyed her hair hot pink). They also happen to share more than a birthday and a bedroom. They share a spinal column. Hailey and Clara are conjoined twins.

Image result for gemini by sonya mukherjeeThe girls are in their senior year of high school in the small town of Bear Pass. Here most of the people are use to seeing the girls, who are conjoined back to back (or butt to butt as they put it). Daily life is routine and as normal as it gets for the girls. They may not physically be able to play on a sports team, but they (secretly) have a love for astronomy and the arts. Everything is thrown upside down when a new senior boy moves to Bear Pass. It's someone that has never seen the girls before. How will he react? With his reaction comes a new turn in the girls' lives, one that may just split them apart.

Gemini is a great coming to terms books for all readers (the characters are seniors in high school and speak heavily of college, this may make the book more relatable for older teens). The characters are strong and smart (how could you not be?). There real sides and feelings are also shown from each point of view as the chapters switch between the girls. They battle every day high situations such as applying for colleges and dealing with the opposite sex, while managing to be individuals. Individuals that happen to always be with each other. I love the characters personalities and how they manage their lives. Mukherjee does a fantastic job at not only describing big things, like a Sadie Hawkins Dance, but how the girls manage little things like setting the table as well. Gemini is a fantastic, fast pace read that is located on our new shelf. Check it out today! Let us know what you think!


Monday, August 1, 2016

Shadows of the Dark Crystal, by J.M. Lee

Most people familiar with 1980s pop culture have at least heard of The Dark Crystal. Yep, that weird-yet-cool fantasy movie featuring all those creepy puppets. The one that pre-dated The Labyrinth by a few years.

Author J.M. Lee must be a fan of the film, because he has crafted a fantastic prequel that is every bit as awesome as the original story. Here we have Shadows of The Dark Crystal, which takes place several years before the events of the film. This story centers on Naia, a strong-willed Gelfling girl from the swamp who wants more for herself than what her destiny has in store. She gets her wish when she is summoned to the Crystal Castle to testify at the trial of her brother, who is being accused of treason by the Skeksis overlords. She gets more than she bargained for out when she agrees to undertake this journey. Be careful what you wish for? Perhaps...

Shadows of The Dark Crystal is much like the Star Wars prequels (minus the annoyance of Jar-Jar) in that those who know the original story know how things will turn out. You know how things will end up, but the prequels let you know why. Going into the book, I knew there would be no happy ending for Naia and her people. But the story gave some insight into why Naia and those of her race became targets for extinction. 

Overall, I found Shadows of the Dark Crystal to be a worthy addition to The Dark Crystal saga and, at no time did I feel like I was reading fan fiction. Perhaps my only complaint was there was so much odd terminology/dialect that I kept having to flip to the glossary/appendix at the back of the book. And this disrupted my enjoyment of the story. 

p.s. Haven't watched the original Dark Crystal movie yet? Watch it before reading the book. --AJB