Our three judges did their best to be fair and impartial with the variety of poetry presented. Alexa was the emcee, and did a great job as the hostess with the mostest! Shakira scored the most points for her poem "Black and White," and won a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card. Other poets won funny prizes in categories like "Most Warm and Fuzzy," "Most Angry," and "Most Nonconformist." It was fun, and I hope we can do it again sometime!
And as an aside, if you missed SNL last week, check out the hilarious "The Chronic of Narnia" rap!
SUMMARY: After any harrowing struggle, it is nice to consider checking into a hotel for a rest. In fact, this might be just the break Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire could use after their wearying deep-sea adventure. A hotel can be a good choice for any family vacation. With so many floors, such a variety of rooms, and a curious array of guests, spending time in the safety of the right hotel can be the perfect learning environment for children of any age. A keen researcher like Klaus, an adept inventor like Violet, and a sharp-toothed culinary master like Sunny are all sure to find engaging diversions during their stay. Even as the series draws to a close, new questions arise--the most important one being, are the kids valorous volunteers or villains after all? (adapted from the book description and the Booklist review)
OPINION: This book came out in October, and I just got around to reading it because my pile of reading is so big! (There are usually 50 or more books stacked beside my bed...seriously!) This book is slightly darker than the others (is this possible?) because it raises questions about the true motivations of the Baudelaire children. Are they as noble as we have been led to believe in the other books?? Wait and see! As a librarian, I loved the hotel's bizarre organization according to the Dewey Decimal System. And as a fan of Indian food, the paragraph were the metric system-obsessed Mrs. Bass orders things like "one tenth of a hectogram of shrimp vindaloo" cracked me up! Anyway, I did enjoy it, but now I am totally impatient for the last book. In an interview on Amazon.com, Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) says, "I believe the thirteenth volume will be released in the fall of 2006, although something terrible could happen to the author at any moment and then the books would not be released at all."
Poetry Slam Party *** Friday, December 30 *** 6:30 to 8:30
Perform your original poetry in front of judges and audience members to win fun prizes and celebrate the new year!
- Yu-Gi-Oh Tournament--Friday, January 13, from 6:00 to 8:30
- Monopoly Tournament--Saturday, January 28, from 12:00 to 4:30
- Anti-Valentine's Day Party--Friday, February 10, from 6:30 to 8:30
- Dance Dance Revolution--Saturday, February 25, from 2:00 to 4:00
- Karaoke and Donkey Konga--Friday, March 10, from 6:30 to 8:30
- Trading Card Game Club--Mondays from 3:30 to 5:00 (ongoing, registration required)
- Knitting Club--Tuesdays from 3:30 to 4:45 (new session starts January 24, registration required)
- Cartooning Club--Thursdays from 4:00 to 5:30 (ongoing, no registration)
- Young Adult Book Discussion Group--Every first Friday from 3:30 to 5:00 (register one month before attending)
- The Lost Years of Merlin
- The Seven Songs of Merlin
- The Fires of Merlin
- The Mirror of Merlin
- The Wings of Merlin
OPINION: Megan G. handed me the first book in the series as a "must read" this fall. I trust Megan's judgment as a reader, so I was excited to start the book, but I was somewhat doubtful about reading all five. But not any more! I am on book three of the series, and don't want to stop. The stories are really engaging original fantasy. You do not need to know anything about the traditional legends of Merlin to understand and enjoy these books. If you are a fan of fantasy series like Harry Potter, the Chronicles of Narnia, His Dark Materials, etc., you will enjoy reading The Lost Years of Merlin series!
SUMMARY: After getting tossed from her posh boarding school, wild, willful, and coffee addicted Cyd Charisse returns to San Francisco to live with her parents. But there's no way Cyd can survive in her parents' pristine house. Lucky for Cyd she's got Gingerbread, her childhood rag doll and confidante, and her new surfer boyfriend. When Cyd's rebelliousness gets out of hand, her parents ship her off to New York City to spend the summer with "Frank real-dad," her biological father. Trading in her parents for New York City grunge and getting to know her bio-dad and step-sibs is what Cyd has been waiting for her whole life. But summer in the city is not what Cyd expects--and she's far from the daughter or sister that anyone could have imagined. (from the back cover)
OPINION: I picked this book up because I needed something short to read. That is not always the best way to choose your books, but in this case it worked! The cover is really eye-catching, and the plot sucked me in. Usually, I hate books about poor little rich kids with messed-up lives, but Cyd Charisse is a very convincing character. And, despite the "issues," this is a surprisingly funny book. But it also made me cry! Pick it up when you need a quick read. And if you really like it, Amy from book group also recommends the new sequel, Shrimp.
SUMMARY: Fed up with his parents' boring old religion, agnostic-going-on-atheist Jason Bock invents a new god--the town's water tower. He recruits an unlikely group of worshippers: his snail-farming best friend, Shin, cute-as-a-button Magda Price, and the violent and unpredictable Henry Stagg. As their religion grows, it takes on a life of its own. While Jason struggles to keep the faith pure, Shin obsesses over writing their bible, and the explosive Henry schemes to make the new faith even more exciting--and dangerous. When the Chutengodians hold their first ceremony high atop the dome of the water tower, things quickly go from merely dangerous to terrifying and deadly. Jason soon realizes that inventing a religion is a lot easier than controlling it, but control it he must, before his creation destroys both his friends and himself.
OPINION: I like conventional religions. I am part of one myself. But that doesn't stop me from wondering why we believe what we do. I mean, how did it all start? Did Jesus know that people would still be talking about him 2000 years later? Did Buddha intend to have devotees all over the world? Did Mohammed think that his teachings would be handed down in a holy book? What about newer religions, or older ones that celebrities make popular? In Godless, Jason and a few friends worship "The Ten-Legged One," write its holy book, and even have special cermonies on top of the tower. But that doesn't mean their parents, friends, or the local police force are also believers. Many people struggle with issues of faith, but this book takes questions about religion to a whole new level.
RELATED INFORMATION: Recently, a man fed up with the Intelligent Design debate demanded that his satirical religion, Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, be taught in Kansas schools alongside the theory of evoluion. Visit his personal website, or check out the Wikipedia article about his religion!
SUMMARY: Tally is about to turn 16, and she can't wait. Not for her license--for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your 16th birthday brings an operation that turns into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world--and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever. (adapted from the back cover)
OPINION: This book is 425 pages long, but I couldn't stop reading it! The idea of a dystopian future based on appearances is really creepy. If you think we are brainwashed to aspire toward unreal body images now, then you will be absolutely stunned by the practices in this book and the society it creates. Don't think it's like a sermon, though. There is plenty of action and adventure (and lots of plot twists) to keep your interest. Think it would be nice to be gorgeous? Think again...
NOTES: This is the first book in a trilogy. The second book, Pretties, is out now, but the final volume, Specials, hasn't even been announced yet. : ( If you like Scott Westerfeld's writing, look for So Yesterday, Peeps, and the Midnighters trilogy at the library! Also, check out Scott Westerfeld's website and blog.
The TAB is thinking about events for the months of January, February, and March. Here are some ideas for winter teen events:
- Monopoly Tournament
- Yu-Gi-Oh Tournament
- Anti-Valentine's Day Party
- Karaoke and Donkey Konga Night
- DDR Party
- Dr. Seuss program for younger kids
Do you have any more ideas? Respond to this post, email Gretchen, or talk to Gretchen in the children's room!
SUMMARY: Lots of people think Doug Hanson is a freak--he gets beat up after school and the girl of his dreams calls him a worm. Doug's only refuge is building elaborate model trains in his basement and hanging out with his best friend, Andy Morrow. Andy is nothing like Doug: He's a popular football star who could date any girl in school. Despite their differences, Doug and Andy talk about everything--except what happened at the Tuttle place a few years back. As Doug retreats deeper and deeper into his own world, long-buried secrets come to light--and the more he tries to keep them invisible, the looser his grip on reality becomes. (excerpted from the inside flap)
OPINION: This book is only 149 pages long. You can easily read it in under 2 hours, and you won't be able to put it down. From the beginning, you know Dougie is messed up. But you have no idea exactly how much until the very last page. Don't think you know what will happen in this book because the plot twists just keep coming. This book may be a contender for the Printz award this year, so read it now before the rush!
In case you didn't pick up the list last night, here are some books that draw on the legend of King Arthur. Look for them next time you visit the library!
- Sword of the Rightful King: A Novel of King Arthur by Jane Yolen
- The Dragon's Boy: A Novel of Young King Arthur by Jane Yolen
- A String in the Harp by Nancy Bond
- The Once and Future King by T. H. White
- The Book of Merlyn by T. H. White
- Ard Righ: The Sword on the Stone by Ray Cattie
- I Am Mordred: A Tale from Camelot by Nancy Springer
- I Am Morgan Le Fay: A Tale from Camelot by Nancy Springer
- The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
- The Seeing Stone, At the Crossing-Places, and King of the Middle March by Kevin Crossley-Holland
- The Winter Prince, A Coalition of Lions, and The Sunbird by Elizabeth E. Wein
- The Lost Years of Merlin, The Seven Songs of Merlin, The Fires of Merlin, The Mirror of Merlin, and The Wings of Merlin by T. A. Barron
- The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp by Richard Yancey
- The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Remember to wear your costume! Any medieval-themed outfit will do. Think royalty, knights, peasants, Arthurian legends, or Catholic church. You could even come as a Monty Python-esque witch, coconut, or shrubbery!!
SUMMARY: Charlie Fairmile’s dad has been accused of bank robbery. Charlie knows his dad isn’t guilty, but the police are convinced he’s the Stocking Bandit. So Charlie has to find the real criminal—and fast. With the help of his best friends and his guardian angel, Charlie sets out to solve the mystery. Who knew that would mean crawling through a bug-infested crypt? Well, what you can’t see can’t hurt you, right? But can a blind teenager unravel a crime even the police can't solve? (from the inside flap)
OPINION: This is another book from the fabulous Sleuth imprint that has brought you other great teen mystery titles like Fake ID by Walter Sorrells and Double Helix by Nancy Werlin. You might think that a book about a blind teen detective would devolve into trite drivel about living with a handicap. And it very easily could. But not this one! Charlie's guide through the neighborhood and at school is Bernadette, a smart-mouthed tough girl whose only soft spot is for Charlie. Charlie himself is self-assured and creative in trying to solve the mystery of the Stocking Bandit. The book is full of humor and bizarre situations, even a bit of supernatural help at crucial moments. And the end is truely surprising.
BEST QUOTE: "Lewis can't help thinking of al the horror movies where the two stars and their friend do something dangerous, and the friend gets it. Happens every time. And, he thinks, that one--the third friend--is me. The more he thinks of it, the more convinced he becomes. This is not The Three Musketeers after all--it's a teen horror flick. Charlie is tall and handsome, real star material. And he's blind, for crying out loud. They'll never kill him. Bernadette isn't a beauty...but she's smart and determined and Charlie's best friend. She's safe, too. No, thinks Lewis, I'm the third friend. Zombie bait."
SUMMARY: Imagine a society dominated by the feed--a next-generation Internet/television hybrid that is directly hardwired into the brain. Teen narrator Titus never questions his world, in which parents select their babies' attributes in the conceptionarium, corporations dominate the information stream, and kids learn to employ the feed more efficiently in School. But everything changes when he and his pals travel to the moon for spring break. There Titus meets home-schooled Violet, who thinks for herself, searches out news and asserts that "Everything we've grown up with the stories on the feed, the games, all of that it's all streamlining our personalities so we're easier to sell to." Titus's greatest strength lies in his denial of and uncomfortable awakening to the truth. This satire offers a thought-provoking and scathing indictment that may prod readers to examine the more sinister possibilities of corporate- and media-dominated culture. (adapted from the Publishers Weekly review)
OPINION: This book is dystopian fiction at its best! If you like books like The Bar Code Tattoo and 1984, or movies like I, Robot or Minority Report, this book is for you. The idea of having advertising bombarding your brain every minute is really creepy. Actually, what really made me shiver was role of School. When the government was no longer able to fund public schools, the corporations took over education to teach feed users to become better consumers. Scary! Think about how much advertising is already a part of your school life. Anyway, this book is very well written (better than The Bar Code Tattoo...sorry) and worth the time it takes to get into the mind of a future generation.
If you're sorry you missed it...
Look for some books:
- The 500 Best Urban Legends Ever! by Yorick Brown
- Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: The Book of Scary Urban Legends collected by Jan Harold Brunvand
- Encyclopedia of Urban Legends by Jan Harold Brunvand
- The Chicken-Fried Rat: Tales Too Gross to Be True by Cylin Busby
- The Big Book of Urban Legends (graphic novel) by Robert Loren Fleming
- The Exploding Toilet: Modern Urban Legends by David Holt
- Hollywood Urban Legends by Richard Roeper
- Mysterious Urban Myths by John Townsend
- Wikipedia Article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_legends
- Snopes Urban Legends Reference Pages: http://www.snopes.com
- Truth or Fiction: http://www.truthorfiction.com/
- Mythbusters TV Show: http://dsc.discovery.com/fansites/mythbusters/mythbusters.html
Anyway, we wrote our own urban legends, which I posted below. Caitlin and Jeff won TRW backpacks for having the most convincing urban legend. We did an urban legend quiz, on which Marissa only missed two answers. She won a backpack, too. Also, Maria posted a bizarre quote below which is actually from an urban legend mad-lib that we did. Now we all know lots of useless trivia, but I bet none of us will ever believe email forwards again!!!
Victim: single mother
Object: credit card
On August 14, 1987, a cop pulled over a woman for speeding on the highway. The victim was a Ms. Shirley Parker from West Banks, Oregon, a single mother of three. The cop took her wallet, claiming to be searching for her license and registration, and "accidentally" confiscated her Visa card instead of her license. The woman called her credit card company as soon as she found out, and they revealed that her account was accessed by an Officer Roger Steele. Apparently, he had done the same thing to at least five other women on the highway in such diverse states as California, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, and Kansas. If you live anywhere in the west, e-mail this to five friends. Officer Steele may be been caught, but there are others out there willing to take money from victims like you!!! Do your part. Keep the west informed.
Victim: little old lady
Location: office building
Beware of a lunatic lollipop home handyman. Once we had a case where a little old lady's lollipop was stoled by a handyman while she was in an office building. Before this happens to your grandma, send us ten dollars and your little old grandma will be safe. You can count on us! This happened to my grandma. Stop it before it happens to YOURS!
The Lollipop Protecting Management
Fill out this form and email it back to us:
Checking Account Number:
Amount of Payment:
Victim: nerdy computer whiz
Location: fast food restaurant
Warning! Warning! Beware of a fast food restaurant haunted by a nerdy computer whiz kid! A postal worker got hungry on her way home from work. But on her way to the restaurant, she hit a dog. The dog surprisingly survived and ran away, revealing a boy passed out in the middle of the street. The postal worker got scared, thinking that she killed him, but he really had just passed out after seeing the dog getting hit. She then loaded him in the trunk of her car and drove off. She was still so hungry that she made a quick turn into the drive thru. Instead, she drove into a window, killing herself and the nerdy boy. I gues you could say she's not hungry any more. Now, as legend has it, the nerdy kid haunts the fast food restaurant because he was headed there before he died.
Victim: pregnant teen
Location: grocery store
On February 18th, a pregnant teen was shopping for chocolate bars to fill her craving. Before she got to the checkout line, her water broke. Her mom was at home with the stove on and said she would meet the girl at the hospital ASAP. The girl later found out that the kind man who had helped her into the ambulance was the telemarketer who called her five times the night before. When she got home with her new baby, she was again called by the same telemarketer.
Victim: innocent girl
There was a handsome Pizza Hut delivery guy who fell in love with a sick girl at the hospital. She had cancer of the kidney. Whenever he got a call to make a delivery, we would go to see the innocent girl in the hospital. He kept taking pictures of her, but he told her they were only to remember her by. Then a nurse spotted him taking pictures and realized he was stalking the innocent girl. She called the cops and they placed him in custody. He was fined $10,000 and sentenced to an asylum for life and stripped of his job. Caution! A Pizza Hut delivery guy may be after you! Please try to restrain from ordering from or going to a Pizza Hut!!
OK, so it's not exactly new. But it is new to the teen nonfiction area. I'm talking about some nonfiction books that are for teens that were moved from J to Teen this week! The teen nonfiction shelf is actually ALMOST FULL. We need to knock down a wall!
Here is a list:
- If High School Is a Game, Here's How to Break the Rules by Cherie Carter-Scott
- Born Beautiful: The African American Teenager's Complete Beauty Guide by Alfred Fornay
- Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos
- It's Your World--If You Don't Like It, Change It: Activism for Teenagers by Mikki Halpin
- My Sisters' Voices: Teenage Girls of Color Speak Out edited by Iris Jacob
- Teen Ink: Love and Relationships edited by Stephanie H. Meyer and John Meyer
- Teen Ink 2: More Voices, More Visions edited by Stephanie H. Meyer and John Meyer
- Yell-Oh Girls! Emerging Voices Explore Culture, Identity, and Growing Up Asian American edited by Vickie Nam
- Guys Write for Guys Read edited by Jon Scieszka
- Taste Berries for Teens: Inspiriational Short Stories and Encouragement on Life, Love, Friendship and Tough Issues edited by Bettie B. Youngs and Jennifer Leigh Youngs
SUMMARY: Fourteen-year-old Jaime is used to her best friend, Melissa, being the center of attention. Melissa wants to be a model—she’s beautiful, popular, and talented. There’s just one small problem—Melissa thinks she’s pregnant, and she wants Jaime’s help. But there’s not much Jaime can do. Melissa refuses to tell her parents; Jaime refuses to be the same old reliable doormat. She’s got a lead in the school play and a new friendship with Zach. Jaime is changing, too. And she’s sick of being stepped on! (from the inside flap)
OPINION: This story is told in a series of short first-person vignettes, each with an eye-catching, vertically arranged title. It is very short--I read the book in an hour. The story moves quickly and is fairly believable. One thing I love about the book: both girls are in the school play, which is "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds" by Paul Zindel, one of my favorite YA authors ever. What makes this book striking is that it was written by a 15-year-old! Really. She goes to high school in Arizona. It's a better book than I could write, so I can't really criticise her!
- Teen Dream Jobs: How to Find the Job You Really Want Now by Nora E. Coon
- King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography by Chris Crutcher
- Life Lists for Teens by Pamela Espeland
- The Teen Survival Guide to Dating and Relating by Annie Fox
- When a Friend Dies: A Book for Teens about Grieving and Healing by Marilyn E. Gootman
- They Broke the Law--You Be the Judge: True Cases of Teen Crime by Thomas A. Jacobs
- What Are My Rights? by Thomas A. Jacobs
- More Than a Label: Why What You Wear or Who You're With Doesn't Define Who You Are by Aisha Muharrar
- The How Rude! Handbook of Family Manners for Teens: Avoiding Strife in Family Life by Alex J. Packer
- Teen Angst? Naaah... A Quasi-Autobiography by Ned Vizzini
What should we do with the money???
SUMMARY: The otters of Green Isle have long been enslaved to the Wildcat Riggu Felis and his catguards, who torture the otters at every opportunity. The otters trudge on, waiting for the day their savior will arrive—the prophesized High Rhulain, who will lead them in battle and a return to glory. Meanwhile, young Tiria Wildlough, an ottermaid at Redwall Abbey, pines for her chance to learn the ways of the warrior, much against the wishes of her father. But when an injured osprey arrives at the Abbey, seeking help for its wounds and carrying tales of an embattled clan of otters, young Tiria knows what she must do...
OPINION: You know how much I love Redwall, so I was really happy to read the new book! This is the eighteenth book in the series, but it stands alone as a story. That is, if you have never read a Redwall book, you could start with this one and not miss anything. Anyway, it is a fabulous adventure in which the characters journey to an island that has not appeared in any previous story. But the familiar GUOSIM, perilous hares of Salamandastron, and, of course, Martin the Warrior all do make appearances. As usual, the best parts of this story are the songs and riddles, as well as the food! (PS--a new Redwall cookbook just came out too!)
SUMMARY: Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain. The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are visitng the realms again. But all is not well in the realms–or out. Powerful magic is on the loose. And until her nemesis Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task. (adapted from the inside flap)
OPINION: If you have not read A Great and Terrible Beauty, go do it right now! Rebel Angels is the sequel, and you have to read them in order. That said, this book was incredible. The writing is impeccable. It really captures the Victorian sensibility, while providing an exciting supernatural adventure and mystery tale that will keep you guessing until the very end. And if you read it for no other reason...think KARTIK.
SUMMARY: Sticky is a beat-around-the-head foster kid with nowhere to call home but the street, and an outer shell so tough that no one will take him in. He started out life so far behind the pack that the finish line seems nearly unreachable. He’s a white boy living and playing in a world where he doesn’t seem to belong. But Sticky can ball. And basketball might just be his ticket out...if he can only realize that he doesn’t have to be the person everyone else expects him to be. (from the inside flap)
OPINION: I don't play basketball. I don't watch basketball. I don't even like basketball. But this book hooked me, despite being totally focused on...you guessed it...basketball. The writing about basketball, about Sticky, and about the streets is completely amazing. It is not a "feel-good" book, full of sweetness and happy endings. But it is REAL in a way that many other books are not. It doesn't preach or judge, it just tells it like it is. This is one of the best teen books written this year, and I expect to see it on all kinds of lists for 2005...maybe even the Printz.
On Sale: October 7, 2005
SUMMARY: Alfred Kropp is busily trying to survive high school, when his uncle gets him roped into a suspicious get-rich-quick scheme that changes his life forever: stealing Excalibur—the legendary sword of King Arthur. But after Alfred unwittingly delivers the sword into the hands of a man with enormously evil intentions, he sets off on an unlikely quest to try to right his wrong and save the world from imminent destruction. This gripping, fast-paced, hilarious novel is both a thrilling adventure story and an engaging account of one boy’s coming of age. (from the publisher)
OPINION: This is a great modern twist on an old legend. It's sort of like a James Bond film--secret organizations, fast cars, weapons, fights, and the occasional gorgous girl. With one major exception: the hero is a chunky teenager with bad social skills and a tendency toward making stupid mistakes at awkward times. My favorite character was Bennacio, the last remaining guardian of the sword who dispenses cryptic wisdom (like a kung-fu master) to Alfred while they try to save the sword...and the world!
SUMMARY: The bar code tattoo. Everybody's getting it. It will make your life easier, they say. It will hook you in. It will become your identity. But what if you say no? What if you don't want to become a code? For Kayla, this one choice changes everything. She becomes an outcast in her high school. Dangerous things happen to her family. There's no option but to run . . . for her life. (from the back cover)
OPINION: Sara A. recommended that I put this on the voting sheet for YA Book Discussion Group. But first I had to read it! It didn't take me long. I was totally hooked by the dystopian storyline. In the not-so-distant future, the bar code tattoo records important information about your life, but also contains a more sinister application. The author does a great job of incorporating how today's credit cards, Social Security numbers, and driver's licences could lead to tomorrow's global infomation corporation controlling our lives. Scary stuff! This book will be on our next voting sheet for sure!
If you missed this GRGF event, there are two more coming up in October and November. Check at the library or YMCA for more information.
I have some great photos from this afternoon's program, but I won't be able to post them until I return from the state library conference on Wednesday evening. So check back later for photos!
PS--You know all the cool new books in the Teen Corner? A lot of them were purchased with GRGF $$$!
SUMMARY: Inside little blue envelope 1 are $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket. In envelope 2 are directions to a specific London flat. The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist. Because of envelope 4, Ginny and her artist, a playwright/thief/bloke-about-town called Keith, go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous--though utterly romantic--results. Ginny isn't sure she'll see Keith again, and definitely doesn't know what to think about him. Could the answer be in the envelopes? Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it's all because of the 13 Little Blue Envelopes. (adapted from the back cover)
OPINION: At the beginning of this book, I was a little skeptical. The envelope idea seemed too much like a writing device, and you know I hate that. But then the story started to take off, and by the end I was totally hooked. The envelopes affect the story in that not too much of the plot is revealed at once. The author definitely reserves some great surprises for the later envelopes, though. This story is a cross between chick-lit and a travelogue, with a healthy dose of the arts. Read it all at once...or one envelope at a time!
The conversation went like this:
"911. State your emergency."
"It's not really an emergency. There's a chicken in our parking lot."
"You know, a hen."
So they sent out Animal Control to capture the chicken with a net and a cage! Apparently, one of the neighbors has some illegal chickens! Either that, or it escaped from KFC...
SUMMARY: For her 14th birthday, Giannine Bellisario receives a gift certificate for 1/2 hour of total immersion virtual reality gaming. Crossing a picket line formed by CPOC (Citizens to Protect Our Children) to enter, she decides to use her certificate for a game called Heir Apparent. But when the demonstrators damage the center while she is playing, Giannine must win the game in order to escape permanent brain injury. The problem is that her half brothers and the hostile queen have treacherous plans to keep the crown for themselves. And every time she dies, Giannine has to start the game all over again.
OPINION: This book takes place in the not-too-distant future, when virtual reality gaming is more sophisticated than it is now. In fact, it is so realistic that Giannine could die from the effects of damaged equipment, unless she manages to win the game by being crowned king! She eventually starts to learn from her mistakes, after being poisoned, stabbed, and beheaded so many times that she is running out of time to save her real life! This is a good book to pick up for Banned Books Week (September 25 to October 1, 2005), since it deals with a similar situation: CPOC parents protesting video games with signs like "Magic = Satanism" and "Inappropriate for Our Children."
SUMMARY: Lucy Pitt is 15 when she is sent to Kindle Home, a group home and her last chance at a semi-normal life. If she makes any errors, she'll be sent to the high-security facility known as Eat-Their-Young Island. Kindle Home is different from the other places she's lived: it's a decaying mansion staffed by counselors who actually seem to care. Lucy realizes that she wants to stay there, and although she manages to weather the consequences of her own impulsive tendencies, she can't control the lack of funding that threatens the Home or the arson that is causing the neighbors to become even more leery of having such an establishment nearby. (adapted from the School Library Journal review)
OPINION: This book is small, short, and tells a unique story. Teens in foster care usually get the short end of the stick. They are older than the kids who typically get adopted and a lot of them have been in the system for a while. Lucy has to deal with typical teen concerns, while having no parents, living in a house full of messed-up kids, and going to a school where people hate her. It's no wonder she punches out a guy who picks on her...and that's only the beginning! This book is a realistic look at teens in foster care, and it's an engaging story as well. (PS--You might recognize the name of the author because he also wrote Geography Club. )
How can you fit exercise into your busy schedule?
How big is one serving of potato chips?
Why should you care?
Join us at one of three locations for a health and wellness program for teens and parents! Enjoy a video, hands-on activities, simple exercises, and food (of course).
Sunday, September 25 from 2:00 to 4:00
Sellers Library (76 S. State Rd. in Upper Darby)
Tuesday, October 11, from 6:30 to 8:30
Upper Darby Welcome Center (7000 Walnut St. in Upper Darby)
Tuesday, November 8 from 6:30 to 8:30
Primos Library (409 Ashland Ave. in Primos)
Registration for all three programs is going on now! You may register by calling Sellers Library (610-789-4440), Primos Library (610-622-8091), or the Lansdowne YMCA (610-259-1661).
NASTYbook by Barry Yourgrau
On Sale: April 26, 2005
This collection of very short vignettes relies on gross-outs, creepy characters, and just-desserts endings to keep the reader's interest. But it got old really fast. There's no plot, just a bunch of disconnected 3-page stories. It would be so much better if the stories contributed to a whole, or if some common thread ran through them. Go watch old Twilight Zone episodes to get the same effect in a much more interesting way. Or, better yet, borrow some Edgar Allan Poe or Alfred Hitchcock short stories from the library!
Fake ID by Walter Sorrells
On Sale: June 2, 2005
16-year-old Chass knows that she and her mother are on the run, always moving to new towns and creating new identities. But when her mother goes missing, Chass has only a few days to find out WHY. There are not very many worthwhile teen mysteries out there, but this is one of the few and the proud! It has great suspense and many creepy elements...from a skull in the basement to a chase scene in an abandoned mill. Fake ID is a must read! This gripping mystery is from the same imprint as Double Helix by Nancy Werlin, which our YA book group read recently and really liked.
The Crimes and Punishments of Miss Payne by Barry Jonsberg
On Sale: June 14, 2005
Classmates Calma and Kiffo are sure that their evil new English teacher, the aptly-named Miss Payne, is involved in illegal activities. But the harder they try to find out her secrets, the more innocent she seems. Is Miss Payne a criminal, or just a harsh teacher? This story seems like it should be funny and exciting, but it's not. I didn't even finish reading it. It is a great concept, but a not a good read!
The Lambkins by Eve Bunting
On Sale: August 1, 2005
Crazy Mrs. Shepherd thinks she is a patron of the arts because she snatches talented kids, shrinks them, and lets them work on their talents while living in her dollhouse. This is a quick read, and is really horrifying in concept. My complaints: the writing is unteresting at times and the ending is really lame--totally deux-ex-machina. Still, if you are a fantasy horror reader, pick this book up...and don't help anyone (even nice middle-aged ladies) change their flat tires!
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
Conditions of Love by Ruth Pennebaker
Contents Under Pressure by Lara Zeises
If It Doesn't Kill You by Margaret Bechard
Inventing Elliot by Graham Gardner
Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Free Throws by Janette Rallison
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Pistachio Prescription by Paula Danziger
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Rhymes with Witches by Lauren Myracle
Sleeping Freshman Never Lie by David Lubar
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Storky: How I Lost My Nickname and Won the Girl by Debra Garfinkle
The True Meaning of Cleavage by Mariah Fredericks
High School, the Real Deal by Colleen Rush
Mondays, September 12 to December 19, from 3:30 to 5:00
Registration begins August 15.
Permission slip required.
Tuesdays, September 13 to November 15, from 3:45 to 4:45
Registration begins August 15.
Grades 7 and up only.
Thursdays, September 15 to December 15 from 4:00 to 5:00
Drop in program. No registration required.
YA Book Group
Fridays, September 9, October 7, November 4, December 2 from 3:30 to 5:00
Participants must register one month before attending.
Get Real, Get Fit!
Join us at one of three locations for a health and wellness program for teens and parents! This collaborative effort is hosted by staff from Sellers Library and Community YMCA of Delaware County and sponsored by a grant from the MetLife Foundation and Libraries for the Future.
Sunday, September 25 from 2:00 to 4:00
Sellers Library (76 S. State Rd. in Upper Darby)
Tuesday, October 11, from 6:30 to 8:30
Upper Darby Welcome Center (7000 Walnut St. in Upper Darby)
Tuesday, November 8 from 6:30 to 8:30
Primos Library (409 Ashland Ave. in Primos)
Registration for all three programs begins Tuesday, September 6.
You may register by calling Sellers Library (610-789-4440), Primos Library (610-622-8091), or the Lansdowne YMCA (610-259-1661).
Dance Dance Revolution Party
Friday, September 16 from 6:30 to 8:30
Registration begins August 15.
Permission slip required.
YA Banned Book Week Contest
Sunday, September 25, through Saturday, October 1
Teen Read Week Celebration: Get Real @ Your Library!
Friday, October 21, from 6:30 to 8:30
Registration begins September 26.
Friday, November 18, from 6:30 to 8:30
Registration begins October 24.
Make Your Own Beauty Products
Friday, December 9, from 6:30-8:30
Registration begins November 7.
Wednesday, December 28, from 6:30 to 8:30
Registration begins November 28.
Permission slip required.
Poetry Slam Party!
Friday, December 30, from 6:30 to 8:30
Registration for both participants and attendees begins November 28.
Want to know who wrote what? Giselle suggested that I color-code the stories, so here is the code:
Giselle = RED
Kaitlyn the Younger = PURPLE
Caitlin the Elder = OLIVE
Megan of the B = BLUE
Megan of the G = ORANGE
Gretchen = GREEN
Here are some old Quotes of the Day I just found from our Writers' Workshop meetings!
"We're like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants...except we're all wearming different pants!" --Caitlin the Elder
"Gretchen is not mature enough to give anyone a 'mom-look'!" --Megan of the G
Megan of the G: "I distinctly heard a turkey."
Megan of the B: "No, that was just some Italian guy singing."
Suddenly, she felt like she was being followed. Inconspiculously, she paused her MP3 player. She didn't hear anything behind her, but fog can consume even the loudest noises. She decided against looking over her shoulder, for that would tell her follower she was afraid. She didn't speed up or slow down either. She finished the lap after what seemed like forever and was taking out her keys when someone grabbed her. She let out a yell, but it was muffled by a large hand that had a ring on the middle finger. "Don't move," a low voice said as a sharp object pressed against her lower back. "And don't even think about trying to yell for help."
Fiona could feel the blade digging deeper and it began to pierce her skin. "Help,...please...someone help me!" she thought. "I'll save you!" came a deep, powerful voice from above. Fiona gasped. It was Mighty Mouse! "Whaaaat?" said the attacker, as he was pummeled by the cartoon rodent superhero. The attacker released Fiona and slid to the ground, unconscious from the mouse's fierce onslaught. Mighty Mouse wrestled away the knife, passed it off to Finoa, then told her to run inside and call 911. Dazed by the attack (and confused as to why a cartoon mouse had entered reality), Fiona made the call.
Within minutes, the police had arrived. But Mighty Mouse was nowhere to be seen! The police jumped out of their cars and saw Fiona brandishing a knife over an unconscious boday. So they did the only logical thing. "Ma'am, you're under arrest," they said. "What?! But I didn't do anything. Honestly!" Fiona protested. "Sorry Miss, but we have to take you down to the station anyway. Come on, ma'am." Finoa protested the whole way to the car. "It wasn't me, it was Mighty Mouse." The cops exchanged glances. "Ma'am, would you please recite the alphabet backwards?" "No," Fiona said rather bluntly, "but I'll recite the prepositions: about, above, across, after, against..."
Suddenly, she was saved from the recitation by the arrival of Zeus, the god of thunder! "Excuse me," he said. "I was supposed to use some deus-ex-machina for a Miss Fiona...Fiona...?" He struggled to read the smudged last name on his memo. "Clearview?" Fiona said helpfully, for that was her last name. "Nope, a Fiona Clearfield," Zeus answered, reading the name with the help of his glasses. Anyone here by that name?" Nobody answered. "Oh well," Zeus said as he left the building. The deus-ex-machina never arrived for poor Fiona, and she spent two years in prision for attempted murder. So much for plot twists. THE END.
Lisa said, "If you want to hear a REAL ghost story, listen up. There was this guy who murdered an old geezer. Nobody knew why he did it, but the guy claimed that it was the geezer's blind eye. It followed him everywhere, and it drove him insane. Anyway, the guy chopped up the geezer but kept his heart intact. The guy gently placed the heart under the floorboards and..." "Hey! Stop stealing from Edgar Allan Poe," Jeff interrupted. "What?" Ben asked. "Pft! Figures," Lisa sneered. "Only Count Drags-His-Pants over there would know about somebody as moody as Poe." "Do you have to call me a Goth?" Jeff said.
Suddenly, the lights went out, a bat flew in through the open window and turned in Count Drag-You-Lot. "I've come to drag you lot out of here!" he said. "AHHH!" yelled Lisa in mock fright. "You have got to be kidding me." Then, a net dropped down from out of nowhere, encasing all the teens. Drag-You-Lot grabbed the net and flew out the window. "Oh crud," he shouted as he accidentally dropped the net three stories to the ground. "I hope they are still ripe."
Then a giant moth flew into Count Drag-You-Lot, sending him into a nearby apartment. The moth screeched and flapped its large wings. Down below (three stories to be exact) the teens groaned as they awoke to find themselves in the net still, but in the palm of a giant monkey. Jeff was the first to notice the fight going on above. "Oh my God, it's Mothra!" "What? Who the hell is Mothra?" yelled everyone else. "Well," Jeff started, "It's some giant moth scary thing that weird manga people like. I don't know much about it, but Mothra's a bad dude. I think we're better off with Godzilla here," he said, jerking his thumb toward the monkey.
But just then, the monkey swung the net of teens over his shoulder and started climbing up the apartment building toward the fight. "Holy Bleep!" the teens all yelled, as the Monkey continued to climb. Then, all of the sudden, when tall the villains were atop the building, a huge bolt of lightning appeared, striking them all on the head. All the villains fell to the ground and turned into little puppies. "Well, that was freaky," said Jeff. And so they each took a puppy as a souvenier. But as they picked up the puppies, bolts of light struck each of them, turning them into creatures of the night for all eternity.
"Can I have one?" asked Scrimshaw. "Only if you do me a favor first," replied Satan diabolically. "What's that, Satan?" asked Scrimshaw. "Well, I want you to go to Heaven and capture the one called God," Satan said menacingly. "What? No! I can't!" said Scrimshaw fearfully. "Well, OK," said Scrimshaw, reconsidering. "I guess I'll just have to eat one of the brownies before I go!" "What?!" thundered Satan in his best scary voice. "I, bestow one of my brownies upon a mere lower demon for no good reason!?" "Well," replied Scrimshaw, "you have to, or I'm not getting God for you. Satan raged and fumed, but there was not way out except to give the impudent imp what he desired. So the Devil gave the evil extortionist a brownie, and Scrimshaw was on his way.
While resting on the Earth's surface after leaving Hell, Scrimshaw decided to sample his prize. He took a huge bite, then spat it out in disgust. "Yuck! That really is the Devil's own brownie!" So he threw it on the ground, where it was discovered by a teenaged female basilisk, who quickly gobbled it up. "Oh my evil Lord!" she sighed. "What a delectable sweet! And just the right amount of mice intestines, too!"
She turned to Scrimshaw and asked, "You! Are you the one who held the brownie last?" "Uhhh...yeah," Scrimshaw said, seeing the basilisk's fangs dripping with acid, poison, and intensively carbonated soda. The basilish wrapped herself around Scrimshaw. "Your brownies are perfect," she squealed. "I must have more! And in return, I offer my hand in marriage." "Well..." Scrimshaw said, looking over the lovestruck basilisk, "It was the last one. I'll have to go make more." He turned around to leave, but the basilisk looked him straight in the eyes and he turned to stone.
"Ha!" the basilisk laughed, but soon the laughter faded. "Darn. I want more BROWNIES!" the basilisk slithered her way through the pathways of Hell, following the other demon's scent back to Hell's kitchen. "I WANT BROWNIES!" the basilisk yelled at Satan, who was startled by the sudden appearance of the slithery, hungry creature. "GIVE ME BROWNIES!" "No," Satan said, regaining his composure. "They're mine!" "MIIIINNNNEEE!" said the basilisk, and the looked at Satan and turned him to stone. The basilisk ate the last of the brownies and settled down to take a long nap.
"I'm going out, Ma!" Felicia called to her mother. Her mother replied, "I don't think so, young lady! Your room is atrocious, you have homework out the wazoo, you have the dog to feed and 4,000,000,000 other things to do!!" Here she stopped to take a breath. "MARCH!" "But Ma, I need to--" Felicia said. "No 'buts.' I have plenty of butt with your two little brothers in diapers," interrupted her mother.
Felicia started up the steps when a small black cat lept in front of her and sat down on the 5th step. "Uhh...where'd you come from, little kitty? Huh?" She looked around and saw a window hearby was open, curtains flowing in the breeze. The cat meowed once and ran upstairs in a blur of black, with a small amount of white from the tip of its tail. "Hey!" said Felicia. She followed the cat as it went down the hallway towards the bathroom. The door was half-closed, a strange psychadelic glow eminating from the small room. She stood in front of the door as the cat went in and slurped a drink from the glowing toilet. After drinking, the cat transformed--before Felicia's very eyes--into a tall, dark-skinned figure in shimmering green robes.
The figure spoke: "Tired of Super Happy Land? Wish you could engage in some obscenity? How about some pollution? Well, do I have a deal for you! For just 6 easy installments of $19.95, you can use my amazing Anti-Happy Time Travel Device to return to the good old days in Euasuvei. How about it?" "Ahhh...ummm...sure, I guess, but... I really, really have to clean my room," Felicia said, unsure of the dark stranger's intentions. But before she could move, he shoved her through the potty portal and into the Euasuvei.
Unfortunately, no one in 2005 had a time machine to send her back, so she lived out her days happily in the land of pollution and obscenities until a nuclear bomb blew up the earth. The End.
SUMMARY: When a petty theif falls through a glass roof in his attempt to escape from the police, what should have been the death of him marks the beginning of a whole new life. After his broken body is reconstructed by an ambitious young doctor, he is released from prison, and--with the help of Victorian London's extensive sewer system--he becomes the most elusive burglar in the city. He adopts a dual existence as a respectable, wealthy gentleman, Montmorency, and his degenerate servant, Scarper. But Montmorency must always be on guard. The smalles mistake could reveal his secret and ruin both his lives. (from the inside flap)
OPINION: Adventure! Danger! Crime! Raw Sewage! What more could you want in a book?? Montmorency is an upscale criminal with a very convincing double life. His amazing memory and attention to detail keep him out of the hands of the law...but some of his acquaintances begin to figure out his secrets. Can his alter-ego Scarper continue his criminal activities while Montmorency enjoys the good life? This gripping story will keep you reading and wondering until the very end. And if you enjoy this one, we also have the sequel--Montmorency on the Rocks: Doctor, Aristocrat, Murderer?
SUMMARY: Bo has been at war with his father for as long as he can remember. The rage he feels gives him the energy as a triathlete to press his body to the limit, but it also translates into angry outbursts toward his teachers. Now dangerously close to expulsion from school, Bo has been assigned to Anger Management sessions with the school "truants." With an eclectic mix of hard-edged students, Bo may finally have to deal with his long-brewing hatred for his father--before it eats away at him completely. (from the back cover)
OPINION: I am a fan of Chris Crutcher, but I had never read Ironman. Alexa highly recommended it because it is tied with Whale Talk as her favorite Chris Crutcher book. So I took it home yesterday and proceeded to read the entire thing in one sitting! Good suggestion, Alexa! I am not much of an athlete (total understatement), but this is more than just a sports novel. Family issues, school issues, training issues, personal issues...you name it, this book has issues! It makes for a complex, psychological story. And a final comment: Mr. Nak, the Japanese cowboy, is a great character!
MORE INFO: We just got new paperbacks of all of Chris Crutcher's older books, so look for them in the Teen Corner. To find out more about Chris Crutcher and his writing, visit http://www.chriscrutcher.com and also read his autobiography, King of the Mild Frontier.
SUMMARY: A mysterious young man has come to a small Highland town. His talent for wood carving soon wins the admiration of the weaver's daughter, Maddie. Fascinated by the silent carver, she sets out to gain his trust, only to find herself drawn into a terrifying secret that threatens everything she loves. There is an evil presence in the carver's life that cannot be controlled, and Maddie watches her town fall under a shadow. One by one, people begin to die. Caught in the middle, Maddie must decide what matters most to her-and what price she is willing to pay to keep it. (excerpted from the inside flap)
OPINION: I am not ususally a big reader of books about creatures of the night, but this one drew me in right away with its vivid medieval village setting and sensibility. The village people believe in the supernatural, yet resort to very natural ways of dealing with the evil they sense around them. The violence in this book is largely the work of the villagers themselves as they try to expel the dark presence lurking in their valley. But the creature seeks revenge, and only Maddie can stop him once and for all. This short book will attract readers of historical and supernatural fiction alike through skillful characterization and suspenseful pacing.
SUMMARY: We are going to Hamburger-a-gogo land! We are going there so that I can follow the Luuurve God, Masimo. He has gone to visit his olds, leaving me, his new (and lurker-free) nearly girlfriend, in Billy Shakespeare land. So he thinks! Imagine how thrilled he will be when I pop up where he is and say “Howdy!” Or whatever it is they say over there. Let the overseas snog fest begin!!! (excerpted from the inside flap)
OPINION: This is the sixth book in the series, and it is every bit as hilarious as all the others. Plus, it comes with a great tell-all CD-ROM! Georgia and Jas take America (a.k.a. Hamburger-a-gogo land) by storm, with excellent bar-stool bronco-riding and much disco dancing. And back home in Billy Shakespeare land, luuurve is in the air for Georgia...only not in the ways she expected! Will the forehead-challenged Lindsay win Masimo, or will Dave the Laugh's advice help Georgia get the thorough snogging she desires? What exactly is Dave the Laugh's interest in Georgia, anyway? And what should she do about an unexpectedly sweet letter from a certain Sex God in Kiwi-a-gogo land? The fabitty-fab-fab-fab saga of Georgia's love life continues!
WEBSITE: Read a great Teen Reads interview with Louise Rennison to find out all about her real-life inspirations for her books!
On Sale: August 25, 2005
SUMMARY: One year ago, Cal Thompson was a college freshman more interested in meeting girls and partying in New York City than in attending his biology classes. Now, after a fateful encounter with a mysterious woman named Morgan, biology has become, literally, Cal’s life. Cal was infected by a parasite that has a truly horrifying effect on its host. Cal himself is a carrier, unchanged by the parasite, but he’s infected the girlfriends he’s had since Morgan—-and all have turned into the ravening ghouls Cal calls peeps. The rest of us know them as vampires. And it’s Cal’s job to hunt them down before they can create even more of their kind... (from the inside flap)
OPINION: Many of you know Scott Westerfeld as the author of So Yesterday, but wait 'til you read this new one!! I liked the ARC of Peeps so much that I am giving it its own entry. This is an amazing new book that totally turns around the myths and legends of the vampire and incorporates them into a modern scientific scenario. Every other chapter contains TRUE information about really gross parasites. The remaining chapters tell a story of vampirism reimagined as a parasitic disease. Those with the disease are known as "parasite-positives" or "peeps" for short, hence the title. I don't often rave about vampire books, but this is a MUST READ!!!
If you are interested in a serious event about Camelot, visit us on Tuesday, August 16, from 7:00 to 8:30 for a talk by Ray Cattie, a local author. His new book is called Ard Righ: The Sword on the Stone, and it weaves together many of the Arthurian legends.
Sign-ups for both events are going on now!
SUMMARY: When a book of unexplainable occurrences brings Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay together, strange things start to happen: Seemingly unrelated events connect, an eccentric old woman seeks their company, and an invaluable Vermeer painting disappears. Before they know it, the two find themselves at the center of an international art scandal! (excerpted from the inside flap)
OPINION: I really enjoyed the puzzles, coincidences, and challenges of this book. Clues appear in the text and the pictures, and seemingly random events hold patterned meanings. Read this book when you have some time to concentrate on the mysterious and consider the unexplained. Then take your analysis of art to the next level by checking out Graeme Base's amazing picture mystery, The Eleventh Hour.
Car Trouble by Jeanne DuPrau
On Sale: August 1, 2005
Duff Pringle has a high school diploma, a job lined up on the West Coast, a new used car, money in the bank, and a license to drive. He sets out on the ultimate road trip, driving across the country. But when he breaks down a few hours from home, Duff must make his way on his own. This is a huge departure from DuPrau's earlier fantasy novels, The City of Ember and The People of Sparks. The book is an enjoyable, realistic read, with great characters (including Stu, a bum and some-time thief, and Bonnie, a tough-girl singer). A classic car, thugs, stolen money, and a mystery were not part of Duff's orignial travel plans, but they made this book a road trip to remember.
Chloe Lieberman (Sometimes Wong) by Carrie Rosten
On Sale: September 13, 2005
Chloe Lieberman is half Jewish, half Chinese, and totally enthralled by fashion. She always knows what to wear, and she knows what you should be wearing. It's part of her self-proclaimed "Fashion Disorder." The only problem? She hasn't applied to colleges, like her parents think she did. This book is somewhat predictable, but really funny and totally fashion forward. Love killer clothes? Love unique style?? Pick it up when you need a quick read.
Flashcards of My Life by Charise Mericle Harper
On Sale: January 4, 2006.
When Emily receives an unexpected birthday gift, a pack of note cards labeled Flashcards of My Life, she uses them for journal writing inspiration to try to untangle her increasingly knotted life. This book perfectly captures the important things in middle school life: boys, friendships, and school (in that order). You will totally relate to Emily's assessments of everything, from comments about her mom's crazy diet plan to diagrams of what happens when your boy friend wants to be your boyfriend. My big problem with this book was that it is all written as a first person journal, yet Emily reveals that she hates journaling in the first few pages of the book! It screamed "PLOT DEVICE"!!! Still, whether you are going to middle school or are already there, you will appreciate the characters in this book.
Nicky Deuce: Welcome to the Family by Steven R. Schirripa and Charles Fleming
On Sale: September 13, 2005
Rich kid Nicholas Borelli's camp closes down, so he has to spend two weeks at his grandmother's house in Brooklyn and learn how to be a true goomba. This book bored me in the first few chapters. If you have seen any mob movies, or The Sopranos, then you don't need to read this book. If you want to read a teen mob book that actually has a plot, I suggest Gordon Korman's hilarious Son of the Mob and Son of the Mob: Hollywood Hustle.
Ready or Not by Meg Cabot
On Sale: July 26, 2005
All-American Girl Samantha Madison is back in this sex-obsessed sequel. I really liked the first book (I actually OWN it), but, frankly, this one bored me. It seemed to me that the author was trying too hard to insert pop culture references, and in the process I felt that Sam lost some of the qualities which made me like her in the first place! The best moment in the book is when all the kids in the cafeteria at her exclusive prep school stand up and declare themselves sluts. That's actually a high point in the story. Enough said.
SUMMARY: Glittering. That's how Katie Takeshima's sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South, it's Lynn who explains why people stop them on the street to stare. And it's Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, it is up to Katie to fine a way to remind the family that there is always something glittering--kira-kira--in the future. (adapted from the inside flap)
OPINION: I hadn't heard of this book before it won the 2005 Newbery Medal, but I can say it is a good read for teens. A Japanese family moving to Georgia in the 1950s provides another perspective on the race issues of the time, which is interesting to think about. But what is really appealing about this book is the relationship between the sisters. If you have a sister, or even if you wish you did, this book explores both the joy and agony of family relationships.
SUMMARY: Parker Baer has it all, and is bored with his life as a priveleged rich kid. When the exotic-looking Tara moves in next door, Parker is intrigued by her beauty, as well as by her odd behaviors. Her curly hair seems almost alive, she always wears reflective sunglasses, and she doesn't understand the concept of personal property. But Parker realizes something more sinister lurks behind Tara's beauty as he watches her befriend students at his school...and one by one they start changing...
OPINION: The concept behind Shusterman's new series is a fusion of myth, legend, and fairy tale. This book is brings together Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the legend of Medusa. If you know both of those stories, then you won't be surprised by a lot of the action in this book, until the very end. Nonetheless, it was a quick read that kept me hooked. If you like the Fear Street or Cirque du Freak books, or just horror/suspense in general, pick it up! Titles to follow this one include Red Rider's Hood and Duckling Ugly.
SUMMARY: Her name is Egg. She's named herself after the kick-ass heroine of her favorite sci-fi movie, Terminal Earth. She always knows the right answers, she's always in control, and she can't be bothered with friends--much less members of the opposite sex. As far as she's concerned, she's boy proof. And she likes it that way. (from the inside flap)
OPINION: Nerdy girls unite! If you have ever felt invisible in your school, this book will totally resonate with you. Egg is an intelligent, independent person who thinks and acts differently than everyone else, and she doesn't want to let down her guard long enough to find out if she'd actually like them. Mix in an engaging first-person narrative and a star-studded Hollywood setting (not to mention a worthwhile BOY), and this book becomes a great way to pass an afternoon.
SUMMARY: Calwyn and her friends have come to the distant Empire of Merithuros to rescue two children with the magical gift of chantment. But saving the children shatters more than just the Palace: It uncovers long-hidden secrets of the man Calwyn loves, and shudders the foundations of the Empire itself. Calwyn will find a way to restore harmony in Merithuros...but its costs will be as deep as they are unexpected. (excerpted from the inside flap)
OPINION: This is the second book in the Chanters of Tremaris trilogy. The third is due out early next year, and I can't wait! Marissa recommended these books to me, and I agree with her. They are great fantasy: the action takes place in a unique world, but the characters are ones you will identify with. If you are looking to immerse yourself in another world this summer, spend a few days with The Singer of All Songs and The Waterless Sea.
SUMMARY: When Kit Webster is cast as the male lead in the school play, Talk, he expects to escape his own life for a while and become a different person. What he gets instead is the role of a lifetime: Kit Webster. The play is controversial, and the parents put pressure on the school to shut it down. When Kit and the cast/crew rally to save Talk, they find themselves deep into a battle for the truth: onstage, and inside themselves. (adapted from the inside flap)
OPINION: This book is short, but really engaging. The chapters are told in alternating voices by the male and female leads of the play, Kit and Lindsay, with pages of the play's script periodically included between chapters. The stream-of-consciousness writing style will grab your attention, even through difficult dicussions about censorship, coming out, unrequited love, and friendship. This book is slim but satisfying.
Oh yeah! The circulation in the teen section is way up, and that helps me plead the case for new books. And the money gods have answered with a selection of new titles:
- Best Foot Foreward by Joan Bauer
- I Was a Teenage Fairy by Francesca Lia Block
- Rush Hour, Volume 3: Face edited by Michael Cart
- Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci
- Runner by Carl Deuker
- Burning City by Ariel and Joaquin Dorfman
- Romiette and Julio by Sharon Draper
- Invisible by Pete Hautman
- Conrad’s Fate by Diana Wynne Jones
- Black Juice by Margo Lanagan
- Figs and Fate: Stories about Growing Up in the Arab World Today by Elsa Marston
- The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick
- Singer by Jean Thesman
- Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee
- Teen Ink: Love and Relationships edited by Stephanie H. Meyer and John Meyer
- A Maze Me: Poems for Girls by Naomi Shihab Nye
SUMMARY: Parkland Middle School is called "Darkland" by the students because no one in it does much to stop the bullying and harassment of kids by other kids. Three new friends find themselves among the targets--until they find a way to make everyone in the school face up to what's really going on. Before long, Darkland is being turned inside out. But there are people in the school who don't like seeing their actions brought to light. Will the bullying stop...or just get worse? (adapted from the inside flap)
OPINION: I know that school bullying happens. I have been in middle school. I have been a teacher. I usually find books about bullying to be annoying because they are boring, stereotypical, or totally unrealistic. This book is not any of those. It is fast-paced and interesting, especially in that the students in the book really do find an innovative way to change the character of their school. This book would be a much better choice than The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar for summer reading.