7.31.2005

Book Review: By These Ten Bones

By These Ten Bones by Clare B. Dunkle

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.

7.29.2005

Book Review: And Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers

And Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers: More Mad, Marvy Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison (NEW!!)

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!

7.26.2005

Book Review: Peeps

Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
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!!!

7.25.2005

Bean Bags Are Here!

A few weeks ago, the TAB voted to spend its yardsale money on two beanbags for the teen corner. But getting bean bags from a library company was way too expensive...the shipping would have cost more than the bean bags!! So Mrs. Ryan and I have been searching every store for bean bags, but with no luck. Finally, today, I was in WAL-MART (of all places), and found some! They are a pinky-red and a limey-green. The best part is, they only cost $30, so we still have money to spend. Check out the action shot below!

Jester Workshop!

Medieval court jesters entertained at the court, but also used humor to disguise hard messages so that the King and Queen would listen. Tonight, 16 teens came to the library to learn the art of playing the fool. Rich Andrews came to instruct us in juggling, balloon animals, and "stupid human tricks." Everyone had a great time, as shown in photos below.

Camelot Returns!

That's right. The legendary castle and court of King Arthur will be recreated in a very silly fashion by the TAB on Wednesday, August 17, from 6:30 to 8:30. They have already started working on some decorations, photographed below.

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!

7.23.2005

Book Review: Chasing Vermeer

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

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.

7.22.2005

SP Night

Tonight, 16 teens attended our very first GameBoy Advance SP Night. We were all very happy that the upstairs air conditioner got fixed in time! Everybody seemed to have fun while the Pokemon battles raged, both in and out of the tournament structure. Thanks to Rachel for bringing her GameCube for the 3-D projection of the final battles. Will (the event organizer) won the tournament, but don't worry...next time he won't be participating! Look for another SP Night on the fall program schedule.

7.21.2005

ARC Roundup

I have been reading a lot of Advance Reading Copies (ARCs) lately. These books are cheap paperbacks put out by publishers ahead of hardcover publication to try to get some buzz going on! If the book gets favorable press, it helps sales to schools, libraries, and stores. Here is a list of the titles, publication dates, and my opinions about what I've been reading.

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.

7.16.2005

7.14.2005

Book Review: Kira-Kira

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

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.

Join the FBI!

Don't know what you want to be when you grow up? Check out the cool teen page from the FBI. That's right, the FBI. Learn about a day in the life of an FBI agent, and find out how crimes are solved.

My favorite part? Play the Special Agent Undercover game...help Bobby Bureau get in disguise to go undercover! It's just goofy.

7.13.2005

Book Review: Dread Locks

Dread Locks (Dark Fusion #1) by Neal Shusterman

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.

Successful Yu-Gi-Oh Tournament!

Last night was our third Yu-Gi-Oh Tournament, and it was the best one yet! Thirty teens participated in the tournament and Thai and Alan acted as judges. Many of the players were from our Friday club, but we mixed it up a little with some new faces. Still, at the end, club members Troy and Kevin faced off in a tense one-duel final match. Troy emerged victorious, but both top players won candy (from me) and some card packs (from Thai). Also, Adam was randomly selected from the other players to win candy. Look for another tournament in the fall!

7.11.2005

Book Review: Boy Proof

Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci (NEW!)

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.

7.09.2005

Book Review: The Waterless Sea

The Waterless Sea by Kate Constable

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.

Book Review: Talk

Talk by Kathe Koja

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.

7.07.2005

Crazy Book Group

Today the YA Book Group met to discuss The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer. It was wild, as usual. The 14 group members ate yummy snacks and talked incessantly about stuff, mostly book-related! Also, they got first dibs on a bunch of new books (see next post).

The group voted to read Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen for the next meeting on August 4. I will order the books tomorrow, and they should be in by the end of next week!

New Books!

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:

FICTION:

  • 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

NONFICTION:

  • Teen Ink: Love and Relationships edited by Stephanie H. Meyer and John Meyer
  • A Maze Me: Poems for Girls by Naomi Shihab Nye

7.06.2005

Book Review: The Revealers

The Revealers by Doug Wilhelm

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.

7.05.2005

Book Review: The Seeing Stone

The Seeing Stone (Book 1 in the Arthur Trilogy) by Kevin Crossley-Holland (NEW!)

SUMMARY: The year is 1199 and on the borders of England and Wales young Arthur de Caldicot waits impatiently to grow up and become a knight. One day his father's friend Merlin gives Arthur a shining black stone--a seeing stone--that shows him visions of his namesake, King Arthur. At first, there seems to be no connection between Arthurs past and present. Manor life for Arthur de Calidicot is a complex struggle of terrible secrets and haunting jealousies. Nothing like the red and white dragons, or the sword in the stone. And yet...there is something binding the two Arthurs together. (excerpted from the inside flap)

OPINION: There are 100 short chapters in this novel, and all of them contribute to a total picture that encompasses not just the Arthurian legends, but also manor life in the 13th century. It is really cool how legends and reality intertwine to create one coherent story without being confusing. This book is the first in a trilogy, and I can't wait to read the other two: At the Crossing-Places and King of the Middle March. Look for all three books in our teen section!

7.04.2005

Book Review: Stained

Stained by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

SUMMARY: Jocelyn has two boys in her life. And a priest. Gabe has shared fourteen years of growing up next door. He's "a golden boy, an all-star." Yet now, in the spring of 1975, he's missing. Benny has only been in New Hampshire since January, yet for Joss, he's the answer to a long-held prayer. She loves them both. Father Warren is a link between the three of them. Or a wedge. Or a threat. In a story shot with suspense, these four characters, and the lives of others they've touched in their small town, intermingle with unforgettable force. (adapted from the inside flap)

OPINION: I knew from the first page of this book that it involved priest sex abuse. I mean, it's a huge topic in the news, so any story with a priest is suspect. But this book is character-driven, not issue-driven. You will be instantly engaged in the story through the interactions of Joss, Gabe, and Benny. And Father Warren is truely twisted, though not in ways you might expect. This book moves back and forth between the past and the present, making its way to a stunning conclusion that sets Joss's "stained soul" straight once and for all. The writing in this book is beautiful; the last few pages are particularly amazing.