Yu-Gi-Oh Tournament

Last night, 17 guys came out to our winter Yu-Gi-Oh Tournament. Sean walked away as the winner after 4 rounds of play, with Greg coming in second. They each got packs. We also had a drawing, and Will and Tariq won packs from that. We might do another tournament in the summer, so keep an eye on the schedule.


Sisterhood of the Fluffy Leg Pillows

Last night, 19 girls came out to our Sisterhood craft event! We made bolster pillows out of jean legs (which were left over from last year's butt pillow craft), and they turned out really great. Everyone showed their individual personalities in how they decorated their project. Some people had their friends sign their pillows, others wrote their names in fancy letters, and some drew designs. My favorite, though, was Amy, who wrote the names of all of her book character crushes on her pillow, including Nick, Cal, Kartik, and Zane!

Also, Holly, a librarian from Buck's County, came to visit us and brought an amazing pair of traveling pants. The pants have been visiting different libraries since this summer, and each group has added a bit to them. We added crazy fringe around the cuffs and then signed our names on the back of a leg. So the pants will continue on their journey and take a piece of us with them! I will also include some pix from our event, which you can see below:

Pillow Pix

Sewing on the fringe

Holly helps thread needles for the girls

Decorating pillows with markers

Stuffing a pillow

The finished products!

Pants Pix

Sewing fringe on the traveling pants

Adding our names to the pants


Can We Fit Any More on the Shelf?

A few more new books, for your reading pleasure...

  • Darkness Before Dawn by Sharon M. Draper
  • Forged by Fire by Sharon M. Draper
  • Tears of a Tiger by Sharon M. Draper
  • Totally Teen Scrapbook Pages: Scrapbooking the Almost Grown-Up Years by the editors of Memory Makers Books
  • Whatcha Mean, What's a Zine: the Art of Making Zines and Mini-Comics by Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson


Check Out More New Fiction!

It's amazing how many new books we've been getting for the Teen Corner!! Here's ones I put on display today. They are all face-out with "New Book" bookmarks...you can't miss them!

  • Psyche in a Dress by Francesca Lia Block
  • London Calling by Edward Bloor
  • Golden by Cameron Dokey
  • Saint Iggy by K. L. Going
  • Crank by Ellen Hopkins
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
  • If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? by Melissa Kantor
  • Firestorm by David Klass
  • Lulu Dark and the Summer of the Fox by Bennett Madison
  • A Small White Scar by K. A. Nuzum
  • Street Pharm by Allison van Diepen


Just Added to the Shelf!

The newest of the new...


  • Gilda Joyce: The Ladies of the Lake by Jennifer Allison
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
  • The Angel of Death: A Forensic Mystery by Alane Ferguson
  • Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
  • The Boy Book by E. Lockhart
  • The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
  • Fire in the Hills by Donna Jo Napoli


  • When Nothing Matters Anymore: A Survival Guide for Depressed Teens by Bev Cobain (yes, she is related to Kurt)


It's a Wrap!

This past Saturday, members of the TAB and Friends of the Library staffed the holiday gift wrap table at our local Barnes & Noble. Thanks to Alexa, Caitlin, Kaitlyn, Kara, Marissa, and Megan for volunteering their time to help! This is the first time we've ever done anything like this, so thanks for participating in the experiment. You're the best! The wrapping table made $60, and the children's library got $967 from book sales!


Beads, Beads, and More Beads

Tonight, 20 teens came to our first-ever DIY Jewelry Night. It was great! Everyone got to make a variety of jewelry, including a memory-wire bead bracelet with a charm, beaded pony-tail holders, a stretchy bracelet, and a ribbon choker. And as a bonus, we made glass bead magnets...jewelry for your fridge! I hope everyone enjoys the things they made, whether you keep them or give them as gifts. We'll do it again sometime.


Book Review: The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak

SUMMARY: Death is the narrator of this lengthy, powerful story of a town in Nazi Germany. He is a kindly, caring Death, overwhelmed by the souls he has to collect from people in the gas chambers, from soldiers on the battlefields, and from civilians killed in bombings. Death focuses on a young orphan, Liesel; her loving foster parents; the Jewish fugitive they are hiding; and a wild but gentle teen neighbor, Rudy, who defies the Hitler Youth and convinces Liesel to steal for fun. After Liesel learns to read, she steals books from everywhere. Then the book thief writes her own story. The astonishing characters, drawn without sentimentality, will grab readers. More than the overt message about the power of words, it's Liesel's confrontation with horrifying cruelty and her discovery of kindness in unexpected places that tell the heartbreaking truth. (adapted from the Booklist review)

OPINION: Recently, many books have been narrated by dead people. For example, The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. But this book is narrated by death himself, and it stands out from the crowd. This is a story about war, horror, and survival, just as you would expect. It is also surprisingly moving and beautiful. Death doesn't want to be involved in the way that Hitler forces him to be, but he finds solace in the life of Liesel Meminger. She, in turn, finds solace in words, some stolen and some hand-written. This unique book, although long, is an amazing perspective on a dark time in history.


New Stuff Redux

Yup, I'm back again with another list of new books.
  • Diva by Alex Flinn
  • Street Love by Walter Dean Myers
  • After by Francine Prose
  • The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 2) by Rick Riordan
  • Rainboy Boys by Alex Sanchez
  • Rainbow High by Alex Sanchez
  • Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton
  • What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
  • Truesight by David Stahler, Jr.


Book Review: Out From Boneville

Out from Boneville (Bone, Volume 1) by Jeff Smith

SUMMARY: A whimsical journey, cunningly told. It combines fable with American legend in a tale of greed, friendship, and struggle. The story follows three cousins who have been thrown out of their town for cheating the citizens. Shortly thereafter, they are separated. Each Bone stumbles into a mysterious valley full of odd creatures that reveal strange happenings. The story is well paced with smooth transitions. It is dark, witty, mysterious, and exciting. The full-color art reflects that of classic comic books; one glance at the comic cels and one is reminded of old Disney and "Peanuts" cartoons. However, the animation and fresh story line put Smith in a league of his own. (from School Library Journal)

OPINION: This fall, we had a six-week comic book discussion group, and this was everyone's favorite. It is really funny, but also full of adventure, mystery, and danger. The newest editions of Out from Boneville are in full color, which is fantastic. And, best of all, it is the first in a nine-volume series, so you can keep reading about the characters! I am not the biggest comic reader in the universe, but this series has something for everyone. I would totally recommend it, and plan on reading the other volumes! We have most of them at our library.


It's a Full House

No matter how many books you all check out, there are always new ones arriving. Here's what we got this week:

  • Sharp North by Patrick Cave
  • The Loud Silence by Karen Cushman
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
  • Wish Riders by Patrick Jennings
  • Voices by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle
  • Sold by Patricia McCormick
  • Alice in the Know by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Bread and Roses, Too by Katherine Paterson
  • Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
  • Confessions of a Hollywood Star by Dyan Sheldon
  • Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick
  • Trigger by Susan Vaught
  • All Hallows' Eve: 13 Stories by Vivian Vande Velde
  • The Unresolved by T. K. Welsh
  • The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin


Book Review: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

SUMMARY: What happens when two witty, wise, but vulnerable teens meet by accident at a chaotic punk rock club? They fall in love, of course. While both are dealing with the fallout of failed relationships and the infinite hurt that accompanies them, they are questioning everything about themselves, their friends, and their future paths. The passion and intelligence of these characters, along with the authors' intimate knowledge of and complete respect for their audience, make this novel unique. Told in alternating chapters over the course of a single night, the narratives create a fully fleshed-out picture of both teens, informed by their love of music, their devotion to their friends, and their clear-eyed view of the world. There are many heart-stopping, insightful moments in this supremely satisfying and sexy romance. A first-rate read. (excerpted from the SLJ review)

OPINION: This story perfectly captures the start of a relationship, with all of its uncertainties, revelations, and, yes, passion. The story has no middle school cheesiness about it ("Do you like me? Circle yes or no.")! It is very intense, and very real. The authors wrote this book chapter by chapter, with no advance planning. The characters (and their dedication to music) control the action from the start. If you are a music fan, this is a great f***in read! I'm not just saying that for effect...I think this book might set a record for use of the F word. So, as long as you're not fussy about language, check it out!

OTHER BOOKS: A third book about Cyd Charisse, Cupcake, will be released in January. And see Amy's post below about another collaboration between David Levithan and Rachel Cohn!

WEBSITE: Check out the official Nick and Norah website. It has playlists, downloads, blogs, author info, and more!


Word Game Night!

Last night, 11 teens came to Word Game Night. It was so much fun, and not much work to plan! Different groups played Scattergories, Apples to Apples, and Mad Libs. We didn't even get to play Scrabble, so there has to be another event like this again soon. We had snacks too...props to Caitlin for making brownies!

And for the record: Caitlin beat me at Scattergories, 56 to 54. Grrr. I'll get you next time!


Teens' Top Ten

Earlier this week, YALSA's Teens' Top Ten list was announced. During Teen Read Week, teens all over the country voted for these ten books as the best of 2005. I've read six of them! How many have you read? Look for them at the library!!

(PS--some of the the titles are linked to my reviews on the blog.)

1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
2. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
3. Eldest by Christopher Paolini
4. Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
5. Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
6. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
7. Poison by Chris Wooding
8. Captain Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth by J.V. Hart
9. If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? by Melissa Kantor
10. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin


Fanboy Friday!

Last Friday, 32 people came to hear Barry Lyga talk about The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. It was fun, with a great reading from the book and a lot of time for Q and A. It's always cool to hear about the creation of a good book. For example, in the original drafts, Kyra was a really minor character. Later, she took over the story and got her name in the title!

Everyone asked thoughtful questions, and Barry was impressed with how many of you had already read the book! My favorite question was from Kara, asking Barry about the craziest thing he has ever seen at a comic book convention. Other memorable questions were about his favorite books and movies, and whether this book will have a sequel (the answer: maybe). And one exciting thing we learned is that he was recently on an author panel with John Green and Stephenie Meyer! After the talk, 17 people bought books to get signed. ( I still have a few more, unsigned but a deal at only $11!)

We found out that his next book, Boy Toy, will be released in October 2007. This is a story, told in flashbacks, of of 12-year-old boy who has a relationship with his teacher. It sounds pretty depressing, but everyone was very interested in reading it. Barry is planning to send us an ARC when one is printed, and there is already a waiting list!

And the coolest thing...Barry said we were his best public library event ever. Oh yeah!!!


You CAN Judge A Book By It's Cover!

Amy said it, and I agree. In the case of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, it's actually true! The cover is not some marketing trick...it's a book worth reading.

Incidentally, just in case you forgot, author Barry Lyga will be here TOMORROW NIGHT AT 7 PM to talk about his book. Be here!!!


Newest Teen Nonfic

Just went on the shelves today...
  • All Made Up: A Girl's Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype...and Celebrating Real Beauty by Audrey D. Brashich
  • In*jean*uity by Ellen Warwick and Bernice Lum


Vampires' Ball

Last night, 14 teens attended the TAB's vampire party, and almost everyone wore a costume. It was a small group but lots of fun! We watched movie clips from The Lost Boys and Blade Trinity (thanks to Alexa) and Interview with the Vampire (thanks to Kara). We also decorated cupcakes to look like Dracula and did some vampire Mad-Libs. But the best event of the night, IMHO, was the contest where people had to eat goblets of clotted blood (black cherry jello and grapes) while wearing vampire teeth!

This event was planned and produced by our Teen Advisory Board, who are the coolest. The TAB worked hard to make decorations for the room, so there were lots of appropriate posters of vampirish items. Tyria and Kaitlyn came early to set up and Tyria, Laura, Julie, and Kara helped tear everything down at the end. Kara provided a sufficiently creepy vampire soundtrack for the party, too.

Sorry to everyone who missed this event! Check out our photos below...


Book Review: Crooked

Crooked by Tom McNeal and Laura McNeal

SUMMARY: Clara Wilson, 14, has a crooked nose, a best friend who deserts her, and parents who argue all the time. When her mother accepts a teaching job in Spain, Clara feels abandoned and resentful. Fellow ninth-grader Amos MacKenzie has parents who embarrass him, and keep secrets from him. He enjoys a newfound popularity after being attacked by the town bad boys, Charles and Eddie Tripp, but is lost and confused when his father unexpectedly dies. His budding relationship with Clara is his only consolation. When the Tripp brothers vow revenge on Amos for reporting them to the police, he and Clara face intimidation, which draws them even closer together. In a dramatic climax, the Tripps break into her house and corner her in the attic. The characters' actions and reactions ring true as they try to cope with all of the changes that life has dealt them and still maintain a grasp on who they are. (excerpted from Library Journal)

OPINION: I hadn't heard of it before, but this book was recommended to me as one that might be good for a book discussion group. The sprawling, atmospheric story is told in chapters that alternate between Amos and Clara's points of view. I liked the complexity of Amos and Clara's lives, and the way their stories intertwined. The unique storytelling style and the compelling characters kept me interested even when the plot seemed to be dragging. In my opinion, the dramatic ending of the book was far too short for the length of time I was reading to get there. I don't think I will use it for our book discussion groups, but I think it would be a good book to curl up with for an afternoon of reading and hot chocolate.


Our First Ever Book Swap!

Yesterday's TRW Book Swap and Read-In was attended by 13 ____________ (plural noun) . About 40 ____________ (plural noun) were swapped. The teens spent time __________ (verb ending in ing) and eating __________ (noun) . Marissa brought some __________ (plural noun) for the group to listen to. Megan read aloud a/an __________ (adjective) story. But the group spend most of the time playing a/an ___________ (adjective) game where you fill in the __________ (plural noun) with random words. We should do this again sometime!!!


New Teen Nonfic!

Several new books are now in our teen nonfic section, and I think they will be very popular! Here are the titles:
  • Too Stressed to Think? A Teen Guide to Staying Sane When Life Makes You Crazy by Annie Fox and Ruth Kirschner
  • I Wanna Make My Own Clothes by Clea Hantman
  • I Wanna Re-Do My Room by Clea Hantman
  • Safe Sex 101: An Overview for Teens by Margaret O. Hyde and Elizabeth H. Forsyth
  • Immersed in Verse: An Informative, Slightly Irreverent, and Totally Tremendous Guide to Living the Poet's Life by Allan Wolf


Get Active...Check Out a NEW Book!

Guess what this post is about!? Here's the latest...and a lot of them can be found on display in the teen corner!


  • Mercy, Unbound by Kim Antieau
  • The Shakespeare Stealer (replacement copy) by Gary Blackwood
  • Wild Orchid by Beverley Brenna
  • The Freedom of Jenny by Julie Burtinshaw
  • Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita
  • Ingo by Kelen Dunmore
  • Bass Ackwards and Belly Up by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain
  • Four Things My Geeky-Jock-of-a-Best-Friend Must Do in Europe by Jane Harrington
  • The Dark Frigate by Charles Boardman Hawes
  • The Floating Island by Elizabeth Haydon
  • Born to Rock by Gordon Korman
  • Magic or Madness and Magic Lessons by Justine Larbalestier (FYI--wife of Scott Westerfeld)
  • The Two Loves of Will Shakespeare by Laurie Lawlor
  • The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
  • Pirate Curse by Kai Meyer
  • In the Belly of the Bloodhound: Being an Account of a Particularly Peculiar Adventure in the Life of Jacky Faber by L. A. Meyer
  • Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller
  • After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer


  • Castle in the Sky, volumes 1 to 4
  • Howl's Moving Castle, volumes 1 to 4
  • My Neighbor Totoro, volumes 1 to 4
  • Spirited Away, volumes 1 to 5


Book Review: The Last Days

The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld
**a sequel to Peeps**

SUMMARY: Strange things are happening: old friends are disappearing, angels are clambering on the fire escapes of New York City. But for Pearl, Moz, and Zahler, all that matters is the band. As the city reels under a mysterious epidemic, the three combine their talents with a vampire lead singer and a drummer whose fractured mind can glimpse the coming darkness. Will their music stave off the end? Or summon it? Set against the gritty apocalypse that began in Peeps, this story is about five teenagers who find themselves creating the soundtrack for the end of the world. (adapted from the inside flap)

OPINION: This book will draw you into a decaying New York City landscape, covered with garbage and infested with rats. But that's not the only thing...vampirism is spreading faster than the Night Watch can handle, and giant worms are surfacing from the depths of the earth. It could be the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it. At the same time, the main characters are busy composing strange songs and discarding names for their band. If you love music, vampires, or both, you will be intrigued by this paranormal, creepy story. It's fawesome!

TRIVIA: Every chapter in this book is named after a band. An endnote explains them all. Very cool!

AUTHOR: Scott Westerfeld's blog is a great read, so go there and visit!


SP Night!

Last night, 21 teens came to the library for GameBoy SP Night! Almost everyone participated in our Pokemon tournament. The semi-final rounds were on the big screen, and pitted Conner v. Steven and Maria v. David. Conner beat David in the final big-screen round and got a $10 GameStop gift card. The top 4 players all got movie candy. Conner even beat Will, the event's planner and judge, in post-tournament play! Thanks to Jimmy for bringing in his GameCube so we could have SP Night. I promise we will do it again in the winter. Check out the photos below!


Book Review: Rash

Rash by Pete Hautman

SUMMARY: In the late twenty-first century Bo Marsten is unjustly accused of a causing a rash that plagues his entire high school. He loses it, and as a result, he's sentenced to work in the Canadian tundra, at a pizza factory that's surrounded by hungry polar bears. Bo finds prison life to be both boring and dangerous, but it's nothing compared to what happens when he starts playing on the factory's highly illegal football team. In the meantime, Bork, an artificial intelligence that Bo created for a science project, tracks Bo down in prison. Bork has spun out of control and seems to be operating on his own. He offers to get Bo's sentence shortened, but can Bo trust him? And now that Bo has been crushing skulls on the field, will he be able to go back to his old, highly regulated life? Pete Hautman takes a satirical look at an antiseptic future in this darkly comic mystery/adventure. (from the inside flap)

OPINION: This is a humorous take on the dystopian future fiction genre. In Hautman's version of the future, Americans are so consumed by safety issues that they wear helmets when they take a walk, and roadrage is a offense that lands people in jail. Bo is an average teenage boy with a lot of energy and a fiery temper. It's only a matter of time before he lands in prison, but he is more than surprised by what he finds there. The prison's illegal football team shows Bo that he is a gifted athlete in a world that doesn't allow any "dangerous" behavior. This book is like Holes meets Chris Crutcher meets dystopia. It was a fun and quick read!


Real Live Author Visit

It's really happening. Barry Lyga, author of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, is coming to Sellers Library on Friday, November 3, starting at 7 pm!!!!!

It all began with my blog post about the cool title, before I even read the book. Barry sent me an ARC (read my review), and then volunteered to come visit us since he lives about 2 hours from here! Woohoo!

Barry will be talking about his book, doing a Q & A, and signing copies for you!! The book is on sale now in stores, and we will also have copies available for sale that night. You can also check out a library copy. Put your hold in now!

This book is a release from a major publishing house, people. We are talking REAL AUTHOR. How cool is this!!! Tell your English teachers they should give extra credit for those attending the event!


Comic Book Discussion Group

Today, 14 teens showed up for the first meeting of our 6-week discussion group. Ultimate Spider-Man, Volume 1, was the book for today's meeting, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Tom, from Cool Stuff in Drexel Hill, is totally into all kinds of comics...and it shows! The group is reading Batman: The Dark Knight Returns for next week's meeting.

There is still room for 5 more people to join our group. Get free comic books!! Call the library and sign up today!! The group will meet for the next 5 Tuesdays from 4 to 6 pm.


Banned Books Week 2006

September 23-30, 2006 is the 25th anniversary of Banned Books Week! The theme this year is a circus motif with the slogan, "Read Banned Books: They're Your Ticket to Freedom."

Vote for your favorite banned book this week! Visit the ALA's web survey to cast your ballot. I voted for Captain Underpants!!!

Some Teen Advisory Board members put up a display in the teen corner to celebrate Banned Books Week. Every book that has a bookmark in it has been challenged or banned somewhere in our country. Check one out and keep the "Ticket to Freedom" bookmark. You'll be amazed at the books people have tried to ban!


Book Review: Cut

Cut by Patricia McCormick

SUMMARY: Burdened with the pressure of believing she is responsible for her brother's illness, 15-year-old Callie begins a course of self-destruction that leads to her being admitted to Sea Pines, a psychiatric hospital the "guests" refer to as Sick Minds. Although initially she refuses to speak, her individual and group therapy sessions trigger memories and insights. Slowly, she begins emerging from her miserable silence, ultimately understanding the role her dysfunctional family played in her brother's health crisis. (from Amazon.com)

OPINION: It would be obvious to compare of this book to Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson or Silent to the Bone by E. L. Konigsburg or Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher, since all have a character who stops talking as a way to cope with trauma. But this book stands on its own as a unique study of a girl dealing with her issues in a residential treatment facility. Callie's preferred method of coping with her life is cutting, and this book explores the psychological reasons for that behavior. The setting is drawn very realistically, down to the sounds and smells, and the other girls in the center are believable in their struggles. Callie's story is one that you will not soon forget.

AUTHOR NOTE: Patricia McCormick's new book, Sold, was just released on September 15.


Book Review: Fanboy and Goth Girl

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
***Release Date: October 2, 2006***

Fifteen-year-old Fanboy is a social outcast at school, but his imagination makes up for it: sometimes spinning revenge fantasies against Jock Jerks on The List; other times, contemplating the curves of gorgeous girls; and usually dwelling on Schemata, the comic book creation that rules his private life. That is, until a surprising IM ("Why do you let him hit you?") begins an unlikely alliance with Kyra, aka Goth Girl. They're nothing alike, but she seems to want his companionship, which is more than he can say for his sometimes friend Cal. Suddenly, Fanboy finds himself actually answering Kyra's sharp questions. But can he really trust her with his secrets? And is Kyra being honest with him in return? Fanboy's self-imposed exile from high school life is an authentic portrayal of social awkwardness and insecurity. But his wit, sarcasm, creativity, and obvious passion (for comic books AND girls) are what make him an engaging character in this highly readable book. The cover art may be more attractive to Goth Girls, but this story definitely has guy appeal for Fanboys and others.

Look for it on our shelves soon. Or, ask me if you want to borrow the ARC. Read a book before it's published!!


Book Review: The Naming

The Naming & The Riddle by Alison Croggon

The 1st book of this series starts out with an unusual slave girl telling of her life as a slave. She was taken from her village with her mother when she was very young. and brought to be a slave. One day she is visited by a very weak, sick man who asks if he can rest in her barn. She is a little confused and unsure about him but says yea anyways. Several hours later when the man is feeling better he asks her if she would like to come with him and leave her life of slavery. Of course she said yes so they left and began on their adventure. As the Man (Cadvan) gets to know her he begins to compare her to prophesies he has heard of one who will basically save the world.

I don't want to spoil the story for you so all I'll tell you about the 2nd book is that it was amazing. Most second books I have read have really crappy endings; this one is amazing. So many things happen in this book that I couldn't put it down. I hope u'll read it and enjoy it as much as I did.


More About Fanboy and Goth Girl

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga (release date: 10/2/06)

So, a few days ago, I did a post saying that I know nothing about this book but that I liked the title. Then, today I get this email:

Hi, Gretchen.
I hope it's not too weird for me to contact you like this out of the blue, but when I was looking at some web stats on the site tonight, your blog showed up as a link, and I was curious, so I clicked, and well...I wanted to thank you personally for your kind words. I feel bad that you only have the title to go on, though! I have a spare copy of the ARC for the book, and I'd be happy to send it to you, if you like. Just let me know.

Woohoo! How cool is that?? So a copy of the book will be arriving sometime soon to give me an actual informed opinion. I promise to loan it out to interested people, too! I really do love the title, and the cover art is fantastic!

Fall Schedule...the Blog Version!

We have tons of cool stuff going on this fall!! Program brochures are available now at the library. Here is the list of events if you want a sneak peek:


Comic Book/Graphic Novel Discussion Group
Tuesdays, September 26 to October 31
4:00 to 6:00 pm
Get free comic books and graphic novels, and talk about them with other fans! This group will be lead by a local comic book store owner.
Participants must attend all six sessions.
Space is limited to 20 participants.
Registration begins September 5.

Trading Card Game Club
Every Monday, except holidays
3:30 to 5:00 pm
Do you play any TCGs, especially Yu-Gi-Oh? This club has been going strong for two years, and they always welcome new members.
Players provide their own gaming materials.
Permission slip required.
Registration is ongoing.

Knitting Club
Tuesdays, November 14 to December 19
3:45 to 4:45 pm
You may not be a Hollywood star, but you can learn to knit like one. Join this trendy club and make your own accessories. Beginning and experienced knitters are welcome.
All materials provided.
For students in grades 7 to 12 only.
Registration begins October 9.


SP Night
Friday, September 29, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Bring your GameBoy Advance or GameBoy Advance SP, your cords to link up, games, and game books. There will be a single-elimination Pokemon tournament during the event, with the finalists dueling on the big screen.
Permission slip required.
Registration begins September 5.

Teen Read Week Book Swap and Read-In
Saturday, October 21, from 12:30 to 4:30 pm
The Teen Advisory Board invites you to Get Active @ Your Library during Teen Read Week! Join us to swap books, read, listen to music, win prizes, and, of course, eat good food.
Registration begins September 25.

Dracula Party
Friday, October 27, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Since the release of Twlight by Stephenie Meyer, vampire-mania has reigned at our library! Join the TAB to celebrate these mythical creatures of the night with games, music, movie clips, and more. Prizes will be awarded for best vampire costume.
Registration begins September 25.

Word Game Night
Friday, November 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Are you a reader? A writer? A quick thinker? Test your brain at our competitive word game event.
Registration begins October 9.

DIY Bead Jewelry
Friday, December 1, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Get in touch with your creative side. Come make gifts for friends and family members...or yourself!
Registration begins October 30.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Party and Craft
Wednesday, December 27, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
The final book will be released on January 7, 2007, so we have to celebrate the Sisterhood. We will make jean-leg pillows and have lots of fun! Love the pants!
All materials provided.
Registration begins November 27.

Yu-Gi-Oh Tournament
Friday, December 29, from 6:00 to 8:30 pm
Prepare your deck for our winter Yu-Gi-Oh Tournament! Compete in a single-elimination tournament to win prizes.
Players provide their own gaming materials.
Only 32 slots available.
Permission slip required.
Registration begins November 27.


Free books and free food. What could be better!? Each month, the group votes on a book, the library buys them each a copy, and we get together to discuss it over some snacks.

Middle School (Grades 7 & 8)
Every third Friday from 3:30 to 5:00 pm

Fall Meetings: September 15, October 20, November 17, and December 15
Participants must register one month before attending.

High School (Grades 9 to 12)
Every first Friday from 3:30 to 5:00 pm

Fall Meetings: September 1, October 6, November 3, and December 1.
Participants must register one month before attending.


The TAB is a group of students in grades 8 to 12 who help choose teen books, assist in planning and presenting events, help raise money for teen programs and projects, and generally have a lot of fun! The TAB meets two Sunday afternoons a month from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, and other days as needed for specific projects. This group is accepting a limited number of new members. If you want to be an active part of what happens at the library, pick up an application for the TAB at the children’s circulation desk!


Teen Beat Prizes for Everyone!

The Teen Beat participation prizes are ready to be picked up at the summer reading table in the Children's Library. Each bag contains 1 silly rubber duckie, 1 random animal keychain, a blog flyer, a bookmark, and the fall schedule. Come in and get yours now for the best selection!!


Fanboy and Goth Girl

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl is an upcoming release (October 2, 2006) by Barry Lyga. I love the title enough that I am telling you to read this book even though I don't know much about it! Basically, it answers the question, "What happens when a 15-year-old comic book geek meets the girl of his nightmares?" If you want to know more, check out this VidLit video, read an excerpt, or look at an interview with the author.


Book Review: A Fast and Brutal Wing

A Fast and Brutal Wing by Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson

SUMMARY: Niki, her brother Emmet, and their friend Doug narrate the somewhat fantastical story via journal entries, e-mails, and newspaper clippings. What REALLY happened on Halloween night in the woods when all three teens awakened to find themselves naked and bloody? As the plot disjointedly unfolds, readers gradually learn that the siblings' father left the family two years earlier, supposedly with his mistress. When their mother begins dating the famous, secretive, and somewhat sinister author Nicholas Slanger, he disappears as well. Puzzle pieces begin to fall into place as readers realize that Emmet has since been institutionalized and Niki claims that she is able to transform into a cat, while her brother can turn into a hawk. (excerpted from the SLJ review)

OPINION: This story is very open-ended and subject to the interpretation of the reader, which makes it a very engaging read. It is told from multiple points of view, each with their own position about the truth of what happened that Halloween night. Whom should the reader believe? Is anyone telling the truth? Or are they all misguided, or even crazy? This creepy, mysterious, disturbing book will keep you guessing until the very end.

COMPARISON: The vagueness of the storytelling reminded me somewhat of The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci.


Book Review: Happy Kid!

Happy Kid! by Gail Gauthier

SUMMARY: To Kyle, Bert P. Trotts Middle School is "the gateway to hell.'' All he wants is to get through seventh grade unnoticed. Since he's infamous for an incident with a screwdriver on the bus in sixth grade that was blown way out of proportion by the administration, and he has been placed in accelerated classes, he has lost all of his friends. On the night before school starts, his mother gives him a book to help him counteract his negativity, claiming that Happy Kid: A Young Person's Guide to Satisfying Relationships and a Happy and Meaning-filled Life just screamed his name when she saw it. But the book seems to have a plan of its own, falling open to the parts that are pertinent to the zany situations that Kyle finds himself in, although sometimes offering advice that makes his life more complicated. (excerpted from the SLJ review)

OPINION: Middle school is a time when most people are focused on themselves, while at the same time attaching supreme importance to socializing. People are selfish, yet clique-ish. Basically everyone wants relationships, but few people are mature enought to have really good ones! This book does a great job of reflecting this reality of middle school in a humorous way. It is not a depressing teen issue book. Kyle attaches a mystical power to the revelations from the Happy Kid! book and actually tries to do what is says. But only if it will get Chelsea to like him...

RANDOM INFORMATION: This book has one of the best character names ever: "Moo" Kowsz.


90s Night!

I think 90s Night was the best event we've had all summer!! What a great way to end our summer teen programs. Tonight, 24 teens showed up to celebrate the 90s.

A lot of people were really creative with their costumes. We had everything from Kris Kross to The Spice Girls to Jay and Silent Bob! Prizes were awarded to Laura and Tyria for best costumes, as well as to Megan for the closest spelling of "fahrvergnugen"and to Kara for matching the advertising slogans to products. Special thanks to Kara, too, for bringing excellent 90s artifacts like Pokemon cards and a Steve Urkel doll that still talks!!!

We did tons of stuff just two hours. We watched a few videos, some clips from VH1's "I Love the 90s," and finished with a 10-minute clip from Wayne's World. In between, we did dances, made "U Can't Touch This" slap bracelets, took an advertising slogan quiz, and took cheesy Mentos photos. We also ate 90s theme food: Snapple, Go-Gurt, string cheese, Hershey's Hugs, and muffins. And my crowning achievement, mini-bagels cut in half with strawberry cream cheese...to represent Mike Tyson's infamous chomp on Evander Holyfield's ear!!
Check out the photos below. I put up a lot because they were so good!!!

Favorite Movies of the 1990s

These were some of the most popular movies of the 90s. If you haven't seen them, look for them at the video store or add them to your NetFlix queue!
  • Edward Scissorhands (1990, PG-13)
  • Home Alone (1990, PG)
  • Beauty and the Beast (1991, G)
  • Wayne's World (1992, PG-13)
  • Jurassic Park (1993, PG-13)
  • Mrs. Doubtfire (1993, PG-13)
  • Forrest Gump (1994, PG-13)
  • Speed (1994, R)
  • Clueless (1995, PG-13)
  • Braveheart (1995, R)
  • Toy Story (1995, G)
  • Independence Day (1996, PG-13)
  • Twister (1996, PG-13)
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997, PG-13)
  • Titanic (1997, PG-13)
  • The Matrix (1999, R)
  • The Sixth Sense (1999, PG-13)
  • Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999, PG)


Book Review: Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska by John Green

SUMMARY: Miles "Pudge" Halter is abandoning his safe, boring life. Fascinated by the last words of famous people, Pudge leaves for boarding school to seek what a dying Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Pudge becomes encircled by friends whose lives are everything but safe and boring. Their nucleus is razor-sharp, sexy, and self-destructive Alaska, who has perfected the arts of pranking and evading school rules. Pudge falls impossibly in love. When tragedy strikes the close-knit group, it is only in coming face-to-face with death that Pudge discovers the value of living and loving unconditionally. (from the inside flap)

OPINION: This edgy high school book won the Printz Award this year and caused quite a stir among adults, but I never got around to reading it until now. Even though the book was depressingly realistic at times, it drew me in to the boarding school atmosphere. Pudge's experiences with all-night bull sessions, trips to the smoking hole, and endless pranks reminded me of a glorified trip to sleep-away camp. The final prank in the book had me laughing out loud! Be warned, however, that this story is a hard one to read. Depression, substance abuse, and self-destructive behaviors often drive the action. The varied elements of this story combine to form a tone that embodies teenage vitality at the same time it creates a sense of foreboding. If you like your realistic fiction to be seriously realistic (but not preachy), this one's for you.


90s Nostalgia?

I guess it's hard to be nostalgic for the decade you were born in, but here are some sites you can visit to find out more about the 90s! Get ready for our 90s party on Friday night!!

This pop-culture site features music, movies, and television, as well as fads and world events. Right now, the homepage has people's lists of top ten songs of the 90s.

Wikipedia article on the 1990s
Technology, politics, and trends are all part of this comprehensive site. Scroll down to the bottom for a good list of links, too.

VH1: I Love the Nineties
Find out about the decade and get the showtimes for upcoming episodes.

BBC: I Love the 90s
For a British take on the 1990s!


Book Review: The Prophet of Yonwood

The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanette DuPrau (*NEW*)

SUMMARY: It’s 50 years before the settlement of the city of Ember, and the world is in crisis. War looms on the horizon as 11-year-old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood, North Carolina. There, one of the town’s respected citizens has had a terrible vision of fire and destruction. Her garbled words are taken as prophetic instruction on how to avoid the coming disaster. As the people of Yonwood scramble to make sense of the woman’s mysterious utterances, Nickie explores the oddities she finds around town, while keeping an eye out for ways to help the world. Is this vision her chance? Or is it already too late to avoid a devastating war? In this prequel to the acclaimed The City of Ember and The People of Sparks, Jeanne DuPrau investigates how, in a world that seems out of control, hope and comfort can be found in the strangest of places. (excerpted from the inside flap)

OPINION: The main story of this book tackles big questions about the nature of good and evil, and the role of God in human conflict. And it has a huge old victorian house, a hidden dog, and snakes! It was a pretty good story, but it had very little to do with The City of Ember, except in the last few pages. It was rather a disappointment and left a lot of questions unanswered. Hopefully, there will be a fourth book that tells me what I want to know. Like, how the world was destroyed and how the first citizens of Ember reacted to their new lifestyle. Still, it is an interesting story, particularly considering the current war situation and fears of terrorism. Read it, but don't expect big revelations about Ember.


Redwall Feast & Fun

Tonight, 24 teens decended on the library to eat Redwall recipes and generally act silly. And we did both equally well. We did riddles, made up traveling troupe presentations, watched cartoon clips, did a backwards crossword puzzle, and got our own Redwall names. The menu included Strawberry Cordial, Fruit Muffins with Meadowcream Icing, Chocolate Abbotcake, Hotroot-N-Shrimp Stew, Shrewbread with Bee Butter, Brockhall Badger Carrot Cakes, and Springtide Stuffed Mushrooms. Some of the recipes were from the Redwall cookbook, which is a fun little book that you can check out of our library.

If you want to know more about Redwall, visit the official site at http://www.redwall.org. It has tons of info about Brian Jacques and his Redwall series.

Scroll down and check out the event photos!!


Book Review: Smack

Smack by Melvin Burgess

SUMMARY: At 14, sweet-natured Tar leaves his small seaside town for Bristol to get away from his alcoholic, abusive parents. Gemma follows him to escape an infuriatingly repressive (to her, at least) home situation. Reveling in their newfound freedom, the two find shelter with a welcoming set of anarchists squatting in an abandoned building, then move on to live with Lily and Rob, a glamorous couple a year or so older who willingly share not just their squat, but their heroin too. Using multiple narrators, and only rarely resorting to violence or graphic details, Burgess chronicles drug addiction's slow, irresistible initial stages, capturing with devastating precision each teenager's combination of innocence, self-deceit, and bravado; the subsequent loss of personality and self-respect; the increasingly unsuccessful efforts to maintain a semblance of control. Based on actual people and incidents, this harrowing tale is as compellingly real as it is tragic. (excerpted from the Kirkus review)

OPINION: Heroin tricks your mind into thinking you are totally in control, when, in reality, you are a total junkie. This book chronicles the slow decline of teen abusers Tar, Gemma, Lily, and Rob. The sad part is that they are likable people. I was rooting for them through the whole book, no matter how many poor choices they made. This book is not overly graphic or overly preachy, but it is devistatingly realistic. If you like your realistic fiction on the gritty and streetwise side, this book's for you.


Animal Mask-Making

Last night, 14 teens came to the library to create wild animal masks using tissue paper decoupage. It was messy and a lot of fun! The masks we made looked more like Mardi Gras creatures than actual animals, but they all looked great. Check out the photos below to see a feathered tiger, a "gazebra," and an orange bejeweled bunny!


Hot Off the Presses!

Well, hot off the processing shelf anyway. Here's the latest:

  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • Grand and Humble by Brent Hartinger
  • Almost Eden by Anita Horrocks
  • Monkey Town by Ronald Kidd
  • Troll Mill by Katherine Langrish
  • Chicks with Sticks (It's a Purl Thing) by Elizabeth Lenhard
  • Art Geeks and Prom Queens by Alyson Noel
  • Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To-Do List by Janette Rallison
  • Undine by Penni Russon
  • It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
  • Second-Time Cool: The Art of Chopping Up a Sweater by Anna-Stina Linden Ivarsson, Katarina Brideitis, and Katarina Evans
  • Knitgrrl: Learn to Knit with 15 Fun and Funky Projects by Shannon Okey
  • Chew on This: Everything You Don't Want to Know about Fast Food by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson
  • Monsterology: Fabulous Lives of the Creepy, the Revolting, and the Undead by Arthur Slade


Yu-Gi-Oh Tournament

Last night's Yu-Gi-Oh Tournament was attended by 26 teens and 2 judges! There were a lot of new players there, so the competition was intense. The regular club attenders ruled in the end, though, making up three of the top four players. The final four were Sean, Jamaul, Greg, and Bryant. Each of them won movie candy. The winner of the whole tournament was Jamaul, who also won two packs of Yu-Gi-Oh cards and a $10 gift card to Game Stop. Look for another tournament on the fall schedule! And look at the pictures below:


Book Review: The King of Attolia

The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

SUMMARY: Eugenides, the former Thief of Eddis, is back and just as clever as ever. As King of Attolia after literally stealing and marrying the Queen, he must convince the rest of her court and her subjects that he deserves his title. The Attolians think he's an idiot who is being used by the Queen. They refuse to believe that he and Irene could honestly love one another, considering that shes responsible for having his hand cut off. His attendants and guards mock him behind his back and play pranks on him, all the while thinking that he is too spineless and incompetent to protest. That is, until a guard named Costis punches him in the face and knocks him down. Beheading is the usual penalty for such a transgression but Eugenides devises a better punishment. It is through Costis's eyes that readers see how he and the court consistently underestimate the shrewd young man. (from the SLJ review)

OPINION: This book is the third in the trilogy that also includes The Thief and The Queen of Attolia. I read both of those a while back and didn't remember many details. So, it was hard for me to get into this book for a while. You really have to read the first two books to figure this one out. That said, it is an excellent end to the trilogy, with plenty of scheming and plotting worthy of Gen. Even though he is older now, and a king, he is just as irascible and unruly as ever. But how will this behavior convince the court guard to follow him, let alone his subjects ?


These Books Bite!

Literally. They're all about vampires.

  • Thirsty by M.T. Anderson
  • In the Forests of the Night by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
  • Demon in my View by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
  • Shattered Mirror by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
  • Midnight Predator by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
  • Blue Bloods Melissa de la Cruz
  • Look for Me by Moonlight by Mary Downing Hahn
  • Sweetblood by Pete Hautman
  • Hawkes Harbor by S.E.Hinton
  • The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause
  • Got Fangs? by Katie Maxwell
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber
  • Vampire Kisses 2: Kissing Coffins by Ellen Schreiber
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Companions of the Night by Vivian Vande Velde
  • Peeps by Scott Westerfeld


  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (various authors)
  • Vampire's Promise by Carolyn B. Cooney
  • The Darkangel Triology by Meredith Ann Pierce (older readers)
  • The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike
  • The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice (older readers)
  • Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan
  • St. Germaine Chronicles by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (older readers)

  • Vampire Encyclopedia by Matthew Bunson
  • Vampires by Raymond H. Miller


Book Review: Twilight

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

SUMMARY: Deeply sensuous and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.Isabella Swan's move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife-between desire and danger. (from the Amazon.com book description)

OPINION: This has been on my reading list for a long time, and I finally got to it! I couldn't put it down, and I am very relieved to hear that the sequel, New Moon, is being released in August. The cliffhanger at the end of the book is just plain mean! This book humanizes vampires and really makes it seem like they could be walking among us. The story is a great combination of romance and action, with enough plot twists to keep it interesting. Look for Twilight if you are in the mood for an engrossing and engaging read.

RECOMMENDED READING: If you liked Twilight, you should look for Silver Kiss and Blood & Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause.


New Now!

I am still finding new books to tell you about every time I walk in the teen section!

  • The Goblin Wood by Hilari Bell
  • Code Talker: A Novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two by Joseph Bruchac
  • Pieces of Georgia by Jen Bryant
  • Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos
  • The Black Canary by Jane Louise Curry
  • Ark Angel (an Alex Rider Adventure) by Anthony Horowitz
  • The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer
  • Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jackie" Faber, Ship's Boy by L. A. Meyer
  • A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone


Ratty Reads!

Read some rat-related fiction and nonfiction:


  • That Pesky Rat by Lauren Child
  • Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester
  • Cinderella’s Rat by Susan Meddaugh


  • The Tale of the Swamp Rat by Carter Crocker
  • Space Station Rat by Michael J. Daley
  • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
  • The Giant Rat of Sumatra Or Pirates Galore by Sid Fleischman
  • Spy Mice: For Your Paws Only by Heather Vogel Frederick
  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
  • The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett
  • A Rat’s Tale by Tor Seidler
  • The Revenge of Randal Reese-Rat by Tor Seidler
  • I Was a Rat! By Philip Pullman
  • Walter: The Story of a Rat by Barbara Wersba
  • Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
  • The Red-Hot Rattoons by Elizabeth Winthrop
  • Pay the Piper: A Rock ‘N’ Roll Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple
  • Rats by Paul Zindel


  • Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins
  • Redwall series by Brian Jacques


  • Rats! The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly by Richard Conniff
  • Rat Attacks by Cyntha Laslo
  • Scary Creatures: Rats by Dr. Gerald Legg, Mark Bergin, and Bob Hersey
  • Keeping Unusual Pets: Rats by June McNicholas
  • Rats by E. Sandy Powell
  • Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants by Robert Sullivan


Missed the Rat Party?

Glorify rats in the comfort of your own home!


  • Willard (1971) and its sequel, Ben (1972)
  • Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban (2004)
  • Rat Race (2001)
  • Charlotte's Web (1973)

  • the song Ben by Michael Jackson
  • any songs sung by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, or other members of the Rat Pack
  • any songs by the hair band Ratt


  • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
  • Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
  • Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
  • A Rat’s Tale by Tor Seidler




Tonight, 28 teens came to our Rat Party at the library. We played some games and watched some rat-related media. We also ate theme food, like rat chow, rat poison cookies, and sewer water punch.

The highlight of the evening were our guests: Maria Pandolfi, Alyce Pandolfi, and Emily Elizabeth the rat! Maria runs Philadelphia's Rat Chick Rat Rescue, and her sister Alyce volunteers for the organization. Did you know that rats eat grapes, as well as other fruits and vegetables? We learned lots of great information from them and had fun hanging out with Emily Elizabeth. Check out the photos below!

Look for more events relating to our summer reading theme, Creature Feature. You can sign up now for Animal Mask Making and Redwall Feast & Fun.


Monopoly Craziness!

Today, 34 teens attended the library Monopoly tournament. This was our first teen event since I've been back and it was wild! It totally burned me out...and I wasn't even playing!!

We started out with six games of five or six people. It was really loud! The winners of those games were: Conor, Kara, Shakira, Lamar, Sena, and Sophia. They went on to a final game. The winner of that game was Sophia, followed closely by Kara and Sena. The three winners got Parker Brothers games and all six finalists got candy bars. Thanks to everyone who attended. We'll do it again sometime, but maybe a bit differently! And with food!

For those of you who miss Giselle, you really missed out today because she surprised us by showing up to hang out at the tournament!

Check out the event pix below...


Book Review: Nothing but the Truth (and a Few White Lies)

Nothing but the Truth (and a Few White Lies) by Justina Chen Headley (*NEW*)

SUMMARY: Hapa (Half Asian and half white) Patty Ho has never felt completely at home in her skin. Life at House Ho is tough enough between her ultra-strict Taiwanese mom (epic-length lectures and all) and her Harvard-bound big brother. But things get worse when a Chinese fortuneteller channels Patty's future via her bellybutton...and divines a white guy on her romance horizon. Faster than Patty can add two plus two, her mom freaks out and ships her off to math camp at Stanford. Just as Patty writes off her summer of woe, life starts glimmering with all kinds of probabilities... (from the inside flap)

OPINION: If you have ever struggled with your identity, your parents, your race, or your relationships, this is a book you will want to pick up. What I appreciated most about this story was the humor, especially the Mom Lecture Series and Patty's geometry-inspired Truth Theorems. Plus, I learned about cool things like buildering (climbing buildings rather than mountains) and product naming. How do those fit into the story? You have to read and find out! I guarantee you will enjoy this story of half-Asian, half-white Patty making a place for herself in her family, among her friends, and in her school.


Book Review: Nailed

Nailed by Patrick Jones

SUMMARY: The nail that sticks out farthest gets hammered the hardest. Flint Southwestern High School is run by a cult: the jockarchy. And Bret Hendricks could never fit into their conformity cult. Bret doesn’t mind standing out from the crowd when he’s on stage acting or singing in his band. And he feels at home in his funky girlfriend’s arms because sticking out together doesn’t seem as hard. But loyalties aren’t what Bret thinks they are, as his safe havens seem to disappear one by one, and he learns that sometimes you just have to risk getting hammered in order to build the future. (excerpted from the inside flap)

OPINION: If you sometimes feel like an outcast in your own life, let alone in your school, you will identify with this book. It is full of thrift store shopping, punk rock, and betrayal...all the best elements of a non-conformist story. Bret's frustration with coach-teachers who let jocks slide, his anger at being muzzled in a class debate, his helplessness as a target of bullies, and his passivity in relationships are experiences that too many of us can identify with. Visit the dark side of high school in this book, if you haven't had enough of it yourself...


Book Review: Startled by His Furry Shorts

Startled by His Furry Shorts (Book 7 in the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series) by Louise Rennison (*NEW!*)

SUMMARY: "On the rack of romance. And also in the oven of luuurve. And possibly on my way to the bakery of pain. And maybe even going to stop along the way to get a little cake at the cakeshop of agony. Shut up, brain, shut up." Georgia is in quite a predicament. Dave the Laugh has declared his love for her (at least she thinks he was talking about her), leaving her in a state of confusiosity. And then when she finally decides to give Masimo an ultimatum--to be her one and only--he tells her he needs to think about it. To distract herself from her romantic woes, Georgia throws herself into MacUseless play rehearsals and planning a Viking wedding, and tries to avoid all thoughts of boy decoys, Italian-American dreamboats . . . and let’s not forget guitar-plucking Sex Gods! (from the inside flap)

OPINION: I was hooked on this series when I read the first book (Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging) in my YA lit class in grad school. The series is total chick-lit fluff, but I love it! It has always made me laugh out loud, and this book is no exception. Any book that details the creation of a Viking disco dance is OK with me! One complaint: it ends with a HUGE cliffhanger. Grrr.


Teen Nonfiction Craziness

I saw today that the teen nonfiction section has grown beyond one shelf! That's amazing because the section isn't even a year old yet. Here are the newest titles:

  • Gunstories: Life-Changing Experiences with Guns by S. Beth Atkin
  • Mirrormask by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
  • Where We Are, What We See: Poems, Stories, Essays, and Art from the Best Young Writers and Artists in America by David Levithan
  • Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem by Marilyn Nelson
  • Big Book Unplugged: A Young Person's Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous by John R.
  • Open the Unusual Door: True Life Stories of Challenge, Adventure, and Success by Black Americans by Barbara Summer
  • A Teen's Guide to Living Drug Free by Bettie B. Youngs, Jennifer Leigh Youngs, and Tina Moreno

These books cover everything from art to self-help, from history to guns. Teen nonfic has something for everyone!


Book Review: Specials

Specials by Scott Westerfeld (*NEW!*)

SUMMARY: "Special Circumstances": The words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary. And now she's been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid. The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more. Still, it's easy to tune that out--until Tally's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same. (adapted from the back cover)

OPINION: If you are a fan of Uglies and Pretties, you will definitely want to read this conclusion to the trilogy. And if you haven't read them, start reading now! Even though Westerfeld tries to clue you in with some background at the beginning of Specials, you will be lost. That said, as a fan of the series, I wish he'd spent less time explaining things at the start of the book and more time getting to the actual plot. But once things started to happen, I couldn't put the book down. It is just as full of danger, intrigue, and passion as the first two books, and it will keep you guessing until the very end. You can't predict what will happen to Tally, so enjoy the ride!


Book Review: Ender's Game

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

SUMMARY: Intense is the word for Ender's Game. Aliens have attacked Earth twice and almost destroyed the human species. To make sure humans win the next encounter, the world government has taken to breeding military geniuses--and then training them in the arts of war. The early training, not surprisingly, takes the form of war games. Ender Wiggin is a genius among geniuses; he wins all the games. He is smart enough to know that time is running out. But is he smart enough to save the planet? (adapted from the New York Times)

OPINION: This is a YA classic that I have never been interested in, until Megan declared it a "must read" to me a few weeks ago. It totally involved me in a way I did not expect from a science fiction book. (I keep saying I don't read sci-fi, and then I end up liking the books, so maybe I should just accept that I like to read it!) Sci-fi can always get to the big questions of life because it puts distance between us and our problems through time and technology. This book really deals with issues like globalization, war, race relations, media, and schooling but the sci-fi plot is what kept me reading. Going to Ender's school and playing the war games would be pretty cool, except for the fact that graduation lands you in the middle of a real interstellar war...


Book Review: The Wings of Merlin

The Wings of Merlin by T. A. Barron

SUMMARY: Although Merlin's mastery of his powers continues to grow, he now faces a particularly daunting challenge: Fincayra and the Otherworld will soon come together and Rhita Gawr, warlord of the spirit world, and his evil forces will invade. Merlin's only hope is to get Fincayran creatures and races to put aside their distrust of one another and do battle together. As the fast-paced story winds to a conclusion, Merlin faces his most difficult decision yet. A love of the natural world and sense of spirituality infuse the saga as a whole, and we see Merlin, who has come to understand his dark side as well as his strengths and ideals, finally ready to become the legendary magician and mentor to King Arthur. (excerpted from the Booklist review)

OPINION: This is book 5 in the Lost Years of Merlin series. Megan G. recommended these to me a while ago, and I finally finished the entire series! Even though our discussion of the first book didn't go over too well in book group last month, the series is great independent reading. Some good books just aren't good for discussion! This last book is a wonderful ending, and the whole series does a great job of developing how Merlin could indeed have become the great magician of legend.


Book Review: Shade's Children

Shade's Children by Garth Nix

SUMMARY: In the brutal world of Shade's Children, your 14th birthday is your last. Malevolent Overlords rule the earth, directing hideous, humanoid creatures to harvest the brains and muscles of teens for use in engineering foul beasts to fight senseless wars. Young Gold-Eye escapes this horrific fate, fleeing the dormitories before his Sad Birthday. He is rescued from certain doom by other refugees who live in an abandoned submarine and work for Shade, a strange, computer-generated adult. Shade provides food and shelter in exchange for information that the children gather on dangerous forays into Overlord territory. But what does Shade really want? (from the Amazon.com review)

OPINION: Someone in book group recommended this book to me (sorry, can't remember who), and I was totally into it. I think I might even put it on a future book group voting list. I am not usually a science fiction reader, but this book surprised me. It has a lot of dystopian fantasy elements and tons of action and adventure that kept me reading. We don't have it in our YA section, so make sure to request it from another library and fill out at request slip for our library to buy it!


Book Review: Wrecked

Wrecked by E. R. Frank (NEW!)

SUMMARY: Dear anyone who cared about Cameron, I was the driver of the "other" car. The police and my mother and father and plenty of people are saying that I didn't kill her. But I know I did. That's what her parents must believe. And my brother, Jack. He always sees what's true. I want to tell him how sorry I am about the accident. I want to say a lot of things to him and to everybody. Like how Cameron was smart and beautiful and kind in a way that isn't all that common in high school. Like how much Jack loved her and how sometimes I can hear him crying through the wall at night. I want to say how bad everything can get. In one split second. Upside down and shattered. Just like that. Wrecked. (from the inside flap)

OPINION: By the time you graduate, at least one person in your school will have died in a car accident. But what if you were the driver of the other car? And you still had to go to that high school? And, to compound it all, it was your brother's girlfriend who died? That's the essence of this tragic and painful story about the aftermath of a late night accident. It was hard to read at times because of the heavy feelings it brought out in me, but ultimately I was proud of the characters and pleased with the realistic ending. This book is serious, but definitely worth your time.


Book Review: Gregor the Overlander

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

SUMMARY: When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor's arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland's uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it--until he realizes it's the only way to solve the mystery of his father's disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.

OPINION: This tale of underground adventure is part City of Ember, part Alice in Wonderland, and part Kafka. Trying to keep an eye on his toddler sister, Gregor falls down a vent into a mysterious world under New York City populated by giant rats, huge bugs, and a pale race of humans. It is a really creepy place, from which he cannot escape. This is an epic adventure, with a quest, betrayal, and plenty of battles. And it is only the first in a series called the Underland Chronicles. The fourth book is coming out at the beginning of May, so you have time to read the first three books now! I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series.


Book Review: Birdwing

Birdwing by Rafe Martin

SUMMARY: Once upon a time, a girl rescued her six brothers from a spell that had turned them into swans. But one boy, Ardwin, was left with the scar of the spell's last gasp: one arm remained a wing. And while Ardwin yearned to find a place in his father's kingdom, the wing whispered to him of open sky and rushing wind. Marked by difference, Ardwin sets out to discover who he is: bird or boy, crippled or sound, cursed or blessed. But followed by the cold eye of a sorceress and with war rumbling at his kingdom's borders, Ardwin's path may lead him not to enlightenment, but into unimaginable danger.

OPINION: You might remember the author of this book, Rafe Martin, from your younger days. He wrote The Rough Face Girl, which is often used by elementary school teachers. You might also remember the fairy tale this story is based on, called The Six Swans. That fairy tale ends when all the boys are rescued with shirts that break the swan spell. Unfortunately, one shirt isn't completely finished, and the youngest boy is left with a wing. This story takes up where the other leaves off. Sure, he was rescued, but did he really want to be? Why did he get the unfinished shirt? How is he supposed to fit in when he only has one arm and his wing won't behave? Is there a place for him in his father's kingdom? If you have read other fairy tale books (like those by Donna Jo Napoli), you will be captivated by this beautifully written story.


Book Review: Avalon High

Avalon High by Meg Cabot (NEW!)

SUMMARY: Avalon High seems like a typical high school, attended by typical students: There's Lance, the jock. Jennifer, the cheerleader. And Will, senior class president, quarterback, and all-around good guy. But not everybody at Avalon High is who they appear to be ... not even, as new student Ellie is about to discover, herself. What part does she play in the drama that is unfolding? What if the bizarre chain of events and coincidences she has pieced together means -- as with the court of King Arthur -- tragedy is fast approaching Avalon High? Worst of all, what if there's nothing she can do about it? (from the inside flap)

OPINION: Last summer's reading theme was JOUST READ, and it was all about medieval times. We even had Camelot Night (a bit late, but we had it)! This book takes the legend of King Arthur and brings it into the present day. Ellie's parents are medieval scholars, and she starts to see parallels between the people at her school and the stories she has heard all her life. Is it possible that the legends about King Arthur's return could be true? This book is part romance, part English lesson, and part mystery. I am not a Princess Diaries fan, but I really liked this book by Meg Cabot!

WEBSITE: Read an excerpt of the book and do a crossword puzzle on the Avalon High page of Meg Cabot's website.


Book Review: Jason & Kyra

Jason & Kyra by Dana Davidson

SUMMARY: Jason is a basketball star and one of the most popular guys in school. Brainy Kyra isn't popular, but she doesn't much care what other people think. Under normal circumstances, Jason and Kyra would live in their separate worlds until graduation. But fate intervenes, and the unlikely duo is paired up for a class project. Although preconceived notions abound on both sides, Kyra soon realizes that Jason is not the dumb jock she anticipated. And Jason finds himself telling Kyra things he can't even tell his best friend. As the two become close and eventually start to fall in love, no one in school can believe it, especially Jason's ex-girlfriend, who is determined to get him back. Being together means navigating the obstacles that are coming their way, but staying apart may be impossible. (from the inside flap)

OPINION: In some ways, this book is typical chic-lit teen romance. Do two unlikely people fall in love? Yes. Do others try to keep them apart? Naturally. Is there a happy ending? Of course. But in other ways, this book couldn't be more different. For one thing, the characters are wealthy African-Americans in suburban Detroit. There is not too much chic-lit featuring minority characters, let alone ones that live in unromantic places like Detroit. The characters are also all talented magnet school students, with abilities in areas both athletic and academic. The plot is dramatic and really captures the angst of true love and high-school. The author knows what she is talking about...she's a teacher! (The writing style reminds me a lot of Sharon Draper, who is also a teacher.) Look for this book if you need a romantic read with some substance.



To form an anagram, just rearrange the letters in a word or phrase to spell another word or phrase. For example, an anagram of SPOT is POTS. For harder anagrams, check out this online anagram server. Just type in your words, and it will give you all the possible combinations.

One funny anagram of SELLERS LIBRARY is SLY LIBERALS ERR. I wonder what that says about us?? An anagram of GRETCHEN IPOCK is CROCHET PEKING. I don't think that has any real meaning, but it's funny!! Go to the website and try some phrases like your name, your school, your town, etc.


Book Review: The Perfect Shot

The Perfect Shot by Elaine Marie Alphin

SUMMARY: This engrossing thriller weaves issues of civil rights, racial prejudice, the judicial system, and the lessons of history into a suspenseful tale of a high-school senior who wants to do the right thing. Brian's girlfriend, Amanda; her brother; and their mother are shot to death in their garage. The husband and father of the family is put on trial for the crime. On the day of the murders, however, Brian saw something that he thinks might affect the case. What might have been a straightforward mystery grows richer as Brian compares Amanda's father's situation to the 1913 Leo Frank murder case he is researching for class. Another thread follows the arrest of Brian's friend and basketball teammate Julius, one of the few African Americans in their small Indiana town. Brian's personal dilemma--should he speak out and make waves or keep his doubts to himself--will keep readers' attention until the very last page. (adapted from the SLJ review)

OPINION: Brian, captain of the high school basketball team, is under a lot of pressure to do well in school, to lead the team to the championships, and to deal with his grief over the death of Amanda. When a history teacher assigns a major project right in the middle of basketball season, it seems like nothing can possibly go right. But Brian gets assigned to research a court case that seems to have a lot of parallels to Amanda's father's situation. And he starts to wonder if what he saw that day could be the key to proving her father's innocence. This book blends basketball, murder, and history into a gripping mystery that I couldn't put down. I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it!


Karaoke and Donkey Konga Report

We had a small but dedicated group of 8 teens show up for Karaoke and Donkey Konga tonight. And they got a bonus...Rachel not only brought Donkey Konga, but also provided Super Smash Brothers Melee. We projected the video games onto the wall, which was excellent. And we sang a variety of karaoke songs, including Walk Like an Egyptian, Louie Louie, Dancing Queen, and Flashdance! It was great to hang out with everyone at our last special teen event (until June).

It might be fun to do a combination DDR/Karaoke event this summer with my XBox. What do you think?


BBYA Display

I took down the Printz Award display this week, but in its place I put up titles from this year's Best Books for Young Adults (BBYA) list. BBYA titles are selected every year to show that YA books cover a range of interesting topics and excellent writing styles. This year's list has 91 great fiction and nonfiction books on it. You can find some of the titles on two display shelves in the Teen Corner.

Here are the BBYA 2006 Top Ten:
(The italicized titles are ones our library owns.)

  • Akbar, Said Hyder and Burton, Susan. Come Back to Afghanistan: A California Teenager's Story.
  • Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow.
  • Buckhanon, Kalisha. Upstate.
  • Green, John. Looking for Alaska.
  • Lynch, Chris. Inexcusable.
  • Meyer, Stephanie. Twilight: A Novel.
  • Vaughan, Brian K. Runaways: Volume 1 HC. Illus. by Adrian Alphona.
  • Westerfeld, Scott. Peeps.
  • Wooding, Chris. Poison.
  • Zusak, Markus. I Am the Messenger.


Book Review: Elsewhere

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

SUMMARY: Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward? (from the inside flap)

OPINION: This book may sound kind of strange, but it is gorgeously written and very moving. (Yes, it made me cry.) Elsewhere is told from the point of view of a dead main character, much like The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold or The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher. A main difference, however, is the story's focus on living the afterlife. This book creates a unique perspective on death by remaking heaven into a place where new decisions can be made. In Elsewhere, you age in reverse, but can still find satisfaction in family, friendship, work, and recreation. It is a very cool imagining of life after death, and it is suprisingly uplifting. We have the book and the book on CD, so you have no excuse for not reading it!


Book Review: Played

Played by Dana Davidson

SUMMARY: When one of Ian's boys dares him to get plain-faced Kylie Winship to sleep with him in just three weeks, he thinks it'll be a breeze. Tall and fine, with honey-colored skin and eyes, Ian is used to getting what he wants from girls. And if he succeeds in playing Kylie, he'll be down with the most popular crew in his high school. But this girl, who everyone considers a nobody, is turning out to be more surprising than he ever could have imagined. Kylie has a gut feeling that something's up when Ian Striver starts pursuing her. But how often does one of the hottest guys in school ask you out? Even though she's cautious at first, their relationship heats up quickly, and soon Kylie will have to decide whether to listen to her heart, or her head. (from the inside flap)

OPINION: This book is a romance, but it is devistatingly realistic. It's not all sweetness and light, like some fluffy dime novel. Ian starts talking to Kylie because of a dare, but soon finds out that he actually likes her. Of course, this doesn't mean that he can be with her in front of his friends or even acknowledge her at school. Despite his behavior, Kylie keeps giving him chances because of the way he acts when they are together. He even respects her mom and hangs out with her little siblings. Both Kylie and Ian have to face some harsh realities about themselves and some tough choices about each other. Their decisions aren't always right, but they are authentic. Look for this new book on the shelves!


Dr. Seuss Day Success!

Yesterday, the TAB did our first ever program for younger kids. We coordinated activities to celebrate Read Across America Day, which is always March 2 in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday. Alexa, Arwa, Kara, Laura, Marissa, Megan, and Sara came to run the different stations. Kids and families dropped in after school, despite yucky weather, to enjoy our event. We made hats, painted faces, read stories, and played Pin the Eggs on the Plate. Our most popular station, though, was the macaroni pictures. There were some real Seussian creations there! (And the TAB rocks at dyeing macaroni...all of the library employees were really impressed with the bright colors.) We had about 25 kids come by during a 2-hour time period, which was great! Thanks, TAB, for all the hard work!


Book Review: Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

SUMMARY: Steven Alper is a typical eighth-grader--smarter than some, a better drummer than most, but with the usual girl problems and family trials. Then, on October 7, his five-year-old brother, Jeffrey, falls, has a nosebleed that doesn't stop, and is diagnosed with leukemia. All hell breaks loose. Mrs. Alper's days and nights revolve around getting Jeffrey to his chemotherapy treatments, and Mr. Alper retreats into a shell, coming out only occasionally to weep over the mounting medical bills. Steven becomes the forgotten son, who throws himself into drumming, even as he quits doing his homework and tries to keep his friends from finding out about Jeffrey's illness. Sonneblick shows that even in the midst of tragedy, life goes on, love can flower, and the one thing you can always change is yourself. (adapted from the Booklist review)

OPINION: The main character of the story is an 8th-grade boy, and there aren't too many 8th grade boys who don't love drums and girls! I guess that explains the first two words in the title. (Actually, as a drummer, that was a highlight of the book for me.) However, the seemingly fluffy title of this book belies the depth of emotion that it contains. This book actually becomes very serious as Steve's family falls apart while dealing with his brother's illness. But, despite the content, the story is optimistic, humorous, and not totally depressing. It made me cry, but I loved it. This is a great realistic fiction read.