Book Review: The Rules of Survival

The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin

SUMMARY: Narrated by 17-year-old Matt as a letter to his youngest sister, Emmy, The Rules of Survival is his effort to come to terms with the vicious treatment he and his two sisters suffered at the hands of Nikki, their beautiful and unpredictable mother. As much as he fears her manic highs and lows, his greater concern as he grows older is for the safety of his sisters. Compounding the problem are the adults in their lives--their father and their aunt--who recognize Nikki's instability but find it easier to look the other way. When Nikki's ex-boyfriend Murdoch befriends the children, they want to believe that a more normal future is possible, but are afraid of being disappointed by an adult yet again. The characters captivate readers from the beginning, and short, terse chapters move the plot along with an intensity that will appeal to seasoned Werlin fans and reluctant readers alike. Teens will empathize with these siblings and the secrets they keep in this psychological horror story. (from the School Library Journal review)

OPINION: This book was a National Book Award finalist, and it is easy to understand why. Without being graphic or melodramatic, the author manages to convey a picture of life with an abusive parent that is both perceptive and horrifying. Matt's mother, Nikki, is selfish and childish at best, manipulative and cruel at worst. In a frightening example, she pulls the car into lanes of oncoming traffic to force her kids to declare their love for her. If you are a fan of A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer or if you like suspenseful thrillers, this book's for you.



Yesterday afternoon, 15 teens came out for DDR at the library. Not everyone was brave enough to dance, but it seemed like everyone enjoyed themselves! We had a tournament, which Jamie won easily (again). Somebody has to stop him! We'll definitely have another DDR event before summer, so look for it on the schedule.


Book Review: The Boy Book

The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them by E. Lockhart (a sequel to The Boyfriend List)

SUMMARY: Ruby, first introduced in The Boyfriend List, continues to narrate the events in her life at Tate Prep. Interspersed throughout the story are excerpts from The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them, a journal written by the teen and her ex-friends in years past. Ruby is now in her junior year and discovering that there is life after a boyfriend breakup and the loss of previous friends for not following The Rules for Dating. She discovers that she can make new friends, reconnect with some of her old ones, and simply accept that some people are lost forever. The story is both humorous and witty, and the language is realistically raw. (from the School Library Journal review)

OPINION: It has been a while since I read The Boyfriend List, but it didn't take long before I was totally immersed this story. I read the whole book last night while I was supposed to be sleeping...something I don't do a whole lot since baby Nat arrived! But it was so much fun to read the hilarious entries from The Boy Book and to see how Ruby actually got some assertiveness and learned to cope with her issues. The footnotes of movies on various relationship topics made me laugh, too. The humorous tone of this book makes even therapy, break-ups, and rocky friendships seem OK.


Monty Python Night

On Friday night, 18 teens came to our first-ever Monty Python Night at the library. We watched several of the most famous Flying Circus sketches and a lot of the best scenes from Holy Grail! The Spanish Inquisition, Dead Parrot, The Ministry of Silly Walks, Confuse-A-Cat, Hell's Grannies, Crunchy Frog, and Burglar/Encyclopedia Salesman were just a few of the sketches we watched. We also played a few stupid games, like naming chocolates gross things and running a relay race combining silly walks and galloping with coconuts. And we had thematic food including Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch Cookies, Whizzo's Quality Assortment, Two Halves of Coconut Cookies, Knights Who Say "Ni" Snack Mix, Norweigan Blue Juice, and Holy Grail Ale. Thanks to Julie for bringing Dennis' Dirt and Black Knight Blood Punch, too! There were so many requests for Flying Circus sketches, we will have to do this again just to see them all!


Book Review: Forever in Blue

Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares

SUMMARY: This title marks "one last, glorious summer" for the traveling pants, and it's a time of changing identities and growing independence for the Sisterhood. As they discover new talents after their first year of college, the girls face increasingly grown-up dilemmas: an unwanted-pregnancy scare, crushes on married men, malicious co-workers, and questions about how to know if a love is lasting. By summer's end, each realizes that, with or without the pants, she is confident, talented, and lucky to share in such a nurturing lifelong friendship. A strong, satisfying conclusion that won't disappoint fans. (adapted from the Booklist review)

OPINION: As a fan of the series, I have to say that I am totally biased in favor of this book. You know how excited I was about its release, and I read it in one sitting! That said, it was a wonderful end to the series, wrapping up old storylines while taking each girl in a new direction. I thought it was an appropriately mature send-off for a group of college girls and their much-beloved pants. You won't find it on any library shelves, though...all the copies in the county are checked out! Come in and get your name on the waiting list for the first available copy. Or, go buy one!!


Winter Schedule: Complete Online Version

Special Programs

Monty Python Night
Friday, January 19, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Do you taunt people a second time? Do you expect the Spanish Inquisition? Can you quote entire scenes from memory? See your favorite scenes and sketches, play silly games, and win pythonic prizes!
Registration begins January 5.

Saturday, January 27, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

Show your moves at our XBox DDR night! We will project the game onto the wall so four people can dance at a time. Dance for fun, or enter our dance contest!
Permission slip required.
Registration begins January 5.

Movie Night: Groundhog Day (PG)
Friday, February 2, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
There is no better time to watch Groundhog Day than on Groundhog Day. So we are!
Registration begins January 5.

Chocoholics Anonymous
Saturday, February 10, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

If you love chocolate, the TAB invites you to indulge at our pre-Valentine’s Day binge!
Registration begins January 5.

Book Swap and Board Games
Saturday, February 24, 1:00 to 4:00 pm

The TAB invites you to swap books and play board games at this relaxed and fun event. No registration...stop and swap, or stay and play!
NOTE: Swap books should be intermediate or young adult paperback fiction in good condition.

SP Night
Friday, March 2, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Bring your GameBoy Advance or SP, your cords to linkup, and your favorite games. There will be a Pokemon tournament during the event, with the finalists dueling on the big screen!
Permission slip required.
Registration begins February 5 .

Movie Night: West Side Story Sing Along (Not Rated)
Friday, March 16, 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Join the group and sing along to this classic movie musical. Who can resist tough guys with ballet moves?
Registration begins February 19.

60s Night
Friday, March 30, 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Cool man! All you flower children should dig the TAB’s psychedelic blast from the past! Registration begins February 26.

Weekly Clubs

DIY Zine Workshop
Wednesdays, March 7, 14, 21, and 28
3:30 to 5:00 pm

Are you a writer or artist? Join the underground magazine movement! Get creative with your work and get published in our very own library zine. Participants must attend all four sessions.
Registration begins February 5.

Get Your Game On!
Every Monday, except holidays
3:30 to 5:00 pm

Bring your Yu-Gi-Oh! deck, GameBoy, Warhammer 40K army, Magic the Gathering deck, PSP, or any other game stuff you’re into. Hang out, relax, and play whatever you want!
Players provide their own gaming materials.
Permission slip required.
Registration is ongoing.

Knitting Club
Tuesdays, March 6 to April 24
3:45 to 4:45 pm
You may not be a Hollywood star, but you can knit like one. Learn to make your own accessories! Beginning and experienced knitters are welcome. All materials provided.
For students in grades 7 to 12 only.
Registration begins February 5.

Book Discussion Groups

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. Participants must register one month before attending.

Middle School (Grades 7 & 8)
Every third Friday from 3:30 to 5:00 pm
Winter Meetings: January 19, February 16, March 16

High School (Grades 9 to 12)
Every first Friday from 3:30 to 5:00 pm
Winter Meetings: January 5, February 2, March 2

Special Valentine’s Day High School Book Discussion:
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Wednesday, February 14
3:30 to 5:00 pm

This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny rollercoaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be—and where the next great band is playing.
You will get your own copy of the book when you sign up for the program.
Registration starts January 5.
Grades 9 to 12 ONLY.


Book Review: Up a Road Slowly

Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt

SUMMARY: Seven-year-old Julie Trelling and her older brother Chris are left to live with their firm, but kind Aunt Cordelia when their father is widowed. Bright, sensitive, and a bit of a rebel, Julie faces the tough challenges of growing up smart and female. During her childhood, Julie learns bittersweet lessons in heartbreak and compassion and justice and love as only as children do. As idyllic as her country life seems, there is prejudice, meanness, and smallness of human spirit in all corners of the world. As Julie grows up from a young child of seven to seventeen, she tells her story in a voice both immediate and honest. While this is primarily Julie's story, it also features the formidable Aunt Cordelia, whose own life could have been Julie's life. The book isn't all lessons and wisdom. It's mostly evocative and reflective, stringing together significant moments in growing up with precise detail of everyday things, rather than being action-packed or plot-driven. Hunt tell us that growing up isn't simple, but you're also never alone even when you want to be, as even enemies and bad experiences shape us as much as the loved ones and good times do. (adapted from an Amazon.com review)

OPINION: I was removing books from the teen collection this week, and I pulled Up a Road Slowly off the shelf. It was all yellowed with age and the cover was ugly, so I was going to get rid of it. It hadn't been checked out in years, and I didn't know anything about it, even though it was the 1966 Newbery Award winner. But then I started reading it. I have a thing for quaint stories like Little Women and Anne of Green Gables and Betsy-Tacy. If you like those old sweet stories which were written as contemporary fiction, but now read like historical fiction from a kinder, gentler time...this one's for you. But I think I might buy a new copy with a better cover!

Orignal cover vs. new cover...


Just Added

New fiction!!!!
  • Store-Bought Baby by Sandra Belton
  • Parent Swap by Terence Blacker
  • El Lector by William Durbin
  • Bound by Donna Jo Napoli
  • Ash Road by Ivan Southall
  • The Dreamweaver's Child by Steve Voake