Real Life Mysteries

Last night, 27 teens came out to find out about Real Life Mysteries from storyteller Kristin Pedemonti. It was a lot of fun, especially when she talked about UFOs and alien abductions. I also liked when she showed the pictures and asked us to decide if they were true or false. Everyone seemed excited about the topic and wanted to share their own thoughts about urban legends and ghost stories! I talked about the ghost of John Sellers here at our library, and the time strange messages came out of a printer that wasn't on. Creepy stuff!!

An action shot!

Here are some websites that Kristin recommended...

Follow tons of links (on the left side) to find out about all kinds of urban legends, folklore, and hoaxes!

This is the quiz where Kristen got the pictures she showed us. See if you can tell which ones are real and fake...you already know some of the answers!

Cryptozoology is the study of creatures whose existence has not been substantiated, like the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot. Read about sightings of unknown creatures and get book recommendations.

This is the official website of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization...find out the latest about sightings of Bigfoot all over the world!

This is the best urban legend site out there. Before you send an email forward, check this site to see if it is a hoax!


Book Review: The Hungry City Chronicles (series)

The Hungry City Chronicles by Philip Reeve
  • Mortal Engines
  • Predator's Gold
  • Infernal Devices
  • A Darkling Plain

SUMMARY: The Great Traction City of London is on the move again, seeking smaller towns to devour for fuel and materials. This is the futuristic age of Municipal Darwinism, and only the strong survive as populations compete for scarce resources. Elsewhere on the earth, some cities have become static, choosing to remain in one place and get their resources from the earth. Still other cities have taken to the water or to the air in hopes of exploiting new habitats. What happens when these ways of life collide? Find out...read the whole series!

OPINION: This series captured my attention way back with the publication of the first book. The author does an amazing job of convincing the reader that a future of traction, static, water, and air cities is completely possible. And the action and adventure in each story never stops! You will be drawn into each book and unable to stop reading as the cliffhangers pile up. I recently re-read the entire series because I wanted to fully appreciate the fourth book, and it was worth all the time I spent. I don't know what Philip Reeve will write next, but I will definitely read it! If you are looking for a complete fantasy series that won't leave you hanging, this one's for you.


Newest of the New

Fiction just added to the shelves:
  • Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Games by Carol Gorman
  • La Linea by Ann Jaramillo
  • Am I Right or Am I Right? by Barry Jonsberg
  • The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty
  • Cures for Heartbreak by Margo Rabb
  • Breathe by Penni Russon (sequel to Undine)


The Cracks in the Wall Led to Murder!!!

Last Friday, 35 teens attended the murder mystery performed by the Teen Advisory Board (TAB). The Cracks in the Wall murder mystery had ten suspects, three scenes, three newscasts, and a bunch of clues for the intrepid detectives to investigate. The TAB did a great job of portraying the suspects and assembling the crime scenes, and everyone who attended seemed to have a good time solving the mystery! While everyone was eating doughnuts (what else should detectives eat?), I read everyone's solutions and chose Caitlin C. as the winner. She had the most detail in her answer and put all the evidence together to describe how, when, and why the murder occurred. She won a $25 gift card to Borders, and 10 others won Get a Clue secret writing markers. Thanks to everyone who attended!

Ben (a staff member) poses in the outdoor crime scene.

"Alice Wolf," our dedicated newswoman.

The TAB has fun with caution tape!

Teens check out the Police Evidence Room.

The girls listen to some evidence.

The guys examine ballistics evidence.


Book Review: Life As We Knew It

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

SUMMARY: The prospect of an asteroid hitting the Moon is just a mildly interesting news item to Pennsylvania teenager Miranda, but her priorities undergo a radical change when that collision shifts the Moon into a closer orbit, causing violent earthquakes, massive tsunamis, millions of deaths, and an upsurge in volcanism. Thanks to frantic preparations by her quick-thinking mother, Miranda's family is in better shape than many as utilities and public services break down in stages, wild storms bring extremes of temperature, and outbreaks of disease turn the hospital into a dead zone. In Miranda's day-by-day journal entries, she focuses on the stresses of spending months huddled in increasingly confined quarters, watching supplies dwindle, and wondering whether there will be any future to make the effort worthwhile. The author provides a glimmer of hope at the end, but readers will still be left stunned and thoughtful. (adapted from School Library Journal)

OPINION: This book is not nearly as well-written as How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, but that doesn't stop it from being an intriguing conjecture about living under challenging circumstances. What struck me most was the family's trip to the supermarket after the collision, where they were stuffing carts with crazy amounts of canned goods, medicines, and pet food. They had the presence of mind to plan for a long period of suffering, but even that preparation wasn't quite enough. The day-to-day realities of this book are what make it worth reading, and you will become involved in Miranda's struggle for survival as life on earth becomes more and more endangered.

UPCOMING: Look for The Dead and the Gone, a companion book about the same events an how they impact life in New York City, in May 2008.


New Fic

Today's new additions to the fiction shelves include...
  • The Sabatihi Prophecy by Thomas L. Blair
  • The Shalamar Code by Mary Louise Clifford
  • Letters from a Slave Boy: The Story of Joseph Jacobs by Mary E. Lyons
  • The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (sequel to Dairy Queen)
  • A Darkling Plain by Philip Reeve
  • Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr


Book Review: The Declaration

The Declaration by Gemma Malley
This book will be published in October 2007.

It’s 2140 and some radical changes have been made all around the world. People are actually trying to conserve energy and recycle, there are no more petty crimes such as burglary, the population is bigger than ever, and most importantly people can now live forever; but at what price? Every one who decided to take this new longevity drug must sign a declaration saying that they will not have kids. People are no longer interested in new ideas or change, unless it has to do with improving this new drug. This is the case with most people, but some have decided to resist this new system, even with the knowledge that they might die in jail. The children who have been born by parents who broke the law are sent to places similar to orphanages, where they are taught to hate their parents for having them and to hate themselves for taking up the precious resources that legal people need to live on. One of these children, Anna, thinks and does as she should until she meets a boy named Peter who tells her of the outside and of her parents. She must decide whether live the life she knows or go along with Peter and admit to herself that the authorities are wrong and that every thing she has learned is a lie.

This book was very exciting and hard to put down. When I first started reading it, I thought living forever wouldn’t be that bad, but by the end I was fully convinced that I would join the rebellion. I could not live in a world without kids and I would most likely run out of things to enjoy after living over 100. This book would make a great book discussion book due to the conflict and excitement it contains.

National Treasure Movie Day!

Today, 24 teens came to hang out in the AC and watch National Treasure. Everyone enjoyed the movie...or maybe it was the snacks! It was a great movie for our summer mystery theme. Thanks to the TAB for purchasing a bunch of floor cushions for movie events--everyone was very comfy.

Don't forget to sign up to see Mystery Men (PG-13) on July 11!


Teen Summer Reading Display

Visit the Teen Summer Reading windowsill display! Pick up your reading sheets and check out my mystery book display. There's no registration for the program this year...just read five library items, show your slip to a librarian, and choose a prize from the mystery box. Then, enter to win bigger weekly prizes. And don't forget that the end-of-summer prize is an iPod!

Painting the teen prize box with question marks.

Pasting clip art to the box for teen prize drawings.


Mystery Books

Since our summer reading theme is You Never Know (YNK), I made a new teen mystery book list. Look for the list on the summer reading display, along with some of the books!

Some new ones we bought include:
  • Dovey Coe by Frances O'Roark Dowell
  • Samurai Mysteries (series) by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
  • Diamond Brothers Mysteries (series) by Anthony Horowitz
  • Buried by Robin Merrow MacCready
  • Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls by Bennett Madison
  • Dead Connection by Charlie Price


Book Review: Dead Connection

Dead Connection by Charlie Price

SUMMARY: Murray, a loner who communes with the dead in the town cemetery, hears the voice of a murdered cheerleader and tries to convince the adults that he knows what happened to her. But who believes him? He's a loser. Can he even believe in himself? Also comes Pearl, the daughter of the cemetery caretaker, who befriends Murray and tries to enter his world. Together they may prove the astonishing possibility that Nikki is closer than anyone thinks. (from the book description)

OPINION: This is a mystery told from many points of view in short chapters. The central character is Murray, whose difficult home life and social awkwardness make it all the more surprising that he can talk to the dead. But talk he does, and certain cemetary residents become his closest friends. When he starts to hear a new voice, he knows it has to be a girl that disappeared from his high school. The mystery here is not that she's dead, but how it happened. Can Murray's paranormal information help locate the body...and the killer? This is an edgy, dark mystery with intriguing twists and an unexpected conclusion. I thought I had it all figured out...and boy was I wrong! Look for this one on the summer reading display, along with a book list of more mysteries.


New Nonfic

For a change, here are some new additions to our teen nonfiction shelf!
  • The History Puzzle: How We Know What We Know about the Past by Susan Provost Beller
  • Cash and Credit Information for Teens: Tips for a Successful Financial Life edited by Kathryn R. Deering
  • A Teen's Guide to Getting Published by Jessica Dunn and Danielle Dunn
  • Book Crush: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Interest by Nancy Pearl
  • Not Like I'm Jealous or Anything: The Jealousy Book edited by Marissa Walsh (short stories and essays, and printed in green ink!)

Murder Mystery Prep

On Sunday, June 10, and Friday, June 15, members of the TAB gathered to make props and scenery for our upcoming murder mystery, The Cracks in the Wall. Join us on Friday, June 22, from 6:30 to 8:30 for the event!

Thanks to Alexa, Arwa, Caitlin, Kara, Katie, Maria, Marissa, and Tyria for their help in preparing for the mystery!

You rock!

A purple television??!

In honor of Giselle...



Look for These!

New today...

  • Things Hoped For by Andrew Clements
  • Pigboy by Vicki Grant
  • Nightrise by Anthony Horowitz (book three of The Gatekeepers series)
  • Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
  • Everlost by Neal Shusterman
  • Megiddo's Shadow by Arthur Slade
  • Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper
  • The Grand Tour by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer


Book Review: The Riddle

The Riddle: The Second Book of Pellinor by Alison Croggon

SUMMARY: Maerad, who was rescued from slavery and became a Bard in Croggon's The Naming, has her hands full here. Along with her tutor Cadvan, she has been charged with finding the Treesong, a source of power so ancient that nothing but the barest of rumors remain. Their journey is hounded by agents of a treacherous Bard professing to act in the name of the Light and by an enigmatic entity known as the Winterking, an ally of Maerad's adversary, the Nameless One. At the same time, the protagonist struggles to understand the light and darkness within herself. Deep currents of sorrow, loneliness, and love run through this haunting epic fantasy; Maerad's feelings of alienation and self-doubt will resonate with readers. Appendixes help to further flesh out the characters and cultures of Croggon's Edil-Amarandh, an engrossing world that fantasy aficionados will be eager to revisit. (from School Library Journal)

OPINION: After the first book, The Naming, I was eager to read the second one in the series...and now I can't wait for the third to be released this summer! How will I survive until the fourth and final volume comes out, whenever that is?! Thanks, Marissa, for getting me (and a lot of other people) to read this series. This book is another epic journey for Maerad, who is still trying to learn how to use her powers appropriately. Cadvan continues her training, and one of my favorite scenes is when she uses her powers of transformation to turn a rock into a lion! It was so unexpected, it made me laugh. Later, she uses that power to get herself and Cadvan out of a desperate situation, but I won't tell you about that because that would be a spoiler. Anyway, this book is a fantastic adventure with a bit of romance. If you have a bad boy complex, you will love the Winterking. Check out The Naming and The Riddle today!

LINK: Here's my review of The Naming from a few weeks ago. And here's Marissa's review that started the whole thing!


Jerry Spinelli Interview

Since Book Grub members are currently reading Love, Stargirl for the Author 411 project, I thought you might be interested in reading this interview with Jerry Spinelli from Publishers Weekly. Apparently, he didn't really want to write a sequel!

Look for These on the Shelves...

The newest fiction selections in the teen corner!
  • Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
  • Star-Crossed by Linda Collison
  • Alphabet of Dreams by Susan Fletcher
  • The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose by Mary Hooper
  • Voyage of Slaves (Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series) by Brian Jacques
  • Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks
  • Fragments by Jeffry Johnston (2 copies--prepare for our August author visit!)
  • Summer Ball by Mike Lupica
  • Harlem Hustle by Janet McDonald
  • Breathe: A Ghost Story by Cliff McNish
  • The Wizard, The Witch, & Two Girls from Jersey by Lica Papademetriou
  • Maybe by Brent Runton
  • The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer


Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

SUMMARY: When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. He’s also a washedup child prodigy with ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a passion for anagrams, and an overweight, Judge Judy-obsessed best friend. Colin’s on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which will predict the future of all relationships, transform him from a fading prodigy into a true genius, and finally win him the girl. Letting expectations go and allowing love in are at the heart of Colin’s hilarious quest to find his missing piece and avenge dumpees everywhere. (from the book description)

OPINION: It can be hard for a novelist to write a second book when the first is really successful. John Green won the Printz Award for Looking for Alaska, so that's a hard act to follow! Nonetheless, An Abundance of Katherines is an excellent book in its own right and is definitely worth reading. I loved the nerdiness of this book, from the fading genius main character and his obsession with anagrams to the bizarre random knowledge of the footnotes. I am not a math person, and I even liked Colin's theorem! (Try it out for yourself at John's website!) Also, this is one of the few recent teen books featuring a contemporary Arab-American character, Colin's best friend Hassan. Hassan is crass, hilarious, and not a terrorist. I learned from Alaska that John Green excells at writing about unique, interesting, fully-developed characters, and this book is no exception. So go read it!

ANAGRAMS: A while ago, I posted a blog entry about an online anagram maker that will figure out all the possible permutations of your word or phrase. I learned that "Gretchen Ipock" anagrams to "Peking Crochet" and that "Jason Ipock" anagrams to "Jack Poison"! Check out the old blog post to see what other people found anagrams for!


Author 411!

The high school book group (aka Book Grub) has an amazing opportunity this month! We were selected as one of five groups across the country to participate in Author 411 from Random House Children's Books. We will receive Advance Reading Copies (ARCs) of Love, Stargirl, the new sequel to Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. It will officially be released on August 14, 2007, so we get to read it before everyone else! Not only that, but at our next meeting, we will get to write questions to be submitted to Jerry Spinelli. He will answer the questions in writing, and the final Q & A will be published on the Author 411 website later in the summer. So cool!!!

Find out more about Love, Stargirl:


Johnny Depp Film Festival

This weekend, we gave our movie license a workout and watched three Johnny Depp films in less than 24 hours! Last night, 16 teens watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Today, 35 teens enjoyed a double feature of Pirates of the Caribbean 1 and 2. A bunch of people were even planning to see the third Pirates movie tonight!

Huge thanks to the TAB for spending their hard-earned money on pizza for everyone today during the double feature! And thanks to Genni for bringing in her Johnny Depp cardboard cutout to hang out with us. I hope everyone had fun. I thought it was great!

Pirate Duckies!
Some intrepid movie watchers and Johnny!


Book Grub Party!

Today was a really sad Book Grub meeting. It was the first time we've ever had seniors graduate out of the group! Sadiya, Sara, Huda, Julie, Marissa, Kaoutar, and Manpreet are all heading off to college this fall. A lot of them are staying local, though, so hopefully they will hang out with us often! Also, Jaicy and Lisa are both moving away this summer. Our group is really going to miss everyone! But we will welcome incoming 9th graders to our next meeting, which should be fun.

Today, we discussed The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen. We spent most of our book group time talking about what a bad boyfriend Jason was, and not enough time discussing the glories of Wes! A lot of people made really great contributions to the conversation, especially when we were talking about parent-child relationships and family dynamics.

Special thanks to Katie for bringing chocolate covered strawberries and to Jaicy for bringing mangos mixed with ice cream. It made our party extra special!

Next month, we are reading an ARC of Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. This is a long-awaited sequel to Stargirl. Yeah
Author 411 for hooking us up!!!

Five of our graduates!

Katie made chocolate covered strawberries and I made cupcakes.

Nice shirts!

A rare photo with me in it.

We'll miss you!