Book Review: Cheated

Cheated by Patrick Jones
Review by Kaitlyn B.

I was enthralled and captivated by Cheated. I liked it more than Things Change, which was, up until now, my favorite book written by Jones. I loved the plot and the way that Jones was able to tie together all the little details of the book into an amazing ending. The thing that captivated me the most about Cheated, however, was Patrick Jones' ability to portray the emotions of a confused and troubled teenage boy. I was constantly amazed by the way that Jones made it seem as though the book was actually written by a teen. It made it so much easier to understand the characters. I really loved Cheated; it was an extremely well-written book that always had me eager to pick it up and continue reading.

Book Review: Steel Trapp: The Challenge

Steel Trapp: The Challenge by Ridley Pearson
Review by Alexa

Reading the summary of Steel Trapp: The Challenge, I didn't know what to expcet since the first four words were, "In this riveting thriller..." This usually describes an action movie. In truth, though, that's exactly what I felt like I had gotten myself into! This novel, by Ridley Pearson, is a wild ride full of heart-pounding suspense that kept me going until the very end. The novel begins with fourteen-year-old Steven "Steel" Trapp's train ride to the National Science Competition in Washington, D.C. I should have known this novel would be filled with trouble...I mean, Washington, D.C., just screams fraud, hostage situations, and multiple federal law enforcement teams! But, back to the train ride. Steel tries to return a woman's briefcase to her when she leaves the train without it, but she denies it and Steel turns it over to a conductor. Curiosity gets the better of him and he steals the briefcase back from the Lost and Found. In it, he discovers a photo of a woman, tied up and scared, that begins his involvement in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a little suspense because Steel Trapp: The Challenge is all it's cracked up to be and more!


Book Review: Exodus

Exodus by Julie Bertagna

Click on the cover to see which libraries own it.

SUMMARY: By 2099, global warming has taken its toll on the earth. Most of the world is underwater--mountaintops are now islands, and people are struggling to survive as the water rises. There is no mass communication, and no map of the known world. Fifteen-year-old Mara, using old technology to surf the remains of the Weave, finds out about sky cities that were built to rise above the water. She convinces the remaining population of her island, Wing, to venture into the unknown. But when the boats from her village arrive, they are kept out by a giant wall and gun-happy police. With nowhere else to go and nothing to lose, Mara sneaks inside the wall, and later the city, in a desperate attempt to save her friends.

OPINION: I started this book in the morning and finished it by lunchtime. The premise is completely plausible, the characters are excellently imagined, and their desperation is palpable. The story is told in the third-person present tense, which is an unusual style that adds to the sense of urgency. I haven't felt so compelled to finish a book in a while! The author created a believable future world in which environmental destruction is an issue, rather than an issue book about the environment that just happens to take place in the future. The message is subtle, but the story makes it clear. This is a great choice for fans of dystopian future survival fantasy such as The Hungry City Chronicles by Philip Reeve or Life As We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer. I loved it so much that I ordered the sequel, Zenith, which is already available in England!


On Wednesday afternoon, 9 people showed up to play DDR after school. That isn't as many as usual, but I forgot to make reminder calls, so that probably had something to do with it! Anyway, 6 people entered our tournament, and Sarah was the winner of a $10 gift card to GameStop. Jamie would have won, but we handicapped him heavily by making him play on Heavy. Maybe next time, we'll just go for Standard and see what happens! Look for another DDR event this summer.

Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging...the Movie!

So, one of my favorite funny girly books is Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. And I just found out that the movie is being released in the UK this summer! It's by the same director as Bend It Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice, both of which I loved. But, sadly, there's no word on when it will come here. Nevertheless, there is a great website for the movie, so check it out! It is set up to look like Georgia's bulletin board. You can even visit the Stiff Dylans on MySpace and hear their music!!!


Book Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Reviews by Alexa, Arwa, and Amy

Click on the cover to see which libraries own it.

ALEXA SAYS: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is by far my favorite of E. Lockhart's novels. She takes the typical "invisible girl" and turns her into an ever-opinonated It-Girl, but there's a catch and a secret. the only reason people are noticing Frankie is because her new killer figure has gotten her the status of Matthew Livingston's girlfriend. And the secret...well there's a reason it's a secret. The Disreputable History is full of twists and turns where a too-curious girl becomes too informed for her own good. How does Frankie fare on her own at the infamous Alabaster Prep School? You'll have to find out! I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a little mischief now and then or anyone who has ever read a novel by E. Lockhart and liked it.

ARWA SAYS: This was a great piece of fiction, very "thick" in its plot. I liked it a lot. The end was rather abrupt for me (since I'm a romantic and love happy endings. I would have liked it she had gone with Alpha. I wanted her to go with him the whole time...), but it gave some closure saying that she was waiting for that special someone. I also think it would give hope to those girls out there and tell them not to pick guys who objectify them or think they are stupid.

AMY SAYS: There were some things I liked and some things I didn't like about The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. The first half of the story was a little slow, but occasionaly I found some enjoyable things. I liked how Frankie used neglected positives, such as saying "gruntled" as an antonym for "disgruntled." At about the middle of the novel was when the story picked up, and boy did it take off! Frankie really took matters into her own hands. Despite the slow parts, I really enjoyed this story. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read about a girl who takes charge in a male society.


Nintendo Night

Last Friday, 25 people came out for our winter Nintendo Night! There were a lot of familiar faces, as well as some new ones. And huge thanks to Rachel for bringing in her Wii. Eight people entered the Pokemon tournament for Diamond and Pearl on DS, and Maher got a $10 gift card to GameStop for winning. Twenty-four people entered the Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament. The top two from every round moved on until we had the final four. Mike won a $20 GameStop gift card for his win in the final. The top six finishers (Sean, Val, Maher, Rachel, David, and Mike) also got cups of candy. Other people had fun playing their own DS games or playing Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros. on my old NES. It was a really great event, and we will do it again in June!


More Lubar Pix!

Nancy Trimbur, a member of our library board, came to the David Lubar author visit on March 5 and took pictures! Here are some of her shots from the evening:

A lot of people purchased books.

The book sales area was always packed.

David working the crowd!

There was a long line for book signing.

David took time with everyone, which was really nice.

Some older fans, and a new one!


Pimp My Phone!

On Wednesday afternoon, only four people showed up to make crafts for their phones, but it was a lot of fun! The three girls made felt cases for their phones that looked like Pop-Tarts. They all turned out really cute. The lone boy made a case for his out of red duct tape. It was very challenging! We were going to make robot charms for them too, but we totally ran out of time. Anyway, the program leftovers will be at our Craft Closet Cleanout program in May, so you can still make the items if you missed this event!


Check These Out!

We just got more new books, and you've got to get in here and check them out. We are running out of space, so my solution is to get the books in your hands as soon as possible!!

  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (replacement copy)
  • One Whole and Perfect Day by Judith Clarke
  • Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly
  • Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Kimberly Kirberger
  • How to Survive a Horror Movie: All the Skills to Dodge the Kills by Seth Grahame-Smith
  • The Pocket DJ: Ultragrrrl's Guide to Building the Best Music Library by Sarah Lewitinn
  • Save this Shirt by Hannah Rogge
  • It's My Life! A Guide to Alternatives after High School edited by Janine Schwab
  • Hey Day! Super-Amazing, Funk-da-Crazing, Ultra-Glazing Things to Do, Make, and Ponder Every Day of the Year by Super Clea & Keva Marie
  • Gothic and Lolita by Masayuki Yoshinaga


Lubar Was Here!

Tonight, a record-breaking 54 people came to our library to meet author David Lubar! It was really cool. We kept having to get out more chairs, and everyone was crowding around the table to buy books! There were a lot of different people there, including book group members, parents, teachers from several UD schools, students who wanted extra credit, and others who were just curious. There were people who use our library regularly and people I've never seen before!

David (who teased me for calling him Mr. Lubar) talked for about 1/2 hour about all kinds of things. We all knew he was an author, but we learned that math actually helped him be a writer. And that his philosophy degree helped him design video games. And that weird "what if" questions are central to his writing. His presentation was offbeat and a lot of fun. He hardly talked about his books at all until the Q&A part of the evening. Of course, then we talked about why his short story books all have "weenies" in the title. We learned that his future books include another "weenies" book, three books in a creepy new series, and another young adult title.

Thanks to the staff at Children's Book World for doing book sales, and to library page Nate who moved so much furniture. Thanks to Delaware County and Margie Stern who brought David to our library. And, of course, huge thanks to David Lubar for being awesome!

An action shot

What a great audience!

My brush with fame.

A smiling, but unwilling, victim of my photo frenzy.

Talking with David Lubar.

Everyone wanted to get books signed...

...even these teachers from BH!

Book Review: Unwind

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

SUMMARY: In this terrifying vision of the future, the pro-life and pro-choice armies have come to a truce. Abortion is illegal, but teens between the ages of 13 and 18 can be "unwound." This is technically not killing because every part of their bodies can be reused to heal other people's wounds. In this world, Connor, Risa, and Lev are expendible teens. Their lives intersect in a highway accident, and they find themselves fighting for survival outside the system that has destined them for unwinding. As they enter an underground rescue network, they have no idea whether they will end up whole or as parts. And they don't know who they can trust.

OPINION: This is one of the greatest dystopian fantasies that I have read in a long time. It is full of action and adventure, but also makes you consider ideas of life and what it means to be alive. This book does not take sides in the current abortion debate, but rather envisions a future in which it has had a profound effect. The most frightening part of this book is when the author actually describes what unwinding is like. You can almost see how it would be possible, and yet it is incredibly horrifying and dehumanizing. I have been a fan of Neal Shusterman for a long time, and this is definitely his best book yet. I read this around the same time as William Sleator's Test (reviewed below) and there's no comparison. Books like Unwind are why I love dystopian fantasy.

Book Review: Test

Test by William Sleator

SUMMARY: Just in time for test season, Sleator delivers an alarming view of a future in which one test determines your fate. All high school seniors must take the XCAS to graduate. Do poorly, and you are doomed to a life of never-ending gridlock, polluted air, and menial jobs. Ann's English XCAS scores are miserable, and her hatred of the test gets her wondering about its history, its creators, and its connection with the government. Soon she is being followed by a creepy man on a motorcycle. And it's only a matter of time before things get really dangerous...

OPINION: This book takes the current testing mandated by No Child Left Behind to a whole new level. The English class in this story is especially depressing, with students never actually reading an entire book. The best part of the story was when the students fought back with a nonviolent demonstration against the test. As a devout reader of dystopian fantasy, though, I thought the book itself lacked a really coherent vision of the future as a whole. It seemed more like the author just exaggerated current problems to use them as a platform for his anti-testing message. The sinister subplot failed to grab my imagination, and the connection between it and the testing was flimsy. I would have liked this book more if it more thoroughly explored the relationship between education and government in the context of student rights.


Book Review: Sweethearts

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Click on the book to see which libraries own it.

Review by Amy

I'm just gonna get it out in the open. Sweethearts is a tear-jerker. At first glance, it may seem like a cookie-cutter romance, a boy-meets-girl book. It's not. It's so not like that. This story is about the love between two people that are more than just friends, but not exactly romantic. I loved how this story developed. Jenna is a character you can relate to on some level. There are times that people feel so alone and end up wanting that one person of our childhood that accepted us no matter what. I truely love this story and I am going to buy my own copy because it's one of those books everyone should own.

Read another review of Sweethearts from our blog.


Leap Day!

Last night, 25 people showed up for our Leap Day celebration! We did a lot of random things, like filling out Leap Day Mad-Libs, making and racing origami frogs, designing paper Leap Day t-shirts, taking a trivia quiz, learning a Charleston-style dance to Jump, Jive, and Wail, and writing notes to our future selves in 2012. People won prizes that had to do with hopping or jumping, such as Honey Smacks, tricky triangle puzzles (where you jump the pegs to get rid of them), frog keychains, and chomping teeth wind-up toys. It was hilarious. I hope everyone had fun, because we won't get to do it for another four years!