Book Review: Night Road

Night Road by A. M. Jenkins
Reviewed by Alexa

Night Road is a unique take on civilized vampires. Cole, the main character, is a nomadic vampire who is called to New York by his old friend Johnny. Johnny needs a favor and Cole is the best guy for the job. Unfortunately for Cole, the favor turns out to be an out-of-control newborn vampire named Gordon. Johnny knows Cole can give Gordon the best vampire education around. Reluctantly, Cole agrees, and he, Gordon, and Sandor, the newborn's creator, set out to begin training. Author A. M. Jenkins writes from a clean, determined, and fresh perspective. Night Road is an interesting and insightful novel that is a gift to all of us vampire fiction junkies!


Book Review: Gone

Gone by Michael Grant
Review by Meg

Click on the cover to see which libraries own this book.

SUMMARY: It is just a normal day at school. That is, until everyone over the age of 14 mysteriously disappears. All of the sudden, dozens of children are left without families, without supervision, and with new, inexplicable powers that they can't quite control. Chaos ensues as everyone tries to come to terms with their sudden ability to start fires, or suspend gravity, or move from one place to another in the blink of an eye. The arrival of new children from a school for ill-behaved rich kids throws everything further into insanity, as does the strange barrier that has appeared around town, keeping them from knowing what is happening on the outside. And of course, the threat of their 14th birthday looms over everyone's heads...

OPINION: While the plot is intriguing and will keep you hooked until the last page, this book did have some problems. The one thing that kept distracting me was that the 13-year-olds act more like adults than the children they are. The budding romances seem far too adult for a group of kids, as does the sheer evil nature of some of the antogonists. Are eigth-graders really capable of blackmaing adults or attempting virtual genocide? Additionally, there is an inexplicable "dark force" that is neither properly explained nor entirely logical, once the explanation for the state of the world is given. Overall, this book is a good read, but could have used some additional answers to make it truly excellent.


Book Review: The Loser's Guide to Live and Love

The Loser's Guide to Life and Love by A. E. Cannon
Review by Koumudi

Overall this book was okay, not the best and not the worst. The plot was one large cliche, and cheesy doesn't even begin to describe the ending. Yet, the characters were dynamic and the writing was good. In fact, sporadic portions of the book were pretty funny. This is definitely a feel good book. It's an excellent choice for a light read, but it is not something that I would pursue over and over.


Teen Summer Reading Club

If you haven't turned in a slip for teen summer reading yet, why not?! It's easier than ever, with no registration and no requirement to read library materials. That's right...read whatever you've got already and still get credit! Win a prize every time you read five books, enter to win weekly prizes, and automatically get invited to our end-of-summer prize party! You can't lose!!

Visit the teen summer reading display in the
children's room to pick up your materials!


Big Bad Bug Report

Yesterday, 24 people came out to our teen summer reading kick-off event, Big Bad Bug Movies! Our screening of the 1954 cult horror classic Them! went really well. You can't beat giant mutated killer ants for hilarity. But when we got to Men in Black, the library's copy of the DVD was in terrible shape and wouldn't play. Luckily, Beth ran downstairs and got another movie. But it wasn't what we had planned! We will definitely show MIB another time. Anyway, we had air conditioning, food, and prizes, so it wasn't all bad. And everyone was very patient, so thanks for that!


Book Review: The Otherworldlies

The Otherworldlies by Jennifer Anne Kogler
Review by Meg

Fern has never been a normal kid. She's got colorless eyes, burns in the slightest bit of sunlight, has awful stomachaches for no real reason, and can get her dog to do anything (even climb a tree). But when she closes her eyes in English class and opens them on the beach, it becomes apparent that there's more to her than meets the eye. As it turns out, she's an Otherworldly--or, to use the more common term--a vampire. And not just any vampire, either. She's one of eleven extremely powerful vampires with abilities previously unheard of in vampire kind. This has made her a target for the singlemost feared vampire in the world, Vlad, aka Dracula. This was a good book with an intriguing plot, but it had its share of problems. First, the constant use of vampire slang occasionally made coversations difficult to follow. Also, there were points at which the plot seemed to drag on and on without ever really going anywhere. The ending also seemed rather abrupt, although that could be easily fixed by a sequel. On the whole, though, the plot's twists and turns kept me intrigued even through the slower bits. A solid book overall, especially from a fairly new author.


New New New

Yup, the books keep coming in! We have been getting a lot of extra copies of the summer reading books for UD schools, as well as new teen fic and nonfic:

  • Cherry Heaven by L. J. Adlington
  • The Diary of Pelly D by L. J. Adlington
  • I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
  • Airman by Eoin Colfer
  • Night Road by A. M. Jenkins
  • Cheater: A Novel by Michael Laser
  • The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
  • At the Sign of the Star by Katherine Sturtevant
  • The Last of the High Kings by Kate Thompson
  • Runaway by Wendelin Van Draanen
  • The Empty Kingdom by Elizabeth E. Wein (Mark of Solomon series)


  • Race: A History Beyond Black and White by Marc Aronson


Book Review: I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert
This book will be published on July 8, 2008.

SUMMARY: Emily Black's parents blew out of their rural hometown in 1974 on a motorcycle with no thoughts of coming back. But when her mother hit the road to follow the exploding music scene, Emily's father was left to raise an infant alone. And the only place he knew how to do it was in his hometown of Carlisle, Wisconsin. It wasn't exactly the punk rock lifestyle he had intended, but he still raised Emily differently than her peers. And it showed. At first directionless and chafing against small town gossip, Emily channels her passion for music and longing for her mother into a punk band named She Laughs. If anything will bring Louisa back into Emily's life, it will be the music. With moderate local success, the band moves to Chicago hoping to hit it big. Instead, they hit personal and professional roadblocks that almost derail their dreams. Abusive relationships, drugs, poor management, alcohol, and other bad decisions bring She Laughs to the breaking point. This is a story about living hard core and living to tell about it.

OPINION: I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is a saga of pain, loss, and music. It spans decades, telling the stories of both Emily and her mother as they each seek out a solution to their personal pain. At times, this book read like a punk chronology rather than a narrative, but the strong central characters always emerged to take back their story. The characters are flawed in such realistic ways that I cared about their struggles through problems with no easy answers. While I found many parts of this book moving, what drew me in most was the complex relationship between Emily and her father. It is rare to see such a devoted father in a teen book, especially one as alternative as Michael. He is more of a peer to Emily in some ways, yet cares for her throught challenging times as only a parent can. And I loved him for it.

MUSIC NOTE: Joey Ramone lent his name to the title, via a Sleater-Kinney quote, but the Ramones are not a real presence in this novel. It's a nice tribute to a very recognizable punk band, but doesn't contribute to the plot other than as a metaphore. Nevertheless, this book will make you want to go make a kick@$$ playlist of acts like The Clash, Dead Kennedys, Social Distortion, and Patti Smith. Or check out Stephanie's playlist on the book's MySpace page.

PERSONAL NOTE: As I was reading this book, the 90s cultural references really rang true to me. And then I realized that I am about the same age as Emily Black. That was strange...my youth as historical fiction!! Of course, I was more neo-hippie than punk back then. But I wasn't totally out of touch!


Nintendo Night

Last night, 28 teens came out for our quarterly Nintendo Night. It was crazy, so I was really glad that Beth and I were there together!!

We did two new things at this event. First, we switched our big-screen tournament from Super Smash Bros. Melee to Brawl, and we did a team battle. We randomly assigned pairs for the battle, and, as luck would have it, David and Maher were teamed up. Everyone fought valiantly, especially Martha and Mike P. in the final battle, but David and Maher were victorious. They each got a $15 gift card to GameStop. All four of the top finishers also got candy.

The other new thing we did was replace the Pokemon DS tournament with a Mario Kart DS tournament. 16 people entered the DS tournament this time, so I think the change was helpful. Connor S. beat Mike P. in the final to win a $10 GameStop gift card. The top four finishers, which included Mike R. and David, also got candy.

As usual, my old NES was popular. Everyone tried the Mario games, but for some reason people always end up playing Jeopardy. Go figure!

We will do this again in the fall, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, join our Monday afternoon Gaming Club. Summer membership is open until June 16.


Book Review: Gem X

Gem X by Nicky Singer

SUMMARY: 16-year-old Maxo is accustomed to perfection. He is a GemX genotype--preposterously intelligent and physically exquisite. He and his parents have an ultracomfortable apartment in the Polis, where only flawless, enhanced humans are allowed to live. But something goes very wrong. A small but noticable indentation appears on Maxo's perfect face. He knows he must find a cure immediately. As his search takes him into the violent and ugly world of the Dreggies--unenhanced humans who are not allowed to live in the Polis--he meets Gala and Stretch. Although he should be repulsed, Maxo is powerfully drawn to Gala. On a quest of their own, the siblings believe Maxo could be useful. What none of the teens understand is that they are pawns in a much bigger game--one that could have dire consequences for them all.

OPINION: This story follows a typical dystopian structure. On one side, enhanced humans with beauty, brains, and power. On the other, oppressed average humans who struggle for their day-to-day existence. While this story had some potentially interesting elements, such as its exploration of genetic enhancement and parent-child relationships, it ultimately failed to capture my attention. Singer's imagining of the future was fairly uninspired and involved a lot of capital letters. Better examples of this genre include The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick and the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld.


Brawl Battle Results

For the past eight Saturdays, David has been running a Super Smash Bros. Brawl Tournament at the library for his senior project. It was a lot of gaming, but yesterday the winners were announced! Maher came in first with a KO to KO'd ratio of 2.138, and won a $50 GameStop gift card. So, he is officially our Ultimate Brawl Battler! Connor and Mike virtually tied, with ratios of 1.570 and 1.569 respectively. But, Connor was officially second and got a $25 gift card, while Mike had to settle for third with a $10 gift card. Other people with great KO to KO'd ratios included Rachel (1.472), John (1.302), and Evan (1.299). Thanks to everyone who stuck with it and attended throughout April and May, including Kevin, Tyler, Martha, Avis, Katie, Mohammed, Andrew, and Sarah. See you all at Gaming Club this summer!