Today's Craft Closet Cleanout only had 5 attendees, but everyone went home with completed crafts. Among other projects, Shannon made a Pop-Tart cozy for her new iPod, Katie made two cute beaded flowers for her hair, and Genni added beading to a purse. People also made robot key chains, team spirit ponytail holders, magnets, Valentines, and more! We will do the CCC again in March, so check the schedule!


Books Selected by the TAB

The Teen Advisory Board helped me chose tons of new books for the teen area at the Barnes and Noble fundraiser on December 6. They are on the shelf and ready to be checked out! Here's what we bought:

  • Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • Courtin' Jayd by L. Divine (Drama High #6)
  • Lady J by L. Divine (Drama High #5)
  • Troy by Adele Geras
  • The Devouring by Simon Holt
  • Burned by Ellen Hopkins
  • Identical by Ellen Hopkins
  • The Greek Who Stole Christmas by Anthony Horowitz (Diamond Brothers Mystery)
  • A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson (replacement copy; read my review)
  • Girl at Sea by Marueen Johnson
  • Hot Girl by Dream Jordan
  • Heat by Mike Lupica
  • The Lost City of Faar by D. J. MacHale (Pendragon #2)
  • The Merchant of Death by D. J. MacHale (Pendragon #1)
  • The Never War by D. J. MacHale (Pendragon #3)
  • The Reality Bug by D. J. MacHale (Pendragon #4)
  • Cut by Patricia McCormick
  • Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy series)
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (additional copy)
  • Handbook for Boys: A Novel by Walter Dean Myers
  • Bliss by Lauren Myracle
  • Breathe My Name by R. A. Nelson
  • Sucks to Be Me: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire (Maybe) by Kimberly Pauley
  • Dead Is the New Black by Marlene Perez (read a review by Kaitlyn B.)
  • Skinned by Robin Wasserman
  • Generation Dead by Daniel Waters (read reviews by Meg and Caitlin C.)


  • Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances with stories by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
  • Love Is Hell with stories by Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin and Laurie Faria Stolarz
  • Guiness World Records 2009
  • Spore: Official Game Guide
  • The Twilight Companion: The Unauthorized Guide to the Series by Lois H. Gresh
  • Azumanga Daioh #1 by Kiyohiko Azuma
  • Azumanga Daioh #2 by Kiyohiko Azuma
  • Azumanga Daioh #3 by Kiyohiko Azuma
  • Azumanga Daioh #4 by Kiyohiko Azuma
  • Jim Henson's Return to the Labryinth #1 by Jake T. Forbes and Chris Lie


Urban and African American Teen Books

If you like urban and/or African American teen fiction, here are some recently released and upcoming books to look for:
  • Friends ’Til the End (2/09) by ReShonda Tate Billingsley shows how everything is working out for The Good Girlz, until an unexpected tragedy throws everyone for a loop.
  • Kendra (10/08) by Coe Booth creates the vivid voice of a teen trying to find her place in the world, even though nothing is what she thought it would be.
  • Beacon Hills High (9/08) by Mo’Nique Jackson offers a girl’s coming-of-age story, with 21st-century challenges.
  • If Only You Knew: A Hotlanta Novel (10/08) by Denene Millner and Mitzi Miller finds Sydney reeling from a breakup, while at the center of an unfolding murder mystery.
  • India (10/08) and Veronique (3/09) by Victoria Christopher Murray follow four African-American teen girls who form their own singing group.
  • Amiri and Odette: A Love Story (1/09) by Walter Dean Myers is part poem, part love story, part rap and rhapsody, and book celebrates two hearts that beat together on the mean streets.
  • Dope Sick (2/09) by Walter Dean Myers spins a harrowing urban tale of recreational drug use, violence, perceptions of reality, and second chances.
  • Chameleon (9/08) by Charles R. Smith Jr. evokes the bittersweet summer of transition for an inner-city Los Angeles teen.
  • Trouble in My Way (11/08) by Michelle Stimpson follows Keris, a good-but-grounded teen trying to bend the rules.
  • Hollywood & Maine (1/09) by Allison Whittenberg is about tenth-grader Charmaine experiencing both her first romance and the dream of becoming a Hollywood celebrity.
  • Jumped (3/09) by Rita Williams-Garcia is a gritty novel about bullying and its consequences.


Book Review: The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
(Click on the book cover to see which libraries own it.)

SUMMARY: On December 6, 1973, 14-year-old Susie Salmon was brutally murdered. From her perch in heaven (which looks a lot like her school playground), Susie watches over her family and friends as they pick up the pieces of their lives and move on. But when her father starts a risky quest to find her killer, everything changes.

OPINION: This is a book written for adults that has high teen appeal. The storytelling style is very unique because its gentle tone softens the true evilness of a child predator and murder. Grief and loss have never been so interesting, let alone miraculous. If you liked A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer or Elswhere by Gabrielle Zevin, this book may be a good choice for you. It's a tough read at times, so only pick it up if you are ready to have a good cry!


Book Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
(Click on the cover to see which libraries own it.)

SUMMARY: Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a year-long coma, and she's still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. Her parents show her home movies of her life, but she has no recollection. Is she really the same girl she sees on the screen? Little by little, Jenna begins to remember. Along with the memories come questions--questions no one wants to answer for her. What really happened after the accident? (from the inside flap)

OPINION: Most teen fiction takes place in a world where parents are uninvolved, unavailable, or maybe even dead. The Adoration of Jenna Fox is the exact opposite. Jenna was everything her parents hoped for, and their lives revolved around her. In America in the not-too-distant future, Jenna's family uses medical innovations to save their daughter's life. What starts like contemporary fiction quickly becomes dystopian as Jenna realizes that her parents may have gone too far to keep her alive. All good dystopian fiction has issues, and this book tackles tough questions of life and death, medical ethics, and parent-child relationships in ways that will keep you reading. I read this book in a day, and was only disappointed by the epilogue.

READ-ALIKE: If you liked this book, Eva by Peter Dickinson is a similar dystopian story that really impacted me when I read it.


Book Review: Before I Die

Before I Die by Jenny Downham
(Click on the cover to see which libraries own it.)

SUMMARY: Everyone has to die. We all know it. With only a few months of life left, sixteen-year-old Tessa knows it better than most. She's made a list, though, of things she wants to do before she dies. But getting what you want isn't easy. And getting what you want doesn't always give you what you need. And sometimes the most unexpected things become important. Uplifting, life-affirming, joyous--this extraordinary novel celebrates what it is to be alive by confronting what it's really like to die. (adapted from the inside flap)

OPINION: I was initially skeptical of this book because it came out at the same time as Chris Crutcher's book Deadline. Both books are about teens living out the last year of their lives with cancer. I thought, really, how many books like this do we need? But, as it turns out, we need both, because they are vastly different takes on the same subject. Deeply angry about her untreatable cancer, Tessa has quit school and dropped out of society, purposely alienating herself from friends and family. Only her list motivates her to get up and out of the house, and then it's usually for some illicit or illegal purpose. Tessa is not going to go meekly, and she wants the world to know. Sometimes. This book perfectly captures the ever-changing emotions that assault us when we are grieving. And, although you already know what happens at the end, it is well worth reading and crying your way through this story.