Book Swap & Jane Austen Redux

We had so much fun at our first Book Swap & Jane Austen program back in April that I planned another one! Yesterday, 12 teens showed up to watch Emma and Clueless, as well as swap paperbacks. It was hilarious to see how so many elements from the classic Jane Austen story were incorporated into the cheesy 90s materialism of Clueless. We'll be swapping books again in the winter or spring, so check the schedule when it comes out.


Recommended Reading

No matter how much you read, there are some great books you just miss. Maybe you tend to read in one genre, or read a lot of series and sequels, or read what your friends are reading. Winter is a great time to get out of your reading rut, so here are some recommendations for recent teen books:

Amazon.com's Top 10 Books for Teens
These are their editors' 10 picks for best books of 2009 for teens. Their number one choice is the newly-published Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

2009 Teens' Top Ten
An online vote by teens during Teen Read Week helps YALSA narrow down a list of books from 2008 and 2009. Paper Towns by John Green came in first this year!

Reading Rants 2009 Top Ten
Reading Rants is a great teen book review site that features quirky book lists. The site's author put up her "from-the-gut" 2009 list last week, and it has several unique recommendations.

Gift Books 2009 Part One
Gift Books 2009 Part Two
These teen gift recommendations from librarians in Seattle, but I like the variety of books they suggested. Their list includes a few of the year's best graphic novels, too!


Donate Your Partially Used Gift Cards!

From now through January 31, the Teen Advisory Board is collecting donations of partially used gift cards. You know how you buy stuff with a gift card, have like $1.33 left, and never go back and use it? We'll take it! Get your family members to clean out their wallets and donate those leftover cards to support the Sellers Library's 2010 summer reading program.

Here's how it works:
  1. Put the card(s) in an envelope at the library.
  2. Fill out the donation form if you want a tax-deductible receipt.
  3. Give it to a staff member at the children's or adult circulation desk.
  4. We will look up the value of each card online and send a receipt, if requested.
  5. We will use the cards to help purchase supplies and prizes for the 2010 Summer Reading Program.

Craft Closet Cleanout Complete!

Last Wednesday, 12 teens showed up for our final Craft Closet Cleanout of 2009. Maria J. dropped in to visit us since she's home from San Francisco on winter break, so everyone was happy to see her! Our big project of the day was potato-print wrapping paper. Yes, I let people use knives to carve potatoes into stamps for paint. See what you miss when you don't come to stuff!? We also decorated gift boxes, constructed duct tape wallets, and made tiaras, among other random crafts from events past.

Carving the potatoes.

Stamping snowmen, hearts, and pandas.

Nothing says "Christmas" like pink triangles and blue hearts...

Decorating mini gift boxes.

I think he's making that face at the disembodied hands holding the duct tape wallet in the picture.

Some participants with their completed crafts. The most artistic crafts of the day were definitely the wrapping papers printed with white doves (far left) and pandas (far right).

My star-stamped paper wrapped two beautiful Christmas gifts for Nat and Ben!


Teen Books for 2010

I am always trying to keep up on release dates for teen books, so here's my list so far for 2010:
  • 1/1/10--Next Semester by Cecil R. Cross II (Kimani Tru)
  • 1/5/10--Captivate by Carrie Jones (sequel to Need)
  • 2/1/10--Fabulous by Simone Bryant (Kimani Tru)
  • 2/1/10--Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson (sequel to Suite Scarlett)
  • 2/9/10--Eleventh Grade Burns by Heather Brewer (Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series)
  • 2/9/10--Heist Society by Ally Carter (author of the Gallagher Girls series)
  • 2/23/10--The Sable Quean by Brian Jacques (Redwall series)
  • 3/9/10--Hourglass by Claudia Gray (Evernight series)
  • 3/9/10--The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan (sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth)
  • 4/1/10--This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer (sequel to Life as We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone)
  • 4/20/10--Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely series)
  • 4/27/10--The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong (Darkest Powers series)
  • 4/27/10--Burned by P. C. Cast and Kristen Cast (House of Night series)
  • 5/11/10--Hell's Heroes by Darren Shan (Demonata series)
  • 5/18/10--Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy series)
  • 5/18/10--Love Bites by Ellen Schreiber (Vampire Kisses series)
  • 7/20/10--Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (sequel to Shiver)
  • 8/24/10--The Hunger Games Book Three by Suzanne Collins (official title not released yet)
  • 8/31/10--The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (author of the Mortal Instruments trilogy)


Test Your Driving Distraction

All drivers are guilty of some level of distracted driving, whether it's eating fast food or talking to their passengers. Anyway, since the invention of cell phones and text messaging, distracted driving has become almost normal. But, anything that takes your attention away from the road, for even a second, can be the cause of an accident. In high school, one of my friends totaled his car while just reaching to change the radio station! Try this game from the New York Times to test what happens to your reaction times when you text and drive. No matter how well you think you can drive, this activity is food for thought.


Book Review: How to Ditch Your Fairy

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
Click on the cover to see which libraries own it.

SUMMARY: This light fantasy takes place in a world that is much like our own, except that nearly everyone has some kind of fairy that gives them one special ability. Charlie attends a magnet high school for sports and has normal life of schoolwork and sporting events. However, her parking-space fairy is so annoying that she has decided to starve it by walking everywhere, which takes up a huge amount of time and earns her a lot of demerits, game suspensions, and community service time. Teaming up with her best friend (shopping fairy), the boy she likes (not-getting-in-trouble fairy), and her archenemy (all-the-boys-like-you fairy), Charlie embarks on an increasingly wild quest (luge, anyone?) to get rid of her fairy once and for all.

OPINION: Although this is technically a fairy fantasy, it reads more like a contemporary novel with weird slang. There is none of the darkness that makes fairy books like Tithe so popular, and there is no cultural fairy connection as in The New Policeman. The fairies in this book each randomly provide a particular gifting to a person; consult the List of Known Fairies in the back for an amusing recap of those mentioned in the book. I really enjoyed Charlie's strong-willed antics, and it was great to read about well-rounded girl who could play a wicked game of cricket, do well in school, and enjoy a day of shopping. I do wish that the author had provided a little more information about the world of New Avalon and the history of the fairies, but overall it was a humorous and easy read. It was little on the girly side, but I'd still recommend it for girls and guys in middle and early high school. The comedic tone of the story reminded me a lot of books by Janette Rallison, so check it out if you are a fan of hers.


Don't Try This at Sellers, Either...

A movie theater in England has banned its customers from kissing their cardboard cutout of Robert Pattinson! They smacked a sign across his lips telling movie-goers it would help stop the spread of seasonal flu. Read the news article here.

Since Robert is currently lurking behind our circulation desk in a Santa hat, I think you are safe from disease. Still, I don't want to see anyone leaping the desk to get at him, mmmkay?


Love Is Not Abuse

Yesterday, 20 high school students showed up for our Love Is Not Abuse discussion group led by Katie Kenyon from the Delaware County Domestic Abuse Project. We had 5 guys and 15 girls, representing a variety of grades, schools, and backgrounds. (Three of the people were even getting extra credit from their health teacher for attending.) Our starting activity provided us with enough to talk about for the entire session! Everyone worked in pairs to determine if the scenario they were given was no big deal, something to talk about, or a dealbreaker in a relationship. Our freewheeling discussion gave everyone a chance to voice their opinions, share stories, ask questions, and think about the issues in a new way. The conversation went until the last minute and then some! At the end, I talked about some of our new fiction and nonfiction on topics related to dating and relationship issues.

We wll have Katie back in the new year to do a few more programs, including a possible series of classes to continue this discussion. Meanwhile, here are some online resouces that might give you more insight:

This is MTV's new project aimed at preventing digital abuse among teens. Take their quiz, then get informed about issues like constant messaging, cruelty, sexting, digital disrespect, and spying.

This site for teens from Break the Cycle has quizzes, a place for questions, and a lot of great resourses on teen dating issues. I particulary like the ideas in their Take Action section.

This website provides teens with tools to combat digital misbehavior, including Callout Cards that you can share through email and social networking sites. I like the one that pictures a toilet and reads, "Thanks to your constant calls, the sound of your voice offically makes me want to puke."

This site for young women from the Family Violence Prevention Fund talks about the link between relationship abuse and reproductive health.

This new ad campaign features the disembodied beard of James Lipton, which attaches itself to teens' faces and makes them think before they text inappropriate things. It sounds completely weird, but just watch one of the videos. They made me giggle.

Helpful Books about Teen Relationships

After talking about these resources our Love Is Not Abuse discussion session yesterday, I just wanted to post the titles for everyone. You are free to check them out of the library anytime or just browse them while you are here.
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Online Romance by Ann Boger
  • Boyology: A Girl's Crash Course in Everything Boy by Sarah O'Leary Burningham
  • Girls Against Girls: Why We Are Mean to Each Other and How We Can Change by Bonnie Burton
  • The African-American Teenagers Guide to Personal Growth, Health, Safety, Sex, and Survival by Deborah Harris-Johnson
  • No Mistakes! The African American Teen Guide to Growing Up Strong by Robin Henry
  • GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Queer and Questioning Teens by Kelly Huegel
  • The Guy Book: An Owner's Manual by Mavis Jukes
  • In Love and in Danger: A Teen's Guide to Breaking Free of Abusive Relationships by Barrie Levy
  • The How Rude! Handbook of Friendship and Dating Manners for Teens by Alex J. Packer
  • Respect: A Girl's Guide to Getting Respect and Dealing When Your Line Is Crossed by Courtney Macavinta and Andrea Vander Pluym
  • Just Us Girls: Secrets to Feeling Good about Yourself, Inside and Out by Moka
  • The Blueprint for My Girls in Love: 99 Rules for Dating, Relationships, and Intimacy by Yasmin Shiraz


Book Review: Shock Point

Shock Point by April Henry
Click on the cover to see which libraries own the book.

SUMMARY: Cassie Streng, 16, knows that her psychiatrist stepfather, Rick, prescribed an experimental drug for his teenage patients, three of whom have committed suicide. Before she can gather evidence, however, she is grabbed by two men, handcuffed, locked in the back of a van, and taken to Peaceful Cove, a facility for troubled teens in Mexico. Although Rick has assured her mother that the place is an excellent boarding school, Cassie soon realizes that she is trapped in a brutal prison camp. She must make her way back to Oregon and convince someone of the danger Rick represents before anyone else dies. (adapted from the School Library Journal review)

OPINION: The classic "wicked stepmother" story gets a new twist in this suspenseful novel. Cassie's stepfather, Rick, is a charming and charismatic psychiatrist who has her mother completely fooled. Expecting their first child, Cassie's mother complies with all of Rick's plans, from moving to a new house in a new city to sending Cassie away on suspicions of drug possession. The lack of family support in this book is astonishing, but I don't think it is unrealistic. The action in the book flips back and forth between present and past, creating tension as it reveals crucial details. The story is not too graphic, but the plot will keep you hooked. Most frightening to me, boot camp programs like this for troubled teens do exist and this book provides a chilling look at how they can be misused. I would recommend this book to anyone in middle or early high school looking for a quick and exciting read. I finished this book in one afternoon because I wanted to see what happened!


List Mania

As we close the first decade of the new millennium (!!!) it seems that everyone has started posting reflections on the past 10 years. Here are some of my favorites:

Top 10 Happiest Endings
Part of Newsweek's 20/10: The Decade in Rewind content, these are news stories that will actually make you smile

One Hit Wonders of the Decade
Who was the number one artist who didn't manage to score a follow-up hit? Check out this great list of the top 40 one-hit wonders from Billboard.

Ten Most Underappreciated Teen Books of 2000-2009
This quirky list from http://www.readingrants.org/ lists one great teen book that got overlooked for every year of the past decade.

The Decade's 50 Most Important Recordings
NPR's music critics and listeners compiled this list of recordings that were influential in some way over the last decade. Covering everything from Britneyy Spears to Radiohead to Jay Z, plus jazz and classical, this list will intrigue music lovers.

The Decade in Seven Minutes
Spare a few minutes to check out Newsweek's video of highlights from the past 10 years.


Monthly Feature: Word Nerd

Here is our Word Nerd challenge for December:

Although her family was considered nouveau riche, Penelope manipulated the complex machinations of high society to her favor using her decadent family home, lavish parties, elaborate fashions, and her naturally cunning nature.

(This sentence is based on The Luxe series and was inspired while I writing a review for the blog! Use http://www.thesaurus.com/ and http://www.dictionary.com/ to help you translate it.)

Official Word Nerd Rules:
  1. Once a month, I will post a sentence with vocabulary words in boldface.
  2. You have one week to look up the words, translate the sentence into normal language, and post a response in the comment section (with first name and last initial, please).
  3. Participants must be students in grades 6 to 12 who regularly visit Sellers Library.
  4. After one week, the person with the most accurate translation will get a prize.
  5. Entries may be similar and use some of the same words.
  6. If no entry is entirely accurate, I reserve the right not to pick a winner.


The Lovely Bones

The movie version of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is available in limited theatrical release starting this weekend, but the reviews have been mixed. I'd curl up at home with the book if I were you! If you've already read it, here are some read-alikes recommended in this month's Teen Scene email newsletter:
  • Many Stones by Carolyn Coman
  • Waves by Sharon Dogar
  • The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue
  • Where I Want to Be by Adele Griffin
  • The Afterlife by Gary Soto
  • Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin



So RiffTrax sounds like a weird toy from the 80s, but it is actually is a hilarious movie commentary site. It is the brainchild of some of the people responsible for Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). They have created commentaries that synch up perfectly with the movies, so you download their MP3 and listen to it while simultaneously watching the movie. It's like having MST3K in your living room! This would totally make bad movies watchable and good movies more fun. And as a person who always feels the need to talk during any movie I'm watching, this sounds like a great idea. They have commentaries for a wide variety of movies, from current to classic to just plain horrible. I think I will throw a party and watch Twilight with RiffTrax!!


Book Review: The Luxe Series

The Luxe, Rumors, Envy, and Splendor (The Luxe series) by Anna Godbersen

Click on the book cover to find library copies of all the books in the series.

A REVIEW OF THE LUXE: A big, sumptuous tale of catty girls, dark secrets and windswept romance unfurls in this compulsively readable novel of late-19th-century New York City socialites. Godbersen weaves a tenuous web of deceit, backstabbing and pretense that follows four teens: Elizabeth Holland, a prim and proper lady of old-money society, is betrothed to one man, though furtively loves another; Henry Schoonmaker, a debauched playboy who must marry Elizabeth or be disinherited; Diana Holland, Elizabeth’s younger sister who is in love with her fiancĂ©; and Penelope Hayes, a member of the nouveau riche who will stop at nothing to win Henry’s affections. As Elizabeth and Henry’s wedding approaches, the spectacle unfolds in a wondrously grandiose web of friends, lovers, lies and betrayal. (adapted from Kirkus Reviews)

Among New York's wealthiest citizens at the turn of the 20th century, the money made by the family patriarchs was meant to be spent. Decadent homes, lavish parties, elaborate fashions, and juicy gossip were a fact of everyday life in these families. The author's fictional imaginings are very close to the truth, and even reference some real New York society families of the time, such as the Vanderbilts and the Astors. These books do not read like historical fiction because the wider world only briefly intrudes into the complicated machinations of high society. The Luxe series does an amazing job of bringing the reader inside the insulated lifestyle of Manhattan's elite families of that time. It's like Gossip Girl with better fashion and more manners! The historical detail is impeccable, yet it's the scandalous behavior that will keep you reading.

I do have a few quibbles with the writing style, which is probably more glaring since I read them all at once. I know there are only so many ways to describe something, but some adjectives were greatly overused during the series. I got really tired of hearing about Carolina's "bee-stung" lips or Snowden's "preternaturally blond" hair. Some descriptive passages were also a little too similar among the books to be really interesting and I found myself skimming the text to get to another "good part." I suspected many of the bigger events in the books long before they happened, but, nonetheless, the intrigue among the characters and the never-ending plot twists kept me hooked on the books until the final shocking chapters.

Although Splendor is the final installment in this series, I would love to see the author write another series furthering the adventures of a certain character in Europe. I would also beg her to move forward in time and write about 1920s New York, continuing the story of her high society families from The Luxe with a new generation.

Find out more about the series, read the first book for free online, send Luxe e-cars. and more at the official website: http://www.theluxebooks.com/. You can even watch a book trailer for The Luxe!

And if you like reading about this era of history, often called the Gilded Age, read Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence. It's a highly readable classic about high society, and is one of my all-time favorite books.


Book Grub Finds Paper Towns

Last Friday, the Book Grub Book Group met to discuss Paper Towns by John Green. We had a far-ranging discussion, moving from telling road trip stories to talking about revenge to considering how well we can really ever know other people. We could have talked about many more things if we'd had the time! All of John Green's books are full of random trivia, quirky characters, existential questions, and truly hilarious moments that balance out the seriousness. They are great for discussion on a lot of levels. If you liked Paper Towns, be sure to read Green's other two books Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines.

John Green and his brother Hank became notorious on the internet in 2008 for their Brotherhood 2.0 video blogging experiement. They have generated a lot of internet content between them, all amusing and well worth wasting your time exploring. Here are some quick links:

John's website and home to random trivia connected to his books.

Become addicted to updating the Omnictionary!

Created by Hank, "this is a place where nerds gather and play. We fight to increase awesome and decrease suck. What more is there?"

John and Hank's original blog spawned its own YouTube channel.


B&N Book Fair

Yesterday, nine members of the Teen Advisory Board spent the day wrapping presents at the library's Book Fair fundraiser at the Barnes & Noble in Broomall. We made $71 for teen programs at Sellers Library, mostly thanks to two generous donors who each gave us $20. The heavy snow put a damper on the shopping in the late afternoon, but it was still a good day. Thanks to Alexa, Amy, Stephanie, Judy, Elena, Genni, Nitha, Kaitlyn, Christine, and Emily who each took a two-hour shift at the table.

If you missed it, don't worry! If you shop there any time until Friday, just tell them you're shopping for the Upper Darby Libraries and we'll get the credit. All of the money raised goes to fund programs for kids and teens, so you will definitely benefit from this!

I saved some of our book budget for this day, so the TAB wrappers also helped me select some books for the teen section. We bought a bunch of new stuff that will probably arrive on the shelves next week:

  • Take Me There by Susane Colasanti
  • When It Happens by Susane Colasanti
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan (replacement)
  • Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan (replacement)
  • Rumors by Anna Godbersen (Luxe series; replacement)
  • Splendor by Anna Godbersen (Luxe series)
  • Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson
  • Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga (sequel to Fanboy & Goth Girl)
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy series; replacement)
  • Hero by Perry Moore
  • The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking series)
  • Saving Zoe by Alyson Noel
  • The Secret Circle: The Captive Part II and The Power by L. J. Smith
  • Deadly Little Lies by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Touch series)
  • Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Touch series)


  • The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire edited by Trisha Telep
  • Immortal: Love Stories with Bite edited by P. C. Cast


  • Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail by Danica McKellar


Who Is Claudette Colvin?

A few weeks ago, it was announced that Phillip Hoose won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature for his biography Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. When she was just 15 years old, Colvin was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat for a white woman in Montgomery, Alabama. If this story sounds a bit familiar, it's important to note that Colvin did this on her own a good nine months before Rosa Parks! Why did history remember one and forget the other? You'll have to read the book, or at least this New York Times article.


Vampire Academy Goes High-Tech

The Vampire Academy Signature Edition is a new hardcover version of the first book in that popular series by Richelle Mead. If you go to the Vampire Academy website and hold up the Signature Edition to your webcam, the cover will come to life and reveal insider info on the series! This is the first time a U.S. publisher has used this technology, called Augmented Reality (AR), to promote a book and it sounds pretty cool. If you aren't buying the book, look for an ad in the December 7 edition of People that will also activate the AR features. Read more about the promotion in this article from Publishers Weekly.


Third Hunger Games Book Announced!!

I just found out that the third book in The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins will be released on August 24, 2010! It's a long wait, but it's nice to know when to expect it. The title is rumored to be Victors, but the firm title will be released early next year. If you want to read a little more about it, check out this article from Publishers Weekly. You can also visit the publisher's website for The Hunger Games series.

If you are not already a fan of the series, go read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire RIGHT NOW!!!

NIA Workout

Yesterday, 11 teens showed up for our NIA exercise program paid for by the Fit for Life grant. NIA blends different disciplines of dance, martial arts, and healing arts. Pat, our instructor, led us in a variety of moves during our 45-minute program, and I had to turn on the AC because we were sweating! It was a fun and energetic experience, and I would highly recommend it as a fitness activity. It was exercise, but it didn't feel like work at all!

If you'd like to learn more about NIA, visit http://www.nianow.com/.


Upcoming Events

There are three teen health and wellness events in the next three weeks, so sign up and feel good:

NIA for Teens
Wednesday, December 2, 3:30 to 4:30 pm
NIA is a wellness program that incorporates dance arts, healing arts (Yoga and Pilates), and martial arts. There will be 45 minutes of instruction followed by healthy snacks. Fit for Life programs in Delaware County are sponsored by Libraries for the Future, the program division of Americans for Libraries Council, and MetLife Foundation.

Building Healthy Relationships
For students in grades 6 to 8 ONLY
Wednesday, December 9, 3:30 to 5:00 pm
It seems like everyone wants a boyfriend or girlfriend, but what exactly does that mean? Find out about the qualities of healthy and unhealthy relationships. The program is provided free of charge by the Delaware County Domestic Abuse Project. For more info on the topic of dating violence, visit http://www.chooserespect.org.

Love Is Not Abuse
For students in grades 9 to 12 ONLY
Wednesday, December 16, 3:30 to 5:00 pm
Learn about the forms and warning signs of dating abuse, how to help a friend who is being hurt, and how or when to call someone out if they are using harassing behaviors. The program is provided free of charge by the Delaware County Domestic Abuse Project. For more info on the topic of dating violence, visit http://www.chooserespect.org.

PS--Don't forget to send your parents to our parenting class on dating violence on Monday, December 7, from 7:00 to 8:30.

DIY Tie-Dye

Last Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving), 12 teens showed up for our drop-in tie-dye craft. A lot of people did our shoelaces, but we also had people bring shirts, socks, and even a messenger-style bag! I also had some random shirts and baby items that some people made as extra items.

I made a few baby items for my cousin that turned out pretty well, but I managed to dye my hands completely blue when rinsing them out at home! I am still blue around the nails, and I will remember to wear gloves next time...

If you want to learn more about how to tie-dye, check out this post from the summer.

Two girls rubber banding their shirts into different patterns.

These girls modeled their trash bag smocks and plastic gloves.

One trash bag model and two girls showing off their shoelaces.

One person wore her awesome new shirt to the library on Friday! It turned out amazingly well.

This is a great baby onesie I made for my cousin. It's probably the most perfect tie-dye I have ever done.

I also did a baby burp cloth that turned out really well.

Katie's socks came out super-cute!