Recommendation: Far Traveler

Far Traveler by Rebecca Tingle
(Click here to find a library copy.)

Recommendation by Pamela
Should we keep it?  YES
Why?  It's a great story of a girl taking risks to choose her own life and not be controlled by her uncle, realistically set in Old English times.  (This book is a sequel to The Edge on the Sword.)

This book was part of the Last Call book display in the teen section during November and December. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Random-A-Thon, 2011 Edition!

On Saturday, 31 teens showed up for our second annual Random-A-Thon fundraiser!  Everyon had to raise at least $10 in donations, then attended the event for as long as they wanted.  Most people stayed for several hours, and thirteen people were there all day!  We had a general outline of activities planned, but (of course) it was adaptable.  There were three or four things going on at once all day long and it was crazy. 

In the morning, we watched people's VHS tapes of their favorite cartoons, played board and card games, did bookswap, had a Connect Four tournament (David won), and played Dance Dance Revolution.  We took a lunch break with cup noodles, PB&J (or fluff), carrots and celery with dip, chips, and snack cakes.  (Special thanks to Laurel for making a random pie and to Maranda for randomly running home to get something to cut it!)  In the afternoon, we played WarioWare:  Smooth Moves, Just Dance, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and various editions of Rock Band.  There were also crafts, more board and card games, and an ice cream sundae break. 

Interspersed among all of that were activities from the Jar of Randomness.  We did everything from dancing the YMCA to all wearing peace sign necklaces to singing TV show theme songs to coloring pictures made from library teen photos!  Some of the activities earned people prizes from the Prize Box of Randomness, which was hilarious.  I filled a paper box with an assortment of stuff and people had to just reach in blindly and grab a prize.  The only rule was that they had to keep what they got, which made for some pretty funny combinations of people and prizes!

So far, we have raised $761 in cash and checks, with about $200 more in pledges due.  This puts us VERY CLOSE to the $1000 goal!  If we reach the goal, I will be putting colored streaks in my hair.  People got a vote on the color for every ten dollars they raised.   Right now, blue is in the lead, but not by much.  Other people still have to vote when they turn in their money, so that might change.  In addition to the money raised by teens, we've had a few anonymous donations from my coworkers.  They want to see me dye my hair as much as you do!!  All donations are due by March 12, so I'll update you as the money comes in.

Want to know more about the Random-A-Thon?  Check out the posts from last year's event!

Playing cards

 Connect Four tournament

Duct tape crafts included a woven wallet, a ninja animal pencil case, and a crown.

I found some random masks in the attic for the girls to decoupage.

People showing off their random crafts:  duct tape projects, a giant flip flop, and library photo coloring sheets!


Book Review: Beastly

Beastly by Alex Flinn
(Click here to find a library copy.)

In Alex Flinn's Beastly, popular and oh so rich prep boy Kyle Kingsbury is transformed into a hideous beast. Mainly, this story is a modern remake of Beauty and the Beast. Flinn plays out the story in very similar ways to the actual story.  She makes a witch disguised as a student mad because he says she is ugly. The man who is supposed to be 'Belle's' father is caught breaking into the home of the beast. She hates him and she loves books. I wonder who that sounds like? Anyway, I fell in love with this book and I know you will too. I'm currently part of the cast of Beauty and the Beast so it was awesome to read it in a modern view. I can't wait to see how all the characters are portrayed when the movie comes out next Friday!

Happy Reading!

For more about the book, see Gretchen's review of Beastly.


Recommendation: Witch Child

Witch Child by Celia Rees
(Click here to find a library copy.)

Recommendation by Kaitlyn
Should we keep it?  YES
Why?  The story is interesting and unique.  The main character is very intriguing as well.

This book was part of the Last Call book display in the teen section during November and December. Thanks to everyone who participated!


Beach Party Drop-In

On Wednesday, 22 people stopped by during our Deach Party Drop-In!  We played Wii games, ate snacks, and made crafts.  The sand art and giant flip flops were really popular, and everyone liked decorating their own cupcakes (of course).  If you missed it, all of the crafts will be available on Saturday at the Random-A-Thon.  Look for more drop-in days on the spring teen schedule!

Recommendation: Angel Isle

Angel Isle by Peter Dickinson
(Click here to find a library copy.)

Recommendation by Pamela
Should we keep it?  YES
Why?  It's a very exciting sequel to The Ropemaker, and it raises interesting questions about teamwork, emotional wounds, jealousy, and the need for people with differences.

This book was part of the Last Call book display in the teen section during November and December. Thanks to everyone who participated!


Book Review: The Maze of Bones

The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan (The 39 Clues series)
(Click here to find a library copy.)

Because I am SO late, I have just read the first book in The 39 Clues series. I'm sure everyone who is reading this realizes how late I am, and you are probably rolling your eyes and laughing. Anyway, I realized what I was missing. The Maze of Bones rocked! The perfect author was chosen. Rick Riordan shows vivid pictures. You can almost feel how tense things are at every leg in the race. He makes a story that may seem totally unrealistic really realistic. I love Rick Riordan, really I do. And this book made me love him more. It's hard to explain the plot, but I'll try my best.

So this old lady, Grace Cahill, of the infamous Cahill family, has passed away. She has left a quest to all the people of the four Cahill branches. They must give up 1,000,000 dollars to gain a treasure that can save - or destroy - our world. And I mean our world. These are a bunch of normal people from a family that supposedly included Ben Franklin and Isaac Newton. (That's the unrealistic part.) Everyone is out to get the orphans, Amy and Dan, because they were closest to Grace. Now the entire family must race around the world to discover the clues and the treasure!

I definitely cannot wait to read the rest of the series. I'm worried though. Every book in the series is written by a different person. Ten books. Ten authors. We'll see how it goes.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Another Whole Nother Story

Another Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup
Review by Saranjeet
(Click here to find a library copy.)

Another Whole Nother Story is very well written, and the way the book opens its story immediatley captures the reader's interest.  I also think it was very well thought on, how the setting takes place in the year 1668 but the characters have the sense and education of the 21st century.

The obstacles that Ethan Cheeseman meets would probably make you jump on your feet.  The most detailed and vivid obstacle was when the Cheeseman family was on the ship.  It makes this part of the story very tense.  Also, the conflict in this story seemed very simple, but hard to accomplish.  If there was a bit more detail about how Ethan Cheeseman want to bring his wife back, I feel it would have made the story more comprehendable to me.  But, I did love how Ethan and his children change at the end.

The two characters Professor Boxley and Gateman were a great twist to this story.  I believe these two characters wer portrayed more as comedians than as villains.  Lastly, I loved the one of two pages of the "A Little Advice".  I think this tried to reach out to the readers and helped me understand the story much better.  This book is a sequel to A Whole Nother Story, so you should probably read that one first!


Recommendation: The Blue Sword

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
(Click here to find a library copy.)

Recommendation by Samuel
Should we keep it?  YES
Why?  The heroine discovers her secret heritage and goes from bored charity case to warrior queen, second in skill to nobody.  Oh, and there's magic, too!

This book was part of the Last Call book display in the teen section during November and December. Thanks to everyone who participated!


Save the Words

Do you want to confuse your friends and sound super-smart at the same time? Visit Save the Words to adopt your very own obscure word. When you adopt a word, you promise to use in conversation and in writing as much as possible, so choose wisely!


Book Crush

Last night, 11 teen showed up for our rescheduled Book Crush party.  It wasn't as many people as we would have had on the original night, but we had a great time!  We played "How Well Do You Know Your Book Crush" and book character bingo, ate candy, and did a really random decoupage craft.  It sounds weird, but everyone decoupaged several smooth rocks with hearts, tissue paper, and book character names.  They're great for paperweights or decorations.  It was really popular and took up more time than I thought, so we didn't get to play Marry, Date, Dump.  We'll do that at our next Book Grub meeting!  We also had a cupcake-decorating contest with a book crush theme.  Check out our pictures: 

These girls came dressed as Audrey from Audrey, Wait! and Jackie from Bloody Jack.

Teferi's cupcake represented Alice from The Twilight Saga.

Christa's cupcake used gummy bears to reinact the death scene from Romeo and Juliet!

Laurel made Russia from Hetalia.

Some high schoolers in height order!


Recommendation: The Ropemaker

The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson
(Click here to find a library copy.)

Recommendation by Pamela
Should we keep it?
Why?  This book is encouraging to people who feel like a disappointment to their families.  Tilja's lack of magical talent turns out to be the gift that is needed to save two countries.  Also, it's fun.

This book was part of the Last Call book display in the teen section during November and December. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Book Review: Gilda Joyce - The Bones of the Holy

The Bones of the Holy by Jennifer Allison (Gilda Joyce series)

**This book will be released on 6/9/11.**

This week, amidst the craziness, I read the galley version of Gilda Joyce - The Bones of the Holy. It has to be the most thrilling - and creepy - out of all five of Gilda's investigations. The main plot line (a summary from the back) is that Mrs. Joyce is being remarried to a man by the name of Eugene Pook - whose personality matches his name. Mr. Pook, an antiques shop owner, has a very shady past. His ex-fiance left him to supposedly go to Europe. But is she really there or is Eugene hiding a dark secret?

In the chilling setting of St. Augustine, Florida, there are plenty of ghosts. Jennifer Allison uses a lot of things from history too, from mentions of the KKK to histories of families and early settlings dating back to the 1500s! Combining American history, which can be very boring, and Gilda's spunky attitude, this book is a winner! I can't wait to read it again in June!


Long Live Brian Jacques!

Brian Jacques, author of the Redwall books, died on Saturday, February 5, after a heart attack.  (Read his obituary...he was an amazing person.)  This made me incredibly sad, because I am a huge fan of the Redwall series and have read 19 of the 21 books!  I was happy to learn that the very last Redwall book, called The Rogue Crew, will be released in May.

Redwall is a fantasy adventure series with a twist:  all of the characters are small animals!  This may sound strange, but the world they inhabit is entirely believable.  The Redwall books are richly-imagined fantasy adventure stories that will capture your imagination with courageous journeys, puzzling mysteries, and (of course) epic battles. And when the characters are not adventuring, they are feasting...the books always make me hungry. (There actually is a Redwall Cookbook, too.)

In honor of Brian Jacques and my love for the Redwall series, I put up a little display in the teen section in his memory.  They are perfect for winter reading, so check them out. The best part is that you don't have to read them in order, although you might want to start with Redwall.  My two personal favorites are Loamhedge and The Legend of Luke.


Today's DDR

Today, 15 people showed up after school to enjoy DDR, snacks, and board/card games.  We had an unplanned boys vs. girls tournament after I randomly assigned the brackets and they all ended up that way.  The entire second round and the final ended up as boys vs. girls, as well. Thirteen people entered the tournament, which was for a $13 gift card to Wawa...it's a good thing we're not superstitious!  Anyway, after some tough competition from Ross, Jennifer emerged victorious.  Congratulations, Jennifer!  We'll be doing more DDR in the future, as well as a Just Dance day, so look for them on the spring schedule.

New Teen Book Displays

Right now, I have three displays for you in the teen area!

1.  I changed the cart this morning to display books with sequels.  They are all rubber-banded together, so you can just grab them and head for the desk.  Save yourself a trip to the library by checking out two, three, or even four books at once!  Immerse yourself in another world for the long weekend.

2.  Find a display of Redwall fantasy books on the top of the teen nonfiction section, in memory of author Brian Jacques who died earlier this month.

3.  Look for the New Book bookmarks all over the teen section.  Some items are on display while others are shelved.  Be the first to check something out!

Look for These

Here are the latest arrivals:
  • The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima (Seven Realms series)
  • The Miracle Stealer by Neil Connelly
  • Payback Time by Carl Deuker
  • A Tale of Two Pretties by Lisi Harrison (Clique series)
  • Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck
  • Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King
  • Cyborg by the McKissacks (Clone Codes series)
  • The Boy from Ilysies by Pearl North (sequel to Libyrinth)
  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  • Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld (Leviathan series)


Recommendation: The Wanderer

The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
(Click here to find a library copy.)

Recommendation by Katie
Should we keep it?  YES
Why?  It's well written and I like the randomness of it.

This book was part of the Last Call book display in the teen section during November and December. Thanks to everyone who participated!


It's Valentine's Day!

"Happy artificial holiday with strong commercial overtones."  Lee handed me a wrinkled white paper bag.  She was wearing a shirt with a heart on it.  I guess in honor of Valentine's Day.  Except it was a real heart.

"Happy that to you, too."  I looked inside the bag and shook it a bit.  Jelly beans.  All black.  "I don't have anything for you."

"Reciprocity is not manditory," she said.

"Now that would make a good T-shirt."

--p. 192


Un-Valentine's Day Party

Last Wednesday, an insane amount of teens (OK, really 36) showed up for our after-school Un-Valentine's Day party.  This event was supposed to be last year, but got snowed out and we weren't able to do it until now!  We defaced candy hearts, watched the Monty Python "Crunchy Frog" sketch and invented gross chocolates, made Valentine's Day survival kits, had a read-aloud of "Annabel Lee," and did the infamous candy heart catapult competition.

Actually, the catapults were not very successful this year.  I hope no one's planning to be an architect or engineer!  There were some unique designs, so at least you're experimental.  Amidst the fails, the green team was victorious with only two points!  They won packs of gum for their efforts.

The gross chocolate names were pretty awesome.  Kelliann won a Cruella de Vil mug of candy and hot chocolate for having the most consistenly creatively gross selections.  Caramel-covered leather, spiced ants, saliva ripples, pig pralines, and chocolate-covered pre-chewed cherries were just a few of her suggestions.  My favorite gross candy was actually from Genni, who invented chocolate-covered weave.

They may look cute, but they are actually cynically defacing candy hearts.   

One catapult team discusses their options. 

 Another catapult team at work.

Fire away! 

Some candy heart graffiti.

Want a blast from the past?  Check out these posts from our previous Un-Valentine's Day events in 2008 and 2006! 


Recommendation: Singer

Singer by Jean Thesman
(Click here to find a library copy.)

Recommendation by Sarah
Should we keep it?  YES
Why?  She sets an example of saving people she loves even if it means facing her fears.

This book was part of the Last Call book display in the teen section during November and December. Thanks to everyone who participated!


Gift Card Bonus!

Even though the Teen Advisory Board's gift card donation program ended in mid-January, we are still getting cards from patrons!  This week, I got an additional $45.14 in donations, which brings our total up to $104.61.  Thanks for the new donations!!


Big News for Gilda Joyce Fans

Hey all you Gilda Joyce fans! I have a big scoop for you. Recently, Gilda Joyce author Jennifer Allison read the blog post about her series on our blog. I am happy to announce that I am in possession of an ADVANCE UNCORRECTED GALLEY or a pre-published and spell checked version of Allison's latest book, The Bones of the Holy, being released at the end of spring. Starting next week, I will be reading it and posting thoughts, secrets, surprises, and so much more info to all the fans of the series. Can't wait!

Book Review: Sapphique

Sapphique by Catherine Fisher
(Click here to find a library copy.)

OPINION:  Sapphique is the new sequel to one of my favorite recent reads, Incarceron.  I knew Incarceron would be hard to beat, but I was especially hopeful when I read that the author was not planning to make the books into a trilogy.  The point of view in this book constantly switches back and forth between the prison (Incarceron) and the Realm outside, which can be a little annoying when you want to get to the good parts, but definitely keeps the story moving.  I found the Realm fascinating from the first book, with its use of technology to enforce an idealized view of the past, and was pleased to learn more about its workings in this sequel.  Although Sapphique is generally a battle between good and evil, there is some intriguingly ambiguous behavior from characters like Keiro, Jared, and Rix that blur the lines and add layers of complexity.  To understand Sapphique, you really need to read Incarceron first because the prison becomes more of a character in this story.  Incarceron's increasing self-awareness and power catalyze many twists in the plot, leading up to an explosive, transformational ending.  I would definitely recommend Incarceron and Sapphique for fantasy and sci-fi readers who want to lose themselves in an engaging imaginary world!


Recommendation: Queen's Own Fool

Queen's Own Fool by Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris
(Click here to find a library copy.)

Recommendation by Pamela
Should we keep it?  YES
Why?  It was an exciting story with good characters and it helps you learn history painlessly.  It makes you think about issues like what makes a good person, what makes a fool, and why people fight about religion.

This book was part of the Last Call book display in the teen section during November and December. Thanks to everyone who participated!


Recommendation: The Phoenix Dance

The Phoenix Dance by Dia Calhoun
(Click here to find a library copy.)

Recommendation by Eliza
Should we keep it?  YES
Why?  It helpfully potrays the difficulties of psychologial illness and coming to terms with medication in a sensitive way.  It is a unique treasure.

This book was part of the Last Call book display in the teen section during November and December. Thanks to everyone who participated!


Book Review: In the Shadow of the Lamp

In the Shadow of the Lamp by Susanne Dunlap
Review by Arig
(This book will be published on April 12, 2011)

SUMMARY:  Molly Fraser is a young girl living in London in 1854. She had worked at a wealthy family’s house as a servant. One day her ‘friend’ does something inexplicably horrible and gets Molly fired. Now Molly is left without a job to help with the family income. While walking home she overhears that a certain Miss Nightingale needs 100 nurses to tend to soldiers in Turkey. After Molly gets denied to be a a part of the group, she makes a plan on how to get in. She turns to her best friend Will for some money and a temporary place to stay.

Molly goes to stay at Will’s sister’s house for a couple nights. She helps the pregnant lady go through labor and brings out the baby. At last Molly is allowed to go be a nurse with the rest of the nurses that have already had practice. Molly makes friends with Emma (who has a big secret) and thus begins her journey. The travel to Turkey was tiring and hectic. She sees lots of gore and injured people. One day Molly gets a letter from Will saying that he’s become a soldier so he could get closer to her.

Molly is excited and can’t wait but then she meets Dr. Maclean. He makes her heart flutter and sparks fly. Then one day he kisses her and then Will comes to see her. He drops the bomb on her and she doesn’t answer the way he wants her to answer. Problems arise and Molly travels with Emma on a secret mission. More problems occur and hearts are broken then mended again. Read the book to find out what happens. Travel the journeys with Molly and be swept away with a story that will bring you love, fear, sadness, sorrow, and adventure. It’s got everything!

OPINION:  Don’t judge a book by its cover. That’s the most thing I have to emphasize about this book. I (acknowledging that I was wrong) had pushed this book aside for awhile because I feared it would be boring. I am a type of person who hates boring books or books that make no sense. But this was totally the opposite.  Although I didn’t think I’d like the book I loved it! I mean it will blow your mind away. It’s got most of the things I was looking for. On a scale from one to ten I’d give it a 9.8. That’s how good I thought it was. My siblings stole it from me to read it too. I was very glad I came across this book and I was glad it ended the way it was. Kudos to author Susanne Dunlap in writing this book. It is freakishly awesome!


Recommendation: A Boy at War

A Boy at War:  A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Harry Mazer
(Click here to find a library copy.)

Recommendation by Pamela
Should we keep it?  YES
Why?  It's riveting, helps you experience what the Pearl Harbor bombing was like.  it deals thoughtfully with issues of race and how fear inflames prejudices.

This book was part of the Last Call book display in the teen section during November and December. Thanks to everyone who participated!


Check These Out

Look for the newest of the new next time you're at the library:

  • Ten Things I Hate about Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah
  • The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
  • Mystify by Artist Arthur (Kimani Tru)
  • Dragon Chica by May-Lee Chai
  • Can't Stop the Shine by Joyce E. Davis (Kimani Tru)
  • Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart
  • Radiance by Alyson Noel
  • Out of Control:  How to Handle Anger--Yours and Everyone Else's by John DiConsiglio
  • The Crafty Diva's DIY Stylebook by Kathy Cano Murillo
  • Get Real:  What Kind of World Are You Buying? by Mara Rockliff
  • I Can't Keep My Own Secrets:  Six-Word Memoirs by Teen Famous and Obscure
  • The Teen's Guide to World Domination:  Advice on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Awesomeness by Josh Shipp
  • Arisa, volume 1, by Natsumi Ando
  • The Remnant by Stephen Baldwin
  • Pandora Hearts, volumes 1 and 2, by Jun Mochizuki
  • Zeus:  King of the Gods by George O'Connor (Olympians series)
  • Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel


Recommendation: Spindle's End

Spindle's End by Robin McKinley
(Click here to find a library copy.)

Recommendation by Sarah
Should we keep it?  YES
Why?  I love the way the magic works in this book.  Also, it's funny and charming and a very original twist on the fairy tale.

This book was part of the Last Call book display in the teen section during November and December. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Last Call, Overall

Thanks to everyone who participated in Last Call and helped me decide which books to keep and which to withdraw in the teen collection!  I received 39 slips back from 19 people, and I honored almost everyone's opinions.  I kept all the books that people recommended with a YES and I deleted four books that got a NO vote.  Everyone who participated gets a candy bar, so stop by to pick yours up!

There was one complicated situation that arose with Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck. Saranjeet gave it a YES, but Mary later gave it a NO! I erred on the side of caution and kept it around, but I will keep this in mind for next time.  Look for the Last Call display again at the end of the year.

Find something new to read!  Look at the recommendations for some of the items we kept.


Book Review: Mad Love

Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors
Review by Nikki
(Click here to find a library copy.)

SUMMARY:  Mad Love is about a 16-year-old girl named Alice Amorous who has to deal with many problems caused by her mentally-ill mother.  Her mother just happens to be the Queen of Romance, and Alice is stuck replying to fan letters, forging her mom's signature, and telling lies to her publisher.  One day, Alice gets a letter from her mother's publisher saying that they need her next book or they will take away the money they advanced to her.  Unfortunately, if Alice doesn't think of a way to write the book, the world will know that the Queen of Romance has a mental illness.  During one of the interviews Alice is covering for her mother, she meets a boy named Errol.  Errol claims he is cupid, and that he is going to die soon.  Errol tries to get Alice to write his story by shooting her with love arrows and causing problems.  Is this the opportunity Alice needs, or is it more than she can handle?

OPINION:  The book didn't really have anything heavy, so it was a nice, light read.  The book had some humor in it and didn't drag a lot.  It also wasn't like a regular romance novel because it had a little bit of everything in it.  Overall, I think the book was pretty good and would be a good book to get for the library.