Christine Carlson

08/10/2015 - 10:41am
Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

On a cold day in January, the 8th graders at Freedom Middle School heard the voting results . . . their 2012 Cafe Book Top Teen Picks! After reading and discussing a selection of 20 of the best teen books published in 2011, they picked their favorites plus two stand-outs that topped them all. Here they are!


Top Teen Picks (a tie!):

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

In a post-apocalyptic world where fences and border patrols guard the few people left from the zombies that have overtaken civilization, fifteen-year-old Benny Imura is finally convinced that he must follow in his older brother's footsteps and become a bounty hunter.

and ....

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

Lost in the River of Grass
by Ginny Rorby

When two Florida teenagers become stranded on a tiny island in the Everglades, they attempt to walk ten miles through swampland to reach civilization.

 



Favorites:

Akata WitchBrain Jack by Brian FalknerGirl, Stolen by April HenryRuby Red by Kerstin GierTrapped by Michael Northrop

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

Girl, Stolen by April Henry

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Trapped by Michael Northrop

05/18/2011 - 2:23pm
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Fantasy and realistic fiction were the winning genres at Thornburg Middle School, where students in grades seven and eight voted for their favorite books of the Café Book year. Thirty-two students voted on 20 books, selecting their Top Picks for 2011. Here they are! 

Top Picks:

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
When Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, she is exiled to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
 

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
Bruiser
by Neal Shusterman
Inexplicable events start to occur when sixteen-year-old twins Tennyson and Brontë befriend a troubled and misunderstood outcast, aptly nicknamed Bruiser, and his little brother, Cody.


 

 
Heist Society by Ally Carter
Heist Society
by Ally Carter
A group of teenagers uses their combined talents to re-steal several priceless paintings and save fifteen-year-old Kat Bishop's father, himself an international art thief, from a vengeful collector.
 

 
 

Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser
Wish You Were Dead
by Todd Strasser
When anonymous blogger Str-S-d makes a list of the people in her high school she wishes were dead, it seems like just another case of bullying. But when the popular teens on the list start disappearing, high school senior Madison Archer tries to find the connection between her missing friends and her own stalker.

 
05/16/2011 - 3:30am
The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolson

In The Freak Observer, by Blythe Woolston, Loa Lindgren is not your typical 16-year-old and yet she is a quintessential one. Her life is certainly not the ideal. In the past year her family has fallen apart, having lost the one thing that their lives revolved around: her little sister, Asta, named for the stars. Born with Rett’s syndrome, she stopped growing after a few months and was destined to remain infantile her entire life, until she suddenly died. Without the constant need to care for Asta, Loa and her family are like planets without a star to revolve around, cut loose to wander the universe. They are, of course, also stricken with grief, each one reacting in their own way. Her father has fits of violence. Loa wakes screaming from nightmares--just one terrifying symptom of a case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

With everything else that has gone on in Loa’s life recently, from a friend’s hit and run death to a strange relationship exposed on the Internet, she is dealing with more than her share of sorrow and shame. She also has an after-school job that deepens her exhaustion but is a vital part of their family’s pitiful income.
07/06/2011 - 10:27am
Debt-Free U book cover image

If there was one thing that people across the country could agree on right now, it would be the ridiculously high cost of today’s college education. Most parents assume that student loans are a fact of life, and most students assume that student loan debt is a necessary and even positive thing. If you want to get a good job, it’s commonly thought that going to a good college (chosen in part by U.S. News and World Report rankings) and getting a good name on your diploma simply costs money and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Enter Zac Bissonnette. Twenty-one, college student, and an art history major. So what knowledge does he have that the rest of us--and many other experts--do not? Well, as the subtitle of Debt-Free U suggests, Zac paid for his college education, “without loans, scholarships, or mooching off [his] parents.” And you can, too. Because, as it turns out, Zac might know what he’s talking about. He is a writer and editor with AOL Money & Finance, has written for the Boston Globe, appeared on CNN, and has the financial savvy and banking portfolio of someone several times his age.
04/25/2011 - 11:40am
Altered book - Doors

Wires were being bent, watches broken, and the scent of hot glue was in the air. The chatter of teens and a few adult artists filled the air as copiously as the junk that littered the table. The sounds and sights of books being “remade” were a little bit unnerving even to the librarians that planned the program, but there was no doubt about it – Steampunk’d Books at the Salem Church Library was a hit.

01/31/2011 - 11:40am
Book Cover image for Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

Fast, dark, and dangerous! That's what eighth graders at Freedom Middle School wanted during this year's Cafe Book program. The books they chose as their top picks and favorites this year reflected this, but there are still some quieter, more contemplative titles in the bunch. Here are the 2011 Cafe Book Freedom Top Teen Pick winners!
 
Top Picks:  

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
Inexplicable events start to occur when sixteen-year-old twins Tennyson and Brontë befriend a troubled and misunderstood outcast, aptly nicknamed Bruiser, and his little brother, Cody.

Malice by Chris Wooding
Malice
by Chris Wooding

Once you get into the story, there's no way out. Everyone's heard the rumors. If you gather the right things and say the right words, you'll be taken to Malice, a world that exists inside a horrifying comic book. It's a world that few kids know about ... and even fewer survive. Seth and Kady think it's all a silly myth. But then their friend, Luke, disappears and suddenly the rumors don't seem silly after all. Malice is real. Malice is deadly. And Seth and Kady are about to be trapped inside it.

12/06/2010 - 10:44am

 What if Jane Eyre fell in love with a rock star? This is what happens in April Lindner’s Jane, a modernization of Charlotte Brontë’s classic work. The result is a hot retelling that teens will relate to in a heartbeat. Rock star with a wild past? Check. Teen girl with a family who doesn’t understand her? Check. Passionate, roller coaster love story? All right!

When author Lindner first saw a Pride and Prejudice remake, she thought, “Not bad, but couldn’t they have chosen a better book?” Looking at her favorite classic authors, she realized that Brontë’s Jane Eyre would make for a good challenge. That challenge would prove to be steep, however. She wanted to remain as faithful as possible to the original work but make it inviting and understandable to the average young adult reader. The first difficulty was finding a modern reason for the class differences between Jane and Mr. Rochester. Then she thought, “What bigger chasm exists than between a poor orphan and the rich and famous?” (Not direct quotes).
11/10/2010 - 1:18pm

Oscar winners beware – we have some stiff competition here in Virginia! The results are finally in from our second Teen Video Contest, where teens created video trailers for their favorite books in celebration of Teen Read Week. From Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief and Angie Sage’s Magyk, to Cracker by Cynthia Kadohata, historical fiction and fantasy ruled the day. Our local teens made show-stopping trailers that are guaranteed to put them on track to the Academy Awards. Each video was creative and exciting, demonstrating that teen books are alive and well at the CRRL. Great job to all the filmmakers and actors! 

And now, here are the winners ....
 
In first place is Magyk. Congratulations!
 
10/18/2010 - 9:03am

Fashion, music, celebrities, art, design, travel…what more could a teen wish for? Nylon magazine first graced newsstands in 1999 and since then has garnered awards for its funky, hip style of presenting the latest in pop culture for the need-to-know teen. I recently picked up The TV Issue here at the CRRL, and a quick scan through this hot teen pick showed why it’s doing so well.

Mock-up style layouts and bold, creative photos accompany articles ranging from jewelry and clothing designer updates to bios of the newest musicians. The strong colors are contrasted with plenty of white space, so it’s not a headache to read, and longer articles are nicely interspersed with short blurbs for readers with a shorter attention span. The fashion conscious teen will love all the impressive photos that are not just ads, and appreciate the detailed articles about designers’ newest trends.

10/11/2010 - 3:29pm

Boring, can’t relate, and dull, dull, dull. That’s what some people think when they hear the word, “classic,” and you’re talking about books (not cars). Classics are often required reading in high school. But any book your English teacher assigns must be ancient as dirt and just about as exciting, you think. Classics may have stood the test of time, but do they stand up to today’s standards of young adult literature? From murder and romance, to dragons and magic spells, young adult books of the 21st century are thrilling, relevant, and escapist. With the plethora of incredible reading choices for teens now, how many classics would you bother to pick up? But these books are around for a reason. They are stories of adventure, death, and love. They hold you in awe, in fear, and in suspense. Give them a shot – you just might find yourself recommending them to your own kids when you’re ancient as dirt…

Check out this list of Must-Read Classics that are worth reading, even if your English teacher doesn’t recommend them.

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