Christine Carlson

unBoring Classics

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.

If you like Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you.

There are a lot of powerful books around that deal with different types of abuse and addiction. The following titles focus on drug abuse specifically.

If you like  Crank by Ellen Hopkins, here are some other books that you may like: 

Glass by Ellen HopkinsGlass (sequel to Crank) by Ellen Hopkins
In a powerful sequel to Crank, Kristina is determined to manage her addiction to crack in order to keep her newborn child, but when she is unable to manage her use of the drug and the pull becomes too strong, her greatest fears are quickly realized.

Go Ask Alice by anonymous

 

Go Ask Alice by anonymous
A powerful, fictional diary of a teenage runaway and her decent into drug abuse.

   

 

A Million Little Pieces by James FreyA Million Little Pieces by James Frey
Now acknowledged as fiction and not a true story, this is the author’s account of his drug addiction and rehabilitation. 

 

 

Teen Read Week Video Contest!

It happens all the time. You’re sitting in the movie theater with your friends, waiting for the show to start. The screen goes green with a preview message, then suddenly blasts alive with a trailer for an upcoming movie. It’s all over in less than a minute, but you know by that time that either a)you have to see it and are already mentally marking your calendar for the release date, or b) it looks like another lame romantic comedy/action-thriller/horror flick you’ve seen a hundred times before and you’re not wasting your money on that.

But what if you had the chance to tell the story? Oftentimes, a good trailer can make even a lame movie seem pretty appealing. People across the country, especially teens, are being given the chance to do just that, but for books through book trailer contests. And, because so many books are being turned into movies these days, it’s easy to find creative fodder for the aspiring teen film directors out there.

LOL with Maggie Stiefvater: Local Author Visits and Inspires

 It was a dark and rainy night . . . but that didn’t stop fans from coming out in droves to hear Maggie Stiefvater at the Salem Church Library, this past Monday! Books clutched in hands, hoping for an autograph, teens and adults alike were eager to hear this famous local author speak about reading, writing, and authorship.

     Ms. Stiefvater is the author of two popular young adult series, The Wolves of Mercy Falls and The Books of Faerie, as well as a talented artist and musician. A subsidiary of Warner Brothers has even purchased the movie rights for one of her more recent books, Shiver. Ms. Stiefvater arrived despite the gloomy weather and entertained the audience of nearly forty teens and adults for over an hour. Her honest, open, and easy-going style quickly relaxed the audience who kept her busy with questions for most of her time there. From publishing tips, to writer’s block advice, to detailed queries about her books and their characters, there was hardly time to pause, but Ms. Stiefvater jumped energetically around the stage (and occasionally onto her chair), keeping her audience laughing, often nearly in tears. One of her funniest tales was about how the titles for her books were chosen, as she acted out the various interpretations of, Still Wolves Watching, her original title for, Shiver.
 
     One of the ideas that kept returning when Ms. Stiefvater described authorship was that writers should write what they know and what they themselves like to read. Thus, she tends to write about, “homicidal faeries, angst, and kissing.” She also told anecdotes from her childhood writing efforts and college experiences, encouraging writers in the room to never take no for an answer unless it comes from their own heart. Turns out, she was a history major who had faith in herself and kept her passions alive by doing them on the side. The results can be seen not only in her published books, but in her music and artwork, which she has succeeded in as well. For inspiring examples, check out her book trailers, whose beautiful artwork and haunting music she arranged, created, and performed.

Cafe Book Top Teen Picks from Freedom Middle School


Eighth graders at Freedom Middle School will be the first to tell you that today's books for teens are hot! This year's Cafe Book club read 20 of the newest books and voted for their top 5 picks. Here are the winners!

Top Pick:  

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins  - In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.

Other Favorites:

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman- After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Word Nerd, by Susin Nielsen -When some bullies at his new school almost kill him by slipping a peanut into his sandwich, friendless nerd Ambrose, forced to be home-schooled by his overprotective mother, coerces his neighbor Cosmo into taking him to the West Side Scrabble Club, where people accept him for who he is. 

Somebody, by Nancy Springer - At the age of fifteen, a girl who has spent most of her life moving around the country with her father and brother, filling the emptiness inside her with chocolate, remembers her real name, Sherica, and searches the Internet to learn the truth about her mother and her own past.

The Chosen One, by Carol Lynch Williams - In a polygamous cult in the desert, Kyra, not yet fourteen, sees being chosen to be the seventh wife of her uncle as just punishment for having read books and kissed a boy, in violation of Prophet Childs' teachings, and is torn between facing her fate and running away from all that she knows and loves.

Teen Tech Week Video Contest Results!

The results are in! Our first ever Teen Video Contest brought us six funny and informative videos, all made by our super-talented local teens. The theme was, “Why My Library is Important to Me.” From dogs who know best to fireside chats, each video was unique and enjoyable. We applaud all the great work! What was most heart-warming was seeing how many ways our teens use and appreciate the Central Rappahannock Regional Library. Some pointed out that it’s a safe place to hang out with friends or work on group projects. Many admired the free Internet access, computer use, databases and online searching. They see their library as a quiet study retreat, a place to get professional research help, and most of all, a treasure trove of free books, music, and movies.

So, without further ado, here are the winners.

In first place, receiving the prize of a Flip digital video camera is Erik Martinsen, creator of the video, “Libraries are Doggone Fun!”


 

Win a Flip Camera with our Teen Video Contest!

Teen Tech Week may be officially over, but our Teen Video Contest is only at its halfway point. While it's been widely advertised that winners’ videos will be featured on our library website, we just found out that Best Buy has also generously donated some incredible prizes. The first place winner will receive an Ultra Flip video camera, second place a $100 gift card to Best Buy, and third place an official library t-shirt.

If you like Wildwood Dancing, by Juliet Marillier

You were looking for books with a mix of fantasy, history, and faeries in a modern or realistic setting. I really enjoy these types of books, too, so several titles jumped right to mind. I wasn’t sure if you were still in high school or not, but these are all young adult books for older readers. I think you’ll find them as enjoyable as Wildwood Dancing!

Beyond The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief, Graceling, The Hunger Games... these hot titles are jumping off the shelves in our teen section, but they also have a long wait list. What to read while you wait? At a recent Lit Bistro meeting, we discussed these hot books and what you might enjoy if you have to wait to get your hands on a copy.

Heroes in the Library

It’s one of life’s ironies that you don’t realize how much someone’s impacted your life until they’re gone. More specifically, you realize that you never told that person how much they meant. It isn’t until they pass that you think, “Oh! I wish I had said something!” You think about how that person shaped who you are, in major or even subtle ways, and sometimes realize that you wouldn’t be you if it weren’t for that person’s influence, guidance, or mere presence in your life.