Teen Blog

Walter Dean Myers

In his autobiographical novel for young people, Bad Boy, Walter Dean Myers wrote of a world--1940s Harlem--that was markedly different from that of today. Most families were tightly-knit as was the community itself. Even so, it wasn’t a perfect place.  As he grew up his family struggled to get by, and, as he became a teenager, he became more aware of racism and how it could affect his future.

But during his early years, he didn’t think too much about race. He had friends who were white and black, and the woman he thought of as his mother was of German and Native American ancestry. The man who raised him, though not his biological father, was African American.  Herbert and Florence Dean took Walter and his half-sisters in to be fostered when they needed a loving and caring home.

Slide by Jill Hathaway

Slide book cover image

Vee Bell has narcolepsy in Slide by Jill Hathaway. Or at least that’s what her family and friends think. Once, Vee tried to tell her father the truth, but he sent her to a shrink who didn’t believe her either. Now she doesn’t even dare tell even her best friend.

Sliding. That’s what Vee thinks of it as. When she gets too tired to fight it, she falls asleep, but doesn’t dream. Instead, she enters other people’s minds. She can hear, smell, taste, and feel everything that they’re experiencing. Sliding only lasts for moments, but it is long enough to exhaust and sometimes scare her. She’s slid into backstabbing friends and teachers behaving badly. As a result, Vee takes constant caffeine pills to stay awake and is always just barely functioning.

My Favorite Chrome Extensions

Google Chrome logo

Google Chrome is arguably the most popular Web browser currently on the market.  It took a few versions before I made the switch from Mozilla Firefox to Chrome, most notably due to Firefox's rich browser extension offerings.  Chrome is finally catching up to, and in many ways, surpassing Firefox with its extensions library.  A browser extension is special program written specifically for a Web browser that, as the name implies, extends its functionality.

Young Adult Books For Fun

Young Adult Books For Fun

Some recent R&R with too many cold and rainy days left me plenty of time for pleasure reading. No, unlike most of America, I wasn’t reading Fifty Shades of Grey, but much tamer pursuits and with young adult appeal.  

Author Melina Marchetta is a master of making even the most unlikeable characters endearing and “Froi of the Exiles” is no exception.  Before he attacked the woman who is his Queen, Froi only knew the horrors and abuse of the streets.  Now, as her most trusted and loyal servant, and most lethal weapon, Froi is the obvious choice when she needs an assassin.  His disguise puts him in close proximity to a seemingly mad princess burdened with  the hope of her kingdom, who sometimes calls herself Quintana and at others, Reginita.  Froi admires her ability to provide much needed emotional self-preservation and decides to teach her the skills she needs for physical protection as well.  When she puts her new talents to use, she, Froi and the ragtag group of misfits he’s collected, including an embattled architect and a drunken monk, flee the palace seeking refuge.  I recommend this for older teens because of the frequently dark subject matter, but there is a dry humor and banter that made me laugh out loud despite its seriousness.  Deliciously complex, its biggest fault is that at over 600 pages it’s heavy!  

If you like Candy Darlings by Christine Walde

Candy Darlings by Christine Walde

Candy Darlings by Christine Walde

The candy became an obsession between two outcasts—one who only wanted to fit in, the other who knew she never would. Urban legends, rumors, lies, myths, mysteries, fairy tales. Stories, in all their magical forms, bound them together. "Satin Chocolate-Covered-Chicken Bones,” "Astro Pop,” "Fun Dip,” "Thrills.” The candy stories—outrageous, twisted, hysterical— were an escape from a harsh reality and revealed a startling truth. Darkly lyrical, sensual, suspenseful, and disturbing, The Candy Darlings is a celebration of friendship, story, and the power of each to help you define yourself—or simply survive. (Goodreads.com)

If you like Candy Darlings, here are some other books that you may like:

Before I Die by Jenny Downham
Before I Die
by Jenny Downham
A terminally ill teenaged girl makes and carries out a list of things to do before she dies.

 

 

 

The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci
The Body of Christopher Creed
by Carol Plum-Ucci
Torey Adams, a high school junior with a seemingly perfect life, struggles with doubts and questions surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the class outcast.

 

 

Deadline by Chris Crutcher
Deadline
by Chris Crutcher
Given the medical diagnosis of one year to live, high school senior Ben Wolf decides to fulfill his greatest fantasies, ponders his life's purpose and legacy, and converses through dreams with a spiritual guide known as "Hey-Soos."

 

 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss, and life.

 

Android VS iPhone

Android v. Apple icons

Something I get asked a lot as the librarian tech guy is whether a person in the market for a new smartphone or tablet should buy Apple or Android.  This is a far more nuanced question than most people realize, and the answer will depend on a number of factors.  Read on for a detailed comparison of the two.

DRM and You

DRM and You

I've bemoaned the existence and use of digital rights management, or DRM as it's more commonly known, in previous Librarypoint articles, but I'm not certain that I've gone point-by-point over what it means for you, the library user, and us, the consumers.  DRM is a means by which music, videos, eBooks, documents, software, and just about anything else digital are restricted from being copied, transferred, or used on unapproved hardware.  The American Library Association's Digital Content Working Group has recently put out a wonderful tip sheet regarding DRM that I can’t recommend more enthusiastically.   It goes over what DRM is, some of its consequences and legal ramifications, and what you can do to help work against it.  Reading through it is one of the best ways to arm yourself as a digital consumer against some of the more consumer-unfriendly tactics of today’s content providers. 

Starslip by Kris Straub

Starslip by Kris Straub

As with my review of Altered Carbon, I've arrived at the Starslip webcomic party a little late, as in, the seven-year series is finished.  However, that might add a welcome bittersweet flavor to each strip I read as I come closer and closer to the end.  I have fallen head-over-heels in love with all of author Kris Straub’s characters, his artistic style, and his off-kilter sense of humor as he simultaneously pays homage to and lampoons the best and worst traits of sci-fi soap operas.  With every click of the forward-pointing arrow I know I am coming to the close of an incredible story, but, like with any good book, I can't stop!

Must-Have iPhone Apps

Must-Have iPhone Apps

As promised in my list of must-have Android apps, here is a list of must-have iPhone apps!  The Apple App Store has a larger selection of quality apps than the Google Play store does, though that gap is quickly shrinking.  Unfortunately it has fewer free apps, so you’ll see more price tags attached to this article.  You may also notice several repeats from the Android list, as many of these apps are cross-platform and a joy to use on any device.  Your iPhone is a computing powerhouse, and there is so much more that you can do with it than you realize.  Take a look at my list below to get some ideas! 

If you like Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock: "When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D. J. can't help admitting, maybe he's right. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn't so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won't even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D. J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say."
 

Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicholson by Louise Rennison
Presents the humorous journal of a year in the life of a fourteen-year-old British girl who tries to reduce the size of her nose, stop her mad cat from terrorizing the neighborhood animals, and win the love of handsome hunk Robbie.

 

 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Anna is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Etienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian, and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.