Teen Blog

Mon, 08/23/2010 - 7:35am

This is Week 3 of a 12-Week series of blog posts reviewing new young adult books. Check back each Monday for a new review.

"Where they burn books, they will end by burning human beings." - Heinrich Heine

This is the opening quote in Ashes, the story of thirteen-year-old Gabrielle Schramm who is living in Berlin in 1932 during the turbulent days of Hitler's rise to power.

Hitler has not yet seized control when the story begins, but there are signs of what's to come. Sightings of Hitler's private army and his personal guard, the "SA" and the "SS," are becoming more frequent, as are attacks on Jewish neighborhoods, businesses and synagogues.

For the most part, Garbrielle is a typical thirteen-year-old girl. She goes to school, talks about movies and movie stars with her best friend Rosa, and occasionally gets in trouble at school for having her nose stuck in a book during math class. Gabrielle is a serious book lover. Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, Helen Keller, Mark Twain ... she devours them all. She's already lost two of her treasured books to her math teacher Herr Doktor Berg.

Tue, 06/15/2010 - 10:13am

Whether you call them graphic novels or comic books, adventure stories told with a lot of pictures are a fun way to laze away a hot summer afternoon. You can journey on the high seas with Greek heroes, go on the hunt for Bigfoot, outwit forty thieves, or find your own way in a Twisted Journey with these colorful tales. The CRRL has many from which to choose, but this sampling is a good place to begin:

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 4:36pm

This is Week 2 of a 12-Week series of blog posts reviewing new young adult books. Check back each Monday for a new review.

Jem has a secret. When she looks into someone's eyes, a number appears in her head. But not just any number - it's the date of their death. She has seen the numbers ever since she was a little girl, but she didn't know what they meant until her own mother died of an overdose. Since then, Jem has had a rough life, being thrown out of one foster home after another, labeled as a problem kid in school and put in "special" classes. She has built an impenetrable wall around herself so she doesn't have to see anyone's number, and no one so far has been able to be close to her. Until Spider.

Spider is an impossible tall, fidgety boy from school, who Jem runs into one day while skipping class. Through different events they become close, and Jem realizes that she has let herself care about someone for the first time since her mother's death. One day they go together to see the London Eye, when Jem notices something disconcerting. She sees the same death date in every tourist's eyes. Unnerved, she grabs Spider's hands and convinces him to run away from the London Eye, which explodes shortly thereafter. They are caught on security camera fleeing from the scene and are considered suspects. All of a sudden - Jem and Spider, two "troubled" kids from London's projects, are on the run.

Thu, 06/10/2010 - 10:47am

It's time to come together for The Ambulance Review, 52 Foreign Dumpsters, and The Electric Revolution!

Meanwhile, you can check out the bands for yourself on their myspace pages:

The Ambulance Review : http://www.myspace.com/theambulancereview 

52 Foreign Dumpsters: http://www.myspace.com/52foreigndumpsters

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 11:23am
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Cafe Book Thornburg voted on May 28th.  Fifty nine students cast their votes and picked the following winning titles.

Top Pick:

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 Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
The Comet's Curse by Dom Testa
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Allison Goodman
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese
Messed Up  by Janet Nichols Lynch
Somebody by Nancy Springer
The Tomorrow Code by Brian Falkner

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 4:38pm

This is Week 1 of a 12-Week series of blog posts reviewing new young adult books. Check back each Monday for a new review.

For me, summer reading is all about escaping somewhere else. The new vista doesn't have to be pretty, but it does need to be interesting. The world of Incarceron, introduced in the novel Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, delivers an escape like nothing else (for the reader, although not for the poor souls trapped within). Incarceron is a prison, but not like the prisons we are familiar with. It is a world unto itself, with areas of ruins and forests, and some wildernesses so wild that they are only whispered of but never traversed. Incarceron is also aware in a way that most prisons are not - it reacts to the prisoners' actions, manipulating them, and watching them with a pulsing, Sauron-like eye.

Our hero in the world of Incarceron is Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner who is considered "cell born" and remembers only vague memories of his life before he became aware three years ago. He is part of a band of rogues that troll the prison, called the Comitatus. He also has some freaky fainting spells, complete with visions. He believes that he was born "Outside" but no one believes him because that is very rare.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 11:20am
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Cafe Book 2010 has come to a close at Heim Middle School.  We had a great time sharing new books and talking about them all while eating lunch.  7th and 8th grade students came together, ate, and talked about new books in the school library.  After all the final votes were tallied ... the results are...

Top Picks:

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.

Eon Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Sixteen-year-old Eon hopes to become an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune and learn to be its main interpreter, but to do so will require much, including keeping secret that she is a girl.

Other Favorites:

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Messed Up by Janet Nichols Lynch

The Tomorrow Code by Brian Faulkner

Antsy Does Time by Neal Shusterman

If the Witness Lied by Caroline Cooney

Thu, 06/24/2010 - 4:04pm

Or at least its harmful rays.
Spending the afternoon outdoors without sunscreen is asking for trouble now and way into the future. Burn marks are not attractive. Wrinkles--or worse yet, possibly skin cancer--will eventually be a problem if you don't protect your skin now. You will definitely need sunscreen so go ahead and get it now before you're spirited off on a picnic or a trip to the beach. Look for the SPF rating of at least 15 and also make sure it has UVA protection. Apply it half an hour before going out and reapply it after getting in the water or sweating.

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 4:44pm

If you're a fan of the Chaos Walking series, you'll be excited to hear that the third book in the trilogy, Monsters of Men, will hit U.S. bookstores on September 28, 2010. In the meantime, you can enjoy this trailer and maybe re-read The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and The Answer.

If you haven't heard of this series yet (and you love intense, action-packed, dystopian novels), check out this blog post.

Tue, 05/25/2010 - 10:56am

 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.

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