Teen Blog

Mon, 08/23/2010 - 7:34am

This is Week 4 of a 12-Week series of blog posts reviewing new young adult books. Check back each Monday for a new review. 

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick
Tad Ibsen is a scrawny kid who walks into the classroom on crutches, muttering angrily to himself, with a huge red scar across the side of his head. Why does the teacher seat the new kid next to Jeffrey Alper? “Suddenly I get it,” Jeffrey explains to the reader. “I don’t always catch on so fast, but this time, I put two and two together…I lean over and whisper, ‘Hi, I’m Jeffrey. I had cancer, too.’ He looks at me like I’m a particularly loathsome slice of school-lunch meat loaf and says, ‘Wow, congratulations! What do you want, a medal?’” Of course, they’re best friends from that moment on. 

Thu, 08/26/2010 - 3:23pm

Having trouble picking a good book for the summer? Relax and let the diligent Cafe Book readers help you out! 450 students from eight middle schools across Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and Stafford voted this year to create a regional “Top Teen Picks” list worth sharing with the community. The twenty titles chosen this year include books that reflect the cultural, regional, and ethnic diversity of the community, as well as books that many teens would not pick up otherwise.

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.

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