“Scuze my language.” — Billy, Ask the Dark
Billy Zeet has quite a reputation. And he got it the hard way—he earned it. Despite having a heart of gold, Billy’s rap sheet includes more petty crimes than even he can remember. He can silently break into a locked second-story window with one hand tied behind his back. And nobody can slip unseen through the dark like Billy. He’s practically a shadow. Nobody can skip school quite like Billy, either. Being the invisible man at school has put him in the seventh grade for the second time. But he has an expansive vocabulary—of cuss words.
We never outgrow fairy tales. It’s just that as we get older, we want there to be more to the story of a princess who kisses a frog. Who does that?! And what about those 12 dancing princesses? Couldn’t they do –anything- to keep each other from a terrible fate?
When you first approach reading Shakespeare, it can be a daunting experience. Even though I grew up reading books with similar language, I still found Shakespeare difficult unless I had a teacher holding my hand every step of the way. I could just about understand the basic plot line and even some of the language, but many of the jokes, the history, and the language went over my head.
Over the years, I have found several things helpful in reading Shakespeare’s plays. With these aids, I am able to enjoy Shakespeare so much more than before as well as understand the plays at a deeper level.
“...you are all the colors in one, at full brightness.”—All the Bright Places
Anything but predictable, Theodore “Freak” Finch has a phenomenal talent for making his weirdness sexy. He’s a tall, dark guitarist and songwriter for a couple of local bar bands who drives his car at nail-biting speeds, can quote lengthy passages from Dr. Seuss, and is on probation at school.
Finch refuses to have a Facebook account—until he wants to contact Violet Markey. Violet is china-doll perfect, cheerleader-popular, student-council smart, I-have-my-own-website confident, and last chair flute in orchestra. Well, until a tragic accident. Now she’s just last chair flute in orchestra, sporting bangs she cut all by herself.
It's lunchtime, and students carrying lunch boxes and cafeteria trays begin filing into the school library and finding seats. Librarians from the school and public libraries eagerly await their arrival. Once everyone's settled, they facilitate student discussion of 16 recently published teen titles, reminding students to start with what they liked and guiding them to elaborate on any concerns, beyond simply "It was boring." After meeting, reading, and discussing for an entire semester, teens vote for their favorites. The results become each school's "Top Teen Picks" list. The public library's copies get an award sticker, and these books become the most sought-after titles on our shelves. The semester wraps up with a visit to the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, where the students continue their tradition of lunching in the library while also touring the building, answering trivia questions based on the books, and cheering for their school's winners.
Video games? Check. Alien invaders? Check. Special appearances from world-renowned scientists? Triple-check! Armada, by Ernest Cline, has it all. He is back on our radar with another chart-topping classic for geeks and muggles alike. If you are a fan of Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, and The Last Starfighter, this is the book for you. So, grab your Game Boys, tablets and keyboards. It is time to save the world.
I love Batman. I remember watching the old, cheesy shows when I was a kid. Now, Batman is much more about kicking butt and taking names. Look at all the gadgets! Look at the revamped Batmobile.. err.. Bat Tank? And, oh-my-gosh, the video games. I love the Arkham video game series and am very sad that it has come to an end with its latest installment. I just want it to keep going.
So, if you’re like me and love the elements of the Arkham Batman games—the martial arts, the riddles, the toxins, and the betrayal, check out these books filled with all those delightful, Batman-y characteristics.
Matt Miller’s mother is dead. Every day, he wakes up and puts on the same suit that he wore to her funeral. At work, at school…everywhere he goes, Matt is The Boy in the Black Suit.
I know there have been many famous time travelers throughout literary and cinematic history, but few seem to capture the interest of the Millennial Generation the way Doctor Who has. I should know. I’m one of those captivated by his shenanigans.
As we wait for series 9 to air (September 19!!), enjoy these time-traveling adventures.
"Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!"
Bram Stoker's Dracula
For nearly a decade, Fredericksburg All Ages has been giving teenagers a chance to experience and create live music in a safe, family-friendly environment. Its bands and musicians range from area high schoolers to regional and national acts. The non-profit organization also encourages teens to volunteer, helping to organize shows and take on leadership roles in a creative environment.