Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Teen Tuesday: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira


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It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

I just finished this one - a good read.  My only comment is I thought she wrote to too many characters - I wish she had just picked one or two relevant to the story.  Otherwise, an engaging read!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Middle School Monday: A Death-Struck Year

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A deadly pandemic, a budding romance, and the heartache of loss make for a stunning coming-of-age teen debut about the struggle to survive during the 1918 flu.

For Cleo Berry, the people dying of the Spanish Influenza in cities like New York and Philadelphia may as well be in another country--that's how far away they feel from the safety of Portland, Oregon. And then cases start being reported in the Pacific Northwest. Schools, churches, and theaters shut down. The entire city is thrust into survival mode--and into a panic. Headstrong and foolish, seventeen-year-old Cleo is determined to ride out the pandemic in the comfort of her own home, rather than in her quarantined boarding school dorms. But when the Red Cross pleads for volunteers, she can't ignore the call. As Cleo struggles to navigate the world around her, she is surprised by how much she finds herself caring about near-strangers. Strangers like Edmund, a handsome medical student and war vet. Strangers who could be gone tomorrow. And as the bodies begin to pile up, Cleo can't help but wonder: when will her own luck run out?

Riveting and well-researched, A Death-Struck Year is based on the real-life pandemic considered the most devastating in recorded world history. Readers will be captured by the suspenseful storytelling and the lingering questions of: what would I do for a neighbor? At what risk to myself?  An afterword explains the Spanish flu phenomenon, placing it within the historical context of the early 20th century. Source notes are extensive and interesting.

My thoughts:  The love affair is chaste, so this book is quiet suitable for Middle School and up.  An interesting perspective on the deadly epidemic, although the storyline on how Cleo got involved was a little hard for me to believe.  A great cover design, too!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday! A year of suggestions from Booklist magazine

Booklist Online just published a list of reading suggestions that I loved and wanted to share. These aren’t suggestions about particular titles or even specific genres; they’re ideas that provide a framework while leaving plenty of room for choice.
The list as published suggests one of these idea for each month, but there’s no need to do them in order, or even to read one a month: you could take much longer to do this project, or, if you’re ambitious and have the time, read all twelve books in one month. (If you do that, please come back and leave a comment telling us which you liked best!)
  • Read a book published the same year you were born.
  • Read a book recommended on a blog. Like our very own Teen blog for example!
  • Read a book that has been made into a movie. There are so many to choose from these days…Psst! - The Fault in Our Stars hits theatres in June, and Gayle Forman's If I Stay hits theaters August 22, 2014.  Watch the trailer HERE.
  • Reread your favorite book from childhood.  I just read Edith the Lonely Doll, and plan on reading The Witch Family.
  • Read a book from another country. Check out the display of international books in the fiction room.
  • Read that classic you never read.  I plan on reading The Count of Monte Christo by Dumas this year. 
  • Read a book you found via a library database, website, or social reading account.  Books and Authors or NoveList for good reading suggestions. Several Greece Public librarians also contribute to a Goodreads account, where you can see what we’ve read and what we thought of it. There are more reading suggestions and links on our page. 
  • Read a genre or format you don’t usually read. Mystery, memoir, romance, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, graphic novel or graphic memoir…
  • Read a book from an opposing viewpoint. 
  • Read a selection from a local book club. 
  • Read an award winner. Remember to check the blog for links to several awards, including the Printz award. 
  • Read someone else’s favorite book. Organized book clubs are great, but a book club of two can also be fun. Ask a grandparent, parent, kid, sibling, cousin, friend, teacher…or librarian.
What do you think? Are any of these ideas exciting or inspiring? Let me know if you embark on this reading project – I know I am going to try it!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Teen Tuesday: Panic by Lauren Oliver

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Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Mitch, a reviewer on Goodreads says "On that note, yeah, Panic is certainly not yet another Hunger Games clone (The Testing is that way ->). It's really a quite brilliant look at a part of America that's not often seen in young adult fiction, and definitely kudos to Lauren Oliver for not only stepping out of the Delirium comfort zone, but more importantly, getting it right."

Monday, April 14, 2014

Middle School Monday: Tesla's Attic by Neil Shusterman

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Tesla's Attic is the first book in a brilliantly imagined and hilariously written trilogy that combines science, magic, intrigue, and just plain weirdness, about four kids who are caught up in a dangerous plan concocted by the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla.

After their home burns down, fourteen-year-old Nick, his younger brother, and their father move into a ramshackle Victorian house they've inherited. When Nick opens the door to his attic room, he's hit in the head by a toaster. That's just the beginning of his weird experiences with the old junk stored up there. After getting rid of the odd antiques in a garage sale, Nick befriends some local kids-Mitch, Caitlin, and Vincent-and they discover that all of the objects have extraordinary properties. What's more, Nick figures out that the attic is a strange magnetic vortex, which attracts all sorts of trouble. It's as if the attic itself has an intelligence . . . and a purpose.

Ultimately Nick learns that the genius Nikola Tesla placed the items-his last inventions-in the attic as part of a larger plan that he mathematically predicted. Nick and his new friends must retrieve everything that was sold at the garage sale and keep it safe. But the task is fraught with peril-in addition to the dangers inherent in Tesla's mysterious and powerful creations, a secret society of physicists, the Accelerati, is determined to stop Nick and alter destiny to achieve its own devious ends. It's a lot for a guy to handle, especially when he'd much rather fly under the radar as the new kid in town.

Fans of intrigue, action, humor, and nonstop surprises are guaranteed a read unlike any other in Tesla's Attic, Book One of the Accelerati Trilogy.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Teen Book Fest Author Lauren Myracle!

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For as long as she can remember, Wren Gray’s goal has been to please her parents. But as high school graduation nears, so does an uncomfortable realization: Pleasing her parents once overlapped with pleasing herself, but now... not so much. Wren needs to honor her own desires, but how can she if she doesn’t even know what they are?

Charlie Parker, on the other hand, is painfully aware of his heart’s desire. A gentle boy with a troubled past, Charlie has loved Wren since the day he first saw her. But a girl like Wren would never fall for a guy like Charlie—at least not the sort of guy Charlie believes himself to be.

And yet certain things are written in the stars. And in the summer after high school, Wren and Charlie’s souls will collide. But souls are complicated, as are the bodies that house them...

Sexy, romantic, and oh-so-true to life, this is an unforgettable look at first love from one of young adult fiction’s greatest writers.

The Infinite Moment of Us is Lauren Myracle's latest teen book, but many of you may remember her for the Internet Girls series, TTYL, TTFN, and L8R G8R, all of which have new covers and have been updated for cultural references for the iPhone generation!  Click on the covers below to check our catalog.


Five Fun Facts about Lauren:

1. I have 2 author best friends, Emily Lockhart and Sarah Mlynowski.

2. I have done 3 back dives off the high dive.

3. I can snort 24 times in a row without stopping for a breath of air.

4. When I was a kid, I stumbled into a yellow jacket's nest and got stung 43 times.

5. I received 148 rejection letters before my first novel was accepted for publication.

Come out and meet Lauren Myracle in person on Saturday, May 18th at 9:00 am at the Rochester Teen Book Festival at Nazareth College!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Teen Tuesday Pick: Jumped In by Patrick Flores-Scott


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A perfect pick for Poetry month!

Sam has the rules of slackerhood down: Don’t be late to class. Don’t ever look the teacher in the eye. Develop your blank stare. Since his mom left, he has become an expert in the art of slacking, especially since no one at his new school gets his intense passion for the music of the Pacific Northwest—Nirvana, Hole, Sleater-Kinney. Then his English teacher begins a slam poetry unit and Sam gets paired up with the daunting, scarred, clearly-a-gang-member Luis, who happens to sit next to him in every one of his classes. Slacking is no longer an option—Luis will destroy him. Told in Sam’s raw voice and interspersed with vivid poems, Jumped In by Patrick Flores-Scott is a stunning debut novel about differences, friendship, loss, and the power of words.

Like poetry?  Don't forget about the Teen Haiku contest here at the Greece Public Library.  Entries are already coming in, so start writing!  Entry forms can be found here.