Thursday, August 29, 2013

Throw Back Thursday Pick: I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend

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Young Jane Austen fans are in for an once-in-a-lifetime treat that will sweep them back into the excitement of 1790s British society, fancy skirts, dashing gentlemen, and young love. Cora Harrison’s novel is a delicious combination of historical fact and fabulously crafted fiction based on the relationship between teenage Jane Austen and her cousin Jenny Cooper. I fell in love on page one and could not put this book down.

Jenny risks her life and reputation to escape the boarding school where she and her cousin Jane live in order to get a letter to Jane’s mother. Jane was direly ill and the headmistress refused to contact the family. Jenny happens to meet and fall desperately in love with handsome Captain Thomas Williams along the way. He charms her with his kindness and aids her in getting the letter to her cousin’s family. The Austen family quickly rescues the girls from the school and brings them back to live at Jane’s family estate. When Thomas reappears later in the novel, Jenny fears he will inadvertently ruin her reputation by letting slip how he originally met her. Can true love conquer all or will persnickety relatives get in the way in the name of propriety?

Prepare for a fun and fast-paced adventure as the girls learn about growing up, love, friendship, aspirations, and marriage. This novel is a rare gem in historical fiction and one I would gladly read again.

Reviewed by Jennifer Melville

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

September Display: Rebel Reads!

Do you ever feel like an outsider?  You're not alone.  Check out our display of Rebel Reads.  Here's a link to the Rebel Reads booklist.  Here's a spotlight on a few of the titles:

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Jump. Elisa Lynn Carbone.

P.K. has made a totally wild, crazy jump from a restrictive life with her family into a life of total adventure—rock-climbing out west with a guy she barely knows. P.K. is in heaven. And then the cops show up . . . with an arrest warrant. And P.K. has to decide who to believe: this amazing guy -or the cops, who want her to believe that he may take her life. 

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The Disenchantments. Nina Lacour.                 

Colby and Bev are almost ready to hit the open road with Bev's band. But Bev backs out, leaving Colby to join The Disenchantments as a groupie. Small towns and dirty venues serve as the backdrop for Colby's internal struggle as Colby gets farther and farther away from Bev. Her plans shattered, Colby must find what comes next. HS



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Teen Tuesday: A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin

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"A hint of Recovery Road, a sample of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and a cut of Juno. A Really Awesome Mess is a laugh-out-loud, gut-wrenching/heart-warming story of two teenagers struggling to find love and themselves."

Two teenagers. Two very bumpy roads taken that lead to Heartland Academy.
Justin was just having fun, but when his dad walked in on him with a girl in a very compromising position, Justin's summer took a quick turn for the worse. His parents' divorce put Justin on rocky mental ground, and after a handful of Tylenol lands him in the hospital, he has really hit rock bottom.

Emmy never felt like part of her family. She was adopted from China. Her parents and sister tower over her and look like they came out of a Ralph Lauren catalog-- and Emmy definitely doesn't. After a scandalous photo of Emmy leads to vicious rumors around school, she threatens the boy who started it all on Facebook.

Justin and Emmy arrive at Heartland Academy, a reform school that will force them to deal with their issues, damaged souls with little patience for authority. But along the way they will find a ragtag group of teens who are just as broken, stubborn, and full of sarcasm as themselves. In the end, they might even call each other friends.

Parts of this book were well done, but I felt the whole thing dissolved into an unbelievably ending, and a ridiculous scenario about a pig.  I felt it unusual that there no kids with drug addictions at Heartland Academy, and that the staff would be so easily fooled by some of the hijinx that occur with the teens in the anger management group.  Since this book contains language, discusses sexual situations, and the some of the teens have attempted suicide, it is recommended for older and mature teens.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Teen Tuesday: Divergent by Veronica Roth

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In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue-Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are - and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves... or it might destroy her. Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series - dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance

I felt compelled to read Divergent, because I knew the movie is coming out in March of 2014, and is generating a lot of buzz!  Although I am tiring of the dystopian genre, Divergent held my attention, and I would like to read the second book in the series, Insurgent. Alas, all of our copies are checked out!  I have to get caught up because the third book in the trilogy, Allegiant, comes out in October!
Here's a sneak peek look at the two main characters in the movie:  Tris and Four!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Middle School Monday Pick: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
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Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library.

Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first twelve 7th graders in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.

In this cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum, Agatha Award winner Chris Grabenstein uses rib-tickling humor to create the perfect tale for his quirky characters. Old fans and new readers will become enthralled with the crafty twists and turns of this ultimate library experience.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Teen Pick - "Defriended" by Ruth Baron for fans of Horror!

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A friend request from beyond the grave...

Jason has met the perfect girl. She loves indie rock, plays the guitar, quotes cheesy '80s films, and hates people who compare every book to The Great Gatsby.  There's just one small problem.  Despite spending most nights chatting, Lacey refuses to meet up in person. Suspicious, Jason starts googling, and his cyberstalking leads to a shocking discovery: According to multiple newspapers, Lacey died a year earlier.

Soon, Jason finds himself enmeshed in a disturbing mystery. Has he found a way to Facebook message the dead? Or is someone playing a dangerous trick on him? Either way, Jason has to discover the truth before it's time to meet Lacey in the afterlife...

Monday, August 5, 2013

Last Week of Winners! Summary of Teen Summer Reading

It's hard to believe another summer reading program has come and gone!  A special congratulations to our Grand Prize Winner of a $25 Regal Movie Giftcard - Melissa K.!  The following people won $15 Wegmans giftcards in week 6:
Olivia F.
Julia H.
Kaylee O.
Colin S.
Tyler T.
Week 5 winners of the $15 Tim Hortons giftcards were:
Ally Y.
Hannah W.
Amanda V.
Andrew T.
Katherine S.
All winners were notified by phone and e-mail. 
Last year 65 teens participated in Summer Reading.  This year 91 teens registered and read 832 hours - a 40% increase from last year!  Stay tuned for a bigger and better summer reading program for next year.  We still have a few more programs this summer, including a decorated paper box craft on Tuesday, August 6 from 2-3 pm, a Babysitting Course on Wednesday, August 7 from 10 am till 3 pm ($45 fee), Zen Doodling on Thursday, August 15 from 6:30-7:30 pm, Cupcake Wars for Teens on Tuesday, August 20 from 2-3 pm (filling fast!), and Home Alone Safety on Wednesday, August 28 from 1-3 pm ($20 fee).  Register here!

Middle School Monday Pick: Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking

Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking: A 14 Day Mystery

For fans of The Westing Game and From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler comes a clever, treasure-hunt mystery based on a real-life art heist.

Moxie Fleece knows the rules and follows them--that is, until the day she opens her front door to a mysterious stranger. Suddenly Moxie is involved in Boston's biggest unsolved mystery: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art heist. Moxie has two weeks to find the art, otherwise she and the people she loves will be in big-time danger.

Her tools? Her best friend, Ollie, a geocaching addict who loves to find stuff; her Alzheimer's suffering grandfather, Grumps, who knows lots more than he lets on; and a geometry proof that she sets up to sort out the clues.

It's a race against the clock through downtown Boston as Moxie and Ollie break every rule she's ever lived by to find the art and save her family.  A great read for middle school mystery lovers!