Thursday, May 29, 2014

May is Mystery Month: Ask Me by Kimberly Pauley

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Ask Aria Morse anything, and she must answer with the truth. Yet she rarely understands the cryptic words she‘s compelled to utter. Blessed—or cursed—with the power of an Oracle who cannot decipher her own predictions, she does her best to avoid anyone and everyone.

But Aria can no longer hide when Jade, one of the few girls at school who ever showed her any kindness, disappears. Any time Aria overhears a question about Jade, she inadvertently reveals something new, a clue or hint as to why Jade vanished. But like stray pieces from different puzzles, her words never present a clear picture.

Then there’s Alex, damaged and dangerous, but the first person other than Jade to stand up for her. And Will, who offers a bond that seems impossible for a girl who’s always been alone. Both were involved with Jade. Aria may be the only one who can find out what happened, but the closer she gets to solving the crime, the more she becomes a target. Not everyone wants the truth to come out.

My thoughts:
I was initially drawn into this book by the interesting premise of Aria Morse being an Oracle - cursed to answer the truth when she hears a question. She is shunned at her high school and labeled a freak. One of the only people who is kind to Aria, a girl name Jade, disappears, and then is discovered murdered. Before she died, Jade was dating two different boys, the school demi-god Will, and the "bad boy" Alex. When the book started to go downhill for me is when Aria starts seeing both these boys. I won't go into details to spoil the plotline, but for me it wasn't hard to figure out who the "bad guy" really was.  Read it and see what you think!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Teen Tuesday: Nantucket Red by Leila Howland

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Cricket Thompson's lifetime of overachieving has paid off: she's headed to Brown University in the fall, with a spot on the lacrosse team and a scholarship that covers almost everything. Who knew living in the dorm cost money? An Ivy League education seems to mean living at home for the next four years.

When Cricket is offered the chance to earn enough cash to afford a real college experience, she heads back to Nantucket for the summer. But the faraway island challenges Cricket in ways she hadn't anticipated. It's hard to focus on earning money for next year, when she finds her world opening up in entirely new ways-to art, to travel, and, most unexpectedly, to a future completely different from the one she has been working toward her whole life. A friendship blossoms with Ben, the gorgeous surfer and bartender who encourages Cricket to be free, even as she smarts at the pain of seeing Zack, her first love, falling for her worst enemy.

But one night, when Cricket finally lets herself break all her own rules, she realizes she may have ruined her carefully constructed future with one impulsive decision. Cricket must dig deep to fight for her future, discovering that success isn't just about reaching goals, but also about listening to what she's been trying to ignore-her own heart.

If you enjoyed Nantucket Blue, you may want to continue Cricket's story with this book.  Teen reviewer Brandi says "It was a fun read, with just the right amount of emotion, and drama to keep the plot going. I finished it in a day and would have done a one sitting if time would have allowed."
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Stubby the War Dog: The True Story of World War I's Bravest Dog

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Move over, Rin Tin Tin. Here comes Sgt. Stubby! That German shepherd star of the silver screen may have been born behind enemy lines during World War I, but Stubby, the stump-tailed terrier, worked behind enemy lines, and gained military rank and honors along the way. Private Robert Conroy casually adopted the orphan pup while attending basic training on the campus of Yale University in 1917. The young recruit never imagined that his stray dog would become a war hero. He just liked the little guy. When Conroy's unit shipped out for France, he smuggled his new friend aboard. By the time Stubby encountered Conroy's commanding officer, the dog had perfected his right-paw salute. Charmed, the CO awarded Stubby mascot status and sent him along with Conroy's unit to the Western Front. Sgt. Stubby's brave deeds earned him a place in history and in the Smithsonian Institution where his stuffed body decorated with war medals can still be seen. Even 100 years later, Sgt. Stubby's great deeds and brave heart make him an animal hero to remember and treasure.

What a great book!  If you are an animal lover, you will really enjoy the story of Stubby.  Adopted by an army private training at Yale, Stubby became a hero, friend, and mascot of the 101st Infantry "Yankee Division".  Smuggled overseas by the man who loved him, Stubby won over commanding officers, wounded soldiers, and even French citizens.  Actual photos and journal entries enhance the story of Stubby.  Here is one of my favorite photos of Stubby:

In 1921, Stubby was featured in a magazine and appeared on the cover! 
Stubby was made a life member of the American Legion, the Red Cross and the YMCA.
In 1921, the Humane Education Society awarded him a special gold medal for his service  to his country. The medal was presented by General John Pershing.

Read More: Stubby The War Hero had a Huge Heart Like All Our Heros : Dave’s Diary |

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday: The Sound by Sarah Alderson

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A British nanny looking for a low-key summer finds buried secrets, murderous attention, and unexpected romance when she visits the Nantucket Sound.

The Nantucket Sound is a beachfront playground for the privileged and elite, where the sunny days are filled with scenic bike rides, backyard picnics, and bonfire parties.

But all Ren Kingston - a visiting Brit still reeling from heartbreak - really wants is a quiet summer as a nanny for one of Nantucket's wealthy families. Getting acquainted with handsome Jeremy and his young group of trust fund, private school kids was not part of the plan. Neither was befriending the local bad boy whose reputation is more dangerous than charming.

After a dead body is found next to The Sound's postcard-perfect view, Ren starts to wonder where the real threat lies. Because it's becoming clear that her newfound 'friends' are much more than they seem. They're hiding secrets. Secrets that Ren wants no part of.

But once The Sound has you in its current, it won't want to let you go. 

Just started reading this one, and hope that the mystery and romance are worthwhile!  Definitely drawn to this gorgeous, beachy cover!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Middle School Monday: Waterfire Saga Book One: Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly


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The first in a series of four epic tales set in the depths of the ocean, where six mermaids seek to protect and save their hidden world.

Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin's arrow poisons Sera's mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.

Some reviewers say to love this book for it's "girl power", diversity and puns.  Check it out and see what you think!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

This is a book where reviews really are polar opposites. Some reviewers LOVE this book and gush about the unexpected twist, the suspense, the sadness, the characters. Jamie of the Perpetual Page Turner had this to say "This book deserves more than 5 stars -- it deserves fireworks and confetti and lots of recognition. I haven’t had a book really wreck me like this one did but I sobbed and I screamed and this is why I love reading…BOOKS LIKE THIS." Leah had an opposite viewpoint "the mystery played out in such a silly and unmoving way. How can I feel sorry for one-dimensional characters I'm not emotionally invested in, whose most complex character trait is their unexamined privilege, and whose ultimate act of rebellion is hilariously symbolic of pampered stupidity? What was I supposed to take away here?" 

My thoughts:  I tend to think like Leah - this book was predictable, not a shocking surprise, and I could not get all involved or care about these uber-rich, privileged teenagers with their own private summer island.  We Were Liars by E.Lockhart is set on Beechwood Island, a fictional island off the coast of Massachusetts. Owned by the Sinclair family, Cady (full name Cadence Sinclair Eastman) and her mother spend every summer there along with the rest of the clan. There’s her grandfather and grandmother, Harris and Tipper. Her aunts, Bess and Carrie, the littles (Bonnie, Liberty, Will, Taft). And then there’s Mirren, Johnny, and Gat, who form the Liars, along with Cady.

Cady is the narrator of this story yet she’s partially unreliable as she cannot recall the events of her fifteenth summer on the island. That was this year that she had an accident and now suffers migraines and memory loss. It is now summer seventeen and Cady returns to the island determined to remember what happened two years ago.

Cady’s voice is alternated with different fairy tales that shed light on the family life of the Sinclairs.  Most start "There was once a king with three daughters...."  and shed light on how the life of the charmed Sinclair family might not be so charming after all.  There is a lot of jealousy, bigotry, manipulating, and failure that shows under the cracked veneer of the Sinclair myth. 

I'd love to hear what YOU think about this book!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Middle School Monday: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander


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""With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I'm delivering, "" announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got a river of rhymes flowing through him--a sick flow that helps him find his rhythm when everything's on the line. 
As their winning season unfolds, things begin to change.  When Jordan meets the new girl in school, the twins' tight-knit bond unravels.  In this heartfelt novel, basketball and brotherhood intertwine to show Josh and Jordan that life doesn't come with a playbook and sometimes it's not about winning.  Kwame Alexander is also the author of teen novel He Said, She Said 2013, also available at the Greece Public Library.

Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.

I think the verse format works really well for this story.  It is really descriptive, and also easy to read.  Here's a favorite passage of mine, that makes me "see" these twin brothers:

JB and I
are almost thirteen.  Twins.  Two basketball goals at
opposite ends of the court.  Identical.
It's easy to tell us apart though.  I'm

an inch taller, with dreads to my neck.  He gets
his head shaved once a month.  I want to go to Duke,
he flaunts Carolina Blue.  If we didn't love each other,

we'd HATE each other.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Winners: Teen Haiku Contest

59 teens from all over Monroe County submitted 101 haiku poems to our first annual Teen Haiku Contest!  We were overwhelmed with the work submitted by the students, and decided to award five honorable mention $10 gift cards in addition to the first, second and third place awards.  Thank you to the Friends of the Greece Public Library for providing the prizes for this contest.  Without further ado, here are the winning haiku poems!

First Place:  $50 gift card goes to Crystal Lee, age 12 of Greece, NY for her haiku "The Hibiscus Flower" 

Pink and cotton white
A soft stamen dipped in gold
Swaying in the wind.

Second Place:  $30 gift card goes to Adam Ford, age 18 of Greece, NY for his haiku:

As I walk alone
Solitude comforts my soul

Third Place:  $20 gift card goes to Grace Dusett, age 15 of Rochester, NY for her haiku:

Her eyes closed, slowly
to drink stars of night and dreams
of pleasant slumber

There were five Honorable Mention winners, each receiving a $10 giftcard:

Mike Hyde, age 15
I snag my headphones
pulse of rhythm in my ears
mellow melodies.

Kelsey Hansen, age 16 entitled "Sister"
She was always there
gently pushing me along
When no one else cared

Demitri DiProspero, age 16
The flight of the catch
fishing is my favorite
perch tastes like lobster.

Taylor Kremis, age 17
Cats are the greatest
fuzzy, lovely, and so sweet
cats:  better than dogs.

Lynn Nguyen, age 13 entitled "Electric Shock"
The sky god is mad
Pounding sounds, the thunder
The crackle of lightning.

Congratulations to these talented teens!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Teen Tuesday: Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

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In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she's ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn't writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.

After earning a master's degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her family. When she's not writing young adult fiction, she's playing with her daughter, training for races with her husband, working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.

I enjoyed this gripping novel, and look forward to the next two installments!  The book intertwines real people with fictional characters to create a story rooted in history.  The addition of a forbidden romance, plus the gorgeous cover,  will attract teens to Gretchen's story.  It also makes me very happy to see that the book was written by a librarian!  Bravo to author Anne Blankman!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Would you like to be a Teen Volunteer this Summer?

Do you enjoy working with children and their families? 
Do you have basic computer skills?
Are you able to interact independently with the public, with a friendly, helpful attitude?
Are you dependable and prompt?
Do you enjoy crafts, and like to help others?

If you answered yes to these questions, and are between the ages of 13-19, perhaps you should think about volunteering for the Greece Public Library's Summer Reading Program!  The program begins on June 27, and ends on August 8, 2014.  Desk shifts continue until August 15.  Print and fill out an application, submit it at the library information desk.  Plan on attending one mandatory meeting on either Wednesday, June 11 or Thursday, June 12 at 4:00 p.m.  If you have any questions, please contact either Cheryl Greene at or 723-2485, or Laura Sidoti at or 723-2468. 

Volunteering at the library is a win-win situation.  Here are some of the benefits to you!

1.  Helping others makes you feel good inside, and it enables you to make a positive difference in your own community!
2.  Volunteering looks great on college, scholarship, and Honor Society applications!
3.  Volunteering can help you to learn new skills.
4.  It's a great way to meet people in your community!
5.  Teens that volunteer do better in school, feel good about themselves, and may even be healthier (thanks to the effect of endorphins)!

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” -Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.
“I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”
Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965);
Philosopher, Physician, Nobel Peace Prize Winner