Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Were Hard for me to Finish

People like to talk about what books they loved, but have you ever discussed what books were hard for you to finish?  Here's my list:

1.    I read the first Twilight book, but as the series went on I found it harder and harder to keep going.  By the time I got to Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, I just could not finish it.

2.   Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is an adult book that is going to be a movie with Ben Affleck later this year.  I hated the characters so much I wished they were both dead. 

3.  Wicked:  The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire was a really tough read for me.  So tough I tried twice to read this book, and wasn't successful either time. 

4.   Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell just did not appeal to me - I really enjoyed Eleanor and Park, but the whole "Simon Snow" thing just made me wish for Harry Potter - the real Harry Potter.

5.    Insurgent by Veronica Roth.  I read Divergent, thought it was OK, but was not inspired to move on.  I actually enjoyed the Legend series by Marie Lu much more than this series!

6.   Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor.  I loved the first book, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, but my interest waned as the books went on.  Maybe trilogies are just not my thing? 

7.   The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine had such a cute cover - such promise!  I did not like the main characters at all, and the storyline?  I did not find it amazing - I found it irritating.

8.    Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley won the Printz award a few years ago.  I did not hate this book, but I can't say I loved it.  It was a sad and difficult read.  The ending was not concrete - definitely a book for a more sophisticated reader. 

9.   Between the Lines, a collaboration by Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha Van Leer was not a typical Jodi Picoult novel.  And I don't mean that in a good way, because I love Jodi Picoult's novels. 

10.    The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffennegger.  I love the concept of time travel, so everyone assumes I love this book.  I don't.  I found it very disconcerting how a grown man would pop up naked in front of a young girl, and then eventually they marry.  I felt creepy just reading it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Middle School Monday: Greenglass House by Kate Milford

check the catalog here

A rambling old inn, a strange map, an attic packed with treasures, squabbling guests, theft, friendship, and an unusual haunting mark this smart middle grade mystery in the tradition of the Mysterious Benedict Society books and Blue Balliet's Chasing Vermeer series.

It's wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler's inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers' adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo's home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook's daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass House-and themselves.

This would make a great winter book to read in front of a fireplace with a mug of hot cocoa nearby!  A little bit of  The Westing Game, a little bit of Agatha Christie, and a little bit of "The Goonies". 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Freedom to Read: Banned Books Week

From PBS:  "What Is Censorship? Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that certain persons -- individuals, groups or government officials -- find objectionable or dangerous. It is no more complicated than someone saying, "Don't let anyone read this book, or buy that magazine, or view that film, because I object to it!" Censors try to use the power of the state to impose their view of what is truthful and appropriate, or offensive and objectionable, on everyone else. Censors pressure public institutions, like libraries, to suppress and remove from public access information they judge inappropriate or dangerous, so that no one else has the chance to read or view the material and make up their own minds about it. The censor wants to prejudge materials for everyone."

Banned Books Week is an annual event during the last week in September that celebrates our freedom to read.  The American Library Association keeps records every year on books that are challenged or banned in school and public libraries across the nation.  Books are challenged for a number of reasons, including sexual content, offensive language, unsuitable for an age group, homosexuality, and violence.  It is surprising to many people to see that classics, childhood favorites, and school required reading frequently appear on these lists.  Exercise your right to read and don't take this freedom for granted! And before you look, try this BuzzFeed quiz on how well you know your banned books!

Now, here are some examples of banned books:

  Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey - the favorite of many elementary school students has been the number one challenged book for 2012 and 2013! 

  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, has been banned due to "unsuitability to age group" and religious viewpoints.

  Looking for Alaska by John Green Banned due to drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Note:  the Printz award winner in 2006.

 The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie banned due to drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexual content, racism, and offensive language.  Notice that it is a National Book Award Winner!

 The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky banned for drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, homosexuality, and unsuitable for age group. 

These books are just the tip of the iceberg - check out the full lists on the American Library Association Website.    Remember to take advantage of your right to read - check out our banned books display in the front of the library for some suggestions. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Middle School Monday: Historic Graphic Novels

There are several newer graphic novels based on actual historic events that are great reads for middle schoolers (and up!).  Here are a few of my top picks:

check the catalog here

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales are graphic novels that tell the thrilling, shocking, gruesome, and TRUE stories of American history. Read them all--if you dare!  There are several in the series:  The first book One Dead Spy. sets up the narrators and their back stories, so it is a good place to start.  Other titles in the series include:  Big Bad Ironclad (a Civil War Tale), Donner Dinner Party (A Tale of Western Expansion), and Treaties, Trenches, Mud and Blood (a WWI Tale).  Review Katy Jane from Goodreads.com says this about one of the Nathan Hale's books:  "Give this to a kid who likes history. Give this to a kid who likes creepy, weird stuff. Give this to a kid who likes a good story. Give this to a kid who likes to learn."

check the catalog here

Ernest Shackleton was one of the last great Antarctic explorers, and he led one of the most ambitious Antarctic expeditions ever undertaken. This is his story, and the story of the dozens of men who threw in their lot with him - many of whom nearly died in the unimaginably harsh conditions of the journey. It's an astonishing feat - and was unprecedented at the time - that all the men in the expedition survived.

Shackleton's expedition marked the end of a period of romantic exploration of the Arctic and the Antarctic, and this is as much a book about the encroaching modern world as it is about travel. But Nick Bertozzi has documented this remarkable journey with such wit and fiendish attention to detail that it's impossible not to get caught up in the drama of the voyage.

check the catalog here

Goodreads reviewer Sharon Tyler summarizes the book:  "I Remember Beirut has simple but striking black and white images that do a wonderful job of telling the story of everyday life. as a child we often see more than adults expect us too, and still miss vital bits of information until we look back at our childhood from a safe distance. Abirached show readers what it can be like living in a war zone, a situation far too many children have had to deal with throughout history, and are still dealing with today. the juxtaposition of what she saw and thought as a child with the full picture that see has of events today make everything come to life and really let readers understand where she is coming from and what others are still struggling with in a variety of locals today.  I would highly recommend I Remember Beirut to readers that want to dive in and understand what it was like to live in Beirut in the 1980's and beyond.

check the catalog here

Goodreads reviewer Steve says "Don't know who the Harlem Hellfighters were? You're not alone. Most people don't. Even professors with interest in highlighting black accomplishments in US history did not know of them. Formed from the 15th Regiment of the National Guard in New York, they spent 191 days in combat -- longer than any other American unit -- they never yielded a trench to the enemy, they never lost a soldier to capture, they were one of the most decorated units in the American force, they prevented Germany from taking Paris and drove them back into Germany, and they were the first soldiers of ANY army during the war to reach the Rhine River. This despite the waves of prejudice and hatred from their own Army, despite having to feign being rifle clubs in order to secure firearms from the government, despite being sent to the racist hotbed of South Carolina and restricted from fighting back against assaults, despite the Army openly demanding that France not overly praise their successes, and despite the fact that because they were black they were not allowed to fight for the US Army but were instead sent to France to fight with the French Army. They were issued French uniforms and helmets but they refused to remove their US gear.

Brooks and White bring this story to life, using some fictional flourishes, but keeping the heart of the regimental story intact. And it is a compelling tale. Imagine the horror and hell of World War I, with the newly advanced fighting machines and weaponry, the sicknesses, the vile nature of the trenches, and the deadly use of various gasses....and then also having to endure indescribably levels of hostility from your own forces because of race. To be so well honored and decorated (Henry Lincoln Johnson, one of the Harlem Hellfighters became the first American, black or white, to receive the Croix de Guerre) and then to have that history buried speaks to one of the great faults of US history and education." Added note: SONY has picked up the movie rights to this graphic novel. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Calling All Doctor Who Fans!

It seems a lot of people out there are watching the campy, fun, sci-fi, time traveling, British Doctor Who!  Here is a list of some teen books I think may appeal to fans of the Doctor. 

check the catalog here

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill.  Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.  Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it... at least, not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

check the catalog here

Tempest by Julie Cross.  The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.  That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.  Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.  But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

check the catalog here

BZRK by Michael Grant.  Set in the near future, BZRK is the story of a war for control of the human mind. Charles and Benjamin Armstrong, conjoined twins and owners of the Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation, have a goal: to turn the world into their vision of utopia. No wars, no conflict, no hunger. And no free will. Opposing them is a guerrilla group of teens, code name BZRK, who are fighting to protect the right to be messed up, to be human. This is no ordinary war, though. Weapons are deployed on the nano-level. The battleground is the human brain. And there are no stalemates here: It’s victory . . . or madness.

check the catalog here

Variant by Robison Wells.  Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.  He was wrong.  Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive. Where breaking the rules equals death. But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.

check the catalog here

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.  In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

check the catalog here

Parallel by Lauren Miller.  Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it's as if her past has been rewritten.  With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby's never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.

check the catalog here

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier.  Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Middle School Monday: The Giver Series by Lois Lowry

The Giver series by Lois Lowry is a classic example of young adult dystopian literature.  The recent movie The Giver, has renewed interest in the books.  This series in also #11 on the all time Top 100 Teen books published by NPR.  The Giver was one of my favorite books, and I just saw the movie over the weekend.  My verdict on the movie was it was OK, but I really thought the book was so much better!  My favorite part of the movie was Jeff Bridge's performance as "The Giver". 

If you really enjoy the books, try to do some of the trivia quizzes about these books! If you read The Giver consider reading more of the series - here are some story summaries to entice you!

Gathering Blue:  Kira, who has a deformed leg, is orphaned and must learn to survive in a society that normally leaves the weak or  disabled exposed to die in the fields. In Gathering Blue, Kira needs a reason for the Council of Edifice to keep her in the village and not take her to the Field (which is certain death at the hands of The Beasts). Kira has a gift for embroidery, and the Council keeps her around to mend and update a beautiful robe that shows the history of their society. In the course of the book, she begins to learn the art of dyeing thread different colors, except for blue, which nobody in her community knows how to make. She also learns more about the truth of her village and the terrible secrets they hold.

Messenger:  Trouble is brewing in Village. Once a utopian community that welcomed strangers, Village will soon be cut off to all outsiders. As one of the few able to traverse the forbidding Forest, Matty must deliver the message of Village’s closing and try to convince Seer’s daughter Kira to return with him before it’s too late. But Forest is now hostile to Matty, too, and he must risk everything to fight his way through it.

Son:  They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive? She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice.  Son thrusts readers once again into the chilling world of the Newbery Medal winning book, The Giver, as well as Gathering Blue and Messenger where a new hero emerges. In this thrilling series finale, the startling and long-awaited conclusion to Lois Lowry’s epic tale culminates in a final clash between good and evil.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Did you like "The Selection" by Kiera Cass? Try The Jewel by Amy Ewing!

check the catalog here

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

My thoughts:  Well, this was a perfect rainy day book - easy to read, and interesting for a YA dystopian novel. This book reminded me a bit of "The Selection" series, with a bit more substance similar to "The Handmaid's Tale". Violet was born in "The Marsh" a lower class part of this futuristic world. All the girls in the lower class areas are tested at puberty for a aptitude of magic, and if positive, they are taken from their homes and families, raised in a separate school and then sold at auction to royalty and upper classes to serve as surrogate mothers. Violet is sold into the house of the Duchess of the Lake, and quickly finds herself in the midst of a scheme to produce a daughter that will be hopefully one day the bride of the future Elector. The mysterious death of a fellow surrogate quickly shocks Violet, and brings to light the danger in her situation. Like every YA novel, Violet finds a forbidden love, but most of the story is the strategy of her to stay alive, and maybe one day escape her slavery. The magic is a smaller part of the story, but is interesting as these girls, can change color, shape, and make things grow (Hence the value in surrogacy). The cliffhanger ending hints at a sequel, and according to the author Amy Ewing's website, The Jewel is the first novel of a planned trilogy.  I would probably suggest this for older teens.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What We're Waiting For: A List of the Best YA Books Published This Fall According to Teen Vogue

Teen Vogue has a great article on books they are looking forward to reading this fall.  Some are on order, and some are already here at the library.  Here's four from their list that I want to read:

100 Sideways Miles by Smith Andrew
check the catalog here

Andrew Smith is one of the hottest authors in Young Adult Fiction right now.  His books Winger and Grasshopper Jungle  were both well reviewed. 

In 100 Sideways Miles, Finn Easton sees the world through miles instead of minutes. It's how he makes sense of the world, and how he tries to convince himself that he's a real boy and not just a character in his father's bestselling cult-classic book. Finn has two things going for him: his best friend, the possibly-insane-but-definitely-excellent Cade Hernandez, and Julia Bishop, the first girl he's ever loved.   Then Julia moves away, and Finn is heartbroken. Feeling restless and trapped in the book, Finn embarks on a road trip with Cade to visit their college of choice in Oklahoma. When an unexpected accident happens and the boys become unlikely heroes, they take an eye-opening detour away from everything they thought they had planned-and learn how to write their own destiny.

Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
on back order!

Outside, Anika Dragomir is all lip gloss and blond hair—the third most popular girl in school. Inside, she’s a freak: a mix of dark thoughts, diabolical plots, and, if local chatter is to be believed, vampire DNA (after all, her father is Romanian). But she keeps it under wraps to maintain her social position. One step out of line and Becky Vilhauer, first most popular girl in school, will make her life hell. So when former loner Logan McDonough shows up one September hotter, smarter, and more mysterious than ever, Anika knows she can’t get involved. It would be insane to throw away her social safety for a nerd. So what if that nerd is now a black-leather-jacket-wearing dreamboat, and his loner status is clearly the result of his troubled home life? Who cares if the right girl could help him with all that, maybe even save him from it? Who needs him when Jared Kline, the bad boy every girl dreams of, is asking her on dates? Who?

Anatomy of a Misfit is Mean Girls meets The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Anika’s hilariously deadpan delivery will appeal to readers for its honesty and depth.

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. Kin
on order - published October 14th!
Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities—but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way...until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions—and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying.

A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do everything in her power to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.

In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last—a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.

Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot
on order - published October 14th!

When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator’s daughter. Most people do... or think they do.

Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother, Sebastian.

But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden … until now.

According to Teen Vogue, this book belongs in between Gossip Girl and The Great Gatsby on your bookshelf!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Teen Tuesday: Zac & Mia by A. J. Betts

check the catalog here

The last person Zac expects to meet in the hospital room next to his is a girl like Mia - beautiful, angry, feisty, with questionable taste in music.  In the real world, he could never be friends with a girl like her.  But when a knock on the wall leads to a note, it turns into a friendship that surprises them both.  Told in alternating perspectives, Zac & Mia is the tough and tender story of two ordinary teenagers enduring extraordinary circumstances. 

My thoughts:  This is a book about teens with cancer, and wait:  I don't want you to compare it to The Fault in Our Stars, because it's different and better.  I really liked TFIOS, but Zac & Mia feels REAL to me.  Real characters, real problems, real families, real dreams.  I love all of Zac's statistics and quirky facts, and he's had a lot of time to think about them when he's in isolation due to a bone marrow transplant for his leukemia.  Zac also has a sense of humor - take this quote:  "Leukemia twice, German marrow, and now a born-again redhead.  That's bloody unfair!"  Zac has a supportive family to help him through this - Mia does not.  I must say I enjoyed Zac's point of view over Mia's, but she did develop into a more compassionate character in the end.  How will their friendship help both of them cope with the unfairness of this disease?  Read and find out!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Middle School Monday: Some New Books Ideal for Middle Schoolers!

check the catalog here

Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer.
Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far?

Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?

A book about family, growing pains, and believing in the impossible.

check the catalog here

The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives.

A Victorian ghost story with shades of Washington Irving and Henry James. More than just a spooky tale, it’s also a moral fable about human greed and the power of storytelling.

published on 9/9/2014

Alex Myers is a triple-threat athlete—great at football, basketball, and baseball. But he’ll have to fight for a spot on the varsity team.   Alex is a quarterback, but from the first day of football practice, it’s clear that that position is very much filled by the coach’s son, Matt.

Alex has the better arm, but Matt has more experience—and the coach’s loyalty. Alex finally gets a chance to show what he can do when Matt is injured, and he helps win a key game to keep the Lions’ bid for the state championship alive. But just when his star is rising, Alex gets blindsided—the state has started drug testing, and Alex’s test comes back positive for steroids. Alex knows that’s not right. But he doesn’t know if it’s a mistake—or if someone wants to make sure he can’t play. . .

Thursday, September 4, 2014

TBT: Books I Read in High School that I Still Think About....

Throw Back Thursday.  High School Required Reading.  It makes most people shudder, but every now and then, a gem slips through and affects you.  Have any of your required reading books taken you by surprise?  Have you (gulp) actually liked a few?  Have they ever prompted you to read more works by the same author?  Here's my list of books I was required to read, that really made an impact on me. 

check the catalog here

A Separate Peace by John Knowles was required reading when I was in high school.  The themes of friendship, jealousy, impulsive decisions, and how they affect the rest of your life stayed with me long after I finished the book.  One of the forerunners of prep school drama novels. 

check the catalog here

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  It seems like this is a book people either love or hate, and I loved it.  I loved it so much I went to my public library and read every F. Scott Fitzgerald book and short story I could get my hands on.  Yes, I am that much of a nerd. 

check the catalog here

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh made me fall in love with all things British.  Before there was Downton Abbey, there was Brideshead Revisited on PBS.  It is was made me discover the BBC, and want to make a pilgrimage to the British Isles (which I did after I graduated from college!).

check the catalog here

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." So begins A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens novel of the French Revolution.  This book is one of my all time favorites by Dickens, although A Christmas Carol is right up there.  Sydney Carton's supreme sacrifice stayed with me for a long time...

check the catalog here

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner was not like anything else I had ever read before.  I had to read it for an American Lit course and most of my friends HATED it.  I loved it, and every since have liked reading Southern Fiction.  The quirkier the characters, the better!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September Displays: What to Read When You've Finished all John Green's Novels

Do you have a problem?  Have you read all of John Green's novels, and just want more?  You are not alone.  Your teen librarian here at the Greece Public Library is feeling your pain!  This month, I have pulled a collection of books that have been identified as great choices for people who loved reading John Green's books.  I even created a Pinterest board of suggested titles, that you can access HERE.   If you like an old school booklist with descriptions, I've got that covered on Google docs  right HEREBuzzfeed also has a list of 17 books to read if you liked The Fault in Our Stars.  Goodreads also has a list of 57 books to read "If you like John Green"   So, lots of resources for you to find another great book to read.  Don't forget, we also have lots of these titles in e-book format, if you prefer to read them on your tablet, phone, or e-reader.  Check the Overdrive catalog to see if the title you want to read is available. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What's Coming in September? What Books I'm Looking Forward to Reading!

Here are some of the books I'm watching out for this month!

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson published 9/16/2014

"A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell"  www.Goodreads.com

Being Audrey Hepburn by Mitchell Kriegman is published 9/16/2014.

This book looks really fun!  From www.goodreads.com "In Being Audrey Hepburn, Clarissa Explains It All-creator, Mitchell Kriegman, tells the story of a 19-year-old girl from Jersey who finds herself thrust into the world of socialites after being seen in Audrey Hepburn’s dress from the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s."

Destined for Doon by Carey Corp & Loric Langdon is a great choice for Inspirational Fiction lovers, and is published on 9/2/2014. 
From www.amazon.com "In this sequel to Doon, Mackenna Reid realizes she made a horrible mistake in choosing to follow her dreams of Broadway instead of staying in the enchanted land of Doon. To make everything worse, she's received her Calling—proof she and Duncan are each other's one true love—and it's pure torment, especially when visions of the very alluring Scottish prince appear right before she goes on stage. So when Duncan tells her an ancient curse threatens to overtake Doon and the new queen and Kenna’s best friend, Veronica, needs her to return, Kenna doesn't have to think twice."


Found by Harlan Coben, the adult mystery writer that writes the teen Mickey Bolitar series is published on 9/09/2014.  This book is the third in the series, following Shelter and Seconds Away.

Winterkill by Kate A. Boorman, published on 9/9/2014,  looks like a juicy, creepy, mysterious novel.  From www.amazon.com "Emmeline knows she’s not supposed to explore the woods outside her settlement. The enemy that wiped out half her people lurks there, attacking at night and keeping them isolated in an unfamiliar land with merciless winters. Living with the shame of her grandmother’s insubordination, Emmeline has learned to keep her head down and her quick tongue silent.
When the settlement leader asks for her hand in marriage, it’s an opportunity for Emmeline to wash the family slate clean—even if she has eyes for another."

For sports fans everywhere, a new book by Mike Lupica (author of Heat) called Fantasy League is published on 9/16/2014.  I love playing fantasy football, and can't wait for this book!
From www.amazon.com "12-year-old Charlie is a fantasy football guru. He may be just a bench warmer for his school's football team, but when it comes to knowing and loving the game, he's first-string. He even becomes a celebrity when his podcast gets noticed by a sports radio host, who plays Charlie's fantasy picks for all of Los Angeles to hear. Soon Charlie befriends the elderly owner of the L.A. Bulldogs -- a fictional NFL team -- and convinces him to take a chance on an aging quarterback. After that, watch out . . . it's press conferences and national fame as Charlie becomes a media curiosity and source of conflict for the Bulldogs general manager, whose job Charlie seems to have taken. It's all a bit much for a kid just trying to stay on top of his grades and maintain his friendship with his verbal sparring partner, Anna."