Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Four February 2015 Titles on my "must read" list

Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen

Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She’s grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn’t know that it’s magic her parents are running from.

When Sarah’s mother walks out on their family, all the strange old magic they have tried to hide from comes rising into their mundane world. Her father begins to change into something wild and beastly, but before his transformation is complete, he takes Sarah to her grandparents—people she has never met, didn’t even know were still alive.

Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family bloodlines, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast . . . unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever.

Goodreads reviewer Althea Ann says " It's a contemporary fantasy, but it succeeds very well in meshing the timeless beauty of fairy tales with a modern setting."

I Remember You by Cathleen Davitt Bell

For fans of THE FUTURE OF US comes an engrossing story of two teens, whose love for each other is tested by time and fate.

Lucas and Juliet couldn’t be more different from each other. But from the moment Lucas sees Juliet, he swears he remembers their first kiss. Their first dance. Their first fight. He even knows what’s going to happen between them—not because he can predict the future, but because he claims to have already lived it.

Juliet doesn’t know whether to be afraid for herself or for Lucas. As Lucas’s memories occur more frequently, they also grow more ominous. All Juliet wants is to keep Lucas safe with her. But how do you hold on to someone you love in the present when they’ve begun slipping away from you in the future?

People are raving about the main character - Juliet.  I love the cover, too!

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

Reviewers claim this one is a "Game of Thrones" mixed with a bit of "Hunger Games" and "X-men". 

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.  Goodreads reviewer David Warga says "This book wrecked me in the best possible way. Rich characters, incredible voice, heartbreaking realities of depression, and the painstaking process of crawling out of that place... READ IT ASAP."

Monday, February 23, 2015

Middle School Monday: I'm Glad I Did by Cynthia Weil

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Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and songwriting legend Cynthia Weil's extraordinary YA debut opens the secretive doors of the Brill Building-the hit factory that changed history. Part Mad Men, part Grace of my Heart, part murder mystery, I'm Glad I Did is a coming-of-age story at an unforgettable cultural tipping point: the summer of 1963.

JJ Greene, a gifted 16-year-old songwriter, defies her lawyer parents by secretly applying for a job in the famed Brill Building-the epicenter of songwriting for a new genre called rock-n-roll. But their warnings about the evils of the music industry prove far darker than she imagined when she finds herself at the heart of a cover-up that involves hidden identity, theft, and possibly murder.

My thoughts:  This was an entertaining look at the music industry in the 1960's.  The novel is clean as far as language and sexual innuendo, making it appropriate for middle school and up.  If you want to learn more about the music world of the 1960's - this is the book for you! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Throw Back Thursday Pick: A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

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Mattie Gokey has a word for everything. She collects words, stores them up as a way of fending off the hard truths of her life, the truths that she can't write down in stories.
The fresh pain of her mother's death. The burden of raising her sisters while her father struggles over his brokeback farm. The mad welter of feelings Mattie has for handsome but dull Royal Loomis, who says he wants to marry her. And the secret dreams that keep her going--visions of finishing high school, going to college in New York City, becoming a writer.
Yet when the drowned body of a young woman turns up at the hotel where Mattie works, all her words are useless. But in the dead woman's letters, Mattie again finds her voice, and a determination to live her own life.
Set in 1906 against the backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, this coming-of-age novel effortlessly weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, and real, and wholly original.

My thoughts:  I loved this novel.  I've spent several summer vacations on Big Moose Lake, so the face that I had actually kayaked on the lake that was the true "scene of the crime" drew me into this novel.  What I really loved though, was Mattie's voice, and her struggle with the mundane chores of womenhood in the early 1900's.  Girls, we've come a long way.  Read what inspired Jennifer Donnelly to create the character of Mattie on her website.  It's fascinating to see what inspires an author to craft a story.  A Northern Light was a Printz Honor book in 2004.  It is a "throwback" that you should definitely revisit and read!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

American Library Association Award Winners for 2015


The Crossover by Kwame Alexander was the winner of the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature. "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 mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander. 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.  Two Newbery Honor books were also named:  "El Deafo" by Cece Bell and "Brown Girl Dreaming" by Jacqueline Woodson. 

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson was the winner of the Michael L. Printz award for excellence in literature for young adults.  A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell. 

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.
Printz Honor books were:  "And We Stay" by Jenny Hubbard, "The Carnival at Bray" by Jessie Ann Foley, "Grasshopper Jungle" by Andrew Smith, and "This One Summer" a graphic novel by Mariko Tamaki. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Like Minecraft? We're looking for some Teen Volunteers!

Do you play Minecraft? Do you enjoy working with kids? Do you need some volunteer hours?

We need volunteers to moderate the Minecraft group at the library. Help kids play, switch servers, moderate the group for behavior and noise level. Encourage kids to join the experience. Set up and take down the program. Admin and Mod roles on the server also available.

Minecraft Thurdsays are 3:30-7:30 pm at the Greece Public Library, at 2 Vince Tofany Dr.

Interested? E-mail Cathy at chenders@libraryweb.org for an interview.