Monday, November 15, 2010

While I was out...

I MISSED you! I've been gone for TWO WEEKS, recovering from surgery. Now that I'm back, I've discovered tons of books waiting for me to give all of you, so I will waste no time. I have so many to show you, I'm just going to send them upstairs and let you dig into them yourselves! In no particular order, our new books:

Angel by Cliff McNish...

I, Emma Freke by Elizabeth Atkinson...

Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Bick...

The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff...

The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston...

I've also refreshed our supply of Lurlene McDaniel's books, if you're interested!

I promise I'll get back to giving you full introductions to our new books--once I get through this giant pile next to my desk...

Mother / Daughter Craft Samples Are Here!

Teens and moms! I came back from my sick leave to discover we now have SAMPLES of our mother / daughter craft!

We'll paint the frames, decoupage, and adorn these frames with charms--they'll be as unique as each of us! I am very excited about this craft. It was what I looked forward to in the hospital--breaking out the Mod Podge and going to town.

If you haven't signed up for the program yet, drop by the library or give us a call and we'll sign you up! Hope to see you Thursday!

Monday, November 1, 2010

YA Mother-Daughter Craft with Candie Cooper!

I am so excited about this craft!

The amazing Candie Cooper will help us all make our very own picture frames--decorated to match our unique personalities.

If you haven't met Candie, she's a local author and artist who comes in to teach us all how to be CRAFTY. In other words, she's a real Crafty Lady. We love Candie.

So daughters, bring your moms, moms, bring your daughters, and join us for a night of crafty fun!

This event is open to students grades 6 to 12--sign up at the upstairs circulation desk!

(The picture is yoinked from Candie's blog)

Listen up--New Audio!

We have new audio books! (I knew you'd be excited.)

We have Cassandra Clare first three Mortal Instruments novels! City of Bones read by Ari Graynor, City of Ashes read by Natalie Moore, and City of Glass, also read by Natalie Moore.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, read by Kevin T. Collins and Eve Bianco, is here.

By Maggie Stiefvater, we have Shiver, read by Jenna Lamia and David Ledoux, and Linger, read by Dan Bittner, Pierce Cravens, Emma Galvin, and Jenna Lamia.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray, read by Erik Davies, has arrived!

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, read by Alan Cummings, is here.

And, last but not least, We have Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, read by MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podehl!

Falling for New Paranormal Fiction

My favorite of the new books is Zombies vs. Unicorns.

Nearly as strange as it sounds, ZvU tackles one of life's most troubling questions: Which is better, zombies or unicorns?

The debate first sprang up on Justine Larbalestier's blog, then spread to Holly Black's blog, eventually overtaking both. Larbalestier proclaimed zombies were superior; Black insisted unicorns were WAY better. The two decided to ask other YA authors to contribute short stories about either zombies or unicorns that were then gathered up into this anthology.

Both creepy and utterly hilarious, ZvU is made of awesome. Don't believe me? Check out the authors! Team Unicorn, led by Holly Black, is: Kathleen Duey, Meg Cabot, Garth Nix, Margo Lanagan, Naomi Novik, and Diana Peterfreund! Team Zombie, headed up by Justine Larbalestier, is Libba Bray, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Scott Westerfeld, and Carrie Ryan!

So which are you...Team Zombie, or Team Unicorn? Show your pride with downloads from Simon & Schuster!

Other by Karen Kincy is here!

Gwen Williams has a big secret. She's an "Other," a shapeshifter, and although her talents are acceptable in most areas, her tiny Washington hometown isn't too keen on vampires, centaurs, pretty much anything different.

Now a werewolf pack has moved into town, and Others are showing up dead. What follows is a paranormal murder mystery. Police are struggling to find a murderer they're sure is, well, paranormal in origin, ignoring the possibility of a serial killer. while Gwen and her friends are hunting the murderer themselves. This one's great for mystery fans and fantasy fans alike.

We now have The Fallen 1, which includes both The Fallen and Leviathan by Thomas E. Sniegoski and The Fallen 2, which is made up of the third and fourth books: Aerie and Reckoning.

Aaron's eighteenth birthday arrives, along with the unsettling discovery that he is now hearing voices. In his head. Like he's crazy. Aaron spent his childhood moving from foster home to foster home and isn't sure who to trust with his fears.

Aaron wants to talk with one of the girls he knows from school, but Aaron doesn't really have an easy time trusting people, especially the strange man who follows him around, insisting that Aaron is the son of a mortal and an angel. According to the Mystery Man, Aaron has been chosen to redeem the Fallen. Aaron tries to ignore the news. He also tries to pretend he doesn't have all the supernatural abilities he's discovered. But he can't deny it all for long. Dark powers are rising, and mostly they're just out to kill him.

The second Fallen* novel has arrived! Here is Torment by Lauren Kate:

Luce has been separated from her fallen angel boyfriend Daniel, and she's devastated. He must go fight the Outcasts before they succeed in killing him. While he's gone, he arranges for Luce to be hidden at Shoreline, a special school for Nephilim where she learns about Shadows and how to regain memories of her previous lives.

But as she learns more about her past, Luce begins to wonder if Daniel has told her the whole truth. She knows he's hiding something from her. What if the past he told her they shared wasn't true--what if she's really destined to love someone else?

13 to Life by Shannon Delany has arrived!

Jessie Gillmansen's entire life was torn apart when her mother died. Now all she wants is for her life to stay exactly as it is. When she gives the new guy, Pietr Rusakova, around her high school, she has no idea how much change he's brought to her hometown. Pietr has a very dangerous secret, and he's brought a whole lot of trouble to town with him.

From Iron-Age Ireland, we have Shapeshifter by Holly Bennett!

A shapeshifter, Sive is now trapped in the form of a deer, running for her life as a sorcerer chases her across Ireland. Throw in the child left on the side of a mountain, and you have Shapeshifter!

Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

Instead of following the original Faust and his deal with the devil for wealth, power, and the like**; this take on the Faust legend five children vanish from around Europe, only to show up after years at a party in New York. They are, of course, accompanied by their beautiful governess, Madame Vileroy. When they begin attending the Marlowe School in Manhattan, they are instantly popular and successful. Of course, their governess's "gifts" help. But as the fun of their situation begins to wear off, the five realize their obsessions are taking control. Something must be done to escape the dark path they're on, before there's no going back.

*The irony of having two books from two different series named Fallen has not escaped me.

**As always with retellings, I urge you to read through the original story of Dr. Faust FIRST.

Monday, October 18, 2010

You Picked Them: The Teens' Top Ten of 2010!

Happy Teen Read Week!

October 17--23, 2010

Teen Read Week is again upon us, and if you're like me, that can only mean one thing...that the YALSA has announced your picks for the Teens' Top Ten list!

Without further ado, here is the 2010 Teen's Top Ten:

1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

2. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

3. Heist Society by Ally Carter

4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

5. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

6. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

7. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

9. Fire by Kristin Cashore

10. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

What's the best thing about this list? All female authors! There's your proof: girls rock.

Congrats to all the authors!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Website, New Blog, New BOOKS!

Guess what?

The library is getting a new, beautiful website! As I write this Tech People are working hard to make the new site awesome.

Part of this new website will involve picking this blog up and dropping it in a new spot. Now the teen blog will live on the website, and I will have to learn to use a whole different blogging platform. That will be funny for you to watch, even if you aren't in the same room with me.

I'll give you all the new info when the site goes live. Which should be Monday...maybe.

Meanwhile, I have new books for you to read!

Pendragon, Book Ten: The Soldiers of Halla by D.J. MacHale

This is the grand finale, at least of this series. Bobby Pendragon and the other Travelers, as they join forces to take Saint Dane down. This is your chance to find out the answers to all the questions you've had through the first nine books, and Bobby's only chance to finally save Halla and, well, everywhere else. No pressure.

Fans of Alyson Noel's Immortals books can pick up Shadowland, book three of the series.

Ever and Damen have a huge problem: Damen has been cursed, and a single touch from Ever will kill him. Death would mean an eternity in the Shadowland, an abyss for lost souls. Clearly, neither of them want that to happen, so Ever searches for a cure with Magick. Then she meets Jude, a surfer with magical talents. Jude seems familiar to Ever, and she finds herself drawn to him even as she searches for Damen's cure. As, Damen pulls away from Ever in hope of protecting her from the darkness in his soul, Jude and Ever grow closer, and Ever's love for Damen is put to the test.

Deadly Little Lies, the follow-up to Deadly Little Secrets by Laurie Faria Stolarz has arrived!

This is where we run into a problem. Because I haven't read the first book yet, too many other people wanted it. I waited. But since I haven't read the first book, I can't tell you anything about the second book for fear of giving away part of the plot of Deadly Little Lies. Here's what you NEED to know: Camelia loves Ben, Ben has a gift (and a curse)--he can see a person's future when he touches them (this is called psychometry),and MAYBE Ben loves Camelia. Probably he loves her. Then Something Else happens, and then it's summer, and AFTER summer is when the book begins.

Flygirl by Sherrie L. Smith, which looks REALLY GOOD.

Ida Mae Jones went flying with her pilot father as often as she could, but his death puts the sky out of reach for her. Ida is black and female--both traits will keep her feet firmly on the ground. World War II could change all that. The Army has formed the WASP--Women Airforce Service Pilots--and Ida can join. But only if she uses her light skin to pass as a white girl. Ida has always longed to fly, but she quickly finds out that denying her family and her history is a lot harder than it sounds. Ida must find a way to fulfil her dreams without losing herself in the process.

(This one is going on my reading list.)

Look for updates on the new website in the next few days!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We have a winner!

Congrats to Valerie, winner of our Mockingjay Giveaway!

Thanks to everyone who entered--and watch for more giveaways in the coming months.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Win a Copy of Mockingjay!

Have you finished it yet?

I had my own, personal copy of Mockingjay preordered from the moment The Internet would let me do it, back before it had a cover or even a name! When it finally arrived, I carried it around with me for three days without even opening it, because I felt it was "too precious to read."

I'm always a bit worried about the end of a series--any series. It's far too easy for authors to try to cram in more information than is necessary or leave out so much that we're all frustrated that we don't know how, for example, Harry and his friends managed to get from the battlefield to, well, the rest of their lives. Sadly, each reader thinks that a different amount of information is vital. Some would be satisfied with the knowledge that life would go on, while others would want to know the birth dates of the protagonist's children, their occupation, their yearly gross income, the make and model of their car, and so forth.

I am somewhere in the middle. If an author wraps up two hundred pages of conflict with a paragraph designed to convince me that everything will be just fine after all, I will not believe them. Instead, I will roll my eyes, sigh, and pick up the next book from my reading pile. I have a pile of books I must read. It's very tall. I have much less patience for the last book in a series. If an author screws up that last book, the final volume in a series...I hate the whole series. Ask me how many times I've read through the Harry Potter books (I lost count at 20). Now ask me how many times I've read them since the last book came out (not once). Why? Because, in my opinion, J.K. Rowling blew the ending (naturally, you may disagree with me, I expect it). This is coming from the girl who had her ENTIRE BEDROOM decorated in Harry Potter paraphernalia. I made my own wand. Really. I didn't just love those books. I LIVED those books. But now they sit undisturbed on my bookshelf, flanked by my Harry Potter bookends*.

I tell you all this in order to make it clear to you how high my standards are for series fiction, so you won't take it lightly when I tell you:

It was beautiful--wonderful! I can't express in words how fantastic it was! I could tell you why, but it would mean Spoilers, and we are a Spoiler-Free zone here on the blog.

Instead, I will tell you the following:

1. Collins wrote in just enough information for me to be content with Katniss' story. I didn't put the book down thinking that she'd left me with too little information or certain that life wouldn't have worked out so seamlessly for everyone after all they'd been through in the first two books.

2. I cried. A lot.

3. I wanted to strangle several main characters (because they weren't doing what I thought they should). I wanted to murder others (because they were so evil). Still more characters just needed a hug, after all they'd been through (including some of the ones I wanted to strangle).

4. At one point near the end, I may have screamed.

5. The scream may have taken place in the middle of the library.

6. I have caught myself singing several of the songs from the book, despite the fact that I don't know what the actual melodies should be. I made up my own.

7. I take comfort in the knowledge that I'm not the only person who has done this**.

Oh, and one other thing. I loved Mockingjay so much, I feel the urgent need to give a copy away.

That's right! I have a brand new, shiny, hardcover copy of Mockingjay to give to one of you. In order to get your chance to win it, you have to do one simple thing...

Well, one thing other than walk into the library. We'll assume you are already here.

Go to the circulation desk upstairs, get an entry form. Then you will answer my little trivia question, because I like to check and see that you're paying attention. Then you must fill out the rest of said entry form COMPLETELY before handing it to the person behind the desk. They will then put it in the Legendary Re-purposed Coffee Can, and you will be entered.

The not-so-fine print? Here it is:

You, personally, may only fill out and turn in one entry form. One. Not twelve. One. So when I open the top, I shouldn't see five entries from you. I should see one with your name on it. Just the one. That's 1. One. Uno. Unless you jump through some hoops for me. I'll explain in a moment. If you jump through the aforementioned hoops, I will see your name more than once, but it will be in MY handwriting.

Your entry must be filled out all the way. Completely. If you don't have a phone number, make sure we have an alternate means of contacting you to tell you that you've won. It's important. If I can't reach the winner, I'll get all whiny and depressed.

You must be in grades 7-12 to participate. If you aren't, you're out of luck. Sorry.

All that being said, there is something you can do to increase your odds that I will permit. Several somethings. In fact, I encourage you to do these somethings:

If you leave a comment on THIS post right HERE and say, "Gee, Laura, I really want that book!" I will write your name and e-mail down on an entry form and pop it into the can. Just be sure to enter your E-MAIL while filling out the comment form! Otherwise I will be unable to notify you that you've won.

If you visit Twitter and say something like "@wabashteens, I must have Mockingjay!" use the hashtag #MockingjayGiveaway, and I will write your name down on an entry form and pop it in the can too. If you win, I will @ reply to you via Twitter telling you how you can pick up your book. Be prepared for this to happen. Watch for a reply on Twitter.

If you visit our page on Facebook and leave a comment on the "Mockingjay Giveaway!" announcement, I will write your name down on an entry form and pop it in the can AGAIN.

So really, you actually have FOUR chances to win.

I will draw a winner on OCTOBER 11 at 5:00 P.M.. Be sure you've entered before that time!

I'll notify you the following day and tell you what you need to do to pick up your prize (which is to say, you'll need to walk in, tell the librarian your name, and the librarian will hand you the book. Easy, right?).

If you have not yet read any of the previous books of The Hunger Games trilogy, I strongly urge you to go read them now. There is a reason I loved them so much that I have not one, but two Hunger Games t-shirts.

For those of you who've already finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy, might I make a few suggestions? First, read Suzanne Collins' other books--like the Gregory the Overlander series. Then try The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, Maze Runner by James Dashner, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, or How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff if you're looking for more books set in dystopian societies, or read Graceling by Kristin Cashore or any of Tamora Pierce's books if you're looking for a strong female protagonist. That list could go on forever. If you've read all those and still want more ideas, you can ask me on Twitter (@wabashteens), ask me here, or even ask me on Facebook on the Wabash Carnegie Public Library page. And you can certainly feel free to come visit me in person!

*Until December, when I read through all seven books in seven days. Watch for updates...

**Really. Look it up on YouTube if you don't believe me.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

SPEAK Loudly (and Banned Book Week)

On September 18, 2010 an opinion piece was printed in the Springfield, Missouri News-Leader. The post was by a man named Wesley Scroggins (a Dickensian name if I've ever heard one).

In it, Scroggins, an associate professor of marketing at Missouri State University*, criticises several books: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. He labels them "filthy" and advises the Republic school district get rid of them (never mind the fact that he homeschools his kids, so this has no effect on him**).

I could recount the entire sordid business for you, but instead I am going to send you on a little scavenger hunt, here to read what Scroggins wrote and to read Laurie Halse Anderson's response on her blog, "This Guy Thinks SPEAK Is Pornography" and Sarah Ockler's reaction, "On Book Banning, Zealots, and Ostriches". I'd give you a link for Kurt Vonnegut too, but he passed away in 2007. He can't speak up about this anymore, so the rest of us will for him.

The book world sprang to action. Indiana English teacher Paul Hankins started a Twitter feed #SpeakLoudly to protest Scroggins' desire to ban Speak, Twenty Boy Summer, and Slaughterhouse Five. Sarah Ockler held a contest challenging people to Speak Loudly in their community and online and tell her what they did in support of the Speak Loudly campaign for a chance to win a "Wesley Scroggins Filthy Books Prize Pack!" I love her sense of humor. Speak Loudly has since evolved into a larger movement. Hankins now has a Speak Loudly website dedicated to fighting book banning. Among other things, has compiled as many anti-Speak-banning blog entries as possible and their collection is still growing. He's done an amazing job on this. Paul Hankins is now added to my list of Book Heroes.

I should have written this entry up last week, but I confess, I was in shock.

I mean, I get Slaughterhouse Five. Mostly because it's been banned before. Widely. It's about a war and it's pretty violent. But it was taught in three separate college courses I took AND I read it in high school, because that's how good it is. Sure, it's rough. It's a book about war. And poor Billy Pilgrim has a rough go of it. He's sent overseas, he fights in the Battle of the Bulge, he's separated from his unit, and he's taken prisoner by Germans. Who steal his shoes! So he's barefoot--in WINTER! From that point, Billy is moved to a P.O.W. camp in a former slaughterhouse in Dresden. Dresden is then bombed. Extensively. The city is reduced to a smoking crater, comparable to the surface of the moon. This actually happened during WWII, and Vonnegut was there. In fact, he was cut off from his unit and taken to the same POW camp Billy is sent to. Then he witnessed the bombing of Dresden. He called the experience, "utter destruction" and "carnage unfathomable." Vonnegut's novel reflects the brutality he experienced. It's hard to read, but it HAPPENED. Slaughterhouse Five is a classic. Students read it, study it, and walk away with a greater understanding of war. But it still gets banned a lot.

I don't even get the whole Twenty Boy Summer banning. Why? I don't even think Scroggins read the book. But then, I doubt he read any of them. It sounds more like he had someone point out all the scenes that they had problems with, and he just summarized them. But Twenty Boy Summer is about the loss of a loved one, not wild teenage party fun. There are books dedicated only to partying teenagers, but Twenty Boy Summer isn't one of them. Sarah Ockler explains:

I’m not going to spend a lot of time defending my book other than to say what those who’ve read it already know — despite its lighthearted title, TBS is not about parties and sex. It’s about two girls struggling in the aftermath of a major tragedy, with grieving parents and unfamiliar situations and secrets that threaten to kill their friendship. It’s a scary world for them, and my job as a writer is to tell their story honestly, without judgment. And I know I’ve done my job because I hear from teens who’ve experienced devastating loss, and they tell me how much the book meant to them or how they could relate to the characters more than they can relate to their own friends sometimes. One email like that is all I needed to know that I did what I set out to do.

And Speak?

Of all the YA novels I've read in my lifetime, I can think of not one other novel that has had a more positive impact than Speak. Rape isn't an easy thing to talk about. Some victims go years before ever sharing their experience with someone else or getting help. In the novel, Melinda begins her freshman year alone, shunned by her friends because she called the police while at a party over the summer. What her friends don't know is that Melinda made the call because she was raped. She begins the school year a selective mute, unable to admit what happened to her. By the end of the year, Melinda finds the strength to speak out against her attacker and opens up to her art teacher (I love her art teacher).

Speak is one of the most vitally important works of young adult literature out there. It opens a line of dialogue in the home, the classroom, between friends, and I've even heard of it being used therapeutically. Reading many of the blogs Speak fans have posted this week, I have been awestruck at how much good Speak has done. Now more than ever, it is clear that no library should be without it. Melinda didn't just get her own voice back; she gave others back their voices too.

Laurie Halse Anderson wrote a response to Scroggins' opinion piece. It's a must-read.

The fight to keep Speak in Republic Schools is making good progress, thanks to Speak Loudly and the hundreds of blogs individuals have contributed. You can read another News-Leader article, in which Scroggins tries to convince us he didn't call Speak pornography, despite the fact he did, both in his editorial (link up above) and in his original complaint to the school board. But we can't just stop caring about this issue now that things are looking up.

Books are banned all over our country constantly. Textbooks are rewritten to avoid hot topics (Maureen Johnson was just talking about textbook censoring yesterday). Authors are uninvited to speaking engagements (it's happened to Ellen Hopkins twice). Banned Book Week starts today. It's our yearly reminder that we can't just shrug our shoulders when someone tries to take a book away from us. Books are ideas; books are powerful. No one should ever be able to take away the freedom to read.

Have you seen my bookshelf? Good luck taking my books away. They go with me to the grave. Maybe if someone is really nice, I'll give them away in my will instead of insisting that they line my coffin so I can take them with me to the afterlife, ancient-Egypt-style.

To Wesley Scroggins, I give my favorite piece of U.S. war propaganda:

Even though I am a pacifist, I really like this poster.

This week I encourage you to celebrate Banned Book Week by reading Speak, Twenty Boy Summer, Slaughterhouse Five, or another banned book (I recommend Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian). You can find a title here, on the ALA's list of challenged and banned books from 2009-2010. Here is their list of banned classics.

You can also get involved in Speak Loudly by visiting the organizations website and by using the #SpeakLoudly tag on Twitter, writing about how Speak and other banned books have changed your life, and by talking to your teachers, parents, and friends.

I hope to see lots of banned books getting checked out next week!

*What does that job title say to me? It says, "Smart enough to be a college professor means smart enough to KNOW BETTER."

**This is according to every resource I've found, including the Springfield News-Leader and Sarah Ockler's website. If I discover otherwise or can clarify this further, I'll let you know.

Picture courtesy of Creative Commons, was a WWII propaganda poster released by the U.S. Department of War Information.

Note: This is my personal rant. As with all the other blogs I write here, I'm sharing my own opinions, not the library's official stance on any issue. Sorry I have to put this in here, but such is the world we live in.