Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tommysaurus Rex

Just got in some new graphic novels and started reading this one right away: Tommysaurus Rex by Doug TenNapel. This is the story of Ely, a boy who's dog gets killed by a car. To make up for it , his folks let him live on the farm with his grandpa for the summer. While there he finds a Tyrannosaurus Rex hidden in a cave. The dinosaur becomes his new pet. He's particualarly handy at defending Ely against the neighborhood bully!

Black and white illustrations tell this fun story. It's definitely worth a read!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Nobody Particular

Well, lately I've ordered quite a few non-fiction graphic novels. The one I read most recently is Nobody Particular: One Woman's Fight to Save the Bays by Molly Bang. Although this looks like a children's picture book in a lot of ways, it's a very serious topic. When Texas shrimper Diane Wilson discovers she lives in on of the most polluted counties in the U.S., she goes on a crusade against one of the largest chemical companies in the world. Her goal is to save the Texas bays she, her father and grandfather had shrimped and fished on their whole lives.

Another recent addition to the collection is Fallout: J. Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and the Political Science of the Atomic Bomb by Jim Ottaviani. In a unique way, the writer tells the story of the Manhattan Project, the group of scientists who created the atomic bomb later used to end World War II through its decimation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

Both books cover serious topics and are definitely worth taking a look at!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Heavy Metal & You by Christopher Krovatin

Just finished a great book called Heavy Metal and You by Christopher Krovatin. The first thing that caught my eye on this book is the cover because it's black with a red flaming heart. But really it's the story of Sam, a music obsessed teen with a tendency toward partying who falls for a sweet girl who's straightedge. Their differences don't show up until they are with their groups of friends. She is really disgusted by the crude, gross behavior of his friends while he thinks her group is fake.

If you're into music at all, you will enjoy hearing the references to the different bands that Sam is putting onto his CD player throughout the book. He makes a mix CD for his new girlfriend and that is also an adventure in music. The author of this book is 20 and he really captures the way kids talk and act. This book is definitely worth reading plus it's only 186 pages so it's a pretty fast read!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Usagi Yojimbo: Fathers and Sons

Last month I heard about this graphic novel series Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai. It was funny because the description reminded me of a Japanese film & TV series called Zatoichi, the Blind Swordsman that someone recently told me about. As it turns out there is a character in Sakai's books named Zato-Ino who is a blind swordspig. Oh, I forgot to say that all the characters are animals so although there is a fighting, it doesn't seem too bad.

The other new graphic novels I ordered are Conan the Barbarian. Many people may know the character Conan from the movies with Arnold Schwarenegger but the character was written about in pulp magazines of the 1930s first by an obscure American Writer named Robert E. Howard. So the graphic novels take the stories as a beginning and add to them in full color. So they are fun to read.

Lots of new graphic novels come into the Teen Zone every week!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Zero Girl & Bone Sharps, Cowboys and Thunder Lizards

I'm still reading all sorts of graphic novels. One offbeat title I read recently is Zero Girl (2001) by Sam Kieth. In this strange but captivating story of a girl who doesn't quiet fit in ... when she gets nervous she gives off a powerful liquid that incapacitates her enemies, which in her case, are the girls who tease her. Her only friend at school is the counselor who tries to help her! Although someone else I know didn't like the ending, it's a different kind of graphic novel story and fun to read.

As a kid I wanted to be an archaeologist and I loved dinosaurs so this book was interesting to me: Bone Sharps, Cowboys and Thunder Lizards: A tale of Edward Drinker Cope, Othniel Charles Marsh and the Gilded Age of Paleontology (2005) by Jim Ottaviani. This strange but true story tells about two men competing with each other to unearth dinosaur bones in the western U.S. at the turn of the century. The book is a combination of fact and fiction with a long section at the back of the book detailing what's real and what's not.

Thessaly: witch for hire (2005) by Bill Willingham. From the author of Fables, comes a very different offering about a witch who must kill a lot of monsters. She is aided in her quest by Fetch, a ghost who has made a deal where Thessaly must vanquish a demon that can’t be killed!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Tales of H.P. Lovecraft

Earlier this month I read through a biography of H.P. Lovecraft, a well-known horror writer. Well, after reading about his life I wanted to read one of his stories so I picked up Tales of H.P. Lovecraft Major works selected and introduction by Joyce Carol Oates. I picked up this volume because it contained a story an avid reader made reference to earlier today, "The Rats in the Walls."

This reader also acquainted me with the writing of Robert E. Howard, a little known writer from the 1930s who corresponded with Lovecraft for years and was influenced by him quite a bit. Both wrote some stories that can be described as supernatural horror. So if you like to scare yourself while reading, you may want to give Lovecraft a try.

This story was more suspenseful than gory although the ending was a bit of a surprise. If you're looking for Lovecraft, most of his works are in the Rhode Island collection at our library because Lovecraft lived in Providence for many years.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Kurt Busiek's Astro City

Kurt Busiek's Astro City: Life in the Big City by Kurt Busiek & Brent E. Anderson is the graphic novel I'm currently reading. This superhero story features a new group of do-gooders trying to save the world. The first one we meet is Samaritan. He lives a normal life except that he spends most of his day racing from city to city saving people. No one at work is suspicious because he can automatically do his job without really being there.

It's definitely in the tradition of Marvel and DC Comics but with a whole new cast of characters. If you're into super-heroes, I think you'll like it!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Astonishing X-Men: Gifted

Truthfully, my only interaction with the X-Men characters was through the movies until yesterday. I keep asking a co-worker to suggest graphic novels to read and Astonishing X-Men: Gifted was one from yesterday. One of the reasons he thought I would like it is that it's written by Buffy and Firefly creator Joss Whedon. The artist is John Cassaday. Together they create another story of mutants trying to fit into a society afraid of anyone who is different. It kept my interest and I'm sure I'll read another one soon.

Speaking of Joss Whedon, I'm also reading a non-fiction book called Finding Serenity: Anti-heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly. The book is a series of essays edited by Jane Espenson with Glenn Yaffeth. So far I've read the first few essays and they all comment on the show and what made it so unique. If you're a fan of Firefly or you've seen the new movie Serenity this is a must read!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Y the Last Man: Unmanned

Whenever I get reading suggestions, I usually enjoy what has been recommended. Recently I had a suggestion for the graphic novel collection. The Vertigo series someone told me about is Y the Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn. The idea is that one day all the men in the world are dead. This leaves the planet in chaos with half its population gone. What's going to happen next? Well, there is one man left. His name is Yorick. He and his pet monkey were not harmed by whatever killed all the other men.

But now the question is, can he survive a planet of hostile women? All he really wants is to get to his girlfriend who is traveling in Australia while he's in Washington, DC. This is a 5 volume set. I read through the first one today and I am ready to read book 2.

Monday, October 03, 2005

H.P. Lovecraft: Master of Weird Fiction

As I've mentioned, when new books are ready to be put on the shelves, I take a look at them first. Sometimes I put them on a new book list, sometimes I just skim them and others I read. Last week I was curious enough about his life to read H.P. Lovecraft: Master of Weird Fiction by William Schoell. Lovecraft lived in Providence for a while so people are always talking about him here in RI.

He lived a strange life. His mother was very overprotective of him, especially after his father died at a young age. Although he wanted to study at Brown University, he was unable to further his education after a nervous breakdown. It was something he would always regret.

Very similar in tone to Edgar Allan Poe, Lovecraft crafted bizarre stories which appealed to readers of weird fiction being published at the time. If you need to read about an author sometime, this book will certainly draw you in from the start. Some say he has influenced a lot of today's writers including Stephen King.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

13 Little Blue Envelopes

Just checking email and saw that another member of the RI Teen Book Award committee posted a score for this book 13 Little Blue Envelopes (2005) by Maureen Johnson. This was a recent favorite of mine which I neglected to mention here! This was a good change from some of the other books I've read recently because it was light and fun to read. The only slightly sad part of the story is the main character's favorite aunt has died and she now follows directions left in 13 letters from her dead aunt which lead her on an interesting adventure to England and Europe. So the travel part of it was different for a teen novel and the romance that develops is very sweet.

This weekend I didn't bring home any graphic novels to read. But I do have a few books that I should be getting started on soon. Last night I was in Borders looking over the graphic novels they have. It was interesting to see Maus I shelved with the other Holocaust books rather than with graphic novels. It makes sense but it was coincidental that I had just blogged on and it and I had gotten a comment from someone on my posting which is always great to see. I went to Borders after watching the movie Serenity which was great. Joss Whedon's graphic novel Fray is popular with kids in the library and of course Buffy and Angel continue to be favorites for many but I really loved the TV series Firefly which I viewed on DVD last month in preparation for the movie's release. It sounds so strange but a sci-fi western really works and the cast of characters are very engaging!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Maus I: A Survivor's Tale

For years I've looked over at the book Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman. Just a glance at the cover reveals that this is a book about the Nazis. There is actual another subtitle on the cover "My father bleeds history," which must refer to the author's father who lived this story and told it to his son in installments over a period of time. All this was after Spiegelman's mother died so he was only able to get his father's part of the story.

This is a powerful story because it's written in the voice of a survivor. He describes the horrors of family members going to camps for extermination by the Nazis. Friends trying to hide Jews in the cellars, attics and sheds. He lives through having little food while in hiding but ultimately ends up in the camps which is where the story ends. The rest of the story continues in Maus II.

Monday, September 26, 2005

still reading graphic novels

So, instead of reading the suggested titles for the RI Teen Book Award committee meeting I'm going to on Wednesday afternoon, I spent the weekend reading graphic novels! Both books were suggested by a someone who reads a lot of these so I figured they would be worth my time and they were.

First I read The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot. This one has been on the shelf for a few years. It was first published in 1995 and it remains a good read. In this book we meet a girl who has run away from home and is living on the streets of London. Through a series of flashbacks we find out she was sexually abused by her father and that was why she fled. She loves Beatrix Potter books (The Tale of Peter Rabbit) and eventually makes her way to the Lake Country in England where Potter lived and wrote.

The other title I read was Sojourn: From the Ashes by Ron Marz. It's very much a fantasy tale like Lord of the Rings but with a strong woman empowered with saving the kingdom. Unfortunately the library doesn't own the sequels to this one but it was very good. Amazing illustrations too.

Next up: Meridian,Fray and The Escapist.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Strangers in Paradise

Just finished reading Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore. I picked up Pocket Book 1 at the ALA conference last January, added the book to the graphic novel collection but never read it. Recently I had someone tell me the series is good so I went ahead and took it home with me to read. The story of two friends, Katchoo and Francine, and all the troubles in their lives quickly drew me into the book. The artwork is very good. This one is more traditional, not Japanese style at all.

Now I've ordered a few more titles for the collection and I'm looking forward to reading more. I want to know what happens to these girls and their friends.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Ai Yori Aoshi

After having kids come in nearly everyday asking for a variety of manga titles, I finally took the time to read one the other day. Ai Yori Aoshi by Ko Fumizuki was a request by one of the regular teen patrons who comes into the library. So, while it was sitting on my desk, I read it.

First it took me a while to get the hang of reading right to left. I'm not a big fan of comic books although I do read the comic strips in the newspaper each day. As I got into the book, I liked it. I'm waiting for another suggestion for a title to read, so if you have one, let me know!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Shackleton's Stowaway

I've just started reading Shackleton's Stowaway by Victoria McKernan because it's a title to be considered for the 2007 RI Teen Book Award list. I've been reading a lot of teen fiction lately but this one is really different because it's historical fiction. Using real accounts of Ernest Shackleton's trip to the South Pole, the story is told about a young, inexperienced sailor who ends up stowing away on this fateful trip.

I've read another book geared for kids about Shackleton. It's called Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong which was also really good. I've talked about that book to kids because it's so fascinating to me that although these men were shipwrecked, they all lived.

A few days ago I finished reading Invisible by Pete Hautman, another considered title for RITBA 2007. It was very creepy because during the whole story, it appears that this geeky boy has a best friend who is very popular and the two talk out their bedroom windows at night. The boy is obsessed with building an elaborate model railroad. He doesn't fit in at school and problems occur. It's an interesting story and one that I'm sure most teens will like.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Twilight

Well, I never thought I would read a vampire story but I did! Twilight by Stephenie Meyer was so different from anything else I've read lately. Who knew falling in love with a vampire could be so difficult? Not only does Edward Cullen have to control his blood thirst for Isabella, just his association with her puts another vampire on her trail!

After finishing Twilight, over the weekend, watching Good Will Hunting, again, and some Red Sox, I did find time to begin and get about halfway into Rebel Angels by Libba Bray. There are many more mysteries being uncovered in this sequel to 2003's A Great and Terrible Beauty.

Just had a girl ask me about the next Harry Potter movie. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire will open Friday, November 18th. It will certainly be interesting to see how they handle the Quidditch Cup and the Triwizard Tournament!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Rebel Angels

Well, yesterday I really wanted to start reading the sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray but I held off so I could finish my other book, the previously mentioned Twilight by Stepehenie Meyer. Rebel Angels is longer than the first one but I'm guessing it will be a page-turner as Gemma Doyle and her friends try and figure out where the power of The Order comes from and who will find help them solve this mystery.

Set in the year 1896 at a girls boarding school in England, the sequel appears to pick up exactly where the other left off. The first one had something happen at the end that I couldn't have predicted. Well, actually two things. As I was listening, I had to turn it off for a while so I could figure out where I was going since I was trying to follow directions and I didn't want to miss any of the story!

Of course I switched from Victorian England to present day Oregon where a teen girl has gone to live with her father for the first time in many years. It is there she meets the mysterious Edward Cullen. He captivates her but the question is, does he want to suck her blood because it's clear that Edward is a vampire.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Twilight

Earlier this summer, I received a copy of a soon to be published book called Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. This book will be published in October by Little Brown & Co. My friend at LB, Jennifer, sent me a copy. When I emailed thanking her for it, I mentioned that I would give it to a teen girl I know who likes vampire stories. Jennifer encouraged me to read it myself so luckily I got another copy and I've been reading like a mad woman since Monday!

The setting is the present-day and the only twist is that the girl falls in love with a vampire! I'm about halfway into it now and I can't wait to get back to reading!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Adam Canfield of the Slash

As if I wasn't doing enough reading, I picked up a new book called Adam Canfield of the Slash. It's written by Michael Winerip, who generally writes non-fiction for adults. In fact the adult book group I belong to read one of his books a few years ago.

This story revolves around a boy who is co-editor of his middle school newspaper echoing the author's experience as a reporter for the New York Times! I'm only up to chapter 3 but so far it's a good read!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Great and Terrible Beauty

Today I started listening to A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. This book has been out for a whle but I really wanted to read it so I could read the sequel I picked up at BEA in June! I had it on my desk last week and had started reading it when I decided to switch to the audiobook. For the last few weeks I've been listening to books on CD in my car and it only takes me about a week to get through an average length book.

I started with Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer. I read the first three so I knew all the characters and the background so it was fun hearing it read aloud, especially since some of those names can be tricky to pronounce. It was a lot of fun.

Then I decided to catch up on the 2005 Newbery Award winner Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata. This was a serious and very sad, at times, story of an American family but the mom and dad were born in Japan and moved here as young people. They are trying to build a life for their two daughters and later a son in the 1950s and 60s in the South. It was strange to think Japanese people were treated poorly because of the color of their skin. The parents both work many, many hours a week just so they can get by so it was a lot different from other books I've read.

After that I decided to switch over to a fun, chick lit-type book called The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart. It's about a girl named Ruby who starts having panic attacks and begins going to a psychiatrist to figure out what's going on with her life. She attends a private high school, has a group of friends both guys and girls plus she has a boyfriend. Or she thought she had a boyfriend until Jackson breaks up with her and begins dating her friend Kim! Published in 2005, this book is sure to be popular with girls.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Boy Girl Boy by Ron Koertge

Just started an advance reading copy of Boy Girl Boy by Ron Koertge. The last book I read by the same author was Shakespeare Bats Cleanup which was a novel in verse that I liked. I think it was a potential nominee for the RI Teen Book Award.

This story begins with the friendship among Teresa, Larry and Elliot and what their lives will be like after high school graduation. This novel will be published in September and if it's good I'll nominate it for the 2007 RITBA list.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Confessions of a Closet Catholic

It's always good getting book suggestions from a friend. A few months ago, I heard about this book Confessions of a Closet Catholic by Sarah Littman. Well, I finished reading it yesterday during my lunch break and it was a great book. Trying to be more like her Catholic friend, Justine, decides to give up being Jewish for Lent! Then when her gradnmother gets sick, she thinks it's her fault because she questioned her faith.

Justine confesses to her stuffed bear, gives herself Communion with matzoh and grape juice, attends Mass with her friend's family and finally tries to pass herself off as Catholic at Confession. This was an interesting story to read because if you're not Jewish, you can learn something more about that faith and if you're not Catholic, you may pick up some of the things Justine learned.

Although Justine is only 11, I think teens would relate to how she questions her faith but at the same time, has a crush on her new best friend's brother!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Cutting Edge Readers

After not getting any Cutting Edge Reader book reviews back for a while, I finally got one in today.

The Crying Rocks Janet Taylor Lisle
I think this book is very captivating and very detailed. It is smartly written and it gives me very good images almost as if I am actually there in the room with Joelle. This book was very surprising at the end; then again, most books are; what Joelle found out was that the man she thought was her foster father was actually her real father.

-- Vanessa, 15-year-old entering 11th grade

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Changing the Rules

Just got a "Rate that Book" review for Changing the Rules by Niqui Stanhope. The girl who read this is entering 10th grade and is 15 years old.

She writes: This book I think is really for anyone who's into Romance novels that aren't too cheesy. I think it's for someone who likes drama mixed with the love and action.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Crank and Honey, Baby, Sweetheart

Right now I have a stack of 5 books I want to read on my desk! Every time new ones come in, I want to read them all. When I hear a good recommendation, it also makes me want to read the book. Check these out:

Crank by Ellen Hopkins "It was very interesting and had a very surprising ending. I never knew it come to that although the author really foreshadowed the point it was very tricky and unique." -- 14 year old girl, entering 10th grade in September.

Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti "The book was awesome! I love the 'Gilmore Girls' feel of it. The ending was perfect: "I want to fly," I said." -- 12 year old girl, entering 8th grade in September.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Stained

This evening I finished Stained by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. Published in 2005, this 200 page story shifts back and forth from the main character's childhood and the setting of the novel, New Hampshire in 1975. The narrator has a boyfriend who isn't sure about whether their relationship is a good thing or not. She also has an old friend, her neighbor Gabe who has disappeared and the whole community comes out to look for him.

This book just came in last week so I haven't talked to anyone else who has read it but it was interesting and fast. I think anyone who likes realistic fiction, especially where there is a lot of conflict for the teens in the story, will like this book.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Eragon

Well, I finished reading Eragon by Christopher Paolini, the book chosen for 2005 RI Teen Book Award. Teens around the state loved this 500 page book about an orphaned boy who is destined to be a dragon rider.

When this book was published, the interesting story about it was that it was written by a 16-year-old boy who lives in Montana and was homeschooled by his parents. One friend who read this one felt that it borrowed too much from other fantasy writers. It does remind me of Middle Earth in a lot of ways even though it's been a long time since I've read Tolkien.

It took me a while to read this book so, it wasn't my favorite. Lately I like the realistic fiction books I've read more. Thursday I finished Rewind by Jan Page which was about a teen who starts a rock band without knowing his own parents were in a band like his 17 years ago, something they've never talked about with him. When a speaker falls on his head during a gig, he travels back in time and meets his parents learning a lot about them and their lives before he was born. The book won't be published until September but teens who want to read it now can stop by the Teen Zone and borrow my advance copy.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Art Geeks and Prom Queens

Today I had my first "Cutting Edge Reader" review handed in and I'm really excited. This program offers newly published or soon to be published books to any students in grades 6 through 12. Once a book is read and reviewed, the reviewer receives a brand new book! (They get to choose the title.)

Art Geeks and Prom Queens by Alyson Noel
This book was great! I loved how it was so real and completely believable. The characters are wonderful and it's cool how Alyson Noel really got in tune with them. Some books you have to read things over and over because don't know how to intepret them. But this book was different. A lot of books I read have similar story lines, this book didn't. It was unique and I really liked it!

-- Angelique, soon to be in 7th grade

Monday, June 27, 2005

I am the wallpaper

The heroine of I am the Wallpaper by Mark Peter Hughes is 13-year-old Floey Packer. She is always hoping for something exciting to happen to her but usually winds up embarrassed. First she trips and falls on top of a cute guy she's dancing with at her sister's wedding. Then her cousin puts her diary on a website. Finally she dyes her hair violet in order to get noticed but people keep saying she looks like an eggplant or a blueberry!

This book has a lot of references to Rhode Island in it. The author grew up in Barrington so he talks about different places in the state. Tell me what you think when you have a chance to read it!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Art Geeks and Prom Queens

A few months back I received an advance readers copy of Art Geeks and Prom Queens by Alyson Noel. This will be published in September in paperback but the strange thing was this time I received a manuscript instead of a bound book the way I usually do so it's a bit awkward to read but I'm reading it nonetheless.

This story is about a rich girl who moves from New York City to Southern California. In typical fashion, she finds it difficult to fit in there but she is befriended by a guy named Jas and a girl named Mason in her art class. Unfortunately she develops a major crush on Jas which makes it difficult for her to remain his friend so she is drawn into a tentative friendship with Kristi and her two friends who are into fashion and looking good.

So far the idea of the book is a lot like the movie "Mean Girls" which is strange but it's good so far. If you want to read this one yourself, come see me in the Teen Zone!

Monday, June 20, 2005

what i believe

Just picked up a book that will be published in October, it's called what i believe by Norma Fox Mazer and so far it's good. This is another book told through the first person voice in poems. The speaker is Victory Marnet who is adjusting to her whole life shifting when her father cannot get a job after being downsized. After almost two year without a job, the family is forced to sell their home and many of their belongings just to make ends meet. Victory is now forced to change schools and live in the city.

But her way of coping is through the poems she writes about her life. So far, so good. This book will be available for a student reviewer to read and write about this summer. Talk to me if this book sounds interesting to you!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Deliver Us From Normal

Today I'm reading a new book Deliver Us From Normal by Kate Klise. I've read another book she co-authored called Regarding the Fountain which was a book done entirely in letters, memos and announcements about a school which has trouble getting its water bubbler fixed. It was very clever and funny.

So far I am finding very few things funny in this book. It's so sad that this character named Charlie Harrisong is so worried about being normal and when his sister runs for 7th grade class president his world falls apart. He discovers her posters defaced in the hallway and the next day he and his family, including three younger siblings, are on the run. They drive from Illinois to Alabama to purchase a run-down houseboat which his parents plan to live on! Yikes! It's one disaster after another. I don't know how this will end but so far, it's not good!

Monday, June 13, 2005

The World of Eldaterra

Well, over the weekend I read a book that will be published at the end of July. It's The World of Eldaterra: The Dragon Conspiracy published by HarperCollins. This is another book I received through their FirstLook Teen program. Anyone can sign up for it, it's a lot of fun to get a book months before it's even in bookstores.

But, back to the book, it's fantasy which starts out in our world but in the year 1895 and it switches to 1910, and so on (which made it a little confusing!) But the story revolves around a gateway into another world and the dragons that are trying to take over the world, with help from the Germans.

I'll be interested in hearing from other readers of this book. This book will be part of the Cutting Edge Readers Club here at the library this summer so you may be the next one to read it!

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

No More Dead Dogs

On Friday I heard about a funny book called No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman. It's about a kid who is forced to read yet another book where the dog dies. Understandably he doesn't like it but his teacher won't let it go and instead of letting him off the hook, the boy must be part of a school play based on this sad story!

I have the book on my desk at work and I started reading it last night. I'm trying to think of more funny books to suggest to readers at my library. If you have any ideas, let me know!

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Well, I decided to re-read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares and so far it looks like the movie version was true to the book. Almost every girl who enters the Teen Zone will hear me say "Have you read ..." and now I'll be able to ask, "Did you see ..."

Of course at my house, my sons aren't familiar with a novel that features four female friends but they humor me anyway!

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Friday, May 27, 2005

A Boy No More

Almost every day at work I ask kids about what they're reading. Often I read those books myself. About a month ago my 13-year-old son brought home a book called A Boy At War by Harry Mazer. It's about a boy who witnesses the attack on Pearl Harbo that kills his navy dad.

I read that one and when I went to look up the book I saw that there was a sequel published in 2004 called A Boy No More that follows Adam's new life in Bakersfield, California with his mom and younger sister. More importantly Adam meets up with his Hawaiian friend Davi Mori who is now living with his family at Manzanar, the interment camp set up for Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

After reading A Boy No More, I realized that this part of U.S. history was not familiar to me so I was glad to read author Harry Mazer's historical resource notes at the back of the book. If you like historical fiction, you'll like this one!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Things Change

Just got in about 8 new books and they all look so good I don't know which one to read first. I handed Lauren Myracle's new book Rhymes with Bitches to a girl a few minutes ago. Just reading the publisher's description it makes me want to read it:
"From the author of the break-out hit ttyl, a dark and utterly readable take on the hierarchy of high school girls. There are Gossip Girls and Mean Girls but no one has come as close to the dark heart of high-school girl politics as Lauren Myracle does in this shivery smart, wonderfully strange story of a high school where popularity can be stolen. "

The other book I've got in front of me is written by a Young Adult librarian. Things Change by Patrick Jones is about a girl's first relationship with a guy who is really hard to please. If he's unhappy then Johanna becomes his target and his aim is pretty good. I'm looking forward to reading this one next!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Eragon

Teens around the state voted for Eragon by Christopher Paolini as their favorite book last year. Voting for the Rhode Island Teen Book Award was held in January 2005 and from a list of about 20 books, this is the book that won. I never got to read this one when it was being considered for the list but I recently saw it on sale for 50% off at Barrington Books because the paperback was about to come out so I decided to buy it.

I haven't read very much of it so far but the main character, Eragon, found an egg which turned out to have a dragon in it! The egg hatches and now Eragon is faced with the prospect of taking care of his "pet" dragon!

The book is getting good so I better get back to reading!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Well, I just got back from watching a preview of the movie Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and it was great! Of course it had been a few years since I read the book but I felt the movie followed the book fairly well. Watching the movie with two other librarians, we felt like we needed to identify ourselves as librarians so people didn't wonder why we were there without any teens!

The movie seamlessly follows the ups and downs of the four main characters. One of the best storylines follows Lena as she spends the summer in Greece and falls in love with a handsome Greek college student/fisherman whose family, unfortunately, has a conflict with hers so she has to date him in secret. The country of Greece looks beautiful and made me want to go there.

My other favorite story followed the blond, beautiful Bridget in Baja, California at a soccer camp where she pursues a handsome coach.

The story is a lot of fun and it was really great to get in on a movie a week early. Read the books and then see the movie.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Car Trouble by Jeanne DuPrau

Last week I got two preview books in the mail. The one I really enjoyed was Car Trouble by Jeanne DuPrau. This was a funny book about Duff, a recent high school graduate who wants to be on his own so much that he sets off alone to drive most of the way across the country to start a new job in California. But his used car doesn't last beyond the first day. Duff has a choice: should he call his parents (and listen to them say, "I told you so") or try to figure out how to make his way on his own.

Well, as you can guess, Duff makes his own way in the world and meets a few people along the way including a hitchhiking surfer and the daughter of a scam artist! You may recognize the author's name because she wrote the popular City of Ember and its follow-up The People of Sparks. I haven't read those two but I know they are more science fiction and her new book is definitely humorous realistic fiction! So, if you like the sound of that, keep an eye out for Car Trouble when it's released later this year.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

City of Light, City of Dark: a comic book novel

Recently I had a pile of new books on my desk. One of those books was actually published in 1993, though. The book is City of Light, City of Dark: a comic book novel by Avi with illustrations by Brian Floca (who has illustrated other Avi books.)

The story is a fast read but fascinating because it's a fictional story about how a city gets it light ... from a mysterious source that must be replenished each year. One man tries to gain the power from these beings but in his attempt, he becomes blinded and becomes obsessed with finding the source.

It's definitely a page-turner. If you don't believe me, take a look for yourself!

Monday, April 25, 2005

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Since the Lemony Snicket books are read by kids of all ages, I've read most of them myself and I was interested in seeing the movie. It comes out on DVD tomorrow and I think fans of the series won't be disappointed! I watched it with my 13-year-old son who has read all of the books in thes series and we both felt that the movie followed along with the books.

The movie uses the first three books and a few things happened out of order but, for the most part, it was good. Jim Carrey is excellent and the whole feel of the movie is very much like the books.

Let me know what you think!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Monsoon Summer

Maybe it's not fair to write about a book I haven't read yet but I heard an author speak on Friday at a library conference and she was so good, I want to recommend her book to all of you. Her name is Mitali Perkins and she has written two books Monsoon Summer and The Sunita Experiment. Both books are about young people adapting to life caught between two cultures.

Mitali Perkins spoke about what it's like growing up in the U.S. with parents born in India. Her website is excellent and it also touches on this topic as well.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson

Earlier this weekI got my hands on Prom, the new book by Laurie Halse Anderson (author of Speak and Catalyst) and I just finished reading it today.

It was a book that I read quickly because it was a good story and I wanted to see how it would turn out. The main character in "Prom," is a self-described 'normal' kid who is a high school senior just barely getting by until graduation. Ashley doesn't plan on college instead she thinks about moving in with her boyfriend (until she sees the apartment he found for them!)

But her best friend Natalia is one of the prom organizers and can't talk about anything else which makes Ash crazy. Then a few weeks before the prom, it's discovered that their teacher/advisor has stolen all the money they had saved for the event and the prom may be canceled!

So, rather than see her best friend disappointed, Ash works with her to pull off a senior prom no one will soon forget. The book has some very funny moments especially when Ashley's very pregnant, bus-driver mom tries to get things her way by pretending to be in labor! Can't wait to see what you think about it ... let me know!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Pity Party by Alison Pollet

Just this evening I started reading an advance reader's edition of The Pity Party: 8th grade in the life of me, Cass by Alison Pollet. This is the second book by this author but the first one I 've read and so far it's a fast read (it's only 148 pages long) and funny in parts. The main character Cass is an orphan. Both of her parents were killed in a car accident so she lives with a guardian who is a very nice woman named Bea.

Cass has two close friends named Penelope and Tillie but this year the three aren't in any classes together. Actually Cass is in quite a few classes surrounded by students she doesn't know very well. But she starts working on a movie for an English class project and begins to make friends with an odd troublemaker boy named Rod Punkin.

That's all I've read so far. If you're interested in the book, ask me about it next time you're in the teen zone!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Shrimp

Last fall I was at a librarian's conference and someone mentioned the book Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn. This woman said it was the best book and everyone there should read it. Well, even though I was already reading for the RI Teen Book Award committee, I went ahead and read about a very funny book about a girl named Cyd Charisse who returns home after being kicked out of a boarding school and meets a surfer guy named Shrimp landing her in new and different kinds of trouble with her parents so they ship her off again for the summer.

And just last week I got my hands on the sequel to Gingerbread and it's called Shrimp! After Cyd Charisse spends the summer in New York City getting to know her biological dad, she returns to San Francisco trying not to frustrate her mom, making new friends and attempting to reunite with Shrimp.

So, read Gingerbread and when you're done, I'll pass Shrimp over to you, when I'm finished!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Things Left Unsaid

Today I just started reading a book called Things Left Unsaid by Stephanie Hemphill. I picked it up because it was new and then I kept it aside because it's written in the form of a series of poems and this Thursday there will be a poetry writing workshop.

Anyway, I started reading the book during lunch and it went by really fast. In an hour I was halfway through it. The main character in the story is a girl named Sarah who suddenly stops being the good girl, studying and doing well in school deciding to make friends with an outcast girl named Robin who brings her to parties where she stays past curfew.

There are lots of other good, new books in the Teen Zone.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Girls in Pants

Girls in Pants: the third summer of the sisterhood by Ann Brashares (2005) is the book I just finished reading this weekend. It's the follow-up to Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and The Second Summer of the Sisterhood. Since I had already read the first two books, I was looking forward to reading this one, especially when I found out there will be a movie coming out this summer!

Well, even if you haven't read the first two books, you can enjoy this one because the author gives a good introduction with background on each of the four characters in the opening pages of the book. The book's main characters are four friends whose mothers met while at a prenatal aerobics class. In this book Carmen spends her summer caring for Lena's Greek grandmother who is living, unhappily, in the U.S. after the death of her husband. Bee, returns to her favorite sport, soccer, this time as a coach at a summer camp. Lena wants to attend RISD but her practical father forbids it forcing her to pursue a scholarship instead. And Tibby, the narrator, is dealing with the affection of a boy she formerly thought of as just a friend.

Of course, the bond the girls share is helped along by a pair of jeans which fits each girl and while wearing them each has an extraordinary experience. Tibby helps Carmen's mom deliver her baby while wearing them. Lena's confidence as an artist increases while she wears the pants. Bee is reunited with her first crush wearing the pants. Carmen meets a great guy while wearing them.

Anyone who likes stories of real friendships should read this book!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

homework center

If it's Tuesday, I must be in the Homework Center! Every Tuesday (except during school vacation weeks) since November 9th, we've opened the wireless classroom in the basement of the library to students in grades 5 through 9 to use the space for homework. It's a great chance to get some work done with the help of either Robin, the teen librarian, or Eugene from the Children's Room.

We spend a lot of time showing off our research databases and helping students find information they need. It's a lot of fun being down here because it makes it easier to help people than when we're upstairs and often get interrupted.

Come down and check it out sometime!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Soul Surfer

One of the RI Teen Book Award nominees for 2006 is Soul Surfer: a true story of faith, family, and fighting to get back on the board by Bethany Hamilton. This is the girl who lost her left arm to a shark while paddling out to surf near her home in Hawaii. The idea that a 13-year-old girl would be able to not pass out and make it back to shore, with the help of her friends, amazes me.

Bethany attributes her remarkable recovery to her faith in God and the strong Christian church she belongs to gets her through the ordeal.

Monday, January 31, 2005

More movie nights in February

Well, there was a good crowd last Thursday when the comedy "The Cookout" was the teen movie night feature. Starring Queen Latifah, Eve, Ja Rule and others, this film had a lot of laughs.

Next up for Teen Movie Night is Bernie Mac in "Mr. 3000" on Thursday, February 10th. Also, on February 22nd we'll show "Taxi" starring Jimmy Fallon & Queen Latifah.

Remember, the homework center is open in the wireless classroom on Tuesdays from 4 to 6 pm for students in grades 5 through 9. A librarian is always there to help you on the computers with everything from searching to word processing!

see you in the Teen Zone!