Saturday, July 28, 2007

Teen Sumer Reading is great!

Well, as of right now, there are 31 students who have written reviews of a book they have read this summer for school reading or pleasure. And each one has been given the choice of choosing a new book or another small prize. AND each week we've given away a gift card or two to a local store so it's a totally "win-win" situation for everyone!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hero by Perry Moore

So what I've been doing is looking at the advance review copies of books I picked up at Book Expo America and trying to read the ones that are being released soonest. So, even though the book "Hero" by Perry Moore isn't released until September 1st, I read it and finished it yesterday primarily so I could pass it on to a librarian friend.

The premise for "Hero" is that our main character, Thom Creed is a gay high school student who lives with his dad who is a fallen superhero. They are alone since the mom left and hasn't been seen in years. But Thom has powers of his own and is asked to join the League. So he tries out for the squad without his dad knowing.

It takes a long time to find out why the dad was kicked out of the league of heroes and why the mom left. The story runs to about 423 pages which is surprising for a teen novel. But it doesn't take long to realize the author is an avid reader of comics and the story line borrows from fact and fiction.

I won't say anything else about this book but it made me think about people keeping secrets and why they need to keep them.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Wow. This was quite a story. It's an autobiographical novel. The writer, Sherman Alexie, is best known for his collection of short stories entitled The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven which I haven't read but has been on school reading lists for years. The film Smoke Signals, released in 1998, was based on one of those short stories.

So, now he comes out with a young adult novel and it's fantastic. It details one year in the life of Arnold "Junior" Spirit, a Spokane Indian, who wants to improve himself by leaving the reservation to attend an all-white high school.

This book has funny parts and some extremely sad parts too: Arnold experiences more death in a year than many of us deal with in a lifetime.

This book gives me pause and makes me think about yet another group of Americans who have been treated badly: Native Americans. It's so upsetting to think that they are mocked and treated as second class citizens in some parts of the country. This book is definitely one that I will suggest a lot once it's published in September.

The main character draws a lot and this quotation was one that I found enlightening:

"I draw because words are too unpredictable.
" I draw because words are too limited.
If you speak and write in English, or Spanish, or Chinese, or any other language, then only a certain percentage of human beings will get your meaning.
But when you draw a picture, everybody can understand it.
So I draw because I want to talk to the world. And I want the world to pay attention to me.

Makes me want to draw.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac

About a week ago, a teen girl asked me if there were more books by Gabrielle Zevin. Unfortunately I only had the one she had already read but I told her that I got an advance copy of her newest book which comes out in September and that if she asked me next time she was in, I would give that to her to read and she could review it for me.

Well, I started reading it and really got intrigued because it's a well-written teen novel that deals with a lot of issues: infidelity, divorce, remarriage, sex and trust. The story begins with the main character, Naomi, having slipped and fallen on the steps of her school. The result is a slight concussion and amnesia, but not of her whole life but just the past four years.

In other words, she doesn't remember why she liked her boyfriend and that her parents are divorced or why that happened. But she begins to fall for the guy who was the first person to find her when she was unconscious but he has a past that is slowly and painstakingly revealed.

Once again, this a teen novel that adults could read and relate to and I can't wait to hear what the teen readers at my library think of it. Maybe I am just a teen at heart because even though I'm 42, I agonize along with these kids and remember all too clearly what it felt like to fit in or not fit in during high school.