Normal Public Library Teens

Archive for January, 2010

RIP J.D. Salinger

Posted by Kristi on January 28, 2010

Everyone is reporting that J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye and creator of one of the most famous rebellious teenage characters in literature, died today at the age of 91.  He’d lived in almost total obscurity for almost 50 years, after publishing his last story in the New Yorker in 1965.  Whether you loved Holden Caulfield or not, Salinger’s creation had a huge effect on YA literature.  The Catcher in the Rye plays a huge role in one of my favorite recent YA novels, King Dork by Frank Portman.

If you loved his work, if you hated it, or even if you’ve never heard of this Salinger guy, it’s worth checking out his New York Times obituary.

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New Fantasy

Posted by Kristi on January 21, 2010

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima 

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for himself, his mother, and his sister Mari.  Meanwhile, Raisa ana’Marianna, Princess Heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight.  She aspires to be like Hanalea – the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems like her mother has other plans for her – plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for.

The Seven Realms will tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide.

The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore 

After a broken leg ruins her ballet career, and her father’s death and mother’s remarriage ruins her happiness, Sylvie finds herself uprooted from her Manhattan apartment and shipped to Alabama to live with her father’s cousin.  And that’s where things start to get shady. As it turns out, her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys that she can’t stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, seems to be perfect in every way. But Rhys – a handsome, mysterious foreign guest of her cousin’s – has a hold on her that she doesn’t quite understand.  Then she starts seeing things. Sylvie’s lost nearly everything – is she starting to lose her mind as well?

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst 

When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.  Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back — if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick 

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.  With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.  But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

Blood Ninja by Nick Lake 

In the course of a day, Taro’s entire life changes: His father is murdered before his eyes, and Taro is taken by a mysterious ninja on a perilous journey toward safety. Someone wants Taro dead, but who — and why? With his best friend, Hiro, and their ninja guide Shusaku, Taro gets caught in the crossfire of a bitter conflict between rival lords for control of imperial Japan. As Taro trains to become a ninja himself, he’s less and less sure that he wants to be one. But when his real identity is revealed, it becomes impossible for Taro to turn his back on his fate.

Devoured by Amanda Marrone 

Ever since the car accident nine years ago, life for 16-year-old Megan has never been the same. Her father lies in a coma at the nursing home; her twin sister, Remy, who died in the accident, continues to haunt her; and her mom only seems to care about winning dog competitions with their purebred Fergus. Events become even more complicated when Megan decides to take a job working at the Land of Enchantment in order to keep an eye on her boyfriend, Ryan, and his “best friend,” Samantha. There she meets Luke, who is psychic and, to Megan’s relief, can also see and communicate with Remy. Megan is concerned because Remy’s behavior is becoming violent. The natural attraction between Megan and Luke quickly becomes a problem for Ari Roy, whose family owns the Land of Enchantment. Ari feels that Luke is hers, and she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

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And the Printz Award goes to…

Posted by Kristi on January 18, 2010

The Young Adult Library Association has announced the winners for the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award, given out to the book best exemplifying “literary excellence in young adult literature”. Here they are:

2010 Printz Winner: Going Bovine by Libba Bray

All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.

Personally, I loved Going Bovine, and I’m pretty glad to see it win the big award, but it’s definitely a vastly different book from Bray’s previous books, the Great and Terrible Beauty series.  It’s alternately heartwarming, headscratching, and hilarious – but mostly hilarious.  I had no idea that Libba Bray was so stinkin’ funny.  If you doubt me, check out the bizarre “book trailer” she made for Going Bovine here.

2010 Printz Honor Winners:

Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman

Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, his revolutionary tract on evolution and the fundamental ideas involved, in 1859. Nearly 150 years later, the theory of evolution continues to create tension between the scientific and religious communities. Challenges about teaching the theory of evolution in schools occur annually all over the country. This same debate raged within Darwin himself, and played an important part in his marriage: his wife, Emma, was quite religious, and her faith gave Charles a lot to think about as he worked on a theory that continues to spark intense debates.  Deborah Heiligman’s new biography of Charles Darwin is a thought-provoking account of the man behind evolutionary theory: how his personal life affected his work and vice versa. The end result is an engaging exploration of history, science, and religion for young readers.

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

These are the secrets I have kept.  This is the trust I never betrayed.  But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets.  The one who saved me…and the one who cursed me.

So begins the journal of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore War throp, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.

Punkzilla by Adam Rapp

For a runaway boy who goes by the name “Punkzilla,” kicking a meth habit and a life of petty crime in Portland, Oregon, is a prelude to a mission: reconnecting with his older brother, a gay man dying of cancer in Memphis. Against a backdrop of seedy motels, dicey bus stations, and hitched rides, the desperate fourteen-year-old meets a colorful, sometimes dangerous cast of characters. And in letters to his sibling, he catalogs them all — from an abusive stranger and a ghostly girl to a kind transsexual and an old woman with an oozing eye. The language is raw and revealing, crackling with visceral details and dark humor, yet with each interstate exit Punkzilla’s journey grows more urgent: will he make it to Tennessee in time?

Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

Wednesday, September 5, 1973: The first day of Karl Shoemaker’s senior year in stifling Lightsburg, Ohio. For years, Karl’s been part of what he calls “the Madman Underground”—a group of kids forced (for no apparent reason) to attend group therapy during school hours. Karl has decided that senior year is going to be different. He is going to get out of the Madman Underground for good. He is going to act—and be—Normal. But Normal, of course, is relative. Karl has five after-school jobs, one dead father, one seriously unhinged drunk mother . . . and a huge attitude. Welcome to a gritty, uncensored rollercoaster ride, narrated by the singular Karl Shoemaker.

Sooo…what do you guys think?  Do you agree with the selection committee’s choices?  Is there a book from the past year that you think should’ve gotten the award?  Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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Upcoming Library Events

Posted by Kristi on January 10, 2010

Lots of great teen events happening at the library this week, so if you’re bored and in need of something to do, you should consider stopping by. Here’s what we’ve got coming:

Monday, Jan. 11 – Teen Writers’ Workshop

Our monthly writing group meets tomorrow from 4 – 5 pm here in the library board room.  If you like to create comics, stories, novels, poems, fan fiction, or are into any sort of creative writing endeavor, please come on out!  We’ll practice our skills with some writing warm-ups and challenges, share what we’re working on with each other, and make plans for a teen library zine to publish our work.  (Plus, there’s food).

Wednesday, Jan. 13 – Teen Game Day

Come on out to the library community room from 4 – 6 pm this Wednesday, where we’ll be getting out the Wii and PS2 for some fun with Rock Band and Dance Dance Revolution.  And if video gaming’s not your style, we’ve also got lots of fun board games like Apples to Apples, Balderdash, Scattergories, etc.  (And did I mention that there will be food?)

Thursday, Jan. 14 – Teen Advisory Council

The Normal Public Library Teen Advisory Council is a group that meets every second and fourth Thursday of the month from 4 – 5:30 pm for games, books, crafts, and discussion of teen library services.  If you want a say in all things teen at NPL, this is the place to be.  This Thursday, we’ll be discussing the book Watership Down by Richard Adams.  We’ll also be planning the schedule for our next several meetings, so don’t miss out!  (And yes, there will be food.)

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Back in business

Posted by Kristi on January 4, 2010

Sorry for the long stretch between posts, guys. Things got pretty busy for me during the holidays, but hopefully now I can get back on track with frequent updates. Hopefully everyone had a great break and is geared up and ready for 2010! We’ve got a lot of fun things planned for teens this year at the Normal Public Library, so keep an eye on this space for updates.

Also, don’t forget to come out to the library tomorrow afternoon for Manga Anime Club at 4:30. We’re showing another episode of Boys Over Flowers, as well as discussing the club’s plans for 2010, so everyone who wants a say in what we do this year should definitely be there. Hope to see you all there!

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