Normal Public Library Teens

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    This is a space for teens and teen librarians to discuss books, library events and activities, and news related to teen services at Normal Public Library.
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    Normal Public Library
    206 W. College Ave.
    Normal, IL 61761
    Teen Services Librarian: Kristi Cates
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Diana Wynne Jones, 1934-2011

Posted by Kristi on March 28, 2011

It feels like half of my blog posts lately are to tell you about wonderful childrens’ and young adult authors who have died.  Of those we’ve lost recently, though, this one by far hits me the hardest, because Diana Wynne Jones is one of my all-time favorites.  Ever since I first read Howl’s Moving Castle as a teenager (and I’m still mad that I didn’t discover her books until then – I would have adored them as a younger kid) I’ve made it my mission to read everything that she puts out.

If you’ve never heard of Diana, she wrote some of the funniest, cleverest fantasy around.  Howl’s Moving Castle – about a young girl cursed into becoming an old woman who then has a run-in with the supposedly terrifying Wizard Howl – is a great place to start.  And afterward you can watch Hayao Miyazaki’s animated movie based on the book, which makes some changes to the book’s plot but is equally funny and charming.  But I warn you: once you start with Howl, you won’t be able to stop until you’ve read every single book.

There are lots of great reminiscences of Diana Wynne Jones floating around the web already.  Author Neil Gaiman has a wonderful one, as does Robin McKinley.  Here’s the Guardian’s obituary for more information on her life and work.


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New Mysteries and Thrillers

Posted by Kristi on March 26, 2011

You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin 

Hard-boiled seventeen year-old Dalton Rev transfers to the mean hallways of Salt River High to take on the toughest case of his life. The question isn’t whether Dalton’s going to get paid. He always gets paid. Or whether he’s gonna get the girl. He always (sometimes) gets the girl. The real question is whether Dalton Rev can outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in time to solve the mystery of “The Body” before it solves him.

Stolen by Lucy Christopher 

Gemma, 16, is on layover at Bangkok Airport, en route with her parents to a vacation in Vietnam. She steps away for just a second, to get a cup of coffee. Ty – rugged, tan, too old, oddly familiar – pays for Gemma’s drink. And drugs it. They talk. Their hands touch. And before Gemma knows what’s happening, Ty takes her. Steals her away. The unknowing object of a long obsession, Gemma has been kidnapped by her stalker and brought to the desolate Australian Outback. This is her gripping story of survival, of how she has to come to terms with her living nightmare – or die trying to fight it.

Rosebush by Michele Jaffe 

Instead of celebrating Memorial Day weekend on the Jersey Shore, Jane is in the hospital surrounded by teddy bears, trying to piece together what happened last night. One minute she was at a party, wearing fairy wings and cuddling with her boyfriend. The next, she was lying near-dead in a rosebush after a hit-and-run. Everyone believes it was an accident, despite the phone threats Jane swears were real. But the truth is a thorny thing. As Jane’s boyfriend, friends, and admirers come to visit, more memories surface – not just from the party, but from deeper in her past – including the night her best friend Bonnie died. With nearly everyone in her life a suspect now, Jane must unravel the mystery before her killer attacks again.

The Truth of the Matter by Andrew Klavan 

Ever since he woke up in a terrorist torture chamber – with a year of his life erased from his mind – Charlie West has been on the run. He has one desperate hope of getting his life back: track down the mysterious agent named Waterman. But in fact, reaching Waterman – and recovering the secrets lost in his own memory – will only increase his danger. Because a team of ruthless killers is rapidly closing in on him, determined to stop him from finding the answers. And the truth of the matter is more incredible…and more deadly…than he could ever imagine.

Death Cloud by Andrew Lane 

It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent.

Trapped by Michael Northrop 

The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That for those in its path, it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but of staying alive…

Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn’t seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision…

The Interrogation of Gabriel James by Charlie Price 

Eyewitness to two killings, fourteen-year-old Gabriel James relates the shocking story behind the murders in a police interrogation interspersed with flashbacks. Step by step, this Montana teenager traces his discovery of a link between a troubled classmate’s disturbing home life and an outbreak of local crime. In the process, however, Gabriel becomes increasingly confused about his own culpability for the explosive events that have unfolded.

The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams 

This story was supposed to be about Evie – how she hasn’t made a friend in years, how she tends to stretch the truth (especially about her so-called relationship with college drop-out Jonah Luks), and how she finally comes into her own once she learns to just be herself. But it isn’t. Because when her classmate Elizabeth “Zabet” McCabe’s murdered body is found in the woods, everything changes…and Evie’s life is never the same again.

Posted in New Mystery | Leave a Comment »

And we have our Katniss for the Hunger Games movie…

Posted by Kristi on March 17, 2011

According to The Wrap, Katniss will be played by up-and-coming actress Jennifer Lawrence, who recently starred in Winter’s Bone and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.  Here she is in the role of Ree Dolly from Winter’s Bone:

She doesn’t look anything like the image of Katniss I had in my head while reading (Katniss is described as having a dark, olive complexion with dark hair and gray eyes), but she did do an excellent job in a gritty role as Ree, so I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. What do you guys think? Does Lawrence work for you, or is there someone else you wanted to see get the role? How about the other characters – who do you see as Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Cinna, Rue, etc.?

Posted in Movies | Leave a Comment »

Puppy vs. Ice Cube

Posted by Kristi on March 10, 2011


Posted in Just for fun, Videos | Leave a Comment »

Make your own magnetic poetry

Posted by Kristi on March 2, 2011


Why bother spending money on a store-bought kit? Come join us at Teen Craft Club for some creative, poetic fun as we construct our very own sets of magnetic poetry – perfect for the fridge, your school locker, and tons of other metallic surfaces.  We’re meeting this coming Monday, February 7 from 4 to 5:30 in the Community Room.  I’ve got lots of magnet tape, plus old magazines that you can cut up to create whatever words or images you desire.  See you there!


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More Sad News

Posted by Kristi on February 23, 2011

I just found out that YA author L.K. Madigan passed away today from pancreatic cancer. Last month she had announced her cancer in a heartfelt post on her blog that blew me away.  She was pretty clear in her post that she knew she didn’t have much time left, but I’m still shocked and upset to find her gone so soon.  I’ve never met Madigan, but I feel like I know her – her voice comes through so strongly in her writing.

Madigan, by the way, wrote the incredible Flash Burnout, which won the American Library Association’s William C. Morris award for a debut author.  It’s about, among other things, a boy named Blake who gets tangled up in his friend Marissa’s life after finding out the woman in a photograph he took for class is her long-lost, meth addicted mom. It was one of my favorite books of last year, so I encourage all of you to run in and check it out.  She also wrote The Mermaid’s Mirror, which just came out this past year.  I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve heard good reviews so I’m eager to get to it.  I’m just incredibly sad that we won’t be hearing more from a great new voice in YA literature.  If you’re curious to know more about Madigan’s books, check out this post from the librarians at Stacked, who post their own review of Flash Burnout as well as links to other reviews of Madigan’s books.  They’re also offering a chance to win a copy of Flash Burnout.

Posted in Authors, Reading suggestions | Leave a Comment »

TAC meeting and pass-around stories!

Posted by Kristi on February 22, 2011

Just a reminder that our regular Teen Advisory Council meeting will be held this Thursday from 4:00 to 5:30 downstairs in the board room. If you’ve never been to a TAC meeting before, you’re more than welcome to stop by and see what it’s all about! This meeting would be an especially good one to check out, since we’ll be doing everyone’s favorite, Pass-Around Stories. For those who don’t have a clue what Pass-Around Stories are, they’re basically stories that are written a sentence or paragraph at a time by each member of the group. We all start with the same sentence picked at random from a nearby book, and then for the next minute we write a story before passing it on to the next person to be continued. Keep reading below for a sample from a previous TAC meeting of how crazy these stories can get after they’ve been around the whole group.

The Goddess Selene, the Sacred Cat, and Cubed Cheese (A TAC Pass-Around Story)

In ancient times it was said that the goddess Selene helped my grandma in my room with a cat that eats chicken and drinks dew. She was giving the cat a bath. The cat was a god of Egypt, both powerful and regal. Needless to say he did not enjoy being treated as a house pet. In a great and terrible voice he said, “Who dares try to bathe the sacred cat of Nefertiti?”

“Holy smokes! You can speak!” said the elderly woman. “You better be quiet and behave, the sooner you shut up, the sooner your bath is over!” she shouted at the cat.

Suddenly, the cat of Nefertiti leapt out of the tub and bolted down the stairs. He quickly turned and shouted something in an unknown language, when mummies burst out from the floorboards.

“Egads! There were bodies in the floorboards!” the woman said, quite surprised.

“That there is,” said a divine voice, “and I will tell you why there is. It all started when a mad scientist named Dr. Rockso Ocupico Manish-Rickito La Vernon von Benjamin decided to experiment with rabbits. He pulled their ears and fed them placebo carrots which they did not like. They turned intelligent, beat Dr. Rockso Ocupico Manis-Rickito La Vernon von Benjamin with the placebo carrot until tender. They then put the meat in a blender and cut until cubed. And that is how you make cubed cheese.”

Cubed cheese is a disgusting substance that only the bravest demons dare to eat. And this is how to END a story!

The End

Beautiful, huh?  So if you’d like to have a share in making literary history, come on out to TAC this Thursday and get ready to write!

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New Manga and Graphic Novels

Posted by Kristi on February 18, 2011

Good Neighbors: Kind by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh

Rue Silver has come a long way since the disappearance of her mother and her discovery of her otherworldly heritage.  Now, the faerie world has been unleashed on Rue’s city. The big question is: Will she stop it and save the world she’s always known? Or will she take her place as the rightful faerie heir?

Unwritten vols. 1 & 2 by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

Tom Taylor’s life was screwed from go. His father created the Tommy Taylor fantasy series, boy-wizard novels with popularity on par with Harry Potter. The problem is Dad modeled the fictional epic so closely to Tom’s real life that fans are constantly comparing him to his counterpart. When an enormous scandal reveals that Tom might really be a boy-wizard made flesh, Tom comes into contact with a mysterious, deadly group that’s secretly kept tabs on him all his life. Now, to discover the truth behind his origins, Tom will travel the world, eventually finding himself at locations all featured on a very special map. And in the process of figuring out what it all means, Tom will find himself having to figure out a huge conspiracy mystery that spans the entirety of the history of fiction.

Alice in the Country of Hearts vol. 2 & 3 by Soumei Hoshina and Quinrose

Alice begins to grow accustomed to the strange world Peter took her to. And everyone wants to get to know Alice better, too. She gets to know the ‘Ones with Duties’ better. She finds out more about the mysteries of the World. One of the biggest mysteries is that the inhabitants have clocks for hearts. When they die, only his or her clock is left. When the clock is repaired by Julius, a new life springs forth from it. This is the reason why the people of the world don’t value their lives. She is told, ‘There’s always a replacement’. But what does this mean for Alice?

Green Lantern: Agent Orange by Geoff Johns

Test pilot Hal Jordan was chosen to become a Green Lantern, one of an intergalactic police force. Armed with his incredible power ring, which creates anything he can imagine, he protects Earth from extraterrestrial threats of every kind. Now the Green Lantern Corps led by Hal battle the bizarre Orange Lantern Corps and their commander, Agent Orange, the most disgusting, filthy and vile being in the universe. Plus, the secrets of the Guardians’ pact with the criminals of the universe that had previously kept the Vega System off limits is finally revealed.

Natsume’s Book of Friends vols. 1-3 by Yiki Midorikawa

Takashi Natsume can see the spirits and demons that hide from the rest of humanity. He has always been set apart from other people because of his gift, drifting from relative to relative, never fitting in. Now a high school student, he’s come to live in the small town where his grandmother grew up. And there he discovers that he has inherited more than just the Sight from the mysterious Reiko.

Daniel X: The Manga by James Patterson

When his parents are murdered by an intergalactic criminal, Daniel X vows to take on his father’s role as Earth’s sole Alien Hunter. Life isn’t easy, though, when you’re a young boy on your own, tracking down the galaxy’s deadliest outlaws. Luckily, Daniel has a gift: the ability to create anything he can imagine – including his parents, his sister, and his best friends, who are there to help him along the way. But when Daniel decides to go up against the sixth-deadliest criminal on his hit list, he may find that even his awesome abilities just aren’t up to the task!

Black Butler vols. 1 & 2 by Yana Toboso

Just a stone’s throw from London lies the manor house of the illustrious Phantomhive earldom, its master one Ciel Phantomhive. Earl Phantomhive is a giant in the world of commerce, Queen Victoria’s faithful servant…and a twelve-year old boy. Fortunately, his loyal butler, Sebastian, is at his side, ready to carry out the young master’s wishes. And whether Sebastian is called to save a dinner party gone awry or probe the dark secrets of London’s underbelly, there is practically nothing Sebastian cannot do. In fact, one might even say Sebastian is too good to be true…or at least, too good to be human.

The Lightning Thief by Robert Venditti and Rick Riordan

Mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking out of the pages of twelve-year-old Percy Jackson’s textbooks and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now, he and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus.

Posted in New Graphic Novels | Leave a Comment »

Manga Anime Club

Posted by Kristi on February 15, 2011


After having our last MAC meeting canceled by the great Blizzaster of ’11, we’re finally getting back together for some great anime tonight from 4:30 to 6:00 in the NPL Community Room.  We’ll be watching more episodes of Emma and Black Cat, as well as downing lots of post-Valentine’s Day candy (plus a few healthier options, too).  See you all there!

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Sad news

Posted by Kristi on February 8, 2011

The BBC is reporting that Redwall author Brian Jacques died over the weekend of a heart attack at the age of 71.  Jacques wrote over two dozen of the Redwall books since its debut in 1986, featuring the adventures of talking animals in a medieval world based around the abbey of Redwall.  I know the series has been incredibly popular here since often I can’t find the books on the shelves because they’ve been checked out.  If you haven’t read the Redwall series for yourself yet, I recommend starting with the first, called Redwall, although many of the books can be read in any order.  The Wikipedia page for the series lists the books both in the order they were published, and in chronological order within the series, so you can choose to read them any way you want.

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