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Book Review: Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

I clench my jaw. He won’t do as I ask because my input is valuable, or even because I am his queen. He’ll only agree to consult me because it will make me feel better?

The general turns to go. “Wait.”

He whirls, and it’s possible I imagine his flitting look of impatience.

God, what do I say to this man? How can I convey that I am the sovereign and he is not? That even though I come from a foreign land, these are my people?

The Godstone leaps in response to my prayer, and an answer floats to me gently on the afternoon breeze.

Sorrow comes easily to my voice when I say, “I lost so may people I loved in the war with Invierne. We all did. But the only reason we survive to mourn is because our army fought bravely and selflessly. And no one fought harder than my own Royal Guard, who held off the invaders at tremendous cost so I could have time to work the Godstone’s magic.” I hope he hears what I’m not saying: Yes, General, we won the day because of me, remember? “I’ll not see them doubted or disrespected. In fact, I’ll defend each on of them with my dying breath if I must, as they defended me. Am I clear?”


In the second of the Fire and Thorn series by Rae Carson (for a review of the first, go here), readers find Elisa now queen of Joya d’Arena, a war hero to be celebrated after defeating the Inverne. Yet the danger is far from over, as Elisa finds sorcerers throughout the kingdom as well as traitors within her mists who feel the kingdom would be better served by a true noble of the realm, and not a jumped up girl. Battling politics as much as invaders, kidnappings and assassination attempts, Elisa decides to follow her birthright and destiny as it holds the key to everything: the power of her Godstone, what the sorcerers of the Inverne want, and even the soul of the world and the magic within. Yet the dangers along the way may be too much for Elisa to bear.

Elisa’s struggles of trying to fit in definitely reflect the struggles of any teen, and Carson doesn’t lose what made Elisa so real in the first place- that she is imperfect, struggling with the fact that she’s not classically beautiful, that she’s always questioning what’s right and wrong, and how to win things without causing irrefutable harm. Elisa continues to grow throughout the book, and it’s wonderful to see her growing into herself and into her powers, as a woman, a Godstone bearer, and a queen.  The supporting cast are fleshed out with their own set of quirks, and add a real backdrop and depth to the story, adding to the world of Joya d’Arena and beyond. Definitely give to readers of Tamera Pierce, Kirsten Cashore, and other lovers of fantasy adventure. 4 out of 5 stars.

Spoiler Space

I am in love with Elisa- she is a real person, with real problems and issues, and deals with them in logical ways. Carson could have magically made her beautiful in the end of the Crown of Fire and Thorns, but she didn’t- Elisa still struggles with her weight and the fact that she’s not the ideal person. The fact that no one will take her seriously in her own court, even though she defeated the sorcerer in the CASTLE is something that would happen because A. she’s foreign, B. she’s 17, and oh yea, C. she’s a GIRL. The fact that Hector and the guard is backing her gives her more muscle that she would have otherwise, and she uses them wisely.

And I adore Hector. He seems to be more than the first crush that she had in the first book, and I can really, secretly hope that in the third one there are rainbows and butterflies and soaring music with kisses.

Especially in light of the culture we live in, I like that Elisa’s first thoughts aren’t for violence.  Now, she has a very devious mind and can get as vicious as she needs to be, which is very much needed at times.  However, it doesn’t seem to be her first way of thinking, which is very nice and needed sometimes. It seems like more and more we’re being forced to think about attack and violence first, when we need to think about other avenues.

There were some very good twists and turns and death to a major character that I didn’t see coming, which I always love in a book.  Rae is going to be one of my stalking authors at conventions (sorry Rae), and will have to get pictures with the Pirate and Ninja Monkey for my teens.  I’m extremely looking forward to The Bitter Kingdom, which comes out in 2013, and need to track down the short story that goes along with this series that is floating around in electronic format.

Reviewed by Christie G, who likes to make authors take pictures with her monkeys

Teen Librarian Confession: I’m done with confessions

The library world, at least the teen portion of it, seems to go through waves of guilty confessions.  We hear things like…

  • I never watched Buffy 
  • I don’t really like John Green’s books
  • I never finished The Book Thief, To Kill a Mockingbird, Jane Eyre, Harry Potter, The Outsiders…
  • I only read what I have to
  • I don’t have tattoos
  • I never dyed my hair
  • I hate video games
  • I think the music most teens listen to is stupid
  • I don’t Facebook/Twitter/Instagram
  • I don’t read series
  • I don’t blog
  • I don’t get manga
And it does feel good to get these things off our chests, but to what end? Are we hoping that someone will finally give us the piece of the puzzle that we’ve been missing that will help us enjoy what we haven’t enjoyed, finish what we started, or be who we don’t think we are?  Is this the librarian version of a humble-brag, proving that we don’t just go along with the trends, anti-trend as they may be, but instead are truly blazing our own path into libraryland?
This isn’t coming from a place of frustration or an attempt at a humbler humble brag.  I’m far from the ideal teen services librarian.  But that’s the thing — we all are, because there’s no way we can all be everything to everyone.  There’s no way we can be as enthusiastic about the things we innately love, or as passionate about the things that have been a part of our lives since our own youth, or as well versed about the aspects we have studied voraciously as we are about the things we don’t care for, just learned about, or have never studied.  It’s just. not. possible.  And that’s ok.  That’s actually better than ok.  Because when teen see that we can geek out about stuff, they see we’re human.  When they see us comfortable in our own skin, they see that we can be role models.   When they see us reflect on something we’ve loved forever when we try to relate to them about something they just found out about, they can see that the experience that they’re having might just be a transformative one for them; just like it was for us.

-Heather

A few of Karen’s favorite things . . .

Christmas is over so I won’t bore you with my witty intro that makes the song get stuck in your brain (mmmm . . . brains!)  No, I’ll just dive right into it.  These are my favorite things.

Collection Development Tools: Netgalley/Edelweiss

I work at a smaller library now, and run a blog, so I really use a lot of Advance Reader’s Copies (ARCs, or galleys if you prefer).  You can find them here (if the publishers approve you, and sometimes they don’t, which sometimes takes me back to the feeling in middle school I had when everyone picked me last to be on their kickball team.  To be fair, I did really stink at kickball.)  Anyhow, you request and ARC, if you get approved it sends it to your e-reader, and viola – books.  To date, I have bought every book I have read and loved via an ARC.  With a smaller budget, I like knowing that my teens are going to read it when I spend that money.  And as a bonus, I am better prepared when the new books come in to make recommendations, put together displays, and market, market, market because I have read the book.

Netgalley
Edelweiss

Emergency Craft Supply Must Have: Duct Tape

It comes in so many glorious colors and patterns. You can do so much fun stuff with it.  They have written whole books about it.  Whether you are doing ductagami or simply decorating notebooks and folders with it, I gotta have some on hand.

Proof That I Can’t Get Rid of Anything: Discarded Magazines

It should come as no surprise to you that I love words. Truly.  And you can do so many fun things with discarded magazines including decoupage, make your own magnetic poetry, marble magnets, guitar pick jewelry.  Sometimes, I will even just be talking to a teen who is a huge Twilight fan and I will go back in my office and get a discarded Seventeen out of my stash and give it to them – I am a hero!! I love being a hero.

Make Your Own Magnetic Poetry Kits

Social Media Addiction: Twitter

Twitter has a seriously rich book community – authors, publishers, librarians, book bloggers.  I am there every day and every day I learn about new books, share book/library love with my peers, and learn about new tech and teen trends.

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Twitter

It’s Absence Makes Me Ragey: ISBN Numbers

It brings me great joy when publisher ads and book reviews include ISBN numbers.  Yes, I am perfectly capable of going and looking them up.  But you know, it’s super nice when I don’t have to and I can just enter the ISBN number into my jobber and a title to my cart.  If I am using an online source, I can simply cut and paste it.  I will love you all hardcore if we can make it a point to add ISBN numbers with our book info.  And I will wholeheartedly admit that we do not always do that here at TLT.  Let’s make it our New Year’s Resolution to embrace the ISBN number.  Pinky swear.

An ode to the ISBN number:
You make my life so easy
When I don’t see you I get queasy
It’s true that I can go hunt you down
But seeing you turns smile from frown

Great books, now let me go look up the ISBN number
 
Yay- great books AND I don’t have to go look up the ISBN number
Best. Ad. Ever.

Most Benefit for Your Buck: Teen Volunteers

They rock! It seems like I shouldn’t have to say more than that.  But I guess I will.  I get to serve teens by helping them serve their community: win-win.  Plus, I get to spend time with them one-on-one and talk about things, if I am lucky that thing=books.

Can’t Live Without: VOYA and SLJ

I am not going to lie, I don’t really use these for the book reviews because the jobber we use has all the journal reviews in one place for me.  Okay, so I am still using their book reviews, just not in the traditional way.  I do, however, love these resources because of the following: Booklists, Programming Articles, Author Interviews, etc.  I also love to read the letters to the editor (I am a huge online comment junkie as well.)  Don’t forget to visit their online sites as well, lots of additional content.

VOYA
SLJ

What Do I Do Next? Post It Notes

Not only can you make art with them, but you can leave yourself little notes and stick them on your computer.  You will not be surprised to know that I find them all over with ISBN numbers written on them.  I leave myself one every day on my computer letting me know what I need to do tomorrow.  Sometimes I leave notes saying, “return Stephanie’s e-mail”, or “remind Christie to write that review,” or “bring back your really overdue library books.”  Librarians make the worst library patrons, just saying.

Post It Note Art

My Brain: My iPhone

Yes, it keeps me connected to Twitter.  But our tech at work is old and slow and I send my e-mail to it, use it to do quick searches on the Reference desk when our Internet decides it is trying to lose a race against a snail, and I take pictures. Tons and tons and tons of pictures.  Pictures at programs, pictures of books, random pictures when living my daily life.  You never know when you can turn one of them into an awesome RA poster, which I do often.  I have almost nothing but photography apps and photos on my cell phone. I have been known to pet my phone and call it “pretty”.  Also, The Mr. has banned it from the dinner table.

Last But Not Least: You – My Fellow Librarians

I steal some of my best ideas from you guys.  I mean borrow, I borrow some of my best ideas from you guys.  Best program I have ever done? Live Angry Birds courtesy of Heather Booth.  Most fun I had this year? I #mustacheyoutoread which was started by Kearsten at Glendale Public Library.  And who else is going to understand when I say, “when will we be done with the instalovetriangle business?”

So here we are, at the end of the year and these things have made my year rock! And I promise, as my New Year’s Resolution, I will never complain about the lack of ISBN numbers on ads again. Pinky swear.  Here’s looking forward to a great 2013.  I hope you all will continue to join us next year.  We’re all in this together :)

Take 5: Crossing Over Adult Books to Movies in 2013

These days it seems like Hollywood is raiding YA fiction for it’s screenplays.  We have Beautiful Creatures, City of Bones, and Ender’s Game to look forward to, while every day it seems another news release screams another book has been optioned, sometimes even before the series is complete (*cough* Insurgent *cough*). So I thought that while we’re talking crossovers for teens, we could look at some adult books that are making their way onto the big screen that are defiantly going to be attracting teens.


based on Carrie by Stephen King

Did you know they’re remaking Stephen King’s Carrie again? I didn’t until I had a teen who’s in LUV with horror movies come tell me all about it. Now, I am completely in love with the original with Sissy Spacek and John Travolta, and was *ahem* mildly upset at the TV remake (no matter what That Guy might say). The fact that it has Chloe Grace Moretz in it is making me think it’ll be worth travelling at least the few cities over to the $5 theater to see it.

based on the Kick Ass graphic novels by Mark Millar

I love any and all things related to comics and graphic novels. I adored Kick Ass, and loved what they did with Hit Girl, while understanding the backlash of having this itty bitty thing acting out the violence of the part.  However, my teens and I are SO THERE opening night.

based on The Host by Stephanie Meyer

I read The Host when it came out, and always thought that there should be *more* to follow. My understanding was that it was a series.  Was I wrong? And if so, did everyone miss it, because I cannot find any more books of the series anywhere.  My teens are excited because it’s something else by Stephanie Meyer (as the poster has on it- so we know that it’s a little shaky).

based on The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

I will confess, once again:  I HAVE NOT READ THE HOBBIT. In fact, I started The Hobbit, got frustrated with it, put it down, never picked it up, and didn’t read The Lord of the Rings books, either. That is not stopping me or the teens from seeing the now THREE PART movie saga that The Hobbit has turned into.  However, I don’t think I’m going to track down one of the 48fps projector movieplexes- I have enough trouble with 3D.

Based on World War Z by Max Brooks

So, assuming that we’re not all dead in 2012, somehow we’re going to be invaded by zombies in 2013.  I haven’t read the book, none of my teens have read the book, but they saw the trailer when it popped up the other day on YouTube, and they want to see it just for the sheer number of zombies that are trying to eat Brad Pitt. I mean, really, if you haven’t seen the massive rush of zombies coming from all angles like water rushing from a burst pipe, then go here and look. Whatever you do, don’t make a candy eating game (teen version of drinking game) including the zombies because either a. everyone will miss out on the little bits of dialogue they’re going to have, or b. people will be so full they’ll be sick.
What book based movies are you and/or your teens looking forward to in 2013?  Share in the comments below!

Karen Says: But what about This?!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3ErWNBX9Rc&w=560&h=315]

Fav 5 Programs of the Year: Christie’s Version

“Don’t count every hour in the day; make every hour in the day count.”

– unknown

Everyone always has their favorite things that they love to do at work, things that just make your day.  Mine is doing things with the kids, whether it’s just sitting down and hanging out or having a formal program.  There’s always something going on at my library, and while we have a lot of programs, I thought that I’d share my favorite 5 of the year.


Championship Round of the Thanksgiving Halo Tournament


Gaming Events

From running informal gaming afternoons to formal tournaments with Mario Kart, Smash Brothers or Halo, I love running gaming events. Maybe it’s because I’m a halfway decent gamer (I have a bit of talent, and a LOT of enthusiasm), but I enjoy watching and playing video games, and am always up on the latest games.  While my library may not have the latest and greatest titles (Wii, PS3 and XBOX 360 w/o a Kinect), I do let the teens bring their own games- and they know that a. they’re responsible for their stuff, and b. nothing comes up missing or I will find out who took it before everyone leaves.
Surprise Saturday: Yu-Gi-Oh Free Play 


Surprise Saturdays

I adore Surprise Saturdays.  Maybe it’s because I’m actually caught up on everything, and everyone is actually here, but I think it’s more because it makes the day special for the kids.  I’ve done crafts, freeplay Wii and PS3 gaming, holiday movie days, Yu-Gi-Oh free play, board games…  And it only takes a little bit before the word gets around and while I may start with two or three people, I end up with a room full.



Star Wars Reads Day/ May the Sith Be With You
I have had two different Star Wars based programs, and both have been HUGE successes, so if you were deabting whether or not to have one: DO IT.  The most recent one was Star Wars Reads Day, and we did origami crafts from the Origami Yoda books, had free play sessions on the PS3 for Lego Star Wars, played Star Wars Monopoly, and had a surprise visit (to all of us) from TIE fighter pilots from the 501st (picture on the left).  The first program I had I coordinated with the 501st directly, and had 6 members of the Fist able to come out: Lord Vader (pictured on the right reading silently as my kids looked on), an Imperial Royal Guard, a Storm Trooper, a Sand Trooper, a Scout Trooper and one of the Imperial Crew.  Both times, after pictures with the kids, they went around and interacted with everyone- playing pool, looking at what they were doing on the computers, and loving the Star Wars books that we had on display.  The 501st do need a locked room to store their weapons and other gear away from the Rebel Alliance, but it is definitely worth the effort to get them to your library.



 Reading Program Lock-Ins
Karen and I disagree on this one, but I adore lock-ins, and use them as a huge added incentive for my teen reading programs.  I make it an added challenge by tacking it above and beyond what they need to actually complete the program to our system’s standards, and every year the number of teens meeting the challenge increases.  It is a lot of time and energy to produce the program: gathering donations for food, coordinating prizes and reading logs, getting the building ready for the lock-in, making sure you think about everything before hand, etc.  However, it is definitely worth it in my opinion. The teens that have been participating in the lock-ins (and therefore the reading programs heavily) have been improving their reading scores at school, and are staying involved at the library and at school.  And in my area, that’s huge.


Talk Like a Pirate Day
I think Talk Like a Pirate Day is hysterical, and adore it.  Besides, I get a legitimate excuse to bring a sword to work!  This year, I was able to coordinate with the after school program in my building and we showed movies and did pirate flags for everyone- 90 kids and adults in all.  A lot of leg work, especially as there was just me setting it all up, but definitely worth it as the next two weeks we were buried in requests for pirate and shipwreck books.

So, what were your favorite programs that you did?  Or what are you looking forward to doing in the coming year?  Share in the comments below!

These are a Few of My Favorite Posts

Karen . . .

Show Me How to Live, guest blogger Eric Devine talks YA Lit to the guys in his class
I love this post for a couple of reasons. 1) TLT can be kind of Estrogen heavy and I always appreciate getting a guys point of view.  2) Eric writes really well and I love what he says here not only about guys, but about zombies.

The Animaniacs Guide to being a Faboo! Young Adult Librarian
Look, I’m not a funny person.  I am very serious.  I can’t tell a joke.  I think of a witty comeback hours after the conversation is over.  But it’s hard not to be funny when the Animaniacs is playing in the background and a 3-year-old is giggling.  So this one time, I was kinda funny. Please remember it.

Discuss: Is fat the last acceptable prejudice in YA lit?
Okay, I concede that this is cheating, but I have to go with our whole discussion of body image in YA lit.  I was stunned when Christie told me how she felt about Every Day by David Levithan and why – and then it got us both really thinking and talking via posts.

TPIB: Live Angry Birds
Look, this is the best program I have ever done and I owe it all to Heather.

Libraries are the Beating Heart (of communities)
This is why I do what I do.  It is what I believe.  In every way – this.

Stephanie…

The ABCs of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
I was so thankful for this post because Karen shared so much information about a disease which I knew nothing about.  I even share this post almost daily with people I know to increase awareness.

Don’t Underestimate the Value of ‘Hanging Out’
Exactly what it says and so very true!  One of my favorite things to do is not to have a ‘program’ but to just hang out and get to know my teens!

The Book Review for The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Love, love, love this book.

But What About? – A Guest Post from Lois Lowry 
Being able to coordinate a week celebrating The Giver was excellent in and of itself but when I was able to network and connect with Lois Lowry?  Best moment of my librarian life.  And I love her post!
 
Racial Stereotyping in YA Literature
This is always and will probably always be one of my favorite topics to discuss with fellow librarians/media specialists and teens!  


Christie . . .

Discuss: Is fat the last acceptable prejudice in YA lit?
I think this is one of my favorite things we’ve done on the blog.  We keep getting new comments from people every week who find it, and say, YES, you’re saying what I’ve been thinking! And I think it’s really opened us up to being able to talk about things on the blog that might not be the norm…

I’m Just a Girl
While I have the opposite of what most libraries have (an abundance of boys and a smattering of girls for programs and hanging out), there’s no denying that there are these messages that are coming through, and the fact that the way YA lit is marketed towards girls and women specifically is something we as teen services specialists need to focus on. What’s the message that’s getting to our teens?

A Zest For Nonfiction 
I had so much fun working with Zest and finding new books that I didn’t know about, and re-discovering ones that I did.  I think they’re doing good things, and I’m glad we got to partner with them.

Star Wars Reads Day
Oh, I had such fun with this program this year.  My library got lucky and was an official site, and we got surprised by a local branch of the 501st that came out and interacted with the kids.  SO much fun and excitement! 

We #MustacheYOUtoread at the Library
This has been hysterical.  It started out as a display  done by teens in Glendale, and then Karen started playing around with it and made it our blog holiday card. So I made paper mustaches, and the kids went nuts! They will wear them all day, it makes a really easy display- just print the photos out on a black and white printer on color paper, and tape them up on a door or window or wall.  They love finding themselves, and mine continue to show themselves off to friends and family.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Reads… The 2012 Christie Edition

Gumdrop on trees and Whiskers on reindeer and….  that’s not the lyrics? But, wait, the song is supposed to be from an EASTER movie I’ve been told (although why the Song of Music is an EASTER movie I’ve never figured out….) And would Maria and Scarlett have a fight over the drapes if they were ever together?!??!  AHH! (this is what happens when there’s too much Christmas music in the air)…

Anyway, here are my favorite reads of 2012….  They are definitely skewed for my tastes, so your mileage may vary.  Are they going to win prizes and accolades and awards?  Some will, some won’t, and that’s OK.  Some people will be like, YES, and some will be like, REALLY, you liked THAT? And you are all entitled to your opinion. And these are the ones that I’ve read…  I have a pile of ones to be read that I haven’t gotten to yet (Diviners, Smoke and Bone) that have taken a back seat to life and committee work…  *sigh*

Favorites of 2012

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
Starters by Lissa Price
Tilt by Ellen Hopkins
Butter by Erin Jade Lange

Favorite Flashbacks (older titles or re-reads)
Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
Ash by Malinda Lo
Crown of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Macker
On my list to read after I’m caught up on everything
Eve and Adam by Michael Grant
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Catching up on the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series
Soulbound: The Legacy of Tril by Heather Brewer
Croak by Gina Damico
Beta by Rachel Cohn
Son by Lois Lowry
Ashen series by Mike Mullen 
 
What I’m Looking Forward To in 2013
(not read in galley, just anticipating due to blurbs or covers or authors)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Sever by Lauren DeStefano
The Program by Suzanne Young
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
Altered by Jennifer Rush
The Dead and the Buried by Kim Harrison

These are a few of my favorite reads: the 2012 Karen edition

Raindrops on roses and zombies eating kittens,
Bright copper boys and warm fuzzy kisses,
Page after page, turning with need
These are a few of my favorite reads . . .



MG Reads, approved by my tween
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
Wonder by R J Palacio
The Cavendish Home for Boys &Girls by Claire Legrand
Whatever After: Fairest of All by Sarah Mlynowski
(the complete top 10 post is here)

Heartwarming Reads
Guitar Notes by Mary Amato
The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Wonder by R J Palacio

The Books That Make You Go Hmmm (aka Thoughtful Reads)
Ask the Passengers by A. S. King
Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
The Downside of Being Charlie by Jenny Torres Sanchez
The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna
Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Mindbending Reads (aka What the Heck is Happening Here?)
The Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby
Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
Every Day by David Levithan
BZRK by Michael Grant
Through to You by Emily Hainsworth

Sci Fi Awesomeness
The Future We Left Behind by Mike A. Lancaster
BZRK by Michael Grant
Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Insignia by S J Kincaid
Across the Universe/A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Dystopian Worlds I Wouldn’t Want to Live In, But Love to Read About
Delirium/Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Starters by Lissa Price
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Unwind/Unwholly by Neal Shusterman

Grrr, Arrr . . . Brains . . . Nom, Nom (Zombie Reads)
Rot & Ruin series by Jonathan Maberry
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Ashes/Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Reality Bites, But These Books Rock
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein
Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Skinny by Donna Cooner

Literary Masterpieces
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Riddle Me This, Batman (Mysteries)
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Fantastic Fantasies
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

These Girls Kick Ass
Ashes/Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick
Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Stormdancer (The Lots War Book One) by Jay Kristoff

These Guys Do Too
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer/Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride
Quarantine, book 1: The Loners by Lex Thomas
Tap Out by Eric Devine
Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Books That Can Make Even Me Like History
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The Diviners by Libba Bray

Pop Spewing Reads (aka Dude, I think I just peed myself aka Book That are Side Splitting Funny)
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
A Bad Day for Voodoo by Jeff Strand
The Necromancer series by Lish McBride
Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Best Road Trips of the Year
In Honor by Jessi Kirby
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Just Pure Aweseomeness (My top 5 of the Year – today)
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Ask the Passengers by A. S. King
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

A few of Stephanie’s Favorite Things…

I almost hate the title of this post because one of my not so favorite things is the song “My Favorite Things”.  So, HA…now it’s stuck in your head as well.  You’re welcome!  Well, 2012 is coming to a close and this year has really shaped me has a professional librarian (I didn’t say mature) and as reader in general.  When I think about my favorite things as a librarian, I have such a random smorgasbord of things.  You’re in for a real treat.  In no order of importance…here are a few of my favorite things!

COFFEE
Okay, I kinda lied about the order of importance.  There is no possible way that I could do my job without a ton of coffee.  I usually drink anywhere from 6-10 cups a day.  I know this isn’t healthy but…it is what it is.  At least I stopped when I got pregnant!

Edelweiss
I cannot stress enough how much Edelweiss has helped me with collection development.  Some of you who have been with TLT for a while may remember my post which I so lovingly called: Edelweiss, or Crack Cocaine for Librarians/Collection Development People.  Edelweiss in its simplest terms is just a website, originally created for bookstores for purchasing, that collects the publishers catalogs.  Because of this website, you can view catalogs from almost all of the publishers and create your book orders months in advance.  Plus, they have egalleys and a ton of other material to access.  Create an account and get sucked into the happiness of ordering!

Twitter
Times are a changing and to be quite honest, I’m not sure how you can remain current and not belong to some sort of social media.   While Facebook is good for connecting and keeping in touch with people, Twitter is the best for keeping in touch with what is happening RIGHT NOW.  If not for Twitter, I wouldn’t have made at least 60% of the connections that I have today.  I met Karen and TLT through Twitter, several authors who have introduced themselves TO ME (that was fun!), and other professionals in this field who are so passionate about youth services that it is impossible for me to have a down day without being surrounded by my Tweeps.  I have one good friend via Twitter who can instantly make me smile and keeps me going when times get hard.

My Library
My job is the YA Coordinator for a 10 branch library system in North Louisiana called the Ouachita Parish Public Library, recently chosen as one of Library Journal’s Star Libraries receiving 5 stars…the first time a library has received that honor in our state.  I’m a little proud.  With 10 branches comes having 9 staff members, all but one being a paraprofessional, who work with YA services in addition to reference.  These nine staffers are some of the hardest working, talented, ambitious staff members in the system, in my opinion.  They make my job so much easier and enjoyable.  We’ve undergone some staff changes this year and I have 6 newbies who have taken on their jobs within the past year.  It’s been tough at times but we finally have a great cohesive group and I love them!  Also, I have a wonderful administration who places a very high emphasis on YA services.  Without my Director and Assistant Director, I’d be completely at a loss.  They provide me with an amazing book budget, programming budget, and rarely tell me no.  It’s a wonderful partnership.

KDL What’s Next Database
When I first started working at the public library in 2004, my supervisor at the time showed me the KDL What’s Next website and I’ve used it ever since.  That’s eight years of longevity for this site and while I am sure there are things out there that may be bigger and better, this is my go-to site when I am looking up series for YA and Adult books.  I use this website on a daily basis and when I am ordering books, the tab stays open at all times.  Keeping up with series at 10 different branches can be tough and without KDL, I couldn’t do it!

Duct Tape
I pray that duct tape never really goes away in libraries.  We’ve been harnessing the power of the tape for a very long time and back when I started duct tape programming, there was only silver.  Now there are a variety of colors, designs, and you can even purchase it in large sheets.  I have a large tote in my supplies filled with tons of duct tape in all different colors.  I have used it all in about 100 different ways.  Some of my favorite ways?  Repairing my leather couch in the YA area after someone poked a hole through it with a pen, making duct tape flip flops for some of my teens who did not have shoes to wear to the library but wanted to be here (true story), marking extension cords for different branches (each one of our branches has an assigned color), and just the programming in general.

Goodreads
I read a lot.  And I like to keep track of what I read and set goals for myself.  One of my most used personal and professional tools is my Goodreads account.  It allows me to not have to remember if I’ve read that book or not and even to feel super smart when I get closer to my goal of 125 books this year.  I’m at 119 as I write this post.  Hopefully I’ll hit it!

Detention Center Outreach
I really like teens in jail.  I love all my teens but there is something about working with incarcerated youth that absolutely brightens my day.  The majority of my teens live in a world that unless you’ve been there, you can never understand.  I still don’t.  Some of them I want to shake and scream at them to just not do certain things but as one of my favorite teen boys (now in jail for attempted murder…yes, murder) told me one day in my office, “Mrs. Stephanie, sometimes it kill or be killed.  Sometimes you try to make the right decisions but the wrong ones can cause members of your family to get hurt.  I try but I have to take care of my family.”  Can you imagine being told that?  And let me just say, the boy who told me this is one of the nicest, most well-spoken teen boys that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.  I went to his court cases, I spoke with his parole officer about his behavior in the library and how different it was than on the streets, but in the end, he made a decision that will affect him for the rest of his life.  So, what does this mean for me, the librarian?  I advocate for their continual need to be enriched by literature.  To learn different worldviews and to understand the world that exists outside of our tiny zip code and to also understand that choices bear consequences.  I advocate that they are, despite the gravity of the decisions, still teens.  And I treat them as such but with respect and love.  I talk to them about who THEY ARE AND CAN BECOME not what they did.  Many people disagree with me but I have earned a large amount of respect with my incarcerated teens and many return to visit with me when they get out of jail and bring their moms and grandmothers to meet me.  I know I am making a difference.  I just pray that they can survive each day.

Authors, Agents, Editors, Publishers, Oh My!
Over the past few years, I have extended my professional network outside of just librarians and those working in libraries in YA services.  Why?  Because my relationships with authors, editors, agents, publishers, etc. has been overwhelmingly beneficial to me in my job.  I think that more and more librarians are starting to realize the possibility of networking outside of libraries but it’s still mindblowing how many of my sales rep friends or friends in different divisions of publishing companies have absolutely no idea what librarians do and how we operate with our teens.  The relationships I’ve cultivated and maintained have helped me out, in knowing my books like a rockstar, but have also been mutually beneficial in that I am able to help people understand how we market their books in libraries, what teens like (or don’t like), and how we run our services with programming and outreach. 

EarlyWord YA Galley Chat
I love knowing about what is coming out ahead of time and the EarlyWord YA Galley Chat allows me to do just that, compare notes with people around the world, and even snag copies of ARCs from super sweet publishers.  Galley chat has been instrumental in helping me stay ahead of the game on popular trends in YA fiction as well as upcoming ARCs that will make good purchases for my library.  We meet monthly via Twitter on the third Tuesday of each month at 4PM EST. Just follow the hashtag #ewyagc and hang out with us!  (You can even come 30 minutes early for virtual cocktails!)

Well, that’s about it for me.  Have a Happy Holiday season, be merry, bah humbug, and Happy Chrismahanukwazakah!

xoxo
Steph

So You Wanna Be a Superstar? The Book, The Event, The Giveaway

Kids who love the arts often hang out in our libraries.  Chances are when you attend the school musical, you know half the kids on stage and wonder why you have never met the other half.

How can you serve the superstar aspirations of those kids?  Could the library be more than a repository of the scripts and monologue books come audition time? 

THE BOOK

There is a new Event Kit connected with the YA book So You Wanna Be a Superstar? The Ultimate Audition Guide (Running Press Kids) that could help you do so. Read more to learn how you can enter to WIN SIGNED COPIES OF SO YOU WANNA BE A SUPERSTAR!

Author Ted Michael is a bit of a superstar himself.  A NYC literary agent, teen author, and performer in off-Broadway productions, he used his long friendships with Broadway stars and instructors like Lea Salonga,  Nic Cory, Mara Jill Herman, and others to build his advice book for young performers.

2013 YALSA Popular Paperback nominee

2013 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers nominee

“….is no amateurishly written instructional manual … Michael outlines a proactive approach to success, acknowledging that disappointment may be part of the process, but gives readers insight on every available tool they may equip themselves with to increase their chances of breaking into the biz”—Booklist

THE EVENT KIT

Whether your talented patrons are planning to try out  for the musical, glee club, chorus, or the local teen idol they need audition skills.  The Event Kit walks you through how to use local theater and music luminaries to hold a panel discussion about auditions and how those luminaries can improve your patrons’ audition songs or monologues by giving advice to each. 

This event can be held prior to a specific casting call and be focused on that particular show or can be held anytime throughout the year to improve superstar skills.

The Event Kit includes:

– Poster

– Marketing copy to announce the event

– Suggestions on how to invite local theater/music luminaries

– Panel questions

– Audition sign-up form

– Permission letter copy

– Audition schedule/rating sheet for the panelists

– Activity sheet for matching composer and lyricist to musical

– Superstar advice cards from Broadway stars to hand out to attendees

– Opportunity to get free signed book for the “most promising audition”

[http://www.curiouscitydpw.com/curiouscitydpw/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/SYWBA_Superstar_Event_Kit_sm.pdf]

THE GIVEAWAY

Author Ted Michael is giving away 15 signed copies of So You Wanna Be a Superstar? The Ultimate Audition Guide by 1/11/13.  Enter to win HERE

THE EVENT KIT DESIGNER

Kirsten Cappy is the owner of Curious City, a children’s book marketing firm that builds reader engagement projects for authors, illustrators, and publishers believing that supporting educators, librarians, and other heroes of literacy with free tools and connections is just, simply best practice.  Curious City hosts free reader engagement projects at www.CuriousCityDPW.com.
Karen’s Note: I used one of Kristen Cappy’s Curious City events (a tie-in with the book Reunion) this year as part of my Teen Summer Reading Club.  It was nice having all the work done for me and they were very easy to work with.  This is the ultimate Teen Program in a Box, highly recommended.