Thursday, February 28, 2013

Breaking Down the Walls: Getting the Reader (Completely) Involved (a guest post by author Kimberly Pauley)

I have decided to do something crazy and it’s all because of the dedicated fans who have emailed and facebooked and twittered at me for the last two years asking when the next Sucks to Be Me book will be available (some on a weekly basis!).  I’m finally continuing the award-winning series with the direct help of my readers. You could call it “crowd sourced Choose Your Own Adventure.”

Mini Paris inspired TPiB: So I am currently raising a Paris obsessed Tween and here are 10 fun Paris inspired craft ideas.  You can also download the FilterMania 2 app onto your iPhone and create a beautiful Eiffel Tower framed picture.

Titled (also with the help of fan comments solicited on my website) Still Sucks to Be Me…Even in Paris, the book is being released every two weeks (on a Friday) one or two chapters at a time via my newsletter. At the end of every “edition” I include three or four possible different directions the story could go in. Readers then have until the next Tuesday to respond with their vote. After all the votes are in, I spend the next week and a half writing up the chapter(s).

Book Review: Dualed by Elsie Chapman

You or your alt, only 1 will survive.

In Chapman's vision of the future, families give birth to a child who has an "alt" in the world; another child that is a combination of the two families DNA.  At some point, you are activated and then you have 30 days to kill your alt or be killed by it.  Only one can survive.

Synopsis: The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

Elsie Chapman's suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better. (from Goodreads)

Book Review: Mind Games by Kiersten White

Two sisters, bound by impossible choices, are determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

James's frozen face melts into a smile. "Do you want to know the trick to getting in trouble under the watchful eye of a psychic?"

I think of the nailed-shut windows. I think of Clarice. I think of the two, the two, the two who are now zero. Tap tap. "Yes, I absolutely do."

"Don't plan it. Don't even think about it. The second you get an inkling of what you could do, do it then. Never plan anything ahead of time. Always go on pure instinct."

I smile. "I think I can do that." - Mind Games, Kiersten White (synopsis from Goodreads)

Having just read Dualed, and any other number of books with teenage assasins, I was a little skeptical going into Mind Games, a little weary of this polot point you could say.  But this book is so very good and I could not put it down.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week: True confessions of a recovering anorexic, body image and YAlit

I am anorexic.  You wouldn't know that to look at me, but they say it is something you never fully recover from - so I guess I am not recovered, but am recovering.  I eat now.  Sometimes too much and sometimes for the wrong reasons.  I am definitely in no way slim any more.  But neither am I at peace with my body.

 TLT Posts on Body Image:

I stopped eating in the 8th grade.  In the 7th grade I was diagnosed with Scoliosis and fitted for a back brace.  This brace ended up being a piece of fiberglass that was shaped like a corset.  It distorted my body and changed the way I had to dress; now, I could only where elastic, over sized pants and because I did not want people to know, I chose to wear loose, baggy shirts.  So the fiberglass cast and the clothing all served to make me look bigger than I did. (Read my previous post on the subject: The Girl in the Fiberglass Corset).

TPiB: TTW13- Check In at the Library

I don't know why Teen Tech Week always sneaks up on me.  Maybe because March is always when summer reading planning seems to be at it's fullest.  Or maybe because it always seems to fall during my school systems' spring breaks. Or it's because I'm waiting for spring.  Who knows.  All I know is I'm always scrambling to find easy programs to do because I'm short on staff and my brain is shot. The YALSA NING for TTW has some awesome ideas for this year's theme, Check in @ The Library, and you should definitely check them out.  However, if they seem to ambitious, try some of mine.  And if you're doing something for Teen Tech Week, share what you're doing in the comments!

Book Review: Homeland by Cory Doctorow

"Marcus," he said. "Have you noticed how messed up everything is today? How we put a 'good' president in the White House and he kept right on torturing and bombing and running secret prisons?  How every time we turn around someone's trying to take away the Internet from us, make it into someone kind of giant stupid shopping mall where the rent-a-cops can kick you out of if they don't like your clothes?  Have you noticed how much money the one percent have? How we're putting more people in jail every day, and more people are unemployed every day and more people are losing their houses every day?"

"I've noticed," I said. "But haven't things always been screwed up? I mean, doesn't everyone assume that their generation has the most special most awful problems?"
"Yeah," Ange said. "But not every generation has had the net."

"Bingo," Jolu said. "I'm not saying it wasn't terrible in the Great Depression or whatever. But we've got the power to organize like we've never had before. And the creeps and the spooks have the power to spy on us more than ever before, to control us and censor us and find us and snatch us."
"Who's going to win?" I said. "I mean, I used to think that we'd win, because we understand computers and they don't."

"Oh, they understand computers. And they're doing everything they can to invent new ways to mess you up with them. But if we leave the field, it'll just be them. People who want everything, want to be in charge of everyone."
"So we're going to win?"

Jolu laughed. "There's no winning or losing, Marcus. There's only doing."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

TPiB: Steampunk in the Library

“I cannot imagine how the clockwork of the universe can exist without a clockmaker.” – Voltaire

Steampunk: Steampunk is a subgenre of speculative fiction, usually set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian alternate history setting. It could be described by the slogan "What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner." It includes fiction with science fiction, fantasy or horror themes.(Urban Dictionary)
Steampunk is not tricky, it's a way of looking at the world through a different lens.  Worlds that exist in the books of Cassandra Clare, Kady Cross, Kenneth Oppel, Cherie Priest, and Scott Westerfield and HG Wells help set the ideas that you're looking for, and with these crafts to tie into those worlds, your teens will be into steampunk in no time....  Have ideas that have worked for you?  Share in the comments!

Steampunk 101 with author Suzanne Lazear

Steampunk has been around for decades, but has really gained popularity in the past few years. But what exactly is that Steampunk stuff anyway?

Imagine a world where steam and natural gas, not coal and electricity, are the primary power sources. Steampunk transports us to a place abounding with airships, gas lamps, gears, cogs, and brass goggles and populated with mad scientists, philosophers, adventurers, and air pirates. Steampunk stories are filled with exploration, optimism, curiosity, technology, and rebellion. They boldly go new places, explore and invent new things, and ponder the what ifs and never wases of technology and history. HG Wells and Jules Verne are huge inspirations for Steampunk. Examples include League of Extraordinary Gentleman and Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker.

It seems to me that by its very nature Steampunk is a genre meant to challenge itself. Lately, Steampunk has grown from its SciFi roots to really cross genres and boundaries. We have paranormal Steampunk, like the popular Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger and God Save the Queen by Kate Locke. We have “steamypunk.” We have clockpunk with steampunkatude. We have steampunk retellings of classic stories, like Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross. In YA especially, there’s a whole crop of steampunk mashups, where authors explore the breadths and depths of steampunk to the very limit, sometimes creating something new altogether. 

Book Review: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross

Wildcat turned her attention to Finley. "I know you. You're the one that was here with the Irish witch."

"She would prefer to be called a scientist" came Finley's drawled reply. "I'll give her your regards."

The dark girl turned back to Jasper. "She's almost as much a smart-arse as you. She all you brought?"
"I got a driver, but he'd rather see me dead that do me a favor." Then he grinned. 'But if you know my friend, you know she's enough."

The girl nodded, grime-streaked face serious. "All right, then. You know what has to be done." And then she stepped across the threshold,  a baseball bat in her hands. Its wood was smooth and stained brown with old blood. A dozen other girls and fellas followed after her- some armed, some not.

"Jasper?" Finley asked warily. "What the devil's going on?"

He turned to her with what he hoped was a suitably apologetic expression. "When I left the piece with Wildcat, she told me if I ever came back she'd 'beat the snot out of me.'" Technically, he hadn't left he part with Cat. It had gotten left behind when she kicked him out. He was simply relived she still had it.
Finley's eyes widened. "Are you telling me we have to fight? All of them?" she gestured at the gang standing in the street behind Wildcat.

Jasper nodded. "That's exactly what I'm saying."

Monday, February 25, 2013

On moments that matter

I know that you think the life of a librarian must be chic and glamorous, but the truth is that there are a lot of days where it is exactly what you think it is: a job.  It is a job filled with paperwork and budgets and decisions and trying to relate to people, both in the workplace and your patrons, who are oh so very different then you.  There are days when I walk into work overwhelmed by the amount of things I need to get done and can't figure out to where to start.  And there are moments sitting at the reference desk when I think please, someone, anyone, ask me a fun, challenging question.

But then, there are THOSE moments.  Those moments when a patron walks up and says I am looking for a book that I read a couple of years ago, I don't remember much about it but . . . and you go, Oh, you mean The Book Thief and you walk right over to the shelf and pull it off and put it in their hands and they think you are some kind of magical superhero with a mega brain.

And there are subtler moments, too.  Those moments when a woman with a bruised face asks you for books on relationships and you find a way to subtley give her the information for the local domestic violence shelter.  I am just waiting for him to calm down she says, and then reads a self-help book to find out what she is doing wrong.  You hope that one day she'll figure out that it's not her, it's him and call the number that you gave her.

Working primarily with teens, I have seen my fair share of heartbreak.  I have sat with teens who have just lost a beloved classmate to an automobile accident or suicide.  I have listened as teens struggled with the realization that they are pregnant.  I have seen them fall in and out of love.  I have seen them graduate.

But I have also seen them go to juvie hall, drop out, and fall apart.  So many of them you simply lose touch with, because life is nothing if not ever changing.

But then there are THOSE moments. The glorious ones . . .

Book Review: The Prey (Hunt #2) by Andrew Fukuda (reviewed by teen reviewer Cuyler)

Gene and his friends are on their own. With the deadly yet motherly Sissy, the group has outrun the monsters that seek to devour their sumptuous and fiercely desired Heper flesh and blood. But they are safe for now, sailing down a river where the monsters dare not enter, following the clues and secrets left behind by the Scientist, making their way towards the Promised Land. 

Soon they discover a settlement of Hepers, humans like themselves. A place called the Mission, full of everything they could have ever hoped for as a dying species. Food. Shelter. Protection from the monsters outside its fortressed walls. Finally, they have found their sanctuary. Their refuge. In a world full of creatures that wouldn’t waste a second contemplating on whether to eat you for lunch or not, a place like this is something out of Gene, Sissy, and the boy’s wildest dreams. It seems too good to be true.

Well you know what they say about that

Paging Dr. Freud: How Did My Totally Made-Up Teen Novel End Up Being So Eerily Autobiographical? (a guest post by Cal Armistead)

Thanks so much Karen, for allowing me to drop by your blog!  You left the topic of this guest blog up to me, so I thought I’d address something I find fascinating: how a totally made-up piece of fiction can end up being weirdly autobiographical. 


“This compelling, suspenseful debut, a tough-love riff on guilt, forgiveness and redemption, asks hard questions to which there are no easy answers.”
-Kirkus Starred Review

This may sound strange, but I didn’t even realize there were autobiographical elements to my book until it was already on its way to publication and someone asked me about the inspiration for the story.  A light bulb went off in my brain and it dawned on me that Being Henry David is in part, my own story.  Granted, I’ve never had trauma-induced amnesia like my character, Hank.  I’m not even a guy. But like Hank, I came to Concord, Massachusetts as a lost young person in search of roots and an identity.  And I found them here.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Reflections: What They Didn't Teach Me in Library School - When the Finances Hit the Fan

As you may have heard, in 2008 the economy of the U.S. went boom.  Or maybe it went bust.  Either way, the proverbial crapola hit the fan.  Having worked in libraries for a while already at this point, I was used to campaigns begging community members to contact their local congressman and tell them they support libraries.  In fact, Ohio libraries are really well organized when it comes to legislative days.

But this time, it was different.  This time we weren't putting signs up reminding patrons why they should support libraries, how and who to contact down at the state capital, or even asking them to vote for a local levy.  No, this time, words like pink slips and lay offs and reduced hours were floating around.

Ohio has traditionally been considered a landmark state for library support.  When my family would ask me if I wanted to move back to California, I would always say no for one simple reason: Ohio libraries have traditionally been well funded and at the state level (I do not know how they currently rank for funding, I do know that it has been cut).  Libraries from Ohio consistency seem to dominate "best" lists, in part because of their funding structure.  Like the rest of the world, that all seemed to change in 2008.  As the old saying goes, you can't squeeze water out of a turnip.  Or maybe it's blood.  Well, somewhere there is a saying.

2008 began what I like to call the dark years for libraries, and there was nothing that we

Saturday, February 23, 2013

MG Review: Professor Gargoyle (Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #1) by Charles Gilman

Robert hopes this new year at a new school will be different, but he has no idea just how different it will be.

"Tales from Lovecraft Middle School is the spine-tingling series about a haunted middle school where monsters roam the halls, mysteries lurk behind every door, and strange transformations take place before your very eyes." - from the official website, Lovecraft Middle School

In fact, the only familiar face at Lovecraft Middle School is his former tormentor, Glenn, and what promises to be a different year starts out quite the same - with Glenn throwing gummy bears at him in an assembly.  But when Robert is approached by Karina and told to stick up for himself, he gets his first glimpse of what may be wrong with Lovecraft Middle School.

Lovecraft Middle School is made out of recycled materials, the only problem is - they may have recycled a haunted house.  Oops.  There are no shortage of strange happenings, from a rat infestation to a giant squid coming out of Robert's locker.  But the strangest thing of all may be who Robert finds on his side as he tries to fight off the supernatural powers that roam the hallways.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Teens Talk: Elyse says we don't have to be hip or cool

It's Friday, which means it is time for another installment of Teens Talk, where we ask teens what they love - and loathe - about libraries.  Today we are talking with 16-year-old Elyse.

Do you use your local library?  Why or why not?  How often?

Yes, as often as I can.   I don't have my own income and I can't afford to buy books I want to read, so the library is often my only source of literature.   I try to go at least once a week.

What would you like a teen space in a library to look like? What should it include? What should it avoid?
I would love to see a teen space look a lot like the adult space, just with YA books.  I feel like a lot of teen spaces in libraries feel they have to be "hip" and "cool" or whatever and they really don't -- kids coming into a library are already there to read, so why push the issue?  Also, a lot of YA sections aren't divided up by genre, just listed by author, which is okay in a small library like mine but in bigger libraries it gets a little frustrating.   The one thing that I love about the YA space at my library is that it has one lower shelf where they display new books or current bestsellers.   Oftentimes if I come in without an idea of what I want to get out, I head there and look at all the shiny new things.  That's how I found DELIRIUM, which I really liked, and ERAGON back when I was into that whole series.  Overall, I think that since teens aren't always sure about what they like yet, a teen space in a library should offer options  and suggestions, but it should avoid being too peppy or ridiculously cheery because I'm there to read and get books, not be reminded about how reading is good for me.   I know that.  That's why I'm here.

Do you read for pleasure? Why or why not? What types of books do you like to read? How do you find the books you want to read?
Yes, I most definitely read for pleasure.  I've always loved to read and go through about one book a day when I have time to read.   In addition, I like to write, so reading is an essential part of that.   My favorite kinds of books are science fiction and fantasy and contemporary non-romance.   I'll read things from the adult section if I have to, but in general I find the amount of sex and violence a lot of the books contain distasteful.   My first resource for finding books to read is recommendations from friends -- when I walk into a library, if I see a book that one of my peers has been raving about and I know we have similar tastes, I'll pick it up.  After that, I generally scan covers and see if they look interesting or if they're by an author I've heard of/ read before.   If I've generally heard good things about a book, I'll get it out -- reading isn't arduous for me, so it's no problem (for me) to pick up a book I might not like just to try it. 

What is your process for selecting a book to read?
I'd like to say it's some grand, glamorous research process, but to be honest I love to read so if something looks interesting, I'll pick it up.   Like I said before, it's no big deal if I end up not really being a fan.  If the average YA book is about 80k words, it's only going to take me about an hour to read; even if I don't like it, it's not an issue.  Basically, if I walk into a library or bookstore with no clue what I want to get, I'll browse around the displayed books for a little while; if I don't find anything there, I usually make a beeline for the spec fic section.   If the front cover is awesome or I've heard the title before, I'll pick it up and read the back cover or the inside flap.  If it sounds interesting, it comes out the door with me

Have you ever attended a library program for teens? Why or why not? What types of programs would you be interested in going to a library for?
Yes, but not often.  My library has a teen council, but in general their activities are things like art classes and rock hunts.   Those are definitely interesting, but I have other things to do with my time.   I'd be far more likely to attend a library seminar on writing,  publishing,  or a similar topic then on anything else.   Also, if a published author of any kind of fiction came in, my butt would be in one of those chairs quicker than you can say David Copperfield. 

How do you find things of interest to you?  How can libraries let you know about their services and programs?  What is the best way for you to find about things happening in your local community?
I mostly use the internet to find out about programs or activities that would be interesting to me.   The number one way I would know about library happenings would be if they had a regularly updating facebook or twitter page.   I'm on the computer or an electronic device every day, and I always check social media.    The biggest way for me to find out about community events would be through those avenues.

Do you think libraries are relevant in today's world? Why or why not? If not, how can they become more relevant to teens like you?
I absolutely think libraries are relevant in today's world.  I think now that more libraries that are able to offer e-lending programs, more teens will be using their services.   The library remains and probably will always remain my main source of reading material and without a library, I would not be able to read as much as I do.  Meaning I'd probably die.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, generically: What part of the US do you live in? How do you spend your time outside of school? What types of social media do you use to learn about new trends, etc?
Hi!  I'm from the northeastern part of the United States; Pennsylvania specifically.  I'm 16 and a senior, and outside of school, I like to write and read novels, talk to my friends, watch action movies, and sing Broadway showtunes at maximum volume.  My favorite book is THE LORD OF THE RINGS, which is the consummate fantasy epic in my opinion, and I love yelling all of Theoden's quotes from the Peter Jackson adaptations.  Twitter is my main social media service, though I use facebook and goodreads as well.   
Other Teens: Mark, Lucy B

True Confessions of a Reluctant Reader: a guest post by author Aimee Carter

As a part of Harlequinn Teen week earlier this year, author Aimee Carter wrote a guest post about being a reluctant reader.  Today we are re-running that post for Reluctant Reader week because it is full of insight.  This post originally appeared on February 11, 2013

 Aimee Carter is the author of the Goddess Test series.  You can visit her official website here.

 I have a confession to make. I’m a reluctant reader. 
When I was a kid, my dad paid me to read. We made a deal: for every book I read on my own, he gave me a quarter. To a six-year-old, that was a pretty big deal, and I saved them all up to buy toys (instead of books, like my dad had hoped). But no matter how many quarters I collected, I still didn’t catch the bug for reading. My dad, who’s an avid reader and writer, was convinced something wasn’t right. I was his kid, after all. There had to be a story out there that would unlock my genetic predisposition to read everything in sight. 

It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to read. I liked some books, especially ones about mythology and Disney characters. But on our weekly trips to the bookstore, I always sought out those same stories, and I never gave others more than a passing glance.

MG Review: The Odd Squad: Bully Bait by Michael Fry (reviewed by tween reviewer Kicky)

Nick is the shortest seventh-grader in the history of the world (he's pretty sure), doesn't fit in with any groups or clubs (who needs 'em?), and spends more time inside than outside his locker (they're roomier than you'd think). 

Things only get worse when a well-intentioned guidance counselor forces Nick to join the school's lamest club--along with fellow misfits Molly and Karl--in her quest to cure all three of their "peer allergies." What starts off as a reluctant band of hopeless oddballs morphs into an effective and empowered team ready to face whatever middle school throws at them, including bullies, awkward romance, zany adults, and a brave new world of surprising friendships. 

Renowned cartoonist Michael Fry brings an unforgettable cast of characters to life in an illustrated novel brimming with honesty, humor, and heart.
  (Synopsis from Goodreads)

 The Odd Squad: Bully Bait by Michael Fry. Published 2/12/2013 by Disney Hyperion. ISBN: 9781423169246

What Kicky has to say:

Tween Review: The Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell (reviewed by tween reviewer Ceci)

The Dork Diaries Series is out of this world! If there is a movie, I NEED to get it! Nikki a 13 going on 14 year old girl, transfers to a new school. There is going to be trouble for Nikki Maxwell. There’s a new mean girl Mackenzie Hollister and Jessica Adams and they are cruel. If you call Mackenzie mean, well then you’re bonkers crazy. She is a devil, the wicked witch of the west! Nikki also has a new crush ... BRANDON!

The worst part is that Brandon doesn’t know and Mackenzie pretends to like him just to drive Nikki nuts.

Whenever Brandon sits next to Nikki in bio, she gets all blushy because he always brushing his bangs out of his eyes.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Graphic Novel Review: Drama by Raina Telgemeier

If you don't have Eisner award winner Raina Telgemeier in your collection, you need to start.

Her newest work, Drama, brings us into the world of 7th grader Callie.  Deeply in love with the theater, Callie's dream is to design sets for Broadway.  For now, however, she'll settle for being on set crew for her school's production of Moon Over Mississippi, and is determined to bring Broadway to Eucalyptus Middle School.  And on budget.  Yet things get complicated on stage and off when romances develop, misunderstandings blow up out of proportion, and a last minute crisis threatens the entire production.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier, published by Graphix in 2012. ISBN: 9780545326995


Movie Discussion: Beautiful Creatures

So now, it's been a whole week since Beautiful Creatures has come out to the big screen, and we here at Teen Librarian Toolbox have been very patient with you readers in waiting for you to see it.  If you haven't, then go see it, and then come back, because after the break, we're going to be discussing the movie and what we liked and didn't like about it.

If you haven't read the book by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, then chances are you will love the movie and not have really any qualms.  Beautiful Creatures is not doing too well in the box office, possibly for a number of reasons.  Talk around online outlets seem to say that the trailers made it out to be the next Sparkly Vampire Movie, when the movie wasn't about that at all.  The books also supposedly don't have as great a readership as those Sparkly Vampire Movie books,  which may have hurt chances as well.  It also was released during the weekend that Die Hard and Safe Haven were released, and Warm Bodies was still out, splitting up the potential audience.  

I don't know.  Karen and I took her Tween to see it on Saturday, and we both loved it.  Karen hasn't read the books, I have, and I divorced myself from the series in order to stay in movie world and fall in love with the movie.  If you've read the books, this is one of the movies that you'll need to stay strictly in movie world in order to enjoy.  While Garcia and Stohl gave their blessing on the changes and rewrites, there are huge changes to the story.  CinemaBlend does a really good job of hitting the highlights here.  I do have to wonder if the changes that they made are because they're not going to make a franchise- I haven't been able to find anything online about any sequels, even before the weekend takes were online, which is unusual when there are multiple books you can take for subject matter. 


Put a Teen on It! The library board that is (Teen involvement)

When we talk about teen involvement in libraries, we are often thinking of ways that we - the teen librarians - can involve teens in our planning activities and give them a voice in our services.  But there are countless ways to involve teens in the life of the library.  Today I'll discuss a big one - creating a position on the Library Board of Directors for a teen.

This is not a Teen Advisory Board - what I'm talking about here is creating a spot at that big table in the Board room for a teen to fill each time the Library Board or Library Trustees meets.  Does it sound crazy to you?  While the practice is not yet widespread, it's not unprecedented, and now is a good time to start moving on the idea if you want to implement it in your library starting in the fall.  Your best avenue for reaching the kind of civically engaged, focused, dedicated, high achieving [read: busy] student that will best suit such a position could very well be someone you don't know yet because he or she is likely too busy to come to library programs.  Reaching out to the schools will yield a better field of candidates, so start thinking and planning now before exams, the Spring show, and prom take center stage for your high school community.

Why Teens on the Board?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Love is in the air: teen romance (guest post by Jennifer Rummel)

With love in the air, it’s a great time to settle down with a romance book. I’m a sucker for a great teen romance novel. Since I’m a HUGE Jane Austen fan, it seems natural that my love of her work would transfer into historical romances, especially of the Regency Era.

Some of my teen historical romance favorites include . . .

The Season: Sarah MacLean
Lady Alexandra is set to make her first societal debut, amidst ball gowns , parties, and suitors.  She wants a husband who doesn’t frown upon intelligent women.  She talks about the latest gossip and fashion with her three best friends. Suddenly, her feelings take a turn when she looks deeper at her brother’s friend. He’s mourning the loss of his father. Alex overhears something that might be a clue to the unexpected death.

Ransom My Heart by Princess Mia
I’m cheating a little with this one as it’s technically an adult book, but it’s a cross-over too because it’s by Meg Cabot and mentioned in Forever Princess. I love how the two books blend together. Mia writes this historical romance set in 1291. Finn is the daughter of a miller, whose pregnant sister needs a dowry and fast.  She agrees to kidnap an Earl returning from the Crusades, but she never expected him to be quite so…handsome.

Top 10: You Could Have Been an X-Men

"Ladies and gentlemen, the truth is that mutants are very real, and that they are among us. We must know who they are, and above all, what they can do!" - X-Men, 2000

Inspired by today's review of Nobody by Jennifer Lynne Barnes, here is a list of 10 ya titles with characters that have supernatural or genetically altered powers, which would make them awesome X-men.  Because some people might consider this list spoilery, proceed with caution.  After you click READ MORE, the covers will appear and there is no turning back.

 You have been warned.

 Spoiler Space

Book Review: Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The most dangerous people in the world . . . are the ones you don't even see.

There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them. (Goodreads synopsis)

Perhaps there is no greater desire in the life of a teen than to simply be noticed, to feel like they belong.  Here, Barnes plays with that theme by creating teens that - quite literally - can not be noticed, there is something in their make up that makes them hard to see and easy to forget.  Claire can list the number of times that her parents have left somewhere without her, and they have even had to put a sign on their door reminding them that they have a daughter.  The beginning scenes where we are first introduced to Claire and her desire to be noticed are strong and palpable.  It draws you right in.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Take 5: Lights, Camera, Action: YA Fiction about Filmmaking

Today we are all about teen filmmakers, so here is a list of 5 ya titles that feature teens who are stepping behind the camera (and sometimes in front of it) and trying to be their own Andrew Jenks.  Check out these 5 titles about Reel Teens.

TPiB: Hosting a Teen Film Festival, inspired by Andrew Jenks, My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker

Earlier today, we reviewed (and recommended) Andrew Jenks, My Adventures as a Young FilmmakerOf course, there are all kinds of programming potential tie-ins for the book.  You can go little, hosting a movie viewing party, or go big, inviting teens to create their own short films and hosting a local teen film festival.  So many people are doing amazing things these days with smartphones and computers, it is a great way to tap into that creativity with your local teens.

Hosting a Teen Film Festival
Today is a time of great creative renaissance for teens.  Now, more than ever, they have the tools at their disposal to make their own movies.  You can see amazing examples on YouTube and  For a great look at young people dabbling in the word of film, watch the movie Super 8.  Tap into this zeitgeist moment and ask your teens to participate in a local teen film festival put on by you, their favorite librarian.

Hot Tips
Put together an awesome prize package.  It could include things like gift cards, local movie theater passes, or even something like a digital camera, iPod touch, etc.  You can ask local stores to donate and give them sponsorship credit.

Network with your local schools to get submissions, especially the art departments.  Sometimes they will even offer extra credit if you prompt them.

Getting Your Promotional Materials Organized

Book Review: Andrew Jenks, My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker

"I want to tell the stories of my generation. I want to be a filmmaker that is able to capture what my generation thinks, how they act, and they ultimately stand for." - Andrew Jenks

"Everyone has a story and telling those stories is what I do." - Jenks, page 169

At 16, Andrew Jenks started the Hendrick Hudson Film Festival
At 19, he made his first film
At 21, he created the ESPN documentary "The Zen of Bobby V."
At 24, he had his own show on MTV
At 26, he is sharing his life in a book (feeling like a slacker yet?)

Monday, February 18, 2013

What's the diff? MG versus YA . . . a guest post by author Shannon Duffy

How is Middle Grade fiction different than YA fiction?

The simple answer to this question is that in middle grade, the protagonists are usually between ages 9-13 or 14. With young adult, the protagonists are in their mid to late teens. You tend to see a lot of them at about 16 or 17.

TLT has 2 tween reviewers, here is a Top 10 from 2012
Inward vs. Outward focus. Middle graders are usually more internally focused. For them it’s more about themselves, trying to make it through the middle grade years, fitting in while also figuring out who they are. A lot of their world is about their friends and families. YA characters are focused more externally. They are seeing the world in a broader sense and are dealing with, or at least thinking about, drinking, sex, getting their driver’s license, and hey, where are they going to go for college—where do they fit in in the broader scope of the world.

Then there’s the whole romance stuff of course. Yes, there can be romance in MG…but it’s flirtier if anything and these kids are only starting to figure out about liking someone else like that. I personally don’t have romance in my MG, but it can be done, albeit on a much more innocent level than YA. With YA, romance can come into play a lot more—stronger feelings, more romantic and sexual actions—although it’s not mandatory.

A Long Day's Night: Hosting an After Hours Program (A Day in the Life of a Library 2013)

I am an everything librarian.  My official title is Senior Librarian, but I am the manager, the adult and teen and tween librarian, the partial youth librarian (I have a part time youth librarian), and the circulation supervisor.  I am also crazy about teen programming, and think that it's extremely important.  So much so, that once a month I have a very long Wednesday.  

Typically on Wednesdays I work 9-7 with an hour unpaid break, but once a month I hold a program called Teen After Hours.  My library (and all the libraries in my system) closes at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, and for a select number of teens, I have the library open from 6 - 9 p.m.  We have our library's PS3, Wii, and XBOX 360 set up to projectors or a TV stand for free play, the library's computers open for use, the stacks available for browsing, and tables available for card dueling.  I am typically full to capacity at these programs, with teens asking after it's started to be let in.  We're the only library in my system that does this, and I'm the only one staffing the program, so reluctantly I have to turn them away, but I always remind them that the signs were there, and the next one will be the second Wednesday of next month.  It's hugely popular- I have tweens counting down the months until their 13th birthday, which is the threshold to gain admittance to any teen program.

Needless to say, it makes for a very long Wednesday.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Reflections: Tween Conversations

Fade In: Me, at reference desk on Valentines Day, working.  Tween Boy, 12 years old, sitting next to me.

Tween:  Miss, so you and Mr. That Guy don't celebrate Valentine's Day?
Me:  Yep.
Tween: Why not?
Me: Just cause.
Tween: But you like each other, right? Cuz he brings you dinner, and you hold hands and stuff.
Me: Yep.
Tween: So you didn't get him nothing and he didn't get you nothing.
Me: Nope.
Tween: But you made us Valentines.

Me: Yep, because you guys celebrate Valentines.
Tween: Oh.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

TPiB: Zombie Prom (by Stephanie W)

 In 2010, I decided that I wanted to start having a program that was 1) after-hours, 2) for teens ONLY, and 3) in the Fall.  And so...Zombie Prom was born.

Zombie Prom is our annual (we're heading into year #4) Teen Read Week celebration and our annual Teens ONLY party event of the year.

So, you wanna have your own Zombie Prom?

I'll tell you a bit about ours.  Our Zombie Prom is a completely free event for teens ages 12-18.  The teens can pick up permission slips from any of our ten branches and then return them, signed, in exchange for a ticket.  No permission ticket.  (Click HERE for a sample of our permission slip)  This helps us keep up with how many tickets we are giving out as we limit this event to the first 100 to register.

Each Friday in the month of October, my YA staff has to call in their number of tickets given out and we keep a running total in my office.  When we reach 80 tickets given out, staff has to call in each time they give away tickets until we hit the happy number of 100.

Take 5: Under the radar with Harlequin Teen

As you can see by their 2013 catalog list, Harlequin Teen has a lot of great titles coming out this year.  And though we tried to cover them all, we simply couldn't.  So here is a look at 5 Harlequin Teen titles that you don't want to let fly under your radar.

Indigo Awakening (The Hunted, book 1) by Jordan Dane
There are legends of what are called Indigo children, children with special talents and abilities.  There is a church that wants to hunt down all of these Indigo children and wipe them out, their psychic abilities are an abberation.  Indigo Awakening is an intensely thrilling look at life on the run for these teens who are trying to understand the secret powers that reside in them.  A good companion read to Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi or Nobody by Jennifer Lynne Barnes.

Temptation (Temptation series) by Karen Ann Hopkins
Rose falls hopelessly, madly in love with Noah and it seems like it should be true love forever.  There is one thing that stands in their way: he is Amish and she is not.

Ink (The Paper Gods books 1) by Amanda Sun
Katie never wanted to move to Japan, but when she sees the images move on the drawings of a boy named Tomo, the both begin to realize things about themselves that make them targets.  Katie may not make it out of Japan alive.

Indelible (The Twixt book 1) by Dawn Metcalf
Somewhere between the world of myth and reality lies the Twixt . . . Accidentally marked by Ink, Joy must pretend to be his chosen one.

Countdown by Michelle Rowen
A street thief and a convicted murderer must work together against the clock to beat a deadly reality game. Countdown is a reworking of a previous novel, you can read more about it here.

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Down the Zombie Hole: Book Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

As part of our Harlequin Teen week, we are re-running this book review for Alice in Zombieland which originally appeared on October 16, 2012.  Also today, Stephanie will be outlining her Zombie Prom activity for you.  Book 2 in the series, Through the Zombieglass, will be released in October of 2013.  This is a great time to hold a zombie prom and read this zombie series.
"She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever."

Alice Bell thinks her father is crazy and embarrassing, but it turns out he may be right after all.  Alice can't go out at night. Ever.  Her father claims there are monsters out there that will eat them.  But one night Alice convinces her family to let her beloved sister, Emma, go out for her dance recital and her life changes forever.  The monsters are real.  And now Alice's family is dead.

Alice in Zombieland (Book 1 in The White Rabbit Chronicles) by Gena Showalter
Published 2012 by Harlequin Teen (ISBN: 978-0-373-21058-9)

"But that's all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything I knew and loved was gone. My name is Alice Bell, and on the night of my sixteenth birthday I lost the mother I loved, the sister I adored and the father I never understood until it was too late.  Until that heartbeat when my entire world collapsed and a new one took shape around me.  My father was right. Monsters walk among us."

Friday, February 15, 2013

Do Kick Butt Heroines Really Need to Kick Butt? A guest post by author Dawn Metcalf

Strong female protagonists: we love them, we admire them, and we want more of them! Give us more Buffys and Xenas, more Katsas and Katnisses, more Trises and Tallys, and more like our beloved Keladrys of Mindelan. We want our girls to be active, fighting for their lives and the lives of their friends, to be leaders, just and savvy, cool and smart, taking down governments and taking names! And while I am as much of a fan of these stories as the next rabid bookavore, I begin to worry—as a reader and a writer—whether “sharp, pointy stick” has become shorthand for “strong.”
            While there are many strengths in the world, the flashy ones like sword fighting, magic and kung fu action get all the press. Don’t get me wrong—most of my favorite stories (and favorite pastimes) feature that kind of strength, but when characters like Tally Youngblood and Beatrice “Tris” Prior begin to depend on their mental strengths alongside their physical ones, that’s when things get interesting! Subtly strong characters like Cammie Morgan and Frankie Landau-Banks use brains over brawn to subvert the Old Boy networks, and while Katniss Everdeen and Lena Duchannes both wield serious power, it is their love for others that makes them true heroines, showing us how strong they really are.
            Me, I love strong female protagonists! That’s why I wrote INDELIBLE.

Indelible, The Twixt book 1 by Dawn Metcalf
Coming in September 2013 from Harlequin Teen

Book Review: The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

I struggled to take a breath. She wasn't listening. She didn't understand- or maybe she did, and she just didn't care. "What about my son? He's Henry's too, you know. And he's your grandson. His name's Milo, and he's not even a week old. Why does he deserve to be raised by Cronus?"

Rhea said nothing, and I couldn't stop the flow of words that poured from me now.

"He'll never know me. He'll never know his father. He'll grow up calling the bitch who kidnapped me his mother, the egomaniac who's killed millions of people his father, and he'll never know that I'm out here loving him ore in a moment that they could in an eternity. What could he have possibly done to deserve that?"

"Nothing," said Rhea softly. "Your son has done nothing to deserve it, as the people of this village have done nothing to deserve brutality and starvation."

Then help him like you're helping these people," I pleaded. "Please, I'll do whatever you want me to do-"
"I want you to leave me in peace," she said.

"Okay." I took a shaky breath, and the world spun around me. She wasn't going to help the council with the war. If she wouldn't do it for the billions of helpless people in the world, then nothing I could possibly say or do would change her mind. "I'll go away, I promise. Just-please. Help Henry. At least vie my son a chance to know his father."

Once again, Rhea was quiet. Her eyes grew distant the same way Cronus's had in the nursery, and her hands stilled mid-pick. I glanced at James. Was that our cue to go? He shrugged, and together we waited.

"Very well," she said at last, breaking the silence. "It is done."

"What's done?" I said, giving James another bewildered look, but his brow knitted in confusion as well. "Rhea, please-what's done?"

"Give your mother my love," she said, touching my shoulder. The pain in my arm from the dagger vanished. "You are strong, Kate. Stronger than you know. You do not need me to have what yo most desire. As long as you resist my husband, you will have it.""It isn't about what I want," I said, seconds from bursting. How could she heal me but not help save the people who really needed her? "he's going to kill everyone, this village included."

She didn't respond. Instead she picked a few more blossoms and turned to reenter the clinic. I started to go after her, and James grabbed my wrist with an iron grip.

"Don't," he said. Before I could protest, another voice whispered through the garden, hoarse and cracking. But real. So, so real.


My heart hammered, and I spun around, yanking my hand from James's. Nestled between a gnarled tree and a patch of ferns stood Henry.

A Twitter Rant: Libraries 'have had their day', says Horrible Histories author

Yesterday, Maria Selke tweeted me a link to an article in which the Horrible Histories author Terry Deary proclaims that "libraries have had their day." His belief seems to be this: people should not get to check out books for free and deprive authors of royalties and profits. As the wife of an artist, I get where he is coming from. But the truth is, without libraries, people would be reading less. We would live in a less educated, less informed society.  Simply stated, less people would be reading his books.  It would not create the affect that he thinks it would.

So, here are some of my thoughts on the article . . .

1 in 5 children still go to bed hungry each night.  Not every library circulation would translate into a book purchase.  Although many patrons will read a book, love it and buy it, the reverse is not true.  People have limited budgets and can't spend money they don't have on books, so the notion that each circulation would have been a book purchase for this, or any, author is a false equivalency.  What would happen is that simply less people would be exposed to this author, his book would be read by less people.  Libraries help ensure that our society is better read, better informed.

Book Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

"What have I done? she whispered.
What you had to do.
She felt his neck for a pulse, relief engulfing her as she found it. She hadn't killed him.  At least she wouldn't hang. But she had still attacked the son of a peer of the realm and there would be consequences.
Three jobs in three months and they'd all ended with an experience like this one, although this was be far the worse  She'd been let go from each position because of her behavior, something that had released this thing inside her. Urges to act in a way that was far from civilized, far beyond what she as a young woman should be capable of.
They'd bring the law down on her from this. They'd lock her up. Or worse, use her for scientific experiments in New Bethlehem Asylum- Bedlam. And they would experiment on her once they realized she was abnormal.
Run, the voice inside her whispered. Run away.
Listening to the voice had gotten her into this mess, perhaps it would get her out. There was no way Lord Felix wouldn't exact retribution upon her for harming him-either by finishing what he'd started or by bringing the authorities down upon her. There was no way she was going to let him do what he wanted to her. No way she'd risk having her brain dissected for giving him less that what he really deserved.
So Finley listened to the voice and ran.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Listen to Your Hearts

Conversation hearts: that chalky sweet reminder of Valentine's Day that lingers (in your molars) long after the chocolate has melted away. Their phrases are by turns charming and mystifying, but we love them just the same. So much so, that it's time we do a little Reader's Advisory love match for these desperately seeking sweets. Here, I do my best to match the title to the treat.
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
The last night of school, Lucy is determined to meet Shadow, the graffiti artist and underground celebrity in her town who she is sure would be her soul mate. Ed, a guy with whom Lucy had a disastrous first (and last) date with knows where he is. All night they hang out, bond over art and poetry and life, looking for what is already there.
Graffiti Moon
Au Revoir Crazy European Chick / Perry's Killer Playlist by Joe Schreiber
You know that person you just can't give up, even though you know it's totally not in your best interest? Yeah, Gobi is that person for Perry. You don't need to read the first before the second, but it'll help, it's a page turner, and it's a heckuvalot of fun. This pair asks the question: exactly how many times can love overcome death?
BEMYBABY Hooked by Catherine Greenman
When New York teens Thea and Will meet at their prestigious high school, settling down with a baby is the last thing on their minds. They’re so in love… but when baby makes three, things are bound to change.
pic name Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins
In this forthcoming sequel from Harlequin Teen, Amish Noah and "English" Rose have met and fallen in love. Now Rose has decided to uproot her modern life and become Amish so she can be with Noah. Her father expects she won't last, but Rose is determined that this will be forever. What she finds within her new community and within herself is surprising in many ways.
pic name
pic name After Hello by Lisa Magnum
Like a scene in a movie, Sarah snaps a photo of Sam finding a book at the beginning of her one and only day in New York City, and the two strike up an adorably flirtatious friendship as Sam trades one thing for another in hopes of finding exactly what his hotheaded celebrity employer wants and Sarah discovers a world of possibilities.
pic name
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Both Aristotle and Dante are just completely solid guys. The kind of guys you want in your life, the kind of guys you're lucky to meet and hope to hold on to for a while. As their friendship grows and develops into something more, the two discover that they are, indeed, lucky to have one another.
pic name
Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral
She's a brilliant piano prodigy. He's a troubled student with an artistic flair. She's headed on a European tour. He's from Argentina. She's missing. And he is... well, I'll let you figure that one out. This is a beautiful book, and a compelling love story told almost exclusively through photographs.
The Difference Between You and Me by Madeline George
What could be more romantic than finding love and lust in the library bathroom? Well, probably lots of things, but when Jesse and Emily sneak off together to make out each week, those kisses make it all seem just about perfect... until the girls find themselves on opposite sides of a community conflict.
Going Vintage by Lindsay Leavitt
When you find that your boyfriend is cheating on you with a cyber wife, there is only one thing you can do - swear off all technology and return to a time where life was simpler. That's right, Mallory is Going Vintage. Back to 1962, to be exact, to complete her grandmother's unfinished to-do list from Junior year.
The Immortal Rulesby Julie Kagawa
Oh come on, we had to have at least ONE vampire book on here, right? Well this is a good one. Allie lives on the outskirts, trying to stay hidden, in a future society ruled by much reviled vampires. But when she makes the decision to let a vampire turn her instead of dying, her secrecy takes a new direction. This first in a promising and much anticipated series has both action and romance that both build slowly, forcefully, and very darkly.
Want to make your own hearts? I used this brilliantly simple site and you can too!
Want to build on this and host a conversation heart fest? Here are Fourteen Conversation Heart Crafts, and you can always just see who can stack them the highest too.

Happy Valentine's Day, from everyone here at the Teen Librarian Toolbox!