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GEPL Teens: Welcome Freshmen!

Teens Blog BannerToday, I’d like to take a moment from this blog’s busy “raving about great books” schedule to say hello to all the recently graduated eighth graders who are now officially part of GEPL’s Teen Scene and teen programming.  Hi freshmen!

I particularly want to invite anyone reading this who is about to start their freshman year to come to the library tomorrow, July 23, at 11:30 a.m., for a program called “So You’re Going to Be a Freshman.”  We have a great panel of teens who just finished their freshman year, along with a counselor from Glenbard West, who are ready and waiting to tell you about what to expect and answer your questions.  Plus, there will be pizza!

But of course, I can’t possibly make it through a whole blog post without talking about books a little. So after you come and get the scoop tomorrow, if you’re still looking for a way to prepare yourself for what’s coming, you can read one of the books below.  Some of these books are fun and light, some of them deal with some heavier topics, but all of them focus on characters navigating their freshman year of high school.  So good luck to all of you, and welcome to the Teen Scene!

Blog Entry 75 - Image 1The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. (Description from the GEPL.org catalog)

Blog Entry 75 - Image 2Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson – A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda’s freshman year in high school. (Description from the GEPL.org catalog)

Blog Entry 75 - Image 3The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot – Fourteen-year-old Mia, who is trying to lead a normal life as a teenage girl in New York City, is shocked to learn that her father is the Prince of Genovia, a small European principality, and that she is a princess and the heir to the throne. (Description from the GEPL.org catalog)

Blog Entry 75 - Image 4The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – A haunting coming of age novel told in a series of letters to an unknown correspondent reveals the life of Charlie, a freshman in high school who is a wallflower, shy and introspective, and very intelligent. (Description from the GEPL.org catalog)

Blog Entry 75 - Image 5The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier – A high school freshman discovers the devastating consequences of refusing to join in the school’s annual fund-raising drive and arousing the wrath of school bullies. (Description from the GEPL.org catalog)

Blog Entry 75 - Image 6Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen by Dyan Sheldon – In her first year at a suburban New Jersey high school, Mary Elizabeth Cep, who now calls herself “Lola,” sets her sights on the lead in the annual drama production, and finds herself in conflict with the most popular girl in school. (Description from the GEPL.org catalog)

Posted in GEPL Teens

Tween Profile: Cheyenne

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UntitledCheyenne, 8th Grader at Glen Crest Middle School

Current summer reading hours: 112

Meet Cheyenne. You might find her in one of her favorite places: 2Toots Train Whistle Grill, or the Yorktown Mall. She loves tacos and pizza. At the library, she is a master at finding Dewey the cat. Cheyenne loves to read teen romances. Her favorite book, up until this summer was Kiss by Rachel Vail, but now is Keep Holding On by Suzanne Colasanti. She also enjoys the two graphic novel series Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino and The Sand Chronicles by Hinako Ashihara. When she’s not reading, she enjoys creating portraits with pastels and using vivid color markers in contrast with colored pencils. During the school year, she spends her time in cross country and track, but hates to exercise outside of school.

Cheyenne is turning 13 this August, and plans to have a girl’s day out with her closest friends, maybe hanging out at the pool, getting their nails done – or both!

Still trying to get to 100 hours yourself? Cheyenne’s tips include reading 30 minutes before bed each night, and whenever you have free time. Try reading to others, too. It feels good to help others!

Posted in GEPL News, GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 74 - ImageReviewer: Sabrina

Book Title: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Description: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. (Description from Goodreads.com)

Review: The Fault in Our Stars: An emotional roller coaster that no reader will get tired of riding. The story starts off with a 16 year old girl named Hazel. She has Thyroid cancer and she’s basically alive because of a medicine the doctors are experimenting with on her. Even though she has a serious and a deathly situation, this story is about how she starts to live not die. As her cancer is getting to her, she starts to feel alone and isolated and that’s when her mom and doctor really encourage her to start going to a cancer support group. As she starts going to this group, she meets Augustus. When these two teens meet, sparks start to fly. Augustus is determined to get her even when she pushes him away.

Hazel and Augustus start to hang out and get to know each other, and the readers can tell how Augustus is a person who wants to leave the world with a mark. He’s determined to do something great and incredible, while Hazel doesn’t see much point in that because she thinks everyone is going to end up dead anyways. Augustus creates a tiny and new world for Hazel. He shows her dreams can come true here in this life but Hazel doesn’t want to hurt Augustus when she dies. He always tell her throughout the story that he wouldn’t mind being hurt by Hazel Grace. They have their own special love that every teenager would crave to have in their lives. They experience these intense emotions that we readers are able to feel though their characters. We can feel ourselves dying without really dying.

In 313 pages, you’ll feel a sense of happiness and warmth, a feeling of anger and frustration, a feeling of confusion and wondering why things turned out the way they did in their lives, and the feeling of loss and sadness. The characters will make you feel inspired to make your own mark in the world and let you be hopeful for yourself. Just these words and letters in The Fault in Our Stars have the ability to make us feel these powerful emotions. It touches you and changes your point of view on life completely. It’s beautiful and there is no other way to describe it. I would really recommend this book completely!

-Sabrina

Posted in GEPL Teens

New SelfCheck Machine Added to Youth Department

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For your convenience, a new SelfCheck machine has been added to the Youth Department!

Now, GEPL members can gather materials and check them out immediately using the SelfCheck machine.

Next time you visit the Youth Department, be sure to ask a staff member to provide a demonstration of how the SelfCheck machine works!

Posted in GEPL News

GEPL Teens: What I’m Reading Now – Anna and the French Kiss

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 73 - ImageOnce again, I’m immersed in the joys of both trying new things and audiobooks, which have combined for today’s What I’m Reading Now post!

What I’m Reading Now: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

What’s It About (Jacket Description): Note: I personally think this jacket description is really bad.  Please give the book a chance, despite the terrible description!

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Do I Like It: Much, much more than I ever expected to!

Thoughts: I admit, I resisted this book for a long time.  I won’t say I judged the book by its cover, but I definitely judged it by its title, which I still maintain is terrible, and the concept, which I might have been mistaken in judging so harshly.  Clearly, I was wrong about this book.  So, so wrong.  Anna and the French Kiss is delightful.  I was not prepared for how much I am loving this book.

For starters, there’s Anna – easily the best part of the book.  She feels like a friend already.  I love her slightly germaphobic and hyper-neat quirks, her love of movies, her language difficulties (which, at least as far as modern languages go, I can totally sympathize with.)  I even love the bleached streak in her hair.  And Kim Mai Guest, the narrator of my audiobook, absolutely brings Anna to life.  If I didn’t know better, I’d think an actual teenager was narrating this book.  I know it comes up over and over again in my reviews, but in a book with a first person narrator, liking the narrator –or at least feeling like the narrator is a real, interesting person – is so important.  Luckily, Stephanie Perkins nails it with Anna.

I was also resistant to Anna and the French Kiss on the basis of the romance.  Now, I love a good romantic arc in a book as much as the next person, but the plot description made the love story sound super cheesy and melodramatic, and like romance would be all there was to the book.  But as it turns out, the plot description – like the title – is kind of terrible.  Yes, there’s a meet-cute, and St. Clair is impossibly dreamy, but this romance has some legs to it.  Anna and St. Clair are fully fleshed out, flawed, and fabulous characters.  The factors that separate them ring true, rather than feeling forced, and the sparks between them practically shoot off the page (or out of the speakers, in this case.)  So far, the swoons are increasing along with the frustration of their separation, and I am enjoying every minute of it.

But romance certainly isn’t the only thing going on in Anna’s life.  I’m loving getting to know her group of friends in France (and wishing I could see more of her Atlanta BFF Bridget!) and I’m desperately wishing I could be in Paris and getting to know the city at the same time as Anna.  Her whole world comes alive, and I’m finding myself dying to read more just to get into the setting.  I think I’d be happy to read a whole book just about Anna’s Parisian meals with her friends (which is good, because mealtimes are kind of a big thing so far in this book.)

I cannot tell you how happy I am that I grabbed Anna and the French Kiss.  Once again, taking a chance and trying something new has paid off in a big way.  If you like great characters, or stories about someone finding their way in a new place, or great romances, or great narration, or any combination of those things, I highly recommend ignoring the lousy title and the cheesy description, and picking up Anna and the French Kiss.  I myself can’t wait to get back in my car and hear more about Anna, St. Clair, their friends, and Paris.

Posted in GEPL Teens

Marshmallow Engineering For Kids!

 

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Does your child like to build?  We have a program for that!  Children age 6-8 are invited to the Youth Department Thursday, July 17th from 4-4:30 for our Marshmallow Engineering program.

Using mini marshmallows and toothpicks, children will be combining engineering with art to design and build structures.  With a child’s imagination, the possibilities are endless!

To register your child for this program, click here.

Posted in GEPL Kids, GEPL News

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Epistolary Novels Display

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 72 - ImageWhether we’re on vacation, away at summer camp, or heading off to college in the fall, summer is the time when we are constantly texting, writing, and emailing our closest friends and family to keep in touch. Whether it’s a heartfelt letter from a pen-pal, a hilarious text from your parents, or a gossip-filled diary that you’re trying to hide from your siblings, each of these messages can hold so much meaning. A tear jerking breakup can be received from a ping on your phone, and so can that text from your friend that makes it all feel better.

So it makes sense that the stories told by these messages have been put into some amazing Young Adult novels! For July we are showcasing some of these great epistolary novels. Epistolary novels are books written from a collection of documents: such as emails, IM messages, letters, or diary entries.

Recently published was Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira about Laurel, who starts writing letters to people who have passed away after an assignment in English class. She gets a little carried away and soon these letters tell her life story and help her accept her sister May’s death.

Do you still fantasize about being the next Princess Kate? If so, then you can also follow the diary of a high school teenager turned royalty (Mia) in The Princess Diaries, by Meg Cabot, which was made into a movie starring Anne Hathaway. Or what about the amazing coming-of-age novel Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chobsky? These journal entries showcase Charlie experiencing the difficulties of his freshman year of high school (and it was also made into a movie starring the one and only Emma Watson).

In a more modern setting, you’ll fall in love with the friendship of “zoegirl”, “SnowAngel” and “madmaddie” simply through IM messages in Lauren Myracle’s TTYL. Or journey to the future in Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, where you can read the journal entries of Miranda as she watches the world end when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth.

So if you can relate to writing love letters to your crushes like Lara Jean in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, DJ’s love of football in Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, or if you love classics like Dracula by Bram Stoker then be sure to check out the Teen Scene’s display of epistolary books!

-Amanda

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Fangirling about Fangirl

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 71 - ImageIt’s possible that I’ve mentioned (once or twice…or over and over…) my love for and obsession with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  Yes, it’s true – I’m a fangirl for Fangirl.  This is a book that literally left me dreaming about the characters.  There are tons of reasons for someone to love this book of course – Rainbow Rowell is a remarkably talented author, as anyone who has read Eleanor & Park knows, and there’s not much more explanation than that needed for why someone would feel affectionate towards her work.  And when it comes down to it, I loved Fangirl for the same reasons anyone loves a great book.

But Fangirl for me is something special, and I haven’t quite been able to figure out why.  Sometimes you just find a book that speaks to you, and Fangirl was one of those books for me.  Part of it comes from actual shared experiences with the characters.  Cath, the main character, writes fan-fiction set in the world of Simon Snow (a Harry Potter-type series of books).  It’s her way of escaping what’s wrong in her life, exploring a world she loves in new ways, and honing her writing skills.  I spent many of my teenager years, yup, writing fan-fiction – to escape what I didn’t like about my life, to explore worlds (mostly just one world) I loved in new ways, and to hone my writing skills.  Obviously, I identify with Cath in some pretty key ways.

But that’s certainly not all that made Fangirl touch me so much.  After all, I’m very unlike Cath in a lot of ways too.  She spends the first part of her freshman year of college feeling steadily more betrayed by her sister Wren’s distance, coping with her social anxiety, cautiously making a very small amount of new friends, and discovering the joys and pains of interacting with other writers.  And none of these things is anything like my college freshman experience.  But the beauty of a good book is that it can be just as powerful in terms of people, characters, and experiences that are new to us as those that are comfortable and identifiable.  And for me, Fangirl was a pretty perfect combination of the familiar and the new.

I also loved the way Rainbow Rowell didn’t vilify anybody, didn’t give any easy answers, and explored all kinds of morals and experiences.  Cath certainly makes plenty of missteps, including some in her relationship with Wren.  But then, so does Wren – sometimes I wanted to slap her.  When a potential love interest does something that hurts Cath, I understood her pain – but I also felt like I understood him a little, and couldn’t blame him entirely.  And that’s what’s beautiful about the world Rainbow Rowell has created in Fangirl – just like real life, nothing is black and white, everything has nuances and layers.  I think this, as much as anything else, is what allowed me to immerse myself completely in Fangirl, not just once, but twice in the span of a month.

Of course, I can’t discount everything else that’s wonderful about Fangirl.  The supporting characters are fantastic, and I’m pretty sure I would read a book with any of them as the main character.  The excerpts from the Simon Snow books and Cath’s fan-fiction are delightful, and I know I would read the Simon Snow series if it were real.  The romance is completely and utterly swoon-worthy – I could not get enough of it.   What it comes down to is that I love Fangirl for all the reasons you love a really great book – I loved the characters, the writing, and the world-building, and all I wanted when I finished was to go back immediately and start reading it again.

So whether you’re about to start college and want to read about Cath’s experiences, whether you loved Eleanor & Park and want more, or whether you’re just looking for a great summer read, find Fangirin our catalog and place a hold ASAP!  While you wait for it to come in, let us know – what books are you fangirling about this summer?

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Teens Blog BannerSabrina A Blog 1 ImageReviewer: Sabrina

Book Title: Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Description: Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive. (Description from Goodreads.com)

Review: Unwind by Neal Shusterman is a book that will make you feel chills down your spine. There are two teenage boys, Lev and Connor and a teenage girl, Risa. Connor is a really hot-headed boy but starts to change throughout the book. Lev thinks he’s going to be tithe, which is a donation to the church. Risa has been sent to be “unwound” because teachers and the school thinks her potential is done and she is no longer needed in their society.   Risa is also an orphan. They’re all being sent to a harvest camp to be have their body parts taken apart while the teens are alive (“unwinding”). After these body parts are taken apart, they’re given to other people. Everything from their arms, brains, toes, fingers, eyes, and legs can be taken from them. These teens can be sent to be unwound because people can think the kid is not needed anymore. They can also be sent for tithes and behavioral issues.

Unwind has something for everyone. There’s a little bit of love and romance between the characters. This love grows as the book goes on and the teens face more struggles together. Characters in the book show true friendship in a couple scenarios, and show forgiveness. The story has a steady pace and keeps moving at an interesting rate. It is own world with a dystopian society and will keep you reading every second of the day. While reading this book you’ll be questioning about this type of world, and it’s almost terrifying to be thrown into their world while reading this book. Somewhere where you couldn’t imagine, but Neal Shusterman makes it real by painting a world like this for his readers.  I would really recommend this book because it will keep you on your feet.

-Sabrina

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Books to Fuel Your World Cup Fever

Teens Blog BannerThe World Cup is in full swing, and even though the U.S. has been eliminated (boo!) after surprising everyone by making it out of the group stages (yay!), it’s still an exciting time in sports.  Even people who normally don’t care (or pretend not to care) about soccer are invested.  So I thought I would pull together a great list of books and movies that focus on soccer or feature soccer players in honor of the World Cup 2014!

Blog Entry 69 - Image 1High and Dry, by Sarah Skilton – What do you get when you combine noir mystery, drug scandals, ex-girlfriends, and a star soccer player?  You get High and Dry by Sarah Skilton.  When Charlie Dixon, desperate to win back his ex-girlfriend, gets framed for causing a drug overdose at a party, he quickly finds himself embroiled in mystery after mystery, and scandal after scandal.  Between trying to find another ex-girlfriend’s stolen flash drive, being pressured by a friend into throwing a soccer game, and trying to discover what did happen the night he was framed, Charlie has a lot on his mind.  As a narrator, Charlie’s voice is distinct and appealing, and the excitement of High and Dry will keep you turning pages.

Blog Entry 69 - Image 2Bend it Like Beckham – Yes, this is super obvious, but who cares?  Bend it Like Beckham is one of my favorite movies.  It’s fantastic, combining friendship, relationships, family drama, classic coming-of-age, and all the excitement of a great sports movie.  Jess loves soccer, but when she joins a serious team in her suburban London neighborhood, her love of the sport comes into conflict with her traditional family, and her feelings for her new soccer coach comes into conflict with her new best friend’s feelings for him.  Although I personally love the focus on Jess and Jules’ friendship, there’s something here for everyone, no matter what you normally like in a movie.  This movie has it all and I highly recommend it!

Blog Entry 69 - Image 3Out of Nowhere, Maria Padian – Star soccer player Tom Bouchard barely notices when Somali refugees start flooding into his hometown after the events of 9/11.  But when four of them join his soccer team, he starts to notice.  Especially when Saeed starts dominating play and leading the team to victory.  But when Tom finds himself performing community service by tutoring some of the refugees, he gains a new perspective.  Tom must navigate his girlfriend, his budding friendship with Saeed despite his jealousy about the new player’s talent, his new cultural education, and of course, his on-field performance.

Blog Entry 69 - Image 4Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor – Sunny lives an in-between life.  She loves soccer, but her albinism means she can’t face the sun to play it.  She lives in Nigeria with Nigerian parents, but her American birth and upbringing make her feel like she is not at home.  She is African, but her albino white skin makes her subject to taunts at her school.  So when she discovers previously unknown magical talents, and a group of young magic-users all learning to use their skills, with her Sunny is excited to find a place where she belongs.  But as her knowledge increases, so do the dangers of the magical world she is now a part of.  Akata Witch is a hugely imaginative, exciting read, and Sunny is a releatable and likable main character.

Blog Entry 69 - Image 5She’s the Man – I pretty unashamedly love this movie, even as an adult.  Amanda Bynes is at her charming best.  The fun Shakespeare plot line is a classic for a reason.  The addition of a pre-21 Jump Street Channing Tatum and exciting soccer sequences complete the package.  When Viola finds out that her high school soccer team is being disbanded because of funding issues, she fights for her right to play on the boys’ team.  When she is denied that, she disguises herself and takes her twin brother’s place at an all-male boarding school, planning to prove that girls can play the sport just as well as boys.  Being a Shakespeare comedy plot, of course hijinks ensue, and they are delightful.  Seriously, this movie is just cheerful, entertaining fun, perfect for a hot summer afternoon!

Posted in GEPL Teens