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GEPL Teens: Winter Reads Display

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 113 - ImageSometimes when it’s cold and snowy outside, it’s nice to read about someplace warm and sunny – a little escapism never hurt anyone.  But sometimes, when winter hits, there’s nothing better than drinking a hot drink and curling up with a book to experience all the snow and ice and holiday madness vicariously through someone else’s story.  Cold, wintry reads are what this month’s display is focused on – whether they take place in our modern world or a fantasy world, around the holidays or just at a time when it’s cold and snowy, these books will all keep us in the winter spirit.

If fantasy, dystopias, or other worlds that are not our own are your thing, you could pick up Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo to read about the frozen, Russia-like land of Ravka, or Relic by Heather Terrell to experience a possible future civilization excavating the ice in the Arctic.  Or maybe you like our world, but with a twist, and so the werewolves of Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater or the re-imagined Rapunzel of Towering by Alex Flinn should suit you.  Perhaps you like your books realistic, but taut, exciting, and thrilling.  If that’s the case, you might want to try Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick or The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson.  Of course, you could just opt to get into the holiday spirit with Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, or the Let It Snow collection of short stories edited by John Green.  All these and many more options are featured in this months “Great YA Winter Reads” display, newly located on the big book cube closest to the Teen Scene.  Come take a glance at what this display has to offer, choose the winter read that will appeal to you, and get huddled under that blanket ASAP!

Posted in GEPL Teens

Tween Spotlight: Kyle Drexler


This is Kyle Drexler, an eighth grader at Hadley Middle School. A very busy kid, who still finds time to volunteer with the Middle School Volunteers program.

In his spare time, he enjoys running, acting, singing, playing guitar, but most of all – READING! He loves lasagna, and has recently discovered the new restaurant A Toda Madre. He suggests getting there right when they open to beat the rush, and recommends the Toda Madre taco platter.

His other favorite place in Glen Ellyn is the library. He appreciates the variety of books in different genres, and his favorite two genres are sci-fi and history. When given the hard choice to narrow his favorites to just a few titles, he named the Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott, the Harry Potter series, and “Because of Mr. Terupt” by Rob Buyea.

Kyle is a third year volunteer with the Middle School Volunteers. He signs up nearly every session because it’s incredibly fun, feels good to do something for the community, and he gets to work with good people – including the instructor. (Shucks!) Believe it or not, his favorite duty while volunteering is pulling books to be reviewed for removing from the collection. He says it shows him books that he would possibly never have noticed otherwise. Sometimes, these titles interest him so much that he checks them out and gives them a second chance at the library.

Fun facts: Kyle ran a half marathon last summer! Kyle will be Shrek in the Hadley Musical “Shrek.” He shares the role with one other person.

Join Kyle and many other awesome kids Wednesdays at the library for Middle School Volunteers!

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 112 - ImageReviewer: Sabrina

Title: Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio by Peg Kehret

Description: Ten years ago, in a riveting story of courage and hope, Peg Kehret wrote of the months she spent in a hospital when she was 12. The book deeply touched readers of all ages and received many awards and honors. This anniversary edition includes an updated and extended Epilogue, 12 pages of new photos, and a new section about polio. (Description from Goodreads.com)

Review: This a story about strength and hope. It is a story of optimism and desire. It is a story about taking small steps. The story is, Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio. Small Steps is a story that is told by Peg Kehret about herself, her struggles, and her achievements. It’s about her getting polio just before turning 13, and she tells the story from when she was in different hospitals. She talks about her recovery, deathly diagnosis, physical therapy, and painful symptoms. Her writing talks about how having polio caused her to miss out on a lot of milestones and events she had been dreaming about. Peg had three types of polio, bulbar, spinal, and respiratory; this meant she had to learn how to walk again and learn how and when to use the bathroom. She had to do daily painful exercises and have someone take her to the bathroom. Her time at all the hospitals led her to meet many friends and many of them were in worst conditions than she was in.

Even though polio is a rare problem in our time, I take the inspiration from this book and take it to real time problems. Problems like addiction, depression, cancer, or anything other issue. Peg’s willingness to try and not give up on herself inspired me to bring that willingness into other society issues. There’s a lot to learn from Peg and her experiences. I would have to say this book doesn’t look appealing at first but that is why you never judge a book by its cover. Readers will have a different way of learning from the book. This book is something different from our currents books. I loved it!


Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: December Watch List

teens-blog-bannerDo you ever find that at certain times of year, you feel the need to read or watch certain things?  There’s the obvious, of course – snowy books in the winter, warm weather books in the summer.  But sometimes it’s not as logical – sometimes our minds form some stranger associations.  For instance, I have somehow gotten into the habit of re-reading Jane Austen in early summer.  It’s reached the point where as soon as the weather starts getting warmer, I become Austen-obsessed.  And because every Lord of the Rings movie came out in December, I always feel the need to watch the whole trilogy in December (preferably accompanied by some hot tea or a hobbit-style feast.)  Perhaps due to the short days and long darknesses, or perhaps due to extra holiday free time, December is always a busy month for me in terms of things I simply must watch.  Some of it is holiday related, some of it decidedly not, but these are a few of the things that have been swimming around in my head since Thanksgiving.

Blog Entry 111 - Image 1How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Not the Jim Carrey live action version (though I actually enjoy that movie as well,) but the old-school, Boris Karloff-narrated animated Grinch.  With a running time of only 26 minutes, it’s easy to watch this many times over the holiday season (and I have.)  No matter how old I get, the simplicity of the story, the slapstick humor of poor Max trying to pull the sleigh, and the delightful thrill of hearing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” never wears off.  When I watch this, I’m a kid again, enjoying the story of how the true spirit of the holidays got a mean old Grinch’s heart to grow three sizes.  The beauty of the story, the charm of Dr. Seuss’ wonderful words, and the nostalgia are always a winning combo.

Blog Entry 111 - Image 2Lord of the Rings – To be honest, I think any time is a good time for some LoTR.  But especially in December, all I want is hobbits and warriors and a good dose of the Shire.  Despite how many times I’ve seen these movies (my in-theater record is Return of the King with eight – just one shy of my goal of nine!) they never get old.  Frodo’s bravery, Sam’s loyalty, and Aragorn’s morality never fail to inspire.  Merry and Pippin’s friendship and humor never fail to light up a room.  And Gandalf’s long fall in Moria never fails to bring tears.  There is very little I prefer on a dark winter evening than immersing myself in Middle Earth, and bringing my own hobbit-y tendencies to the surface.

Blog Entry 111 - Image 3The Nutcracker – Really, any version of The Nutcracker will do.  I’ve seen friends perform in ballet school versions year after year.  I’ve seen the Joffrey perform in Chicago.  I’ve watched at least five different versions on TV over the years.  But my absolute favorite – the one I watch every year – is my DVD of the American Ballet Theater Nutracker from the 70s, featuring Gelsey Kirkland and the incomparable Mikhail Baryshnikov.  While I’ve outgrown my preschool days of imitating every step of Kirkland’s “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy”, I still catch my breath every time I see Baryshnikov leap across the stage, and feel my heart swell every time the orchestra crescendos in the final pas de deux.  I learned long ago that I don’t have the patience or talent to dance ballet myself, but ever December I still enjoy immersing myself in the art.

Blog Entry 111 - Image 4Whatever the latest Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks masterpiece is – This is a holdover from the days when someone in the family, down to my youngest brother when I was a teenager, always got one of these fantastic animated movies for birthday or holiday gift.  At some point between Thanksgiving and New Years, at least one or two of these movies entered our household.  So did many others of course, but with a wide age range for the kids, we always had to stick with something appropriate for the youngest.  So Kung Fu Panda, Toy Story, The Emperor’s New Groove, and so on were always part of our holiday festivities.  So now it just doesn’t seem like December without at least one awesome animated movie to keep us all laughing and enjoying some family time together!

What are your favorite things to watch at this time of year?  Do you stick with holiday classics, or have some slightly less logical choices for your winter viewing?

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – Shatter Me Series

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 110 - ImageLove triangles, superpowers, dystopia: three book themes that we teens can’t seem to get enough of, and the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi has all of them.

As soon as I read the first pages of Shatter Me, I was addicted. The writing style, the characters, the story; I fell in love with them throughout the pages.

The Shatter Me series consists of three books: Shatter Me, Unravel Me, and Ignite Me. They tell the story of 17-year-old Juliette in a dystopian society where the world has been tarnished by global warming and a harsh dictatorship, the Reestablishment, has taken over. Juliette has spent almost a year in an “insane asylum”, placed there by her family when they find out that her touch is lethal. Society is afraid of her. Her family is afraid of her. And most heartbreaking of all, she is afraid of herself. Juliette goes on an adventure to try and save the world from the Reestablishment, and save herself along the way. She finds her heart torn over two very attractive boys. Adam, a soldier with a soft heart, and Warner the so-called “villain” whose heart is not made of ice like you may think. Juliette must learn to find the good in her touch and learn to use her powers before it is too late.

The story is adventurous, thrilling, and unique. It is a complete emotional rollercoaster, filled with ups and downs, tears and laughter. Not only that, but the writing style is unlike any other that I’ve read. The lines are poetic, they flow together making you feel like you are inside of Juliette’s mind. These lines here showcase that style,

I have a curse

I have a gift

I am a monster

I’m more than human

My touch is lethal

My touch is power

I am their weapon

I will fight back”

Many lines are crossed out in the book, bringing you deeper inside Juliette’s thinking and her fears. Mafi’s melodic writing makes you want to soak it all up at once.

My absolute favorite part of the Shatter Me series was the characters and their development, even the amazing minor characters. There is Kenji (my favorite character), Juliette’s best friend, whose sense of humor brings much needed comic relief. Even when it seems like the world is (literally) ending, he will make you laugh out loud. Adam’s sweet little brother, James, will always leave you with a goofy smile on your face as well.

There is also the phenomenal character development of Juliette’s love interests. In the first book, Warner will seem like a heartless, but intriguing, villain. The second and third books make you question that. What makes Warner who he is? What are the secrets of his broken past? In the first book, Adam will seem like and the only one for Juliette, but you will question that too. Does Adam really know Juliette? What are the secrets of his broken past? This is not your typical love triangle. Mafi pulls at your heartstrings and makes you fall for both boys even if you try not to.

Finally, there is the character development of Juliette. In the beginning, she is psychologically broken, she is afraid, she feels weak. As the series goes on you can see how she truly grows, becoming more confident and strong with each word. In Shatter Me, many lines are crossed out because Juliette is scared to say what is truly on her mind. In the next book, those lines decrease, and in the third book there are no lines crossed out. I felt this showed how Juliette has finally begun to accept herself as who she truly is. She is proud of every thought and ready to speak her mind, she becomes a strong leader before your eyes.

That’s why I recommend this series. Each book gets better and better. The ending of the trilogy in Ignite Me was flawless. Tahereh Mafi drew me in, made me fall in love with the characters, and had me hooked on the writing style. She will do the same for you too!


Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: I Ship It

Teens Blog BannerAfter reading Fangirl for the third time this year (yes, I’m obsessed) I’ve been thinking about shipping.  Shipping, in case you didn’t know, is defined by Wikipedia this way: “Shipping, derived from the word relationship or friendship, is the desire for two people, often fictional, to be in a relationship, romantic or otherwise.  It is considered a general term for fans’ emotional involvement with the ongoing development of a relationship in a work of fiction.”  In other words, it is someone’s strong desire for Harry and Hermione, or Katniss and Peeta, or Clary and Jace, to be together.

Blog Entry 109 - Image 3There are two reasons Fangirl got me thinking.  First and most obviously, because I ship Cath and Levi hard (mostly due to Levi’s intense dreaminess.)  And secondly, because shipping is a huge part of Cath’s world.  All the fanfiction she writes ships Simon and Baz, the Harry and Draco type characters from the fictional Simon Snow series of books.  Cath wraps her life around a relationship between two fictional characters – characters who aren’t a couple in the series they come from.  They matter to her in a very real, tangible way, despite the fact that what she is writing about is a fictional relationship between fictional characters.  And the thing is, I think a lot of us can identify with Cath, whether we’re writing slash fanfiction or not.

After all, it wasn’t just fanfiction writers who were Blog Entry 109 - Image 2thrilled when Ross and Rachel got together (the first time…and second time…and third time….and fourth time…) or who were crushed when Bella and Jacob didn’t end up a couple.  We invest wholeheartedly in these characters’ relationships, despite the fact that they have nothing to do with the real world.  The odd thing is, I think we’re still embarrassed to talk about it sometime.  This is despite the fact that almost everybody who watches TV or movies or reads books has, at one time or another, become extremely attached to their ship.  Even though I know it’s normal, I still feel a little weird when I talk about how invested I am in my Barney/Robin ship, my strong preference for Buffy/Spike over Buffy/Angel, or my certainty that even though it’s not canon, Sirius/Lupin is totally a thing.

Blog Entry 109 - Image 1But I would argue that shipping is natural – we invest so much in fictional worlds and characters, it makes sense that we would invest in their relationships.  And some of the most die-hard shippers are shipping characters in book series and TV shows – meaning that we’re not just investing for a two hour movie or a standalone book, we’re investing ourselves over and over again into fictional lives and fictional characters.  Just like we’d have feelings about whether that guy our friend is dating is a good one, or if those two awkwardly adorable younger folks we see flirting in the hallways should get together, we also have feelings about characters in our favorite series.  Because in the end, they’re like friends to us, or real people in our lives.  So we might as well enjoy our natural urge to care about the relationships of fictional characters, and relish seeing what develops in canon (or finding ways to undermine canon in favor of our ships).  Let’s all embrace shipping for the sometimes-painful but always-entertaining activity it is!

And like I said, Cath and Levi? I totally ship it.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – Heaven is for Real

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 108 - ImageReviewer: Sabrina

Book Title: Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

Description: When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren’t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed–a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.

Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery-and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.

With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how “really, really big” God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, “Heaven Is for Real” offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”

“Heaven Is for Real” will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child. (from Goodreads.com)

Review: Heaven is for Real is non fiction book about a four year old boy whose name is Colton, the youngest in the Burpo family. The Burpo family has an incredible relationship with God, and Todd, the father, is the pastor of the town church. The book talks about how years after Colton undergoes major surgery, he started talking about his experiences in heaven during his surgery when he was nearly dead. He started explaining and describing events and people that he had never even known about. Things and people that were never even mentioned to him and people he had never met in his life. Colton said that when he was in Heaven he met Jesus and other people that had died before he was born or when he was just a baby. He told his parents that he had left his own body during the surgery and saw exactly what his parents were doing beneath him. I think his family, friends, and the church community was really skeptical about Colton’s experience but I don’t think they have choice but to believe Colton’s innocence.

I think this book is incredibly and beautifully written. There are surprises throughout the whole book. Heaven is for Real is one of those books that will change the view for the people who don’t believe in a higher power. Anyone who reads this will have a little blessing in their life. It’s a really inspiring story and brings hope into peoples lives. I loved this book a lot and I would recommend it.


Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Memorable Thanksgivings

Teens Blog BannerIt’s almost Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday!  Next week we’ll all get to eat our body weight in Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, we’ll listen to football games play all day, and we’ll remember all the things we’re grateful for.  At least, that’s the hope.  Sometimes it works out that way, but sometimes, the Thanksgiving holidays can range from busy to bittersweet to just plain weird.  So in honor of this most food-filled of holidays, I put together a short list of some memorable Thanksgiving scenes from books, movies, and TV.  None of these works are about Thanksgiving, but they all feature some memorable Thanksgiving scenes.

Blog Entry 107 - Image 1Miracle on 34th Street – I know what you may be thinking: this is a Christmas movie Hannah, get it together!  But don’t forget that the entire plot swings into motion on Thanksgiving – at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade no less.  If it weren’t for an intoxicated actor trying to play Santa in the parade, the real Santa would never have entered the lives of Doris/Dorey (depending on what version you’re watching) and her precocious daughter Susan.  Plus, our introduction to all three characters also gives us a memorable glimpse at the behind-the-scenes of one of the most beloved Thanksgiving traditions.

Blog Entry 107 - Image 2Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Although the book takes place over the course of a whole school year, Anna’s Thanksgiving in Paris with Étienne St. Clair is definitely one of the more memorable sections of the book.  While the search for a Thanksgiving dinner in Paris is certainly entertaining to read, what really makes St. Clair and Anna’s Thanksgiving weekend memorable is that it takes their chemistry and their “will they, won’t they” status to a whole new level, particularly when it comes to a sparks-filled slumber party…

Blog Entry 107 - Image 3How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother actually features several Thanksgiving episodes, from the first season episode in which Ted and Robin discover the dark side of Thanksgiving volunteering to season three’s Slapsgiving episode featuring a slap countdown and Robin’s older boyfriend.  But to my mind, none are as memorable as Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slaps from the fifth season.  We get Marshall’s love for the perfect turkey, Lily’s “you’re dead to me” look, and the hilarity of watching an all-important slap first divide Ted and Robin, then bring the whole group together as it changes hands to the sounds of touching music.  And of course, the slap itself is delightful.  If this all seems a little wacky, well, I did warn you some of these Thanksgiving scenes were just plain weird!

Blog Entry 107 - Image 4Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl’s Thanksgiving definitely falls into the category of bittersweet.  Right before Thanksgiving really kicks into gear, main character Cath finds out that unbeknownst to her, her sister Wren has been talking to their estranged mother – and is planning on spending part of the holiday with her.  This leads to a fight between the sisters that has been building for most of the book so far.  And when Wren doesn’t make it back in time for Thanksgiving dinner, Cath and her father keep each other company, eating turkey and mashed potatoes on the couch, while the green bean casserole – Wren’s favorite – gets cold in the kitchen.

Those are just a few of the memorable Thanksgiving scenes from media featuring some not-so-traditional Thanksgiving dinners.  Here’s hoping your Thanksgiving is as memorable as these, and hopefully better than most of them!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – If I Stay Book-to-Movie Review

Teens Blog BannerAfter getting to meet the star of the movie If I Stay, Chloë Grace Moretz, and the author behind the story, Gayle Forman, in Chicago this summer, I’ve been meaning to see the movie for a long time. But even though it took until late October, it was most definitely worth the wait.

Blog Entry 106 - Image 1The book If I Stay revolves around Mia, an aspiring cellist who loses her family in a car crash. While in the hospital, Mia remains in a coma and has to decide whether to die and be with her beloved family, or whether to stay and be with her rock star boyfriend, Adam. She relives many of her life experiences with them while in a coma and watches in the hospital as her grandparents, best friend and boyfriend witness the girl they love most struggle to survive. The book is painfully heartbreaking to read and is impossible to put down, so needless to say, I had high expectations for the movie.

The movie, directed by RJ Cutler, stars Chloë Grace Moretz as Mia. I have to say, at the beginning of the movie, I was worried about how closely it would stick to the plot and how good it would be. The opening scenes with Mia at school and with her family were very cheesy and the acting seemed almost fake. I remember thinking; please not another book-to-movie adaption fail. There were just too many forced jokes and unrealistic relationships, but then the car crash happened.  And after that, everything changed.

From about the second half of the movie and Blog Entry 106 - Image 2forward, the entire movie flipped from its disappointing start to an emotional rollercoaster. The movie is full of heartbreak and will make you want to run home and hug your family and tell all your friends how much you love them. I’m not much of a crier at movies, but I can sincerely say that I cried not once, but 5 different times throughout this movie. Scenes with Mia, her parents, and her brother make you realize the importance of family, and a scene in which her Grandpa cries over her hospital bed will make you choke up. Scenes with Mia and Adam will make you wish you could have a relationship like theirs. Moretz does an incredible job as playing Mia as a girl who loves her family, her boyfriend and who has a passion for music. That’s another thing; the use of music in the movie was amazing, showcasing just how important it was to the story. The music added to the strong emotions of the movie and the sadness that comes with the beautiful story.  If you haven’t read the book before, the movie will make you question the entire time whether Mia will stay or will go, leaving you on the edge of your seat.

Overall, If I Stay was an excellent movie that stayed close to the book and had great acting. I promise, once you get past the not-so-great beginning, you will not stop crying for the rest of the movie. I highly recommend picking it up on DVD when it’s released. And even better news? Chloë Grace Moretz is starring in another YA adaption of Rick Yancey’s The Fifth Wave. Hopefully in this sci-fi thriller her acting will cause a lot fewer tears because, as for me, I’m still recovering from If I Stay.


Posted in GEPL Teens

The Lightning Thief

What’s your first name and school?:  Mary from hadley

What are you reviewing?: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

What did you review? : A book

What did you like about it? : It has Greek mythology in it and a little mystery. Also it transports you into the story.

Who would like this? : People who like Harry Potter will definitely love this series because they’re very similar.

On a scale from yuck to best ever, how much did you like it? : BEST EVER

Posted in tweens, tweens books, Tweens Reviews