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GEPL Teens: Teens Review – Before I Die

Teens Blog BannerBy: Alison O., Teen Blogger

Blog Entry 168 - ImageI recently read and enjoyed the book Before I Die by Jenny Downham. This book follows a teenage girl who is battling terminal cancer.  She decides to create a list with her best friend of things she wants to experience before it’s too late. Throughout the story, the main character Tessa discovers many things about herself as she falls in love and checks off each task from her list.

I enjoyed Jenny Downham’s writing style and considered it to fit young adult level because it was in between fairly easy and just right for me.  It was easy for me to read for a longer period of time as opposed to other books because the book was easy to comprehend, which was a plus for me personally, due to the fact that I sometimes find myself having trouble reading for long periods of time because I struggle with either concentrating or lacking to understand what is really going on in the book.  I think that the author’s writing style was relatable to teens in the way that all the thoughts and ideas were narrated by Tessa herself.

This book also has amazing characters in it.  The main character Tessa really flourishes throughout the book as she discovers the importance of the little things in life. As a reader, it’s encouraging to read a book when you see the main character changing into a better person as the story progresses.  Tessa’s dad also had a strong impact in the story because he was Tessa’s backbone throughout her journey.  He gave up everything to be there for Tessa in her time of need, and I think that relationship brought real feelings to the book because it showed how much a parent is willing to give up to just be there for their children. Lastly, Tessa’s best friend Zoey plays a huge part in this book.  She represents bravery and fearlessness, which she also teaches to Tessa throughout the story.  She helped Tessa complete her list and carried her through the hard times when all Tessa wanted to do was give up.

This book brings out real emotions and makes you stop to evaluate your own life.  It makes you appreciate not only your health, but also the little things in life that in the long run actually mean a lot more than we take for granted.  This book is full of hope and the writing is amazing, which is why this book is one of my all-time favorites.

-Alison O.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: If You Enjoy Harry Potter, You Might Like…

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By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian

Last Friday, libraries all over the country opened their doors to middle school and high school students for after-hour activities. It was also Harry Potter’s birthday – he turned 35 – so GEPL invited middle schoolers to participate in an interactive showing of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Most people who have the ability and desire to read the well-known series have by this point. Many leave the series wanting more. While Rowling continues to leak new tidbits of information, and hints to more stories within the Potterverse, I have compiled a list of books to get you through the hard times of HP-withdrawal.

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Sequels

Teens Blog BannerBy: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Blog Entry 167 - ImageSequels often get a lot of grief, especially when they fail to live up to the expectations we’ve formed since the first book (or movie, or whatever.) Look at how fans reacted to the final entries into The Hunger Games and Divergent series, or the criticism heaped on the second two Matrix movies. And don’t even get anyone started on the Star Wars prequels. To be fair, often this criticism is warranted – I doubt anyone would argue that the second to Matrix installments were better than the original, and there were plenty of valid criticisms of Allegiant. But often, it comes down to a combination of quality and personal taste. For instance, there were also many of valid criticisms of Mockingjay, but I loved it and thought it was a great conclusion to the trilogy.

But sometimes, there is a sequel that really does rise above, in terms of critical acclaim or personal opinion (and sometimes both.) I read one of these recently. After really liking To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, I was looking forward to P.S. I Still Love You, and I was excited to finally have a chance to read it this month. To my surprise and delight, P.S. I Still Love You exceeded my expectations, and I ended up loving it even more than the original. This, I suspect, comes down to that magic combination of a skilled writer and my own preferences. Reading about the relationship issues Lara Jean faces as part of an existing relationship appealed to me, as did the treatment of bullying, female friendship, and double standards, among many other things. It felt like a fuller, richer, and more mature book than its predecessor. Obviously, loving a sequel even more than the original doesn’t detract from the first though – I would never have read the sequel if I hadn’t really enjoyed To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and I still recommend it all the time!

This experience got me thinking about those times when sequels equal or even outstrip their predecessors. Critics and fans alike agreed that Toy Story II and Toy Story III were at least as good as the original, and I’ve never met anyone who thinks Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the best of the series. Sequels have great potential to improve on the original, since less time needs to be devoted to scene-setting or exposition, and more time and energy can be spent on plot, character development, and issues. But it depends on authors, screenwriters, producers, and more understanding their characters and their world, staying consistent with what they set up in the original, and making their sequel go beyond simply repeating what was successful originally. Plus, of course, that all-important personal taste aspect!

Do you have any sequels that you prefer to the original? Have you ever been surprised by a sequel? Do you like a sequel that is widely disliked? Or dislike a sequel that is widely liked?

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: Tween Book Review – The One and Only Ivan

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One and Only IvanWhat’s your first name and school?: Mariam; Glen Westlake

What are you reviewing?: The One and Only Ivan

What did you review?: A book.

What did you like about it?: Ivan meets Ruby an elephant taken from her family. After Ruby come things started to change.I also liked that Ivan was friends with a stray dog named Bob and a elderly elephant named Stella.Ivan also fulfills his promise to Stella to take good care of Ruby when Stella was taking her lasts breaths before leave the world.

Who would like this?: Someone who likes animals.

On a scale from yuck to best ever, how much did you like it?: It was good.

Posted in GEPL Tweens, Tweens Reviews

GEPL Tweens: Tween Movie Review – 21 Jump Street

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21 Jump StreetWhat’s your first name and school?: Andrew; Hadley

What are you reviewing?: 21 Jump Street

What did you review?: A movie.

What did you like about it?: 21 Jump Street is about two guys that try to become cops. They start out in the park on bike then they see a gang. They fail to stop them. In the end they stop the and and become cops.

Who would like this?: Anyone who likes funny stuff.

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

Posted in GEPL Tweens, Tweens Reviews

GEPL Tweens: Tween Book Review – Insurgent

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InsurgentWhat’s your first name and school?: Quinn; Hadley

What are you reviewing?: Insurgent

What did you review?: A book.

What did you like about it?: I liked the book Insurgent by Veronica Ruthe because it was very creative and detailed. It also reveled many secrets from the first book. Usually I was on the edge of my seat to see what would happen next. I hope you like Insurgent, the sequel to Divergent!

Who would like this?: Someone who liked The Hunger Games.

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

Posted in GEPL Tweens, Tweens Reviews

GEPL Tweens: Tween Music Review – Summer of 69

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Bryan Adams Summer of 69What’s your first name and school?: Quinn Hadley

What are you reviewing?: Summer of 69

What did you review?: Music

What did you like about it?: I liked the song “Summer of 69” because it makes me wonder about the past. The song is about fun in the summer with friends. I infer that the artist of the song (Bryan Adams) is recalling the summer of the year 1969. I discovered this song from my uncle who recommend it to me. I really enjoyed this song and hope you do too! :)

Who would like this?: Maybe someone who loved the show Full House.

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

Posted in GEPL Tweens, Tweens Reviews

GEPL Tweens: Tween Book Review – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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What’s your first name and school?: Mackenzie, St.James the Apostle School

What are you reviewing?: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

What did you review?: A book

What did you like about it?: In the Chamber of Secrets I really liked the way J. K. Rowling really hooked me into the book. My favorite part of the book is when Harry Potter fights with the serpent. It was super cool. It was one of the favorite books I have ever read. I would totally tell a person to read it.

Who would like this?: Someone who really likes fantasy books and also a person who likes other Harry Potter books.

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

Posted in GEPL Tweens, Tweens Reviews

GEPL Tweens: Tween Movie Review – Project Almanac

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What’s your first name and school?: Eric, Hadley Jr. High

What are you reviewing?: Project Almanac

What did you review?: A movie

What did you like about it?: I liked that this movie was about time travel. I watch a lot of movies that are about time travel and this one was one of the better ones. I liked that the people could of died if they did not fix the problem, and that is why I like this movie.

Who would like this?: People who like time travel or science movies.

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

Posted in GEPL Tweens, Tweens Reviews

GEPL Kids – Deja Vu

By: Leigh Ann Vock – Youth Department Page

Goodnight MoonWhen I was given the happy news that I was to become a grandparent, the first purchase I made was a book. And then another and another. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and The Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood were purchased because they were favorites of my children. I couldn’t wait to share these classics with my granddaughter and nurture the love of reading to yet another generation.

 

Leigh Ann Vock GrandchildThe first time my granddaughter sat in my lap and we read together brought me immediately back to my own children’s introduction to books. It was déjà vu of the best variety. “Never too young to be read to” was the adage I had adopted from my former teaching years and I was determined to put this into practice. I was thrilled at the attention my granddaughter gave to the images and simple words that were being shared during our story time. We also read We are in a Book by Mo Willems, twice. She needed to hear the amazing voices I had created for the wonderful characters of Elephant and Piggie.

The Big Hungry BearI have day dreams of hearing that delightful plea “Again?” at a book’s end. I will gladly read over and over again a favorite book to her just as I did with my own children. I Skyped with my granddaughter and her parents yesterday and heard about their day and their trip to the library. When the little toddler was asked what she did today, my heart melted when I heard one of her first words “ BOOKS!”

Posted in GEPL Kids