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GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – Gabi, A Girl in Pieces

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 124 - ImageOkay, so technically I didn’t just read this – it was one of this year’s nominees for the Morris Award for best young adult debut, so I read it before they announced the winners on February 2. As a matter of fact, it was my favorite Morris award nominee this year, which makes it that much more exciting that it won! It was a much-deserved win, and I expect many more great things from Isabel Quintero.

What I Just Read: Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

What’s It About (Jacket Description): Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: college applications, Cindy’s pregnancy, Sebastian’s coming out, the cute boys, her father’s meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.

July 24

My mother named me Gabriella, after my grandmother who, coincidentally, didn’t want to meet me when I was born because my mother was unmarried, and therefore living in sin. My mom has told me the story many, many, MANY, times of how, when she confessed to my grandmother that she was pregnant with me, her mother beat her. BEAT HER! She was twenty-five. That story is the basis of my sexual education and has reiterated why it’s important to wait until you’re married to give it up. So now, every time I go out with a guy, my mom says, “Ojos abiertos, piernas cerradas.” Eyes open, legs closed. That’s as far as the birds and the bees talk has gone. And I don’t mind it. I don’t necessarily agree with that whole wait until you’re married crap, though. I mean, this is America and the 21st century; not Mexico one hundred years ago. But, of course, I can’t tell my mom that because she will think I’m bad. Or worse: trying to be White.

Did I Like It: Yes – the award win was well deserved!

Thoughts: Well if this wasn’t clear already, I loved this book. The biggest reason is Gabi herself, which isn’t surprising since the book is in diary format. If you don’t love the main character, it’s pretty hard to get into a book like this. Luckily, Gabi is immediately likable and relatable. She’s far from perfect, but she reads exactly like someone I could have known in high school, like someone I could still know. She is smart and loving and loyal, but she screws up sometimes. Her questioning of the world around her, of the double standards she is faced with every day, was fascinating to read. How she deals with the crises of her friends is beautiful. She sticks by them no matter what, and never allows the questions and thoughts they raise pertaining to her life to overshadow the fact that these are her friends’ issues, and she is just a side character in their stories (just as they are side characters in her story.) She also tackles a difficult family life with grace and humor. Even when her mother and aunt drive her insane, or she’s angry at her brother, or worried about her dad, she always remembers that they are her family and she loves them.

Because the book is a diary, if Gabi’s thoughts about gender, sexuality, her body, Mexican-American culture, and everything else she writes about weren’t interesting, this book would have gotten boring really fast.  Luckily, I could have read an entire book that was just Gabi thinking about these issues, so Quintero holds a reader’s interest even when writing about things that aren’t strictly plot.  And of course, there are the side characters – we don’t hear their voices the same way as Gabi’s, or see as much of their lives, but I’m pretty sure I would read a book about each and every one of them.  They are all interesting, well-developed, nuanced characters, and they do a fantastic job of filling out Gabi’s world.

There’s so much more I could say, but won’t because I’d be wasting time you could be spending reading Gabi, A Girl in Pieces.  There’s a reason this book won a major award and landed on several best-of year end lists.  Actually, there are many reasons!  So do yourself a favor, and read Gabi, A Girl in Pieces as soon as possible!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: Tween Movie Review – The Maze Runner


What’s your first name and school? : Kiera from Hadley

What are you reviewing? : The Maze Runner

What did you review? : A movie

What did you like about it? : I liked the movie Maze Runner because it was young adult fiction. It was about a boy named Thomas who is sent in a maze where he is tested to see if he and a couple other kids are able to escape. He changes everything and decides to try to go through the maze. Soon everyone begins to think he is a leader, except for Gally his enemy.

Who would like this? : Any Teenager

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

Posted in GEPL Tweens, Tweens Reviews

GEPL Tweens: Tween Book Review – Something Like Fate


What’s your first name and school? : Molly, St. Petssomethinglikefate

What are you reviewing? : Something Like Fate

What did you review? : A book

What did you like about it? : Very thought out. I liked it because it involves friends. I think it gave a lot of choices and the characters had to decide carefully because if they didn’t they could lose their friends or so they thing ”friends”. I recommend it.

Who would like this? : 9-16 year olds

On a scale from yuck to best ever, how much did you like it? : thought out and lots of feeling

Posted in GEPL Tweens, Tweens Reviews

GEPL Tweens: Tween Book Review – The Lonely Hearts Club


What’s your first name and school? : Molly, St. Petslonelyhearts

What are you reviewing? : The Lonely Hearts Club

What did you review? : A book

What did you like about it? : Talks about the power of girls. GO GIRL POWER!!!! It is about girl rebelling and not dating anymore. It is based on a girl named Penny who starts a club and it slowly gets bigger. She is so tired or getting hurt by boys but is she missing part of the picture????? It was awesome

Who would like this? : 12-20

On a scale from yuck to best ever, how much did you like it? : amazing and thoughtful

Posted in GEPL Tweens, Tweens Reviews

GEPL Kids: Youth Media Awards

By: Melissa Hilt, Youth Department Assistant Director

It’s award season!  Most people are talking about the Oscars and Grammys, and while it’s fun to watch celebrities walk the red carpet and discuss movies and music with friends, family, and co-workers, the awards ceremony that I really look forward to is the Youth Media Awards which is announced at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference.

The YMAs include the Newbery, Caldecott, Geisel, and Coretta Scott King awards. Each award seeks to highlight the best in books published for children and young adults during the previous year. The full list of honored titles can be found here.

I thought I would highlight the Newbery and Caldecott titles for you, since those are the ones I am most excited about.

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:

crossoverThe Crossover, by Kwame Alexander.
Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.




Two Newbery Honor Books also were named:

eldeafoEl Deafo by Cece Bell
Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful–and very awkward–hearing aid.

browngirldreamingBrown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson
Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.


Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

beekleThe Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, by Dan Santat
An imaginary friend waits a long time to be imagined by a child and given a special name, and finally does the unimaginable–he sets out on a quest to find his perfect match in the real world.




Six Caldecott Honor Books also were named:

nanaNana in the City, by Lauren Castillo
A young boy is frightened by how busy and noisy the city is when he goes there to visit his Nana, but she makes him a fancy red cape that keeps him from being scared as she shows him how wonderful a place it is.


The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art, illustrated by Mary GrandPré, written by Barb Rosenstock
Describes how his creative life was profoundly shaped by a neurological condition called synesthesia which caused him to experienced colors as sounds and sounds as colors.

samanddaveSam & Dave Dig a Hole, illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett
Sam and Dave are sure they will discover something exciting if they just keep digging their hole.

fridaViva Frida, by Yuyi Morales
Frida Kahlo, one of the world’s most famous and unusual artists is revered around the world. Her life was filled with laughter, love, and tragedy, all of which influenced what she painted on her canvases.


therightwordThe Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, written by Jen Bryant
For shy young Peter Mark Roget, books were the best companions — and it wasn’t long before Peter began writing his own book. But he didn’t write stories; he wrote lists. Peter took his love for words and turned it to organizing ideas and finding exactly the right word to express just what he thought. His lists grew and grew, eventually turning into one of the most important reference books of all time.

thisonesummerThis One Summer, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, written by Mariko Tamaki
Rose and her parents have been going to Awago Beach since she was a little girl. It’s her summer getaway, her refuge. Her friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had, completing her summer family. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and Rose and Windy have gotten tangled up in a tragedy-in-the-making in the small town of Awago Beach. It’s a summer of secrets and heartache, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – The Outsiders

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 123 - ImageReviewer: Sabrina

Book Title: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Description: According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for “social”) has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he’s always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers–until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy’s skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser. (Description from Goodreads.com)

Review: A book that is based on stereotypes is The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. The main character of the story is Pony Boy, who is very tough but he also hides a very sensitive side. Pony Boy has two brothers, Soda and Darry. Darry is the oldest and he’s the one that’s in charge because their parents are both dead. This family is a part of the greasers, which reminded me of the outcasts from our present time. The greasers also include Johnny and Dallas. I love how they’re always there for each other when there is trouble. They always have each other’s backs and protect one another. Even though they have fights, they are always a family. Then there are also the Socs; I would say they are the more popular rich kids and the jocks from present time. Socs are the spoiled kids who like to bully the greasers and anyone like them. I would say they are all sort of competing against each other and using each other to win. Every reader might look at it a different way but that’s how I saw them. A twisted and spoiled group of teenagers. The Outsiders has a moving plot and it’s really relatable to our place in time even though it’s from 1967.

I really liked this book because I can really relate it to my high school. You can admit this or not but people judge people by their stereotypes and groups. First there are the stereotypes about women and men, some say men are stronger and do all the work. Some say girls aren’t good at sports and they aren’t as smart as men. Then there are cultural stereotypes saying white people are obese and lazy and that Muslims are terrorists. Now I’m sure that everyone might assume something about a person because of stereotypes, but  what matters is whether or not they act on it or push away this thought. I think The Outsiders perfectly shows how stereotypes affect people’s lives. Whether it’s a good stereotype or a negative one, it’s no way to judge someone. From my perspective, I think despite the differences that the Socs and the Greasers had they were pretty similar. They both feel strongly about their own ideas and in a way they both look out for their friends. The book itself may not look appealing but IT’S SO GOOD!! I would recommend picking up this book and giving it a try.


Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: 2016 Rebecca Caudill Nominees

By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian

The 2016 Rebecca Caudill Nominee list was released Monday. I was happy to see that I had read some of them already. What have you read from this list? Do you plan on reading any of them? Remember you can write a review to these or any other books.

The Rebecca Caudill 2016 Nominees are:

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans
Michael Vey, a fourteen-year old who has Tourette’s syndrome and special electric powers, finds there are others like him, and must rely on his powers to save himself and the others from a diabolical group seeking to control them.

Hidden by Helen Frost
When fourteen-year-olds Wren and Darra meet at a Michigan summer camp, both are overwhelmed by memories from six years earlier when Darra’s father stole a car, unaware that Wren was hiding in the back.

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen
When the difficult star of the reality television show “Expedition Survival” disappears while filming an episode in the Florida Everglades using animals from the wildlife refuge run by Wahoo Crane’s family, Wahoo and classmate Tuna Gordon set out to find him while avoiding Tuna’s gun-happy father.

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson
Tells the tale of the sinking of the Titanic using the narratives of the witnesses and survivors to the disaster.

See you at Harry’s by Johanna Knowles
Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible in her family, where grumpy eighteen-year-old Sarah is working at the family restaurant, fourteen-year-old Holden is struggling with school bullies and his emerging homosexuality, and adorable, three-year-old Charlie is always the center of attention, and when tragedy strikes, the fragile bond holding the family together is stretched almost to the breaking point.

Camo Girl by Kekla Magoon
Ella, a biracial girl with a patchy and uneven skin tone, and her friend Z, a boy who is very different, have been on the bottom of the social order at Caldera Junior High School in Las Vegas, but when the only other African-American student enters their sixth grade class, Ella longs to be friends with him and join the popular group, but does not want to leave Z all alone.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Thirteen-year-old Conor awakens one night to find a monster outside his bedroom window, but not the one from the recurring nightmare that began when his mother became ill–an ancient, wild creature that wants him to face truth and loss.

Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus
In Nazi-occupied Norway, fourteen-year-old Espen joins the resistance movement, graduating from deliverer of illegal newspapers to courier and spy.

May B. by Caronline Starr Rose
When a failed wheat crop nearly bankrupts the Betterly family, Pa pulls twelve-year-old May from school and hires her out to a couple new to the Kansas frontier.

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
As Wild Chalklings threaten the American Isles and Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice.

Lincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin
A dramatic account of the 1875 attempt to steal the 16th president’s body describes how a counterfeiting ring plotted to ransom Lincoln’s body to secure the release of their imprisoned ringleader and how a fledgling Secret Service and an undercover agent conducted a daring election-night sting operation.

Rump by Liesl Shurtiff
Relates the tale of Rumpelstiltskin’s childhood and youth, explaining why his name is so important, how he is able to spin straw into gold, and why a first-born child is his reward for helping the miller’s daughter-turned-queen.

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Twelve-year-old genius and outsider Willow Chance must figure out how to connect with other people and find a surrogate family for herself after her parents are killed in a car accident.

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan
A Tanzanian albino boy finds himself the ultimate outsider, hunted because of the color of his skin.

The President Has Been Shot by James L. Swanson
Recounts the 35th president’s assassination and details key events while sharing informative back matter and archival photographs.

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
Washed ashore as a baby in tiny Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, Mo LoBeau, now eleven, and her best friend Dale turn detective when the amnesiac Colonel, owner of a cafe and co-parent of Mo with his cook, Miss Lana, seems implicated in a murder.

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Best YA

Teens Blog BannerLast time you were near the Teen Scene, you may have noticed a “Best YA of 2014” display on one of our book cubes, with a wide variety of books on it.  Because of course, with the end of one year and the start of the next, come the “Best Of” lists!  And there were many of them, Blog Entry 122 - Image 1which gives us a large number of books to choose from.  Some, like The Carnival at Bray and Gabi, A Girl in Pieces were nominated for the Young Adult Library Services Association “Morris Award” for best YA debut.  Others, such as The Tyrant’s Daughter and Poisoned Apples came from lists by journals devoted to reviewing books for libraries and booksellers, like Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly.  Still others, for instance Althea & Oliver or No One Else Can Have You, appeared in more widely-read sources like Time Magazine.  And a select few, like We Were Liars by E. Lockhart and This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, appeared on virtually every list.

So as you can see, we have a huge variety of sources and books to choose from to keep plenty of exciting books in this display.  But it got me thinking – why do we love these lists?  What is it about the end of the year that requires we make them?

The bulk of it, of course, is just giving credit to wonderful books, and helping us Blog Entry 122 - Image 2pick out some great reads we might have missed over the year.  However, I think there’s another element as well – after all, we know what we like, and we get great recommendations throughout the year, we don’t – strictly speaking – need these lists.  But we do love them, and I think that speaks to an inherent human love of categorizing and of debate.  We love awards shows, because they give us a chance to see what other people think, to speculate, to agree, to disagree, to feel validated, to feel jilted.  Something about the process of making declarations about what is “best,” or ranking things, makes us all examine our own thoughts and preferences – and usually, vociferously defend them!

So stop by our Best of YA display, check a few out if you haven’t read any, and then comment here, tweet to @GEPLTeenScene, or stop by the desk to tell us if you think the books are really worthy of being considered some of the best!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: Tween Book Review – Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality


What’s your first name and school? : Molly, St. Petsrevengeofgirl

What are you reviewing? : Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality

What did you review? : A book

What did you like about it? : It was soooo like real life. This girl decides to start dressing up at school and more people notice her. Her sister is such a fashionista and gets jealous though. And her mom seems to see her for the first time. So much details. I recommend this book.

Who would like this? : 9-14 year olds

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

Posted in GEPL Tweens, Tweens Reviews

GEPL Tweens: Tween Book Review – He Is So Not Worth It


What’s your first name and school? : Molly, St. Petsnotworthit

What are you reviewing? : He Is So Not Worth It

What did you review? : A book

What did you like about it? : It had so much romance. It was adorable and I love how it switched from the boy’s perspective to the girls perspective. It made me want to read the next one sooooooo bad!!! (it is the 2nd in the series). I loved it.

Who would like this? : 12-20

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

Posted in GEPL Tweens, Tweens Reviews