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GEPL Teens: “Guilty Pleasures”

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 80 - Image 1We’ve all done it.  Mumbled something about what we’ve been reading or watching while carefully looking down and away from the person we’re talking to.  Explained hurriedly that we know it’s silly, but it’s a guilty pleasure, a way to turn our brain off.  And admittedly, there’s plenty of things out there that a lot of people enjoy because they’re dumb, because they’re silly, because they don’t require a lot of intent thought.  But that’s no reason to be embarrassed about them, and goodness knows no reason to feel guilty about them.  On the grand scale of “things to feel guilty” about – a scale that includes tactless comments that hurt someone’s feelings, stealing from your parent’s wallet, murder, etc. – what you enjoy reading or watching doesn’t even rate.  And on top of that, you know what?  Liking Twilight, or Jersey Shore, or the latest Transformers/rom-com/kids movie out, is just fine.

Certainly this is something we hear about books all theBlog Entry 80 - Image 3 time – “it doesn’t matter what people are reading, as long as they’re reading.”  But it’s one thing to say it, and another to believe it, and I think a lot of us still feel bad about what we read (or watch, though I think the same thing applies to movies, music, etc.)  If you are immersing yourself in a story or characters, enjoying the drama of a reality show, or listening to something that makes you happy, then it does not matter what other people think.  Whatever your reason for liking something is – that you actually are invested in the characters, that you think it’s silly, that it makes you feel superior about life – it’s a good reason to watch, read, or listen.  That’s the beauty of personal taste – simply by enjoying something, you give it value.  So even if you’re watching cycle 11 of America’s Next Top Model for the 3rd time – yes, this is me – don’t feel guilty.  Just enjoy yourself, be grateful that someone has made something so entertaining for you, and stop worrying.

Blog Entry 80 - Image 2In that spirit, here are some of the books, movies, shows, and music that I promise I will stop referring to as guilty pleasures, and simply enjoy: ANTM, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, my tenth re-read of Dealing with Dragons, Ke$ha, Two-Headed Shark Attack (and Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, and Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Gators, etc. etc. etc.), Disney soundtracks, my 30th re-watch of Robin Hood: Men in Tights, romance novels by Jennifer Armentrout, and anything else I enjoy watching, reading, or listening to.

What about you?  What are some of your no-longer-guilty pleasures?

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 79 - ImageSupernatural, it’s one of the main genres of books in teen fiction as well as one of my favorites, and having read a large amount about vampires, werewolves, witches and demi-gods I found a new  book series that is different than the typical werewolf vampire drama, the Shadow Falls series (containing 5 books). Though this review is going to be on book number 1!

What I’m reading: Born At Midnight by: C.C. Hunter

What it’s about (jacket description):  One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…

Do I like it?:  I’m OBSESSED with this book and the series

Thoughts: When I downloaded this on my kindle after reading the description I was excited to find a new supernatural book that wasn’t too Twilight for my taste. Even though there is a prominent love triangle throughout the book, it isn’t solely focused on whether Kylie ends up with Derek or Lucas but more on Kylies experience at the camp, making new friends like the witch Miranda and the vampire Della, and trying to find out whether she belongs in this supernatural world, and if she does, what supernatural she is.

I fell in love with Hunter’s character, Kylie, for multiple reasons, mainly because she is such a relatable character to me. Her parents are going through a hard divorce and she doesn’t have the best relationship with her mom. Kylie tends to avoid her problems by solving everyone else’s and she is trying to figure out who she is, also while being able to see ghosts….

I recommend reading this book because of the new friendships, romances, mystery and most of all the SUPERNATURAL aspect of it all.


Posted in GEPL Teens

Tween Summer Reading Profile: Shikha

tween-blog-bannerScreen Shot 2014-08-04 at 9.50.27 AMShikha, 7th grader at Hadley Middle School

Current Reading Hours: 115

This is Shikha Adhikari. Of course she likes to read, but she also enjoys writing and drawing. She mainly writes fantasies and poems. Her writing has been featured in the newsletter at her Nepali temple. She reads fantasy books to gather inspiration and escape from the real world, but other times she enjoys realistic fiction that she can relate to. Shikha enjoys walking around Glen Ellyn with her sister, and flaming hot Cheetos with lime. She discovered her new favorite series of all time, Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan, but before that it was So B It by Sarah Weeks.
Aside from reading, Shikha’s been very busy this summer. She’s been swimming in Lake Michigan, as well as the pool in Glendale Heights. The pool has a surfing ride and Shikha’s been able to stay up for up to ten minutes! She and her family visited the Palace of Gold at New Vrindaban in West Virginia. It has over 100 water fountains, award winning rose gardens, and is a great place for prayer and reflection.

Still trying to get to 100 hours? There’s still time! Shikha recommends managing your time well, and set a goal of 2-3 hours a day, or 20 hours a week to catch up.

Posted in GEPL News, GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 78 - ImageReviewer: Sabrina

Book Title: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Description: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers. (Description from Goodreads.com)

Review: 13 Reasons Why is an amazing book about a girl named Hannah who records 7 audio tapes and sends them to 13 people who have somehow impacted her decision to commit suicide. The book is from the perspective of a shy boy, Clay. He comes home from school one day to find that there was a package with his name. Upon opening it, he finds several tapes recorded by Hannah. These tapes were given to the first person on Hannah’s list and after they listened to all the tapes they were to give it to next person on the list, and so on. The tapes were about the experiences Hannah had gone through that slowly built up till she overdosed on pills and died. This perfectly shows that someone committing suicide doesn’t just do it because of one event. It may be that one event that finally makes someone explode. It really informs people about the truth of suicide and not the stereotypical facts. The person who is narrating the tapes is Hannah, who talks about the pain she had experienced and the suffering she had when everything started going downhill. Her depression slowly built up until she gave up.

13 Reasons Why was very realistically written from the perspective of a depressed teen. There was so much suspense throughout the book and it kept readers eagerly flipping the pages. The book has so many intense and real emotions that are the emotions teens feel without exaggerating them. “You can hear rumors but you can’t know them,” and “no one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people,” and “you can’t go back to how things were. How you thought they were. All you really have is now.” These quotes and more teach us so many things we probably never have much thought about and it really opens up our eyes to what’s happening around us. It teaches how fragile humans are and how we never treat each other with that type of respect everyone deserves. It’s sad, eye-opening, realistic, hopeful, and extraordinary, all in one book. After reading this book you will have no choice but to pay attention to the actions you make every day. Teens will be able to connect with this story in one way or another. Whether it’s small struggles or big, there will be some strength for everyone. This book would be highly recommended especially for high school students.


Posted in GEPL Teens

Tween Profile: Brianna

Teens Blog BannerScreen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.00.44 PM

Brianna: 6th Grader at Hadley Middle School

Current Summer Reading Hours:110

Brianna, an incoming 6th grader at Hadley Middle School loves to read, paint and watch television. Her goal is to get an easel with a lot of nice paint. She enjoys watching Drake and Josh and Kicking It. When she’s not watching TV or painting, she likes going to The Patio, the library, or getting a giant jawbreaker from the Glen Ellyn Sweet Shoppe. As a member of Camp Pride, Brianna’s been on many adventures this summer, including Laser X and multiple visits to Six Flags. She’s been on every roller coaster at the park.

Brianna loves reading all kinds of fantasy books, but really enjoys reading about magic. Her favorite book of all time is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. She was introduced to the series in first grade, and will always hold a special place in her heart. This summer, she satisfied her literary sweet tooth with It’s Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder.

For those who haven’t made it to 100 hours yet, Brianna recommends gum to help you concentrate. She also says that the library is a great place to find a book that interests you and makes you want to read as much as you can – every little bit helps!


Posted in GEPL News, GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Great Character Alert – Nyx Triskelion

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 77 - ImageWhile I’ve read a lot of books I’ve really enjoyed over the past few months, it’s been a while since I’ve wanted to write so much about a specific character (or in this case, since there’s an honorable mention, two characters) but it was worth the wait.  I was completely hooked by Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge from the first page, and it just got better as I got to know Nyx Triskelion better.

First off, here’s a description of the book (from the GEPL catalog): “Betrothed to the demon who rules her country and trained all her life to kill him, seventeen-year-old Nyx Triskelion must now fulfill her destiny and move to the castle to be his wife.”

Nyx is not a nice person.  To me, this is a huge part of what makes her so compelling.  She’s not a bad person, she’s just not very nice.  She is bitter about her fate, hateful towards the father and aunt who seem to feel no sorrow about sending her to it, and immensely resentful of her sister, Astraia, who will be safe.  She is angry and often cruel, and unable to keep all her rage and pain and nastiness inside her.

That said, she tries to do good.  She has been trained her whole life to defeat the demon she is being sent to marry, and she really does want to accomplish this for the sake of her country and especially her sister.  She really does love Astraia, despite the bitterness.  And she has compassion in her that makes her pity and care for one of her demon husband’s enslaved minions, and even at times pity the demon himself.

On top of all these complicated stuff, Nyx is strong.  Not in an action oriented way – don’t be fooled by the description.  Nyx is not a physical fighter.  But she is mentally tough, she is willing to try to be physical when she needs to be, and she is incredibly strong internally.  You’d have to be, to spend half your life knowing you were being sacrificed to a monster and would likely die attempting to defeat him.  And it is growing up with this fact that makes all of Nyx’s cruelty and nastiness so understandable – her anger, her bitterness, it all feels so real and realistic.  It all makes sense.  It would feel unreal, and boring, for her to be all sunshine and roses about her fate.  I think this blend of goodness and cruelty, of strength and fallibility, is what makes Nyx such a riveting, fascinating, and wonderful character.

Before I finish, I want to give an honorable mention to Nyx’s sister, Astraia.  Although she is a supporting character and we don’t get her viewpoint, I also found her to be fascinating.  I don’t want to spoil anything, but it turns out that Nyx and Astraia have some unexpected commonalities, and that Astraia is also a fascinating and captivating blend of seemingly non-compatible personality traits and very real emotions.

Thanks to these two incredible characters, especially Nyx, plus the darkness, magic, and entrancing qualities of the castle, the demon, and the world they all exist in, Cruel Beauty is one of my favorite recent reads.  I can’t wait to see what Rosamund Hodge does next (and re-read Cruel Beauty in the meantime!)

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Not Everyone Loves The Hunger Games

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 76 - ImageUpon reading the negatively written article (you can read it here), “What’s Wrong With The Hunger Games Is What No One Noticed,” I was disgusted by how much hatred the author of this review has for The Hunger Games. Evidently, The Hunger Games Trilogy is well admired among teens and even older adults. The two Hunger Games movies (soon to be three), have soared in popularity and box office sales. According to http://www.boxofficemojo.com, the second Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, is ranked #10 in domestic gross in movie history and #1 out of 688 movies for top movie in the last 365 days (beating Frozen!)

Meanwhile, the author of the article I perused was clearly an antagonist of The Hunger Games. I respect people’s opinions on whether they liked a book/movie or not because really, even I don’t believe every book/movie I read or watch is fantastic. Opinions are created because not everyone agrees on the same thing and have divergent tastes. There will never be one book/movie that EVERYONE will love no matter how amazing people think it is. However, there’s a difference between having logical reasoning and just plain ignorant reasoning to back up an opinion.

The author states that Katniss is identical to the princess, Cinderella, and is not a powerful and independent female role model that numerous critics claim she is. “Hmmm, here is a surprise: Katniss never kills anyone. That’s weird, what does she do to win?  Take as much time as you want on this, it’s an open book test. The answer is nothing…Other than the initial volunteering to replace her younger sister, Katniss never makes any decisions of her own, never acts with consequence– but her life is constructed to appear that she makes important decisions.” First of all, Katniss does kill four people in the first book; the murderer of Rue, the two when she dropped a wasps nest of them, and Cato for her own advantage. Secondly, Katniss also makes a multitude of decisions throughout the novel such as volunteering for the Games, becoming allies with Rue, staging attacks against other tributes, making a defiant gesture that targeted the Capital after Rue’s demise, and threating to destroy the purpose of the Games by deciding she and Peeta should kill themselves resulting in no winner. Katniss begins to completely rebel against the Capitol in the later books and stands up for what is moral. This woman is definitely one to look up to.

“So this is why we have a book about a post-apocalyptic killing game that spends zero pages describing how Katniss kills anyone but spends countless pages on how she is dressed, how everyone is dressed.  What will she wear? What kind of jewelry? Hair up?  Will the ‘sponsors’ like her better this way or that? Her chief weapon isn’t a bow, it’s her appearance.”

This excerpt taken from the article is quite invalid. It was not Katniss’s choice to dress up fancifully, but the Capitol’s. The reason why Katniss’s looks and clothes matter so much is because that’s how everyone else in the Capitol is dressed. Katniss doesn’t care for her appearance, it’s only for the entertainment of the Capitol. If it was her choice, she would be wearing her father’s worn out jacket and boots and would not bathe often. She may have an advantage in gaining sponsors and people rooting for her, but once Katniss steps into the arena, there is no one protecting her. She must manage to survive from the other tributes. Katniss’s chief weapon IS a bow. She has been a hunter all her life, and it makes sense for her to use her shooting talent.

Overall, I believe Katniss is nothing like the fairy tale princess, Cinderella. Unlike Cinderella, Katniss doesn’t search for her beloved Prince. She does have her love interests, Gale and Peeta, but the book indicates that the boy isn’t the most essential thing to Katniss. The most important thing that matters to Katniss in life is her family. She teaches young girls to be courageous, strong, and determined. Instead of putting on a girly dress and glass slippers, why not wear jeans, braid you hair, and explore nature? Katniss Everdeen is not like most women in the fiction world; she actually makes an impact in the story. Seriously, did the author of this article even read the book?


Posted in GEPL Teens

First Tween Reaches 100 Summer Reading Hours!

tween-blog-bannerDylanDylan, 7th grader at Hadley Middle School

Current Summer Reading Hours: 127

This is Dylan, the first tween to reach 100 hours! While waiting for school to start, Dylan likes to make gaming videos for YouTube, learn more about web design, and of course- READING! He loves riding his bike through Glen Ellyn and is a frequent visitor of The Shack. He recommends getting a burger and a shake. In a few days, he’ll be going with his family to the RAGBRAI, an annual bike race across Iowa. He’ll bike long distance for two days before relaxing the rest of the week at a lake house. This isn’t even his only summer adventure. He just got back from a 3 week computer camp at Northwestern University.

Dylan loves Harry Potter, and is a self-proclaimed expert on the series. He’s read them yearly, but loves “The Order of the Phoenix” the most. A lot of his summer reading has been spent reading Harry Potter fan fiction online. He recently discovered “The Hobbit”. While it took him a while to get through, he definitely enjoyed it. An avid science fiction fan, Dylan has tried every book in the sci-fi section at Hadley.

Want to reach 100 hours of reading yourself? Dylan recommends planning your day efficiently. “There are 24 hours in a day, plenty of that time can be spent reading.” He suggests reading 2 hours daily.

Posted in GEPL News, GEPL Tweens

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




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