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GEPL Kids: How the Library Can Help Your Child with Learning Disabilities

By: Renee Grassi, Youth Department Director

Drawing of 3 Kids "1 in 5 Children Have Learnibg Disabilities"The library can be an intimidating place to children with learning disabilities. Libraries are synonymous with books, reading, learning—things that can be challenging for a child with a learning disability. In fact, the mere thought of making a visit to the library to check out a book can be instantly overwhelming and stress-inducing. If a child has a learning disability, it may affect aspects of that child’s experience, including ways that child listens, speaks, thinks, reads, writes, spells, or computes math. What, then, does the Glen Ellyn Public Library have to help parents and caregivers with children with learning disabilities?

Audio books: Listening to a book being read aloud is an enjoyable experience for any child, but it can be especially helpful for children with learning disabilities. For some readers, the process of listening to a book, as opposed to reading it, can significantly help improve their comprehension and retention. The Youth Department offers books on CD, as well as playaway formats for children who are auditory learners to listen along to their favorite story.

Digital Books: In a similar way, the process of reading an interactive digital book can make the experience of reading a positive one for a child with learning disabilities. The Library subscribes to several online resources, such as Tumblebooks and BookFlix, which are excellent for children with learning disabilities. These online resources have a “Read Along” feature which highlights each word as its being read out loud for the listener. With your GEPL library card, you have access to these resources 24/7 from your home computer or your mobile device. Be sure to check it out!

Storytime: Storytime is not just for babies here in Glen Ellyn! It’s a language-rich environment that supports and encourages children to be lifelong readers. We in the Youth Department are excited about books and hope to share our enthusiasm with children and families that attend. Whether it’s through song, movement, dance, or even flannel board stories, we often adapt stories in a variety of ways to be welcoming to all learners. We also show a brief film at the end of each Family Storytime, which are animated shorts of beloved picture books. In January after the Youth Remodel project is complete, the Youth Department looks forward to bringing back our ever-popular schedule of storytimes for children of all ages. Be sure to check in at GEPL’s Storytime page for more information about our winter session of storytimes and consider bringing your child to this shared reading experience.

Friendly Staff: Children, regardless if they have a learning disability or not, pick up attitudes and perceptions about reading from the adults in their lives. One thing that Youth Department staff can do is be a friendly, non-judgmental face in your child’s life that encourages their own interests and gets to know them. We want to help your child love books as much as we do, so don’t hesitate to ask us if we can help you and your child find the next good book to read. We have lots of suggestions and a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books to choose from!

Need more tips for students with learning disabilities? Check out this online article by PBS Parents or the Learning Disabilities page on Reading Rockets website.

Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: Readers Are Forcing Bad Books

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By: Maia G., Teen Blogger

The Diviners by Libba Bray Book CoverOne of my favorite authors, Libba Bray, who wrote the books The Diviners, Beauty Queens, Going Bovine, and the Gemma Doyle Trilogy, recently finished her new book, Lair of Dreams (the second book in The Diviners series). I know, you have absolutely no idea what the heck The Diviners is. Before I go on with the rest of this blog entry, I recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy, romance, mystery, murder, or basically anything else for that matter. I recommend this to everyone!

Going on, her book is coming out this August! Most people who have read any of her books know how great of an author she is. Every one of the fans of The Diviners has been anxiously awaiting the release of this (hopefully) fantastic book. A LOT of people have been emailing her with questions that ask when this book is coming out, pressuring her to write faster. What most people don’t know is Libba Bray has depression. As all those emails flooded her inbox, according to Libba Bray, she wanted to say “I’m sorry that I haven’t returned your email but you can see the huge hole in the center of me, and I’m afraid it has made such dialogue impossible” (Libba Bray’s blog entry- Miles and Miles of No-Man’s Land). So, she finished her book with intense depression, but the release date was pushed back so far, over a year, because of her depression, and close to no one even noticed or maybe even cared why the date was pushed back so far.

Moving to more brought up book series, many people think the Divergent, Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Twilight, and Harry Potter series (to name a few)had pretty bad endings compared to the rest of the series. Is it just me, or is there a pattern of bad book series endings? These extremely popular authors almost certainly had their share of harmful, pressuring emails about the release date of their most recent books. Authors are pressured into writing faster, no matter the circumstance, and I believe that is why the most recent books that are part of a series are considered “bad” and “rushed”. Fan boy and girls are pressuring authors to write their books at a fast pace, and once the books finally come out, they shoot the authors’ books down because they’re rushed. Of course they’re going to be rushed! They’re basically being forced to abandon every plan they had for their books, and they need to end them with a fast-paced, cut-off ending.

It sounds like I’m writing an essay, but there is a solution! Stop pressuring authors to finish their books earlier than they want to!!!!!! I know, it’s super hard to wait for a book to come out. I keep checking the days off the calendar, anxiously counting down until the day my hopefully (crossing my fingers!!) new favorite book comes out. But honestly, would you want your favorite character to be killed off because the author was pressured into writing an alternate ending? It’s hard to believe, but the longer you wait, the greater chance the book you so desperately need is going to be AMAZING!!


Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Last Minute Halloween Costumes

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Halloween is tomorrow, and if you’re a chronic procrastinator/non-crafty person like me, you may not have a costume yet. That’s okay! There are plenty of costumes that can be whipped up at the last minute, and we’re here to help with some ideas. If you’re still struggling for a Halloween costume, try one of these easy, book-ish ideas:

Take a large white sheet and cut out eye holes for a traditional ghost costume. Using a sharpie, write “Lily Potter” or “James Potter” on the front.

A Kid Wearing a Halloween Ghost Costume

Get the largest paper bag (or two) you can find. Cut out armholes, and wear it like a dress. Make a crown out of yellow construction paper. You are now the Paperbag Princess (and if you haven’t read the book, revert to being a kid again and check it out ASAP!)

Paperbag Princess

Put a red “A” onto literally any item of clothing and go as Olive from Easy A (this totally counts as literary because it’s based on a book.) Or just use a giant red A and go as “The Scarlet Letter!”

Red Letter A

Use a giant towel as a toga, go as a house elf (Harry Potter is just full of easy costume ideas!)

Towel Toga Drawing

Get a “Hello, my name is…” nametag. Write “Ishmael.” Introduce yourself by saying “call me Ishmael.”

Hello My Name Is Ishmael Name Tag

Draw a Camp Half-Blood logo on an orange t-shirt, enjoy being a demi-god.

Camp Half-Blood Logo On Orange TSshirt

Dress like an awesome person, carry a book or ten around with you, and be a librarian!

Picture of Rupert Giles from Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV Show

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Kids: Picture Book Recataloging

By: Bari Ericson, Youth Programming Associate

If you have been in our temporary space this fall, you may have noticed that our Picture Book collection has developed a split personality!

In our old space, the books were organized by author. This was great when you were looking for Curious George stories that are all written by the same author, but not so great when you wanted a book about trucks. Then we had to search the catalog and take you through the collection hunting down truck books by Barton, Stickland, etc.

Baby Bear Series Blue by Ashley Wolff Book Cover With New Library LabelWe are currently in the process of re-cataloging all 10,000+ of our picture books by subject. That means all of the truck books will be together under “Transportation Trucks.” Under the Changes category, you will find books to help your child adjust to a new sibling — “Changes New Baby,” a new house — “Changes Moving,” or a new school year — “Changes School.” In all, there are about 15 main categories, divided into 10 or more sub-categories each.

Not to worry, we have kept many of your favorite authors, like Eric Carle, and favorite characters, like Berenstain Bears together.

We have to admit, it has not always been easy to categorize each and every picture book! Just what does one do with a book about a Birthday party on a Train for Dinosaurs? We have done our best and think you will agree that it is easier to find the type of books your child wants. And you may discover new ones in the process!

If you are have any questions about the new organization, or are having trouble locating that book with the green cover that was on the bottom shelf of aisle two in the back – please don’t hesitate to ask!

The huge perk of this assignment has been getting to read through so many picture books! Here are some of my favorite discoveries!

Kaleidoscope by Salina Yoon Book Cover

Kaleidoscope by Salina Yoon (JP Activities Art Y) Turn the spinning kaleidoscope lens and watch each magical page transform before your eyes! Award-winning artist Salina Yoon invites readers on an unforgettable poetic journey filled with colorful surprises.

The Otter Who Loved to Hold Hands by Heidi Howarth Book Cover

The Otter Who Loved to Hold Hands by Heidi Howarth (JP Animals Water H) Otto the otter feels safest when he holds hands with his family, and he needs something to persuade him to face his fears and finally let go.

Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein Book Cover

Before After by Anne-Margo Ramstein (JP Concepts General R) Everyone knows that a tiny acorn grows into a mighty oak and a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. But in this clever, visually enchanting volume, it’s also true that a cow can result in both a bottle of milk and a painting of a cow.

My Side of the Car by Kate Feiffer Book Cover

My Side of the Car by Kate Feiffer (JP Nature Weather F)Sadie and her father have been planning a trip to the zoo for a long time, so when they finally start out and her father sees some raindrops, Sadie insists there is no rain on her side of the car.

When Blue Met Egg by Lindsay Ward Book Cover

When Blue Met Egg by Lindsay Ward (JP Places City W) Blue spends months seeking the mother of the strange white egg that appeared in her nest one winter’s day, enjoying New York City with her chilly friend, but as the weather grows warmer Egg becomes smaller.

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman Book Cover

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman (JP Roles Siblings D) When her parents find a baby wolf on their doorstep and decide to raise him as their own, Dot is certain he will eat them all up until a surprising encounter with a bear brings them closer together.

I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black Book Cover

I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black (JP Stories Funny B) When a bored girl meets a potato who finds children tedius, she tries to prove him wrong by demonstrating all of the things they can do, from turning cartwheels to using their imaginations.

The Last Train by Gordon Titcomb Book Cover

The Last Train by Gordon Titcomb (JP Transportation Trains T) The bygone era of the mighty iron horse are paired with detailed paintings that pay tribute to life around a little railroad station.

Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: Before I Fall Review

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By: Andrea G., Teen Blogger

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver Book CoverBefore I Fall is a book I’d easily recommend to everyone, even though it might seem girly. The lessons this book taught made me sit and think about life after finishing it. This book deals with extremely pertinent issues such as: sacrifice, love, suicide, acceptance, high school popularity, and self-identity. Despite the fact that some of the lessons may seem cliché, like not caring about what others think, the way these themes are illustrated makes Before I Fall a book that’s impossible to put down.

The book is written from the viewpoint of Samantha Kingston, a seemingly perfect, popular high school senior. It begins on her school’s “Cupid’s Day,” a day she looks forward to every year. In the morning, her biggest concern is how many “Valograms” (roses with notes attached to them) she will get that day. She rules over the school, carelessly bullying others. Her favorite target is a girl named Juliet Skyes, a girl she’s been teasing since the 6th grade. After school she ends up at a house party where her horribly shallow personality shows through. At the party, Juliet Skyes confronts her and finally stands up for herself. However, with Samantha’s powerful reign on the school, she gets everyone to pour beer all over her and start chanting “psycho”. On Samantha’s and her friend’s way home from the party, something crashes into them and Samantha abruptly dies. But then she awakes to the exact same scene she woke up to the day before. This book has a kind of Groundhog Day vibe, every day Samantha wakes up reliving the last day of her life. Each time she wakes up she has another day, and another chance to change her fate.

Throughout the story, Samantha grows as a person and her mindset starts to change. On the second day, she survives past 12:39am (the time the car crash occurred). However, her mom comes in and tells her Juliet Skyes has killed herself. Samantha then understands that her actions definitely affected Juliet’s suicide. Knowing this, she starts the next day trying to find a way to save both of their lives. As she continuously keeps repeating this day, she becomes aware of the value of love and the importance of accepting others. Samantha grows to reevaluate her old morals and learns what her life’s purpose is.

I love this book because it pursues the question of what the meaning of life is. Although it’s obviously too big of a question for one book to solve, it really made me reflect on what the pinnacles a fulfilled life should be based upon. Before I Fall taught me that life is about sacrifices. It’s not always easy to make sacrifices to benefit others, especially in Samantha’s case where it’s a life or death situation, but it’s necessary. Although Samantha had to learn these lessons in a completely undesirable situation, it doesn’t mean the rest of us have to.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: Halloween

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By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian

Two Carved Scary Faced Pumpkins Sitting On The PorchI love all things Halloween. I love ghostly tales and am an all-year ghost hunter. I make a Halloween checklist each year, but I never finish it. There’s just too much to do! I carve some creepy pumpkins, and hide motion-activated talking skulls throughout the house. People say it’s annoying, but I think they’re saying “awesome” wrong. When I’m not out looking for ghosts, carving pumpkins, or trying not to show that I’m super scared at a haunted house, you can find me reading a spooky book. I know most of our books are in storage, but you can – and should – request a hold on any of these chilling titles.

Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac Book CoverSkeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac

Molly wakes up one morning to find her parents have vanished. Social Services turns her over to the care of a great-uncle, a mysterious man Molly has never met nor heard of. Now Molly is having dreams about the Skeleton Man from a spooky old Mohawk tale her father told her–and these dreams are trying to tell her something.

The Ghost Prison by Joseph Delaney Book CoverThe Ghost Prison by Joseph Delaney

Night falls, the moon rises, and fifteen-year-old Billy starts his first night as a prison guard. But this is no ordinary prison. There are haunted cells that can’t be used, whispers and cries in the night… and the dreaded Witch Well. Billy is warned to stay away from the prisoner down in the Witch Well. But what prison could be so frightening? Billy is about to find out…

Coraline by Neil GaimanCoraline by Neil Gaiman

When Coraline explores her new home, she steps through a door and into another house just like her own . . . except that it’s different. It’s a marvelous adventure until Coraline discovers that there’s also another mother and another father in the house. They want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to keep her forever! Coraline must use all of her wits and every ounce of courage in order to save herself and return home.

The Grimm Legacy by Polly ShulmanThe Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

Elizabeth has a new job at an unusual library a lending library of objects, not books. In a secret room in the basement lies the Grimm Collection. That’s where the librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales: seven-league boots, a table that produces a feast at the blink of an eye, Snow White s stepmother s sinister mirror that talks in riddles. When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth embarks on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before she can be accused of the crime or captured by the thief.

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – Carry On

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell Book CoverIf you’ve been reading this blog for a while, or talked to me about books at all, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. So when I heard she was coming out with Carry On, a fictional book based on the fanfiction written by Fangirl’s main character Cath (complicated enough for you?) I was thrilled. Luckily for me, Rainbow Rowell never disappoints!

What I Just Read: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

What’s It About (Jacket Description): Rainbow Rowell continues to break boundaries with Carry On, an epic fantasy following the triumphs and heartaches of Simon and Baz from her beloved bestseller Fangirl.

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.

Do I Like It: As far as I’m concerned, everything Rainbow Rowell writes is wonderful!

Thoughts: If you’ve read Rainbow Rowell, and especially if you’ve read Fangirl, I’m not sure how much I can say that you don’t already know. Like every Rowell book, Carry On has remarkably well-realized characters, beautiful relationships between them, and conflicts that matter as much because of character as plot. Like the description says, there’s plenty of talking and kissing – plus monsters!

But there are two things that particularly struck me, despite being a Rowell aficionado. The first is how much Carry On, especially at the beginning, is somehow both a love letter to Hogwarts and a more modern, realistic take on the magical boarding school. I love the Harry Potter books and Hogwarts dearly, so it was wonderful to read something so clearly influenced positively by the books and (fictional) place I love so much. But Carry On is so much more realistic and less fantastical than the Harry Potter books, despite the magic, that it made sense for Watford to also have laptops, soccer, and significantly more cursing than Harry Potter. The balance between homage, modernization, and originality was just perfect.

The other thing that I wasn’t expecting but that absolutely blew me away was the friendship between Simon and his best friend, Penelope. It’s clear pretty much from the first pages that Penelope is the most important person in the world to Simon, even above his girlfriend, and that their friendship is strictly platonic. There are so few books that feature real, deep, friendships between men and women, without any hint of romantic tension, that just the existence of it was wonderful. And the dynamic between Penelope and Simon was the best – absolute love and devotion, but also a friendship that encompasses Penny’s complete acknowledgement of Simon’s faults, and Simon’s characteristic blindness to Penny’s faults because she is his favorite person. I’m always a sucker for good friendship stories, and Carry On’s central friendship is one of the best.

I could rave forever about Carry On, but I’ll close with this: if you’re a Harry Potter fan, this is a must-read. If you’re a Rainbow Rowell fan, this is a must-read. And if you’re not a Rainbow Rowell fan yet, Carry On is a great place to find out what you’ve been missing!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Kids: Meet Emily Richardson, New Youth Programming Associate

By: Emily Richardson, Youth Programming Associate

Picture of GEPL Youth Librarian Emily RichardsonHello!

My name is Miss Emily and I’m new to the Youth Department here at GEPL. Since I’m new, you probably don’t know much about me, so I put together a fun get-to-know-me list.

What Do I Look Like? I have brown hair and blue eyes. I’m the perfect height to be a Disney Princess, and tend to sing and dance as much as one too.

Favorite Food: Macaroni and cheese, artichokes, chicken dumplings, steak and potatoes, and chocolate peanut butter ice cream.

Favorite Animals: Giraffes, Snow Leopards, Penguins, Elephants, and Lemurs

Fun Activities: Archery, dancing, debating, reading, biking, and making puns

Least Favorite Things: Zucchini, snakes, stingrays, and swimming

Favorite Places to Hang Out: Libraries, coffee shops, parks, Museum of Science and Industry (side note: Have you heard of the Museum Pass? You should check it out—literally)

This Year’s Halloween Costume: I’m dressing up as Amelia Earhart.

Favorite Books: The Rithmatist, The Glass Sentence, A Corner of White, Ender’s Game, Mysterious Benedict Society, Magic Tree House, Alanna: The First Adventure, Chasing Vermeer

If you could be any fictional character, who would you be? I would either be Eowyn from LOTR or Fa Mulan.

Favorite thing about GEPL: Helping kids and adults find fun books to read, and Storytime.

Come visit me in the Youth Department. I’d love to get to know you too!

See you soon,

Miss Emily

Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: The DUFF Movie Review

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By: Alison O., Teen Blogger

The DUFF Movie PosterI recently saw the movie The DUFF for the first time and I thought the movie was a truly funny and feel-good movie.  The movie is about a high school girl named Bianca who is friends with the two most popular girls in the school.  She struggles with self-esteem issues and finding her place amongst her two best friends, who always seem to effortlessly get the guys that Bianca desperately wants.  Bianca is offended when she discovers that she has been considered by her whole school the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier best friends.  She turns to her neighbor who also attends her school, Wesley, to help her reinvent herself and clear her label for good.  With a little romance and lots of laughs, this movie is one to remember!

My favorite aspect of the movie was that it was very light hearted, although it was dealing with heavy topics such as self-esteem, I felt there was still good additions of comedy throughout.  I also enjoyed seeing Bianca and Wesley’s relationship unfold throughout the movie because it was very endearing that a popular jock like Wesley would genuinely care about Bianca.  I felt that the movie was overall very relatable to teens because in the beginning and throughout the movie, they referenced many familiar social media websites such as Instagram and Facebook.  I thought this added a fun detail to the movie to really give it a high school vibe, appropriate since the characters were all in high school.

If I could improve something from the movie, it would be the lack of originality.  At times, especially at the end, I feel like the movie was very predictable and failed to stray from the mainstream plots regarding the romance and comedy aspects in the movie.  Although I was not personally bothered by this, I feel that some others might find it annoying and I could understand their perspective.  If you’re looking for a more original movie, possibly The DUFF isn’t the right fit for you.  On the other hand, The DUFF is a very dependable movie if you want to be guaranteed a good time and a heartfelt ending.

Overall I thought the movie was very light and a true feel-good comedy that is relatable to teens especially. I really enjoyed it!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – Everything Everything

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Everything Everythig by Nicola Yoon Book CoverI usually try to read books that get a lot of buzz – in my job, if teens are reading and talking about it, I should probably know about it! This has mixed results for me personally. Sometimes I end up loving a book even more than the hype led me to believe (see The Hunger Games) and sometimes I’m a little disappointed (not going to name names here, but you know the feeling.) But sometimes, a book exactly lives up to the hype – which usually makes for a great read!

What I’m Reading Now: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

What’s It About (Jacket Description): My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Do I Like It: Obviously – see the above about living up to the hype!

Thoughts: I feel like Everything, Everything has been everywhere, everywhere lately, so I was excited to get a chance to read it. After all the raving from reviewers and teens, I was actually…bracing myself for disappointment. Luckily, I was disappointed in my disappointment! Everything, Everything was as lovely, as compulsively readable, and as romantic as I had been led to believe. Its few minor flaws were ones that, even amidst the hype, I’d been warned about, so they didn’t detract from my joy in the book. I read this one really fast, finishing the last third in one night, so it definitely lived up to the readability ratings! And best of all, it rang true to me – Madeline, Olly, Madeline’s mom and her nurse Carla, and even the smaller side characters like Olly’s sister Kara and friend Zach.

In a book with so many in-world restrictions on who Madeline can meet, it was important for the major characters to feel real, and have real and interesting relationships with each other. Olly and Madeline’s romance seemed natural. Less attention was paid to how it developed than what the repercussions of the romance were for Madeline, Olly, and everyone around them, but it was still important to me that their relationship seemed true and worth the angst – and it did. I also liked Madeline’s relationships with her mom and her nurse, Carla. Despite the fact that they are authority figures, they are also her best (and really, only) friends in her isolated, decontaminated world. They both clearly love her, and she clearly knows that and reciprocates, even when she does rebel against them or chafe against the safety measures put in place around her.

And of course, it would be hard to appreciate all of Madeline’s relationships without appreciating Madeline herself. She is optimistic without being too sugary sweet, well-read (which makes sense) but with other interests to flesh her out as well. She’s loving, loyal, and caring, as well as being curious, creative, and witty. Her glowing personality – even when she’s not making the best decisions – is definitely what holds this book together.

Everything, Everything is as sparkling as Madeline herself, with an emotional depth and compulsive readability that make it hard to put down. This is Nicola Yoon’s first novel, and based on Everything, Everything, I have no doubt she has a long and amazing writing career ahead of her – and I can’t wait to see what she writes next!

Posted in GEPL Teens