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GEPL Teens: Great Character Alert – Adelina Amouteru

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

The Young Elites by Marie Lu Book CoverOnce again, it’s time for a great character alert! Today’s great character appears in some equally great books, but I really want to focus just on her wonderful, relatable, anti-hero/villain awesomeness. This will come as no surprise to those of you who have read The Young Elites and The Rose Society, but I’m talking today about Adelina Amouteru.

For those unfamiliar with Marie Lu’s dark fantasy series, The Young Elites takes place in a world where a terrible blood fever has ravaged the land, leaving many survivors – called “malfettos” – marked with scars or strangely colored hair or other signs of their ordeal. And a select few of these malfettos, the young elites, have also developed strange powers. Adelina is one of these young elites, although she doesn’t know it at the beginning of her own story. What she does know is that as a malfetto she is hated, despised, and persecuted, even by those who should love and protect her.

Part of what makes Adelina such an incredible character is her growth over the course of the two novels. She starts out bullied by her father, envious of her sister, and desperately seeking to escape an arranged marriage. But soon after, Adelina’s powers start to show, and she must completely redefine how she views herself. Her slowly growing confidence, her internal struggles as she deals with a power that feeds on fear and hatred, and her changing relationship with her sister and her country are amazing to watch, and completely believable.

It’s not just her growth that makes Adelina such a great character though – it is her flaws. And she has many flaws. Even at the beginning when she is struggling to overcome her victimization at the hands of her father, Adelina is far from perfect. She resents her sister to an extreme degree, despite loving her. She hates her father, but still somehow craves his affection and approval. She is mistrustful of everyone, not smart enough or confident enough to outwit an enemy who blackmails her, and still afraid of her growing powers. As the story unfolds, some of Adelina’s faults magnify – her desire for power, her grudge holding, and her mistrust lead her down a dark path. But because we are in her head, because we see why she does what she does, it’s hard for us readers to hate Adelina. It’s obvious early on in the series that Adelina will never be a hero, but whether she will be an anti-hero or a villain is a question that makes her addicting to read about.

A great character isn’t always a hero. Often, they aren’t even people we would want to be friends with. Adelina is one such person – while I admire her love for her sister, her sense of the injustices against malfettos in her world, and her fierce determination and independence, I wouldn’t want to be dealing with her jealousies, her ambition, and her cruelty in my life. But the way she rings so true as a character, and struggles with a variety of physical, moral, and emotional dilemmas, and the incredibly realistic growing and changing of her character make her one of my favorite characters I’ve read about this year. The end of The Rose Society left me desperate for the next installment of the series – and desperate to know what will happen next to Adelina.

If you love anti-heroes, realistic character growth, or complicated, difficult, compelling characters, this great character alert is meant for you! Check out The Young Elites and get to know Adelina Amouteru for yourself.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Welcome Back!

By: Bari Ericson, Youth Programming Associate

It’s finally done, and you are going to be delighted with the results! After months of squealing drills and banging hammers, the dust has cleared, and we have opened our newly remodeled Youth Department! (I know I’m not supposed to use so many exclamation marks, but I’m so excited for you to come see it! I will try to restrain myself from here on.)

As a very service-oriented staff team, we have hated turning you away empty-handed, with only promises that your book would arrive in a few days or with directions to another library. But all that has changed, and we can’t wait to see your faces as you walk into the newly remodeled space. The entire map has shifted with resources for older kids near the west entrance and materials for younger kids to the east. There is a fabulous study and hang-out space for the Middle Schoolers and expanded play area for the little ones. The program room has been expanded to allow for higher attendance and more diverse activities.

I had the privilege of buying new toys for the play space. Here are some of the fun and educational things awaiting your visit:

Picture of Caterpillar Gear Toy
Picture of Color Mixing Blocks Toys
Picture of Add Subtract Abacus Toy
Picture of Tough Trucks Toys

There is much, much more, and you just have to come in and experience it. We can’t wait to see you!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Tweens: New Year’s Resolutions

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By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian

It’s a new year, and the time for resolutions. I’ll be honest, I didn’t make a resolution this year. Resolutions are about change, and I don’t want much to change. Anything that needs a little tweaking, doesn’t merit a resolution. In the past, I’ve made resolutions that I’ll keep enforcing this year – do a good deed each day, even if it’s complimenting a stranger, and I try to let things bother me less. Resolutions are great. Even if you don’t follow through all 12 months, it still allows for self-reflection. It makes you think about your life, how you want things to be different, and pick the roads that will get you there.

A new year can mean change. I think everyone in the library can attest to that. The new youth department in the library has opened its doors and unveiled all the changes that we have worked on in the past few months. There are new toys, new displays, new books, and new rooms. The whole department has a new-thing smell. It’s glorious. If you haven’t yet, be sure to stop by and see what we have to offer, including The Middle, a room just for 6-8th grade visitors.

Change is not unique to one person or place. All of us deal with change at some point in our lives. It can be an experience that bonds people together. My cats decided they will be friends after we moved into our house. The fear of change bonded them together. Since cats can’t read, they can’t enjoy stories about change, but that shouldn’t stop us. Stories about change, or main characters dealing with life-altering events are fun to read because it could happen to us, or it already has.

If you’d like to experience change through someone else’s eyes, pick up one (or more) of these titles.

The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter by Kristen Tracy Book Cover

The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter by Kristen Tracy

After an unfortunate incident at the hair salon, Bessica is not allowed to see her best friend, Sylvie. That means she’s going to start middle school a-l-o-n-e. Bessica feels like such a loser. She wants friends. She’s just not sure how to make them. It doesn’t help that her beloved grandma is off on some crazy road trip and has zero time to listen to Bessica. Or that Bessica has a ton of homework. Or that gorgeous Noll Beck thinks she’s just a kid. Or that there are some serious psycho-bullies in her classes. Bessica doesn’t care about being popular. She just wants to survive–and look cute. Is that too much to ask when you’re eleven?

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano Book Cover

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano

There are two secrets Evelyn Serrano is keeping from her Mami and Papo–her true feelings about growing up in her Spanish Harlem neighborhood, and her attitude about Abuela, her sassy grandmother who’s come from Puerto Rico to live with them. Then, like an urgent ticking clock, events erupt that change everything. The Young Lords, a Puerto Rican activist group, dump garbage in the street and set it on fire, igniting a powerful protest. When Abuela steps in to take charge, Evelyn is thrust into the action. Tempers flare, loyalties are tested. Through it all, Evelyn learns important truths about her Latino heritage and the history makers who shaped a nation. Infused with actual news accounts from the time period, Sonia Manzano has crafted a gripping work of fiction based on her own life growing up during a fiery, unforgettable time in America, when young Latinos took control of their destinies.

Drive Me Crazy by Terra Elan McVoy Book Cover

Drive Me Crazy by Terra Elan McVoy

Friendship can be a bumpy road. . . .Lana and Cassie have met only once before, at the wedding of Lana’s Grandpa Howe and Cassie’s Grandma Tess two months ago. The two girls couldn’t be more different, and they didn’t exactly hit it off–but they’re about to spend an entire week together for their grandparents’ honeymoon, road-tripping from California to Maine in the backseat of a Subaru. It’s going to be a disaster.

I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch Book Cover

I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch

The true story of an all-American girl and a boy from Zimbabwe and the letter that changed both of their lives forever. It started as an assignment. Everyone in Caitlin’s class wrote to an unknown student somewhere in a distant place. Martin was lucky to even receive a pen-pal letter. There were only ten letters, and fifty kids in his class. But he was the top student, so he got the first one. That letter was the beginning of a correspondence that spanned six years and changed two lives.

Body Switch by M.G. Higgins Book Cover

Body Switch by M.G. Higgins

A wish comes true in a mysterious restaurant. Two boys switch places. Brian Stark is a normal middle school kid. He is bored with his family. School is a drag. Watching his little sister is a total pain. Jamie Hawk is an international pop star sensation with a ton of money, but he has no normal life. His dad bosses him around. He has no privacy. He never sees his mom. Zap! With a crack of lightning and a selfie, it all changes.

The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days by Michele Helen Hurwitz Book Cover

The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days by Michele Helen Hurwitz

This summer, Nina decides to change things. She hatches a plan. There are sixty-five days of summer. Every day, she’ll anonymously do one small but remarkable good thing for someone in her neighborhood, and find out: does doing good actually make a difference? Along the way, she discovers that her neighborhood, and her family, are full of surprises and secrets.

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly Book Cover

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly

Apple has always felt a little different from her classmates. She and her mother moved to Louisiana from the Philippines when she was little, and her mother still cooks Filipino foods and chastises Apple for becoming “too American.” When Apple’s friends turn on her and everything about her life starts to seem weird and embarrassing, Apple turns to music. If she can just save enough to buy a guitar and learn to play, maybe she can change herself. It might be the music that saves her . . . or it might be her two new friends, who show her how special she really is.

Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde Book Cover

Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town, accepts his teacher’s challenge to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world. His idea is simple: do a good deed for three people and instead of asking them to return the favor, ask them to ‘pay it forward’ to three others who need help.

My Year of Epic Rock by Andrea Pyros Book Cover

My Year of Epic Rock by Andrea Pyros

If Life Was Like a Song….Nina Simmons’ song would be “You Can’t Always Eat What You Want.” (Peanut allergies, ugh). But that’s okay, because as her best friend Brianna always said, “We’re All in This Together.” Until the first day of the seventh grade, when Brianna dumps her to be BFFs with the popular new girl. Left all alone, Nina is forced to socialize with “her own kind”–banished to the peanut-free table with the other allergy outcasts. As a joke, she tells her new pals they should form a rock band called EpiPens. (Get it?) Apparently, allergy sufferers don’t understand sarcasm, because the next thing Nina knows she’s the lead drummer. Now Nina has to decide: adopt a picture-perfect pop personality to fit in with Bri and her new BFF or embrace her inner rocker and the spotlight. Well…Call Me a Rock Star, Maybe.

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

Miss Deanna’s Favorite Things

By: Deanna Siegel, Youth Programming Associate

Picture of Deanna SiegelHi there!

My name is Miss Deanna and I’m new to the Youth Department. These are a few of my favorite things that I would like to share with you. Maybe these are some of your favorites, too!

Come by and tell me about your favorite things! I can’t wait to hear.


Miss Deanna

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Teens: 2016 Reading Resolutions

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Calvin and Hobbes Commic: "Resolutions? Me?? Just What Are You Implying? That I Need To Change?? Well, Buddy, As Far As I'm Concerened, I'm Perfect The Way I Am!Once again, it’s the end of the year and time to look forward to something new. As you may recall, I made three reading resolutions for 2015: Diversify my reading, don’t waste time on books I don’t like, and make time to read. Before I go into new resolutions, I wanted to update you on how I did.

As far as “diversify my reading” and “don’t waste time on books I don’t like” went, I nailed it. My reading this year was more diverse in terms of authors, characters, and genres than I can remember. Through doing this, I found incredible new authors and books, was exposed to new experiences, found out I enjoy a whole new genre (memoir), and generally expanded my horizons. And because I succeeded with “don’t waste time on books I don’t like,” I managed to read over 120 books that I really enjoyed this year. They weren’t all five star reads, but with only one exception (an award winner, thus why I forced myself to finish,) I enjoyed them all.

Where I fell short was on “make time to read.” Yes, I read a lot of books. But there were times when I would go days without physically reading a book. Just a couple weeks ago, I had a whole day off with pretty limited chores or plans, and I didn’t once pick up a book to read. So that’s why this year, my very first resolution is a repeat!

If you need inspiration for your own reading resolutions, or are just curious about what kind of goals another read has set, here are my 2016 reading resolutions:

  1. Make Time to Read

As I mentioned last year, audiobooks are great, but there is something about physically reading a book that I miss when I don’t do it. I read faster, my imagination gets to play a little more, and it’s relaxing and immersive in a way that audiobooks just never quite achieve. So this year, I’m going to try once more to not only read at least a few pages every single day, but also make the choice to read rather than watch the BBC Pride & Prejudice for the 100th time, or instead of turning on whatever silly movie is on the SyFy network, or instead of hanging out with friends, just once or twice. Reading is one of my favorite things, and it’s important to me to make time for it!

  1. Allow Myself to Re-Read More

Diversifying my reading last year was great. I intend to keep doing it throughout 2016, because it paid off big time. But I also miss some of my old favorites. I’ve always been a re-reader, and I did very little of it in 2015. I want to read new things, but I also want to allow myself time to re-visit old favorites without feeling guilty.

  1. Only Buy Books I Love

I work at a library, so this only makes sense. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for buying books, gifting books, more books in general. But if you’re on a limited budget (like me) or working with limited space (like me) it doesn’t make sense to spend money on books you don’t absolutely love. After all, that’s part of what libraries are for – giving us access to things without having to buy them ourselves. And if I limit my book buying only to really fantastic books, I save myself money and space, and make sure that what I do spend on books is going to support authors whose work I really care about. It’s a win-win!

Are you making any resolutions for 2016? Do you have any specifically book-related resolutions?

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Memories of the Glen Ellyn Public Library

By: Carolyn Wissmiller, Youth Programming Associate

I’m retiring at the end of this year. Yikes! That’s not so very far away. While I’m looking forward to more free time to pursue a variety of activities, it’s also a great time to reflect on the more than 11 years I’ve spent here at GEPL.

Things that have changed:

  • The Library is totally different on the inside:
    • The Adult Staff offices have been relocated from the second floor to the third floor.
    • The Adult Department has been extensively remodeled, adding several more study rooms and a Digital Media Lab.
    • The Youth Department is about to reopen in a beautifully recreated space.
    • We have two new boilers, courtesy of the April 2013 flood.
  • The outside of the Library has changed too:
    • We have created the beautiful Christy Stigailo Memorial Butterfly Garden.
    • The parking lot use to flow counter-clockwise; but now it goes the other way around.
    • Because of the 2013 flood, there are 15” concrete parapet walls that prevent flood water from penetrating the building and swales to hold and redirect rain water away from the Library.
  • Technology has exploded:
    • We no longer keep track of Summer Reading or Patch Club on index cards; we use database software.
    • Movies are on Blue-ray; no more VHS tapes.
    • We have iPads and MacBooks for children to use while in the Library.
    • With our digital library resources, members can check out e-books, audiobooks, music, movies, magazines, without even coming to the Library; in fact, they can check out materials when they’re across the country or around the world.
    • In the Digital Media Lab, members can create music and videos, convert VHS to DVD and musical records to digital files, and edit digital creations in Garage Band, iMovie, or Audacity.
    • Thanks to the proliferation of cell phones, children no longer know their phone numbers.

Things that have stayed the same:

  • The favorite items in the Library’s Youth Department are still the toys.
  • My favorite books from when I was a child, many, many years ago, are still part of our collection. My old favorites and some new ones are listed below.
  • Members of the Glen Ellyn community and my co-workers are fantastic.
  • I will deeply miss everyone I’ve had the privilege to serve and the pleasure to work with.

Here are some of my favorite books now and then:

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Straaange Comic Book Characters

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By: Justin A., Teen Blogger

We all know that comic books are the one of the largest sources of weird and unexplainable events. While that is very true, comic books host even weirder characters. Both DC and Marvel have characters that make you question why they exist, why they were made in the first place. I personally love these characters and their strange backgrounds.

Here are my favorites.

  1. Throg (MARVEL)

Picutre of Throg (Marvel Character)At first he was Simon Walterson, a former college football player and widow. So in order to bring his wife back to life he used magic, a source he didn’t understand. A mystic woman offered him a chance to talk to his wife one last time, which he accepted. When he finished the woman asked for payment but he had none. For this, she turned him into a frog. He wandered about and found himself in the middle of a war where he found a chip of Thor’s hammer. When he picked it up he transformed into Throg. (basically a frog Thor)

  1. The Hate Monger (MARVEL)

In WWII Adolf Hitler led the Nazis in the Holocaust. In our world there are many conspiracies over Hitler and his death, but in the Marvel universe, a clone of Adolf Hitler was made and preserved. This clone later traveled the world and came across a hate ray, which, if fired at a person, could raise the hate in that person and make them do bad things out of rage.

  1. Captain Boomerang (DC)

A young boy born of an American soldier and an Australian woman grew up loving and creating boomerangs. He eventually adopted the persona of Captain Boomerang and used his abilities to fight the Flash and commit crimes. While he has no particular powers he is still a tough villain.
Picture of Arm Fall Off Boy (DC Character)

  1. Arm-Fall-Off-Boy (DC)

There isn’t much history to Arm-fall-off-boy. He is an alien known as Floyd Belki. He can detach his arms and use them as club. That’s his only power. Weird right?

  1. Danny the Street (DC)

Picture of Danny The Street (DC Character)Now this is my favorite character of this list. Formally a female, Danny is a street who teleports and has other powers that are very unspecific. He communicates by forming words out of the signs that are on the stores on him. He houses many people and a few heroes. Danny is a very flamboyant street, often found with military and sports streets decorated in pink and other bright colors. He mostly greets people with the phrase “bona to vada,” (“good to see you.”) That’s right, he is a street. A teleporting street that is often found assisting the Teen Titans by spying on people for Robin. And still a street.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

GEPL Tweens: The Christina Awards

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By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian

Everyone, let’s applaud the coolest Middle School Librarian you know: Me. I have officially read all of this year’s Caudill nominees. All. Twenty. Titles. I know, pretty impressive. I’m also nearly finished with the Bluestems, so stay tuned.

And now, it’s time for…. THE CHRISTINA AWARDS!

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage Book Cover

Coolest Book I Read Before the Nominations:
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

I love this book; and I loved listening to the audio a couple years ago. I didn’t want this to win any more Christina Awards since it’s not a new book for me.

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson Book Cover

When Harry met Steampunk:
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

I really liked this book, even though I’m not a huge fan of Steampunk. I enjoyed reading it, and looked forward to solving the case. The ending was great, and I can’t wait to read the next one. That being said, it’s not a completely new story. Boarding school fiction is not a new idea, but again – this was still a fun read.

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan Book Cover

Biggest Surprise:
Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan

This book hasn’t been super popular with checkouts. It always has the most copies on the shelf. They’re not all there, but still the most copies. This book seemed like heavy subject matter, and it was one of the last books I read from the list. I’m kind of sad I waited so long to try it. Don’t get me wrong, it WAS heavy subject matter, but not for the whole book. I was surprised when the book took a happy turn half way through and Habo, the main character made a friend and got a role model from the same person. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will give this book another Christina Award: Most Overlooked Caudill Nominee.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer Book Cover

Close Second in Big Surprise:
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

So this story isn’t overlooked like Golden Boy, but I was still reluctant to read it. I thought, “I already know Cinderella. I don’t need to read this.” I was wrong. The story is VERY loosely based off the tale. Cinder is a cyborg, and I knew that going in, but she’s a mechanic, which is refreshing, and the evil queen is FROM THE MOON! I have been converted to read the rest of the Lunar Chronicles – eventually.

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen Book Cover

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

I’ve read one of Hiaasen’s adult books before, but I liked this one more. I think Wahoo’s dad is my favorite literary character at least of this year. He was the best. I would read any book with him in it. The whole book was incredibly entertaining. If you haven’t read it yet, and like funny books, pick this up NOW!

See You at Harry’s by Johanna Knowles Book Cover

See You at Harry’s by Johanna Knowles

When I told Glen Crest sixth graders that this book was super sad, copies started flying off the shelves. I don’t know what’s with you guys and sad, but if that does it for you, read this book! There were a few other sad books this year, but nothing was as sad as this book in my opinion. It also has me super paranoid about my toddler.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness Book Cover

Most Interesting Back Story:
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

“She had the characters, a premise, and a beginning. What she didn’t have, unfortunately, was time.” – Patrick Ness. A Monster Calls was an idea by Siobhan Dowd. Sadly, she had died of cancer before being able to finish her story, so Patrick Ness finished it. Make sure to get the version with the creepy illustrations.

Second Place in Most Interesting Back Story: Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus

The reason I chose this book as a second place in this category is because while the main character Espen wasn’t a real person, he was based off a very real child spy. The end of the book tells all about the author’s real-life inspiration.

A Monster Calls Movie Poster

Book I’m Most Excited about Seeing at the Movies:
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Dude. Check out the teaser trailer and tell me you’re not pumped, even if Liam Neeson’s voice is a little weird in it.

And that’s it for the Christina Awards! Thanks for reading!
Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

GEPL Teens: Book Gifts

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

I don’t know about you, but I love to give people books. After all, what can be better than sharing my love of books with others, and finding the perfect gift for someone? But it can be hard to come up with the right book for the right person. You don’t want to give a book someone’s already read or already owns, but you want to get a book they’ll like. So here’s a few quick, easy, and (somewhat) lesser known titles you could give book lovers in your life!

Endangered by Lamar GilesFor Mystery Fans – Endangered by Lamar Giles or A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee

For those who can’t get enough of thrillers and modern mysteries, try Endangered, which focuses on the cat and mouse game that teen Panda plays with a stalker who’s caught her stalking. It’s fast paced, has great character development for Panda, and rushes towards an exciting and surprising conclusion. If your mystery lover is more interested in the past, try A Spy in the House, the first in a series of historical mysteries featuring orphan-turned-spy Mary Quinn as she infiltrates the upper levels of society in Victorian London.

For Sports Lovers: Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee or Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

For a sci-fi twist on a sports story, pick up Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee, about a zero gravity MMA fighter who rises to fame and the top of his profession, amidst revelations about his past and growing tensions between Earth and Mars. For a more current take on a sports story, gift Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. The story focuses on teen athlete D.J. as she tries to manage her family’s farm, train the quarterback from a rival high school, find her voice, and of course, keep up with her own sports dreams.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee Book CoverFor Your Sister/Best Friend: This Side of Home by Renee Watson, Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee, or Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

If you have a sister, especially a twin, she might enjoy reading about twin sisters who have to negotiate a new relationship with each other as they find themselves disagreeing about the gentrification of their neighborhood in This Side of Home. In Under a Painted Sky, Samantha and Annamarie are thrown together as they each escape from a dangerous situation and test their luck on the Oregon Trail, and develop a deep friendship along the way. Gabi in Gabi, A Girl In Pieces is dealing with a lot in her life, as are her two best friends. But they are all three there for each other every step of the way, making even the most painful experiences bearable for each other.

For the Romance Fan: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCouer

In To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Lara Jean Covey must untangle the threads of her romantic life after every letter she has written – but not sent – get delivered to her previous and current crushes. Along the way, she has to navigate family, friendships, and her own self confidence. If your romance-loving friend is a little more excited by Hollywood glamour, they might enjoy Everything Leads to You about 18 year old set designer Emi, who spends the summer after graduation rooming with her best friend – and getting to know the beautiful and talented Ava.

Huntress by Malinda Lo Book CoverFor Fantasy Lovers: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho or Huntress by Malinda Lo

If your fantasy loving friend or family member goes for the more light-hearted side of reading, they’ll probably love Sorcerer to the Crown, set in an alternate historical England. This book features title character Zacharias trying to solve England’s magical crisis, with the help (or hindrance) of the powerfully magical and powerfully determined Prunella. The combination of hijinks, spells, manner, and mayhem is irresistible. For the more serious-minded, Huntress takes inspiration from Chinese mythology, and follows the quest of Kaede and Taisin, who must try to end the endless winter their country is suffering with a visit to the fairy court and the undertaking of a quest.

For Those Who Follow Current Events: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely or All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Neither of these books is for the faint of heart, but both tackle some of the big issues we’ve seen in the news and discussed with our friends over the last few years, and both of them are powerful, maybe life-changing reads. In All American Boys, Rashad is brutally beaten by a police officer while trying to buy a bag of chips at a convenience store, and must struggle to recover in body and mind. In the meantime Quinn, who witnessed the beating and thinks of the police officer as family, must determine where his loyalties lie and what his conscience tells him. In All the Rage, Romy is bullied and ostracized after accusing a town golden boy of rape. While she is desperately trying to recover from her trauma and keep her life going, another girl in town goes missing, and Romy must decide whether to come forward all over again.

Pointe by Brandy Colbert Book CoverFor the Dancer in Your Life: Pointe by Brandy Colbert, Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz, or Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

Pointe shoes, rivalries, eating disorders, auditions – these elements and more appear in all three of these ballet books. In Pointe, Theo is on track for a promising ballet career after high school, when her best friend returns after being abducted three years ago, and Theo must once again face their shared past. Etta in Not Otherwise Specified has quit ballet, is recovering from her eating disorder, and struggling to find her place in the world. When on top of it all she is rejected by her lesbian friends for not being lesbian enough, she starts to think she might not fit in anywhere. In Tiny Pretty Things, three elite high school ballerinas struggle and scheme for top roles and a chance to make it at the world-famous American Ballet Theatre. Revenge, drama, ambition, and romance abound.

For the Non-Fiction Fan: Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw, Rethinking Normal by Katie Rain Hill, or Taking Flight by Michaela DePrince and Elaine DePrince

All three of these memoirs feature someone overcoming the odds to fulfill their dreams, but that’s a pretty reductive way to describe these great reads. Laughing at My Nightmare truly is a laugh, and Shane Burcaw describes his life with muscular atrophy with wit, grace, and a fair amount of bathroom humor that many will enjoy. In Rethinking Normal, Katie Rain Hill tells readers, in her real teen voice, of her childhood struggling to fit in and feel at home in her skin, and her eventual realization that she was transgender and transition to show her true gender. Taking Flight chronicles the life of ballerina Michaela DePrince, who was orphaned in the war ravaged Sierra Leone at a young age, but adopted at four by an American couple and given the chance to develop her immense talent and passion for dance.

No matter who you have in your life to buy for, you can probably find a great gift for any reader in these suggestions. If none of them seem quite right for your bookish friends and family, don’t hesitate to visit the library for more suggestions!


Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

GEPL Kids: Book Babies

By: Katy Almendinger, Early Literacy Librarian

Have you been to Book Babies? It’s a half hour of fun designed especially for you and baby. We know it probably feels silly to bring a baby to storytime. A quiet library is not a place for a screaming, drooling infant. Wrong. Librarians love to see babies. We understand that babies can be messy and fussy.

Bringing baby to the library as early as possible will only help raise a reader. There are endless other benefits, too. The activities in Book Babies help develop baby’s language skills. And the program has plenty of opportunities for gross and fine motor development. Book Babies also teaches the basics– how to listen, how to hold a book, and how to turn a page.

Still not convinced? Read on…

  • Book Babies is not about sitting quietly in a circle a half-hour. Librarians expect babies to explore, wiggle, and make noise during storytime. It would actually be scary if a room full of babies was quiet and stationary the whole time!
  • Book Babies is a social experience. It’s a great way for you and baby to meet new friends. We even reserve a bit of time at the end of the program for play and socialization.
  • Snuggling up to read, sing, or rhyme together is a valuable bonding experience for you and baby.
  • You don’t need to register. We know you’ve got a busy and (sometimes) unpredictable schedule.
  • Book Babies isn’t just for Mom & Baby. Dads, Grandparents, Nannies, Aunts & Uncles… everyone is welcome to attend Book Babies with baby.
  • We have bubbles.

Our regular storytime schedule will start in January. Check out the schedule.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth