GEPL Teens Blog

GEPL Teens: Week of Goofy Outfits

Teens Blog BannerBy: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

If you’ve seen me at the library this week, you may have noticed some strange sartorial choices going on.  That’s because you guys have once again hit a tier of your reading goals (you average over 2 books per person!) for summer reading, which meant that Christina and I spent all week answering awkward questions from patrons because of our goofy outfits.  Next up, we try not to fall to our knee-skinning doom in a three legged race around the parking lot – if you or the tweens read enough.

In case you missed any or all of these ensembles, here’s my week of goofy outfits!

On Monday, I went old-school nerd style, thanks to a shirt stolen from my grandfather’s wardrobe (seriously – this was his shirt!)

Hannah Monday

On Tuesday, it was a throwback to 90s grunge (and the comfiest outfit of the week – those Nirvana fans were on to something!)

Hannah Tuesday

Wednesday, Christina and I coordinated to rock some 80s style.  Unlike the flannel, a side ponytail is a trend that’s not for me, I think!

Hannah Wednesday

Yesterday we showed off what’s usually a favorite every December, our cheesy Christmas sweaters!  I managed to rep my favorite sports team as well, which was a bonus.

Hannah Thursday

And today I’m on the road for a family vacation, but I didn’t want to let you down or renege on any promises, so I’m rocking the road trip in this beauteous outfit!

Hannah Friday

So there you have it – one more round of embarrassment as a bribe to get you guys to read.  And there’s more coming, so keep reading, and enjoy your holiday weekend!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – Rebel Belle

Teens Blog BannerBy: Sara A., Teen Blogger

Blog Entry 159 - ImageThey say never judge a book by its cover, but looking at Rebel Belle’s, I couldn’t help but be intrigued. Automatically, it was piled on to the stack of books building up in my arm. When I began this book, however, I did have doubts that this wasn’t my type of book. The main character, Harper Price, was the type of girl who needed everything perfect, from her Homecoming makeup to her high school transcript. I, personally, preferred something more action-packed, but Hawkins’ writing kept me hooked and, I found, didn’t fail me. This book has possibly one of the strangest plot lines I’ve encountered in a while, which I found enjoyable. It involves evil history teachers, ninjas, and sparkly shoe defense, sprinkled with classical humor.

The different personalities of characters in this book highlighted different people in a typical high school environment. You have the incredible best friend, Bee, the jock boyfriend, Ryan, and the mysterious nerdy boy, David, who has more to do with Harper’s life than she could ever imagine. The character development in this story has quite an arc, as you begin to see Harper revise her priorities, and balance ninja life with high school. Towards the end of the book, she is faced with a choice as she struggles to maintain the balance she really wants to uphold. I found that characteristic relatable because it’s not fantastical, it’s real. And up until the action, Harper was looking like a typical teenager in her junior year of high school. Right until the end, this book had me absorbing the words off of its pages and eager to grab the next book, Lady Mayhem, from the shelves.

-Sara A.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – Shadowshaper

Teens Blog BannerBy: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Blog Entry 158 - ImageOnce again, I took advantage of my #LibrarianPerks and snagged a chance to read a pre-publication version of a book I was really looking forward to. This book will be out next Tuesday, June 30, and it should be hitting our shelves ASAP. But of course, if you want to be the first to get your hands on it, you can place a hold right away!

What I Just Read: Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

What’s It About (Jacket Description): Cassandra Clare meets Caribbean legend in Shadowshaper, an action-packed urban fantasy from a bold new talent.

Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.

Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future.

Did I Like It: For sure!

Thoughts: Before this, it had been a long time since I had read a really good urban fantasy – especially one that was actually set in a big city, and I’d forgotten how much fun it can be! Having a real-world city settings, complete with its mass transit, graffiti, and crowded streets, and then combining it with the secret and mysterious world of the paranormal is just a great way to get readers completely immersed in a book. And Shadowshaper does just as good a job of bringing the city and Sierra’s neighborhood to life as it does at making the mysterious powers and horrifying creatures of the Shadowshapers’ world seem real. I felt like I was wandering the hot city streets along with Sierra, or visiting the dusty basements of a university library, or running from terrifying re-animated corpses and multi-mouthed, multi-spirited abominations.

This book was exciting in part because I’d never read about any sort of paranormal world or powers quite like that of the Shadowshapers. Their powers are based on spirits that can infuse art – visual, musical, or any other kind – with their energy, minds, and ability to move. The idea of using art to bring to life real, tangible powers and spirits was fascinating, and made me feel as exhilarated as Sierra by the paintings, graffiti, songs, and stories that helped give life to the shadow world.

Another standout feature of this book for me was Sierra’s relationships. Her complicated but loving relationship with her mother and her ailing grandfather, her deep closeness with her brother, and her love and friendship with her godfather, were all beautiful to read about. She also has interesting relationships with the people who made up the core of her neighborhood, like the domino players at the empty lot where she paints or her schoolmates. But the absolute highlight as far as I’m concerned was her group of friends. Sierra is part of a tight-knit circle of friends who laugh, fight, banter, love, and support each other like the best groups of friends I’ve ever seen or been part of. Although Shadowshaper was a fast read, by the end of it, I felt like I too was friends with Sierra, Bennie, Tee, Jerome, Izzy, and the rest.

While Shadowshaper certainly stands on its own and didn’t end at a cliffhanger, there were plenty of threads that could be followed up into a sequel. And with such an expansive and breathtaking world to plunge into – both in terms of the New York setting and the world of the Shadowshapers – I’m desperately hoping for a sequel!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Genre Prejudice

Teens Blog BannerBy: Elizabeth W., Teen Blogger

Blog Entry 157 - ImageRecently in an interview, J. K. Rowling, a leading fantasy writer, said that she doesn’t read fantasy or sci-fi novels. Another author, Kazuo Ishiguro, wrote The Buried Giant, a novel set in a fantasy realm involving dragons and monsters. The real point of his story is to deal with topics like memory loss and old age. However, Ishiguro was afraid that readers would be scared off by the fantasy “surface elements” and think the book is a fantasy novel. Both Rowling and Ishiguro seem to have a dislike towards the fantasy genre while using it in their own books. So why are the genres of fantasy or science fiction looked down upon by some?

I think there is a misconception that fantasy books either deal with less serious topics or are hard to read. However, fantasy novels can be used as allegories to our lives and can deal with serious topics such as loss or forgiveness. Fantasy and Science Fiction books are not necessarily of lower quality of writing either. There are a lot of classics that are fantasy or science fiction, which are really hard to read. That’s why I couldn’t get all the way through the Lord of the Rings.

This issue of not respecting the fantasy genre has been with us for a while now. J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, once wrote a work entitled On Fairy Stories to defend why he wrote fantasies. In it, Tolkien said that “Fantasy is a natural human activity. It certainly does not destroy or even insult Reason; and it does not either blunt the appetite for, nor obscure the perception of, scientific verity. On the contrary. The keener and the clearer is the reason, the better fantasy will it make.” Fantasy is not a denial of reality or reason. Instead it can bring out real issues in a way that impacts us differently than realistic fiction would.

Fantasy can be a valuable genre to read even though it may appear unrealistic. The dragons and other mythical creatures may fool you, but inside a lot of fantasy there are hidden truths that can be just as valuable as those that are learned through nonfiction or realistic fiction. If you haven’t picked up a fantasy book in a while I would encourage you to read one. It can be really rewarding. If after this you realize that fantasy isn’t your thing, that’s okay too. The important thing is to not judge a book by its genre.

-Elizabeth W.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Nerf Wars

Teens Blog BannerBy: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Blog Entry 156 - ImageWell folks, you’ve done a great job reaching your first reading goal (you already average well over one book per teen!) which means it’s time for me to face the music. Or rather, face the darts!

As you may know, we have an awesome after-hours program coming up on June 26. From 6-8:30, we’ll be open just for middle school and high school age students participating in our Marvel vs. DC Nerf Wars. There will be pizza and drinks, and a chance to carry on some great Nerf battles throughout the library. High school age teens will be on the second floor, while the middle school students and Christina will be taking over the first floor of the library. But you will all get to come together for one glorious moment, and a chance to take your best shot at Christina and me.

Wearing some impressive facial gear to represent our chosen comic universes (I called dibs on Marvel as soon as we planned the program,) Christina and I will submit ourselves to the fury of your Nerf guns, and film it all for posterity (aka, the internet.)

So not only will you have a chance to play some pretty epic games of Capture the Flag, Humans vs. Zombies, and more, in a library that’s entirely yours for the night, but you’ll get to witness the first step of our summer-long quest for extreme public embarrassment. Be sure to register so you can reserve your spot (and to make sure you get your permission slip, which is the only downside of an after-hours program). Christina and I will see you next Friday!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – The Power of One

Teens Blog BannerBy: Ashley M., Teen Blogger

Blog Entry 155 - ImageThe Power of One is “a true classic,” as my dad has told me multiple times (this being from the man who reads roughly two novels a week, if not more). I have to admit that I am in the middle of the very long novel right now (page 301 to be exact). So I will not be able to tell you all the juicy details, because obviously I haven’t read them all yet. But what I can do is tell you the interesting, nail biting, and heart felt parts that I have read so far.

Let’s start with a quick little back ground for you!

Setting: South Africa during the Second World War. There is constant conflict between many different cultures and groups of people that make up South Africa. These groups are the Afrikaners (white people who have sided with Adolf Hitler in the war), the Boers (who are white British people that are greatly hated by Afrikaners and vice versa), and there multiple African Tribes included as well; Zulu, Swazi, Ndebele, Sotho, and Shangaan.

Characters: Peekay the main character, a five year old boy that we (as readers) get to follow along as he grows and matures. He is highly intelligent (speaking more than 4 languages, and is three grades past his age level), he is very curious, and will try something new whenever the chance is given. For example, he has met many friends (most of them being inspiring adults, who teach him life skills and useful information that seem to come in handy quite often). I have loved getting to know the little boy and going through the major events and tragedies of his childhood.

Events: Peekay’s first boxing tournament is truly a nail bitter, I remember being on the edge of my seat. The main theme of the boxing aspect of this novel is using your head before involving your emotions, self-control, and appropriate confidence.

Another is when Peekay befriends a chicken (Grandpa Chook) his only friend while away at boarding school. He plays with him, teaches him tricks, and talks to him when he becomes lonely. Grandpa Chook is the first name on a long list of Peekay’s interesting friends. Others include; an interesting music professor obsessed with Cacti, an older, very clever librarian, and a prison inmate.

I don’t want to give away too much, but I truly have enjoyed reading this book. I’m going to warn you that the chapters are long, but other than that there are no complaints here. We will have to see if that remains the same when I finish the book, and see what happens to Peekay in the end. My fingers are crossed that it is good wrap up of the story. Personally I hate when books are put together so well, and the ending is just flat and dare I say lame. In other words, I do encourage you to read this book, its long but well worth it (I hope). Happy Reading!

-Ashley M.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Deep Breath

Teens Blog BannerCongratulations on finishing finals everyone!  Now that school is over and summer has officially begun, we’re keeping it short and simple for today.  Sit back, relax, and take a deep breath.  We’ll be back with more book reviews, teen bloggers, and summer fun next week!

6.12.15 Blog Entry

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Late Night Study Is Here Again

Teens Blog BannerBy: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Finals are here once again. By now, you know the reasons to come study at the library for Late Night Study – we’ve covered them here and here. You know we have hot chocolate, caffeine, pizza, and extended hours. You know about our laptops that you can check out using your student ID, and our textbook collection. You know we have great study rooms for groups, and carrels for those of you who prefer to work alone. So today, we’re just going to focus on a few things you might not know already.

Blog Entry 154 - Image 1
1.) We are still having Late Night Study this Sunday, but the hours will be different. We are committed to helping you study each night before your finals, so we’re making with the pizza and extended hours on Sunday too! But we do have some slightly different times you should know. We will have pizza at 4:00 on Sunday, and while the library will close to the public at 5:00, we will remain open for high school students till 7:00. Monday will have normal hours – pizza at 5:30, extended hours till 10. We’ll see you there!

Blog Entry 154 - Image 2
2.) We are Blackhawks fans too. We really are. We know how much it stinks to have to be studying for finals during the Stanley Cup playoffs, and we will do our best to make sure you know what’s going on during the game on Monday.

Blog Entry 154 - Image 3
3.) Late Night Study is the perfect time to sign up for summer reading. You’ll be wanting a break from studying anyways, and now is the time to get ready to do some reading for fun, instead of just for school! So sign up, get your t-shirt, learn about all the amazing prizes you could win and embarrassing things you can see me do, and get excited about all that school-free reading time coming your way!

So there you go – three things you may not have already known about Late Night Study. Good luck, and we’ll see you on Sunday and Monday!

Blog Entry 154 - Image 4

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Should School Be Year Round?

Teens Blog BannerBy: Britta, Teen Blogger

Blog Entry 153 - ImageSummer. This is probably every student’s favorite word. Typically in America, students get a summer break between June and August that separate their 180 day school years. This break was originally created for farmers who needed their children’s assistance. But as our society has shifted from rural agrarian to postindustrial suburban, the necessity for this break has ceased to exist. Summer break is merely tradition that seems inherent in our schooling systems. But this precious time off may soon cease to exist, as the idea of year-long school becomes more and more prominent. These are the arguments for and against this change in the school schedule.

Pros +

  • There will be more and longer breaks within the school year so the students won’t be as overwhelmed during school
  • It will provide year-long support such as free lunch and a safe environment to students who need it
  • It will eliminate any forgetting of information over summer break
  • It will help America compete internationally with more successful education programs
  • Summer break will still be a whole month long
  • More efficient use of school space

Cons –

  • A longer school year will frustrate the students and they will stop enjoying and appreciating school
  • Restricts the students independence, and it would limit opportunities such as summer jobs and long summer camps
  • Forces kids to grow up without enjoying their childhood
  • Does not solve systemic issues with schooling system (i.e. emphasis on testing and lack of real world application)
  • If an entire district does not adopt a year-round calendar, parents could have students at different schools on different schedules

Click on the links below if you are looking for more information on this ongoing debate:

http://www.nea.org/tools/17057.htm

http://www.debate.org/opinions/are-year-round-schools-a-good-idea-that-should-be-adopted-by-private-and-public-schools

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/always-ready-go-back-students-may-benefit-year-round-schooling/

http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/choosing-schools-programs/pros-and-cons-year-round-schools

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/08/rick-hess-extending-the-s_n_1753835.html

-Britta

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Teens Blog Banner

By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Blog Entry 152 - Image
Have you ever read a book that you just can’t stop thinking about after you’re done?  I recently read a book like that (or to be more accurate, listened to a book like that) which I finished almost two weeks ago, and still have on my mind.  So it’s not actually that I just read today’s book, but since I’m still obsessing about it, it feels like I just finished it!

What I Just Read: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

What’s It About (Jacket Description): A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Did I Like It: It’s still making me happy and slightly preoccupied about it, so I think it’s safe to say YES!

Thoughts: First off, that description does not do this book justice.  As far as I’m concerned, Aristotle and Dante was completely magical.  For starters, the setting is so incredibly well created, and so lovingly described, it made me want to go to El Paso, Texas – in the summer no less.  Definitely a first for me!  Even more impressively, the writing somehow managed to simultaneously sound like a real teenage boy first person perspective and be stunningly beautiful and poetic.  I’m not sure how Sáenz pulled that one off exactly, but he did, and it’s amazing.  The way the scenes are described, whether scenes of looking at stars, or watching thunderstorms, or even just hanging out at a city swimming pool, made me feel like I was really there, and like every one of those scenes or places or settings had a beauty and a magic of its own.  But at the same time, Ari’s first person perspective also felt completely authentic. I recognized some of my own teenage thoughts and feelings in him, (but of course, plenty that was new to me too).  His voice was uniquely his own, and even the most poetic writing never made me doubt that Ari was the voice behind it.

And Ari and Dante – oh Ari and Dante!  They were both a little strange and kind of quirky, but never obnoxious or unbelievable.  They were witty and funny, but also sometimes awkward and a kind of weird and really struggling to express what they felt and who they really were.  Sometimes they even struggled to express that to themselves.  And their relationship with each other was just wonderful to read about.  It tugged at my heartstrings every time they were on the page together, and sometimes even when they weren’t (like in their letters.)  The way their lives intertwined, and the way they acted around each other, was by far the highlight of this book, and a huge part of what made me love it so much.

But every character – from the boys’ parents to the dog Legs to even Ari’s truck – felt like a complete, real character inhabiting a complete, real world.  It’s just that in this book, the real world is a little more amazing than our own world.  Which makes sense, because any world that has Ari and Dante has to be just a little bit more magical than our own.

Posted in GEPL Teens