GEPL Teens Blog

GEPL Teens: Book Speed Dating

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 67 - ImageWhile there is still a whole lazy summer stretching ahead, I know many of you already have plans for your summer break.  And I suspect that in those plans, there’s a lot of space for books – long car rides or airports are made for reading, hot days by the pool or on the beach practically require a good book, and occasionally it’s nice to break up the Netflix binges with something a little easier on the eyes.  But with so many books out there, it’s often hard to figure out what to read next, or easy to miss something great just because the cover didn’t “pop.”

And that’s why I want to invite you to come to the library at 4:00 today to find some great new reads, and to make sure you’re not missing something wonderful just because it has a boring cover.  So our theme for today’s Book Speed Dating is “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover!”

We’ve pulled together a collection of books with boring, nondescript, or just plain bad covers.  But after spending just a minute or two with each of them, you may find that you really like some of them!  We’ll evaluate books based on cover alone, cover and description, and actually reading the very beginning.  And at the end of the event, you’ll have your very own custom-made reading list!

Everyone who comes to book speed dating will be entered into a drawing for an advanced copy of a not-yet-published book, and even if you don’t win the book, you can still leave with a pile of to-be-read books that you can check out on the spot.  Happy book dating!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: What To Do Post-Finals

Teens Blog BannerFinals have been over for a week now, and it’s finally starting to hit everyone – summer is here!  Before you reach the state of summer boredom that some people eventually get to, we here at the library have a few ideas about what you can do to fill your time now that it’s finally warm and school is finally over.

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1.) Come to the library.  Obviously.  We have books for you to read, AC for when it gets too hot, and awesome programs like: Book Speed Dating (next week on Wednesday!); the National Teen Lock-In with author visits and Nerf wars (August 1); and of course, SUMMER READING!

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2.) Volunteer at an animal shelter or wildlife rescue so you can spend time with adorable (or at least lovable) animals all summer.  They could use the help, you’ll feel good about giving back, and everyone could use some extra cute in their life.

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3.) Spend a whole afternoon lying outside, preferably in a park or under a tree, reading or writing or daydreaming.  You’ll have the whole school year to spend inside – it’s worth a little heat to enjoy the outdoors.

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4.) Sleep in often!

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5.) Go to a beach for sand and swimming.  If you can’t go on vacation, you can go to Chicago and enjoy one of the Lake Michigan beaches.  If you can’t get to Chicago, go to Centennial Beach in Naperville.  There’s always a way to enjoy the water!

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6.) Go see The Fault in Our Stars movie over and over.  Cry and until there are no more tears left, and then watch ANTM and wallow in all your feels until your mother starts to worry that you’re depressed and sends you to a support group.

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7.) Go see every summer action blockbuster movie there is.  Spend the whole summer feeling like you can conquer the world.  Try not to let this feeling go to your head though, as jumping off buildings will not work for you the way it works for Spiderman.

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8.) Eat all the ice cream.  Because ice cream is wonderful and delicious all year round, but especially when it’s hot out.

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Or, if you want, just binge read, binge watch, and enjoy the laziness of the season.  Happy summer everyone!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Is TFiOS a YA Savior?

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 65 - Image                       I recently read an article (link below) about John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (TFiOS) and how it is not young-adult fiction’s savior. YA literature is not in need of saving, there are books read by thousands of teens and adults every year. These books match, or are even better than Green’s novel and deserve to be admired as well. Many sources that praise TFiOS also degrade other YA books. From The Atlantic:

New York Times bestselling author Ally Carter expressed frustration on Twitter last week: “Gonna have to stop reading articles that (rightfully) praise #Tfios, but then denigrate all other YA hits. Sadly, it’s all the articles. Really, the overall tenor of ‘Finally, WORTHY books for girls’ is about to get me. I’m about to SNAP.” Fellow bestselling author Maureen Johnson agreed, venting that “the last few weeks has been so much joy for the good that is #tfios, but a lot of sadness too. I have to admit to one moment, where I’d read yet another takedown of all the good work of women writers where I said, ‘What’s the point?’”

The article states that even Green believes that the system is flawed. One book shouldn’t describe the success of an entire genre.

Personally, I believe The Fault in Our Stars has a very predictable plot. Two people with cancer fall in love and since there is no cure for most cancers, it’s inevitable that one, or even both, are going to die. That said, TFiOS is a great book, and it differs from many YA books due to the unhappy ending and the realistic mood of the character’s situation. This is a book I personally think every teen should read.

Check out the original article: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/06/why-fault-in-our-stars-is-not-ya-fictions-savior/372441/

-Rebekah

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: What I’m Reading Now – Temeraire Series

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 64 - ImageSince I was a little kid, I have been in love with dragons.  Just ask my mother, who read me The Paperbag Princess approximately one thousand times.  As I got older, I graduated from picture books and found a subset of dragon books that I was even more obsessed with than what I’d been reading –  novels featuring dragon/human companionship and friendship.  Anne McCaffrey was my queen throughout my teen years, and as an adult, I’ve struggled to find any book or series that packs the same emotional punch for me.  I’m pleased to say that I have – finally – found one!

What I’m Reading Now: The Temeraire series by Naomi Novik, starting with His Majesty’s Dragon

What’s It About (Jacket Description): Note: This is the jacket description for the first book in the series, His Majesty’s Dragon, but it serves as a good introduction to the series as a whole.

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature.

Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

Do I Like It: I am completely smitten!

Thoughts: For the dragon and dragon/human relationship-obsessed like me, let’s just put it this way: DRAGON BFF!  Temeraire is an incredible and incredibly loveable character, and his relationship with Laurence made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside I could hardly stand it.

For those of you more interested in some action or some alternate history, I’ll put it another way: Napoleonic wars.  With dragons.  

Much like Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series, the Temeraire series strikes a great balance between the character-driven focus of the relationship between dragons and their humans (as well as between humans and humans) and the more militaristic and action-filled excitement of war and battle.  Laurence and Temeraire’s growing relationship has been the highlight of the two books I’ve read so far, at least for me.  But there is also action and adventure, politics and politeness, and a trip halfway around the world.

One thing in particular that makes this series stand out – besides the fact that it absolutely nails a deep and affecting friendship between stiff-necked Laurence and the passionate Temeraire – is the extent to which Temeraire is a character in his own right.  He doesn’t just exist to be a pet of Laurence or help Laurence’s character develop.  Temeraire is just as much a protagonist as Laurence, and he is very different in many ways.  This makes the book better not only because it has two great characters at the heart of it, but because their relationship is so much more meaningful because of the differences between them and the deep affection they have anyways.

Although this isn’t a YA series, I highly recommend it anyways to anyone who likes dragons, excitement, and great characters.  The series is nine books long, and I’m only through the first two, so I’m excited to have more to read and to see where things go!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: There Are Two Sides to Every Story

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 63 - ImageMany books, or even TV shows and movies these days, are centered on a particular character or a particular point of view.  Just look at how many books are published in the first person.  We see the dystopias of The Hunger Games and Divergent through Katniss and Tris’ eyes, and it is Hazel who tells us the story of her romance with Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars.  From Melinda in Speak to Titus in Feed, young adult literature is full of characters telling us their stories.

But for every story, there is another side.  Think of how altered The Fault in Our Stars would be if it were told by Gus instead of Hazel – we’d see a totally different take on the same story.  What if instead of Titus, we heard about the world of Feed from Violet?  While we would have to read or write some fan-fiction to answer those questions about these particular books, there are plenty of books out there that allow us to see two – or often, many more – sides to the stories they are telling.

So this month’s book display features books that have two or more points of view.  In Legend by Marie Lu, you can see June’s pursuit of Day from both their perspectives – letting us see why someone would pursue as doggedly as June, as well as why Day became the criminal he is.  Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry gives us a peek into the minds of both Echo and Noah as their romance develops, so we the audience know why Echo hides, why Noah is angry, and how they really feel about each other.  In Code Name Verity not only do we get to see Maddie and Julie’s friendship from both their points of view, but Maddie’s narration gives us insight into what Julie wasn’t saying in her confession, making the two person narration both important for the characters and their relationship as well as for the plot and mystery.

So whether you’re looking for a third person narration that delves into the minds of several characters, like The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, or are curious about how two boys with the same name come together like in Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, whether you want to see what happens from the points of view of a whole group of beauty queens stranded on an island in Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, or simply want to see how two characters view their unfolding romance in He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander, stop by the Teen Scene and experience for yourself both – or more – sides of the story!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: A Finals Story

Teens Blog BannerOnce upon a time, finals were looming for the hard working high school students of Glen Ellyn.  At first, they made light of the situation, cracking sarcastic jokes.

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But all of a sudden, panic began to set in!

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Despite the panic, students found studying was nearly impossible.  They wanted to do well, but pressing matters like the next Dr. Who episode, an important text message from a friend, trips to get ice cream, beautiful weather and more kept popping up!

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The students were at a loss, when suddenly, they remembered – the library!  The Glen Ellyn Public Library, committed to high school students and pizza, was on a mission to help.  With delicious eats from Barone’s, caffeine all night long, and extended hours for cramming, studying became almost bearable!

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Fortified by their hard work and the support of their librarians, Glen Ellyn students went to finals and avoided the dreaded fate of guessing (or worse, failing)!

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Finally, it was summer, school was over, and the students could rest peacefully!

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The end.

If you want this happy ending for your own finals story, be sure to come to the library on June 9, 10, and 11!  Pizza will be at 4:30 on June 9th and 5:30 on June 10th and 11th, coffee will be all night, and the library will stay open till 10:00 for high school students all three nights.  Good luck, and remember – summer break is just around the corner!

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Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Celebrates New Harry Potter Exhibit with Ice Cream Social on June 9th

news-blog-bannerharrypotterbannerSix weeks of wizarding wonder are coming to Glen Ellyn and Muggles of all ages are invited to experience the magic of Harry Potter as the Glen Ellyn Public Library hosts the National Library of Medicine’s touring exhibit: “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine.”

The exhibit features beautifully rendered and informative panels detailing the world of Harry Potter and its roots in Renaissance science, medicine, history and culture.

Although perceived as fantasy, the magic depicted in the popular Harry Potter novels and films can be traced to Renaissance traditions that played a pivotal role in the development of modern science and medicine.

Using materials from the National Library of Medicine’s “History of Medicine” collection, the exhibition explores Harry Potter’s wizarding world, its roots in Renaissance science and the ethical questions that affect not only the wizards in JK Rowling’s books, but also the historical thinkers featured in the series. Featuring fifteenth and sixteenth-century works from the period’s leading thinkers, alchemists, naturalists and occultists, the exhibition panels explore the intersection between the Harry Potter novels and Renaissance thinkers, lore and practices.

An opening reception for Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine will take place during the Glen Ellyn Public Library’s Ice Cream Social on Monday, June 9th from 7-8:30pm and will feature free ice cream, ice pops, fresh fruit, a Harry Potter magic show, Quittich matches and a platform 9 ¾ Scavenger Hunt. The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to dress as a Harry Potter character for an opportunity to win a special prize.

The exhibition can be viewed through July 14 during library hours, which can be found at gepl.org.

Posted in GEPL Kids, GEPL News, GEPL Teens, GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: TFiOS Release Party

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 61 - ImageAfter months of waiting, the time is finally upon us.  Ready your tissues, because The Fault in Our Stars movie is coming out this week!  With the talented Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (both last seen in the Divergent movie) as the leads, a killer soundtrack, and previews that have reduced many of us to tears, expectations are high for this movie.  Luckily, The Fault in Our Stars was a fantastic book, and its fantastic author is all about this movie.  If John Green approves, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be awesome.

Whether you’re planning on catching a midnight release on Thursday, waiting it out till the official opening on Friday, or catching it this weekend, you probably want to get psyched.  In fact, you pretty much need to get psyched if you want to be emotionally ready for this movie.  At GEPL, we want to help you get prepared for the joy of finally getting to see the movie, the inevitable heartbreak that will come with watching it, and all the other feels that might sneak in.

And so for all these reasons, we have prepared a The Fault in Our Stars Release Party for you!  Come to the library tomorrow night (Thursday, June 5) from 5:00-8:00 for all things TFiOS.  We’ll have a door prize, food, TFiOS trivia, book and movie related activities, and – most importantly – other TFiOS fans for you to talk with, commiserate with, and get excited with!  We can’t wait to see you there.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – Ask the Passengers

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 60 - ImageSometimes you hear about an author over and over again and for some reason are never inspired to pick up their books until much later.  I find that usually when I do this, I regret how long it took me to read an author and am so glad I finally did get started.  So it is with today’s “What I Just Read”!

What I’m Reading Now: Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

What’s It About (Jacket Description): Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions–like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can’t share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don’t even know she’s there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers’ lives–and her own–for the better.

In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society’s definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything–and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love.

Do I Like It: LOVED IT

Thoughts: I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Ask the Passengers when I checked out the audiobook, but this definitely wasn’t quite what I expected.  For starters, I was expecting a lot more of Astrid having conversations with the passengers/herself.  Really though, what Astrid does at the beginning of the book is just send her love to the passengers on the planes flying overhead.  Which admittedly sounds weird, but is also kind of beautiful – she wants to give her love unconditionally to people who don’t expect anything of her, who don’t love her conditionally.

But make no mistake, for all the beauty of sending her love to plane passengers, Astrid is also unapologetically weird and pretty nerdy.  She gets a little obsessive about her philosophy class, and plans on becoming an editor someday.  In fact, at one point, she corrects the grammar on an extremely mean-spirited sign in school.  I kind of love Astrid’s brand of philosophical nerd, the kind that leads her to reject the labels people place on her and question approximately everything anyone tells her.

There’s a lot I could say about this book, but really, it all comes down to Astrid.  This book is about how she learns to navigate the world around her, and navigate herself.  How she learns to balance the demands placed on her by everyone in her life, including her best friend and her maybe girlfriend.  How she figures out who she is, and how she chooses to convey that to the people around her.  Her relationships are a hugely important part of that, but just as important is what goes on in Astrid’s head.  Now, since this includes conversations with airplane passengers thousands of feet in the air and a personal relationship with Socrates (nicknamed “Frank” to make him more modern), Astrid’s head is a pretty interesting place to be.

This book has family, friendship, romance, school politics, and a thread of magical realism, so there’s a lot there.  But ultimately, if you like reading about Astrid, you’ll love this book.  And I think Astrid is a fascinating, likeable, relatable character, and I highly recommend you give her – and Ask the Passengers – a chance.  As for me, I won’t be waiting long to pick up another book by A.S. King.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: When Things End Badly

Teens Blog BannerWhen a great book – or especially a great series – ends, it is always difficult in a way.  Even when we go back and re-read or re-watch a favorite, it will never be the same as reading or viewing something for the first time, desperate to find out what happens next, breathless to know where our beloved characters and storylines will end up.  It’s intoxicating and wonderful.  And it also makes it really hard to deal with it when we reach the end, and instead of being satisfied, end up feeling betrayed and abandoned by authors or show-runners or movie makers.

Blog Entry 59 - Image 6I’ve experienced this twice recently, with varying levels of emotional involvement.  The first time was when I read Allegiant.  I read it over the course of one day, on a long flight, so I was completely immersed.  Despite some things I noticed in retrospect that made me love the book a little less than I might have otherwise, I was totally swept up in the experience.  And then I reached the end – or at least, that thing that happens near the end that defines the ending of the story – and it was like I was stopped mid-stream.  It was jolting and jarring, it was not what I expected, and it didn’t seem right to me.  It took away the end result that I had been counting on, the thing that had made everything that happens in the book and everything the characters went through worth it.  It took me a while to decide how I actually felt.  In the end, I’ve come around to believing that Veronica Roth planned this event from the start of the series, and to understanding why she made that choice.  But at the same time, what happened, and especially how it happened, still upset me.  I felt almost like I had wasted my time on the whole series.  If I couldn’t at least have that ending I was counting on, what was the point?

I had a similar experience this spring with the Blog Entry 59 - Image 5series finale of How I Met Your Mother (henceforth referred to as HIMYM because I am lazy).  I’ve been a huge fan of the show for years.  I saved up episodes on my DVR, and binge-watched almost the whole second half of the final season.  When I arrived at the penultimate episode, I was happy.  I had been warned that I would be disappointed in the finale, but I told myself “as long as this and this and this” – three things that added up to my personal worst-case scenario – “don’t all happen, I can live with some disappointment.”  And then I watched the finale.  And this and this and this all happened.  I couldn’t even believe it, at first, as the episode unfolded.  I watched seasons worth of character development and plot movement disintegrate before my eyes, leading to an ending that just didn’t make sense to me, based on everything I knew about these characters that I had spent years with.  I was beyond upset.  I will neither confirm nor deny the rumor that there was couch-punching involved, but I took it hard.  I felt like all the change and development that had happened in the show had been wasted.  I felt completely betrayed.

Blog Entry 59 - Image 3Obviously, not everyone feels the same way about how these two series ended.  Heck, I’m in the minority when it comes to another controversial ending to a beloved series – I felt that Mockingjay was exactly the ending The Hunger Games needed.  Make no mistake, there were tears (and, I’m only a little ashamed to admit, a call to my mom to sob about it a little).  But overall, it seemed like an earned and appropriate ending.  But I suspect many people – even some people reading this – experienced the same sense of betrayal over that ending as I did over the endings to Allegiant and HIMYM.  So did those creators really betray their audiences?  Or is the betrayal only in the eye of the beholder?  I can make some solid scholarly type arguments about why, especially in the case of HIMYM, these endings simply weren’t good storytelling.  But really, that doesn’t justify the sense of personal betrayal I felt at these conclusions.  That, I’m afraid, is a personal problem.

That of course leads to the question, “what should I doBlog Entry 59 - Image 1 about this?”  Unfortunately, I have no answer.  In these two cases, I will likely never read Allegiant or watch the HIMYM finale again.  I’ve even mentally removed the last episode of HIMYM from my “head canon” and mostly pretend it doesn’t exist.  But that doesn’t make me any happier, really, with how these things ended.  It doesn’t make me feel less betrayed.

There is one thing that does help a little though.  And that is thinking about how invested I was and am in these books and shows, how invested I have to be, to feel that strongly about an ending.  I know plenty of people who would laugh at me if I told them about this, and make fun of me for being so invested in things that are “just fiction” or “just made up.”  But to me, it says something wonderful about the power of stories that I can be that invested.  I’ve talked about it before, and I’ll probably always keep coming back to it – there is something really magical about stories, whatever format they are told in, and the way they can transport us and envelop us and come to seem so real.  And I think that’s a wonderful thing.  So I can comfort myself just a bit about how upsetting I found these endings by thinking of how that emotional response is really a kind of magic.  And I love having magic in my life, no matter how it gets there.

Posted in GEPL Teens