GEPL Teens Blog

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Book to Movie Adaptations

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By: Justin A., Teen Blogger

There are some pretty great book to movie adaptations out there. In the year 2014 along there were many books turned into movies. Some of these were, Carrie, Guardians of the Galaxy, Gone Girl, Enders Game, This Is Where I Leave You, Divergent and more. Of these movies not all of them did well in the box office. Book to movie adaptations are a great way to introduce new things and interest people in reading a little more, though this only works if the movies look and are as good as the book (given the fact that the book was good enough to gather attention and be picked up by a director)

Of these many books turned into movies I mostly enjoyed three.

Enders Game Movie Poster

Enders Game – This is a post-apocalyptic story where an alien invasion killed many people and the world changed. The new world had evolved in technology including space travel, zero gravity chambers and more. In this world we meet a prodigy named Ender who is very smart and a tactical genius. He gets recruited into a military/boot camp for kids becoming military commanders. The book, comic, and movie are all absolutely amazing and display a world that is mostly original.

This Is Where I Leave You Movie Poster

This Is Where I Leave You – This is a story about a man named Judd who has recently had his girlfriend cheat on him, father die and is now forced to stay in the same house as his two brothers and sister by request of their late father. They all interact very interestingly in the way you’d expect a dysfunctional family to work. This adaptation works because of its real life characters and problems. They have moments where they dislike each other but always love one another and continue to show this throughout the movie and book.

Gardians of the Galaxy Movie Poster

Guardians of the Galaxy – This is a story featuring mostly extra-terrestrial comic book characters. A man named Peter Quill (Star-lord), Groot, a tree-like alien from a dead planet, Gamora, a former evil female assassin, Rocket Raccoon, a weapons and mechanical expert, and Drax the Destroyer, the strongman of the team. While they have many adventures in the comic books, in the movie these unlikely heroes are brought together and must protect a thing known as the orb from the powerful Ronan who can use the orb to destroy entire planets.

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GEPL Teens: Late to the Game

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

As a teen librarian, I do my best to read a lot of young adult literature. It’s not only part of my job, but a huge part of why I love being a teen librarian. I try keep up with a lot of the beloved, popular, or well-reviewed books and series, from The Fault in Our Stars to Divergent to Twilight. I also try and get ahead of what might be popular or win awards. I read an advanced copy of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, practically salivated until I got ahold of An Ember in the Ashes, and felt a surge of pride when a title I’d already read – This One Summer – was nominated for the prestigious Printz award. But it’s impossible to keep up with everything, and now and then, a book or series that I hear great things about, or that is recommended over and over, slips through the cracks. Often, I never do get around to them, but sometimes, I’m just a little late to the game, which is its own unique experience.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer Book CoverThe most recent example of this is Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I just finished the first book on audio, and not surprisingly, given the rave reviews it’s gotten from professionals and public alike, I loved it! I can’t wait to read more of the Lunar chronicles, and I can’t decide if I’m upset I took this long to read it, or glad because now I can binge on the series! Cinder was a little unique in that I wasn’t spoiled too much coming in – I knew Levana was evil and that Cinder was a cyborg, I knew it was a fairy tale retelling, but that much information hardly counts as spoilers – it’s more just basic plot. So I got to go along for the ride, finding out more about the characters, the world, and the intricate plot as I went along. But the downside of coming into the big books or series late is that it’s awfully hard to do it spoiler-free.

The biggest example of that side of the equation for me isn’t actually a book – it’s the TV show Dr. Who. I’m still slowly but surely working my way through the TV series, but it’s a strange experience. Strange because, thanks to my friends, the internet, and the delightfully nerdy social and online worlds that I live in, I already know so much about the show. Major reveals and plot twists were already familiar to me by the time I got to them. I knew all the actors and which number doctor they were before I started. I had strong suspicions about which companions would be my favorites – all of which have been correct so far. I often feel dread in the pit of my stomach long before something bad happens, because usually, I know that it’s coming.

Interestingly enough though, I don’t think either of these experiences is inherently better or worse. Reading Cinder relatively unspoiled was fun. It allowed me to experience it as though I was one of the first on the bandwagon, instead of jumping on way late. But watching Dr. Who and getting perspective on all the bits and pieces I already know is fun – it feels like getting to know a celebrity or something. And it means that when there is a twist or turn I didn’t know about, it’s about ten times more shocking, because I thought I knew what was coming.

Like it or not, there are always going to be some things that we come to late. Whether you’re just getting started on Harry Potter, or only now realizing why everybody has been raving about Legend, it’s a fact of life. But the good news is, you’re getting to experience all that wonderfulness now instead of never, and there’s something to be said for both coming in blind to a popular series and enjoying the expansion of a world or story that you already kind of know about. So don’t be afraid to tackle something just because you’re behind the times – whether it’s all new to you or something you’re already familiar with, you’ll still be jumping into a whole new world!

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GEPL Teens: Teens Review – The Pixar Touch

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By: Matt J., Teen Blogger

The Pixar Touch by David Price Book CoverI read a book not too long ago called “The Pixar Touch”, based on the titular company. It talks about the history of Pixar Animation Studios and how they went from a low level group to the world’s greatest animation studio. The book begins with future president of Pixar Ed Catmull dreaming of being an animator, though he couldn’t be qualified, so he switched the CG, and eventually got bought by George Lucas to form the Lucasfilm computer graphics division. Then a fired Disney animator John Lassiter was hired by Catmull to work for the division. Eventually, they were bought by Apple creator Steve Jobs in 1986 and they became Pixar.

They made CG shorts before Disney allowed then to make a movie, which turned out to eventually become “Toy Story,” the first ever computer-animated film and goes deeper into the making of the film and the corporate feud they had with former Disney chairman Jeffery Katzenberg and eventually Disney CEO Michael Eisner and how they were acquired by Disney. Unlike “The Pixar Story” documentary, this book goes deeper into the history of the company. What I enjoy the most of this book were the things that the film never showed to us. I liked reading out the 1998 battle between Pixar and DreamWorks (“A Bug’s Life” vs. “Antz”), as well as the two lawsuits for “Monsters Inc.”, first with a Wyoming poet who claims they stole the idea from her and then with a well know artist who claims Mike and Sully were taken from his own characters. Overall, I enjoy this book more than the movie because it goes deeper into the history of Pixar Animation Studios.

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GEPL Teens: What I’m Reading Now – Walk on Earth a Stranger

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae CarsonIf you’ve ever heard me raving about The Girl of Fire and Thorns series, it should come as no surprise that I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the first book in Rae Carson’s next series. Lucky for me, I managed to score an advanced copy to get a sneak peek at the book, which will be released on September 22!

What I’m Reading Now: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

What’s It About (Jacket Description): Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

Do I Like It: I’m racing through it and it’s written by Rae Carson, so I think it’s safe to say yes!

Thoughts: Walk on Earth a Stranger is a very different book from The Girl of Fire and Thorns series, but that’s not necessarily bad. If you do want to know what it has in common with the GoFaT series, rest assured that Lee is a strong, smart heroine, that there is action and adventure, and that the magic is compelling and a big part of the main character’s life.

Walk on Earth a Stranger is in many ways a Western – a trend that seems to be popping up more and more in young adult literature, and which I’m starting to be a fan of. Lee has grown up in a small Georgia town that was founded on a gold rush, though even her ability hasn’t been able to keep her family rich, unless they want the world to know about her magic and try to use her or hurt her as a result. So Lee mainly helps provide for her family by hunting, caring for their animals, splitting wood, and doing whatever else she can to keep their small farmstead running. Unlike many novels, this isn’t portrayed as Lee being better than other more “ladylike” women, but instead as a simple necessity for her family. I really like that aspect of the book, since I sometimes get tired of a heroine being portrayed as better just because she’s less girly. In Lee’s case, she’s not better, just different.

I also liked how quickly Carson establishes the world of the story. In the first few scenes, we are introduced to Lee as a character, some of her abilities (like hunting and gold-seeking,) and her family. I immediately felt connected to Lee and her family in just a short time, which is important so that we as readers can understand how devastating it is for Lee when things start to go wrong. Where I’m at, the tension is really starting to ramp up, and new adventures are beginning. I’m excited to see where the story goes, how the hints of a more widespread magical world play out, and how Lee’s abilities come into play in this only slightly altered version of our own world. Walk on Earth a Stranger promises to be a great adventure story, a good friendship story, well-researched historical fiction, and an introduction to a fascinating magical system.

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GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Fandoms

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By: Ashley H., Teen Blogger

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater Book CoverI recently read an interview of Cassie Clare and Maggie Stiefvater about the darker side of their fandoms through the internet. Explaining that some of their “fans” on social media made them feel dehumanized. The article talked about the hate that the authors received from some people in their fandoms on a daily basis. In my opinion there will always be hate, it’s just human nature. But now with the internet, people can make threats that still are seen but through a computer screen.

Even though the article focused on the fans that aren’t truly fans, that’s only a small portion of a fandom. To me a fandom is like a bunch of new friends who love the same show or book as I do. It’s a collective group that supports each other. People create and share beautiful fan art of their favorite characters or write fanfiction, creating a new character and placing them in their favorite universe, or they scroll through Tumblr to see what other people have created and reblog it. In some cases people find new friends due to fandoms, because of how much importance a certain book or TV show has to them. Another amazing thing is that with social media, fans can share their amazing art and stories with each other and even with actors or authors. They can even ask questions and get answers, or even get retweeted and be seen by some of their idols. What I have experienced with my many fandoms isn’t hate, though it exists, but love and support. As upset as I am that some people would cross the line between fan and hater, I am happy to say that both authors, Cassie and Maggie, recognize that there are people in their fandoms that do love their books and even defend them against hate that is sent. Fandoms in their entirety is one of the best things about a book or TV show, and I hope that people will experience the same things I have if they ever join one.

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GEPL Teens: Great Character Alert – Willowdean Dickson

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Dumplin by Julie Murphy Book CoverYou guys, if you haven’t already heard of this book, it is officially time to get super excited about Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. This book has been getting a lot of buzz, and I was able to score and advanced copy for my ereader. As of the time I’m writing this, I’m about 20% in, so I won’t be reviewing the book as a whole. But at 20% in, I can tell you for sure that the main character, Willowdean Dickson, is worthy of a top level Great Character Alert, because she is FABULOUS.

Willowdean lives in a small town in Texas famous for its teen beauty pageant, which her mom (a former winner) helps run every. Willowdean, however, is more interested in her best friend Ellen, music, and her work crush Bo than she is in beauty pageants. She is also, in her own words, a “resident fat girl.” As far into the book as I am, I already love Will. She is unapologetic about her size, her ideas, the fact that she has a crush on a jock, or anything else. She loves her best friend more than almost anything, puts up with her mom’s pageant diets and criticisms while still loving her, and sticks up for a girl at school getting teased.

All of which is not to say that Will is perfect, or that everything is going perfectly for her. She does get insecure sometimes, especially when it seems like Bo might be interested in her. She is also insecure about her friendship with Ellen, which comes out when Ellen starts talking more with a work friend from the trendy boutique she works at. She is not immune to being frustrated with her mother, or apathetic about school. She misses her aunt Lucy, who died before the start of the book, and sometimes takes this out on others.

But Will is smart, funny, confident, thoughtful, and witty. She loves to sing to Dolly Parton, spends mornings and afternoons at the pool with Ellen, and jumps at a chance to try on one of the hallowed pageant crowns, despite her disinterest in the competition overall. Her realness and fun makes her someone that I can not only picture knowing in real life, but someone I wish I knew in real life! I’m sure I’ll continue to love Dumplin’ as I follow the rest of Willowdean’s story, and if you place your holds now, you can find out ASAP when the book comes out in September if you feel the same!

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GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – All The Bright Places

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By: Allison G.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven Book CoverWhat I Just Read: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Jacket Description: An exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death. Every day he thinks of ways he might die, but every day he also searches for—and manages to find—something to keep him here, and alive, and awake.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her small Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school—six stories above the ground—it’s unclear who saves whom. And when the unlikely pair teams up on a class project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, they go, as Finch says, where the road takes them: the grand, the small, the bizarre, the beautiful, the ugly, the surprising—just life live.

Soon it’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a bold, funny, live-out-loud guy, who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet forgets to count away the days and starts living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is a heart-wrenching, unflinching story of love shared, life lived, and two teens who find one another while standing on the edge.

Did I Like It: Definitely one of my favorite books now, I couldn’t put it down!

Thoughts: Having just finished this book, I’m still thinking about it and feeling all the emotions that books like this make you feel. I was hesitant to start reading this book because I was afraid it would be solely focused on the fact that both main characters had contemplated suicide, which wasn’t the sort of book I wanted to read. But I finally started to read it and I became pleasantly surprised. Once I got into it, I loved reading about how their relationship was progressing. As Finch and Violet went on adventures and got themselves into all kinds of mischief, they learned more about each other and I learned more about myself. This book gave me different perspectives on life since it’s told from the viewpoints of both Finch and Violet, who obviously live very different lives.

Nothing about this book disappointed me, I loved every single page. This quote from the School Library Journal perfectly sums up my feelings on this book: “The writing in this heartrending novel is fluid, despite the difficult topics… Finch in particular will linger in readers’ minds long after the last page is turned.” Just as the quote says, Finch’s character and his personality have stayed with me (as weird as that might sound). I find myself seeing parts of his personality in other people and parts of Violet’s personality in myself. Lastly, I was excited to learn that All the Bright Places is going to become a movie starring Elle Fanning as Violet and it’s set to be released in 2017.


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GEPL Teens: Summer Reading Wrap-Up

Teens Blog Orange BannerBy: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Much to everyone’s dismay, the end of summer is finally almost here. School starts next week, the weather is getting cooler, and of course, summer reading is over – though the humiliation for me is not!

The most important thing about this year’s summer reading is that you guys rocked it! Seriously, seriously rocked it. All told, you read 1,170 books, compared to 649 books last year. That’s about 180% of what you read last year, which is amazing. You nearly doubled your number of books read, even though there were actually two less people participating than last year, and averaged about 8 books per person. CONGRATULATIONS! Our top reader got through an impressive 110 books, and the two winners of our grand prize drawing read 122 books between the both of them.

And of course, with that incredible reading, came incredible embarrassment for me! You reached all your goals, which means I have:

Shown you a picture of me at 18

Exhausted Hannah, Age 18

Been pelted with Nerf darts

Worn ridiculous outfits to work for a week, like this one (the rest are here)

Hannah Looking "Old-School Nerd Style" In Oversied Flannel Shirt and Large Glasses

Done a three-legged race with Christina, our Middle School Librarian

Faced off with Christina in a break dance competition

And there’s more!

Because you reached your goal (in record time!), Christina and I will be doing a live performance at the library’s open mic night on September 2, 6:30 p.m., at Shannon’s Irish Pub. We’ll be videotaping it of course, so I can share my shame with the world, but I highly recommend the in-person experience. And because you beat out the Middle School students and reached your goal first, I will also be lip-syncing my heart out sometime soon. Probably to a song from the 80s.

So all in all, I think this was a fantastic year for teen summer reading – you smashed your reading goals, you helped the library achieve our overall goals and raise money for the police and fire departments in town, and you forced me to do embarrassing things which are now on the internet forever. It doesn’t get much better than that, but we’re already making plans for next year!

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GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Summer Homework

Teens Blog Orange BannerBy: Britta J., Teen Blogger

Girl With Angry Look Sitting At Desk "Procrastinator? No. I Save All Of My Homework Until The Last Minute Because Then I'll Be Older, Therefore More Wise."Summer Homework. The bane of all students’ existence, and if you’re like me, you hadn’t even thought about it until today. It seems each year, more and more busy work is piled on us until we have a project or reading assignment in almost every class. Let’s be honest, it’s really hard to motivate yourself to work on schoolwork in the summer. So I thought I could lighten the burden by giving you a few tips on how to knock out some of those assignments instead of staying up past midnight the night before school starts like I did last year

1. Make a Schedule

All that work can be daunting, so if you plan out what to get done each day, not only will it seem more manageable, but you will make sure that nothing is forgotten. Make sure you stick with it. Even if you only have a week left, better late than never!

2. Find a space without distractions

This advice applies to any work, but is especially important when there are so many more distractions and less structure than during the school year. Try to avoid your bedroom and find a place like the office or a guest bedroom. Turn off the notices on your phone, put away any non-school books, and buckle down.

3. Find a specific time

For me, if I don’t give myself a time frame to work, I will drag it out all day. No one wants to spend what little break they have left on homework, so try to really focus for a couple hours instead of half-trying all day long. You can even set an alarm for yourself. When you’re done, reward yourself. You deserve it!

4. Find a study group

Find friends in the same classes as you and get together. You can help each other, and keep each other on track. If you’re hanging out with your friends at the same time, you might even trick yourself into thinking that summer homework is fun. Your parents will also be all over letting you hang out with friends if schoolwork is even slightly involved.

5. Assemble your materials before sitting down

Don’t give yourself an excuse to get back up, because once you do, there is no going back to boring old homework. Make sure you have all the calculators, pencils, paper, and erasers you need. This tip includes food! Bring a couple of snacks with you, and make sure you have something to drink too. Dehydration can cause tiredness, and homework already does enough of that.

Just do it. Nike has a point, there is no easy way to do summer homework, but by pacing yourself, you can get your work done to freely enjoy your last moments of freedom. I can only assume that as someone reading the library blog, you either have already done all their schoolwork, or you are in a lot of difficult classes and are procrastinating. If you are in the latter group then this message is for you. I believe in you. Get ‘er done!

-Britta J.

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GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

Teens Blog Orange BannerBy: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler Book CoverI’ve been doing a lot of good reading this summer (we have a staff summer reading program too!) so once again, you get to hear my thoughts on another great, summery read!

What I Just Read: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

What’s It About (Jacket Description): The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .

Did I Like It: It had depth, a summer feel, and an engaging story, so obviously YES!

Thoughts: Despite the fact that The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is actually set in a pretty chilly town in Oregon, rather than someplace warm, it still felt like a good summer read to me. There was an ocean, beaches, no school, outdoor activities, romance, friendship – all the things I associate with the best summer reads (like Sarah Dessen’s Colby books!) So despite the hoodies and the freezing ocean, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids definitely satisfied my desire for a good seasonal read. But it dealt with some heavier issues as well, so don’t mistake “summery” for “frivolous” – the best summer books are never totally frivolous.

Elyse is dealing with some pretty heavy issues in this book. Literally losing the power to speak and – just as bad for her – to sing is a tough, tough thing, and is very recent in Elyse’s past. She’s dealing with the grief of losing something she loved, and the pain of trying to figure out whole new ways to communicate, whole new ways to be. Add into that the threat of her beloved aunt and cousin losing their home, right as it is becoming her home, and Elyse has lots on her mind. But despite that, she still finds time to laugh, to love, to make new friends, and to feel good about herself. Grief is complicated, and Elyse’s grieving and living showcase that beautifully.

This is a book where the details, the side characters, and the smaller plots really add up to more than the sum of their parts. Which is impressive, because each of those parts is pretty great. A highlight of the side plots and characters is Christian’s younger brother Sebastian, who must hold on to his sense of self despite the shaming he receives from others for not fitting in to the box of “normal little boy” that they want him to fit into. And he does – it’s not easy, and he gets down sometimes, but Sebastian never lets go of his love for mermaids and pretty things, his sweetness and affection for Elyse and Christian, or his love of Atargatis Cove itself. Other side elements are equally as rich, like the nuanced portrayal of non-physical abuse, the proud “feminist killjoy” friend Elyse makes, Elyse’s aunt Lemon and her coven, the stormy, cold Pacific, and more.

Overall, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids was a layered, complex read that still managed to feel perfectly in season with the summer. It’s a book that makes me want to read it again, so I can get more of the nuance, find things I didn’t see before, and have a chance to know the characters even better. And if that doesn’t convince you to pick it up, maybe one of Elyse’s poems that plays a key role in the story will make you want to hear more of her voice on the page.

plan B
plan Battered and Broken
plan Boxed in
plan Bailed on and Back from the dead
plan Better luck next time
plan Balled up
plan Backtracked
plan Backhanded
plan Backward steps
plan Blackballed, Black-marked, and Blacklisted
plan B-side, Bye Bye Baby
plan Belly up and Beat down
plan Bad days ahead and Best are far Behind”

-From The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

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