GEPL Teens Blog

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – Pride & Prejudice

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 131 - ImageNow when I say the title Pride and Prejudice, you have probably heard of the classic bestseller, but you most likely are unaware of the characters or the plot itself. Well recently I have been introduced to this novel in my English class, and instantly fell in love with it.

The setting of this novel is the early 19th century in a small town called Longbourn, England. The main character, Elizabeth Bennet (Lizzie), lives with her father, mother, and 4 sisters. This novel follows Lizzie and her sisters on their journey of finding love. In this age women could not inherit any money or land from their father, it rather goes to the next male relative, making it the job of every woman to find a man to marry. Getting married gave the women the confidence that they would have their necessities met such as: food, shelter, a husband to protect them, and a place to raise their future children.

Now the exciting part, when Elizabeth and her family attend a ball in town a visitor attends as well. His name is Mr. Bingley, he is a good looking, rich, and I should mention single man. During the ball Mr. Bingley and Elizabeth’s sister Jane instantly fall in love. Also, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley’s friend and Elizabeth herself had this slight tension between them. Is the tension out of aggression? Disagreement? Or love? I don’t want to give anything away but things get pretty darn dramatic and compelling. One of the biggest things to remember is that people born into higher ranks or the higher class rarely ever marry lower than their class. This comes into play when Jane and Mr. Bingley start to fall in love. Bingley is of the higher class, and Jane is of the lower class. Bingley’s friends don’t agree with his decisions and try to persuade him out of his planned engagement. Will love prevail, or will pride get in the way of true happiness? You will most definitely be on your toes throughout this novel.

Pride and Prejudice includes love, drama, family problems, and hope for the future. I am going to warn you, that girls/women will love this book but most guys just don’t understand what the big deal is. This story is the ultimate chick flick in a novel. That is the only way I can explain this story. If you are interested in reading this novel you should pick up a copy at the library, or I bet your mom most likely has a copy lying around the house too! Happy Reading!

-Ashley M.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Women’s History Month – Part I

Teens Blog BannerMarch is Women’s History Month, which is a pretty awesome celebration of pretty awesome women.  But my favorite “history” has always been historical fiction, so in honor of Women’s History Month, I put together a list of some books featuring women at some important moments in 20th century American history.  If you’re more of a world history or earlier history fan, or prefer your history with a touch of the fantastic, don’t worry – I have more lists planned for this month!

Blog Entry 130 - Image 1The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters – Oregon is entering the 20th century, and Olivia is eager to move forward as well.  Unfortunately, her father believes that the women should be quiet and subservient.  He is furious to find out that Olivia has attended a suffragette rally.  In response, he finds Henri Reverie, a famous hypnotist, and pays him to hypnotize Olivia to see things as they really are. And she does.  She begins to see the ugliness that lurks below the surfaces of her world.  As Olivia struggles with the horrifying realities she now sees and the bonds imposed by her father, her personal struggle dovetails with the struggle of the suffragettes in this exciting and powerful book.

Blog Entry 130 - Image 2The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman – In 1920s America, immigrants were channeled through Ellis Island on the east coast – and Angel Island on the west coast.  After the charming Sterling Promise convinces them to embark on the long voyage from China, it is Angel Island where Jade Moon and her father are detained trying to immigrate to the US.  Despite the fact that she was born under the Fire Horse zodiac sign, an unlucky year, Jade Moon is determined to use her stubbornness and passion to find a way to get to the US.   Although less well-known than Ellis Island, Angel Island holds its own stories, and The Fire Horse Girl beautifully tells one of them.

Blog Entry 130 - Image 3Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith – During World War II, things were hard enough for a woman or black man who wanted to be a pilot.  But for a black woman, they were impossible.  So even though Ida has always dreamed of being a pilot like her father, and is thrilled to discover that the army has created the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), she finds her hopes crushed at every turn.  So to make her dreams a reality, Ida turns her back on her family heritage and “passes” as white to enter the WASP.  But lying about herself is tough, and eventually, Ida must decide if she can continue to do it.

Blog Entry 130 - Image 4Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley – School integration was an important moment in our history, and the powerful Lies We Tell Ourselves tackles the issue from two sides.  Sarah is a black student, bullied by her white peers and teachers in a formerly all-white school, taken from honors courses to remedial classes, and forced to work together on a project with Linda.  Linda is angry at being made to work with Sarah, since she and her family are vocally in support of “separate but equal.”  But as the two girls are pushed together, they slowly get to know each other and learn more about race, love, and the power imbalances that divide them.

Blog Entry 130 - Image 5I’m Glad I Did by Cynthia Weil – Set in that all-important decade, the 1960s, I’m Glad I Did tackles music, justice, romance, civil rights, and much more.  Songwriter JJ is desperate to pursue a music career, even though her parents want her to become a lawyer like them.  So the summer she is 16, she secretly takes a job (unpaid, so more like what we would call an internship today) at the Brill Building, where rock and roll songwriting is just taking off.  There she finds herself embroiled in mystery, money, and a possible murder.  This book is for anyone interested in the 60s music scene, the civil rights era, mysteries and intrigue, and more.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – The Outsiders, Book vs. Movie

Teens Blog Banner

Blog Entry 129 - Image 1Blog Entry 129 - Image 2
The Outsiders is “for teenagers, about teenagers, and written by teenagers.” The story is a realistic fiction novel based on the rivalry of two gangs during the mid-1960’s, the Greasers and the Socs. The book was published in 1967, leading to a movie to be filmed based on the popular novel in 1983.

The movie follows the storyline accurately, given that a few changes and alterations were made to fit the 91-minute film. Viewers aren’t able to see into the background life of characters such as Soda, Darry, and even Dally. The focus of the movie revolves around events such as the “big rumble” and the death of Johnny Cade, who is also portrayed as a weaker character in the film than he was in the novel. Minor directional changes appeared in the movie as well when the conflict, in the book, of the poor east side versus the rich west side became the poor north side versus the rich south side in the movie. The movie also fails to incorporate as many details as the book gave the reader, and the characters aren’t a true fit to the descriptions given in the book as well.

Still, the movie accurately resembles the book with many similarities. Conflicts along with their end results are the same as they were in the narrative. Key events such as Johnny murdering the Soc, and fleeing to an abandoned church on a hill and the big rumble where the Greasers fight for their victory against the Socs are the same, as well as the setting of the story.

Despite the differences between the movie and the novel, both depict the adventurous lifestyle of the 14-year old Ponyboy and his struggles with right and wrong in his society.

-Lauren

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – Not Otherwise Specified

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 128 - ImageI’ve mentioned before that one of the perks of being a librarian is getting to read some seriously awesome books before they’re actually published.  The latest that I read comes out next week, on March 3, and it’s already in our system if you want to place a hold!

What I Just Read: Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

What’s It About (Jacket Description): Etta is tired of dealing with all of the labels and categories that seem so important to everyone else in her small Nebraska hometown.

Everywhere she turns, someone feels she’s too fringe for the fringe. Not gay enough for the Dykes, her ex-clique, thanks to a recent relationship with a boy; not tiny and white enough for ballet, her first passion; and not sick enough to look anorexic (partially thanks to recovery). Etta doesn’t fit anywhere— until she meets Bianca, the straight, white, Christian, and seriously sick girl in Etta’s therapy group. Both girls are auditioning for Brentwood, a prestigious New York theater academy that is so not Nebraska. Bianca seems like Etta’s salvation, but how can Etta be saved by a girl who needs saving herself?

The latest powerful, original novel from Hannah Moskowitz is the story about living in and outside communities and stereotypes, and defining your own identity.

Did I Like It: Oh my gosh YES!!!

Thoughts: I just loved this book so much.  Even though I know in my head that it was fantastic but not perfect, it felt perfect while I was reading it.  I loved Etta as a main character in a big sort of way, which is appropriate, since she has a big sort of personality.  Despite her struggles – being bullied by her ex-clique, missing her best friend, trying to recover from her eating disorder – Etta never wilts or diminishes.  She just keeps flying off the page and in your face in the best possible sort of way.  And even for people who have never had an eating disorder, or who aren’t bisexual, or who don’t love to dance, or who have never had ugly break-ups with friends, everything Etta deals with still feels so relatable and personal.  I think it’s because ultimately, her struggle is not about any of these specific issues, but about getting to know herself, figuring out who she wants to be, learning to love herself, and being confident in who Etta really is.  And I think that’s something everyone can relate to.

Aside from Etta herself, this book had a wealth of amazing characters.  Bianca and James were fantastic.  They were both strong in their own ways, but each struggling with some of the same self-identity issues as Etta.  Mason was a lovely addition to the group, charming and likeable and never pushing Etta for anything she wasn’t comfortable with.  Etta’s sister Kristina didn’t have a ton of page time, but I would read a whole other book about her if it were written.  And even Etta’s bullies had personalities beyond just being mean.  But while all these characters were fantastic in their own right, it still all comes back to Etta.  Because the best part about each and every side character was reading about their relationships with Etta.  The strange love/affection/jealousy/co-dependency she had with Rachel, the sweet devotion and strong friendship between her and Bianca, the way James’ personality complemented Etta’s so well, the difficult but super loving relationship between Etta and her mom – every relationship Etta has kept me riveted to the page, and loving reading about each and every interaction.

This book is written in a pretty stream-of-consciousness first person, so you will definitely enjoy the book a lot more if you like Etta, and like being in her head.  But I suspect you’ll like Etta – she is an extremely likable, even loveable, main character, who dominates the page and had me completely absorbed in her story, so you should definitely give Not Otherwise Specified a try.  I just really, really loved this book.  So about what I said before, about placing that hold

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – I’ll Give You the Sun

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 127 - ImageNote from Hannah: This teen book review is particularly well-timed, since I’ll Give You the Sun recently won the Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult literature!  Enjoy.

“Meeting your soul mate is like walking into a house you’ve been in before – you will recognize the furniture, the pictures on the wall, the books on the shelves, the contents of drawers: You could find your way around in the dark if you had to.”
― Jandy Nelson, I’ll Give You the Sun

Male and female twins Noah and Jude used to be very close. Noah is narrates at 13 years old, and he is the brother of Jude, who narrates at 16 years old. They were totally opposite until they joined each other’s personal secret. After then they were barely speaking. What has happened in these three years which separate them into strangers? When they were thirteen, Jude fall in love with the charming boy next door. That should be a pretty love story if the book continue like this; the truth is that both of them have the affection for the same boy.  

“In the book the early years are Noah’s story to tell, the later years are Jude’s. Each narrator struggles to become whole, to become something other than merely half of one.” (From the description on goodreads.com)

I’ll Give You the Sun is the second novel by the talented Jandy Nelson after The Sky is Everywhere. It is a fantastic book about the relationship between twins and an unusual love story. The book was told from different perspectives, one for each twin. Noah and Jude started their story at different ages and told about their own personal story. Their different personalities, Noah is a shy and Jude is broken, make them even more isolated after their family breaks apart. In addition, Noah’s perspective includes the drawings he paints in his mind which reflect his inner emotions, and Jude has a superstition about her Grandma’s Bible which makes her able to talk with her grandma. This interesting setting and characterization attracts me to read and to enjoy the life of two similar but totally different people.

-Elaine

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Morris Award Nominees

Teens Blog BannerLast week, I raved about Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, winner of this year’s Morris Award for best young adult debut. But because the Morris is my favorite of the young adult literature awards, I actually read all five nominees this year before the winner was announced. While Gabi was definitely my favorite, it was a great group of books (it usually is – thus the status of the award as my favorite!) While they didn’t all appeal to me personally, there’s no denying that all five Morris nominees were written by talented authors, and are books that will find fans. Music seemed to be a theme this year, with three out of the five books dealing heavily with music in some way. The books featured dragons, girls with wings, and Kurt Cobain. They were set in the present, across numerous decades, and in the 80s or 90s. They took place in Canada, Ireland, and the US. But one thing all these books had in common was that they were written by talented authors who I expect great things from in the future.

I already talked about Gabi, A Girl in Pieces (and if you haven’t put it on hold yet, I highly recommend you do so! This book is most definitely worth your time) but I thought today, I’d give some mini-thoughts on the other four nominees.

Blog Entry 126 - Image 1The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

Description (from goodreads.com): It’s 1993, and Generation X pulses to the beat of Kurt Cobain and the grunge movement. Sixteen-year-old Maggie Lynch is uprooted from big-city Chicago to a windswept town on the Irish Sea. Surviving on care packages of Spin magazine and Twizzlers from her rocker uncle Kevin, she wonders if she’ll ever find her place in this new world. When first love and sudden death simultaneously strike, a naive but determined Maggie embarks on a forbidden pilgrimage that will take her to a seedy part of Dublin and on to a life- altering night in Rome to fulfill a dying wish. Through it all, Maggie discovers an untapped inner strength to do the most difficult but rewarding thing of all, live.

Thoughts: This was my other favorite of the bunch. I loved the small-town Irish setting, from the mud and damp to the pub to the old man in his farmhouse up the hill. The romance seemed to jump from “crush” to “in love” a little quickly for my tastes, but I liked Maggie and Eoin so much that I didn’t really mind. I think the way music entered into the story was great – I’ve never been a huge Nirvana or Smashing Pumpkins fan, but I still felt sucked in to what these bands and concerts meant for Maggie, and it was easy to remember the magic of concerts I’ve been to and feel connected with Maggie’s experiences. Overall, I loved this book – and I wasn’t the only one! The Carnival at Bray also received a Printz honor (the Printz award recognized the best literary young adult fiction.)

Blog Entry 126 - Image 2Scar Boys by Len Vlahos

Description (from goodreads.com): A severely burned teenager. A guitar. Punk rock. The chords of a rock ‘n’ roll road trip in a coming-of-age novel that is a must-read story about finding your place in the world…even if you carry scars inside and out.

In attempting to describe himself in his college application essay–help us to become acquainted with you beyond your courses, grades, and test scores–Harbinger (Harry) Jones goes way beyond the 250-word limit and gives a full account of his life.

The first defining moment: the day the neighborhood goons tied him to a tree during a lightning storm when he was 8 years old, and the tree was struck and caught fire. Harry was badly burned and has had to live with the physical and emotional scars, reactions from strangers, bullying, and loneliness that instantly became his everyday reality.

The second defining moment: the day in 8th grade when the handsome, charismatic Johnny rescued him from the bullies and then made the startling suggestion that they start a band together. Harry discovered that playing music transported him out of his nightmare of a world, and he finally had something that compelled people to look beyond his physical appearance. Harry’s description of his life in his essay is both humorous and heart-wrenching. He had a steeper road to climb than the average kid, but he ends up learning something about personal power, friendship, first love, and how to fit in the world. While he’s looking back at the moments that have shaped his life, most of this story takes place while Harry is in high school and the summer after he graduates.

Thoughts: Scar Boys is unquestionably a book I would never have picked up if it hadn’t been nominated for the Morris award. Something about the description just didn’t engage me. So for that reason alone, I’m glad this was nominated for the award! I ended up liking Scar Boys a lot more than I expected to, even though it wasn’t my favorite of the nominees. What can I say, books about teen punk bands in the 80s just aren’t my thing, I guess, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them! And there was a lot I really did love about the book – the set-up of a college admissions essay was unique, the main character Harry was both extremely loveable and extremely obnoxious at the same time, which I liked, and I loved the book’s focus on male friendships, something I don’t see a lot of in books I read.

Blog Entry 126 - Image 3The Story of Owen by E.K. Johnston 

Description (from goodreads.com): Listen! For I sing of Owen Thorskard: valiant of heart, hopeless at algebra, last in a long line of legendary dragon slayers. Though he had few years and was not built for football, he stood between the town of Trondheim and creatures that threatened its survival. There have always been dragons. As far back as history is told, men and women have fought them, loyally defending their villages. Dragon slaying was a proud tradition. But dragons and humans have one thing in common: an insatiable appetite for fossil fuels. From the moment Henry Ford hired his first dragon slayer, no small town was safe. Dragon slayers flocked to cities, leaving more remote areas unprotected. Such was Trondheim’s fate until Owen Thorskard arrived. At sixteen, with dragons advancing and his grades plummeting, Owen faced impossible odds armed only with a sword, his legacy, and the classmate who agreed to be his bard. Listen! I am Siobhan McQuaid. I alone know the story of Owen, the story that changes everything. Listen!

Thoughts: Owen is probably a book I would have read eventually on my own, though I moved it up my list once the Morris nominations were announced. Alternate history, dragons, and a bard? Sign me up! Unfortunately, maybe because my expectations were so high, I was kind of underwhelmed by this book. Although I loved the alternate history with dragons, I did feel like parts of the world-building were a little thin (if dragons are attracted by carbon emissions, why wasn’t solar or steam or some kind of alternate energy developed years ago?) And one of my favorite characters just disappeared from the story part way through. But I did like the way the book explored dragon slaying as both a service and a spectacle, and tied the lives of dragonslayers in with the lives of those telling their stories, and I loved the concept of dragons in our modern world. But ultimately, for me, there just weren’t enough dragons to satisfy!

Blog Entry 126 - Image 4The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Description (from goodreads.com): Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.

First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.

Thoughts: Here’s the thing. While there are exceptions (there are always exceptions), overall, magical realism and multi-generational stories are not my favorite things. I couldn’t tell you why, something about those types of stories tends to just not work for me. So being both, Ava Lavender was never going to be my favorite of this year’s Morris nominees. That said, there was a lot I did like about this book. As far as magical realism goes, a girl born with wings is a pretty fascinating thought. The descriptions of food were mouth-watering and awesome. And the book did a really good job of exploring some interesting themes, and most of the magical realism helped to enhance and frame the issues of family, love, faith, freedom, and obsession (among others,) and give physical form to some abstract thoughts and ideas. I think this was a great book, and the fact that I personally couldn’t really get into it doesn’t mean a whole lot – I think this would be a great book for anyone looking to explore magical realism, or some of the themes I mentioned before. Just make sure some pastries or a loaf of bakery bread are at hand, because you will want them!

 

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – The Oscars

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 125 - ImageAs we all know, this weekend the famous Academy awards will be taking over millions of Americans’ Sunday evenings. At this time of year, all kinds of award shows are taking place such as the SAGs, the Golden Globe Awards, the Grammys, the Emmys, and The People’s Choice Awards. Yet, one award show, older and more famous than any others, stands out as the highest recognition in film industry. This show is the Academy Awards. For eighty five years they have recognized cinematic achievement and here is why almost a century later, this show still captivates the world.

The first Academy Awards presentation was held in 1929, at a private dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with an audience of about 270 people. The event wasn’t even televised until the 1950’s. Although the media were aware of the winners three months earlier, the award winners actually were originally printed in the Newspaper the evening of the event. That lasted until the Los Angeles Times printed the winners before the ceremony thereby beginning the tradition of revealing the winners from an envelope during the ceremony.

The actual Award, commonly referred to as Oscar, is made of gold-plated britannium on a black metal base, and it is 13.5 in tall, and weighs 8.5 lbs. It depicts a knight rendered in Art Deco style holding a crusader’s sword standing on a reel of film with five spokes. The five spokes represent the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians. Because of the prestige that accompanies these awards, the Academy has implemented multiple rules that prohibit the selling of these awards.

From classics such as Casablanca to recent films including 12 Years a Slave, the Academy has awarded 2,701 Oscars to recognize achievement in the film industry. Movies are still an incredibly popular media and form of entertainment, as they were in the 1920s. They bring to light issues that our society faces such as American Sniper’s focus on PTSD, and Selma’s emphasis on inherent racism. No matter how ridiculous these red carpets and fancy shows may seem to people, it has become a unifying event in our culture that celebrates and appreciates the masterpieces that have entertained us throughout the year.

-Britta

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – Gabi, A Girl in Pieces

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 124 - ImageOkay, so technically I didn’t just read this – it was one of this year’s nominees for the Morris Award for best young adult debut, so I read it before they announced the winners on February 2. As a matter of fact, it was my favorite Morris award nominee this year, which makes it that much more exciting that it won! It was a much-deserved win, and I expect many more great things from Isabel Quintero.

What I Just Read: Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

What’s It About (Jacket Description): Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: college applications, Cindy’s pregnancy, Sebastian’s coming out, the cute boys, her father’s meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.

July 24

My mother named me Gabriella, after my grandmother who, coincidentally, didn’t want to meet me when I was born because my mother was unmarried, and therefore living in sin. My mom has told me the story many, many, MANY, times of how, when she confessed to my grandmother that she was pregnant with me, her mother beat her. BEAT HER! She was twenty-five. That story is the basis of my sexual education and has reiterated why it’s important to wait until you’re married to give it up. So now, every time I go out with a guy, my mom says, “Ojos abiertos, piernas cerradas.” Eyes open, legs closed. That’s as far as the birds and the bees talk has gone. And I don’t mind it. I don’t necessarily agree with that whole wait until you’re married crap, though. I mean, this is America and the 21st century; not Mexico one hundred years ago. But, of course, I can’t tell my mom that because she will think I’m bad. Or worse: trying to be White.

Did I Like It: Yes – the award win was well deserved!

Thoughts: Well if this wasn’t clear already, I loved this book. The biggest reason is Gabi herself, which isn’t surprising since the book is in diary format. If you don’t love the main character, it’s pretty hard to get into a book like this. Luckily, Gabi is immediately likable and relatable. She’s far from perfect, but she reads exactly like someone I could have known in high school, like someone I could still know. She is smart and loving and loyal, but she screws up sometimes. Her questioning of the world around her, of the double standards she is faced with every day, was fascinating to read. How she deals with the crises of her friends is beautiful. She sticks by them no matter what, and never allows the questions and thoughts they raise pertaining to her life to overshadow the fact that these are her friends’ issues, and she is just a side character in their stories (just as they are side characters in her story.) She also tackles a difficult family life with grace and humor. Even when her mother and aunt drive her insane, or she’s angry at her brother, or worried about her dad, she always remembers that they are her family and she loves them.

Because the book is a diary, if Gabi’s thoughts about gender, sexuality, her body, Mexican-American culture, and everything else she writes about weren’t interesting, this book would have gotten boring really fast.  Luckily, I could have read an entire book that was just Gabi thinking about these issues, so Quintero holds a reader’s interest even when writing about things that aren’t strictly plot.  And of course, there are the side characters – we don’t hear their voices the same way as Gabi’s, or see as much of their lives, but I’m pretty sure I would read a book about each and every one of them.  They are all interesting, well-developed, nuanced characters, and they do a fantastic job of filling out Gabi’s world.

There’s so much more I could say, but won’t because I’d be wasting time you could be spending reading Gabi, A Girl in Pieces.  There’s a reason this book won a major award and landed on several best-of year end lists.  Actually, there are many reasons!  So do yourself a favor, and read Gabi, A Girl in Pieces as soon as possible!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – The Outsiders

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 123 - ImageReviewer: Sabrina

Book Title: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Description: According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for “social”) has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he’s always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers–until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy’s skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser. (Description from Goodreads.com)

Review: A book that is based on stereotypes is The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. The main character of the story is Pony Boy, who is very tough but he also hides a very sensitive side. Pony Boy has two brothers, Soda and Darry. Darry is the oldest and he’s the one that’s in charge because their parents are both dead. This family is a part of the greasers, which reminded me of the outcasts from our present time. The greasers also include Johnny and Dallas. I love how they’re always there for each other when there is trouble. They always have each other’s backs and protect one another. Even though they have fights, they are always a family. Then there are also the Socs; I would say they are the more popular rich kids and the jocks from present time. Socs are the spoiled kids who like to bully the greasers and anyone like them. I would say they are all sort of competing against each other and using each other to win. Every reader might look at it a different way but that’s how I saw them. A twisted and spoiled group of teenagers. The Outsiders has a moving plot and it’s really relatable to our place in time even though it’s from 1967.

I really liked this book because I can really relate it to my high school. You can admit this or not but people judge people by their stereotypes and groups. First there are the stereotypes about women and men, some say men are stronger and do all the work. Some say girls aren’t good at sports and they aren’t as smart as men. Then there are cultural stereotypes saying white people are obese and lazy and that Muslims are terrorists. Now I’m sure that everyone might assume something about a person because of stereotypes, but  what matters is whether or not they act on it or push away this thought. I think The Outsiders perfectly shows how stereotypes affect people’s lives. Whether it’s a good stereotype or a negative one, it’s no way to judge someone. From my perspective, I think despite the differences that the Socs and the Greasers had they were pretty similar. They both feel strongly about their own ideas and in a way they both look out for their friends. The book itself may not look appealing but IT’S SO GOOD!! I would recommend picking up this book and giving it a try.

-Sabrina

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Best YA

Teens Blog BannerLast time you were near the Teen Scene, you may have noticed a “Best YA of 2014” display on one of our book cubes, with a wide variety of books on it.  Because of course, with the end of one year and the start of the next, come the “Best Of” lists!  And there were many of them, Blog Entry 122 - Image 1which gives us a large number of books to choose from.  Some, like The Carnival at Bray and Gabi, A Girl in Pieces were nominated for the Young Adult Library Services Association “Morris Award” for best YA debut.  Others, such as The Tyrant’s Daughter and Poisoned Apples came from lists by journals devoted to reviewing books for libraries and booksellers, like Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly.  Still others, for instance Althea & Oliver or No One Else Can Have You, appeared in more widely-read sources like Time Magazine.  And a select few, like We Were Liars by E. Lockhart and This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, appeared on virtually every list.

So as you can see, we have a huge variety of sources and books to choose from to keep plenty of exciting books in this display.  But it got me thinking – why do we love these lists?  What is it about the end of the year that requires we make them?

The bulk of it, of course, is just giving credit to wonderful books, and helping us Blog Entry 122 - Image 2pick out some great reads we might have missed over the year.  However, I think there’s another element as well – after all, we know what we like, and we get great recommendations throughout the year, we don’t – strictly speaking – need these lists.  But we do love them, and I think that speaks to an inherent human love of categorizing and of debate.  We love awards shows, because they give us a chance to see what other people think, to speculate, to agree, to disagree, to feel validated, to feel jilted.  Something about the process of making declarations about what is “best,” or ranking things, makes us all examine our own thoughts and preferences – and usually, vociferously defend them!

So stop by our Best of YA display, check a few out if you haven’t read any, and then comment here, tweet to @GEPLTeenScene, or stop by the desk to tell us if you think the books are really worthy of being considered some of the best!

Posted in GEPL Teens