GEPL Teens Blog

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

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.


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

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – The Fault in Our Stars

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 121 - ImageThe Fault in Our Stars, a novel that I have recently read and instantly fell in love with, is the subject of this blog. If you haven’t read or even heard of this amazing novel by John Green, you should find a copy as soon as possible. The story is narrated by a young cancer patient named Hazel Grace. She takes you through her journey with her newly found love, Augustus Waters. Augustus uses his clever and quite witty personality to give Hazel a new perspective on her complicated life. Before meeting Augustus she had to be pushed out of the house by her parents, she didn’t have anything to live for or to be excited about. But after her first time meeting Augustus her whole life took a turn for the better. This book is full of emotional content, some moments will make you laugh out loud, while others will make you start to cry your heart out. You may think I am exaggerating, but ask anyone who has read it; they will most definitely back me up.

During the novel you will travel to Amsterdam with Hazel and Augustus to seek out answers from Hazel’s favorite author. While in Amsterdam, Augustus tells Hazel life altering information that inspires her to make the most out of her life. The trip to Amsterdam created a lifelong memory for both Hazel and Augustus. After the once in a lifetime trip Hazel’s life gets more complicated; her health and the health of some of her new found friends start to influence her decisions and the way she spends her time. I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot, so I will leave it to you to find out the rest of the story for yourself. All I can say is, you won’t believe the connection that will develop between you and the characters in this story. You will fall in love with their unique personalities and views on life. Soon enough you will talk about them as if they were old friends! You can tell that the author cared about each character as if they were real people, and strived for you to make individual connections with each one.

The Fault in Our Stars is most definitely on my list of top 10 books that I have ever read. This book is what I call a true page turner. I read this book in less than two days, and it is over 300 pages! If that doesn’t prove the awesomeness of this novel I don’t know what will. This book will not let you down; you will instantly fall in love with the characters and the thought behind the plot. But just a warning, you may want a box of tissues by your side while reading this book, for your happy tears and the not so happy tears. If you haven’t yet realized it, I truly believe that you should read this book as soon as possible. So pick up a copy on your way home or from the library, and start reading! You will be glad you did. Once you have finished the novel, you can rent the recently released movie that depicts the novel as well as any Hollywood production can. Happy reading!

-Ashley M.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Art Contest Deadline Extension

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 119 - ImageYou’re done with finals – CONGRATULATIONS!  Now that they are over and you have brains that can think about anything other than tests, we’re going to take a moment to get a little repetitive here.  As you may recall (if, for instance, you read our last blog entry…) GEPL is having an ART CONTEST!  The contest will help us decorate our teen space with art created by local teens.  Plus, because your finals changed and we want to give you some time afterwards to get your submissions in, we are extending the deadline!  The new deadline to enter the contest is January 31 – which gives you over a week to pick your favorite piece of art and enter!

Now that we’ve covered the details, on to the important stuff!  Our goal with this art contest is that it will be good for you all and the library.  We hope this will be good for you because it gives you a chance to show off your work to a new audience, and use that project you did in art class for something else.  And it will be good for you because three winners will receive a $100 gift certificate to Dick Blick, and six runners up will get a $25 gift card there.  That’s nine chances to get money for all those pricey art supplies!  Plus, of course, nine chances at the glory of having your art on display in the library.  And to top it all off, everyone who enters will have their pieces displayed at an art reception on February 15.  So no matter who wins, you’ll all get a chance to show off a little!

This contest is good for us because the time to personalize the teen room is long past.  It’s your room, and we want your art decorating it.  Plus, the rest of the second floor got a fancy makeover this fall – we think the teen room deserves the same!

You’ve still got a few more days to enter – we’re accepting submissions through January 31.  So do yourselves and us a favor, and go to and enter our contest ASAP!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teen Art Contest!

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 119 - ImageTeen librarian fun fact: I am a terrible artist. I always have been. To this day when I doodle, my hearts are misshapen and my stars are uneven. I don’t have great handwriting. My photos tend to be passable, but not awesome. And don’t even ask me about things like composition and balance and color – the most you’ll get is “I like this picture because it has a puppy, and I personally don’t care for the color yellow.” I’m hopeless, and I accept that.

That said, none of this stops me from doodling or creating or making some kinds of art. Even at my most self-conscious when I was a teenager, I doodled stick figures and shapes in the margins of my notes. I sketched dragons who, while they didn’t look right on the page, were beautiful in my imagination. I even once agreed to a request to draw someone – and let them see the drawing. I love to take pictures, even if my photos are only passable. Something about visual creation has the same inherent appeal to most of us, I think, as listening to music or dancing or creating with words. We are constantly bombarded by the visual, and there’s something satisfying about contributing to our visual world somehow, even if we prefer our creations never be seen by anyone except ourselves.

And for some people, of course, art is more. Whether through hard work, talent, passion, or some combination of those three things, many people are artists, creating art they want people to see, and hope to share with the world. I love those people, even if I will never be one. And the library loves those people too!

Which brings us to the library’s Teen Art Contest to decorate our teen room! We want teens to be the ones filling the walls of their own space, and we want to showcase the wonderful things that local teens are creating. Moreover, we want to celebrate any teen artist who enters. So in addition to selecting winners to be displayed in our Teen Scene, we will be hosting a reception in February to celebrate every artist and every piece that is submitted to our competition.

We have a whole page on our website dedicated to the rules and submissions, but here’s the quick and dirty of what you need to know:

  • We are accepting submissions through January 25, and we welcome any projects you created for school this semester!
  • The three winners will receive a $100 Dick Blick gift certificate, and the six runners up will each receive a $25 gift certificate.  All nine winners and runners up will have their work displayed in the Teen Scene.
  • Local artists and art teachers will be judging, so you won’t be at the mercy of my complete lack of artistic talent.
  • We will host an art reception on February 15 for everyone who enters the contest, because we’re pretty excited to show off everyone’s work.
  • We are super excited about this opportunity to celebrate creativity and creation, and get some fantastic artwork for our Teen Scene.

So celebrate art, and yourselves, and enter our Teen Art Contest ASAP!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Study Tips

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 118 - ImageIt’s no secret that studying can be tiresome and boring, especially when there are other priorities during the week. But what if there was a way that you can make studying a little more appealing? Actually there are tips that will make studying more comfortable, fun, and quicker.

The first tip is using highlighters.  Yes, highlighters. Highlighters are the best tools given to students because highlighters can be so helpful. First of highlighters can be used to mark important words and vocabulary words. Also highlighters can be a good visual tool when you want to focus on one specific thing.

The second tip is being comfortable. How can someone study when they aren’t comfortable?  The times when you are going back and forth between different places, you can still be comfortable. You can listen to background music, wear comfortable clothes, drink coffee, light some candles, etc. As much as being comfortable can help, it can also be your worst enemy. You shouldn’t be comfortable to the point where you are falling asleep because that won’t get you any closer to finishing you work.

Tip number three is clear all of the distractions around you as much you can. Sometimes it’s hard when you’re around things you can’t control the sound of but try to get rid of as much distraction as you possibly can. Turn of the TV even if you think you can “double task.” Even though I said music can help you work, make sure once you pick your playlist you don’t keep checking your phone or changing the song because that will also distract you.

Tip number four is do not cram. I say it again, do not cram. Cramming all of the information in your head will not help you in the long term and make things so stressful. Make sure you give yourself an appropriate time to study but also make sure to give yourself enough time to rest.

This goes right into my fifth tip which is get enough rest. Sleepiness causes headaches and a lot of times not enough sleep can make it hard to focus. Sleep is so crucial in a student’s lives and many teens don’t get enough of it. Always try to get a good amount of sleep (7-10 hours) especially before a test.

The last tip is to give yourself 5-10 minute study breaks about every 40 minutes. We all need breaks when we are trying to absorb all this information. Either listen to music, have a snack, turn on the TV for a little bit, draw, journal, take a walk, etc.

Hopefully, using these tips can make studying just a little less boring!


Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Make Studying Slightly Less Awful

Teens Blog BannerWell, it’s been a lousy week.  Nasty cold weather.  And sure, no school, but with the start of finals still looming next week I doubt any of you have had a chance to relax and enjoy the time off.  On the plus side, you do get two more days to prepare for finals!

While you do all that preparation, in our constant effort to make studying not-terrible, the library is once again hosting Late Night Study on the nights before you take your finals!  You can come to the library on January 15, 20, and 21 from 5-10 to study together or alone, get fed, and use the library’s resources to help you rock your finals.  Or just to get a book or movie to help you forget about the horror – that’s up to you.

In case you’re still not convinced, we’re recycling last year’s list of great reasons to come to the library to study.  Maybe one of these will change your mind:

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We’ll feed you and caffeinate you!  We’ll provide pizza starting at around 5:30 until it’s gone, each night of studying.  We’ll have coffee and other hot drinks for the whole night.  Studying on an uncaffeinated brain and empty stomach is pretty much impossible, so we’ve got you covered.

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We have great study resources!  We have many of your textbooks available here so you don’t have to lug them, laptops so you don’t have to bring your own, plenty of distractions (mostly in book and internet form) for when you need a study break, and you can work with your friends or on your own, in a quiet environment.  It’s like we created this whole dang library just for studying.

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The library is all yours from 9-10 p.m.  Seriously – only library staff and high school students allowed.  You’ll have all the space in the world to spread out your books and sit with your friends, without any adults or kids taking up space.

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Good luck!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Books to Movies

Teens Blog BannerLet’s face it. Winter break and the holidays have just ended and finals are coming scarily near; there is little to look forward to besides the cold. As first semester comes to a close, we deserve a reward for all our hard work. I personally want to lock myself in my room and marathon my favorite TV show or watch a couple of movies as a short respite.

Blog Entry 116 - Image 2Although typically “movies aren’t as good as the books,” it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them! When anyone reads a book they create their own vision of the story. How someone interprets and understands a book is completely unique to them. It is immersing in its own way. Yet a movie adaption of our favorite book is always welcomed. We can watch a story that was only in our heads jump into real life on the screen.

I always want to read a book before I watch a movie. Well, here is your chance! Even if you watched it already, read to see its origins.Blog Entry 116 - Image 1 Whether you want to read and watch classics such as the Lord of the Rings, some recent popular films such as The Hunger Games or The Fault in Our Stars, or even popular TV shows like Pretty Little Liars and the Vampire Diaries, we have the books as well as the DVDs in our collection. You can even get ahead of the game by checking out the books that currently are or are planned to be made into movies or TV shows, like Paper Towns. So before popping some popcorn and grabbing a movie, settle down with the book first. No matter how accurate the movie is, your imagination will have its own vision for you and only you.


Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Reading Resolutions

Teens Blog BannerHappy New Year!  It’s that time again – one year moves into the next, and many people make many resolutions, most of which will be abandoned by February.  But even if we never quite achieve our resolutions, the act of making them can still be worthwhile.  Taking the time to make resolutions can help us discover goals we didn’t even realize we had, or make us re-examine things we’ve taken for granted.  So when I started thinking about New Year’s resolutions, I naturally started thinking about books, because that’s what I do.  Which has led me to three “Reading Resolutions” for 2015, which I think can be adapted for just about any kind of reader!

Blog Entry 115 - Image 11.  Diversify my reading – this can take many different forms, really.  It just means stepping outside my comfort zone sometimes, or trying something totally new.  From checking out an author I’ve never tried to reading about someone totally different from me to simply remembering that there is a reading world outside of YA (something I have a tendency to forget!), I promise to frequently pick up books that seem like they will be different from anything I have read before.  That said…

Blog Entry 115 - Image 22. Don’t waste time on books I don’t like – there are far, far too many great books in this world for any one person to read.  There are far more books I want to read than I will ever get to.  So without the pressure of a class or a book club, why would I read something if I don’t like it?  I need to give books a fair chance, of course, but if I’m far enough in to feel confident I have a sense of the plot, tone, characterization, etc. of the book and I’m still not digging it? Then I promise I will put it down and move on!

Blog Entry 115 - Image 33. Make time to read – believe it or not, this is something I have struggled with recently.  Now, with a lengthy commute and a constant stream of library audiobooks, I’m actually reading quite a lot.  But, although I love them dearly, audiobooks are not quite the same as reading a print (or electronic) book.  For starters, I read faster on my own than audiobook narrators, so I can read more in the same amount of time if I’m reading myself.  And with audiobooks, I’m getting a narrator’s interpretation of voice and tone, rather than me own.  This is usually awesome, but it’s also good to let my imagination reign free.  And especially with the craziness of the holidays, it’s been hard to find time to just sit and read, and I miss it.  So in 2015, I promise to not only make time every single day to read (even if it’s just a few pages,) I also promise to every now and then carve out big chunks of time to binge-read and completely immerse myself in a book!

What are your resolutions, reading-related or otherwise? Did any of my resolutions strike a chord, or do you already do all these things?

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Holiday Study

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 114 - ImageAh! The holidays! I’ve always seen these two weeks of break as sort of a double edged sword. Yes of course, we now have eight extra hours of the day as well as no homework, but finals are also creeping up on us. So I thought it would be a good idea to share some tips on how to enjoy winter break while ensuring that you don’t tank those midterms.

1. Food. It’s probably my favorite thing in the world, so each finals season, my mom and I take a trip to the grocery store and fill up a cart just for my friends and I while we are studying. From Christmas cookies to candy canes, we always find food to keep us going through those long cram sessions.

2. Study with friends. Two heads are better than one and sometimes even three or four. In the past, I’ve gotten together with my friends almost every day over winter break. Of course half the time we spend isn’t studying, but it’s a good way to enjoy break while keeping up on schoolwork at the same time.

3. Go to the Library’s late night study sessions. On January 13-15 the library will be open late and serving free food just for those of us studying for finals. The library is conducive to studying, and offers the resources we need to be successful!

4. Study with family. If you have a big family like I do, you probably get together around the holidays. Between the seven older cousins of our family, two of which are in my grade, there are always people to help you and people for you to help. Every year, we kick everyone out of our family’s “conference room” that we have at the hotel, and spend an afternoon just studying together.

And don’t forget to take a break! We were given time off of school for a reason! If you are too stressed to enjoy your free time, try doing something somewhat educational such as watching season five of one of my favorite winter shows, Downton Abbey, or the educational Youtube videos from Crashcourse, made by the famous Youtubers Hank and John Green.  Happy studying!



Posted in GEPL Teens