Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Book Review: Half Brother

Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel

Check it out here!

For thirteen years, Ben Tomlin was an only child. But all that changes when his mother brings home his new “baby brother” Zan-- an eight-day-old chimpanzee. Ben’s father, a renowned behavioral scientist, has uprooted the family to pursue his latest research project: a high-profile experiment to determine whether chimpanzees can acquire advanced language skills. Ben's parents tell him to treat Zan like a little brother. Ben reluctantly agrees. At least now he’s not the only one his father’s going to scrutinize. 

It isn't long before Ben is Zan's favorite, and Ben starts to see Zan as more than just an experiment. His father disagrees. To him, Zan is only a specimen, no more, no less. And this is going to have consequences. Soon Ben is forced to make a critical choice between what he is told to believe and what he knows to be true-- between obeying his father or protecting his brother from an unimaginable fate.

To be honest, I grabbed this book for its cover; I didn't realize it was about a chimp and thought it was hilarious (who doesn't think about their little brothers this way?)  The very literal cover translated to the tone of the book...if you're looking for a lot of laughs, you'd best look elsewhere. What you will get with this book, however, is a lot of soul and some really solid storytelling.  The relationship between Ben, his mom and dad, and Zan is pretty remarkable.  You see all of them grow and change and learn to understand each other a little more (there's also a good deal of teenage angst thrown in, too).  Fair warning, it's a pretty sad read...not all the time, but Oppel doesn't shy away from the cruel world of animal experimentation.  I found myself questioning my own opinions and asking what really separates humans from animals.  Oppel gives you a lot to think about with this book, and no easy answers. 

Reviewed by Sam
Submit your own review here!

New in the Teen Zone

    Here are just a few of the titles that arrived this week in the Teen Zone.
    1. The Other Side of Dark by  Sarah Smith
    2. The Dragon Apprentice (Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica Book 5) by James Owen
    3. The Shadow Dragons (Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica Book 4) by James Owen
    4. Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales
    5. The Painted Boy by Charles DeLint
    6. The Beginner’s Guide to Living by Lia Hills
    7. Rendezvous (On the Runway Book 3) by Melody Carlson
    8. Catwalk (On the Runway Book 2) by Melody Carlson
    9. Secrets of My Hollywood Life: Paparazzi Princess by Jen Calonita
    10. Battle Dress by Amy Efaw
    11. Thunder Over Kandahar by Sharon E. Mckay
    12. The Goblin Gate by Hilari Bell
    13. Fixing Delilah by Sara Ockler
    14. Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde
    15. Immortal by Gillian Shields
    16. Betrayal by Gillian Shields
    17. Vampire Diaries – Stefan’s Diary by L.J. Smith
    18. Fifteen Candles (Amigas Book 1) by Veronica Chambers
    19. Lights, Camera, Quince! (Amigas Book 2) by Veronica Chambers

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    Book Review: Across the Universe

    Across the Universe by Beth Revis
    A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.
    Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
    Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
    Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

    Review: Told in alternating points of view; Across the Universe follows Elder, the future leader of Godspeed, and Amy, a frozen passenger classified as "non-essential", through a series of chilling events that will challenge both of their world views and change each of their lives forever. Amy is thrust into the strange world of Godspeed when her cryogenic chamber is purposely turned off and she is woken up 50 years ahead of schedule. She finds herself in a strange world, where "normal" human behavior is labeled as crazy and what the ship's leader deems as normal, is totally bizarre to her.

    In a stunning debut, author Beth Revis creates an intense and unique world where it's easy to sympathize with both the oppressed and the oppressor. Amy's race to save her parents, solving the mystery of who is turning off the cyrogenic chambers, overlaps brilliantly with her struggle to fit into her new world and come to terms with the end of the life she left behind and the undelivered promise of a future on a new planet with her parents.

    The result is an intense dystopian thriller (that just happens to be set in space). It's science fiction for people who don't really like science fiction. Both a deeply personal story and a fun, faced paced murder mystery, Across the Universe is sure to please any reader.

    Review by: Megan
    Submit your own book review here! (We'll post it to the blog)

    Monday, December 27, 2010

    Book Review: Incarceron

    Incarceron by Katherine Fisher
    Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains not only cells, but also metal forests, dilapidated cities, and vast wilderness. Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, has no memory of his childhood and is sure that he came from Outside Incarceron. Very few prisoners believe that there is an Outside, however, which makes escape seems impossible. And then Finn finds a crystal key that allows him to communicate with a girl named Claudia. She claims to live Outside- she is the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, and doomed to an arranged marriage. Finn is determined to escape the prison, and Claudia believes she can help him. But they don't realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost more than they know.

    Review: Incarcern is a unique mishmash of dystopian, historical fiction, steam-punk, and sci-fi with just a hint of fantasy thrown in for good measure. This one of a kind mix of genres makes for a fun, freaky, and sometimes downright terrifying setting - the prison itself is alive! The prison isn't the only interesting setting though, the "outside" is set sometime in the future, but modeled after medieval times. Both Finn and Claudia are stuck in a kind of prison; Finn literally, while Claudia is bound by the restrains of a medieval society and her station in life. The two parallel situations make for an interesting read.

    Incarceron is incredibly plot driven with a lot of twists and turns and dozens of action scenes. Sadly, most of the twists are pretty easy to spot coming and because it's so heavily plot driven there's a lack of character development and I never really felt a serious connection to Finn or Claudia. The setting and style of the book make up for what it lacks in spontaneity and character development though. There's a little something for everyone in here and it's a good introduction to dystopian and sci-fi/fantasy.

    Fun Fact: Taylor Launter (yes, of Twilight fame) has been tagged to play Finn in the film adaptation of Incoarceron.  
    Loved Incarceron? Make sure to check out Sapphique due out end of December (but you get on the hold list now!)

    Review by: Megan
    Submit your own review here!

    Friday, December 24, 2010

    Book Review: The Spectacular Now

     The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
     Check it out here!

    Description: Sutter "The Sutterman" Keely doesn't expect too much out of life or his future...after all, he's just looking for a good time.  Fortified with his big 7UP and whiskey, Sutter's all about partying and the now.  Sure, he's never had a serious girlfriend, but what's the point in thinking long term when everything (and everyone) around you is falling apart anyway?  Everything changes for Sutter when he meets Aimee, the awkward nerdy girl who slowly becomes more than just a friend.  Navigating the rocky road of ex-flings, absent dads, and sisters with boob jobs, Sutter has to deal with the total buzzkills of family, friends, and becoming an adult.

    First off, this book is hilarious.  Seriously.  I don't think I've ever read a funnier, more insightful book on guy humor.  If you liked Superbad, this is for you.  That being said, there's a lot more going on in this book than Superbad.  Yes, it deals with friends growing apart and epic alcohol adventures, but it also tracks how a serious slacker deals with some pretty serious issues (how much he matures, however, is debatable).  The story is told from the perspective of Sutter in a kind of stream-of-consciousness way.  It's exactly like hearing what a guy is thinking at every moment (as you'd expect, boobs come up pretty often).  The character feels completely can almost picture him as "that guy" at any crazy party, the one doing keg stands or jumping into a pool from the roof.  Tim Tharp has got the teenage-guy voice down.  I also really enjoyed the fact that Aimee isn't transformed from the ugly duckling into the hot chick...we meet her wearing horse shirts, glasses, and baggy-butt jeans and that's how she stays throughout the book.  Aimee and everyone else in the supporting cast seem incredibly real and relatable, which makes The Spectacular Now hit you pretty hard when it's over.

    This book is definitely worth checking out.  And when you're done reading, make sure to see the movie (set to be released sometime in 2011)'s going to be adapted by the writers of 500 Days of Summer!  

    Reviewed by Sam
    Submit your own review here!

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    Morris Award Finalists

    YALSA has announced the Willican C. Morris YA Debut Awarad Finalists.

    The William C. Morris YA Debut Award, first awarded in 2009, honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.

    The 2010 finalists are:

    Hush by Eishes Chayil
    For the Chassidim, the rules of life are determined by an ancient script--and abuse has never been a part of it. But when 13-year-old Gittel learns of the abuse her best friend, the adults try to persuade Gittel that nothing happened.

    Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
    Eighteen-year-old New Zealand boarding school student Ellie Spencer must use her rusty tae kwon do skills and new-found magic to try to stop a fairy-like race of creatures from Maori myth and legend that is plotting to kill millions of humans in order to regain their lost immortality.

    Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
    Sam LaCroix, a Seattle fast-food worker and college dropout, discovers that he is a necromancer, part of a world of harbingers, werewolves, satyrs, and one particular necromancer who sees Sam as a threat to his lucrative business of raising the dead.

    Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber
    In Missouri in 1926, fifteen-year-old Iris Baldwin discovers what family truly means when her father hires her out for the summer as a companion to a country doctor's invalid mother.

    The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston
    Suffering from a crippling case of post-traumatic stress disorder, sixteen-year-old Loa Lindgren tries to use her problem solving skills, sharpened in physics and computer programming, to cure herself.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    Snow brings out Creativity

    I think the cold has a way of bringing out the creativity in us...

    I think there's something about the cold, the snowflakes, and the colorful lights that seems to bring out the inner artist in us all. Maybe it's the fact that it's so freaking cold outside that we refuse to venture into the outdoors. Or maybe it's the fact that the holidays are slowly sneaking up and we've realized we need gifts for our family and friends, that forces us to entertain ourselves with crafts.

    Whatever it is, I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the creativity going on in the Zone. Between our "Holiday Party" where Teens came and made their own decoupage boxes and glitter ornaments, and the teens who've brought in their own art that they are either selling for school or personal interest, I have had a wonderful time "ooing" and "awing" over it all.

    Jewelry... Hand-made Cards...
    Winter Hats... Oh My!

    How I love creativity...

    So, if you or anyone you know is "crafty" and would like to come to the Zone and rock out their creativity, we will provide you with supplies. Or if you have personal art you are selling, come to the Teen Zone and share with the staff here!

    Written by: Leslie

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Book Review: Thumbsucker

    Thumbsucker by Walter Kirn
    Check it out here!

    Description: "It was the one thing I'd always done.  Even breathing did not go back to the womb.  Being part of a circle of shoulder, arm, hand, mouth, connected me to myself.  This circle is what they tried to break the summer I turned fourteen."  So begins Thumbsucker, the story of Justin Cobb, "the King Kong of oral obsessives."  His father's attempt to end his bad habit begins a string of other fixations: girls, drugs, fly fishing, and Mormonism, to name a few.  When Justin's dentist prescribes him with Ritalin, he thinks he'll be "cured" of his hyperactivity. His experience with the drug temporarily puts a band-aid on certain parts of his life, but ultimately Justin has to face the facts: pills don't solve all your problems, and they certainly can't fix your family.

    Review: If you enjoy coming-of-age novels that hit you over the head with the "I've experienced so much and grown as a person" schtick on the last page, STAY AWAY FROM THIS BOOK.  If you like books that are messy, provocative, and not tied up neatly with a bow, then this is right up your alley.  Fair warning, this book isn't entirely about good feelings and connecting with your family...very often, it's about getting as far away from them as possible (and this not being a bad thing).  It is about growing, but in unexpected ways.  Thumbsucker skips around from one obsession to the other, and it feels as if you're really trapped in the overactive mind of a Ritalin-junkie, which sometimes left me feeling rushed and kind of scattered.  Kirn reels it back when talking about Justin's family, though, which makes for some surprisingly emotional moments.  The only critique I have with this book is sometimes it was difficult to connect with Justin's character.  He's clearly trying to not know himself in the book, as we see by his numerous distractions and diversions.  Sometimes it feels like the reader is distanced from him as well.  But for the adventures he has, this book is well worth reading.

    Review by Sam
    Submit your own review here!

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    New This Week

    Check out what we got in today!

    Dead Beautfiul by Yvonne Woon
    Hothouse by Chris Lynch
    Unraveled by Gena Showalter
    Mindblind by Jennifer Roy
    Poser by Sue Wyshynski
    Beat the Band by Don Calame
    The Secret of Ka by Christopher Pike
    The 10 p.m. Question by Kate de Goldi
    Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian
    Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry
    Stalker Girl by Rosemary Graham
    Factotum by D.M. cornish
    Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
    Rich and Mad by William Nicholson
    Manifest by Artist Arthur
    Boyfriends, Burritos and an Ocean of Trouble by Nancy Rue
    Motorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange Book by Nancy Rue

    And this is just a fraction of what's new at the library. For a complete list of new items, check out the catalog!

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    City of Fallen Angels Cover Reveal

    City of Fallen Angels, the fourth book in the Mortal Instruments series (due out in April) by Casandra Clare now has a cover! What do you guys think? Love it or hate it? Or are you somewhere in between?

    You can also get a sneak peak of City of Fallen Angels here. While you're waiting for City of Fallen Angels, you can check out Cassandra Clare's other books: City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, and Clockwork Angel.

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Best of 2010: Gayle Forman for NPR

    YA author, Gayle Forman (author of If I Stay) recently told NPR her Top-5 YA Picks for 2010. What do you think? Would these books make your Top-5 of 2010 list?

    The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
    Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.

    Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
    After she dies in a car crash, teenaged Samantha relives the day of her death over and over again until, on the seventh day, she finally discovers a way to save herself.

    The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt
    Levi's brother, a marine, returns home from war, safe. However, Boaz is not the brother Levi had known.

    The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
    Some schools have honour codes.Others have handbooks.Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school where the students are exceptional, the faculty trust that everyone does the right thing, and the administration sees only what it wants to see - perfection. So when Alex spends a drunken-night with a male student and awakes to evidence of a sexual encounter she can't remember, she doesn't know where to turn for help. As she slowly comes to terms with the fact that she was date raped, she enlists the help of the Mockingbirds - a secret society of her peers whose mission is to right the wrongs that the faculty and administration don't even know exist.In standing up to her attacker, Alex discovers a strength she never knew she had and begins to understand that if you love something or someone - especially yourself - it's worth fighting for.

    Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
    Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
    As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

    Email us your Top 5 reads from 2010 and we'll post them to the blog!

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Christmas Gift Ideas for Twilight Fans

    Need a gift idea for those diehard Twilight fans in your life?  Check out these and other fun goodies at!

    Edward and Jacob Stand Ups ($35 for both)


    Bath and Body Works Twilight Woods Fragrance ($12)


    I Kissed a Vampire T-Shirt ($22)

    Movie Board Game ($15)

    Twilight FreshFace Glow ($36)

    Edward and Bella Barbies ($25)

    Saturday, December 11, 2010


    Some excited fans couldn't wait for the movie, and decided to make their own version.

    Check it out!

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Book Review: Nightshade

    Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

    Check it out here!

    Summary: Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything - including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

    Review: Nightshade is not your typical werewolf book. It's a rich and dark work carefully crafted with colorful and complex characters. There's a history and a purpose for the wolves in Andrea Cremer's story and she carefully explains the deviations from common folklore.

    Calla is a strong and tough young woman. She is a natural leader and takes offense to being bossed around, even when tradition dictates she's number two in the pecking order. I loved the way she interacted with the men in her life and I loved the way that they called her out on her own bad behavior. It's refreshing to see some give and take. This is one of the only books with a love triangle that I actually understood and felt sympathy for the main character. Calla has a real connection to both of her love interests and it's understandable why she's drawn to them and having a hard time choosing.

    I really enjoyed how the action was woven into the love story and how deep the world went. Cremer does a wonderful job world building, creating an entire history for all of her characters, not just the main character. The secondary characters were just as interesting as Calla and the history of the wolves is intriguing as well.

    Overall, I really enjoyed reading Nightshade. It's a must read for any paranormal romance fan. Be warned though, it does end on a cliff-hanger. The followup, Wolfsbane isn't due out until Summer 2011, so there's a bit of a wait to find out what's happened.

    Great paranormal romance. Nightshade is a quick and enjoyable read. It's not life changing, but it's well worth the 454 pages. Fans of Twilight, Vampire Academy, and Sisters Red will love this book.
     Review by Megan

    Check out all of Shay Doran's special prequel video diaries, available on Facebook!

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Glitter Art

    There are days where I just want to play with glitter...

    Have any of you ever sat in front of your computer, or at your kitchen table, or at your desk in school and just been overcome with an urge to use glue, beads, feathers, strings, and glitter? I know it happens to me on a fairly regular basis, and normally the outcome is some ridiculously colorful, useless craft that spews glitter and gems all over my apartment every time I move it. But you know what, I enjoy it, even though I end up sneezing glitter flakes for the next few days. I think it's something about the way the glitter sparkles, moves, and endlessly multiplies that fascinates me. I love how I can find glitter from crafts five years ago still lingering in the depths of my carpet and dresser drawers to this day.

    So today in the Teen Zone I was left the task of creating an ornament for our Teen Holiday Gift-Making Party (which by the way is on December 9 from 3:30-5 in the Teen Zone, all of you should come). I looked closely at the wooden stars that were sitting on the desk, naked, cold, and ready to be decorated.

    It only took a moment to decide, I was going to clothe them in glitter.

    It was hands-down the best hour of my Sunday here in the Zone. I was able to mix all my favorite glitter colors, glue on feathers and beads, I was able to embellish, and embellish, and embellish some more. The outcome was horrendously colorful ornaments that scream for every ones attention.

    Here are my masterpieces: 

    I spent a good twenty minutes attempting to collect all the glitter remains that were littering my cubicles floor, but alas, I did not fully succeed. Glitter has a mind of its own, and it refused to be sucked up by my hand-rolled vacuum.

    The end result of these shenanigans was me contently "ooing" and "awing" over my beautiful creations, and showing them off to any one of my workers who was willing to glance their way (and be blinded by their brilliant sparkling ability).

    So, if you or anyone you know is a Glitter Fanatic, you should prance your way to the Teen Zone this week, specifically Thursday, December 9, from 3:30-5:00. On that day we will be providing the necessary art supplies to create ornaments and other presents for your family and friends. If you want to spread the joy of glitter this holiday season, this is the craft for you!

    I can't wait to see everyone covering their presents with this wonderful craft. Remember, Edward sparkles in the sun, shouldn't your presents do the same?

    Posted by: Leslie

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy Book #6) Out Today!

    Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy Book #6) by  Richelle Mead is out today! Can't wait to get your hands on a copy? You can read the first chapter online here.

    The astonishing final novel in Richelle Mead's epic series! Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice. Now, with Rose on trial for her life and Lissa first in line for the Royal Throne, nothing will ever be the same between them.

    Make sure to reserve a copy now!

    Sad that Vampire Academy is coming to an end? Don't be! According to author, Richelle Mead's website a Vampire Academy spin-off is due out in 2011:
    "Last Sacrifice will be the last book about Rose, but it'll be followed by a spin-off series still set in the Vampire Academy world.  Side characters we know from the current series will now be our main characters, and there'll be a whole new storyline (not the last one told from a different perspective).  So far, there is no exact release date, but you can expect it near late summer/early fall of 2011.

    Saturday, December 4, 2010

    Preparations Underway

    We are celebrating the season in the Teen Zone!
    Preparations are underway for the Teen Holiday Gift-Making Party!
    We're making picture frames, keepsake boxes, and holiday ornaments.
    Mark your calender!
    Thursday, December 9th
    3:30-5:00 p.m.
    in the Teen Zone.