Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Here are 14 of 30 new audiobooks that were recently selected and purchased for the Young Adult collection.  They can be requested via the online catalog, though they are currently still in Technical Services (acquiring all their stamps and inoculations for travel:).  Click on the title, and request it now, to be first in line to listen to one of these stories.  You will need your library card barcode number and your PIN (the last 4 digits of your telephone number) to make a request.  (Don't miss The Call of Cthulhu and Other Stories, specially requested by a Teen Think Tank member during our December 2 meeting.)

After Tupac & D Foster, by Jacqueline Woodson, 2009. Realistic Fiction, Social Issues  Summary: In the New York City borough of Queens in 1996, three girls bond over their shared love of Tupac Shakur's music, as together they try to make sense of the unpredictable world in which they live.
Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver, 2010.  Personal Conduct Fiction  Summary: After she dies in a car crash, teenage 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 Call of Cthulhu and Other Stories, by H. P. Lovecraft, 2010.  Horror Fiction   Summary: A collection of creepy, gripping tales of madness & cosmic terror by one of America's finest horror authors. At the heart of these stories is the belief that the Earth was once inhabited by powerful & evil gods, just waiting for the chance to recolonise their planet.

Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins, 2009.  Science Fiction, Survival  (Hunger Games, Book 2)  Summary: By winning the annual Hunger Games, District 12 tributes Katniss & Peeta have secured a life of safety & plenty for themselves & their families, but because they won by defying the rules, they unwittingly become the faces of an impending rebellion.

Cupid: A Tale of Love and Desire, by Julius Lester, 2007.  Mythology, Romance  Summary: Cupid, the spoiled & mischievous god of love, is attracted to & marries the beautiful mortal, Psyche, & both learn many lessons about the nature of love.

Dairy Queen, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, 2006.  Realistic Fiction, Football  Summary: After spending her summer running the family farm & training the quarterback for her school's rival football team, 16 year old D.J. decides to go out for the sport herself, not anticipating the reactions of those around her.

Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2010.  Historical Fiction (Sequel to: Chains.)  Summary: Separated from his friend Isabel after their daring escape from slavery, 15 year old Curzon serves as a free man in the Continental Army at Valley Forge until he and Isabel are thrown together again, as slaves once more.

I Am The Messenger, by Markus Zusak, 2006. Realistic Fiction, Mystery, Heroes  Summary: After capturing a bank robber, 19 year old cab driver Ed Kennedy begins receiving mysterious messages that direct him to addresses where people need help, & he begins getting over his lifelong feeling of worthlessness. (author of The Book Thief)

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865.  Non-Fiction, Debates   Summary: Richard Dreyfuss & David Strathairn reenact the 7 debates of the 1858 Illinois senatorial race. The main theme was slavery. Douglas argued for popular sovereignty, with the people of each territory deciding the slavery question for themselves.  In Lincoln's view, this approach would nationalize & perpetuate slavery.

Milkweed, by Jerry Spinelli, 2003.  Historical Fiction   Summary: A tale of heartbreak, hope, and survival through the bright eyes of a young orphan in Nazi-occupied Warsaw during World War II.

Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins, 2010.  Science Fiction, Survival  (Hunger Games, Book 3)  Summary: Against all odds, Katniss has survived the Hunger Games twice. However, she is far from safe. With the Capitol & President Snow blaming her for the strife plaguing District 12, Katniss must sacrifice herself to protect her loved ones.

Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood, by Jame Richards, 2010.  Historical Fiction   Summary: A novel that explores a cross-class romance amid a tragic event in U.S. history--the 1889 flood in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmidt, 2007.  Historical Fiction, Family Life  Summary: During 1967, on Wednesday afternoons Holling's 7th grade classmates, half of whom are Jewish, the other half Catholic, leave early to attend religious training.  As the sole Presbyterian, he finds himself stranded with his teacher, Mrs. Baker where they read the plays of William Shakespeare.

When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead, 2009.  Science Fiction, Space & Time  Summary: As her mother prepares to be a contestant on the 1980s television game show, "The $20,000 Pyramid," a 12 year old NYC girl tries to make sense of a series of mysterious notes received from an anonymous source that seems to defy the laws of time and space.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010



To Dance : A Memoir,  by Siena Cherson Siegel, 2006.  Summary: The author describes how she first decided she wanted to be a ballerina at the age of six, & how that dream carried her from her home in Puerto Rico to dance class in Boston to performing with the New York City Ballet.

The 14th Dalai Lama : A Manga Biography, by Tetsu Saiwai, 2010.  Summary: At age two, Tenzin Gyatso was recognized as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama-the manifestation of the Buddha of Compassion. This is the story of his extraordinary life, told vividly through the art of manga.

Yummy : The Last Days of a Southside Shorty, by G. Neri, 2010.  Summary:  A graphic novel based on the true story of Robert "Yummy" Sandifer, an eleven-year old African American gang member from Chicago who shot a young girl and was then shot by his own gang members.


Christmas Classics, edited by Tom Pomplun, 2010.  Summary:  Ghosts, cowboys, and killer dolls!  Seven classic stories and poems to make your holiday season brighter.

Shadoweyes, written & illustrated by Ross Campbell, 2010.  Summary: In the dystopian city of Dranac, moody teenager Scout Montana is an aspiring vigilante, but her first attempt is halted when she's hit in the head with a brick & knocked unconscious. When she awakens, she discovers that she's able to transform into a strange, blue, clawed, superhuman creature. In this new body she becomes the vigilante Shadoweyes...

Side-Scrollers, by writer and artist, Matthew Loux, 2006.  Summary:  Brian, Brad & Matt are launched off of their lazy rears & forced into a grand adventure.  Determined to steer Amber away from Richard, chased by an irate football team, a vengeful troop of Girl Scouts, and a stalking evil cat that may actually be possessed by Satan, our heroes are thrust into a giant rock 'n' roll video game adventure.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier, 2010.  Summary: Raina just wants to be a normal 6th grader. But one night she trips & falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. And on top of that, there's still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, & friends who turn out to be not so friendly. This true story will resonate with anyone who has ever been in middle school, & especially those who have ever had a bit of their own dental drama.


Hetalia : Axis Powers. volume 1, by Hidekaz Himaruya, 2010.  Summary: Offers a collection of four-panel comic strips which, depicting the world's powers as stereotypes, presents a politically incorrect comedy of the relationships between the Axis and Allied powers during the World Wars.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Featured Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse (rhymes with waltz) Anderson has been publishing books since the mid 90's.  She writes both historical fiction and realistic contemporary fiction.  Regardless of genre, her stories are issue-oriented, serious with a small sprinkle of humor, and are hard wired to the heart and soul of a character.
Another author whose issue-oriented books tackle similar subjects such as family problems, emotional problems, death, anorexia, rape, step-families, and best friends, is Sarah Dessen
If you like Anderson's or Dessen's writing, you may also like:
Chris Crutcher, Sharon Draper, or Carol Plum-Ucci.

Forge, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2010. (historical fiction)  Book 2 in the Seeds of America trilogy.  Catalog Summary: Separated from his friend Isabel after their daring escape from slavery, fifteen-year-old Curzon serves as a free man in the Continental Army at Valley Forge until he and Isabel are thrown together again, as slaves once more.

Chains: Seeds of America, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2008. (historical fiction)  Book 1 in the Seeds of America trilogy.  Catalog Summary:  After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.

Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2009. (realistic fiction)
My Review:  This is the story of two friends, Cassie and Lia.  Cassie is dead, and Lia now struggles with anorexia, and with the memories and the death of her friend Cassie.  Cassie's death was the end result of bulimia.  She called Lia 33 times on the night she died, and Lia did not answer.  I really did not want to read this book.  I was not in a frame of mind to read a story on the subject of eating disorders, so I kept passing this book up in favor of an adventurous fantasy or a humorous contemporary novel.  However, when it was voted onto the Teens' Top Ten for 2010 this past October, it was time to put my squeamish feelings aside and check it out.  Happily I discovered that although I felt the pain of the characters, I wasn't dragged down by the story.  Anderson incorporates just enough distance in this very interior story, so that you are moved to want to understand, but are not wrung out by the distressing feelings and events, i.e. this book is emotionally intense but not completely bleak.  It is a compelling story - a worthwhile and recommended read for anyone interested in these issues, or who enjoys realistic, character-driven, problem-solving, engrossing fiction.   My rating: 4 stars.

The following video is part of an AdLit.org interview with Laurie Halse Anderson talking about her book Wintergirls :

Twisted, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2007.  (realistic fiction)  Catalog Summary: After finally getting noticed by someone other than school bullies and his ever-angry father, seventeen-year-old Tyler enjoys his tough new reputation and the attentions of a popular girl, but when life starts to go bad again, he must choose between transforming himself or giving in to his destructive thoughts.

Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2006.  (realistic fiction)  Catalog Summary:  A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school.

View Item DetailsProm, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2005.  (realistic fiction)  Catalog Summary:  Eighteen-year-old Ash wants nothing to do with senior prom, but when disaster strikes and her desperate friend, Nat, needs her help to get it back on track, Ash's involvement transforms her life.View Item Details 

Catalyst, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2003.  (realistic fiction)  Catalog Summary:  Eighteen-year-old Kate, who sometimes chafes at being a preacher's daughter, finds herself losing control in her senior year as she faces difficult neighbors, the possibility that she may not be accepted by the college of her choice, and an unexpected death.

Fever, 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2000.  (historical fiction)  Catalog Summary:  In 1793 Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic.