Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Teen Book Clubs--Summer Meeting!

If you are in a teen book club (6+7, 8+9, or 10-12), come to the Central Library this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. for our summer meeting!
This is the meeting at which we get acquainted and also pick our books that we will reading during the next month and discuss at our first meetings of the year in September! So if you want to know who's in book club, and/or if you want some input into what we're reading for September, please come!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Teen review: Me and Earl...

Reviewed by Amy Sepulveda, grade 11

When people compare Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, I’m not quite sure I agree or see why they are compared. Both are memorable stories that involve cancer, but that is where the similarities stop. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is so funny that if people saw you reading this book in public and laughing, they’d think something is wrong with you after seeing the title. But the truth is, there are jokes in it that are hysterical, and you can’t stop yourself from laughing out loud.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is about a high school senior named Greg whose mom is always getting involved in his (inactive) social life. Greg tries to belong to every clique in his school, but none of them at the same time. He really doesn’t have any friends except for Earl, with whom he pretty much just makes really bad, amateur movies. He also, believe it or not, likes his life like this. He thinks it’s organized. Greg’s mom finds out that Rachel, Greg’s technically ex-girlfriend, has leukemia, so she forces Greg to hang out with her to make her feel better. This is exceptionally awkward for the two, because they haven’t been around each other in years, unless you count classes at school, which no one does. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl will surprise many readers who choose to pick it up, and it will make them realize that some people really can make a difference in people’s lives without even realizing it.

I thought the characters, (Greg and Earl) were actually somewhat immature, but honestly, it was realistic because that’s what high school is like. I found their personalities lacking better judgement, but altogether, they were vital to the story’s hilarity. Sometimes I literally rolled my eyes at some of the stupid things the two would say, but still found myself laughing at it. It’s such a realistic story, and it could honestly happen to anyone. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a pretty quick read; it’s 295 pages, but they go by fast. The only thing I hated about this book was the ending; it was unpredictable in a bad way, and somewhat uneventful. I thought the author could have done better with the way he wrote the rest of the book.

I think this book is definitely at a high school reading level: Some things in it are a little mature for 8th grade and younger. I think it deserves a 4/5, but it really was a hysterical book.

Editor's note: And of course, there's the movie, which was recently released.... Would anyone like to review that?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Teen review: Fairy tale prequel

Reviewed by Amy Sepulveda, grade 11

Magical. Enchanting. Despicable personalities. The Beast Within, by Serena Valentino, is a wonderful 215-page tale of the life of the Beast before he meets Belle. This novel was inspired by Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and instead of being told from the perspective of Belle, it is from the Beast’s point of view. The Beast Within basically explains why everything in Beauty and the Beast happened, all the way to the end of the movie. It is truly spectacular how everything comes together and makes so much sense. It tells of the friendships and relationships the Prince had before the curse was set on him, and shows how he treated those around him.

I really loved every single thing about this book. It seems like it could be a bit childish, but it really isn’t. I love how all of the characters in the book are the same in the movie, but there are some new ones added to the picture as well. It’s basically just a prequel to Beauty and the Beast. I find it really remarkable how the author, Valentino, was able to make such an amazing story with new little quirks, and add things that some would never have thought of.

The cover art is just another amazing thing about The Beast Within. The dust jacket shows a profile of the Beast, but if you take off the dust cover, it shows the profile of the Prince before he was cursed!

The one thing I found mildly frustrating was that even before the Beast was cursed, all of his friends just refer to him as “Prince.” No one ever calls him by an actual name. I understand that he was technically never given a name, but I wish the book had referred to him as Adam, as he is later known in the spin-off CD-Rom trivia game.

Editor's note: Burbank Public Library doesn't own this book (although we own quite a few other things by this author), but after this stellar review by Amy, we will seek it out for the collection!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Teen Poetry

A poem on a familiar (and occasionally controversial) topic, from Friday night's Open Mic Night and Karaoke! (If YOU have poetry you'd like to share here, please send it to

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Teen review: Fantasy and vendetta

Elementaro, by David Vos, is a 201-page fantasy novel that follows Aiden and David, two teenage boys who lead spectacularly uneventful lives. Elementaro is the first book in the series, but the other books have not yet been published. The book could be middle to high school reading level but is enjoyable for anyone interested.

MIT-bound David is always creating new gadgets and taking care of his little sister, Verada, or “V,” since their abusive, alcoholic father is utterly incapable of this encumbering task. David is fed up with his life in his home town and cannot wait until the end of the summer when he can move to Massachusetts with his best friend, Aiden--until he discovers that he is a Cronotian. Aiden’s parents wait until the morning after his grad night to tell him they are Elementaros--a special kind of people who can control the elements based upon their emotions. Aiden finds out that the Elementaros and their rivals, the Cronotians, have a bitter vendetta that has lasted longer than anyone can remember.

This busy adventure novel will keep any reader entirely enthralled for days. This is a unique story of friendship and war, and will speak to any reader who picks it up. Readers will be glued to this book full of suspense and some annoying but necessary cliffhangers, even after they finish it. Despite it being a fantasy, it is easy to relate to the characters because of their wonderful development. It is clear that Vos spent a great deal of time getting each personality and quirks just right while connecting many things throughout the story. Readers who are fans of the Percy Jackson series will thoroughly enjoy this breathtaking novel.

Reviewed by Amy Sepulveda, grade 10

Editor's note: Elementaro is not in our library catalog, and in fact we are unable to purchase it through our library vendor. But Amy says you can get it through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Maybe an appropriate use of one of those B&N cards you win from Burbank Public Library during Teen Summer Reading???

Friday, July 24, 2015

Week Six Winners!

TEEN MEETUP IN THE BURB ends TONIGHT! We hope you will be joining us for OPEN MIC NIGHT and KARAOKE at the Buena Vista Branch at 6:30 p.m.! (Tell parents to pick you up at 8:45, please).

But meanwhile...we have the results of our last READING LOG and BOOK REVIEW prize drawings to announce!

For this week's READING LOG DRAWING, the winners are...

Georgiana N. -- $5 Pinkberry card
Eileen K. – $5 Ben & Jerry’s
Mohammad D. – $10 Wahoo’s card

Katelyn B. -- $5 Pinkberry card
Sandi A. – $5 Ben & Jerry’s
Nick W. – $10 Wahoo’s card

Grigor M. -- $5 Pinkberry card
Valentina T. – $5 Ben & Jerry’s
Tyler N. – $10 Wahoo’s card

You can retrieve your prizes from the Reference Desks at the CENTRAL LIBRARY or BUENA VISTA BRANCH--the NORTHWEST BRANCH is CLOSED next week, but we can send your prize to either of the other branches, so email

For this week's BOOK REVIEW DRAWING, the winners are...

Katelyn B. = $15 Target Card
Camilla C.  = Two AMC movie tickets
Marion H. = $20 B&N card
Evelyn R. = $15 Target Card
Grigor Y. = Two AMC movie tickets
Natalie K. = 1 lb. See’s Candy


You can retrieve your prizes TONIGHT at Open Mic Night at Buena Vista, and thereafter at BUENA VISTA BRANCH at the Reference Desk! If you wish to have the prize sent to the Central Library, email! Keep in mind that the NORTHWEST BRANCH IS CLOSED NEXT WEEK!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Meetups this week!

This is the LAST WEEK of "Teen Meetup in the Burb," and we have two more cool programs in store for you:

Buena Vista Branch, 7:00 p.m.

This is the LAST Book Café,
and it's going to be a special one. First of all, those of you who have attended three of the four sessions will be able to pick out your FREE BOOK from our fabulous stash. Don't worry, those of you who have NOT attended, we do have some consolation prizes and a drawing that will include you!

What makes this session MOST special, however, is that we have two awesome YA authors coming to hang out with you:

GRETCHEN McNEIL, who wrote Ten, 3:59, and other books (see her website here), and JOHN COREY WHALEY, who won the Printz award for his book Where Things Come Back, and also wrote Noggin! (His website is here.) So be thinking of questions you want answered by these two! And if you have time, maybe read one of their books?


Buena Vista Branch, 6:30 p.m.

Everybody is always begging for Open Mic Night, so we're hoping to have a large group of performers ready to do their thing, as well as a large contingent prepared to be their audience! This is where the whole summer comes together--we hope you will share the six-word memoirs, flash fiction, and mystery stories you wrote, that you will bring your sketchbooks to show off, and that those of you who play an instrument, write poetry, tell good jokes, dance, or whatever else will share them with US! Otherwise, bring your friends with whom you want to sing karaoke! We will have a machine and music available!

This is AFTER HOURS at the Buena Vista Branch, so if you don't get there before the library closes at 6 p.m., then come to the side door of the auditorium and we'll let you in! Please let your parents know that pick-up will be at 8:45.

If you want to perform, please email and let us know your name, email address, phone, and what you want to perform! (for instance "play my trumpet" or "do stand-up comedy"). That way we can arrange it so we don't have five guitar players one after the other!

There will be a prize drawing at Open Mic Night for all teens registered for Teen Meetup in the Burb!

And don't forget: One more reading log drawing, and one more book review drawing on Friday at noon! So get those reading logs filled up and those book reviews posted!

Will we see YOU at the library this week?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Teen Review: More of Savannah Reid

Sugar and Spite
by G.A.McKevett
278 pages
Adult mystery series
Recommended for grade 10 and up

Reviewed by Kayla, grade 11

Valentine’s Day is approaching and Savannah is trying to enjoy the decorations and the candy. But when her ex-police partner Dirk Coulter is blamed for a crime that he says he didn’t commit, Savannah is on the trail of yet another mystery. This time it’s not looking very hopeful for Dirk, as Savannah runs into one dead end (no pun intended) after another. So she brings in her friends--Ryan and John, Tammy, and a young, aspiring detective named Jake--to help her take down the real killer. Can she do it before Dirk gets into real trouble??

So I’ve already raved about the characters, and the plots. Now I’m going to talk about the names. The name of this one is Sugar and Spite. If you’ve read any of these books so far then you know all about Savannah’s love of sweets and food in general. Therefore, Sugar and Spite is more than appropriate. Some other names are as follows: Murder A La Mode, Peaches and Screams, Buried in Buttercream, and Corpse Suzette. There are many more but I put a few of my favorites. Everyone should read these books at least once!!

I rate this book as a 5.

Editor's note: McKevett has a love of puns as well as sweets!