Saturday, April 25, 2015

Next week at the library...

Some events of interest to TEENS next week...


Central Library auditorium

Friends of the Burbank Public Library
The hours are as follows:

In addition to getting great deals, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are supporting the library with your purchase: The Friends fund all programming at the library. So if you are in a book club, if you come to teen movies, author events and programs at the library, thank the Friends by buying a few books!

ALSO: We could still use some VOLUNTEERS to work some shifts during the book sale. If you're interested, email with your availability.

Buena Vista branch, 7:00 p.m.

ORPHAN BLACK: From Hit Series to Graphic Novel

Writer Jody Houser will talk with Amy Dallen about adapting the television show into a comic.

Houser has been a contributing writer to numerous comic anthologies, and Amy Dallen sells comics at Burbank's House of Secrets (among other things)! This should be a fascinating conversation!

Buena Vista branch, 7:00 p.m.

In celebration of National Poetry Month, young adult author and poet Ron Koertge will teach teens in grades 6-12 how to write the poetic form of “pantoum.” To sign up, email

Central Library, 10:00 a.m.


Did you ever want to know MORE about organic gardening, water harvesting, backyard composting, or car-free transportation? If so, come to the Central Library every Saturday in May! 10:00 am on the library lawn.

This week: Preserves and Canning demo followed by a Simple Living Author Talk with Casey David. Book signing to follow.

Friday, April 24, 2015

E&P: Two teen reviews

BASIL (grade 9) says:

Eleanor and Park is a wonderful novel written by the incredibly talented Rainbow Rowell, whose breakthrough first novel broke the expectations of what a first novel is supposed to be. Eleanor and Park’s 325 pages are mesmerizing, entertaining, and are almost perfect due to its clever writing style. The novel shows the viewpoints of both Eleanor and Park and both are equally well thought out, but it does get confusing when one gets so caught up in reading the book. However, the story is so interesting and realistic that the revolving viewpoints only strengthen the underlying story and author’s message. This book is not part of a series but the plot starts and ends perfectly and everything is tied up nicely at the end. I would recommend the reading level to be for grades 8-12.

The protagonists are both awkward and, in the case of Eleanor, unpopular, while Park is quiet and tolerated. But where this novel really shines through is in Rainbow Rowell’s choice of using minorities as the two main characters. Park is a half Korean half Caucasian boy and Eleanor is a chubby, short, red-haired-girl. Making this novel even more special is the way they fell in love.

I closely identified with Park, and at some points I imagined Park as myself. This book’s easy writing allows such relatabilty to occur naturally and without it even being consciously known.

I would give this book a 5 out of 5 rating because it really breaks down the walls of traditional love stories in the best way possible; by being a perfect mix of surprise, romance, and realism.

MARLENA (grade 9) says:

Eleanor and Park is an easy read regarding language, but contextually it may be a little harder since there are some more mature themes presented in this book, including domestic abuse and bullying. It would be classified in the realistic fiction genre relating to romance. I would recommend this book to teens in high school, ninth to twelfth graders. Teens may feel like they can relate well to this book, to the “first love,” but anyone older can definitely read and enjoy it too. Just a fair warning to those younger than 9th grade that the content may be a little overwhelming or too mature.

Eleanor is a pudgy, light-skinned girl with reddish orange curly hair, while Park is a lean medium height Asian with tan skin and a preference for black clothes. These two people seem to be complete polar opposites, so different that you would never think they would end up in a relationship, much less start up a conversation. It all begins on a conventional day on the school bus when Eleanor, the new girl, ended up having to sit next to Park, the only person on the bus who would give up some space on his seat to her, albeit reluctantly. But he doesn't talk to her and she doesn't talk to him. She is different, and the kids judge her on her appearance, a tendency of any person whether they are insecure or not. Their friendship started with a small act of kindness and many days of silence on the bus. Most unexpectedly, they bond over Park’s love for comic books and Eleanor’s interest in reading the stories over his shoulder. Their friendship starts small, but grows into something much bigger, something much sweeter.

Eleanor, though, has a really hard home life, and it isn’t any better at school, where people like to pick on her. Park tries his best to protect her, because with every passing day he becomes so much more infatuated with her, as she does with him. Their love story is one of hardships and sorrow, but also one of joy and thankfulness. Their love is one of the most important, a first love.

This book is without question or argument a five, "hard to imagine a better book." I literally fell in love with this book and the devotion that both Park and Eleanor have for each other. It was so sweet and moving. I smiled and cried throughout this book and I would read it again in a heartbeat. No one’s love story is the same, and Eleanor and Park’s was surely unique.

Editor's note: I'm so pleased people are finding and liking this book! Here's my review, from when the book first came out. And as mentioned there, if you like books about unlikely romance mixed with life's real dramas, try I'll Be There, by Holly Goldberg Sloan.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Um, what?

Pantoum! It's a poetic FORM. Like sonnets, or limericks, or haiku.

And YOU can learn to write one! Sign up for our workshop with our friend, poet RON KOERTGE. It's next Wednesday, April 29, at the Buena Vista branch, at 7:00 p.m.

Email to be included in this National Poetry Month activity!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Teen review: John Green!

Paper Towns is a critically acclaimed, exhilarating 305-page adventure written by award-winning author John Green. This young adult novel perfectly merges the genres of mystery, romance, tragedy, and humor into one beautifully crafted artwork. That is what this book is, a beautiful artwork worthy of preservation in a museum for future generations to enjoy.

Paper Towns is not part of a series, but this easy-to-read-hard-to-put-down novel doesn’t need to be part of a series because it is already perfect. Because of its usage of strong verbal language and certain explicit scenes, I would have to recommend the reading level to be grades 8-12, and freshmen (like myself) would certainly find this book entertaining.

In Paper Towns, the awkward and unconfident protagonist, Quentin Jacobsen, has lived a very quiet, normal, and suburban life in the hot, humid, and semi-tropical state of Florida. Quentin, known as Q in the novel, is a geek (there is no denying that fact), but he has a very supportive family, good grades, and a minivan. He lives next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman, a name that is spoken with a quiet reverence due to her interesting nature and almost unbelievable stories of adventures. The adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman and boring Quentin Jacobsen were childhood friends, but they slowly and quietly drifted apart, Quentin staying geeky and nerdy while Margo was drawn towards the popular life. Years of not speaking might have continued, had it not been for that fateful night when Margo recruits Q for a night of revenge directed towards fellow classmates. Slowly but surely, Q falls more in love with the girl he has idolized since their childhood. Everything is looking up for Q, and he’s sure that the next day will be perfect. But then Margo disappears.

Margo has run away before and every time she runs away she leaves behind clues to direct people to where she is. So Q and his friends, worrying for her safety, embark on an adventure to try to find the girl they thought they knew.

I would rank this novel as a solid 5, because it has an almost dream-like quality to it where every word seems like a plot twist and every chapter seems like a dream building upon the chapter before it. In short, between the amazingly life-like characters and perfect story-telling, this novel is, for a lack of another word, incredible.

Reviewed by Basil, grade 9

Editor's note: Wow! That was a stellar review! I'll bet that Basil is looking forward to the movie, which comes out on
July 24!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Teen review: Princess Diaries

Princess In Pink
by Meg Cabot
256 pages
Series: The Princess Diaries, Volume 5
Recommended for grades 7 and up

Reviewed by Kayla, grade 10

To refresh your memory, Mia is a 16-year-old girl who is mostly normal except for the fact that she is the heir to a small country by the name of Genovia. This year, Mia’s boyfriend, Michael, is a senior so Mia hopes to go to prom with him. However, it seems as if Michael will not want to go to prom. It is also Mia’s birthday soon and she is extremely excited. Will everything go as planned or will Mia have bad luck yet again?

This book was a little slower than the others have been; however, it still had some humor and some nail-biting parts. I really like the way that Meg Cabot writes, as she usually uses a diary or journal format. This enhances the book, in my opinion, because what the character is actually thinking is seen as opposed to what he or she just says to other characters.

I rate this book as a 4 out of 5.

Princess in Training
by Meg Cabot
269 pages
Series: The Princess Diaries, Volume 6
Recommended for grades 7 and up

Reviewed by Kayla, grade 10

Mia is starting another year of high school. This year she is running for student body president! Or at least, her best friend Lilly is running in her name...  Mia doesn’t want to run for president, and things just get better (sarcasm) when Grandmere steps in to help. However, Mia has bigger problems. Geometry is just as hard as Algebra 1 was, and even though it’s her best subject, she’s getting bad grades in English.

I liked this book much better than the last one. It was more gripping and fascinating. Mia often turns awful situations into humorous ones. This is a great book for a teenage girl who is most likely having similar troubles to what Mia has. I highly recommend this book, as it is a perfect example of Meg Cabot and her writing ability.

I rate this book as a 5 out of 5.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Club Report

All but two of our 19 6+7 Book Club members were in attendance Tuesday night to discuss the popular but frustrating book, The Maze Runner, by James Dashner. Several had read further into the series and were able to solve a few mysteries for us (while trying to avoid spoilers), but still, much was left to discuss.

We speculated about the logic (or lack of it) in the creation of the Glade and the Maze and the need for Thomas and Teresa as catalysts; the genesis and composition of the Grievers; the nicknames; the shortsightedness of those stuck in the Glade about such things as the meaning of WICKED (!); the unnecessary death of a favorite character; the non-resolution...and yet all seemed to enjoy it and the final rating was 8.33! I guess teens are bigger fans of open-ended books than are Anarda and I!

Next month we will be reading The Cabinet of Wonders, by Marie Rutkoski, at what will be our last meeting of the 2014-15 book club year. That meeting is on May 12--please try to arrange your other activities and homework so you can attend!

Eleven people at 8+9 Book Club judged Time Between Us, by Tamara Ireland Stone, on its time travel theory, its romance, and its characterizations, and several people found the first two of those wanting. Hailey and Anika called it out for “insta-love,” and while everyone agreed that the author had set up some good time travel rules, several didn’t like that she then flouted a couple of them right there in the story! Some did enjoy the romance, and everyone liked that the protagonist, Anna, had character and integrity and didn’t sit around waiting but went out and made things happen. The book received marks from 9 down to 5, and the final score was 7 out of 10.

Next month’s book is Kill Me Softly, by Sarah Cross, a fairy tale-based book along the lines of the TV show Once Upon A Time. Next month's meeting is May 13--we hope to see you there for our final meeting of the year!

We did not pick new books for over the summer for either club; we have concluded that it's better to have one meeting in August for all book club members, so that the books to be read are picked by the people who are actually going to read them--the 5th-graders who will be starting 6th grade, and the 6th-graders who move up to 7th grade, for instance--rather than having a book that half the club won't read because they are promoting up to the next club! We have eight promoting into the 8+9 Club, and one promoting into the 10-12 Club.

Photo show ends!

Today (Thursday, April 16) is the last day to view the Friends of the Burbank Public Library Amateur Photography Contest exhibit in the Central Library auditorium. The exhibit is available to view during library hours (9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.) unless there is a program taking place in the room. (There are programs from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. and from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. today, so if you want to view the exhibit, please take note.) The show will close at 9:00 p.m. Photos will come down on Friday morning.

Photo pick-up by entrants begins on Saturday, April 18. Your photos will be waiting for you (under your last name) at the Central Library Reference Desk. Please note that photos not picked up by Saturday, May 30 will be discarded.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Teen review: Oh, Dorothy!

Dorothy Must Die
by Danielle Paige
452 pages
Fantasy, part of a series
Recommended for 8th grade and older

Reviewed by Michelle M., grade 8

Dorothy Must Die takes place in Oz, where the Wizard and Dorothy lived their famous lives, but it begins with a dirt-poor girl from Kansas named Amy Gumm. Amy never had much to live for in life: Her mother was detached, and left Amy alone in their trailer to cook meals and survive. One day, after a fight with her mother, a violent tornado hits Amy’s trailer while her mother is off drinking in a bar. Alone and afraid, Amy is whisked away into a magical world called Oz. It's the same Oz that Amy was familiar with from the movies and childhood books, but there is also some disparity between the two worlds. The Oz Amy is taken to is duller, and everything has a washed-out look. She soon realizes into what evil Oz has been plunged because of former hero Dorothy Gale, and what role Amy has to play in all of it.

The plot of Dorothy Must Die is interesting, and I like what the author did with Dorothy’s story. The story has a lot of action-packed scenes, and I was totally enraptured by their concept of magic. I also really enjoyed the main protagonist, Amy. Amy is really spunky, sarcastic and sometimes rude, but she is actually a really kind person and very funny sometimes. The world of Oz was also a wonderful mystery to unfold; I adored every concept and detail about its environment, the various species who live there, and how the magic cycles around. Another major thing about this book that I loved was Amy’s character development. Amy struggles in the beginning of the book to understand that Oz is now reality and how she deals with people who live in Oz. But, later she begins to adapt to the dangerous and weird life in Oz, and eventually finds herself dabbling in magic.

One thing I did not like about this novel was that some of the things Amy does in the beginning did not seem too realistic for a girl her age, who is obviously freaked out. I won’t mention anything specific though, so I don’t spoil it for anyone.

I believe that Dorothy Must Die would be appropriate for 8th graders and above. The characters curse sometimes, and there is some blood and gore, but mostly action. I rate this book a 4 out of 5.

Editor's note: The sequel, The Wicked Will Rise, was just released on March 31. It was ordered for all three branches, and should be available any minute now! Check out another review of Dorothy Must Die, by our guest reviewer, Daryl.