Friday, October 21, 2016

Writing Contest: Time is fleeting!

A reminder that your stories from an alternate POV are due NEXT FRIDAY, October 28, by 5:00 p.m.! So if you haven't finished your story, give it some more attention, and if you haven't yet started your story, what are you waiting for? Accolades and prizes await top writers in two categories!

Don't have any idea what I'm talking about? Oblivious to the fact that a writing contest is going on? Go here and read all the details!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Library Survey

Burbank Public Library needs
your opinion!

Burbank peeps, please help us plan for the future by answering a brief, three-question online survey. Go here between now and November 20th. And thank you for your input!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Teen review: Addiction and Romance

Other Broken Things
by Christa Desir
247 pages
Romance, addiction
Not part of a series
For mature teens and adults!

Reviewed by S. L., grade 10

At age 17, Natalie is an alcoholic. After going to many parties and drinking as much booze as she can handle, things turn out for the worst. She is caught by the police for drunk driving after crashing her car and destroying a stop sign. The court gives her a DUI, sends her to rehab, and she must also do community service.

Nat doesn't care about getting better; she just wants all of this to be over so she can get back to drinking again...until she meets Joe at one of her AA meetings. Joe is much older than Nat, but they instantly become best friends. Nat falls in love with Joe, however, and she wants to be more than just friends with him.

This book is a must-read if you are going through tough times. All the characters have deep background stories about how they started drinking and how they ended up there in the story. Each character has their own opinions and advice on how to deal with addiction and alcoholism. However, this book also has romance in it, although it’s not as heavily written as some other books. The author wants people to love themselves, own up to their mistakes, and move on.

The cover of the book really goes well with the story, since it deals with the use of alcohol and addiction. I give this book five elves out of five. The book was outstanding on how to deal with addiction, teaching people that it’s okay to start over. I can’t imagine another book like this one! I recommend it to a mature crowd only, and to people who are going through this or having some difficult times.

Editor's note: First it's ghost peppers and now it's elves. Is this a hint that we need to have a visual rating system? Or are you just messing with us?

If you enjoyed this, you might look at this list on Goodreads of teen books about drug and alcohol abuse, or this list from The Fix.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

October Book Club Reports

Twelve of our 15 members attended 6+7 Book Club Tuesday night. We read and discussed The Colossus Rises, the first book in a series called "Seven Wonders" by Peter Lerangis. The series is hyped as the next Percy Jackson (and the publisher secured a complimentary quote by Rick Riordan for the cover), but a lot of our club didn't feel it lived up to the hype. The highest score it received when we rated it was an 8, and it had the most wide-ranging ratings of any book we've read, ending up with a final score of 5.75. Comments included: "The superpowers weren't really super enough" and "there wasn't enough back story" and "there wasn't enough action." Only two people said they might continue with the series, although those who have read further into it reassure us that after the first book, things get more interesting and the pacing picks up.

Next month, we will be reading The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, by Trenton Lee Stewart, and for December, after hotly contested multiple sessions of voting, the club narrowly selected Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City, by Kirsten Miller.

Other books we considered, in order of preference
(and will save for future consideration) were:

Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld
Doll Bones, by Holly Black
Among the Hidden, by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Skulduggery Pleasant, by Derek Landy
Frozen Charlotte, by Alex Bell
Flipped, by Wendelin Van Draanen
The Sea of Trolls, by Nancy Farmer
The Maze Runner, by James Dasher

The club meets next on November 8.

The 8+9 Book Club met Wednesday night to discuss Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver. A lively interplay by 18 of our 24 members brought up many elements of the book they liked or didn't, with a certain group maintaining the book was repetitive and boring, while others felt it was both realistic and accurate to the high school experience.  Everyone was aghast at Sam's (brief and much regretted) involvement with her teacher, most everyone loathed Lindsay (though some felt sorry for her by the end), all the teen drinking was marveled at, and parallels were drawn between Juliet Sykes and Luna Lovegood! It was an entertaining discussion. (Should I mention the comparison Mohammed made between Samantha and Mussolini's wife? No?) Ratings ranged from 10 down to 2, with the final result being a solid 7.

Next month, we will read and discuss The Glass Arrow, by Kristen Simmons, and for December the club chose (by an extremely narrow margin) The Rithmatist, by Brandon Sanderson.

Other books we considered, in descending order, were:

Red Rising, by Pierce Brown
The Accident Season, by Moira Fowley-Doyle
Paper Towns, by John Green
Jackaby, by William Ritter
Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas
And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
The Wrong Side of Right, by Jenn Marie Thorne
Court of Fives, by Kate Elliott
The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

Next month's meeting is on November 9.

Copies of Nicholas Benedict are at both branches; but those who missed picking up The Glass Arrow may pick one up at Buena Vista until Anarda runs out, and then they will have to wait until Tuesday afternoon, because Melissa went on vacation until then, and the rest of the copies are in her car! Sorry...

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Teen review: Romance

Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys)
by Amy Spalding

309 pages

Realistic Fiction/Contemporary Romance

Not part of a series

Recommended for grade 11 and above

Reviewed by AD, grade 12

Once Riley and her best-friend-who's-a-guy, Reid, found their band mates/other best friends dating, they simultaneously realized the somewhat pathetic lack of romance in their own lives. They decide to form a pact to help each other with their crushes, and write it all down in a notebook. 

While Reid focuses on the cute girl at the dog shelter and ponders over the ethicality of adopting a dog to get the girl, Riley focuses on her long-term crush, Ted Callahan. But as she starts her quest for a date with Ted, she realizes she never noticed that there was an unhealthy number of other cute guys surrounding her! And as she balances her school, her band, her crush, and other boys, Riley's decision to keep the notebook has some unexpected consequences.

Cute guys, cute dogs, make-outs, rock-outs, and so much more! If you're looking for a quick, cute read, then this is the book for you. I would rate this book a 3 out of 5. While the overall plot is great and funny, some of the chapters can drag a bit and at some parts I wanted to yell (and did yell), “Riley, why?” The reader gets both Riley and Reid's stories, but at some points I wanted to skim over Reid's portion to get to Riley's. Not to confuse anyone though, this book is well-written and thought out. It just wasn't completely for me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

10-12 Book Club Report

We were missing eight of our members last night from 10-12 Book Club, mostly due to choir rehearsals (and volleyball games), but had a rousing discussion amongst the rest of us (15) about Glory O'Brien's History of the Future, by A. S. King. Everybody enjoyed the bat part, and some really enjoyed the rest (three ratings of nine), while others felt that Glory was too negative and should have worked through her issues in the 13 years she had had to do so. Some understood the whole friends-by-proximity thing, while others felt that Glory was being mean to Ellie (and somewhat hypocritical about her feminist stance). Everyone liked the visions-of-the-future bit, though some were put off by the bleakness of said future! Our final ratings ranged from a high of 9 to a low of 2 out of 10, with a final score of 7.

Next month we will read and discuss (oh boy!) A Darker Shade of Magic, by V. E. Schwab. Those of you who didn't attend may pick up your book from either Central or Buena Vista. (Some of you are receiving them from other book club members who took one home for you.)

And as the following month's selection, after three sets of ties between three books, we chose Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell.

Other books we considered, in descending order of preference, were:

I'll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson
Side Effects May Vary, by Julie Murphy
Shadowshaper, by Daniel José Older
Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer
The Monstrumologist, by Rick Yancey
Counting by Sevens, by Holly Goldberg Sloan

We will keep them on "the list"! Our next meeting is on November 1.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Teen review: Fun Rom-Com

P.S. I Like You
by Kasie West
326 Pages
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Contemporary Romance
Not part of a series
Recommended: High School

Reviewed by A. D., grade 12

Lily loves music, songwriting most of all.. One day in her chemistry class, she writes down her favorite lyrics on her desk in hopes of avoiding the inevitable boredom of note-taking. She never expected that someone would continue her lyrics and write her a little message the day after. It wasn’t very long until Lily and her anonymous pen-pal start exchanging letters--letter after letter as they got to know each other better, Lily fell in love with her responder, so she went looking to uncover his identity. Lily discovers a lot more than her anonymous pen-pal. She finds her voice in music, and she finds herself amongst the chaos of her school year.

This book got me to start reading again. I've had such a long, dry, no-reading-for-fun year. So I highly recommend it, if you were in a slump like I was and you have a predilection for rom-com type novels. This book is such a fun and cute read. It was easy to read in one sitting too! The characters are all charming (if a bit clichéd), but that's the fun of it! I've read my fair share of contemporary YA novels, and I like how it has a strong, solid plot paired with some strong, solid characters. I'd rate this a 4 out of 5 (slightly too predictable to give a full 5, but all-in- all a great, adorable read).

Editor's note: There seems to be a lot of going on in YA titles--we just posted a review a few days ago of a book called P.S. I Still Love You, not even by the same author! Burbank PL doesn't own this book for some reason, but we do own three other books by the same author.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Teen review: Realistic fiction

Lucky Few
by Kathryn Ormsbee
368 Pages
Realistic fiction
Not part of a series
Reading level: High school

Reviewed by S. L., grade 10

Stevie can’t calm herself down after finding a dead body in her neighbor’s back yard. The boy looked newly killed, but after approaching to examine him and poking him in the stomach, the dead boy started to laugh, and move. He magically regained conscious and started to suck on the blood on his t-shirt. The boy told Stevie it was maple syrup mixed with dark red food coloring. Stevie couldn’t believe her eyes, and ran away.

After all that drama, Stevie calls up her friend Sanger to tell her all this. Sanger knew the only way to calm Stevie down was to bring her to the beautiful park in Barton Springs. But once they got there, Sanger noticed a dead body in the pool and called Stevie to come over. Stevie saw that it was the same boy she saw playing dead that morning. She "saved" the boy again and then asked him some questions. The boy was named Max, and he wanted help from both of them to finish his "23 Ways to Fake My Death Without Dying" project. After some arguing between Stevie and Sanger, they decide to help Max.

This book deals with touchy subjects such as heartbreak, death in the family, and rejection from society. It even examines marriage equality and the modern family. The characters in the book give great advice on how to deal with these types of problems, although they are a little crazy (in a good way). Having reading the first few chapters, I thought it was going to be a mystery novel, but it was totally the opposite of what I thought. I like how Ormsbee created these characters to fit in this modern era where people are still trying to find closure, and discover who they really are and how they fit in society. I recommend this to readers who also want to find closure, but not to people who can’t handle these dark subjects.

I give this book a rating of five out of five ghost peppers for handling such dark subjects to which a lot of people can relate.

Editor's note: I don't really get the whole ghost peppers rating system, but I'm glad S. L. liked the book. Here is a ghost pepper, just because.