Sunday, July 5, 2015

Teen review: Fantasy series

Reviewed by Baron Kelly, grade 11

This Isn't What It Looks Like, by Pseudonymous Bosch, is a 423-page mystery novel and the fourth of a five-book series called The Secret Series. In this novel, Cass (the main character) has eaten Time Travel Chocolate from the previous novel of the series and fallen into a coma. While in her coma, she goes back in time in a ghost-like form (solid and there, but invisible). While in the past, she has to try to find “The Secret” and then get back to her own time.

Meanwhile, while she is in the hospital in a coma, Max-Ernest (her best friend) has to get her back to their time before it's too late or she'll be trapped in the past. The only tool he has to accomplish this goal is a special monocle.

The story was a bit strange to pick up, as I had not read the previous books, but it was easy enough to get into. It's a fairly silly book (for example, it randomly cuts for two pages and gives silly step-by-step instructions about “how to disguise your book”). Despite silly intentions, it has an interesting plot and is creative in its own way: For example, it starts at chapter 10 and counts down for the chapters that involve Cass in the past, but when it is Max-Ernest's perspective, it starts at chapter 1 (which is actually chapter 2) and counts up. It proceeds as chapters 10, 1, 9, 2, 8, etc.

I'd recommend this book to most people in grades 7-11 if you're into creative books that have a mystery aspect and can mess with you a little bit. I'm currently in 11th but read it in 10th grade. It's a fairly simple book, but it does require a lot of paying attention, and if you miss the fine details, it can sometimes lead to extreme confusion.

I would give it a 4 out of 5 mostly due to the tricks it plays on the reader, but if I had read the previous books it would most likely jump to 4.5. I would recommend reading the previous books before this one, but reading this one alone as I did is fine too. But if you read it, just remember: This isn't what it looks like.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


The WINNERS for Week #3's READING LOG drawings are:


Mohammad D. — $5 Wahoo’s card
Kayla S. — $5 Ben & Jerry’s card
Leila K. — $5 Starbucks card


Antonia N. — $5 Sharky’s card
Mariah S. — $5 Ben & Jerry’s card
Georgiana N. — $5 Starbucks card


Georgiana N. — $5 Wahoo’s card
Alyssa P. — $5 Ben & Jerry’s card
Isabella C. — $5 Starbucks card

Keep reading, keep writing, keep winning! Next week is our next "double" drawingfor both reading logs and book reviews.

Pick up your prizes at the reference desk at the branch where you won your prize. Bring some I.D.!

Speaking of writing book reviews, REMEMBER: If you only describe the book, it's a book REPORT. To make it a book REVIEW, you also have to tell us what you thought of it—did you love it? hate it? and WHY? Then it's a review.

Closed for Independence Day!

All branches of the Burbank Public Library will be CLOSED for TWO DAYS:
Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4.
The Buena Vista branch will be open on Sunday, July 5.

Happy 4th of July!

Our book log drawing will take place on Thursday at noon instead of on Friday!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Teen review: Maximum Ride Ends!

Reviewed by Amy Sepulveda, grade 11

Maximum Ride Forever by James Patterson is the ninth and last book in the Maximum Ride series. Those who love reading the adventures of Max, Fang, Angel, Iggy, Gazzy, Nudge, and the rest of the flock will love the final installment to the series that follows six children whose DNA has been altered with that of a bird’s, giving them wings from birth; the School that made them is chasing them down with other sorts of robots and mutants to try to kill the innocent kids. Maximum Ride Forever begins about three months after the drastic life- and human race-altering events from Nevermore (book eight), occur. Maximum Ride Forever can be heartbreaking to readers who are truly invested in the characters and plot, but will make them want to do nothing else but finish all 383 pages of the last book they will ever read about the strong flock that has been torn down countless times.

This is definitely one of my favorite series. I love the character development, and though it is a science fiction/ fantasy novel, it seems very realistic; even if it seems like none of these events could ever happen, it is possible they might someday. I was mesmerized by every word and plot twist, which James Patterson is fantastic at creating, making an irresistible novel. In my opinion, Maximum Ride Forever was not the best book of this series, but it is absolutely worth reading. Patterson makes readers feel as if they are quite literally hanging off the edge of a cliff, only a string keeping them from falling to their deaths. It is one of the best and worst feelings as a reader.

I would rate Maximum Ride Forever a 5/5 and recommend it to anyone who likes Max and her flock. However, if you have not read the series, please do not start with Maximum Ride Forever, because you will be entirely lost and will run into an incredible number of spoilers for the rest of the series! If you are interested in the series and have not yet read it, the first book is titled The Angel Experiment.

Editor's note: Some of you teen fans of this series may not know that the Maximum Ride gang actually first appeared in Patterson's adult books, When the Wind Blows, and The Lake House, before he wrote the YA series.

We have this final book of the series on order for the library, but it hasn't arrived yet, so keep checking the catalog!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Burbank Teens' Top Twenty

This is a list of the NEW Young Adult Fiction that was most popular with our library teens during the past three months:

I Was Here / Gayle Forman
          By the author of If I Stay (we're showing the movie tonight at 6:30 at Central!)
Vanishing Girls / Lauren Oliver
          Two sisters, terrible accident, they're not speaking, people go missing, suspense.
Saint Anything / Sarah Dessen
          Family, self-discovery, change, perpetuated by a drunk driving accident.
Shadow Scale / Rachel Hartman
          Sequel to Seraphina, set in the kingdom of Goredd, with humans and dragons in conflict.
The Heir / Keira Cass
          Book #4 of The Selection series, dystopian/romance.
The Bane Chronicles / Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson
          Eleven short stories about the wizard Magnus Bane.

The Wicked Will Rise / Danielle Paige
          Sequel to Dorothy Must Die, about the imagined aftermath of The Wizard of Oz.
Undertow / Michael Buckley
          Science fiction, aliens arrive on earth, humanity's only hope of survival, etc.
The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean, Telt by Hisself  / David Almond
          A hidden child, a broken world, special gifts.

Bone Gap / Laura Ruby
          Missing, abducted girl, faithful friend who searches, town that doesn't care.
All the Bright Places / Jennifer Niven
          Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower...
Woven / Michael Jensen, David Powers King
          High fantasy with a ghostly knight, secrets, romance, a kingdom in peril...
The Winner's Crime / a novel by Marie Rutkoski 
          Sequel to The Winner's Curse, the further story of Kestrel and Arin.
Unhinged / by A. G. Howard
          Book #2 after Splintered in the retelling of Alice in Wonderland.
Fairest: Levana's Story / Marissa Meyer
          Book 3.5 in the Lunar Chronicles, the story of the queen of the Moon.
Breaking Sky / Cori McCarthy
          Futuristic thriller set at the Air Force Academy in 2048.
99 Days / Katie Cotugno
          ...until she leaves for college. Plenty of time to mess up her life and everyone else's!
How to Fall / Jane Casey
          Freya is dead, and her cousin Jess is determined to solve the mystery. (In Patrick's review, it says we don't own the book, but now we do--and the sequel!)
Gone Too Far / Natalie D. Richards

           A story of revenge...
Famous Last Words / by Katie Alender
          Murder, mystery, mayhem and the movies.

You can find all of these books (when they're not checked out!) on the New Books shelves in YA Fiction at each library. Let us know what you think--write reviews, either on the Teen Meetup in the Burb interface, or for the blog! And don't forget to note them down in your reading log, too.

All the books that have links have been reviewed by one of us or by our guest bloggers, either on YAThink! or on the regular Burbank Library Blog.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Meetups this week!

Central Library, 6:30 p.m.

Teen Cinema presents...

Life changes in an instant for young Mia Hall after a car accident puts her in a coma. During an out-of-body experience, she must decide whether to wake up and live a life far different than she had imagined...or move on.

107 minutes / PG-13
For teens in grades 7-12 only!
Refreshments and prizes...

Buena Vista Library, 7:00 p.m.


Book Café is a gathering place where teens (grades 7-12) can share what they're reading, trade books, and hang out for coffee house-style refreshments.Bring whatever you're reading with you, as well as your BOOKMARK from your swag bag! There are three more Wednesday-night sessions of Book Café this summer: July 1, 8*, and 22. If you attend three of the four sessions, you get a FREE BOOK! (You get to choose the one you want from our fabulous stash.)

This week, we welcome special guest and YA author  Holly Goldberg Sloan!

*Please note that the BROCHURE says our third Book Café meetup is on July 15, but it is ACTUALLY on July 8. There was a scheduling problem with the auditorium.

Not yet signed up for Teen Meetup in the Burb? You can do so here. There are a lot more meetups to come, so sign up today!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

What you are reading this summer, first installment

We're thrilled that most of you who have signed up for "Teen Meetup in the Burb" are also writing summer book reviews through the online interface. It's great that you can share what you're reading with all the other teens in the program, and I hope you're all taking advantage of the posted book reviews to find new things to read for yourself!

Here is a random sampling from the 124 book reviews turned in so far! (Also remember that TODAY is our first Book Review Drawing, at noon. We'll let you know if you won something--and post the names here and on Facebook.)

The Boy Who Dared,
by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Reviewed by K.B.

This 210-page book is about Helmuth, a German boy who lived at the time of Adolph Hitler, and his opinions about Hitler's unfair rules. I just love how the author tells this story in third person, as if she was there retelling Helmuth's life story. I fancy how it went into detail about how Helmuth was being mistreated by the Nazis. I also like how the author took pictures of the main characters at the end of the book. I adore everything about the book, There is not one part that I disliked. This book is not part of a series. I recommend this book to 6th graders and up--there is some violence. 10 out of 10 stars.

Ten, by Gretchen McNeil
Reviewed by L.B.

Meg and Minnie have been best friends ever since seventh grade. M & M, always looking out for each other, no matter what. Meg has a secret--she's in love with her best friend's crush, T.J. Fletcher. She can't tell Minnie. Minnie and Meg get an invitation from Jessica Lawrence:

SHH! Don't spread the word! Three-day weekend. House Party.White Rock House on Henry Island. You do NOT want to miss it.--Jess
Meg and Minnie go to this party without telling their parents. When they get there, they have the time of their lives. Beer. Boys. Friends. It's all fun until someone has the idea to watch a movie. They open all the cases but they can't find a CD. Minnie finds a homemade CD labeled "Don't Watch Me." The movie starts with a countdown 10,9 , 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1; every time with a red slash through each number. Watching the movie gives Lori a big scare. After that, everyone goes straight to bed. Meg wakes up in the middle of the night to find that something tragic has happened. Then another tragic event takes place. Then another. Will Meg find out how to put a stop to it and make it out alive?

I loved this book. There was not a part that I didn't like. I have absolute praise for Gretchen McNeil. If you love stories of intense murder and strange solutions, you will love this book.I am looking forward to reading more of Gretchen McNeil's young adult books. This book contains 294 pages of sheer terror. I would recommend this book to mature 14-year-olds and above, due to the book's usage of inappropriate language, alcohol, and murder. Gretchen McNeil, without even having to mention, you are on my favorite authors list. I LOVED your book.

Editor's note: You are in luck, Fangirl! You can MEET Gretchen McNeil on July 22, when she comes to our last session of Book Café!

Kiss of Broken Glass, by Madeleine Kuderick
Reviewed by Patrick Castro

Dark. Lyrical. Haunting. Also kind of a snooze fest. The novel had some golden scenes, but since it is such a short book, it lacks a developed protagonist, and the plot was overtaken by the poetic writing style. 

In Kiss of Broken Glass, we meet Kenna, who is admitted into a psych ward for 72 hours because of her cutting. The Baker Act of Florida involuntarily forces teens who cut to seek care and help, and readers are able to see that in Kenna's story. The novel delves into Kenna's currrent situation with her family, friends, and herself. Within the 72 hours, Kuderick explores Kenna's journey in and out of the ward, and how she deals with her emotions and cutting.

I really enjoyed Kenna's journey and the raw emotion Kuderick was able to weave throughout the book. With that being said, I also felt like Kenna's story and family/friend dynamics were not as developed. I just wished Kuderick had written more, and got rid of the poetic style she was trying to use; it caused the book to feel short and boring.

What I did admire from the book is the message. At the end of the book. I thought it was amazing that Kuderick had hotlines and website for teens dealing with cutting and self-infliction. She was able to get the word out that cutting only leads to pain and suffering. Ultimately, Kiss of Broken Glass had many great moments and some wonderful writing. But it did fall short for me.

Bitterblue, by Kristin Cashore
Reviewed by Amy Berberyan

Bitterblue, by Kristin Cashore, is a young adult fantasy novel that serves as a companion book to her books Graceling and Fire. Bitterblue takes place eight to nine years after Graceling, and involves many of the same beloved characters and their abilities. Therefore, gracelings, people with mismatched eyes and unique skills, and monsters, vibrantly colored animals, also exist in this book. This book is basically about Bitterblue and her struggle to figure out the history of her kingdom, as well as correct all the problems that her psychopathic father caused during his abominable reign.

I personally loved this book, as I got sucked into the story within the first chapter, and got to visit many of my favorite characters again. The story is a little slow-paced, but I for one enjoyed every little detail Cashore plugged into her book. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Graceling, Fire, mysteries, plot twists, or high fantasy.

Just Listen, by Sarah Dessen
Reviewed by Isabella Curtis

Like most of Sarah Dessen's books, this one had a feel-good, chick-flick vibe to it. But I liked this book more than some of her previous works. I felt it dealt with more real-world issues for teenage girls (such as eating disorders, lying to family members, etc).

*spoiler alert*  For some reason I found it very respectable of Dessen to write a book in which the protagonist has to go through something as horrible as rape. Statistically, a woman has a 1 in 4 chance of being raped in her lifetime, so it's obviously a real-world issue, but not many writers are bold enough to write about it because of what an awful thing it is. But Dessen wrote about it, and I think it's important to have an author willing to write about things that can actually affect teenage girls in the real world.

The only reason I wouldn't give this book a full 5/5 is because although I liked reading the story, books that are all feel good just aren't my favorite genre. So...4.5.

Editor's note: First of all...Isabella, maybe try some of the books of Deb Caletti. They have a similar vibe, but are a little less "tied up with a bow" at the end.

Reviewers, these are some good comments, and what a nice variety of reading levels and genres! Other reviewers take note: Yours don't have to be as long as these were, but these reviewers took care of the two sides of a good book review--the summary (what it's about), and the review (their opinion of the book and what made them feel that way). We'll publish more here in a few days. Keep reading, keep writing, keep winning!

Friday, June 26, 2015

This week's winners!

For those of you keeping a READING LOG during Teen Summer Reading, here are the prize winners from today's drawing:

Eileen K. = $5 Pinkberry card
Blezzing Z. = $5 Target card
Ossanna A. = AMC movie ticket

Marion H. = $5 Pinkberry card
Harrison W. = $5 Target card
Alex A. = AMC movie ticket

Mariah S. = $5 Pinkberry card
Georgiana N. = $5 Target card
Grigor Y. = AMC movie ticket

And for those of you who have been writing BOOK REVIEWS, here are the six winners from this week (Bi-weekly drawing #1):

Elizabeth N. wins a $10 Wahoo's gift card
Chris R. wins a $10 Wahoo's gift card
Mic F. wins a $15 iTunes gift card
Samantha C. wins a $15 Target gift card
Kiana S. wins one pound of See's Candy
Amy B. wins two AMC movie tickets

All of you who won prizes from the weekly JAR drawing may pick up your prizes at the reference desk of the branch where you won.

Those who won prizes in the bi-weekly BOOK REVIEW drawing should email Melissa directly at to say where you would like to pick up your prize! This afternoon and tomorrow, the prizes will be at the Central Library reference desk for pickup; otherwise, email and say where you'd like it sent and we'll let you know when you can pick it up.

Please bring some form of I.D.! We don't want someone else claiming your prize!