Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Teen Review: Dystopian fiction

Title: Starters
Author: Lissa Price
Number of pages: 352
Genre: Dystopian/post-apocalyptic
Is it part of a series? Yes
(Starters and Enders)
(There are also three prequel short stories: "Portrait of a Starter," "Portrait of a Marshal," and "Portrait of a Middle")
Reading Level: 8th grade up
Reviewed by: Patrick Castro, 10th grade

Starters, by Lissa Price, was one of the best dystopian fiction books I read in 2013 and I read a good amount. What makes Starters stand out among all the dystopias I read this year was how face-paced it was, how fresh its ideas were, and also all the characters were memorable. In addition, you get a kick-ass character (Callie), perfectly paced action scenes, and an ending that makes you wonder about the future.

I loved Callie right from the beginning! She had this fighter instinct in her because she and her brother lost their parents, don't have any money, and she is doing all she can do to survive. Her only hope is to use her body to get money from Renters through the company Prime Destinations. As Callie makes the choice, she is also struggling with herself inside and the body of the renter. Lissa Price definitely did her concept of teen bodies justice! All the choices Callie had to make and who to trust was such a page turner! I was so anxious to see what she would do and she was such a strong character it made the book impossible to put down! Strong and fierce characters with a moving plot line created one of the best dystopians I read!

Another thing I loved was the real message behind it--Lissa Price shows how true evil in people is real. I'm so excited to see how the second book picks up from the first. I hope we do see some answers, because Lissa Price leaves you hanging with some questions you want to find out. One thing that definitely could have been done in Starters was having those scenes where Callie could have questioned what she was doing at time.

Starters is a promising starter to a great dystopian series. Filled with memorable characters, action, and a deep message, Starters will appeal to young adult readers and even older audiences! I fully recommend Starters, and I'm dying to see what Enders has in store for me!

Editor's note: For another couple of opinions on this one (mine and teen reader Sarah's), go here and here. And since we had some previous chat about the merit of the various covers, here is yet another new one...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Teen Review:

Title: Time After Time
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Number of pages: 368
Genre: Realistic
Is it part of a series? Yes, #2
Reading level: 7th grade and above
Reviewed by: Patrick Castro, 10th grade

I fell in love with Time After Time and I have to say that it is way better than Time Between Us! Time After Time had the perfect elements of Time Between Us, but written from Bennett's perspective, which made it relateable and spell-binding at the same time. I loved it and would definitely not mind re-reading it!

Because it was written from Bennett's perspective, I thought it would just crash and fall, since every book written in a guy perspective just fails (Patrick's opinion! --ed.), but this was done flawlessly! Tamara gave him a good voice throughout the whole book, and I related to everything he went through with Anna. There is more of an exploration of the struggles of time traveling, but also the relationship aspects. There were a great number of romance scenes, mixed with the time traveling and family parts. It's a job well done.

The book is part bittersweet, especially towards the end when Bennett makes a heart-wrenching choice for Anna! (Be ready for tears!) Tamara does a great job of playing with your emotions. Overall, Time After Time is a memorable sophomore book to Time Between Us, with a fresh new voice from Bennett. I am excited to see what Tamara has in store next time!

Editor's note: BPL owns Time Between Us, but Time After Time is still on order.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Teen review: Tech fiction

Title: The Social Code
Author: Sadie Hayes
Number of pages: 320
Genre: Realistic fiction
Part of a series? Yes (The Start-up, #1)
Reading level: 8th grade and up
Reviewed by:
Patrick Castro, 10th grade

The Social Code was a a great read filled with the world of technology, backstabbing, and decisions. Sadie Hayes created a world so true to people's motives and ambitions for a successful life. Even though it was a quick read, it was a memorable one, and I'm excited to see how the second book delves into this world of technology!

One thing I loved about The Social Code was that it wasn't my normal niche of YA. I usually try to push myself, but The Social Code was completely different because of the premise. And definitely the technological aspect of the book, I mean who would pick that up? But no, Sadie Hayes sucks you into the world of Silicon Valley with Adam and Amelia Dory. Amelia and Adam are students at Stanford, and while Adam likes to explore his options, Amelia loves to decode and decode.

The fast-paced plot and characters really made the book a strong and moving one, and I enjoyed every second of it. It was a true page-turner, which surprised me because it wasn't in my niche. I am now more inspired to pick up books similar to this. I seriously kept turning the pages with excitement to see how everything would turn out with Adam and Amelia! The same goes for the other characters in the book, who we get a taste of in small plot lines. Wickedly genius, Sadie! All the characters were so real and I could feel the emotions jump off the page. 

The Social Code is definitely a book you should try, especially if you're an avid reader. The book grows with you throughout the plot, and the characters were real and honest: Anyone could relate to the choices they had to make and situations they were in. In the middle of betrayal and distrust, Sadie Hayes creates a true, honest world where anyone can place themselves in Adam and Amelia's shoes.

Editor's note: We have this book on order for Central and Buena Vista, and it will be available very soon...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Teen Review: TFIOS, last time!!!

Teen reviewers, beware! I know y'all love this book, and now everyone who reads our blog knows too, because we have published about eight (glowing) reviews of it! So this is the last one we will post! Feel free to read it and talk it up, but please--review something else!

Author of book: John Green
Number of pages: 316
Genre: Realistic
Is it part of a series? No
Reading level: high school
Reviewed by: Angela, 12th grade

This book is about a girl named Hazel Grace, who has had terminal cancer most of her life. She joins a support group one day and during the first day of the support group, Hazel meets a boy named Augustus Waters, the most gorgeous plot twist of Hazel’s life. Soon enough they are flirtatious friends and talk to each other about everything. They talk about their interests and how Hazel has a love for this one book called An Imperial Affliction, so Augustus reads the book. After he's done with it, they both realize they have an unconditional love for the same book but the book never had a full closure. They both want to visit the author in Amsterdam to get some questions answered, but those questions lead to dangers in Augustus’ life.

I've read a lot of books, but this is one of my all-time favorites; that's not something I can say about very many books. The thing I mainly liked about this book was that it had some nerdy humor in it but it had a meaning to it too. It got me really emotional by the time I was almost done with it, and I can tell you I don’t get emotional quickly. By far, there was nothing I really disliked about the book, I just kind of wish it ended differently--but I don’t want to give out spoilers!

The writing in this book was literally so good. A lot of the quotes mentioned in this book had so much more deeper meaning than they appear to have. Hazel’s personality was predictable because she was just blunt and a feminist. Augustus, however, his character was exactly what you would call a “dream boy.” What thoughts or feelings did the book inspire? My feelings towards this book are so different from what I would usually feel. I never cried while reading a book and this just made me bawl my eyes out. I love it. I would recommend the book to anyone 15+, honestly. I made my best friend read it after I was done, and she fell in love with it too. I would definitely rate this book a 5/5.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Some reminders for the holiday season:

All branches close at 5:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, December 24, and are CLOSED on Christmas Day, December 25.

All branches also close at 5:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve, December 31, and are CLOSED on New Year's Day, January 1, 2014!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Teen Review: Dystopian fiction

Title of book: Pawn
Author of book: Aimee Carter
Number of pages: 346
Genre: Dystopian
Is it part of a series? Yes
Reading level: 8th grade and up
Reviewed by:
Patrick Castro, 10th grade

I loved reading Pawn from beginning to end, with its gripping premise, amazing characters, and crazy twists. It was a book that blew me away. I would call Pawn a great mash-up of every dystopian book out there, but yet Aimee Carter brings something new and addictive; I couldn't stop reading Pawn!

In Pawn, we meet Kitty Doe, who is a III with a determination for a better life--one in which she doesn't have to worry about judgment for her number in society. I thought Kitty was a great and solid character throughout the book. She goes through so much, from being Masked into Princess Lila, the Prime Minister's niece, to being separated from Benjy, her boyfriend. I loved how fast Aimee Carter takes you in--you will not want to stop turning the pages! Kitty has her own personality and traits that are true and honest; you just fall in love with her and her determination. I also liked how Aimee made the other characters real, with evil motives and showing no mercy--it made the book more intense and gripping. 

Pawn was a great mash-up of The Hunger Games, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, Divergent by Veronica Roth, and The Selection by Kiera Cass, but it was written in its own unique way. There were twists and turns that Kitty and readers will face that pull away from the "mash-up" aspect to making it its own series, delving deeper into the politics to a rebellion Lila started. I loved those parts in the book. Well done and well written also!

I really do recommend Pawn to any YA reader who loves to pick up dystopians for a living. It has such potential for a stand-out series, I cannot wait to pick up the next book.

Editor's note: The library doesn't own this book, but now I will definitely buy it! Thanks, Patrick.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Teen Challenge!

Love to read but hate to write? Given a thought to writing us a book review and then said, "Nah…"? Okay, here's a challenge for you: Make us a video! Here's a fantastic example of one girl's top 10 favorite books:

December Book Club Report

I already reported (on Dec. 4) on the 10-12 Book Club meeting.

For our 6+7 Book Club, we read The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus #1), by Jonathan Stroud. With 16 votes counted, the reaction was middling--while everyone liked the snarky humor contained in the footnotes, several said the book took too long to get going and was "too talky," and others found the character of Nathaniel unsympathetic. Our rating was 7.

For January, we are reading The Peculiar, by Stefan Bachmann, a steampunk-y murder mystery/gothic fantasy. And in time for our visit in February from author Leigh Bardugo, we will be reading Shadow and Bone.

Other books we considered:

Down the Rabbit Hole, by Peter Abrahams
Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi
Skinny, by Carolyn Cooner
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
Howl's Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones
The Golden Door, by Emily Rodda

The book we chose to read (after Shadow and Bone) is Bad Girls Don't Die, a spooky book with a creepy doll by Katie Alender.

For our 8+9 Book Club, we read I'll Be There, by Holly Goldberg Sloan, in preparation for her author visit, which will be in March. The club really loved the book--several remarked on Riddle as their favorite character, the action and suspense were satisfying, and everyone enjoyed praising Sam and reviling the unfortunate Bobby! Our final rating was a high score of 8.75.

For January, we are reading Break My Heart 1,000 Times, a ghostly futuristic paranormal murder mystery by Daniel Waters. And for February, we will read Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo in this club as well.

Other books we considered:
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime,
          by Mark Haddon
Adaptation, by Malinda Lo
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children,
          by Ransom Riggs
The Shadow Society, by Marie Rutkowski

The book we ended up choosing is The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater, which was characterized by its book-talker as about "hot guys with fast cars." Hmmm. Not exactly how I would describe it, but those are some elements present in the story! And here is Maggie's (old) car, which was the model for the one in her book. (Notice the license plate.)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Author Visits!

We are very excited to tell you that Burbank Public Library will be receiving a visit from YA fantasy author LEIGH BARDUGO on February 5th! She is the author of the Grisha series, which started with Shadow and Bone and continued with Siege and Storm, both New York Times bestsellers. The third book, Ruin and Rising, comes out next year.

If you would like to read about the books, our librarian Daryl M. reviewed both of them for our main library blog, here and here. If you would like to read the books, please check them out from our Young Adult Fiction section at any of our three library branches! We also hope to read the first one with at least one and perhaps two of our book clubs before the event.

Ms. Bardugo will speak, answer questions, and autograph. Both books will be available for purchase.


On March 6th, HOLLY GOLDBERG SLOAN will be speaking and autographing for us! She wrote the YA realistic fiction novel I'll Be There, which was my favorite book of 2012, and won the Peggy Miller Award for Young Adult Literature from the Children's Literature Council of Southern California (CLCSC).

Her new book is Counting by 7swhich was an Amazon Best Book of the Year, a B.E.A. BUZZ Book 2013, a Junior Library Guild Selection, a Kids Indie Next List #4 of Top Ten Autumn 2013, and a Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominee 2014-2015! Whew!

We are reading I'll Be There for our December meeting of 8+9 Book Club, and hope to read it in the 10-12 Club as well. You can check out both books from our Young Adult Fiction sections, and they, too, will be available for purchase at the event.


More details as the events approach!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Teen Review: Fantasy sequel

Title: The Fire Chronicle
Author: John Stephens
Number of pages: 448
Genre: Fantasy
Part of a series: Yes
Reading Level: Grades 7 up
Reviewed by: G. R., grade 9

The Fire Chronicle is the second book in The Books of Beginning series, about three siblings trying to escape the dangers of their fate. As the oldest sibling goes missing, the two younger ones are left to themselves. They have to face new dangers, and worries as they await their sister's return. All of the siblings face their own dangers, and it is left up to them to defend themselves.

This book was absolutely perfect. I loved it as much as the first one. I found the plot amazing, and I especially liked how it went into detail about things that weren't as important in the first book. Another thing I enjoyed was the fact that every chapter or so, the point of view would switch from that of the two siblings to their older, lost sibling. This gave you all angles of the story, and allowed you to know what was going on with both groups at the same time. [This is called the "omniscient" view--ed.] This story included lots of plot twists, including a few heart-wrenching ones.

I was so in love with this book, that I have read it multiple times. I would most definitely recommend this book to my friends (of course they'd have to read the first one too!). I would easily give this book a 5/5! It was so amazing! I can't wait until the last book is released, and I'm extremely excited to see what adventures it holds.

Editor's note: For those of you waiting breathlessly for the end, the third book in this series, The Black Reckoning, is due out in August of 2014, according to Goodreads.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Teen Review: Romance, mystery (zombies?)

Die for Me (Revenants #1), by Amy Plum, has 341 pages. It's the first book in an amazing trilogy. It is a fictional romance. I would say it is an 8th grade level book.

Kate Mercier and her sister Georgia have just moved to Paris. Kate has lately been depressed, and has been isolating herself from everyone. One day, at a small café, she sees a mysterious young man staring at her from afar. A few weeks later, Kate starts to notice the mysterious man everywhere she goes. One day at a art museum the boy introduces himself as Vincent. Vincent plans a date with Kate. On their first date, Vincent introduces Kate to his close friend, Jules. When Kate sees Jules jump in front of a moving train and sees that Vincent shows no remorse, she is frightened of him and breaks things off. A few days later, Kate goes to another art museum, and there she sees Jules. What can this all mean? Kate knows what she saw, and all of this is unexplainable. Kate has entered a world of questions, mystery, and danger.

I am in the 9th grade, and my best friend recommended these books to me. I was hesitant at first, but by the end of the book I couldn't wait to get my hands on the next one. This book uncovered how people will do whatever they can to protect the ones they love. The cover relates to the book by showing a girl who looks lost and alone. That's how Kate was in the beginning of the book, but she grows throughout the story. On a scale from 1-5, I would definitely rate this book a 5. I have recommended this book to many of my other friends, and we all adore them. This series is one of my favorite.

Reviewed by Anonymous

Editor's note: We have the second book in the trilogy in our library, but somehow the third got overlooked! So it's in this month's order!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Teen Review: Dystopia!

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Number of pages: 487
Genre: Dystopian fiction
Part of a series: Yes
Reading Level: Grades 7 up
Reviewed by: G. R., grade 9

Divergent is a story that takes place in the Dystopian future. The society is divided into five factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. On a given day, all of the 16-year-olds must take a simulated aptitude test that will help them see for which faction they are best suited. The main character, Beatrice (Tris) takes the test, only to find that her results are inconclusive, and that she fits into multiple factions, giving her the category of divergent. Divergent individuals must keep this secret to themselves, as they face many dangers with their special abilities.

I loved this book; it was fantastically written. I loved the adventure and action in the story, and how there were lots of exciting things that happened. I specifically enjoyed the plot twists throughout the story. I was completely lost in this book from the moment I bought it (I tried to read it slowly, but it ended up taking me two hours to finish it in the course of two days). The book was so hard to put down, I found myself reading it at any possible time I could (even in between classes). I'm so glad that this book is part of a trilogy, because I can't wait to read the next books.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes action-packed books. Lots of my close friends have read this book, and they all love it. The cover of the book was very attractive; it showed the symbol of Dauntless, a flame. It was very intricate and beautiful. I would rate this book a 5/5, because it was such an extraordinary book.

Runes redux

To see the results of our fab SHADOWHUNTER RUNES afternoon, go to our Facebook page! Big fun was had by all.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Teen Review: Fantasy

Title: The Emerald Atlas
Author: John Stephens
Number of pages: 417
Genre: Fantasy
Part of a series: Yes
Reading level: Grades 7-9
Reviewed by: G. R., grade 9

The Emerald Atlas is about three siblings who have been separated from their parents since they were infants. This was in order to protect them from their dangerous fate. The children are destined to bring the Books of The Beginning together, books that have the power to re-create the world. Their fate contains many threats, as dangerous people try to find the books for their own wicked use.

This was an amazing book, with an interesting plot. I loved how detailed it was, and how during the story you learn more about the characters' pasts, and how their lives were affected. I also enjoyed how the author mixed parts of mystical worlds into the story, giving you the full effect of magic. The book is suspenseful, and kept me on my toes, anticipating the next chapter the entire time I was reading it.

I would most definitely recommend this book to my friends, or to anyone who loves books. It’s great for readers who enjoy books full of fantasy, with a bit of mystery and magical life thrown in. The cover was very intricate, showing multiple parts of their adventures throughout the story. While I was reading the book, the farther I got, the more the cover began to make sense to me. Overall, this is a perfect book, part of a spectacular trilogy (of which the last book is still being written). It is hard to imagine a better series than this one, which is now one of my many favorites.

Editor's note: Burbank Public Library has this as a regular book, an e-book, and an audio book, so it's your choice of format!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Teen Review: Mystery (and a little Horror)

by Stephen King
288 pages
Mystery / Horror
Not part of a series
Recommended for 14 and up
Reviewed by Anonymous, 9th grade

The novel is set in early 1970s North Carolina at Joyland, a local amusement park. Devin Jones is a college student who takes a summer job at Joyland. Devin finds out about a murder that took place at Joyland several years prior, and becomes fascinated by and entangled in the unsolved murder. The story's twists and turns have you guessing "whodunit?!" right up until the end. The "whodunit" encompasses a dying boy who has visions of the future, as well as ghostly encounters by several of the characters.

Joyland is quite the thriller. The writing is so genuine and real that it is hard not to become engrossed. The beginning of the book is a tad lengthy, because of the additional background information, such as time, date, place, and history of the characters. Devin Jones, the main character, is a seemingly nice, good guy who recently got his heart broken. His bravery and innocence make him irresistible and make you want to root for him. The book inspired me to investigate the "little things" more. If something doesn't feel, seem, or look right, take a second look!

The best part of the book, for me, was the ending. It kept me anxious and on the edge of my seat until the big reveal of the murderer. This book is enticing! King's writing is captivating and alluring and makes you want to read more. I would recommend this book to the young detective, although I would say it is best suited for ages 14 and up, due to some mature content. This is a great read for anyone who is looking for a fresh take on suspense! RATING: 4.

Editor's note: This is from a publishing imprint called Hard Case Crime, and I thought it was so fun that even though it was written recently, the publisher gave it a cover that looks like it really was published in the 1970s noir murder mystery genre.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Runes and Mortal Instruments!

TODAY, Wednesday, December 11, we have an afternoon-into-evening event you won't want to miss:

Starting at 4:00 p.m., you can come to the Central Library auditorium to be marked as a Shadowhunter with a henna rune!

Then, starting promptly at 6:30 p.m., we will be showing the film The Mortal Instruments (i.e., City of Bones)--if you were a fan of the book series, how can you resist seeing what they made of the story in the movie?

You MUST have a permission slip signed by a parent or guardian in order to receive a rune, since the henna can last up to two weeks and we don't want any misunderstandings about that! The permission slip is on the flyer, so be sure you fill it out, get a signature, and bring it along. No slip, no rune! You can also download it here. We still have room for you, so COME!

No sign-up needed to see the movie--come on down! Refreshments will be served. The movie is PG13, and will let out at 8:45. Please ask parents to pick you up promptly, since the library closes at 9:00!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Teen Review: Dystopia

Legend, by Marie Lu, is the first book in the Legend trilogy. It is 305 pages long. I would say it’s at least an 8th grade level book. It is an action-packed dystopia, with a love story between June and Day. June is the Republic's prodigy--a perfect soldier with a perfect score on the trial exams. Day is the most wanted criminal in the Republic. When June's brother is killed, all the signs point to Day as the murderer, so June goes undercover and heads to the outer sectors searching for Day. June and Day meet on the streets and connect on a personal level before either realizes who the other person is. Together they uncover some of the Republic's secrets and June starts to question everything.

I am in the 9th grade and I have just finished the last book in this trilogy and I loved all three books. (Legend, Prodigy, Champion) I have recommended this book to many of my friends, and they all enjoyed it. I really liked this book because it was about people who were the same age as me, and they were taking a stand for what they believed in and starting something great.


The cover of this book is a little boring and you never really find out why they choose that specific symbol (something to do with the Republic?), but you know the old saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover"? Well, that quote applies to this book. On a scale of 1-5, I would rate this book a 4.5--it's very good and very entertaining.

Reviewed by Anonymous

Editor's note: Here is a drawing of June and Day by the author, Marie Lu! What is it with all these authors who are so multi-talented?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Teen review: More Rainbow Rowell!

There are a two types of teenage girls. In times of need, most girls turn to their cell phones or some new social network to spill their latest story that contains some "deepest, darkest secret" about someone. Then there are the ones who pour their lives into writing the most original and intriguing story yet, or they spend every waking minute reading. These girls can go for days without sleep, food, or anything that a person needs to live. To them, reading and/or writing is how they live, not needing any other amenity. These people are called fangirls.

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell, is based on a young girl named Cath who is a high school graduate about to enter college and is a genuine fangirl. Her life revolves around writing fan fiction about her favorite book series, Simon Snow. She has the whole fandom (a group of people sharing a common interest in a book, movie, or television show) at her fingertips waiting for her version of the latest Snow story being released slowly chapter by chapter as she progresses throughout her freshman year of college. All Cath wants is to finish writing the fan fiction story before the true author publishes the eighth and final book in her series. Meanwhile, as she is attempting to write, the guy she believes to be her roommate's boyfriend, Levi, is falling for her awesome nerdiness and is completely confusing her in every way possible. Her twin sister, Wren, is going mad and getting into all kinds of trouble, taking advantage of the new freedoms college provides.

Fangirl undoubtedly demonstrated the real lives of some girls, including myself. I felt as if I was reading about my own life, like someone recorded every move I've made when I was around books. I happen to be one of the few who turn to literature when in the need of comfort, and books never fail to change my mood, because I am immersed in another created world. Cath can be thought of as a role model to those who are just like her: book nerds who aren't afraid to express it in their own way, whether it's through writing fan fiction to replace an ending of a book that did not reach your expectations or disappointed you somehow, or just reading to bury yourself in a fictional world where anything can happen. If you're an active reader, you can even recognize quite a few references to other books that you might have read as well. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about someone who is just like me in a way. It gave me just another excuse to jump up and down and squeal over yet another book like I do every day, making me: a fangirl!

Reviewed by Amy Sepulveda

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Teen Review: Realistic fiction

Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell, is a novel about young love and trying to fit in. This 325-page novel is told from the points of view of both Eleanor and Park, in 1986. Eleanor is the new girl in town and is automatically labeled as the "weird girl"-- she keeps to herself, and dreams of the day she can move out of her hostile living environment and never turn back, until she meets Park. Park has lived in the same suburban town his whole life. He has learned to just stay under the radar and try not to attract any attention to himself. When Eleanor and Park first meet, they don't fully understand this connection they have. They start off as just two people sharing a seat on the bus, but when Park notices his attraction to her he decides to make a move, by starting a conversation about music and their favorite artists and songs. Eleanor is very hesitant to get attached to anyone because of her traumatic history, but Eleanor ends up semi-opening up to Park and they become a couple. With everyone at school making fun of them, and Eleanor having to keep their romance a secret, their relationship definitely has many obstacles.

I personally think that this is one of the best books I have read. I am in the 9th grade and would recommend this book to people around my age, it's definitely a young adult book. I feel that anyone can relate to either one of these characters, feeling like an outcast or trying to belong. I feel that if people read this book, they would understand that the way you perceive someone isn't the way they are. I have recommended this book to my friends and they have read and enjoyed it just as much or maybe a little more than I have. On a scale of 1-5, 5 being the highest, I would definitely rate it a 5. The cover to this book is very simple but yet it relates so much to the book, it shows Eleanor and Parks' relationship and what brings them together.


Editor's note: We loved this book too! Re: the cover, they have changed it for the paperback version, and I have no idea why, because the hardcover one was so perfect! It's not that this new one is bad...but that the other one was so good!

More fan art

I just read The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. I think some of you high school readers who appreciate a really literary novel might like this one; the protagonist, Theo, goes from age 13 to his late 20s in the course of the book, and it's been described by several reviewers as a coming-of-age novel. It's a big commitment, though--it's 771 pages long, and it's a BIG book (i.e., large pages) as well. If any of you read it, we would LOVE to publish your review!

Here's my fan art:
Carduelis carduelis, the European Goldfinch, watercolor, 10x7 inches.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

10-12 Book Club Report

On Tuesday night, the 10-12 Book Club met to discuss Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan. Anarda and I were enthusiastic about recommending this novel in which ancient secret societies and modern Google geeks meet with a strange bookstore as their common ground, then manage to collaborate to solve an age-old mystery; but the reaction wasn't as positive as we had anticipated. Although we had four people who gave it a score of 9, the rest were less forgiving, so with 14 of us voting, the final rating was 7.85. Everyone agreed that there were definitely charming and quirky elements that appealed, but many didn't care for the ending, feeling that it was too "moral of the story" to be satisfying. I think everyone's favorite part was...that the book cover glows in the dark!

Next month we will be reading another Alex book, The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, which sounds like a Victorian romance, but is actually rather edgy contemporary fiction; and for February the club chose I Am the Messenger, by Marcus Zusak.

Other books we considered:

Room, by Emma Donoghue
Just One Day, by Gayle Forman
Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple
Candide, by Voltaire
Where Things Come Back, by Corey Whaley

We also had I’ll Be There, by Holly Goldberg Sloan, on the list after a great recommendation by Henry, but we can't get it from our distributor--only available to back order, no copies in stock, alas. We are considering asking the 8+9 Club to loan their copies to the 10-12 teens to read, since Ms. Sloan will be paying us an author visit in March!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Schedule

All Burbank Public Libraries will close early, at 6:00 p.m., on Wednesday, November 27, and will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday on Thursday and Friday. The libraries will reopen for regular hours on Saturday, November 30.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Book Club Report

On Tuesday night, the 6+7 Book Club met to discuss Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City, by Kirsten Miller. This book proved very popular with the 14 people in attendance, with a rating of 9.5! Several members have already checked out and read the sequels, and in fact we considered getting the second book, Kiki Strike: The Empress's Tomb, for January's book club choice, but there weren't enough copies available from our vendor, alas.

Therefore, we will be reading The Peculiar, by Stefan Bachmann, in January--an interesting combination of faerie magic, murder mystery, and steampunk, written by a 19-year-old American living in Switzerland.

Other books we considered:

Down the Rabbit Hole,
      by Peter Abrahams
Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi
Ender's Game,
      by Orson Scott Card
The Selection, by Kiera Cass
The Ruins of Gorlan,
      by John Flanagan

Next month's book is The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus #1), by Jonathan Stroud. If you missed book club, PICK UP YOUR BOOK at Central next week (we're waiting for four more to come in, so maybe call Melissa first!).

On Wednesday night, the 8+9 Book Club broke our hearts (mine and Anarda's) by their somewhat indifferent reaction to The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater, which we both loooove. In fact, it's my personal favorite book of Maggie's and possibly one of my favorite teen novels, period.

Out of the 15 in attendance, some liked the story and setting but couldn't connect with the characters, while others liked the characters but felt that not enough happened in the story. Some liked Sean but not Puck, others thought Puck was interesting but Sean was too cold. Some enjoyed the writing, while two members felt it was "disconnected." I advanced my theory, that whether you liked it depended on whether you were a "horse" girl or a "doll" girl (sorry for excluding the guys in this survey), but the club didn't think this was a valid hypothesis. Anyway, the rating was 7.5 out of 10. Tough crowd!

They did enjoy that we (coincidentally) read this book in November, which is when the water horses (capaill uisce) arrive on the beaches of Thisby, and we're hoping Ryan follows through on his promise to make November Cakes. (He did castigate Maggie for including a microwave as one of the tools used to make them, since the Thisby islanders obviously wouldn't have one of those...)

Next month's book is I'll Be There, by Holly Goldberg Sloan (previously reviewed by me here), and Holly will be joining us at BPL for an author event on March 6! We're really excited about that--her new book, Counting by 7s, is getting lots of positive buzz.

For our January book, we selected Break My Heart 1000 Times, by Daniel Waters, which is a combination paranormal/ghost story and murder mystery set in the future after "The Event."

Other books we considered:

Unspoken, by Sarah Rees Brennan
Etiquette & Espionage,
      by Gail Carringer
The Last Dragonslayer,
      by Jasper Fforde
The Shadow Society,
      by Marie Rutkoski
The Raven Boys,
      by Maggie Stiefvater

Next month's meetings are:

6+7 = December 10
8+9 = December 18
10-12 = December 3