Saturday, April 27, 2013

Teen Review: Lost Things

Title: The Book of Lost Things
Author: John Connolly
Number of pages: 339
Genre: Fantasy
Not part of a series
High School Reading Level
Reviewed by Clare R., 11th Grade

The Book of Lost Things begins like any harmless fairy tale, but quickly progresses into something much darker and more ominous. It's a story about the loss of childhood and innocence. It's a story about evil in the world. A boy in World War II London moves to the countryside and sinks farther and farther into depression. Books are his only friends; soon he hears them speaking to him, and eventually begins seeing their characters in real life. He falls into their world, a harsher version of ours, with no one to protect him. He sees death, corruption and confusion. He is tested by the choices he has to make to stay alive. He meets a number of people who help and hinder him and all have surreal qualities. And when all finally seems well, a major plot twist reveals that nothing is as it seems. The overarching theme is--what is worth dying and what is worth living for?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Teen Review: Horror

Bag of Bones
by Stephen King
752 pages
High School and Adults
Reviewed by E.E., 9th grade

S Y N O P S I S :
A writer’s wife dies suddenly due to a vessel popping in her brain. After her death, the writer suffered severe writer’s block for a long period of time; he just couldn’t think of anything to write about. Then, he started having nightmares. He dreamed that he was walking along by his old lake house in the middle of the night, where suddenly his wife’s corpse would try to attack him. He had this dream over and over and over again. Finally, thinking that it would put his dreams to rest, he decided to take a trip to the lake house. While there, creepy things started happening--hauntings that were slowly getting more and more aggressive as time went on. How was he to deal with them, and what was the source of these supernatural beings?

R E V I E W :
I think Stephen King is a really good horror story writer. I’ve been wanting to read some of his other books, like It, The Shining, and many more. He’s very talented and knows how to put twists and surprises in his writings. I also like scary movies, so I think I’ll watch some of his movies sometime. Stephen King uses some vulgar language and mature content, so I would not recommend this novel to young children. Overall, I think that it is a definite page turner.

Rating: 4

Thursday, April 25, 2013




Teen Review: Historical Fiction and Art

Title: Girl in Hyacinth Blue
Author: Susan Vreeland
Number of pages: 242
Genre: Historical Fiction
Not part of a series
High School Reading Level
Reviewed by Clare R., 11th Grade

Girl in Hyacinth Blue is one of the best books I've read in a long time. For anyone who loves art, culture, historical fiction, narratives, and mystery. It opens in the present age when a standoffish college professor unexpectedly invites a colleague over to his home and shows him a spellbinding painting. The shock comes when he attests to his dubious guest that it is an authentic Vermeer. Then the question arises: If it is a Vermeer, where did it come from and how did it come into your possession? And why are you showing it to someone now? Through a series of mini stories, the book traces backwards each ownership of the painting, back to its creation. It moves through wars, the rich and the poor, across the Atlantic. The novel is filled with pieces of art history and suspense, and is captivatingly eloquent and beautiful. By the end, the girl in the painting feels like a close friend due to the vivid descriptions given of her through the eyes of so many people.

Note: BPL also has this as an audio book.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Teen Review: TFiOS (again)

Because y'all love it so much...

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
336 Pages
YA Fiction
Age Range: 8th Grade +

Reviewed by: Alexia H., 9th grade

TFiOS is easily my favorite book of all time. The messages and ideas presented in the novel hit home in a way unparalleled to anything I’ve ever read, and I’m certain that the majority of people who read it cannot leave the story of Hazel Grace unchanged.

Most overviews I’ve read about TFiOS, such as on Barnes & Noble and Amazon, define the story by a plot twist named Augustus Waters, and this really frustrates me. If the only thing they were able to take from the book was a love story between two unconventionally philosophical (and cancerous) teenagers, then they’re missing the whole point. As Hazel would put it, it’s about “the side effects” of her journey through life — not her battle with cancer, and not her relationship with Gus.

Hazel matured a great deal throughout the course of the novel; she may have started out the novel as a depressed, pessimistic teenager, but by no means did she stay that way. Her growth stemmed from the acceptance of the fact that yes, she was a “grenade,” and that hurting those around her was inevitable — but that didn’t need to stop her from living a full life, from loving and being loved. As humans, we’re all grenades. We can’t leave this world without hurting the people around us, we can’t leave this world unscathed — but Hazel is proof that this doesn’t need to stop us from living rather than just existing.

John Green is a genius, and The Fault in Our Stars is the only proof needed to validate that. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend that you get your hands on a copy as soon as possible.

No amount of stars can adequately express my love for this book.

We also have this at BPL as an audio book, if you prefer to listen. And I'm going to buy a couple more copies, since ours are always checked out...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pendragon fans rejoice!

Do we have a surprise for you!

D. J. MacHale is coming to visit with teens at Burbank Public Library. Since we read not one but two volumes of his Pendragon series in Middle School Book Club a couple of years ago (and since this series barely appears on our shelves due to the constant check-outs), we're thinking there are some FANS out there in Burbank who would love to bring books to meet their author on TUESDAY, MAY 7 at 4:00 p.m. at the Buena Vista Library!

This is an exclusive event for kids and teens in 4th through 12th grades ONLY--no adults allowed! (well, except for we lucky librarians)

Put May 7 on your calendar!