Friday, June 28, 2013

This week's program!

If you missed our Readers' Theater performance of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, starring our lovely teen readers, here's your chance to make up for it--our second performance, this time at the Central Library, is TONIGHT, Tuesday, July 2, at 7:00 p.m. sharp. And even if you saw the first performance at Buena Vista, you might want to come to this one anyway, because all the roles have been swapped--Lady Bracknell is now Cecily, the butler is now Gwendolen, Reverend Chasuble is Jack, and so on, giving a completely different nuance to this version.

Please be prompt so as not to interrupt the performance with your late entrance. Since there are two summer reading programs at the Central Library the same night (the children's program taking place outdoors on the lawn), please take advantage of parking across the street on the opposite corner of Glenoaks and Olive in the employee lot after 6:00 p.m.

As always, there will be PRIZE DRAWINGS at this program for all teens registered for the Teen Summer Reading Program. If you are NOT registered, go here, click on "Teens: Beneath the Surface," and then on "sign me up!" and fill out the (short) form. No commitment necessary--registration just means you are eligible for prize drawings. You can come to one program or all, do just the online book reviews from the comfort of your own home, create a Self Portrait for our art contest, or all/none of the above!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Guest blog: Memoir

Rat Girl
by Kristin Hersh
319 pages
High school and up
Reviewed by Jim C., Librarian

This is a memoir, written by Kristin Hersh from the band Throwing Muses, about a year (1985) in her life. She was 18, attending college part-time, and trying to get her band started. During that time she had a breakdown, was diagnosed as bipolar, had a baby, got a record deal with 4AD, and made a record!

It reads like a series of interconnected stories, with commentary from song lyrics the author would later record. (The book includes an internet link to songs the reader can download). It might appeal to anyone interested in how songs are written or how to get a band started, or someone who is interested in an especially dramatic teen year.

Editor's note: Here is a free EP of some of her music, if you're interested.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Books previously reviewed here on the blog... reviewed by you! This year, teens are writing book reviews as part of their Teen Summer Reading experience. We will keep publishing a group of these short reviews here through the end of the program, so you can see what other teens are reading! Here's another installment...

From Sarah C.:

Tiger Lily, by Jodi Lynn Anderson
I enjoyed Tiger Lily. It is a retelling of the famous Peter Pan story. It is shown throughout Tinker Bell's eyes and follows the interactions between Tiger Lily and Peter Pan. What I liked the best was how, since it was through Tink's eyes and faeries can feel people's emotions, the reader was given pieces of everyone's emotions and thoughts with it making sense. I loved that. Overall, it was really interesting, but I felt like the ending was just kind of left there. Anderson provided closure, but I would have preferred a tad bit more than what was given.

And here's the review on the blog, by Sarah the librarian...

From Patrick C.:

Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell

One thing that makes Eleanor and Park a "heartwarming punk romance" is the characters. They are so real and honest. Reading this book, I remembered why I love contemporaries! The dual point of view of Eleanor and Park worked well. I did get lost at some parts with who was narrating the story, but I found my way. The situations they both go through were something I could easily feel with them and it had me turning the page to see what would happen. The characters dazzled me through to the end!

The writing style of the book flowed nicely and was lyrical. I especially loved reading those long conversations between Eleanor and Park. But Rainbow Rowell writes with simplicity that makes it move fast too. Another thing that I loved was the ending: Even though it was bittersweet, it was real.

Overall, I loved this book! Pick it up if you're a fan of Gayle Forman or Jay Asher! You have characters you will feel for every page and an ending that is so real and honest! Pick it up soon!

And here's the review on the blog, by teen librarian Melissa...

Also from Patrick C.:

The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater

With all the hype for The Raven Boys, I was really hoping for something amazing and completely epic, but I found the book disappointing. The Raven Boys was a mix of paranormal, suspense, and magic which was really intriguing at first, but other elements were missing.

Blue Sargent is a clairvoyant, and can see and talk to dead people. On St. Mark's Eve, she heads out to a churchyard and talks to a boy named Gansey, and after that they are all thrown into a world of intrigue and suspense. I really liked Blue a lot, she was smart, cool, and likeable and I was hoping for longer chapters with her, because she was fun to read! She was someone who wasn't always flirting with any boy next to her, especially the Raven Boys. There are also other "psychics" that were related to Blue, whom I admit were fun to read and they lightened up the story a bit.

The Raven Boys (Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah) concept, to be honest sounded really cool, but reading it it could have been more developed and layered upon. It was really hard to know which Raven Boy was doing what and that for me means one confused reader. Really, I hate it when you read it all over but you still have no clue which one is doing what!

But there was a lot going on towards the end, which I'm not spoiling but reading The Raven Boys I got a lot of genres in one book: paranormal, touches of suspense and mystery, and romance, but no insta-love for sure. I definitely liked Maggie's poetic writing, and this book was perfect to showcase that. I'm not an ultra-big fan of hers, but I did like the book enough to want more from her!

And here's the review on the blog, by Melissa...

Also from Patrick C.:
by Marissa Meyer

Cinder was one of the best debuts I read this year! It was a smart mix of a new concept with both Cinderella and technology. Marissa Meyer is so skilled at creating a fast-paced and well thought out world with an amazing heroine. One of the best things I loved about Cinder was, of course, Cinder! She was so easy to relate to, and she had a spunk to her that I was enchanted by. I can see where she came from, living with her stepmother Adri and her two sisters, Peony and Pearl. A fairytale similarity we see is that she has poor status from working as a mechanic in the vast, technological city of New Beijing. I absolutely loved her guts, her wit, and the way she comes to society. She's true, real, and honest. Plus the other characters, Kai and even Dr. Erland were amazing to read! Kai was surprisingly relateable, the same goes for Dr.Erland too!

The writing, characters  and action all sizzles together to come up with an amazing book. The third-person point of view (POV) actually worked in this book, as we get into see the POV of Cinder, Kai, and others and it was done flawlessly. I loved that it wasn't as focused on the romance as the original plotline, which was a relief, especially in YA! One problem that I had with Cinder was that I would have liked a bit more depth with Cinder's life to make it flow better. The ending was absolutely heart-racing and action-packed. I can't wait to read the sequel, Scarlet. If you're a fan of Veronica Roth or Suzanne Collins, pick this one up! You'll love Kai and Cinder!

And here's the review on the blog, by Melissa, as well as Daryl the librarian's review of the sequel!

Editor's note: We also have both Cinder and Scarlet as audiobooks.

Remember, for each book review you write, you will be entered in one of our bi-weekly prize drawings. Only the people who write a review in each two-week period are entered in that drawing, so it's good odds, and the prizes are nice! First drawing was last Friday, and the next drawings are on July 5th and July 19th!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

This week's program

Beneath the Surface presents
Phenomenist Michael Mezmer,
a master of hypnotic suggestion and optical illusion!

Tuesday, June 25, 7:00 p.m.
Central Library

This is a teen program, but all are welcome to attend,
so bring your family, friends, brothers and sisters...

If you have not yet signed up for the Teen Summer Reading Program, be sure to do so--if you are registered, you are eligible to be in our drawing for wonderful prizes at every teen program! And please note: You are not making a commitment to do anything simply by signing up! You can come to one thing, everything, or nothing; you can do book reviews from your home computer or digital device; you can enter the art contest...whatever you like!)