Saturday, July 13, 2013

Teen Review: Action/Adventure!

by D. J. MacHale
407 pages
Action/adventure, sci fi, mystery...a little bit of everything!
Ages 12-16?
Reviewed by Allen A.

I’ve read many of DJ’s books, especially since 10 of them are Pendragon novels, and I happen to be a long-time Traveler. That journey was a roller coaster ride, the best one any book series has ever taken me on.

I read the first installment of the Morpheus Road trilogy, and I was impressed. I hardly get scared by anything, and that book kept me up at night long after I had finished it. Unfortunately, I missed the release of the last two, and never finished the series. (I swear it wasn’t because I was too scared!)

So when I heard about SYLO, my interest was piqued. What could DJ possibly write about next? His trademark is intricate story lines and captivating journeys, and after Pendragon and Morpheus Road, I thought no other book could draw me in so easily, or have the twists and turns that I love about DJ’s style.

Boy was I wrong.

The story starts as most of DJ’s stories do. Something happens to upset the balance of a seemingly peaceful town (or universe, in some cases). But once again, DJ has found something both interesting and unnerving that makes you want to find out more about what’s happening. Without spoiling the book, I can tell you the event that sends Pemberwick Island into a downward spiral is the death of one of their star high school athletes. It’s in the first chapter, and it certainly is unsettling.

But after witnessing a strange aerial display above the island, one that ends in a powerful explosion, Tucker Pierce and his friend Quinn start to look for answers. It leads Tucker on a trail to “the Ruby,” a mysterious and potent substance that leaves more questions than answers, and as if it couldn’t get any worse, SYLO, a secret military force, invades the island.

Now at this point, it starts to get overwhelming, how everything seems completely unrelated; yet, you know they must all have something in common. DJ writes you into the story, making you feel just as the characters do, making you want to solve the mystery of SYLO. It’s my favorite part about his books: They literally do take you on a journey, page by page. Once I started SYLO, I couldn’t put it down, to the point where my parents were asking me to stop reading at the dinner table.

I can’t tell you the ending – I can only say that the last chapter left me silent for at least an hour. And it isn’t the kind of ending that wraps everything up, either. This is going to be a true trilogy, and you’ll be begging for the second volume the minute you finish the first.

I’m honored that DJ let me read this in advance, and I can’t wait to see what he cooks up next!


Editor's note: This book was just released on July 2, so it's not in the library yet, but it is on order and should be here soon! Some of us were privileged to hear DJ read from the book during his visit to the Buena Vista Library on May 7, when he gave Allen an advance reader copy (ARC) so he could write this review. Here is DJ's website if you'd like to read more.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Northwest Branch Reopens!

Our Northwest Branch has been retrofitted and earthquake-proofed and fancied up beyond belief, and is ready to reopen!

Come to the ribbon-cutting ceremony next Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m., or wait until the following Monday, when the branch will reopen for regular hours, which are Monday-Friday 12 noon to 6:00 p.m.! We're so excited--it's like a new branch! And finally all of you whose branch has been closed can return "home."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Selfies, Beautiful Creatures, cool t-shirts...

 All part of the Teen Summer Reading Program!

SELF PORTRAITS ARE DUE TODAY! That's right, Tuesday, July 9. You can drop them off at any reference desk until 6:00 p.m. today! We're looking forward to seeing your creative interpretations of YOU.

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES: We're screening this paranormal romance next TUESDAY, July 16, at 3:30 p.m., at the Central Library. Join us for movie, snacks, and PRIZES!

TSRP FINALE: Next Friday, July 19, is our LAST event for Teen Summer Reading! And we're wrapping it up with a CRAFT--YOU bring a colored T-shirt (black or any strong color--pale pastels don't work as well), and we will provide the supplies. We are using bleach pens to create designs on our T-shirts, so also maybe wear something you wouldn't mind messing up, just in case some of that bleach goes astray! We will also have ice cream and prizes, so we hope you won't miss it!

Monday, July 8, 2013

What we're reading: The end of a series

Cecilia from the "Problems of a Book Nerd" blog put this one perfectly for me. We read Hunger, by Michael Grant, in book club, waaaaay back when this series started in 2008. I must confess I found the first book intriguing; Anarda, on the other hand, said she wouldn't want to read another, because of the extreme (and yes, graphically gross-out) violence. But when the second one came out, my curiosity about what happened next, which is always what gets me into trouble, made me reach for it, and then the next, and then the next...

Back in May of last year, I wrote about the series here, so I won't reiterate what I said then (since you can click on that handy link I just provided and see for yourself), except to say that I just finished Light, the final book, and it's been six long years in the FAYZ! (Not really six years there, only six years here, but for all of us, it was LONG.)

The last book stayed true to form, with high energy and gripping twists and turns. It introduced crazy new challenges right up until the end; but then...there was the end. I always have sympathy for the author in a case like this where there has been such tremendous build-up through a rather long story trek. There's no good way to end a series like this, because inevitably some people will be mad at who you killed off and who you let live, others will be indignant that some went without punishment while others were held to too high a standard, and there is always the let-down from high drama back into "regular" life that can be, well, anticlimactic. The most interesting part of this book, for me, is that the dome of the FAYZ became transparent at the end of the previous book, so now everyone inside can see out, and everyone outside can see in, heightening the significance of what's happening for both sides. The most problematic part of this book for me was the question of "powers" and what might happen to them when the FAYZ finally comes down (if it does). That's all I'll say about that, because I don't want to be a spoiler. Anyway, I'm glad I read the last book, just to get the series finally out of my system, but I'm also relieved there won't be any more! And I'd LOVE (are you paying attention?!) to hear from any of you who have also hung in there about what you thought of it! (the last book, the series as a whole, my comments about it, whatever!)

And just for the record, I STILL think the book covers are ludicrous. What would have been great is if they had used the same two models for each cover but made them look progressively worse as each book came out--dirtier, less and less well dressed, hungrier, scarred...right? These ABC Family clones just don't cut it. But--maybe pretty people sell books.

An intriguing twist for me right at this moment is the emergence of a new TV series on CBS called "Under the Dome," which is based on a novel by Stephen King that came out in 2009, a year after Grant's series began. Lest you should think King ripped him off, though, the book is based on an earlier manuscript that King was working on back in the 1970s that he set aside back then and picked up later. And, conversely, I don't think Grant had access to that, so no reverse rip-off either. The similarities ARE intriguing, though--the unexpected descent of the dome, the reactions and interactions of those contained underneath, etc. And apparently there was also a dome in the 2007 Simpsons movie! (The EPA lowers the dome over Springfield to contain the town's pollution.) Is this a case of great minds thinking alike? or is it something more sinister...? Bwahahahahahaha.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Top 50 New Books at BPL

This is a list of the top 50 check-outs from NEW BOOKS at Burbank Public Library (all branches), in order of check-outs (most to least) for the past three months. The books that are listed in bold-face have been reviewed on this blog. As usual, there is an eclectic mix of what seem to be Burbank teens' favorite genres: fantasy, dystopic and apocalyptic novels, and books featuring all types of paranormal characters. Sprinkled throughout are also some science fiction, a few fairy tales retold, some realistic fiction, and a mystery or two, and of course quite a few sequels to popular books / continuations of series.

Scarlet / by Marissa Meyer
Clockwork Princess /
     Cassandra Clare
Eleanor & Park / Rainbow Rowell
Reached / Ally Condie
Just One Day / Gayle Forman
Through the Ever Night /
     Veronica Rossi
Falling Kingdoms / Morgan Rhodes
Code: A Virals Novel / Kathy Reichs
     and Brendan Reichs
Burned: A Pretty Little Liars novel /
     Sara Shepard
Beautiful Redemption /
     Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
The Rising / Kelley Armstrong
Requiem / Lauren Oliver

Homeland / Cory Doctorow
Eve & Adam / Michael Grant and
     Katherine Applegate
The Dead and Buried /
     Kim Harrington
Trafficked / by Kim Purcell
Shades of Earth / Beth Revis
Sapphire Blue / Kerstin Gier
Prodigy: A Legend novel /
     Marie Lu
Mind Games / Kiersten White
The Evolution of Mara Dyer /
     Michelle Hodkin
Dark Triumph /
     Robin LaFevers
The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart /
     Leanna Renee Hieber
Princess of the Silver Woods /
     Jessica Day George
Nobody / Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Madness Underneath / Maureen Johnson
The Last Echo / Kimberly Derting
Intentions / Deborah Heiligman
Etiquette & Espionage / by Gail Carriger
Dancing in the Dark / Robyn Bavati
Amber House / Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, Larkin Reed
After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia /
     edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

The Sweet Revenge of
     Celia Door / Karen Finneyfrock
Neferet's Curse /
     P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Midwinterblood /
     Marcus Sedgwick
Light / Michael Grant
The Kiss / James Patterson
     and Jill Dembowski
Fearless / Cornelia Funke
The Darkest Minds /
     Alexandra Bracken
The Catastrophic History of
     You & Me / Jess Rothenberg
Armageddon / James Patterson and
     Chris Grabenstein
Perfect Scoundrels / Ally Carter
Paper Valentine / Brenna Yovanoff
The Madman's Daughter /
     Megan Shepherd
Forget Me Not / Carolee Dean
Fated / Alyson Noel
Clockwork Prince /
     Cassandra Clare
After Hello / Lisa Mangum
Sweet Shadows / Tera Lynn Childs
Prophecy / Ellen Oh
Love and Other Perishable Items /
     Laura Buzo
I'll Be There /
     Holly Goldberg Sloan
Fragments / Dan Wells
Days of Blood & Starlight /
     Laini Taylor
Crash / Lisa McMann

In a few days, we will put up the 50 most popular non-new books and the 50 most popular manga and graphic novels during the past three months, so that you can get a more complete idea of what teens in Burbank are reading!