Saturday, January 4, 2014

This week at the library...

For all you die-hard Rick Riordan fans, the library will be screening PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS twice...

Tuesday, January 7, at 4:00 p.m. at the Buena Vista branch...
Wednesday, January 15, at 4:00 p.m. at the Central Library

Don't miss it!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Teen review: Realistic fiction

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Number of pages: 221
Genre: Realistic fiction
Is it part of a series? No
Reading level: High School
Reviewed by: Angela, grade 12

This, along with The Fault In Our Stars, is one of my favorite books. The meaning of this book is inevitably so powerful. It's about building friendship and trust and losing the people you love and how to overcome it. I liked the fact that it had a lot of good quotes you can relate to. I also liked the way the setting was and how they all gave each other unusual nicknames you'd never think of. There isn’t one bad thing about this book. The writing in this book is a bit more philosophical than general but that’s what makes it so much more interesting. Id say it’s a quick read if you really sit down and determine yourself to finish it.

Alaska Young was my favorite character. She was spontaneous and mysterious. You could never predict what the author was going to have her do next. I did get a bit emotional in this book but not so much. I think the moral of this novel was to explain how you should appreciate the things you have before it flashes before your eyes and is gone. The book has lots of life lessons. I would rate this book a 5/5 and recommend it to anyone over the age of 15.

Editor's note: I put the original cover up there at the top (because I like it the best, it has the Printz award label, and also it is the one you will find at the library), but here is the array of other art concepts under which this book has appeared:

What do you think? I personally hate the two middle ones and think the first is great and the last is acceptable as an alternate. (These judgments are based on both content and personal art preference.) Think about carrying these around reading them in public--which one would you want to be seen holding/reading?)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014! 2014! 2014!

It's 2014--time to celebrate, and then...time to make resolutions, a fresh start, a new plan?

For instance: How many books do you think you will read this year? Why not set yourself a goal on Goodreads like I did last year? It's a great way to keep track of your books (when you read them, what you thought of them, how high or low you rated them), write reviews (that you can also share with us here, please!), see what other people thought of the same book, trade recommendations, discover new authors, win Advance Reader Copies (I think I won three last year!)... If you do join Goodreads, be sure to "friend" us (individually, or under the group Burbank Teens Read!). Sorry, I'm sounding like an ad here, but I really enjoyed keeping up with both my reading and fellow readers that way this year, and thought maybe I could entice you to join me.

We're hoping (and will do our best to make sure) that the blog continues to be something you want to read. We never thought when we started it that we'd get so many people checking in--more than 1,000 a month since we started it almost two years ago (in February, 2012). Thanks for reading, thanks for participating (especially by submitting reviews). We're always thrilled to hear from you, whether formally or informally (by a "this is cool" checkmark in a box, a comment, or a review for service hours credit).

We have enjoyed blogging with you this year, and hope to add new readers, writers, and friends in 2014! Happy New Year!

Melissa & Anarda
Burbank Public Library

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...