Saturday, January 31, 2015

Readers' Theater!

Our latest readers' theater production, "Not So Happily Ever After," featuring the fractured fairy tales of Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman, and Ron Koertge, was a smashing success! Everyone in the production stepped up and brought it, and the audience laughed and applauded in all the right places. Ron Koertge, our special guest for the evening, charmed us all and signed autographs in his book, Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses. We drank cocoa and ate cookies and had a wonderful time! Our favorite photographer, John Reiss Williams, has supplied us with photos, for the last rehearsal as well as the big performance. You can see them all on our teen Facebook page.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Teen review: Paranormal romance

White Hot Kiss
by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Paranormal romance

400 pages
High School and above

Reviewed by Madeleine B., grade 10

A book titled White Hot Kiss might send out the wrong signals, but no, don't worry, this isn't a book solely about romance and kissing and hotness and whatnot. Yes, a kiss does play a major part in the book, but not in the way you'd expect. Layla thinks she's an unwanted, pitied misfit. The thing is that she's in a bit of a demigod type of situation in that she's part Warden (gargoyle) and part demon. What a combination, right? Don't forget she also happens to live in a house full of Wardens, half of whom despise her due to her demonic blood. The major problem is that she can literally take your soul away, and all along she believes the wardens only adopted her due to her ability as a Half warden half demon to tag those without souls: Demons.

Well, Layla happens to have a secret she's not yet aware of: She is much more than what she gives herself credit for! I loved this story because she grows so much as a character. She starts as a timid girl, unsure of herself and what she can do, and transforms into a confident girl ready to take on the world and stand up for herself. She discovers shocking things about herself and where she really came from that makes her understand herself even more. Now, where does the "white hot kiss" come in? It basically comes into play when she realizes she's finally capable of finding someone fit for her who she won't kill by taking his soul away while sharing a kiss. It happens that, as she's going through fighting evil and saving the world from a possible apocalypse, she finds her first love as they battle evil together. They stick together, and ultimately one of the two makes the biggest sacrifice possible for the other.

So don't be scared or wary of the title or the cover, because looks can be deceiving (as Layla also discovers in her journey). While it does have an adorably cute romance, it also has an amazing plot line with so many unexpected twists and turns and ups and downs. This was an amazing book, and I plan to continue to read the series. I believe the Dark Elements series is a trilogy, with the second book titled Stone Cold Touch and the third called Every Last Breath (coming out July 2015). I'm looking forward to seeing where life takes Layla, and what else is in store. This book deserves a 5/5 because it really was just captivating and an honestly beautiful story with so much meaning and significance behind it. I loved it!


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What we're reading: Fantasy/Romance

Cruel Beauty
by Rosemary Hodges.
346 pages
10th grade and up
Stand-alone novel--hurray!

Reviewed by Anarda

I’m a sucker for a slightly off-kilter fantasy/romance, and this book wooed me nicely. Nyx has been trained in the hermetic arts from birth for the purposes of avenging her mother’s death in childbirth and of ridding her island nation (vaguely British) from a demonic creature known as the Gentle Lord. And she will accomplish both these things by her marriage to this demon, for she has been betrothed to him since her father made a fool’s bargain with the creature, one that cost him her mother’s life and cost Nyx a carefree and loving childhood and adolescence. She tries to hold on to her honorable intentions and her certainty that she or the demon must die for the sake of everyone and everything she holds dear, but she can’t forget the anger and resentment she also feels for her beloved and indulged twin sister, for her cold and pedantic father, for her aunt (who is “secretly” sharing her father’s bed while pretending to be a virtuous influence), and for the silly townspeople and villagers she is expected to save at the cost of her life. Naturally, this anger makes her far more interesting to the Gentle Lord than a fearful and/or honor-driven bride would be, and the two of them (and his mysterious shadow servant, Shade) begin a strange and beguiling dance of self-discovery--and desire. Interesting!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Teen review: Sci Fi Romance

by Jennifer L Armentrout
179 pages
Science fiction/romance
8th grade and above

Reviewed by Madeleine B., grade 10

Shadows, a prequel novella to the Jennifer L. Armentrout The Lux Series, is a fantastic prequel to this amazing story. Similar to the original series that is based on Daemon and Katy's forbidden love, Dawson and Bethany are what start the whole dilemma. Basically, Dawson is an alien and Bethany is a human, and like in The Lux series with Katy and Daemon, Dawson heals Bethany after getting hurt and turns her into a hybrid. They're forbidden to be together due to their different backgrounds, but they're determined to be together no matter what it takes.

I picked up this book after finishing The Lux Series, and this book should definitely be read before the series. It sets up the plot perfectly, giving necessary background information and the start of the situation. Many important characters are introduced in this prequel who later play major roles. I give this prequel a 5/5 because it had the same cute atmosphere as the first book of the five-part series while still having a great plot of its own, and was a great introduction. I think it's a great lead-in to the series, leaving you eager for more of Jennifer L. Armentrout's writing!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Teen Review: More Meg Cabot

Size 12 Is Not Fat
by Meg Cabot
345 pages
Realistic fiction/mystery for "new adults"
Suggested for grades 9 up

Reviewed by Kayla, grade 10

Heather Wells is trying to leave her old life behind. She used to be a teen pop-idol! However, now she works in a university residence hall and rents a room from her ex-fiancĂ©’s brother. One day, however, her whole life gets a little mixed up when a student winds up dead at the bottom of an elevator shaft. There has been a lot of elevator surfing going on lately, so police almost immediately rule it as an accident. But Heather does not believe that this girl died elevator surfing, especially when more students end up dead. She intends to get to the bottom of her mystery and gets into more trouble along the way! Heather must watch her step or she could end up in deep trouble!

This book started out slowly, but when the first student died it started to pick up its pace. It ended up being an action-packed and hilarious book! There was also some mixed-up romance, which just made the story more snappy! I recommend this book to others, especially if you like mysteries. Heather Wells is a spunkier, more sarcastic, and more relatable Nancy Drew. I cannot wait to read the other books in the series!

I rate this book a 5.