Saturday, April 18, 2015

Teen review: Princess Diaries

Princess In Pink
by Meg Cabot
256 pages
Series: The Princess Diaries, Volume 5
Recommended for grades 7 and up

Reviewed by Kayla, grade 10

To refresh your memory, Mia is a 16-year-old girl who is mostly normal except for the fact that she is the heir to a small country by the name of Genovia. This year, Mia’s boyfriend, Michael, is a senior so Mia hopes to go to prom with him. However, it seems as if Michael will not want to go to prom. It is also Mia’s birthday soon and she is extremely excited. Will everything go as planned or will Mia have bad luck yet again?

This book was a little slower than the others have been; however, it still had some humor and some nail-biting parts. I really like the way that Meg Cabot writes, as she usually uses a diary or journal format. This enhances the book, in my opinion, because what the character is actually thinking is seen as opposed to what he or she just says to other characters.

I rate this book as a 4 out of 5.

Princess in Training
by Meg Cabot
269 pages
Series: The Princess Diaries, Volume 6
Recommended for grades 7 and up

Reviewed by Kayla, grade 10

Mia is starting another year of high school. This year she is running for student body president! Or at least, her best friend Lilly is running in her name...  Mia doesn’t want to run for president, and things just get better (sarcasm) when Grandmere steps in to help. However, Mia has bigger problems. Geometry is just as hard as Algebra 1 was, and even though it’s her best subject, she’s getting bad grades in English.

I liked this book much better than the last one. It was more gripping and fascinating. Mia often turns awful situations into humorous ones. This is a great book for a teenage girl who is most likely having similar troubles to what Mia has. I highly recommend this book, as it is a perfect example of Meg Cabot and her writing ability.

I rate this book as a 5 out of 5.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Club Report

All but two of our 19 6+7 Book Club members were in attendance Tuesday night to discuss the popular but frustrating book, The Maze Runner, by James Dashner. Several had read further into the series and were able to solve a few mysteries for us (while trying to avoid spoilers), but still, much was left to discuss.

We speculated about the logic (or lack of it) in the creation of the Glade and the Maze and the need for Thomas and Teresa as catalysts; the genesis and composition of the Grievers; the nicknames; the shortsightedness of those stuck in the Glade about such things as the meaning of WICKED (!); the unnecessary death of a favorite character; the non-resolution...and yet all seemed to enjoy it and the final rating was 8.33! I guess teens are bigger fans of open-ended books than are Anarda and I!

Next month we will be reading The Cabinet of Wonders, by Marie Rutkoski, at what will be our last meeting of the 2014-15 book club year. That meeting is on May 12--please try to arrange your other activities and homework so you can attend!

Eleven people at 8+9 Book Club judged Time Between Us, by Tamara Ireland Stone, on its time travel theory, its romance, and its characterizations, and several people found the first two of those wanting. Hailey and Anika called it out for “insta-love,” and while everyone agreed that the author had set up some good time travel rules, several didn’t like that she then flouted a couple of them right there in the story! Some did enjoy the romance, and everyone liked that the protagonist, Anna, had character and integrity and didn’t sit around waiting but went out and made things happen. The book received marks from 9 down to 5, and the final score was 7 out of 10.

Next month’s book is Kill Me Softly, by Sarah Cross, a fairy tale-based book along the lines of the TV show Once Upon A Time. Next month's meeting is May 13--we hope to see you there for our final meeting of the year!

We did not pick new books for over the summer for either club; we have concluded that it's better to have one meeting in August for all book club members, so that the books to be read are picked by the people who are actually going to read them--the 5th-graders who will be starting 6th grade, and the 6th-graders who move up to 7th grade, for instance--rather than having a book that half the club won't read because they are promoting up to the next club! We have eight promoting into the 8+9 Club, and one promoting into the 10-12 Club.

Photo show ends!

Today (Thursday, April 16) is the last day to view the Friends of the Burbank Public Library Amateur Photography Contest exhibit in the Central Library auditorium. The exhibit is available to view during library hours (9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.) unless there is a program taking place in the room. (There are programs from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. and from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. today, so if you want to view the exhibit, please take note.) The show will close at 9:00 p.m. Photos will come down on Friday morning.

Photo pick-up by entrants begins on Saturday, April 18. Your photos will be waiting for you (under your last name) at the Central Library Reference Desk. Please note that photos not picked up by Saturday, May 30 will be discarded.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Teen review: Oh, Dorothy!

Dorothy Must Die
by Danielle Paige
452 pages
Fantasy, part of a series
Recommended for 8th grade and older

Reviewed by Michelle M., grade 8

Dorothy Must Die takes place in Oz, where the Wizard and Dorothy lived their famous lives, but it begins with a dirt-poor girl from Kansas named Amy Gumm. Amy never had much to live for in life: Her mother was detached, and left Amy alone in their trailer to cook meals and survive. One day, after a fight with her mother, a violent tornado hits Amy’s trailer while her mother is off drinking in a bar. Alone and afraid, Amy is whisked away into a magical world called Oz. It's the same Oz that Amy was familiar with from the movies and childhood books, but there is also some disparity between the two worlds. The Oz Amy is taken to is duller, and everything has a washed-out look. She soon realizes into what evil Oz has been plunged because of former hero Dorothy Gale, and what role Amy has to play in all of it.

The plot of Dorothy Must Die is interesting, and I like what the author did with Dorothy’s story. The story has a lot of action-packed scenes, and I was totally enraptured by their concept of magic. I also really enjoyed the main protagonist, Amy. Amy is really spunky, sarcastic and sometimes rude, but she is actually a really kind person and very funny sometimes. The world of Oz was also a wonderful mystery to unfold; I adored every concept and detail about its environment, the various species who live there, and how the magic cycles around. Another major thing about this book that I loved was Amy’s character development. Amy struggles in the beginning of the book to understand that Oz is now reality and how she deals with people who live in Oz. But, later she begins to adapt to the dangerous and weird life in Oz, and eventually finds herself dabbling in magic.

One thing I did not like about this novel was that some of the things Amy does in the beginning did not seem too realistic for a girl her age, who is obviously freaked out. I won’t mention anything specific though, so I don’t spoil it for anyone.

I believe that Dorothy Must Die would be appropriate for 8th graders and above. The characters curse sometimes, and there is some blood and gore, but mostly action. I rate this book a 4 out of 5.

Editor's note: The sequel, The Wicked Will Rise, was just released on March 31. It was ordered for all three branches, and should be available any minute now! Check out another review of Dorothy Must Die, by our guest reviewer, Daryl.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pizza with a purpose!

On Tuesday, April 14 (tomorrow), if you eat at California Pizza Kitchen at 601 N. San Fernando Blvd. in Burbank (across from IKEA), 20 percent of your check will be donated to Burbank Public Library's "Learn to Read" Program!

The fund-raiser is only valid for the one day, but it includes lunch, dinner, takeout, online orders, catering, or curbside! All you need to do is TELL YOUR SERVER:
I want 20 percent of my total donated to the "Learn to Read" program!
The Literacy Department of Burbank Public Library thanks you in advance for eating all that pizza! (We know you could hardly bring yourselves to do so if you weren't feeling charitable! Hee hee.)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Teen review: True feelings forbidden!

The Program
by Suzanne Young
416 pages
Realistic fiction/Dystopian future, part of a series
Suggested for 8th grade+

Reviewed by Michelle M., grade 8

In The Program, suicide has become a global epidemic that is exclusively targeting teens. Teenagers all over the world have become "infected," and are compelled to kill themselves. Their tragic deaths then infect the minds of their close friends and relatives, which can put them at risk for suicide as well. However, in this bleak future, a hope shines through. That hope is the Program. The Program supposedly cures teens of their depression by cutting out the infection. But, the so called "infection" lies in every person's mind, and so, in order for them to be safe from self harm, their memories must be sacrificed.

Sloane lives amidst the chaos and fear that she’ll be the Program’s next victim. Her brother, Brady, who used to be her best friend, committed suicide before the Program got to him. Sloane faced the tragedy bravely, but almost let herself get caught up in the darkness. She would not have made it, if it were not for her boyfriend James. James promises Sloane that he will never let them be brainwashed by the eerie Program. Their past and the memories they have carved out are much too valuable to be lost, but as each of Sloane's and James’s friends are slipping away, it is nearly impossible to stay transparent under the careful and criticizing eyes of the dreaded Program.

The Program was such an experience and an unforgettable book. Sloane's and James’s strong relationship makes you want to cheer them on during every second that you read it. It's a unique love story about survival and testing the limits of fate, but it’s also thrilling and will have you on edge on each nail-biting page. I really enjoyed this book; it made you hungry to know more. The story line is very complex and has many plot twists to keep you entertained. It also ties one very real element of our world today with an fascinating idea in a dystopian future. When I read it, it kept me up at night wondering and trying to unravel the secrets between the pages. The characters seemed real and acted very human. One of the main things I liked about the story was how persistent Sloane and James were, but without being unrealistic.

I thought this book would be appropriate for mature 8th grade and above. There are some mild sexual references, but it's not too explicit. It's definitely not for kids, though.This book also deals with suicide, which can be a sensitive subject for some people. I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Editor's note: The sequel, called The Treatment, has been ordered for the Buena Vista branch and should arrive shortly!