Saturday, May 23, 2015

Teen Review: Long-awaited sequel!

The Lord of Opium, by Nancy Farmer

Ah, another book written by Nancy Farmer. It goes without saying that this 405-page science fiction book is going to be a good read. I previously reviewed The House of The Scorpion, and this is its sequel. The plot of this book starts where its predecessor ended. Matteo Alacran, clone of one of the largest drug lords who controlled the aptly named country, Opium, is now in power. In this book, Matt must find a way to cure the eejits, or the microchip-controlled slaves providing free labor to harvest the opium, create allies and distinguish enemies, and come to terms with himself and how he keeps acting like the despicable man from whom he was created, all while managing his drug trade.

Nancy Farmer, as always, displays great skill in her writing. She simultaneously handles an internal conflict within Matt and an external conflict with Matt’s enemies, and does a very good job of it. I often think that focusing on engaging your readers is one of the best ways to write a book, and Farmer does just this. Between these two separate conflicts, it’s nearly impossible to take your eyes off of the page. The story is packed throughout with gripping action.

I personally think The Lord of Opium deserves a 4 out of 5. I rate a lot of my books with this rating, but it’s what I honestly believe. The story is great, but it didn’t quite live up to the first book. I would recommend this book to science fiction lovers and dystopia lovers over the age of 13. There is some mature content in this book that might not be suitable for younger audiences. All in all, though, this book is a great read.

Reviewed by Isaac Kim, grade 9

Editor's note: The first book, The House of the Scorpion, won a National Book Award, as well as honors from Newbery and Printz. Still--we waited almost 11 years for this sequel, so it's good to know people still remember the first book and want to read this one!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Teen Review: Joey Graceffa

In Real Life: My Journey to a Pixelated World

by Joey Graceffa
257 pages
Recommended for grades 7 and up
Release date: May 19, 2015

Reviewed by Maci, grade 11

For those of you who don't know, Joey Graceffa runs the YouTube channels JoeyGraceffa and JoeyGraceffaGames, with approximately 4.5 million and 1.1 million subscribers respectively. He was on the television reality show The Amazing Race, and in a web series called Storytellers.

Graceffa's  book In Real Life: My Journey to a Pixelated World reveals a side of him that not many people get to see. It is full of heartwarming and inspiring stories from Graceffa's life, as he tells all about family hardships and bullying, finding love and dealing with rejection, showing us the importance of being yourself as well as pursuing your dreams. As you read throughout his memoir, he leaves little tidbits of advice after each chapter regarding school, family, and relationships, and some facts about himself along the way that help you connect with him.

Whether you're into the YouTube world, or Minecraft, or if you've just picked this book up and thought the cover looked interesting, read it, and it'll inspire and remind you of that. It won't be published until May 19th and so I read an advanced reader's copy. It has 257 pages in total.

Editor's note: The Burbank Public Library won't be receiving this book for a while, but we do have an advanced reader copy in Anarda's office at the Buena Vista branch if you can't wait that long! Ask for Anarda at the desk, and if the book is still here you can check it out from her.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Teen Summer Reading!

We here at the library know you teens are all caught up in the last weeks of school, with finals, choir concerts, Grad Nights, and many other things to bogart all of your attention! But when you get out of school and come up for air…


We have a great summer planned for you here at the library. Our theme is
“Teen Meetup in the Burb,” and here are some of the meetup opportunities:

     Four sessions of BOOK CAFÉ
     Three MOVIES
     One MAKERSPACE afternoon
     A CONCERT IN THE PARK with rock band FLOOD ZONE
     And our finale will be the ever-popular OPEN MIC NIGHT! (and KARAOKE)!

In addition to all of that, we are, as usual, asking you to “READ, WRITE, AND WIN!” by keeping a reading log and writing book reviews. There will be weekly drawings for prizes for the reading log entries, and bi-weekly drawings for those who write online book reviews. And there will also be prize drawings at many of our programs!

You can SIGN UP starting JUNE 1 on our website:! Then you can come to the Reference Desk at any library to get your “swag bag” that includes a brochure telling you where and when to show up for all these fun activities!

The program runs June 16 through July 24. There’s no commitment for just signing up—you can do one thing, everything, or nothing! But regardless, we hope to see YOU at our MEETUPS this summer!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Teen Review: Life of Pi

Life of Pi
by Yann Martel
356 pages
Realistic adventure
Recommended for 9th grade up

Reviewed by Stephen C., grade ?

Life of Pi is an astounding book in which Piscine Molitor, or Pi as he’s known as to his peers, goes on a horrifying but amazing adventure through the ocean on a lifeboat with nothing but an orangutan, hyena, zebra, and tiger after being shipwrecked. Pi was moving across the world with his family to a new life when disaster struck and took his life down a path he never thought it would go. Pi goes through many different trials and tribulations, starting with how only the Tiger survives with him and he has to go through the process of asserting his dominance. Somewhere along the line Pi names the tiger Richard Parker, and what I believe could be considered almost a feeling of affection for the dangerous beast is spawned. He finds many bizarre things; a man-eating island, another survivor who isn’t what you would expect, and possibly himself. Most of the book is his attempts at survival and all of the insane actions he did to assert dominance over the other guest aboard the lifeboat.

This book is an amazing lesson in faith no matter your religion or beliefs. It shows that no matter your situation you can always hold on to something. I loved this book and how it held my attention throughout. Pi struggles a lot with what exactly he believes, and in the end decides that he believes in everything; this shows us that it’s okay to accept everyone.

I would recommend this book to any one of my friends or family. Pi’s struggles really clicked with me; his situation and mine could be compared to regular life with his physical environmental issues being compared to emotional and psychological stress of a normal teens life. He showed us how to endure and believe that life really always does have the potential to turn out okay but it may not always be easy and sometimes you need to work for it yourself. I give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars, the only thing I would have changed is how the opening was a little slow.

Editor's note: Oh, SO many formats! Burbank Public Library has this as a book, an audio book, a large print book, an e-book, an E-audio book