Thursday, September 17, 2015

SAT practice opportunities

In case you haven't seen the two flyers around the library, let us remind you that this coming Saturday, September 19, is an opportunity for teens in grades 9-11 only to take a free mock PSAT practice test with Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions. The test starts at 1:00 p.m. and lasts until 4:30 p.m. We are asking you to arrive by 12:45, since the test starts promptly at 1:00. The test will be given at the Buena Vista Branch, 300 N. Buena Vista Street. Bring two pencils and a calculator.

You must sign up to participate! Send your name, email address, and telephone number via email to

Additionally, for teens in grades 11-12 only, there is an SAT Essay Writing Seminar on Monday, September 21, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Burbank Central Library. This workshop will teach you what essay graders want, and you will write an actual essay and receive a score and pointers from one of Kaplan's expert graders. Please arrive by 6:45 p.m., as the seminar begins promptly at 7:00.

Registration is limited, so you must sign up for this as well.

There are still some spaces for each opportunity, but sign up soon. We will also maintain waiting lists for both, so if you are not prompt, someone will be taking your place!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Book Club Reports!

Last Wednesday, fifteen 8+9 Book Club members met to discuss the book Ten, by Gretchen McNeil, a contemporary realistic teen novel somewhat similar to And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie. It's a teens-only party at a house on an island; a storm hits, cutting the island off from the mainland and swamping the phone lines, leaving the group incommunicado and in peril from a killer.

The comments for this book were all over the map: Some found it exciting and suspenseful, but others said the character development was so minimal that they had a hard time remembering who was who, and a harder time caring as the characters died one by one! There were many comments about illogical aspects of the plot, but there were also positive comments about a few twists, such as the "party" in the other house on the island. In the end, the book received a pretty decent rating of 7.55.

For next month's club, this group will read Noggin, by John Corey Whaley, and for November we will read Reckless, the first book in the Mirrorworld series by Cornelia Funke, in preparation for her appearance at Book Cafe on November 19! (more on that shortly!)

Other books the club considered included:

Don't Look Back, by Jennifer Armentrout
The Heist Society, by Ally Carter
Far, Far Away, by Tom McNeil
Delirium, by Lauren Oliver
The Rithmatist, by Brandon Sanderson
Variant, by Robison Wells

We will let you know when to pick up Noggin. Our next meeting is on October 14.

This Tuesday, 18 members of the 6+7 Book Club met to talk about Dealing with Dragons, by Patricia Wrede. Some loved it (and read the rest of the four-book series!), some disliked it, and some were on the fence about this fantasy that turns the roles of fairy tale characters upside down. Princess Cimorene, who hired on as assistant to a dragon and refused to be rescued by hordes of handsome princes, was a favorite character for some of the girls, who liked her take-charge, no-nonsense attitude, while a couple of the boys found her too "sassy." Anarda and I cited the book as a good example of a re-told fairy tale, which coincidentally is the theme of this year's Teen Read Week writing contest (more on that later). The ratings for this book ranged from 10s to ones! so the final score was 7.15.

Next month the group will read The Last Dragonslayer, by Jasper Fforde (I guess we all had dragons on our minds), and for November we'll read The Apothecary, by Maile Meloy.

Other books the club considered included:

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne
The Princess Diaries, by Meg Cabot
Deep Blue, by Jennifer Donnelly
Stormbreaker (Alex Rider #1), by Anthony Horowitz
13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson
The Giver, by Lois Lowry
The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride #1), by James Patterson
The Rithmatist, by Brandon Sanderson

We will let you know when to pick up your book! Our next meeting is on October 13.