Friday, April 1, 2016

Top 25 New Books

Here is a list of the Top 25 NEW Books that checked out most frequently from Burbank Public Library in the past three months. It illustrates a few things:

  1. Half of the 25 novels (12) are part of a series--and most of those are fantasy or science fiction;
  2. Five others are the start to a new series (the majority of which are fantasy);
  3. Of the 10 stand-alone books, however, seven of the nine are realistic fiction (trending towards either gritty, thriller, or romantic).


  • Burbank teens seem to be a loyal bunch, willing to follow a series out to its conclusion;
  • Most of the series readers are interested in fantasy or sci fi;
  • But realistic fiction definitely has its place for Burbank teens!

Carry On : The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow /
          Rainbow Rowell
What We Saw / Aaron Hartzler
Never Always Sometimes / Adi Alsaid
The Isle of the Lost : A Descendants novel /
          Melissa de la Cruz
The Game of Lives / James Dashner
Winter / Marissa Meyer
The Rose Society / Marie Lu
Happily Ever After /
          Kiera Cass (illustrated by Sandra Suy)

Six of Crows / Leigh Bardugo
The Rest of Us Just Live Here / Patrick Ness
Zeroes / by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and
          Deborah Biancot
The Sleeper and the Spindle / Neil Gaiman
           (illustrated by Chris Riddell)
Need / by Joelle Charbonneau
How to Be Brave / E. Katherine Kottaras
Dangerous Lies / Becca Fitzpatrick
Trouble is a Friend of Mine / Stephanie Tromly
A Step Toward Falling / Cammie McGovern

Illuminae / Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
The Fate of Ten: Book Six of the Lorien Legacies /
          Pittacus Lor
Extraordinary Means / Robyn Schneider
A Court of Thorns and Roses / Sarah J. Maas
All In: A Naturals novel / Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess:
           A Girl Genius novel / Phil and Kaja Foglio
Unforgiven: A Fallen novel / Lauren Kate
Signs Point to Yes / Sandy Hall
The Selection Stories: The Prince & the Guard / Kiera Cass
Queen of Shadows / Sarah J. Maas

New books for teens are in special sections at all three libraries--be sure to check out those shelves to see the latest teen fiction!

(Highlighted books are linked to reviews, either of that book or of previous books in that series. If you have read one of these, please write us a review for the blog! We'd love to publish you.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

April at BPL!

Here are some events you might wish to attend (for fun or for extra credit)
in April at Burbank Public Library!

Buena Vista Branch
6:30 p.m.

an author talk by Dr. Dana Walrath

Blending magical realism and lyrical free verse, this historical fiction novel is an intense survival story of three siblings caught up in the horrific events of the Armenian genocide of 1915. Dr. Walrath will speak about her experiences in Armenia as a Fulbright Scholar, her travels to Western Armenia in 1984, and how these journeys influenced Like Water on Stone.

Buena Vista Branch
7:00 p.m.

an author talk by Nathalia Holt
In the 1940s and ‘50s, when the Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible. Hear their story! In addition to the author, one of the Rocket Girls will be a special guest!

Buena Vista Branch
6:30 p.m.

with Juan Cárdenas and Jessica M. Wilson Cárdenas of the Los Angeles Poet Society

Join us for National Poetry Month to learn two new poetic forms: the musical Ekphrastic method, and the Humument (human document) process!

We hope to see you at the library for these programs! Proof of attendance will be provided for those whose teachers offer extra credit.

Monday, March 28, 2016

What we're reading: Unreliable narrators

An "unreliable narrator" is the protagonist of the book whose narration can't necessarily be taken at face value. He may be unreliable on purpose (he's lying, or he's a terrible person who can't be trusted not to mislead you), or he may be insane, or he may believe he's telling the truth but is wrong, because he is naive or has himself been misled.

Sometimes you know from the beginning that the narrator is unreliable. For instance, in The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield openly admits that he's a liar. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck is naive and trusting, and his many misinterpretations of the events of his life reveal that his conclusions can't be trusted. In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, the autistic boy telling the story has a unique perspective that is his alone.

Other times, you start a book trusting that the narrator is telling you the real story, only to find out differently as you keep going and cracks appear. For instance, in the first book of one of my favorite series ever, The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner (The Queen's Thief #1), the entire book proceeds from the viewpoint of Gen, who has been released from prison by a powerful magus on the condition that he steal a valuable artifact for the magus. The reader holds this view of circumstances almost to the end of the book, and then gets a big surprise that causes a re-evaluation of the entire situation. Lauren Oliver's book, Vanishing Girls, is a story about two sisters who inhabit the same house, but as events unfold, the reader starts to feel uneasy about what's actually going on, and learns that ultimately, the narrator's word isn't to be trusted.

Charm & Strange, by Stephanie Kuehn, is a book with an unreliable narrator, who is telling his story from two points of view, but both of them are his. The chapters alternate between a story told by his 10-year-old self, Drew, an angry young boy whose experiences one summer changed his life, and another by his 16-year-old self, Win, exiled to a boarding school, burdened with a secret past he can't allow anyone to know. The story is further complicated by the fact that neither boy is psychologically able to speak about most of his story, and there is maddeningly little explanation in either time frame.

You understand right away that this child and this boy are as fragile as fine china that's about to crack, but you don't know why, and it drives you crazy. You get clues as you go on reading: "Love doesn't always look nice." You see a child acting out, a teenager who is completely shut down but is roiling with conflict and despair, and you have to keep going to know what it is that made him this way. It's a disturbing, beautiful, profound book for mature teens who like their stories mysterious and their realities a little gritty.

Some other YA books with unreliable narrators you might enjoy:

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart  
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin   
Belzhar, by Meg Wolitzer   
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky   
Dead to You, by Lisa McMann   
Invisible, by Pete Hautman

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Closed today!

Remember that the Buena Vista Branch, usually open 1-5 on Sundays, is CLOSED today for the Easter holiday! See you on Monday!