Saturday, June 18, 2016

What we're reading: Quantum physics and romance

The Square Root of Summer
by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
Realistic fiction / magical realism?
295 pages
8th grade up?

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. The universe around her is beginning to fray, and fuzzy spots in her line of sight turn into wormholes that pull her back to points in her past. Some trips (or are they visions? hallucinations?) are welcome--her beloved grandfather, who died last year, is still alive. Her best friend, Thomas, hasn't yet moved away and lost touch. Her boyfriend, Jason, hasn't yet rejected her. But some are not so welcome, and all are confusing. This summer, her grandfather is still gone, but Thomas is back, Jason is still an idiot, and her past, present, and even her future are about to mash up. Time travel, quantum physics, and romance are an interesting mix...

I didn't review this book for a while after I read it, because I wasn't sure what to say. The premise is so interesting, I liked the math (and thought there should be more about that, and I'm not even a math person!), and the writing and characters are well expressed. So the book was good...but it was also confusing, frustrating, and unclear. For a large part of it, I wasn't sure if the time paradoxes and such were real, or products of her imagination, or symptoms of serious mental illness! Honestly, I didn't get clear on that until the third chapter from the end of the book, which makes this a baffling read in the meantime.

The thing that bothered me most about this story was when she disappears into a black hole or fuzzes out, then snaps out of it only to discover that time has passed, she's in a different place, or things are happening around her, and she has no idea what/when/why, but:

A. No one seems to notice she's been "gone" because she is apparently still there, somehow? acting however they would expect her to act; and

B. Since the book is all told from first person perspective, you NEVER find out what the other people were seeing/experiencing while she was "gone"!

So...she's having a conversation with Thomas, she's suddenly swallowed by the fuzzy black hole in the corner of the room, and she comes back to find the conversation is still going on, and Thomas is laughing, presumably at something she said? but what was it? C'mon.

I did like it when I eventually figured things out, but it took a little too long. So I can't give this book top marks, but it was intriguing, and you might give it the benefit of the doubt if you like math, quantum physics, romance, time travel (?), or any combination of those. Also, i
f you are of German ancestry or simply have an affinity for the German language, you will probably enjoy all the expressions interspersed into the narrative. Since there seem to be a lot more books out there with expressions from the romance languages (Spanish, French, Italian) used as accent, that's an uncommon feature.

A three out of five stars from me.




Thursday, June 16, 2016

Teen reviews: Riordian, conclusion

The Blood of Olympus
by Rick Riordan
(preceded by The House of Hades)
516 pages
Fantasy/Adventure, Greek/Roman Mythology
Appropriate for all ages

Reviewed by M. S., grade 11
[spoiler alert!] After getting out of Tartarus, Percy and Annabeth are reunited with Jason, Leo, Piper, Hazel, Frank and some other demigods, Reyna and Nico, who arrived to help them get back to Camp Half­Blood. The group had successfully retrieved the Athena Parthenos, which is needed to unite the Roman and Greek camps. Reyna gives the bad news to Percy and Annabeth that Camp Jupiter will attack Camp Half­Blood in a couple of days, the same day Gaea plans to destroy both camps and the world. The group of nine have to race against time in order to prevent the end of the world and their camps.

This is the final installment of the Heroes of Olympus series and it was so amazing that I finished reading it at 1:00 a.m. the day after I got it, because I could not put it down! It is exciting but still stays serious most of the time, with the much-needed comic relief from many of the characters. This book was very entertaining and the writing made the end incredibly enjoyable, yet still ambiguous.

I would rate this book a 5!


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Finding new books!

Do you know where the new books "hide" in our library catalog? Did you know you can see all the brand-new books in one list there?


Here's the long way:
Go to our website: burbanklibrary.com
Click on the pull-down menu under "I WANT TO" and choose "find a book."
This will take you to our catalog.
Look over to the RIGHT, and you will see a box titled "Library Info."
Click on the second item, "New Library Items."
Click on "New Young Adult Books."

Or you can use this handy LINK I made to take you to the LAST window, where all you have to do is click on "New Young Adult Books" to see the (current number) 232 new teen titles!

If you're not interested in brand-new books, but you ARE interested in particular kinds of books (like a certain genre, for instance), you can follow the first steps but click instead on the FIRST item, "Have You Read?" and then on "Teen Booklists" to find lists of fantasy, historical fiction, dystopia, mystery, zombies, whatever you need! Here's a direct LINK to those lists.



Or, if you're old-school, come to the library and pick up some actual book lists--we have brand-new bookmarks featuring reading suggestions in eight different genres, divided into middle school and high school levels, in our teen sections starting this week! (You can also get them at Book Café TONIGHT!)

Check out one (or more) book today, to READ, WRITE, and WIN! Get a ticket for every book you read and put it in the jar at the reference desk to be in our every-Friday prize drawing. Write a book review and be entered in our every-other-Friday drawing for larger prizes! 

Reading makes you a winner at the library this summer!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Game On!

Today is the first official day of the Teen Summer Reading Program! If you haven't yet signed up, please go to our website and click on the "sign up" button for summer reading, then choose "teen."

Once you have signed up, come to the reference desk at any of our three branches, and the librarian there will give you a "swag bag" containing a brochure (with all the details), your reading log, your Book Café "passport," a Game On! Trivia Challenge, and some bonus fun stuff (pencil, eraser, toy).

We have two live events this week:

Book Café!
Yes, it's the first session of four, and yes, you want to come! Put it on your calendar for Wednesday nights at 7:00 at Buena Vista! (Not every week--check the calendar on your brochure.) Hang out with your friends and book-talk, while enjoying coffee-house treats! Meet young adult authors--we have a different one for each of the sessions except the first! And if you come to three of the four sessions, you get a free book of your choice, from our fabulous stash. We bought a bunch of new books as Book Café prizes, so don't miss out on random drawings and book rewards!




Teen Movie!
This Friday at 3:30 at the Central Library, we're showing ANT-MAN. Sit in a room with your friends in air-conditioned comfort, enjoy some snacks, watch the movie, and hang around for the prize drawing at the end! You must be registered for Game On in order to be entered, so be sure to take care of that right away!


Remember that starting today, you can READ, WRITE, and WIN by keeping a reading log or writing book reviews. The book reviews you write online (go back to the interface where you signed up), but you bring your reading log to the library's reference desk to fill out tickets that go in the jar. Every FRIDAY we draw names, and nine lucky readers (three at each branch) win such things as a $5 gift card to Starbucks, Yogurtland, Target, and more, or a movie ticket, or something else cool! Every OTHER Friday, six people win bigger prizes for writing book reviews! You can read about it here.


Also, don't overlook the "Game On" Trivia Challenge, a copy of which is included in your "swag bag." You can get some pointers that will help you solve it here. There will be prizes for our top performers on that as well (which we'l give out at our finale on July 23).

Here's a brochure that gives you all the details. And remember--you are making no commitment by signing up! You can do one thing, everything, or nothing! But if you sign up, you are eligible for prize drawings at all of our programs, so go for it!

We hope to see you at the library this week!