Saturday, February 4, 2017

Teen review: Edgy fiction

Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher
Realistic Fiction
288 pages
Not part of a series
Appropriate for ages 15+, mature content

Reviewed by M.S. (11th Grade)

Clay Jensen finds a package with no return address on his doorstep after school one day. Upon opening it, he finds seven cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, a girl who committed suicide weeks before. On each side of all the tapes, Hannah lists a person whose actions led her to kill herself, one of those people being Clay. In fear of having a second set of the tapes released by an anonymous person Hannah gave them to, the 13 people must pass them onto each other until the tapes reach the final person.

Thirteen Reasons Why is an incredibly emotional and poetic book that I could only handle in small doses. I had to force myself to finish this beautifully written novel because the stress it imposed on me was too much to handle at times. After reading it, I have found myself appreciating my friends and family even more because of the emotional trip I took while reading this book. I strongly advise everyone to read this, even though it pulls at your heartstrings and is depressing.

I would rate this novel four stars. (It would be a five, but it caused too much emotional exhaustion!)

Friday, February 3, 2017

Coming up at the library!

We have TWO ACTIVITIES for teens coming up in the next two weeks, and we really hope to see you here.

Next Wednesday night, February 8, at the Buena Vista Branch at 7:00 p.m., we're having a SHELF-TALKER WORKSHOPTeens, adults, and children (ages 6 & up) are invited to help us paper the shelves with love notes to books! Stop in and create a shelf-talker about the book you love.

Write a (short) summary of what the book is about, and why you adore it. We will have pre-printed forms for those who only want to write about it, with "The Book I Love" and some hearts on it. But if you like, you can choose a blank form for yours, and then embellish the shelf-talker with drawings, a border, some fancy lettering, or just a few hearts—your choice.

Afterward, we will hang all the shelf-talkers throughout the library with the books they recommend, in preparation for VALENTINE’S DAY, so other people will know to love those books, too!

All materials will be provided.

Then, Thursday night, February 16, also at the Buena Vista Branch at 7:00 p.m.,  we will host

This evening will feature TEENS sharing staged readings from their favorite books! 

Applaud for the BOOKS YOU LOVE or learn about some new reads, while you enjoy coffee-house treats! This program is for teens in grades 6-12 only!

TEENS who would like to participate please email by February 9 with your name, contact info, and the book from which you would like to read. We hope to have lots of participants for this! (You don't have to email if you're just planning to attend, only if you want to read. All teens are welcome!)

It's a February of book love at Burbank Public Library!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Award-winning Teen Fiction Post #9

Here is the last story from our top nine writers in the POV Story Writing Contest. Vana is 12 years old and is in 7th grade.

by Vana Matevosian

Hello, my name is Superman! Just kidding, my name is Jude Marley and I am in 8th grade. Yay, we are finally seniors, sort of, and the second semester is almost over and I can't wait to graduate and be done with school, boring, boring school. Summer break, here I come. My geometry teacher, Mrs. Joy, who, let's face it, is not so joyful. Actually despises all of her students. For example, my friends and I were talking in class and she gave us all detention for one whole month. She is crazy. I wonder how many cats she has at hear house, because she sure does smell like kitty litter. Anyway, my friends are planning on doing a senior prank on her.

"Hey, Jude!" called my friend Sebastian, "you want to come over to my house after school?"

"Sure," I replied. "Did you figure out the, you know..."

"Oh, that, yah, I know exactly what I am doing. You want to help?" Sebastian offered.

"No, thanks, I got enough things to worry about, like my sister, other than help you with something that will get me in trouble," I said, not wanting to get involved.

My little sister is only four, but she is battling cancer. I really hope they find a cure that will work; they tried everything, but nothing seems to work. She basically lives in a hospital bed. I visit her as often as I can. Oh, no! I promised her I would be there today.

"Hey, Sebastian, I can't make it today," I stated.

"Why not? Do you think I'm a troublemaker or something?" he asked.

"I promised my sister I would be there for her, she is going through surgery and she wanted to know that I was there to make her feel better," I said, thinking I had won this argument.

"Doesn't she have her little teddy bear to keep her company?" he answered rudely.

"You making fun of my sister?" I said angrily.

"Maybe I am."

"You take that back right now!" I shouted. By now, a whole circle of people had surrounded us and they were all screaming, "Fight! Fight! Fight!"

"One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war!" stated Sebastian. You would think that we are too old for this, but it's the only way to fight without getting in serious trouble.

"You're on!" I screamed. We fought and we fought and I am not so proud to say that I lost. But when I went to the hospital, it was totally worth it. My parents told me that she refused to start the surgery until I got there. I really hope it works this time. We were going to spend a long night in the waiting room.

The next day, Mrs. Joy assigned us 50 math problems as our homework, and made us write down notes all period long. When lunch came, Sebastian didn't show up at the table where all of our friends usually sit. They were all talking about something, but stopped when I got there.

"What are you guys talking about?" I asked.

"Nothing," they replied.

I quietly ate my lunch, then left. Tomorrow was the day that Sebastian told me he was going to do the prank on Mrs. Joy. I kind of hope he gets in trouble for it. One of my friends told me that the trap was set. I couldn't wait until math class.

When I walked into Mrs. Joy's class, every object in the room had the name "Jude" written on it. I can't believe he framed me!

"Is there something you would like to explain, young man?" asked Mrs. Joy.

"No, because I didn't do it!" I replied.

"Then why does everything have your name written on it?" asked Mrs. Joy.

"If I did pull a prank, why would I write my name on everything? Then I would get caught!" I said.

"I will hold you back one more year if I have to," said Mrs. Joy.

"It was Sebastian, okay? He told me he was going to pull a prank on you, and he did!" I said, stating the truth.

"And why would I believe you?" asked Mrs. Joy.

"Because I am telling the truth," I replied.

"You and Sebastian go to the principal's office--I am sure he will take care of you two!" and with that we were off on the long, shameful walk down the seemingly never-ending hallway to the principal's office.

"Mr. Wellington, I promise I didn't do it," I said. "It was all Sebastian."

"Don't listen to him, it was all Jude," lied Sebastian.

"Calm down, Jude. You're a good kid and I believe you." He turned to Sebastian. "Why did you do such a thing as frame your friend for something he didn't do, Sebastian?" asked Mr. Wellington.

"We got in an argument about...wait, I don't even remember!" exclaimed Sebastian.

"You don't remember how you insulted my little sister?" I asked in disbelief.

"Okay, I'm sorry, I didn't think she was that big of a deal to you," answered Sebastian.

"She is a big deal to me, and if you realize that, you can be my friend again," I stated.

"Fine, let's be friends again. Want to go play basketball?" he asked.

"Sure," I replied. We went to the basketball courts and Sebastian's brother, Ryan, was there.

"Do we have to play with your brother?" I asked. "He is the worst at basketball, he can't even make one out of five free throws," I said.

"Are you making fun of my brother?" Sebasian asked.

"Maybe," I replied.

The End?


Editor's note: Here are the two things I want to know: 1. What happened to the little sister? and 2. How did the boys get out of being punished by the principal? Maybe sometime Vana will write more.