Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

Things are not going well for fourteen-year-old Doug Swieteck and his family in Gary D. Schmidt’s novel Okay for Now. Doug and his parents have to move to a rundown house in upstate Marysville, New York, where his father has found a new job. Doug’s older brother Chris is a budding juvenile delinquent under suspicion of committing several robberies in town, and Doug’s oldest brother Lucas is in Vietnam. On top of all of this, Doug has a very big obstacle to overcome when it comes to his school work.

On the brighter side, Doug is a gifted artist who receives lessons on drawing birds from John James Audubon's Birds of America from a kindly librarian, and he quickly develops a crush on Lil Spicer, whose father owns the local deli and hires Doug to make Saturday deliveries. There is a lot going on in Okay for Now and Schmidt does a convincing job writing Doug’s narration of these events. Ultimately, too many events in the book come off as implausible. These include Lil being cast in a Broadway play even though she has no acting experience, and Doug’s dad doing something unimaginably cruel to him. Even worse, the implausibility often shifts between slapstick comedy and gritty realism. This could be a good book, but there is just too much crammed in.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Bartlett's Best Pizza 2014

Thank you to the four Bartlett Pizzerias that supplied pizzas for the event. Teens tasted samples of each and here are the results! 

Best Crust: Marco's Pizza
Best Sauce: Pasta Mia
Best Sausage: Taylor Street
Best Cheese: Taylor Street
Best Overall: Marco's Pizza

Special Thanks To: Nicodino's Pizza Co & Cafe, Pasta Mia, Taylor Street Pizza, and Marco's Pizza

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

Charlotte is an Oracle, she gets visions of the future, but unlike ancient Oracles modern Oracles are told to fight their visions and by no means are they to do anything to change the future. Charlotte has not attempted to change the future since she was six and her actions lead to her father's death and her mother being wheelchair bound. But now people are being murdered in her small town of Coldwater and no matter how hard she tries she can't fight off the visions.Then a man, who goes by the name Smith, shows up, knowing far more than he should about Oracles and Charlotte. Smith urges Charlotte to explore her  powers and to try and save the killer's future victims. The more she tries the help though the closer she gets to the killer.

A supernatural murder mystery that leans more toward the murder mystery side of things. While Charlotte's Oracle powers are what gets her involved with the killer keeps the reader turning the pages (at least in the case of this reader) is the mystery of who the killer is what their motivation could be. Several events may seem over done or trite, but the supernatural atmosphere hints that things may not always be what they seem. Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike is a fast paced thriller.

You may also like:
The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Sekret by Lindsay Smith


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Laurel's first high school English assignment is to write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain (lead singer of Nirvana) because Nirvana was her sister, May's, favorite band. May died in April. Instead of turning in her assignment though Laurel continues to write these letters to dead people, including Judy Garland, Amelia Earhart, and River Phoenix (but never the most important, May). Through these letters the reader sees Laurel's family, broken and reeling after May's death, experiences Laurel's insecurities about starting at a new school, making new friends, having her first drink, and developing a relationship (maybe?) with Sky (who occasionally reminds her of River Phoenix). As the letters continue Laurel also starts to reveal more about May, who she was in life, and the events of the night of her death.

Told entirely in letters to dead people Laurel uses their lives and demises to frame her thoughts and what is going on in her life. While these letters probably include more detail than anyone would in reality write to someone (or in a diary) they are interesting, thoughtful, and keep you wondering about what was really going on with May around the time of her death. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira is a good read if you're in the mood for realistic fiction that shows some harsh and heartbreaking realities, but is balanced (mostly) out with good friends and caring family members.

You may also like:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher


Saturday, August 2, 2014

New YA Books in the Library 07/27 - 08/02

The Last of Us: American Dreams by Neil Druckmann
Nineteen years after a parasitic fungal outbreak killed the majority of the world's population, thirteen-year-old Ellie, a ward of a military boarding school in one of the few remaining quarantine zones, makes her first trip into the outside world and soon encounters both a violent insurgent group called the Fireflies and the monstrous victims of the infection.

Naruto. Volume 66, The New Three by Masashi Kishimoto
Naruto will have to summon all of his Nine Tails power if he hopes to stand up against the devastating team of Obito and Madara. Luckily for the Allied Shinobi Forces, the greatest help they could ever wish for is on the way. And when Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura are finally reunited, the whole direction of the war may change dramatically!

Batman/Detective Comics. Volume 4 by John Layman
The Caped Crusader is challenged by the mystery of the 900. In this book, Batman faces two new foes: Emperor Penguin and the deadly vigilante known as The Wrath, a dark counterpart to the Dark Knight.

Voice Over! : Seiyu Academy. Volume 1 by Maki Minami
Hime Kino's dream is to one day do voice acting like her hero Sakura Aoyama from the Lovely Blazers anime, and getting accepted to the prestigious Holly Academy's voice actor department is the first step in the right direction! But Himes gruff voice has earned her the scorn of teachers and students alike. To make matters worse, Sakuras grouchy son, Senri, is in Hime's class, and he seems determined to stomp on her dreams.

The Young World by Chris Weitz
Welcome to New York, a city ruled by teens. After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind. The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park...and discovers truths they could never have imagined.

Friday, July 25, 2014

How They Choked: Failures, Flops and Flaws of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg

The introduction of How They Choked pretty much sums it all up:

"Warning: Nobody's Perfect; Get Used to It

"If you only want to see people at their best, this book isn't for you. I've been asked "Don't you ever write anything with a happy ending?"  So far, no, and not in this book either. It's full of bad news about how some of the world's most successful people failed, flunked, choked, or blew it. What's not to love? There's nothing better than reading about how someone else messed up."

There you have it.

Written by the author that gave us How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous, this book will not only teach you some new facts about people you are supposed to know all about, but it will keep you laughing the whole time. Great illustrations as well.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

New YA Books in the Library This Week (07/13-07/19)

Horde by Ann Aguirre (3rd in the Razorland Series)
The horde is coming.Salvation is surrounded, monsters at the gates, and this time, they're not going away. When Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan set out, the odds are against them. But the odds have been stacked against Deuce from the moment she was born. She might not be a Huntress anymore, but she doesn't run. With her knives in hand and her companions at her side, she will not falter, whether fighting for her life or Fade's love.Ahead, the battle of a lifetime awaits. Freaks are everywhere, attacking settlements, setting up scouts, perimeters, and patrols. There hasn't been a war like this in centuries, and humans have forgotten how to stand and fight.

Laddertop. Books 1 & 2 by Orson Scott Card
Out of deep space, an alien race known as "The Givers" came to Earth. They gave the human race the greatest technology ever seen--four giant towers known as Ladders that rose 36,000 miles into space. As suddenly as the Givers arrived, they vanished, leaving the human race with one solemn instruction: maintain and preserve the Ladders at all costs. Due to the unique alien construction of the Laddertop space stations, however, only a skilled crew of children could perform the maintenance necessary. 25 years later competition is fierce to enter Laddertop Academy. Robbi and Azure, two 11-year-old best friends, are among those vying for a spot at the prestigious academy. While one is rejected, the other takes off into space for the adventure of a lifetime. Yet soon, their destinies will collide, as they must decipher an alien message and that could either save the Earth from invasion...or trigger its imminent destruction.

The Selection Stories: The Prince and the Guard by Keira Cass
Before America arrived at the palace to compete in the Selection, there was another girl in Prince Maxon's life. The Prince opens the week before the Selection begins and follows Maxon through the first day of the competition. Raised as a Six, Aspen Leger never dreamed that he would find himself living in the palace as a member of the royal guard. In The Guard, readers get an inside look at Aspen's life within the palace walls--and the truth about a guard's world that America will never know.

Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis
15-year-old Farrin has many secrets. It is 1988; ever since the Shah was overthrown, the deeply conservative and religious government controls every facet of life in Iran. The day she meets Sadira, Farrin's life changes forever. Sadira is funny, wise and outgoing; the two girls become inseparable. But as their friendship deepens into romance, the relationship takes a dangerous turn. It is against the law to be a homosexual in Iran; the punishment is death. Despite their efforts to keep their love secret, the girls are discovered and arrested. Separated from Sadira, Farrin can only pray as she awaits execution.

Pandora Hearts Volume 9 and Volume 10 by Jon Mochizuki
The incuse on Oz Vessalius's chest ticks onward, but the young heir to one of the four great dukedoms directs his gaze back, seeking the facts behind a centuries-old tragedy. Intent on examining the ruins of Sablier despite warnings to scare him away, Oz and his makeshift party of explorers wander through the remnants of the former capital in search of clues to shed light upon the consuming darkness of the past. But in the yawning void where the opulent city once stood, will Oz come face-to-face with the truth? Or will he find misery the only resident...?

Road Rash by Mark Parsons
After being dropped from one band, 16-year-old drummer Zach gets a chance to go on tour with a much better band. It feels like sweet redemption, but this is one rocky road trip - filled with jealousy, rivalries, and on-stage meltdowns.

The Insider by Ridley Pearson (Kingdom Keepers Book 7)
The Kingdom Keepers' senior year in high school is almost over. For more than three years, things have been quiet. Their battles are long behind them, they agree, the threat to the Disney realm silenced albeit at great cost. But inside the catacombs of the Aztec temple where Finn Whitman faced down his nemesis, the monstrous Chernabog, a new threat brews. Deception and betrayal rock the Kingdom Keepers as the merciless group of Disney villains known as the Overtakers stage an unexpected comeback. But a discovery by the Keepers provides them with one hope of victory-a lost icon. It was believed to be gone forever. The Keepers have one last chance to preserve the heart of the Kingdom-Disneyland-from a terrifying destruction decades in the making.