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November 27, 2013

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

lifeaswe.jpgWhat would it take to end life as we know it? Would it require all-out nuclear war? Virulent viruses that cause zombies to walk the earth? Alien invaders from far-off spiral arms of the galaxy? Or maybe something a little more close to earth: the Moon. How exactly can the Moon bring about the end of civilization, you ask? Well it turns out that Susan Beth Pfeffer has explored exactly that idea in her excellent novel Life as We Knew It.

Life as We Knew It is told in the manner of a diary, written by a sixteen year old girl named Miranda living in Pennsylvania. It begins like any other young adult novel, with a teenager girl and her problems with friends, family, school, and her hopes and dreams for the future. Yet something different is happening, not that Miranda pays too much attention. A meteor is going to hit the Moon, so big that it will be visible on the Earth. Miranda isn't too excited for the event, indeed she complains because all of her teachers are giving her extra homework based around the event.

Then, when the event occurs, everything changes. The moon's orbit shifts, ending up closer to the Earth. This, however, proves almost as disastrous as if it crashed into the Earth itself. Weather patterns change, tides surging, terrible floods, typhoons and tornadoes and tempests raging across the world. Panic ensues, but Miranda is very lucky that her mother is not only level-headed but resourceful. Miranda's family stocks up on food and other supplies, trying to prepare for what comes next. But there was no way any of them could be prepared for what comes next.

Life as We Knew It is a tremendous, gripping book about the struggle to survive in circumstances that are simultaneously apocalyptic and realistic. Pfeffer writes Miranda as utterly human, vulnerability tempered by a growing strength in the face of horrific circumstances. Once you pick this book up, you'll find it very hard to put down. You'll turn each page, following Miranda and her family utterly absorbed. Definitely check this book out as soon as possible, as you'll never know when life as we know it might end.

November 23, 2013

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth

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Lewis Blake is off to junior high, and like most kids his age, he just wants to fit in. But, while Lewis is smart and outgoing, he is also Native American and poor which makes him an outsider in a class full of non-Native, white students. That is, until he meets George Haddonfield, a new classmate who lives on the nearby Air Force base. Lewis and George bond over the music of Queen, the Wings, and the Beatles, but is that all they have in common? Set in 1975 on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation in upstate New York, Eric Gansworth's debut young adult novel, If I Ever Get Out of Here, chronicles Lewis' struggle to navigate both the familiar customs of reservation life and the typical nuances of a teenager experiencing the "outer" world. As Lewis and George's friendship develops, Lewis feels he must hide his true self behind a series of lies, but what happens when George discovers the truth? Can they still be friends?

If I Ever Get Out of Here is a touching tale that highlights the power of friendship, the importance of cultural exchange, and the magic of rock and roll while touching on darker yet realistic themes like racism, bullying, and the shame associated with poverty. Similar to Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, If I Ever Get Out of Here is an engaging read for teens to explore identity and diverse cultures as well as for adults looking to relive the 70s; check it out today!

Hayley @ Central

November 14, 2013

Do you get excited when you open a new book? Us too! So, give books!

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Hear about the best books 2013 has to offer. Suggestions made by librarians Tom Olson and Jacki Potratz will make holiday gift-giving a breeze. This is your chance to ask questions before you buy. Many genres, as well as children's and young adult recommendations, will be presented. All books on display will be available for checkout. Preview the titles on our Give Books! 2013 Pinterest board.

Jacki @ Central

October 4, 2013

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fridays

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Yovanoff's atmospheric novel, The Space Between, is about Daphne's quest to find her brother Obie who travels routinely between Hell and Earth, to save lost souls. Hell is the natural habitat of Daphne and Obie, who are half demon - half angel children of Lillith and Lucifer. Other mythic personalities from Apocryphal literature such as Azrael, Moloch and Beelzebub are also characters in this story, which is set in a timeless city of Pandemonium, and present day Cicero, Illinois. While Daphne is on earth she finds Obie's odd, endearing half human daughter, Ramie, in a cardboard box in a closet. She then falls in love with a sad, suicidal human boy, named Truman. Fans of the movie Constantine will find this strangely beautiful, well written novel most engaging.

Deb @ Bay View

September 26, 2013

Banned Book Week: Looking for Alaska by John Green

looking4alaska.jpegJohn Green is a lot of things: YouTube celebrity, award-winning author, father, pizza lover, and a man who has actually posted a video on the internet where he draws on himself with permanent marker. One thing he has famously argued, however, is that he is definitely not a pornographer (nor is he a member of The New Pornographers, but that has little bearing as more than a semi-nonsensical aside). It is not often that one argues that point, as rarely does one get accused of being a pornographer. But in the instance of John Green's debut novel Looking for Alaska (a winner of the ALA's Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature); it's not hard to see why it would drum up controversy.

You see, Looking for Alaska has a smattering of elements that read like a top ten list of "Things Parents Don't Want Their Precious Babies Becoming Involved With": smoking, drinking, swearing, sex, skipping class, elaborate pranks, swearing, lying to parents, hiring strippers, religious discourse and more. The story revolves around the teenaged Pudge (nicknamed under the same conceit as gargantuan men with meat-mallet hands with the name 'Tiny'), who moves off to a boarding high school in Alabama during his junior year. The book then details the adventures and misadventures of Pudge and the group of friends he makes, most important of which is the titular Alaska, the beautiful blonde girl whom Pudge becomes infatuated with.

With seemingly demonic swans, eagle-eyed teachers, assignments delving into the great mysteries of life, there's actually a fair amount of depth to this book. If I had one major complaint (ignoring the many little fiddly details that make it obvious this is Mr. Green's first novel), it is that the very end of the book reads much like the famous conclusion to beloved Brat Pack movie The Breakfast Club, but instead of a letter about the fundaments and challenges of teenage identity in high school, we receive Pudge's essay on the meaning of the afterlife and existence itself. If you think that sounds more than a little pretentious, you are more than a little correct. That said, it doesn't spoil the book in the least, and it's definitely worth your time to check this book out.

Tim @ Central

September 25, 2013

Banned Book Week: The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

agonyofalice.jpg"Life is like a dumpster. As soon as you get rid of one embarrassment, you pick up another," Alice McKinley explains in The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. From relocating to a new city to not getting the teacher she wants, Alice encounters a series of shortcomings, downfalls, and mishaps from meeting new friends to finding a role model to look up to since the loss of her mother. Plus, living in an all-male household is not easy, but this coming-of-age story marks Alice's growth from a girl to a young lady including buying a bra, getting her first period, and learning how to acknowledge inner beauty.

The Agony of Alice is the first title of a 28-book series that chronicles Alice's life from middle school to the summer before she leaves for college. While the Alice series speaks to a wide audience, especially young female readers, it has also been frequently challenged by critics on multiple grounds. Some believe that various titles contain material that is "unsuited to age group" or argue that content is "sexually explicit." Others are bothered by what they feel is "offensive language" or disagree with homosexual and religious viewpoints that Naylor presents. Because of this, the Alice series appears on the American Library Association's "Top Ten Challenged Books Lists by Year" for 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2011.

Despite what critics may say about the Alice series, Naylor presents a sequence of familiar yet meaningful life events set in a realistic tone. Readers have the opportunity "grow up" or "relive their youth" with Alice, and while the series started years ago, children and young adults still face similar issues today. So don't feel embarrassed about picking up the Alice series; check one out today!

Hayley @ Central

September 23, 2013

Banned Book Week 2013

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Image used by permission of the American Library Association

Every year, the American Library Association sets aside one week to celebrate the freedom to read. The celebration is labelled as Banned Book Week, to bring attention to those books that have been banned or removed from libraries or had a public outcry demanding their removal from a library. This year, Banned Book Week is from September 22nd through the 28th. You too can celebrate by picking up a challenged or banned book from your local library branch.

Also each year, the ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom puts together a list of the ten most challenged books of the previous year. The following ten titles are those most challenged books, all of which are freely available in the Milwaukee library system.
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1. Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants Series.
Yes, somehow a series about two fourth grade kids who accidentally hypnotize their school principal into thinking he's the titular brief-wearing superhero is the most challenged of 2012. This is as telling about modern society as it is ridiculous.




absolutelytruecover.jpg2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Sherman Alexie's tale of a budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot has ended up on this list many times, and for good reason: it's a brilliant, honest book about being young and growing up.

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3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.
Asher's story is about a young girl who commits suicide, and the thirteen reasons for her decision to end her life that she records and passes on to those she holds responsible. Praised for its eloquence steeped in tragedy, this is another book challenged for showing dark realities that can afflict young people.

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4. E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey
The sexcapades of Anastasia Steele and her new boyfriend Christian Grey sparked the runaway publishing hit of 2012, and the fastest selling paperback of all time! They even tried to pull it off library shelves in Florida, until unsurprisingly the public demanded it be made available again.



tango makes three.jpg5. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
This one is a children's book about the real story of two male penguins raising an egg together in the Central Park zoo, creating a supposed threat to cherubic innocence horrific enough to place the book atop the most challenged list for four separate years.

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6. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
This best-selling novel traces the period between the final days of Afghanistan's monarchy through the horrific rule of the Taliban through the unlikely friendship between a wealthy Afghan boy and the son of his father's servant.



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7. John Green's Looking for Alaska
John Green's big success may be the more recent The Fault in Our Stars, but it is his first novel that lands on the top 10 most challenged list. The book is about a high school junior, nicknamed 'Pudge' who transfers to a boarding school and his experiences there making new friends and more. One short, awkward teenage sex scene in the book is what attracts most of the controversy to the book.


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8. Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories series
This series of gross and ghastly short stories gets challenged and banned on the basis that it is too scary for children. One would think that the content was obvious from the title.




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9. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
A deeply personal memoir that unflinchingly details the author's childhood experiences; included are passages of molestation and other tragic matters, which are the source of the controversy surrounding the book.



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10. Beloved by Toni Morrison
This is the story of Sethe, an escaped slave living in post-Civil War Ohio with her daughter and mother-in-law, who is haunted persistently by the ghost of the dead baby girl whom she sacrificed. The commonly cited reasons this book has been challenged include violence, sexual content, and oddly enough 'religious viewpoint'.




For more information and lists on frequently challenged books, check out the ALA's website on banned and challenged books.

The above annotations are in part from our catalog or the readers' advisory database NoveList.

September 21, 2013

Which Book Next? Monday@5:30 pm!

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September 13, 2013

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fridays

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Trilogy by Carrie Ryan brings to life a world set decades after a catastrophic zombie infestation has left survivors throughout the world isolated and struggling to survive. The last remnants of civilization collapse as huge zombie hordes threaten to overrun the last remaining cities and outposts.

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Forest of Hands and Teeth
Teenager Mary struggles against the constraints of her village. The Sisterhood has always protected her people since the Return. The Sisterhood claims that the village is all that remains, but Mary can't help but wonder if there is a world beyond her village. When the fences that protect her village from the Unconsecrated are breached, Mary is forced to seek her answers in the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

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The Dead Tossed Waves
Gabry enjoys her uneventful life in a seaside town until a teenage prank spirals out of control. In the course of one night, Gabry finds her quiet life irrevocably gone, her friends dead and her mother missing. Gabry must flee into the forest she has feared her whole life to escape.

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The Dark and Hollow Places
Annah and her brother, Elias have always found a way to survive together in the Dark City until the day Elias leaves for the recruiters and Annah is left behind. Annah, a tough and daring protagonist, manages to survive from day to day but desires more from life than just getting by.

Laura @ Central

August 22, 2013

Central Reads

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Belle Epoque, set in late 1800's Paris, is a debut young adult novel by Elizabeth Ross that was inspired by Emile Zola's short story Les Repoussoir. Maude Pinchon, fleeing an arranged marriage, escapes to Paris only to find life there comes with its own hardships and heartaches. In order to survive, she takes a job as a repoussoir, a young woman hired for her ugliness and used to highlight the beauty of her client. Maude's first client is Isabel, a headstrong young woman, who is unaware that Maude has been hired by her mother. As Maude's friendship with Isabel grows, Maude is forced to choose between her growing friendship with Isabel and her own survival.

Laura @ Central

July 29, 2013

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

relish.jpegLike a youthful, artistic Proust, Lucy Knisley's memory is strongly tied to her sense of taste. Through these memories, each with their own unique tastes and stories, Knisley crafts a wonderful illustrated memoir of a youth, growth, coming of age and beyond in Relish: My Life in the Kitchen.

From being a small child in New York City, to the shift of living in rural upstate New York, to trips into Mexico and France, each of these events is told with a charming, cartoon visual style in vibrant color. Punctuating each of these stories (which are equal parts delightful and poignant) is a recipe that closes each chapter, again illustrated with Knisley's warm cartoon style. You'd never guess that cartoon food would look so delicious, but somehow she pulls it off!

Don't let the fact we filed this book in the Young Adult section fool you, this is a great read for all ages. Just make sure not to read on an empty stomach; the book will definitely leave you craving some delicious food.

Tim @ Central

July 23, 2013

Whatcha Readin' @ Capitol & Mill Road

Ever wonder what the library staff are reading? Here's a snapshot of what's currently being read by workers at the Capitol and Mill Road branches:

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Lynn is reading The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau and Flat Water Tuesday by Ron Irwin

Enid is reading Her: A Memoir by Christa Parravani and is listening to Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

Deidre is reading Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick


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Casey is reading The Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today edited by Judi Kingry & Lauren Devine, Tarnished and Torn by Juliet Blackwell and World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

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Liz is reading Soulless by Gail Carriger

Kim is reading All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg

Carl is reading You: A Novel by Austin Grossman

Brandis is reading The Frugal Woman's Guide to a Rich Life edited by Stacia Ragolia

Watch for future lists of what the staff at the branch locations are reading!

June 17, 2013

Whatcha Readin' @ Bay View & Tippecanoe

Ever wonder what the library staff are reading? Here's a snapshot of what's currently being read by workers at the Bay View and Tippecanoe branches:

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Christopher G (Bay View & Tippecanoe) is reading The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1 and is listening to Gideon's Corpse by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Deb H (Bay View) is reading The Illicit Happiness of Other People by Manu Joseph and is listening to In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks: And Other Complaints from an Angry Middle-Aged White Guy by Adam Carolla

Alison Z (Bay View) is reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Inferno by Dan Brown

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Abby O (Bay View) is reading Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Alyssa P (Bay View) is reading Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal by William H. Chafe

Matt P (Bay View) is reading A Game of Thrones by R.R. Martin

Fran G (Bay View) is reading Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis and Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta

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Sarah L (Tippecanoe) is reading The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg

Becky M (Tippecanoe) is reading Family Pictures by Jane Green

Kyle D (Tippecanoe) is reading Please Don't Come Back From the Moon by Dean Bakopoulos

Sue G (Tippecanoe) is reading Bringing Mulligan Home: The Other Side of the Good War by Dale Maharidge and I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

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Irene M (Tippecanoe) is reading A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home: Lessons in the Good Life From an Unlikely Teacher by Sue Halpern

Katie F (Tippecanoe) is reading Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

Watch for future lists of what the staff at the branch locations are reading!

May 9, 2013

Whatcha Readin'@Central Library

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Ever wonder what the library staff are reading? Here's a snapshot of what's currently being read by workers at Central:

Laura P is reading The Summer Queen by Joan D. Vinge

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Hilary E is reading Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton

Christine O is reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

John S is reading Deity, Mantra, and Wisdom: Development Stage Meditation in Tibetan Buddhist Tantra by Jigme Lingpa, Patrul Rinpoche, and Getse Mahapandita

Allie S is reading Visa for Avalon by Bryher

Leslie F is reading An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon and listening to The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

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Gail B is reading Disturbance by Jan Burke

Tom O is reading Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro

Tom F is reading I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp: An Autobiography by Richard Hell

Mary M is reading Amazing Things Will Happen: A Real-World Guide on Achieving Success and Happiness by C.C. Chapman

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Victoria S is reading The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price by Lynn O'Shaughnessy

Kelly K is reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Manuel C is reading Blue-Blooded Vamp by Jaye Wells

Jim B is reading The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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Joanne B is reading Gone to Soldiers by Marge Piercy

Emily K is reading Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen E. Ambrose

Pam H is reading Dance of the Gods by Nora Roberts

Roxanne S is reading The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Chris M is reading Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich (a forthcoming title, July 2013)

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Kathy B is reading Anjum's Eat Right for Your Body Type: The Super-Healthy Detox Diet Inspired by Ayurveda by Anjum Anand

Watch for future lists of what the staff at the branch locations are reading!

February 15, 2013

Science Fiction & Fantasy Fridays

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

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Set in Gatlin, a small town in South Carolina, Beautiful Creatures is the first book in the Caster Chronicles series and revolves around Ethan Wate. Ethan has lived in Gatlin his whole life and can't wait to get away and see the world because nothing ever changes or happens in Gatlin. He's also having recurring dreams about a girl, and when Lena Duchannes moves into town he's certain that she's the girl from the dreams, and so their star crossed romance begins.

Lena has a secret, she and her family are Casters, or people with supernatural powers. And on her sixteenth birthday, which is only six months away her destiny will be determined. Will she be claimed for dark? Or for light? The series continues in the books Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption and the first book was just released as a movie.

Jacki @ Central

February 4, 2013

What She Left Behind by Tracy Bilen

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The focus of What She Left Behind, the debut novel by Tracy Bilen, is domestic violence as seen through the eyes of sixteen year old Sara. To escape their abusive home life, Sara's mother makes plans to meet her daughter at the local Dairy Queen at a specific time. Sara waits hours for her mom at the Dairy Queen, but knows something is terribly wrong when her mom never shows up. What happened to Sara's mom? And, can she figure it out before it's too late?

Sue @ Tippecanoe

February 1, 2013

Teen Awards 2013

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) honors the best teen literature each year with its six literary awards, announced each year at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. To learn more about the awards, including previous winners click here.

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The Michael L. Printz Award annually honors the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit. The 2013 winner is Nick Lake for his novel In Darkness.

In January 2010 an earthquake rocks the island of Haiti leaving fifteen-year-old Shorty trapped in rubble at a hospital in Port-au-Prince. As he weakens he becomes delusional and has nightmares that mix together his violent childhood and events from a Haitian revolutionary leader's life.




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The William C. Morris Award is for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens. This year the winner is Rachel Hartman for Seraphina.

In a tale full of dragons and royal scandal, Seraphina is a strong willed young lady who uses her musical talents as a distraction for her own dark secret.






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Benjamin Alire Saenz won the Stonewall Book Award for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. This award is given annually to English-language children's and teen books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.

In 1987, two seemingly opposite boys forge a deep bond. When Dante's feelings for Ari come to light and tragedy strikes, Ari must decide the type of person he wants to be.






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The Mildred L. Batchelder Award recognizes an outstanding children's book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States.

My Family for the War by Anne C. Voorhoere, translated by Tammi Reichel is this year's winner.

Before the start of World War II, 10-year-old Ziska Mangold, who is raised Protestant, is taken out of Nazi Germany on one of the Kindertransport trains to live in London with an "adopted" Jewish family. She learns about Judaism and endures the hardships of war while attempting to keep in touch with her parents, who are trying to survive in Holland.




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The Odyssey Award is for the best audiobook produced for teens and/or children available in English in the US. This year's winner is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and narrated by Kate Rudd.

Diagnosed with stage IV thyroid cancer, Hazel has always known her fate. But when she meets Augustus Waters at a cancer support group, Hazel struggles to change her outlook on life and love.




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The Schneider Family Book Award is for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience and this year was given to Harry Mazer and Peter Lerangis for Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am.

Ben is wounded and trying to recover from a traumatic brain injury that occurred while serving in Iraq. Although he will never be the person he once was, this is the story of his struggle and transformation.

Karli & Katharina, Central

January 30, 2013

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

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The Fablehaven Series is a fantasy series written by Brandon Mull. It includes Fablehaven, Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star, Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague, Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, and Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison.

When Kendra and Seth Sorenson are sent to visit their grandparents for the first time ever, they expect it to be long and boring. What they soon discover, though, is quite the opposite. Their grandparents are actually the caretakers of Fablehaven, one of a handful of secret preserves around the world where fairies, golems, satyrs, and other magical creatures live.

Kendra and Seth's visit also coincides with a time when preserves are under attack by the Society Of The Evening Star, who are after the 5 artifacts that will open Zzyxz, a prison for demons that, unleashed after millennia, will destroy the world. It becomes the task of Kendra, Seth, their grandparents, and the Knights Of The Dawn to recover the artifacts hidden at Fablehaven and other preserves to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Society Of The Evening Star. Each artifact is well-guarded, so rescuing them is not easy.

While written for early teens, the five books in the Fablehaven series have an all-ages appeal. I found myself wanting to pick up the next book immediately after finishing the previous one. The descriptions provide a clear, imaginative picture. The battle scenes don't get too graphic for the younger readers, but will still hold the interest of older readers. The characters, especially Kendra and Seth, show believable growth throughout the adventures, and the conclusion should be satisfying to every reader.

Cami - Youth & Community Outreach Services

January 10, 2013

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

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Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins - Lola should be an inspiration to young fashion designers that think big and accomplish what they put their mind to! Lola is a seventeen-year-old that knows what she wants, or so she thinks. Her fathers do not quite approve of her latest flame, but she believes she has found her soul mate, who is an older fellow in a punk band. What makes her unique is her wardrobe. She vows NEVER to wear the same outfit twice and each outfit is chosen carefully to make a daily statement.

If you like chick-lit this will keep you turning the pages. Lola is on top of the world until her old neighbors move back into the lavender Victorian next door to her. Will the twins remember her and forget Lola's past mistakes? She can only hope that Cricket, her first love, will leave her alone and his sister Calliope will not be so sinister to her this time. A stitch in time saves nine may be the healing factor in Stephanie Perkins latest novel!

Katharina, Central Library Children's Room

January 4, 2013

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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In The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Blue Sargent and her psychic mother are sitting through their annual watch on St. Mark's Eve. Her mother is waiting to "see" the spirits pass through the church yard of people who will die in the upcoming twelve months. Something unique happens this year, Blue actually feels a particular spirit for a young man named Gansey, who seems to be one of the "Raven Boys", a nickname used for young men who attend the local Aglionby Academy. Her aunt tells her there are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve - either you're his true love or you killed him. This has Blue in an upheaval.

Soon after this watch the mysterious Gansey makes an appointment to have a psychic reading at Blue's house. Their worlds collide. Gansey and his circle of friends, Adam, Ronan, and Noah join forces with Blue to discover the mystery behind the story of Owain Glendower, a medieval Welsh noble. Gansey will stop at nothing to find him and believes the countryside around Henrietta, Virginia is his final resting place. Murder and intrigue weave through this story to unveil a few shocking plot twists that will have readers clamoring for the next volume!

Katharina, Central Library Children's Room

November 8, 2012

Give Books! 2012

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Join us Wednesday, November 14th from 10:30 to noon at Central Library.

Hear about the best books 2012 has to offer for gift-giving. Suggestions from librarians will make holiday gift-giving a breeze. This is your chance to ask questions before you buy. Many genres, including children's and young adult, will be presented. Preview the titles on our Give Books! 2012 Pinterest board.

Jacki @ Central


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November 5, 2012

Every Day by David Levithan

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For A, each day is spent in a different body. A has learned not to become attached, to live the borrowed life in the least disruptive manner possible--including music lessons, sporting events, and family tirps. But it is not until meeting Rhiannon that A's life takes shape. And now every day becomes about one thing: her. A dazzling exploration of what it means to be human, in any form. Check catalog for availability.

Jennifer @ Forest Home


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October 4, 2012

Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging : Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison

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Reprinted by permission of the American Library Association

This review is presented in honor of Banned Book Week.

angusthongscover.jpgAngus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging has been called the 'Bridget Jones' of the teen girl set, which is a pretty apt description. The book is told through the main character's own journal, a fourteen year old whose life is a series of seeming misadventures. From disastrously wearing a stuffed olive costume to a fancy dress party, to accidentally shaving off an eyebrow, to her increasingly desperate attempts to catch the attention of the local heartthrob boy, Georgia Nicolson is every part the flummoxed and humorous protagonist. While occasionally bratty and self-centered (like most teenagers of any gender), Georgia is also an amiable underdog, endearing her to the reader even when she's at her worst (and as it is the privacy of her own journal, she is often at her worst).

The book itself is irreverent in tone, with its escapades mainly light and ridiculous. As you might have gathered from the title, the book touches upon the hormones of teenagers, with Georgia's obsession with 'sex god' Robbie and her spectacularly awkward attempts to take kissing lessons, but these passages maintain a nice balance of seriousness and humor. This content has, however, prompted several challenges to the book, landing it at number 35 on ALA's Top 100 Most Challenged Books of 2000-2009. While exceedingly British, the first book does come with a handy lexicon in the back to understand all the British-isms for those unfamiliar. The book has also spawned a slew of sequels, all detailing Georgia's further hilarious misadventures.

Tim @ Central



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October 19, 2012

Make it Count: 180 Devotions for the School Year by Sue Christian

makeitcountcover.jpgHigh school can be a very challenging time for many teenagers. It's often filled with endless activities, friendships, a little stress and lots of laughter. Make it Count gives teens daily devotions that will allow them to treasure each moment, good and bad. It reminds them of the importance of living life to the fullest and making the most of each and every day. "Remember, someone will always have more than you and someone will always have less. Enjoy what you have and don't waste time or energy chasing the wind of desire."

Sha'Nese @ East


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October 2, 2012

Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block

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Reprinted by permission of the American Library Association


babybebop.jpegBaby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block isn't a very large book. But if Young Adult books were divided into weight classes, Baby Be-Bop would be a lean, swift, hard hitting welterweight, packing a hearty punch into so few pages. It is the story of Dirk McDonald, a young man who just happens to be gay. The first half of the book is Dirk's growing up under the care of his sweet grandma Fifi, his parents having died in a car crash. The latter half of the book is a wonderful imaginative dream sequence, a journey through Dirk's mind and emotional landscape that is compellingly written, and concludes with a heartfelt ending that suits the tone of the book perfectly. The story is told through lush, beautiful imagery, the prose and character names evoking the feel of a modern fairy tale. Dirk's life is not a fairy tale, however, as he struggles to deal with his own feelings and his fears of the world's reaction to his identity.

Block's book, a prequel of sorts to Weetzie Bat (as Dirk appears as a supporting character there), is powerful even in its brevity. It captures well the feelings of uncertainty in a young person questioning their identity, and even in its fairy tale tone evokes the true grim and ugly nature of those who hurt people out of hatred and bigotry. It is almost a shame that a book that is about acceptance and love would evoke reactions of anger and calls for banning and burning, yet such events have occurred even in the state of Wisconsin. For more of Block's work, check our catalog for availability.

Tim @ Central

This review is presented in honor of Banned Book Week.


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October 6, 2012

Revolutionary Voices edited by Amy Sonnie

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Reprinted by permission of the American Library Association

This review is presented in honor of Banned Book Week.

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Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie, labels itself a 'multicultural queer youth anthology', containing the art and writings of young people ages 14 to 26 of all racial, sexual, and gender identities. The work contained within is powerful, coming for places of pain, love, joy, and anguish. The poems, pictures, and stories evoke strong emotions, a full range of experiences that would be impossible to catalog. These are the voices and expressions of people who are all too often told to be silent, to not speak, to not accept what they have to say because of who they are and the labels others would place upon them.

Indeed, even the book itself has been the target of silencing efforts, placing as the ninth most challenged book on the ALA's list of most challenged and banned books of 2010. This book is a collection of voices who wish to be heard, to tell their story and their own experiences. The introduction to the book says it best: "We dedicate this book to us, to all of us, wherever we are; so we may continue to speak our minds and hearts, to struggle to save ourselves, and in doing so to save each other."

Tim @ Central


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September 26, 2012

Which Book Next? Oct 3, 2012 11am to 3pm

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September 22, 2012

Various Positions by Martha Schabas

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Various Positions is a disturbing, well written first novel told from the point of view of Georgia. Georgia is a fourteen year old ballet student, focused on maintaining an excessively lean dancer's body. She also encourages a friend to engage in starving to the point of anorexia. The theme of uneven power relationships between older men and younger women is reflected in the dysfunctional marriage of Georgia's parents, and her own unhealthy fixation on her harsh ballet instructor, Roderick, aka "The Rodemizer."

Deb H @ Bay View


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October 1, 2012

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

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Reprinted by permission of the American Library Association

This review is presented in honor of Banned Book Week.

absolutelytruecover.jpgThere is a quote on the back cover of Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian from Neil Gaiman which states "I have no doubt that in a year or so [the book will] both be winning award and being banned." The statement was true on both accounts, as Alexie's stellar coming of age tale has won a multitude of accolades and continues to place in the top ten of the ALA's Most Challenged Books list. An Oscar Wilde quote is very applicable to this book: "The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame."

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian is Alexie's semi-autobiographical story of Arnold Spirit Junior, a Native American teen from the Spokane Indian Reservation who enrolls in the all-white high school in Reardan, Washington. Junior's experiences are brutal and joyous, tragic in their reality and beautiful in their honesty. Junior is every part a teenage boy, with a teenager's urges, mood swings, and all that comes with it. He is poor, his family is not perfect, and his best friend is crude and even mean. Indeed, it is the honesty that Alexie gives to Junior and how Junior expresses himself that causes much of the controversy over the book. Junior is a teenager as teenagers are, not the cherubic and innocent ideal that many have of the young.

Then there's the matter of race, as one could gather from the title's mention of 'Part-Time Indian'. Alexie does not shy away from matters of racism; indeed through Junior's voice he charges at it full steam ahead. Junior's experiences of being 'less' than the white kids because of his skin while simultaneously being treated as a traitor to the reservation for going to school with the white kids are just some of many illustrations of the messy nature that comes with matters of race in the book. The author touches upon the issue with insight, honesty, and experience, and the story is all the more enlightening for it.

Alexie has crafted a modern classic in the realm of teen coming-of-age tales. It reads smoothly, with character and life present in every passage. The illustrations (presented as cartoons drawn by Junior, art actually by the extremely talented Ellen Forney) add more vitality and humor while also revealing a great deal about Junior's thoughts and feelings. The book was filled with meaning and emotion, and one of the most rewarding reads I've had in a long time, I even read over half the book in one sitting, unable to put it down. While intended for a young adult audience, the book is more than suitable for older readers as well.

Tim @ Central


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September 19, 2012

Oct 4, 2012 at 6 pm Libba Bray at MPL!

divinerscover.jpgTrouble is brewing, you can feel it on the wind! Speaking of trouble, seventeen-year-old spitfire Evie O'Neill proves to be too much for small-town Ohio - after a mysterious, scandalous incident Evie's parents send her to live in New York City (how could life in Manhattan in the Roaring Twenties be a punishment?) with her uncle Will. He runs The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies." Evie soon finds herself helping her uncle try to catch a serial killer, but in her quest to bring media attention to the museum (and, of course, herself) seems destined to fall into the crosshairs of some powerful forces. The stories of many other characters and themes of the age wind through this dense and intense introduction to the Diviners series.

Author Libba Bray is coming to MPL! Meet the award-winning author and hear her discuss this new series in Centennial Hall's Loos Room on Thursday, October 4. Doors open at 6; presentation at 6:30, book sale and signing to follow. Program in conjunction with Boswell Books. Come in your best 1920s costume, there will be a contest with prizes!

Mandy @ Central Youth & Community Outreach Services


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September 13, 2012

Sept. 26, 2012 at 6:30 pm Tonya Hurley at Bay View Library

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Agnes, a suicidal Catholic schoolgirl, Lucy, a notorious teen socialite, and Cecelia, a street musician on her own, are all lost girls who end up in the same emergency room on Halloween evening. They later discover that sometime during their hospital visit, they have been gifted with beautiful bracelets, each with a different amulet. The amulets eventually lead them to a decommissioned church and mysterious, beautiful boy named Sebastian who believes that their destinies are entwined in a battle of good versus evil.

The Blessed is the first book in a trilogy by Hurley, the author of the popular Ghostgirl series and involves readers in the lives of three girls who are somehow connected to martyred saints who lived centuries ago. This book has many interesting twists on the usual supernatural themes.

Tonya Hurley will be at the Bay View Library, Wednesday, September 26th at 6:30 to speak about her new book, The Blessed. Books will be available for purchase; a book signing follows the event.

Fran @ Bay View


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August 4, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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John Green's latest novel, The Fault in Our Stars, is an eloquent and unflinching exploration of the teenage experience. It is the story of Hazel Lancaster, sixteen years old and only alive thanks to a miracle drug that keeps her thyroid cancer in check. Diagnosed with depression, she is thrown into a support group for similarly afflicted young people. This is where she meets cancer-survivor Augustus Waters and the two quickly become friends, and then fall into that wonderful bittersweet world of teenage love. Their adventures take them along a rollercoaster of emotion, from trips to Amsterdam to meet Hazel's favorite author, to mock funerals, to real and unavoidable tragedy. All the while Green keeps the tone even, allowing Hazel's voice to set the pace and mood, sarcasm and wit and a sense of hope clashing with a bitter knowledge of the reality of teenage mortality.

Green has written a book that takes the reader from the heights of bliss that comes with teenage infatuation, to the harshest sadness that accompanies the too real tragedy that is teenage cancer. It is a book about life and love in the face of debilitating disease and seeming impending death, learning the lesson that while living can come with pain it also brings great joy and wonder. While marketed as a book for teens, this is a book that adults can easily and readily enjoy. Just make sure to have some tissues or a handkerchief handy when you reach the last act of the novel.

Tim @ Central


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July 17, 2012

Dust Lands: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

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In this future dystopia, eighteen year old Lugh has been kidnapped from his drought ridden ramshackle of a home in Silverlake by Lewis Ex Eye Vee who likes to call himself the Sun King of France even though he lives in North America. Lugh's twin sister Saba vows to save him even if she has to travel across the Sandsea Desert and beyond into unknown lands among savages, thieves and murderers. Saba knows her quest will test her in every way. However, she thinks nothing could be worse than living without her brother. Then she too is kidnapped, taken to the ironically named city of Hopetown, and brutally forced to cage fight in a coliseum for the entertainment of the twisted residents of Hopetown. Now Saba desperately needs to find a way to escape the Cage in order to save not only her life but the lives of those she loves.

Check the catalog to locate a copy of Dust Lands: Blood Red Road for your reading pleasure.

If you like a good dystopia book like I do there's good news; the story continues with Dust Lands: Rebel Heart, out October 30, 2012.

Valerie @ MPL Central



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May 25, 2012

Put Your Face in a Book!

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The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

The Future of Us is set in 1996, when less than half of high school students have ever been on the internet.

Josh gets a free trial AOL CD-ROM (does anyone remember those?) in the mail. He takes it over to his neighbor and longtime friend Emma to use on her new computer. Using dial-up they get connected and a website pops up called Facebook. It obviously doesn't exist yet, but they are somehow able to see what their lives are like fifteen years into the future. After seeing what their lives will be like, they try to change things in the present to alter their future selves.

Although this is a young adult book - there are a lot of references to culture from the 1990s that people who grew up during that time will remember. Rights for the movie were bought back before this book even came out and according to Internet Movie Database (IMDb), it should come out in 2013. Remembering the amount of time it took to get connected through dial-up, I wonder if that will be most of the movie?

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Friend Me!: 600 Years of Social Networking in America by Francesca Davis DiPiazza

People started social networking long before the digital age and Friend Me!: 600 Years of Social Networking in America takes us through the different ways and reasons people have figured out to communicate with one another.

I found page 7 really interesting, when "Greek Philosopher Plato warned against the spread of writing. He said it would stop people from exercising their memories. (How did he convey his warning? He wrote it down.)" This book gives an interesting perspective on different parts of our history and ties it in with how we communicate today. There are also good resources and suggestions for further reading at the back of the book.

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The History of the World According to Facebook by Wylie Overstreet

After there was a lot of uproar about the satirical article published online If Historical Events Had Facebook Statuses, author Wylie Overstreet decided to develop the concept into a book. It would appeal to all kinds of people - the history buff, the reluctant student (although beware of choice language used), or even people that know history but are not that familiar with Facebook - can learn about how it works and maybe have a few laughs as well.

One thing that made me laugh (and I thought about the AOL CD-ROMs again from The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler) was on page 137 - The U.S. Postal Service posted on America Online's Facebook page (AOL) - Look, I appreciate your business but I'm not sure another 18 million CDs is going to help. (posted on June 10, 1997) Hilarious.

Submitted by Christy @ Washington Park


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May 30, 2012

Try Not To Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard

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Author Jennifer R. Hubbard does an outstanding job describing people who have anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and suicidal thoughts in the telling of Try Not To Breathe. High school student Ryan struggles to acclimate to life after having attempted suicide and staying in a mental hospital. It's not going well. His fellow students avoid him and his parents dissect his every word trying to determine his state of mind. Then one day he meets Nicki whose curiosity and persistent questions about the events leading up to Ryan's suicide attempt help her to understand both him and a tragic event that took place in her own family. As their friendship grows, Ryan slowly starts to build a new life that moves forward leaving his suicide attempt behind.

Valerie @ MPL Central



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May 15, 2012

Num8ers by Rachel Ward

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Jem has seen numbers floating above people's heads for as long as she can remember. The numbers mean something. Something grim. They're dates of the person's death. Sometimes they're a few days in the future and others are thirty or forty years away. Jem has always kept these dates to herself never telling anyone that the numbers exist. Then one day as she and her new friend Spider are walking in London, Jem sees multiple people with the same exact numbers. All dates of that very day. In a panic she immediately turns and starts running away calling for her friend to follow when suddenly the London Eye explodes behind them. Even among the chaos people notice the two sprinting away and in no time at all the two friends become prime suspects in the horrific terrorist attack. Check the catalogue here to find a copy of Num8ers for you to check out today.

Submitted by Valerie @ MPL Central



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April 17, 2012

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

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Aria is a typical teen spending most of her time in the Realms, virtual worlds via her Smarteye. However as a typical teen, she also bends the rules, so when her friend Soren suggests disabling their Smarteyes and visiting a damaged Pod, she and her friends go along with it. A few days later she no longer has her Smarteye, her best friend is dead and she has been abandoned Outside or in The Death Shop as it is known because of what she knows.

Perry is a Savage, an Outsider. He is also a Scire, one who has extraordinary smell and can even smell emotions and tell if someone is lying. He broke into the Pod too, but for different reasons. He saves Aria from her friends and leaves with her Smarteye.
Now they are both Outside and destined to meet again. Perry is trying to save his tribe and rescue his nephew. Aria is trying to get back to the Pods to find her mother, a geneticist who has been out of contact for over a week. Dogging both of them is the Aether, violent energy storms on the Outside.

If you've gotten into the recent dystopian novel trend, this one is great. There are other characters besides Aria and Perry with special traits and other tribes, some good some bad. Like Hunger Games, there is also some violence though most of it is necessary for survival.

Submitted by Lynn @ Center Street


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April 13, 2012

Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

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Chopsticks authors Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral utilize photographs, newspaper articles, drawings, paintings, IM chats, post cards, diaries, high school report cards, and URLs to tell the heartbreaking love story between two New York teens - homeschooled pianist Gloria Fleming and newly transferred South American native Francisco Mendoza. Readers get a good look into Glory's daily stressful study and practice regime and Frank's plummeting grades and eventual expulsion from his new high school. The two appear an unlikely match, but seem to have a calming effect on each other that helps them deal with their difficult lives. Underlying the love story Glory's mental health begins to unravel leading to a painful stay in a mental health facility and a mysterious disappearance. Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral use of pictures and limited dialogue expertly convey emotions, relationships and environment in a way that words cannot always attain. The cliché "a picture is worth 1,000 words" is definitely applicable to this haunting narrative.

Submitted by Valerie @ MPL Central



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March 20, 2012

Hunger Games Trivia Challenge at Bay View!

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Join other fans of The Hunger Games trilogy in celebrating the release of The Hunger Games movie by taking part in a trivia challenge based on the books.

Correct answers will bring you rewards, but incorrect ones may bring an uncertain future. There can be only one winner!

Hunger Games Trivia Challenge
Bay View Library,
For Ages: 13-18,
2566 S. Kinnickinnic Ave
Thursday, March 22,
6:30-7:30 p.m.
Registration Required
Call: (414) 286-3011

Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!

Developed by teens, for teens, through TAB - MPL's Teen Advisory Board. Sponsored by Best Buy.


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February 21, 2012

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

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For those with a hunger for science fiction but tired of the vampires, werewolves and zombies, try Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamer series which begins with My Soul to Take. This young adult novel follows Kaylee Cavanaugh as she discovers her abilities as a bean sidhes, which is in turns terrifying and confusing because she senses people who are about to die.

She sees a shadowy fog around an individual and gets the overwhelming need to scream...these people's souls must be collected by a reaper, but if Kaylee is anywhere around she can delay the process and give the soul a chance to say good-bye. She does this through singing for the soul, which to human ears translates to an ear-drum-shattering scream. Young women in town start dying for no reason and Kaylee is determined to get to the bottom of things with the help of Nash, a possible love interest who meets Kaylee at a dance club when one such girl is seen in a misty fog. The two discover many things that illuminate Kaylee's bean sidhes powers and what is causing women to drop dead.

Kaylee's lives with her aunt, uncle and cousin because her mother passed away when she was three and her father is away in Ireland because he can't bear to raise a daughter who reminds him more and more of his deceased wife. Elements of suspense, mystery, romance and horror will keep readers enthralled until the stunning conclusion.

Submitted by Mrs Nimphius @ Forest Home


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February 18, 2012

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

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Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux has arrived at Wexford, her new London boarding school just in time for her first semester... and for Rippermania to take over the city. The day she arrives is the same day that a string of brutal murders begins across London, mimicking those attributed to Jack the Ripper a century earlier. The city is in a panic and Rory's new Wexford neighborhood is in the dead center of Ripper-ville. Few clues are provided by London's CCTV network and since Rory the is only person who has seen the man believed to be behind the murders, her boarding school experience isn't starting out quite the way she expected.

Though the premise of The Name of the Star is dark, Maureen Johnson skillfully blends an intriguing murder mystery and paranormal elements with the humor and wit fans of her other work will be familiar with, keeping the book just slightly more on the side of fun than horror. Rory is an independent character with an outsider's perspective whose confusion mirrors that of the reader and allows us to uncover the mystery and explore the city along with her. Clever supporting characters round out the book very well and make it easy to understand the sense of belonging Rory begins to feel in her new surroundings. While the ending isn't a cliffhanger, it will leave readers eager for the release of the second installment of the Shades of London series.

Submitted by Jessie @ Zablocki


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February 15, 2012

Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logste

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Have you ever thought to yourself that your favorite book could be just a little better? Have you ever wondered why Lydia got away with running off with Mr. Wickham practically consequence-free? Or maybe the Wizard of Oz should have asked Toto what he wanted most in the world! If you've ever thought you could improve your favorite book by changing one little thing, you will understand the predicament high school sophomore Emily March finds herself in at the beginning of Little Women and Me.

Given an assignment in her English class to write a paper explaining how she would improve upon her favorite book, Emily decides there's one thing she could change in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women that would make it even better (spoiler alert - don't read the rest of this sentence if you haven't read or seen Little Women...) - Emily is going to save Beth! But while she is putting together her paper's outline and re-reading portions of Little Women, Emily is literally pulled into the story herself. It's the perfect opportunity to live out her favorite book and push it in the direction she thinks it should go. But how is Emily, now the fifth and middle March sister, going to do it?

Though some knowledge of Little Women will certainly help to appreciate the nods to the original story, it is not necessary to have Little Women memorized in order to enjoy Little Women and Me. Emily's hijinks and observations in 19th century Marchville (as she dubs the book's setting) are clever and on point with what teens today would likely notice about the classics. Some suspension of disbelief is required, but following Emily as she gets lost in the world of the book will make you think about how you would change your favorites, given the opportunity. It's a fun read that just might make you want to pick up Louisa May Alcott's original novel one more time.

Submitted by Jessie @ Zablocki


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February 9, 2012

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

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Okay for Now is set in the late 1960's and is a stand-alone companion to the Wednesday Wars, a Newbery Honor book, where we first met Doug Swieteck. This title gives you a taste of life for a 14 year old boy growing up in small town, Marysville, New York during 1968. Doug's oldest brother Lucas is off fighting in the Vietnam War. His second oldest brother Christopher is labeled a "bad boy." At home Doug is cheering on the New York Yankees baseball team and watching the Apollo space mission. Doug is also dealing with a verbally abusive father. Each chapter opens with a reproduction from John James Audubon's Birds of America. A librarian named Mr. Powell helps Doug discover a hidden talent and opens up a new world to him. The story is one of creativity, of loss, of love, and of survival. As you read you find out why Doug has always struggled in school and why the prints of birds are so important to Doug. I found this book to be interesting historical fiction filled with many twists, turns and colorful characters.

Submitted by Gail @ Zablocki


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January 25, 2012

Which Book Next? Today from 11 am to 3 pm

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Are you looking for a good book? Let us help!

Today, Wednesday, January 25, 2012 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., leave a post on Milwaukee Public Library's Facebook wall.

Simply tell us the last three books you've enjoyed and we'll suggest your next read(s). "Like" us on Facebook today and then join us and your friends for Which Book Next?.

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January 9, 2012

Check out eBooks Today

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Did you know you can check out eBooks from the library for your Kindle, Nook or other mobile device? The Milwaukee County Federated Library System is pleased to offer OverDrive Downloadable Media, a FREE service offered through the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium. OverDrive allows you to select and download audiobooks, ebooks, videos or music to play directly on your computer or on supported portable devices. Click here to get started.



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January 5, 2012

Which Book Next? January 25 from 11 am to 3pm

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Are you looking for a good book? Let us help! Wednesday, January 25th between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., leave a post on Milwaukee Public Library's Facebook wall. Simply tell us the last three books you've read and we'll suggest your next read(s). "Like" us on Facebook today and then join us and your friends on Wednesday, January 25th for MPL's second Which Book Next event.

Submitted by Jacki @ Central


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December 26, 2011

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

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Once every hundred years, a child is born to be the bearer of the Godstone, chosen to perform an act of great service. Elisa is not your typical chosen one. The younger and, in her opinion, the more disappointing of two princesses, she is overweight, unsure of herself, and on her sixteenth birthday finds herself secretly and abruptly married off to the king of a neighboring country. Though extremely intelligent and kind, Elisa feels inadequate and alone in an unfamiliar desert kingdom with the challenge of keeping her status as the bearer of the Godstone a secret. For the chosen one, enemies are hidden everywhere, and there are powerful forces after Elisa from the moment she leaves her homeland. Will she be able to escape her enemies and rise above her self-doubt long enough to become the leader her people need? Or will she, like many others chosen before her, die young without fulfilling her destiny?

The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a fast-paced coming-of-age fantasy with a flawed yet likeable heroine in a beautifully constructed world where religion and magic are linked. Elisa is a refreshingly relatable and atypical heroine who struggles with the same insecurities and questions of identity and purpose we all do. There is a religious element to the book and Elisa holds strong beliefs which help guide her quest to find her calling. Sprinkled with Spanish-inspired language, rich details, and yes, a little romance, this is a unique debut novel. The first in a planned trilogy, this one should not be missed by fans of Kristin Cashore's Graceling, or fans of strong heroines and sweeping fantasy. But beware - part 2 isn't due out until fall of 2012.

Submitted by Jessie @ Zablocki


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December 6, 2011

Chime by Franny Billingsley

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For as long as Briony can remember, her stepmother has insisted, "We must never tell your father." They must never tell him that Briony caused the accidents that hurt stepmother's back and left Briony's twin, Rose, mentally impaired. They must never tell him that Briony can hear the voices of the Old Ones. They must never tell him that Briony is a witch. But now stepmother is dead and there is no one that Briony can talk to about the mystery that is her life. Stepmother has convinced Briony she must never go to the swamp, the one place she truly feels alive and at home. She must spend the rest of her life caring for Rose and hiding her witchery. But then Eldric arrives with his golden mane of hair and his "curling lion's smile" and despite herself, Briony begins wishing for more from life. "How could I bear it, Eldric living with us, this non-child, this boy-man? I'd have to keep on my Briony mask... I'd have to keep my tongue sharp and amusing. Already I was exhausted." With Eldric's help, Briony begins to investigate some of the strange happenings in Swampsea. What is causing the fever that is killing the town's children? Did stepmother really kill herself? Why are so many of Briony's memories jumbled and confused?

Chime is a thoroughly original story. Set in turn of the century England, the author balances the advent of cars, Darwin and Freud with witches and other mythical creatures to create a whole new, wonderfully atmospheric reality. The lovely, unusual prose is easy to get lost in and the romance is beautifully written. But it is the character of Briony that is the author's greatest accomplishment. Sad, funny, passionate, earthy, clever, with a new fresh voice, Briony is not a character who will be easily forgotten.

Submitted by Fran @ Bay View


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December 5, 2011

Mother/Daughter Book Discussion at Bay View, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m.

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Mothers and daughters, grades 7 - 9, who enjoyed the book Matched are invited to take part in a Mother/Daughter book discussion at the Bay View Library, Thursday, December 8th, 6-7pm.

Society Matched Them, But Love Set Them Free.
In the Society, officials decide.
Who you love.
Where you work.
When you die.

In Matched, the Society decides every occurrence in a person's life including the day that they will die. The Society also makes sure that the streets are clean, the trains run on time, there is no illness and peace seemingly prevails, so most people are willing to accept what the government dictates as the price to be paid. Cassia has just turned 17 and is excited for her Matching ceremony where she will learn who she is to marry. She is happy to find that she has been matched with her best friend Xander. But while she watches the data card the government has provided about her match, another face flashes on the screen for a moment. The face of another boy she knows, Ky. That brief flash is enough to make her wonder if Ky is really the person she is meant to be with. Her doubts about her match and the death of her grandfather make her realize for the first time that there may be many experiences, feelings and choices that are closed to her as long as she follows the Society's rules. Allie Condie has created a fascinating dystopian society where the price of perfection is loss of our most basic freedoms.

In Crossed, the second book in the Matched trilogy, Cassia and Ky are separated and sent to the outer provinces to work in labor camps. Their struggles to find each other again make up much of the book, though more information is revealed about the mysterious Xander. Crossed is another beautifully written book that will have readers eagerly awaiting the final installment which is planned for publication in November 2012.

Submitted by Fran @ Bay View


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November 29, 2011

Tonight at Central--Louisa May Alcott: Documentary and Biography Discussion

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Marquette University Libraries and Milwaukee Public Library invite you to the fifth and final event in the fall series "Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women."

"Louisa May Alcott: Documentary and Biography Discussion"

Tuesday, November 29, 6:30 - 7:45 p.m.

Milwaukee Public Library, Central Library

Herzfeld Activity Center, Betty Brinn Children's Room (1st floor)

Marquette professors Angela Sorby and Sarah Wadsworth will screen the second half of the American Masters 2008 documentary film about Alcott and wrap up the entire programming series with a discussion of Harriet Reisen's biography, Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women. We will enjoy a birthday cake to celebrate Alcott's birthday (1832).

Programs in this series are sponsored by the American Library Association with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.



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November 21, 2011

Thaw by Monica Roe

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Often times it takes a debilitating disease for a person to realize what they have is pretty good. A tingling and numbing in his hands, and excruciating pain floods high school senior and cross country skier Dane's body. Guillain-Barre' Syndrome is a sinister disease that causes paralysis and it hits every inch of Dane, except his eyes. Recovery is possible, but is also slow and painful which gives Dane's arrogance a time to "thaw." Thaw is a remarkable first novel by Monica M. Roe about an unfamiliar disease.

Submitted by Sue @ Tippecanoe


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November 18, 2011

To Kill A Mockingbird Screening

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Join us tomorrow, November 19, 2011, at Centennial Hall of the Milwaukee Public Library, 733 N. Eighth Street and watch the novel come to life as we screen the award winning film To Kill A Mockingbird. The free program begins at 1:30 p.m. We hope to see you there!

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and bring the transformative power of literature into the lives of its citizens. The Big Read in Milwaukee will focus on Harper Lee's American classic To Kill A Mockingbird. For a complete list of Big Read programs click here.

Submitted by Jacki @ Central



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November 14, 2011

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Thirteen year old Conor's life is pretty much hell. His father has moved to America with his new family, his mother is going through yet another round of cancer treatments and his grandmother, who Conor despises, has moved in to help care for his mother. At school he is either ignored or bullied. Even at night, things could not be worse as he has the same horrible nightmare over and over. A nightmare he cannot tell anyone about. Then one night the monster arrives. It isn't the monster he expects, the one from his nightmares. Instead it is a strange, wild monster formed from the yew tree in his back yard. The monster wants to tell Conor three stories and when it is done, Conor must tell the monster a story too, the story of his nightmare.

The idea for A Monster Calls originated with Siobhan Dowd, a young adult author who died of cancer in 2007. Patrick Ness was given the task of taking the concept and characters she created and crafting them into a story. He did this in a haunting, emotional way that will stay with you long after you finish reading. A frightening, heart wrenching tale of loss illustrated by Jim Kay in stunning black and white pictures that perfectly compliment the text. This is a truly beautiful book about monsters real and imagined.

Submitted by Fran @ Bay View


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November 6, 2011

Riders of the Apocalypse by Jackie Morse Kessler

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Hunger is the first book in this series and tells the story of 17 year old Lisbeth and her battle with anorexia. Death comes calling for Lisbeth and gives her the job of Famine, the Black Rider, of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. In this interesting twist on an old story Lisbeth faces her own internal struggle with food when her travels as Famine take her to parts of the world where hunger is a way of life. The prose vividly deals with anorexia and the effects it has on both the individual and the people who love them.

Rage is the second book in this series and is the story of Missy, a cutter, who believes the only release from her pain is the kiss of a razor blade on her flesh. Death comes calling for her and she becomes War, the Red Rider. Missy is a victim of bullying and this book shows how cruel teenagers can be. The story is raw and evokes a wide range of emotions for the reader. Will Missy find her control in the end or let her rage drive her to the blade?

Submitted by Roxanne @ East


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November 27, 2011

City Of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

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Lina Mayfleet and her family live in the City of Ember, the last known city left after some kind of catastrophe. At least that's what the citizens of Ember believe. Years and years ago, during dangerous and uncertain times, a select group of people where chosen and sent to live in a carefully planned underground city in order to preserve the human race. Those arrangements were meant to be temporary. Now the government strictly rations the dwindling supplies of food and other necessities. The failing generator leaves the people of Ember in the dark more and more often and for longer periods of time. Everyone begins to worry. Lina and her friend Doon Harrow are no exception. Then they discover fragments of a list of instructions on how and when to exit the City of Ember and return to the surface of the Earth. However, not everyone wants to leave Ember. Disbelief, fear and the Mayor's deception stop others from believing that something might exist beyond the City of Ember. Lina and Doon need to decipher the old document quickly, for time is running out. Check catalog for availability.

Submitted by Valerie @ MPL Central



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October 31, 2011

You Know Where To Find Me by Rachel Cohn

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"Once upon a time, Sleeping Beauty decided to take a nap from which she would never wake up." (p. 12)

Laura and Miles grow up together like sisters. One is fair, beautiful and popular. The other is plain, seemingly ugly, and an outsider. One commits suicide. The other, left in utter despair, attempts to commit suicide. Now the "left behind girl" wonders how do you measure suffering? What do you do with all of the excruciating pain? This is a story about how people are not at all who they appear to be, happiness can be faked, and grief can abruptly obliterate life as you know it.

Another extremely well written novel dealing with similar topics and questions is Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher. I recommend listening to the audio version read by Debra Wiseman.

Submitted by Valerie @ MPL Central



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March 5, 2012

Evermore by Alyson Noël

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After an ordinary and familiar plot opening, this young adult book takes off in its own unique and interesting direction. Ever, who is both pretty and popular, loves her friends, family and normal life in Oregon. All of that suddenly ends when Ever's parents, sister and beloved dog are killed in a tragic car accident for which she blames herself. Without any family nearby she is forced to relocate to California to live with her single, career driven aunt who is not unkind, but clueless as to how to raise a teenager. In this unfamiliar place Ever feels like an outcast. She covers herself with hoodies and always wears headphones blasting music as loud as she can. But it's not just grief, depression and a new high school that are making life so difficult. Since the car accident Ever has gained special abilities that make everyday seem like a living hell. She can see auras and dead people. The worst newly acquired ability being that she can hear people's thoughts, everyone's, all of the time. Ever finally finds peace and quiet when she meets Damen a fellow new student. However, he also has special abilities, though different from Ever's. From there Alyson Noel takes us on a fantastic journey that fully deserves multiple volumes.

So far there are 6 books in The Immortals Series.

Noel has written a spin-off series about the Ever's younger sister Riley entitled The Riley Bloom Series.

Submitted by Valerie @ MPL Central



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October 27, 2011

Fight Zombie Fatigue! Read Zombies vs. Unicorns!

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Are you tired of the same old zombie apocalypse story? Then you may be suffering from zombie fatigue. Zombie fatigue can hit anyone at anytime; symptoms include forgetting who Max Brooks is, incoherent grunts while friends talk about The Walking Dead, and blank staring when asked about your zombie survival tactics. Fight against zombie fatigue with Zombies vs. Unicorns, a collection of stories by the best and brightest teen and adult horror and fantasy authors. Does the word "unicorn" in the title scare you? It should. Forget the Lisa Frank unicorns of your childhood; these mythical creatures pack a punch and may have you cheering for Team Unicorn (note: cheering for Team Unicorn is the last and most frightening stage of zombie fatigue.) Each story is preceded by hilarious verbal sparring by editors Holly Black for Team Unicorn and Justine Larbalestier for Team Zombie as they battle to decide if unicorns are better than zombies (spoiler: no.) Check out Zombies vs. Unicorns from your local library today before it's too late and stay strong zombie nation.

Submitted by Kristina @ MPL Central


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January 13, 2012

City Of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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I could not read this series fast enough. I immediately fell in love with the two main characters Clary Fray and Jace, a Shadowhunter who tracks and kills demons. After a straightforward beginning the story gets both complicated and more interesting. The short of the story is that Valentine, a Shadowhunter gone evil, reappears and gathers an army to capture Idris, the secret and hidden capital of the Shadowhunters.

Now come the multitude of supporting characters - faeries, vampires, werewolves, angels, demons and more - are just as interesting as Jace and Clary. To mention a few: Simon, Clary's long time best friend and reluctant vampire, Jace's beautiful sister Isabelle and withdrawn brother Alec, Clary's clever mother Jocelyn, her mother's best friend a werewolf named Luke, and lastly Magnus a powerful warlock who plays a strong role in the outcome of this trilogy. You can see what I mean about the story becoming quite complicated. Also to be noted, the genealogy of Clary's family is a bit bizarre, but all is revealed at the end of the trilogy.

Book two is City Of Ashes. I couldn't wait for the final battle in book three City Of Glass. I'm happy to report that I was not disappointed.

Every once in awhile I pick up a book that is so overflowing with characters and places that I need to keep a list. This was one of those books, series actually. Now I wish I had kept that list, because the author recently released a fourth book that centers around Clary's werewolf friend Simon, City Of Fallen Angels.

Submitted by Valerie @ MPL Central



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October 12, 2011

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu

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Oh, you've GOT to read this one! Sunny Nwazue was born in New York, but moves with her family to her parents' native Nigeria at the age of twelve. Sunny, an albino, has always felt a little like an outcast, and these feelings only intensify when she is the new girl at school. Through the help of two classmates, a teen from Chicago, and some adult mentors, she realizes that her skin is far from the only thing that sets her apart. The writing style is accessible for any reader, and I loved the interpretations of traditional African culture as Sunny explores her heretofore unknown abilities. There's a mystery to solve, too! Someone is using children in her town for a sinister purpose. How can the evil and magical Black Hat be stopped? And by the way, who wouldn't love a book where librarians are the richest and most powerful people in the community? Yes, you must read Akata Witch, it's a fun, fast-paced, and intriguing book!
Submitted by Ephemera, soon to be blogging from Villard Square Library!

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October 10, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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They say not to judge a book by its cover, but right away the creepy, floating child on the cover lets you know that this particular tome is unique. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children follows a young man named Jacob and his search for answers after a violent tragedy throws his life off course. Searching for answers, he heads to a tiny island off the coast of Wales and an orphanage that has been abandoned since World War II. What he learns about the home and its former occupants, the Peculiar Children, casts a whole new light on Jacob's life and the event that caused him to seek the island and its secrets in the first place.

Scattered throughout the text are a series of black and white photographs which enhance the other-worldly feeling set by the prose and the storyline. Among them is a headless boy, a man with a mouth on the back of his head, and the floating girl from the cover. All of the photographs are genuine items, and come from the collections of various different people, including the author. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is both a literary and visual experience, so it should come as no surprise that the movie rights have already been purchased. Perfect for a dark and rainy night, this will leave you feeling unsettled long after you set it down.

Submitted by Jennifer P @ Capitol

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October 3, 2011

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

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When a plane load of teenage beauty queens crash land on a deserted (or not so deserted) island, a Lord of the Flies for the twenty first century is born. The fourteen survivors of a plane that crashes on the way to the Miss Teen Dream Pageant assume that their show's sponsors, aptly named "The Corporation", will waste no time in discovering their whereabouts and rescue them. Unfortunately they have landed on an island housing a top secret military compound also sponsored by "The Corporation." "The Corporation" decides that it's better to tell everyone the girls were all killed than risk having people discover the secret activities happening on the island.

In between practicing their pageant routines and fighting off giant snakes, the girls find they must learn to rely on each other and their own ingenuity. The same can-do attitude that made the girls successful on the pageant circuit is also useful when faced with finding ways to survive in the wilderness. Sequined evening gowns quickly become repositories for rain water and a hair straighter can be used to catch fish. Away from a society that only rewards them for being pretty, they discover truths about themselves. This new self awareness helps them to deal with the seductions of some very hot, shipwrecked, reality show pirates and of course, "The Corporation's" evil plot.

This young adult satire is interspersed with commercial breaks, contestant fact sheets, footnotes, radio broadcasts, and spoofs of reality TV and celebrity status that keep the hilarity coming, but it also tackles a lot of real life issues that teen girls face. Will the contestants ever find a way off the island? Can hair removal products really be turned into explosives? What is Miss Rhode Island hiding under her sash and why does she sing exactly like that guy from that old boy band? Are volcanoes on deserted islands, ever just volcanoes? Do grubs really taste like chicken? If a guy pretending to be a pirate tells you he is trouble, shouldn't you believe him? All of these questions and many more will be answered reading Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.

Submitted by Fran @ Bay View


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September 24, 2011

Banned Books Week- Don't Read This Post!

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September 24th kicks off Banned Books Week, an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Join us in celebrating your freedom to read by picking up a banned or challenged book at your library today.

Below is a list of the ten most frequently banned or challenged books in the country in 2010, according to the American Library Association.

1) And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
At New York City's Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches.
2) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
3) Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Huxley's classic prophetic novel describes the socialized horrors of a futuristic utopia devoid of individual freedom.
4) Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
Kristina Snow is the perfect daughter, but she meets a boy who introduces her to drugs and becomes a very different person, struggling to control her life and her mind.
5) The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.
6) Lush, by Natasha Friend
Unable to cope with her father's alcoholism, thirteen-year-old Sam corresponds with an older student, sharing her family problems and asking for advice.
7) What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
A series of poems reflect the thoughts and feelings of Sophie, a fifteen-year-old-girl, as she describes her relationships with a series of boys and as she searches for Mr. Right.
8) Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
In an attempt to understand the lives of Americans earning near-minimum wages, Ehrenreich works as a waitress in Florida, a cleaning woman in Maine, and a sales clerk in Minnesota.
9) Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
An anthology of stories by gay youth reveal their fears and joyous moments as they attempt to survive and thrive.
10) Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
When seventeen-year-old Bella leaves Phoenix to live with her father in Forks, Washington, she meets an exquisitely handsome boy at school for whom she feels an overwhelming attraction and who she comes to realize is not wholly human.

The above annotations are from our catalog or the readers' advisory database NoveList.

Submitted by Audrey @ Forest Home

September 26, 2011

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork

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Pancho Sanchez and Daniel Quentin (a.k.a. D.Q.) are an unusual pair. Pancho is a 17-year-old teen with a difficult past. His mother died when he was just five, his father was recently killed in a terrible freak-accident, and his developmentally delayed sister died - or, according to Pancho, was murdered - just three months later. D.Q. has been diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer that is nearly always terminal, and lives at St. Anthony's, and orphanage for teenage boys, although his mother is alive, well, and desperate to have D.Q. back in her life. D.Q., on the other hand, wants nothing to do with his mother, and has agreed to spend his summer undergoing an experimental treatment according to her wishes in exchange for emancipation.

Their unlikely partnership begins when D.Q. requests that Pancho, who has just moved into St. Anthony's, spend the summer working as his aide, to keep him company while he receives his treatments in Albuquerque. Pancho agrees, especially when his search into his sister's death leads him to believe that the man who was with Rosa when she died is living there. While D.Q. is focusing on becoming a "death warrior" by living every moment of what life he has left, Pancho has resigned himself to effectively ending his by killing the man who killed his sister, with no hope of not getting caught. In the end, both boys are challenged and changed in their views of themselves and what they want for their futures.

Stork manages to work in a wide variety of issues and themes into The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, some of them heavy-handed, and some of them running just under the surface. With death an ever present reality for both boys, issues of faith and future are a constant question, although formal religion is only faintly present. Stork deftly works in depictions of class, race, and economic disparity between the characters, and subtly references how much of an impact these factors have on how the characters see, experience, and are treated by the world around them. The fact that the character's names are an allusion to Don Quixote and Sancho Panza remind you to focus on the journey that they take, and to look critically at how they create their own realities. This is a great book for adults and teenagers alike, and forces you to ask the question of what it means to really live.

Submitted by Megan @ King


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September 16, 2011

The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze Orman

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Being young and fabulous can be pretty difficult to maintain these days, especially if you're young, fabulous and completely BROKE! Financial guru, Suze Orman doesn't sugarcoat any of her advice to young people in The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke. Each chapter highlights key financial tips that are useful for the young and old alike. The first and (in my opinion) the most important chapter is Know your Score. Our credit score represents our identity in the financial world. It gives creditors an insight into our personal lives and tells them how much they can trust us to fulfill our end of the bargain. Often times our credit scores may be dangerously low through no fault of our own (job loss, illness, etc.) --but with effort, credit scores can be improved over time.

Orman also gives readers advice on love and money which is a huge problem for most couples, and it's often the number one reason why so many couples split up. Orman explains how to merge your finances as you merge your lives together. There's even a section on retirement, life insurance, and wills and trusts. These are all issues that the young and fabulous tend to avoid.

The financial guidance that can be found in this book is priceless. Some of the tips and tricks may have changed slightly due to the current economic situation, but much of the advice is still relevant. If you want to learn how to balance your fabulous life and your checkbook, visit your local library and request a copy today!

For more information visit www.suzeorman.com.
Submitted by SBJ @ East


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May 23, 2011

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

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Cameron Smith is a slacker with no real interests, hobbies or likes. His boring life is turned upside down when he is diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, essentially a death sentence. While in the hospital, he is visited by a glam-punk angel named Dulcie who tells him his only chance for a cure is to find the mysterious Dr. X, who is lost somewhere in time and space. Accompanied by a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome (who is really the Norse god Baldur), Cameron embarks on a cross-country road trip in a desperate attempt to save his life.

A dark comedy, this book offers plenty of laughs. Bray lampoons modern youth culture, the U.S. Educational system, and America's consumer culture. The author skillfully weaves together elements from different mythologies as well as modern culture to form a cohesive book that is both touching and entertaining. Going Bovine was the winner of the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award, which is given annually by the Young Adult Library Services Association, of the American Library Association.



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Submitted by Jennifer P. @ MPL Central

October 23, 2011

The Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon

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Infinity is the first book in this exciting trilogy which is s geared toward teen boys, but can certainly be enjoyed by all. After a violent encounter and a short hospital visit, smart mouthed Nick Gautier is introduced to a whole new, or old world, depending on whom you ask. A world where action is nearly nonstop and dangers are aplenty. He discovers zombies, demons, immortals, ghosts... and girls. He doesn't know it, but he's about to become the main character in a battle to end all battles. The series continues with Invincible. The question remains, however, which side will Nick be on? Good or Evil? We will find out in the final book Infamous of this series which can't be published too soon. I can't wait! But, I will have to--March 2012 will get here eventually.

This young adult trilogy has an interesting origin. After reading the first two books of this series I wanted see if Sherrilyn Kenyon had writen anything else. First I discovered four graphic novels which take place in Nick Gautier's world and are written for young adults. I read and liked them very much. Then I searched for more and was very surprised to discover that Kenyon's main audience up until now is adult fantasy romance (very steamy romance) readers. Nick Gautier is a minor character in a series called Dark Hunter. What's more interesting is that the young adult graphic novels are a toned down version of the first three adult fantasy romance novels in that series. I'm curious to see if Kenyon continues to write young adult novels or not. We will have to wait and see.

Submitted by Valerie @ MPL Central



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July 15, 2011

Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves

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Wow! I don't even know where to start. This book is like nothing I have ever read before and I don't think I will ever find anything like it in the future. The story takes place in the small town of Portero where everyone wears black and where Fancy and Kit live. They are the daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer. Now enters all kinds of craziness - an alternate world called The Happy Place, bizarre creatures called cacklers, a group called the Mortmaine who only wear green, and, oh yeah, Kit and Fancy decide to follow in their father's footsteps as serial killers. I won't tell you more than that. You wouldn't believe me if I did. This book is definitely not for everyone. It is disturbing and the gory murders and corpses are carefully described. Readers beware.

Click on the book cover above to check the catalog for available copies.
Submitted by Valerie @ Central



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April 4, 2011

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

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Amy had a choice--be frozen and join her parents on a 300 year voyage to a new planet or choose not to be frozen and stay behind with her Aunt and Uncle (and her friends and her life). This is where I left her months ago when I read a first chapter teaser before publication. Well it was worth the wait to find out what happened. Godspeed, the ship, has been continuing on its journey with a crew that is now many generations removed from the original. Elder, the leader-in-training, saves Amy from certain death when she is awoken prematurely. Elder, also a teen, has lots of questions and Eldest, his teacher, isn't very forthcoming with answers. Eldest says that the first cause of discord is differences and Amy is quite different from anyone else on the ship. As tensions increase and the lies keep unfolding, Elder and Amy come together to save the others who are still frozen; find a murderer and ultimately save the ship itself. Told in alternating chapters, we get Elder's viewpoint of one who has never known Earth and will probably not know the new Earth and then Amy's viewpoint as one who left everything on Earth to be with her parents and now might never see them again. Action, suspense, plot twists, romance--who could ask for more? Check catalog for availability.

Submitted by Lynn @ Center Street


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October 13, 2011

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

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Soon after a new family moves into a small neighborhood, two high school teens go missing from Kendall's school, first Tiffany, then her best friend Nico. Suspicion is placed on one of the new comers, high school student and soccer player Jacian whose antisocial behavior does nothing to help his situation. However, Jacian is one a handful of people who learns how to handle Kendall's OCD which causes the reader to doubt his involvement with the disappearing students. An eerie feeling blankets the entire story based on something that happened in the town's past. Clues are revealed through the whispers and carvings on a mysterious class room desk leading to an unexpected and scary ending. Check catalog for availability.

Submitted by Valerie @ MPL Central



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July 6, 2011

The Wake Trilogy by Lisa McMann

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Janie has talent no one would ever want to possess - she inadvertently gets pulled into other nearby sleeping people's dreams. Some of the dreams play out people's worst nightmares and memories endlessly terrorizing Janie even when she's awake. Finally after seventeen years of living with this chaos Janie finds two people that believe in what she can actually do - a new boyfriend and a detective on the local police force. With their support Janie's life becomes both normal, she has a boyfriend, and more bizarre, she works with the police to solve crimes. The intense relationships and mystery in this series create a riveting read, however, this trilogy is not your average fantasy with teens, supernatural powers and adventure. It's dark and the crimes are disturbing so be forewarned.

Click on the book covers above to the check the catalogue for availability.

Visit the author's website here.

Submitted by Valerie @ MPL Central



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March 11, 2011

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford

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Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford (c2010)

After the family Christmas dinner, grandmother, aka "the Almighty," gathers the Sullivan family together to make a big announcement - they will be cut out of her will. Someone has offended her and must confess. This near tragedy must be stopped. Which Sullivan sister could it be? Who needs to beg for the Almighty's forgiveness? The deadline of New Year's Day is fast approaching and no one wants to tarnish the family name or forfeit fortune. If you enjoyed The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart, you will surely enjoy the mischief of the Sullivan sisters.

Check catalog for availability.

- submitted by Katharina @ MPL Central


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April 12, 2011

The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

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Finally! Here is the long awaited sixth and final book in the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead. As the title of the series states, this is the story about vampires. Vampires that live mostly in secret during the modern day. They go to special academies, have their own government and a hierarchy separate from humans. They also have three unique races - Moroi, full-blooded vampires and benevolent, Dhampir, half-vampire and Moroi bodyguards, and Strigoi, pure evil vampires and immortal. The adventures begin in book one with the main characters in their final year of school, nearly ready to go out into the real world. Our heroine Dhampir Rose Hathaway will stop at nothing to keep her charge Moroi Princess Vasilisa Dragomir safe. Rose has trained to be the ultimate warrior and surpasses all of her classmates. Naturally she has flaws, a bad temper and she always speaks what's on her mind which frequently leads her into trouble. She's also secretly dating her defense instructor Dhampir Dimitri Belikov, a definite faux pas. Danger is aplenty and almost nonstop. I thoroughly enjoyed the fast pace and surprising plot twists. What I didn't like was waiting for each of the next books in the series to be published.

It's always sad to me for a good series to come to an end. Luckily Mead is working on a spinoff series called Bloodlines due to be released in August 2011. Here's hoping it's as good as the Vampire Academy series!

Visit the author's website here.



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March 1, 2011

His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman.

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Lara Belacqua embarks on a long and dangerous journey in parallel worlds to travel north in order to save her best friend Will and other children who have mysteriously disappeared from becoming the subjects of painful and deadly experiments. Accompanied by her daemon Pantalaimon - a supernatural animal that permanently bonds with one human for life - Lyra encounters newly discovered friends, a polar bear Iorek Byrnison and a witch Serafina Pekkala, and foes, her mother Mrs. Marisa Coulter and golden monkey daemon. This book is full of magical places, fantastic events, and seemingly never ending peril. Although this trilogy is a long read, the story is well told and definitely worth the time.

Click on the book cover above to check the catalog for available copies.

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Click on the photograph above to visit the author's website.



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February 15, 2011

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick

after_ever_after.jpgAfter Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick (c2010)

Eighth grade is not the easiest grade to handle. Most of us want to forget our middle school days. Now imagine being known as the teens in remission. Jeff and Tad have spent most of their childhood in and out of hospitals dealing with cancer. The two friends have a special bond because of the struggles they endured as children surviving cancer. The two survived but suffer the aftereffects of the treatments. Jeff has a limp and has problems concentrating in class. Tad is in a wheelchair. Now throw in the eighth grade standardized tests that must be passed in order to graduate and move on to high school. Other students don't understand the aftereffects and are thinking the two have an easy life, because they get some perks from the teachers. To make things even worse, Jeff's older brother, Steven, who has always been there for him when he needed him, day or night, just up and decides to go to Africa for the year to study drums and cut off all ties with Jeff. Jeff is feeling the pressure at school and home. The characters and their relationships with each other are very well developed. A good read that depicts the everyday life of teens that have faced many, many challenges. Check catalog for availability.

- submitted by Gail @ Zablocki


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February 7, 2011

The Secret Diary of Ashley Juergens by Ashley Juergens

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The Secret Diary of Ashley Juergens is written by Ashley Juergens, the 13 year old younger sister of Amy Juergens, the main character in the ABC Family series The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Ashley has a great deal on her mind including her 15 year old sister's pregnancy (a souvenir from band camp), trouble in school (a result of pushing the dress code boundaries), her first crush (a boy she meets at the bus stop), and the rest of the drama that follows a 13 year old. For anyone that watches Secret Life, this book is a good summary of the earlier seasons with the twist that everything is from Ashley's perspective. For those of you that have not watched Secret Life, this book is an excellent introduction to the intricacies of the Juergens' family's life, told from the perspective of their younger teenage daughter.

Submitted by Becky @ Zablocki


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January 13, 2011

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, 2011 Printz Award Winner

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The Michael L. Printz Award is given by the American Library Association's Young Adult Library Services Association to honor the year's best book for young adults. The book may be non-fiction or fiction, from any genre. The Printz Award has been given every year since 2000, and is named in honor of Mike Printz, a high school librarian and active member of YALSA who passed away in 1996.

The 2011 Printz Award was given to Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker, a science fiction novel set in a grim and grimy future. Nailer and his crew live on the Gulf Coast, doing the dangerous work of scavenging recyclable parts from beached oil tankers, dreaming of striking it rich by finding a hidden pocket of scarce, expensive oil. Everything changes for Nailer when a storm brings in a new ship to scavenge--a wind-powered clipper from the prosperous north. The adventure that follows forces Nailer to reconsider everything he thinks he knows about loyalty, friendship, family, and the world beyond his beach.

Submitted by Mary Lou @ Washington Park


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January 26, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie.

Two reviews were submitted for this fantastic new book and here they are!

Cassia Reyes lives in a futuristic city riddled with rules. Everyone follows the rules without much question, and Cassia has always been a shining example of obedience. On her 17th birthday she is invited to a special ceremony to determine who her partner for the rest of her life will be. The outcome is a bit of a shock to everyone, and a huge relief and disappointment of sorts to Cassia. The "Match" picked for her seems acceptable until Cassia falls in love with someone else. The new boy pushes Cassia to question the authorities and grow beyond what the society wants, which sets her up for the exciting adventure of awakening to the realization that she wants to make her own decisions. There's an eerie foreboding throughout this exciting story of first love and personal choice.

Submitted by Kellie M. at Forest Home Library

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In the future, after our civilization has fallen, Cassia Maria Reyes lives a normal, quiet, healthy and happy life with her mother Aida, father Patrick and brother Bram in Mapletree Borough governed overall by The Society. The story opens with seventeen year old Cassia and her family on their way to her Match Banquet where The Society will reveal her future husband. Although she read all of the prerequisite literature provided by The Society, Cassia remains nervous. Author Ally Condie slowly reveals details of life under the supervision of The Society which exists to provide an environment, based on statistics and predictions, that promotes the healthiest, happiest, most successful life possible. In order to do so all regular citizens carry a scancard, wear the same clothes, eat the same food based on optimum nutritional values, do not run in public (it is improper and disruptive), have scheduled recreation time, work time, curfew, and much more. By removing choices, The Society attempts to create an utopia. As I read about each additional rule and restriction I became more and more uncomfortable with this new and improved world. The Society strongly discourages individuality, worrying, and curiosity, so what happens when someone does?

Submitted by Valerie at Central

Click on the book cover above to check the catalog for available copies.



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June 4, 2011

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

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The Summoning, which begins The Darkest Powers Trilogy, is about 15 year old Chloe Saunders, a necromancer, brothers Simon, a warlock, and Derek a werewolf (though not the traditional kind), Tori, a witch, and the recently deceased telekinetic Liz. They all attend the Lyle House, an elite academy of sorts for students with special needs also known as supernatural powers. Some of the students know they have supernatural powers, some know how to use them, some, like Chloe, are just coming to discover they even have powers. Soon after the story begins the students realize the Lyle House operates as a kind of medical facility used to experiment and magnify the powers of the students and eventually sell them to the highest bidder. The remainder of the story consists of the teenagers frantically running for their lives not knowing who to trust or fear. I enjoyed the various and curious supernatural powers the characters had in this trilogy, it was an interesting mix along with the different personalities. Although the romantic triangle could be better constructed, the action is most definitely the focus which kept me speeding from one book to the next. I didn't want the story to end, but The Darkest Powers Trilogy continues with The Awakening and The Reckoning. And then, readers can continue the story with The Darkest Rising Trilogy which started this spring with The Gathering. Watch for The Calling in the spring of 2012. Visit Kelley Armstrong's website here.

Submitted by Valerie @ MPL Central



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January 16, 2011

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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I've never read a book quite like this one before. Mia lives a life full of love. She loves her Mom, Dad, and little brother Teddy. She loves playing the cello. She loves her best friend Kim. And she loves her rock-n-roll boyfriend Adam. She struggles a bit with low self-esteem, but otherwise she's quite happy. So this novel is about happiness, right? I guess it depends how much of an optimist you are. As she lay in a coma, Mia recounts the 24 hours following her catastrophic car accident. She watches over her own body and those who visit her in the hospital. She struggles to decide whether to succumb to her horrific grief and injuries or fight to live and build a new future for herself.

Click on the book cover above to check the catalog for available copies.



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August 9, 2011

Another Faust by Daniel & Dina Nayeri

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It's fun to read a book where authors create characters that you just love to hate, where you can't wait to see if karma gets the evil ones in the end or if they prevail to create even more havoc in the world. In Another Faust Madame Vileroy is that villain. Early on she visits five young children and gives them each a different supernatural power. When the children become young adults they go to live with Madame Vileroy and attend an elite New York high school. There they use their powers to succeed, but not without a price to be paid to their magical "fairy godmother."

Visit the authors' website here.

Submitted by Valerie @ Central



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December 30, 2010

Shiver & Linger : Books One and Two of the Wolves of Mercy Falls Series by Maggie Stiefvater

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I love this series. I've already read the first two books twice and can't wait for the third book to come out. Stiefvater puts a surprising spin on the whole werewolf phenomenon. I don't want to spoil it so I'm not going to write about it here. In the first book the story is told by Grace, a high school student, and Sam, a bookstore clerk, in alternating chapters. Just when the plot seemed to be all wrapped up with a happy and satisfying ending, in the final few pages Grace goes through a life altering change thus leaving us hanging on for book number two where the series continues and new characters are added to the mix. It isn't just the fun stories that lead me to like this series. Stiefvater's writing is often beautiful and poetic. It appeals to all of the senses so you can smell what the characters smell and really feel their pain and happiness. This series is geared toward young adults, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

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Linger is book two of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series.

Click on the book covers above to check the catalog for available copies.

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Book three, Forever, is scheduled to be published in July 2011.



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December 20, 2010

Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams

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Two sisters.
Best Friends.

One mother.
Many visitors.

A secret diary
to document
it all.

Click on the book cover above to check the catalog for available copies.



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January 19, 2011

Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

Sapphique is the much-anticipated sequel to Incarceron, a dystopia in which entire generations inhabit a living prison. In book 1, teens Finn and Claudia struggled to escape; now in Sapphique, they must find their place while torn between the world outside and the world they left behind. If you've been waiting breathlessly for the new installment, here it is! If this is your first introduction to the series, start with Incarceron.



Check catalog for availability.
Or start with the first book in the series, Incarceron.

Submitted by Audrey @ Central


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December 8, 2010

Novels by Lisa Schroeder

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Lisa Schroeder tackles serious subjects in these three books -- death, suicide, depression, fear, anger, divorce, step-families, but not without hope and love. Her first two books are told from a teen girl's point of view, the third from both a boy's and a girl's in alternating chapters. Schroeder writes in verse form with thoughts, actions and dialogue speeding along like they would in real life. Extraneous words are absent, leaving a great deal of white space on each page that gives the words that are present additional impact. I read each book twice, the second time more slowly to really allow the individual words and the characters' struggles sink in. These books were hard to read because of their content, but beautifully written and true to life save for a touch of the supernatural.

Click on the book covers above to check the catalog for available copies.



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November 22, 2010

Ghosts of War: The true story of a 19-year-old GI by Ryan Smithson

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After watching the twin towers fall on 9/11, high school student Ryan Smithson decides to join the army after he graduates from high school because "If I don't do something, who will?" His mind made up he joins the reserves at 17 and is sent to Iraq at the age of nineteen. He leaves his parents and high school sweetheart and heads off to war. "When people write nonfiction books about Iraq, I will not be in them. They will not make movies about me. There won't be any video games... I am just a GI. Nothing special. A kid doing his job. I am GI Joe Schmo." And so begins Ryan's journey as he takes the reader on a step by step account of his one year tour in Iraq that ultimately changed his life.

Military jargon is used but is clearly defined and a nice touch is the glossary which can easily be referenced for the military terms that are forgotten. An added bonus is the glossy pictures of him and his platoon in Iraq.

A powerful read as seen through the eyes of a 19 year old man who risks everything for something he believes in because "If I don't do something, who will?"

submitted by Sue @ Tippecanoe


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November 2, 2010

Celebrate Native American Heritage

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November is Native American Heritage Month. Here in Milwaukee there is one remaining Indian burial mound, and it is located in Lake Park, at Lake Drive just south of Locust St. It's a great area for a walk, so get out there and find the commemorative plaque placed by the Wisconsin Historical Society in 1910. Check out Lake Park Friends to find out more about this important cultural site.

I recently read Wabi: A Hero's Tale by Joseph Bruchac. Bruchac writes fantastic stories that include elements of traditional Native American stories. In this book, we meet Wabi, an owl with a keen interest in the nearby human community. The people there have a legend about a powerful Village Guardian. Will Wabi be able to protect the people, or endanger himself by getting too close to the humans? Whether serious or whimsical, Joseph Bruchac's books are always worth a read.

Submitted by Ephemera@Villard


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September 29, 2010

Banned Books Week--Sandpiper by Ellen Wittlinger

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Sandpiper Hollow Ragsdale is 17 and the kids at school call her a slut. She learned that dating would get her attention and power, though she doesn't even like the guys and usually dumps them after a few days. Derek, her most recent boyfriend, thinks she owes him--and his friends, much more than she is willing to offer.

She can't talk to her parents about the threats Derek's making because they're too busy with their own lives. Her mother is getting remarried and her father is a serial dater of younger women.

Enter a mysterious loner, the Walker; so named because he's always walking around town, never riding in cars. Sandpiper knows nothing more about him, not even his real name, but he offers her a platonic friendship and they develop a genuine relationship while defending one another.

Not one to shy away from tough subjects, Wittlinger's Sandpiper is no exception.
Challenged due to sexual content and language, this well written book takes an interesting look at high school and reputation. Once you have a particular rep, whether deserved or not, it can be very difficult to change people's perceptions.


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About Young Adult

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to READ @ MPL in the Young Adult category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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