Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book Girl -- No, This Isn't an Biography

“This is why you have to watch your back around book girls. Their minds are full of literature without any concept of reality, so if you take your eyes off of them, there’s no telling what mischief they’ll get into.” ~ Mizuki Nomura, from Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime.

Monday, February 27, 2012

My favorites of 2011

Late last year, I read a boatload of new science fiction and fantasy books for teens. A lot of them. Wizards, dystopias, magic, quests - they were coming out my ears, I tell you. These are my top four.

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick - When a powerful electromagnetic pulse kills off two-thirds of the human race and knocks the rest back to the Stone Age, it's every man, woman, and child for himself. 17-year-old Alex was already living on borrowed time, what with the brain tumor and all, so she thought she knew about living life one day at a time. Along with Afghanistan vet Tom and eight-year-old Ellie, she discovers that it's a little more difficult when you have to fight wild animals and teen cannibal zombies for the privilege.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The end-of-a-series Blues

I hate it when I finish a series. Hate it. Perhaps I am too attached to characters and their fictional lives but the very nature of a story makes you believe there could always be more if someone would only think it up and write it down! Most recently, I finished up Suzanne Collins' amazing Hunger Games trilogy (yes, I am shockingly behind the times) and I've fallen into my usual funk. Just in case any of you are in the same sad boat, I am here to offer you a lifeline--literally! In the same vein, Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker is an exhilarating, futuristic dark work where the remains of sunken ships in the Gulf of Mexico have become a vicious dog-eat-dog world of scavengers--scrap wood, copper, oil, eyeballs, it's all fair game and makes life precarious at best.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The misery of bullies.

We've all known bullies and felt the pain of their attacks. But, have we ever considered the pain in their lives? Butterball is thirteen, overweight and feels so ostracized in school that he eats his lunch of vending machine cheese crackers in the bathroom stall. How did things get so bad? Why did he hit his former friend Maurice on the playground with a sock full of batteries? Playground: The Mostly True Story of a Former Bully by 50 Cent is inspired by the hip hop star's own adolescence. You'll find yourself groaning at Butterball's bad choices, laughing at his acerbic comments and cheering him on as he begins to believe in himself. Read this book to see the humanity behind a bully and feel hope for all kids in trouble.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

HOPE . . . . IS HERE

Maybe I am picky but the voice on an audio book must be just right for me to listen. If it's not I go back to the hard copy. But the voice on this audio book Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer is just right!

Sixteen year old Hope has moved plenty from restaurant to restaurant with her Aunt Addie. She learns what makes a good waitress serving up comfort food cooked by her aunt. Just like Hope I was once a waitress and yes you do learn a lot about people while serving them food. It is from this viewpoint you learn about Hope who, by the way, chose her own name and had it changed legally. Well you can not blame her after you read what name her mother gave her! She has seen her mother exactly three times since she was born. And each time she gave Hope tips on how to be a good waitress. Every time they move it is difficult but before she leaves she writes somewhere in the café "Hope was here". And hope is a constant theme in this story. Told with humor and warmth this story is a winner.
This audio is recommended for ages 10 and up, so take it on your next vacation listen or read - your choice.


Monday, February 13, 2012

A sci-fi Cinderella

When I first heard about Cinder by Marissa Meyer, I thought it was just a Cinderella story with cyborg elements. It is so much more that. Meyer takes the elements of Cinderella, like the prince, and the ball, and the cruel step-family and weaves them into a much bigger story. There is a new evil Queen, the ruler of the Lunar colony. She has some mysterious powers, she may or may not be responsible for a plague that is decimating Earth, and she wants the Prince's throne. Cinder gets involved because she is an excellent mechanic. Little do people realize it's because she is part cyborg. Anyway, the Prince needs a droid fixed. He says it's for sentimental value, but it's really because she was spying for him. This all makes for a very cool, science fiction style Cinderella that is well worth reading.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Let's Go Ride a Bike!

Having grown up in a city where this time of year I would be battling blizzards and layering on coats and mittens and scarves, I always rejoice when February rolls around and I can walk around in a t-shirt. This is so fantastic to me.

Now, for the confession: I did not learn how to ride a bike until I was 21 years old. I was, gulp, scared. And that's what I have in common with Auden, the main character of Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen. Okay, Auden was 18 when she learned how to ride a bike, and she wasn't scared, she had just been raised by very academic parents. So I guess the resemblance ends there.

Monday, February 6, 2012

It is a truth universally acknowledged...

...That the month which contains so much love-themed commercialism leaves book lovers in want of Pride and Prejudice. One of my favorite light reads last year was Prom and Prejudice, which our Book Lady blogged about here. It's a modern-day update set in a prep school, with way more coffee.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Best name ever? Possibly

Despite the fact that I talk The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: The Pox Party up all the time, I hadn't even thought about writing a review until I noticed Octavian Nothing winning an informal poll of teen services librarians for coolest male name. M.T. Anderson has created a book that is next to impossible to forget, even though sometimes you kinda wish you could.

Octavian has written his autobiography which takes place mostly in the Boston Area, before and during the Revolutionary War. He was raised with his mother (an African princess) in a big estate owned by a "scientific" group called the Novangalian College of Lucidity. Both were educated in literature, science, languages, you name it. At some point though Octavian realizes the other Africans in the household aren't treated as well as he is and it's probably not right that the College weighs his poop. (Seriously, they do that.) To the College's displeasure, he soon discovers the horrible truth behind the poop weighing and some gruesome(though historically accurate) horrors occur. Octavian then sets out to escape with the help of a sympathetic scholar and the start of the Revolutionary War may just help him find a new life.

The second volume, The Kingdom on the Waves, continues his story.

--The Stacked Librarian

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Confessions of a librarian

It is often (and generally, correctly) assumed that librarians love to read, or that people who become librarians are people who love to read.  Now, given the title, some of you are probably expecting me to say that I confess, I honestly hate to read.  Thankfully, this is not true.  In fact, my idea of a perfect day is one that involves hiking, reading, and good coffee (not necessarily in that order).

However, this has not always been the case.  There was a time in my life (sorry, but "when I was your age") when I really did not like to read that much, at least not the kind of books that actually require much reading.  I would spend hours looking at books about World War II, or aircraft, or submarines, or castles, but chapter books, not so much.

This all changed when my parents gave me a copy of Robinson Crusoe for Christmas one year.