Teens

Category Archives: Books

On the Radar: Five Books to Check Out in October

Posted on September 30th, 2016 by vkovenmatasy@private.bpl.org in Books, Previews

Get your library card handy and reserve your place in line for these new October releases! If you place a hold now, they can be in your hands before they even hit the shelf.

Please note: all summaries are taken from the Boston Public Library catalog unless otherwise noted. They may have been edited for length and clarity.

 

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Goldenhand by Garth Nix

Summary: Lirael lost one of her hands in the binding of Orannis, but now she has a new hand, one of gilded steel and Charter Magic. On a dangerous journey, Lirael returns to her childhood home, the Clayr’s Glacier, where she was once a Second Assistant Librarian. There, a young woman from the distant North brings her a message from her long-dead mother, Arielle. It is a warning about the Witch with No Face. But who is the Witch, and what is she planning? Lirael must use her new powers to save the Old Kingdom from this great danger–and it must be forestalled not only in the living world but also in the cold, remorseless river of Death.

Why We’re Excited: IT’S FINALLY HERE. The Old Kingdom series has some of the longest waits in between books I’ve ever experienced — Sabriel came out in 1995, Lirael in 2001, Abhorsen in 2003, and then series prequel Clariel (which resolved NOTHING and I’m still mad about it) in 2014, so depending on how you look at it I’ve been waiting two years to find out what on earth Clariel had to do with anything or over ten years to find out what the heck happened after Lirael saved the world and became the Abhorsen-in-Waiting. That’s a long time! Since Sabriel and Lirael were some of my favorite fantasy novels as a teen, Goldenhand has a lot to live up to, but I have faith. Either you’re already a fan of Nix (whom you may also recognize from standalones A Confusion of Princes, Newt’s Emerald, and probably the creepiest sci-fi novel I’ve ever read, Shade’s Children, as well the Keys to the Kingdom series) and have been waiting for the next installment of this series as eagerly as I have, or you get to read all five books in a row without all the lag time in between — it’s a win/win situation!

 

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The ABC’s of LGBT+: Understanding and Embracing Your Identity by Ashley Mardell

Summary: The 21st Century has seen very positive movement for LGTBQ+ rights in the last few years – the overturning of DOMA, SCOTUS ruling in favor of the Marriage Equality Act, American transgender politicians elected to office and landmark moments such as Apple becoming the most valuable company in the world under the leadership of an openly gay CEO. We are living in a post-binary world where gender fluency and awareness of how people identify is essential. Ashley Mardell, one of the most trusted voices on YouTube, presents a detailed look at all things LGBTQ+. Along with in-depth definitions, personal anecdotes, helpful infographics, resources, and more, Mardell’s book is proof it does get better every day in a world where people are empowered by information and understanding. In Mardell’s own words, “This book is also for allies and LGBTQ+ people simply looking to pack in some extra knowledge… a critical part of acceptance. Learning about new identities broadens our understanding of humanity, heightens our empathy, and allows us different, valuable perspectives.” Whether you are a questioning teen, a teacher or parent looking for advice or anyone wanting to learn the language of respect, this book is an essential guide for you.

Why We’re Excited: I was surprised but pleased to see Ashley Mardell, whom I recognized from her YouTube videos, on the cover of a book! And it’s certainly true that if we don’t want to find ourselves swimming in gender and sexual identity alphabet soup (for what it’s worth, I prefer QUILTBAG to LGBT+ as an acronym; I find it more inclusive and also easier to pronounce), we’re going to need some straight-talking guides — no pun intended — for the well-meaning but confused. I’m looking forward to seeing how this one measures up!

 

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Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz

Summary: Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. She’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship to the school of her dreams. And then everything shatters. Her parents are forced to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation. As she’s trying to make sense of who she is in this new reality, her world is turned upside down again by Royce Blakely. He’s funny, caring and spontaneous–basically everything she’s been looking for at the worst possible time–and now he’s something else she may lose. Jasmine will stop at nothing to protect her relationships, family and future, all while figuring out what it means to be an immigrant in today’s society.

Why We’re Excited: Well, first of all, Melissa de la Cruz (author of the Blue Bloods, Au Pairs, and Witches of East End series, among others) has a new book out, and it’s a contemporary! Plus, it’s fantastic that de la Cruz, who is herself an immigrant who came from the Philippines to the United States as a child, has chosen to use her own personal experiences to help bring this story to life. As the United States struggles with immigration reform, books like Something in Between (you might also try Diane Guerrero’s autobiography, In the Country We Love, and Jose Antonio Vargas’s longform article for the New York Times, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant”) are more important than ever to remind us that undocumented immigrants are not just statistics; they’re people.

 

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Tattoo Atlas by Tim Floreen

Summary: After Franklin commits a horrific crime and is sent to a special lab for rehabilitation, only Jeremy believes that Franklin might actually be better… but when crimes start up again in their small town, Jeremy begins to wonder if evil can ever truly be quelled.

Why We’re Excited: Just in time for Halloween, a deeply creepy psychological horror novel about the scientific determination of good and evil! (And also a life lesson on why you shouldn’t hook up with someone who murdered your friend even if he seems to have had a personality transplant.) There’s a new trend in horror novels that I’ve noticed lately, with Three Truths and a Lie, As I Descended, and now Tattoo Atlas, where queer characters get a chance to just be characters in a horror novel — villains, protagonists, or even victims of a deranged serial killer — instead of being defined by their sexuality. I thoroughly approve.

 

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The Way Things Work Now by David MacAulay

Summary: Explainer-in-Chief David Macaulay updates the worldwide bestseller The New Way Things Work to capture the latest developments in the technology that most impacts our lives. Famously packed with information on the inner workings of everything from windmills to Wi-Fi, this extraordinary and humorous book both guides readers through the fundamental principles of machines, and shows how the developments of the past are building the world of tomorrow. This sweepingly revised edition embraces all of the latest developments, from touchscreens to 3D printer. Each scientific principle is brilliantly explained–with the help of a charming, if rather slow-witted, woolly mammoth.

Why We’re Excited: I like knowing how things work, don’t you? I’m old enough to remember reading the original The Way Things Work (published in 1988, the year of my birth — we’re both pretty outdated now!) as a kid, although I have to confess that I still can’t explain internal combustion. (I probably should have tried rereading the book as a teenager, when I would have understood it a little better!) We’ve gotten so many new technologies since then, it only stands to reason that we’ve needed a few updates. If MacAulay can explain wifi as well as he explains levers, I might finally understand how the precious internet connection I can’t live without actually functions.

 

icon of VeronicaDid I get you interested in reading one of these books? Just click the title of the one you want and the link will take you to the relevant page in the catalog. From there you can click the green “Place a Hold” button and you’re all set!

Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow a book? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.

 

*”On the Radar” features book previews by Veronica, the Teen Librarian at the Dudley Branch, on the last Tuesday or Friday of every month.

Reading Backwards, Watching in Japanese: Mob Psycho 100

Posted on September 13th, 2016 by jkenney@private.bpl.org in Movies, Previews, Reviews - Staff, Reviews - Teens, Teen Services

mob-psycho-100Hello Otaku! I hope the new school year is starting well for all of our fans back in classes. On the theme of “new things,” our club members at Hyde Park recommended the new show Mob Psycho 100. This new series is an action/psycho thriller combo with clear links back to the world famous and groundbreaking film Akira, from 1988. Mob Psycho 100 anime is produced by the same makers of One Punch Man. On this new team, they assembled director Yuzuru Tachikawa from Death Parade and composer Kenji Kawai from Ghost in the Shell. (reference and link credit: Kotaku.com) 

 

 

 

 

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Tetsuo unleashing his telekinetic power in Akira

 

mob-psycho-100-blogThe hero of the story is Mob, a mild and reserved middle school kid who has trouble expressing himself. He seems generally unremarkable except for his one talent, ESP. ESP stands for “Extra-Sensory  Perception” and is not completely confirmed by science. Some people believe it exists and it is often called the “sixth sense.” Common forms of the phenomena can be referred to as “vibe”, “aura” or “spirit.” Spirit is a common theme in many Japanese anime so it’s not surprising we’re seeing it here. But rather than involving magic or classic supernatural themes, Mob Psycho 100 makes reference to a more scientific approach to tell a similar story.

mobpsycho100[Click image for GIF] The artwork and animation are amazing here and I want to take the opportunity to compliment (and brag about) our wonderful teens at Hyde Park. I am sure you and your friendly Otaku would make the same observations as our teens. First, the artwork is simpler than standard cutting edge titles that are taking advantage of HD resolutions and thousands of brilliant colors. Instead, BONES studio uses a simple art style, like that used for One Punch Man. This allows the artists a lot more time and flexibility to create fantastic animation and psychedelic spirit characters. Really though, the art work and creativity erupt with action and dynamism. The balance of time and effort in the production work is clearly evident. These were some of the first things our teens commented about when we started the show last week. They were right on top of this with critical analysis, examples and their reactions. It was great to hear and they had me sold in less than half an episode. I sometimes wondered why the drawing style was more simplistic. Now I understand.

So check out Mob Psycho 100 on Crunchyroll or Kissanime

john250-150x150Did you know that in addition to physical books and DVDs, your library card gives you access to anime and graphic novels online? The BPL subscribes to Hoopla, a streaming service that allows you to check out and enjoy the media you love on your computer, tablet or smartphone. You can learn more about the BPL’s digital media collections here.

Want company while you’re watching anime? The Hyde Park Teen Anime Club meets on Thursdays at 2:30 p.m.

*”Reading Backwards, Watching in Japanese” features reviews of anime and manga by John, the Teen Librarian at the Hyde Park Branch, on the second Tuesday of every month.

Curl Up & Read: The School for Good and Evil

Posted on September 2nd, 2016 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff, Teen Services
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Title: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Read by: Anna, Teen Central Librarian

Summary: Agatha and Sophie are best friends who couldn’t be more different from each other. Agatha considers herself ugly and the daughter of a witch, wanting nothing more than to be left alone. Meanwhile, Sophie is beautiful, doing everything she can to stay that way, and considers helping Agatha become beautiful as her Good Deed. When both of them are kidnapped and taken to the School for Good and Evil where they will learn how to survive in a fairy tale, they are surprised to find out that Agatha has been sorted into the school for Good, and Sophie into the school for Evil. Together, they try to right this obvious wrong while also attempting to escape, gain friends and boyfriends, or avoid them at all costs.

Genre/Subgenre: Fantasy/Fairy Tale

Standalone/Series: Trilogy

Length:

book 1 – 488 pages

book 2 – 433 pages

book 3 – 655 pages

Personal Thoughts:

“The most dangerous person in a fairy tale is the one willing to do anything for love.” – The School Master

Looking for something similar to, and yet different from, Harry Potter? This is it! The School for Good and Evil is a trilogy with a richly complicated plot and fantastic characters that keep you guessing whether they really are good or evil as they were assigned, right up until the very last page. The series tackles huge, sometimes very dark, subjects in a light, humorous way. It messes around with sexist stereotypes and while Chainani doesn’t use the words lesbian, gay, transgender, or bisexual, even these make it into the story in hints and undertones.

There is a heavy romance element here, but it is so much more than the typical teen love triangle, making this a fresh read for those who enjoy romance. In book three we get introduced to characters from classic fairy tales, like Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Red Riding Hood, whose lives have changed dramatically since the ending of their fairy tales. Some of these characters would happily tell you they left their princes and their happily-ever-afters behind for an even better life, proving that life is not all about romance.

Overall, I have to say I enjoyed book one the best. It was the most fresh and engaging story of the three. Everyone seemed to want the exact same thing in book two and some of the characters’ personalities got a little tiring in book three, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying all of the books. Small illustrations at the start of each chapter are a fun addition. This could be seen as a middle grade series, but will be enjoyed by teens of all ages.

With the addition of Merlin and Tedros’s family in the third book (Tedros is the son of King Arthur here), I was reminded of Mary Stewart’s Crystal Cave series, written from Merlin’s point of view, which takes a more realistic approach to the story of Merlin, King Arthur, and magic. I highly recommend this series for any who love historical/fantasy fiction. The first book in the series can be found here.

 

Editor’s Note: This is Anna’s last book review for the BPL Teen Blog, as she moves on to her new job in Reader Services. We’ll miss you, Anna! But never fear, Curl Up & Read will still be posting on the first Friday of the month — and the reviewer could be YOU. If you’re a teen and you’re interested in having a book review posted on the Teen Blog, please email vkovenmatasy (at) bpl (dot) org and pitch your idea. We might even be able to hook you up with an Advance Reader’s Copy of something coming out soon, so you can really be ahead of the crowd!

 

anna250-150x150Looking to borrow these library books? These links will take you to our catalog:

Book One: The School for Good and Evil

Book Two: A World Without Princes

Book Three: The Last Ever After

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart

Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow these books? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.

 

* “Curl Up & Read” posts book reviews by librarians and teens on the first Friday of every month.

 

On the Radar: Five Books to Check Out in September

Posted on August 30th, 2016 by vkovenmatasy@private.bpl.org in Books, Previews

Get your library card handy and reserve your place in line for these new September releases! If you place a hold now, they can be in your hands before they even hit the shelf.

Please note: all summaries are taken from the Boston Public Library catalog unless otherwise noted. They may have been edited for length and clarity.

 

empire of storms cover

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Summary: Kingdoms collide in Sarah J. Maas’s epic fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series. The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear. In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what — and who — to sacrifice if she’s to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.

Why We’re Excited: The Throne of Glass series continues! Honestly, y’all don’t need me to tell you why to be excited about this book. At time of writing there were already 22 people in line waiting for it. Better hurry up and add your name to the list! You can catch up on previous installments (Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows) while you wait.

 

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The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Summary: Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best–the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone. As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

Why We’re Excited: I’m a sucker for a good revenge saga, and this one sounds fascinating — it’s unusual to see a female protagonist as the unrepentant murderer. It’s a timely read, too; the outrage over People v. Turner is dying down but the rape culture enshrined in America’s legal system is still alive and well.

 

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Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Summary: Alex is a bruja and the most powerful witch in her family. But she’s hated magic ever since it made her father disappear into thin air. When a curse she performs to rid herself of magic backfires and her family vanishes, she must travel to Los Lagos, a land in-between as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland, to get her family back.

Why We’re Excited: Urban fantasy novels are a dime a dozen these days (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), but urban fantasy novels grounded in Latin American culture and mythology? A bit thinner on the ground. (Well, there’s Shadowshaper, which you should definitely read if you get impatient waiting for Labyrinth Lost, but still.) Also, there’s no mention anywhere in the cover copy, but a little bird told me that there’s a bisexual love triangle and I am dying to see how that shakes out!

 

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Diary of a Tokyo Teen by Christine Mari Inzer

Summary: Born in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and an American father in 1997, Christine Mari Inzer spent her early years in Japan and relocated to the United States in 2003. The summer before she turned sixteen, she returned to Tokyo, making a solo journey to get reacquainted with her birthplace. Through illustrations, photos, and musings, Inzer documented her journey. In Diary of a Tokyo Teen, Inzer explores the cutting-edge fashions of Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku district, eats the best sushi of her life at the renowned Tsukiji fish market, and hunts down geisha in the ancient city of Kyoto. As she shares the trials and pleasures of travel from one end of a trip to the other, Inzer introduces the host of interesting characters she meets and offers a unique–and often hilarious–look at a fascinating country and an engaging tale of one girl rediscovering her roots.

Why We’re Excited: Graphic memoirs are awesome! (If you haven’t read Smile and Sisters yet, what rock have you been hiding under for the past couple of years?) You can tell just from the cover that the art in Diary of a Tokyo Teen will be amazing. All I know about Japan I learned from watching way too much anime and JDrama in my misspent youth (so, all I know about Japan is probably hideously inaccurate) and I’m very curious to see Inzer’s perspective on the exoticization of Japan by Americans, and vice versa.

 

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As I Descended by Robin Talley

Summary: Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple–but one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey. Golden child Delilah is a legend at exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. But Delilah doesn’t know that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything–absolutely anything–to unseat Delilah for the scholarship. After all, it would lock in Maria’s attendance at Stanford–and assure her and Lily four more years in a shared dorm room. Together, Maria and Lily harness the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school. But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what’s imagined, the girls must attempt to put a stop to the chilling series of events they’ve accidentally set in motion.

Why We’re Excited: You may or may not be able to tell from the summary, but this book is a lesbian modern-day adaptation of Macbeth. Let that sink in for a moment. LESBIAN MACBETH SET AT BOARDING SCHOOL. I’ll give any halfway decent Shakespeare adaptation the benefit of the doubt, but this has to take the cake. Add to that the fact that Robin Talley has previously established her wlw teen romance bona fides with Lies We Tell Ourselves and What We Left Behind and you’ve got a recipe for success. Let the witchcrafty bloodbath begin!

 

icon of VeronicaDid I get you interested in reading one of these books? Just click the title of the one you want and the link will take you to the relevant page in the catalog. From there you can click the green “Place a Hold” button and you’re all set!

Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow a book? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.

 

*”On the Radar” features book previews by Veronica, the Teen Librarian at the Dudley Branch, on the last Tuesday or Friday of every month.

Curl Up & Read: I Am Malala

Posted on August 5th, 2016 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff, Teen Services
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This book is on the BPS Grade 9-12 Summer Reading Biography & Autobiography List!

Title: I Am Malala by  Malala Yousafzai

Read by: Anna, Teen Central Librarian

Summary: Malala, a young teenage girl living in Pakistan, wanted nothing more than to go to school and learn. When most of her country thought she should leave school and stay home because she was a girl, she started speaking out about the importance of education for girls and women. For this, she was shot in the head. This is her story.

Genre/sub-genre: non-fiction/memoir

Series/Standalone: standalone

Length: 368 pages (2015 updated edition)

Personal thoughts: 

“Peace in every home, every street, every village, every country – this is my dream. Education for every boy and every girl in the world. To sit down on a chair and read my books with all of my friends at school is my right. To see each and every human being with a smile of happiness is my wish. I am Malala. My world has changed but I have not.” – Malala Yousafzai

I was expecting Malala’s story to start on the day she was shot. Or perhaps the day before that. Instead, Malala explains the short history of Pakistan, her parents’ early experiences, and how she has been raised to appreciate education from her father. These first few sections are not entirely told in chronological order, but regardless, the story flows very easily from one topic to the next and I found each one very fascinating. The opening section, “Birmingham, England, June 2015” gives an update on Malala’s life since the first edition of the book came out in 2013 and while I loved that there was an update, I felt it was oddly placed at the beginning before I had even read what had happened.

Malala gives a good description of the Swat valley where she lives, showing the reader just how much she loves her homeland. I felt as if I were there with her, seeing the flora and fauna, and sitting beside her in school. Her descriptions of people are more vague and even her own brothers don’t get very many mentions. This may have been done for privacy reasons, of course, but I would have liked to know a little bit more about her friends and brothers at the very least. More importantly, however, she explains that not all Muslims belong to the Taliban, something a lot of people around the world need to understand.

While this was co-written with Christina Lamb, the words felt as if they were coming from Malala, not Christina. This was well written, easy to understand, hard to put down, and a quick read.

Almost as soon as Malala was shot the whole world knew and was outraged by it, though some from her own country thought her family was faking the incident in order to escape Pakistan. Since the first edition of her book came out in 2013, millions of people have picked up a copy and read about her life. Her book is real. It is painful. It is heartwarming. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. If you haven’t read it yet, do so now, and understand why education is important for all children around the world.

 

 

icon of annaThis book is on the BPS Grade 9-12 Summer Reading Biography & Autobiography List!

Looking to borrow this library book? Look no further! Audiobooks and ebooks are also available if you require them.

Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow this book? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.

 

*”Curl Up & Read” posts book reviews by Anna, Teen Librarian at Teen Central, the first Friday of every month.