Category Archives: Books

Curl Up & Read: Reunited

Posted on May 6th, 2016 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff, Teen Services
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Title: Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham

Read by: Anna, a Teen Central Librarian

Summary: 3 ex-best friends, 1 concert, 1 1976 green VW camper van, and 1 long road trip. How bad could it be?

Genre/sub-genre: contemporary fiction/humor

Series/Standalone: Standalone

Length: 325 pages

Personal thoughts: 

Hilariously funny and achingly real, Reunited had me hooked from page one.

Summer, Alice, and Tiernan are well developed characters, that easily drive the story forward, and keep the reader turning pages. With the point-of-view rotating between the three ex-best friends, we get to see their fears, their anger, and their joys, as they navigate the wild events of their road trip and attempt to forget the night they broke up at the school dance several years before. Along the way, the girls learn a little something about life, love, friendship, and about themselves.

Peppered throughout, are the catchy lyrics to Level3’s songs, including title and album information, making the band feel that much more real and a part of the story.

The ending was unpredictable, realistic, and hopeful. It’s clear that there is still work to be done for these three friends, but the ending was every bit satisfying. I’m just sorry I didn’t read this sooner.

I recommend this for anyone who enjoys reading contemporary fiction about best friends and music, especially with a good dose of humor.




Looking to borrow this library book? Look no further!

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.



On the Radar: Five Books to Check Out in May

Posted on April 29th, 2016 by vkovenmatasy in Books, Previews

Get your library card handy and call your local library to reserve these new May releases! Due to a hiccup in the BPL’s online catalog, their records are not currently displaying properly, but library staff will be able to place a hold for you.

Please note: all summaries are taken from WorldCat unless otherwise noted. They may have been edited for length and clarity.


court of mist and furyA Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Summary: Though Feyre now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, but as she navigates the feared Night Court’s dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it.

Why We’re Excited: It’s the next Sarah J. Maas book. Need I say more? Okay, how about this: one of my teens came up to the desk a few weeks ago to tell me that she’d just finished A Court of Thorns and Roses and she had to have the next book. I trust her judgment.


geek feminist revolution coverThe Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
Summary: The Geek Feminist Revolution is a collection of essays by double Hugo Award-winning essayist and fantasy novelist Kameron Hurley. The book collects dozens of Hurley’s essays on feminism, geek culture, and her experiences and insights as a genre writer, including We Have Always Fought, which won the 2013 Hugo for Best Related Work. The Geek Feminist Revolution will also feature several entirely new essays written specifically for this volume. Unapologetically outspoken, Hurley has contributed essays to The Atlantic, Locus, Tor.com, and others on the rise of women in genre, her passion for SF/F, and the diversification of publishing.

Why We’re Excited: Who run the world of speculative fiction? GIRLS. If you like reading science fiction or fantasy — and those genres make up a big part of the YA landscape these days — it’s worth reading about how science fiction and fantasy have treated and are still treating women (whether you happen to be a woman or not). If you can’t wait until The Geek Feminist Revolution comes out to read Hurley’s pearls of wisdom, you can read “‘We Have Always Fought’: Challenging the ‘Women, Cattle and Slaves’ Narrative,” the essay she won a Hugo Award for, here.


if I was your girlIf I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
Summary: Amanda Hardy only wants to fit in at her new school, but she is keeping a big secret, so when she falls for Grant, guarded Amanda finds herself yearning to share with him everything about herself, including her previous life as Andrew.

Why We’re Excited: As #WeNeedDiverseBooks continues to change the landscape in the young adult publishing world, one thing I think we all need to keep in mind is to look for and listen to #OwnVoices in particular. There are several well-known and well-respected YA books about trans characters, but If I Was Your Girl is the first book on the scene I know of whose author writes from experience. I’m also excited for a happy ending, honestly; this area of YA has a history of being brutally dark, and while many of those sad books are very worthy reads, all grimdark all the time leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Transgirls deserve happy endings too!


summer days and summer nights coverSummer Days and Summer Nights, edited by Stephanie Perkins
Summary: Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Why We’re Excited: Stephanie Perkins has a strong reputation in the field of YA romance (see: Lola and the Boy Next Door, Anna and the French Kiss, and Isla and the Happily Ever After), so she knows what she’s doing when it comes to putting together a collection of short stories about summer romance. (Did we mention that she also edited a holiday romance collection, My True Love Gave to Me? This lady has series bona fides.) Plus, check out that list of contributing authors! Leigh Bardugo? Libba Bray? Veronica Roth? Come for your favorite writer’s story, stay for the other eleven.


outrun the moon coverOutrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from poverty in Chinatown, and she gains admittance to a prestigious finishing school through a mix of cunning and bribery. She soon discovers that getting in was the easiest part, and must carve a niche among the spoiled heiresses. When the earthquake strikes on April 18, Mercy and her classmates are forced to a survivor encampment, but her quick-witted leadership rallies them to help in the tragedy’s aftermath.

Why We’re Excited: Lee’s debut novel, Under a Painted Sky, was one of my favorite YA novels of 2015. I’m beyond thrilled to have another historical novel coming out from her so soon! The Great San Francisco Earthquake isn’t a time period I know much about, but everything I know about the California Gold Rush I learned playing Oregon Trail, and that didn’t make me love Under a Painted Sky any less. I’ve actually read Outrun the Moon already (thank you, Penguin Random House, for the ARC at ALA Midwinter), so I can promise you that Mercy Wong is an absolute delight of a protagonist. If you like history or take-charge heroines, this book is for you.


icon of VeronicaDid I get you interested in reading one of these books? Just call your local library and let them know! Library staff can place a hold for you even before the book comes out, so you’ll be the first to have it in your hands when it hits our shelves.

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: Erased & Lone Wolf and Cub Omnibus 11

Posted on April 12th, 2016 by jkenney in Books, Movies, Reviews - Staff

This new installment on our teen blog includes two great titles from our friends in Japan. First, Erased, or Boku dake ga Inai Machi (The Town Where Only I am Missing, BokuMachi) is the hit new series that just finished on Crunchyroll and other anime outlets. Second, Lone Wolf and Cub Omnibus Volume 11, adds another wonderful samurai epic to the manga shelves at the Hyde Park Branch.


ErasedErased is a mystery-thriller with a scifi base. The hero, Sartoru Fujimuna, discovers he can go back in time whenever he experiences an intense trauma. He is falsely accused of a crime when he is older and gets transported back to his grade school days, shortly before the mysterious disappearance of his classmate, Kayo Hinazuki.  The character art work and development is strong and original in this new series. Costumes are realistic yet interesting as you might expect from a present day drama. The animation shows great virtual cinematography at many scene changes and “camera” pans. I remember seeing at least one “zoom and truck” depth effect made famous by Alfred Hitchcock in the movie Vertigo. The technique creates a perspective stretching effect while holding the subject in focus and in mid frame. The director, Tomohiko Itou, also combines vertical panning and rotation of the camera effects on particular scenes, adding to the psychological thrill. And of course, the story features a movie film reel effect that represents Sartoru’s ability to go back in time, changing history and helping his friends. But can he save himself? This series will have you yearning for more after the very first episode. There may be a spinoff, but unlike other famous titles that seem to go on forever, Erased is a “well made play” and the story is woven together tightly in 12 episodes. Some development and suspense do get lost from the manga, but this is a common situation when manga are converted to anime. Here, it is done well and for the usual reasons of time and production effort. The series is really good and I strongly recommend it for anime fans. Watch it in Japanese with English subtitles. It’s good for you to read, and the voice acting spot on! The story just concluded on Crunchyroll and we watched it faithfully at Anime Club here in Hyde Park. You can find it at Crunchyroll, Funimation, or Anime Planet.


Lone wolf and cubLone Wolf & Cub Omnibus 11 is a steady-paced, suspense-infused, shonen manga. This was the first time I read any of the series and I was greatly impressed. It’s the number one selling graphic novel! The story is by Kazuo Koike and the art is by Goseki Kojima. Translation by Dana Lewis. The artwork features amazing pen and ink brush technique. Pen strokes provide minute detail and brushwork adds great shadow effects, both light and dark.  The story follows a young ronin, Ogami Itto with his son Daigoro, and an aged master ninja Yagyu Retsudo. Yagyu is held prisoner by a court poisoner-tester who once saved Daigoro from horrible frostbite when he was a baby. Ogami and Yagyu are sworn enemies and have an outstanding challenge to duel to the death. Great Bushido and Ninjutsu codes of honor run deep in this epic and the contrasts among other characters are stark and varied. The pacing of the story lends to the suspense and gravity of the epic. Finally it culminates in a fantastic series of fireworks signals, dramatic sword play, self sacrifice, and a bold festival procession. There is mild gore in some spots, as might be expected, but the fantastic landscapes, cityscapes and ink washes provide a strong balance of beauty in the story. Weather and night time effects, even illustrated in black and white, enthrall the reader. I highly recommend this title for samurai and shonen manga fans out there. You can request this volume from the BPL in hard copy here or in ebook format here. And this series is set in the western left-to-right format so you don’t even have to read it backwards!



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: Symptoms of Being Human

Posted on April 1st, 2016 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Title: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Read by: Anna, a Teen Central Librarian

Summary: Riley Cavanaugh is attending a new school, has debilitating anxiety and a congressman father running for re-election, and hasn’t come out yet. To anyone. Riley is gender fluid, which means some days Riley identifies as a boy and some days Riley identifies as a girl. With all of this going on, how on earth is Riley supposed to blend in, make friends, come out, and survive high school?

Genre/sub-genre: LGBTQ contemporary fiction

Series/Standalone: Standalone

Length: 335 pages

Personal thoughts: 

“People are complicated. And messy. Seems too convenient that we’d all fit inside some multiple-choice question.” – Riley Cavanaugh

This book is long overdue, because until now, stories about gender fluid people have been non-existent. Real and relatable, Symptoms of Being Human is a great look into what it means to be different in a way most people aren’t used to. No pronouns are used for Riley in the book, yet the author’s writing makes it feel very natural, not forced. Preferred pronouns (of which there are a lot of options) aren’t even mentioned by Riley’s therapist and transgender support group, which felt odd to me. Yet the lack of pronouns does serve as a reminder of just how binary society considers gender, and how much we gender everything without even thinking about it.

Riley’s story is very character driven. Riley’s parents are realistic, fully-developed and caring adults, just trying to do the best they can without knowing Riley’s secret. While there were a few minor friends I wanted to know more about, I loved Riley’s two friends from school. Solo and Bec were as well rounded, quirky, and engaging as Riley and they stood out as cool people I’d want to be friends with if I could.

This is a powerful and inspirational story that won’t let you go. I highly recommend this title for anyone who may identify as gender fluid and those who want to know what it means to be gender fluid. That said, I also highly recommend this title for those people who enjoy contemporary teen fiction and are just looking for a good read. Read on!



anna250-150x150Looking to borrow this library book? Look no further!

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, one of the Teen Librarians at Teen Central, on the first Friday of every month.

On the Radar: Five Books to Check Out in April

Posted on March 29th, 2016 by vkovenmatasy in Books, Previews, Teen Services

Get your library card handy and reserve your place in line for these new April 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.


cover of The Raven King

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Summary: Not believing in true love, Blue never thought the warning that she will cause her true love’s death would be a problem, but as her life is entangled in the world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Why We’re Excited: We are finally getting the last book in the Raven Cycle! It’s been eighty-four (okay, actually just four) years since The Raven Boys was published, and subsequent installments The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue have only added to fans’ impatience as they wait to find out if Gansey is ever going to find his dead Welsh king, if Blue’s love really will kill Gansey as foretold, and if Adam and Ronan are just going to make out already. These books have a lot of plot in addition to all the feels, so if you’re waiting for your hold to come in, why not take the chance to reread the first three while you’re at it?


cover of Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw

Summary: Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her pot-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor. When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series–they’re the real-life kids from her high school.

Why We’re Excited: Fandom seems like the hot new topic in teen fiction these days (see: Fangirl, Kill the Boy Band, and upcoming releases Gena/Finn, The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love, and All the Feels), and it’s always a little nerve-wracking (at least for this long-time fangirl) to pick up a book and find out if the author got it right or horribly, painfully wrong. I’m cautiously optimistic and very curious to see how Scarlett Epstein matches up!


cover of Saving Montgomery Sole

Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki

Summary: An outcast teen girl explores the mysteries of friendship, family, faith, and phenomena, including the greatest mystery of all–herself.

Why We’re Excited: Tamaki is the author (with her cousin Jillian) of Printz Honor Book This One Summer, so we already know she can tell a good story. The set-up of Saving Montgomery Sole sounds like something I’d be nervous about in other hands — daughter of lesbian moms in a not-so-tolerant town has to deal with the son of a homophobic preacher, brace for a treacly life lesson in 3… 2… — but I think Tamaki is up to the challenge of making these characters feel real, and with what we’re seeing on the news these days (thanks for making me embarrassed to call you my former home state, North Carolina) we could all probably use a few life lessons in accepting each other, anyway. Plus, hints of magical realism and a $5.99 mail-order magic amulet? Yes, please!


cover of This Land Is Our Land

This Land Is Our Land: A History of American Immigration by Linda Barrett Osborne

Summary: Explores the way government policy and popular responses to immigrant groups have evolved throughout U.S. history, from 1800 to today.

Why We’re Excited: <Adele voice> Hello, it’s me, election season. I was wondering if after all this time you’re still listening to groundless paranoia and fear-mongering about immigration meant to keep American citizens from discussing the subject in a rational manner. </Adele voice> Wouldn’t it be nice to have some facts and history at your fingertips the next time some politician starts foaming at the mouth on the news about how immigrants are ruining our country? And this book looks gorgeous, too, so getting yourself educated won’t exactly be a hardship. Win/win!


cover of Tell the Wind and Fire

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

Summary: In this near-future retelling of the Dickens classic “A Tale of Two Cities,” a deadly revolution breaks out in a New York City divided by light and dark magic.

Why We’re Excited: Okay, I have a confession to make. I’ve actually never read A Tale of Two Cities. My high school English teacher assigned Great Expectations instead. However, I have read Tell the Wind and Fire, courtesy of a review copy that made its way into my hands a few months ago, so I can assure you that it’s a great read even if you don’t really know the original material. (Something to do with twins and the French Revolution, I think? And possibly an old lady knitting in code.) There’s cool magic and an evil twin (or is he really?) and a pragmatic heroine who’s just doing her best to make sure the people she loves make it out alive. What’s not to enjoy? I’ve been following Sarah Rees Brennan’s career since The Demon’s Lexicon came out in 2009, and she has very rarely let me down.


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.