Category Archives: Teen Services

On the Radar: Five Books to Check Out in August

Posted on July 29th, 2016 by vkovenmatasy@private.bpl.org in Teen Services

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


The Beauty of Darkness cover

The Beauty of Darkness by Mary Pearson

Summary: Princess Lia and her love, Rafe, have escaped Venda and the path before them is winding and dangerous.

Why We’re Excited: The final book in the Remnant Chronicles (previous installments: The Kiss of Deception and The Heart of Betrayal) is finally here, and it looks pretty epic. The Heart of Betrayal ended on a cliffhanger, but resolution awaits: of not only a trilogy’s worth of intrigue, but also the love triangle between Princess Lia, the prince she left at the altar, and the assassin sent to kill her. Fans of Sarah J. Maas, Marie Rutkoski, and Rosamund Hodge (and of course Pearson’s earlier Jenna Fox Chronicles) should check the series out!


All We Have Left cover

All We Have Left by Wendy Mills

Summary: In interweaving stories of sixteen-year-olds, modern-day Jesse tries to cope with the ramifications of her brother’s death on 9/11, while in 2001, Alia, a Muslim, gets trapped in one of the Twin Towers and meets a boy who changes everything for her as flames rage around them.

Why We’re Excited: It feels very weird to say we’re “excited” about a book about 9/11, but given the current political climate and the horrifying levels of Islamophobia that have prevailed since the fall of the Twin Towers, it seems like this will be an important read for many. Presumably because this year marks the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, several similarly-themed books for teens or middle grade readers are being published around the same time — Nine, Ten by Nora Raleigh Baskin, Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu, Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes and  The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner — but this is the only one I’ve seen that’s both aimed at teen readers and centers around the impact of 9/11 on Muslims. For a less fraught depiction of contemporary Muslim life, try Does My Head Look Big in This?, She Wore Red Trainers, and of course the inimitable Ms. Marvel.


Last Descendants cover

Last Descendants by Matthew J. Kirby

Summary: Nothing in Owen’s life has been right since his father died in prison, accused of a crime Owen is certain he didn’t commit. Monroe, the IT guy at school, might finally bring Owen the means to clear his father’s name by letting him use an Animus — a device that lets users explore genetic memories buried within their own DNA. During a simulation, Owen uncovers the existence of a powerful relic long considered a legend — the Trident of Eden. Now two secret organizations will stop at nothing to take possession of this artifact — the Brotherhood of Assassins and the Templar Order. It becomes clear the only way to save himself is to find the Trident first. Under the guidance of Monroe, Owen and a group of other teenagers go into a memory they all share within their DNA: the 1863 Draft Riots in New York City. Owen and his companions will find themselves tested on the violent streets of New York, and their experiences in the past will have far-reaching consequences in the present. (summary via the publisher’s website)

Why We’re Excited: In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years, Assassin’s Creed is a hugely popular video game which follows a secret society of Assassins throughout various time periods as they pursue their eternal struggle against rival group the Knights Templar. Lots of cool history and neat graphics to go with your adventures! (I’m not a gamer, but I have watched my brother play a lot of Assassin’s Creed in my time.) The franchise has put out graphic novels and adult novelizations, but this is their first tie-in aimed specifically at young adults, and I’m particularly interested to see how it (no pun intended) plays out, especially with the movie coming out soon as well.


Possession cover

Possession by M. Verano

Summary: All her life, Laetitia Jones has only wanted to be a star. It’s more than an ambition—somewhere deep inside, she knows that she was born for greatness. But her path to stardom now seems to be halted by a mysterious, undiagnosed illness that’s taken over her body. Doctors don’t have a clue and most days, she’s stuck at home documenting her strange symptoms—symptoms that start with fevers and chills, but soon escalate to bizarre bodily reactions. Laetitia’s only escape from her illness is following the news—and the race riots that are moving closer and closer to her neighborhood. But when horrific visions begin to invade her mind, even the media can’t distract her and she begins to wonder—is her illness something biological…or is it something more? Are the voices she hears and the notes she finds in her own handwriting signs of insanity…or signs of something much more sinister and demonic? Or, perhaps, signs of something benevolent…something holy even. Laetitia has always known she’d be famous…she just didn’t know it would happen this way. (summary via the publisher’s website)

Why We’re Excited: THAT COVER. Whoever designed it deserves a raise. What a gorgeous, creepy visual for a horror novel! It’s also a nice change to see a horror novel about someone other than yet another white girl in a dilapidated mansion. The “found text” conceit (the book is supposedly an edited compilation of the protagonist’s blog entries and other primary source documents, a la The Blair Witch Project) sounds pretty interesting, too.


Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit cover

Georgia Peaches & Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown

Summary: Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees. Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right? (summary via the publisher’s website)

Why We’re Excited: This sounds like a cuter version of The Miseducation of Cameron Post crossed with Openly Straight only with a happy ending, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’ll actually turn out that way, since Cameron Post and Rafe Goldberg ripped my heart out and stomped all over it. (Spoiler alert: those books are not romances, no matter what the back copy seems like it’s implying. Grr.) Join me in the land of hopeful expectation!


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! (Unfortunately, due to a hiccup in our current acquisitions schedule, not all of these books are available for holds yet, but you can still call your local library and ask them to place a hold for you as soon as the book comes in.)

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.

Ctrl+Z: Teen Services Instagram and Camera Phone Photography Fun

Posted on July 22nd, 2016 by chalpin@private.bpl.org in Teen Services

I’d like to invite you to follow the Boston Public Library’s new Teen Services Instagram account, @bplbostonteens. In our feed you’ll find pics of the variety of programs happening across the system, book recommendations, fun facts, and get to know the community of your teen library spaces. Please check it out!Instagram-v051916

Camera phones are ubiquitous enough to have made social apps like Instagram and Snapchat huge hits. Beyond ways of sharing and communicating with our photos, a plethora of apps have been developed to make our on-the-fly snapshots look unique and polished. From apps for iOS, Android, and Microsoft, such as Pixlr that allow you to both edit and get wildly creative with your pictures, to YouCam Perfect designed to let you touch up (or radically distort) your selfies, there are fun options that allow amateur photographers to create works of art. There are lots of fun web resources with tutorials and photography guidance, for example, one that focuses on the iPhone is iphonephotographyschool.com 

Adobe software such as Photoshop and Lightroom are professional tools for photo editing and manipulation. For a taste of this software, or for use on the go, check out the free mobile app versions of Photoshop and Lightroom for your phone. For those looking for greater control and exposure to the full desktop version of these professionals tools, the Lab at Teen Central, at the Central Library in Copley Square, provides access to Adobe Creative Cloud products. The library is also a great place to explore books about digital photography. One title is an eBook specifically about tips, tricks, and getting the most from your camera phone, Clever Digital Photography Ideas: Starting to Make the Most From your Camera or Camera Phone. With your library card you have access to digital magazine collections where you can read the latest copy, and back-issues, of Popular Photography.

Whether photography is your passion or not, the library is a place where you can pursue any of your hobbies and interests. Let us know how we can help!

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams 

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

*”Ctrl+Z” is all about fearlessly exploring technology. Look here for info about teens, technology, and having fun with new media by Catherine, Teen Technology Coordinator at Teen Central, on the fourth Friday of every month.

Teens Leading in the Community: The Upcoming Year for Boston Latin School

Posted on July 19th, 2016 by jsnow@private.bpl.org in Teen Services

This post is written by Anna, a SuccessLink teen working in Teen Central this summer and a student at Boston Latin School.

The upcoming year for Boston Latin School


The mission of BLS seeks to ground its students in a contemporary classical education as preparation for successful college studies, responsible and engaged citizenship, and a rewarding life.

Some of you may know of a woman named Dr. Lynne Mooney Teta, known as LMT amongst her students. She was the headmaster of the exam school, Boston Latin School, which prides itself in preparing students for college and eventually life. It provides a sink or swim environment forcing incoming seventh or ninth graders to work as hard as they possibly can to keep up with academics, athletics, extracurriculars, peer influences, and mental health. This stress can become overwhelming, but the bright students who come into the school would then leave as aware young adults who had been studying global issues and act as leaders in their community.

It is not only rewarding to go to a school that prepares on this journey to success, but also being around the type of people who would one day become such great leaders. Said leaders will stand up for what they are passionate in, no matter how much time it would consume. This school, although seemingly picture perfect, has been in the media numerous times in this past year. With the racist allegations towards Dr. Lynne Mooney Teta, this has not been a good year for her nor the school. Dr. Teta tried to hold various assemblies addressing the racial issues present at the school on top of the workshops that were held in students’ english classes, homerooms, and lunch periods. These workshops gave students a chance to speak their mind on the present problems around them. I say students in a technical term, however it may be more fitting to describe them as young leaders. These young leaders throughout the school, whose ages range from 12-18, bespoke their determination on moving forward as a school in the right direction.

On June 21st, a letter was sent out to students, parents, and faculty announcing Dr. Teta’s decision to resign as headmaster from the school. In a school filled with such passionate students, there were many opinions being thrown around in real life and on social media. Many were relieved and many were upset about this decision.

On June 23rd, Malcolm J. Flynn, an assistant headmaster in BLS submitted his resignation letter, in which he explains his reason for his decision. He believed that Boston Public Schools Office of Equity portrayed BLS in a untruthful light. He talks about the real atmosphere of the school and how it not only makes students feel safe, but also is safe. Flynn goes on to voice his disappointment that Dr. Teta was only praised for her work as a headmaster, after she resigned. Moreover, Flynn decided that it was best for him to resign after 52 years because he felt it was impossible to continue.

This fall, students at BLS will return from summer vacation and meet their new headmaster. Alumnus of the class of 1957, former headmaster Michael Contompasis is coming out of retirement and serving in the interim while the district decides on a permanent headmaster.

What does this mean for the students of BLS this incoming year of 2016-2017? While many students are still upset over the fact that their former headmaster had resigned, their goal is still crystal clear: step forward as a school to provide a fair and safe learning environment for all of its students. These young leaders did not lose hope in what they fought for and will continue to do whatever it takes to achieve their goal. It is incredibly rewarding to go to school everyday with these types of people. My peers are all very driven and I am just glad to be seeing change happen as well as excited to see more changes. Keep doing what you’re doing!


jessi250-150x150Are you interested in learning more about leadership opportunities? The Boston Public Library, Teen Central has a Teen Leadership Council that meets monthly in Teen Central and there is a job help page that provides information on  job opportunities, volunteer and internship opportunities.

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

*”Teens Leading in the Community” features interviews and stories about teens leading in their communities by Jessi, the Teen Services Team Leader, Central, on the third Tuesday of every month.

Get Crafty: Travel Tic-Tac-Toe

Posted on July 15th, 2016 by mdevine in Crafts, Teen Services
Tags: , , ,

Welcome to this month’s installment of Get Crafty:

This month, we will be making a Tic-Tac-Toe game you can take on the road when travelling or play with your friends when visiting Teen Central. There are so many creative ways to make the Travel Tic-Tac-Toe board. I will show you examples of four Travel Tic-Tac-Toe boards.

Suggested supplies you will need:








  • A metallic box like an Altoids or gift card box
  • Scrapbook paper or cardstock paper or washi tape
  • Scissors
  • Glue (either E6000 glue, hot glue gun or some strong adhesive)
  • Paint – acrylic or even nail polish works great
  • Strong magnets (either small round or strips you can cut small)
  • 10 Small pieces – buttons, beads, Scrabble letter tiles, Glass Marble Magnets or  Lucky Stars. You need 5 pieces each of the same type/color/pattern. You can use just about anything. Be creative!

Step 1: Decide if you want to have your tic tac toe board on the outside or inside your box.

Step 2: Now it’s time to get crafty and create your own designs. Use whatever supplies help you make the box and pieces that say “you”!

Here are some pictures to inspire you.

magnet-game buttons



You can use scrapbook paper and washi paper to design the inside of the box and use buttons with magnets as your pieces.

This design comes from the online magazine, Canadian Family.








You can use red craft foam glued onto the inside top of the tin and a Sharpie is used to create the tic-tac-toe board. You also could use thin washi tape to create the board. Magnets were painted black and white and when dry, the X’s and O’s were painted on the opposite color.

This design comes from the blog, Crafts4Boys.




tic tac toe Altoids tin by Amanda Coleman Epiphany Crafts blog



This box was decorated on the outside with patterned paper, washi tape and a few craft buttons.



travel tic tac toe Amanda Coleman


Inside, washi tape was used to decorate the inside of the box as well as making the tic-tac-toe board. The pieces were made from bubble caps but you can easily use Glass Marble Magnets.

This design was made by Amanda Coleman on her blog, Popper and Mimi.




tic tac toe outside


This box is decorated on the outside by glueing scrapbook paper and Scrabble craft tiles.




tic tac toe inside


The star beads used in this box do not have any magnets glued to them but if you use a really strong small magnet, you could glue them on. You can use star buttons or make Lucky Stars and attach the magnets to them with glue.

This design was made by Joanna on her blog, The Blue Barn.


Step 3: Store pieces inside the box. Place in bag or travel activity box to carry around.

Step 4: Take out and play often.


Magnetic Tic-Tac-Toe is just one of the fun games you can make using metallic boxes and magnets. Explore the Internet to find more magnetic board games to create.

Have fun and Get Crafty!


manga-me-150x150Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow a book? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.

*”Get Crafty” features craft projects by Mary, a Teen Librarian at Teen Central, and is posted on the third Friday of every month.

Hack the System!: Introducing Technology Life Hacks

Posted on July 13th, 2016 by adowds in Technology, Teen Services
Tags: ,


Life can be frustrating sometimes. Dealing with technology can be even more frustrating. But what if we put these two together to make life just a bit easier and a bit more fun? The solution – technology life hacks!

So what is a life hack? Life hacks refer to any tool, trick, skill, shortcut, or method that makes an aspect of someone’s life easier and more efficient. You may incorporate life hacks into your every-day life and not even realize it. For example, have you ever thrown a dryer sheet into your dirty laundry pile to mask the smell? Life hack! Or, you only have a little bit of Nutella left in the jar so you decide to add 2 scoops of ice cream to it – ultimate life hack! These are just two shortcuts to make life smell fresher and taste more delicious.

According to lifehacker.com, the term “life hack” was created in 2004 by technology journalist, Danny O’Brien, to describe ways members of the tech community utilized playful shortcuts to simplify and accelerate their workflow. This term quickly gained popularity and is now used every day, by tech geeks or not, to describe people’s attempts to circumvent this complex thing we call Life.

As I start my new job here in Teen Central, life hacks may become my lifeline as my desk piles high with ideas, computer wires, technology workshop gadgets, and 3D printed toys. Each month, I will highlight my latest life hack creation and invite teens from Teen Central to craft, explore, and test out new hacking devices.

To keep you busy until then, geek out on these simple, everyday technology life hacks:

1. Dirty computer keyboard? Slide the sticky part of a post-it note between the keys to grab dust, dirt, and left-over lunch crumbles.



2. Bent or frayed charger cord? Take the spring from an old pen and wrap it around the top of the cord to keep it straight.





allyWant to create your own technology life hack? Stop by Teen Central during Open Lab time.

*“Hack the System!” features examples of technology life hacks created by Ally, the Youth Technology Librarian at Teen Central. Check back on the second Wednesday of each month for her latest post.