Category Archives: Teen Services

On the Radar: Five Books to Check Out in November

Posted on October 28th, 2016 by vkovenmatasy in Books, Previews, Teen Services

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


my sister rosa cover

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Aussie Che Taylor loves his younger sister, Rosa. But he’s also certain that she’s a psychopath—clinically, threateningly, dangerously. Recently Rosa has been making trouble, hurting things. Che is the only one who knows; he’s the only one his sister trusts. Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and very good at hiding what she is and the manipulation she’s capable of. Their parents, whose business takes the family from place to place, brush off the warning signs as Rosa’s “acting out.” Now that they have moved again—from Bangkok to New York City—their new hometown provides far too many opportunities for Rosa to play her increasingly complex and disturbing games. Che’s always been Rosa’s rock, protecting her from the world. Now, the world might need protection from her. (summary via the publisher’s website)

 Why We’re Excited: Ahhhhh this book sounds so scary! But probably in a good way? Larbalestier is a writer who can handle suspense — like everyone else in the book blogosphere, I really admired Liar, although to voice an unpopular opinion I think Team Human, which she cowrote with Sarah Rees Brennan, is even better — and the plot of My Sister Rosa sounds genuinely terrifying. We’ll have to see if I’m brave enough to read the whole thing! (Final note: kudos to whoever designed that cover. It is gorgeous and deeply disturbing.)


Trun_ 9780399557422_cvr all_r3.indd

Dear My Blank: Secret Letters Never Sent by Emily Trunko (ed.)

Summary: From the popular Tumblr account of the same name comes a collection of heart-warming, tear-jerking, and gut-wrenching anonymous letters that people never intended to, or didn’t have the courage to send. What first started as a Tumblr account with over 30,000 followers, is now a carefully curated collection of 150 anonymous letters covering a range of topics from heartbreak, unrequited love, and loss, to inspiration, self-awareness, and gratitude. Featuring exclusive content not available on Tumblr, these unsent letters are addressed to secret crushes, lost loved ones, boyfriends, siblings, parents, grandparents, and many more. (summary via the publisher’s website)

Why We’re Excited: There’s something addictive about reading anonymous confessions — I was obsessed with PostSecret in high school. And I can’t wait to see the illustrations!



The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon


Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

(summary via the publisher’s website)

Why We’re Excited: Well, in case you somehow missed the insane popularity of Everything, Everything, Nicola Yoon’s debut hit the stratosphere — #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List, starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal, selected for YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults and Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers. So it’s not surprising that her second novel has some pretty high expectations to live up to. But Yoon (who is also a member of the We Need Diverse Books team, incidentally) has the romance-writing chops to handle the challenge.



Dear Yvette by Ni-Ni Simone

Summary: All sixteen year old Yvette Simmons wanted was to disappear. Problem is: she has too many demons for that. Yvette’s life changed forever after a street fight over a boy ended in a second degree murder charge. Forced to start all over again, she’s sentenced to live in a group home far from anything or anyone she’s ever known. She manages to keep her past hidden, until a local cutie, known as Brooklyn, steps in. Slowly, Yvette lets him into her heart and he gives her the summer of her dreams… But in Yvette’s world things are never as they seem. Brooklyn has a few secrets of his own and Yvette’s past comes back with a vengeance. Will she face life head-on? Will she return to her old ways? Or will an unexpected letter decide her fate? (summary via the publisher’s website)

Why We’re Excited: Ni-Ni Simone never languishes on the shelf! (She’s actually an author I have to keep re-purchasing and re-purchasing, since the teens who check her books out love them too much to bring them back…) The previous installment of the Throwback Diaries, Down By Law, came out over a year ago, and my library’s copy has barely spent a month in the building.



Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Summary: Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen. Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans. (summary via the publisher’s website)

Why We’re Excited: I could probably just say “new Marissa Meyer book!” and that’s all you would need to know, right? This is her first book that isn’t part of the Lunar Chronicles (although if the idea of no more Cinder has you down, don’t worry, she also has a graphic novel set in the same universe coming out in January), so it’ll be interesting to find out if she can recreate the magic of her debut. I have to confess that Alice in Wonderland doesn’t have quite the same resonance for me that Cinderella does, but I’m still curious to see what Meyer does with the story.


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.

Ctrl+Z: Teen Tech Mentor Program

Posted on October 28th, 2016 by chalpin in Teen Services

For the second year Teen Central has hired two Teen Tech Mentors to work in our Media Lab. The Teen Tech Mentors work during the school year for 6 hours each week. Teen Central Technology Librarians work with the Mentors to train them in a number of different software programs that are offered on Lab computers. Teen Tech Mentors will both informally teach other teens about the software and how to use it and also assist with the development of workshops for to lead more formal Lab programs.

The Teen Tech Mentors also visit other local technology centers available to youth to connect them to additional resources accessible to them and their peers. So far, Mentors have visited The Clubhouse, located in the Museum of Science and the South End Technology Center located a short walk from the Central Library on Columbus Ave. Mentors are also given the opportunity to take field trips to offices of local companies to expose them to different work environments related to education and technology. We were lucky enough to visit the LEGO Education offices, and we are looking forward to an upcoming visit to the local Facebook office.

Teen Tech Mentors will also participate in a total of six job readiness programs, such as, resume building, interview skills, and other professional panels. At the end of the Teen Tech program, Mentors will have a portfolio of the workshops they have co-developed and facilitated, highlighting the skills they have gained, as well as an updated resume. If you are interested in being a Teen Tech Mentor, keep your eyes open in spring 2017. We’ll post applications for these opportunities and hold interviews this coming May for the 2017-2018 school year.


Khalid I. and Khalid M. visiting the South End Technology Center in October.

A bit more about our current Teen Tech Mentors:

Khalid M. is an 11th grade student at Snowden International School.
Why did you want to become a Teen Tech Mentor?
     “I found the opportunity to learn how to use different software and digital media extremely enticing.”
What have you enjoyed most so far?
     “Being able to use Ableton and Adobe Photoshop as well as going the South End Technology Center and The Clubhouse.”
What software and tools in the Lab do you like to use the most?
     “I love to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as Tinkercad and 3D printing.”

Khalid I. is a 9th grade student at Boston Latin School.
Why did you want to become a Teen Tech Mentor?
     “To further my grasp on a wide variety of software and computer programs.”
What have you enjoyed most so far?
     “The training programs and applications in teaching younger students.”
What software and tools in the Lab do you like to use the most?
     “Photoshop, Illustrator, and GarageBand.”


hologram on 9-16-15 at 7.25 PM #3Need 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 the month.

Old Gaming Comebacks! By Ananda, Teen Gaming Specialist

Posted on October 26th, 2016 by jsnow in Teen Services

Hi there! My name is Ananda and I am one of the new Teen Gaming Specialists! Before I get into my intake on old games, I’d like to partially introduce myself. My name, again, is Ananda (pronounced Uh-NON-DUH) and I am 14 years old. I have two younger brothers by the ages of 11 and 8 and they’ve influenced and continue to influence much of my gaming career. The thing that completely crushes my heart is to reference a game that is relatively old and have someone ask afterwards, “Is that an actual game?” or look at me as if I broke out into some foreign language. Io prendo l’italiano in scuola ( I take italian in school).

So that leads me to my title of this all: Old Gaming Comebacks!

I know very few people who actually understand any of the references I make to a game. Over the summer instead of doing summer reading or math I was too busy playing the following games:

  • Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst
  • Don’t Starve
  • Minecraft
  • And tons of Batman games, etc.


Video gaming is an obsession as well as current hobby of mine that I wish to share among others. Though back to the topic, old video games. Why is it that so many of us forget the very first few games or gaming consoles to have come out? Gaming consoles such as the Atari and Gameboys have been forgotten? People have recreated poems and turned it into new pop songs, old art becomes temporary art, or the “new” fashion is vintage clothing and every girl for the months of May and June last year of 2015 would wear flower crowns? It was even a Snapchat filter! Lol. It’s okay though because people are starting to change and become more accepting. For instance, a new Skyrim game is coming out that I HIGHLY recommend to check out! The game will be released October 28th and yes, I am super excited for the release. However, while the game is yet to release try The Elder Scroll V(5): Skyrim Game difference shown above (Elder Scroll vs. Remastered) Bethesda in general I believe has some of the best games.


Overall, I’d like to say that games such as The Legends of Zelda,  Star Wars: Rebellion,  Injustice, etc. have all been forgotten and I think it’s time we bring them back. Do comment if you have any questions or see me Monday and/or Tuesday in the library.


AnandaAnanda is one of the Teen Gaming Specialists in Teen Central. Stay tuned for more posts from the Teen Gaming Specialists on video game reviews and gaming programs they will be running in Teen Central.

Hold The Popcorn!: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Posted on October 24th, 2016 by jlevins in Movies, Teen Services

miss peregrine's home for peculiar children

Packed with intense action and fascinating, otherworldly characters, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is one of the movies this fall that nobody should miss.

As the film begins, the audience is introduced to suburban Florida teen Jake (played brilliantly by Asa Butterfield) as he is driven to his grandfather’s house by a coworker after receiving a disturbing phone call from his grandfather. When he arrives at his grandfather’s house, he finds the inside of the house trashed and his grandfather dying outside in the woods behind the house. Jake sees a monster coming at him from the woods. His coworker is oblivious to it, but shoots at it anyway. We eventually find out that this is Jake’s “peculiarity”, the ability to see “hallows” — creatures that would do him harm.

A few months later, on the recommendation of his therapist, Jake and his father travel to a rainsoaked Welsh island to make peace with his grandfather’s death. It is there where Jake discovers Miss Peregrine and the Home for Peculiar Children. The children befriend Jake and tell him that they are living in a bizarre time loop which they must reset every day in order to avoid being bombed by the Germans during the WW2 blitzkreig.

The House for Peculiar Children is soon discovered by the evil Barron (played by living Hollywood legend Samuel L. Jackson) and his evil hallows. Jake, who realizes that he is himself a Peculiar due to his ability to perceive the hallows, must choose whether to live in the loop with his fellow Peculiars and protect them from Barron and the hallows per the wishes of Miss Peregrine (played by the fantastic Eva Green) or live in the real world.

More sensitive moviegoers will want to look away or go by some popcorn during some of the more intense scenes (especially the eyeball eating scene!), but overall, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is delightful for all.



animatedDo you love watching movies? The Boston Public Library has tens of thousands of DVDs you can borrow with your library card and even more that you can access online through our streaming service, Hoopla. Plus, if you can’t find a movie you want to watch in all the ones we offer, you can always suggest a purchase. Start placing holds now, and you’ll never have to pay to watch a movie again!


*”Hold the Popcorn!” features movie reviews by James, the Teen Librarian at the East Boston Branch, on the fourth Tuesday of the month.


Hack the System!: Tech Hacks for Struggling Readers

Posted on October 21st, 2016 by adowds in Technology, Teen Services
Tags: , , ,

While brainstorming ideas as to what to write this month, I stumbled upon an article in Time Magazine titled, 10 Tech Hacks to Help Struggling Readers. While most of my posts have focused on Tech Hacks that make life more fun and interesting, this article was a great reminder that technology can also hack some of life’s biggest obstacles.

Reading is a learned skill developed through a process of building upon cognitive, linguistic, and social skills acquired during our early years. Acquiring this skill can be quite frustrating, especially when the struggle crosses over into other aspects of a teen’s life, causing that teen to feel and get left behind.

Thankfully, technology has provided educators and students with accessible and cost-effective apps and assistive devices that can revolutionize literacy proficiency. With these tools, reading and writing may still be difficult, but it’s not impossible. How? Hack the System! There may be endless apps and gadgets available, but check out the four options below, catch up on some reading, and impress your friends with the latest Tech Hack!

vdr1. Voice Dream Reader — Voice Dream Reader is designed for people with dyslexia, visually impaired, and other learning styles. Filled with 186 voices and 30 different languages, this app can read content from almost anything and anywhere — pdfs, books, Word, websites, PDFs, and Dropbox. Readers can customize their experience by changing fonts, voice speed, highlight and take notes, or set a sleep timer. As the company’s site said, choose your instrument and turn text into speech.



2. Read2GoRead2Go is a mobile reading app that pairs with Bookshare, the world’s largest online library of read2goebooks for readers with print disabilities. By downloading Read2Go, teens can read anywhere, anytime straight from their mobile device.  Read2Go also can connect via Bluetooth to Braille readers. The customization features are similar to the Voice Dream Reader, allowing teens to experience books their own way.




3.  Audiobooks — Sometimes you just need to take a break from the printed book and let someone else do all the reading! Audiobook devices such as Playaway Bookpacks combine the easy-to-use and transportable Playaway device with the book’s printed version. Bookpacks are one of the easiest ways for struggling and emerging readers to practice and develop literacy skills. Choose from classics like The Outsiders or best-sellers such as The Book Thief. Playaways can be a bit pricey, but audiobooks are FREE at your Library!



blio-24. BlioBlio is a free app designed for iPhones and iPads. The app displays in full color, with colorful fonts, pictures, and engaging layouts. Many of the books can be read aloud by a text-to-speech voice (purchase required) or audiobook, with words highlighted as they are spoken. Blio is a joint venture between Kurzweil Technologies and the National Federation of the Blind. The expertise from these two partners has created an app that is unique in its ability to help those with reading disabilities make sense of the text through synchronized highlighting and a serial presentation view. As the company’s motto states, “Don’t just read books. Experience them.”



allyDid you know that in addition to physical books and DVDs, your library card gives you access to audiobooks through Bibliocommons, Hoopla, and Overdrive. To learn more about how to download audiobooks to a device, visit the library’s eBook & Digital Media page. To browse books on CD, search for titles and authors in the BPL catalog and select “Audiobook CD” under format. Or, ask a Librarian!

Want 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 third Friday of each month for her latest post.