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Croak: A Review

Posted on December 14th, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff, Teen Services

Croak by Gina Demico

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

This is the story of a 16-year-old teen who gets shipped off to spend the summer with her Uncle Mort because of sudden behavioral issues. Lex, named after the battle of Lexington, has no idea why she turned violent. She just knows that she likes to punch people and it doesn’t matter whether they’ve done something to personally offend her or not. But when she gets to the town of Croak, NY (Population 82), she’s startled to discover that her uncle isn’t the farmer she expected. He’s a Grim Reaper. And so is everyone else in the small town. She was born to be a Grim. At first she isn’t sure about this, but the more she hangs out with the other Junior Grims, and the more time she spends at work, Killing dead bodies so her partner can Cull the souls to send the people to the afterlife, the more she comes to realize that Croak is where she belongs.

But then, mysterious deaths start to occur. Not only do the medical examiners not know what’s killing these people, seemingly at random, but neither do the Grims. When it become apparent that the killer could very well be a Grim, it’s up to Lex and the other Junior Grims to figure it out.

Honestly, I think I died laughing. No joke. This book is at the same time dark, very serious and yet light with humor. I loved getting to hang out in the afterlife with the dead famous people like Edgar Allen Poe who seems to be the only one who doesn’t like John Wilkes Booth because John stole Edgar’s favorite quill. When we get the absolutely lovely description of the alcohol-like drink that actually has no alcohol in it, I about died, wishing I could have a cup. Keep in mind, the drink has no alcohol, but if a Grim has more than three drinks in a row, that could spell a very different kind of trouble: Death. The murder mystery that takes place is definitely a mystery that will defy you until near the end of the book. At least, it did for me. The book is at times creepy, but there is also a healthy dose of awkward romance to go along with the creep. While most books these days throw in the perfect romance between the two perfect main characters, this romance is not perfect. Nothing goes as planned and neither are the two main characters perfect. It’s wonderfully realistic.

Over all, this book was a nice breath of fresh air from all the books that only seem to mimic each other these days. Yep, there’s a girl on the cover, but she’s wearing a black hoodie (proper Grim attire) and carrying a large scythe. Not a fancy dress that never gets worn in the book. But be aware of one thing. As you near the end of the first book, make sure you have Scorch, the second book, handy because you’ll want to dive right in without waiting. Trust me, this book is awesome. And the story’s not done yet…

I can’t recommend this book enough.

Anna Dressed In Blood – A Review

Posted on December 4th, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

 

Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

 

This is the story about a young man going by the nickname Cass who kills ghosts for a living. Yep. You heard right. Cass kills ghosts for a living. The job has been in his family for generations and he’s the latest to pick up the athame, or knife, his father used to demolish the dead who demolish the living. Only this time, as he moves to Canada with his mother, he finally meets his match. Anna Dressed In Blood is a ghost he can’t kill until he can figure out how and why she died. The truth is shocking and as horrible as having Satan himself sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with you and your family. But even then, Cass still can’t kill Anna, even knowing the high number of people she’s killed since her death. The feelings he’s kept locked inside to protect the rest of the world from his job are threatening to come out, he’s actually made friends for the first time, and yet another ghost seems to be after him.  Why did Anna protect Cass from other teens trying to play a mean prank on him? And what’s he going to do to get out of this sticky situation?

I read this not knowing what to expect. And I LOVED it. The book keeps you guessing right up until the very end. The characters were realistic, and even the ghosts were relatable and likeable. My only complaint with this book was how the police handled each death and missing persons case. The cops didn’t look hard for missing teenagers, or murderers. In talking with real life police, I know they wouldn’t pass off a missing teenager as someone who’d simply runaway and leave it at that. However, as this wasn’t all about police procedure, I was able to put that at the back of my mind and enjoy the rest of the story.  All in all, I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good mystery or horror novel. It’s that awesome.

Banned Books Week

Posted on October 6th, 2012 by Mary in Books, Events, Teen Services

Well we have come to the end of another Banned Books Week (September 30-October 6, 2012). It is amazing how many books are added each year and the reasons for the books being added to the list. Goodwill Librarian posted a link on her Facebook timeline of a Youtube video showing many of the books that have been challenged and/or banned from 1990-2000. The video was from Banned Books Week in 2008, but it is still interesting to see what books were on the list. The book covers are shown for the viewer.

Have you read any of these books? What are you favorites? Do you think they should have been banned or challenged?

For information about Banned Books Week and Celebrating our Freedom to Read, check out http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek or http://bannedbooksweek.org/.

The American Library Association has also created an interactive timeline to highlight some of the books that have been challenged or banned in the past 3o years. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/timeline30-years-liberating-literature

If you are interested in reading any of the books, visit your local branch library or request them with your Boston Public Library card (or OneCards or any Massachusetts library cards registered at the Boston Public Library) on the online BPL Catalog.

Celebrate your freedom to read what you want to read!! Yay!!

Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am – A Review

Posted on June 28th, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am by Harry Mazer

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

This is the story of one boy who decides upon graduating high school that he’s not going to go into college. He’s not going to Broadway to become an awesome stage performer with his girlfriend. He’s going to join the Army Reserves, much to his family and friends’ surprise. No one understands why he feels the need to join up. But what’s worse, they keep insisting that he’s going off to war even though he keeps trying to explain that the Reserves don’t go to war. Then, his unit gets the order… they’re going to Iraq. One moment in the sand will change his life forever. Will he return home in one piece? Or will the brain damage ruin everything he’s ever had and loved?

This is a heartbreaking story that’s filled with courage, hope, faith, and plenty of love. A short, quick read that’s sure to grab you and not let you go until you’ve gotten to the final page. And even then, it has a tight hold on you that doesn’t let go very easily. I highly recommend this story for anyone who’s thinking of going into the military or anyone simply interested in it. A fabulous love story that will break your heart and then warm it up again.

Childhood’s End – A Review

Posted on June 12th, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clark

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

You may recall that I chose to read this book for my summer reading list. This is the story of what would happen if an alien race took over Earth and it’s humans, if that race gave us peace and prosperity, but took away our children without asking. In this novel, the idea is the protagonist and antagonist, not any one character, not even something like disease is the antagonist.

I have to say I was expecting a little more action. But instead, the people accepted their fate. At first, nothing happens, people have parties, they chat about boring things, and get too used to lots of technology. One man dares to be different,  he dares to escape into the stars to find the home of the alien race that controls them. But when he returns to Earth 80 years later, he finds that he’s the last man on Earth. The ending is hard to take. I kept wondering what I would do if I were in his situation, and all I could come up with is that I would go crazy insane without other people.

This was not a book I enjoyed at all. It was a hard read and I had to force myself to get through it, even as skinny as it was. Even so, this book is a classic of science fiction literature, and many people the world over love it. I guess it really depends on what you prefer to read. Just don’t expect action heros to save the day in the end.