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Posts Tagged ‘Juliet Marillier’

Shadowfell – A Review

Posted on June 26th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

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Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Read by: Anna/Central Library Teen Room

Read for my personal summer reading list (book #1 on the list) and also for our July 3rd TBOM book discussion.

This is the first book in a series about Neryn, a sixteen year old girl with the ability to see the Good Folk, fairies who blend in with nature, tend to be very small, and don’t have typical fairy wings. The king of Alban has decreed that anyone with canny abilities should be killed, or work specifically for him. No one is allowed to speak of the old ways, or practice the ancient arts. Anyone who can sing or weave a basket too well is thought to have abilities they shouldn’t. This is not a time of peace, but of unrest, a time when being overheard speaking the wrong words could cause death, or worse, a mind-scrapping. Enter Neryn, a young girl who’s grandmother told her secret tales of the Good Folk, who was ready to stand up for what she believed in, and eventually died for those beliefs. Neryn is on a long journey with Flint, a companion she isn’t sure she can trust with her deep secrets. It turns out, however, that Flint has secrets of his own and they might be closely related to hers. Will she reach Shadowfell, a destination marked for safety to those with canny abilities? Or will Flint turn her over to the king for his use?

This book was well written, seemingly above the traditional YA fantasy novels that have been written lately. I fell into a world that was at once fantastical, and yet very believable. I loved the Good Folk, who are like fairies and yet not like any that have been written about recently. These are magic folk of old stories. They blend into nature and only come out if you can see them, only help you if you are kind hearted and share whatever you can with them. Neryn learned to share from her grandmother, learned that it doesn’t matter how much you have, you always have something you can share. Often she is hungry and offers a little of her food to the Good Folk in return for a little of their help. She is able to call mythical creatures to her aid, creatures not found in typical YA novels. She is strong, and kind. She isn’t what I would call “girly” and she isn’t not “girly” either, something else I liked. The cover of the book doesn’t have the typical girl in a beautiful gown (which usually never appears in the actual book!) and that made the book that much more approachable. This was a good read over all, but there were a few issues I had with it, minor though they might be. Trust is a hard won issue throughout the book. No one is trustworthy in Alban. Everyone is looking over their backs. That’s understandable, but the trust between Neryn and Flint goes back and forth so many times, it does get a little irritating, along with the repeated traveling, that never seems to end. As for Flint himself, it is stated somewhere in the book that he’s young, perhaps early twenties at the most. But his actions, and the way he speaks, puts him at a much older age. I kept picturing Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien), and thus, had a little trouble picturing the budding romance between the two. I actually would prefer him to be a man of Aragorn’s age, minus the romance. I’ll admit, I’m getting tired of there having to be a romance in every YA book out there. Otherwise, I loved this book, and will likely give the second book a try when I get a chance.

For those who are interested, our TBOM book discussion will be at 3pm on July 3rd. Everyone is welcome and snack food will be provided!

 

My Summer Reading List for 2013!

Posted on May 25th, 2013 by Anna in Books

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Once again, I have decided to select a few books to read over the summer and then post my book reviews here. What makes this so different than my usual book review posts? The main thing is that I’m telling you ahead of time what I’ll be reading. The second thing is that I have selected a total of eight books (the same number I read last year) to read within the months of June, July, and August, which is a lot more than I usually read and review in a single month the rest of the year.  Also, these books are usually somehow related to the summer reading lists that you teens will be reading from yourselves. If they’re not currently on a summer list, they might have been last year, or they’re simply a teen book I’ve been meaning to get to but haven’t had a chance to read yet.

So without further ado, here’s the list:

Fiction

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Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier*

Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill–a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk–Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.

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Redwall: The Sable Quean by Brian Jacques

He appears out of thin air and vanishes just as quickly. He is Zwilt the Shade, and he is evil. Yet he is no match for his ruler, Vilaya the Sable Quean. Along with their hordes of vermin, these two have devised a plan to conquer Redwall Abbey.

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The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

 

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The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov (The first book in the trilogy, Foundation, will be the primary focus of my reading. If time permits I might very well dive into the other two books.)

A THOUSAND-YEAR EPIC, A GALACTIC STRUGGLE, A MONUMENTAL WORK IN THE ANNALS OF SCIENCE FICTION

FOUNDATION begins a new chapter in the story of man’s future. As the Old Empire crumbles into barbarism throughout the million worlds of the galaxy, Hari Seldon and his band of psychologists must create a new entity, the Foundation-dedicated to art, science, and technology-as the beginning of a new empire.

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The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein*

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.

Non-Fiction

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Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer by Chely Wright

Chely Wright, singer, songwriter, country music star, writes in this moving, telling memoir about her life and her career; about growing up in America’s heartland, the youngest of three children; about barely remembering a time when she didn’t know she was different.

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Secretariat by William Nack

In 1973, Secretariat, the greatest thoroughbred in horse-racing history, won the Triple Crown. This book is an acclaimed portrait that examines the legacy of one of ESPN’s “100 Greatest Athletes of the Century”: the only horse to ever grace the covers of Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated all in the same week.

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Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution by Linda Hirshman

A Supreme Court lawyer and political pundit details the enthralling and groundbreaking story of the gay rights movement, revealing how a dedicated and resourceful minority changed America forever.

*These two books have been chosen by the TBOM group as their book reads for July and August.

TBOM 2013 Summer Reads!

Posted on May 9th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Events, Programs

The Teen Book of the Month (TBOM) group which meets once a month has chosen the next three books they will read over the summer! The group encourages anyone who has an interest in reading and discussing books to come, enjoy snacks, great conversations, and great company for an hour or two  once a month. Below you’ll find the books, as well as the dates and times of each discussion. Happy reading! And we hope you join us for one of these dates!

Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank will be discussed on June 12th at 3pm. June 12th happens to be Anne Frank’s birthday as well! So read the book between now and then and be ready to discuss the book and enjoy cookies and hot chocolate on the 12th.

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.
In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death.
In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short

shadowfell

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier will be discussed on July 3rd at 3pm.

Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill–a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk–Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.
During her dangerous journey, she receives aid from the Good Folk, who tell her she must pass a series of tests in order to recognize her full potential. She also finds help from a handsome young man, Flint, who rescues her from certain death–but whose motives in doing so remain unclear. Neryn struggles to trust her only allies. They both hint that she alone may be the key to Alban’s release from Keldec’s rule. Homeless, unsure of who to trust, and trapped in an empire determined to crush her, Neryn must make it to Shadowfell not only to save herself, but to save Alban.

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The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein will be discussed on August 14th at 3pm.

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.
On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny’s wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pull every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it.