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Category: Teen fiction
JUNE 13, 2011
Just finished reading...
Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard. Some readers may be familiar with this title from the Steven Spielberg film, which I thought was excellent. When I saw this book show up in the collection (a very welcome donation), I was anxious to read it and see how it compared to the movie. Based on his own personal experiences during World War II, Ballard has created a very memorable novel of war. Jim is an eleven year old boy who is suddenly separated from his parents and on his own in the great Chinese city of Shanghai. The Japanese have taken over, and he is forced to live on sheer nerve, as he moves from the deserted neighborhoods around his home to being placed in the infamous Lunghua Detention Center. The author captures the horror of Jim's situation, but makes us want to stay with him and hope for his survival. Look for this finely written and fascinating story on my shelf of staff recommendations at the library.
Thanks to some matching grants from Upper Schuylkill Revitalization, the library has been able to start work on a few projects that we have been planning for some time. First of all, we have added wireless internet to our list of services. Patrons can now use wireless devices within the library. Also we are changing the face of the library with new windows and doors. Some walls have been removed to open up the front of the library and allow us to create a new teen/young adult area. The project will take a few more weeks to complete, and then we will announce an open house. In the meantime, stop in and see the work in progress.
Matched by Ally Condie. Futuristic fiction is all the rage with young readers these days, and this is the beginning of another very well-written series. Cassia Reyes has just turned 17 and is now ready to be Matched. Scientific methods will pair her with the perfect boy with whom she will start a new family. Everything in Cassia's Society is controlled-the work that she will do, the food that she eats, and of course, the man she will marry. As she proceeds through the much anticipated Matching procedure, however, things begin to happen that don't seem right, and soon she finds herself, for the first time in her life, making choices which she knows the Society would not sanction if they knew. This is a great book for teens, but I also enjoyed it as an adult. Condie's next in the series, Crossed, comes out in November, 2011.
We have received some good reviews from patrons lately on some of our new arrivals. Several readers have praised Nicholas Spark's latest, Safe Haven. Another hit has been Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River, which was such a big hit as a film. This new novel involves the search for a missing girl, not once but twice. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher is the start of a new series about a futuristic prison, and is aimed toward a young adult audience. If any of these appeal to you, give us a call, an we'll gladly put them on reserve for you. Or you can use our contact page at www.frackvillelibrary.com.
I've just been having a look at a new fantasy series we received call The 13th Reality by James Dashner. The first volume is called The Journal of Curious Letters and it's all about a 13 year-old boy named Tick. Tick gets good grades, likes to read, and gets along with his parents. But when Tick opens a strange letter with an Alaska postmark, he finds hinmself right in the middle of an adventure that even his Dad can appreciate. Dashner writes with confidence and knows how to keep your interest right to the last page. And he has created one of the most original villains yet, the very 'yellow' Mistress Jane. Try this one, all you fantasy lovers out there, and if you like it, we have the second book of the series as well! Good for young teens and anyone who likes Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, or Spiderwick.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Nobody Owens lives in a graveyard. How he got there in the first place, and how he managed to grow up in such an unusual environment is the subject of this Newberry Award winning novel. Gaiman has created an intriguing world, inhabited by ghosts, ghouls, night-gaunts, and a chilling phenomenon known as the Sleer. Young readers who enjoyed the Harry Potter series or Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials will certainly relish this book as well. And it just might appeal to some adults too!
A series by Melissa Marr has recently arrived in the library that takes a break from vampires, and examines instead the life of a girl who can see invisible faeries. In the first book, Wicked Lovely, we meet Aislinn, who has learned three rules about the faeries from her grandmother- don't stare at them, don't speak to them, and don't attract their attention. But Aislinn finds herself suddenly sought after by a very special faery and things get complicated. There are two additional titles in the series, Ink Exchange and Fragile Eternity, also available at your library. These books are recommended for older teens.
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. I happened to catch the lastest dramatization of Dickens' early novel on Masterpiece Classics recently, and it led me back to the original. Most people are familiar with the famous story of the boy who dared asked for more to eat from his minders in a Victorian workhouse. The film, Oliver, based on the famous Broadway play, was a boxoffice hit in 1968/9, and won the Best Picture Oscar. Most people don't realize that Dickens' created this blockbuster hit when he was only twenty-five years old, and it is still as exciting and touching to read as it was back in 1837. The novel was published as a monthly series in a magazine, and is full of cliffhanging chapter endings, memorable comic characters, and plenty of adventure and romance.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K.Rowling. On Harry Potter's 17th birthday, Rufus Scrimgeour, the Minister of Magic, arrives at the Burrow to give the famous threesome things left to them by Albus Dumbledore in his will. Harry and Ron receive items which date back to The Sorcerer's Stone-the Deluminator, which was used to turn out the streetlights of Privet Drive and the Snitch, which Harry caught in his mouth during his first Quidditch match. But Hermione's inheritance was something we had never heard of before-a book of fairy tales. Little did we know that lurking inside this volume of weird little stories, which rival the Brothers Grimm, were some important clues to the mystery of the entire Potter saga. Rowling, with her genius for background material, wrote tales to accompany the titles mentioned in Deathly Hallows as a gift to some special friends. In December, 2008 these were published in a small volume which we can all enjoy. This book, while most likely meaningless to non-Potterites, is a must for Potter fanatics!
The Good Neighbors, Book One:Kin by Holly Black & Ted Naifeh. This latest addition to our graphic novel collection comes from the creator of the popular Spiderwick Chronicles(with Tony DiTerlizzi). In this series, Holly Black appeals to an older reader with her new character Rue Silver, a high school student who begins seeing things when her mother disappears and her father is accused of murder. The secret of her family's ancestry is soon revealed, and Rue has to deal with a world of darkness, illusion, and romance. Naifeh's illustrations are bathed in shadow, as he carries us into the bizarre realm of Rue's visions. This book is recommended for older teens.
Looking For JJ by Anne Cassidy. Alice Tully is a young woman in a new neighborhood with a new job and a new boyfriend, Frankie. She is also looking forward to starting college in a few months. But Alice Tully has a secret, and the recent articles in the newspaper about an old murder case involving JJ-Jennifer Jones, a troubled 10 year old girl may spoil everything. Cassidy, a well-known British writer of mysteries and novels for teens, is a masterful storyteller. We are immediately both fascinated and disturbed by Alice and her story. This book is recommended for ages 14 and up.
A few new arrivals that might be of interest are now on our shelves, in part, thanks to some generous patrons. The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch's final lesson to his students at Carnegie Mellon has attracted added attention since his death. What Happened:Inside the BushWhite House and Washington's Culture of Deception is an expose written by the President's former press secretary, Scott McClellan.
On August 2, the final volume of Stephenie Meyer's blockbuster Twilight series arrived, but be patient-there's a waiting list for Breaking Dawn! A timely new novel for teens is Streams of Babel by Carol Plum-Ucci. Two teenagers on opposite sides of the world become involved in a terrorist attack involving the world's water supply. Visit our website at www.frackvillelibrary.com to contact us about these new books.
Fruits Basket, Volume 1 by Natsuki Takaya. This popular manga series tells the story of Tohru Honda, an orphan girl who is taken in by a family with a secret. The secret of the Sohma family is connected to the ancient Zodiac, the basis for Chinese astrology. Takaya is a well-known creator of shojo manga, Japanese graphic novels written especially for young girls ages 10 through 18. The four volumes of Fruits Basket are both mysterious and romantic in the best manga tradition. This series is recommended for teens age 13 and up.
Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman. For those of us who have been waiting for the next Pullman novel-hopefully something in connection with his masterful His Dark Materials series-a bit of a teaser has arrived. In this novella, Pullman takes us back to the momentous meeting of the intrepid aeronaut, Lee Scorsby, and the King of the Svalbard bears, Iorek Byrnison. With the flavor of an old time American western, the tale begins as Scorsby lands his balloon in a town at the edge of the Artic which has pretty much been taken over by a corporate mining giant. Needless to say, Lee is headed for trouble as he sides with the good guys and even meets with a bit of romance. This little book is definitely worth a read, although you might not find it as interesting if you haven't read the rest of the series.
I was recently viewing a website dedicated to the Brontes, that amazing family of 19th century British literature. Their blog contained a post about an upcoming edition of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte's enduring novel about an English governess. This new edition is being done by Classical Comics in the graphic format, a category which is becoming a staple of many public library's teen collections. Whether you think these picture books for older kids and even adults are a good idea or not, they appear to be here to stay. We recently received a copy of Thoreau at Walden by John Porcellino. Porcellino has taken the writings of Thoreau and presented them like a favorite comic(with the addition of lots of discussion ideas.) The book is a publication of the Center for Cartoon Studies, a premier cartooning school located in White River Junction, Vermont. Learn more at www.cartoonstudies.org , www.classicalcomics.com, or www.bronte.org.uk.
Thanks to the generous donation of one of our young patrons, the library now has an extensive collection of the InuYasha series by the well-known anime artist and storyteller, Rumiko Takahashi. Takahashi is considered to be one of the world's most popular manga artists, and her series about Kagome, a modern Japanese schoolgirl and the half-demon, Inu-Yasha, has been going strong since 1996. Twenty-seven volumes of this series are now available at your library. These books are recommended for older teens. Thanks again to our patron!