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Young Sherlock Holmes, Starring Nicholas Rowe

Young Sherlock Holmes

Starring Nicholas Rowe, written by Chris Columbus, and Directed by Barry Levinson 

Can’t get enough Sherlock? Try this classic movie, it will keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing whodunit. The movie takes a different spin, on a classic tale, by having Sherlock Holmes meet Dr. Watson at London’s prestigious boarding school, Bromton Academy. The light-hearted mystery, is set in the Victorian era, with plenty of fog and some gothic horror. The friends must navigate the tough social setting of boarding school, while trying to find out why seemingly ordinary men are acting crazy. A local gentleman throws himself out of a window and Holmes’ mentor, Professor Waxflatter, stabs himself while fighting some invisible force. Holmes suspects the deaths are connnected and foul play is involved.  He alerts Scotland Yard, but they rebuff his claims as being ridiculous.  This means that Holmes, Watson, and Waxflatter’s niece, Elizabeth, must solve the mystery of these deaths. The only clues they have are a mysterious, hooded figure with a blowpipe, a jingling noise every time the figure appears, and Waxflatter’s dying word,  ”Eh-tar”. Their enemies are on to them and the school is trying to expel them, but Holmes, Watson, and Elizabeth push forward with an investigation that pits them directly against their enemies and puts them in mortal danger.

This is a fun, fast-paced movie with a great mystery and intense ending. Because the movie is set in the Victorian era, the film’s age is not a distraction to the plot line. The special effects are not as sophisticated as movies made in 2012, but they are still pretty cool. In fact, Young Sherlock Holmes had the first CGI (computer generated) character in any movie – a stainless steel knight. Fans of the character, Sherlock Holmes, will be interested in learning the origins of his pipe, his cape, his cap and and his archenemy, Professor Moriarty. Young Sherlock Holmes has mystery, adventure, and a moving love story. This is a sure hit for some indoor summer fun.

 

By Barbara, Teen Outreach Librarian on July 5, 2012 Categories: Movies, Mystery, Staff Pics

There is no Long Distance Now by Naomi Shihab Nye

There is no Long Distance Now

By Naomi Shihab Nye

 This is a book of 40 short stories set in the current moment and told by teen narrators from around the world. The stories are all less than 1,000 words and give a flash of insight into the characters’ lives. Each protagonist is different, many have quirky personalities, and all are memorable. The book includes topics like loss, friendship, enemies, accepting responsibility, and siblings. The one factor that each story shares, is their character’s desire to connect with the world. These connections are made mainly through relationships, but sometimes through actions. 

This book is a great summer read for those who want a fast read, with meaning. The stories are really short on words, but leave you thinking about the characters and their lives. You wonder how Amel deals with being made fun of because of her heritage, how Jack comes to terms with his body image, and if Lily will forgive Brianna for judging her when they first meet. With titles that include, We Like you for Your Flaws, Killer Chili,and Will You Hold My Bullet, Please?, you can read one story or the whole book.

By Barbara, Teen Outreach Librarian on June 28, 2012 Categories: Issues, Nonfiction, Staff Pics

Dearly Departed by Lia Habel

Dearly Departed

by Lia Habel

If you are a fan of steampunk and zombies then Dearly Departed is the book for you!  Set in a future South America in 2195, this world has been rebuilt after a series of catastrophes.  There are two different classes in this new society.  One is the high society that has been rebuilt heavily influenced by the Victorian era in England and also has access to all the latest technology. The lower class has been nicknamed the Punks, and are viewed as hostile and violent people who want to take down the upper class. 

Dearly Departed centers on Nora, part of the upper class and who has just lost her father who was a famed scientist.  Nora is in danger but she doesn’t know it, and so she is kidnapped and taken to a military base for her own protection.  Bram, her captor, is not a normal soldier.   He is infected with the Lazarus virus, a new virus that turns the average person into a zombie.  Bram and his fellow soldiers, however, react differently to the Lazarus virus.  They still turn into zombies, but they also keep their human nature.  The Lazarus virus is sweeping the nation and Nora’s father held the key to its containment. 

This novel is action packed, and the world building in Dearly Departed is really well done.  Also, this novel is narrated by different characters in alternating chapters.  So, you get to read from the point of view of Nora, Bram, Pamela (Nora’s best friend), Victor Dearly (Nora’s father who may not be dead after all), and Wolfe (the commander of Bram’s unit).  This is a cool way to read a book.  Each character’s story lines come together, and it is interesting to read from the different points of view.  Dearly Departed is long read, at 470 pages, but if you like action-packed adventures with zombies and steampunk themes, then this is the book for you!  Click here to find Dearly Departed in the Library!

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on June 25, 2012 Categories: Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction, Staff Pics, Supernatural/Paranormal

Handmade Chic by Laura Bennett

Handmade Chic

by Laura Bennett

Project Runway star, Laura Bennett, shares tips and techniques on how to make 35 high-fashion projects. The beginning of the book explains a variety of techniques from finishing leather to dyeing feathers.  Bennett gives the reader helpful information on where to buy different materials, using faux fur, and even sewing terminology. The projects are divided into four sections, Small Luxuries, Fashionably Organized, Stylish Carryalls, and Evening Extravagances. Each project comes with great instructions, a lot of pictures and even patterns. Plus, helpful tips to encourage you along the way.

This is a great book for anyone interested in creating designer quality belts, bags, bracelets, and even a beaded dress.  The author stresses the point that ”handmade” does not have to look “homemade” and her quality projects show this.  Another benefit of the book is that there are different project levels.  You can start with a simple key ring tassle and work your way up to a feathered evening clutch. Whatever your skill level, you can find fun, fashion projects to work on this summer, that will look great. 

If you like fashion and creating your own clothes or accessories, just click one of the book covers below to find it in our catalog.

 

By Barbara, Teen Outreach Librarian on June 20, 2012 Categories: Crafts, Nonfiction, Staff Pics

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

Almost Perfect

by Brian Katcher

Logan has been dumped.  And it was not the kind of dumping that just takes a few weeks to get over.  It was an epic dump.  It was a “Logan is completely in love and then out of nowhere his girlfriend cheats on him and calls things off, after three years together” breakup.  The last thing Logan is thinking about is moving on.  Until, that is, the new girl comes to his high school.  Logan lives in a small Missouri town called Boyer and no one new ever comes to town.  So, when Sage shows up in his Biology class he is surprised to find how much he likes her.  He is not just attracted to her, he also just likes being around her.  Logan, however, is cautious since he is still reeling from his bad breakup, so he is hesitant to tell Sage how he feels about her.  Sage is also more interested in just being friends with Logan.  But that is because Sage has a secret.  Sage was born a boy, but is in the process of transitioning to a girl, and that is why she has come to Boyer.  Sage knows that the girl she is today is who she has always been and just wants the chance to be herself.  However, will Logan be able to accept her when he learns her secret?  And will he be able to get over the fact that Sage lied to him?

Almost Perfect is a fantastic read!  It is such an emotion filled book.  Logan is dealing with a gut wrenching break up and as he starts to get close to Sage, he finds out that she has been lying to him about who she really is.   You really want Logan and Sage to be together since they are so perfect for one another, but it is so hard to believe that Logan will get over learning about Sage’s transitioning.  Once Sage reveals her secret, you follow both Sage and Logan as they experience a whole range of emotions.  This book definitely makes you feel and it is for anyone who is a fan of realistic fiction.  Also, there are not many books being published right now that deal with a teen who is transgendered or transitioning.  Almost Perfect is an excellent example of one!   Here are some others that are equally as good (just click on them to find them in the Library!):

Crossing Linesby Paul Volponi

I am J by Chris Beam

Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger

Luna by Julie Ann Peters

Click here to find Almost Perfect in the Library today!

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on June 18, 2012 Categories: Fiction, GLBTQ, High School, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Staff Pics

Starters by Lissa Price

StartersStarters

by Lissa Price

Callie lives in a world where a plague has left most middle aged people dead, but the young (the Starters) and the old (the Enders) have survived thanks to a vaccine.  There is a side effect of using the vaccine, though: everyone’s life spans have been extended well into the hundreds.  In this world only the rich young kids can live a normal life.  The average teen has parents who are dead and are either sent to labor camps or forced to live on the streets.  The senior citizens are the ruling class and the majority.

Callie is a street kid whose parents were killed by the plague.  Callie also has a younger brother who she has to support.  When Callie finds out about the body bank it seems like the answer to her prayers.  All she has to do is let the body bank, also known as Prime Destinations, implant a chip in her head and give her an extreme makeover.  Then she agrees to let a thrill-seeking senior citizen inhabit her body, via the chip, three different times and she will be paid handsomely.  The first time Callie is occupied it is easy and she just feels like she went to sleep.  Her second time goes just as smoothly.  During her third occupation, however, Callie unexpectedly wakes up and is thrust into the middle of a life that she does not know how to live–that of a young, rich teen.  To make matters worse the Ender who was occupying her is still in her head and warning her that she is in danger…

Starters is a really cool story!  This is definitely not your typical dystopia.  There are no average adults in this world–only senior citizens and young people!  The way that the author, Lissa Price, describes the body bank and how seniors inhabit young people is so interesting.  This book also reminded me of Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, because Callie goes through a complete makeover with future technologies that we cannot even imagine.  This novel is definitely action-packed, since Callie is not only trying to figure out why she is in danger but she also has to make sure that no one realizes that she is not being occupied while she is still pretending to be a young, rich teen.  There is a great mystery in this story and at the end of the book you see the evil plan of some of the Enders unfold.  Starters is definitely a great read for any age, guy or girl, and if you want a cool spin on a dystopian world.

Click here to find Starters in the Library!

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on June 13, 2012 Categories: Action/Adventure, Dystopian, Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Staff Pics

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

DeadEndNorvelt2Dead End in Norvelt

by Jack Gantos

Dead End in Norvelt is a semi-autobiographical novel by the author Jack Gantos.  So, it is not a true autobiography, rather it is a work of fiction based on real events and things from Jack Gantos’ life.  At the beginning of the book, we meet Jack who is twelve-years-old in the summer of 1962.  He lives with his parents in the small town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania.  Jack’s summer is not off to a good start, though.  He accidentally shot off his father’s Japanese rifle in the backyard and has been grounded for the entire summer.  Jack is not allowed to leave his house at all for the whole summer, but there is a stipulation.  He can leave to help out his elderly, arthritic neighbor Miss Volker.  Due to Miss Volker’s arthritis, she has a hard time using her hands so she needs Jack to help her out around the house and also with her duties as town coroner.  As the coroner, Miss Volker needs Jack to drive her to wherever there is a dead body in town and he also helps her by typing up the town’s obituaries.  Jack expects that his summer is going to be a boring one.  Let’s face it, how many people are going to wind up dead in one summer?  But Jack’s summer is anything but boring!  First, the old ladies of Norvelt are dropping dead one after another and this leads to a murder mystery investigation.  Jack’s father also decides to restore an old plane, Jack has a run in with the Hell’s Angels, and there are house fires and nosebleeds galore!  And that’s not even half the story!

Dead End in Norvelt is a great read for summer.  It’s an easy read that is laugh out loud hilarious.  If you love to laugh and enjoy weird stories, then click here to find Dead End in Norvelt at the Library!

Also, check out this interview with Jack Gantos where he describes more about writing Dead End in Norvelt and how it is based on some real things from Jack’s life and why he wanted to write this story.

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on May 22, 2012 Categories: Fiction, Guys Reads, Historical Fiction, Interview, Mystery, Realistic Fiction, Staff Pics

Back to the Future!

If you are a fan of time travel, then you should check out these two books!

TempestTempest

by Julie Cross

Jackson Meyer can jump through time.  When we meet him at the beginning of Tempest he is nineteen-years-old in 2009  and is just starting to scratch the surface of his time travelling abilities.  He believes that he can only travel to the past for a short amount of time, but that all changes when one morning a couple of strangers burst into his girlfriend’s dorm room and fatally shoot her while trying to abduct Jackson.  As Jackson holds the dying Holly in his arms, he suddenly travels back in time to 2007.  However, he is stuck in 2007 and has to pretend to be his seventeen-year-old self to try to figure out why he was in danger in 2009.  He also begins to discover the secrets his father has hidden from him about his time travelling abilities.

Tempest is an exciting and action-packed book.  The characters are really fun to read about and I found myself laughing out loud at times.  This is definitely not a dramatic read, but there is a lot of drama with Jackson’s abilities.  The mystery behind Jackson’s time jumping powers is very interesting to read but it is also a bit complicated.  Pick this book up if you are looking for a book that has a lot of mystery, action, and twists and turns.

Ruby RedRuby Red

by Kerstin Gier

Gwenyth had grown up knowing that her more sophisticated and prettier cousin Charlotte had the genetic ability to travel through time.  Gwenyth is just a normal sixteen-year-old girl who likes to hang out with her friends, gossip and talk on her phone, and who also happens to be able to see and talk to ghosts.  Charlotte, however, has had extensive lessons and training for different skills that will come in handy when she starts travelling back in time–like fencing, learning German, and even self defense.  It all goes wrong, though, when Gwenyth actually turns out to be the next time traveler in the family.  Once The Guardians, the secret order that protects time travellers, confirms that she is “The Ruby” (the last of the time travellers) she is suddenly thrust into a world that she is very unprepared for.  Will Gwenyth be able to survive travelling through time without the proper training?  Will she uncover the secret of why one of her time travelling relatives ran away and took a precious device with her?  And, most importantly, can she learn to tolerate her time travelling partner Gideon–an older, cuter, and very arrogant descendant of another family with the genetic ability to travel through time.

Ruby Red was a good read.  The great mystery surrounding Gwenyth’s role as “The Ruby” and the missing time travel device are set up nicely in this first book in a planned trilogy.  Be warned, though!  The ending is quite a cliffhanger.  Gwenyth is a fun character to read about, too.  At first I was so frustrated at how immature she was, but I think the author did this so that she could show how much Gwenyth had to grow up when she learned that she had the time travel gene.  One thing to know about this book is that it was translated into English from German, and it takes place in London, both in the current day and also in the past.  It does use British terms and references, but for me this just added to the story.  I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on May 16, 2012 Categories: Action/Adventure, Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Staff Pics

Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

Death CloudDeath Cloud

by Andrew Lane

I admit my only exposure to Sherlock Holmes has been the action-packed Robert Downey Jr. movies and the super awesome BBC adaptation.  No, I have not read the original novels.  However, I do enjoy the character of Sherlock and his abundance of knowledge that always seems to come in handy at just the right moment.  The mysteries and the way Sherlock uses his superb sleuthing skills are always interesting and surprising.  So, I was excited to find out that Andrew Lane is writing a series that introduces us to the fourteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes.  As an added bonus, this series is the first teen series endorsed by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate.

In the first book of the series, Death Cloud, it is 1868 and Sherlock has just been sent to live with his aunt and uncle in their large estate in Hampshire.  This arrangement is only supposed to be for Sherlock’s holidays from boarding school, but with his father stationed in India and his mother unwell, Sherlock is not sure what his future holds.  His brother, Mycroft, has arranged for Sherlock to be kept busy with an American tutor named Amyus Crowe.  Crowe is a Texan from America with a mysterious past, but a great knowledge of many different things.  Sherlock is still bored, though, living in the country.  Luckily, he makes friends with a local boy named Matty.  Of course, through their boredom, the two boys stumble upon a mysterious black cloud that leaves its victims dead with plague-like symptoms.  Together, Matty and Sherlock risk their own lives to solve the mystery of the cloud of death.

Death Cloud is filled with tons of action and adventure.  And, of course, there is a great mystery that kept me guessing throughout the entire novel.  One of the best parts about this book are the things I learned while reading the book.  Each aspect of the mystery and how Sherlock comes to his conclusions are explained in depth in the novel, and most of the explanations are logical scientific ones!  This is definitely a great read for all teens of all ages who enjoy a good mystery with lots of action and adventure.

Once you’re finished with Death Cloud, be sure to check out the next book in the series, Rebel Fire.  In this next book of the series, Sherlock and his friends intercept a plot to resurrect the Southern Cause in America with the supposedly dead John Wilkes Booth!

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on May 8, 2012 Categories: Fiction, Guys Reads, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Staff Pics

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

by Joe Schreiber

With a title like Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick I had no idea what I was in for when I picked up this book by Joe Schreiber.  I definitely did not expect a book that has so much action that it puts some of the latest action movies to shame!  I also did not expect that the character that is the cause of all the danger, violence, and excitement is a female foreign exchange student.  Finally, I didn’t expect that I would love this book and that by the end of the book it was not even close to the story I thought I was reading when I first started.

When I first picked up Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick, I thought it would be a mix of a romance with a weird storyline that involved a foreign exchange student.  While some of that is true, the story is so much more!  Perry is your normal teenage guy, he is a little bit on the geeky side, but deals with the normal pressures that a high school senior deals with– choosing the right college, working at his dad’s work, and dealing with the pressure his parents put on him to achieve the best.  However, there is one thing in Perry’s life that isn’t that normal, his family’s Lithuanian exchange student named Gobi.  A majority of this novel takes place on one night, a night that will change Perry’s life forever, the night that Perry takes Gobi to the prom and learns that Gobi is actually a 24-year-old trained assassin who has commandeered Perry to be her driver for the night while she hunts down those she has been assigned to kill.

The characters of both Perry and Gobi are so much fun to read.  Gobi appears to be this weak girl at first, but is actually a kick butt assassin who is both scary and awesome.  Perry grows a lot in this story and at first you think there’s no one that he will survive this night as Gobi’s chauffer.  I won’t give the ending away, so you will need to read the book to find out if Perry does make it out alive.  This novel has everything action, a little romance, a mystery, and drama.  However, there is strong language and a lot of violence, so if that is not something you like to read then this is not the book for you.  If you do like an awesome story that keeps you guessing and is filled with nonstop action, then pick up Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick at the Library today!

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on April 26, 2012 Categories: Action/Adventure, Fiction, Funny, Staff Pics