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Deadly Pink by Vivian Vande Velde

Deadly Pink

by Vivian Vande Velde

Fourteen year old Grace has been asked to rescue her sister, but she wonders if she is up to the task. Grace is the second sister, the average sister who depends on Emily for help. Her older sister is the special one. She is in college, mega smart, super popular, and better looking than Grace. While Grace is an avid gamer, Emily works as an intern for the Rasmussem Corporation, the creators of the world’s best virtual reality games. These games are not the average virtual reality game, but total immersion games where the player becomes part of the gaming world. Once in the game, players can taste, smell, feel, and move just like the real world. While their bodies remain lying on a couch, hooked to a computer, and safe. Emily has hidden herself in one of the games she helped create and altered the codes so she cannot be pulled out. The problem is, there is a time limit to how long gamers can stay in virtual form before dangerously injuring their real bodies. Grace must enter the game, find her sister, and rescue her before time runs out and her sister faces not just a virtual death. 

Reading this book feels like playing a game. Grace has to use her gaming knowledge (and sarcastic wit) to win coins, battle enemies, and save her sister. All this makes for a fast-paced and funny journey, with a little danger thrown in. Along the way, Grace learns that all is not as it seems and that nobody is as perfect as they appear. If you like gaming or have a sister, check this book out.

Other books by Vivian Vande Velde that include the Rasmussem Corporation:

By Barbara, Teen Outreach Librarian on July 12, 2012 Categories: Fiction, Science Fiction, Staff Pics

Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Friends With Boys

by Faith Erin Hicks

If you like quirky graphic novels with a touch of supernatural, then you’ll love Friends With Boys.  Not only is the artwork of Friends With Boys really well done, the story is also really interesting and quietly captivating.  It centers on Maggie who is about to enter high school after being home-schooled by her mother.  She is the youngest in her family with three older brothers, and their mother has just left.  Maggie has always relied on her brothers, to be her friends and to do stuff with. However, now that she is in high school, her brothers cannot be there for her, and Maggie has to make new friends to survive.  Maggie is doing her best in trying to deal with her mom leaving, even with the huge adjustment of attending a public high school, and the ghost that has followed her throughout her life is not helping things… 

According to her website, Faith Erin Hicks says that she wrote this graphic novel with a little basis in her own life experiences.  I always find it cool when an author uses their own experiences to influence their work.  Read more about what real life experiences Faith Erin Hicks used in this graphic novel by clicking here.  This book is not all drama, though, it is also hilarious!  Especially the relationship between Maggie’s twin brothers Lloyd and Zander.   Check out some of the artwork from Friends With Boys below:

It is simple black and white drawings, but I really like the style.  The characters are realistic portrayals, and I love the styling of all the characters–I feel like I can picture what these characters would look like in real life and I also love that each character has a distinct style that stays consistent through the whole book.  Finally, I really love the drama that Faith Erin Hicks can create with simple black and white drawings, check out this example (one of my favorites):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to find Friends With Boys at the Library!

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on July 11, 2012 Categories: Fiction, Graphic Novel, High School, Staff Pics

Life as it Comes by Anne-Laure Bondoux

Life as it Comes

by Anne-Laure Bondoux

Life as it Comes is the French pick for our 2012 Book Crossing program with our Sister City Sèvres, France.  It is a great read to pick up this summer, especially because it centers on the first summer that two sisters spend together after the death of their parents due to a car accident. 

Mado is fifteen and Patty is twenty.  You would think the opposite was true, though, because Mado is the responsible one and Patty is the reckless one.  Mado makes the dinners, makes sure that the bills are paid, and is always doing homework so that she gets good grades.  As long as Mado does well in school and makes it look like everything is OK, then the social workers will let Patty keep custody of Mado.  Patty, however, is everything but OK.  She leaves Mado alone all the time, and it is when Patty gets home from one of these weekends away that she reveals to Mado that she is pregnant. 

Patty’s pregnancy could ruin everything, especially because it could mean that she would no longer be able to care for Mado.  The sisters don’t know what to do and are afraid of their social workers finding out.  So, they continue on as if nothing’s wrong and go ahead with their planned summer vacation at their family home in Southern France.  For awhile, their summer is perfect.  They even meet two brothers who are vacationing from Amsterdam and have a bit of summer romance.  However, as the days grow shorter and autumn approaches, Mado and Patty have to come to terms with Patty’s pregnancy and try to do what’s best for themselves and for the new baby.

As I said, Life as it Comes is the perfect summer read if you want a little bit of drama, a little bit of romance, and a really great story about what it means to be a family after a tragedy.  Click here to find Life as it Comes in the Library today and be sure stop in at the Library to learn more about our Book Crossing program.

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on July 9, 2012 Categories: Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Staff Pics

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