Friday, July 29, 2005

Teen 'Views: Boy2Girl

From Teen Reviewer Julia K.:

Boy2Girl by Terence Blacker

I read the book Boy2Girl. Right away, the title gets you thinking, "what on Earth is this book about???" The book itself was very entertaining and funny. When I was reading it, I had a hard time putting it down. I really recommend this humorous book to other teens.

Teen 'Views: Raven's Gate

Another review from YAB member, James M.:

Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz
Hello. Welcome to Mr. Strange Guy’s review corner. Today, I will be reviewing a novel by the name of Raven’s Gate, book one of Anthony Horowitz’s new series The Gatekeepers. Raven’s Gate is set in various parts of England, focusing on a fourteen-year old boy named Matt. Matt is a bit of a delinquent, but when he witnesses a crime committed by a “friend” of his, he is also considered responsible, and given a choice: go to jail, or go live with a somewhat eccentric woman in a remote town called Lesser Malling. Deciding on the second option, he goes to live with Mrs. Deverill in her home of Hive Hall. While it seems normal enough at first, it quickly becomes clear that something unusual is going on, and Matt decides to seek out the truth. Unfortunately, everyone who attempts to help him seems to end up dead. Matt is going to find that jail may have been a better choice.

Now, this was an enjoyable read. At first, I was not overly impressed, but the farther I got into the book, the weirder it got, and the better it got. By the time the book kicked into high gear, I found I could not stop reading. The writing is well done, and the characters are all given enough time for the reader to get to know them, even those ones who only show up for a brief moment before suffering a nasty fate. Also, the mysteries are enticing enough to keep you reading in order to learn the answers. My personal favorite was trying to figure out how an abandoned nuclear power plant fit into the plot (trust me, it’s a doozey).

Although the book is good, it’s not perfect. It does start out kind of slow, but that’s understandable, considering it’s the first book in a series. Unfortunately, this also means we are not left with a completely conclusive ending, which was annoying. I hate it when questions are left unanswered. But worst of all, I have to wait for the next book! [Darth Vader voice:] NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Aside from the complaints which cannot be avoided because this is the first book in a series, Raven’s Gate really is a joy to read. Just try and make it past the slow opening, and you will not be disappointed.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Dance Dance Revolution

Show off your moves at our first-ever Dance Dance Revolution Tournament, Tuesday, July 26 5-7pm, in the Library Activity Room.

Everyone, from beginners to experts, is invited. So whether you've never played before or you can't tear yourself away from the dance pad come join us for some DDR fun.

If you have your own pad, bring it along!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

YA Author Chat - Tonight!

YA Authors Lara Zeises (author of Bringing Up Bones and Contents Under Pressure) and Laurie Faria Stolarz (author of the Blue is for Nightmares series) will be chatting with teens and other authors Tonight at 8:30pm. Just go to the YA Author Cafe and click on "Cafe Chatroom" to join the discussion.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Teen 'Views: Magyk

From YAB member Beth V.:
Magyk by Angie Sage

This was a tremendous book. When one first picks it up, he or she may be a bit daunted by its length, but once one has read just a few pages, one will begin to see that every page will be worth reading. The characters and setting are well developed. It was easy to be pulled into the world that Sage created with powerful imagery. The reader will feel the characters’ depressions, vexations, and elations; it will seem as if he or she is part of each character’s journey. While some of them seem to fall a bit by the wayside throughout the book, the main characters are well connected to each other and to the plot.

Perhaps the best aspect of this tale is that the plot differs from the norms of the fantasy genre. Sage wrote of a very original chain of events. Many fantasy books seem to be the same tale reworded. Magyk is an entirely different story from anything else this reviewer has read.

Everyone who’s into the fantasy genre should definitely read Magyk. I would also recommend this as a book for someone who’s never before read fantasy as a starter book. The book is more than a tale of witchcraft and wizardry. It has all the essential elements of a great work of fiction; it just happens to be set in a parallel world.

Upcoming Events

Game Night!: Tomorrow (Thursday, July 14), 7-8:30pm. We'll have various board games, tables set up for table-top RPGs and two televisions with video games. Plus food and drinks!

Magic! by Scott Jameson: Now here's a magic show you can really get into. Not your typical kids' stuff, this show has everything from magic and mime to juggling. Tuesday, July 19, 7pm.

Traveling Pants Craft: Are you a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants fan? Then join in the denim fun here at the library. On Friday, July 22, 3-5pm we'll be decorating denim bags a la the Sisterhood. Bags and materials will be provided.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Teen 'Views: Valiant

And here's our first Teen 'Views review from YAB member, James M.:
Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie by Holly Black

Hello. Welcome to Mr. Strange Guy's review corner. Today I will be reviewing Valiant by Holly Black. Valiant is the story of Valerie, a relatively normal girl living with her mother. After discovering that she has been betrayed by some of the people she cares about, she flees her house, ending up stranded in New York City. She encounters Dave, Lolli, and Luis, a trio of squatters living in an abandoned subway station. The three seem a bit strange, but she doesn't mind until she meets a woman whom Dave makes a delivery to, one which happens to have hooves instead of feet. What follows is Val's journey into a very unusual world, one full of faeries, trolls, and everything in between.

When I first started reading this book, I was not overly impressed. The story starts decidedly slow, and I found myself uninterested in the initial events. Once Val ends up in New York, it gets a bit more interesting, but was still not very exciting. When the characters who are not human start showing up, things get much better very quickly. The world of faeries is wonderfully detailed and described, not a detail missed. The characters are equally as enthralling, with even the story's minor players characterized very well. The story itself was also wonderful once the major conflict showed up, and it was built up quite nicely. In fact, the primary problem does not even become a large issue until at least halfway through the novel. It is hinted at and then slowly built on until Valerie has no choice but to deal with it. From the moment Valerie meets her first faerie until you turn the last page, Valiant is a very enjoyable read.

While Valiant is good, it does have some flaws that drag it down. While the world of faerie is enjoyable, the world of humans seems a bit flat in comparison. I found myself caring much more about the faeries than the humans that Valerie interacts with. In addition, the beginning just does not hold a candle to the rest of the novel. It seemed as if the author devoted all of her talent (of which there is a lot) to the later 70% of the book. Valerie herself is a notable exception, with her actions and decisions, both good and bad, explained, and her thoughts are very interesting. That being said, the world of humans and the humans themselves are characterized and described quite well. The problem is that it seems that much more attention was paid to the faerie world rather than the human one. If a bit more time was spent on the beginning, this would be an instant classic. Then again, I may just be nitpicking.

Despite my griping, I encourage everyone to pick up a copy of Valiant. As soon as you get past the beginning, you are not going to want to put this one down. It really is a wonderful book.

Teen 'Views

I've always thought that one of the best things about reading books is talking to other people about the books. So, with our teen summer reading program, Teen Stuff, we have a new "section" of this blog. It's called Teen ' of books by teens, for teens. Anyone who wants to can participate! If you've joined Teen Stuff you can earn Flint Bucks ($300!) by writing a review of a BBYA or Teens' Top Ten book. Each review needs to be at least a paragraph long, and you need to get it to me somehow (by email, comment to the blog, or left in my box at the library).

So, start sending me those reviews!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Teen Picks

The new book display in the Teen Corner is comprised completely of "Teen Picks". You may have seen some of those bright yellow bookmarks floating around and wondered, "Hmmm...who picks those?" Why, the members of the Youth Advisory Board (YAB),that's who! And at our last meeting we came up with a list of recommended reading for the summer.

I'll be typing up and posting the list in the Teen Corner for distribution next week (if you have any to add, email me or comment here). But, in the mean time, you can find some great "teen-approved" books on display.


Scott Westerfeld, author of So Yesterday, The Midnighters series and the new Peeps, has a blog! It's called Westerblog (hence, the subject line) and Westerfeld talks about everything from writing advice to zombies, "pretties" to Spoonerisms. Definitely worth checking it out.

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Flint Memorial Library
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North Reading, MA 01864