Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Thousandth Floor

Author: Katharine McGee
Info: HarperCollins, copyright 2016, 448 pages

New York City as you've never seen it before.

A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky.  A glittering vision of future where anything is possible-if you want it enough.

Leda Cole's flawless exterior belies a secret addiction-to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson's beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylan Myer's job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world-and a romance-she never imagined...but will this new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone.  But when he's hired to spy for an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect.  The girl who seems to have it all-yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world.  But when you're this high up, there's nowhere to go but down...

~Goodreads Description

This was not my kind of book.  If I had actually read the blurb on the back or any reviews - at all - (especially those that compared it to Gossip Girl), I might have figured that out before starting, but I got sucked in by a pretty cover.  It has happened before, and I'm sure it will happen again.  There are A LOT of pretty covers out there.

It's a futuristic New York where the entire city is a tower.  Decent premise.  The higher up in the tower you live, the more affluent your life.  Okay.  Enter high school teens with too much money, too much time on their hands, no parental supervision and...two step siblings in love with each other.

I'm out!  In my humble opinion, incest (even step-incest) is NEVER an appropriate plot line.  Ever.  It's icky.  SO icky.  (The only argument that could possibly sway me is when grown adult become "step-siblings" because their parents fall in love, but only after the grown adults have already been together.  That is sometimes okay.)  It's just so weird.  And icky!

There is also the comparison that can be made to the recent Ben Wheatley film, High Rise, starring Tom Hiddleston.  The movie was crazy.  I only understood a smidgen of what was actually going on, and it kind of freaked me out to be honest.  It had a very similar premise.  There is a tower.  Everyone wants to live in the tower.  There is a hierarchy in the tower by floor.  No one is really happy.  And chaos ensues. (In the case of High Rise, chaos includes murder, adultery, really disturbing parties, no trash service, and the death of innocent animals.)  Here's the thing.  You don't have to live in the tower.  If you're unhappy, leave the tower.  McGee alludes to places outside of the tower to live in The Thousandth Floor.  New York City isn't the last city standing.

This type of "realistic" fiction just isn't for me.  The tower concept was cool (kind of made me think of The Jetson's Movie with public transportation and a mall in the same "building" where people live), and the writing itself was decent, but I just didn't care about any of the characters or their problems.  Or the incest.  Icky.

I don't think I'll be continuing on in the series, but I know there is an audience for this book.  There are countless teen readers who enjoy lots of drama, the rich and the famous, and tons of romance.  Those are the teens that would love this recommendation.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Top 10(ish) Favorite Character Names

Top Ten(ish) Favorite Character Names
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

While a character is never a make or break for me when it comes to a book, I do love a well thought-out or just nifty choice.  Some names just stick with you whether you like the character/book or not.  I stopped myself at "13".  You're welcome.

What's on your list?  Happy reading!

1) Perry and Roar
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

2) Blue Sargent and Richard Campbell Gansey III
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

3) Scout Finch and Atticus Finch
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

4) September
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherine Valente

5) Poppy Paladino
Wax by Gina Damico

6) Thursday Next
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

7) Wade Watts
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

8) Karou and Akiva
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

9) Rafe
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

10) Elvie Nara
Mothership by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal

11) Etienne St. Clair
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

12) Augustus Waters
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Tuck Everlasting
13) Winnie Foster
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Monday, October 17, 2016

Library GrabBag: Library Services for Teens

I had the amazing opportunity to teach a workshop on Teen Services to a group of very kind, passionate librarians in Wisconsin last week.  I'll admit it...this was FAR outside my comfort zone.  While I've learned a thing or two about librarianship for teens, I'm not a born public speaker.  I was the young lady in her college Communications class who almost fainted every time she had to present.  The whole podium with shake, my white knuckles clutching the sides to keep myself standing.  I was in such a sad state that the class would volunteer me to go first so I didn't have to wait in agony.  "Please let her get it over without," they would say sympathetically.

It has been a hard fought journey getting comfortable enough to stand in front of people, but I do it because I love to talk about teens.  I love to talk about their passion for life, their curiosity in play, and their odd personalities and behaviors.  I love to talk about ways libraries and librarians can step up and be a positive influence in their lives, offering them opportunities to express themselves while carving out a spot just for them in their community.

While working with teens isn't always a great time, for every difficult afternoon full of nagging/begging/pleading for them to remember that they are in a library and not a living room, there are twice as many moments of laughter, genuine questions and conversations, and playful mischief.  And I am blessed to work with so many creative, inspiring librarians not only in my building but throughout Indiana who keep me planning and scheming for better ways to serve.

The organizer of the Wisconsin workshop asked me for resources, so I did my best to create a handout of reading suggestions, websites, templates, and programming ideas that we've used at our library.  And now I'm going to share it here...because it took me a long time to make so why not put it out to the world in case it can help someone else :)

If you have any questions or want additional info, let me know!

Library Services for Teens_handout_pdf

Included in the handout:

  • The Teen Room
    • Reading suggestions
    • Helpful websites
    • GPL's expectations for teens
  • Check This Out
    • Reading suggestions
    • Helpful websites
    • Book tasting sample
  • If You Build It, They Will Come
    • Reading suggestions
    • Helpful websites
    • Teen Services communities
    • Programming ideas
    • After hours permission slip sample
    • After hours Zombie Fest itinerary
    • After hours Minecraft itinerary
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