Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Princessess of Iowa: a review

By M. Molly Backes
FYA Book Club Selection
Candlewick: Copyright 2012, 464 pages

Paige Sheridan has the perfect life. She's pretty, rich, and popular, and her spot on the homecoming court is practically guaranteed. But when a night of partying ends in an it-could-have-been-so-much worse crash, everything changes. Her best friends start ignoring her, her boyfriend grows cold and distant, and her once-adoring younger sister now views her with contempt. The only bright spot is her creative writing class, led by a charismatic new teacher who encourages students to be true to themselves. But who is Paige, if not the homecoming princess everyone expects her to be? In this arresting and witty debut, a girl who was once high-school royalty must face a truth that money and status can't fix, and choose between living the privileged life of a princess, or owning up to her mistakes and giving up everything she once held dear.

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
I don't really know where to Paige comes back from Paris after being exiled for the summer.  Upon her return things are both very much different and very much the same.  Her friends seem distant, her boyfriend preoccupied, and her priorities askew, but her mother is her overbearing, critical self.  Paige tries to maintain some kind of normal, but when she meets Ethan and Shanti in her creative writing class and discovers the power of the written word from an inspiring teacher, she realizes that the world she had created for herself was forcing her to hide who she maybe one day could be.

The Awesome
The use of free writing as tool to carry the story was an excellent addition.  While I didn't truly believe Paige's voice, the technique brought depth to a story that needed depth.

The Not So Awesome
I feel bad that I don't have more awesome to add.  The book was well written, but I just could connect with any of the characters.  Even Paige herself seemed distant, and I couldn't get over some holes in teh stories.  There have been few books where I truly despised certain individuals, but Paige's friend Lacey makes that list.  She's going through some rough times.  I get that, but I just don't like her and can't forgive her for some of her words and actions.

Not my favorite book.  I think Backes is a promising author, but this particular story just didn't resonate with me.  There was so much unresolved at the end of the book that I finished frustrated.  I can't help thinking that the same story from another perspective would have been an interesting twist.  Or maybe multiple perspectives?  Back a forth from inside the princesses and outside looking in?  Not sure.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Peanut: a graphic novel review

Written by Ayun Halliday
Illustrated by Paul Hoppe
Schwartz & Wade Books; Copyright 2013
207 pages

Before you write me off as a delusional psycho, think about what it's like to be thrown into a situation where everyone knows everyone... and no one knows you. Sadie has the perfect plan to snag some friends when she transfers to Plainfield High—pretend to have a peanut allergy. But what happens when you have to hand in that student health form your unsuspecting mom was supposed to fill out? And what if your new friends want to come over and your mom serves them snacks? (Peanut butter sandwich, anyone?) And then there's the bake sale, when your teacher thinks you ate a brownie with peanuts. Graphic coming-of-age novels have huge cross-over potential, and Peanut is sure to appeal to adults and teens alike.

~Goodreads Description~

It would be absolutely exhausting pretending to have a fake allergy.  Knowing several people with severe food allergies, I am constantly surprised they are still alive and in many circumstances that I haven't accidentally killed them.  Sadie really does a horrible job faking her peanut allergy, but you sympathize with her, the desire to find and keep fans.  Sadie actually surrounded herself with some pretty amazing people that cared deeply about her safety, and through her dishonesty, lost the trust of many of them.

Peanut is relevant, beautifully illustrated discussion about a trendy(ish) topic.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top 10 Authors That I'd Put On My Auto-Buy List

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Authors That I'd Put On My Auto-Buy List
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
It's kind of funny how you really come to trust an author.  You trust them to take you out of reality for just a short time, whisk you away to strange lands, give you experiences you would never have in the real world, and take you on a journey where maybe you learn a little bit about yourself.  They are tour guides into fictional worlds that mirror our own.  And there are, of course, those authors who you connect to a little more than most.  The way they weave their words, tell their stories, resonates just a little louder in your heartbeat, making you laugh, cry, and dream that much more.

I've got a few authors that "have me at hello."  I need no more persuasion than to get a glimpse of a book cover.  

1) Libba Bray - Each story is unique.  Different.  Funny.  Sad.  Exciting.  She has a unique voice and sense of humor that I absolutely adore.

2) John Green - No other author, with the exception of Harper Lee, has made me just...feel...more than Green's books.  His characters are intelligent and thoughtful.  They say the words I wish I could find.

3) Sarah Dessen - Real people have real problems and finding real solutions.  She's not fluff, yet she's romantic and heartfelt.

4) Gayle Forman - I just love her writing style.  I love the way she tells a whole story from one perspective, and then gives you the opportunity to understand another.  

5) Veronica Rossi - She's new to my list, but I'm sold.  I loved the world she built, the characters she made me care about, and a resonating hope she can weave through the darkness.

6) Maggie Stiefvater - She knocked my socks off with The Scorpio Races and left me pleasantly hanging with the end of book one in The Raven Boys.

7) Jasper Fforde - Talk about a unique voice.  There is no one like Fforde who is witty and strange and amazingly draws you in to his own imagination.

8) Dean Koontz - When I just need a thrill, a genuine, not super gory thrill, he's the author I turn to.

9) Maureen Johnson - She can write funny; she can write sweet; she can write mystery; and she can tweet like nobody's business.

10) Pete Hautman - Hautman's work is so varied.  He's done dystopias and love stories; mysteries and vampires.  He always keeps me guessing.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Q & A: What was your first concert experience?

This week on

Tuesday - Back to Basics: School/Public Library collaboration
Wednesday - Book Love with Emily
Thursday - Exciting Events: Literary Festival
Friday - Friday Favorites with Julia

"Library Shorts" - What was your first concert experience?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Library GrabBag: As long as you love me...and other (cheesy) lyrics

Check out today's The Librarian Way for some SoulPancake love.

Last week's passive program was both hilarious and productive (I was able to use it for two separate programs).  I put together a list of ten love songs...well, the first line of the chorus of ten love songs.  Throughout the week, the teens visiting the Teen Room were encouraged to try their hand at filling in the next line.  They received bonus points for naming the song and artist.  At the end of the week, I drew a name of those who had completed the game and handed out a prize.

Program two was even better.  Using the same lyrics, attendees at the Anti-Valentine's Day party attempted to write the next line, Anti-Valentine's Day style.  Hunter Haye's lyric "(Supplied) Wanna hold your hand forever (Real lyric) And never let you forget" became "Wanna hold your hand forever, hopefully it's still attached."  Got a good giggle out of that one.

Sidenote:  Beware when using songs in a program.  Teens will start to sing and have very strong feelings, both love and hate, for particular artists.  I might have inadvertently started a Justin Bieber war.  I now have a teen girl who gives me a new Bieber fact everyday after school

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Etiquette & Espionage : a review

Check out today's The Librarian Way for a discussion on Teen Tech Week programming.

By Gail Carriger
Little, Brown and Company: Copyright 2013
307 pages

It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners--and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish...everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage--in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education.

Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail's legions of fans have come to adore. 

~Amazon Description~

The Breakdown

Sophronia Temminnick is a little rough around the edges.  She likes to climb; she's interested in books; and she always seems to find herself in the most compromising of situations.  So begins Sophronia's schooling at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality which is not all it appears to be.

When the school is attacked by flywayman (yeah, highwayman in the sky) looking for a mysterious prototype, Sophronia and friends take it upon themselves to save the school from the rogues and put their new "skills" to good use.

The Awesome

The. Cover. Is. Awesome.  It's pink and girly, but mysterious and steampunkish.

Chapter titles!  I know I've said this before, but I love fun chapter titles.  I like the bit of foreshadowing, especially if their witty (ex. "Lesson 5 - Never Hurl Garlic Mash At a Man With a Crossbow")

Sophronia is become the best of both worlds.  She understands the power of her feminine whiles, but still likes to put herself into the middle of the action.  She thinks quickly on her feet, and she isn't afraid to put herself in danger, especially if it's for the sake of friends and family.  Carriger mixes in just enough of the supernatural to make this a really fun read.

The Not So Awesome

World building.  I know it's important, because if you don't understand or like the world the book is set in, what's the point?  But the book moved slowly at points, and I couldn't help wanting to just jump into the action.  Now that the school, Sophronia's abilities, and some villains have been set in motion, the series will hopefully pick up steam.

Overall, a very fun read.   If you like adventure, smart heroines, and steampunk flare, this is definitely a good choice.

Related Titles: The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress, The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross, The Affinity Bridge by George Mann


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Spiral: a manga review

Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning Volume 1
By Kyo Shirodaira
Art by Eita Mizuno
Rated T for Teen
Yen Press

World-class detective Kiyotaka Narumi's last words prior to his sudden disappearance continue to haunt his younger brother, Ayumu. The cheeky 10th-grader becomes further embroiled in the mystery when he is mistaken for the prime suspect in a murder at his school. Led by Ayumu's sister-in-law, Kiyotaka's wife and fellow detective, Madoka, the investigation into the murder gives Ayumu a chance to clear his name. But in doing so, he not only uncovers ties to the Blade Children but also more questions than answers about who and what they are.

~Amazon Description~

Whoa.  Such a departure from the manga I've been reading.  No fairies.  No demons.  No swords.  Very refreshing.  I had absolutely no problem keeping up with this mystery.  Think Sherlock Holmes manga-fied.  Well, if Sherlock Holmes was a teenage kid with spiky hair, a harsh detective sister, and a plucky blond schoolgirl sidekick.

At the end of volume one, we know a little.  Enough to keep you reading on into volume two.  We know Ayumu's brother has disappeared.  We know his sister is a detective investigating mysterious murders about town, which seem to be connected somehow, and we know the Ayumu himself is quite the sleuth.  We also know that there is some kind of "gang" or sorts known as the Blade Children that might be involved.

It's really a classic whodunit, and if you're a hesitant manga reader, it's a good place to start.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top 10 Favorite Characters in "X" Genre

Check out today's Back to Basics post on The Librarian Way!

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Favorite Characters in Science Fiction/Fantasy
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

It's okay.  You say it.  Cop out!  This "genre" is huge and can kind of encompass anything I want it to...yeah, it's going to be that kind of week.  So "top" ten my be a stretch.  I'd prefer to call this a list of ten favorites.  I've exhausted my favorites, but there's a new crew that I've genuinely come to care about and root for in the context of their stories.

1) Ron Weasley in Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - My affection for Ronald Weasley is real.  I spoiled the ending of The Deathly Hallows by scanning the last few pages for the mention of his name.  He's loyal.  He's sincere.  And he's brave exactly when he needs to be.  Sigh...

2) Bo Marsden in Rash by Pete Hautman - This is one book I think back to quite often.  It was my first meeting with Pete Hautman, and just a really awesome book.  Here's this kid who has a bit of a temper, and, well, rash, but he's a good guy.

3) Percy Jackson in The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan - The combination of modern day and Greek myth is brilliant, but its Percy that holds the story together.  The reluctant hero, more concerned with helping then gaining notoriety, he's a good guy, and someone I'd like to have beside me in battle.

4) Roar in Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi - Percy has my heart, but Roar has my allegiance.  Poor Roar.  He's heartbroken and lost, but he's really the best friend I've seen in teen lit in a while.  He genuinely cares and protects, and while he's pretty single-minded, he accepts an outsider without a second thought.

5) Morpheus in Splintered by A.G. Howard - I know he's a baddy, but he's such a fun baddy that he can get away with all the trouble he causes.  He's the guy you love to hate...and he has wings.

6) Miss Havisham in The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - A member of Jurisfiction, counselor at a pretty hilarious anger management meeting, and book jumper extraordinaire...Jasper Fforde's Miss Havisham is a lady I'd like to have around.

7) Lord Death in Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt - Poor, tender, patient Lord Death.  Sure, he's creeper, but he's dreamy too.

8) Grimalkin in The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa - The cat sith is kind of mean, really sarcastic, and totally unreliable, but he's got flare and spunk.

9) Black Butler in Black Butler by Yana Toboso - So what if he's a demon and can kill you like it's nobody's business.  He bakes some mean pastries, and he's at your beck and call.

10) The capaill uisce in The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - I know they aren't really characters, but these are flesh eating horses.  They are SCARY.  I think I'd rather take on a zombie than a cannibalistic horse.  Awesome.

So that's it.  That's "ten of my favorite" characters in science fiction fantasy.  Who would you add to the list?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Q & A: The Librarian Way - To Genre, Not to Genre

This week on The Librarian Way:

Monday - Q & A: To Genre, Not to Genre
Tuesday - Back to Basics: Working with your administration
Wednesday - Book Love with Julia
Thursday - Exciting Events: Teen Tech Week
Friday - Friday Favorites with Emily

To Genre, Not to Genre...that is the question

Thursday, February 14, 2013

"You had me at hello."

Happy Valentine's Day!

So I'm not the biggest fan of this particular holiday, but I am a HUGE fan of romantic movies.  I like the tingly feeling you get when the shy, unassuming girl finds Mr. Right, when eyes meet from across a crowded room, and when someone finds exactly the right words to say that mean I love you.  I also like movies where things get blown up, zombies attacks threaten the masses, and animated characters sing and dance, but that's beside the point.  In the spirit of the day, I thought I'd share five of my favorite romantic movie/quotes combos.

1) "As you wish." The Princess Bride.  Best. Movie. Ever.

2) "Loretta, I love you.  Not like they told you love is, and I didn't know this either, love don't make things nice - it ruins everything.  It breaks your heart.  It makes things a mess.  We aren't here to make things perfect.  The snowflakes are perfect.  The stars are perfect.  Not us.  Not us!  We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die."  Moonstruck

3) "I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." When Harry Met Sally 

4)  "There's someone out there for everyone - even if you need a pickaxe, a compass, and night goggles to find them." L.A. Story

5) "Joe Fox: Don't cry, Shopgirl.  Don't cry.  Kathleen Kelly: I wanted it to be you.  I wanted it to be you so badly." You've Got Mail

So that's it!  Five of my many favorites.  I'd love to hear what you would add!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Waiting On Wednesdays

Check out The Librarian Way for our weekly Book Love feature!

The Rithmatist
By Brandon Sanderson
Released May 14, 2013

The Rithmatist is an epic fantasy set in an alternate version of our world—a world in which life in the American Isles is threatened by the attacks of mysterious creatures known as Wild Chalklings. Chalklings are two-dimensional drawings that can be infused with life by Rithmatists and it is the job of the Rithmatists to keep the Wild Chalkings at bay.

The Rithmatist is about a 14-year-old kid named Joel who wants desperately to be a Rithmatist. But he wasn’t Chosen, so he doesn’t have the ability to bring chalklings or Rithmatic lines to life. All he can do is watch as The Rithmatist students at Armedius Academy learn the mystical art that he would give anything to practice. Then Rithmatist students start disappearing, kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving only trails of blood. Joel’s professor asks him to help investigate—putting Joel and his friend Melody on the trail of a discovery that could change Rithmatics—and their world—forever...


When I was little, I watched this movie (that I can't for the life of me remember the title of) where a girl's drawings would come to life when she dreamed.  The movie totally creeped me out but was totally cool at the same time.e  This idea of Chalkings, people who can infuse life into drawings, sounds like my kind of story.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Top 10 Favorite Romances

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Favorite Romances
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

I have my favorites, and I've shared them ad nauseam.  Of course Elizabeth and Darcy would make the list.  And Hermione and Ron.  And Anna and Etienne.  I completely and totally heart them.  No question.  But since you already know this (or if you don't just know that they've been mentioned more than a handful of times in previous posts) I've decided to list a few of my new favorites.  Shake things up a bit.

1) Aria and Perry from Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night - My new favorite couple (and my new fictional boyfriend)

2) America Singer and Prince Maxon from The Selection  - America by herself is not favorite, but America and Prince Maxon together...sigh.

3) Mia and Adam from If I Stay and Where She Went - I was ready to fly to New York and force the two to get back together.

4) Hazel and Augustus from The Fault In Our Stars - Oh the weeping.  My mother thought there was something seriously wrong with me.

5) Elvie and Cole from Mothership - So he's an what, Evie is more than up for the challenge.

6) Samantha and Jase from My Life Next Door - If only all neighbors were as adorable as Jase.

7) Hadley and Oliver from The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - Best plane ride ever.

8) Finley and Griffin from The Girl in the Steel Corset and The Girl in the Clockwork Collar - Can't wait for the next installment.

9) Evie and Lend from Paranormalcy - So Lend is immortal which really puts a damper on a normal future (at least as of book two...) they still make an adorable future.

10) Celia and Marco from The Night Circus - I LOVED this book.  I LOVED the atmosphere.  I LOVED the magic.  And I LOVED the love story.  Another...sigh.

Monday, February 11, 2013

This week on The Librarian Way

Monday - A Library Short with Julia
Tuesday - Back to Basics: Bulletin Boards
Wednesday - Book Love with Emily
Thursday - Exciting Events: Anti-Valentine's Day
Friday - Friday Favorites with Julia

Julia answers my question: What author have you or would you "fangirl" over?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Just One Day: a review

By Gayle Forman
Dutton Juvenile: Copyright 2012
302 pgs – Teen (keywords): realistic fiction, romance, boy meets girl, traveling, college

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

~Amazon Description~

In the season of red hearts and roses…Gayle Forman, I totally heart you.

The Breakdown

At first glance, Allyson has the coolest parents ever.  As a graduation present, they send her to Europe with her best friend Melanie…yes, Europe…the Europe, with ancient cities, beautiful landscapes, and cute boys.  And as all good romantic stories go, there’s one particular cute boy who she just happens to meet while waiting in line to see the Twelfth Night in Stratford-Upon-Avon.  In a move so unlike her, Allyson and her alter-ego LuLu, head to Paris for “Just One Day” with the mysterious Willem.  After a heartbreaking end to her first wild adventure, Allyson finds herself in college, unable to cope, and desperately seeking answers to Willem's unexpected departure.

The Awesome

In If I Stay we got to hear Mia's story.  In Where She Went we heard from Adam.  With the same formula we're introduced to Allyson and Willem.  Forman takes her time telling a story.  There's no bouncing back and forth, no flashbacks.  Instead we get a full story filled with genuine emotion.

I love Europe.  I love stories about Europe.  I love love stories where young people find themselves on a self-journey through Europe.  My way to live vicariously through fictional characters.

The Not So Awesome

I am not, however, a fan of pity parties, and Allyson through herself quite the party.  I still liked her, and I was still rooting for her, but it was touch a go for a bit.

So, I'll take any Forman book sight unseen.  The boys are cute and heartfelt, the girls a re strong and resilient, and no matter what obstacle the lovestruck find themselves, their is always hope.

Favorite Quote: “Or maybe it's not a miracle. Maybe this is just life. When you open yourself up to it. When you put yourself in the path of it. When you say yes.”

Related Titles: Roger & Amy's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

If you've got time, stop by The Librarian Way!  On today's Friday Favorites I posted on tweeting your book love!



Thursday, February 7, 2013

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: a review

By Jesse Andrews
Amulet Books: New York: Copyright: 2012
295 pgs - Teen (keywords): realistic fiction, cancer, death

A review in 10 words or less:  A confession, in so many words, about friendship and death.

Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.
Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.
Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.
And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

~Goodreads Description~

The breakdown:
Greg Gaines is just trying to make it through high school in one piece, and he think he's pretty sure he's discovered the secret to unblissful happiness...befriend no one and hopefully keep yourself from being pummeled.  When a "friend" from his past is diagnosed with leukemia, Greg finds himself in a sticky situation.  By following his mother's orders and spending time with Rachel, he's throwing himself into the ring, taking sides, forced to eat in the cafeteria with other people.  Not his first choice.
Then there's Earl Jackson, the closest thing that Greg has to a friend, and as Greg puts it, their more like co-workers.  In a mutual state of misery, Greg and Earl find common ground making movies.  Really bad movies, but for years it has been their own little secret.  But then Earl meets Rachel, and Rachel discovers Gaines/Jackson productions, and the semi-life that Greg has built for himself is on shaky ground.

The Awesome:

"Chapter 1 - How it is possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad".  That's right.  Fun chapter titles.  One of my FAVORITE fun book inclusions.  They are a wee bit foreshadowing, 100% hilarious, and basically the definition of awesome.

About this hilarious business...Greg Gaines is all sorts of funny.  You really just have to experience it for yourself.  I could try to explain, but there's no way I would do it justice.  Jesse Andrews has created an everyman teenager...well, a specific type of everyman, so maybe he's not an everyman.  That doesn't make any sense, but I'm going to keep going with this anyway.  This everyman teenager is emotionally stunted, completely self-deprecating, and absolutely brilliant but just doesn't see it yet.  He's kind of a great guy.  Or at least he will be in a few years.

The Not So Awesome:
Hmmm...I don't know.  There were a few things that made me only like not LOVE the book.  All the talk of the social groups at the beginning of the story give this build up for an interesting semester, but school is really kind of dropped.  So when Greg becomes, in a way, a social pariah, it's hard to tell if it's own neurosis or the actual school dynamic.  And I would have liked to get to know Rachel a little more.  Seeing her only through Greg's eyes just didn't feel like enough.

When I read a blurb about the book I though, huh, another book about a teen girl with cancer.  But Me and Earl and The Fault in Our Stars couldn't be more different.  Both authors know how to bring the funny, and Andrews definitely brings a fresh story with a truly unique set of characters.  If you want to laugh (and not cry - TFIOS), this is a must read. 

Favorite quote(s): "Anyway, I lost all control when I got my ice cream, and I spent five minutes completely oblivious to the outside world because oh my God  was the ice cream delicious.  When I emerged, everything had changed, and also a lot of parts of my body were sticky.  For example: both ankles.  Earl had trouble dealing with this.  "Dude.  You gotta learn...not to that." (Page 150-151)

Read-alikes(ish) : Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film about The Grapes of Wrath by Steven Goldman (humor), The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (cancer)

Librarians sidenote:  This wouldn't be called a "clean-read."  Just a heads up when recommending... this does have quite a bit of foul language, some drug use, and more than one discussion about boobs.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

In Odd We Trust: a manga review

By Queenie Chan and Dean Koontz
1.5 / 5 Gnomes

A review in 10 words or less: A fun novel gets lost in translation.

Odd Thomas is a regular nineteen-year-old with an unusual gift: the ability to see the lingering spirits of the dead. To Odd, it’s not such a big deal. And most folks in sleepy Pico Mundo, California, are much more interested in the irresistible pancakes Odd whips up at the local diner. Still, communing with the dead can be useful. Because while some spirits only want a little company . . . others want justice. 

When the sad specter of a very frightened boy finds its way to him, Odd vows to root out the evil suddenly infecting the sunny streets of Pico Mundo. But even with his exceptional ability–plus the local police and his pistol-packing girlfriend, Stormy, backing him–is Odd any match for a faceless stalker who’s always a step ahead . . . and determined to kill again?

~Amazon Description~

This is the perfect example of trying to force a good story on a different format.  The smartly written, compassionate Odd Thomas who sees dead people gets lost in translation from novel to manga.  I'm a HUGE fan of Dean Koontz, especially the Odd Thomas series, but his did nothing for me.  Having read so many Japanese manga with exquisite artwork, the Americanized illustrations of In Odd We Trust seemed cartoonish and the attempts at wit and sarcasm by the characters was just laughable.

Now all of that being said...if I hadn't read the originals and formed my own opinions of the characters and plotlines, maybe it wouldn't have been so bad.  It's a good storyline.  A young man has the often unfortunate ability to see the dead (including Elvis which always made me laugh.)  Dark and sinister happenings start to occur in the town of Pico Mundo, and Odd uses his talents to help the police force solve crimes.  If that sounds at all interesting to you, definitely pick up Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas and leave In Odd We Trust for when you're pressed for time.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Top 10 Bookish Memories

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Bookish Memories
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) many books, so many many shared memories.  It seems that most my memories include some other book-loving individuals.  I'm starting to think those are the best kind, discussion, shared enthusiasm, and the power of imagination.

1) Breaking Dawn release party - By the time Breaking Dawn was released I was done with Twilight.  As a librarian, Edward and Bella had been a part of my life for several years, and it was a friendship I was ready to leave behind.  But one of my teens invited me to the book party with her family.  So there I was in our local mall late at night with a gaggle of teens and their bored parents, eagerly awaiting the midnight release.  Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the book itself, the pure joy of watching teens shaking with excitement to get their hands on a book was pretty special.

2) Two Towers movie release - When Tolkien's fantastic world was set to come to the big screen, my family made a pact to read the books before seeing the movies.  No problem...well, maybe a little in the midst of grad school and a full time job.  Driving to the theater on Christmas Eve, our family tradition, I was hurriedly trying to finish The Two Towers, my younger brother glaring at me and fully prepared to make me wait in the car for the movie to finish if I didn't complete my assignment.  I read the last page as we pulled into the parking lot.  Close call.

3) Meeting John Green Part III - Part I - I was out of town, but my coworkers were going to a John Green book signing for Paper Towns and graciously agreed to allow Mike the Garden Gnome to tag along.  Mike met John way before I ever did.  Part II - John and Hank were hosting a nerdfighter event at a local high school and this time Mike took me along.  Part III - John was keynoting at a state conference and was signing books after his presentation.  When I approached the table John told me I looked familiar.  I explained that I had met him before with my traveling garden gnome, to which he responded, "Yes, you're the gnome girl."  Priceless.

4) Tweeting Veronica Rossi - I recently devoured Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi.  After finishing the sequel, I tweeted about the book including Rossi's handle and got a tweet back.  Just a surreal moment realizing how small our world has become.  Gone are the days where you would have to write a litter and wait for a stock response.

5) Meeting Libba Bray - Enough said.

6) The Hunger Games @ GPL - With the release of the movie, my library hosted The Hunger Games for teens, a program that tested their knowledge of the book series, and included games and crafts.  Over thirty teens screamed out answers, battled for weapons, and desperately tried to be the last man standing.  A perfect example of book love.

7) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - I locked myself in my room one summer day and read nonstop, appearing occasionally for food and kleenex, ignoring my family, and proving to be extremely moody.    Such a perfect, bittersweet end.

8) Discovering Lemony Snicket - My senior year of undergrad I was pretty sure I would never read a book again.  Having spent three years absorbed in interesting, yet long, history books, reading was not a high priority, especially reading for fun.  But then I found Lemony Snicket, the book that would bring me back to my love of fiction.

9) Thank you Cassie! Just found out not long ago that one of my favorite teens, a young lady I have had the pleasure to get to know over the last six years, reads my blog on a regular basis.  I had mentioned a book and she asked if it was one I had talked about on TheGnomingLibrarian.  Totally made my day.  Thanks Cassie!

10) Meeting the General - In the fourth grade I wrote a book.  It was for a school project on creative writing a book binding.  In the fourth grade, I was obsessed with Hoosier basketball and Bob Knight.  This past fall, Bob Knight came as a fundraiser for my library and my fourth grade masterpiece about the big IU vs. Purdue basketball game got signed.  Fourth grade Emily most definitely did a happy dance.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Librarian Way

Coming up this week on The Librarian Way:

Monday: Q&A - How to utilize teen volunteers
Tuesday: Back to Basics - Book Challenges
Wednesday: Book Love - with Julia
Thursday: Exciting Events - Passive Valentine's Programs
Friday: Friday Favorites - with Emily

Q & A: The Librarian Way - How to utilize teen volunteers

Some teens genuinely just love being in the library.  Some teens need community service hours.  And some teens think they want to volunteer, but then find out that involves work and everything goes downhill.  So, how can you make the most of your teen volunteers?  Check out this week's Q & A: The Librarian Way video to hear about our hard-earned suggestions.  

Do you have an idea for a task or a creative way that you recognize your teen volunteers?  We'd love to hear about it!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Library GrabBag: GIANT Fun

Life-Size Lock-In 

Last week my library's Teen Advisory Board hosted the third annual Life-Size Lock-in.  That's right...GIANT fun!  We fill our community room's with classic board games with a twist, the teens are game pieces for Monopoly, Sorry, Candyland, and Twister (just for fun.)  The program has morphed through the years, but it is by far one of my favorite after hours events.

January seemed like a good fit for the event.  Tweens and teens fighting cabin fever would have something to look forward  and it gives me a few months to recuperate before Summer Reading hits. Our Teen Advisory Board decided to make the event a fundraiser.  All funds raised go toward teen programming.  Admission is $5, or with the donation of a non-perishable food item, $3.  Each year we raise about $150 which TAB budgets and spends.

With four different gaming sessions, each participate got to play each game one time.  Each session lasted 45 minutes, with 5 minutes inbetween to reset the games.  During each five minute intermission, participants raced around the building in search for red paper dice.  The teens put their names on each dice they found and at the end of the night, a prize was awarded to a lucky participant.

This year, we also scheduled time for Sardines, a crowd favorite which is infuriating because it is the one event that literally takes ZERO planning.  Oh well, they love it.  The teens get to run around the building with the lights off and scream to their hearts content.  Meanwhile, it gave us a few minutes to clean up before sending the participants home.

Costs the first year totaled about $150 for supplies to build each of the games.  This year, it cost me a total of $40 for 40 teens.  With the boards built, all I needed were a few small prizes and snacks.  The best part, I can pull them out whenever for an impromptu family program or a way to engage the teens after school.
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