Friday, March 30, 2007

What Mrs. N's Been Reading - Chick Books!?!

As promised, I've been checking out some of the "chick book" series. I started with Mates, Dates and Inflatable Bras by Cathy Hopkins and moved on to Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. Basically, I ventured into this genre (which, if you know me, is outside my usual comfort zone) because I really wasn't sure what the appropriate age was for some of these series when kids were asking me for recommendations. I actually enjoyed both books. Angus... was a Michael J. Printz Honor book, and reading the 2 books over the same weekend to compare before my memory became fuzzy (which doesn't take much these days), it was definitely more original and better-written than Mates.. I'd be comfortable recommending either to all but the most conservative upper-middle-schoolers. Any breathing female who wasn't drop-dead gorgeous and popular in middle and high schools can relate to characters in either book. If you haven't read many British books and aren't familiar with British slang, you might want to start with Angus.. because Rennison included a glossary. Even without that, it's not too hard to figure out the unfamiliar terms from content. Did I enjoy them? Yes. Enough to read the rest of the series? Nah. Eventually, I'll get to some others like The Clique series, but I'm taking a break. I just started The Schwa Was Here and am enjoying that immensely so far. Watch for the review in a few days.

A Few New Odds 'n Ends

A handful of new things just came in, including Force Majeure (a thriller), The Last Treasure (a mystery), and The Schwa Was Here (a funny one that I'm in the middle of right now). For details see New YA Books: Odds 'n Ends .

Friday, March 23, 2007

Newest YA Sequels and Favorite Authors

The latest pile of new YA books includes Laurie Halse Anderson's newest, Twisted, the latest in the Clique series, the latest in the Warriors: A New Prophecy series and more. For details go to New YA Books: Sequels and New Ones from Some Favorite Authors .

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What Mrs. N's Been Reading - Chinese Handcuffs

I've stepped back and am doing something a little different. Rather than reading some of the new YA stuff, I'm going back and reading some things that I should have read years ago. I realized recently that there are some rather large sections of YA stuff that I really can't give an accurate honest recommendation for or against because I've never read any of them. Believe it or not, I had never read anything by Chris Crutcher. How, you may be asking, did I work with teens and books for as long as I have and not read Crutcher? Short, honest answer - Darned if I know! I guess there were simply always other things higher up on my "I wanna read.." list. Well, I finally decided that it was time for Crutcher. I went with Chinese Handcuffs. I see why he's been a staple in YA collections. Yes, it dealt with a slew of mature subjects, but they were done without being graphic. He concentrated more on the effects of the bad situations than on the nasty issues themselves. I for one appreciate that. You don't need to go for the shock value. I've heard complaints from adults in the past about content, but unfortunately, more kids than we like to admit are actually dealing with some of these issues, or know someone who is. Let's give them something that makes them feel like they aren't alone, yet doesn't sensationalize issues. Crutcher also gives them characters that they can identify with - far from perfect, but you care about them. Is it appropriate for most middle schoolers? No. But for high school students and more mature middle schoolers, I certainly think so. I'll make recommendations accordingly. What's next on my list? I'm generally not a big fan of "chick books" so I'm going to sample a few of the series, just to see which ones are appropriate for which age groups. If you know me, you know that this is taking me a bit outside of my usual comfort zone, but what the heck. First up, a Mates, Dates &... This should be interesting.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Fundraiser for Teen Space

The Teen Advisory Group is raising money to purchase some fun, funky furnishings for a teen space in the library. It'll be that area down by the elevator where that odd round table and chairs are now. You can help by shopping at Five Below at the Camp Hill Mall on Friday, March 30, 5-9:00 pm or all day Saturday, March 31. Bring a voucher (download here or pick up at the library) and 10% of your purchase will go to the teen area fund. It's easy and it's fun! In fact, if you download the voucher here ( Five Below Voucher), you'll get 4 vouchers on a sheet. Share the extras with friends and encourage them to come out and support us as well.

Friday, March 16, 2007

What Mrs. N's Been Reading - Sleeper Agenda

I actually read the second book in a series! Those of you who know me, know how rare an occasion that is. The book in question was Tom Sniegoski's Sleeper Agenda, sequel to Sleeper Code (see my review posted 03/09/07). I enjoyed this one as well. It just screams to be made into a mindless action movie. With the right creative people it would be a good one. Check out both books, but be sure to read 'em in order

Monday, March 12, 2007

DDR and Guitar Hero Tournaments Update

It was a busy weekend at the Fredricksen and definitely not "shushing library" quiet! Both the DDR tournament on Saturday, and the Guitar Hero tournament on Sunday were very well attended. This was the first time we tried doing Guitar Hero as a tournament and it went quite well! If anyone who was there has any suggestions for ways to improve, please let me know, but everyone seemed pleased with the format. Congratulations to Brandon V, winner of the DDR tournament and Cheryl H with an incredibly close 2nd place finish. Also congrats to Danny M and Andrew P, 1st and 2nd place winners respectively in the Guitar Hero tournament. A big thanks also to Danny M and David S for bringing memory cards for the Guitar Hero tournament, allowing us to play Pro Face-Off level. If you missed either day, here are a few pics.

Friday, March 09, 2007

New Audiobooks and Print

Just got a few new audiobooks as well as some traditional print books.

On CD we now have Anthony Horowitz's Stormbreaker and Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty, both very good books.

In print, we now have a Snakecharm, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' latest, as well as the latest in Malcolm Roses's Traces series, Double Check. For more detail see New YA Books: New Atwater-Rhodes and a New Traces

What Mrs. N's Been Reading - Sleeper Code

I just finished Tom Sniegoski's Sleeper Code. Will it win any major literary awards? Not likely. Did it have plenty of action and a decent story line? Yes. It's a little violent for younger middle school kids, but for older middle school or high school kids who watch Bond movies this will be fine. The beginning is a little slow, but you learn more than you ever thought possible about narcolepsy. Tom, the main character has a fictional (I believe) form called Quentin's narcolepsy, where the person can be unconscious for days at a time. He comes to find out that he is the result of a secret government project that inserts a second personality into the mind of a child who has Quentin's. The second personality is trained as an assassin. The person has a chip implanted in them that controllers can use to activate the second personality and send them on a mission. When it's over the original personality comes out and just thinks that he or she has been asleep for a few days. The scientist who unknowingly gave the government the information it needed to start the program, finds a way to bring Tom's second personality to the surface and start the process of melding the two personalities. Of course that means that Tom now knows what's going on and is a liability. The book closes at a point that screams sequel, and the sequel, Sleeper Agenda is available. If you have finished series' like Robert Muchamore's Cherub and are looking for something to read next, this one's not bad. I may get the sequel just to see how it wraps up, and those of you who know me, know that I almost always only read one book in a series and move on.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Thought for the Week

No new books hit my desk today, so I thought I'd get back into Thought for the Week mode. Yes, I know there are still mounds of snow on the street corners, and that wind this morning was awfully cold, but lately I'm waking up to the sounds of birds in my yard, so hope springs eternal! In that vein, call me an optimist.

"An optimist is the human personification of spring."

Susan J. Bissonette

Enjoy the birds in your yard!

Friday, March 02, 2007

What's New in YA - True Colors and More

Here's what's new in YA today - 4 installments of the True Colors series, the sequel to Blood Red Horse, a soccer story, and a fantasy. For details see New YA Books: 4 New True Colors Books and More .