Monday, December 10, 2012

Book Report: The Diviners

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book belongs in the lovely, rare category of "I sat down and read this for hours and it felt so good". Bray gives us an atmosphere and intertwining plot that is a pleasure to get absorbed in. She masterfully unfolds the ways in which her characters are connected, and her research (discussed in her very cute author's note) is evident. I feel like there's a lot of YA out there that takes an historical setting and uses it like flimsy window dressing. The Prohibition era/Roaring Twenties, for example, is such an appealing time to write about (and many have tried). I believe that Bray really captures the language, time and place without sounding forced or hokey. She accomplishes the same thing with her paranormal elements, which are everywhere in YA fic, but here feel so fresh, frightening, and magical. Loved. Can't wait to hunker down with the next installment. Highly recommended if you enjoy richly layered mysteries, historical fiction, twenties era NYC, the occult, and if you want to believe in the thin veil between spirits, dreams, evil and ourselves. Yeah, it's a tall order that satisfies.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Book Report: Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: Yes, I finally read the first book in this series. I fully realize that I am a negligent librarian for not reading it sooner. Now, let's move on.

There were a few details that I truly enjoyed about this book but they all seemed to fizzle out over the course... I loved the Southern Gothic setting and the atmosphere the authors created, but I found myself more than once being frustrated by character inconsistencies and plot weirdness. Yes, I know it's a book about the supernatural (trust me, my belief if very easily suspended), but some actions just didn't match up with those previous. Ya know? Also, and this is completely personal, but I cringed every time Ethan called Lena "L" for short. Those nicknames belong in the realm of Gossip Girl and just about nowhere else. Every time he said it, it made me like him less. That said, I found their romance subtle and interesting. And I really loved the character that is Ridley. Everyone loves a bad girl with a lollipop.

I STILL think this will make a striking film, so I'm excited for the movie to come out. Preview looks awe-some. Personally, I'm not going to rush out and read the next book, but I can see where this would have much appeal to those who love stories in which creatures, magic and spirits walk among us. Do you like the Twilight franchise? You will probably really dig this series.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Trails

Traveling this week for the Thanksgiving break? Visiting relatives far-away in December? When you're a teen, these trips can be, well, a little boring. May I suggest you pick up an audiobook for the road? Get lost in an awesome book with an amazing narrator? (Jim Dale, the narrator of all Harry Potter audiobooks as well as one of the titles I suggest below [The Night Circus], well... let's just say I could listen to that man read the phone book or the nutritional label on a Twinkie and still be completely enthralled.)


Whether you're playing a disc in your car stereo or listening to your iPod on a long flight, audiobooks are THE BEST (in this librarian's humble opinion). Here are just a few YA audio titles that I've really loved lately:

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline* (dystopian video game awesomeness)
Hold Me Closer Necromancer by Lish McBride (hilarious paranormal cleverness)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern* (magic in our world a la later, darker Harry Potter)
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (magic in our world + all-boy boarding school = yay)
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (a thrilling horse book... but the horses live in the ocean and eat whatever raw flesh they can get their teeth on)
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (fascinating WWII historical fiction, narrated by Death himself)

Intrigued a bit? Remember that you can pick up a physical audiobook here at the library, OR you can download free audiobooks for your iPod or MP3 player at OWWL2go. You don't even have to come to the library to download audiobooks from OWWL2go - all you need is your PLS library card and (compatible) device of choice. You can listen to audio samples on OWWL2go, and check items out from home or as far away as Kalamazoo. Plus, that little owl with the headphones is just so dang cute:

*You'll find these titles filed under "Adult Fiction", but they're both Alex Award winners, indicating "adult books with teen appeal"

-Kelley, (your) Teen Services Librarian

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Let's Go to the Movies

Personally, I group all books-to-movies into two categories of emotion: 

(1) I loved the book, and now my gushing geeky super-fandom has been rewarded by the big screen! Happy, happy, joy, joy!" 


(2) "Arghhhhhh! How could you take such amazingness and turn it into total rubbish? There should be some sort of intelligence/integrity test for you to even touch this book, let alone take creative liberties with it!" 

You see, there's really no other way to feel about it. 

Movies are a great way to get into reading, whether you read a ton or you're more the reluctant-to-pick-up-a-book type. Love the characters you see on screen, the action, the romance, the new worlds? These are just a primer to what you'll get on the page. If you read the book first, the movie is (most of the time) a sweet reward you can treat yourself to at the end of the book. Compare, contrast.

"Hey, what's the point of this post?" You may well be asking by now. Remember my categories above? I'm going to present to you a handful of YA books that have been turned into movies. All of the books are AWESOME SAUCE, but I can't always say the same for all the movies. Click on any of the book titles to find them in the OWWL catalog; and while you're there, you can probably find the flick as well.

Without further ado (I promise):

Category (1): Book + Movie = YAY!

The Hunger Games by Susanne Collins

Duh. Boys, girls: if you haven't read this yet, do yourself a favor, get out of your cave, and go to the library. Now, I'm not saying the movie is as good as the book, but I thought they did a pretty good job at adapting my beloved book to the screen. And Jennifer Lawrence rocks as Katniss. I'm pumped and ready for Catching Fire, the sequel, to hit the screen next year.

Other great books-2-movies:
  • Pride and Prejudice and Emma by Jane Austen (depends on the adaptation: I'm a die-hard fan of the Kiera Knightly version of P&P and the Clueless adaptation of Emma).
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (though I do take issue with 1 or 2 of the films for being lame, the last few movies especially were spot on)
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (some may say this book is just for kids but I would say they are wrong!)
  • The Black Butler manga series by Yana Toboso
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

Category (2): Movie, What Have You Done to Me?

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Dude... I. Just. Can't. Even. This book is a fantasy classic with some serious philosophical underpinnings that will set your head spinning (in a good way). Also, I want my own daemon. But the movie may very well be the worst adaptation I have ever seen. People warned me, but I just didn't listen. The worst offense? They changed an already action packed plot for no reason that I can logically determine. DO NOT watch this movie. DO read the book.

Other mistreated books-2-movies:
  • The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis (my favorite books as a tween; I couldn't make it through the first movie. It hurt my soul).
  • The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer (some may say that the books themselves are not so great, but I read all of them despite their glaring flaws. But the movies, well, they were just painful to sit through).
Of course, I can't cover all the great books-to-movies here, nor do I want to cover all the bad ones. What are your favorites? Which ones made you want to scream? Do you totally disagree with me? Let me know. Also, because I love you, let's end on a positive note:

Books-2-Movies Coming Not-Soon-Enough to a Theater Near You:
Be sure to check out my Events page for awesome movies based on books that you can see at the library (with popcorn) this fall.  -Kelley, (your) Teen Services Librarian   

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fall & Football

Admittedly, I am not the biggest fan of football. But I do love the idea of football. Hey, I like to watch sports outside in the chilly fall air while sipping on some hot cider! I like the roar of a home crowd! And I do respect the sport some say is akin to human chess. I'm just too ADD to pay as much attention to it as some people I know.

The NFL football season starts tonight and I know some peoples are incredibly excited. In honor of fall & football, I present the following YA football fiction to get you in the spirit of the game. Click on the titles to checkout these books in the OWWL catalog.

Crackback by John Coy
Miles barely recalls when football was fun after being sidelined by a new coach, constantly criticized by his father, and pressured by his best friend to take performance-enhancing drugs.

Gym Candy by Paul Deuker
Groomed by his father to be a star player, football is the only thing that has ever really mattered to Mick Johnson, who works hard for a spot on the varsity team his freshman year, then tries to hold onto his edge by using steroids, despite the consequences to his health and social life.

Pop by Gordon Korman
Lonely after a midsummer move to a new town, sixteen-year-old high-school quarterback Marcus Jordan becomes friends with a retired professional linebacker who is great at training him, but whose childish behavior keeps Marcus in hot water.
Shooting Star by Fredrick McKissack
Jomo Rogers, a naturally talented athlete, starts taking performance enhancing drugs in order to be an even better high school football player, but finds his life spinning out of control as his game improves.

Ladies play ball, too...

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
After spending her summer running the family farm and training the quarterback for her school's rival football team, sixteen-year-old D.J. decides to go out for the sport herself, not anticipating the reactions of those around her. Read this one already? Check out Murdock's awesome sequel, The Off Season.

I've got these books in a special display here at Wood Library. Stop by and pick one up. That is all.

The Goods:
Book I'm loving today: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
CD I'm loving today: Heaven by the Walkmen

-Kelley, (your) Teen Services Librarian

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Back to School Look

When back-to-school stars rolling around in late August, I get the bug and bad. I get so excited to learn and try new things. And so I have decided to put a new face on the Wood Library Teen Scene blog. This is the virtual version of me getting those ombré pink hair tips and a new pair of sneakers. 

This blog remains the place to look for Wood Library teen & tweens news as well as my librarian ramblings. Stop by to find out what's new in books, music, movies, games and library programs, for reading recommendations and Canandaigua goings-on of interests to teens. 

The Goods:
Book I'm loving today: Cinder by Melissa Meyer
-Kelley, (your) Teen Services Librarian