Teen Book Review: If I Stay

stay.jpg If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Review by Grayson, Sebastopol, 14 years old
Mia is a talented musician, with a boyfriend who adores her and a family who she loves, but a car ride one snowy February morning…and everything is gone.  There’s a sudden scream and a crash and Mia finds herself standing next to the bodies of her parents and brother, and she realizes, her own.  She wonders what state she’s in (Am I Dead?  Alive?  Dreaming?)  and watches as her body is transported to the hospital, while the rest of her family is pronounced dead.  As her body is in a coma, Mia looks back on her life- the good and the bad, the people who love her and need her.  Alone, Mia must make the most difficult decision of her life and the only one that matters, the choice to live.

This is a very poweful book.  It can make you look at life in a different way, and is extremly heart-wrentching.  A couple of times I broke down in tears.  But in the end, it’s not a sad book.  It’s a beautiful book that reminds us of how lucky we are, even though at times life can be hard.  Like my favorite line from the book says:  “I now realize that dying is easy.  Living is hard.  But that’s okay.”

Did you know…

That Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty and Triple Shot Bettys in Love by Jody Elizabeth Gehrman take place in the town of Sonoma?!? Triple Shot Bettys in Love is the sequel to Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty. Let us know what you think of this local author.  Do you enjoy reading books that are set in places you’ve been to?  or places you’ve never been to?

confessions.jpg                                                                               inlove.jpg

2009 Alex Awards

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) gives the Alex Award to ten books that are published for adults that teens will enjoy too. These books could be fiction or nonfiction.
Did you read any of titles? Let us know what you think!

city.jpg City of Thieves by David Benioff
“Two teenage boys encounter cannibals, murderers, prostitutes, and assassins as they struggle to complete an impossible tash during the freezing Siege of Leningrad in this funny, shocking, and briskly written tome.”

dragons.jpg The Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick
“In this original steampunk fantasy, young Will embarks on a quest that takes him to the dizzying heights and gritty depths of the postindustrial world of Babel.”

finding.jpg Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris
“After a 16-year-old girl from a wealthy Saudi family is found dead in the middle of the desert, a devout Muslim guide and a young medical examiner seek to unravel the mystery while facing the sanctions of Middle Eastern society.”

good.jpg The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
“In this suspenseful and unpredictable adventure, Ren, a one-handed eighteenth-century orphan, becomes apprenticed to a con man.  Surprisingly, Ren seems born to it.”

just.jpg Just After Sunset:  stories by Stephen King
“Modern terrors abound-a porta-potty prison, class warfare on an apocalyptic afternoon -  in this wickedly compelling collection of macabre, absurd, and gleefully vulgar stories.  Scary, dirty fun.”

mud.jpg Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
“At the close of WW II, two soldiers return to their home in the South to find racial tensions as explosive as the battlefields of Europe.  This beautifully written story casts a spell as inescapable as the mud fields of the Mississippi Delta.”

over.jpg Over and Under by Todd Tucker
“Andy and Tom’s fourteenth summer is defined by adventures in the woods and caves near their home, a strike that polarizes their small town, and secrets that test their friendship.”

oxford.jpg The Oxford Project by Stephen G. Bloom, photographed by Peter Feldstein
A summary and review of this book can be found here.

sharp.jpg Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow
“A fast-paced ride through the brutality of L.A.’s wilderness of drugs, gangs, and the connections people make with one another.  The fact that most of the characters in this bloody, sexy, free-verse tale are mostly lycanthropes is almost incidental.

three.jpg Three Girls and Their Brother by Theresa Rebeck
“This witty satire of show-biz politics, told from the perspective of four New York teenage siblings in the eye of a publicity tornado, provides a fascinating insider’s look at the world of the rich and famous.”

The summaries for these books (except for the title The Oxford Project) were taken from the YALSA website.  Below please find the citation:
“2009 Alex Award winners,” American Library Association, January 16, 2009.
http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/yalsa/booklistsawards/alexawards/alex09.cfm (Accessed July 27, 2009)
Document ID: 526219

Your Health!

Do you have a question about drugs, sex, relationships, emotions, family, friends, school or sports?  You can find lots of information on the web but is it good information?  accurate information?  These may be some of the questions running through your head.  There are two health websites that you may find helpful:  TeenHealthFX and TeenGrowth

TeenHealthFX is an online resource for any and all questions about health, relationships, your body and sexuality.  The nice thing about this website is it’s operated by teens with help from health professionals. 

TeenGrowth is an online resource to search for, request and receive valuable health care information.  This website covers everything:  alcohol, drugs, emotions, health, sex, etc.

 It’s a jungle out there…and we are here to help! 

What’s in a first line?

When you read a book, do you pay extra attention to the first line?  I wonder how much thought an author puts into a first line?  Is it the hardest or easiest to write?   Do you judge the book by the first line?  Or by the first paragraph?  first page?  first chapter?  When thinking about blogging about first lines I decided to go among the library stacks and find popular books to see what the first line is really made of; some of the books I’ve read and some of the books I haven’t.  I was surprised, some first lines are actually pretty boring and some are fairly interesting.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
“I’d never given much thought to how I would die – though I’d had reason enough in the last few months – but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.”

Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
“If you’re going to read this, don’t bother.”

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
“So, there I was, tied to an altar made from out-dated encyclopedias, about to get sacrificed to the dark powers by a cult of evil Librarians.”

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
“The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath.”

The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine by April Lurie
“I can tell you from experience that a jail cell is not a place you’d like to visit.”

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
“There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.”

 Wicked: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
“Wouldn’t it be nice to know what people are thinking?”

Maximum Ride:  The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
“The funny thing about facing imminent death is that it really snaps everything else into perspective.”

Jinx by Meg Cabot
“The thing is, my luck’s always been rotten”

So B. It by Sarah Weeks
“If truth was a crayon and it was up to me to put a wrapper around it and name its color, I know just what I would call it – dinosaur skin.

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
“Froggy Welsh the Fourth is trying to get up my shirt.”

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
“If this were a movie instead of real life, this would be the part where in a strange, ominous voice I’d say, ‘Take me to your leader!”

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
“Is it not good to make society full of beautiful people?”

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
“Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you’re dead.”

What’s your favorite first line?

Teen Book Review: My Sister’s Keeper

sister.jpg My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Review by Annika, Rincon Valley, 7th grade
Kate Fitzgerald should’ve never lived past the age of five. Diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia at the age of two, her parents chose to have another child via in vitro fertilization to give Kate white blood cells, bone marrow, granulocytes, everything. Andromeda “Anna” Fitzgerald never questioned this—her parents, mainly her mother, phrased it nicely, never mentioning the needle that took the bone marrow out, or the hospitalization—until her sister went into renal failure at the age of thirteen. Anna is expected to give up one of her own kidneys to save her sister. Realizing that her life could have other meanings then saving Kate’s, Anna refuses to give up her kidney. Knowing that saying this will only result in anger and force, Anna takes the case to a much higher level: she hires a professional lawyer to sue her parents. Campbell Alexander is a mysterious man, suing God in his court and winning the case, who has private reasons for taking on Anna’s case pro bono.   As they fight for Anna’s rights, the family is forced to question whether or not forcing Anna to give Kate life, what is right and what is wrong, and whether giving up one child’s dreams to save another’s life is fair. My Sister’s Keeper is a strong book, taking on issues that will need to be inspected at some point in the future. However, at the very end, the author strikes all of the power out of the novel; making an unrealistic ending to what was otherwise a great book. Despite that flaw, I would highly recommend My Sister’s Keeper to anyone interested in cancer, medical ethics, and the relationships within families.

Overall: 7 out of 10

Note: The ending in the novel IS NOT the same as in the movie.

Book Review: The Hunger Games

hunger.jpg The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Review by Tiffany, Young Adult Librarian at Rincon Valley
When I first read the synopsis for The Hunger Games, I was shocked by the premise.  The shock continued when it started to get good reviews.  I couldn’t wait to read it.  Apparently I won’t be the only one as Publishers Weekly is predicting that The Hunger Games will be as popular among teens as Twilight.  I read it soon after it was published and I still talk about it to teens at the Rincon Valley library.  The Hunger Games takes place in a future America called Panem.  In Panem there are thirteen districts of which twelve are inhabited.  Every year there is a raffle for two teens, one boy and one girl, from each district to enter into a competition.  However, this isn’t any ordinary competition; the teens are thrown into an arena and instructed to fight to the death while the rest of Panem watches. 

The main character in this book is Katniss, a sixteen year old girl who volunteers after her little sister is picked to go into the games. Will Katniss survive?   This is the first of a planned trilogy.  The second book, Catching Fire is coming out September 1st and you won’t want to miss it.