Monday, August 29, 2016

Middle School Monday: The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull

The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull

Clare hasn't lived at her family's house in Ireland since she was a little girl and her mother passed away. Since then, she and her dad have traveled around America as he took different jobs as a geologist. But it's time to go back home to a life that Clare barely remembers.

The house itself feels familiar to Clare, but surely the open window that her mom used to say is to 'let the fairies in' is just a quirky joke. The giant yew tree growing in their living room must have only been kept their as a family heirloom too. And the hair standing up on the back of her neck when she reaches in a hole in the tree? That's clearly explained by one too many viewings of scary movies.

But when she runs into Finn, a boy who is shocked that she doesn't remember all the time they spent together as small kids, Clare has to face the fact that there's much more going on in her hometown than can easily be explained away with logic. Finn has lots to tell her about the Strange, the land of the fae and Clare's role in the protection of it. Clare is about to be asked to go from being the weird kid at school who used to kind of want to pretend fairies are real to a dream-making protector of magic in just a few short days.

If you're someone who likes to make, whether that's writing, drawing, imagining or building, this magical adventure will be just what you're looking for.

More to read:
What Do You Mean You Haven't Read "Wild Magic" by Tamora PierceThe Last Dragonslayer by Jasper FfordeMiddle School Monday: The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Middle School Monday: The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Get Away Reads: Ice Cream and Chemistry Edition

Every summer we like to do something special. This year our bloggers will be giving you their picks for their favorite books to bring on a vacation. Whether you're heading out on a long car trip or catching a flight to paradise, we have the books to put in your carry-on.

Today Katie shares her picks for vacation must-reads!

Whether you’re still mentally on summer vacation or already back in the classroom, these end of summer romances should be on your reading list.

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
It’s said that people come to Florence for a number of reasons, but they stay for two: love and gelato. Lina came because her mother passed away and she’s been sent to Italy for the summer to get to know the father she didn’t even know existed. She has no interest in staying, although even she has to admit the gelato is pretty spectacular.

But then in between plotting with her best friend how to get home, meeting her next-door-neighbor Ren, and grappling with the prospect of spending the rest of her summer living in a cemetery (seriously), Lina is given her a journal from when her mother lived in Italy, which opens up a mystery and an adventure that may just help Lina figure out why she’s there and where she should be when summer ends.

In the tradition of Anna and the French KissLove & Gelato is filled with visits to famous European landmarks, a delicious cast of new friends from around the globe, and a very sweet romance. If you need one last summer vacation far from here, pick this one up.

Then again, if you like your settings a bit closer to home and prefer secret notes to secret journals, P.S. I Like You is the perfect back-to-school read.

Lily doesn’t like Chemistry, and so to survive she starts scribbling song lyrics on her desk. When someone replies and actually seems to share her taste in music and sense of humor, Chemistry suddenly gets much more interesting. As she’s narrowing down who her mystery Chemistry pen pal could be, she’s also dealing with the joys (and chaos) of a big family, learning to overcome her fears of opening up and sharing her music, and a… complicated… relationship with her best friend’s ex-boyfriend. Lily is a quirky, sassy leading lady, who knows who she is but is still learning how to trust others by sharing herself.

This book is reminiscent of Pretty in Pink meets Much Ado About Nothing. And I promise it’s a mashup that works. 

More to read:

Top Tens in 2015: Katie's Quality Selections

Post Card Fridays: Buongiorno Italy

Friday Lit Spotlight: Anna and the French Kiss? Yes, Please!

Up and Coming: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

From the Archives: Duckie Returns


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Spotlight on Graphic Novels: Archie: Vol. One, The New Riverdale by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu and Veronica Fish

Archie: Vol. One, The New Riverdale by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu and Veronica Fish

Archie is reeling, his longtime girlfriend and best friend, Betty Cooper has broken up with him in such a massive argument that everyone at school just calls it "the lipstick incident." Their friends have been talking about nothing except ways to get the two of them back together, but Archie's buddy, Jughead is there to keep their classmates from meddling where they shouldn't be. The two of them clearly just need a little space to cool down.

Except, during that space, on Veronica Lodge shows up. She's a former reality star who comes from the kind of money that Archie can hardly wrap his mind around. Plus she's gorgeous and funny. Maybe she's just the ticket for Archie to end his days of moping around after the breakup? Maybe, but Jughead and Betty think he's running into something that's going to leave him burned worse than before.

Sound familiar? The Archie comic book series might be a classic, but this modern reboot finds a way to feel very current! If you've never met Archie and his classmates at Riverdale High, or if you're a longtime fan, this new and beautifully illustrated comic series is a really fun way to spend an afternoon. Plus, we already have the first volume of Jughead's own comic, with more of both to come!

More to read:
I Second That: Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash
Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash
Middle School Monday: Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
Middle School Monday: "Ms. Marvel #2, Generation Why" writer, G. Willow Wilson ; artists, Jacob Wyatt (#6-7) & Adrian Alphona (#8-11)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Finish Your Summer Reading with These Picks from Teens!

A lot of you out there are probably working on finishing your summer reading soon, so you can have a chance at winning a $50 or $100 VISA Gift Card in our raffle. On top of that, don't forget to turn in your reading log so that you can claim your Chipotle Meal Card! To get any of these, you must turn your log in by September 10!

If you're looking for some books to read to help you meet your goal, look no further! Here are some picks that we have pulled from some of the teen logs that have been turned in at Central. We love seeing what everyone has been reading and loving!

Descriptions from the catalog:

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Lost and alone in the forbidden Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.Decades later, their lives become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives, binding them by an invisible thread of destiny. Richly imagined and structurally innovative, Echo pushes the boundaries of form and shows us what is possible in how we tell stories.

Hold Me Closer Tiny Cooper by David Levithan  

Watch out, ex-boyfriends, and get out of the way, homophobic coaches. Tiny Cooper has something to say—and he’s going to say it in song.Filled with honesty, humor, and “big, lively, belty” musical numbers, Hold Me Closer is the no-holds-barred (and many-bars-held) entirety of the beloved musical first introduced in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, the award-winning bestseller by John Green and David Levithan.Tiny Cooper is finally taking center stage . . . and the world will never be the same again (see our full review)

March by John Lewis
March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick

After an injury ends former star pitcher Peter Friedman's athletic dreams, he concentrates on photography which leads him to a girlfriend, new fame as a high school sports photographer, and a deeper relationship with the beloved grandfather who, when he realizes he is becoming senile, gives Pete all of his professional camera gear.

Smile by Raina TelgemierRaina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth, and what follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there's still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.
This coming-of-age true story is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever been in middle school, and especially those who have ever had a bit of their own dental drama.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Get Away Reads: I Love a Parade

Every summer we like to do something special. This year our bloggers will be giving you their picks for their favorite books to bring on a vacation. Whether you're heading out on a long car trip or catching a flight to paradise, we have the books to put in your carry-on.

Today Nico shares her three choices for a get away without going anywhere:

In the summer, everyone loves to go on vacation. I'd love to visit the kind of quaint small towns that boast a lot of local color. Nothing would be better than arriving in my get away spot and finding that I'm just in time to catch a festival or better yet, a parade. Possibly this is the result of wanting to escape to Stars Hollow.

So, my picks for having a small town vacation without leaving the city are:

The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander

Austin Grey hoped her life would get a little more Miss America when she campaigned to become featured in her town's annual Christmas parade, instead it's going to get a lot more Future Farmers of America, complete with a potentially prize winning rooster.

(read our full review here)

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer

All Hope was wishing for in her new town was a decent place to practice her waitressing skills. She gets that and much more, including close contact with the handsomest cook around and getting entangled in a very hotly contested political campaign for town mayor.

 (read our full review here)
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler 

Elyse is far from home this summer. She's in a sailing town which can't possibly be as quaint as it looks. She's there to relax and recuperate, but somehow handsome, yet entitled Christian Kane talks his way into getting her to help him rehab a sailing boat so he can sail it in the town's legendary regatta.
(read our full review here)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Get Away Reads: Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

Every summer we like to do something special. This year our bloggers will be giving you their picks for their favorite books to bring on a vacation. Whether you're heading out on a long car trip or catching a flight to paradise, we have the books to put in your carry-on.

Today our new librarian (who you can find at Central and Cherrydale Branch Library), Jennifer S., shares her pick for a can't travel without pick:

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

Are you the kind of person who painstakingly agonizes more about what books to pack along with you during a trip than clothes or other necessities?  I know I definitely am!  I guess it has something to do with the fact that books can often take up a precious amount of space in increasingly-tiny pieces of luggage, or that you may have to literally lug around something that is too boring to capture your attention while on a tedious flight or relaxing on the beach.  A few years ago I dealt with this very dilemma when packing for a week-long trip to Oahu, Hawaii.  I hemmed and hawed over a big stack of potential books to pack in my suitcase, finally settling on four different titles to bring along with me.  The only books that managed to engross me completely (in the gorgeous island setting of Hawaii, no less) were those in The Underland Chronicles series by Suzanne Collins.  Everyone is familiar with Collins’ series The Hunger Games, a dystopic trilogy, but The Underland Chronicles, an epic five book fantasy series that was published five years before her most famous work, is deserving of just as much attention and praise.

In the first book of The Underland Chronicles, Gregor the Overlander, we are introduced to the titular character Gregor, an eleven year old New Yorker dealing with the oppressive summer heat and a growing list of responsibilities.  You see, Gregor’s father mysteriously vanished two years and seven months ago, so Gregor’s mother and grandmother have relied on him to make personal sacrifices in order to help keep their household going.  Normally, Gregor would have been away at summer camp, but given his new circumstances, that would leave no one around to take care of his baby sister, Boots.  Instead, Gregor concedes to letting his other sister, Lizzie, go off to camp while he hangs out in their stuffy apartment during the day with his grandmother and Boots.  Everything takes a fantastical turn when one day, while doing laundry in his apartment building’s basement along with Boots, Gregor falls into an air duct behind one of the machines while investigating a strange noise.  What Gregor soon discovers, much like Alice when she fell down the rabbit-hole, is a thriving world hidden far below the streets of New York City called the Underland.

Darkness permeates every nook and cranny in the Underland, and Gregor and Boots soon encounter a whole cast of strange people and creatures.  But what Gregor doesn’t know is that the people of the Underland have been awaiting a special Overlander to fulfill a prophecy that says a special warrior will lead a quest against the antagonistic gnawers (rats).  Though Gregor doesn’t envision himself as the prophesied warrior, he soon embarks on a treacherous journey across the uncharted darkness of the Underland on a mission to rescue his father, who is rumored to be held hostage by the hostile rat King Gorger.  Is Gregor ready to risk everything, and partner with a motley crew of Underlanders and creatures - including giant fliers (bats), crawlers (cockroaches), spinners (spiders), and gnawers - in order to save his dad and make it back home?

I know how hard it can be to choose the best book to bring with you on a trip - but if you are like me, finding a book with relatable characters, a mysterious world, epic battles, and a thrilling adventure is just as exciting as embarking on a new journey yourself.  I enjoyed Gregor the Overlander so much when I brought it with me to Hawaii that during my trip I went out and bought the rest of the books in the series to read during the rest of my vacation.  Don’t worry though, all of the books in The Underland Chronicles are available in paperback, so you can pack a few of them away with you on your next adventure!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

You Got This: Unleash Your Awesomeness, Find Your Path, and Change Your World by Maya S. Penn

You Got This: Unleash Your Awesomeness, Find Your Path, and Change Your World by Maya S. Penn

How many of you get asked all the time "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Maya S. Penn, the author of this book, thinks that all those adults are asking you the wrong question. Instead, they should be asking you, "what do you want to be right now?"

Ms. Penn is 15 years old and has already been a business owner for 5 years. Her company, "Maya's Ideas" has been featured on TV and in national news stories -- she started sewing and selling headbands on Etsy and has now expanded into an empire of eco-friendly fashion where 10-20% of the profits go to charities. 

What does this have to do with you? Ms. Penn has written this book to help you turn the things you like to do, whether that's drawing, playing sports, sewing or something else, into a way to create something big and maybe start a business with it or even change the world. In You Got This, Ms. Penn has come up with simple steps to help you along the way. On top of that, it also features interviews with other people who have devoted their lives to making a difference, so this book is packed full of ideas to inspire you.

If you're looking for something big to do this summer, read You Got This, and you can get some ideas about how to turn your passion into action.