Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Want to be a Teen Volunteer for the Library?? Here's How:


Apply Now for Summer 2014 Openings

Looking for something interesting to do this summer?
Become a Library volunteer and you could help run Summer Reading, prep for storytime, fill hold requests, or capture video of cool programs!

Fill out an online application

Application Deadline: Thursday, May 15, 2014

Current Openings
Storytime Craft Assistant: July 8 – Aug. 9
Make craft time run smoothly! Set up the craft materials, help kids make their crafts, and help the librarian clean up.
Storytime Craft Prep Assistant: July 8 – Aug. 9
Must be available to volunteer 1 hour per week for five weeks. Prepare craft materials. May include cutting, gluing, and sorting materials into individual packets.
Summer Reading Sign-Up Assistant: June – August
Sign kids up for summer reading on the library laptop, explain how the program works, and give kids all the materials they need. When not signing kids up, you will be making packets of materials, writing reviews of teen books, or putting carts of books in order.
Teen Display Creator: July or August
Come in once a week to set up a new display in the teen area. You pick the theme, use the catalog to find teen books that fit the theme, and create a sign to explain what the books are about.
Jack/Jill of All Trades: July – August
Help with morning delivery of holds or afternoon weeding projects and reports on weekdays, or the morning paging list on Saturday mornings.
Videographer: May – July (possibility to extend into fall)
Take video of irregular evening events such as Theater Talks and Author Panels. Most programs start at 7:00 p.m., with set-up at 6:30 p.m. Qualifications: We are looking for someone with experience using a video camera. Applicants for this position must be in 11th grade or older; those 18 years and older must consent to a background check.
 Applicant Qualifications:
  • Arlington resident
  • Middle school or high school
  • Willing to commit to a regular schedule and set number of hours
  • Reliable, dependable, & enjoy working with the public and helping people

For more information please contact Barbara Dean, Library Volunteer Coordinator, at 703-228-7688 or

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Books to Pack: Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

On a vacation, sometimes the perfect book is one that'll make you laugh your head off. Jennie has just such a book:

Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

I love to read series books when I travel—I love being able to stay in the same world, with the same people, for the duration of my trip. One series in particular is one that reminds me of traveling, mostly because I read so much of it while on the move.

I came across Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal snogging at The Tattered Cover, a very cool bookstore in Denver, when I was on a spring break tour with my college choir and read it on the long bus ride back to Iowa. A year later, I read the sequel, On the Bright Side, I’m now the Girlfriend of a Sex God while on a layover, sitting at the gate, waiting for my flight. Sadly, it was my book for the plane, so I was stuck watching stupid movies once we finally boarded.  When the 10th and final book came out, I had it pre-ordered, but then I was in London for a friend’s wedding, and walking through Heathrow on the way home, I saw a HUGE stack of Are These My Basoomas I see Before me? Because it wasn’t out in the US yet, but it was out in England. Of course I bought it and read it on the flight!

All the books in this series are the diaries of Georgia Nicolson, a girl with boy issues, crazy friends, a huge cat, a hilarious little sister and slightly insane parents.  The series follows Georgia as she tries to navigate the cake-shop of love (don’t worry—it makes sense when you come to it) while staying besties with her mates, who have their own issues with luuuuurve. To use Georgia’s lingo, these books are fabity-fab-fab and full of hilariousity.* That last bit can cause a wee bit of an issue while traveling, as this truly is a laugh-out-loud book. You WILL burst  out into loud laughter and people WILL look at you oddly. But you’ll be too amused to really mind. Despite the weird looks issue, this is the perfect travel series, because it’s easy to lose yourself in it (so the boring bits of long flights and car rides go quickly) but it’s an easy, fun read that you can also put down and come back to when real-life adventures happen without losing the plot. Plus, the all the laughing puts you in the perfect mood to enjoy your vacation.

AND, so you don’t have to lug them all around with you—the library has most of the series available as ebooks.

*Don’t worry. All of the books come with a glossary to translate the British-isms, but also the words and phrases that Georgia just makes up. Lucky for us, Georgia wrote the glossary herself, so it’s also full of hilariousity.


Top 5 of 2013 (so far): Neeka’s Take on Teen Lit

International Travel Week: First Stop London



Monday, April 14, 2014

Books to Pack: The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson

Looking for a fast-paced thriller to make your road-trip go quickly? Maria has the perfect title:
The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson

Written by a former CIA operative this novel will keep you turning the pages.

Laila, a 15 year old, daughter of a Middle East dictator killed in a coup, immigrates to a new life “somewhere near Washington, DC” along with her mother and 7 year old brother Bastien.  While she is trying to adjust to her new school, friends, and American ways, her mother is conspiring with the CIA and others to regain power –for her young son.  Along the way Laila becomes aware of secrets her mother has been  keeping and must decide whether to act on that information which would completely change their lives or to ignore her discoveries.   

 A fascinating take on international politics, gripping, riveting and timely.

Books to Pack Week: Just in Time for Spring Break

We know what's making your luggage heavy, it's not the tennis racket, extra shoes or bug spray! It's your travel reads! This week we've got tons of recommendations for books to squish into your carry-on!

Also, check out our previous spring break and travel suggestions!

Top 5 Beach Reads for 2011

Beach Week: Beach Lane by Melissa de la Cruz.

Beach Week: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Beach Week: Short Sandy Stories

Beach Week: Gates of Paradise by Melissa de la Cruz

Beach Week: Up and Coming: All I Need by Susane Colasanti

Beach Week: Neeka's Beach Read is Deliciously Trashy

Beach Week: Firecracker by David Iserson

Take Me Away

What I Would Have Read: Travel Stories

From the Archives: One to Send Libby on her Way

Radio Week: Jonsi - Gathering Stories

Alex Award Watch: The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman

Postcard Friday: Mysterious Prague

Post Card Friday: Travel to Central America with 2 Up and Coming Titles!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Up and Coming: Those Gentle Wounds by Helene Dunbar

These Gentle Wounds by Helene Dunbar

Release date: May 8, 2014

There are stories on the news that scroll by that you can't imagine really happened. When they don't happen to you, it's easy to change the channel and think about something else. But for Gordie, there's no way to change what happened to him and no way to flip the channel and think about something else.

For years, he's been trying his best to live a normal life with the one person who can pull him into the present- his brother, Kevin. He's the goalie for the hockey team and pulling down really good grades and if he can't sleep at night without falling right back into what happened that night, then oh well. But, when Gordie's father shows up with a sudden desire to reconnect, every hard won step he's taken towards moving on may be destroyed.

Gordie's story hit me like a punch to the gut. It would be easy to say that this is over the top, except for the fact that we've read headlines for stories like his. This is mostly a novel about small steps, Gordy is trying so hard to get to where the rest of his classmates are without even thinking. The author skillfully puts the reader in his shoes, it's easy to see how embarrassing it is for him to ask for help (which is why he doesn't) and it's also easy to feel how much he wants to be able to have a relationship with a girl in his English class without telling her each of his issues. It's a quiet book that builds into a something louder as Gordie is forced out of his comfort zone and has to deal with the father he hasn't seen in years.

If you are looking for realistic fiction that will stick in your heart for a while this is one to check out.

More to read:

LIE by Caroline Bock

Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard

My Beating Teenage Heart by C.K. Kelly Martin 



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Going Over by Beth Kephart

Katie loves the poetic way that Beth Kephart writes and so, she's a little excited to tell you about the newest book from this author:

Going Over by Beth Kephart

There are good books. There are great books. There are books you love and keep next to your bed. And then there are books that feel like they were written JUST FOR YOU, which you consider keeping under your pillow while you sleep at night. Going Over by Beth Kephart is that last sort of book for me.

My love of Kephart’s work is not new. Small Damages is a stunning holiday in Seville that packs an emotional wallop all wrapped up in 300 pages. It made my “Best of” list in 2012. And Going Over has all the looks of a 2014 contender.

I should start by explaining how years ago, I daydreamed about writing a YA novel set in a divided 1980s Berlin, preferably with forbidden romance and a daring escape plan. But that sort of story requires so much research, so much heart, so much passion, I just sort of crumbled under the weight of the very idea of it. Enter this book.

Going Over is the story of Ada and Sebastian and their respective worlds on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall. Ada lives in West Germany, and while there is freedom on her side of the wall, nothing is easy. Ada lives with her mother and grandmother as squatters. She has dropped out of high school so she can work and contribute to the household. She spends her nights with her spray cans and graffing. She has been pulled into the domestic problems of one of the children she cares for. Her best friend has a huge secret. And all the while, Ada is pining for the boy she loves, the boy who lives on the other side of the wall, the boy who she only sees four times a year.

That boy is Sebastian. As an East Berliner, freedom and choice are not something he has much of, except when it comes to what he can see in his telescope. His grandfather is gone. His mother is gone. And these days all he has is his grandmother, a job at an ice factory, and the idea of Ada waiting for him. He knows that Ada won’t wait forever, but he doesn’t know how he will get over that wall. For every success story there are so many failures. And failure typically means death. What is he willing to risk for freedom and his pink-haired girl?

Discovering the answer to that question is a pleasure, though there is plenty of heartbreak along the way as life unfolds for Ada and Sebastian. There was so much fascinating history seamlessly woven into the story. And, as one expects from Beth Kephart, the language of Going Over is beautiful. There is a rhythm to the words that grows and grows on you with the turning of each page. Told in alternating voices, Ada’s first-person chapters are spunky and fearless, while Sebastian’s chapters, told in second person, reflect the inner turmoil and fear he grapples with on a daily basis, whether he’s remembering the past or trying to imagine a future other than the one East Berlin has chosen for him. I can’t recommend this gorgeous, inspiring read enough. You may find yourself wanting to keep Ada and Sebastian safe under your pillow, too.

Read More:
Small Damages by Beth Kephart

Monday, April 7, 2014

Up and Coming: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Release date: April 15, 2014

Reagan is the type of girl that doesn't let many people in. There's her dad and her best friend and that's about it. But weirdly, there are entire stadiums full of girls who sing her name every night, which is what happens when your best friend also happens to be Lilah Montgomery, teen queen of the country songwriters. Since her main confidant has been on tour for the last couple years of high school, Reagan's hasn't been doing that great a job of dealing with her own issues, so when Lilah (known to the people who actually know her as Dee) asks her to keep her company on her first headlining tour she jumps at the chance to have a vacation from her life.

Life on the road is definitely a break from lockers and college application and it's a chance to catch up with the girl that Reagan would do absolutely anything for. It's also stepping into the crazy world of paparazzi and gossip magazines that Dee has been trying to make the best of. Then there's Dee's opening act, a former boy band member who is trying to get his solo career off the ground. Reagan might have an immediate spark with Matt Finch, but she is way too aware that what seems true under the bright stage lights doesn't often hold up in the real world. But, by waiting for that real life to start back up, will she miss out on the chance for something amazing and true?

There is a lot to like in this debut novel. Maybe my favorite thing is how true Dee and Reagan's friendship feels that to any girl who has a true blue friend of her own. They aren't frenemies or girls with a weak bond between them that might give way at the first sign of trouble, instead they are the type of friends who immediately can tell something's wrong, even if they aren't in the same state. They are the type of friends who know what is guaranteed to make the other one laugh, even in the worst times. And, they're the type of friends that you don't often see in YA. Open Road Summer revolves around Dee & Reagan's friendship, and I think the fact that it's rock-solid makes this novel all the more enjoyable.

Another refreshing thing about this romance was that the guys in the novel are actually people a person would want to spend time with. Matt Finch, the former child star, is a good guy who is working really hard to be taken seriously, not only by the music world, but by Reagan. Then there's Dee's exboyfriend back home, who didn't want to stand in the way of her path to becoming Lilah. Both of these guys have faults, but they're also both given the chance to show their strength of character as well.

If you're looking for a novel that is going to leave you with the strong desire to jump around, singing all the words to your favorite singer along with every other person in the audience at a big concert, this is the book for you. Reading Open Road Summer will also make you take a double take  the next time you're standing in the checkout line and see the latest pics of that starlet-turned musician hooking up with that notorious bad boy of country music and wonder what's actually going on in that photo.

Read More:
Up and Coming: Paradise by Jill S. Alexander

Radio Week- "I Knew You Were Trouble (When You Walked In)" by Taylor Swift

Radio Week: You Belong With Me-- Taylor Swift