Thursday, April 3, 2014

Some non-fiction books you might have missed

Break These Rules is a series of 35 essays by popular young adult authors who talk about staying true to yourself. Carl Deuker writes sports fiction for teens, and he advises you to ignore the old adage in Don't Quit. On the surface it's about high school sports, but can be translated into many real life situations. There ARE times you should quit; you just have to be able to identify when those times are. Most of the essays are very short, 3 or 4 pages, so it's that kind of book that you can whip out in study hall and read 1 or 2 entries, skipping all around to find ones that sound interesting. The titles are the rules that the authors are advising you to break if you need to. It's Better To Be Safe Than Sorry by Matthew Quick advises on how and when to take chances in life. Boys Don't Cry by Chris Lynch gives everyone permission to cry. It's good for you!  So pick this book up and learn how to break some rules!!

Bad Girls by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple takes a fresh look at some historical women commonly considered to be "bad".  From the book description: "Society has long looked at tough, smart, ambitious women and written them off as bad". The two authors enter into debates over women like Cleopatra, Bonnie Parker, Bloody Mary and others and whether they were truly bad, not-so-bad, or somewhere in between.  An entertaining look at history.  Again, most chapters are quite short.

Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler is the true story of a boy who grew up in home being taught that the "Rapture" was imminent, and that Jesus may come down at any moment to take him to heaven. That's pretty exciting when you are little, but upon becoming a teenager, Aaron begins to rebel and discovers that not all truths are in the Bible.  This is a coming-of-age memoir, sensitively and humorously written.

The Goddess in Every Girl by M. J. Abadie encourages girls to thrive in this world despite the patriarchal nature that all too often still exists. It is a book of empowerment teaching all girls how to unleash that goddess within.  It is also a meditation on discovering what's underneath the surface when you look into the mirror.  It includes many activities and challenges that will help you grow into a strong confident woman. Some may find the content irreverent as many bible stories are interpreted in a feminist fashion.

How Not To Be a Dick: An Everyday Etiquette Guide by Meghan Doherty is a practical guide teaching teens how to respect others, be considerate, treat everyone as an individual, empathize, etc in many different situations, from how to end a conversation gracefully when it isn't going well, to how to address a sensitive topic on social media.  This book has some great advice on how to not be a jerk to other people, so pick it up for yourself, or loan it to someone who needs it!

So, you see, not all non-fiction books are textbooks. As a matter of fact, most non-fiction ISN'T textbooks. Come check out the YA non-fiction collection for some really fun and interesting reads.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Maze Runner!

Heads up to all Maze Runner fans!  Here's the official trailer for the movie version coming out in September. James Dashner is one of the screenplay writers, so I have really high hopes for this one!  Check it out here:

Stars Dylan O'Brien of Teen Wolf fame as Thomas.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Books On the Shelf!

A few new titles to watch for:

Altered: Crewel World by Gennifer Albin.  Fans of the first book in the series, Crewel, an American Library Association top 10 book of 2013, will look forward to the sequel which takes heroine Adelice to Earth. The love triangle continues, but shifts a bit as secrets are revealed. The ending promises to leave you eagerly waiting for the third and final book to be released.  Put your copy on hold today!

Todd Strasser, always a teen favorite, returns with No Place, a story of a homeless teenager living in a tent city with his family after both parents lose their jobs and subsequently their home. Our protagonist continues to attend high school while adjusting to a life of poverty, free school lunches, special buses, and no pocket money. This is a strong thought-provoking novel with a lot of social conscience. 

Book two of The Obsidian Mirror series is here: The Slanted Worlds by Catherine Fisher (The Relic Master series).  Fisher continues her time travel saga with lots of action, villains and heroes. A skillful blend of fantasy and sci-fi, this one will leave the reader anxious for the next in this proposed four book series.

Fans of Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak, Wintergirls, Chains, etc.) will be happy to know that her new book, The Impossible Knife of Memory, has arrived! Hayley's dad has recently returned from a stint in Iraq and is suffering from depression, PTSD, and consequently, drug addiction. This is a realistic portrayal of a veteran's return from war, and his family's struggle to understand and cope with this beloved but changed person.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A few new titles...

I am currently reading David Levithan's book Two Boys Kissing. From the title and the cover art, I assumed this was going to be light-hearted and fun. Boy was I ever wrong!  This story is narrated by a group of men who died of AIDS a few decades ago. Craig and Harry are trying to break the world record for longest kiss ever and are doing it on the front lawn of their high school.  Ryan and Avery met at a gay prom given at Ryan's high school and are tentatively starting a relationship. Avery has a secret that he fears will mess up his chances at happiness with Ryan. Connor lives with a violent and unaccepting father and lives in a dangerous on-line world that is dark and drawing him in farther and farther each day.  These boys' stories are observed and told by victims of AIDS who intersperse their stories and feelings throughout the book. The differences in the world of 30-40 years ago and present time is striking and bold. This is NOT a light-hearted book at all, but rather one that tackles some pretty difficult issues. 

Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You by Joyce Carol Oates tackles the difficult subjects of suicide and cutting.  The story is not groundbreaking, but Oates' exceptional writing talent makes this one stand out. 

The In-Between by Barbara Stewart is a bizarre story of a young girl, Ellie Moss, whose suicide attempt prompts her family to begin a new life in a small New York community, but a tragic accident along the way a whole new downward spiral for Ellie.  It's hard to know what's real and what's not in this edge of your seat story told by a very unreliable narrator. Hang on to your seat because there are plenty of twists and turns in this one!

Don't forget our One Book One Town teen selections: The Art of Fielding and One Shot at Forever.  Discuss them with friends and classmates on line (link on the teen page) or at one of our scheduled in person book discussions: March 27th at 6 for One Shot at Forever here at the library (pizza will be served), and March 31st at 2:30 in the Trumbull High School media center!  See you all there!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

One Book One Town

March is One Book One Town month in Trumbull!  There are actually two books for middle and high school age: the adult selection, The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, and an alternate for younger readers, One Shot at Forever by Chris Ballard.  Some of you high school students have probably already read The Art of Fielding as it is on the summer reading list for Trumbull High. The protagonist is Henry Skrimshander, a college Freshman with a unique talent for baseball.  After a disastrous error on the field Henry loses his confidence, and the fates of five people hang in the balance.  Trumbull High School media specialist Dean Pelligra and I will host a book discussion in the media center on March 31st at 2:30. Check with your English teachers to see if extra credit will be granted for reading the book and attending the discussion.

The alternate choice, One Shot at Forever, is also a baseball book. This one's a true story about a high school baseball team from a small town in Illinois in the early 70's that defied convention as well as odds to advance to the state finals, led by a very unconventional coach with absolutely no experience.  There is a limited number of books available in the children's department. Come pick up your copy (you get to keep it!) and attend the book discussion here at the library on March 27th at 6 PM in the Kiwanis Room. You will be fed, too! Check out the trailer for this book at  If you liked Friday Night Lights, you will like this book! 

Check out our OBOT events, many of which are for all ages, on our homepage. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

What I'm reading right now

I just started More Than This by Patrick Ness (author of the Chaos Walking trilogy).  I am hooked and totally intrigued so far. Seth dies in the first few pages, a victim of a horrific drowning, and wakes up in what appears to be his old neighborhood in England, only it's completely deserted and desolate.  Very reminiscent of old Twilight Zone episodes. Any of my readers ever watch that moldy oldie?  Little vignettes of his past life sneak in from time to time in what Seth thinks are dreams, but feel all too real to be anything so common as that.  Right now he is exploring the old main street stores and restaurants foraging for food and clothes.  Can't wait to find out what's going on.  Is he in his own personal hell?  Or somewhere even worse?

Just finished Black Helicopters by Blythe Woolston. This is a short little book, only 166 pages, that really packs a whollop and throws a lot out there to think about.  Valley (short for Valkyrie) and her brother Bo were raised in the isolated wilderness and trained to be "soldiers" against the government. Although you're never told outright, I believe this takes place in present day America, somewhere probably in the Northwest mountains. At the same time terrifying and sad, this one will grip you and not let go until the very end. 

What are you all reading right now? I'd like to know! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Get lost in a series this winter!

The nights are long, the days are cold. Curl up this winter with a good series or trilogy that will take you into spring!

For science fiction lovers, try Dom Testa's series The Galahad Books.  The Earth is destroyed, and all that's left of humanity is one spaceship filled with teenagers.  Start with The Comet's Curse. There are 6 books in the series so far, more to come. 

Still in the sci-fi vein, Alex Scarrow's Time Riders series is an adventurous trip through time to"fix" broken history. Start with Time Riders. The library owns books 1 through 4.

One of my favorite series is the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. It's a dystopian future story along the lines of Hunger Games. Ness paints a wonderfully out of whack world filled with thrills and adventure.

Like zombies?  The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy by Carrie Ryan would be a good pick. Dark and atmospheric, it's a real page turner. Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry, another zombie trilogy,  was a Nutmeg winner in 2013.  It's followed by Dust and Decay and Flesh and Bone. Not your usual zombie tale, this one has heart.

For fantasy lovers there are a lot to choose from. Rae Carson's Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy is rich in court intrigue and fantasy lands.

An oldie but goodie, pick up the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. There are almost too many books in this series to count!  You will get lost in this fantastic world, I guarantee.

There are series in realistic fiction to choose from as well, beyond the Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl series.  Jenny Han has a good trilogy that begins with The Summer I Turned Pretty and continues with It's Not Summer Without You and We'll Always Have Summer. It's a sweet love story that stretches over 3 summers. 

Don't forget Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries books. There are 17 books in this popular series!  Cabot also has another slightly twisted series going that starts with Airhead. So far there are 3 books in this continuing story with a little sci fi twist.

For lovers of adventure and political intrigue, try Charlie Higson's Young James Bond series. Start with Silverfin.  Along the same lines, but with some military action thrown in, is the Cherub series by Robert Muchamore. Mission 1 is The Recruit. 

Stay warm!