September 1st, 2014

Teen Book Club: And We Stay

And We StayAnd We Stay by Jenny Hubbard
Release Date: Jan  2013
Publisher: Delacorte Press 

Pages: 240

When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend, Emily Beam, and then takes his own life. Soon after, angry and guilt-ridden Emily is sent to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where two quirky fellow students and the spirit of Emily Dickinson offer helping hands. But it is up to Emily Beam to heal her own damaged self, to find the good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.

Share, Skim, Shelve?
Sadly, this was a book that most of the group ended up not liking. There was some variety, but the ultimate breakdown came to 1 share, 1 skim, & 8 shelve.

What did you think of the poems? Helpful or hinderance?
Most of the teens really liked the poems. They thought it gave a nice insight into what was happening in Emily’s journey. A couple thought they were irrelevant, but still liked them anyway. And for a few, it was the only part they liked of the book.

If the time frame had been different would the story have changed? (Today vs. 1994/95)
They all agreed it would have been a much different story. Not only due to school shootings, but in technology. They also thought the aftermath would have been HUGELY different. Mainly that the story would have been all over the news and media would have been heavily involved in relaying what happened. None of them felt she could have escaped from her old life as easy as she did.

What did you think about the parallels between Emily Beam and Emily Dickinson?

Some really liked the parallels, especially when it came to the seclusion and the way Emily Beam mimicked Dickinson in order to heal. However, many thought they were way too similar and that they author was trying too hard.

What did you think about Paul and Emily’s relationship?

They all agreed it was a very abusive relationship. They felt like Paul peer pressured Emily into things she didn’t want to do. And that he was controlling, obsessive, clingy, and emotional unstable. The teens believed that Paul and Emily thought they loved each other, but it was obvious in the end that they didn’t.

What do you think of K.T.? Do you think her letting Emily know about her friend’s suicide would have helped?

Most of them thought that K.T. was the best character. However, they felt her character needed more and that she was a bit flat. They all agreed that it took a while to warm up to her as well. They weren’t sure if they could trust her at first. They also wished that she would have told Emily about her friend’s suicide much sooner. They believed it would have built a relationship where they connected more and would have helped Emily heal sooner.

Thoughts on Paul’s suicide?
The teens felt like this scene proved how unstable he was. However, they did not feel as if he planned it. With the discovery by the teacher, it was obvious he felt trapped and had nothing left. There was also some talk on it being more of an accident than suicide.

Do you think the story would have played out differently if Paul’s parents had known about the baby?
This was a resounding yes from all the teens. They believed it would have been much worse for Emily and that Paul’s parents would have had a reason to blame her for this death. However, it would have also given them a reason to watch Paul and maybe stop the shooting from ever happening. They also tossed around the thought they his parents may have stopped the abortion from every happening.

Do you think Emily’s poem will win the competition? Do you think if it’s published it will hurt or help Emily’s healing process?

The general thought was that Emily’s poem would win the competition. They were a bit torn on if it would hurt or help Emily and saw it more as a both thing than an either or. The teens thought it would help people fully understand what she was going through. On the other hand, it would hurt because everyone would indeed know and she may have to relive the experience the over and over again.

Memorable Scenes

  • They all thought the scene where she’s in Emily Dickinson’s house is very weird. I’m pretty sure they were all just like WTF!
  • They all loved the dinner she had with her roommate and their one teacher/house mother. They felt it showed Emily different and what she may have been like before/what she could be again once she healed.

Final thoughts

They all felt like this books description was rather misleading. When they read it was about a school shooting, they thought it would be more along the the lines of an actually lock-down school shooting type scenario and the aftermath of living through that traumatic experience. Instead, they got something that was much more quiet with less action. I do wonder if this preconceived idea didn’t make them like the book less than if they hadn’t known anything about it.


Program 4-1-1

  • When: April 24th, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
  • How Many Teens: 11 teens;  ranging from Grade 8 – 10
August 25th, 2014

Teen Book Club: Pawn

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion)
by Aimee Carter
Release Date: Nov 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Pages: 352

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. 

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter. 

There’s only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that’s not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she’s only beginning to understand.



Share it, Skim it, or Shelve it?

No hesitations about it, everyone said they’d share it. In fact, they wanted to know when book two came out and groaned when they heard it was the end of the year.

What do you think about the class system?  

There was a lot of discussion about this one. They all agreed it didn’t really work, especially since it only tested one type of intelligence. I started to push them a little on how it was really different from today. After all, things like SAT/ACTs and financial situation dictate what kind of colleges one gets into; and usually the better the college the better your job prospects. They agreed that it was more similar than one would think, but that we aren’t quite as restrictive as in the world in Pawn. After all, we still have the opportunity to pick what exact job we want to do and where we live.

Would you have taken the VII that Daxton offered?

The teens surprised me a bit with this one. They all said yes without a second thought. Even when I asked if they knew what it all entailed, they said they would have still done it. In their eyes, there was no other option. It was either get a bullet now or go for an adventure (and maybe get a bullet later).

What do you think about the masking process?

The thoughts on this one were kind of mixed. On one hand, it was pretty messed up and it felt like they were playing god. On the other hand, it was pretty cool technology wise that they could match appearances so closely. However, none of them understood why they couldn’t do the eye color. They felt it was a bit odd to be able to change everything else (height, foot size, voice, etc) but they hadn’t figured that out yet. They did bring up color contacts, but we thought maybe that would be too obvious to tell or the color was one that just couldn’t be matched.

What are your thoughts on Elsewhere?

For the most part they thought it was messed up. None of them were really too surprised by it. The teens had all figured that Elsewhere meant death, but they didn’t think it would be to that level. Although, I did have one teen who thought it would be a nice die-in-comfort place for the elderly. They agreed it was kind of wishful thinking on their part though.

Benjy or Knox?

There is a lot of mix emotions on this one. For the most part they felt like they could trust Benjy more, but as a character they thought he wasn’t needed. They felt like he was kind of “damsel in distress” where they felt like Kitty was rescuing/protecting him more often than not. They felt like his identity was too wrapped up in Kitty, especially since he was willing to give up everything to just to be with her. Some felt he was maybe too trustworthy and that he had his own secrets up his sleeve. They were all interested to see him fleshed out more in the upcoming books.

Knox they had a bit of harder time trusting. The teens were never quite sure whose side he was really on. They felt like he was looking out for Kitty, though, considering how many times he got her out of bad situations. As a character, they liked him WAY more and all agreed he’d be the one they’d want to have their backs in a fight.

I asked if they thought their was a love triangle happening and the general response was kind of. They didn’t think it was a full blown one yet, but there were definitely emotions brewing and could see it growing in the next book. There was a lot of discussion what would happen once they were married (if they married) and how they could see her leaning more towards Knox because of it.

What is your take on the Hart dynamics? Do you have a favorite member?

The word of the day for the Harts was fake, fake, fake. They thought the majority of them had major issues and needed help. The teens felt like the power had corrupted them into hateful and selfish people.

There were only two names thrown out in terms of favorites: Greyson and Celia. They thought Greyson was smart, but there were also a couple of comment on how they thought he was like a cute little puppy. They agreed he had his issues, but he was the most decent out of all his family members. Celia, on the other hand, they really liked because she could kick some major butt, however, none of them really trusted her.

What do you think of Lila?

None of them had a positive opinion of her. They thought she was a selfish, snotty brat. Although, consider her circumstances, they didn’t really blame her. They felt like her walls were to be expected, especially with all she has experienced. They still don’t trust her, but feel like there is a lot more to her that we’re not seeing.

What are your predictions?

They don’t see how Lila and Kitty could ever switch places again and that Kitty would be trapped much longer than should would like, maybe even forever. They didn’t think that Greyson would take the throne. In fact, they thought that Knox would be the one to likely take over the government. They felt this would usher in the change everyone was hoping for and that Daxton/Hart dynasty days were numbered.

Favorite scene?

  • Anything that involved Kitty climbing through the air vents. They loved what she was able to learn and that no one suspected she was up there because it was a small space.
  • As horrible as Elsewhere was, they thought the hunt in the woods was exciting. They loved the visuals it created.
  • The final face-off between Kitty and Augusta. Without giving anything away, they loved the intensity of the scene and how it ended.
  • The wake-up scene after Kitty has been masked.
  • The dance floor scene when Knox and Kitty share a kiss.
  • Daxton’s ultimatum: the bullet or a VII
  • Her first speech. They loved how passionate Kitty became during and after the speech. It was the first moment she realized how much a difference she could really make.


Program 4-1-1

  • When: February  27th, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
  • How Many Teens: 14 teens; 3 boys/11 girls ranging from Grade 8 – 10
  • Cost/Supplies: Gallon Ice Cream plus toppings: $0 (left over from previous months) Books: $172 (paid via friends money)
August 22nd, 2014

Teen Program: Teen Storytime (Guest Post)

Today I have a guest post by one my friends Cindy (@cindysku). She’s a Teen Services Librarian at White Oaks Library District and when I heard she did a teen storytime I knew I needed to have her do a post for me! Without further ado, here’s her post on the program.
My teens are always telling me about when they were children. They often reminisce about the picture books they used to read and being free to play games.  They have had to become more serious about school and their lives as they are growing up. This made me to want to give them the experience of being a kid again and what better way then to have a teen storytime.

Teen storytime would be different yet similar to the children’s version. We started off with a classic children’s storytime song. “These are My Glasses” was used because it is the opener for storytime in our library district. It is a great song because it has a lot of hand motions to go along with. I mentioned before the event started that the most enthusiastic teen would win a prize. This made it easier for the teens that were nervous about looking foolish to join in.

It's a BookThe first book I read was It’s A Book by Lane Smith. It went very well because the teens were starting to guess what the next line was going to be. The teens loved its sassy ending.  They even asked for me to read it again, but I had to move on.

We sang “We Are the Dinosaurs” and the group was a little nervous at first about doing the actions to the song, but as it went along they got more into it. They loved the part at the end when they could roar. They were so excited about the marching that our reference librarian came to check that they were not stomping my bones into the ground.

The next book we read was All My Friends Are Dead. The teens really loved this book, because it was sarcastic and funny. They laughed the whole time.

I then read a few pages from the book I Hate Everything that they liked. I had a small craft in which they each got notebook paper and wrote what they hated, but I did give them guidelines nothing sexist, homophobic, or racist and nothing about the people in the room. IMG_1568We then went in a circle and read the things we hate. They loved this part.

The last craft we had was making a bookworm bookmark with pom poms. I got the idea from pinterest and this worked well with teens, because I could use a hot glue gun to make it go faster.

Our last song was the “Skinnamarink” song and some of them were really trying to outperform each other for the prize.

Overall, it was a great night. I had teens asking for the event to be repeated. A few teens told me they had found some new favorite books and that makes any librarian’s heart swell with pride when they hear that.

August 20th, 2014

Book Display: Audiobooks

Have I ever mentioned how awesome my co-worker is? She does all my displays for me and they always turn out amazing. Here’s one that she did a couple months ago for teen audio books. If you’d like to see her other displays (and not just book ones) check her out on her Pinterest page




August 18th, 2014

Book Review: Just Like the Movies

Book Review: Just Like the Movies

Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Release Date: July 2014
Pages: 288
Source: Publisher

Pretty, popular Marijke Monti and over-achieving nerd-girl Lily Spencer have little in common—except that neither feels successful when it comes to love. Marijke can’t get her boyfriend to say “I love you” and Lily can’t get a boyfriend at all. When the girls end up at a late night showing of Titanic, sniffling along with the sinking ship, they realize that their love lives could—and should—be better. Which sparks an idea: Why can’t life be like a movie? Why can’t they create perfect romantic situations? Now they have a budding friendship and a plan—to act out grand gestures and get the guys of their dreams. It seems like fun at first, but reality turns out to be much more complicated, and they didn’t take into account that finding true love usually requires finding yourself first.


Just Like the Movies
came at the right time for me. Drowning in committee graphic novels, I needed a light read with a bit of fluff; something that Just Like the Movies nailed perfectly. After all, what girl hasn’t dreamed at one time or another of having that perfect movie romance?

But lets be honest, movies aren’t real, right? While Marijke and Lily think they have the perfect schemes to get them what they want, they soon realize that plans don’t always go according to plan. Big elaborate set-ups fail for simple reasons. Even when everything else seems to be just right, it can still fall apart. I applaud Fiore for showing how complicated and difficult relationships, no matter what age you are, can be. However, we all know that YA books are like the movies, and that Marijke and Lily get their happily-ever-after in the end. And, for the most part, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I adore those tied up nicely in a bow endings

But the question remains: is it a good thing that everyone got their fairy tale ending? For Lily and Joe, absolutely. I adored every moment of this blooming relationship. They seemed to have a genuine connection once they started talking. It’s a little cheesy that Lily knows she’s in love with Joe without knowing anything about him, but that can be forgiven due to how realistic it is. How many times have we convinced ourselves that we’re head over heels for someone we’ve never said more than five words to or merely watched from afar? I loved that Lily wasn’t trying to be over the top and how honest and real Joe felt. While them becoming an item felt a bit sudden, I still cheered when it happened.

Marijke and Tommy, though? I cheered when I thought they were splitting up. I wanted to pat Marijke on the back when she finally started to put herself first. The whole book I felt like she tried way too hard, especially since Tommy felt a bit sleazy to me. He would always say the right thing, but his actions never backed it up. When your significant other tells you they need you/asks you to come over right away, you don’t go off and practice with the band; especially not after you said you would come. A healthy relationship means supporting each other emotionally. I never got that sense of support from Tommy. Time and time again he blew her off. It isn’t until she breaks up with him that he changes his tune, but even then I doubt his sincerity. The silver lining is that Marijke realized she couldn’t build her world around a boy. She started making decisions that were best for her and not their relationship. Perhaps this two will be okay, but honestly I wish Marijke had made the decision to stay single. With her going away for college, it would have been perfectly acceptable and understandable.

There’s one more thing I’d like to talk about and that’s Marijke and Lily’s friendship. These two formed an unlikely friendship that I simply adored. What started off as a ploy to help each other developed into something meaningful. I wish Fiore had focused more on this relationship because it truly was the heart of the book. If the happily ever after would just have been that these two formed a lasting bond I would have been satisfied. Sure, the romantic stuff was a bonus, but it wasn’t as important as this friendship.

Final verdict: If you’re looking for a fast, cute romance this is it. It’s a perfect beach read that will leave a smile on your face.