Posts tagged with "recommended"

Posted by emather on 09/16/13
 
 
 
“Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”
 
 
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is the newest book from acclaimed author Neil Gaiman (the Sandman comics, The Graveyard Book, Coraline, American Gods, two of the very best episodes of Doctor Who, and a zillion more awesome things). It is told in the form of a flashback, where the narrator (never named in the book) sits and remembers incidents from his childhood that had been long forgotten. He recalls an adventure he had after meeting his neighbor, Lettie Hempstock, who claimed that the pond behind her house was in fact an ocean.  Lettie, along with her mother and grandmother, while loving and welcoming, are also magical and mysterious (like the body of water in their backyard).  They lead the seven-year-old narrator on an adventure that begins wondrous and enchanting, but becomes increasingly fraught with peril and foreboding.  Soon, his life, family, and in fact all of existence become endangered.

Gaiman’s narrator, a major bookworm, explains of his preference for myths over tales of other sorts: “They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children stories. They were better than that. They just were.” Gaiman has written books for the very young and books for adults, but all have an almost timeless and ageless quality to them, and Ocean is no different. At under 200 pages, the book is a quick read, and while it’s currently marketed for adults, it’s perfect for teens.  In fact, it’s perfect for anyone who’s searching for a fantasy book filled with the requisite magic and monsters, a story where terrifying beasties intrude on the quiet English countryside, or those looking to relive their childhood while realizing that you never really can, and probably shouldn’t.

Posted by Trixie on 08/14/14
It's been awhile since we've shared local teen writing on here so I'm passing along a story submitted by Bridget K. to complete a RIGHT BRAIN challenge for the teen summer reading program! It's part of a book she's working on - hope we'll hear more from her soon!
 
 
The Elevator Adventures
 
1
It had seemed as if this pudgy lady has been following Martin for days. He saw her on the street and the hall to the apartment complex. Plus every time on the elevator she was there. He even broke his leg trying to get away, so now he was trapped, forced to ride the elevator to the third floor with his crutches and all. His father didn’t believe him, but he knew he was right.
     
On his way home it happened again. She was right there, in the elevator with this peculiar smile on her face. Then, once they were between floors she pressed the “STOP” button. Martin face went as white as a ghost. She gave a slight snort-ish chuckle as she did it, which made him even more anxious. He went into pure panic inside, but on the outside, frozen. Martin wanted to scream and bang the walls, but couldn't move. He was a statue.
   
A little while later the wall to the elevator, the one directly across from the door opened. He thought that was a wallpaper line beforehand. Actually it was the Person Protection Program's Headquarters.
   
"Sorry that I kind of laughed, I knew you would panic. That was mean of me. You may be wondering why you’re here. Oh, I'm agent M., your mother."
   
"My mother?" Martin asked shocked, almost queasy. His dad would only say that his mother died and needed to.
   
"Yes, I know it's a shock but you need to come into the room. I will explain everything once we're inside and you’re safe." The room was, dizzying to Martin, since the quick announcement. In the room computers, technology, and other gadgets filled it. It was a computer geek heaven.
   
He hobbled into the hidden office. His leg ached, his head ached as well. "I need to sit down," Martin exclaimed.
   
"Go ahead. Martin, you need to listen now, you are in great danger. I was in the elevator to protect you."
   
"What?"
   
"Elevators are not safe. You could get trapped with a member of SCT, Special Children torturers. You are on their list of victims."
   
"Oh my, why would they want me?" Martin wondered, "Why am I so special?"
   
"Because you’re smart. You have a lot of things they want. They know your powers, but you don't,"
   
"Powers?" Martin said truly confused.
   
"You can do stuff. You’re special. We just don't know what yet."
   
Martin thought the room was spinning. He breathed heavily. Then, blank! He passed out.
   
"Martin, Martin" agent M. said as he woke up in a white doctor like room.
   
"The other girl on the list, Amy, heeled your leg. She found her powers, after we found her, luckily. Try walking."
   
He cautiously went off the bed, shocked on how well his leg was.
   
"H, h, how, how," Martin asked speechless.
   
"She's special, like you."
   
"Then, what about me? What can I do?"
 
"We'll know soon Martin, soon" as she patted him on the head and walked away. Then Martin started to slowly drift away into a deep sleep.  Martin’s dreams are always strange; he sometimes tries to forget them and never succeeds.
 
2
Then Martin was suddenly waked up, being shaken. "We're under attack!" A woman whispered in a panicky kind of way, "I'm Amy, nice to meet you, wish it didn't have to be in this way. We have to get out. Once we get to the streets try to blend in," Amy was a beautiful straight blondie with sapphire blue eyes. Skinny, yet tough.
   
"Ummmm, How do we? We're in the middle of the building, no windows, elevator blocked!" Martin started to panic, again.
   
"Don't panic, we have to stay calm. Hmmmm... we’ll go through the vent." She said staring at the ceiling.
   
"How do we get up? The ceiling is super high."
   
"We jump."
   
"How?"
   
"Think 'high' and jump"
   
He did what she said as he followed her lead. The ground was like being on a super bouncy trampoline. They yanked it off in one, and went through on two.
   
They crawled through carefully, trying not to make a loud bang. Then, saws came through the vent floor circling around them. They must have been a tiny bit too loud. It was the SCT...
   
Bang! They hit the ground hard and immediately bags went over their heads creating total darkness. As they kicked and squirmed, the SCT dragged them along. They did until Amy kicked one in the face, knocking one of them out. She crawled out of the bag, tripped one by sweeping her leg then popped up and started to really fight.
   
There was a hole in Martins sack, so he watched her elegantly knock them out and beat them up. Then the one carrying Martin let go of his bag, trying to fight Amy. Amy knocked him out just by punching him once. 'Wow!' Martin thought.
   
"Come on, quickly," she said egging him on.
   
"Okay," he said impressed.
   
They walked to the door and went out into the street. Amy started talking about homework.
   
"What?" Martin said
   
"What do you have for homework?" Amy said as Martin caught on.
   
"It's the weekend, silly" he exclaimed as he played along.
   
"Oh, right, silly me... So, if you could pick what would you want your name to be?" Amy asked Martin knew that she was talking in code.
   
"Max. How about you?"
   
"Emilia."
   
"Cool!" Martin said in awe, what a beautiful name for such a beautiful girl.
   
"So, Max," Amy said as she winked, "What do you want to do while we're out of the house?"
   
"I'm not sure... What do you want to do?"
   
"Let's go to the ice cream parlor"
     
"I want my 15 cents back" Amy said suddenly irritated.
 
"What did you order, mam"
   
"Two super peanut butter clusters."
   
"Come with me to the manager’s office and he will settle it for you," the ice cream man said calm and cool. He led them through a series of doorways. One was a locked wooden door with pitch black windows that lead to a safe door with a keyboard.
   
"Passcode Amy," she typed it in, Martin totally not understanding any of this.
   
"We are safe, for now." Amy said.
   
"What about finding my powers? How are we going to do that?"
   
"We'll know when the world wants us to know."
   
"I hope that's soon. I need to defend myself somehow."
   
"I hope so to Martin," they waited for what to do next, but no one came. Where are they...
    
3
Amy and Martin searched the perimeters and where shocked at what they found.
   
As they ventured back behind the waiting room, they found it ripped up, literally.
   
First thing, there's a big gaping hole in the wall, looking out into the city, people looking in disbelief.
   
"How in the world did they know?" Martin said appalled
   
"I, I have no clue," Amy said stunned. All the sudden, she notice agent M. Lying on the floor underneath the rubble, "Agent M!" she exclaimed.
   
"Amy, Martin," she replied sounding weak. Amy rushed over and Martin did as well.
   
"I've never healed someone this injured! What, what do I do?" she stuttered.
   
"You try," Martin said trying to have full confidence in her.
   
"I just can't have the 'norms' watching. I, I just can't" she said sounding manic.
   
Martin started to try to pick up a slab of cement ruble to use as a barrier, also trying to find his power. It didn't work. He got angry "Why. why can't I do anything! I, I have to do this!" He growled and kicked the stone. Even with his skinned body and rubbery muscles, it flew into pieces. "What? What!" now he was determined and picked another large cement slab. "There. Go!" He said picking it up with ease. Amy stared as he knew she would.
   
"Martin," she said all giddy, like she was going to hug him.  
   
"Go! She needs to be happy, given hugs, and have health, not me,"
   
Amy started right there and then, with a huge, sweet smile on her face, almost blushing. Martin didn't notice that blushing part though, to preoccupied on picking up a heavy cement slab. As she did her thing, Martin felt his strength deteriorating as he got more and more like 'I'm the best' and 'You’re the guy' kind of self centered thoughts. He panicked, 'what' he thought and got the 'have to, trying to save a life and the world here' thoughts. Then it was all good again. 'Hmm' he thought, trying not to make a big deal out of it, but still a little confused.
   
When Amy was done, Martin could no longer see any gashes, even scars on agent M. She no longer looked in pain. For some reason he could not call her 'Mom,' apparently it was dangerous. Martin did not understand that, but still did as he was told.
   
"Agent M. How do you feel?" Amy asked
   
"As good as new," She replied, as Amy helped her to her feet.
   
"Good," Amy and Martin said in unison.
   
"Where do we go now? Definitely not the safe house, nor the headquarters, and now we're exposed!" Martin said running out of options.
   
"Martin, now it is the time for you and Amy to save yourselves and the world from the SCT" agent M. said trying to calm him, a little, but let him see the volume of this situation as well.
   
"But, but we're just kids, well Amy does have some moves, but I have no experience whatsoever. I, I have to emit, my strength did go up and down, I don't know why, I just don't want to mess it up. And,"
   
"Whoa, Martin, did you say your strength went up and down, what do you mean by that?" Amy said quite concerned.
   
"I mean I was weak than strong, then somewhat weak, then strong again, Why do you ask?"
   
"Martin, try... try turning invisible," Amy said trying to see what this is.
   
"I can't!" he exclaimed
   
"Martin, that's a member of SCT! Turn invisible now, you have to!"
   
"What!" Martin panicked, turning invisible on the spot.
   
"I knew it!" Amy said figuring it out.
   
"What?" Martin said not catching on, as he turned visible again.
   
"Martin, you have something very, very, very special, very rare," Amy explained, getting excited.
   
"So?"
   
"So, you, Martin, can do any type of power, for good, important, reasons. The downside is, you cannot do use them whenever you want, only when it's for the greater good."
   
"Wait, what? So, you’re saying I can do anything?" Martin said getting excited.
   
"Yes, but only when it's truly needed, and when you don't think highly of yourself," Amy exclaimed making sure he understood.
   
"Cool!"
   
"They only really bad part is," agent M. said worryingly, "is that the SCT will want to execute you even more."
   
"Lovely," Martin said being sarcastic.
   
"Martin!" Amy gasped hugging him. She was worried, she needed him, in a friend that saves your life kind of way, "I can't let them take you, I love you," The ‘I love you’ part kind of slipped out.
   
He was staring blankly when it registered, "What?"
   
"Sorry, I, I, didn't..."
   
"Do you?"  
   
"Sort of," she said shyly.
 
He kissed her on the forehead saying, "Me to, Amy, me to," embracing the hug. They stood there for a while in the rubble, forgetting about agent M.
 
 

Posted by red_sonya on 02/07/14
                                                                       
 
Drawings don’t normally move but Katie swears the mysterious Tomohiro’s drawings just did. Katie, an American girl, is a world away from home in Japan, still adjusting to the language barrier and culture gap. When Katie gets involved with the intriguing and sometimes dangerous Tomohiro and his moving drawings, her life changes forever. She is left wondering why the ink is seemingly drawn to her all while learning about Kami (Shinto Gods) and dodging the Yakuza (a Japanese gang).
 
 
This is a book full of Japanese mythology, danger, with a dash of romance. As an avid manga reader, I felt like Ink could easily be made into one; as the plot is very similar to many shojo mangas. The book has many images within it that coincides with what you are reading. There are many Japanese words you learn through out Ink (there is a glossary in the back to explain them so don’t worry!). This book is wonderful for those Japanophiles out there. It gives a good look at what life is like living in a foreign country, dealing with the different culture, and their everyday lives.
 
 
Ink was a very quick read; it’s very intriguing, and gripping. I thoroughly enjoyed and it and will be purchasing it for my own collection at home. The book does end on a cliffhanger and sadly the next book, Rain, doesn’t come out till June this year (which I have on preorder already).
 
There is also a prequel to Ink, called Shadow, which is available for free on Amazon!
 

Posted by alice on 04/09/13
 
Chicago has a lot of names: The Windy City, The Second City, Chi-Town... but I like to call it home.  
 
Now even though you may not live in the city limits, you know as well as any person who lives in the suburbs that when you go on vacation you always tell people you're from Chicago.  It's just easier, right?
 
Well this slightly warmer weather of late got me driving down Lake Shore Drive, and it was glorious!  The weather was beautiful (what I like to call sweatshirt weather) and it was approaching dusk so all the city lights were beginning to turn on.  It just made me appreciate living in this beautiful city.
 
If you're feeling love for Chicago, I would check out these links.
 
A photographer who takes some really wonderful shots of Chicago.
 

A documentary where quintessential Brit, Stephen Fry, goes on a cross country road trip throughout the states.  The video above shows the portion where he visits Chicago, but the whole series is really worth the watch.  You can find it here at the library!
 
Rocco Buttliere, a teenager from Buffalo Grove, builds amazing replicas of the city's most recognizable buildings!
 
Image Credit: Nick Gerber

Posted by alice on 07/25/13
Fork in the road
Oh yes, you read that right!  The Brooklyn-based band Chairlift released a choose your own adventure music video.  Just like the books you may have read when you were younger that allowed you to Choose Your Own Adventure, you click on the arrows when they appear on screen to choose which path the protagonist of the music video takes.  It's a fun idea for a music video and I'm digging the tune too, which is a total plus because I'm always looking for new music!
 
Take a look at the video here and maybe take a look at it again and again and again.  Who knows what the outcome will be for our lead singer/protagonist depending on which adventure you choose for her.
 
Also, for those of you who are Jane Austen lovers... you may be interested in a book called Lost in Austen.  It's a choose your own adventure-type book taking you through some of Austen's most notable works (e.g. Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma).  Tea time in the drawing room?  No thanks.  Party at Netherfield?  Yes, please!
 
Photo Credit: creativelenna

Posted by emather on 12/31/13
                 
 
As the year comes to a close, we always like to look back, and it's impossible to deny that 2013 has been anything but a great year for books.  Several series concluded (Allegiant, the Sweet Tooth and Locke & Key comic series), kept going in new and interesting ways (ProdigyRose Under Fire) and amazing new ones began (The 5th Wave). We saw books from both great new authors and old favorites (both Rainbow Rowell and Neil Gaiman each published two great books this year). We polled both HUB staff and HUB teens for their favorite books of 2013. You can find the results below.  See if your favorite book is on the list (feel free to yell at us in the comments if it's not), and you'll probably find one or two great picks to add to your to-read list.
 

HUB Teens' Five Favorite Books of 2013:

 
  1. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
  2. TIE: Allegiant by Veronica Roth, Prodigy by Marie Lu
  3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  4. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  5. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
 
 
 
 
 
 

Posted by Trixie on 03/24/14
I like to think that he saw me, the loosened ends of my long bandages and the wispy tangled curls of my hair reaching out to the wind, the skirt of my nightgown billowing in the melodic waves. I like to think that he watched as I climbed over the side of the rickety widow’s walk, my toes perched on the ledge, my fingers clasped lightly to the railing behind me. Perhaps he noted, with quiet irony, that never before had anyone more resembled an angel. I like to think that he marveled at the mass of bandages that unraveled completely and tumbled to the ground, and at the pair of pure white wings, large and strong, that unfolded from my shoulder blades.
 
 
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is about love: unrequited and impossible, elation, loss, and suffering; in the midst of it, a girl is born with wings. First, readers follow the relentless suffering of Ava's immigrant family over the course of three generations. This chronicle culminates in her birth. Set in 1950s Seattle, Ava's mother and grandmother shelter winged Ava from the community in order to protect her. However, as any blossoming teen, Ava longs to fit in with her peers. In this novel, Leslye Walton writes about a teenage girl's exploration of self and her place in an unexplored world. 
 

I absolutely LOVED this book! It’s beautifully written with incredible imagery. I felt as if I opened the book and walked right into the scenes described. Walton delivers a rich and full story that provides the context for Ava's plight; she weaves together stories across generations à la Marquez. I also adored the characters and was invested in their outcome. I liked the dark, traditional fairy tale/fable feel of the novel - sobbed at the end of it, but strangely hopeful and satisfied despite tragedy. If you like magical realism or emotional stories, this is a must read!

 

Posted by Trixie on 12/12/13
I follow the Huff Post Teen blog. A couple of weeks ago, I came across a post written by Phoebe Dodds, a teen living in London, England. This post titled “Lost in Translation” explored foreign language books and films in a culture that predominantly speaks English. This post really piqued my interest since one of my duties at the Hub is to provide library resources like books, magazines, and DVDs to ESL students at Newcomer Center. This District 214 program assists high school students that have recently moved to the United States and are new to the English language. A large part of the items I send them are popular teen books originally written in English translated to their native languages.

An interesting fact that Dodds states in her post, “only 3 percent of all books published in English are translations”, blows my mind! Clearly, much more goes into translating a book from its native language. Nuance, mode of expression, and humor have to be considered and might not have a literal translation; however, there have to be more books out there worth translating! Reading this post prompted me to make a list of books translated to English. Some might surprise you, like The Three Musketeers. Some are new, like Ruby Red and 1Q84. Check one out and broaden your horizons.
 

Posted by emather on 01/25/14
Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in...with a bunch more reading recommendations!  Here are some teen book suggestions from library staff outside of teen services, since you're all probably sick of us yelling at you to read books.   Shannon,  Carol, and Amy have written reviews of three unique but excellent.  As always, you can find many more Intralibrary Teen Book Alliance recommendations here.
 
 
 
Could you live in a world where love was outlawed?
 
Lauren Oliver’s novel describes a futuristic Garden of Eden where teens are matched with a “life-mate” and then undergo a procedure to remove their capacity to love.  Teens that flee or resist the procedure are known as “invalids” and are believed to “live like animals…filthy, hungry, desperate.”
 
When Lena and Alex must choose between the law and each other, they know that they are making an impossible decision.  If they run away, they will lose their families.  If they stay and undergo the procedure, they will lose the feelings that they have for their families – and each other.
 
The dramatic conclusion will leave you wondering… What would you risk for love?
 
Review by: Carol E.
Dept: Circulation
 
 
 
Shai is a strong, independent girl who is very talented at what she does for a living. She is a forger. She doesn’t just copy things, however. She uses her magical skills to enhance the very essence of the item she is copying, consequently mirroring not just its appearance, but its entire history. She is so good at her job that she attracts the attention of the Emperor’s entourage. When the Emperor suddenly loses consciousness after an assassination attempt, they see Shai as their only hope against what they fear the most; the loss of their powerful positions in the Empire. In order to prevent a revolution, the Emperor’s highest ranking officials capture Shai in the midst of a forgery, and force her to choose between being sentenced to death, or accepting a job they believe she will not pass up. They challenge her to forge their Emperor’s soul.
 
This is a cleverly written fantasy with a unique storyline, and character development that usually needs at least twice as many pages to pull off. Shai’s personality draws you in so rapidly that before you know what is happening you are immersed in her world, and rooting for her to pull off the impossible. Not only are you pleasantly surprised by the ending, but you get there so quickly that you are almost sorry to see that it is over. Sanderson is well known for his epic fantasies, and more recently for completing the Wheel of Time saga, but this first attempt at a novella was undeniably a success, as well as a Hugo award winner. Marketed for both adults as well as teens, it is absolutely worth reading.
 
Review by: Shannon M.
Dept: Circulation
 
 
 
Weetzie Bat, a high school girl in Los Angeles, is best friends with Dirk.  Weetzie and Dirk have adventures after high school when they find a genie in a magic lamp who grants them three wishes.  Weetzie and Dirk both find love and have many adventures together with their significant others.  This book is a quick read and is fun with its whimsical tone and some bits of magic mixed in with the reality of life. If you are looking for a book that will take you on an adventure, then this is the book for you.
 
Review by: Amy H.
Dept: Bookmobile

Posted by Trixie on 08/30/13
Last month I shared a short story written by Silvio, an avid teen writer and a Hub regular. well, it's time for another installment of Made in the Hub! This month I'm sharing the continuation of Silvio's short story "Brother and Sister." There's an excerpt below and the full text can be found online. Of course, you can always come to the Hub to read it too!
 
If you're interested in having your work featured in the Hub, stop in to chat!
 
Julia walked the city for miles and miles more, yet neither travel nor time unending quenched her tears or ceased her fears, yet she walked till she reached the sea, and then traversed the shore.

Young children played with sand as the sentinel sun shined upon them. Their parents leisurely basked in the light, reading and passively talking as time flowed in a constant stream that met the sea.

Most interesting to her were the young couples leisurely dancing in the waves. They appeared so free, careless of their nakedness, without any shame or pride. It seemed so natural, so familiar to her.
For a moment she thought of coming to the beach with Maria, yet the thought was quickly turned away. There would be too much scandal in that. She thought to herself.

Soon she passed the beach and came to upon the grand open gardens. While surrounded by evergreens her mind became calm yet her worries did not depart. Julia slowly lowered herself under the tree canopy, laying on the ground and not caring about her dress anymore.

Again she began to shed tears and softly cry. The wind rustled the leaves and the grass, like an invisible animal of massive bulk that rubbed its pelt upon all that it encountered. The warm salty blow of sea air hurt her already reddened eyes, like fire upon exposed flesh, forcing them to firmly shut. I taunted her, it made this all seem like a game, as if the wind had any better to do than play games and fight. Yet she ignored its rustling noise and its animal touch.