Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teen (Romance) Readers wanted!

If you're a girl between the ages of 13-17 who loves to read YA books about love and relationships, you're invited to participate in a very special focus group. A student at Academic Magnet High School is doing her Senior Thesis on romantic relationships in YA novels and wants to hear what you have to say about love, dating, and sexuality in the books you've read.  Refreshments will be provided.  So come on down, meet other girls who love to read, have a snack, and speak your mind!

Where:   CCPL Main Library, 68 Calhoun St, Meeting Room B
When:   Sunday, October 11, 2009 2:30 - 3:30

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Staff Picks

The Young Adult staff at CCPL read hundreds of books each year....here are some of our recent faves.
Click on any title to reserve a copy for pickup at the branch nearest you.

Maddy's picks:

zombiesZombies Calling by Faith Erin Hicks
Armed with only her wits and a spork, Joss has a plan to keep herself and her roommates alive when their college campus is overrun by the undead: follow the rules of zombie movies! A short and funny graphic novel, this book could help you survive the zombie apocalypse.

Though you may know the general plot of Shakespeare’s famous play Macbeth, you’ve never heard it quite like this. This tale of royalty, ambition, love, prophecies, and murder invents new characters and expands existing ones to create a unique story based on “the Scottish play.”

oddestOddest of All by Bruce Coville
Nine stories with a little bit of everything – humor, fantasy, science fiction, horror. They may be all different genres, but they’re all excellent!

carterCarter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford
Carter is trying desperately to survive his first year of high school, but his ADD, girl-trigged stuttering, maddening sister, and terrible coordination aren’t helping. Told by the hapless protagonist, this hilarious novel will keep you laughing from start to finish!

lockLock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Abandoned by her alcoholic mother, 17-year-old Ruby is taken in by the older sister she hasn’t seen in ten years. Suddenly thrown into a preppy private school and fancy neighborhood, Ruby struggles to adjust to her new circumstances and begins to question some of the “truths” she knows about her life.

As a penniless orphan on the streets of London, Mary Faber decides to better her circumstances by dressing as a boy and joining the Royal Navy. Little does she know that countless thrilling adventures await her on the high seas...

Andria's picks:

liarLiar by Justine Larbalestier
Can you ever trust a liar? What if she promises that she's telling the truth this time? Micah swears that her lying days are over—but the story she tells about her boyfriend’s murder will keep you wondering just what to believe, up to the very last page...and beyond.

A thrilling, suspenseful, horrific, romantic adventure about surviving, and finding love, after the zombie apocalypse.

chosenThe Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
Your heart will break for 13-year-old Kyra, forced to choose between the family she loves and the faith she’s been raised with, and basic freedoms most of us take for granted—like what to read and who to marry. A chilling look at life inside a polygamous sect.

shadowedShadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell
Iris' boring summer suddenly becomes a lot more interesting when she is contacted by the spirit of a boy who disappeared from her sleepy Lousiana town 20 years ago. A perfect southern-gothic ghost story that will make your hair stand on end!

impossibleImpossible by Nancy Werlin
When Lucy turns 17 she learns that all the women in her family have been cursed to complete three impossible tasks or go insane after the birth of their first child. Her foster parents and friend Zach vow to help her find a way to complete the tasks, but will their love and strength be enough to break the centuries-old curse? This is a suspenseful fantasy-romance reminiscent of old-fashioned fairy tales.

It's the summer after graduating high school, and Dade's life is falling apart. His job sucks, his "sort-of" boyfriend wont acknowledge him in public, and his parents' marriage is disintegrating. A touching and beautifully written story about coming of age, coming out, and coming to terms with the things you cannot change.

That Reminds Me of a Book: Cooking with Julia

Welcome to That Reminds Me of a Book, our regular feature where we link current events and pop-culture happenings with YA books.

With the release of the new movie Julie & Julia starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep, it suddenly seems like Julia Child and her particular take on French cooking are everywhere! To feed your need to read, check out Dear Julia by Amy Bronwen Zemser

dear julia16-year-old Elaine loves to cook, and has been mastering the art of French cooking (with the help of Julia Child’s famous books) ever since she was 8. With five rambunctious brothers in the house, Elaine certainly has no shortage of people willing to try her creations! But not all of her family members support Elaine’s passion for cookery – her mother, a strongly feminist congresswoman, is dismayed by Elaine’s desire to "fit into a pre-feminist role." Elaine writes dozens of letters to her idol, Julia Child, but can’t overcome her shyness to mail even one. When her outrageous friend Lucida convinces Elaine to enter a televised cooking contest, her shyness will have to give way to Elaine’s desire to create a culinary masterpiece – in front of a live studio audience! A quick, funny, touching, and enlightening (so that’s how you make a Thon en Chartreuse) read, Dear Julia will warm the heart of any food lover.

And if you don’t mind venturing into the adult section of the library, you might enjoy the book upon which the movie is based:

julie and juliaJulie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell
The true story of Julie Powell's attempt to revitalize her marriage, restore her ambition, and save her soul by cooking all 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I, in one year.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Author Interview: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

kami & margie
photo: Alex Hoerner

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl have written a deliciously spooky, magical, southern gothic, supernatural romance-adventure set in the fictional town of Gatlin, SC - which is outside of Summerville, near Charleston. Their novel, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, will be published on December 1, 2009 by Little, Brown Young Readers.   We can't wait - as soon as this book arrives at the library, we will be thrusting it into the hands of every teen in sight!

They are tremendously cool, and graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us.

beautifulWhat inspired you to set your novel in a small town outside of Charleston?

Kami: We wanted to set the story in a place where we believe magic can still happen - a place where people believe in the extraordinary and one that’s extraordinary itself. For us, that could only be the South.

Margie: We both love Charleston, with its beautiful old churches and perfectly preserved houses and overgrown graveyards. And the plantations along the Ashley River were the inspiration for Ravenwood, our own haunted mansion. Although I have to say, we learned about chiggers the hard way!

Did any of your experiences as teenagers, or people you knew at the time, make it into your book?

Kami: Absolutely. My family is from North Carolina, and there are a few characters inspired by some of them. I won’t say which ones because lots of my relatives and Margie’s think certain characters are based on them, and we wouldn’t want to disappoint anyone. But I will say the squirrel story in BEAUTIFUL CREATURES is true. My mom has also been known to feed baby raccoons cat food on her porch.

Margie: I’m not from the South, but my family is originally from a one-stoplight town in the West, where my mom dragged Main when she wasn’t in 4-H, my grandma was famous for her pie, and my grandfather was the local postmaster who knew everyone’s secrets. Both of our families are full of colorful characters and casseroles. And the way we felt about books and poetry and libraries as teens appears throughout the book.

The characters in BEAUTIFUL CREATURES face some really scary moments. What is something you weren't afraid of as teenagers that terrifies you now?

Kami: I’m actually scared of a lot of the same things I was as a teen. I’m terrified of snakes, heights, horror movies (especially anything that even hints at demonic possession), and the idea of being buried alive- this one probably came from something I saw in a horror movie. On an emotional level, I’m afraid of losing the people I love or letting them down. But if you flip the question, there are a lot of things I was afraid of as a teenager that don’t scare me anymore. Like being different. Don’t get me wrong – I was different, but there was a part of me that wanted to fit in. It just seemed so much easier. But I don’t feel that way anymore – being different teaches you to be creative and strong. It teaches you how to grapple your way to your dreams.

Margie: You mean, aside from the ever-present terror that nobody will read or like our book? I’ve always been a big chicken. I’m afraid to drop a penny without picking it up. I’m afraid to look in a mirror in a dark room. I live in a spooky 90 year-old house that creaks and whistles in the wind, so I’m always jumping at strange noises. Forget about horror movies. New fears? Lost opportunities—places I’ll never see, stories I’ll never write, missing people I love. I’m afraid to listen to my messages, to answer my phone or the door, because I never have time to do whatever the person on the other end is asking. On average, though, I think I’m braver now than I was as a teen, because I’ve watched my own teens grow up to be so much more confident than I was. I spent my school life trying to not be noticed, while my girls sometimes have blue and green hair (thank you manic panic) and a whole lot to say. They’re true Caster Girls, which means they have the power—magic or not—to be themselves. I only try!

Did you have any experiences as teenagers that were mortifying at the time but are pretty funny now?

Kami: My entire high school experience was pretty mortifying most of the time. I was 4’11” and had to shop in the kids’ department half the time, and I still looked like I was about thirteen in high school. So there were just levels of embarrassment, like the eight circles of hell.

Margie: Definitely my 16th birthday. It was a surprise party, and my mom had gone through my phone book and invited all the cool boys whose names and numbers I had written down. Of course I didn’t actually know any of them! They all came, though, and it was AWFUL! Now it just seems like a funny scene from Mean Girls.

Did you get along with your parents when you were teens?

Kami: This is a trick question, since I know my parents will read this. The simple answer: does anyone? I loved my parents, but they drove me crazy sometimes. I know the feeling was mutual. Once I sassed my mom so badly that she locked me out of the house in the snow. It was even trickier for me because my family lived with my grandma and my great-grandma — four generations of women living in the same house. That’s a recipe for disaster. But the truth is, I learned everything from the three of them. I still believe loyalty is the most important trait in a friend, thank you notes should be handwritten, and vegetables always taste better if you add a little bacon fat.

Margie: I love/hated my parents, just as my teens love/hate me. Can someone come up with a new word for that? I hoved them? I was your basic teenager – ditched bible school, wrote inflammatory articles in the school paper, fought with my brothers. But in my family, you could get out of being grounded by memorizing scripture, and I had a great memory, so that was my fallback. Now my parents are my best friends and I’m writing this from their house in the mountains, which is where I get all my best thinking done. My mom taught me to love reading as a child, and my dad read every book I did in college, just for fun, so he would be able to talk to me about them. We had our rocky times, but no matter what, we stuck it out and we stuck together. My mom used to love the licorice Red Vines, and I always thought of those family ties as the Red Vines That Bind…

While you're waiting for the book to come out, check out the Beautiful Creatures blog.  And stop by Kami and Margaret's individual blogs, as well.

"Reel" Good Reads

Have you noticed how many movies based on YA books are being made lately?   All the books listed below have been made into movies that are opening soon, or are “in development” for future films. Read them now, so that when the movie comes out you can tell all your friends that the book was SO MUCH better!    Click on any title to go to the CCPL catalog where you can reserve a copy to pick up at the branch nearest you.

(Oh, and since everyone already knows all about those movie franchises featuring sparkly vampires and teenage wizards, I've deliberately left those off the list.)

hungerHunger Games by Suzanne Collins
In a future society, teens compete in a Reality-TV competition where only the winner survives. (Don’t miss the sequel: Catching Fire)

derbyDerby Girl by Shauna Cross (movie title: Whip It)
                An indie-rock-loving misfit copes with her small-town misery by joining a roller-derby league.

beastlyBeastly by Alex Flinn
A modern retelling of "Beauty and the Beast.” A vain private school student is turned into a monster and must find true love to return to human form.

wimpyDiary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
                    Chronicles the adventures of a wisecracking middle school student over the course of an academic year. (First in a series)

tomorrow warTomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden
A group of teens return from a camping trip and discover their country
has been invaded. (First in a series)

                  Six genetically engineered kids with wings are hunted down by the evil scientists who created them. (First in a series)

wingsWings by Aprilynne Pike
15-year-old Laurel discovers that she is a faerie and has to help keep the world safe from enemy trolls.

dorkKing Dork by Frank Portman
                  High school loser Tom discovers that "The Catcher in the Rye" may hold the clues to the many mysteries in his life.

Percy JLightning Thief by Rick Riordan
(movie title:  Percy Jackson & the Olympians)
A boy discovers he's descended from a Greek god and sets out on an adventure to settle an on-going battle between the gods. (First in a series)

                Mary seeks knowledge of life, love, and especially what lies beyond her walled village and the surrounding forest, where aggressive flesh-eating zombies dwell.

magykMagyk by Angie Sage (movie title: Septimus Heap)
The tale of two babies switched at birth - a boy who's the seventh son of a seventh son and a girl destined to be a princess. (First in a series)

Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan
(movie title: The Vampire’s Assistant)
                  Two boys visit an illegal freak show, where an encounter with a vampire forces them to make life-changing choices. (First in a series)

stargirlStargirl by Jerry Spinelli
In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever.
(Don't miss the sequel:  Love, Stargirl)

flippedFlipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
          Two teenagers describe how their feelings about themselves, each other, and their families have changed over the years.

funny storyIt’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
A teen who is battling depression checks himself into a psychiatric hospital, only to end up in the adult ward.

ugliesThe Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
In the future, kids are called "Uglies" until they reach 16 and are surgically transformed into "Pretties.” Tally will have to stay Ugly forever, unless she betrays a friend who skipped the operation and joined a rebellious group.
(First in a series)

Green Bean Teen Queen's awesome blog about teen and tween books also has lots of information and updates about YA movie news, including video clips of trailers.  Go check her out!

That Reminds Me of a Book: Stranger Danger

Welcome to That Reminds Me of a Book, our regular feature where we link current events and pop-culture happenings with YA books.

By now you may have heard the story of Jaycee Dugard, the California girl who was abducted at the age of 11 and spent the next 18 years living in tents and sheds, imprisoned in the backyard of the man who kidnapped her. It's a heartbreaking and horrific story; much like Elizabeth Scott's Living Dead Girl.

living deadLDG is a work of fiction -- but as we've seen in the news with Jaycee Dugard, and Elizabeth Smart, unfortunately not that far removed from reality. It's the story of Alice, who was kidnapped at age 10 by a disturbed and totally creepy man named Ray;  the horror of the five years she spent with him, and what happens when he starts looking for a new little girl to abduct. Scott doesn't sugarcoat the unsettling facts of Alice's life with Ray, but manages to convey the abuse she endures without resorting to graphic descriptions. The book's inside flap says this is a story "you have never heard and will never forget," and while you may have heard similar stories of kidnapped children in the headlines, you've never seen how it looks from the eyes of the abducted child, and once you have, you truly will never forget it.

jeffOf course, it's not only girls who get abducted. Last year the story of Shawn Hornbeck was in the news. When Jeff Comes Home by Catherine Atkins explores an eerily similar story, about a boy named Jeff who was abducted at age 13 (also by a man named Ray - seriously, what's up with all these creepy kidnappers being named Ray?) and held prisoner for 3 years. The book looks at Jeff's life after he returns home, and examines the difficulties he faces as he tries to reclaim his life.

Both of these books are on the dark and disturbing side, and perhaps not for the faint-of-heart. But both are utterly gripping and compelling stories that offer insight into the minds of abducted children - and provide chilling reminders to young people always to be mindful of their surroundings and skeptical of strangers.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Book-O-Scope: Your reading forecast for Fall/Winter 2009

Wondering what to read next?  The answer is in the stars....

Click on any title to go to the CCPL catalog and reserve a copy for pick up at the branch nearest you.

Aries: Mar. 21 - Apr. 19
New opportunities and knowledge are becoming available to you, but not in the ways or places you expect. Be ready and open for all possibilities by reading Boy Minus Girl by Richard Uhlig.

screwupTaurus: Apr. 20 - May 20
Now is the time for you to change your routine and try something new. Read how Liam tries to reinvent himself in King of the Screw-Ups by K.L. Going.

differenceGemini: May 21 - Jun. 21
You are likely to fall in love with someone with an artistic flair. To prepare yourself, learn to think like an artist by reading about the art school in Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian.

daughter of flamesCancer: Jun. 22 - Jul. 22
Believe in your ability to succeed: your focus is excellent and you know what you want. Read about Zira, the warrior priestess in Daughter of the Flames by Zoe Marriot; she’s a lot like you.

relativityLeo: July 23 - Aug. 22
You have the desire, drive and power to help society and you lend a helping hand wherever you can. Become inspired to help the homeless by reading about a homeless teen in Theories of Relativity by Barbara Haworth-Attard.

monaVirgo: Aug. 23 - Sept. 22
You will undergo an incredible transformation this year, but don’t forget who your true friends are. Read To Be Mona by Kelly Easton to see what can happen when you lose sight of what’s important.

pink and greenLibra: Sept. 23 - Oct. 22
Brilliant ideas are coming easily to you now;  trust yourself and let them flow!  Read about a girl whose great ideas help save both her family's business and the environment in My Life in Pink and Green by Lisa Greenwald.

10 things I hateScorpio: Oct. 23 - Nov. 21
You are starting to see yourself in a completely different light, as you are learning to accept the things that make you different.  For inspiration, read Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah.

dont dieSagittarius: Nov. 22 - Dec. 21
Things may happen to you that you don’t understand, but you will find help where you least expect it. Read Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender: in it, Alexis fights evil spirits with help from her arch-enemy.

red blazerCapricorn: Dec. 22 - Jan. 19
To accomplish your goals, you will need to brainstorm with friends. See how it’s done by reading about three mystery-solving friends in The Red Blazer Girls by Michael D. Beil.

gen greenAquarius: Jan. 20 - Feb. 18
You are inspired and energized to help move our planet toward a better quality of life. Read Generation Green: The Ultimate Teen Guide to Living an Eco-Friendly Life by Linda Sivertsen to get started.

dream girlPisces: Feb. 19 - Mar. 20
Get in touch with your dreams to help discover which direction to take in life. Read about a girl whose dreams warn of danger in Dream Girl by Lauren Mechling.

Booklist: Back to School Blues

It's that time of year again...
Whether you go to public, private, or home school, why not take a break from your homework and read about some school experiences that are (hopefully) VERY different from yours…

Click on any title to go to the CCPL catalog to reserve a copy for pick up at the branch nearest you.

taste redA Taste for Red by Harris Lewis
Svetlana has recently discovered she’s a vampire and it’s making her transition from home-schooling to attending Sunny Hill Middle School that much more difficult. What happens when your sixth-grade science teacher might also be your immortal enemy?

by Mark Walden
At a secret academy for evil geniuses, a brilliant orphan, a sensitive warrior, a shy computer specialist, and an infamous jewel thief plot to beat the odds and escape the prison that is H.I.V.E.  
Don't miss the sequel: The Overlord Protocol.

spudSpud by Jon van de Ruit
At an elite, boys-only boarding school in South Africa, John “Spud” Milton deals with bizarre housemates, wild crushes, utterly embarrassing dysfunctional parents, and much more.
Don't miss the sequel: Spud—the Madness Continues

dangerous girlsSchool for Dangerous Girls  by Eliot Schrefer
At a remote, run-down reform school, 15-year-old Angela is placed with the better girls, but upon learning that her "dangerous" friends are disappearing and being left to live as animals, she takes radical steps to join them and help them escape.