Monday, January 31, 2011

Think You Know Who Your Friends Are?

By Michele Jaffe


When Jane Freeman moves to a new school, she undergoes a personal redo. Now, she's pretty and popular -- and determined to keep it that way. Until a hit-and-run driver tries to kill her, leaving her near death, paralyzed, in a rosebush, its million thorns piercing her body.

Tons of people send cards and gifts to Jane's hospital room. Her best friends and her boyfriend visit. But this chilling novel drags you onto a rollercoaster of whodunit because one of them wants Jane dead.

Michele Jaffe, author of the Bad Kitty series, weaves a thrilling mystery as Jane slowly recovers memories of that night. A party. A fight. A kiss. A drink. The car.

Move over, Alison. If Pretty Little Liars creeps you out, just wait until you find out who's trying to kill Jane.

PS: Remember to click on any title to reserve a copy at your Charleston County Public Library branch.

Friday, January 28, 2011

If You Miss Katniss...


If you loved The Hunger Games or the Uglies or The Giver, let's surf the post-vampire wave into the next Big Thing in teen books: Societies gone amuck.

First, check out Matched, a new book by Ally Condie. In it, Cassia's world is governed by the Society, which matches girls and boys to marry when they turn 17 -- you know, to take all that complicated stuff out of dating. Cassia is lucky to be matched with a cute guy she grew up with, Xander. It's sort of like if Katniss had been matched with Gale. Of course, a happy match could make for a boring book, so Cassia also gets a glimpse of another boy she was almost matched with. Ky is a quiet orphan who tugs at Cassia's heart. Should she stick with her lucky Match or follow the pull of her heartstrings? Hmmmm. Team Xander or Team Ky?

Also, mark your February calendars for another new dystopiaDelirium by Lauren Oliver (who wrote Before I Fall). In Delirium, there's a cure for the "disease" of love. But love can't really be cured -- can it?

While those calendars are out, go ahead and circle March 23, 2012.  That's the date the Hunger Games movie will be released!  We know, that's a whole year away.  Good thing we're here to distract you with other awesome book and movie news while you wait.

Click on any title to reserve it at your local CCPL library. If a book like Delirium is "on order," put it on hold. You'll be one of the first to get the book when it comes in!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Book-o-scope: Your reading forecast

Wondering what to read next?  The answer is in the stars! 
Click on any title to reserve a copy at the CCPL branch near you.

Aries  Mar 21 - Apr 19:   You're about to discover that your effect on the world is much more dramatic than you thought. This may cause you to seriously rethink your future plans. Read The True Adventures of Charley Darwin by Carolyn Meyer to learn how young Charles Darwin found his calling and developed his groundbreaking theories.

Taurus  Apr 20 - May 20:   Your charming nature can cross language barriers and thousands of miles if you need it to -- just turn it on and point it at the right person. Read Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci, about two teenage ballet dancers whose friendship overcomes huge cultural and political differences.

 Gemini   May 21 - Jun 21:   You're a social butterfly right now - expect your calendar to be full of events and activities, and get ready to make new friends and acquaintances from all walks of life. Be open to new experiences and read Tangled by Carolyn Mackler, about a group of teens who cross paths during a Caribbean vacation and change each others' lives.

Cancer  Jun 22- July 22:   Take time right now to take good care of yourself, you're going to need all your energy to handle the enormous and exciting opportunities about to come your way. Get plenty of rest, relaxation, exercise and a healthy breakfast, and read Gods of Manhattan by Scott Mebus, about a boy who has wild adventures in a magical version of New York City.

Leo  Jul 23 - Aug 22:   You've been having deep thoughts lately; it's time to figure out your philosophy of life. What do you believe in, what do you stand for? Think about it. Then read Saving Sky by Diane Stanley, about a girl who decides to stand up against hate, racism and fear in dystopian future world.

Virgo  Aug 23 - Sept 22:   You're feeling bold and in control lately...go with it! You have more power than you realize, and can make the changes you want to see in your life. Get used to being in charge, like Durango is, in the dystopian adventure Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill. Read it, and be glad that you don't have to deal with an evil queen, cannibalistic bad guys, corrupt politicians, and a crew of misfits on Mars.

Libra  Sept 23 - Oct 22:   It's all about communication for you right now. Open up. Your friends and loved ones want to know what you're thinking. Speak your mind, but only to people you trust. Read Something to Blog About by Shana Norris to see what happens when Libby's private thoughts suddenly go very, very public.

Scorpio  Oct 23 - Nov 21:   Now is the time for you to use your brain but trust your gut. Listen to your intuition, follow your hunches, and go after the things you know you need. Read Lily Dale: Awakening by Wendy Corsi Staub and meet Calla, who uses her intuition and psychic visions to solve murders.

Sagittarius  Nov 22 - Dec 21:   Look out! There are surprises ahead -- sudden challenges, new adventures, and unexpected dangers. Read the fast-paced adventure Devil's Breath by David Gilman and be ready for anything (although hopefully you won't find yourself dodging assassins' bullets in Namibia.)

Capricorn  Dec 22 - Jan 19:   You have great ideas and amazing plans for the new year and they're all going to happen more quickly and easily than you expected. Dream big! And read the hilarious I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President by Josh Lieb, about a misfit boy's scheme to take over the world.

Aquarius  January 20 - Feb 18:   Your ability to motivate people is at an all-time high right now, thanks to the mass of exciting energy surrounding you. Be sure to use your powers for good, not evil, like Danica learns to do at a very special boarding school for exceptional teens in The Candidates, by Inara Scott. Read it and focus your energies.

Pisces  Feb 19 - March 20:   Don't let your worries run your life! Simply turn your back on the things that are bothering you and get back in touch with your inner cheerleader: pat yourself on the back, think about the people you love, and read Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick. Its main character, the ever-optimistic Amber Appleton, is a good role model for you now.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Author Yasmin Shiraz Takes On Retaliation

Author Yasmin Shiraz writes about the tough realities today's girls face, especially when it comes to peer pressure and fights. In her novel, Retaliation, 17-year-old Tashera is brutally attacked by a group of high school girls. Can Tashera, her mother, and her brother (who considers rejoining a gang to send a message) rise above their anger? Or, will they fuel the cycle of violence and retaliation?

We had a chance to ask this inspiring writer, filmmaker, and WedTV producer a few questions:


What motivated you to write Retaliation?

I visit schools and after-school programs conducting workshops on self-esteem, youth issues, teen pregnancy and the like. In one of my workshops, girl fights were brought up. I began to do additional research on girl fights, the fights on YouTube, and girl fights across the country. Once I started to do the research, I knew that I had to do a book that addressed girl fights and the retaliation that comes as a result of it.

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

Yasmin Shiraz
The feeling of helplessness, the feeling that nobody understands what you're going through -- those were all my genuine feelings from when I was a teenager. I incorporated a lot of my teen experiences in several of the characters in Retaliation. For Tashera's character, I drew on my personal experiences of having girls pick on me when I was in high school even when I hadn't done anything to them.  For Alexandra's character, I saw so many people in high school who wanted to fit in no matter what the cost. So, a lot of my feelings made it into the lives of the characters in Retaliation.

The characters face difficult and violent life-and-death situations. Are they modeled after your own experiences as a teenager or young adult?

When I was in 11th grade, I was attacked from behind as I was about to get into a car with this guy who liked me. I didn't know why this girl had pulled my head and my hair. Apparently, she was dating this guy or used to date this guy and didn't appreciate the fact that he wanted to drive me home after the dance. In the moment that she yanked the back of my head, I was overwhelmed with feelings of having to protect myself, but also being completely clueless as to why I was being attacked. Though I have never been jumped, per se, I've had experiences -- violent ones -- in which I've had to defend myself. I have a little bit of Tashera inside of me in that respect.  
Also, I wanted to show in Retaliation that the person who is fighting is not necessarily always the aggressor. I've been in fights in school, I've been suspended from school, but never have I been the aggressor. In situations like Tashera's, people often blame the victim and say, "She asked for it...." or, "She must have done something." Sometimes with girl fights, a girl doesn't like you, and she'll do everything she can to make your life miserable, including trying to beat you up.

Shiraz wrote the film
"Can She Be Saved?"
Were there times when you felt like retaliating? How did you handle it? 

I remember one time feeling like retaliating and that was with the girl who yanked my head and hair. She was wrong for that, and I was so angry about it. Me and my friends went to her school, and after a basketball game we were planning to beat her and her friends up. It's not my proudest moment. But she and her friends were so scared that they wouldn't leave the building. They stayed in the school and got the police so that we would leave. It was a good thing because I don't know what would have happened to me if I got a hold of the girl who yanked my head and hair...

Otherwise, I haven't had any other instances of feeling like I needed to retaliate. After high school, I didn't even have any more problems with girls or young women where I felt that I had to defend myself.

 Did you get along with your parents as a teen? Who else influenced you?

I got along with my parents as much as any other teen. My parents went through a divorce when I was a teenager so it was a little strange around my household for a while. Thankfully, I connected to women from church and my favorite teachers were mentors to me. Many times when I couldn't talk to my parents about issues, I would reach out to my mentors, and they were always there for me.

I also had two best friends when I was in high school. We went through everything with each other. We were as close as sisters. Their friendship sustained me through my high school years. I was also heavily influenced by music. Music was and still is therapy for me. I believe music can make the world a better place.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Great Books For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. today, we look to the newly released 2011 Coretta Scott King Book Awards, which honor fantastic African-American authors. One of our favorite writers, Walter Dean Myers, made this year's honor list with:


It seems like the only progress you make at Progress juvenile facility is moving from juvy jail to real jail. Sure, Reese wants out early. But is he supposed to just sit back and let his friend Toon get jumped? Reese gets a second chance when he's picked for the work program at a senior citizens' home. He doesn't mean to keep messing up, but it's not so easy -- at Progress or in life. One of the residents, Mr. Hooft, gives him a particularly hard time. If Reese can convince Mr. Hooft that he's a decent person, not a criminal, maybe he'll be able to convince himself, too.

Walter Dean Myers books often portray urban teenagers struggling with real life -- especially drug use, violence, and peer pressure. They're trying to find ways out of the problems they were born into. From his own real life, Myers understands what his characters are going through. He was raised in Harlem by foster parents and dropped out of high school. He also had a severe speech impediment -- so, he began to write as a way to express himself. Try it yourself. Writing is a great way to vent, to celebrate, or to just work through complicated stuff in your life.

We wouldn't even know where to start telling you about all of  Myers' other great books. For starters, check out these:

The Cruisers

 Fallen Angels

Street Love

Now, for all you graphic novel fans....

Yummy: The Last Days
of a Southside Shorty
Check out another Coretta Scott King honor book, Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri and and Randy Duburke. In this book, 11-year-old Roger is trying to make sense of his classmate Robert "Yummy" Sandifer's death. But first he has to make sense of Yummy's life.

Was Yummy a monster who'd just killed a little girl? Or, was he just another kid? As Roger digs, he finds more questions. Did Yummy really kill someone? And why do so many answers lead to the gang Roger's older brother belongs to?

This gritty depiction, based on a real murder in Chicago, might make you question your ideas about good and bad, right and wrong.

Remember to click on book titles to reserve them at your favorite library branch.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Almost Perfect" Tops 2011 Stonewall Book Awards

The Stonewall Children's and Young Adult Literature Awards are given to books relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experiences. This year's list includes lots of amazing books (click on any title to check it out of your favorite Charleston County Public Library).

The top winner is:

By Brian Katcher

Sage Hendricks is the new girl at Logan Witherspoon’s small-town school. Tall, unconventionally pretty, and a bit awkward, she appeals to Logan even at a time when he trusts no one. He's drawn to her intelligence and humor. But Sage’s life is a mystery -- until she reveals that she was born a boy. Outraged, Logan questions his own sexuality and cuts ties with his friend just when she needs him most. Can Logan accept and love Sage for who she is?

Author Brian Katcher also wrote Playing with Matches, about a high school junior who befriends a lonely, disfigured female classmate.

And the four Stonewall Honor books are....

When two teens, one gay and one straight, meet accidentally and discover that they share the same name, their lives become intertwined as one begins dating the other's best friend, who produces a play revealing his relationship with them both.
This raw, moving novel follows two teenagers -- one, a Mohawk-wearing 17-year-old violent misfit; the other, a gay 13-year-old cast out by his family -- hustling on the streets and trying to survive. This narrative is told in the alternating perspectives of their lives before and after the violent hate crime that changed both their futures. This tragic but ultimately inspirational journey of two polarized teens, their violent first meeting, and their peaceful reunion years later is an unforgettable story of survival and forgiveness.

Dennis is a bit surprised -- but not terribly upset -- to discover that he enjoys wearing dresses. The 12-year-old does, however, realize this is not the kind of revelation he wants to share with his truck-driving dad, his older brother or his friends on the school football team, where he is a star player. But these things have a way of getting out, and Dennis finds himself both exposed and expelled. Is this the end?

Terrified that his classmates will discover he's gay, high-school freshman Jamie decides his best cover is to start dating a girl. Even better, the beautiful and wealthy Celia expresses an interest in him. However, it evolves into a sexual interest that Jamie cannot reciprocate. But wait: Celia’s father is a doctor who develops behavior-modification drugs and is experimenting with one that will “cure” homosexuality. Should Jamie risk taking it?

Click on any titles to reserve them at your favorite Charleston County Public Library branch!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Best in Teen Fiction is Announced!

2011 Printz Winner 

The Michael L. Printz Awards are in! These are the biggies in young adult literature, so if you want to know what's hot, check out the top winner and the runner-ups. This year's awards are heavy on dark, haunting stories that will make you think. Click on the titles to get them free from your Charleston County Public Library.

The top award goes to (drumroll):

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Near a drowned New Orleans that's been ravaged by hurricanes and global warming, teen-aged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living. But when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he must decide whether to strip the ship of its wealth -- or rescue the girl. We've heard this futuristic thriller called the next Maze Runner and couldn't agree more! It will grip and you and not let you go.

Now, for the runner-ups:

2011 Printz Honor Books


The rugged Australian outback becomes Gemma’s prison after she is drugged and abducted by a handsome, obsessed stranger in a novel filled with searing imagery and archetypal characters. Over the time spent with her captor, Gemma’s appreciation of him develops…but is it real love, or Stockholm Syndrome?

Please Ignore Vera Dietz

At 18, Vera has spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie. Over the years, she's kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything. So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone. Will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

Author A.S. King also wrote The Dust of 100 Dogs in which a 17th Century pirate is cursed to live the lives of 100 dogs.


By Marcus Sedgwick

In this grim, chilling story set in the Arctic Circle, Sig finds his father’s frozen corpse as human predator Wolff arrives seeking retribution and a hidden Gold Rush treasure. 


Pierre Anthon’s nihilism causes his classmates to begin a search for life’s meaning in this bold, unsettling parable translated from Danish. 

Author Janne Teller has a fascinating story of her own: Educated as a macro economist, she's lived and worked with humanitarian and conflict resolution issues in Tanzania, Mozambique and Bangladesh. In 1995, she left her career with the United Nations to concentrate on her literature. We bet she has tons of amazing stories to tell.

Remember to click on any title to check these books out from your Charleston County Public Library!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hot movie news!

Have you seen the new, extended trailer for the movie I Am Number Four?    The movie opens February 18, 2011, stars the gorgeous Dianna Agron (from Glee) and the super hot Alex Pettyfer (more on him, later)

It's about this kid with extraordinary powers named John Smith (Pettyfer) who is on the run from ruthless enemies trying to destroy him. He's constantly changing his identity, moving from town to town, always the new kid with no ties to his past. When he settles in a small town in Ohio, John encounters unexpected, life-changing events including powerful new abilities, a connection to others who share his destiny, and even first love.  It's being produced by Michael Bay and Stephen Spielberg so expect lots of exciting action, huge explosions, cool special effects, and loads of publicity!

It's based on a book, also called I Am Number Four, written by "Pittacus Lore" (the pseudonym of James Frey and Jobie Huges) and some people are saying it's going to be the next "Twilight."   Have you read it yet?  We've heard rumors that this is going to be one of the rare times where the movie is even better than the book.  At any rate, people are going to be talking about it, so you may as well go ahead and read it now, so you can join in the conversation.  
Click on the title above to have a copy held at a CCPL branch near you. 

So, getting back to Alex Pettyfer...(did we mention that he's totally hot?)  He's also starring in another upcoming movie based on a YA book that we absolutely love:  Beastly by Alex Flinn.  The movie Beastly is set to open on March 18, 2011 and also stars Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen and Neil Patrick Harris.   It's a retelling of the classic fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast," but set in modern-day New York City and told from the Beast's point of view.

Don't wait, reserve your copy of Beastly now and read it before the movie comes out and all our copies are checked out!  
Just click on the title above to go to the CCPL catalog.

And don't miss the Beastly trailer: