Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

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Science + Fiction

There’s a new display in the Teen Space at the library – all about science and science fiction. If you’re into sci fi, you will know that while it is fiction and thus “made up” most of it has as its basis real science. Cold, hard science. Usually, even if the sci fi is based in a far future (which much sci fi is) and thus the author must rely on their imaginations to present the science that will be prevalent at that future time, what happens is not  too different from things we see today. Climate change, natural disasters, pandemics, genetic engineering, computer hacking, cyber-terrorism, and more: sounds like sci fi. And these are things you can hear, see and read in the news every day.

Delve into the science behind science fiction with these lists of non-fiction about real science, coupled with fiction which explores that real science in a made-up world. Whether you’re a bio geek, a hacker, an engineer or just a fan of a good story, you’ll find a book on this list to suit you.

Natural Disasters & Climate Change


 Genetic Engineering



Cover Blindness

What is cover blindness? Don’t you mean, “color blindness”?

No, I mean COVER blindness! This summer, YA books have banded together to ask you to ignore all the clues you usually rely on to pick books. The YA books decided they wanted you to try being “cover blind”: choose them based NOT on their cover art. You can’t see what book lies within the confines of the envelope until you check it out and take it home. Okay, you can open it in the library – but ONLY after  you’ve checked it out and made the commitment!

photo of covered books in YA area

Challenge yourself to go beneath the surface of book covers and possibly discover a great book you might not otherwise have picked up! All the cover blind books either feature a question that is at the heart of the book, or a one-sentence summary or hint of what the book is about. You choose which one speaks to you!

Read them while they’re hot! (And before May 8th)

In two short weeks, Shorewood will host four YA authors. Kiera Cass, Elizabeth Norris, Aprilynne Pike and Amy Tintera will be here to discuss their work including their brand new books, which are mostly hitting the shelves this week and next week. We’re getting so excited to meet all of these authors. Why not pick up some of their books before they’re here so you have lots of questions for them?!?!

the elite

4/23: The Elite by Kiera Cass – this is the sequel to last year’s The Selection. There’s a long waiting list for this one, so if you don’t get to read it before meeting Kiera Cass, you could always just buy it from Boswell Books on the night of the author visit.

In The Elite, the competition for the heart of Prince Maxon is still fierce. There are only six young ladies left in the running, and America finds herself more and more swept up in Maxon’s romantic ways. But she sees her old friend Aspen standing guard around the palace and can’t help but be overcome with memories of their time together. If she’s going to choose between the two, time is running out. Her decision gets all the more crucial as the violent rebels increase their fight and unexpected secrets come to light.

Is there going to be a third book? We’ll have to ask Kiera Cass when she’s here!

4/23: Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris – sequel to last year’s Unraveling, which we also just got in hardcover format!

Distracted by a moment with her crush, Janelleunbreakable is killed instantly when she doesn’t see a car coming. Mysterious Ben brings her back to life, unharmed. Driven by her own involvement in strange activities – and her FBI father’s possible involvement investigating a series of gruesome deaths that may be linked to Janelle’s experience – Janelle begins to pursue answers. What she finds is bigger than anything she could have imagined and will tie her to her mysterious savior across time and space. In Unbreakable, Ben has returned to his home and Janelle has no time to dwell on their lost love. When an Interverse agent shows up unexpectedly and fills Janelle in on a human trafficking plot in which Ben is the key suspect, she is forced to face her past and her future.

4/30: Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike – this is a stand-alone title, very different from Pike’s previous, more fantasy-driven work.

Jeff is the new kid in his school, which has it’s problems. It doesn’t really help that he’s the only one who can see the ghost of Kimberlee, a former classmate who died and can’t move forward into the afterlife until she has righted some wrongs from her life. Klepto Kimberlee must return everything she stole, and Ben agrees to help her. However, turning up unannounced and unexplained with stolen goods isn’t exactly good for a guy’s reputation and things go hilariously awry.

And coming soon: the debut title from debut author Amy Tintera that is sure to skyrocket her to popularity!

5/7: Reboot by Amy Tintera – this is a great sci fi novel with a serious kick that will definitely have us all eagerly anticipating Tintera’s next book.

Wren is one of many young people who died from a mysterious disease and were then “rebooted.” Reboots, as they’re known, come back stronger, better-looking, almost like genetically perfected humans. Because they also come back with less empathy and more aggression – depending on how long they were dead – they are confined to a special camp where they are trained to be ruthless soldiers. Wren commands respect from her fellow Reboots because of how long she was dead, but when Wren becomes inexplicably drawn to a new Reboot she begins to learn about the terrible fates of those who were dead for less time than her. She must use her position of power to uncover the truth and forge an escape for those she has come to trust and rely on.

New Books Highlight: Seeking Justice

Today I’ve got three very different, and yet not so different, books. Two are realistic, but feature main characters you couldn’t imagine interacting, and the other is a fantasy. What makes all three of them somewhat similar is that all three main characters are on a mission to find answers and set the world right however they can. Along the way, all three characters find that the definition of right and wrong is not all that clear, and their ideas of who is to blame for what went bad in their lives might be a little off, too.

Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskosdr bird

This one is in the running for my favorite book on 2013. If you love John Green, you need this book in your life. James Whitman loves 19th century American poet Walt Whitman, writes poems himself, is suffering from anxiety and depression, and talks to an imaginary pigeon therapist he calls Dr. Bird. His sister, Jorie, recently got kicked out by their abusive parents, whom James calls the Banshee (mom) and the Brute (dad). James is on a mission – in his own depressed, anxious way – to find out what injustice caused Jorie to get expelled from school and kicked out. It’s not that simple, of course, and James has a lot of wrongs in himself that he needs to work out along the way while helping Jorie.

Sneak Peek! “I yawp most mornings to irritate my father, the Brute.”(Text copyright © 2013 by Evan Roskos)

(FYI: “yawp” is a word that Whitman used in his most famous poem, “Song of Myself,” and means, basically, uttering a sound, a release of energy from within himself –

The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by Karen Finneyfrockcelia door

Think of Celia Door as Emily the Strange, but a character in a novel. Something happened to Celia to make her Celia the Dark, and she stomps into her freshman year wearing knee high black combat boots on a mission to right the wrong that was done. She seeks justice like it’s her job. But when she meets Drake, who has secrets and injustices of his own, Celia’s mission is compromised. Drake helps her understand the motives behind what she’s doing, and Celia is forced to choose between following through on what she thought was right and fighting for something bigger, friendship.

Sneak Peek! “At fourteen I turned Dark. Now I’m Celia the Dark. The first day of ninth grade, I walked twenty blocks from my house to Hershey High School in boots so thick, it looked like I grew three inches over the summer.” (Text copyright © 2013 by Karen Finneyfrock)

The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Liddellcadet

This is fantasy meets the kind of butt-kicking, justice-serving, right-doing strength you see in characters like Tris Prior (Divergent, Insurgent). Renee de Winter is a cadet training at the elite Academy of Tildor. She must fight hard to retain her spot in the Academy so she can become a soldier and serve her country. Tildor is rife with crime: two warring crime families seek to steal power from the young and inexperienced King, and when one crime boss goes too far, Renee and her friend Alec are thrust into a mission to fight for what’s right. Right and the law, however, are not necessarily one and the same in their corrupt country so their struggle is deep.

Sneak Peek! “Lady Renee de Winter turned her back to the parlor, where her father’s clerk counted gold crowns in to the visitor’s waiting palm. The coins’ melodic ring turned her stomach.” (Text copyright © 2013 by Alex Liddell)

Be a Bookface Model!

Yes, you read that correctly: bookface. Not Facebook. That’s something else entirely.

Bookface is Milwaukee Public Library’s super successful Summer Reading Program ad campaign that has gone on for the last few years. This year, they’re doing a county-wide search for beautiful bookish faces to be featured in their posters! You could be a bookface just like this:


How cool is this?!?!?!?!?!

To participate in the model search, start by checking out the models (MPL TAB members) featured on the MPL teen page or Teens of Milwaukee Public Library Facebook page. Simply take a photo of yourself with your face in a book – a library book! –  like the photos featured on the teen page and Facebook page, and submit it via email to or post it on the Facebook page. MPL TAB gives us some tips for creating a great bookface photo, based on their past experience:

  • Use a book you got at the library!
  • Ask your librarian for book suggestions.
  • Take the photo against a solid background, like a plain wall.
  • Patterns and colors are fine, but no clothing with logos or brand names.
  • Photos with 300 dpi resolution or higher are preferred.

(From the MPL TAB Bookface Model Search page,, accessed February 27, 2013)

Photos are being accepted now through March 28, 2013!

Read-to-Screen: Beautiful Creatures

AHHHHHH OMG! Beautiful Creatures THE MOVIE is hitting theaters everywhere this February. Just in time for your Valentine’s (or Gal-entine’s) movie date. Many of us go crazy over whether a movie does a great book justice. I feel like this one might do the book justice, but the book is pretty cinematic – from the moment you first step into the Deep South with its ominous weather and the even more ominous dreams of main character Ethan Wate – so it may be easy to make it into a great movie.

beautiful creatures

Here’s the scoop: Beautiful Creatures, out February 13, 2013. Who’s in it? This, I know, is key. Whose faces are going to take on the faces of the book characters you love? Ethan, our heart-throbby Southern misanthrope, will be played by relative unknown Alden Ehrenreich. He’s a little older than 16-year-old Ethan, so we’ll see if that truly works. Pale, mysterious, and beautiful Lena will be played by Alice Englert, another pretty unknown actress, hailing from New Zealand. The most well-known star to be seen in the cast is Emmy Rossum, of Phantom of the Opera fame, as Lena’s bad-girl cousin, Ridley. Also, Jeremy Irons will be Gatlin’s spooky-creepy Macon Ravenwood.

In advance of the movie, why not prowl the internet for all things Beautiful Creatures, re-read the books, and read other books that are similar, until you are well and truly excited!

  • Start with author Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s website. Here, you can learn all about the writing duo, plus link to more info on the books.
  • There are killer trailers and sneak peeks at the official website for the movie.
  • Have you read To Kill a Mockingbird? There’s not a lot of thematic or plot overlap (besides the element of overcoming prejudice) in that American classic and the Beautiful Creatures series, but it is the book that Ethan Wate refers to in the beginning of Beautiful Creatures. Read it and get closer to Mr. Wate…
  • And speaking of novels set in the south, check out some other Southern Gothics, like Texas Gothic and The Splendor Falls, both by Rosemary Clement-Moore, both of which feature characters with startling supernatural ability. Dying for more on the supernatural (and you know there’s no shortage of that!)? Go to The Calling by Kelley Armstrong and Misfit by Jon Skovron.


Best Adult Fiction for Teens: 2013 Alex Award Winners

Every year, when they are determining who wins the big prizes like the Newbery Award and the Caldecott Medal and the Printz Award, the committees of readers (made up of librarians, teachers, reviewers, etc) also determine some other important lists. One of these is the Alex Awards, which is an award given to ten great books originally published for adults that have special appeal to teen audiences. Why is this important? Because you don’t just read what’s in the YA section, of course! Often, the books that win the Alex Award feature teenage protagonists or are about topics that are particularly important to teens. And they always represent a great variety of great books!

So here are this year’s (2013) 10 best adult books for teen audiences, the Alex Award Winners:

Caring is Creepy by David Zimmerman – a dark story about twisted love.

Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman – an intricately told story of a girl growing up in poverty and hard times.

Juvenile in Justice by Richard Ross – a moving photo-documentary of juvenile incarceration centers.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – a geek-tastic fantasy of sorts involving a curious bookshop and the technology wiz who finds himself unraveling its secrets while working there.

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf – comics artist Backderf relates his life story, as a classmate of the infamous serial killer Jeffery Dahmer, in this graphic novel.

One Shot at Forever by Chris Ballard – a classic and true baseball story about a small town Illinois team that made it big.

Pure by Julianna Baggott – a post-apocalyptic/dystopian title to extend your obsession with those.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich – also a National Book Award winner, and technically part of a trilogy set on an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota, this is simply an incredible story.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – a story about family ties, love, and loss.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple – a funny mystery about Bee’s crazy mom, Bernadette, who goes missing.


2013 Awards for Awesome YA Books

Today is the day that the Youth Media Awards – overall term for all the awards given to books/audiobooks/films for kids and teens – are announced for the year! Every award has different criteria, and they’re all pretty interesting in their own right, but what really matters when it comes down to it is which titles and authors of great things from the last 12 months were honored this year. Here’s a look at several of the biggest YA awards, honoring literature, audiobooks, debut books, and non-fiction created with teen readers in mind.

Michael L. Printz Award For Excellence in Literature Written for Young Adultsin darkness

This year’s Printz goes to a relative underdog: In Darkness by Nick Lake. Set in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, this book is told from the point of view of Shorty, a teenager trapped under the rubble of a hospital, through flashbacks to his life growing up in the poor slums of Site Soleil. Partly historical fiction – Shorty’s visions while he is struggling to stay alive tell the story of the rebellion that freed Haiti from French rule in 1804 – and partly a socio-politically driven story of the current situation in Haiti, this is a dark and moving story worth reading.

(HONORS were given to: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Dodger by Terry Pratchett, and another not-widely-read book, The White Bicycle by Beverly Brenna.)

Odyssey Award

for best audiobook produced for children or young adults

The Odyssey is a cool award, honoring audiobooks for kids/teens that are well-produced (i.e. great sound quality) and well-narrated. How much does it suck to listen to a badly narrated book?!

This year’s winner is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, narrated by Kate Rudd (produced by Brilliance Audio). If you have not listened to this audiobook, do so immediately, even if you’ve read the book several times, because Rudd completely embodies Green’s way of storytelling. She just IS Hazel!

William C. Morris Award

for debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens

The winner of this award, which I featured last month on the blog, is Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. It’s gotten so many rave reviews, I’m not at all surprised with its win in this category!

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adultsbomb

The winner is Bomb: The Race to Build – and Steal – The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin.

The only thing to say about this one is that it is an AWESOME book if you’re at all into science, spies, American history, WWII history, or just really good stories.

More on other 2013 award winners in the next few days!

New Books Highlight: Chance Encounters

This week I picked out three new books – new books that are just DYING to be taken home and read – that are all about chance encounters and are all very different from each other. Don’t you just love that as a plot element? Think about it: The Fault in Our Stars, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Shine by Lauren Myracle…the list of books that hinge on wonderful chance encounters between two characters is practically endless! But then I started thinking, in some ways, aren’t all books about chance encounters in some ways? That’s deep.

Three Little Words by Sarah N. Harvey

Sid has grown up happy in a quiet, contented sort of way, on a remote island with loving foster parents who have never made him long for his real parents. When Fariza, a new young girl arrives and becomes part of his foster family, things begin to change for Sid. Then, in the midst of an otherwise normal summer, a stranger lands on the island with something to say. Sid’s mother and a half-brother he is just now learning about, have gone missing and he is compelled to help find them and reconnect with the family he might wish he never had.

Sneak Peek! ” Sid, this is Fariza.” Sid looks up at the sound of Megan’s voice. She is standing in the kitchen doorway, her hand resting lightly on a little girl’s head.” (Text copyright © 2012 Sarah N. Harvey)

After Hello by Lisa Mangum

Amateur photographer Sara thinks she is just accompanying her father on a totally regular trip to New York City until Sam wanders in front of her camera lens.  Intrigued by his strangeness, she agrees to accompany him as he wanders around the city on a series of missions, trading information and items for others. Along the way during their day-long journey around the city, they meet artists and other interesting people. Sara’s world is undeniably altered…

Sneak Peek! “I shouldn’t have noticed him. I wasn’t even looking in his direction at first.” (Text copyright © 2012 Colored Paper Clips)

Discovering Wes Moore by Wes Moore

At first glance, this title might sound like a pretty boring name for a memoir. Author Wes Moore discovers himself? Actually, it’s more interesting than that. By chance, author Wes Moore discovered another person with the same name as him, but a very different story. The author’s life wasn’t perfect: his father died, a move to a new city shook him up and he started skipping school and getting into trouble, but thanks to his own determination and his mother’s hard work and love, he excelled in life. When he was a successful senior in college, he read about a man named Wes Moore who was serving a life sentence for murder. Moore realized the story could have been his own. He contacted him and so began a strange friendship.

Sneak Peek! “Nikki and I were chasing each other around the living room. Every time she caught me I’d scream, but I loved every second. I was three.” (Text copyright © 2012 Wes Moore)