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  • Movies, Rachel

    Trailer Tuesday… almost

    24.02.15 | Permalink | Comments Off on Trailer Tuesday… almost

    It’s almost a Trailer Tuesday post, because I’m here to tell you about a movie, but it’s only “almost” because there actually isn’t a trailer yet. Oops. But that’s because this news is as fresh as can be!

    Cover from SyndeticsMe and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews was recently made into a movie – had you heard? I hadn’t, until I heard it won two of the biggest prizes at this year’s Sundance festival! It won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award in the Dramatic category it was entered in. Pretty impressive! The last movie to win both these awards was Whiplash, and that movie had 5 Oscar nominations!

    It might not be out for a while, considering there’s not even a teaser trailer available, but in the meantime you can reserve the book or search for cast interviews on Youtube.


  • Lists, Rachel, Sci Fi, Science!

    Travel through time (and space?)

    10.02.15 | Permalink | Comments Off on Travel through time (and space?)

    Time travel is one of my absolute favourite plot tropes, and it can be handled very differently from story to story. Sometimes more serious, sometimes less so. It’s also interesting to see how different interpretations deal with time continuity, and what happens when the past (or future) is altered. Here are a few time-travel picks which I hope you’ll enjoy!

    Syndetics book coverThe here and now / Ann Brashares.
    “Prenna and her doctor mom are not your average immigrants. No, they have immigrated to New York from the 2090s, a future of climate-change extremes and mosquito-borne plagues that wipe out entire families and civilizations. The few who have survived the plagues and the journey back to 2010 have been charged with two challenges: change the course of environmental history and assimilate into the culture without disclosing their origins or becoming intimate with the natives. Prenna knows her friendship with Ethan is red-flag behavior. When an elderly homeless man warns her that she and Ethan must prevent a murder on May 17, 2014 just days away she realizes she must defy the community and its counselors for civilization’s greater good.” (Booklist)

    Syndetics book coverThe 57 lives of Alex Wayfare / MG Buehrlen.
    “For as long as Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Vivid visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair. It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth; her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender — capable of traveling back in time to her past lives. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. And they will stop at nothing to make this life, her fifty-seventh, her last.” (Syndetics)

    Syndetics book coverTempest / Julie Cross.
    The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun. That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future. Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities. But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.” (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverA thousand pieces of you / Claudia Gray.
    Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him. Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.” (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverTimebound / Rysa Walker.
    “When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence. Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and Kate’s genetic ability to time-travel makes her the only one who can stop him. Risking everything, she travels to the Chicago World’s Fair to try to prevent the killing and the chain of events that follows. Changing the timeline comes with a personal cost, however—if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And regardless of her motives, does she have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?” (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverAfter Eden / Helen Douglas.
    “Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she’s hooked. On the face of it, he’s a typical American teenager. So why doesn’t he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn’t heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he’s taking in her. As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan’s bedroom – a biography of her best friend – written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose … and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.” (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverSteel / Carrie Vaughn.
    “Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure. The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate’s life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.” (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverTimeRiders / Alex Scarrow.
    “Liam O’Connor should have died at sea in 1912. Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010. Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2026. Yet moments before death, someone mysteriously appeared and said, ‘Take my hand …’ But Liam, Maddy and Sal aren’t rescued. They are recruited by an agency that no one knows exists, with only one purpose—to fix broken history. Because time travel is here, and there are those who would go back in time and change the past. That’s why the TimeRiders exist: to protect us. To stop time travel from destroying the world…” (Goodreads)


  • Books, Rachel

    Where in the world?

    03.02.15 | Permalink | Comments Off on Where in the world?

    Reading gives you the ability to go everywhere without going anywhere. Here are a number of books set in far-flung countries so that you can go armchair travelling! Perhaps they will inspire you to go there IRL? Or if something horrendous happens in the book, it may put you off for life. Choose carefully…

    Ireland:
    Syndetics book coverBog child / Siobhan Dowd.

    “The year is 1981, and the Troubles are close to home for 18-year-old Fergus, whose brother, an IRA member, has chosen to participate in the Long Kesh prison hunger strike. While digging peat with his Uncle Tally, Fergus discovers the body of a girl who might have been there for a long, long time. This discovery is complicated by two things: the peat they were digging is on the wrong side of the Irish border, and the girl has a noose around her neck.” (Library Journal)

    Switzerland:
    Syndetics book coverThis dark endeavor / Kenneth Oppel.

    In this prequel to Mary Shelley’s gothic classic, Frankenstein, 16-year-old Victor Frankenstein begins a dark journey that will change his life forever. Victor’s twin, Konrad, has fallen ill, and no doctor is able to cure him. Unwilling to give up on his brother, Victor enlists his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and best friend Henry on a treacherous search for the ingredients to create the forbidden Elixir of Life. Impossible odds, dangerous alchemy and a bitter love triangle threaten their quest at every turn. Victor knows he must not fail. But his success depends on how far he is willing to push the boundaries of nature, science, and love—and how much he is willing to sacrifice.” (Goodreads)

    Denmark:
    Syndetics book coverNothing / Janne Teller ; translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken.

    When Pierre-Anthon realizes there is no meaning to life, the seventh-grader leaves his classroom, climbs a tree, and stays there. His classmates cannot make him come down, not even by pelting him with rocks. So to prove to Pierre-Anthon that life has meaning, the children decide to give up things of importance. The pile starts with the superficial—a fishing rod, a new pair of shoes. But as the sacrifices become more extreme, the students grow increasingly desperate to get Pierre-Anthon down, to justify their belief in meaning.” (Goodreads)

    Iceland:
    Syndetics book coverThief eyes / Janni Lee Simner.

    “After her mother mysteriously disappears, sixteen-year-old Haley convinces her father to take her to Iceland, where her mother was last seen. There, amidst the ancient fissures and crevices of that volcanic island, Haley meets gorgeous Ari, a boy with a dangerous side who appoints himself her protector. When Haley picks up a silver coin that entangles her in a spell cast by her ancestor Hallgerd, she discovers that Hallgerd’s spell and her mother’s disappearance are connected to a chain of events that could unleash terrifying powers and consume the world. Haley must find a way to contain the growing fires of the spell–and her growing attraction to Ari.” (Syndetics summary)

    Ecuador:
    Syndetics book coverThe queen of water / Laura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango.

    “Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indígenas, it is not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called a longa tonta—stupid Indian—by members of the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her village to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds.” (Goodreads)

    Indonesia:
    Syndetics book coverSea / Heidi R. Kling.

    “Still haunted by nightmares of her mother’s death, 15-year-old Sienna Jones travels to Indonesia with her father’s relief team to help tsunami orphans with their post traumatic stress disorder–something Sienna knows about. But the last thing she expects is to fall for Deni, a brooding Indonesian boy who lives at the orphanage. When Deni hears a rumor that his father may be alive, Sienna doesn’t think twice about running away with him to the epicenter of the disaster. Unfortunately, what they find there could break both their hearts.” (Adapted from Goodreads)

    Canada:
    Syndetics book coverDust / Arthur Slade.

    “Seven-year-old Matthew disappears one day on a walk into Horshoe, a dust bowl farm town in Depression-era Saskatchewan. Other children go missing just as a strange man named Abram Harsich appears in town. He dazzles the townspeople with the promises of a rainmaking machine. Only Matthew’s older brother Robert seems to be able to resist Abram’s spell, and to discover what happened to Matthew and the others.” (Goodreads)

    Czech Republic:
    Syndetics book coverDaughter of smoke & bone / Laini Taylor.

    “An art student in Prague who was raised by demons, 17-year-old Karou has many questions about her past. The appearance of a gorgeous male angel to whom she feels connected adds to her confusion and propels her on a quest to find answers about her heritage, rescue her demon family, and understand where she belongs.” (School Library Journal)


  • Rachel, Top 10

    There’s something about Hannah…

    20.01.15 | Permalink | Comments Off on There’s something about Hannah…

    This week’s roundup features protagonists all by the name of Hannah. If that’s you (and you like to live vicariously through books) then jackpot! It was quite fun to round these up, so I’d like to do more collections with different names. If you’d like me to do a feature using YOUR name, leave a comment below and I’ll see what I can come up with!

    Syndetics book coverAt the sign of the Sugared Plum / Mary Hooper.

    “It is 1665 and Hannah is full of excitment at the prospect of moving to London to help her sister Sarah in her sweetmeats shop. But bubonic plague is taking hold of London and Hannah’s excitment soon turns to terror as the unstoppable plague spreads throughout the city. (adapted from Syndetics)
    This book even includes recipes for seventeenth century sweetmeats!

    Syndetics book coverSometimes it happens / Lauren Barnholdt.

    “This novel opens on the first day of Hannah’s senior year, but the story really starts on the last day of her junior year. That’s when Hannah not only gets dumped by her boyfriend, Ryan, but she also finds out her best friend, Ava, is going to be gone for the entire summer. But Ava’s boyfriend, Noah, is definitely around he snags Hannah a job at the diner where he works. Hannah and Noah move from coworkers, to friends….and one night, to something more. Now it’s back to school, where Hannah will see Ryan, Ava, and Noah all in one place. Over the course of the day secrets and betrayals are revealed, and alliances are broken and reformed. In the end, Hannah will learn a lot about love, friendship…and herself.” (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverThe protected / Claire Zorn.

    “Hannah’s world is in pieces and she doesn’t need the school counsellor to tell her she has deep-seated psychological issues. With a seriously depressed mum, an injured dad and a dead sister, who wouldn’t have problems? Hannah should feel terrible but for the first time in ages, she feels a glimmer of hope and isn’t afraid anymore. Is it because the elusive Josh is taking an interest in her? Or does it run deeper than that? In a family torn apart by grief and guilt, one girl’s struggle to come to terms with years of torment shows just how long old wounds can take to heal.” (Back cover)

    Syndetics book coverPaper valentine / Brenna Yovanoff.

    “The sleepy, small-town community Hannah Wagnor grew up in used to feel safe, but now, during a record-breaking July heat wave, a serial killer is targeting young girls. Depressed since her friend Lillian’s death six months earlier, the 16-year-old goes through the motions of daily life, with Lillian’s ghost a constant presence at her side. As more bodies are discovered, Hannah begins to see more ghosts-those of the murdered girls. Investigating the deaths, she begins to wonder how much she really knows about Finny Boone, the cute bad boy she’s known forever but is only just beginning to understand.” (School Library Journal)

    Syndetics book coverZombie blondes / Brian James.

    “From the moment Hannah Sanders arrived in town, she felt there was something wrong. A lot of houses were for sale, and the town seemed infected by an unearthly quiet. And then, on Hannah’s first day of classes, she ran into a group of cheerleaders—the most popular girls in school. The odd thing was that they were nearly identical in appearance: blonde, beautiful, and deathly pale. But Hannah wants desperately to fit in—regardless of what her friend Lukas is telling her: if she doesn’t watch her back, she’s going to be blonde and popular and dead—just like all the other zombies in this town…” (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverSomething, maybe / Elizabeth Scott.

    “Everyone thinks their parents are embarrassing, but Hannah knows she’s got them all beat. Her dad made a fortune showcasing photos of pretty girls and his party lifestyle all over the Internet, and her mom was once one of her dad’s girlfriends and is now the star of her own website. After getting the wrong kind of attention for way too long, Hannah has mastered the art of staying under the radar…and that’s just how she likes it. Of course, that doesn’t help her get noticed by her crush. Hannah’s sure that gorgeous, sensitive Josh is her soul mate. But trying to get him to notice her; wondering why she suddenly can’t stop thinking about another guy, Finn; and dealing with her parents make Hannah feel like she’s going crazy. Yet she’s determined to make things work out the way she wants—only what she wants may not be what she needs… (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverBunheads : a novel / by Sophie Flack.

    “As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet. But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah’s universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other “bunheads” in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life?” (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverLove by the morning star / Laura L. Sullivan.

    “Mistaken for one another when they are sent to the grand English country estate of Starkers on the brink of World War II, Hannah, a distant relative hoping to be welcomed by the family, and Anna, sent to spy for the Nazis, both unexpectedly fall in love.” (Syndetics)

     

    Syndetics book coverA respectable girl / Fleur Beale.

    “The story of Hannah’s search for her own identity and for the truth about the mother she has never known. Her eruption into the life of an aristocratic English family causes major disturbances, and she needs all her stubborn independence to survive. Set in New Zealand and England.” (Syndetics)

     

    Syndetics book coverHannah / Kathryn Lasky.

    “In 1899, a fifteen-year-old orphan named Hannah obtains employment as a servant in the home of one of Boston’s wealthiest families, where she meets a noted portrait painter who seems to know things about her that even she is not aware of, and when she accompanies the family to their summer home in Maine, she feels an undeniable pull to the sea.” (Syndetics)


  • Books, Comics, cute animals awww, Rachel

    Cool dogs!

    13.01.15 | Permalink | Comments Off on Cool dogs!

    Have you seen Cool Dog Group on Facebook? It’s a place to post pictures of dogs doing cool things, like riding a skateboard, wearing a cap, or just bein’ cute. It’s a closed group but it has 30k+ members, so you can request to join to view more cool dogs! While you wait for membership approval, here’s a list of great books featuring cool dogs (dogs are inherently cool anyway, don’t you think?)

    Syndetics book coverThe story of us / Deb Caletti.
    “Eighteen-year-old Cricket’s mother has left a trail of broken relationships behind her, but this time she’s found a “good guy.” Cricket, however, fears that her mother won’t go through with her marriage plans. Indeed, the week leading up to the wedding, as family and friends arrive at a large coastal inn, is fraught with spoiled soon-to-be stepsisters, fighting dogs, and the sudden divorce of the groom’s parents. Complications arise for Cricket involving her own love life, her beloved dog Jupiter, and her mother’s reluctance to marry.” (adapted from Syndetics)

    Syndetics book coverNotes from the dog / Gary Paulsen.
    “Fifteen-year-old Finn is a loner, living with his dad and his amazing dog, Dylan. This summer he’s hoping for a job where he doesn’t have to talk to anyone except his pal Matthew. Then Johanna moves in next door. She’s 10 years older, cool, funny, and she treats Finn as an equal. Dylan loves her, too. Johanna’s dealing with breast cancer, and Matthew and Finn learn to care for her, emotionally and physically. When she hires Finn to create a garden, his gardening ideas backfire comically. But Johanna and the garden help Finn discover his talents for connecting with people.” (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverLaika / Nick Abadzis.
    “Laika was the abandoned puppy destined to become Earths first space traveler in the Soviets Sputnik program. This is her journey. Nick Abadzis masterfully blends fiction and fact in the intertwined stories of three compelling lives. Along with Laika, there is Korolev, once a political prisoner, now a driven engineer at the top of the Soviet space program, and Yelena, the lab technician responsible for Laika’s health and life.” (adapted from Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverThe dust of 100 dogs / A.S. King.
    “In the late 17th century, famed teenage pirate Emer Morrisey was slain and cursed with the dust of 100 dogs, dooming her to live 100 lives as a dog before returning to a human body–with her memories intact. When she finally returns to life as a human being and has only one thing on her mind–to recover the treasure she had buried in Jamaica three hundred years before.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

    Syndetics book coverSorta like a rockstar : a novel / by Matthew Quick.
    “Although seventeen-year-old Amber Appleton is homeless, living in a school bus with her unfit mother, she is a relentless optimist who visits the elderly at a nursing home, teaches English to Korean Catholic women with the use of rhythm and blues music, and befriends a solitary Vietnam veteran and his dog, but eventually she experiences one burden more than she can bear.” (Syndetics summary)

    Syndetics book coverMy boyfriends’ dogs : the tales of Adam and Eve and Shirley / Dandi Daley Mackall
    “On a stormy night in St. Louis, Bailey Daley finds refuge in an after-hours diner. Bailey, a girl with three dogs in tow, wearing a soaking-wet prom dress, obviously has a story to tell. See, she wants what every girl wants from her boyfriend: enthusiasm, loyalty, and unconditional love.” (Syndetics summary)

     

    Syndetics book coverStay with me / Paul Griffin.
    “Fifteen-year-olds Mack, a high school drop-out but a genius with dogs, and Cece, who hopes to use her intelligence to avoid a life like her mother’s, meet and fall in love at the restaurant where they both work, but when Mack lands in prison he pushes Cece away and only a one-eared pit-bull can keep them together.” (Syndetics)


  • Books, GLBT, Lists, Rachel

    Short reads for the beach!

    06.01.15 | Permalink | Comments Off on Short reads for the beach!

    Welcome to 2015 here on the Teen Blog! We hope you’ve had a fabulous holiday time & new year, maybe you’ve made some resolutions? If you have, let us know in the comments below! For now, we’ve gathered a few short’n’sweet treats for you, the perfect picks for chucking in your bag to read in a day on the beach. All these books are around 200 pages or less, but they all sound thrilling in their own way. We hope you can find something to suit your tastes, or perhaps a new direction in which to take your reading direction in 2015? Have fun!

    Syndetics book coverGenesis / Bernard Beckett

    Anax thinks she knows history. Her grueling all-day Examination has just begun, and if she passes, she’ll be admitted into the Academy—the elite governing institution of her utopian society. But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she’s been taught isn’t the whole story. And the Academy isn’t what she believes it to be.” (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverDear Zoe, / Philip Beard

    “When 15-year-old Tess DeNunzio loses her stepsister in a freak hit-and-run accident on September 11, 2001, she chronicles her family’s recovery in an epistolary novel that is a tribute to the power of love to heal. Tess struggles with her own ambivalent feelings of guilt. As the first-year anniversary of the Twin Towers collapse and Zoe’s death approaches, the teen dreads the day.” (Adapted from School Library Journal)

    Syndetics book coverMiles from ordinary / Carol Lynch Williams

    “Thirteen-year-old Lacey wakes to a beautiful summer morning excited to begin her new job at the library, just as her mother is supposed to start work at the grocery store. Lacey hopes that her mother’s ghosts have finally been laid to rest; after all, she seems so much better these days, and they really do need the money. But as the hours tick by and memories come flooding back, a day full of hope spins terrifyingly out of control…” (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverAu revoir, crazy European chick / Joe Schreiber.

    “It’s prom night—and Perry just wants to stick to his own plan and finally play a much-anticipated gig with his band in the Big Apple. But when his mother makes him take Gobija Zaksauskas—their quiet, geeky Lithuanian exchange student—to the prom, he never expects that his ordinary high school guy life will soon turn on its head. Perry finds that Gobi is on a mission, and Perry has no other choice but to go along for a reckless ride through Manhattan’s concrete grid with a trained assassin in Dad’s red Jag.” (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverBoy meets boy / David Levithan.

    “When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.” (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverFirst day on earth / Cecil Castellucci.

    “Mal, a high school loner who has all but withdrawn from the world, believes that aliens abducted him four years earlier in the California desert, where he disappeared for three days. And he wouldn’t mind if they came back for him. It’s easy to see why Mal would want to escape Earth: his mother has a drinking problem, his father abandoned them six years ago, and he’s ostracized and taunted at school. When Mal meets a strange man at a support group for alien abductees, Hooper surprises Mal by claiming to be an extraterrestrial. Is Hooper insane–or Mal’s best chance for getting off the planet?” (Publisher Weekly)

    Syndetics book coverThe espressologist : a novel / by Kristina Springer.

    “Seventeen-year-old barista Jane Turner has this theory that you can tell a lot about a person by their regular coffee drink. So it’s not a totally crazy idea when Jane starts hooking up some of her friends based on their coffee orders. But when her boss, Derek, gets wind of Jane’s Espressology, he makes it an in-store holiday promotion, promising customers their perfect matches for the price of their favorite coffee. Things are going better than Derek could ever have hoped, so why is Jane so freaked out?” (adapted from Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverTen miles past normal / Frances O’Roark Dowell.

    “Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much. It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything.” (adapted from Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverThe whale rider / Witi Ihimaera.

    “Eight-year-old Kahu craves her great-grandfather’s love and attention. But he’s focused on his duties as chief of Ngati Konohi in Whangara, on the East Coast-a tribe that claims descent from the legendary ‘whale rider’. In every generation since the whale rider, a male has inherited the title of chief. But now there is no male heir-there’s only Kahu. She should be next in line for the title, but her great-grandfather is blinded by tradition and sees no use for a girl. Kahu will not be ignored. And in her struggle she has a unique ally: the whale rider himself, from whom she has inherited the ability to communicate with whales. (Syndetics)

    Syndetics book coverAlaska / Sue Saliba.

    “When Mia follows her sister halfway across the world to Alaska, she discovers that love can be found in the most unexpected and beautiful of places. But can Mia find the courage to follow her heart in Alaska? And what if the one you love is not all that you wish them to be?” (Syndetics)


  • Grimm, Librarian's Choice, Lists, Rachel

    Librarians’ choices of 2014 – the best of the best!

    16.12.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Librarians’ choices of 2014 – the best of the best!

    Lots of neat books have been released in the past 12 months, and we’ve rounded up our very favourites of the bunch just for you. If you’re going to read anything from this year, give these a go.

    Read right to the bottom for a chance to WIN!

    Book cover from SyndeticsGrimm:

    Mortal Heart, Robin LaFevers – I have gone on a lot about the assassin nun books, but they are really good, honestly. In Mortal Heart Annith – who has taken a back seat in the previous two books – is desperately keen to prove herself as an assassin, but she’s foiled by the abbess’ plans for her to take over as the new convent seer. Annith must choose between being locked in a room in the convent for the rest of her life, or going against her vows and striking out on her own in search of the truth (which would you rather?).

    Book cover from SyndeticsI noticed my favourite book of last year was Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox, so I have a theme going now.

    I also liked:

    Blue lily, lily blue, Maggie Stiefvater – can’t say a lot about this book without ruining everything and spoiling things, except to say you should definitely read it, having first read The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves. Don’t let the title (which I’m not a huge fan of) put you off.

    Book cover from SyndeticsRachel:

    I too loved Blue Lily, Lily Blue and I highly, highly recommend The Raven Cycle series as a whole.

    I also loved Noggin by John Corey Whaley which I picked up because I loved his first book Where Things Come Back. Noggin is about 16-year-old Travis Coates who dies, but is reanimated 5 years later with his cryogenically frozen head attached to a new body. Sounds goofy, but it’s really rather lovely and insightful.

    Book cover from SyndeticsA huge hit for me was Half Bad by Sally Green! I love a good unreliable narrator, and boy was Nathan unreliable. Nathan is a half-black, half-white (good/bad) witch, and is treated abysmally for it by everyone in the magical world. Largely because his black witch father is the most dark and terrible witch the world has ever known. And Nathan must find his father before his birthday, or he may lose his powers forever. It’s the first in a trilogy, and the next book, Half Wild, is due out in 2015.

    Book cover from SyndeticsMax:

    I really enjoyed Atlantia by Ally Condie! Rio lives in the underwater city of Atlantia, but has always dreamed of leaving. But her sister makes a decision unexpectedly which leaves Rio stranded and forced to find a way to save Atlantia from destruction.

    Although it didn’t come out this year, I also really enjoyed reading the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield.

    Monty:

    Once again, all predictably comics, not that I don’t read other stuff, really, y’know, books with print and all that, but these are some of my favourites from this year!

    Book cover from SyndeticsSilver Surfer 1: new dawn by Dan Slott

    Gently pokes fun at the po-faced Silver Surfer we know and respect with whacked out illustration by talented iZombie and Madman illustrator Michael Allred . Maybe, we can actually enjoy his silver headed company now?

    Afterlife with Archie by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

    This particular episode of the Archie stable of stories convincingly combines Riverdale’s famous teens, grubby colours with noir shading and… Zombies. Maybe cashing in on the undead thing somewhat but much better than it sounds.

    Book cover from SyndeticsDaredevil volume 2 by Mark Waid

    Mark Waid’s recent run on Daredevil has been like taking an uncomplicated step back in time. To when super heroes had best friends named Foggy, where Ant-man might guest star and fight for the brain of a dangerously sick DD and where danger and gloom might appear, but only fleetingly, to be cleverly resolved in an optimistic and rounded conclusion. Ah, old fashioned comic satisfaction.

    Book cover from SyndeticsFF Vol. 2: Family freakout by Matt Fraction

    “As the kids in the FF start growing apart, their adult supervision seems to be having some issues of their own. And when Dr. Doom ascends and the Council of Dooms girds for battle, it’s the eve of a war between the Future Foundation and Latveriaa. But is it also the beginning of the end for the fractious FF?” (Syndetics)

    Check out volume 1 if you haven’t already!

    Book cover from SyndeticsThis one summer by Mariko Tamaki

    Every summer Rose and her parents go to a beach house, and Rose gets to hang out there with her friend Windy. But this summer Rose’s parents won’t stop fighting, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other, because this summer won’t be like all the others.

    Ligia:

    Book cover from SyndeticsBook cover from SyndeticsI had a few favourites this year, including Minders by Michele Jaffe, Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano, The winners curse by Marie Rutkoski, The geography of you and me by Jennifer E. Smith & Nil by Lynne Matson.

    Book cover from SyndeticsMinders by Michele Jaffe

    “Sadie Ames has been accepted to the prestigious Mind Corps Fellowship program, where she’ll spend six weeks as an observer inside the head of Ford, a troubled boy with a passion for the crumbling architecture of the inner city. There’s just one problem: Sadie’s fallen in love with him. Ford Winters is haunted by the murder of his older brother, James. As Sadie begins to think she knows him, Ford does something unthinkable. Now, back in her own body, Sadie must decide what is right and what is wrong… and how well she can really ever know someone…” (Syndetics)

    Book cover from SyndeticsThe geography of you and me by Jennifer E. Smith

    “Sparks fly when sixteen-year-old Lucy Patterson and seventeen-year-old Owen Buckley meet on an elevator rendered useless by a New York City blackout. Soon after, the two teenagers leave the city, but as they travel farther away from each other geographically, they stay connected emotionally, in this story set over the course of one year.” (Syndetics)

    Book cover from SyndeticsNil by Lynne Matson

    “On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days to escape, or you die. Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought… and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.” (Goodreads)

    Book cover from SyndeticsBook cover from SyndeticsRaissa:

    Although they didn’t come out in 2014, I really enjoyed the Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork.

    Book cover from SyndeticsRaewyn:

    Julie Kagawa is one of my favourite authors and I have just finished reading Talon (could one of your closest friends be a dragon in disguise?). I liked it and would probably say loved it, except that I had read a series by Sophie Jordan about the same subject and similar scenarios (Firelight series) so it already felt a little familiar. Both were very good though!

    Book cover from SyndeticsOttilie:

    It wasn’t released this year (in fact, it came out in 1989!) but I absolutely adored Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block. It is so dreamy and fairy-tale-like, but so contemporary and doesn’t firmly cement itself in the 80s. The book has such a dreamy, hazy yet vibrant atmosphere and I lived in the haze of it for a few weeks after finishing it!

    Debbie:

    Book cover from SyndeticsBook cover from SyndeticsI just finished The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey and I thought it was great! Plus, it’s being made into a movie soon, so I’m excited about that. I also enjoyed the Shadowfell series by Juliet Marillier — Shadowfell, Raven Flight and The Caller.

    Book cover from SyndeticsBelinda:

    I really enjoyed Like No Other by Una LaMarche from this year. Set in Brooklyn, it’s about a comedy/drama about a disapproved-upon teenage romance between a Hasidic Jew girl and a Black boy set contemporarily. There is a history of race riots between the two communities which adds another layer beyond the religious conflict. Both main characters could be described as Manic Pixie Dream Girl/Boys. I’d highly recommend it!

    Sylvia:

    Book cover from SyndeticsI Am Rebecca, by Fleur Beale was very good. It’s the follow up to her novel I Am Not Esther which came out 10 years ago.

    “When she turns 14, Rebecca will find out who she is to marry. All the girls in her strict religious sect must be married just after their 16th birthday. Her twin sister Rachel is delighted when Saul, the boy she loves, asks to marry her. Malachi asks for Rebecca. She believes him to be a good and godly man. But will Rebecca find there is a dark side to the rules which have kept her safe? What does the future hold? Can the way ahead be so simple when the community is driven by secrets and hidden desires?” (Syndetics)

    So that’s our roundup of 2014 favourites! It is by no means complete, just some of our faves that sprung to mind. We would love for you to share with us your favourite books of 2014, whether they were actually released this year or not. Let us know in the comments below! We will pick a commenter on this post to win an audiobook of Cassandra Clare’s City of Heavenly Fire so tell us your top picks!


  • Lists, Rachel

    It’s time for a summer romance

    09.12.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on It’s time for a summer romance

    It’s officially summer and to kick off the season we’ve got some appropriately fluffy summer romance novels for you. If you want your heartstrings tugged – in summer! – you’ve come to the right place.

    Syndetics book coverAlong for the ride, Sarah Dessen

    “It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents divorce, or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend the summer with her dad and his new family in a charming beach town. A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she has been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.” (Syndetics)

    Syndetics book coverTwenty boy summer, Sarah Ockler

    According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie–she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.” (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverGreat, Sara Benincasa

    “Naomi Rye usually dreads spending the summer with her socialite mother in East Hampton. This year is no different. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the teenagers who have been summering (a verb only the very rich use) together for years. But Naomi finds herself captivated by her mysterious next-door neighbor, Jacinta. But Jacinta’s carefully constructed world is hiding something huge, a secret that could undo everything. And Naomi must decide how far she is willing to be pulled into this web of lies and deception before she is unable to escape.

    Based on beloved classic The Great Gatsby, Great has all the drama, glitz, and romance with a terrific modern (and scandalous) twist to enthrall readers.

    Syndetics book coverOne man guy, Michael Barakiva

    “When it appears that Alek is going to fall off the Honor Track at school, the 14-year-old’s strict Armenian parents, for whom education is of paramount importance, insist he go to summer school. Little do they or he know that it will be a life-changing experience. For it is there that he meets Ethan, who epitomizes cool. To Alek’s amazement, the two become friends and then fall in love. But when Alek’s parents predictably find the two making out, they ground him and forbid him to see Ethan again. Surely, this can’t end well. Or can it?” (Booklist)

    Syndetics book coverTo all the boys I’ve loved before, Jenny Han

    “Lara Jean writes plenty of love letters, but she never sends them. It’s just her way of moving on from a crush. When her secret box of letters goes missing and she discovers they’ve been mailed including one to her sister’s ex-boyfriend Lara Jean has to come face-to-face with her past and in the process learn more about her future.” (Booklist)

     

    Syndetics book coverTeen idol, Meg Cabot

    When teenage heartthrob Luke Stryker shows up at a small-town Indiana high school to do research for a movie role, he persuades junior Jenny Greenley to use her considerable talents to try to change things at school for the better.” (Goodreads)


  • Isn't that cool?, Rachel

    Pay for your fines with cans!

    08.12.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Pay for your fines with cans!

    cansFrom the 8th to 21st of December you can donate a 410g can of food at the library to have $3.00 taken off your overdue fines.

    All will be donated to local food banks, so make sure the food is suitable for human consumption (so no cat food!) and the cans are not damaged or rusty.

    You can donate as many cans as you like but once your applicable overdue fines have been cleared, no credit or cash will be due.

    The amnesty only applies to fines, not to fees or charges, lost or damaged books or accounts already lodged with debt collection agencies

    So let your fines help someone else this Christmas! You can help us help others (▰˘◡˘▰)


  • Classic novels, Graphic Novels, Lists, Rachel, zombies

    Show me your teeth!

    18.11.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Show me your teeth!

    Hello! Apologies for my absence over the last couple of weeks, I was busy getting some of my wisdom teeth taken out. I wouldn’t recommend it as a lifestyle choice, but it’s not so bad in the long run. To honour of my loss of wisdom (and teeth) I thought I would feature some toothy books, ranging from orthodontic problems to toothy beasties. Sink your teeth in!

    Cover courtesy of SyndeticsSmile, Raina Telgemeier

    “Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.” (Goodreads)

    Cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhite Fang, Jack London

    “In the desolate, frozen wilds of northwest Canada, White Fang, a part dog, part wolf cub soon finds himself the sole survivor of a litter of five. In his lonely world, he soon learned to follow the harsh law of the North – kill or be killed. But nothing in his young life prepared him for the cruelty of the bully Beauty Smith, who buys White Fang from his Indian master and turns him into a vicious killer – a pit dog forced to fight for money. Will White Fang ever know the kindness of a gentle master or will he die a fierce deadly killer?” (Goodreads)

    Cover courtesy of SyndeticsDracula, Bram Stoker

    “Jonathan Harker is sent by his law firm to Castle Dracula to discuss business with Transylvania noble Count Dracula. His nightmare experience there is just the start of a macabre chain of events. Harker soon finds himself in a race against time to free his wife, Mina, and other souls who are in thrall to the evil count. Dracula must be destroyed at all costs…” (Syndetics summary)

    Cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan

    “In Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best, and the fence that protects her village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth must remain intact. After fence is breached, Mary’s world is thrown into chaos, and she must choose between her village and her future.” (Syndetics summary)

     
    Cover courtesy of SyndeticsChomp, Carl Hiaasen

    “Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he’s grown up with all manner of critters, but his father is the unpredictable one. When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called “Expedition Survival!”, Wahoo figures he’ll have to do a bit of wrangling himself — to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show’s boneheaded star, before the shoot is over. And Wahoo’s acquired a shadow named Tuna — a girl who’s sporting a shiner courtesy of her old man and needs a place to hide out. They’ve only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then Tuna’s dad shows up with a gun…” (Adapted from Goodreads)

    Cover courtesy of SyndeticsSwamplandia!, Karen Russell

    “The Bigtree alligator wrestling dynasty is in decline, and Swamplandia!, its island home and gator-wrestling theme park, is swiftly being encroached upon by a competitor. To save her family, Ava must journey on her own to a perilous part of the swamp called the Underworld.” (Syndetics summary)


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