Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Search options

Teen Blog

Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Search results: "youth night" Page 1 of 2

Youth Nights Come to Karori Library!

You heard it here first, folks! After a successful trial run during Out On The Shelves in June, our popular Youth Nights are coming to Karori Library on the regular!

Starting this Saturday the 20th of August, Karori Library will be open after hours, from 5.00 – 8.00pm, but only if you’re a teen. Bring along your student ID to prove you’re over 14, and the fun shall commence. Our Youth Nights are LGBTQIA+ inclusive and we welcome folks of all stripes 🙂

via GIPHY

If you’ve been to one of these at Waitohi, you know the drill — there’s free pizza, gaming, music, crafts, anime, VR (can you beat the librarians at Beat Saber? Only time will tell…), chill vibes, maybe a spot of D&D or so, and oh so much more! (And did we mention the free pizza?)

We are just so extremely excited to be starting a new season of Youth Night at Karori Library. Who’s to say what Mischief, Hijinks, and General Tomfoolery we might get up to at the library after hours? Some of our favourite episodes from Season Waitohi include:

  • The one where we spontaneously held a wedding (don’t worry, it was fully platonic, even if there was cake. And fancy dress.)
  • The one where we accidentally built a pirate ship out of cardboard boxes and hope (miraculously, it stayed up in the library for like three weeks!)
  • The one where we did a good ol’ fashioned sleepover (complete with bedtime stories of bad Harry Potter fan-fiction, a pot-luck dinner, watching Cats (the bad one), and several rounds of Among Us IRL)
  • The one where we forgot to plan anything so we just sat around eating pizza and ranking the characters of classic ’90s cartoon Gargoyles on a scale according to their relative hotness (Goliath and Demona came first, obviously)

What will Youth Night Season Karori bring? Well, that’s up to you to decide. Email karori.youthnight@wcc.govt.nz if you’d like more info — otherwise, we’ll see you there!

Rainbow Youth Night at Karori Library

Are you a pizza connoisseur?

This weekend in Karori, we have an after-hours social event for rainbow youth and friends!

Youth Nights are for you if you’re into gaming, making music, watching movies, eating pizza, absolutely smashing Beat Saber on an Oculus Rift, or just generally getting up to mischief and hijinks. You will also probably like them if you like books, I guess.

Come through to Te Māhanga, Karori Library on Saturday 18 June from 5-8pm!

We’re open for 14-18 year olds, mask and student ID are required.

No need to book. See you there!

Youth Night Enters the Digital Realm

While our libraries are closed at Level 3 and Level 4, there are a whole bunch of things that just… stop happening. Thankfully, thanks to some of the quick-witted teens who attend our regular Youth Nights at Johnsonville Library, Youth Night isn’t one of them! They have devised a Discord server that will serve to capture some of the magic and whimsy of a typical Waitohi affair, with games, activities, chatting, music and quiet spaces aplenty, with no doubt a smattering of our old friends Mischief and Hijinks to boot. And you won’t even have to leave the comfort and safety of your own bedroom!

The full ~Youth Night 2: Electric Boogaloo~ server will be opened up this Saturday at 3.00pm (yes, going digital means you get to be at Youth Night for longer!) — if you are interested in joining us, please email the youth librarian with your name, age, and which school you go to to receive your invite link.

Come to Youth Nights at Waitohi!

They’re fun, we promise! Yes, you heard right — our ever-popular series of after-hours Youth Nights at our Johnsonville Library at Waitohi Community Hub are returning from Saturday the 13th of February, coming off the back of a rather raucous youth sleepover at the library at the end of last year. (What would you do at a library sleepover, you ask? Among Us was played IRL. Bad fanfiction was dramatically read. Too much food was consumed. Entirely too much Cats was watched (ironically or unironically, depending on who you ask.) It was great.)

Sleepovers aside, our Youth Nights are for you if you’re into gaming, making music, watching movies, debating the finer points of costume design in RuPaul’s Drag Race, eating pizza, absolutely smashing Beat Saber on one of our Oculus Rifts, or just generally getting up to Mischief and Hijinks. You will also probably like them if you like books, I guess.

Our Youth Nights are totally free (pizza included!), but you do need to be 13+ in order to come, so please bring your student ID. Once you’re in, our spaces are all yours. Youth Nights are on the first Saturday of every month, from 5.00-8.00pm. Because of the Waitangi Day long weekend, our first one for the year is next Saturday, the 13th of February. See you there!

Waitohi Youth Nights Return!

Now that we’re all done with that business of emerging, blinking, into the sunlight following the national lockdown, a lot of our regular events and programmes are getting back underway. Happily, this includes our regular Youth Nights at Johnsonville Library at Waitohi Community Hub!

‘What is Youth Night?’ I hear you plaintively ask. ‘Why would I spend my Saturday night in a library of all places?’ Well, friends. Perhaps a more apt question is ‘what isn’t Youth Night?’ We play games, we make music, we watch movies, we debate the ins and outs of LGBTQ+ representation in contemporary media (this one is optional), we try to beat each other’s high scores in Beat Saber, we laugh, we cry, we rank the characters of the classic 1990s cartoon Gargoyles in order of hotness (Goliath and Demona come in at joint first place, obviously, with everyone else trailing a distant second), and most importantly, we eat pizza.

Our Youth Nights are totally free (pizza included!), but you do need to be 13+ in order to come, so please bring your student ID. Once you’re in, our spaces are all yours. Youth Nights are on the first Saturday of every month, from 5.00-8.00pm. The first one since lockdown is this Saturday, the 1st of August. See you there!

World Space Week 2022

This October school holidays, Wellington City Libraries is running events to celebrate World Space Week.

World Space Week Association (WSWA) has themed the October 2022 celebrations around “Space and Sustainability”! The theme is inspired by the ways that humans use space, and acknowledging how the orbital area surrounding Earth-itself is a finite resource. Read more here.

Did you know the Muppets TV show had a Star Wars Crossover? Learn more by clicking!

The World Space Week Association exists to strengthen the links between space and society! WSWA is working to expand and establish the UN-declared World Space Week “globally on the largest possible scale!” Check out their mission statement to learn more.

Holiday youth events

Event image

Experience VR ISS: International Space Station Star Stitching – we will use the library’s Oculus Quest 2s and Oculus Rifts at MiramarKarori, and Te Awe to explore the international space station!
Star Stitching at Johnsonville Library

Embroider a constellation!

To celebrate Space Week 2022, we have premade constellation packs for Matariki & Southern Cross, and general instructions if you want to choose your own! Embroider your constellation and mount it on card!

Recommended for children (10+) accompanied by parents, or young adults (14+), but open to all.

Youth Night image

Youth Nights @ Karori and Johnsonville 

These after-hours events are for teens who are into gaming, books, making music, watching movies, debating the finer points of costume design on RuPaul’s Drag Race, eating pizza, and generally just hanging out.

Our Youth Nights are totally free (pizza included!) but you do need to be 14+ in order to come, so please come prepared to show your student ID. Once you’re in, our spaces are yours!


 

Events

Have you ever wanted to go somewhere? Do something? Be somebody? Our events, clubs and programmes for teens may be just the thing you have been looking for!

Check out all our events for teens on our Event Calendar, or read on for all the deets.

Board Games | Code Club | Dungeons and Dragons | LEGO® Time and LEGO® Night | Sit and Knit | Youth Night |

Board Games

Lots of our libraries have board games for you to check out and play while you’re visiting, but if you like the thought of bringing along some friends to immerse yourself in the world of tabletop-based nerdiness, our Board Game afternoons at Waitohi may be for you!

  • Johnsonville Library | Mondays, 3 – 5pm | More info

Code Club

Code Club is kind of more of a tween thing, being mainly for folks aged 9-13, but even if you personally are ‘too old’ to be involved, we are always looking for high school students with experience in coding (especially Scratch, Python, and HTML/CSS) to help run the clubs and support the younger kids. It’s a great opportunity to get some solid experience and a recommendation on your CV, so whether you’re keen to be part of Code Club as a learner or as a volunteer tutor supported by our staff, we’d love to hear from you! Find out more about volunteering for Code Club here.

  • Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library | Thursdays, 3.30 – 4.30pm | Get involved
  • Johnsonville Library (beginner group) | Thursdays, 3.30 – 4.30pm | Get involved
  • Johnsonville Library (advanced group) | Mondays, 3.30 – 4.30pm | Get involved
  • Karori Library | Tuesdays, 3.30 – 4.30pm | Get involved
  • Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library | Saturdays, 2 – 3pm | Get involved
  • Newtown Library | Mondays, 3.45 – 4.45pm | Get involved

Dungeons and Dragons

We currently run D&D campaigns for teens at a number of our libraries. All of our parties are full at the moment, but please do register your interest below if you would like to be contacted when a space becomes available in a party near you.

Would you like to DM for a library D&D group? We’d love to hear from you! Please email the Youth Librarian with your name, experience, and at which library you would be interested in running a game!

Whether you’re a player or a DM, we provide everything you might need for a game, from the space and the sourcebooks (5e), right down to the dice and, if you like, a 3D printer to make your miniatures and a laser cutter to make your custom DM screen.


LEGO® Time and LEGO® Night

Look, times have been pretty tough lately. And sometimes the best thing to do when times get tough is just… revert to childhood. Come along to LEGO® Time (or LEGO® Night if your taste is a little more refined) and let the troubles of the world melt away as you dive into our gigantic box of coloured, branded bricks to finally build that tower (or dinosaur or spaceship or town or giant laser death robot) you’ve been dreaming of since Mum donated your LEGO® set to the local kindergarten on your 13th birthday, never to be seen again. (No, I’m definitely not bitter. Look, just come to the thing, alright?)

  • Te Awe Library | LEGO® Time | Saturdays, 2 – 3pm and Sundays, 11am – 12pm
  • Te Awe Library | LEGO® Night | Wednesdays, 5.30 – 7.30pm

Sit and Knit

Do you like sitting? Do you like knitting? Then boy do we have the programme for you. Introducing Sit and Knit, a fortnightly group where we do fibrecrafts like knitting, sewing, weaving, and crochet while debating the finer points of, well, whatever the topic of the day is! You can bring along your own project, or use our basket of goodies to get started. Space in this club is limited, so you do need to register before coming along!

  • Johnsonville Library | Every 2nd Sunday, 2.00 – 4.00pm | Register here

Youth Night

Our after-hours Youth Nights are for you if you’re into gaming, making music, watching movies, doing crafts, debating the finer points of costume design in RuPaul’s Drag Race, eating free pizza, absolutely smashing Beat Saber on one of our Oculus Rifts, or just generally getting up to Mischief and Hijinks. Oh, and books, we like those too.

Youth Night is free (did we mention there’s free pizza?), but you do need to bring along your student ID to show you’re older than 13. Once you’re in, our spaces are all yours.

  • Johnsonville Library | First Saturday of the month, 5.00 – 8.00pm | More info
  • Karori Library | Third Saturday of the month, 5.00 – 8.00pm | More info

Out On The Shelves 2022

It’s that time of year again! We’re midway through the 2022 Out On The Shelves campaign week, and all around the country, libraries, bookstores, schools, and other organisations are putting on displays and events to celebrate LGBTQIA+ stories, and to help connect rainbow people to those stories and to each other.

This year, the Out On The Shelves campaign runs from 13-27 June, and as well as admiring the beautiful displays at your local library, there’s all kinds of stuff to do! Here are just a few examples:

To whet your appetite, here are some of our favourite LGBTQIA+ books, retrieved from the vaults of these veritable librarians’ brains for your reading pleasure:

Aristotle and Dante dive into the waters of the world / Sáenz, Benjamin Alire
“Aristotle and Dante continue their journey to manhood in this achingly romantic, tender tale set against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic in 1980s America. In Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, two boys fell in love. Now they must learn what it means to stay in love-and to build their relationship in a world that doesn’t seem to want them to exist. In their senior year at two different schools, the boys find ways to spend time together, like a camping road trip they take in the desert. Ari is haunted by his incarcerated older brother and by the images he sees on the nightly news of gay men dying from AIDS. Tragedy feels like his destiny, but can he forge his own path and create a life where he can not only survive, but thrive?” (Catalogue)

Our dreams at dusk. Volume 1 / Kamatani, Yuhki
“Not only is high schooler Tasuku Kaname the new kid in town, he is also terrified that he had been outed as gay. Just as he’s contemplating doing the unthinkable, Tasuku meets a mysterious woman who leads him to a group of people dealing with problems not so different from his own. In this realistic, heartfelt depiction of LGBT+ characters from different backgrounds finding their place in the world, a search for inner peace proves to be the most universal experience of all.” (Catalogue)

Elatsoe / Little Badger, Darcie
“Imagine an America very similar to our own. It’s got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream. There are some differences. This America has been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day. Seventeen-year-old Elatsoe (“Ellie” for short) lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect façade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.” (Catalogue)

The pride guide : a guide to sexual and social health for LGBTQ youth / Langford, Jo
“Jo Langford offers a complete guide to sexual and social development, safety, and health for LGBTQ youth and those who love and support them. Written from a practical perspective, the author explores the realities of teen sexuality, particularly that of trans teens, and provides guidance and understanding for parents and kids alike.” (Catalogue)

Queerly autistic : the ultimate guide for LGBTQIA+ teens on the spectrum / Ekins, Erin
“From coming out to friends and family through to relationships, self-care and coping with bullying, being out and about in the LGBTQIA+ community and undergoing gender transition, this book is filled with essential information, advice, support and resources to help you on your journey, and also works as a primer on all things LGBTQIA+ for non-autistic teens just figuring it all out.” (Catalogue)

To break a covenant / Ames, Alison
“Clem and her best friend, Nina, live in the haunted town of Moon Basin, known for its accidents and murders that are linked to the now-abandoned coal mine, but when they join their new friend, Piper, and her dad on a trip into the mine, they find themselves haunted by strange dreams and experiences afterwards. The haunting at Moon Basin started when an explosion in the mine killed sixteen people. The disaster made it impossible to live in town, with underground fires spewing ash into the sky. Life in New Basin is just as fraught: the ex-mining town relies on its haunted reputation to bring in tourists, but there is more truth to the rumors than most are willing to admit…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Seeing gender : an illustrated guide to identity and expression / Gottlieb, Iris
“Gender is an intensely personal, yet universal, facet of humanity. In this vibrant book, queer author and artist Iris Gottlieb visually explores gender in all of its complexities, answering questions and providing guidance while also mining history and pop culture for the stories and people who have shaped the conversation on gender.” (Catalogue)

She gets the girl / Lippincott, Rachael
“Alex Blackwood is really good at getting the girl she wants, but coming from a broken home with an alcoholic mother, she finds commitment difficult – even when she thinks she is in love. Impossibly awkward Molly Parker has a crush on the cool Cora Myers, but she does not know how to even start a conversation, much less make a connection. At college together in Pittsburgh, Alex decides that helping Molly snag Cora will prove to her own flame that she is not totally selfish – but things do not work out as the two have planned.” (Catalogue)

Invisibly breathing / Merriman, Eileen
“‘I wish I wasn’t the weirdest sixteen-year-old guy in the universe.’ Felix would love to have been a number. Numbers have superpowers and they’re safe, any problem they might throw up can be solved. ‘If I were a five, I’d be shaped like a pentagon … there’d be magic in my walls, safety in my angles.’ People are so much harder to cope with. At least that’s how it seems until Bailey Hunter arrives at school. Bailey has a stutter, but he can make friends and he’s good at judo. And Bailey seems to have noticed Felix: ‘Felix keeps to himself mostly, but there’s something about him that keeps drawing me in.’ Both boys find they’re living in a world where they can’t trust anyone, but might they be able to trust each other, with their secrets, their differences, themselves?” (Catalogue)

An exciting Out on the Shelves update!

Unlike what you may have heard, librarians are actually human. And as such, we do like to boast a bit when we win things. So on with the boasting!

Back in June was the Out on the Shelves Campaign Week (actually two weeks, but we’ll let that slide!). If you don’t know what that is then I’d definitely recommend having a poke around the Out on the Shelves website, or even reading this blog post about it that we put up in June.

Anyway.

There’s a Campaign Week, there’s a Display Competition, and we won some things!

There were three categories, each with a winner and a runner-up. One is for the Best School Library Display, which we aren’t eligible for, but congratulations to St Hilda’s Collegiate School, the winner, and to Northcote School, the runner-up! You can see their displays on the Out on the Shelves website.

The winner of the Most Creative Display, however, was very exciting for us here at Wellington City Libraries. This category was won by our very own Johnsonville Library!

Check out their fantastic (and award-winning!) display:
A collage of four pictures of the Johnsonville library display. Largest at the bottom is the whole display, a table covered with a selection of pride flag scarves, a sign across the from saying "Out on the Shelves”, rainbow-themed books on stands, then a large rainbow arch across the whole table. The second picture is a close-up of a group of colourful painted wooden figures holding a sign that says “Pride!”. The third picture is of two small wooden people holding a sign that says “Be Trans and throw hands” above two 3D printed penguins that are holding hands. The last picture is of a small wooden Bernie Sanders sitting on a chair in his famous mittens and mask pose. He is wearing all pink, except for his mittens and socks which are rainbow.
Johnsonville Library is lucky enough to house Tūhura – The HIVE, our makerspace. The HIVE is full of all sorts of exciting things, a loom, a laser-cutter, and several 3D printers, to name but a few. And this display has made excellent use of these exciting things. There are those fantastic 3D-printed penguins and wonderful rainbow arch. And what about those pride-flag scarves adorning the table? They were woven right there on the loom in the library by expert staff, interested passers-by, and by many keen queer kids who use the library. And do you see those laser-cut wooden figures of people waving flags and banners? Those were painted for this display by some of the young people at one of the recent Youth Nights. Ka pai e hoa mā!

The Most Creative runner-up was Martinborough Library in the Wairarapa who also did a great job. But of course we’re firmly behind our own here in Johnsonville.

The winner of the Best Community Space Display was Dunedin Public Libraries down in …Dunedin.

But the runner-up was Te Awe Library, our CBD branch just off Lambton Quay!

Have a look at the Te Awe displays:
A collage of four pictures of two displays, clockwise from the left they are: first the whole upstairs display around the corner that sticks out into the young adult area. A large picture of a bookshelf has been stuck to the wall, on these shelves are the heading “Out on the Shelves”, holders for bookmarks, and pictures of book covers. Along the top are real books on stands. Hanging from above are rainbow paper chains and pompoms in pride flag colours. The second picture is a close-up of the fake bookshelves. The third picture is of the second display in the downstairs area. There are rainbow paper chains along the top, then a colourful heading of “out on the shelves”. On the left side are pictures of book covers, on the right side are posters of the Out on the Shelves booklists. Between the two sides is a vertical line of pride flags. The last picture is a close-up of a bookmark holder on the first display.
Such excellent rainbow chains! And those shelves look almost real (Out on the Shelves, get it?). There’s pompoms and flags and bookmarks. So fun!

A whole bunch of our libraries had awesome displays as well — check out these from Karori Library and Arapaki Library on Manners Street!

A collage of two displays. Left: A rainbow pyramid of books at Karori Library, decorated with person-shaped cutouts in various colours. Right: A brightly-coloured display of books at Arapaki Library, decorated above with rainbow streamers and balloons.

So that’s our celebratory blog post! We’re very happy to have taken part in the Out on the Shelves Campaign Week, very proud of our displays, and very excited to have won things!

COVID-19 Update: All Teen Events Postponed

Hey there folks! This is just a quick update to let you know that the remainder of our events for Out On The Shelves have been postponed in response to today’s announcement that Wellington will be entering Alert Level 2 from 6.00pm tonight. Once we have found new dates for these events, we will make the announcement here and on our social media channels. The following events are affected:

  • Wednesday 23 June, He Matapihi Library — Rainbow Zine Workshop (new date t.b.a.)
  • Friday 25 June, Arapaki Library — Youth Night Quiz: Pride Edition (new date t.b.a.)
  • Saturday 26 June, Johnsonville Library — Youth Night Quiz: Pride Edition (new date t.b.a.)

In addition, Tūhura/The HIVE at Johnsonville Library will be closed until we return to Alert Level 1 — so no weaving, 3D printing, laser cutting, or booking of the music studio for now.

Stay safe, and remember to use the NZ Covid Tracer app whenever you’re out and about.

These School Holidays, General Nerdery Awaits

So the April school holidays are only a couple of weeks away. We thought we would cordially invite you to join us in revelling in our collective General Nerdery throughout the holidays.

This .gif will never not give us life. Amen.

Everyone has something that they get nerdy about. For some it’s board games and tabletop RPGs (here’s lookin’ at you, D&D kids), for some it’s comics or movies (or movies about comics), for yet others the thrill of creation and expression will be what gets their Spidey-senses a-tingling. The good news is, we have a pile of events to suit you, whether you’re a digital nerd or more of a hands-on type. Dear reader, this is your chance to let out your inner geek and let them strut around with the rest of us! Read on to find out more, or click here for the full breakdown of what’s on where.

Tara Black x Dylan Horrocks: Talk and Draw!

Talk and draw with Tara Black in discussion with Dylan Horrocks
If you’re a graphic artist, zine artist or comic book fan, this event is a must-see! Come along to hear Tara Black in conversation with Dylan Horrocks. Part workshop, part overview, part discussion — join us for what promises to be a fabulous, informative, and entertaining event.

We’ve already blogged extensively about this event — click here for the full and juicy deets!

  • Johnsonville Library, Saturday 17 April, 1.00-2.00pm

Arapaki Games Night

Join us at Arapaki Library on Manners Street for a night of boardgame fun! People of all age groups are welcome, and you can come along as an individual or as a group. We have a great selection of games, but you are welcome to bring your own favourites to share with others as well. BYO snacks!

  • Arapaki Library, Monday 19 April, 5.00 – 6.45pm

Embroider Your Own Patch

Join us at Johnsonville Library during the school holidays to learn how to embroider your own patch that you can sew onto your clothes, schoolbag, or jacket! Wear your nerdy finery with pride and chill with like-minded folx in the library while picking up a rad new skill and levelling up your DEX stat at the same time! We’ll provide the materials; all you need to do is turn up!

  • Johnsonville Library, Tuesday 20 April, 2.00 – 5.00pm
  • Johnsonville Library, Tuesday 27 April, 2.00 – 5.00pm

Experience VR!

Virtual reality (VR) offers us a new and exciting way to learn about and experience the world around us. From 3D painting and virtual sculpting to exploring some of the world’ most extreme location (and, okay, maybe a bit of Beat Sabre thrown in for good measure), this is your opportunity to experience VR from the safety and comfort of your local library.

  • Karori Library, Tuesday 20 April, 3.30 – 4.30pm
  • Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library, Thursday 29 April, 3.30 – 4.30pm

Zine Make ‘n’ Swap

Come on down to Arapaki Library on Manners Street every Tuesday evening to spend some time making zines and socialising with other local zinemakers. We’ll supply plenty of materials, but feel free to bring your own as well. Once you’ve finished putting your zines together, you can swap with other zinemakers and/or donate your completed zines to the library, which people will then be able to browse and borrow!

  • Arapaki Library, Tuesday 20 April, 5.00 – 6.45pm
  • Arapaki Library, Tuesday 27 April, 5.00 – 6.45pm

Chess!

If you enjoyed The Queen’s Gambit, come along to Arapaki Library on Manners Street and join us for some games of chess! We have two chess sets available, or you are welcome to bring your own, for an evening of challenging games. People of all age groups and ability levels are super welcome.

  • Arapaki Library, Wednesday 21 April, 5.00 – 6.45pm
  • Arapaki Library, Wednesday 28 April, 5.00 – 6.45pm

Fort Night

Okay, we baited you, it’s not what you think it is. Come along to Tawa Library to literally turn the teen section into a giant box fort. That’s it. That’s the event. You’ll love it, we promise! Maybe you’ll even love it so much that you want to do it twice!

  • Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library, Thursday 22 April, 4.00 – 6.00pm
  • Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library, Thursday 29 April, 4.00 – 6.00pm

Teen Zine Machine

Wellington Zinefest’s Lucky Drop Zine Machine has its temporary home with us at Johnsonville Library. Join us for this special zine-making workshop to learn how you can write and construct your own zines, either to take home or to add to our library’s collection! Your work will be proudly displayed alongside other works of ziney genius such as ButtsJudith Collins on Race, and Butts. Did we mention we have a zine called Butts? We’re not exactly setting the bar high here!

  • Johnsonville Library, Friday 23 April, 2.00 – 3.30pm
  • Johnsonville Library, Friday 30 April, 2.00 – 3.30pm

Nature Heroes: Board Game Creation Workshop

Johnsonville Library is excited to work with VIVITA Aotearoa to bring this VIVISTOP Mini pop-up programme to the library. During this 5-day workshop, you will learn about the concepts of design thinking, engage in creative problem solving, learn to use software and hardware and other tools in the library’s Tūhura HIVE Makerspace, and then apply these lessons to the creation of a board game centred around the theme of conservation.

This workshop is FREE, but space is limited to 15 participants. Click here to register. Nature Heroes: Board Game Creation Workshop is suitable for young creators aged 9-15.

  • Johnsonville Library, Tuesday 27 April to Saturday 1 May (inclusive), 10.00am – 12.00pm

Waitohi Youth Night

Come to our after-hours Youth Night to find a space to be yourself in all your nerdy glory, and meet other like-minded teens. Check out the coll tech in Tūhura | The HIVE, record music, play games, watch movies, read a book, or just hang out — our space is yours! And yes, we will feed you pizza.

During Youth Night, the library is closed to other customers. You need to be over 14, so make sure you come ready to show your school ID at the door.

  • Johnsonville Library, Saturday 1 May, 5.00 – 8.00pm

Dungeons and Dragons One-Shot with Julz Burgisser

Join superstar Dungeon Master and podcaster Julz Burgisser for this Dungeons and Dragons one-shot for teens. Pre-generated characters will be available to choose from, so we get into the game as quickly as possible, and no prior D&D experience is required. Character sheets, pens, and dice will all be provided — but make sure you bring a drink or snack, as we’ll be playing for a while!

This event is for teens aged 14-18 who are wanting to try D&D for the first time. Please register your interest by emailing johnsonville.library@wcc.govt.nz as spaces are strictly limited.

Find out more about Julz, and this one-shot, here!

  • Johnsonville Library, Sunday 2 May, 12.00 – 3.00pm

Take Time to Kōrero: Mental Health Awareness Week

Official Mental Health Awareness Week image, downloaded from their website.

Provided by the Mental Health Foundation

This September 27th – October 3rd is Mental Health Awareness Week, an annual campaign run by the Mental Health Foundation. Here’s a little more about this year’s theme, taken from the official MHAW website:

This year’s theme is take time to kōrero/mā te kōrero, ka ora – a little chat can go a long way.

This MHAW is all about connecting with the people in our lives and creating space for conversations about mental health and wellbeing. Whether it’s checking in with a mate, having a kōrero over some kai or saying hello to a stranger, a little chat can go a long way. 

 The Mental Health Foundation has dedicated each day of this week to a different activity , with the aim of fostering wellbeing.  Why not give them a go, see if you notice any changes in your own life? 🙂

RĀHINA | MONDAY : Reconnect with someone you care about.

RĀTU | TUESDAY : Get outside in nature with someone.

RĀAPA | WEDNESDAY : Have a kōrero about Te Whare Tapa Whā 

RĀPARE | THURSDAY : Connect through kindness.

RĀMERE | FRIDAY : Come together and reflect.

image from Commonspace website. Depects a sun and a minimal landscape in crayon scribbles.

Commonspace, 113 Taranaki St., Te Whanganio-ā-Tara

On a related note, there’s a brand new hang-out space in the CBD of Te Whanganui-a-Tara called Commonspace! Designed as “a living room for the city”, Commonspace has been created as a “central place of being and belonging, learning and connecting, through de-siloing knowledge and cross-pollinating disciplines, holding whanaungatanga for a younger inner city community to connect more consciously.” From movie nights, craft clubs, live album listening parties, a radio station and more; Commonspace is a lovely new place for youth to hang out, learn and create art!

I am definitely a person who has struggled with their mental health, and I am so stoked to see that this kind of discussion is becoming more common in our Aotearoa! To celebrate this fantastic week, here are some books that might be helpful for your own mental health journey 🙂

The mental health and wellbeing workout for teens : skills and exercises from ACT and CBT for healthy thinking / Nagel, Paula
“This easy-to-understand, engaging guide arms teens with healthy thinking habits and coping strategies for staying on top of their mental health. Readers are given the tools to build their own personalised mental health ‘workout’ to boost their emotional resilience and well-being. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Your brain needs a hug : life, love, mental health, and sandwiches / Earl, Rae
“Imbued with a sense of humor, understanding, and hope, Your Brain Needs a Hug is a judgment-free guide for living well with your mind.  Witty, honest, and enlightening, this is the perfect read for feeling happier and healthier and learning to navigate life without feeling overwhelmed or isolated” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Obsessed : a memoir of my life with OCD / Britz, Allison
“Fifteen-year-old Allison lived a comfortable life in an idyllic town. She was a dedicated student with tons of extracurricular activities, friends, and loving parents at home. But after awakening from a vivid nightmare in which she was diagnosed with brain cancer, she was convinced the dream had been a warning.  This memoir tracks Allison’s descent and ultimately hopeful climb out of the depths” (Adapted from Catalogue)

You’re crushing it / Croucher, Lex
“Sometimes life can be pretty amazing. But other times it feels like: A. Your heart and stomach have been steamrolled into a grisly organ pancake B. You are being put through an emotional spiralizer that creates human courgetti C. Both of the above. You’re a courgetti pancake No, Instagram filters won’t make it look any better.  An honest, thoughtful and hilarious survival guide for young people by social media sensation, Lex Croucher. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mindfulness for students : embracing now, looking to the future / Kaufman, Natasha
“Life can be tough. With decisions to make at such a critical time, from subject choices to new colleges and universities, careers and relationships, it’s easy to feel weighed down. What’s more, there is the pressure to gain good grades, to find a good job, to be a good person. From a young age we are taught the significance of a solid education and a fruitful career, yet with such an emphasis on academic and monetary success we often fail to prioritise a healthy mind. Leaving the security of home and adjusting to new-found independence can be an exciting transition. It can also be unsettling. It is vital to know how to deal with life’s many challenges and triumphs emotionally. Practising mindfulness can equip you with the skills to do this.” (Catalogue)


If you need to talk to someone else:

Free call or text 1737 for support from a trained counsellor, or feel free to reach out to the below organisations.

Lifeline
0800 543 354
Free text 4357 (HELP)

Youthline
0800 376 633
Free text 234

Out on the Shelves at Your Libraries

Hello friends!

This week the Out on the Shelves Campaign Week begins, and when they say week, they really mean two weeks. This Campaign Week is a time for libraries (amongst others) to really highlight Out on the Shelves, to make some colourful displays, and to run some awesome events.

Now, I’m sure you’re getting super excited already, but you might not even know what Out on the Shelves is! Well, let me explain.

Out on the Shelves is an online reading resource created by InsideOUT to help rainbow young people find, read, and recommend positive and affirming stories with good representation in them. We’ve had enough of “Bury your Gays“, thank you very much! If you want to know a bit more, then check out this video:

If you’re looking for your next book to read, then check out the booklists. If you’ve read a wonderfully queer book recently and don’t see it on any of the Out on the Shelves booklists, then you can go ahead and make a submission!

If you’re a writer you can enter the writing competition, or if you want to try your hand at Zine making you can create a page for the 2021 Rainbow Zine.

But wait, there’s more!

Do you like books? Do you like movies? Do you like quizzes? Do you like hanging out at the library with a bunch of other Cool Kids and some extra cool (if I do say so myself) librarians? Do you remember how I said earlier that the Campaign Week is a great time for libraries to run awesome events?

If you do, you’re in luck! We’ll be running a range of events at four different libraries across the city.

Youth Movie Night: Pride Edition
To celebrate Out on the Shelves 2021, Wellington City Libraries are hosting a YA movie night. The film will be LGBT+ themed, but otherwise it is a complete secret! Venture to a late-night library screening near you for popcorn, pals and a pride-fuelled time. For ages 13-18.

Join us at 6.00pm to get settled down with some snacks, and we’ll start the movie at 6.30pm.

Rainbow Zine Workshops
Join us for the zine-making afternoons for young adults and try your hand at writing, poetry or art! Enter the Out On The Shelves writing competition, write a book review for the official 2021 Rainbow Zine, or check out our LGBTQI+ book collection.

Youth Quiz Night: Pride Edition
To celebrate Out on the Shelves 2021, Wellington City Libraries are hosting a Pride quiz extravaganza! There will be pizza, prizes, and plenty of quizzical challenges. Coming to a library near you! For ages 13-18.

Show up and grab a table with your team, or just show up and we can help you find a team!

So come along, make new friends, grab a bookmark booklist, and have fun!

NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2021: YA Finalists!

Yep, it’s that time of year again — the shortlist for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults has finally been announced, and once again, it is excellent. For the books that have been nominated in the children’s categories, check out our post on our sister blog here. But over here at the Teen Blog, we only care about the YA. Read on, and click on the title of each book so you can get your mitts on a copy. Go on, you know you want to.

(Full disclosure — I am actually one of the judges for the Book Awards this year, so we won’t be able to do our traditional personal takes on the books, lest my words be taken as official rulings! Head on over to our friends at The Sapling, or of course the official Book Awards site for some insightful takes on the books featured below!)

Draw me a hero. / Ashworth, N. K

“Jane Dawson is fourteen years old, lives with her mum and older sister, loves drawing and wears an old leather flying helmet. Facing another dull term at school, Jane loses herself in her art. But when a boy, Bailey Summer, moves in three doors down, with brooding good looks and a long grey trench coat, Jane is drawn out of her introspective world. The two collaborate. He writes. She draws. Their friendship grows. Yet there is something odd about Bailey. Is he really who he says he is and why is his writing so disturbing?” (Publisher summary courtesy of Lasavia Publishing)

Fire’s caress : a Telesā world novel / Young, Lani Wendt
“She’s the brilliant sculptor taking the art world by storm, a daughter of Samoa returning home. He’s the fiery remnant of her past, who appears on what should be a night of triumph, weighted with dark secrets that could destroy them both. Can Teuila and Keahi find their way, even as a deadly threat emerges? Because there’s a new power on island, malevolent and hungry. His name is Marc Gold. His billion dollar vision of a virus-free Sanctuary in Samoa for the world’s rich and privileged, threatens to wipe out an ancient settlement of the Aitu and awakens their retribution. There is a battle coming and it is one that could destroy them all.” (Catalogue)

Spycraft / Falkner, Brian
“The astonishing journey of teenager Joseph St George (Katipo Joe) continues. Recruited by MI5, this time Joe is on a mission to infiltrate an elite group of Hitler Youth. In a world where one wrong word could bring catastrophe, he must compete with the other young people for a prize beyond his wildest dreams. But the consequences of failure are torture and death. From the war-torn skies over Germany to the heights of the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s hideaway, this is Joe’s story. Set amidst actual events, Joe’s story is a tale of incredible heroism, unlikely romance and unbearable tragedy.” (Catalogue)

The king’s nightingale / Jordan, Sherryl
“An epic fantasy set in a land of sultans and kings, sumptuous palaces… and slave markets. When Elowen and her brother are seized by pirates and sold, separately, in the slave market of a distant land, Elowen’s enduring resolve is to escape, rescue her brother and return home. Sold to a desert ruler who admires her sublime voice, Elowen is given the title of the King’s Nightingale. Honoured by the king, and loved by his scribe, Elowen lives a life of luxury, until she makes a fateful mistake and finds herself sold to a less charitable master.” (Catalogue)

The pōrangi boy / Kino, Shilo
“Twelve-year-old Niko lives in Pohe Bay, a small, rural town with a sacred hot spring and a taniwha named Taukere. The government plan to build a prison here and destroy the home of the taniwha has divided the community. Some are against it, but others see it as an opportunity. Niko is worried about the land and Taukere, but who will listen to him? He’s an ordinary boy who’s laughed at, bullied, and called pōrangi, crazy, for believing in the taniwha. But it’s Niko who has to convince the community that Taukere is real, unite whānau in protest against the prison and stand up to the bullies.” (Catalogue)

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsQueen of air and darkness, Cassandra Clare

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the disease that is destroying the race of warlocks. Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe pretty brilliant experiment book, Jade Hemsworth

Inspired by Netflix’s original series, Project Mc2 (TM), The Pretty Brilliant Experiment book has over 20 experiments introduced by our favorite Nov8 (that’s Innovate) agents: McKeyla McAlister, Adrienne Attoms, Bryden Bandweth, and Camryn Coyle. Learn about electricity, chemical reactions, physics, and biology while crafting an hour glass, creating crystals, and making ice cream! Then record your own observations after reading the scientific analysis accompanying each activity. The ingredients are affordable and easy-to-find, and each DIY experiment can be completed safely at home with parents and friends. (Amazon.com)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA daring sacrifice, Jody Hedlund

In a reverse twist on the Robin Hood story, a young medieval maiden stands up for the rights of the mistreated, stealing from the rich to give to the poor, but she never anticipates falling in love with the wealthy knight who represents all she’s come to despise. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSoulbinder, Sebastien De Castell

A failed mage learns that just because he’s not the chosen one it doesn’t mean he can’t be a hero in the fourth book of an exciting adventure fantasy series from Sebastien de Castell. For Kellen, the only way to survive is to hide. His curse is growing stronger, bringing dark and violent visions, and the bounty hunters dogging his heels get closer every day. Desperate, he searches for a mysterious order of monks rumored to have a cure. But salvation comes with a high price. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTrans Teen Survival Guide, Owl and Fox Fisher

Frank, friendly and funny, the Trans Teen Survival Guide will leave transgender and non-binary teens informed, empowered and armed with all the tips, confidence and practical advice they need to navigate life as a trans teen. Wondering how to come out to your family and friends, what it’s like to go through cross hormonal therapy or how to put on a packer? Trans youth activists Fox and Owl have stepped in to answer everything that trans teens and their families need to know. With a focus on self-care, expression and being proud of your unique identity, the guide is packed full of invaluable advice from people who understand the realities and complexities of growing up trans. Having been there, done that, Fox and Owl are able to honestly chart the course of life as a trans teen, from potentially life-saving advice on dealing with dysphoria or depression, to hilarious real-life awkward trans stories. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFinding Baba Yaga, Jane Yolen

You think you know this story. You do not. A harsh, controlling father. A quiescent mother. A house that feels like anything but a home. Natasha gathers the strength to leave, and comes upon a little house in the wood: A house that walks about on chicken feet and is inhabited by a fairy tale witch. In finding Baba Yaga, Natasha finds her voice, her power, herself…(Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBlack rabbit summer, Kevin Brooks

Pete Boland was busy doing nothing that SUMMER. Long, stiflingly hot, lazy days stretched ahead of him. THEN SHE CALLED. It was Nicole. ‘Listen, Pete . . . you know that funfair, up at the recreation ground . . . I thought we could all meet up . . . You know, for old times’ sake. BUT, where there are old times there are old tensions. And as secrets, bitterness and jealousies resurface, five old friends are plunged into the worst night of their lives . . .(Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe tomorrow code, Brian Falkner

When Tane and Rebecca receive digital messages warning of the impending disaster, there is a chance to alleviate the threat. As they piece the clues together, they discover that the messages are being sent by their future selves, and they must stop The Chimera Project – a devastating apocalyptic plague – from being released. But they soon discover that changing the past in order to protect the future will be more difficult than they first thought. As a strange white cloud begins to move across New Zealand – and people start disappearing – Tane and Rebecca find that, not only may they be too late, but it may be impossible to stop at all. The cloud is made up of antibodies designed to attack human beings and has been created by Mother Nature herself as an antidote to the destructive human race. As the mist devours everyone and everything in its wake, Tane and Rebecca realize there is no way out – this plague is going to destroy the earth and their only hope is to take refuge from impending doom. As the end of the world begins, Tane stumbles on a way to prevent this from happening – they will send new messages to themselves from the future and change the course of history. Only this time they will get it right. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe dark intercept, Julia Keller

The earth is in ruins. Years of warfare, plague, and disaster have ravaged the planet and driven its people into despair. The powerful and wealthy have abandoned Earth and created New Earth, a utopia in the sky where the last of the elite can start fresh. On New Earth, citizens are free from danger thanks to a surveillance device that lives beneath their skin. A device that keeps their new home crime-free through meticulous emotional surveillance. A device called the Intercept.Violet Crowley has never gone hungry. She’s endured neither violence nor fear. As the only daughter of New Earth’s Founding Father, Violet has spent her entire life in comfort and safety. That is, until her friend, colleague, and long-time crush, Danny Mayhew, gets into a deadly altercation on the streets of Old Earth. In an instant, Violet risks her father’s fury and intercedes to rescue Danny. When Danny can’t explain his actions, Violet launches a secret investigation to find out what he’s hiding. An investigation that will lead her to question everything she’s ever known about Danny, her father, and the power of the Intercept. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDamsel, Elana K. Arnold

The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: When the king dies, his son the prince must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been. When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon or what horrors she faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome young man, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny of sitting on a throne beside him. It’s all like a dream, like something from a fairy tale. As Ama follows Emory to the kingdom of Harding, however, she discovers that not all is as it seems. There is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows, and the greatest threats may not be behind her, but around her, now, and closing in. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIt’s not summer without you, Jenny Han

Can summer be truly summer without Cousins Beach? It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come. But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started–at Cousins Beach. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMonsters of virtue, L.J Ritchie

Eugenics: noun. The science of improving a population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics. New Zealand, 1932. The height of the Great Depression. In the wilds of the Ōtaki River Gorge, the newly-formed Eugenics Department gathers the best and brightest in an attempt to create perfection.… But what makes a perfect person? Fifteen-year-old Eve knows she’s not one – but with her sister’s life on the line, she’d better convince her new classmates that she could be. Together with uneasy allies Orion and Nyx, she’ll pry into the dark heart of this fledgling utopia. Will the future that awaits them there be one worth fighting for? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGiant days, Non Pratt

Based on the hit graphic-novel series from BOOM! Studios, the publisher behind Lumberjanes, Giant Days follows the hilarious and heartfelt misadventures of three university first-years: Daisy, the innocent home-schooled girl; Susan, the sardonic wit; and Esther, the vivacious drama queen. While the girls seem very different, they become fast friends during their first week of university. And it’s a good thing they do, because in the giant adventure that is college, a friend who has your back is key–something Daisy discovers when she gets a little too involved in her extracurricular club, the Yogic Brethren of Zoise. When she starts acting strange and life around campus gets even stranger (missing students, secret handshakes, monogrammed robes everywhere . . .), Esther and Susan decide it’s up to them to investigate the weirdness and save their friend. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSwing, Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hesse

Best friends Walt and Noah decide to use their voices to grow more good in the world, but first they’ve got to find cool. Walt is convinced junior year is their year, and he has a plan to help them woo the girls of their dreams and become amazing athletes. Never mind that he and Noah failed to make the high school baseball team yet again, and Noah’s love interest since third grade, Sam, has him firmly in the friend zone. Noah soon finds himself navigating the worlds of jazz, batting cages, the strange advice of Walt’s Dairy Queen-employed cousin, as well as Walt’s “Hug Life” mentality. Status quo seems inevitable until Noah stumbles on a stash of old love letters. Each page contains the words he’s always wanted to say to Sam, and he begins secretly creating artwork using the lines that speak his heart. But when his private artwork becomes public, Noah has a decision to make: continue his life in the dugout and possibly lose the girl forever, or take a swing and finally speak out? At the same time, numerous American flags are being left around town. While some think it’s a harmless prank and others see it as a form of peaceful protest, Noah can’t shake the feeling something bigger is happening to his community. Especially after he witnesses events that hint divides and prejudices run deeper than he realized.As the personal and social tensions increase around them, Noah and Walt must decide what is really true when it comes to love. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLast pick [1], Jason Walz

Three years ago, aliens invaded Earth and abducted everyone they deemed useful. The only ones spared were those too young, too old, or too “disabled” to be of value. Living on Earth under the aliens’ harsh authoritarian rule, humanity’s rejects do their best to survive. Their captors never considered them a threat–until now. Twins Sam and Wyatt are ready to chuck their labels and start a revolution. It’s time for the kids last picked to step into the game. In this first volume of Jason Walz’s dystopian graphic novel trilogy, the kids last picked are humanity’s last hope. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLost soul, be at peace, Maggie Thrash

Following her acclaimed Honor Girl, Maggie Thrash revisits a period of teenage depression in a graphic memoir that is at once thoughtful, honest, and marked by hope. A year and a half after the summer that changed her life, Maggie Thrash wishes she could change it all back. She’s trapped in a dark depression and flunking eleventh grade, befuddling her patrician mother while going unnoticed by her father, a workaholic federal judge. The only thing Maggie cares about is her cat, Tommi . . . who then disappears somewhere in the walls of her cavernous house. So her search begins — but Maggie’s not even really sure what she’s lost, and she has no idea what she’ll find. Lost Soul, Be at Peace is the continuation of Maggie’s story from her critically acclaimed memoir Honor Girl, one that brings her devastating honesty and humor to the before and after of depression. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOn a sunbeam, Tille Walden

Two timelines. Second chances. One love. A ragtag crew travels to the deepest reaches of space, rebuilding beautiful, broken structures to piece the past together. Two girls meet in boarding school and fall deeply in love–only to learn the pain of loss. With interwoven timelines and stunning art, award-winning graphic novelist Tillie Walden creates an inventive world, breathtaking romance, and an epic quest for love. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBanana Sunday, Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover

Kirby is about to start a new school with three talking primates in tow. Unlike other students, Kirby Steinberg begins her time at Forest Edge school with a speech to the entire student body introducing her unusual entourage that’s composed of three talking simians: eggheaded orangutan Chuck; Go-Go the gorilla, who is hungry and tired in equal measure ; and spider monkey Knobby, who has a fondness for romance. Although Kirby claims the simians were secret experiments of her scientist father, school reporter Nickels smells something deeper to this story and decides to investigate. Meanwhile, Kirby’s new school is filled with human drama, including mean girl Skye’s relentless bullying and gentle romantic tension with lovably goofy Martin. Will Kirby be able to navigate all these pitfalls and look after her rascally primate posse? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe complete Angel Catbird, story by Margaret Atwood and art by Johnnie Christmas

A genetic engineer caught in the middle of a chemical accident all of a sudden finds himself with superhuman abilities. With these new powers he takes on the identity of Angel Catbird and gets caught in the middle of a war between animal/human hybrids. What follows is a humorous, action-driven, educational, and pulp- inspired superhero adventure–with a lot of cat puns. (Publisher summary)

New Books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWildman, J.C. Geiger

Lance Hendricks is just 400 miles from the best night of his life: an epic graduation party. When his ’93 Buick breaks down, Lance is sure he’ll be back on the road in no time. After all, he’s the high school valedictorian, first chair trumpet player, scholarship winner. Nothing can stop him. But afternoon turns to night, and Lance ends up stranded at the Trainsong Motel. The place feels ominous, even before there’s a terrible car wreck outside his room. When Lance goes to help, the townies take notice. They call him Wildman and it’s not long before he begins to live up to his new name. (Publisher summary)

First lines: The song skipped.
A crackling beat, a brief tremor in the steering wheel-and Lance Hendricks noticed the gap in the music. He knew every last note of Classical Trumpet Ballads, which had been jammed the cassette player of his ’93 Buick since the unfortunate day his mother gave him the tape. Now it was his only option. No radio this far from the city.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFragments of the lost, Megan Miranda

After months of mourning the death of her ex-boyfriend, Caleb, 16-year-old Jessa Whitworth is asked to pack up his room so that his mother and younger sister can move on. Witnesses say that the last time Caleb was seen-before driving off a bridge into a raging river-was at Jessa’s track meet. The two had an awkward moment there, and Caleb left angry. Jessa feels responsible for the accident, and her guilt mounts as she slowly packs away his belongings, each item bringing up a memory of their yearlong relationship. In addition to the memories dredged up by Caleb’s things, Jessa begins to piece together evidence that leads her to believe that Caleb was hiding a big secret. (Publisher Weekly Summary)

First lines: There’s no light in the narrow stairway to the third floor. There’s no handrail, either. Just wooden steps and plaster walls that were probably added in an attic renovation long ago. The door above remains shut, but there’s a sliver of light that escapes from the bottom, coming from inside. He must have left the window uncovered.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCamp So-And-So, Mary McCoy

Twenty five girls are invited to attend Camp So-and-So and work with their cabin mates to compete in the All-Camp Sports 7 Follies. But this is no ordinary camp. Cabin 1 must face off with the campers across the lake. Cabin 2 is being stalked by a murderous former camper. Cabin 3 must break and age-old curse. Cabin 4 will meet their soul-mates. Cabin 5… well, it might already be too late for Cabin 5. (Publisher summary)

First lines: The letters went out on mid-February, when the weather had been so cold and so gray, and everything been so buried in snow for so long, and the idea of riding a horse or rowing across a lake seemed so impossible, the brochures might as well have been promising magic.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGunslinger girl, Lyndsay Ely

Serendipity “Pity” Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She’s been offered a life of fame and fortune at the Theater Vespertine in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. The Second Civil War fractured the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land, and there is a dark cost to the Theater– one that Pity may not be willing to pay. (Publisher summary)

First lines: They dragged in the dead scrounger in the fade of the afternoon, tied to the last truck in the convoy. Dust clouds billowed after the vehicles like a fog, blanketing the compound’s entrance in ochre twilight. Pity squinted and pulled her bandana over her nose.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSparrow, Scot Gardner

One, two, three, breath. When a juvenile detention exercise off the coast of the Kimberley goes wrong, sixteen-year-old Sparrow must swim to shore. There are sharks and crocs around him but the monsters he fears most live in the dark spaces in his mind. He’s swimming away from his prison life and towards a desolate, rocky coastland and the hollow promise of freedom. He’ll eat or be eaten, kill or be killed.With no voice, no family and the odds stacked against him, Sparrow has nothing left to lose. But to survive he’ll need something more potent than desperation, something more dangerous than a makeshift knife. (Publisher summary)

First lines:The boy’s guts grew tight. The week of boot camp had been tense enough, especially after Ratcliffe, hyper at the best of times, stopped taking his meds. Now, on their way back to Derby, the boat had broken down and it felt like a flash point, The guards were on edge and the survival instructor, Maddox, was mutinous.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThunderhead, Neal Shusterman

A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid, becoming an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the ‘new order.’ But it is clear that not everyone is open to the change. Will the Thunderhead intervene… or simply watch the world of Scythedom unravel? (Publisher summary)

First lines: Peach velvet with embroidered baby-blue trim. Honorable Scythe Brahms loved his robe. True, the velvet became uncomfortably hot in the summer months, but it was something he had grown accustomed to in his sixty-three years as a scythe. He had recently turned the corner again, resetting his physical age back to a spry twenty-five – and now, in his third youth, he found his appetite for gleaning was stronger than ever.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRoyal bastards, Andrew Shvarts

Tilla, the sixteen-year-old illegitimate daughter of Lord Kent, spends her days exploring the tunnels beneath the castle and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out in her half-brother’s room. When they witness a crime that is part of a brutal coup, Tilla and her fellow bastards band together with other outcasts in an attempt to prevent civil war and protect Lyriana, a sheltered, visiting princess whose life is in danger. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Princess Lyriana came to Castle Waverly two months after I turned sixteen. That meant fall was setting in: the trees were red, the roads were muddy, and when Jax and I sat in abandoned sentry tower on the eastern wall, passing a skin of wine back and forth, we could just barely see our breath in the air as we talked.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBetween the blade and the heart, Amanda Hocking

As one of Odin’s Valkyries, Malin’s greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. When she unearths a secret about her mother that could unravel the balance of all she knows, Malin must decide where her loyalties lie. Torn between her ex-girlfriend and blue-eyed Asher, she must decide if helping him enact his revenge is worth the risk to the world and her heart. (Publisher summary)

First lines: In the vast emptiness of space, the gods grew restless, and so they created the heavens above and the worlds below. They filled the earth with every create imaginable, from the smallest fish in the sea to the largest dragon in the sky.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAmerican panda, Gloria Chao

A freshman at MIT, seventeen-year-old Mei Lu tries to live up to her Taiwanese parents’ expectations, but no amount of tradition, obligation, or guilt prevent her from hiding several truths–that she is a germaphobe who cannot become a doctor, she prefers dancing to biology, she decides to reconnect with her estranged older brother, and she is dating a Japanese boy. Can she find a way to be herself, before her web of lies unravels? (Publisher summary)

First lines: The stench of the restaurant’s speciality walloped my sense as soon as I entered. Even with seventeen years of practice, I didn’t have a fighting chance against a dish named stinky tofu. I gagged.
My mother sniffed and smiled. “Smells like home.”

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCatch me when you fall, Eileen Merriman

Seventeen-year-old Alex Byrd is about to have the worst day of her life, and the best. A routine blood test that will reveal her leukaemia has returned, but she also meets Jamie Orange. (Publisher summary)

First lines: If you take photographs through a prism, you can turn people into ghosts. I’d taught Jamie that this year, my eighteenth year of life, and possibly my last. Whenever a bad memory crept into my brain, I held a prism up to it, and it would distort and soften. That way I could cope it a bit better.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDreamland burning, Jennifer Latham

When Rowan finds a skeleton on her family’s property, investigating the brutal, century-old murder leads to painful discoveries about the past. Alternating chapters tell the story of William, another teen grappling with the racial firestorm leading up to the 1921 Tulsa race riot, providing some clues to the mystery. (Publisher information)

First lines: Nobody walks in Tulsa. At least not to get anywhere. Oil built our houses, paved our streets, and turned us from a cow town stop on the Frisco Railroad into the heart of Route 66. My ninth-grade Oklahoma History joked that around these parts, walking is sacrilege. Real Tulsans drive.

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe body market, Donna Frietas

In this thoughtful sequel to Unplugged, Skylar has failed to save her best friends, Inara and Sylvia, from the App World, where they’ve been unplugged from virtual apps. They’ll soon be sold to the highest bidders at the Body Market unless Skylar can rescue them. Still reeling from her sister Jude’s betrayal, Skylar doesn’t trust Rain, the boy she likes, because he’s lied to her. When Skylar is kidnapped and held in a remote cabin by Kit, a motorcycle-riding teen bounty hunter, she convinces him not to turn her in. Instead, Skylar persuades Kit to help her overthrow Jude and promises to rescue his sister. In this second book in a planned trilogy, Skylar also finds out that she has a brother, who helps her figure out a coding glitch that will allow them to create an app that would override the plugs and wake up all the bodies. Skylar’s brain is the only one that can make that possible, but there’s a chance it won’t work. (Publisher information)

First lines: I adjusted the scarf around my head. Only my eyes were visible. I stepped into the crush of tourists heading inside. I stepped into the crush of tourists heading inside. A great canopy stretched over us, blocking out the cold winter sun.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAmong the red stars, Gwen C. Katz

World War II has erupted in Valka’s homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She’s a pilot–and a good one–so she eagerly joins an all-female bomber regiment. Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German targets is something else entirely. The raids are dangerous, but as Valka watches her fellow pilots putting everything on the line in the face of treachery, she learns the true meaning of bravery. As the war intensifies, though, and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home. Inspired by the true story of a famous all-female Russian bomber regiment, Gwen C. Katz weaves a tale of strength and sacrifice, of learning to fight for yourself, and of the perils of a world at war. (Publisher summary)

First lines: The voice on the radio spat out a few intelligence words before melting back into static. “…large crowd here in the City of Youth, despite the gloomy weather. They are all hoping to catch the first glimpse of…”
“You’re messing it up,” I told Pasha, who knelt by his radio, fiddling with its wire innards. “We’ll miss it.”

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKaleidoscope song, Fox Benwell

Neo loves music, and all she ever wanted was a life sharing this passion, on the radio. When she meets Tale, the lead singer in a local South African band, their shared love of music grows. So does their love for each other. But not everyone approves. Then Neo lands her dream job of working at a popular radio station, and she discovers that using your voice is sometimes harder than expected, and there are always consequences. (Publisher summary)

First lines: South Africa is loud. Listen. Footsteps, engines, radio. The lazy buzzing heat and the singing laughing joy. The slap of palms when business strikes. The dance of it. The movement and the bustle, the spring of the young and creaking of the old. The bars. Street corners. Schools. It has an energy in everything, a song all of its own.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSovereign, April Daniels

Only nine months after her debut as the superhero Dreadnought, Danny Tozer is already a scarred veteran. Protecting a city the size of New Port is a team-sized job and she’s doing it alone. Between her newfound celebrity and her demanding cape duties, Dreadnought is stretched thin, and it’s only going to get worse. When she crosses a newly discovered billionaire supervillain, Dreadnought comes under attack from all quarters. From her troubled family life to her disintegrating friendship with Calamity, there’s no lever too cruel for this villain to use against her. She might be hard to kill, but there’s more than one way to destroy a hero. Before the war is over, Dreadnought will be forced to confront parts of herself she never wanted to acknowledge. And behind it all, an old enemy waits in the wings, ready to unleash a plot that will scar the world forever. (Publisher summary)

First lines: “Don’t let your wife hear you say that,” he says. A late-night talk show is joking with someone offscreen. A smattering of laughter leaks of the crowd. “Yeah we’re gonna hear all about it at Thanksgiving. Anyway, moving on. I’m really excited about our next guest.”

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBerserker, Emmy Laybourne

Are Hanne’s powers a gift from the old Norse gods, or a curse? Hanne’s brother Stieg swears their powers are a gift from the old gods, but Hanne Hemstad knows she is truly cursed. It’s not Stieg’s fault that their father is dead, their mother has left, and their brother Knut has been accused of a crime he didn’t commit. No, the fault lies with Hanne and her inability to control her murderous “gift”–she is a Berserker. When someone she loves is threatened, she flies into a killing state. Now the siblings must leave Norway for the American frontier or risk being brought to justice. Aided by Owen Bennett, a young cowboy who agrees to be their guide, Hanne and her siblings use their powers to survive the perilous trail, where blizzards, wild animals, and vicious bounty hunters await. The thrills of the journey sweep Hanne and Owen together in romance, but their new love means nothing unless they can escape the ruthless men chasing them down. Can they reach Hanne’s uncle, the one man who can teach her how to control her drive to kill? (Publisher summary)

First lines: The hog snorted at the two young trespassers in his pen. He kept his massive flank pressed to the oaks beams of the fence, staying as far away from them as he could. The girl, Hanne, kept her eyes on the boar, hiding the knife she held against the folds of her skirt.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe book jumper, Mechthild Glaser

Amy Lennox doesn’t know quite what to expect when she and her mother leave Germany for Scotland, heading to Lennox House, her mother’s childhood home on the island of Stormsay. Amy’s grandmother insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House — but not in the usual way. Amy learns that she is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as her new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts — at whatever cost. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Will ran. He ran and ran.
The island seemed bigger than usual, and he’d been running for so long his chest hurt. Across the moor, through the fields, down to the beach, past the graveyard and Lennox House, into the village, up to the stone circle, through the library, back to his cottage, and in and out of the last wisps of fog that hung over Macalister Castle.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBeasts made of night, Tochi Onyebuchi

In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts–lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt. Taj is the most talented of the aki , young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family. When Taj is called to eat a sin of a member of the royal family, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves–and his own life. (Publisher summary)

First lines: I make sure to sit where they can’t see me. From where I’m perched, tucked just out of sight on a pile of rubble, I have a pretty good view of the other sin-eaters, the aki. They’re gathered in the small clearing below, ringed by the rubble of what used to be someone’s home.

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDear Martin, Nic Stone

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League–but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up– way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. (Publisher summary)

First lines: From where he’s standing across the street, Justyce can see her: Melo Taylor, ex-girlfriend, slumped over beside her Benz on the damp concrete of the FarmFresh parking lot. She’s missing a shoe, and the contents of her purse are scattered around her like the guts of a pulled party popper. He knows she’s stone drunk, but this is too much, even for her.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCrash landing, Robert Muchamore

Jay, Summer and Dylan are fresh out of the biggest reality show there is. But they’re about to discover what fame and fortune are really about. Jay’s brother Theo is young, rich and famous: but is it making him happy? Summer’s got to weather her one-star reviews and take her career back into her own hands. And Dylan might soon be seeing the world of show-business from the four walls of a prison cell. They’ve got everything to play for. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Edinburgh youth court was part of a drab precinct, sandwiched between a boarded-up children’s library and Jobcentre Plus. Scottish law bans British media from reporting on the trial of anyone who is under sixteen at the time of their arrest, but international media faced no restrictions and the drizzled pavement was populated by correspondents from more than a dozen countries.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsShow stopper, Hayley Barker

A dazzling, high-octane read filled with death-defying acrobatics, circus crowds with an appetite for disaster, and two forbidden teenage lovers trying to escape the shackles of their very different lives. Set in a near-future England where the poorest people in the land must watch their children be taken by a travelling circus – to perform at the mercy of hungry lions, sabotaged high wires and a demonic ringmaster. The ruling class visit the circus as an escape from their structured, high-achieving lives – pure entertainment with a bloodthirsty edge. Ben, the teenage son of a draconian government minister, visits the circus for the first time and falls instantly in love with Hoshiko, a young performer. They come from harshly different worlds – but must join together to escape the circus and put an end to its brutal sport. (Publisher summary)

First lines: The cries of the audience pound in my head as I stand, poised, above them. I’m a hundred feet off the ground floor but, if I try, I can make out individual faces in the sea of books below me. I begin swinging. Backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards. There is only me now; only the arc and the fall. If I let go too soon I won’t reach the wire; too late and I’ll loop right over it.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMy side the diamond, Sally Gardener

Jazmin has been shunned ever since her best friend Becky disappeared. But what happened to Becky? Because she didn’t simply disappear – she jumped off a tall building and was never seen again, almost as if she had vanished into thin air – but of course that couldn’t be possible. Was the disappearance something to do with Jazmin? Or was it more to do with Ishmael, so beguiling and strangely ever youthful, with whom Becky was suddenly besotted…(Publisher summary)

First lines:Judge me, hate me, find me unforgiven. You won’t be the first. I have lived with it long enough. It changes nothing. Becky Burns was my best friend. My soul sister, my blood. I knew her better than anyone else- or I thought I did.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMonster, Michael Grant

It’s been four years since a meteor hit Perdido Beach and everyone disappeared. Everyone, except the kids trapped in the FAYZ–an invisible dome that was created by an alien virus. Inside the FAYZ, animals began to mutate and teens developed dangerous powers. The terrifying new world was plagued with hunger, lies, and fear of the unknown. Now the dome is gone and meteors are hitting earth with an even deadlier virus. Humans will mutate into monsters and the whole world will be exposed. As some teens begin to morph into heroes, they will find that others have become dangerously out of control…and that the world is on the brink of a monstrous battle between good and evil. (Publisher summary)

First lines: “It’s the monster!” Shade Darby cried out, speaking to no one in particular.
The monster was a girl who appeared to be in her teens but was in reality mere days old. She was known the world over from her first recorded appearance, during which she had torn off a man’s arm and eaten it.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsElites of Eden, Joey Graceffa

Yarrow is an elite: rich, regal, destined for greatness. She’s the daughter of one of the most powerful women in Eden. At the exclusive Oaks boarding school, she makes life miserable for anyone foolish enough to cross her. Her life is one wild party after another…until she meets a fascinating, lilac-haired girl named Lark.Meanwhile, there is Rowan, who has been either hiding or running all her life. As an illegal second child in a strictly regulated world, her very existence is a threat to society, punishable by death…or worse. After her father betrayed his family, and after her mother was killed by the government, Rowan discovered a whole city of people like herself. Safe in an underground sanctuary that also protected the last living tree on Earth, Rowan found friendship, and maybe more, in a fearless hero named Lachlan. But when she was captured by the government, her fate was uncertain. When these two girls discover the thread that binds them together, the collision of memories means that their lives may change drastically–and that Eden may never be the same. (Publisher summary)

First lines: We move through the world like a pack of wolves, striding on long legs, bright-eyed, ravenous. We are beautiful, and a casual observer might think us soft because of that beauty. But we have teeth no one can imagine.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBefore the devil breaks you, Libba Bray

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They’re more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward’s Island, far from the city’s bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten–ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows. With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them face-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they’ve ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation–a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves. (Publisher summary)

First lines:Thick evening fog clung to the forlorn banks of Ward’s Island, turning it into a ghost of itself. Across the dark calm of the East River, the glorious neon whirl of Manhattan was in a full jazz-age bloom- glamorous clubs, basement speakesies, illegal booze, all of it enjoyed by the live-fast-forget-tomorrow flappers and Dapper Dons and eager to throw off their cares and Charleston their way into tomorrow’s hangover.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe weirdstone of Brisingamen, Alan Garner

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen is one of the greatest fantasy novels of all time. When Colin and Susan are pursued by eerie creatures across Alderley Edge, they are saved by the Wizard. He takes them into the caves of Fundindelve, where he watches over the enchanted sleep of one hundred and forty knights. But the heart of the magic that binds them – Firefrost, also known as the Weirdstone of Brisingamen – has been lost. The Wizard has been searching for the stone for more than 100 years, but the forces of evil are closing in, determined to possess and destroy its special power. Colin and Susan realise at last that they are the key to the Weirdstone’s return. But how can two children defeat the Morrigan and her deadly brood? (Publisher summary)

First lines: At dawn one still October day in the long ago of the world, across the hill of Alderley, a farmer Mobberley was riding to Macclesfield fair. The morning was dull, but mild; light mists bedimmed his way; the woods were hushed; the day promised fine.

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWant, Cindy Pon

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost. With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart? (Publisher summary)

First lines: I watched the two you girls from the corner of my eye as the crowds surged around me. Eleven o’clock on a balmy June evening and the Shilin Night Market in Taipei was spilling over with mei shoppers looking for a way to cool themselves. Stores lined both sides of the narrow street, and music blared in Mandarin, Taiwanese, and English.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhen Dimple met Rishi, Sandhya Menon

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now , they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right? Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him–wherein he’ll have to woo her–he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not? Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Dimple couldn’t stop smiling. It was like two invisible puppeteers, standing stage left and stage right, were yanking on strings to lift up the corners of her mouth. Okay, or maybe something less creepy. The point was, the urge to grin felt irresistible. Dimple clocked on the email again and read it. Standford. She was going to Standford.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSaints and misfits, S.K. Ali

There are three kinds of people in my world: 1. Saints, those special people moving the world forward. Sometimes you glaze over them. Or, at least, I do. They’re in your face so much, you can’t see them, like how you can’t see your nose. 2. Misfits, people who don’t belong. Like me–the way I don’t fit into Dad’s brand-new family or in the leftover one composed of Mom and my older brother, Mama’s-Boy-Muhammad. Also, there’s Jeremy and me. Misfits. Because although, alliteratively speaking, Janna and Jeremy sound good together, we don’t go together. Same planet, different worlds.But sometimes worlds collide and beautiful things happen, right? 3. Monsters. Well, monsters wearing saint masks, like in Flannery O’Connor’s stories. Like the monster at my mosque.People think he’s holy, untouchable, but nobody has seen under the mask. Except me. (Publisher summary)

First lines: I’m in the water. Only my eyes are visible, and I blow bubbles to ensure the rest of me stays submerged until the opportune time. Besides the lifeguard watching from his perch, there’s a gaggle of girls my age patrolling the beach with young siblings in tow. They pace in their flip-flops and bikinis, and I wait.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTash hearts Tolstoy, Kathryn Ormsbee

Tash is a gifted filmmaker and dramatic arts student with her own vlog, and she and her best friend Jacklyn have a YouTube series titled Unhappy Families, based on Anna Karenina. Tash and Jack are consigned to relative obscurity until a prominent online celebrity praises Unhappy Families, but with the accolades and attention comes the pressure to live up to the image. Additionally, Tash is struggling with her older sister’s growing distance, a surprise announcement from her parents, her understanding of her own identity as a romantic asexual, and her long-distance flirtation with fellow vlogger Thom. As a result, Ormsbee’s story comes close to feeling overstuffed with issues, but her attention to the depth of Tash’s thoughts and feelings, as well as a spot-on narrative voice, make this a compassionate and frank look into challenges that can seem to fly at teenagers from all directions. (Publisher information).

First lines: Isn’t it funny how something can be a joke for so long until one day it isn’t? You laugh at an awful new pop song until the fateful day you end up playing it twenty times on repeat, totally un-ironically. You laugh at the idea of deep-fried okra until the fateful afternoon your family stops at some boondocks diner and, as a joke, you order deep-friend okra, and it is suddenly your new favourite snack.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNerve, Jeannie Ryan

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it’s exhilarating–Vee and Ian’s fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they’re directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they’re playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE. (Publisher summary).

First lines: It took three days of waiting, but at four a.m. on a Sunday, the street in front of Abigail’s home finally emptied of all the Watchers. Maybe even crazies needed to sleep once in a while. She could use some rest, too, but more than that, she craved freedom. It had been almost a week since she’d left her house.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSlave power, Raewyn Dawsom

East of the Black Sea, c.300 BC: Fifteen-year-old Melo is one of the most gifted Riders in the Wild Horse Tribe, destined to become a leader in her female warrior clan. Her old rival Mithrida, however, has cunning plans of her own. But when city slave traders cut a violent path through the Plains, all the Amazon Tribes are under threat. Far, far away on the Holy Island, Sofia, a young priestess-intraining, wonders why these strangers have landed on their isolated shore. Can she find the answers from the Black Rock? When the worlds of traders, slaves and warriors collide, new alliances come from unexpected sources and new powers are harnessed. But is it enough for the Peace Way to succeed? (Publisher summary)

First lines: “Aaarghh! Hold on, everyone!” Melo staggered and stabbed her spear into the ground as it bucked and groaned beneath them like a furious wild horse. A second big quake so soon? The night’s first shattering terror had been bad enough – she would be needed to extend her guard duty – but where?

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGirls can’t hit, T.S. Easton

Fleur Waters never takes anything seriously until she turns up at her local boxing club one day, just to prove a point. She’s the only girl there, and the warm-up alone is exhausting but the workout gives her an escape from home and school, and when she lands her first uppercut on a punching bag she feels a rare glow of satisfaction. So she goes back the next week, determined to improve. Fleur’s overprotective mum can’t abide the idea of her entering a boxing ring. Her friends don’t get it either and even her boyfriend, ‘Prince’ George, seems concerned by her growing muscles and appetite but it’s Fleur’s body, Fleur’s life, so she digs her heels in and carries on with her training. When she finally makes it into the ring, her friends and family show their support and Fleur realises that sometimes in life it’s better to drop your guard and take a wild swing. (Publisher summary)

First lines: I groaned inwardly. It was a cold Tuesday morning in May and my parents were arguing about the dishwasher again.
“Honestly, Liz,” Dad said, “you don’t need to rinse the plates before putting them in. That’s the whole point of a dishwasher.”

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWreck, Fleur Ferris

Tamara Bennett is going to be the first journalist to strictly report only good news. Finished with high school, Tamara is ready to say goodbye to her sleepy little town and part-time job at the local paper. But things take an unexpected turn when Tamara arrives home to find her house ransacked and her life is danger. What is the mysterious note her attacker wants and why is he willing to kill for it? A tragic boating accident five years ago holds the clue that could keep Tamara alive. But how can she find the truth when she can’t tell who’s lying? (Publisher summary)

First lines: Tomorrow morning, at ten thirty-two, my train will pull away from the station and take me to my exciting new city-dwelling grown-up life. This chapter of my existence will be called ‘Deliriously happy university student.’ The chapter after that will be called ‘Journalist changes the world one good-news story at a time.’ I am going to be the first journalist, probably on the planet, who strictly reports good news.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKid got shot, Simon Mason

Meet Garvie Smith. Reprobate, genius, waster, and sometime detective. Right in the middle of revision hell – until now. A boy from Marsh Academy has been shot, with no clear motive and no clues. Disgraced DI Singh is on the case, and he’s determined to keep Garvie away. But Garvie knows he’s the only one who has any idea where to look for the answers. Starting with his best friend’s girlfriend. And it’s going to take more than pointless revision or flunking his exams to stop him getting involved. (Publisher summary)

First lines: The others were already there, waiting in the darkness, and Garvie Smith went through the park gate and across the slippery grass towards them. Haphazardly arranged on the tiny swings and miniature roundabout of Old Ditch Road kiddies’ playground, dim, low-slung and damp, Smudge, Felix, Dani and Tiger raised hands and touched knuckled with him, one by one, and he settled down among them, yawning.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe book of heroes, Miyuki Miyabe

When her brother Hiroki disappears after a violent altercation with school bullies, eleven-year-old Yuriko finds a magical book in his room which leads her to another world where she learns that Hiroki has been possessed by a spirit from The Book of Heroes. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Halfway up the long slope to the Threshing Hill, the youth heard the sound of a tolling bell. He stopped and looked around. The sound came thickly through the chilled ashen-blue mist that rose all around him, yet he heard it as sure as he felt the vibrations in the ground beneath his feet.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBecoming Aurora, Elizabeth Kashmer

Sixteen-year-old Rory is at a crossroads in her life. While her gang plans its next move in a racially motivated turf war, Rory is sentenced to spend her summer at an aged care facility. She’s proud of taking the rap for a crime her gang committed and reading to a feisty old boxing champion isn’t going to change that. But what happens when Rory’s path intersects with migrant boxer Essam’s and she becomes the victim, not the perpetrator? Can she find the courage to face her past and become the girl her dad called Aurora? (Publisher summary)

First lines: Tonight we are wolves. Our pack moves as one, past empty shop fronts and faded billboards. On the corner we gather in the shadows of the Royal George Hospital. Last drinks were served hours ago, but the stink of stale beer lingers.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBoone Shepard, Gabriel Bergmoser

Boone is taking a break from writing for The Chronicle newspaper to hunt down and destroy every last copy of a very rare, very dangerous book. But then his editor calls to demand he investigate a missing persons case deep in the Scottish Highlands – in the company of his rival, photographer Promethia Peters – and he is forced to abandon his personal goals and get back to work. Restless and begrudging, Boone is unprepared when this hunt leads him back to the one story that won’t stop chasing him – his own. (Publisher summary)

First lines: I always take the time to appreciate the rolling green fields and pretty woods of the English countryside, whether I am viewing them from the seat of my motorbike, or, as I found myself on the day this story begins, hanging one handed from the side of a speeding training. But it is hard to appreciate nature when you’re viewing it at an angle with your eyes full of soot and the wind throwing you around like the world’s strangest flag.

Moon boy, Kathy Sutcliffe

Kat and Eru are new in town and trying to find their way. Not easy when her mum’s in a relationship with his mum, and he’s not your usual sort of guy: Māori with the palest skin and blond dreads and – strangest of all – no ears. More moon than boy. (Publisher summary)

First lines: “Hey.” A guy walking past my towel flashes me a white-toothed grin, his eyes sparkling blue beneath a floppy fringe. He’s carrying an armload of driftwood and staggering a bit on the soft sand. “My family’s having a bonfire tonight to see in the New Year. You can come if you like.”

Freedom swimmer, Wai Chim

Ming survived the famine that killed his parents during China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’, and lives a hard but adequate life, working in the fields with his fellow villagers…When a group of city boys come to the village as part of a government re-education program, Ming and his friends aren’t sure what to make of the new arrivals. They’re intellectuals not used to hard labour and village life. But despite his reservations, Ming befriends a charming city boy called Li. The two couldn’t be more different, but slowly they form a bond over evening swims and dreamlike discussions… But as the bitterness of life under the Party begins to take its toll on both boys, they begin to imagine the impossible: freedom. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Ma is gone. I fought back tears, gripping the handle of the wheelbarrow tighter so her body wouldn’t tip out too soon. I was taking her to the river to join the other villagers who passed. I didn’t dare look around- what if one of those bodies had surfaced, caught on a rock instead of being swept away by the current after the last rains? I could almost picture the head of some weeks-dead villager bobbin up beside me, all sunken cheeks and lifeless eyes behind paper-thin lids.

New Books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTo catch a killer, Sheryl Scarborough

Erin Blake has one of those names. A name that, like Natalee Holloway or Elizabeth Smart, is inextricably linked to a grisly crime. As a toddler, Erin survived for three days alongside the corpse of her murdered mother, and the case—which remains unsolved—fascinated a nation. Her father’s identity unknown, Erin was taken in by her mother’s best friend and has become a relatively normal teen in spite of the looming questions about her past. Fourteen years later, Erin is once again at the center of a brutal homicide when she finds the body of her biology teacher. When questioned by the police, Erin tells almost the whole truth, but never voices her suspicions that her mother’s killer has struck again in order to protect the casework she’s secretly doing on her own. Inspired by her uncle, an FBI agent, Erin has ramped up her forensic hobby into a full-blown cold-case investigation. This new murder makes her certain she’s close to the truth, but when all the evidence starts to point the authorities straight to Erin, she turns to her longtime crush (and fellow suspect) Journey Michaels to help her crack the case before it’s too late. (Goodreads)

First lines: I soothe my forehead against the icy car window and breathe out a path of fog. If I squint one eye, the neon splashed across the rain-slicked street forms a wide, cruel mouth. It’s after 2:00 a.m. and we’re just now pulling up the police station. They took me to the hospital first, even though I swore that not a single drop of the blood all over me was mine.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAmerican Street, Ibi Zoboi

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream? (Goodreads)

First lines: If only I could break the glass separating me and Manman with my thoughts alone. On one side of the glass doors are the long lines of people with their photos and papers that prove they belong here in America, that they are allowed to taste a bit of this free air. On the other side is me, pressing my forehead against the thick see-though wall.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsJust kill me, Adam Selzer

Megan Henske isn’t one to heed warnings…When the last letters in her alphabet cereal are D, I, and E, she doesn’t crawl right back into bed. When her online girlfriend won’t text a photo, she just sends more of herself. And when she realizes that Cynthia, her boss at a Chicago ghost tour company, isn’t joking about making stops more haunted by killing people there, she doesn’t quit her job—she may even help. But who is responsible for the deaths of prominent figures in the murdermonger industry? Could it be the head of the rival tour company? Or could it be someone near and dear to Megan? Soon after she learns that she has an uncanny resemblance to a flapper who disappeared in 1922, Megan receives a warning she can’t ignore: the next ghost on the tour might be her… (Goodreads)

First lines: When you were little and watching Disney movies, did you ever sort of wish that the villains would win? I totally did. They had cooler outfits, much better outfits, and all the best songs.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWintersong, S. Jae-Jones

The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride… All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away. But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds—and the mysterious man who rules it—she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed. (Goodreads)

First lines: Once there was a little girl who played her music for a little boy in the wood. She was small and dark, he was tall and fair, and the two of them made a fancy pair as they danced together, dancing to the music the little girl heard in her head.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOptimists die first, Susin Nielsen

Sixteen-year-old Petula De Wilde is anything but wild. A family tragedy has made her shut herself off from the world. Once a crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula now sees danger in everything, from airplanes to ground beef. The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class. She has nothing in common with this small band of teenage misfits, except that they all carry their own burden of guilt. When Jacob joins their ranks, he seems so normal and confident. Petula wants nothing to do with him, or his prosthetic arm. But when they’re forced to collaborate on a unique school project, she slowly opens up, and he inspires her to face her fears. Until a hidden truth threatens to derail everything. (Goodreads)

First lines: The first time I saw the Bionic Man I was covered in sparkles. It was a typical Friday afternoon at Youth Art Therapy, YART for short. I was trying to help Ivan the Terrible with our latest, lamest project. As per usual, Ivan refused to focus.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDreamland burning, Jennifer Latham

When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past, the present, and herself. One hundred years earlier, a single violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what’s right the night Tulsa burns. (Goodreads)

First lines: Nobody walks in Tulsa. At least not to get anywhere. Oil built our houses, paved our streets, and turned us from a cow town stop on the Frisco Railroad into the heart of Route 66. My ninth-grade Oklahoma History teacher joked that around these parts, walking is sacrilege. Real Tulsans drive.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe cruelty, Scott Bergstrom

When her diplomat father is kidnapped and the U.S. Government is unable to help, 17 year-old Gwendolyn Bloom sets off across the sordid underbelly of Europe to rescue him. Following the only lead she has—the name of a Palestinian informer living in France—she plunges into a brutal world of arms smuggling and human trafficking. As she journeys from the slums of Paris, to the nightclubs of Berlin, to the heart of the most feared crime family in Prague, Gwendolyn discovers that to survive in this new world she must become every bit as cruel as the men she’s hunting. (Goodreads)

First lines: The boys are waiting for the beheading. They sit raptly, like impatient jackals, waiting for the blade to fall. But if they’d bothered to read the book, they’d know it wasn’t coming. Like a movie clicked off before the last scene. Or like life, really. You almost never see the blade coming, the one that gets you.

Page 1 of 2