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Teen Blog

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

Month: October 2008 Page 1 of 3

We want you

We need volunteers to complete a survey about the services provided by Wellington City Libraries for teens. If you are between 13 and 18, live in Wellington and/or are a member of the Wellington Libraries, and would like to take part, email the youth customer specialist Adrienne – adrienne.hannan@wcc.govt.nz – and she will send you the questions.

Participants will be eligible to win some library vouchers!

Again with the new books

We’ve been on holiday, so not a lot has been written on this blog! But we’re back (yay) and so are a bunch of new books.

On The Edge : My Story, by Richard Hammond (248 pages) [Non-fiction] – Richard Hammond is one of the presenters of Top Gear, a show popular with car fans and Men of a Certain Age. This is his biography (‘abridged for younger readers’) in which he writes about his near-fatal car accident a few years ago, and his recovery.

Frannie In Pieces, by Delia Ephron (374 pages) – Shortly after Frannie’s dad dies she discovers a wooden jigsaw puzzle he made shortly before his death. The puzzle helps her come to terms with her grief, which is pretty immense, I shouldn’t wonder. In a touch of magic realism* the puzzle transports her to another world.

* We’ll send out a prize to anyone (with a Wellington City Libraries YA membership) who can explain ‘magic realism’ in the comments before midnight, Friday the 31st of November October!

Dusssie, by Nancy Springer (166 pages) – Dusie wakes up one morning to find that her head is growing snakes, and that her mother is, in fact, a gorgon (like Medusa, Dusie’s aunt and namesake). What is a girl to do? Besides wear a hat all the time. She does get the ability to turn people into stone, which is pretty handy.

Wolf Island, by Darren Shan (222 pages) – This is the eighth book in the Demonata series. Just in time for Hallowe’en! It has one of the freakiest covers I’ve ever seen, though Slawter‘s cover still weirds me out. As the title suggests, Wolf Island is about werewolves.

Bewitching Season, by Marissa Doyle (346 pages) – Persephone and Penelope are the young daughters of viscounts (pronounced vye-counts, interestingly) whose governess in magic is kidnapped as part of a plot to gain control of Queen Victoria (for it is 1837). It’s up to them to sort out in this mix of romance, history and magic.

Good Enough, by Paula Yoo (322 pages) – From the catalogue: ‘A Korean American teenager tries to please her parents by getting into an Ivy League college, but a new guy in school and her love of the violin tempt her in new directions.’ Online reviews of Good Enough call it an absolute must-read.

Hamlet : A Novel, by John Marsden (228 pages) – This is a re-imagining of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, turned into a novel. Very handy if you’re studying the play and need an idea of the tragedy (and if it’s anything it’s tragic).

More new books, briefly:

Word of Honour : The Third Volume of The Laws of Magic, by Michael Pryor (433 pages)
The Changeling, by Sean Williams (176 pages)
Give Me Truth, by Bill Condon (190 pages)
Outside Beauty, by Cynthia Kadohata (265 pages)
Paper Towns, by John Green (305 pages)
Spud – The Madness Continues …, by John van de Ruit (337 pages)
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (374 pages)

Brand New Books

More new books – we seem to get quite a few, which means, sadly, some of the older ones have to go (you may see them in one of our booksales). It is the Circle of Life.

The 10pm Question, by Kate de Goldi (251 pages) – I loved this book, and I recommend you read it too!

You Just Can’t Get Enough : Gossip Girl/The Carlyles, (created) by Cecily von Ziegesar (208 pages) – The real writer of this book is Annabelle Vestry, who also wrote the first Gossip Girl/Carlyles book, and who has her own series about ‘teen stepsisters living the high-life’ coming out later this year.

My Bonny Light Horseman : Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, in Love and War, by L. A. Meyer (436 pages) – This is the sixth book of Mary “Jacky” Faber’s adventures in the frankly exciting world of the late 18th/early 19th century. In My Bonny Horseman Jacky finds herself spying in France, and then following Napoleon Bonaparte’s army into Germany.

Set in Stone : The Chronicles of Stone Book 2, by Vincent Ford (275 pages) – Set during the Ice Age, this book (and the first one in the series, Scorched Bone) tell the story of twins Trei and Souk and their journeys through prehistoric America.

Murderer’s Thumb, by Beth Montgomery (299 pages) – Adam and his mother move to a rural farming community somewhere in Australia. After finding a body and then a diary, Adam must piece together what happened – but not without some trouble from the menacing locals.

Captain Cook’s Apprentice, by Anthony Hill (263 pages) – This is a travelogue of Captain Cook’s three-year voyage to explore the southern continent, as seen through the eyes of cabin boy Isaac Manley (who would one day become a Rear Admiral). A grand adventure for any young lad, and it really happened!

Rapunga Google

Did you know you can google in Te Reo? Google.co.nz is offered in Māori as well as English, so next time you feel like extending your Māori vocab select the Māori option and rapu.

und jetzt… mehr neue Bücher

[And now… more new books]

Book CoverBlade: Closing In, by Tim Bowler (192 pages). Tim Bowler won the Carnegie Medal for River Boy in 1997 (translation = he’s good). Closing In is the second in the Blade series (the first being Playing Dead). Reviewers say that Blade, the narrator, is engaging and likeable, and that the book has the “capacity to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck” (Amazon.co.uk), which is really a winning combination.

Possessing Rayne, by Kate Cann (320 pages). Good news for people who really enjoyed Leaving Poppy: Kate Cann is sticking with the spooky genre for her latest book… the words “eerie” and and “spine-chilling” are used to describe the story. The back page of the book tells me that the saga is going to continue next year, which is good news.

The Robber Baron’s Daughter, by Jamila Gavin (336 pages). Philip Pullman describes this as a “rich and almost gothic drama” (Amazon.co.uk). The back cover tells me, “Nettie lives a privileged life… but everything changes when her beloved tutor, Miss Kovachev, vanishes.” The story travels between central London and (interestingly) Bulgaria.

Something in the World Called Love, by Sue Saliba (192 pages). Written in a free, poetic style (= there are no capital letters. Not a one.), Something in the World Called Love is a novel about “friendship, trust and hope – and what it means to love.”

City of Screams, by John Brindley (384 pages). The follow up to The Rule of Claw. A thought-provoking dystopic fantasy novel: “evolution’s running wild – and we’re running with it” says the cover.

Book CoverThe Missing Girl, by Norma Fox Mazer (288 pages). A psychological thriller about the five Herbert girls who are (unknowingly) watched by a predatory man. Sounds disturbing, especially given the title.

Book CoverThe Winter War, by William Durbin (240 pages). Excitement: this one’s set in Finland in 1939, when the country was invaded by the Soviet Union, whose army outnumbered the Finnish army 4 to 1, apparently – hardly a fair fight. But then again, Finland, by having Finnish winters, doesn’t exactly fight fair either. A story of an underdog (Finland, and Marko) fighting tough.

‘The Nostradamus Prophecy’ Review

(You can email us any reviews you write to teenblog@wcl.govt.nz!)

The Nostradamus Prophecy, by Anna Breslin (468 pages) ~

A prophecy of death, made in France in 1566 by Nostradamus, concerning the young King Charles, makes his mother nervous and she relies more and more on the soothsayer, believing he can truly see the future. Melisande with her sister Chantelle and their father are musicians attached to the court and when Chantelle becomes betrothed to the young man she is in love with, their lives seemed filled with happiness.

But the Angel of Death hangs over the court and, in the prophecy, its wings are outstretched over Chantelle. When she dies, Melisande is compelled to escape the royal court and with the help of Melchior and his leopard, Paladin, she makes her way to Nostradamus’ town to seek his help. While living under his roof she becomes adept at making medicines in his apothecary shop and finds she too has the gift of prophecy. Forces are at work within the kingdom which she cannot escape and once again Melisande finds herself having to rely on strangers to keep herself alive long enough to fulfil her destiny. Lots of history and intrigue. 5 stars


New music and films

There are a few new CDs and DVDs in this month. A multi-media feast! Here are the new CDs:

Bleeders – Bleeders. This is the NZ hardcore/punk band’s second album from last year (their first album is called #2). It’s a nice, new, copy!
Breakout – Miley Cyrus. The year that Miley Cyrus (her real name is Destiny Hope Cyrus) was born – 1992 – was the same year that her father released ‘Achy Breaky Heart’. Last year she went out with one of the Jonas brothers, which helpfully provides a nice segue to …
Jonas Brothers – Jonas Brothers. This is their second album, from 2007. We also have their third album …
A Little Bit Longer – Jonas Brothers. The title track is about Type One Diabetes, which Nick Jonas has. Their are three Jonas brothers; similarly there are three brothers in …
Only By The Night – Kings of Leon. The father of the three brothers in this band was a preacher, and the Jonas brothers’ father was a pastor – how about that?

New DVDs!

The Hills : Season One  & The Hills : Season Two  – The Hills is a pseudo-reality television series (it’s real, but parts are set up to provide story and some of the roles are improvised) about some people in LA doing stuff.
St Trinian’s – This is, believe it or not, the sixth film in a series that began in 1954.  
Sydney White – Sydney White is a thrown out of her sorority and is taken in by seven socially challenged guys. It’s a new version of the Snow White story, with the most popular girl on campus as the wicked Queen. (There’s also a prince.)
Clueless – This is an older film (thirteen-years-old!) but this particular version – the ‘”Whatever!” Edition’ – has loads of special features.

Fluff, embellishments & reality TV: an interview with William Kostakis

William Kostakis is an Australian writer, whose book Loathing Lola is in the library now. He very kindly agreed to be interviewed for the Teen Blog, and we asked a few probing questions about writing …

1. At what age did you begin writing? How old were you when you first had something published?

I guess I started in Year One. I always loved story-writing tasks. At the end of the year, I won the award for ‘excellence in creative writing’. How anyone can judge ‘excellence’ in a seven-year-old creative writer is beyond me, I’d call it ‘the ability to string four maybe five words together on a page coherently’, but hey, excellence or not, labelling it like that must have gone straight to my head. Early in Year Three, I first had something published, I was a finalist in a cinquain competition for a kids magazine called the Starfish Generation. I remember it off by heart:

Bite people.
Stay away okay?
Dogs are very vicious.

… It isn’t very good.

2. Do you write professionally, or do you need to work a regular day-job? And does it interfere with your writing?

I’m a full-time student at Sydney University studying Media and Communications, and I’m also a private suite attendant at the Sydney Cricket Ground and the Sydney Football Stadium, so writing’s what I do when I have nothing to do. I guess I’m used to it, though. I grew up balancing writing with high school and a horrible job at McDonald’s… if I just wrote, I don’t think I’d know what to do with all that spare time.

3. Where do you get your ideas for writing from?

More often than not, I base my work on personal experiences. Obviously, I embellish and the stories end up completely different to what I based them off, but my personal experiences are my starting points, usually. Take Loathing Lola for instance. It’s about a teenage girl who stars in her own TV show… which has absolutely nothing to do with my life. But if you look at what it started as – a story about someone grieving the death of a loved one – you can see how my personal experience has marked the story (a close friend passed away as I was writing the book). When I’m not writing from personal experience, I’m usually writing to make fun of something (which is where the whole anti-reality TV message came from). For example, when I won Sydney Morning Herald Young Writer of the Year in 2005, one of my stories, ‘Bing Me’, was written solely as a way to pay out a friend who was in an internet “relationship”.

4. Who are your favourite authors?

Hmmm… Terry Pratchett’s amazing – in one sentence, he can make you laugh at and care for the same character. Chuck Palahniuk’s good in small doses. But really, I’m not that big a reader. Like most teens, I’m more of a TV and movies kind of guy.

5. We really like haiku – can you summarise Loathing Lola in haiku form?

I’ve never written a haiku before, so don’t judge, but…

Fun in funeral
and the smart in smart-arses
Loathing Lola rocks.

Top 10: suffering from Harry Potter withdrawal?

book coverYay, a top 10 list that I don’t have to compile! I found this list of Harry Potter-ish books (warning: some of these titles are actually better) created by Michelle Kerns on Examiner.com. It’s been a while since The Deathly Hallows was released, so if something is distinctly lacking in your life check out some of this stuff. Younger readers could have a look at this list mentioned on the Wellington City Libraries Kids Blog. Also, let us know if you’ve found a good Harry Potter substitute that’s not mentioned.

Nouveau Livre …

… may be French for ‘new books’ (it may not be; it’s been a while). And here – voila! – they are.

The Case of the Diamond Shadow, by Sophie Masson (186 pages) – Adventurous sleuths, Daisy and George, find themselves hot on the tail of a daring jewel thief, all the while living lives of glamour in 1930s London.

Ostrich Boys, by Keith Gray (352 pages) – Three boys take – well, steal, really – their late friend’s ashes after his depressing and dispiriting funeral, and travel 261 miles to a tiny hamlet in Scotland called Ross (which was also his first name).

The Trap, by Sarah Wray (232 pages) – A scary whodunnit about fifteen-year-old Luke, who is offered a job at a summer camp for kids. A camp where (it is rumoured) three teens disappeared a few years earlier. After Luke discovers cryptic notes and one of his friends is attacked, he realises that he has been suckered into a deadly trap. A reviewer on Amazon was ‘too scared to continue reading it late at night’.

Brisingr, by Christopher Paolini (763 pages) – You will probably have heard of this, the third in the Inheritance Cycle series of books that began with Eragon. Apparently it’s better than the first two books, which is good news for fans. But will there be a movie?

The Summoning :Darkest Powers Vol. 1, by Kelley Armstrong (390 pages) – Chloe Saunders can see ghosts, and soon she is so bothered by them she breaks down and winds up in a home for disturbed kids. Once there she quickly realises that not all is at it seems …

Oddest of All, by Bruce Colville (235 pages) – This is a collection of nine odd (and spooky) short stories.

Mistik Lake, by Martha Brooks (207 pages) – From the catalogue synopsis: “After Odella’s mother leaves her, her sisters, and their father in Manitoba and moves to Iceland with another man, she then dies there, and the family finally learns some of the many secrets that have haunted them for two generations.” I feel drawn to recommend this book, as Iceland is my favourite country! (And also it’s favourably reviewed.)

Manga For The Beginner, by Christopher Hart (192 pages) – Books on how to draw manga are popular in the library. This book has many clear instructions and loads of examples for the budding manga artist.

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