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Teen Blog

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

Month: March 2009

A chip off the old block

The skeleton of a ‘vampire’ has been exhumed in Venice. It’s not a pretty sight though – she’s no Edward Cullen – so be warned!

At the time the woman died, many people believed that the plague was spread by “vampires” which, rather than drinking people’s blood, spread disease by chewing on their shrouds after dying. Grave-diggers put bricks in the mouths of suspected vampires to stop them doing this …

Other titles we considered for this post:
Let them eat brick
Eating humble brick
Don’t talk with your mouth full
A brick a day keeps the vampire away
Brick wouldn’t melt in her mouth
Don’t cry over spilt brick

Er … any other ideas?

Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness is the author of the recent award-winning YA book, The Knife of Never Letting Go (his latest book, The Ask and the Answer, is on order). He is also the first ‘online writer in residence’ for the British charity, Booktrust. Normally a writer in residence gets a house in a nice part of the world to live in and write for a year, a la the Katherine Mansfield prize. An online writer in residence doesn’t get all that, sadly, but Patrick Ness has a very nice blog going. You may also want to check out his tips for new writers.

Music. New Music.

Miley Cyrus, the wildly popular daughter of Billy-Ray Cyrus (remember him? possibly not, but he was responsible for the world going line-dance crazy for a brief period in the 90’s) and star of Hannah Montana has gone platinum. So here is Breakout: Platinum Edition.

Tha 411 3 bills itself as “18 monster new tracks from the global urban directory”. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then good, because we have a cup of tea for you. Includes Nelly, Usher, Alicia Keys, Bow Wow and other similar Top 40 bothering songsters.

And finally, local hip-hoppers The Fast Crew return with Truth, Lies and Red Tape. You might remember them from 2004, when they released Set The Record Straight

10/3/2k9

Buses.

You know how buses often have those advertisments stuck to the sides of them? Here’s a page full of some of the better and more clever ads on buses from around the world.

Take some photos and enter a competition

The New Zealand Schools Photographic Competition is the largest photographic competition for students in New Zealand and it’s been around for about four years. Entry is free for anyone in New Zealand who is at a primary or secondary school (or is home schooled).

The top prize pack includes a digital camera, a canvas reproduction of the winning photo, a certificate and a trophy. We like trophies. Check out the website for more information (excuse the flash stuff).

The theme this year is “celebrate!”. Entries for this year close on 31 July 2009, so download the entry form (pdf) and grab your camera and start celebrating phototaking.

And go see some photos (advance warning)

Te Papa has got a display of some of the finalists’ photos from last year’s batch, so you should check them out. The display is from 1 April to 31 June 2009 (at the Angus Rooms on level 3).

The end of the week

What happened this week on the Official WCL Teen Blog?

Pre-registration for the Almost Amazing Race opened (and if you’ve registered, your packs won’t be too far away)
I posted links to an online game that is about to go into open beta
Then I linked to the large print copies of the Twilight books – in case you wanted to reserve them
Oh cool, the new Transformers trailer
Jack created a topical playlist, referring to the colours in the rainbow
Grimm compiled this month’s Most Wanted YA books
We have a new display at Central for YA Vampire books
The Edge Summer Jam has its own trailer
Vote for your choice to win in the NZ Post Book Awards
Grimm listed her Top 10 books with strong female leads
I begged asked for your contact details so that we can keep you up-to-date with Wellington Libraries’ teen activities (after writing a nice seque about cellphones)
Santa vs. Dracula (it hardly needs an explanation)
We listed all the sponsors of the Almost Amazing Race (more details of which may be read from the link to the left)
High School Musical 4 is announced, and we listed all the HSM stuff we have
Catching Fire is now available for reservation in the library catalogue
I list all the new books for young adults that came in this week (not many, sorry)

We didn’t mention our Facebook page, nor did we ask that you take a look and consider becoming a fan (even if you use another social networking site and would have to join Facebook just to do so), but, well, if you’re there you may as well.

Also – the library has its own Teen logo. What do you reckon?

Have a nice weekend!

New Books!

Not too many new books at all this week.

The Running Man, by Michael Gerard Bauer (294 pages) – Fourteen-year-old Joseph is asked to draw his neighbour for a school project. His neighbour, Tom, is a recluse who raises silkworms and whose past involved something terrible and unknown. As Joseph learns more about Tom, he himself begins to confront his own fears.

First sentence: ‘Joseph fixed his eyes on the coffin and thought of silkworms.

Sixty Comedy Duet Scenes for Teens : Real-life Situations for Laughter, by Laurie Allen (209 pages) – This is a collection of very short comedy plays for two actors.

Trophy Kid, or How I was Adopted by the Rich and Famous, by Steve Atinsky (184 pages) – Joe’s adoptive mother is an Academy-award winning actress and his adoptive father is a major Hollywood producer and politician. They want Joe to write an autobiography about his life, and the ghost-writer they’ve hired is determined to tell Joe’s real story – which includes heading back to the Joe’s war-torn home-country.

First sentences: ‘I’m a trophy kid. You know, a status symbol.

Blackbox : A Novel, by Julie Schumacher (168 pages) – When Elena’s sister Dora is diagnosed with depression and admitted to a hospital, Elena’s life become confusing – her parents argue and only Dora’s friends at school will talk to her.

First sentence: ‘We can hear someone screaming as soon as we get off the elevator.

Madapple, by Christina Meldrum (410 pages) – Aslaug lives an isolated life with her mother – until her mother mysteriously dies. Aslaug winds up living with relatives she didn’t know she had, and she is drawn into a web of religious extremism and secrets.

First sentence: ‘The women resemble schoolgirls with gangly limbs, ruddy cheeks, plaited flaxen hair; they walk holding hands.

I Love You, Beth Cooper, by Larry Doyle (255 pages) – Denis Cooverman announces to everyone at his graduation that he loves Beth Cooper, the head cheerleader. Unfortunately her boyfriend, Kevin, is on leave from the United States Army and isn’t too happy. ‘Complications ensue’. Doyle is a former writer for The Simpson, and this book is extremely funny (I’m reading it now).

First sentence: ‘Denis Cooverman was sweating mroe than usual, and he usually sweat quite a bit.

Catching Fire: catch it soon

book coverLast month I discovered (thanks to Paula) the name of the sequel to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (being Catching Fire) and reported that we’d be ordering it soon (it’s due for publication in September this year). Well, it’s now been ordered and I suggest you reserve it, because it is going to be good, I’m very sure. In the interest of not having a Stephenie Meyer happen the publishers are being quite tight lipped about what will actually happen in Catching Fire; their blurb for the new book doesn’t tell you anything you didn’t already know (basically):

“Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.” (Amazon.com)

Zac-less High School

It’s been announced that there will be a High School Musical 4. It won’t have stars Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, unfortunately, but will replace them with a new cast of singing and dancing actors. It won’t be released to theatres (instead it will screen on the Disney channel) and will be unleashed in 2010.

We have all kinds of HSM stuff in the YA section – oh look at it all:

High School Musical (soundtrack)
High School Musical (DVD)
High School Musical 2 (soundtrack)
High School Musical 2 (DVD)
High School Musical 3 : Senior Year (soundtrack)
High School Musical : The Concert (Live DVD) 
High School Musical : The Essential Guide (Book)

Almost Amazing Sponsors

The Almost Amazing Race has a number of sponsors; we’d like to thank them for their support and their time!

Here they are:

Noel Leeming (Tory Street, Wellington)
Subway (Manners Street, Wellington)
The Children’s BookShop, Kilbirnie
Department of Conservation
Wellington Zoo

Red Bull
Cancer Society of NZ
Push Play
Recreation Wellington
Wellington City Council

Dracula vs. Santa

Zuda Comics collects user-submitted comics. The comics then compete with one another – they’re rated by users – and the winner is published. There’s some great work there, and the latest, Dracula vs. Santa, is hysterical. My aching sides!

3-2-1 Contact

The UN has revealed that about half the planet’s population use cellular phones, which is pretty impressive. The first small ‘flip’ cellphone came out in 1989, almost 20 years ago – I vaguely remember my dad had one for work, which was pretty impressive. At the time. Nowadays phones are vastly cheaper, smaller, and have many more functions. (Though it would be nice to own a retro phone.)

So, assuming you have one, would you like us to text or email you with information about upcoming events and news the Wellington City Libraries are planning for teens? If you would, please fill in the contact form below! Thanks!

Top 10: Strong Females? Yes, It’s Possible

I was going to find ten books with strong female lead characters in them, but happily there were so many it was very difficult to choose, so I thought I’d settle for ten examples, and subcategorise (which is perhaps even more satisfying than listing). There will be ten books in here (basically).

A) The Kats:
book coverKatsa, Graceling, Kristin Cashore.
book coverKatniss, The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins.
These are both fantasy titles, Graceling going the traditional route of a medieval alternate world, while The Hunger Games opts for the (also traditional) futuristic dystopia. Katsa and Katniss both know how to keep themselves alive and that killing and surviving often go together. Both do-ers rather than ponder-ers, they’re a bit out of touch when it comes to romance and boys and that. “I push the whole thing out of my mind because for some reason Gale and Peeta do not coexist well together in my thoughts,” thinks Katniss. Well, der. I quite like how similar these books are (in other words, if you liked The Hunger Games you might like Graceling too).

B) Daughters of disappeared fathers:
Laura Hame, Dreamhunter, Elizabeth Knox.
If you haven’t read Dreamhunter (and Dreamquake directly after) then I suggest you do (particularly good for say year 11 and up). It’s a slow starter, but when it winds itself up it’s quite spectacular and an incredibly unique fantasy world. Laura Hame is determined to find out why her father Tziga disappeared, doesn’t believe he’s dead like the authorities declare, and is willing to tell the truth, however nightmarish it may be.

book coverLyra, His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman.
Lyra is roguish and feisty, a well-written tomboy who, although she is briefly dazzled by the feminine wiles of Mrs Coulter, has the presence of mind and gumption to reach her own, accurate, conclusions.

Sabriel, The Old Kingdom Trilogy: Sabriel, Garth Nix.
Sabriel’s life has been quite sheltered until the disappearance of her father forces her to expand her horizons. She’s more than up to the challenge though I’m sure.

C) A classic (in a classic book):
Elizabeth Bennett, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen.
Elizabeth Bennett is actually a tough cookie in the Regency context. Even though she doesn’t have the greatest of prospects, she still turns down a single man in possession of a good fortune who ardently loves and admires her, because as it stands he’s, well, just too proud and his behaviour is a little odious at times. She’s in sharp contrast to her collection of sisters, all of whom are more easily swayed by the desires of parents, society, and men.

D) Two female antiheroes of high calibre chicklit (as in, female interest fiction):
Yay, I found a couple of female antiheroes (in reference to my antihero post).

book coverJessica Darling, Sloppy Firsts, Megan McCafferty.
She’s called Jessica Notso Darling by her father, who thinks it’s hilarious; she thinks it’s notso. Fuelled by sarcastic wit and Cap’n Crunch breakfast cereal, Jessica’s brain scythes through her class at school and you wonder will anyone stand up under her scrutiny? Well…

book coverFrankie Landau Banks, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E Lockhart.
Frankie wants to be taken seriously by her boyfriend and his friends, but they’re just not going to (she’s a girl), so she shows them… the results are satisfying in many ways, but also carry some serious implications; victory might be bitter sweet.

E) Kids:
Scout, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee.
Scout’s another feisty tomboy (except of course she came before Lyra): one of the most memorable characters in 20th century literature.

Matilda, Matilda, Roald Dahl.
Another memorable literary child. Don’t mess with Matilda.

book coverCoraline, Coraline, Neil Gaiman.
It’s Cora-line, like Caroline, but with the first two vowels switched. Coraline’s got enough gumption to correct adults when they mis-say her name, so that’s a good start. In a war of wits between Coraline and the mother with the button eyes ultimately there can be only one winner, but who?

And we could go on. Let me know if you’ve got a favourite strong female character.

New Zealand Post Book Awards: the finalists

The finalists for this year’s New Zealand Post Book Awards have been announced. In the YA fiction category we’ve got this interesting lineup:

Let the games begin! If you want to express an opinion, you can vote in the Children’s Choice category (I’m guessing it’s a broad definition of “children”). Have fun.

The Edge Summer JAM Music festival

They’re back!  After a five year hiatus The Edge Summer Jam is returning to Wellington,  March 4 at the TSB Arena.  This year’s lineup includes P-Money, Metro Station and Midnight Youth, with The Veronicas as the headlining artists.  Tickets are available now through Ticketek. Check out the promotional video below. 

P.S.  The Edge Summer Jam is pretty pricey, so if you don’t have the dosh you can go the cheaper option and reserve some CDs through our fantastic catalogue 🙂

 

Vampires on display

We’ve created a new display for all the YA fiction [in the central library] involving vampires, both good and bad (the vampires, not the fiction). Vampires are in at the moment (thanks to Twilight) and there are many, many vampire stories in the YA area (and most predate Twilight). Conspicuous by their absence, however, are any Twilight books; they’re just so popular.

So! If you’re in the mood for a little undeath, you will know where to look. Or else click here and see what’s available.

Most Wanted: March 2009

Well, people want to read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas again before they see the movie, but it’s still no match for the other child-caught-in-the-horror-of-WWII book, The Book Thief. If you haven’t read either of those and you’re interested I suggest you reserve them now. Very good.

Read our interview with Kate De Goldi to find out what sorts of things inspired her to write, and how the characters in The 10pm Question came about.

  1. book coverTwilight, Stephenie Meyer [no change]
  2. New Moon, Stephenie Meyer [no change]
  3. Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer [up 1]
  4. Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer [down 1]
  5. The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide [no change]
  6. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak [up 1]
  7. Brisingr, Christopher Paolini [down 1]
  8. The Escape, Robert Muchamore [new]
  9. The 10pm Question, Kate de Goldi [new]
  10. Ten Out of Ten, Meg Cabot [down 1] = The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne [new]

Tis all for now.

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