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

Month: February 2010 Page 1 of 3

This Week in New Books

Th1rteen R3asons Why, Jay Asher (288 pages) – (Thirteen Reasons Why) Hannah Baker committed suicide and left several cassettes (those analogue recording things) for Clay Jensen, explaining the thirteen reasons why she killed herself. The cassettes send Clay on a night-long trip around town, learning the truth about Hannah and also himself.

First line: “Sir?” she repeats. “How soon do you want it to get there?”

The Piper’s Son, Melina Marchetta (328 pages) – five years after Francesca was saved, Tom needs a bit of help, as the back cover says: “Thomas Mackee wants oblivion. Wants to forget parents who leave and friends he used to care about and a string of one-night stands, and favourite uncles being blown to smithereens on their way to work on the other side of the world… in a year when everything’s broken, Tom realises that his family and friends need him to help put the pieces back together as much as he needs them.”

First line: The string slices into the skin of his fingers and no matter how tough the calluses, it tears.

Darklight, Lesley Livingston (310 pages) – the follow on from Wondrous Strange. Kelley is propelled out of rehearsals for Romeo and Juliet and into the Otherworld where she is reunited with Sonny but caught in faerie stuff, which is nearly always potentially deadly, and always intriguing.

First line: The old man lay crumpled on the flagstones in front of a Park Avenue brownstone, his lifeblood oozing from five small holes in his neatly buttoned tweed vest like sap from a maple tree tapped in spring.

The Season, Sarah McLean (343 pages) – Anna Godbersen says, “The Season is frothy, girly, wicked, and wise to the tender, tenuous and sometimes very strong ties between young people throughout the ages.” In other words, in a similar vein to The Luxe, The Season follows elite young women, this time in regency London (being regency it’s probably too early for an exclusive academy though). Lady Alexandra Stafford is more interested in adventure than romance, which proves to be a recipe for espionage, murder, mystery and action. Looks gripping.

First line: The rain fell steadily on the slick rocks marking the edge of the Essex countryside, where the land fell in sheer cliffs to a frigid winter sea.

Wish, Alexandra Bullen (323 pages) – Olivia’s twin sister Violet is gone, leaving her (Olivia) broken hearted. One day a magical dress arrives on her doorstep, entitling her to one wish. She wishes for Violet back.

First line: Some girls are wishaholics.

Sweet Little Lies, Lauren Conrad (309 pages) – subtitled: an L A Candy Novel. Jane and Scarlett are on the reality TV show L. A. Candy. Being in the spotlight means that Jane is tabloid fodder when photos of her are leaked to the press. Secrets and lies…

First line: Jane Roberts sat up on her white chaise longue and gazed at the horizon between the vast blue ocean and the vast blue sky.

This is just a small sample: more next week. Have a good weekend!

Today in history

How Millenial Are You? is a quiz that determines just how millenial you are. Obviously! A ‘Millenial’ is someone who belongs to the so-called ‘Y-Generation‘ (i.e people born in the last couple of decades). ‘Generation X‘ was the previous generation (sort of), referring to people who grew up in the late 70s and 80s. Before that are the ‘Baby Boomers’, who were all born after WWII (there was a lot of them, hence the ‘boom‘ part). Each generation differs not only in age, but also in things such as consumer habits, culture, earnings, education, and whether or not they have a Facebook account.

And that was Today in History, kinda.

Here Are Some More CDs

If you’re in the mood for some cute indie-pop, and really, when is anybody not, give The Gladeyes’ Psychosis Of Love a spin. With influences such as The Velvet Underground, The Shangri-Las and Animal Collective you can’t go wrong. Some of the coolest and most charming music coming out of New Zealand at the moment. Their myspace is here.

South Auckland hip-hopper Tyson Tyler released Reality Cheque late last year and now it’s arrived in the YA collection. It’s an incredibly slick sounding record that could’ve come out in the U.S. based on the production levels. It includes appearances from Temple Jones, Red Eye Society, Pieter-T, Cyphanetik, Ethical, Monsta Ganjah, Young Sid and Flowz. That’s a lot of guests.

Wellington’s own Trei makes the sort of drum and bass sounds that appear so frequently on advertisements for snowboarding stores. With the Winter Olympics in full swing the arrival of Innuendo would seem rather apt. Pick it up and practise your 540 McTwists to it. If you want to that is.

There are also a few new compilations. PHAT 10 is “a 4-day celebration of bass heavy dance at Inangahua, West Coast”. Includes tracks by The Upbeats, Salmonella Dub, Whirimako Black, State of Mind, Concord Dawn and others. Rocked 09 includes rockers from Mudvayne, Kid Rock and Eskimo Joe. Now that’s what I call music 16 (UK Edition) includes hits from 2004 for a mildly retro pop trip.

Patrick Ness at Scots

If you’ve read and enjoyed the Chaos Walking books by Patrick Ness (The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer) then you might be interested to know that he’s in New Zealand in March: he will be speaking at Scots College on March 11. Visit the Children’s Bookshop website to find out how to book a seat (if you can get time off school or work).

The final book in the trilogy, Monsters of Men, is due out in May.

This week’s magazines

Simpsons Comics #158 – The Simpsons in comic form
XBox 360 #51 – Exclusive look at Medal of Honour | Reviews of BioShock2 and FFXIII | Oh and lots of other reviews too | a history of Final Fantasy games | ’10 things you must try in Assassin’s Creed II’
White Dwarf Feb 2010 – Warhammer Beastmen rarr | Paint crystalline and mirrored surfaces and horns and loads of other paining tips
Dolly Feb 2010 – This is the ‘love love love!’ issue | The new haircut that suits EVERYONE | (it is having it cropped btw) | “I volunteered in a Brazilian creche” | “My boyfriend died on the way to propose to me”

Writers and Readers Week

The Festival of the Arts begins on the 26th of February, and as usual it includes the Writers and Readers Week (starting with the Gala Opening on March the 9th). This year there are a couple of interesting young adult authors attending, namely Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book, Coraline etc) and Margo Lanagan (Tender Morsels), including one session together being interviewed by Kate de Goldi in which they discuss what makes a book children’s (or young adults’) literature (and is it not as worthy as “adults'”?). We might go and report back on what the answer is.

Other interesting writers to be featured:

And finally: for Shaun Tan fans don’t forget The Arrival (read the book too). It looks very cool.

New Books

Only a few new books this week.

The Splendour Falls, by Rosemary Clement-Moore (220 pages) – Sylvie is a ballerina. She broke a leg, her father died, and her mother remarried! Also, she might be losing her mind (or it might be ghosts). To cheer her up her mother moves her from an Manhattan apartment to a haunted Alabama mansion, where she meets the mysterious yet attractive Rhys.

First line: ‘For months, I relived the pas de deux in my dreams, in that multisensory Technicolor of a memory I’d much rather forget.

The Polar Bear Ward, edited by Tessa Duder and James Norcliffe (118 pages) -This is the seventh Re-Draft anthology, which we finally have (it came out in 2008!) It collects works by young NZ writers and poets.

The 13 Curses, by Michelle Harrison (454 pages) – This is the sequel to 13 Treasures. Rowan Fox makes a deal with the fairy court; she will find the cursed charms from a bracelet in exchange for her brother, who was stolen by the fairies. And there’s no guarantee the fairies will keep their side of the bargain – they have a secret up their little fairy sleeves.

First line: ‘As midnight approached in Hangman’s Wood two girls fled through the forest, desperately searching for a way out.

The Phoenix Files : Contact, by Chris Morphew (309 pages) – This is the second book in a series. It is part sci-fi, part thiller, part conspiracy theory paranioa, and it’s all leading up to the end of the world. Great stuff! There’s a website here.

First line: ‘Someone’s phone was ringing.

The Medusa Project : The Hostage, by Sophie McKenzie (244 pages) – This is also the second book in a series. It also has a website! This series is about four teens, who all exhibit psychic abilities. They are brought together to secretly fight crime – with their minds.

First line: ‘Like I didn’t have enough problems?

Winter’s End, by Jean-Claude Mourlevat (trans. Anthea Bell) (415 page) – This is originally French, and it’s also been released as Winter Song. It made one of our Top 10 lists (Books in Which Winter Stars) under that title, and you can read about it there.

First line: ‘At a sign from the supervisor, a girl in the front row rose to her feet and went over to press the metal switch.

About a Girl, by Joanne Horniman (188 pages)
Raven Summer, by David Almond (198 pages)

Things For Listening

owl cityOwl City is a one man electro band, conjured up on sleepless nights by Adam Young in his parents’ basement. It includes a chart topping single (Fireflies) and a viral hit (Hello Seattle) and launched a successful world tour on the back of debut effort, Ocean Eyes. Maybe the next time you can’t sleep you should make an album instead of a midnight snack, clearly it pays dividends.

britneyOh man, Britney Spears’ singles are sooooo bangin’. I wish someone would have the foresight to compile them on a single disc that the library would buy and put in it’s YA collection so the hit parade could just keep on rollin’ from 1999 all the way to 2009. Oh wait, it looks as though The singles collection completely fits that bill. Well then.

Pixie Lott is a rising, young R&B/Pop star who gained label attention from the songs posted on her myspace, ala Lily Allen, which is a good example as she is not too disimilar in style. Turn It Up is an enthusiastic, infectious first effort that has all the teen pop fans talking.

vampire weekendVampire Weekend were already indie-famous on the strength of their first album, but now that Twilight fever has truly gripped the globe, they could be set for proper-famous given that they’ve aligned their personal brand so closely with the now ubiquitous, undead coffin-dwellers. If they were called RPattz Weekend they could be bigger than U2. Based on my sound (?) reasoning Contra should be massive, the sunshiney indie-pop songs within help though.

The Temper Trap are a Melbourne band with grand ambition. The songs on Conditions, their debut, are almost all big ballady melodramas designed for stadiums. If Muse, Coldplay, Keane, Snow Patrol and the like are the sorts of cats in your bag, pop these young upstarts in beside them. Ok?

And lastly, Katy Perry’s MTV Unplugged is here. It includes live, acoustic performances of seven of songs on the CD, on the DVD are the same seven songs, but with added visuals and an interview. A reminder to all of us who’ve forgotten that the “M” in MTV stands for music.

This week’s magazines

And last week’s also! There was only one though, so it was hardly worth mentioning.

Teen Vogue March 2010 Special report : Cheating in exams | Nick Jonas: “I want someone to love me for my passion for music. It’s all I’ve ever thought about” | Teens texturise toughened tresses | Trend spotting: sequins
Simpsons Summer Special – Six ‘awesome comic stories’
Entertainment Weekly # 1087 – TV’s 50 biggest bombs (QUITE INTERESTING) | Sneak peak at the new Twilight comic (it’s not that good really) | Lea Michele wears nice frock to Golden Globes
Entertainment Weekly #1088 – Secrets from Lost | The newest and best upcoming console/PC games | Ian Somerhalder is back in Lost? Ooh | Lots of reviews

New Books

Here are last week’s new additions to the YA fiction collection.

Guilt Trip, by Anne Cassidy (220 pages) – Daniel Feeny was suicidal, and he’s gone missing without leaving any kind of clue as to his whereabouts. Alison and her friends do know what happened, however, and there will be consequences.

First line: ‘Alison couldn’t believe it when she heard that Jackson was back.

The Lady in the Tower, by Marie-Louise Jensen (317 pages) – It is 1540, and Elanor’s mother has been imprisoned in a castle tower for four years. Eleanor discovers a plot to off her mum, so she must somehow free her. Based on an historical event!

First line: ‘I gripped the reins tightly in one hand and my practice lance in the other.

Payback, by Rosemary Hayes (207 pages) – Halima was brought up in Pakistan and now lives with her family in London. She’s met a boy she really likes and her future looks bright. BUT! Her dad has planned to marry her to the son of a distant relation in Pakistan as payback for a favour.

First line: ‘I was only four years old when my father came back.

I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It, by Adam Selzer (177 pages) – Alley lives in a world where post-humans – vampires, werewolves, and whatnot – are common. She falls for Doug, who, she discovers, is a zombie, and she must break up with him. Because I guess he is an animated corpse? Ewww. There is an official website!

First line: ‘Watching a vampire make out with an idiot is kind of like going to the farmers’ markets and noticing just how many farmers have lost fingers in on-the-job accidents.

Moribito : Guardian of the Spirit (248 pages) and Moribito II : Guardian of the Darkness (245 pages), by Nahoko Uehashi – These are translations of the first two books in a series very popular in Japan (there are ten books, and it’s there are manga and anime adaptions). Here’s the official website in Japanese. The series is about Balsa, a woman warrior in feudal Japan, and is an ‘epic martial arts fantasy’.

The Lost Conspiracy, by Frances Hardinge (568 pages) – Long fantasy books are always difficult to summarise, so here’s the catalogue entry: ‘When a lie is exposed and their tribe turns against them, Hathin must find a way to save her sister Arilou–once considered the tribe’s oracle–and herself.’

First line: ‘It was a burnished, cloudless day with a tug-of-war wind, a fine day for flying.

Lord Sunday : The Keys to the Kingdom, by Garth Nix (311 pages) -This is the seventh and final book in The Keys to the Kingdom series. So now you can read them all without having to wait for the next one to be written. OR. You could read one per day, starting on Monday with Mister Monday, and be very sleepy for days after.

First line: ‘Arthur fell.

The Carbon Diaries 2017, by Saci Lloyd (400 pages) – The sequel to The Carbon Diaries 2015, and about a near-future where carbon is rationed, war over water threatens, and the climate is quickly going to hell. ‘Adrian Mole does the apocalypse.’

First lines: ‘Mon, Jan 2nd: So exhausted. My family is in deathlike trance after the village New Year’s Eve Organic Goose Fayre.

Goth Girl Rising, by Barry Lyga (390 pages) 
A Season of Gifts, by Richard Peck  (164 pages)
Purple Heart, by Patricia McCormick (199 pages)

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