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Teen Blog

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

Month: July 2010 Page 1 of 3

New Books

The Glass Demon, by Helen Grant (409 pages) – Lin Fox finds a corpse, and nearby there is broken glass. There are more deaths, and more broken glass. A sinister thriller, set in Germany, and sort of based on a true story.

First line: ‘If anyone were to ask me, ‘What is the root of all evil?’ I would say not ‘Money’ but ‘Food’.’

Gimme a Call, by Sarah Mlynowski (327 pages) – Devi Banks can use her cellular to talk to herself – from the future! Future Devi tries to stop Present Devi from falling in love with some guy who breaks her heart. Which is reasonable (I would have a LIST of things to tell my younger self), but changing the past mightn’t be so easy.

First line: ‘I should just return Bryan’s watch to Nordstrom and go home.

Gentlemen, by Michael Northrop (234 pages) – Three boys suspect their English teacher has something to do with their friend’s disappearance, and to find him they must ‘navigate a maze of assorted clues, fraying friendships, violence, and Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment before learning the truth.’

The River, by Mary Jane Beaufrand (215 pages) – Another chiller/mystery (with an awesome first line). Veronica moves from the city to the country with her parents, and befriends a younger girl whose body is found on the banks of the river that runs through Veronica’s backyard. She become obsessed with solving the girl’s death and its connection to the river.

First line: ‘I suppose there are worse things than being soggy and dateless and shoveling bunny carcasses into a garbage bin on Valentine’s Day, but if there are, I can’t think of any.

Wanted : A Pretty Little Liars Novel, by Sara Shepard (259 pages) – This is volume eight in the series about some popular girls who were befriended and tormented by uber-popular-but-missing Alison. It is also the conclusion of the series! Will it end happily?

First lines: ‘They say a picture’s worth a thousand words.

Lucy Zeezou’s Glamour Game, by Liz Deep-Jones (319 pages) – This is the follow-up to Lucy Zeezou’s Goal. Lucy ‘Zeezou’ Zoffi is mad for football, but her father – a former Italian soccer star – is against girls playing professional sports. Also, she is a model. This time her parents might be splitting up, and she has to go to Milan.

First line: ‘A barrage of lights flashed in our faces, blinding us, while relentless clicking and snapping sounds polluted the air.

She’s So Dead to Us, by Kieran Scott* (278 pages) – Ally Ryan grew up rich, but her father lost all his money and almost bankrupted many others. Now Ally’s back in the swanky Orchard Hill, two years after the event, and all her ex-friends hate her so much and are determined to ruin her chances with dreamy and rich Jake.

*Kieran Scott is Kate Brian’s real name

First lines: ‘“So? What do you think?” Hmm. What did I think? I had to take a moment to sort out an answer to that one. Here’s what I came up with.

Top 10 Surfing

From the Nantucket Historical AssociationAs expected, there’s a bit of surfing happening in YA fiction, thanks largely to Australian writers. If you’re into surfing you might like one or two of these. There’s also a lot of self-discovery, and a hint of danger, if you’d prefer.

  1. Single Fin, Aaron Topp – A New Zealand contribution. “Fin lives to party and to surf the next wave but when his best friend and mentor, Mike, dies he is left alone. Fin goes to live with Mike’s uncle, a farmer down the coast, and begins to adjust to life on the farm. But when Jack, Mike’s younger cousin, is expelled from boarding school things change. Jack comes to live on the farm and he and Fin don’t get along. When Jack discovers surfing Fin is pressured into fighting demons he thought he had shut away for good.” (Catalogue)
  2. Starfish Sisters, J C Burke – Four girls are at an elite surfing camp. At first they are jealously competitive, then they learn that friendship might bring out the best in all of them and make them better surfers. Australian title number one. There’s also a sequel: Ocean Pearl in which the Starfish Sisters must get back together (or can they?).
  3. Surf Mules, Greg Neri – Logan’s friend Fin dies in a freak, giant-surf accident, and his father’s having money troubles, so Logan hits the road with his dodgy friend Z-Boy. Road trips, surfing, illegal dealings, and, ultimately, tragedy.
  4. Surf School, Laurine Croasdale – Tilly and her friends are all into surfing, and Tilly’s father runs a surf school. When he’s injured in a hit and run accident, Tilly must – with the help of her friends – (hopefully) keep the school running.
  5. Last Wave, Paul Hayden – Matt “Owl” has just finished high school and plans to enjoy the summer surfing with his mates, which sounds idyllic, which usually means in fiction land things are going to take a turn for the worse, and “Owl will learn what it really means to lose something you love” (catalogue).
  6. Raw Blue, Kirsty Eagar – another Australian effort: something bad happened to Carly two years ago, and she’s dropped out of university to surf and work at a café. Then she meets Ryan, and is propelled to face what happened, and sink or swim.
  7. Amaryllis, Craig Crist-Evans – Jimmy loves surfing with his brother Frank, but then Frank is called up to fight in the Vietnam war. The story of both brothers, Frank’s told through his letters to Jimmy. Amaryllis is the name of a shipwreck off the coast of Florida, where the brothers live.
  8. In the Break, Jack Lopez – another road trip/ surfing combo. Juan heads for Mexico with his friend Jamie and his (Juan’s) sister Amber after Jamie has a violent confrontation with his father. Along the way (on said road trip) they experience romance, tragedy… and the perfect wave.
  9. Surf Ache, Gerry Bobsien – Ella and her family move from Melbourne to Newcastle, and Ella struggles to adjust until she’s bitten by the surfing bug that’s all over Newcastle. Ella must, I think, also choose between dancing – which she loved in Melbourne – and surfing, and between her long-distance boyfriend and Snowy.
  10. Still Waving, Laurene Kelly – Julie is trying to get over a family tragedy, spending time surfing in her new town, but when the summer holidays arrive she must face the prospect of returning to the family farm and facing what happened.

Want to talk surfing like a pro? There are heaps of surf slang sites on the internet, for example, Riptionary.com.

Library week comps

Library Week is coming up, and they are running a graphic novel competition. There are two age groupings! One for teens, and one for adults. You only need to add four frames to the continuing story to enter, and it begins on Monday, the 26th (and finishes on the 20th of August, during Library Week).

There are other competitions you can enter as well.

n3w b00k5

The Poison Eaters And Other Stories, by Holly Black (212 pages) – A collection of stories, all ‘gritty, grim, and fabulous’, by the author of the Modern Faerie Tales (some of the stories in this collection are in the same setting) and the Spiderwick Chronicles. To sweeten the deal! there are illustrations.

The Emerald Casket : The Billionaire Trilogy Book II, by Richard Newsome (378 pages) – This continues this detective/mystery series about a billionaire (lucky!) who recovers stolen jewels, solves murders, and has some pretty sweet adventures. (The author, Richard Newsom, was born in New Zealand. We shall claim him as our own.)

First lines: ‘A meaty hand slapped down on top of the alarm clock. Of all the sounds that Constable Lethbridge of the London Metropolitan Police might want to hear on a Sunday, a buzzer at six o’clock in the morning was not high on the list.

Infinity : Chronicles of Nick, by Sherrilin Kenyon (464 pages) – This is the first in a series, I guess? About Nick Gautier, who is sarcastic and wise to the ways of the streets. He is accidently drawn into the world of the Dark-Hunters*, and there are vampires, werewolves, and zombies, everywhere.

*These are a related series for adults. This is her first YA book

First lines: ‘Free will. Some have called it the greatest gift bestowed on humanity.

The Boneshaker, by Kate Milford (372 pages) – Natalie’s love of machinery means only she is able to save her small Missouri town from the threat posed by Doctor Jake Limberleg’s Nostrum Fair and Technological Medicine Show. Historical fantasy (it is 1913!) meets steampunk and magic. This book has great illustrations and – this might just be me! – a wicked cool typeface*

*11-point Letterpress

First line: ‘Strange things  can happen at a crossroads.’

Epitaph Road, by David Patneaude (266 pages) – It is 2097, and a virus has wiped out 97% of all men. Now women rule the world and there is no war, crime, hunger, and poverty. Fourteen-year-old Kellen tries to find his outcast father (the surviving males lead a restricted life) and ‘uncovers a secret so frightening that his life and the future of the world will never be the same again.’

First line: ‘Charlie frowned as muted sunlight leaked through the ragged umbella of evergreen boughs overhead.

The Exile of Gigi Lane, by Adrienne Maria Vrettos (340 pages) – The catalogue says, ‘Heathers meets Bring It On in this story of a high school queen bee’s fall from glory,’ which is, if you’ve never seen Heathers, a pretty favourable comparison. Gigi – the high school queen bee – does fall from grace, but she won’t stand for it.

First line: ‘I’m Gigi Lane and you wish you were me. Oh my God, that has to be the most powerful affirmation in the history of the world.

Empire of the Undead : Chronicles of Blood, by Gary Cross (298 pages) – This is the second book in a series. As the title might suggest! the series is about vampires. LOADS of them in fact. It is also 1666. (Gary Cross is a NZ writer, so if there’s still an NCEA requirement that you read a NZ author, here’s a good one.)

First line: ‘Fifteen-year-old Mary Shire hated being undead.

Here are some non-fiction books! The titles tell you all you need to know, I’m thinking.

Max Your Marks : Tip From Top Students on How to Conquer Year 13, by Rowena Austin, Annie Hastwell, & Dorothy Vinicombe (273 pages)
Living With a Willy : The Inside Story, by Nick Fisher (151 pages)
The Twilight Saga : Eclipse – The Official Illustrated Movie Companion, by Mark Cotta Vaz (140 pages)

Re-Draft 2010

Re-Draft, an annual competition for teenage writers is on again. Your work could be selected for publication by judges Tessa Duder and James Norcliffe. Check in your school library for last year’s copy of the Re-Draft book ‘Fishing for Birds’ and you’ll find the entry form in the back. Good luck!

Book Covers: Carpet of Grass

Here are four book covers illustrating how nice a good patch of grass is to lie on (although not in mid winter). It’s all very chilled out and relaxed and happy, or is it? (Read them and find out.)



Footfree and Fancyloose, Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain – carrying on from Bass Ackwards and Belly Up, Harper and her three BFFs are half way through a year in which they pursue their dreams rather than going to college. Good for people with withdrawal from the Pants Sisterhood?

Front and Center, Catherine Gilbert Murdock – the final in the trilogy about the fabulous DJ Shwenk (the first being Dairy Queen – which the central library staff selected as a Librarian’s Choice). DJ has to decide on her future, which is quite complex and political when top line College basketball programmes are involved (did anyone see the movie The Blind Side, which is football but still sort of the same saga?).

The Loser’s Guide to Life and Love, A E Cannon – “Four teens fumble the ball of love in this entertaining romantic comedy based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream” says the Booklist review. Snappy dialogue.

The Vast Fields of Ordinary, Nick Burd – while his parents’ marriage fall apart, Dade comes out of the closet. Rites of passage and coming of age: it’s got good reviews too.

Nibbles! Couches!

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to tell us what you want to see happening in your libraries. We’re looking for an enthusiastic bunch of 13-18 year olds to hang out in our staff room (it’s big and has a great view), devour some food, and tell us your ideas for the perfect library.

29th July @ 4.30pm, Central Library.

Text or email adrienne if you want in (or reply to this post): 021 227 8637, adrienne.hannan@wcc.govt.nz

Music, Music, Music

A whole bunch of new music has come in. Good news, huh?

radiohead ok computerRadiohead’s masterpiece, OK Computer was originally released in 1997, but has since been given the deluxe re-issue treatment that is so trendy right now. So now in addition to the full album you get an extra disc with all the b-sides from the singles, live tracks and remixes. If that isn’t enough, we have the same deal, but with 2001’s Amnesiac. Hours of Radiohead!

beatlesWhilst on the subject of influential British bands getting re-issued, there’s a couple of Beatles albums new to the shelves that’ve been given a loving remastering. 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and 1968’s The Beatles (or the White Album as it’s most commonly known). These two records find the Fab Four at the peak of their studio wizardry and experimentation. Essential.

band of horsesBand Of Horses aren’t actually a band of horses, rather a band of bearded gentlemen who play alt-country. It’s a good thing when you really think about it, because after the novelty of musical equines wore off it would become all too apparent they couldn’t really play instruments with their hooves and everything. Anyway Infinite Arms is perfect for the indie kid who digs folk rock.

In between jumping motorbikes over things, the Crusty Demons do more than a bit of compiling shouty metal onto CDs. Latest shouty metal compilation, Crusty demons : beyond the Apocalypse continues the trend. Featuring tracks from Slipknot, Fear Factory, 30 Seconds To Mars, Audioslave and a whole lot more spread over two discs.

jimi hendrixMore deluxe re-issuing, this time for the late, great Jimi Hendrix. His 1967 classic, Axis : Bold As Love now comes with a swell DVD showing the man at work and enhanced CD material that I haven’t checked out, so it could be anything. Anything! If you’ve yet to get into Jimi, please do yourself a favour and pick this up.

stone temple pilotsMid-nineties alt-rockers Stone Temple Pilots recently reformed to record a new album showing that time (and the lure of money) can heal all wounds. The self-titled effort is a return to the grungey, 70’s stadium sound that made them stars in the first place, so fans can look forward to more of what they do best.

miley cyrusMiley Cyrus has gotten all tough and grown up on her new one, Can’t Be Tamed. Shedding the Hannah Montana image by sporting a black leather jacket and darkened hair on the cover, she matches it with a more mature, synth based sound. Whilst it’s a little bit edgier than what we’re used to from Miley, her fans will still be right at home.

Overdrive: Newish Digital Audiobooks

What’s newish for young adults in Overdrive (WCL’s digital audiobook collection)? Well, there’s Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (to go with The Hunger Games), and also The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer.

There are some (new) classics too: The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, 1984 by George Orwell, and Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (and much more), all of which feature on our semifamous classic novels in haiku booklist here.

Haven’t used Overdrive before? Have a look at the Quick Start Guide which tells you what you need to do to get going. There’s also a Guided Tour.

So, browse Overdrive for Young Adult titles here, download them onto your MP3 player and go running, or something.

In fact, here’s the QR code for the YA on the Overdrive catalogue, so if you have one of those fancy phones this will save you a few seconds: just take its picture and hey presto you’re searching through the titles just like that.

QR Code for Overdrive YA Fiction

Isn’t technology marvellous

Shibuya-giant-barcodeTwo weeks ago we posted a weird, black and white square and asked that you figure it out. Only two people did! That’s no good. It was, in fact, a QR code, which you photograph with your cellphone. Your phone cleverly translates it into an URL and takes you to a webpage. It’s big in Japan you know. Here’s how you do it.

1. Make sure your cellphone is able to even do it! Look at this list or even just google your phone’s brand and ‘QR code’. If your cellphone can’t do it, then, I guess that’s too bad.
2. Find some compatible software to download to your cellphone. Not all software will work on all phones. Again, check sites like this one.
3. Install the software. Hopefully your phone will know what to do. Mine did. <3
4. Start the application, take a photo of a QR code*, and be amazed.

Charges may apply. See your cellular phone provider for more details! (Usually it’s about $1 for 10MB.)

*You might find them in books, or magazines, or who knows where. Billboards? You can make your own QR code.

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