Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Teen Blog

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

Month: September 2010 Page 2 of 3

Just so that you know

All Wellington public libraries will be closed over Labour Weekend – on Friday, the 22nd of October, we close at 7pm and reopen again on Tuesday, the 26th of October, at the usual time. This is so that the library’s computer system can be upgraded. Which means that the online catalogue (and most of the WCL site, actually) won’t be operating for that time also. Blogs will be working, though! (Blogs won’t be working!) Also, no one will be charged overdues for the days we’re shut.

FUN FACT: Labour Weekend originated in Wellington, when a man – nay, a hero! – kicked off the eight-hour working day movement in 1840. Before that people could be made to work all day! Blergh.

Some hot new books

Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare (476 pages) – the first in the Infernal Devices series and featuring a couple of characters that you know and love from Mortal Instruments, Clockwork Angel introduces the shadowhunters of Victorian London (think grey, foreboding, Sherlock Holmes-ian) where an evil someone is scheming and creating, well, infernal devices.

First sentence: The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.

Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins (390 pages) – brace yourself to the conclusion of the Hunger Games. Will Katniss save Panem from the evil Capitol and President Snow? Will there be another games? Who will rise from the ashes? Can you stop yourself from skipping to the end while reading?

First sentence: I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather.

Thirst No. 2, Christopher Pike (581 pages) – this includes Phantom, Evil Thirst and Creatures of Forever, being books 4 to 6 of the Last Vampire series first published in the mid 1990s (so kind of school mates of The Vampire Diaries in a way). Alisa, a five thousand year old vampire, has become human, but can she reconcile her past with her future?

First sentence (Phantom): Someone knocks at the door of the Las Vegas home where I stand.

One Night That Changes Everything, Lauren Barnholdt (242 pages) – Eliza’s ex-boyfriend Cooper has stolen her notebook in which she writes about everything she wants but is too afraid to do, and now he and his friends are blackmailing her, giving her one night to perform all the tasks listed in the notebook, or they’ll publish. So Eliza gets the gloves out.

First sentence: I lose everything.

Sisters Red, Jackson Pearce (344 pages) – this one has good reviews! The story of Scarlett and Rosie, who hunt the werewolves who are killing the young girls of their town. Indeed, werewolves are responsible for killing their grandmother and leaving Scarlett with terrible scars, so fair enough. Silas, an axe-wielding woodsman, helps them, and maybe causes some complications in their tight relationship. Cool cover.

First sentence: Strangers never walk down this road, the sisters thought in unison as the man trudged towards them.

I Know It’s Over, C K Kelly Martin (244 pages) – the story of Nick, who must come to terms with the news that the girl he’s just broken up with, Sasha, is pregnant. One reviewer says, “teen boys will especially applaud this portrayal of a devastated and conflicted young man who makes the right decisions, but still finds that his mistakes have repercussions”.

First sentence: The first time Sasha lay spread across my bed, I felt like the world had changed.

Bone by Bone by Bone, Tony Johnston (184 pages) – Set in Tennessee in 1950. David is living up to his father’s wishes to become a doctor, but his friendship with a black boy called Malcolm doesn’t please his father at all. So when his father’s assertion that he will kill Malcolm if he comes into the house is tested by the boys he pulls out his shotgun. Ellipsis.

First sentence: The ghost possessed the liveliest eyes I had ever seen.

Rules of Attraction, Simone Elkeles (324 pages) – written by the author of Perfect ChemistryRules of Attraction follows the story of Alex’s brother Carlos. Alex forces Carlos to come and live with him in Boulder, Colorado, away from his Mexican gang. So Carlos ends up in the home of one of Alex’s professors, in close proximity to the professor’s daughter, Kiara.

First sentence: I want to live life on my own terms.

Five Minutes More, Darlene Ryan (212 pages) – D’Arcy’s dad told her that everyone can survive for five minutes more, so when he dies in a car crash she hopes it was an accident. D’Arcy struggles to cope with his loss, with the help of her maths tutor, Seth, but Seth’s own issues surface and complicate things more.

First sentence: I play the Five Minutes More game.

Summer: Beautiful Dead, Eden Maguire (274 pages) – following from Jonas and Arizona. Darina turns her attention to the murder of Summer Madison, a singer-songwriter, posing as her agent in order to track down her killer.

First sentence: Who decides what’s normal and what’s not?

Fifteen Minute Bob, Catherine Forde (244 pages) – Rory’s life gets turned upside down when his struggling muso father releases a music viral with two musician friends.

First sentence: Imagine this, okay?: It’s your Sixth Form Parents’ Night.

Secrets of my Hollywood Life, Jen Calonita (242 pages) – the cover says, “At last… What it’s really like to be a celebrity ‘It’ girl.” Kaitlin is a 16 year old actress who just wants to be normal, so she assumes a secret identity and enrolls in the local high school. So, exclusive academies in reverse.

First sentence: I’m going to let you in on a little Hollywood Secret: movie stars don’t always get along.

Also briefly:

Soft Targets, Harry Edge – book one of Kite Identity

Bright Angel, Isabelle Merlin – from the author of Three Wishes, Pop Princess and Cupid’s Arrow

Top 10: Relationships with Parentals

Lots of YA fiction does its best to avoid the topic of parents. There are lots of convenient boarding schools (or exclusive academies, as we like to call them here), or parents with jobs that mean they have to travel a lot, or parents who are just rather absent (which would make for a good story, except that’s often not the point). But then there’s the brave book that jumps in and explores parents, who can be problematic creatures sometimes. Lots of potential for conflict (a key ingredient in story telling). Here are ten books in which relationships between teenagers and parents are explored in, we hope, thoughtful and challenging ways.

  1. Solace of the Road, Siobhan Dowd (also try A Swift Pure Cry) – In Solace of the Road, Holly is newly fostered by a seemingly perfectly lovely couple, and her life should be on track, but she’s haunted by the idea of her mother and, with the help of a wig, she becomes Solace and travels across the UK, heading for Ireland. The road trip turns out to be one of self-discovery and the upheaval of buried memories.
  2. Once Was Lost, Sara Zarr – Samara’s mother’s lost it a bit and has gone away to sort out her rather public drinking issues, and her father, the local minister, is kind of hopeless (and way too busy), so Samara is left to herself a bit to keep herself and her household going. The story is about faith and family, and it also follows the mystery of a disappeared girl.
  3. Twisted, Laurie Halse Anderson – this is one of my most favouritist YA books. Possibly more interesting than anything else in the book is Tyler’s relationship with his (controlling) parents, most specifically his father.
  4. Dirty Little Secrets, C J Omolulu – this story plays out over a one day period. Lucy’s mother dies suddenly, leaving Lucy to cope with her loss, and also her dirty little secret – a compulsive, shameful hoarding habit that leaves their house a real health and safety hazard and earns Lucy the nickname “Garbage Girl”. Cleaning up happens literally and figuratively.
  5. Blue Plate Special, Michelle D Kwasney – proof that your mother wasn’t always a middle aged embarrassment. Three generations of 15 year olds tell their stories of being raised by single mothers, from 1977 through 1993 to 2009.
  6. Borderline, Allan Stratton – Sami Sabiri is the only Muslim in a private school, then his father is implicated in a terrorist plot. One reviewer said this book would be great for fans of the TV show 24 (which I wasn’t one of, so I couldn’t comment, but that sounds good).
  7. Counter Clockwise, Jason Cockcroft – Nathan’s mother was killed when she was hit by a bus, and his father will do anything to prevent this from being truth, even travelling back in time in an attempt to change history. Chaos ensues.
  8. Choppy Socky Blues, Ed Briant – Jason’s father is a former stunt man who runs a dojo who Jason wants to have nothing to do with, on account of his having abandoned his family. But when Jason meets Tinga, who is going for her blue belt, he feels compelled to get back into the karate world of his father.
  9. For Keeps, Natasha Friend – Josie is 16 and her mother is 33, and they’re close, but when Josie’s father’s family moves back into town things get a bit complicated and Josie learns some truths about her parents and her arrival, in amongst both herself and her mother finding love.
  10. Infinity: Chronicles of Nick, Sherrilyn Kenyon – Nick’s mother is an exotic dancer, a truth that causes Nick endless grief and adds to his social outcast-ness. He’s fiercely protective of her, though, which winds him up in lots of trouble, both with her and others, and this is all before he’s drawn into a supernatural battle against zombies (this time rather than cheerleading they’re football-playing). The first of a series.

Haiku Review: Volume Two

jack johnson en concert

Jack Johnson – En Concert

Jack brings his guitar
around the world, along with
a tape recorder.


Pitbull – The Boatlift

A man names himself
after a breed of dog and
raps about strippers.

gaslight anthem

The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

Four guys who enjoy
Springsteen make alt-punk music
and put out record.

american idol

American Idol : Season Nine

Did you watch the ninth
season of Idol? No, well
here is a recap.


Beirut – Lon Gisland

Can’t think of a thing
to say about this one. So
I apologise.

scouting for girls

Scouting For Girls – Everybody Wants To Be On TV

Wants To Be On TV is
by Scouting For Girls.


Opshop – Until The End Of Time

I heard the singer
has a bunker in his yard
like Ned Flanders does.

If you like voting, vote here

While New Zealand is getting all excited about voting for mayors and whatnot (if you’re 18 or over then don’t forget to vote by October 9!), here are a couple of places you can exercise your right by voting in the following competitions/vote offs/popularity contests:

1) Until the 17th (was a bit slow out of the blocks) you can vote on the ALA (American Library Association) Teen Choice Teens Top 10 2010 List. Voting is for the best books of the previous year, so titles include such gems as Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, City of Glass by Cassandra Clare, Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, and much more.

2) And again, if you vote, like, today (sorry!), there are the Teen Reads Awards. These are Canadian, and they’re a bit like the Teen Choice awards you see on TV. Categories include Best Hottie, Best Villain and Best Lip Lock, see.

We might check back in later with results, in case you’re interested.

New Magazines 11/09/10

Boards with wheels! Boards with fins! Electric-pink! Hot monsters! This week’s new magazines has it all.

Creme Oct 2010 – Zac’s ‘eeek’ moment | Some actors talk about their new movies | celebrity wordfind! | Katy Perry “style”
Transworld Skateboarding Sep 2010 – Backside smith grind! | Fakie tailslide! | Inside the pot kickflip frontside crooked grind 180 outs | Switch crooked grind fakie bigspin flip out!
Entertainment Weekly #1118 – The sexiest ’64 Aliens, Vampires, Werewolves, Mutants & more’ | Fall (that’s our Spring!) Music Preview
Kiwi Surf Oct/Nov 2010 – This season’s boards shorts | ‘The Joys of Winter’ | NZ has some really nice beaches, actually


It’s  been an age since we linked to some parkour/freerunning videos. So we must remedy that! Watch this video and marvel as gravity is defied.

Do you like this? Go to the NZ Parkour Association website!

ETA: some more on parkour, here’s a summary of Chase Armitage (professional free runner (which you can be)) and his talents.

The window is the best bit.

Book Cover Lookalikes

Some pairs in a variety of genres, because they’re easier to find than fours:

1) Sitting on the dock of the bay wasting time


I was thinking that maybe if you like Deb Caletti’s books you might also like Suzanne Colasanti, yes? Either way, jetties are nice places to sit and think.

2) And stretch


I like these two.

3) Dark and romantic


Both of these are about forbidden, secret love – The Secret Year focuses on dealing with a secret relationship that ends in tragedy; Perfect Chemistry is a tale of star-crossed lovers from opposite sides of the tracks, like a socio-economic Romeo and Juliet.

ETA: Crazy Beautiful by Laura Baratz-Logsted, an edgy retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story (cf Beastly by Alex Flinn), where the beast is Lucius who has blown both his hands off in a home made basement chemistry accident explosion thing, and the beauty is the perfect Aurora*.

4) Humorous farm animals on a blue background


Ducks are, I think, inherently humorous. The cow needed the tiara for that extra je ne sais quois. Both are stories about finding yourself and your voice, really. Both have inherent humour.

5) One freaky eye


I saw these pictures on this blog here, which seems to be the definitive cover lookalike spotting blog – they’re almost depressingly sharp-eyed.

6) Two freaky eyes


Same idea, different execution: unnaturally oversized eyes can convey horror just as well as nasty red ones, I think, and both of these books are horrors, if you stop and think how disturbing zombie cheerleaders would actually be.

* Here’s a challenge – role reversal in the Beauty and the Beast world? With a beautiful boy and a beastly girl?

Lots of New Books

Yes. There are lots of new books! Read them all, that’s my challenge.

Legacies : A Shadow Grail Novel, by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill (320 pages) – This is the first book in the Shadow Grail series, about a teen girl named Spirit White, whose family die and she’s shipped off to Oakhurst Academy. Everyone there is some sort of magic user! Students start disappearing, and a mystery has got to be solved.

First lines: ‘Someone was moaning. Spirit wished whoever it was would be quiet.

Dark Life, by Kat Falls (297 pages) – The oceans have risen, and people either live on the tiny pieces of land or deep under the ocean. The ocean is a rough, dangerous place to live! Ty and Gemma find themselves venturing into this underwater frontier (for noble reasons!) and discover some dark secrets.

First lines: ‘I peered into the deep-sea canyon, hoping to spot qa toppled skyscraper. Maybe even the Statue of Liberty.

Juggling Fire, Joanne Bell (171 pages) – Rachel grew up in the mountains in Yukon, but she has to move to the city. Then her father disappears, and Rachel – wanting to know why – hikes back through the mountains, where she must confront danger (bears!) and the past.

First line: ‘Mom doesn’t cry when I heave the packs from the pickup; she only blinks hard, squeezes my shoulders and whirls around, like she has to get away from me fast.

Crawlers, by Same Enthoven (261 pages) – Nine kids go to the theatre to see a play and in one evening of sheer horror they encounter some sinister and disgusting mind-controlling hairless, blubbery spidery-octopus things. I will never eat takoyaki again!

First line: ‘In the dark pit that had been my prison for almost three hundred and fifty years, Steadman’s latest victim was regaining consciousness.

Indigo Blues, by Danielle Joseph (231 pages) – Adam is an indie music sensation, and Indigo is the girl who dumped him. He subsequently wrote a song about her, and now she is almost as famous as he is. She’s not too pleased! And he’s still calling her, and she’s like, no way.

First line: ‘When I found out that “Indigo Blues” hit number one on the Billboard charts this morning, I ran to the bathroom and threw up.

The Alchemist and the Angel, by Joanne Owen (224 pages) – It is the 16th century, and Jan, an alchemist’s apprentice, is searching for the elixir of life. He travels to Prague, a city rich with alchemy and corruption, and while there he meets a mysterious girl (the ‘Angel of the Ghetto’). This book is beautifully illustrated!

First line: ‘Emperor Rudolf II – Ruler of the World, Aficionado of Alchemy, Collector of Curiosities – shifted in his throne.’

My Rocky Romance Diary by Kelly Ann, (really) by Liz Rettig (313 pages) – The saga of Kelly Ann’s romantic life continues in this, the fourth of her diaries.

First line: ‘First day of term and Mum woke me up at eight but I’d two free periods first thing so I mumbled ‘Leavemealoneandgoaway’.

Reality Check, by Jen Calonita (277 pages) – Catalogue says, ‘When a television executive signs Long Island sixteen-year-old Charlie and her three best friends to be the stars of a new reality television show, their lives are suddenly not the same.’

First line: ‘It’s only 3:47 PM. How can that be? It feels like I’ve been here for hours, not just forty-seven minutes.’

The Fire Opal, by Regina McBride (293 pages) – ‘While invading English soldiers do battle in sixteenth-century Ireland, Maeve grows up with a mystical connection to a queen who, centuries before, faced enemies of her own.’ Thanks, Catalogue!

First line: ‘When I was seven years old, my mother and I spent a July afternoon on the foreshore collecting kelp, which we planned to dry and burn for summer fires.

Notes From The Dog, by Gary Paulsen (133 pages) – Okay, this is from the Catalogue again: ‘When Johanna shows up at the beginning of summer to house-sit next door to Finn, he has no idea of the profound effect she will have on his life by the time summer vacation is over.’

First line: ‘Sometimes having company is not all it’s cracked up to be.’

So Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother), by Micol Ostow (Art by David Ostow) (246 pages) – Ari Abramson’s band, made up of four teens from a wealthy Jewish school, suddenly become popular overnight. They now must navigate the ‘minefield of inflated egos, misplaced romance, and the shallowness of indie-rock elitism.’ Comedy!

First line: ‘There are many things that Jonas Fein does well.

Freak Magnet, by Andrew Auseon (297 pages) – Gloria is a ‘freak magnet’, and in fact keeps a record of all the weirdos who talk to her. Charlie is a freak, so it’s only a matter of time before he ends up in her Freak Folio. However! They’re both burdened by grief and loss*, and so form a connection.

* 🙁

First line: ‘When the world’s most beautiful woman walks into the room, it’s hard to keep from throwing up.

Runaway Storm, by D. E. Knobbe (223 pages) – This is the first in a series (there’s an excerpt of the next book included). Nate has stolen a kayak and has run (paddled?) away from home to some remote Canadian island. He encounters smugglers, real runaways, and a massive, deadly storm.

First lines: ‘Nate slouched out of the elevator and crossed the lobby of the apartment building. The apartment, this building, New York – they had never felt like home.

Beyond Evie, by Rebecca Burton (200 pages) – Charlotte’s life is pretty swell, apart from having lost her father and later falling in love (obsessively!) with Evie, who breaks her heart. ‘Perceptive,’ ‘powerful,’ and ‘psychologically intense’ (yet ‘optimistic’ also!).

First lines: ‘You, Evie, told me I was beautiful. I thought you meant you liked me, but I was wrong.

Two Good Thieves, by Daniel Finn (386 pages) – In the Third World slums in a city somewhere in South America, Demi and Baz fight for a better life in a ‘city of thieves’ in this fast-pace, gritty thriller. (It’s also published as She Thief, which we have as a new book this week.)

First lines: ‘The city’s burning. The city is always burning.

Tripwire, by Steve Cole and Chris Hunter (238 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Felix Smith is a soldier, a spy, and a covert bomb disposal expert. He works for ATLAS, who use teenagers for military operations (the enemy don’t expect teenagers!).

First line: ‘Got you. The sight of the bomb hit Felix like a punch in the guts.

Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto, by Eric Luper (293 pages) – Seth’s girlfriend dumps him and his father is spotted out on a date with a woman who is not Seth’s mother. So Seth begins an anonymous podcast about the mysteries of love. Soon his life is picking up – he holds a job, makes new friends, and tracks down his father’s mystery date.

First lines: ‘“Come on Seth. Say something.” Veronica stares at me like I’m the one who should be doing the explaining – like I’m the one who just turned everything upside down.

Rush, by Jonathan Friesen (295 pages) – Jake loves taking risks, just to feel the rush. He’s offered a job with a group of firefighters who rappel into wildfires. Very risky! His friend and secret crush, Salome, gets caught up in taking risks also, and the consequences are devastating.

First lines: ‘“Pure insanity.” I whisper at the sky as sheets of rain sting my face.

Sea : A Novel, by Heidi R. Kling (327 pages) – A romance set in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami that struck Indonesia. Sienna Jones travels with her father to Asia to help with an internation relief team, and she meets the ‘most handsome boy she’s ever seen,’ Deni. He though his father died in the disaster but he learns that mightn’t be the case; together, they make the heartbreaking journey to the epicentre of the tsunami’s destruction.

First line: ‘I’m sitting alone on the other side of the world talking to a sea turtle that might be my mom.

The Six Rules of Maybe, by Deb Caletti (321 pages) – Scarlet spends all her time worrying about others, and trying to help them and fix their lives. Often when it means ignoring her own needs! But then she falls in love with her newly pregnant sister’s husband, and finds herself at the centre of a drama (and then some!) for the first time.

First line: ‘You could tell something was different about Juliet the moment she stepped out of the truck.

Smiling Jack, by Ken Catran (271 pages) – Robert’s well-respected father and uncle are killed in a road accident. He finds a defaced playing-card Jack at the accident site. Soon more people are dying, and the same card is found near each death. A murder mystery with a startling and unexpected twist!

First line: ‘Smiling Jack came into my life about ten-thirty, one November night.

Lies : A Gone Novel, by Michael Grant (447 pages) – This is the follow up to Gone and Hunger, about a world where all adults disappear and the remaining kids get all Lord of the Flies/Mad Max on one another. They also have powers! There are mutants, and dark supernatural forces.

First line: ‘Obscene graffiti. Smashed windows. Human Crew tags, their logo, along with warnings to freaks to get out.

Daniel X : Demons and Druids, by James Patterson and Adam Sadler (243 pages) – Alien hunter Daniel X travels to England with his friends to find Beta, an outlaw that takes the form of fire and who killed Daniels parents when he was a wee toddler. Daniel can create anything, has superspeed, can shapechange, and has superstrength! He travels through time as well, and meet Merlin.

First lines: ‘I bet I can see London from here, I was thinking. I was literally 150 feet in the air above a grassy field, outside a charming little village called Whaddon.

Classy : Be a Lady, Not a Tramp, by Derek Blasburg (230 pages) – This is a manual for older teen girls who want to be a classy; how to dress, etiquette to adopt, even what to read and watch. A modern Miss Manners!

Here are the latest magazines:

Entertainment Weekly #1115 – Always good for a twenty-minute read, for it is Quite Interesting.
XBox 360 : Official Australian Magazine #58 – Mafia II | Mortal Kombat | Loads of other games | Wouldn’t it be cool if we had games?
Seventeen September 2010 – Beauty Master Class | Secrets to the Best Date Ever! | 823 (!) Fashion and Beauty Ideas
Girlfriend September 2010 – perfumes | prints | Perry | Patterson | pin-ups

First Day

First Day : The Series is a webseries that will have eight episodes (or webisodes!), and is about a high school student who gets to relive her first day at a new school over and over, like Groundhog Day. It is brought to you by the same company who produce the Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl television shows, so quality is assured.

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