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

Month: January 2012 Page 1 of 2

Wellington Youth Council

Do you want to share your views on the direction of Wellington? To get involved in the planning and development of Council services? Joining the Wellington City Youth Council can give you the chance to advise the Wellington City Council on issues that affect the city’s youth.

Keen? Members must be between 12-24 years of age, live inside Wellington City Council’s boundaries and be willing to come to meetings at WCC, 4.00-5.30pm every 2nd Wednesday. For more information and an online application form, look here. Applications must be submitted by Jan 31st.

You can also connect with the Youth Council on Facebook and share your ideas and views that way as well!

Fashion Friday

(Michael Whittaker by Brent Chua – Fashionisto)

This is Michael Whittaker, a New Zealand model who’s making it big New York. Pretty isn’t he?
You may remember him from this Hallensteins ad.

If you enjoy hearing about models and their glamorous lives, or you want to be a model, may I recommend this documentary by former-model Sara Ziff – Picture Me: a Model’s Diary.  It’s about her time modelling in New York and Paris, as she became quite successful.  During the years she worked as model Sara recorded her experiences in a video diary and interviewed her fellow models about their experiences.  It’s bit of an eye-opener and an interesting glimpse into the fashion world.

Award Winners!

Each year at approximately this time the American Library Association announces the winners of its prestigious book awards, generating much excitement. Here’s a quick summary of the deserved winners this year:

Newbery Medal Winner

The Newbery Medal is one of the most prestigious awards for writers of children’s fiction (and sometimes teen-type books win it also).

Printz Award Winner

The Printz Award is given for excellence in young adult literature.

  • Where Things Come Back, by John Corey Whaley

Printz Honour Books

Alex Awards

The Alex Awards are for the best books that appeal to a young adult audience. There are 10 Alex Award winners (we have some in the general fiction collection):

  1. Big Girl Small, by Rachel DeWoskin
  2. In Zanesville, by Jo Ann Beard
  3. The Lover’s Dictionary, by David Levithan
  4. The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens, by Brooke Hauser
  5. The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
  6. Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
  7. Robopocalypse: A Novel, by Daniel H. Wilson
  8. Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward
  9. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures, by Caroline Preston
  10. The Talk-Funny Girl, by Roland Merullo

If you’re interested in reading award winning books, have a look at these previous posts.

Reader Review: The Fault in our Stars

We all know the feeling of having very high expectations for something, and then being disappointed with an unfavourable outcome. It seemed quite likely that this would happen with The Fault in Our Stars. I’m a big fan of John Green (whether it be his books, video blogs, or general being), I’d had this book pre-ordered for six months, and I’d listened to the pre-released first and second chapters many times. But, even with my sky-high expectations, this novel exceeded them beyond what I could have imagined.

The Fault in Our Stars is amazing. The blurbs from authors on the back and reviews from critics say much the same thing: That TFiOS is both extremely funny, extremely sad, and extremely thought-provoking. This is so true. The transition between quotes and scenes that have you in stitches, tears, or pondering the meaning of life seem so unexpected, yet never misplaced, and keep the wonderful pacing I’ve always found Green’s books to have.

The two main characters, Hazel and Augustus, are both very witty and very intelligent cancer survivors. Even though their conversations are deliciously interesting and entertaining, it is continually stressed that suffering from cancer does not make them hold all knowledge and the secrets of the universe, a cliche that is far too embraced in the world of ‘cancer stories’. But even with the too-good-to-be-true aspects of their personalities many fictional characters possess, these characters also have flaws and shortcomings that make them real. I felt myself relating to them, even though the only thing I really have in common with Hazel is being a teenage girl.

A great way to sum up my thoughts and feelings on this book is said by Hazel herself:

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all humans read the book.”

In short, I love this book insane amounts and everyone– teens and adults– should read it.

~ Lucy

[If you’ve read something good lately, then tell us about it! It’s easy! Plus we like hearing from you. Ed.]

Fashion Friday

Men’s fashion week is well underway in Milan at the moment.  All I can say is men’s fashion week presentations = some very strange men’s fashions.  Case in point:

Studded bedazzled denim!
(Versace 2012 – Fashionisto)

And what appears to be my mother’s purple cape from the 1980s!
(Roberto Cavalli 2012 – Fashionisto)

But in all seriousness, the best men’s fashions can be seen off the runway, captured by the street-style-bloggers.  Check out the best – Tommy Ton for style.com.  Them’s some much-better-looking dudes.

New Books!

Here are the first batch of new books for the year. Please come and take them so we have some space on our shelves. But return them! And take some more! That is how libraries work.

Assault – Recon Team Angel, by Brian Faulkner (365 pages) – This is the first in a series set in the future (2030!) when we are at war with aliens. Recon Team Angel is an elite multinational group of teens who have been training for years. On X-Boxes, haha. Nah, joke. “Haha.” Their first mission; to sneak behind enemy lines and get into a top-secret alien facility.

First lines: ‘This is not a history book. The achievements of 4th Reconnaisannce Team (designation: Angel) of the Allied Combined Operation Group 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, from November 2030 through to July 2035, during the Great Bzadian War, are well documented by scholars and historians.

Equinox – The Rosie Black Chronicles Book Two, by Lara Morgan – It is five centuries into the future, most of Australia is submerged, and ‘Rosie’s dad is locked away, Pip has abandoned her, and Riley isn’t telling her the full story. Bent on revenge, Rosie is still working in secret to try and take down the evil Helios group. But what sacrifices is she prepared to make to destroy Helios?’ SO many names

First line: ‘Rosie took a steadying breath, licked her finger and touched it to her eye. The identification-distorter lens stuck to her skin and she lifted off her iris.

Stealing Phoenix, by Joss Stirling (265 pages) – Phoenix is part of a group of thieves with paranormal powers (they are quite cool but I won’t ruin it for you), and she is set to rob Yves Benedict, an American student visiting London. But lo! she discovers that he is ‘her destiny’ and ‘her soulmate’, and as there is no room for love amongst thieves, Phoenix must save herself and Yves. Which is pronounced like ‘Eve’ so you know.

First lines: ‘The boy seemed the perfect target. He stood at the back of a group taking the tour of the London Olympic stadium, attention on the construction vehicles beetling up the huge ramp to the athletes’ entrance, not on the thief watching him.

Outlaw, by Stephen Davies (236 pages) – Jake is fifteen and is sent to live with his parents in North Africa after getting into trouble one too many times at his English boarding school. Unfortunately he is kidnapped by Yakuuba Sor, the most wanted outlaw in the Sahara desert. Is he a terrorist or is he more like Robin Hood, without a forest?

First lines: ‘Jake Knight ran along the deserted towpath past Armley Mills and the Industrial Museum. It was two o’clock in the morning and he was so far out of bounds it was not even funny.

Good Fortune, by Noni Carter (489 pages) – Ayanna Bahati is brutally taken from her African village and brought to America, as a slave on a plantation. It’s a very dangerous life, but she’s able to secretely teach herself to read and write. Later she risks everything and escapes, heading north where she can be free and get an education; ‘can she shed the chains of her harrowing past to live the life she has longed for?

First lines: ‘His hand came down upon my cheek hard and fast. Stunned, I staggered backward.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, by Jennifer E. Smith (236 pages) – Hadley is stuck at JFK airport after missing her flight to London. She meets Oliver, a Brit, who is also on the same flight as her. They talk and he’s pretty perfect, so they fall in love. Love! There when you least expect it, like a northerly gale in summer. Anyway, they lose track of each other once they land – can serendipity bring them back together? Is that the right word? A romantic comedy!

First line: ‘There are so many ways it could have all turned out differently.

Bittersweet, by Sarah Ockler (378 pages) – Hudson was a pretty swell ice skater, but when her parents divorced when she was fourteen, she ditches the sport and makes cupcakes for her mother’s upscale diner. But when she starts coaching the boys’ ice hockey team she rethinks her choices re: ice skating and taking chances with her life. Also a cute boy comes along.

First line: ‘It was the biggest competition night of my life, but all I could think about was the cheetah bra.

The Song of the Quarkbeast : A Last Dragonslayer Novel, by Jasper Fforde (290 pages) – This is the sequel to The Last Dragonslayer, which I didn’t read but DO know was very good. Fforde’s books are very difficult to put down, and why shouldn’t this be an exception.

First lines: ‘I work in the magic industry. I think you’ll agree it’s pretty glamorous: a life full of spells, potions and whispered enchantments; of levitation, vanishings and alchemy.

Anna Dressed in Blood, by Kendare Blake (316 pages) – Cas Lowood kills the dead. He travels the country with his mother, a witch, and their spirit-sniffing cat, listening to local lore and legend. They go to kill a ghost called Anna Dressed in Blood (she’s covered in blood you know), who has killed everyone who has gone to get her. Except Cas, for some reason? Read to find out!

First line: ‘The grease-slicked hair is a dead giveaway – no pun intended.

Here is a pretty funny spoof trailer for The Hunger Games. Thanks for reading this far. I appreciate it.

Virtuosity, by Jessica Martinez (294 pages) – ‘Just before the most important violin competition of her career, seventeen-year-old prodigy Carmen faces critical decisions about her anti-anxiety drug addiction, her controlling mother, and a potential romance with her most talented rival,’ says the catalogue. Can’t beat the catalogue for a precise synopsis.

First line: ‘The balcony felt cold under my cheek.’

Paradise, by Joanna Nadin (262 pages) – Billie Paradise inherits her grandmother’s house, which is by the sea, and a definite improvement on the rental flat she lives in with her mum. But living in her mum’s childhood home dredges up secrets that might be best kept undregded. Buried. Underground.

First line: ‘We all have secrets.

YA Authors Rock Out

Hey, did you guys know that Young Adult authors Libba Bray, Natalie Standiford, Dan Ehrenhaft and Barnabas Miller are all in a band called Tiger Beat together? I didn’t! Not until this morning when I saw this video of them performing “YA Song” in the New York Public Library.

You can play “spot the literary references” with the lyrics as well. They throw in some Hunger Games and some Catcher In The Rye, what else can you pick out?

Fashion Friday

Syndetics book coverChristian Louboutin

I’ve been enjoying this incredibly glamorous new book about shoe designer Christian Louboutin.  It looks at all the shoes Louboutin has ever created, cataloging them in full-page colourful detail along with his career history.  Shoe heaven really – if you’re so inclined (those red soled stilettos are a bit ‘Kardashian’ for my tastes). 

And to top it all off, the book is covered in flesh-coloured (eessch!) leather.  With this hilarious pop-up flower/ladies legs in the back.  (The whole package isn’t it!?)


Great Read: Human.4

Human.4,  Mike Lancaster

Ever think you’re missing what’s going on between what’s said and what’s not? And what if you did wake up and find the world was a completely different and scary place? Those things that go bump in the night? This book isn’t going to help you with those fears. It’s probably going to make them worse.

This book starts with an introduction, apparently from some unknown point in the future explaining about reading and books. What follows is the transcription of some tapes that have been found that were recorded around our time by someone called Kyle Straker. Kyle was living a normal life in a small town, his parents had a few issues, and he was doing his best to get out of going to the annual talent show. All pretty average stuff really. But during the talent show, he volunteers to be hypnotised. And afterwards he finds that the entire world has changed. People don’t seem the same, phones and computers don’t work anymore. And with only a couple of other “normal” people, finding out what is going on is rather difficult. I thought I knew what was going on about halfway in, then it turned out to be something just slightly, but rather critically different. And that’s about all I can say without giving too much away!

Totally a fantastic book. Dystopia and very much a classic science fiction story going on as well (not too strong though, so don’t worry if you aren’t into serious sci fi!)

Recommended if you liked the Gone series (Michael Grant), creepy dystopia books like Unwind (Neal Shusterman) and Peeps (Scott Westerfeld) or science fiction books like The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson. Also thoroughly recommended if you liked The Matrix as that’s what I kept thinking of when I was reading it!

And if you got an eBook reader for Christmas or like reading on your computer then this is also available on Overdrive, under the title “0.4”.

Waiting on Wednesday

So much stuff to anticipate. This week: a couple of film companions:

The Hunger Games: Official Illustrated Movie Companion, Kate Egan. Find out all about the movie! Here’s what to expect: “The New York Times bestseller by Suzanne Collins is now a major motion picture – and this is your guide to all of the movie’s excitement, both in front of the camera and behind it. Go behind the scenes of the making of The Hunger Games with exclusive images and interviews. From the screenwriting process to the casting decisions to the elaborate sets and costumes to the actors’ performances and directors’ vision, this is the definitive companion to the breathtaking film.” (Amazon.com)

The Hunger Games Tribute Guide, Emily Seife. “Here is the ultimate guide to the twenty-four Tributes participating in Panem’s 74th annual Hunger Games. Follow the Tributes’ journey from the Reaping to the Games, with a look at all the highlights along the way–the Tribute Parade, the stations of the Training Center, the interviews, and more. Get exclusive information about the Tributes’ strengths and weaknesses, their weapons of choice, and their experience in the Capitol before entering the arena.” (Amazon.com)

And a couple of quirky love stories:

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, Jennifer E Smith. Hadley is waiting to catch a plane from New York to London, to attend her father’s wedding to a woman she’s never met. Fortunately, and improbably, there’s actually someone interesting in the airport departure lounge: Oliver. Even more fortunately and improbably, it turns out they’re pretty much seated next to each other on the plane. Set over a breathless 24 hours. Jolly good.

The Fault in our Stars, John Green. Hazel has cancer, and she’s receiving treatment that is working, in that her tumour is shrinking but not disappearing. She’s lived a long time with the “terminal” tag, but when she meets Augustus at a cancer support group, her life takes a turn for the more interesting. “Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind” (Goodreads.com).

Here’s John Green reading the first chapter (there is also chapter two available for viewing here).

A little birdie told me that he signed the first 150,000 copies of the book: here’s one of his vlogs about this (thanks, birdie):

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