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

Month: December 2012 Page 1 of 3


I love the What I Wore Today trend. (Check here, here, and here for some fab ones). I really dig having a good gander at other people’s outfits and getting tipped off on where to buy beautiful threads. However, I didn’t especially fancy starting my own What I Wore Today thread… the pressure! So I went next best and started snapping gorg outfits I see when out and about.

Sooo… be nosey and enjoy!


This outfit features! Black suede ankle boots by Rollie, skinny jeans from Country Road, organic cotton tshirt from Gorman, vintage sunnies from Argentina.


Here we have a skirt from Bettie Page Clothing, a men’s shirt  ($20 on sale) from Farmers. Scarf, collar clips, bag and shoes thrifted. Lipstick, Chanel (naturally).


Featuring! Tunic, tights and sunnies from Glassons, blazer from Witchery. Scarf from Indy C online store, scarf pin Versace. Lipstick a la Yves Saint Laurent.


Our model wears! Pants from Glassons, t shirt from Mexico. Blazer op-shopped, shoes from Kenneth Cole.

Rest and relaxation

Us again, and we do hope you’ve been chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool over the Christmas break. To help you along with that all the way through the new year, we’ve come up with a few great movie suggestions from the young adult dvd section, which are just 80c to issue with your young adult library card! Admittedly, you will have to get out of the house to issue them, but that’s a minor detail.

Tomorrow When The War Began
Based on the John Marsden book of the same name, the story follows eight high school friends whose lives are suddenly and violently upended by a war that no one saw coming. They must learn to escape, survive and fight back against a hostile military force. And blow up stuff, a lot of stuff. While looking beautiful.

Under The Mountain
When teenage twins Rachel & Theo investigate the creepy house next door, they discover the Wilberforces – shape shifting creatures that lurk beneath Auckland’s ring of extinct volcanoes. Guided by the mysterious Mr Jones and with the help of their cousin Ricky, the twins must rekindle the unique powers they once shared if they are to destroy this ancient evil. This film does Maurice Gee’s epic story justice with a decent amount of money spent on special effects for once. Forget that they have the same accents as the stars of Shortland Street, this film’s amaze-balls.

Planet Earth
The entire collection of the groundbreaking series narrated by David Attenborough. With a budget of unprecedented proportions, Planet Earth has stretched the boundaries of natural history documentary making. This film has breathtaking shots of the planet we all know so well. It’s not like anything you’ve ever seen before with every frame fascinating or beautiful, usually both.

In hopes of wooing a beautiful girl, Tristan promises to bring her a falling star. Yeah it is as awesome as it sounds. This is more than your usual love story as Tristan is in for a magical adventure with wicked witches, scheming princes (who keep dying) and by far the coolest cross-dressing sky pirate you’ll ever see. Possibly the only one you’ll ever see as well. This is an exciting and witty tale along the same vein as The Princess Bride.

Brendan Frye is a loner, someone who knows all the angles but has chosen to stay on the outside. When the girl he loves turns up dead, he is determined to find out the “who” and “why” and plunges into the dark and dangerous social strata of rich girl Laura, intimidating Tug and the ominous Pin. But who can he really trust? Director and screenwriter Rian Johnson (of Looper and The Brothers Bloom) has invented a whole new lingo to fit into the film’s universe. It’s a stylish modern noir thriller at its best.

Dead Poets Society
When charismatic English teacher John Keating arrives at a strict boys academy, his unconventional teaching methods breathe new life into the curriculum steeped in tradition. With his wit and wisdom, Keating encourages his students to be true to themselves and make their lives extraordinary. Equal parts inspirational and heartbreaking – have the tissues ready. O captain! My captain!

Whip It
We recommended the book, and here’s the film! Essentially the same story as the novel, following Bliss Cavendar on her quest to become a roller derby star while contending with her mother’s obsession with entering her in beauty pageants. Bliss learns a lot about herself and consequences of her actions along the way. Action packed with an awesome and energetic soundtrack and a healthy dose of girl power, Whip It is one of my absolute favourite movies.

Summer Wars
Kenji is your typical teenage misfit. He spends most of his time hanging out in the all-powerful online community called Oz. His second life is the only one he has, until the girl of his dreams hijacks him for a starring role as her fake fiance at her family reunion. Things only get stranger. A late-night email containing a cryptic mathematical riddle leads to the unleashing of a rogue AI intent on using Oz to destroy the real world. Kenji and his new ‘family’ have to work together to save the worlds they inhabit.

A Town Called Panic
Based on the tv show of the same name, this movie is MANIC. That is the only word for it. The unlikely trio of Horse, Cowboy and Indian (plastic toys with no opposable limbs) live together in a crooked house on a hill. Cowboy and Indian realise with horror that they have forgotten Horse’s birthday and embark on a series of implausible adventures, taking a journey to the Earth’s core, discovering an aquatic parallel universe and taking part in a breakneck snowball ride across a frozen wasteland. Hilarious. You’ll be in stitches!

Mary and Max
A very clever claymation story of a pair of unlikely penpals – Mary, a lonely 8-year-old Australian girl and Max, a 44-year-old severely obese Jewish man with Asperger’s Syndrome. Their friendship grows and spans over twenty years with a lot of ups and downs, and covers a whole range of topics, from taxidermy to trust to agoraphobia.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Another of my absolute favourite films! Meet charming and jobless Scott Pilgrim. A bass guitarist for a garage band trying to make it big through the Battle of the Bands in Canada, the 22-year-old has just met the girl of his dreams – literally. But there’s one catch to winning over Ramona Flowers – he has to meet and defeat her seven evil exes! Based on the graphic novels by Brian Lee O’Malley, the film incorporates multimedia elements which make it feel like both a movie and a video game. Bright colours! Sounds! Flashing lights! This movie has it all.

This is a documentary about krumping. Yes, you read that correctly. Don’t know what krumping is? You have to see this film to believe it. Krumping originated in the early 1990s in inner city Los Angeles and evolved from another dance style called ‘clowning’. Those 90s kids were crazy with their dance names. This doco was made by the photographer David LaChapelle and as such it looks incredibly pretty and hyper-real.

We hope you’ve had a great Christmas, now kick back and relax with some fantastic film fun!


Horn Book Fanfare 2012

One final list of book highlights from 2012, this  one from The Horn Book (including books for kids also), which is a well-regarded book reviewing magazine (and a hornbook is also a “primer for study” according to Wikipedia).

Highlights from this list include The Fault in Our Stars, The Brides of Rollrock Island, Code Name Verity. It’s nice to know that The Horn Book agrees with us!

It’s Christmas Whoop Whoop

Teen Blog Towers wishes you a very happy Christmas, or as Scrooge puts it:

“– Here’s the Turkey. Hallo. Whoop. How are you. Merry Christmas.” (A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens)

Green and read all over

Obligatory Christmas post! Christmas colours, you read books, geddit? We love puns.

We’ve gone for a superficially Christmas theme here – we’re looking at books with red and green covers which otherwise have nothing to do with Christmas. While finding treats to feature, we did discover that a LOT of trilogies and series have a mainly red-covered volume followed by a mainly green-covered volume. Is this an intentional plot among book cover designers? We want to know! In the meantime, let’s move on to our discoveries for this week:

Spinning Out, David Stahler JrBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

“High-schooler Frenchy has little ambition beyond hanging out at the smoking rock until his best friend Stewart convinces him to try out for Man of la Mancha. To everyone’s surprise, the guys are a hit. But Stewart’s antics begin to grow obsessive. He wears his costume 24/7, freaks out about little details, and displays an incessant hatred of the high-tech windmills outside of town. Is Stewart spiraling into madness, just like Don Quixote? And can Frenchy battle through his own demons in time to save his friend from self-destruction before it’s too late?” – Goodreads

First lines: ‘“Come on, pass it over.”

Now You See Her, Jacqueline MitchardBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

It’s the twist in this book that makes it interesting. On the surface it’s about an incredibly, and I mean incredibly, self-centered teenage girl who wants to be an actress. She falls in love with the school hunk, she gets the lead in the school play and everything looks perfect for her. She doesn’t have a lot of friends but that’s because everyone is jealous of her talent. It’s fine. So why would this talented teen throw everything away? Why would she fake her own abduction? As Hope (real name Bernadette) explains herself, it becomes apparent that in a world where appearance is everything, nothing is exactly as it seems. Now You See Her explores the function of fantasy, it blurs the line between reality and imagination and is full of teenage angst.

First lines: ‘Hope is vanishing. Does that sound too dramatic?

Ruby Red, Kerstin GierBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

“Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon–the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.” – Goodreads

Also, the upcoming third book in this series is green!

First line: ‘As she fell to her knees and burst into tears, he looked all around the park.

A Waltz for Matilda, Jackie FrenchBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

In 1894, twelve-year-old Matilda flees the city slums to find her unknown father and his farm. It’s a time of unrest: drought and desperation have strained the relations between workers and landowners, the poor and the wealthy, and Matilda’s own father is wanted by the troopers. This is, on the one hand, the coming of age story of a young girl and on the other a partial exploration of Australian history. It is through fantastic characters such as the fiercely strong Matilda that Jackie French is able to bring a historical context to life. Ultimately this is a story of the minorities who often get left out of Australian history.

First lines: ‘It was midnight in Grinder’s Alley. The gas lamps flickered in the darkness. Somewhere in those shadows lurked the larrikins of the Push, with their hot breath and cold knives.’

Number 8, Anna FienbergBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

Jackson is a complete “numbers freak” (which I think is code for obsessive compulsive) and has never lived outside the city. But Jackson and his mum are forced to retreat to suburbia after she witnesses a crime at her casino job. Not everything is bad in the suburbs though, as Jackson befriends a fellow number freak, Asim, and a potential girlfriend, Esmerelda. Then things get fishy. A car with the numberplate 777 starts hanging round the neighborhood (7 is Jackson’s unluckiest number of all) and then Esmerelda disappears. Told from the alternating perspectives of Jackson and Esmerelda, this is a gripping read with quirky and relatable characters.

First lines: ‘I think the best number in the whole universe is eight. The way I see it, eight has everything going for it.

Beast, Ally KennenBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

Is about as far from a Christmas based theme as you can get. It starts with a list of the worst things that Stephen has ever done in his life. Some of them are criminal, but he tops the list with a murder he intends to commit. There’s a lot of action, powerful descriptions of really weird, gross situations (within the first couple of chapters, Stephen cuts up a pig and is discovered with the partially dismembered corpse and a saw in his hands), and develops at a perfect pace to keep you reading. As sceptical as I was about the story’s premise (the name gives away the major plot development), I couldn’t help but root for Stephen and his Beast in their adventures.

First line: ‘Here is a list of the ten worst things I have done.

Genesis Alpha, Rune MichaelsBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

“Josh worships his older brother, Max. They both have the same interests, including their favorite massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Genesis Alpha. But Josh and Max have an even deeper connection. It was Josh’s stem cells, harvested when Josh was newly born, that saved his dying older brother’s life. Now Max has been arrested, accused of the brutal murder of a teenage girl. Is Max really a monster, or is it a terrible mistake? And if Max is guilty, does that mean Josh is guilty too? After all, Max wouldn’t exist without him. Before long, Josh will come to a number of searing revelations — revelations that have dire implications not only for Max’s future, but for Josh’s as well.” – Goodreads

First lines: ‘We were playing a computer game the day it happened. Genesis Alpha. It’s the greatest game ever invented, and it’s huge, a whole universe filled with thousands of people from all over the world.

Whip It, Shauna CrossBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

“Meet Bliss Cavendar, an indie-rock-loving misfit stuck in the tiny town of Bodeen, Texas. Her pageant-addicted mother expects her to compete for the coveted Miss Bluebonnet crown, but Bliss would rather feast on roaches than be subjected to such rhinestone tyranny. Bliss’s escape? Roller Derby. When she discovers a league in nearby Austin, Bliss embarks on an epic journey full of hilarious tattooed girls, delicious boys in bands, and a few not-so-awesome realities even the most hard-core derby chick has to learn.” – Goodreads

First lines: ‘I don’t know how it happened or what sort of back-room deal went down, but apparently I’m living in a small Texas town with two culturally clueless imposters for legal guardians, when I just know my real parents are out there somewhere.

Bonus round:

Eldest & Inheritance, Christopher PaoliniBook cover courtesy of SyndeticsBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

Are books 2 and 4 in The Inheritance Cycle series. Which is about dragons. And magic and friendship and epic battles between good and evil. But mostly dragons. So that’s awesome.

Speaking of awesome, it’s almost Christmas! Woo hoo! We hope Santa comes through for you. But if not, your friendly librarians always will 🙂 Once again, if you have any thoughts on underappreciated items in our collection, or any suggestions or feedback for future topics, please leave a comment below. See you in 2013!

High-Fashion Holidays

Wishing you a high-fashion holiday and a very couture Christmas!

To celebrate the festive season, there are two things you have GOT to see.

Firstly, the Tiffany’s Christmas windows this year are sooooo beautiful.

Photo courtesy of Jason Yaoyao.

This one is so pretty and whimsical. You can view them all here; the second one is my fave. Sigh! As you can imagine, their 2011 windows were also extravagantly delightful, check them out here. So pretty! ♥

And secondly! I LOVE fluffing around with Christmas presents to make them look gorg, so have been fully delighting in this site. It’s primarily a crafty-style blog (which i have ranted on about before; oh so glorious) but the blogger has loads of beautiful ideas which she shares on her site. My favourites are the Christmassy gift-tags. They’re way nicer than the ones you can buy and they’re so easy to make! Print and write, job done.

Photo courtesy of Amy Moss at eatdrinkchic.com

You should also check here, here and here for more gorg gift-tags you can print out to pimp your presents.

I know these technically aren’t fashion-related, but your gifts have to look good, too!

freebies_xmaspattern_06 Photo courtesy of Amy Moss at eatdrinkchic.com

Peace on earth and good will to all!

Best Viral Videos 2012

Here’s a mashup of this year’s best viral videos, as edited by Videogum. Enjoy! Laugh along with me

Kirkus Reviews Supplies a Mammoth List of Reading Suggestions

There have been some excellent Best of 2012 suggestions, but none of them have come near Kirkus Reviews for comprehensiveness – reading through this list will take you through summer and well into the rugby season. There’s some excellent stuff here.

Looking forward to:

Some more serious (although still summery) upcoming fiction, and no fantasy or supernatural-ness in sight.

My Life in Black and White, Natasha Friend. “What if you lost the thing that made you who you are? Lexi has always been stunning. Her butter-colored hair and perfect features have helped her attract friends, a boyfriend, and the attention of a modeling scout. But everything changes the night Lexi’s face goes through a windshield. Now she’s not sure what’s worse: the scars she’ll have to live with forever, or what she saw going on between her best friend and her boyfriend right before the accident. With the help of her trombone-playing, defiantly uncool older sister and a guy at school recovering from his own recent trauma, Lexi learns she’s much more than just a pretty face.” (goodreads.com)

If you’re interested in the subject of beauty, and how the world sees you (and how you see yourself), you might also like to read North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley, and Playing with Matches by Brian Katcher, or indeed something from this selection.

My Life Next Door, Huntley Fitzpatrick. “The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them… until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself? A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.” (goodreads.com) A dreamy summer read! Perfect!

Other dreamy summer reads? If you wade past our zombie suggestions you might find something in our summer reading list.

Ask the Passengers, A S King. “Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions… like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl. As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can’t share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don’t even know she’s there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers’ lives – and her own – for the better.” (goodreads.com)

New Books

Bound, by Erica O’Rourke (353 pages) – This is the third book in the Torn series. Wow have you ever thought that there are so many series in teen fiction? This one is about mortals and magic, and Mo Fitzgerald, who has to choose between the two worlds or else lose everything and everyone.

First lines: ‘The problem with terrible ideas is that the people who have them don’t recognize how truly awful they are until it’s too late. After all, nobody deliberately chooses the worst possible course of action.

Stormdancer : The Lotus War book one, by Jay Kristoff (324 pages) – Well here it is! Feudal Japanese steampunk. Yukiko, the book’s heroine, and her flightless griffin pal must take on the Shogun and his empire. There are also chainsaw swords in this book, a little blurb tells me.

First line: ‘As the iron war club scythed toward her head, Yukiko could help wishing she’d listened to her father. She rolled aside as her cover was smashed to kindling, azalea petals drifting over the oni’s shoulders like perfumed snowflakes.

Bitter Blood : The Morganville Vampires book 13, by Rachel Caine (538 pages) – For ages vampires and humans have co-existed in Morganville, getting up to at least twelve books-worth of adventure and intrigue. Now that the draug – the creatures that kept the vampires in check – have been defeated, the vampires are becoming a little excessive, and the humans want to fight back! Also a reality television show threatens to reveal all to the world.

First lines: ‘Morganville, Texas, isn’t like other towns. Oh, it’s small, dusty, and ordinary, in most ways, but the thing is, there are these – well, let’s not be shy about it. Vampires.’

Break My Heart 1,000 Times, by Daniel Waters (342 pages) – After the Event, everyone could see ghosts. Creepy! Man. Veronica sees the ghost of a teenaged boy in her mirror each morning, but isn’t too worried. However, the ghosts seem to becoming more powerful, and Veronica and chum Kirk uncover a creepier plot of their teacher, whose dead daughter hasn’t come back; he’s now convinced that by killing a living host (i.e., Veronica) his kid might resurface.

First lines: ‘I walk through walls. I whisper at the window when I watch her leave our home. I flicker at the edges of my own memory.

Rivals and Retribution : A 13 to Life Novel, by Shannon Delany (308 pages) – This is the conclusion (and book number five) to the 13 to Life series, about two werewolf families battling it out for the town of Junction. It receives what they call ‘mixed reviews’ on Goodreads, now accessible directly through the library catalogue! Handy

First line: ‘The girl enters the barn, slipping between hay bales and a stack of buckets.

Butter, by Erin Jade Lange (296 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Butter is morbidly obese, and feels alone. So he gets a website – butterslastmeal.com – and decides that he will broadcast his own death by over-eating. As he carries out his (somewhat macabre) plan he discovers that the attention he receiving, though not exactly positive, feels like popularity, and as the deadline approaches, does he still want to go through with it? Very tense with an amazing character is what I distill from the reviews I just read.

First lines: ‘Most people would say the website is where this wild ride began. But for me is started two days earlier, on a Tuesday night in front of the TV in my living room.

Passenger, by Andrew Smith (465 pages) – This is a sequel to The Marbury Lens, about a pair of boys who run away to London and find a lens that transports them to an war-stricken alternate reality. Now they try to destroy the lens, but there is an evil that won’t let them run away so easily, especially when it has their friends. Full of coolness.

First lines: ‘This is it. Of course it wasn’t over. Things like this never end. It has been two and a half months since Freddie Horvath kidnapped some dumb kid who was too drunk to find his way home.

Unwholly, by Neal Shusterman (402 pages) – Book one of the Unwind trilogy. Here is book one! Teens can be harvested – ‘unwound’ – for body parts, which is of course not ideal, but it is the future and it is dystopian. Thrilling, affecting, and really good, I reckon, after skimming through Goodreads.

First line: ‘He’s fighting a nightmare when they come for him. A great flood is swallowing the world, and in the middle of the it all, he’s being mauled by a bear.

For Darkness Shows the Stars, by Diana Peterfreund (407 pages) – This is a sci-fi post-apocalyptic romance strongly inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion. FINALLY. Elliot North reunites with Kai, the boy she loved but refused to elope with, when she’s forced to rent land from the mysterious Cloud Feet group to which he now belongs. He’s got secrets! He’s also kind of unpleasant, but it’s justified (because of the secrets).

First lines: ‘Elliot North raced across the pasture, leaving a scar of green in the silver, dew-encrusted grass. Jeff followed, tripping a bit as his feet slid inside his too-big shoes.

Ashen Winter, by Mike Mullin (576 pages) – This is set in the US, six months after the Yellowstone Supervolcano erupted, as depicted in the first book, Ashfall. (You know that part in that film 2012 when Yellowstone explodes? Well there actually is a supervolcano there! There is one under Taupo and 26,000 years ago it plunged the earth into a volcanic winter and invented pumice.) So in this book, Yellowstone has gone up and the country is pretty post-apocalyptic; protaganist Alex must return to Iowa to find his parents.

First line: ‘Ten months had passed since I’d last seen the sun. The rich blue of that final August sky was fading from my memory.

Son, by Lois Lowry (393 pages) – The conclusion the series begun in The Giver. It is a utopian future! But, sadly, it comes with a heavy cost; a society where regimented eugenics dictates almost every aspect of interpersonal interactions. In this book, Claire, who’d been a Vessel, can not forget her son. She is desperate to get him back, and will stop at nothing to do so.

First lines: ‘The young girl cringed when the buckled the eyeless leather mask around the upper half of her face and blinded her. It felt grotesque and unnecessary, but she didn’t object. It was the procedure.‘ 

Vessel, by Sarah Beth Durst (424 pages) – Liyana’s reason to be is to become the vessel for her tribe’s goddess; she will dance and summon the goddess, who will then bring the rain that her people desperately need. However! It doesn’t work, and Liyana is exiled. She meets a boy reportedly possessed by the trickster god, Korbyn, who seeks Liyana’s help to find five other vessels; the gods are going missing, and they’re needed.

First lines: ‘On the day she was to die, Liyana walked out of her family’s tent to see the dawn. She buried her toes in the sand, cold from the night, and she wrapped her father’s goatskin cloak tight around her shoulders.

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