Wellington City Libraries

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Teen Blog

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

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Starters by Lissa Price

Set after a war where most adults have been killed by a biologogical weapon, the people remaining are mostly either children or teenagers (Starters) or the elderly (Enders). The Starters are unable to work and if an adult doesn’t claim them they can’t get accommodation, and can be arrested if they are caught. Enders are at the other end of the scale. They have health care to keep them alive until well into their hundreds, near limitless wealth and live in huge mansions.

Callie lives in an abandoned building with her friend Michael and her younger brother Tyler. Tyler is only seven, and unwell but they have no access to any kind of health care and no way of getting help. However, Callie has heard of one way she might be able to earn enough to get them a house and some safety. Prime Destinations run a body bank where Enders can rent the bodies of Starters, be young again, play sports, all that sort of thing. Callie should be asleep while the Ender is having fun being her, but the chip used to control her is defective and she wakes up to find out that the Ender who hired her wasn’t just planning on playing tennis or going dancing – she wants to use Callie’s body to kill someone.


Starters is a really good read, highly recommended if you are looking for more dystopia, and especially if you liked Scott Westerfelds Uglies trilogy.

Lissa Price’s blog is here.

Great Read – So Yesterday: a novel

So Yesterday: a novel by Scott Westerfeld

Some things are in fashion, and everyone knows. But where do these trends start? Someone did it first, before it was cool/trendy/whatever term you like, and then somehow everyone else followed. Hunter doesn’t start these things – he’s the next step, a trendsetter, he gets paid to find and identify things that are actually cool and not just weird. His boss then sells these things onto various companies who sell the “cool” product to consumers everywhere. It’s a good deal for Hunter until he meets Jen, an innovator who designs shoelaces. Together they have to find Hunter’s boss who disappears amidst a brief sighting of the most fantastic shoes Jen and Hunter have ever seen.

A mystery story which is still secondary to the fact that Scott Westerfeld has somehow come up with a (scarily possible) explanation for how trends are started and then spread. Great read, recommended if you like any of his other books or Unidentified by Rae Mariz.

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”.

Who you gonna call?

Anyone who dresses up as a ghost or the ghostbusters this Halloween and goes into a library is a legend…

Death Bringer

Derek Landy’s next Skulduggery Pleasant book Death Bringer!

It’s wonderful. But I’m not going to say too much in case you are still in the reserve queue for it. And I can see two copies on the Karori reserve shelf from where I’m standing right now, so a couple of people here will be picking up copies very soon… 

My favorite part (okay, there are a few, but this is the one that I’m thinking of right now that I can write down without giving too much away) is when Skulduggery calls Caelan (that vampire that’s following Valkyrie around if you’ve forgotten the name) a “self-pitying Paranormal Romance reject” Oh yeah, guess what book that’s referring to!

There’s a lot going on with everyone, and their evil alter-egos so I didn’t realise until the end that I think a few of the main characters (Tanith for example) were missing in action. So I don’t know what they’ve been up to – I guess we’ll find out next year…

For anyone who hasn’t read Skulduggery Pleasant yet please start here ASAP.

There is also a semi-short story coming that takes place a couple of months after Death Bringer called “The End Of The World” which will be available next year. About 90 pages long, so longer than the other Skulduggery short stories. So much good. Derek Landy’s blog is here.

Great Read!

There is no dog by Meg Rosoff

Bob is lazy, moody and self centered. He’s a teenager with a pet Eck (a sort of bird like creature), a job he doesn’t want and a mother with a gambling problem. He’s also, thanks to one of his mother’s wagers, God. And he’s not very good at it. He made the world in six days, then got bored and tired and decided it would have to do. He’s tied his emotions to the weather and unfortunately for everyone, he’s now fallen in love. Which is causing all sorts of crazy things to happen. Mr B, Bob’s assistant does most of the work keeping the earth (mostly) running smoothly. But now even he’s had enough and applied for a transfer, leaving his favorite thing in the world – the whales – in Bob’s care.  Bob’s mother has made things worse by gambling away his pet Eck, the girl he likes is human, and therefore keeps being complicated, and Bob would really rather be chasing her than looking after the world.

Fast paced read, still leaves a few questions at the end, but overall very funny and different. It’s a bit of a strange (but good) book, if you liked Good Omens from Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman or Terry Prachett’s Johnny Maxwell trilogy  then you should have a look at this book.

Great Reads

The Unidentified, Rae Mariz

The Game, an alternative education system where students learn in a converted mall, playing fun park style games to learn maths, following challenges to gain points and go up levels. Where the sponsors are always watching them, doing market research on what and who is cool or different. Katey/Kid (@kidzero) is fairly happy as she is, she has a few close friends who she records music with and she does quite well in the challenges. She isn’t as connected with the Game as a lot of other players, but it doesn’t really bother her. Until a group calling themselves the “Unidentified” start trying to make a point against the Game. Kid starts to look into their demonstrations and finds herself coming to the attention of the sponsors – and learning that who she is and what she does is something that can be used by other people. Individuality vs being in the crowd, control vs freedom.

I liked this book, it’s actually not far off what happens today and how we share information, and I didn’t guess the ending before it got there. Recommended if you like Scott Westerfeld (particularly So Yesterday) or Candor by Pam Bachorz.

Divergent, Veronica Roth

In Beatrice’s world people are divided up into five factions. People decide if they are brave, selfless, intelligent, honest or peaceful and then dedicate their lives to these ideals. Beatrice grew up in the abnegation faction dedicating her life to helping others. On her birthday, she has the choice – to stay with her family in the abnegation faction, or choose to spend the rest of her life in a different one. At school they have a test that will indicate where they are best suited – everyone should fit easily into one, but Beatrice doesn’t. Something that seems like a small thing, but is regarded as dangerous. It’s called being divergent, and means that whichever faction she chooses, she needs to hide the fact that she doesn’t fit perfectly into the society, while she discovers that the society itself may also not be as perfect as it’s meant to be.

Wonderful book, I loved the details in everything about the world and I really want the next book to come out soon! Alternative world, lots of action – if you liked the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins then you’ll probably like this as well.

More Great Reads

The Schwa Was Here and Antsy Does Time both by Neal Shusterman.


Antsy feels like he is invisible. He isn’t as good at school as his brother and sister and spends his time at home making peace between his mother and father. He doesn’t think he has ever done anything noteworthy except by accident and a lot of the time he feels unimportant and unnoticed. Calvin Schwa actually is nearly invisible. He can sit in a room and no one will see him or remember that he was there. Half his class think he isn’t real, just an urban legend. But Antsy gets to know him, and by helping the Schwa he manages to stand up for himself, get in a lot of trouble and have a go at making both of them more noticed.

A book all about being seen, how people can be very different from what you hear and making decisions about your own life. This book is nothing like Neal Shusterman’s Unwind (although that’s also an awesome book in different ways!). Recommended if you liked The 10pm Question by Kate De Goldi.

In Antsy Does Time, Antsy finds out completely by chance that a friend is dying. He only has 6 months left. To try and make him feel better Antsy officially gives him 1 month of his own life, signed and witnessed. And then suddenly everything gets out of hand. He’s a hero, he has a secret, and somehow he has to make things right again with his family, the crazy old man who’s threatening to fire his Dad, his girlfriend, his ex-girlfriend and most of the town. Plus he’s managed to kill off all the plants in most of one street.

A crazy, funny story that’s pretty much all about death and dying. Read after reading The Schwa Was Here – it’s a different story, but you do need to know who the characters are and how they got where they are.

I’m reading a book!

Candor, by Pam Bachorz

A perfect town, with perfect people. Teenagers who love doing their homework, who never, ever do anything their parents don’t want and always get to class on time. And then they get perfect marks. Except the most perfect person knows why everything is like this. And he has the power to change it. If you liked the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness or Juno of Taris by Fleur Beale then you should put this on your reading list.  Good read, great ending.

Accidental empires, by Robert X Cringley

The story (or one version of it anyway) of how the personal computer, Microsoft, silicon valley etc all got started, nearly didn’t get anywhere and how most of it wasn’t really all that planned. At all. If you like reading non-fiction or enjoyed The Social Network, then this will be a fun read.

The Wish List, by Eoin Colfer

Meg Finn is killed in the middle of helping steal from an old man. But there’s a problem. She’s done some bad things. But then she’s also done some good things as well. So with her perfectly balanced between them Heaven and Hell are both trying to push her over the line to their side. She has one last chance to redeem herself by helping the old man she tried to rob with his wish list. Four wishes, limited time and both Heaven and Hell are breaking the rules. I’d recommend this to younger teens – maybe 13 or so. You’ll probably still enjoy it if you’re older though – I did!

How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse


To begin with, here is an actual government website from the US on how to prepare for a zombie apocalypse. Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Prepared!

In the Wellington City Libraries we also have…

Zombie survival guide: complete protection from the living dead/ Max Brooks.

This wonderful book from the non fiction section covers everything you need to get prepared when the undead attack. Need to defend a building? Head out into the bush? Which weapon works best against the undead? Seriously it’s all covered. And one of the important things I learnt from this book – NEVER set fire to a zombie. They take a long time to burn and keep walking. Major fire hazard.

The Teen’s Guide to World Domination: advice on life, liberty, and the pursuit of awesomeness / Josh Shipp

Sure, surviving is definitely going to be a priority at least initially. But after a while it’s just not going to be enough. This book will help you work out a plan to not just make it through the zombie attacks – but take over the world at the same time. Also covers disasters involving ninjas, pirates and parents.


Zombies vs Unicorns/ Compiled by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

As well as being a great read, this book is excellent for researching possible scenarios for outbreaks, and everyday life once zombies are a widespread problem. What if you are babysitting kids that seem to have bad balance and are kept in a locked room? What if you are a zombie and fall in love with a human who has a father who hunts zombies? What if the zombies are also pirates? Also good for unicorns – particularly the wanting to kill people kind of unicorn for some reason.

Zombie Cupcakes / Zilly Rosen

Because you can. Yummy, yummy zombies.

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