Saturday, June 2, 2018

YA Pick: Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake


Mara and Owen are twins and best friends. When Mara's friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, her reality starts to feel shattered--could her twin really be capable of such a violent act? Meanwhile, Mara's strained relationship with her ex-girlfriend/permanent friend Charlie doesn't help, and the news of Hannah's assault starts to bring up trauma from Mara's past that she hasn't been able to cope with. 

While I saw that this book had great reviews, I was really skeptical at first: there's a lot of books for teens right now that deal with consent and sexual assault, and while they're all important, they're often a difficult read! I don't want to call this an easy read: it's still dealing with a really serious and painful topic, and it does it extremely well. That said, it was a very fast book to read, and an engaging one: Mara is a compelling narrator and while she has to grapple with her brother's crime, the book is unflinchingly on Hannah's side. Blake also gets into the details of all of the characters as people, in a way that makes the story urgent and compelling. I was really blown away by this book, and maybe you will be too!


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

YA Pick of the Week: Moonstruck by Grace Ellis

Moonstruck is an ongoing comic book series created by Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle. If you have ever picked up a Lumberjanes book (one of my favorite comic series!) then you'll recognize Ellis's signature humor and whimsy.

The first collected volume of Moonstruck (issues #1-5) came out this spring, which means that we could finally buy it here at the library. Moonstruck exists in a world where magic exists, and magical beings live perfectly normal, simple lives alongside regular humans. Julie, our protagonist, is a barista with perfectly reasonable hobbies and goals and romantic drama...and also happens to turn into a werewolf whenever she gets upset. Her co-worker Chet is a non-binary centaur who's perfectly comfortable being themself, in direct opposition to Julie. Meanwhile, there is magical interference afoot.

The plot of the series is fun and interesting, and sometimes a little Scooby-Doo-esque, but the series really shines with its relationships: Julie's dating life and her friendship with Chet always come front and center. With Beagle's dreamy artwork and the setting of a magical coffee house, the general feeling is soft and light and silly, even when the conflicts that the characters face are nothing of the sort. Reading Moonstruck felt a lot like reading really good coffee house AU fan-fiction--which, to be honest, I loved! Maybe you will too!

Monday, May 7, 2018

YA Pick of the Week: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Dimple Shah has everything figured out. She's not interested in finding the "Ideal Indian Husband" of her mother's dreams, rather, she's interested in fulfilling her own dreams of coding successful apps in a summer program for aspiring web designers.

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him and that he'll have to woo her, he's totally on board.

At first glance, the two have nothing in common, but they unexpectedly fall completely and totally in love.

This book is great! It's really sweet and romantic and shows you both Dimple and Rishi's perspectives, as well as the complications of their parents' interference. If you're looking for a light-but-not-too-light beach read, look no further!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

YA Pick of the Week: The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding

Of all of the teen books that are coming out this year, The Summer of Jordi Perez is definitely one of the cutest. Abby is a fashion-obsessed teen who scores a summer internship at her favorite clothing boutique--and falls head over heels in love with her fellow intern Jordi (Perez). The book talks about some serious things: body issues, how to navigate a first relationship, balancing dating and being professional but it also is really gentle in its treatment of all of these issues.

It's sometimes hard to find an lgbtq+ teen romance that doesn't have coming out anxiety at its epicenter, but this one is much more concerned with navigating other insecurities and life stuff, which often feels like a relief. It is a fun, soft summer read that never quite answers the question of what might be the best burger in Los Angeles--but it does provide plenty of other things to think about.

We have it on our shelves today! Check it out!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

YA Pick of the Week: Grendel's Guide to Love and War by A.E. Kaplan

Tom Grendel lives a quiet life: he mows the lawns of the senior citizens in his neighborhood, writes in his notebook, and pines for Willow, the not-quite-manic-pixie-dream-girl-next-door. All that changes when Willow's brother Rex starts throwing incredibly loud parties that scare the senior citizens and trigger Tom's dad (an Iraq war veteran)'s PTSD.

Tom begins to retaliate in an effort to stop the parties, and one retaliation leads to another in this surprisingly charming, silly, and sweet story of one high school summer. This book is loosely based on the ancient tale of Beowulf and Grendel, so if you've read it, you may enjoy it even more (reading Beowulf is NOT necessary for reading this book).

Check it out today!

Teen Internship at the Ventress Library: We Want You!


We are looking for a high school intern to work on a paid connected learning project over the summer of 2018. Ideal candidates will be passionate about libraries and public service, and will be both self-motivated and highly organized. Candidates must be current sophomores, juniors, or seniors to apply, and will work between 30 and 35 hours a week. Applications are due by April 28th. 

For more information, please check out the intern application overview and application. For any questions or to submit your application, you can email Kelsey Socha, Youth Services Librarian, at ksocha@ocln.org.

This internship is funded by the PLA III 2018 Inclusive Internship Initiative. 

Internship Overview and Application (pdf)


Saturday, April 7, 2018

YA Pick of the Week: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Do you remember the original television series of Sabrina the Teenage Witch? The one from the early 2000s starring Melissa Joan Hart where Sabrina goes through hilarious hijinks and teenage drama while also being a witch?

...this is NOTHING like that. This comic series, which is set in the 1960s (evoking classic horror film Rosemary's Baby) is genuinely spooky and chilling, while the art also manages to really evoke the feel of the era.

If you're interested in the Riverdale tv series, this takes place in the Archie universe with some great crossovers with Betty and Veronica. If you're interested in other teen horror comics (Emily Carroll's Through the Woods and Vera Brosgol's Anya's Ghost come to mind) this also might be right up your alley. We'll be getting in a hard copy sometime this month (along with some of the Riverdale comics!) or you can read it for free online using Hoopla Digital! I personally loved it.

BONUS: filming just began for a Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Netflix original series!

Friday, March 30, 2018

YA Pick of the Week: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unseen, both in her family and at school. Ever since she's grown curves, she has had to be fierce. One Christmas, her twin gets her a bound notebook as a gift, thinking that she needs to find somewhere to put her words.

So, Xiomara begins to write poetry, almost without thinking, and is invited to join the slam team (something her mother will never let her do--will she?).

This book, which is told almost entirely in free-verse is a really clear portrait of a girl trying to find her place in the world. It's a fast read, perfect for fans of Jacqueline Woodson, Sonya Sones, and Jason Reynolds.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Picks of the Week: Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda | The Upside of Unrequited




The Love, Simon movie came out last week and I finally got around to seeing it! It was an impossibly charming, silly, and heartfelt movie and I loved getting to see it--and it reminded me that I haven't had the chance to showcase Becky Albertali's books yet on this blog.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is the book that Love, Simon is based off of: Simon, an ordinary teen, has a secret: he's gay. He finds another gay teen from his town on a message board, and via email, they fall in love. It's almost too simple of a story, except that Simon stays logged into his email at school, and gets blackmailed by another teen who wants to date his friend Abby. Simon is a really charming book, and one that feels very timely: for the most part, everyone in the book is pretty loving and accepting, but Simon still struggles with being honest with himself and the people in his life. It's a fast, fluffy read, but an excellent one (there's a reason why it was a Morris Award Winner!).

The Upside of Unrequited takes place in the same overarching universe: Molly, the protagonist, is cousins with Simon's friend Abby, and Abby (and Simon!) are mentioned in the book.

Molly knows all about unrequited love. She's been in love hundreds of times, but no matter how much her twin sister Cassie tries to push her, she can't push herself to be brave enough to do something about it: after all, who would want to date a fat girl?

Then, Cassie falls in love with a new girl, who comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she'll finally get her first kiss: and her twin back. There's only one problem: Molly's coworker Reed. He's a Tolkien superfan with Ren Faire season passes who Molly couldn't possibly fall for...could she?

This book is so cute! When I read it for the first time, I kept squeaking at how adorable it is. Anyone who's ever felt insecure about their body or scared about dating for the first time will recognize a kindred spirit in Molly, and her relationship with her family and friends is wonderful. I actually liked this book even MORE than Simon.

Coming soon: Leah on the Offbeat, a companion book to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Look for it in May!




Friday, March 16, 2018

YA Pick of the Week: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Imagine living in a world where beauty is created by someone else, where everyone's default is being ugly. Imagine being one of the only people in the world with the power to make anyone beautiful, with the cost of never being able to fall in love or live past your forties.

This is the world Camellia's been born into, and for her it is not enough to simply be a Belle; she must be the Favorite--the Belle assigned to the palace. However, the palace has its own dangers: a princess who has been in a coma for years, her younger sister who wants power and physical changes that will test Camellia's strength, and a secret plot that will change everything.

Dhonielle Clayton creates a remarkable world, perfect for fans of the Uglies series or The Selection. This book starts off a little slow, but it lays the groundwork really well for a sequel--and I, for one, am excited to see what will happen next!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

YA Pick of the Week: Giant Days


Giant Days is a comic series created and written by John Allison, with illustrations by Max Sarkin. Giant Days takes place in England, and starts with the story of three university freshmen sharing a dorm.

It's funny and weird and a good mix of charming/silly and sometimes horrifying. We have quite a few volumes of it. Check one out today!

Friday, March 2, 2018

YA Pick of the Week: Malagash by Joey Comeau


Recently, Malagash won an Alex Award, which is an award for the best Adult Books for Teens. It is a useful category (YA is not all-encompassing, and there are books that are amazing for teenagers in the "adult" canon as well as ones that are not--a guide is helpful).

 If you do not know Joey Comeau's work, which is likely or at the least plausible, he was one of the two creators of the webcomic A Softer World--the comic is now over, but people still use the format for fan art for other things. He also wrote some of the Bravest Warrior comics, and many other things, all of which could be considered notable but not many of which could necessarily be considered "well-known." I was glad to see Malagash get noticed.

Anyway, Malagash, the place, is a town on the north shore of Nova Scotia, several miles north of where we are in Marshfield. It is the place that Sunday's parents are from, and they've returned there now because her father is dying of cancer and wants to die where he grew up. Her family is devastated, but Sunday has a plan. She starts recording everything her father says, so that she can write a computer virus that will say his words and think his thoughts, and live secretly on the hard drives of millions of people all over the world. It is not as good as a father, sure, but in this virus he can live forever.

It is a weird, small book about family and what gets remembered and how to process grief and how to hack computers. Our library copy just came in!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

YA Pick of the Week: The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

Have you HEARD about the Throne of Glass book series by Sarah J. Maas?

When I first started reading it, I was skeptical: how can one book about an assassin competing with other assassins be so long? Why are there so many books? Why are they so popular?

...and then I tried reading one. And then the second. And the third. I'm currently on the fourth book (Queen of Shadows). There are set to be seven books in the series, not counting the prequels.


The series starts out with a simple enough premise: Celaena is an expert assassin who is freed from a harsh desert prison in order to be trained as the prince's champion in an Hunger Games-style competition that could win her her freedom. Then, suddenly, what seems simple becomes complex: someone is sabotaging the competition. Meanwhile, Celaena is falling in love, the kingdom is in turmoil, and suddenly a rebellion is afoot.

Celaena is a really likeable (and imperfect) heroine, in addition to being a total badass. The world starts out fairly small, and opens up with each book until suddenly you get witches and wyverns and fae in ADDITION to excellent battle scenes and kingdom intrigue.

If you liked the Hunger Games series or the Red Queen series or Game of Thrones, Throne of Glass will be the perfect series for you! Don't let the size of the books scare you: even though they're big, they're a fast and fun read.