Thursday, December 31, 2009

Book Review: It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Ninth grader Craig Gilner is at his wit’s end. It all started in eighth grade when he studied day and night working on getting accepted to Manhattan‘s Executive Pre-Professional High School. This high school was supposed to be his ticket to getting a good job and succeeding in life. Now that he is in ninth grade, he feels like his life is slipping away. He has trouble eating anything more than yogurt and mostly does not sleep. So one night he checks himself into the emergency room because he is considering committing suicide.

It is in the mental hospital that he enters after the emergency room that Craig begins to accept himself as he is. This is also where many of the funniest parts of the book happen. It’s Kind of a Funny Story is more upbeat than Julie Halpern’s Get Well Soon. And while both It’s Kind of a Funny Story and Thirteen Reason’s Why are both about teen depression, Funny Story is focused on recovery and less about the past.

I found this books to be a funny and even though it is long at 444 pages, it is a very fast read.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

How heartbreaking it is to be Clay Jensen. Clay, a junior in high school, comes home from school one day to find a package addressed to him propped up against the front steps. Inside are 13 cassette tapes each marked with their own number. Clay cannot believe it when he pops one into the old stereo in the garage and he hears the voice of his dead classmate Hannah Baker. Hannah was his crush and his maybe first love. She also committed suicide two weeks prior to this day. The package also contains a map of the town that Clay follows as he walks around town experiencing Hannah’s story. In Hannah’s own voice she tells about the events and people that contributed to her up to her decision to end her life.

Thirteen Reasons Why captures the way people really talk, and to some extent, the way people behave in high school. While I found some parts near the end of the story to be overly dramatic, I found this to be a really thought provoking book. If you do decide to read it I highly encourage you to have a discussion with a friend or an adult you trust about suicide.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Book Review: Side Effects by Amy Goldman Koss

Isabelle, or Izzy as she is know, is going about her regular high school life until in the course of a day, her life changes dramatically. This is the day that she goes to a doctor’s appointment because she has swollen glands and a cold that won’t go away. Even as she leaves the doctor’s office and the hospital, where she goes for a quick test, she and her mother are unaware that anything is wrong. But then the phone rings with news that something is very wrong and she needs to go back to the hospital right away.

What follows is Izzy’s uphill battle with stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphona. Luckily, the preface inside the book reassures us that Izzy will make it. (I hope I am not giving too much away). Much of the story focuses on Izzy’s treatments and how she gets through them. Side Effects also let’s us see how Izzy’s family and friends are affected by her cancer, and we are treated to the beginnings of a romance between Izzy and Andy, a straight A student who helps her get back on track at school.

All and all this book is a good solid read, and at 143 pages, a fast read. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an interesting problem novel.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Find Teen Holiday Programs at Your Library on the Event Calendar

Find out what activities are going on for Teen and Tweens at the library.
Please join us for a Scavenger Hunt and Party in the Library!
You can win great prizes then enjoy a Holiday Feast!
When: Friday, December 11th 2009
Grades 6+
(No Younger Siblings Please)
Drop Off- Chester County Library Front door
Pick Up- Library Back Door
Please register by Thursday, December 10th
Include the number of people coming
Register by phone: (610) 280-2632

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Cirque du Freak hit the theatres October 23rd

It seems like YA books are always being adapted into movies. Let’s check out the latest book at the movies : Cirque du Freak.

Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan.
As the story begins Darren Shan and Steve “Leopard” Leonard are best friends who are lucky enough to get tickets to attend an illegal circus. They both love novels and comics about vampires and wolfmen. At the circus they see a show staring a large spider named Madam Octa and man Steve believes to be a vampire, Mr. Crepsley. Is Mr. Crepsley a vampire? Will Darren and Steve betray one and other? Can the spider be stolen and controlled?

This is just the beginning of the first book of a twelve book series , The Saga of Darren Shan. On October 23rd the film Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant was released in theatres. This film is based on the first three books in the seires: Cirque du Freak, The Vampire’s Assistant, and Tunnels of Blood all by Darren Shan.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Book Review- Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern

Get Well Soon
Depressed and overweight, sixteen year old Anna Bloom is committed to a mental hospital by her parents after a suicide attempt. While in the teen ward Anna loses weight, develops a crush on a boy, and finds that she is not so different from the other teens on her floor. More importantly Anna learns how to talk about her feelings.

Written in the form of letters to a friend at home, Anna’s voice is both funny and real. Readers will find themselves pulling for Anna. This novel by first time author Halpern is lighter in tone than the Bell Jar but is equally as hard to put down. This book is recommended for readers age 14 and older.
Recommended by Katie CCL

Friday, October 09, 2009

Saving Money

Dear Young Adult Librarian,
I just got my first job. I will be teaching soccer to small children. Do you have any books about saving money? I would like to save at least some of it.
Wondering in West Chester

Dear Wondering,
It is great that you got a job! Good on you! I bet you are excited that you will have extra money to spend. But it can be confusing figuring out what to do with your extra cash. The question here is: how do you figure out what to do with your money?
How much do you want to save? Do you have things in mind that you would like to buy? Do you think you will go to college someday? If so it might not hurt to have a college savings goal.
Books about money management have always been popular. However, with the state of the economy right now, these types of books are especially popular. The key is to look in the 332.024 section and you might want to take a close look at books with a call number of YA 332.024.

Here are some books about saving money written especially for teens:

Smart money : How to manage your cash by Danielle Denega.

Rich dad, poor dad for teens : The secrets about money, that you don't learn in school! by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter.

The Motley Fool investment guide for teens : Eight steps to having more money than your parents ever dreamed of. by David and Tom Gardner with Selena Maranjian.

Real world math : Money & other numbers in your life by Donna Guthrie and Jan Stiles ; illustrations by Robyn Kline.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bone Detectives

Calling all Teens and Tweens
Grades 6+
Event on October 30th
Have you ever wondered how those forensic scientists on TV do their jobs?
Find out how scientists use bones to solve crimes and what is revealed by skeletal remains.
This program is presented by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
Friday, October 30th 2009
Grades 6+
(No younger siblings please)
Chester County Library
Struble Room

Please Register by Thursday, October 29th in person in the Youth Services Department. You can also register by calling the youth services department at (610) 280-2632 or by e-mailing us at:
Include the number of people coming with you in your RSVP.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Read Beyond Reality: Teen Read Week 2009

Teens, help us celebrate Teen Read Week this year! Teen Read Week 2009 will be celebrated Oct. 18-24! To see what events your library has planned go to the Events link on the CCLS webpage.
Between October 19th- October 25 teens can participate in a digital scavenger hunt at the Chester County Library. To participate come to the children’s department and pick up a digital scavenger hunt sheet. Bring a digital camera or camera phone. Complete the scavenger hunt and win a prize. Also you can contribute to our Top 10 Young Adult books at Chester County list. Top participate submit your top 3 young adult book titles and win a prize. All participants will be entered in a raffle to win a gift card!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

September is Library Card Sign Up Month

Hey Readers,
Did you know that September is library card sign up month? If you live or work in Chester County it is free anytime to get a library card at any of the libraries in Chester County. Did you know you can use your library card at any library in Chester County? If you don't have one, sign up for one. Tell your friends about it! There are so many great things you can get at the library: books, DVDs, video games, music, audio books, and magazines are only the begining! Expand your world.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lights, Camera, Library! Youtube Contest

The Chester County Library System is sponsoring a library-themed Youtube contest. It is aimed at encouraging students to make videos that inform the public about library services and supporting library use in Chester County.

The theme of this year's contest is:
It Happened at the Library
Guidelines for this contest are as follows:
-Participants will create and submit videos to Youtube between September 1st and October 31st, 2009
-Participants will comply with all Youtube rules and regulations.
-Videos may be sumitted by individuals or groups
-Videos will be a maximum of two mintues in length
-Videos will include a scene inside or outside of a public library in Chester County and align with the selected theme
-Videos must contain appropiate content and language
-People in the video must have agreed to be filmed
-Participants can submit one video. The video should be the work of the people entereing
To see other rules and regulations and get more information please visit this website:
or Contact Tony Wagner by e-mail at:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Book Review- Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life

by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Reviewed by Katie Gaffron, Chester County Library
In this graphic novel we are introduced to super-slacker Scott Pilgrim. This unemployed 23 year old thinks his life is fantastic. He plays in a band and has an uncomplicated relationship with 17 year old high school student Knives Chau. Scott is content with this existence until he meets a beautiful package courier named Ramana Flowers. Ramona is a hipster chick of legal age who keeps appearing in Scott's dreams.
Scott wants to date Ramona Flowers but before he can do that he must defeat all seven of her evil ex-boyfriends. This graphic novel is part romance and part kung-fu manga adventure story. It is also a quirky gem of a story. I would recommend it to anyone who likes offbeat stories. It is also the first volume of a multi-volume series.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Express Yourself at the Library

Come into your library to sign up for the Summer Reading Club. This summer’s theme is Express Yourself. If you cannot make it into the library to sign up, try signing up for our online summer reading club.
You can use this link to find your library’s name and sign up.

Also do you have tons of summer reading to do for school? Save some money and get your books at the library. If you find that the book you are looking for is always checked out, why not place a hold on an item? You can do it at home or come into the library and have a staff member help you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Book Review- Alis

Alis by Naomi Rich
Reviewed by Suzanne Macaulay, Spring City

When 14-year-old Alis’ parents arrange for her to marry 40-year-old Minister Galin, Alis decides she must run away. She will not be forced into a marriage, especially with a man almost three times her age! Alis resolves to find her way to the city where her brother, Joel, who ran away seven years ago, will protect her.

An opportunity for escape presents itself when Alis accompanies a sickly woman from Alis’ Community of Freeborne to Two Rivers, another Community of the Book. Ruled by unforgiving, merciless Reformers, Alis soon finds that life in Two Rivers is no better than life in Freeborne. Her desire to find her brother in the city intensifies.

Through the help of a boy named Luke, Alis eventually finds her way to the city where life is brutal. The streets are increasingly violent, and residents must beg and steal for morsels of food. Unable to deal with the harsh conditions, Alis resigns to return to Freeborne and face her fate as Minister Galin’s wife. However, her homecoming ignites a tragic chain of events, and Alis finds herself fighting to save her own life.

Naomi Rich’s Alis is a quick read. Although it is set in an “unspecified past,” clear parallels between life in the Communities and Colonial America can be drawn. There is plenty of suspense to keep readers engaged. However, there are many unresolved issues at the end of Alis, and although this probably sets the stage for a sequel, it makes this book feel incomplete. Recommended for teens looking for something heavy but not quite as dark as The Hunger Games.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Prom Books

It is prom season!!! Get in the mood by checking out some of these great prom books.


Prom! : the complete guide to a truly spectacular night by Nancy Krulik

Sewing for special occasions : bridal, prom & evening dresses

(This list contains material taken from the
Prom entry of the TeenLibWiki)

21 Proms edited by David Levithan
Authors include: Libba Bray, Jacqueline Woodson, Ned Vizzini, John Green, Melissa de la Cruz, Holly Black, Brent Hartinger, Cecily von Ziegessar and David Levithan

24 Girls in 7 Days by Alex Bradley
Jack has no date to the prom so unknown to him, his friends write him a personal ad on the online school newspaper. Now he has to date them and find the right one to take to the prom.

Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer
Cindy expresses her negative feelings for prom in the newspaper - making her an overnight loser. Can she still have the fairy tale if she doesn't go to prom?

Fake Boyfriend Kate Brian
Isabelle's boyfriend is the worst, so her friends create her a new fake boyfriend.

Princess in Pink by Meg Cabot
Mia wants Michael to invite her to his prom, but he's so anti-prom that she's afraid she's never have her perfect moment with him

Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson
When a teacher disappears with the prom funds eleven days before prom, friends Ashley and Nat must find other means to make their prom happen.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Book Review- Wintergirls

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Reviewed by Suzanne Macaulay, Spring City

Laurie Halse Anderson is masterful at creating suspense in her teen novels and Wintergirls is no different. Trapped in the bleak world of anorexia, Lia spirals even further out of control after the death of her best friend, Cassie. Soon, not only are Lia’s own demons haunting her but so is Cassie. Overcome but guilt, Lia loses her grip on reality and now her family may lose Lia forever.

This book was not my favorite of Andersons’, but it was still a powerful read. Fans of Speak and Catalyst will devour this gripping novel. Perfectly timed and full of tension, Wintergirls stays with readers for a long time and will help those understand the desperate world of eating disorders.

Book Review- The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Reviewed by Suzanne Macaulay, Spring City

Science Fiction is not my favorite genre but after hearing rave reviews for Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games I decided to give it a try. It takes place in the country of Panem, the remains of what was once the United States. To prevent an uprising, the Capitol invented The Hunger Games. Each year the twelve districts send a boy and girl to compete. The 24 tributes must battle to the death with only one victor. When Katniss Everdeen’s younger sister is selected to represent District 12, Katniss volunteers to take her place. Small and poor, Katniss must devise a strategy to outlast the other 23 brutal competitors.

This book is riveting! It was very difficult to put it down. Katniss’ fears and anxiety were palpable; I often felt that I was right alongside of her during the competition. With the underlying theme of dystopia, comparisons to books like The Giver and Lord of the Flies are inevitable, but The Hunger Games offers plenty of original ideas and is one of the most exciting Young Adult books I’ve read in a long time. It is definitely not for the squeamish, but is highly recommended to grades 10 and up. I am eagerly awaiting the sequel, Catching Fire, due out in the fall. Rumors of an impending movie are all over the internet though nothing has been confirmed yet—fans will have to stay tuned!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Book Review- The Body Eclectic: An Anthology of Poems

April is national poetry month, so what better way to celebrate than read a poetry book. Today I will be reviewing The Body Eclectic edited by Patrice Vecchione.

This is a wonderfully varied book of poetry about the human body. Contributors include many popular modern young adults authors like Sandra Cisneros and Gary Soto as well as some classic poems from Lord Byron, Lewis Carol, and William Shakespeare. The subject matter of these poems is varied. For example, some of subjects of the poems have had little poetic musing before. There are poems about fat and elbows. Barbara Hill contributes a short poem about being a cutter.

One added feature that actually makes the poems more meaningful are the biographic notes on the writers. I was interested to find out that Walt Whitman struggled with having little money most of his life and republished his work Leaves of Grass several times.
The value of this work is that it helps the reader to understand their feelings better.

I would recommend this book because the poetry is readable and relatable.
by Katie at CCL

Facebook at CCL and Event Calendar

Did you know that the Chester County Library is now on facebook? Check it out at
Many of the other libraries in the county are on it too, check for it on your library’s homepage.

Also if you are interested in finding out what cool new events are happening at the library for teens and young adult please check out the Calendar at

Use the filter for young adult to find those types of events.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New York Times Graphic Novel Best Seller List

Did you know that the New York Times now includes a list of best selling graphic novels along with its other book lists?

Click here to read about the new list in the New York Times!

Click here to see the list for the week of March 14th.!

We have many of the titles here in our in the library system.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Book Review- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Reviewed by Katie, Chester County Library

Are you looking to learn more about yourself? The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho might be the book for you. It is the story of a Spanish shepherd named Santiago who decides to sell his sheep in order to get the money to travel and fulfill his Personal Legend.
Along the way he travels to Africa, learns about alchemy (turning metal into gold), falls in love, and sees the pyramids. The Alchemist is a story that entertains readers while at the same time teaching readers about following their dreams. One of the major themes in this story is finding your own Personal Legend. According to the story“It's what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is.”
If you are looking to read an adventure story and are looking for a good book to think about, this might be the book for you.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Book Review: After Tupac and D Foster

After Tupac & D Foster
Reviewed by Suzanne Macaulay, Spring City

Before I read it, I wondered how relevant After Tupac & D Foster would be. Was it a book that should have been written 10 years ago? Would today’s readers appreciate a book written with the music of Tupac Shakur as the backdrop? Yet, despite my misgivings, Jacqueline Woodson tells a timeless tale of friendship and life's unexpected twists and turns. She reminds us how strongly music can shape our memories, particularly during those tumultuous adolescent years.

Every reader can relate to the emotions in this book—confusion, anger, sadness, loneliness, longing, comfort, and hope. These feelings are universal. Perhaps that is why Woodson does not give her narrator a name—because she could be any one of us. After Tupac & D Foster is interesting and thought-provoking. Jacqueline Woodson’s authentic voice will make this Newbery Honor Book a favorite among teen audiences. Recommended for grades 7 and up.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Book Review- The Skin I'm In

The Skin I'm In by Sharon G. Flake

Reviewed by Katie G. Chester County Library

Seventh grader Maleeka Madison is picked on by the other students in her middle school for being the “darkest and worst dressed” student at school. In an effort to find some protection she latches on to Charlese, who is the leader of the pack. This does not prove to be a better situation as Charlese still bullies Maleeka. Luckily, in walks Miss Saunders into Maleeka’s life. Miss Saunders, a successful business woman who has taken a year away from her high powered job to work as a teacher, coaches Maleeka to accept who she is. Through this help Maleeka has the confidence to enter and win a poetry contest. She finds the courage and confidence to overcome the bullying of her classmates.

I liked this book because I felt like the characters and the dialogue were realistic. This is a good book to read if you are interested in finding out how one girl became comfortable and confident in her own skin.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Book Review- Envy by Anna Godbersen

Envy by Anna Godbersen
Reviewed by Suzanne Macaulay, Spring City

Envy, the third Luxe novel, is full of the lavish parties and scandalous deeds that have made Anna Godbersen’s series so thrilling. The second book ended with Elizabeth’s return, Diana’s broken heart, and Carolina’s entrance into the posh world of Manhattan’s elite. But more twists and turns lie ahead. What is Elizabeth hiding? Will Penelope win Henry’s heart once and for all? Is Carolina’s new status secure? A trip to balmy Florida is ripe for more secrets and betrayals—what shocking revelations will be made upon returning to Manhattan’s wintery landscape?

Envy picks right up where Rumors left off. Godbersen did not miss a beat and has given fans another juicy read. The fourth and final book, Splendor, is currently being written, and while I cannot wait to read it, I will be very sad to see this glamorous series end. Recommended for grades 9 and up.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Book Review

The School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer
Reviewed by Suzanne Macaulay, Spring City

The School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer opens with Angela Cardenas’ first day at reform school. Hidden Oak is mysterious as are the reasons each girl is sent there. Angela vows to unearth the secrets of this ominous place including the school’s tragic history, what happened to the girls that disappeared, and the identity of the secreted headmistress. However, Angela’s detective work is being closely monitored by the sinister staff and she soon realizes that she may never leave Hidden Oak alive.

This book was fast-paced and exciting. While some parts seemed implausible, I was still on the edge of my seat the entire read and had no idea how it would end. The secrets of Hidden Oak will draw you in and leave you wanting more. Recommended for grades 9 and up.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Football compilation

With the Superbowl coming up on February 1st, it is time to get ready with a football books about the Steelers and Cardinals. I have also included some Eagles books just in case you can’t get enough of the Birds.


The Pittsburgh Steelers by Mark Stewart

Pittsburgh Steelers : Glory Days by Dale Grdnic.


The History of the Arizona Cardinals by Sara Gilbert

The Arizona Cardinals by Mark Stewart


Game of my life. Philadelphia Eagles : memorable stories of Eagles football / Robert Gordon.

Last team standing : how the Steelers and the Eagles - "the Steagles" - saved pro football during World War II by Matthew Algeo.

Friday Night Lights

Are you having a little bit of a football letdown now that the Superbowl is over? Do you want to check out a real story about a high school football team? You might enjoy the book from 1990 called Friday Night Lights : a Town, a Team, and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger. This is the book that the NBC television show is based on.

This is the story of the Permian Panthers high school team in the town of Odessa, Texas. Every Friday night they play to win and they represent the hopes and dream of their fragile West Texas town. With the oil industry a bust and the murder and unemployment rates a concern, the town has rally’s around the players who wear the Permian uniform. This book explores the lives of the young men who wear the uniforms and the town that puts their hopes on these boys. It is not exactly like the TV show, but you might like it

Monday, January 26, 2009

Printz Award Announced

This morning the 2009 Michael L. Printz Award winner and honorees were announced. Given by the Young Adult Library Services Association, YALSA, every year since the year 2000, the Printz award is awarded to the book that “exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.”

Here is the winner:

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (not yet available in the Chester County Library System)

It is the story of seventeen year old Taylor Markham, abandoned by her mother when she was eleven, who is trying to put together the clues about her past as she leads the other students in her dorm in a territory war.

The Honorees:

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II, The kingdom on waves by M.T. Anderson

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Nation by Terry Pratchett

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

To find out more about the Printz award and the honorees see the YALSA award webpage!