Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Hunger Games Parody

Ah, parodies....they're so wrong and yet so right. And they're not just done on Saturday Night Live, either -- now there's one for the best-selling trilogy (and soon-to-be-movie) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins! The Hunger But Mainly Death Games: A Parody is now available from Amazon for the Kindle (Bummer....why can't they make a hardcover??). Here is the hilarious product description:

Mockstrich season has begun. Welcome to "The Hunger But Mainly Death Games," the hilarious Hunger Games parody, and the only book brave enough to suggest that Suzanne Collins' epic trilogy was way more about death than food.

Or at least this is what Bratniss Everclean discovers, when she leaves the comforts of Slum 12, Pandumb's garbage dump, to shortsightedly volunteer for a teenage death tournament. But she soon realizes there are fates worse than weirdly having to date her fellow competitor, and lifelong stalker, Pita Malarkey. Okay, okay, it's not worse than DEATH, but it's still pretty

Still, with help from her agent Oofie Triptrip and her mentor, Hagridmitch, who's confident he can guide Bratniss to victory in the "Tri-Wizard Cup," maybe Bratniss will somehow survive this book she's the narrator of.

"The Hunger But Mainly Death Games" is the perfect book for anyone who's going through Hunger Games withdrawal and ready for a wonderfully twisted take on their favorite story and characters. This book is also for the unfortunate teens who are trapped in a Hunger Games at this very moment and could really benefit from some levity. We're here for you, assuming you brought your e-reader into the arena.

You can read a small sample of this twisted tale on If you purchase and read this book, I would love to hear from you!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Books - Your Way

Got creativity? Use it to produce a "new and improved" book title, book cover art, or book ending. Bring it to Chester County Library's Teen Event on Friday, October 28th, from 4:00-5:30 pm. This is a FREE event, and snacks will be served. A panel of librarians will judge your entries, and winners in each category will receive a gift card to Barnes & Noble. You can also participate in a Treasure Hunt in the library. You get to keep all the loot you find!

For more information, please visit and click on the Find an Event button. On the drop-down menus, click on Chester County Library, Young Adult and October. Scroll down to October 28, and you'll find more details.

To register, please call 610-280-2632 or email Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Six-Word Memoirs by Teens

I Can't Keep My Own Secrets: Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous and Obscure (edited by Smith Magazine) is a collection of memoirs from 800 teens (ages 13 to 18), and each story is exactly six words long. This is a quick read that provides honest, emotional and sometimes funny insights into the lives of its authors.

Some entries express frustration ("ADD, OCD. Sucks to be me.") while others convey happiness ("I have curves! I love mirrors."). Some authors share secrets ("Called to ministry. Can't tell anyone.") and reveal painful events ("You made me stronger. Thanks, rapist.")

Many entries are funny ("Contemplated joining circus. Foolishly chose college." and "Smoke detectors taught me to cook.") and self-deprecating ("We're the family you gossip about."). Some are thought-provoking ("They say Oreo. I say raceless." and "Being scared has saved my life.") and others simply express what the author is feeling at the moment ("I seriously love school bean burritos.").

Readers will relate to many of these short memoirs -- they cover relevant topics and evoke powerful emotions. In our era of Twitter and text-messaging, this book of short snippets is worth reading, and will appeal to a broad audience of teens and adults alike.

Lisa U.
Chester County Library

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book to Movie: Fat Kid Rules the World

For all of you K.L. Going fans.....good news! Fat Kid Rules the World is being made into an independent film. Shooting began in Seattle in July, but there is no release date yet. Actor Jacob Wysocki stars as Troy Billings, the 296-pound 17-year-old who almost commits suicide by jumping off a subway platform. Actor Matt O'Leary plays Curt MacCrae, the punk rock guitarist who "saved his life" and asks Troy to be the drummer in his band. [For reasons I don't understand, Curt is named Marcus in this film. What????]

Author Going didn't have any input on the screenplay or casting, but the film's producers are keeping her in the loop about its progress. The movie is being produced by Whitewater Films and directed by Matthew Lillard, who narrated the audiobook version of Fat Kid (he was excellent!) and was the first person to option the film rights. Looking forward to this one!

Lisa U.
Chester County Library

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2011 Teen Summer Reading Club

Summer 2011 is finally here, and this year's theme for Teen Summer Reading is You Are Here. You can sign up for the Summer Reading Club at your local library from now until August. You can win great prizes, attend cool events and check out good books all summer long! For more information, call or visit your local library.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Book Recommendation: Five Flavors of Dumb

Take a self-absorbed lead singer and guitarist, his twin moody bassist brother and an angry girl rocker. Mix in a geeky drummer, a talentless pretty face, and a deaf band manager, and what you get is Antony John's Five Flavors of Dumb, set in the Seattle suburbs.

Angry over trying to drag freshman brother Finn away from schmoozing with the high school band Dumb, 18-year-old Piper snaps, rapidly signing--and Finn dutifully translating--that Dumb is a bunch of amateurs. (Their impromptu and fiery performance on the school's front steps the day before proves it.) So, narcissistic Josh challenges her: Get the band a paying gig in a month, and they'll split the money four ways. Since Piper's parents raided her college fund to buy cochlear implants for her baby sister, it's a deal. Piper gets to work pushing the band to write their own material, make the most of their prized sessions with legendary producer Baz Firkin, and get them in front of the media.

But what she's also trying to prove is that just because she's deaf, that doesn't mean she doesn't deserve to be taken seriously. Anyone who has been in a band, knows someone in a band or obsesses over the details of their favorite rock group will understand the hope and frustration as Dumb struggles to find its place in the Seattle rock scene. You'll laugh, you'll gasp, you'll do a few face-palms. I highly recommend this book.

Debra B., CC Library

Friday, March 11, 2011

Book Recommendation- Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

At the beginning of Mary Hooper’s Fallen Grace, 15-year old Grace Parkes is on the Necropolis Railway to Brookwood Cemetery, with a task just as sad as everyone else’s: to bury her stillborn child. But, being an orphan on the streets of Victorian London with barely a penny to her name, she has been advised by the midwife to find a coffin on the train, lift the lid, and lay the poor bundle inside before the lid is nailed shut. At the Cemetery, she meets two important people that could change her future: Mrs. Unwin, rich proprietress of a funeral establishment, offering employment; and Mr. James Solent, a young legal clerk, and brother to the dead woman whose coffin now holds a secret.

When Grace and her older mentally disabled sister Lily are evicted from their pathetic little room at Mrs. Macready’s boarding house (the property has been condemned), the girls have no other choice: rather than return to the training school they fled from in fear, they go to the Unwins. While it’s nice to now have a warm bed and food in their bellies, the comfort comes at a price. And unbeknownst to the Parkes sisters, something secret waits for them, something anyone would lie and scheme to possess—including the Unwins…

I tried to put myself in Grace and Lily’s worn-out shoes; tried to imagine living in a constant state of survival, every hour of every day, struggling among the ruthless and the poor, wondering if today was the day I would wind up sleeping on the streets, starving to death, with no chance of climbing back up. I was scared out of my mind. Life in Victorian England was ghastly, and Hooper depicts it in great detail.

Needless to say, you will cheer for Grace and Lily, and admire Grace’s intelligence and persistence. You will demand vengeance on those who abuse and demean them. I found it a satisfying read, and I hope you will find it the same. Enjoy!

-Reviewed by Debra B.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book Recommendation: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Before you write off Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, due to its romantic-looking cover, read the first chapter. It describes in excruciating detail how Amy Martin’s parents, and then Amy herself, are prepared to be cryogenically frozen for their 300-year journey on the spaceship Godspeed, to a newly discovered planet, Centauri-Earth. Ask yourself: could you subject yourself to such a painful and claustrophobic experience to stay with the ones you love? I couldn’t help but stick around to see the results.

On the future Godspeed is Elder, next in line to replace the ship’s tyrannical leader, simply known as Eldest. On a learning assignment, Elder discovers old blueprints revealing a previously unknown lower level of the ship—the cryo level, where Amy and her parents, not to mention hundreds of others, reside.

Here he finds Amy’s cryogenic box, partially removed from its drawer. He is instantly drawn to her pale skin and red hair, features no one else on the ship has, not after so many generations of cross- breeding. Ordered by a superior to put her back in the freezer and put her out of his mind, he later sees her again when someone else removes the box and unplugs her life support.

Someone tried to kill her, and neither Amy—saved from drowning but bereft of her parents, having been woken up fifty years too soon—nor Elder can figure out why. But what they also need to figure out is this: what secrets is Eldest keeping from them, and from everyone else on the ship, and why? And can Elder lead one day without being exactly like Eldest?

I liked the uniqueness of this story, and how it highlighted the challenge of creating harmony within a closed environment. Even if that environment appears to be several square miles, for Amy—and once he learns the reality behind his society, for Elder—it is too small, in more ways than one.

Yes, there is romance, but it’s not overly mushy. You may think you’ve figured out some obvious plot twists early on; what’s pleasantly surprising is realizing later you didn’t even know the half of it. Towards the end, these realizations come faster and faster, like waves onto the shore. A highly enjoyable read and, in my opinion, a great debut from Beth Revis.

Reviewed by Debra B. at CCL

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Michael L. Printz Award for Young Adult Literature announced

The 2011 winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature was announced earlier this week , and it’s Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker. The Printz award is given annually by the American Library Association (ALA) and is selected by a committee of librarians. You may have read our review of it this past summer; if not, check it out, and check out the book! I feel it’s worthy of the honor. In case you’re wondering who Michael Printz was, read here.

And if you haven’t read the 2010 winner, Libba Bray’s Going Bovine, I suggest you grab that as well. You would think a book about a 16-year old boy, named Cameron, with mad cow disease would be all drama and sadness, but when you read the first line—“The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World”—you know you’re in for a treat. I’m a sucker for sarcasm, and a fair amount of moments on Cameron’s Don Quixote-like quest to be healed—with his Mexican-American dwarf classmate who’s a hypochondriac, later on adding a Viking god trapped inside a garden gnome—are (IMHO) laugh-out loud funny. Enjoy!

-Debra B.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Book Recommendation: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Readers who enjoy Rachel Cohn and David Levithan will surely enjoy this holiday story: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares.

Scrooge-like Dash has gotten out of Christmas by telling his mother he’s at his father’s house, and telling his father he’s spending Christmas at his mother’s. Perusing the shelves of used books at his favorite bookstore, the Strand, he finds a red Moleskine notebook, with “DO YOU DARE?” on the cover, and with a note on the front page:

“I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

Intrigued, Dash turns the page.

Christmas-loving Lily has been abandoned this season—by her parents, on a never-taken honeymoon in Fiji; by her grandfather, heading to Florida to propose to his girlfriend; and by her brother, Langston, looking to spend his every waking hour with his new boyfriend, instead of babysitting her. The clues in the book were Langston’s idea for how Lily could meet a guy; Lily doesn’t expect anyone to pick it up, or, as requested, answer in kind. What begins is a series of riddles and challenges that takes Dash and Lily back and forth across New York City, as they reveal more of themselves to each other through the notebook. The two can’t help but start falling for each other, but is it for the person on the page, or the ideal in their heads? Will they act on the ultimate dare: to meet in person? And if so, will they connect, or will it turn out to be the ultimate disaster?

I loved the wit and banter Dash and Lily have between each other, and with their family and friends, even if it doesn’t sound like a lot of the teens you might know. I felt the characters were shown to be complex and layered, with clear foibles as well as admirable strengths. Despite Dash being nicknamed “Snarly” by those he comes across, he’s never unlikeable. Lily’s sweet, but not annoying.

And some of the scenes made me laugh out loud. I wouldn’t be surprised if this book starts a trend of red notebooks on shelves in bookstores across the country.

-Debra B.

Readers who enjoyed this story might enjoy other books co-written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan including: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Book Recommendation: Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill

I thought I was going to take a break from reviews for the holiday season, but then I came across Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill, set on a future terraformed Mars. First chapter: cannibals on the hunt. Second chapter: a teenage mercenary doing a ten kilometer space elevator jump down into a hostage situation.

Forget the ribbons and the wrapping paper—it was rollercoaster time.

Durango’s a Dalit (outcast) Regulator—think Jedi without the mind tricks, although he does have an AI implant named Mimi—looking for redemption, but mostly coin and food for himself and his davos (crew) of other regulators. When three miners from a remote outpost come looking for someone to teach them how to fend off the cannibalistic Dræu that keep attacking their children, Durango knows they don’t stand a chance. With his female second-in-command, Vienne, along with lugheads Fuse and Jenkins, and over-the-hill Ockham, they head out to Hell’s Cross on what could be a suicide mission. Along with all the butt-kicking and name-taking, we learn how Durango became an outcast, the reason for the AI in his head, what the miners really want, and who the Dræu—and their queen—really are.

There are some borderline-squeamish parts, but they’re few and brief. I felt for Durango as he constantly grappled with the dilemma of how to be the proper leader to his crew, all the while struggling with his feelings towards Vienne, his father, and his predicament. To anyone who’s not big on reading, get this book into their hands; they won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough.

-Debra B.