August 2016


Many of us have grown up with fairy tales. Powerful images such as glass slippers, trails of breadcrumbs, and long hair flowing outside a tall tower are referenced again and again in places such as school, work, movies, and literature. But these adventures don’t have to begin and end the same way with each telling. In fact, some authors of children’s literature have taken inspiration from classic fairy tales such as “Rumpelstiltskin” and “Beauty and the Beast” to spin their own tales. Here are a few to get you started!

Aug16 - fairytales

 

Highlights:

heros guide


The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

By Christopher Healy

The four princes erroneously dubbed Prince Charming form an unlikely team when a witch threatens the whole kingdom.

 

 

beauty


Beauty and the Beast: The Only One Who Didn’t Run Away

By Wendy Mass

Struggling with looks that she thinks do not reflect her name, Beauty meets a gangly youth who lives in the shadow of his older brother.

This week for Teen Book Talk, our reviewer discusses Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell. If you enjoyed Fangirl, there is also a companion novel, Carry On, by the same author.

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Esha C., Teen Reviewer

fangirlBook Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Format: Book

Year Of Publication: 2013

Who Will This Book Appeal To: Readers who enjoy books by John Green, Rainbow Rowell, and Jandy Nelson.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl tells the story of fanfic loving Cath, and her journey through her first year of college. Cath is the author of a very popular fanfiction based on the Simon Snow series (similar to Harry Potter), and often gets caught up in her fantasy world, only to be reminded that pretty much everyone around her (most importantly her cooler and much more outgoing twin sister, Wren) has moved on. Cath struggles to fortify her relationships with her sister and love interest, Levi, and has trouble letting her loved ones in. Between, dealing with sister drama, boyfriend miscommunications, and a dad whose health is slowly eroding, Cath finds herself turning back to her fanfic time after time- as a source of comfort that clears her mind.  By the end of the novel, Cath has adjusted to the freedom and craziness of college, and is ready to further her new relationships with her friends, family, and boyfriend.

Fangirl is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read.  The characters were so relatable and Cath’s insecurities and problems were easy to understand.  The book is very well balanced; it has drama and conflict, but is funny and lighthearted at the same time. I would definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy young adult novels! (There is no material in the book that would make anyone want to stop reading or uncomfortable.)

This week for Teen Book Talk, our reviewer went to see Independence Day: Resurgence and has a review to share about the movie. (The movie is not yet available in the library catalog, as the DVD has not been released at the time of this review). 

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Neha H., Teen Reviewer

MV5BMjIyMTg5MTg4OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzkzMjY5NzE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_Name of Movie: Independence Day: Resurgence
Release Date: June 24, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG‐13
My rating: 2.5 stars
Genre: Action, science‐fiction
“We had twenty years to prepare…So did they.”

This is the tagline for Independence Day: Resurgence, the action‐packed sequel to 1996’s highest‐grossing film. It features plenty of undeniably impressive visual effects, but is a shallow attempt at recapturing the exhilaration and success of its predecessor.

Resurgence stars an ensemble cast of Jessie Usher, Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, and Charlotte Gainsbourg, with Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner,
and Vivica A. Fox reprising their roles. Notably missing is Will Smith, who played the charming original protagonist, Captain Steven Hiller ‐ his circumstances of death are very vaguely conveyed in the film.

Directed by Roland Emmerich, the film takes place twenty years following the disastrous events of Independence Day, after which world nations have deeply studied extraterrestrial technology and formed the Earth Space Defense organization (ESD).

However, as the Fourth of July approaches, the ESD becomes embroiled in a second battle with alien invaders, who attack with exceptional force. Once again, teams of scientists collaborate with valiant fighter pilots and the President of the United States to save the world from a seemingly insurmountable foe.

The plot feels tired and hollow; it attempts at originality, but is such a disaster that one begins to wonder whether a sequel was even necessary. The plethora of special effects just couldn’t compensate for the shaky storyline with its abysmal writing.

This largely “spectacle‐driven blockbuster” has drawn generally unfavorable reviews from seasoned critics. Even with its visceral thrills, Resurgence cannot make up for its overall deficiencies in ingenuity and emotional warmth, making it stand incontrovertibly pale in comparison to the 1996 original.

Tomorrow is Percy Jackson’s birthday! Starring in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus, Percy is the son of a powerful Greek god. Unfortunately, this means that trouble has a way of finding him. He manages to get to Camp Half-Blood, where he meets other demigods and discovers that he plays the key role in a potentially world-ending prophecy.

We’ve lost count of how many times Percy’s life has been in danger, but close calls with immortal gods and monsters of old make for great stories. Since every year he survives is practically a miracle, we hope you’ll celebrate Percy’s birthday by reading up on Greek myths and legends! Click the images below for availability. Also check out Rick Riordan’s other series: The Kane Chronicles, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, and The Trials of Apollo.

 

Aug16 - greek myths

Highlights:

beasts
Beast Keeper (Beasts of Olympus #1)
By Lucy Coats

Son of Pan and avid creature-lover,Pandemonious—otherwise known as Demon—becomes the Beast Keeper for the Stables of the Gods.

 

 

 

greek myths
Treasury of Greek Mythology
By Donna Jo Napoli

Read about some of the most wellknown figures in Greek mythology, such as Gaia, Apollo, Orion, and the “Lethal Beauty” Helen.

This week for Teen Book Talk, our reviewer has a review of the book ArchEnemy, by Frank Beddor, which is the third book in a trilogy based on the world in Alice in Wonderland.

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Justin L., Teen Reviewer

archenemyBook Title: Archenemy
Author: Frank Beddor
Book Format: Book
Year of Publication: 2009
Targeted Audience: Teens (about high school age, people who have liked the other two books in the series, The Looking Glass Wars and Seeing Redd)
Rating: 5 stars

The third book of the Looking Glass Wars triology, Archenemy is the close of the Wonderland War for the throne between Alyss Heart, her aunt Redd Heart, and King Arch from the neighboring kingdom of Boarderland. King Arch, with the help of the Caterpillar Oracles, has constructed the trap WILMA (a trap constructed from the silk of the six Caterpillar Oracles, it can block the imaginative powers of the Heart Crystal, the source of imagination for both Wonderland and all other dimensions and lands, Earth included). Imagination in Wonderland, for those who are gifted with the ability, can be used to create (or conjure illusions, or even create objects from thin air). The two wonderlanders strongest with this ability are Alyss Heart and Redd Heart, the members of the royal Heart family. While Alyss Heart is a practitioner of White Imagination (positive imagination, associated with creation), Redd Heart works with Black Imagination (negative imagination, associated with destruction). With the activation of WILMA, however, the two Heart women are rendered powerless as Arch takes the crown, and must work together to keep the Wonderland throne with its rightful heir.

I enjoyed this book very much (hence the 5 star rating). The setting of the book is in both Wonderland and on Earth, and the two worlds are connected through a wormhole-like place known as the Pool of Tears. I really liked Beddor’s version of Wonderland; though loosely based off of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, it is filled with Beddor’s own details and ideas, effectively transforming it into a new world (examples of this would be the Hatter Maddigan of the Milliner military, the assassin Cat, the Checkerboard Desert, and the various card and chess soldiers, weapons, and, of course, the entire concept of imagination). I also enjoyed Beddor’s plotline. Though there is romance in the book, romance is not focused on because the book is about the war of succession for Wonderland’s throne (After reading too many Young Adult fiction books that focused excessively on the love lives of the characters, this was a refreshing relief for me). The story itself is suspenseful, and, being told through the third person omniscient perspective, the thoughts of all the characters are shown to the readers, pulling the reader into the world of the story.

To be honest, there was nothing in the book that I did not like; I stayed up late in the night just to finish this book. However, it is better for readers to read the first two books in the series (The Looking Glass Wars and Seeing Redd) before reading this book, as Archenemy leaps straight into the story, sometimes without providing much background information, so it can be difficult for readers unfamiliar to the trilogy to understand some of the story. Even so, I would recommend all three books to any reader.

It’s that time again! Sometimes adjusting back into school mode is a little difficult after a long summer break, but here are some books to help you prepare.

Aug16 - back to school

Highlights:

shopping


Daddy’s Back-to-School Shopping Adventure

By Alan Lawrence Sitomer

A family goes back-to-school shopping, but they have trouble sticking to the list when there are so many cool things to buy.

 

 

oliver
How Oliver Olson Changed the World
By Claudia Mills

Afraid he will always be an outsider like ex-planet Pluto, Oliver finally shows his overprotective parents that he is capable of doing great things without their help.

This week for Teen Book Talk, our reviewer writes about the newly-released Harry Potter book (which is a play, told years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. 

(There is currently a very long hold list for the book through Alameda County Libraries, but we do own copies in our Lucky Day collections. Check back frequently to see if you’ll be one of the lucky ones to snag a copy for checkout!)

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Neha H., Teen Reviewer

cursed childBook Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Authors: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
Book Format: Script
Year of Publication: 2016
Likely Appeals to: All Potterheads; need to have read Goblet of Fire and Deathly Hallows
Rating: 3.5 stars

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the highly anticipated eighth installment in the Potter universe, picks up nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, and deals with time‐travel in a groundbreaking way that was never previously explored in the series. The story brings back many fan‐favorites (both living and dead) and introduces two more young heroes: Albus Severus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy ‐‐ the sons of Harry and his former arch‐rival Draco, respectively.

Despite proclaiming itself to be a new, original story, Cursed Child disappointingly borrows much of its storyline from Rowling’s previous installments. The play often relies on “shock‐factor” to keep the plot going, rather than rich detail and true emotional depth that is so characteristic of Rowling’s work. Also, the script noticeably lacks the familiar descriptive prose that distinguishes Rowling from the others, making the story difficult to visualize with only meager stage directions provided. Many of Cursed Child’s profound revelations about the wizarding world seem a bit too far‐fetched to be true, and are, at times, inconsistent with what was previously explained in the series. The beloved characters are portrayed as poor caricatures of themselves; Ron Weasley, for instance, is reduced from a loyal, crucial member of the Golden Trio to a trivial form of comic‐relief. As put by The Atlantic, “For all its compelling twists and turns, at many points [ Cursed Child] feels like reading well‐crafted fan fiction—the names are the same, and the characters feel familiar, but it’s apparent that they’re imitations nonetheless.”

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