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November's YA Pick

by Monique - 1 Comment(s)

What would you do if you lost the ability to do the one thing that you were passionate about? Would you give up, or perservere, even if it seemed impossible? In A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman, Veda is passionate about dancing. Dancing is her life....until that one fateful day, when everything changes. Once her life returns to some form of normalcy, Veda perseveres and won't let her disability rob her of her passion to dance. It is while she is learning to dance again, that she meets Govinda, who approaches dance as a spiritual pursuit. As her relationship with Govinda blossoms, she begins to learn about herself, what dancing means to her, as well as reconnects with the world around her.

This novel is an inspiring story about Veda and her passion to continue dancing and being at peace with the road her life is travelling on. Veda's story is told lyrically through verse, which beautifully depicts her life as well as what it is like for a middle class family in India. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I found myself rooting for Veda and her passion to dance from the beginning right to the end. I related to every emotion that Veda felt throughout the entire novel.

More Books Recommended by Calgary Teens

by Courtney N - 0 Comment(s)

Teen volunteers on the Crowfoot Library Teen Advisory Group sent us mini book reviews of their top recommendations from Calgary Public Library. Here is the next batch of recommendations!

Thus Spoke ZarathustraSophie's Pick:

Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Nietzsche

This is an extraordinary book abound with fascinating insights into human nature and society. Though its prose is quasi-biblical and fairly dense, Thus Spoke Zarathustra was well worth the effort and definitely widened my perspective on the world. Nietzsche wrote eloquently and used beautiful metaphors that succinctly sum up fundamental truths about humanity. Though I regret not having had the German background that would've enabled me to understand the original, Walter Kaufmann's translation is fantastic and had been a pleasure to read. I highly recommend this brilliant and powerful work.

The SelectionAvanti's Pick:

The Selection by Kiera Cass

This book is one of my favorite reads. It has everything; action, adventure, romance, secrets and an amazing cast of characters. The plot is compelling and you don’t want to put the book down. While it is generally a romantic book, there are other elements to the story. You learn a lot about the futuristic world she lives in and there is a lot of political tension, which keeps the mood interesting. Told from the main characters perspective, you get a feel for the other characters. Kiera Cass created authentic and relatable characters. The lead character is America and you can’t help but love her. She is natural and genuine, not to mention drop dead gorgeous! In short, this book is a fantastic read that any girl will enjoy. Also, don’t stop at the first book; the second brings shocks and surprises, while the third and last book in the trilogy will be out in April 2014.

InfernoDaniel's Pick:

Inferno by Dan Brown

Inferno is a great book for anyone who likes to read suspenseful, thriller, mystery (sort of), book. It is based on Dante’s poem Inferno. The book is written by Dan Brown who is known for writing the Da Vinci Code. If you liked the Da Vinci code, try Inferno too.

 

DivergentRebecca's Pick:

Divergent by Veronica Roth

A dystopian thriller, "Divergent" is yet another teen novel that needs to be added to your "must read" list. The story follows Tris, a 16 year old girl living in a futuristic society which is divided into 5 "factions" based on a person's core values. Tris must make a life-changing decision: does she stay with her family and remain selfless in the factionshe has known her whole life, or does she join the supposedly dangerous faction of the Dauntless where she feels she really belongs?

This page-turner will have you perched on the edge of your seat, so be prepared for many sleepless nights devoted to hungrily devouring its contents. "Divergent" is the perfect mix of fantasy, romance, bravery and action, and once you finish it, you will be begging for more. Thankfully, its sequel, "Insurgent," will be patiently waiting on the shelf.

In a HeartbeatSam's pick:

In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth

‘In a HEARTBEAT’ by Loretta Ellsworth, is my favorite book because I love the story line — like what happened in the book and how the story was told. This book talks about two girls named Eagan and Amelia, one of them is healthy, and one of them is dying. One girl dies and gives her heart up to medical uses, and so because of that, the other girl who was dying, lives. Eagan had problems with her past. When Eagan’s heart is in Amelia’s chest, she starts acting differently and there just could be a possibility that Amelia can help solve Eagan’s problems. You should read this book if you haven’t already.

Books Recommended by Calgary Teens

by Courtney N - 0 Comment(s)

Teen volunteers on Crowfoot Library's Teen Advisory Group sent us mini book reviews of their top recommendations from Calgary Public Library.

InkheartLulu's Pick:

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Inkheart is an excellent book for teens interested in fantasy adventure novels. The storyline is great, with a few unexpected plot twists in the middle. The characters are very well-developed, and I especially like the character Dustfinger. Hope you will enjoy this book!

 

Gone with the WindMaya's Pick:

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

One of my favourite novels is Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. The story follows the southern belle Scarlett O’Hara through the American Civil War and her struggle to rebuild her life afterwards. It touches upon a myriad of ideas including: dreams, hardship, loss, change and personal strength. Scarlett is surrounded by many unforgettable characters such as the lovable mammy, frustrating Prissy, sweet Melanie, honourable Ashley, and, of course, the wild Rhett Butler.

DivergentLisa's Pick:

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I'm Lisa and one of my favourite books is called Divergent, written by Veronica Roth. This book is set in a dystopian society where people are divided into factions that fits a particular personality trait. It is a fast paced and exciting book. I particularly liked the main character because she represents the typical sixteen year old teenage girl, but she takes matter into her own hands and creates her own destiny. This makes her a relatable and interesting character to read about. I would definitely recommend this book.

Aya of Yop CityNicole's Pick:

Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet

Aya of Yop City is a series of six Franco-Belgian graphic novels, and is the second of the series. It is a novel that follows the lives of many different people living in Côte d'Ivoire during the 1970s. All of the characters are connected by the main character, Aya, as she assists and helps them through numerous issues. This book is a well-written graphic novel that is light-hearted, a great source of discussion, and reveals a lot about the culture Côte d'Ivoire during the 1970s. I definitely recommend this series as a whole.

A Child Called ItInsiyah's Pick:

A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer

This book is simply amazing. It tells a story about a child and his survival through child abuse. There are times in this book that can make you cry your eyes out or sometimes even get violent. It's very well written and told perfectly.The way the boy explains what's happening to him will just break your heart. This is a really good one time read and it truly opens your eyes against something that is still a very big problem in our society. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has a stomach for vicious and disturbing things.

YA Lit Pick — December

by Monique - 0 Comment(s)

 

While her parents are on an extended vacation over the summer, Kiri is left to her own devices. She plans to spend time with her best friend/bandmate/crush Lucas making music and competing in battle of the bands. She also plans on practicing the piano since she is quiet accomplished and wants to improve her skills even further. This all changes one fateful day, when she receives a call from a stranger who has her sister's belongings. The problem is that her sister died 5 years ago. It isn't until after she picks up her sister's belongings that Kiri learns how her sister actually died.

This debut novel, draws you into Kiri's life as she learns about family secrets, her relationship with Lucas and about herself. I found myself drawn to this book and wanting to know if Kiri would be ok, if she would sink or swim in the end. Although I throughly enjoyed the novel, I found that I was disappointed in the ending. It left several questions unanswered for me. Don't get me wrong, that is a good thing as it could lead to many possible conclusions. I'm looking forward to reading other material that Hilary T. Smith publishes in the future.

 

 

 

 

Steampunk H.G. Wells, Wollstonecraft and Poe? Yes please!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Not had enough of things that creep in the dark post-Halloween? Ready to start designing next year's costume? Zdenko Basic's New Steampunk Series puts the ghostliness into the steam. It includes Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, and Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven, amongst others.

Each book features a SHORT insightful introduction which gives some interesting tidbits about each author's life as well as some historical context. Lushly illustrated with which creep their mood from mechanical to ghostly to gory, there's plenty here to fuel the steam engine of your imagination. Especially if you are a Steampunk fan. And if you've never heard of Steampunk before but like horror and gore this might just turn your crank enough to start dreaming of making Next year's Halloween costume involve gears, lace and, rivets.

I'm sure you can imagine and design your own steampunk characters or dress up your favourite YA Hero/Heroine. What would a Steampunk Katniss or Harry wear???

Soooooo... design a costume and photograph yourself or draw your favourite YA character Steampunk style and submit these to our TeensCreate page! These books may help: Steampunk Fashion & How To Draw Steampunk. For further inspiration check out CPL's great and growing Steampunk Collection. Then continue the adventure by reading Kady Cross's Steampunk Chronicle's trilogy starting with The Girl in The Steel Corset, (which includes many descriptions of awesome Steampunk outfits...) and finish with Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey. May your engines be well oiled!

Page by Page

by Alexandra - 0 Comment(s)

pages staffYou always knew your Calgary Public Library card got you wicked stuff IN the library (free books, free programs, free homework help, free music, free space...) but just the other day we found out about an awesome deal your card will get you OUTSIDE the library too!

Pages on Kensington offers a 10% discount off books to any teen who shows their Library Card at time of purchase! That's ANY book, with ANY CPL Teen Library Card! We understand that sometimes you just can't wait for 400 people to finish reading the hottest title before you get your hands on it, or that sometimes you love a book so much you just HAVE to have your own copy... when those times hit, head over to Pages!

And if you're confused about the part where we said "ANY Teen Library Card", that's probably because you didn't know we now offer several different styles of cards, not to mention the chance to customize your own from photos or artwork (for a pretty penny, but could you ASK for a better cause?)! The best deal in town just got even better!

 

 

 

The boys from Pages love their ya lit!


Read Across Canada - Manitoba

by Monique - 0 Comment(s)

We've now made it to Manitoba, it wasn't so bad getting here, right? Let's look at 2 authors from Manitoba.

Margaret Buffie was born and raised in Winnipeg and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Manitoba. Once she had graduated, she began working as an illustrator for the Hudson's Bay Company. She eventually obtained her teaching certificate in 1976. She began her writing career in 1985. A year later, she completed her first manuscript and submitted it for publication, Who is Frances Rain? It became a best seller after it was published in 1987. Since then, she has gone on to write numerous critically acclaimed novels for young adults, including My Mother's Ghost, The Watcher's Quest series, The Dark Garden, and Angels turn their backs and Out of Focus. Depending on the time of year, will depend on where she spends her time writing. During the winter months, she is at her home in Winnipeg and during the summer months, she writes at her cottage in Northwestern Ontario. Margaret has been the recipient of the prestigious Vicky Metcalk Award for Body of Work, The Young Adult Canadian Book Award, the McNally Robinson Book for Young People award and many other awards and honours.

In Who is Frances Rain?, Lizzie used to look forward to vacationing at her grandmother's cabin. That is until this summer, when the entire family is joining her, including her stepfather, whom she dislikes. In order to get away from her families bickering, Lizzie explores an island that is nearby. It is during her exploring, she finds an abandoned cabin and finds a pair of glasses. She tries them on and finds herself watching a woman and a girl. Lizzie has to find out who they are and why they are appearing to her, will she be successful?

Carol Matas lives in Winnipeg. She has written more than forty books for kids, teens and young adults. Her works have been translated into Spanish, Catalan, Japanese, Taiwanese, Turkish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, German, French, Indonesian, Bulgarian and Russian. Her works have won several awards including Sydney Taylor Award, Geoffrey Bilson Award, Silver Birch Award, Canadian Jewish Book Award, as well as being nominated for the Governor General's Award twice. Carol began to write historical fiction when her Danish husband would tell her stories about his parents' experiences fighting the Nazis during World War II. She also writes contemporary, science fiction and fantasy novels as well. Some of her works include : Far, Visions, Jesper, Daniel's Story, The Whirlwind, Lisa's War, Tales of a Reluctant Psychic, and In My Enemy's House.


In In My Enemy's House, the Nazis are ready to move any remaining Jewish people in Marrisa's town into the ghetto. Marissa, who doesn't know if her family is dead or alive as they are now all scattered, gets hold of a Polish girl's papers and makes her way to Germany to try and survive as a Polish worker. One gains a new perspective on the nature of good and evil as you delve into Marissa's dilemma as a Jewish person living a lie in order to survive. Will Marissa be able to convince people that she is Polish and leave behind her Jewish roots?

Now it's time to hit the road again and make our way to Ontario.

YA Lit Pick - September

by Monique - 0 Comment(s)

Cover Art for I am the wallpaper

Looking for that next great read? Check out I am the Wallpaper by Peter Mark Hughes. 13-year-old Floey Parker is tired of blending into the background, living in the shadow of her older and more popular sister Lillian. With her sister getting married and heading off on her month long honeymoon, Floey decides it is time for a change — time to become someone she normally would not be. She is going to get noticed, no matter what it takes. Some things don't go as planned, due to Floey's younger cousins Tish and Richard, who happen to throw a wrench into her plans. It doesn't help that her mom expects her to spend time with them during their stay. Will Floey survive her cousins' antics? Will she get noticed for all the right reasons?


Although the author is male, he has done a great job of portraying a female main character who is discovering herself. There were times where I found myself wishing it would move along, yet cheering her on during her quest in finding her true self.

Young Readers Choice Awards continued... continued!

by Patricia - 0 Comment(s)

For those of you who have been waiting for this final category of YRCA nominees, the Senior books (Gr. 10-12) here it is!!

And, for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, welcome to the Young Readers Choice Awards! We want YOU to read at least two books from one of these lists, and then vote for your fave. I've already written about the YRCA in general and the whole voting thing on a previous blog, so I won't repeat myself, just go there. You'll also see the write-up about the Junior & Intermediate YRCA nominees in previous blogs.

So without further ado, here are the Senior nominees:

Book coverBefore I Fall, by Lauren Oliver: Samantha is a popular 17 year old, who thinks she's perfect. Then.. she is killed in a car accident, and relives the same day over, and over, and over, trying to fix all of the not-so-perfect things she did so she can, well, move on. Think Groundhog Day, in a gut-wrenching sort of way.

Book coverBruiser, by Neil Shusterman: Bronte can’t understand why her family, and especially her twin brother Tennyson, dislikes her new boyfriend Brewster so much. Even though he looks a little rough, he’s kind and gentle with her. Then one day she hurts herself, and when he touches her the wound disappears and she feels wonderful, but he looks worse than ever… There’s a lot of intense family violence in this book, so it’s not for the faint of heart.

Book coverCrazy, by Han Nolan: 15-year-old Jason has a pile of friends... but they're all imaginary. And his father is mentally ill. And his mother has just died. And he's responsible for keeping everything together! Good thing he has the help of Aunt Bee from the Andy Griffith show, Sexy Lady, and a "laugh track" - although they're all in his head... Read this book and you get to be one of his internal characters as well!

Book coverMatched, by Ally Condie: In a highly controlled society, a 16-year-old girl is ecstatic to find out she has been ‘matched’ with not only someone she actually knows, but her best friend! However, she discovers cracks in the perfect system when the picture of a different boy, also someone she knows, shows up on her true love’s profile page. Interested in what caused this glitch, and wanting to know more about the much more mysterious, dangerous Kai, she strays further and further from her chosen path and ideal romance. The first in what is likely to be the next great dystopian series.

Book coverThe Replacement, by Brenna Yovanoff: Mackie lives in a small town with big secrets. Every seven years, a baby is 'replaced' by a fairy child from the underworld. When his strange allergies – to iron, blood, and consecrated ground – get worse and threaten his life, he teams up with Tate, whose baby sister has just gone missing, to uncover the truth. This is a dark gothic tale of the paranormal, with gruesomely thrilling imagery.

Book coverShip Breaker, by Paula Bacigalupi: Another dystopian, post-apocalyptic tale, BUT this time from a male point of view (about time!) The main character ekes out a living by stripping wrecked ships with a band of thieves. But one ship isn’t deserted; they discover a girl, barely alive, who promises to show them a dream-world, a utopia, if they let her live. Interesting use of language makes up for – or adds to, depending on your point of view – the more violent scenes in this fast-paced read.

Book coverWill Grayson, Will Grayson, by David Levithan and John Green: Will Grayson has the biggest gayest friend ever! will grayson (the other one = yes there's two... with the same name, hence the lack of capitals) is sad and depressed. When the two W/will G/graysons happen to meet, all their lives are changed. And a great high school musical is produced! Hilarious and interesting, with lots of unexpected twists, and over-the-line language and scenarios. Not to be missed!

Book coverWinter Shadows, by Margaret Buffie: Cass is living in modern-day Selkirk, Manitoba when she finds an old brooch which becomes a gateway into the world of Beatrice, who lived in the house in the 1850's. They communicate through Beatrice's diary, and bond over difficulties with their respective step-mothers. A great 'time slip' story, with some real insight into the Metis history and way of life.

Okay, that's it for the YRCA selections. Now it's your turn - read, ponder, then VOTE! And may the best book win...

Young Readers Choice Awards continued...

by Patricia - 0 Comment(s)

YRCA logo

Young Readers Choice Awards: Junior Category

As promised, here's the next installment in the Young Readers Choice Awards.

We're asking you to read at least two books from one of the categories, then choose your favourite. For more info on the YRCA and how to cast your ballot, please look at my previous blog, which also talked about the Intermediate books.

This time we're looking at the Junior Category Nominees, those geared for about Gr. 4-6.

Book coverfatty legs, by Christy Jordan-Feton: Margaret is a young Inuit girl who desperately wants to go to school, like her older sister, so she can learn how to read. This means leaving her family to go to residential school. When she finally gets her wish, however, it’s not exactly what she had dreamed… This book is autobiographical, and there is a sequel, called A Stranger At Home. A shortened version of fatty legs has been made into a picture book, called When I Was Eight. A great introduction for a younger audience.

Book coverThe Strange Case of the Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger: This book is written in the form of a 'case file' by Tommy and his friends in middle school. Dwight, the biggest nerd of them all (which is saying a lot) creates an Origami Yoda finger puppet which appears to be amazingly wise and prescient - unlike Dwight! Very funny. If you like the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' series, you'll like this too. There is also a sequel, called Darth Paper Strikes Back - worth reading if only for the title.

Book cover

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, by John Grisham: Do you see that? JOHN GRISHAM! The king of adult crime novels has crossed over into the Kid Zone with this story about a 13-year-old boy who knows everything there is to know about the justice system, but can't keep himself out of trouble when a grisly murder needs to be solved. Read it to see if Grisham can handle the critical readers in the shallow end of the pool...

Big Nate: In a Class By Himself, by Lincoln Peirce: The only graphic novel candidate in this bunch. Big Nate has been seen before, in a comic strip, as the less-than-straight-A middle school kid who wisecracks his way into a lot of detentions. A great alternative if you've read all of the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' books, or want to get into graphics with something new!

book cover

The Mysterious Howling, by Maryrose Wood: This is the first in the series: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. 15-year-old Penelope becomes a governess at a children’s school, only to discover that the mysterious howling she has been hearing is being made by two children who were found in the forest and have obviously been raised by wolves. She must teach them not only Latin and Algebra but how to act like humans instead of wolves. 'Howlingly' funny (hee hee).

13 Treasures13 Treasures, by Michelle Harrison: The main character is Tanya, and Tanya is ‘trouble’. Tanya sees fairies, but if she talks about this, people think she’s crazy! Blamed for all of the things the fairies get into, she is shipped off to her grandmother's ancient old house - which happens to be infested with, you guessed it, fairies. Then children in the area go missing, and Tanya wants to find out what’s going on. If you like the Spiderwick Chronicles, you’ll love this book.

Book coverThe Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan: Really sad that the Percy Jackson series ended? Well, don't be! This new spin-off series has appearances by all your favourite characters, while introducing Jason, Piper, and Leo as the offspring of some new gods - this time in their Roman persona's. Another rollicking ride through Camp Half-Blood, with a satyr masquerading as a bus, Medusa working in a chic New York department store, and a race against the clock to keep the world from terrible danger.

Book cover

Lone Wolf, by Kathryn Lasky: This is the beginning of Lasky’s new series The Wolves of Beyond, which takes place in the same world as her ‘Guardians of Ga’hoole’ books. In this one, a young wolf pup is born, despite many problems for his mother, with a twisted leg and a strange mark on his paw, marking him as.. well, either deformed, or special. He survives against all odds, is raised by a mother bear, and eventually makes his way to ‘the Beyond’, a place on the edge of this world where the socially outcast wolves reside... and back again to some new surprises!

Okay, that's it for the Junior YRCA nominees. Look for the next and final posting, about the Senior choices, coming soon.. and don't forget to read & vote!

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