Zom-B

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Title: Zom-B

Author: Darren Shan

Summary: It begins in a remote village in Ireland.   Footage of vicious zombie attacks and brutal military responses goes viral.  B’s London-based gang of friends and family see the clips, but everyone seems to think it is some kind of hoax.  Some think it is a promo for an upcoming film, others theorize that it is a terrorist plot, or even the ultimate practical joke.  Life goes on for everyone in the rest of the world.

And, life for B means dealing with an abusive and racist father, protecting a battered mother, hanging tough in front of friends, and going to school.   Potential zombies aside, the biggest issue in B’s life is dealing with the urge to go against Dad’s bigotry.  Sometimes it is just easier to agree with him because an unhappy Dad is a violent one.  Unfortunately, it’s becoming evident that  B’s decision to just pretend to go along with Dad’s views is beginning to influence how B behaves towards kids from other racial backgrounds.  Even at school, B is receiving mixed messages about tolerance and B’s finding it hard to separate right from wrong.

However, that internal struggle is momentarily sidelined the day B’s school is attacked by zombies.  The attack is sudden, and B and a group of diverse students  must get over their shock and disbelief immediately if they are to escape the carnage.

Who will like this book?:  This incredibly fast-paced book is great for fans of action and, of course, zombies.  There are some graphic novel-type illustrations that further enhance Darren Shan’s creepy vision of the zombie apocalypse.   This addictive first of a proposed 12 book series already has the next three books in print and subsequent ones are scheduled to be released approximately three months apart.

If you like this, try this:  Of course continue on with the series!  But while you wait, get hooked on Jonathan Maberry’s Rot and Ruin series, Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel series The Walking Dead, and Charlie Higson’s The Dead.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

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The Name of the Wind

Title: The Name of the Wind

Author:  Patrick Rothfuss

Summary: In the quiet village of Newarre, the townspeople sense that darkness and danger are gathering. One night, a traveling scribe known as Chronicler is saved from wicked, spider-creatures called Scrael by a local innkeeper named Kote. The scribe soon realizes that this humble man is really the legendary hero Kvothe, made famous in story and song. After much prodding from Chronicler, Kvothe agrees to tell his story and reveal the reasons why he has retreated from the world that seems to need heroes more than ever.

The Name of the Wind is the first book in a planned triology called the Kingkiller Chronicles. In these pages, we learn of Kvothe’s early years as a traveling performer and musician with his family. When his father angers the Chandrian, an ancient, evil force, it brings about an unspeakable tragedy that sets young Kvothe on his life’s mission: revenge. He enrolls at the University to learn, among other things, ‘sympathy,’ a magical skill that allows users to manipulate objects and bend them to their will. Kvothe  makes friends and enemies and even has a sweetly shy romance along the way, but his focus always remains on his goal of discovering how to find and defeat the Chandrian.

Who will like this book?: This book is a great choice for fantasy readers who have read ‘everythingor are looking for another series to begin. Mature readers who like stories set in magical schools and were fans of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson when they were younger.

If you like this, read this: The sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear, which continues Kvothe’s story. The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Our Favorites – 2012

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We read…a lot. So we know the good stuff. Here are the best books that we read in  2012, and there’s something for everyone. Looking for more? Just ask us!

And be sure to add your own favorites in the comments below…

*Please note: Some books may contain mature language or content*

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony

Cinder by Melissa Mayer

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge

A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun by Joshua Glenn

Unwholly by Neal Shusterman

The Warrior’s Heart by Eric Greitens

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder

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Title: Wonder

Author: R.J. Palacio

Summary: August Pullman loves Star Wars, his family and his dog Daisy. He is about to start a new school – his first one, really, since he’s been homeschooled. And while that is stressful for just about anybody, it will be even harder for Auggie. He was born with a genetic anomaly that has warped and twisted the features of his face. He has spent his life watching people stare, point, and even get frightened by how he looks. All Auggie wants is to be seen as just another kid, but he knows that it’s never going to be easy for him. You can probably figure out what life will be like for Auggie  in his first year of middle school, but you’ll be surprised by how he responds to it.

Told in the honest and heartfelt voices of Auggie, his sister Via and other people who get to know them, Wonder does a great job of telling what might be a familiar story in a new and exciting way. This isn’t a just story about the negative effects of bullying. Wonder is about how each of us have our differences and the ways we might choose to be kind instead of cruel and worry a little less about what ‘everyone’ else is thinking. Auggie is one of those great characters that you wish existed in the real world so you could hang out together.

Who will like this book?: It’s hard to think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this story. It’s something to be shared with everyone in the family.

If you like this, try this: My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Across the Universe

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Title: Across the Universe

Author: Beth Revis

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Amy gives up her boyfriend, friends, and very way of life to follow her parents into the future, three hundred years into the future to be exact.  A future that will take place on a new planet, Centauri-Earth.  And, to get there Amy, her parents, and a few hundred other people seen as necessary for starting life on a new planet have agreed to by cryo frozen and transported aboard the ship Godspeed.  However, fifty years before the scheduled landing, plans change for Amy when she is mysteriously unplugged and nearly killed in the thawing process .

Now Amy must adjust to an entirely new existence without her parents, on a ship where life is far different from the one she left behind on earth.  On Godspeed there are 2,312 unfrozen passengers who have created their own world.  There are those who live on the Feeder level who farm crops, raise animals, prepare food, and take care of the sick and mentally unstable. And, those who live on the Shipper level who take care of the actual ship.  Below that level lies a floor only a handful of people know about– the level where Amy and the rest of the “frozens” are kept. And, above them all is the Keeper level which houses Eldest, the tyrannical leader, and Elder, the teenage leader in-training.

And, while it all sounds like a perfect system, Amy is struck by the strange emptiness exhibited by the Godspeed inhabitants and their unwavering support of the dictatorial Eldest.  Amy knows that Godspeed has hidden secrets. Secrets that almost killed her and continue to threaten the lives of her parents and the other “frozens.”  Secrets that Amy may only figure out if she and Elder, the boy who found and saved her from her near disastrous thawing, find a way to trust each other and work together.

Who will like this?: It’s a sci-fi, dystopian, thriller with a dash of romance so really it holds appeal to fans of any of those genres.

If you like this, try this: The sequel  A Million Suns: An Across the Universe Novel, Cinderby Marissa Meyer,  Divergent by Veronica Roth, and Legend by Marie Lu.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

Tom Thumb

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Title: Tom Thumb: The Remarkable True Story of a Man in Miniature

Author: George Sullivan

Summary: Charles Stratton was born in 1838 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He was a big, healthy, happy baby – just what any parents would wish for. But when he turned one, he just…stopped growing. He was in perfect proportion: His arms, legs, and head were all the right size for his tiny body. When another Connecticut native, the soon-to-be legendary P.T. Barnum, was introduced to the five year-old Charley, both their worlds would be changed forever. It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship that would make them both incredibly rich.

Charles Stratton, renamed Tom Thumb by Barnum, was the first celebrity performer in U.S. history. He traveled the world, showed off for kings and queens and his marriage to another little person, Lavinia Warren, even preempted coverage of the Civil War. But he never had a true childhood or much time out of the public eye. Was he exploited by Barnum for his size or did he triumph despite of it? This fascinating biography will let you find your own answer to these questions.

Who will like this book?: This is a terrific book for anyone interested in people who have triumphed over adversity.  It is also an important piece of local history – Charley was born and is buried in Bridgeport, CT.

If you like this, try this: The Great and Only Barnum by Candice Fleming. For older readers, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Marissa B’s Top 10

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Our awesome library page, Marissa, is heading off to college. But before she goes, she presented us with the best gift ever: A list of her top ten books from the Teen Room. Marissa is a terrific reader… so you know these books are going to be good!

*Please note: Some books may contain mature language or content*

 

10: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

By far the most popular book by the reclusive J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye chronicles four days in the life of teenage boy Holden Caulfield, who embarks on an adventure in New York City after being kicked out of his latest boarding school. Holden has strong opinions about the entertainment industry, “phonies,” and just about anything else. Though the book has been challenged innumerable times, it still remains a classic coming of age story.

 9: Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Rilke’s letters go out to Mr. Kappus, a young man at a crossroads in his life. He bestows upon Kappus his advice regarding solitude, love, writing, and religion among other topics. Though a short compilation and a quick read, Rilke’s letters provide perspective and guidance for anyone at any stage in life. In fact, Lady GaGa is so enamored with Rilke that she got a tattoo of a quote from Letters to a Young Poet.

 8: Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Dave Eggers’s latest foray into non-fiction took him three years to complete, and chronicles the life of Abdulrahman Zeitoun and his family before, during, and in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Zeitoun remained in New Orleans during the hurricane against his wife’s wishes, and worked tirelessly to save others trapped around the city. However, Zeitoun was arrested and imprisoned for over three weeks in the aftermath, revealing a serious flaw in the law enforcement post-Katrina.

 7: The Spell Book of Listen Taylor by Jaclyn Moriarty

The Spell Book of Listen Taylor details the life of the bizarre Zing Family and their secret that brings them together every Friday Night in their parents’ tool shed. Listen Taylor, whose father Nathaniel is dating a Zing, is thrown headfirst into their world of deception, sneaking, and wilderness romance novels. She discovers a spell book that bears the tagline “This book will make you fly, will make you strong, will make you glad. What’s more, this book will mend your broken heart.” And, as the book guides Listen through the spells, Moriarty’s book will do the same for its readers.

 6: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut’s seminal novel follows Billy Pilgrim through both time and space as he struggles to cope with a war that he does not want to be in, and the bombing of the city where he is imprisoned. Pilgrim becomes “unstuck in time” and meets the extraterrestrial Tralfamadorians, who educate him on their nonlinear way of viewing time, and method for accepting death. Difficult to explain and nearly impossible to forget, Vonnegut’s book remains a stunning work of fiction even after his death. So it goes.

 5: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Asher’s prose is both dark and beautiful as he narrates from both the perspective of Hannah Baker-a high school girl who committed suicide and left behind a box of tapes with the thirteen reasons why she ended her life-and Clay Jensen, who admired Hannah from afar and finds himself on her list. Hannah’s tapes reveal secrets not only about herself, but also secrets about bullying and its dramatic consequences.

 4:  The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Greasers and the Socs are the two rival gangs in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Hinton’s story focuses on a young Greaser named Ponyboy, who, along with his friend Johnny, create intense violence between the two gangs that forces them to leave the city and go into hiding. Helped by his older brothers Darry and Sodapop, Ponyboy eventually learns that there’s more to being a Greaser than simply beating up Socs.

 3: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Goblet of Fire introduces the readers to a much darker layer of the wizarding world. The Triwizard Tournament comes to Hogwarts, and someone enters Harry’s name into the cup, thus making him the fourth champion to compete in three rigorous and dangerous tasks over the course of the year. Rowling delves deeper into the powers that Harry’s scar possesses, the relationships between Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and what Dark magic really is.

 2: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Told only through letters to an unidentified recipient, Stephen Chbosky’s book is the life of Charlie, a high school freshman. Charlie struggles with making friends, dealing with the suicide of his former best friend, the drama within his family, and adjusting to a whole new world. Charlie generally observes his surroundings and reports on them, but as he begins to feel more comfortable, he starts to participate with surprising results. Although many books are described as “heartbreaking,” or “hilarious,” The Perks of Being a Wallflower hits both extremes right on the head.

 1: The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

The Spellman family is the brainchild of Lisa Lutz, and not until one reads this book will they comprehend exactly how simultaneously insane and genius her brain must be. The Spellmans are a family of private investigators, headed by Albert Spellman, ex-cop, husband to Olivia, and father to David, Isabel, and Rae. Told from the perspective of 28-year-old Isabel Spellman, the book circles around the various cases brought to Spellman Investigations, and the meddling, spying, and blackmailing that are commonplace in the Spellman household. Never before has a book with this level of wit and humor included footnotes and an appendix worth reading. *See also: Curse of the Spellmans, Revenge of the Spellmans. and The Spellmans Strike Again.