Archive for May 21, 2009

Aspiring writers, unite!

Hi everyone,
The following was sent to me from Beckie Weinheimer, author of Converting Kate . Check out her website at:
“Hi, All I read about this and thought you might want to use if you are an young aspiring writer or pass the word if you are a librarian!
Learn to Write (L2W) is a new and up-and-coming message board where teen/preteen/young aspiring writers can develop skills through classes, activities, and fun.
Join today at
tell all your friends, especially those who like to write.
(This site has roleplays, places for you to post your own stories/creations for others to read/comment, writing classes, games, contests, and so much more!)”
Enjoy the long weekend!
Sharon Long

Vampires can be losers too

It seems to me that after the success of the Twilight series, copycats started to emerge everywhere. Several vampire love stories followed suit. It was a winning formula: a smoldering hot and brooding vampire, an everygirl heroine, and lots of action, plot twists and love triangles. What’s not to like? Vampires were portrayed as perfect, gorgeous, superhuman-fighting-machines, who were rich and cool and had great cars and blah, blah, blah.
Enough with the perfect vamps already!
Meet the “new” vampire – the total outcast, shy, timid, well… loser vampire. They have stories to tell, too!
Suck it Up by Brian Meehl
Morning McCobb is a pretty wimpy vampire. He’s stuck in a teenager’s body for life and he’s never even tried human or animal blood (he drinks a soy-blood substitute). His seemingly harmless nature makes him the perfect spokesperson for the International Vampire League (IVL) once they decide to push him “out of the coffin” and into the mainstream as a Leaguer vampire. Of course, in this day and age, Morning needs to find a publicist to help shape his PR image. And wouldn’t you know it, his publicist has a teenage daughter to complicate matters. Once Morning becomes famous, the Loner vampires want him to keep quiet, since they “live” (ha) by more traditional vampire means and they oppose the Leaguer ways. It’s a fun read, debunking vampire lore along the way and creating memorable and likeable vampire characters.
The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks
Okay. You know that great aunt who’s always complaining about her feet? She can’t drive, so someone always has to leave early to drive her home from family events and she smells kind of weird? In this fresh take on vampires, THAT is what a real vampire’s life is like. The book features a group of ragtag, lonely, and strange vampires who turn toward each other for support at their Tuesday night meetings. They need the support to keep from drinking human blood. Instead, these vampires feed on guinea pigs, since the animals can breed quicky and their drained bodies can be concealed easily. Plus, vampires can’t drive – because it’s too much of a hassle at the DMV to keep a valid license when you never age. We meet the narrator Nina, who was “infected” at 15 – in 1973 – and has to live out her boring afterlife in her mother’s basement feeling like she is stuck at home with the flu…FOREVER. (As a funny side note, Nina writes a successful vampire fiction series with a gorgeous, young, sexy heroine who is her exact opposite.) Everything is as boring as ever – until there’s a murder and one of their support group is turned into a pile of ashes. It’s not like they pose a threat to humans, so they need to find out who would want to kill them before someone else gets staked. It’s a funny premise and the characters are very well-drawn. A great spin on the vampire theme.
Try a different kind of vampire story, if you dare!
Sharon Long
Teen Services Librarian

Whatever your mood, it has to be good

Whenever I am asked for my opinion about a good book to read, I always ask, “well, what are you in the mood for?” Even within certain genres, like fantasy, mystery, and realistic fiction, sometimes you are just in the mood to read something…silly. Or terribly depressing. Or romantic. You name it.
The other day, I was in the mood for a real heavy-duty book, one laden with real-life problems and gripping characters. Apparently, I find it uplifting to hear about other people’s problems. Anyway, I picked up the latest fabulous and troubling novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls.
Wintergirls is the story of Lia and Cassie; two girls who used to be best friends connected by their childhood experiences and mutual struggles with eating disorders. Two girls who are now separated by life and death – as Lia lives her life fighting anorexia after Cassie dies alone in a motel room. The bleak story is written with such an intensity it instantly draws you in and makes you ache for Lia even if you can’t understand her disease. The author takes you through the struggles of someone suffering with an eating disorder by how she uses Lia’s voice. We bear witness to the way she incessantly counts calories in every bite of food and berates herself for not being good/smart/thin/strong enough to live. This is a book you have to commit to, because for the duration of the time you are reading this book, you will feel for Lia. It’s not a pretty little story wrapped up in a tidy bow. But, if you are in the mood for something a little deep, I strongly recommend Wintergirls.
On the lighter side, sometimes you want a rip-roaring good time book that doesn’t take itself too seriously. In that case I’d like to introduce to you Fat Hoochie Prom Queen by Nico Medina.
(Perhaps it’s a wee bit sacrilegious to combine these books in the same entry? Well, here goes anyway.)
Polar opposite in almost every way, meet Madge Diaz. She is large and in charge and just wants to have fun. She has self-confidence to boot and has never met a donut she didn’t like. She decides to take on her nemesis (the skinny, blond and equally popular Bridget Benson) to battle for prom queen. Along the way, there are many party scenes, laugh out loud dialogue, and good music you’ll want to download. This is not a book for the faint-of-heart. Be forewarned that there is some underage drinking and language to raise some eyebrows. It reminded me of Freak Show by James St. James with a little Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist thrown in. A good time read.
Another book I picked up lately was What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell.
I normally like historical fiction, and depending on the era, I might really like it. This was a good read, set in post-WWII era 1947, with a bit of a mystery. We have Evie Spooner, a fifteen year-old “good girl” with a rebellious streak, who longs to look more like her movie star gorgeous mother. Her mother’s good looks tend to attract more than just the attention of her stepfather Joe, who has recently returned from the war with questionable amounts of money to spend. A family vacation down to Palm Springs, Fla, turns sour, when we are introduced to Peter Colerage – a 23-year old former member of Joe’s army unit and !total!hottie! Things get complicated and there are a few plot twists and love triangles, making the overall story interesting and a pretty quick read. I liked how the author peppers the book with the slang of the times and really brings you into the time period. Evie is a well-drawn character, and at times I felt like it was a literary version of the show Mad Men. Pretty wives, handsome husbands, simpler times…but scratch below the surface and whoa! It fit my mood as I anxiously await the Mad Men season 2 DVD!
So there you have it. When in doubt, listen to your mood. Just make sure it’s something you’ll enjoy!
Sharon Long
Teen Services Librarian

3 Apples Book Award Winner

The Youth Services (YSS) and School Library Media (SLMS) Sections of the New York Library Association (NYLA) proudly announce:
The 2009 3 Apples Teen Book Award goes to…
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.
You guys voted…anyone shocked? I’m not! I like how she’s holding an apple on the cover, very fitting.
Thank you to the students who voted and participated in the awards process through their school and public libraries.
Sharon Long
Teen Services Librarian