Archive for December 29, 2009

The Beatles Rock Band – video game review

*Now available at the library for the Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 platforms.
I must confess: as a long-time Beatles lover, I was absolutely thrilled when The Beatles Rock Band came out. In fact, it was the reason my husband and I purchased the Wii (he’s an even bigger Beatles fan than I am). We already knew the songs were great. The added graphics are amazing. The game begins during the band’s earliest days at The Cavern Club in Liverpool, England. Wanna play at Shea Stadium? At their last rooftop concert at Apple Studio? No problem, you’re there. It is a revolutionary tour of The Beatles’ music, career, and legacy. We are treated to added sound bites from their recording sessions that have never been released until now. They play these audio clips while you’re waiting for the songs to load and it’s a delightful way to wait – hearing John crack a joke or Paul chatting. Original members Paul McCartney and Ringo Star played a key role in approving the game, along with Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison and all were there for the game’s unveiling this fall.
As for the game play itself – it is unique from other Rock Band and Guitar Hero games due to the addition of the 3-part harmonies. You can truly re-create the experience of singing with the Fab Four. (Of course, added microphones become a necessity, there’s always something…) The short pop songs of their early years are great for beginners and the longer, involved harmonies from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and beyond can challenge even the best “faux” musicians out there. The game includes 45 songs and additional songs are available for download including the songs from Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the recently released Rubber Soul album.
I would also like to address the issue of the appropriateness of circulating and playing video games in a library. If this is only a stand-alone example of all that is RIGHT with videogames, so be it. You have, on a basic level, hand-eye coordination, and music and art appreciation (even if you are just watching the game and not playing it). There is history, pop culture and a positive shared experience that parents and kids can enjoy. It opens up future generations to appreciate the music of the Beatles. And – most importantly – you get to sing with the Beatles. How wrong could that be?
Check it out online:
Sharon Long
Teen Services Librarian

Baker’s Dozen best books of 2009

A true reader and aficionado of YA literature, Ed Goldberg, compiled this list of his Baker’s Dozen best books of 2009. As many of you know, Ed was the Teen Services Librarian before I got here and is still very instrumental in suggesting and reviewing great books for teens. There are lots of fab titles on this list, so I highly recommend you stop by to see what’s currently on the shelf before you head off for your holiday break. Thanks for the suggestions, Ed.
Sharon Long
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
When Auden impulsively goes to stay with her father, stepmother, and new baby sister the summer before she starts college, all the trauma of her parents’ divorce is revived, even as she is making new friends and having new experiences such as learning to ride a bike and dating.
Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel
As members of the first crew of astralnauts, Matt Cruse and Kate De Vries journey into outer space on the Starclimber and face a series of catastrophes that threaten the survival of all on board. Sequel to: Skybreaker.
By the Time You Read This, I’ll be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
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High school student Daelyn Rice, who has been bullied throughout her school career and has more than once attempted suicide, again makes plans to kill herself, in spite of the persistent attempts of an unusual boy to draw her out. [Technically not out until 2010, but I’ll keep it on the list!- Sharon]
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Sixteen-year-old Eon hopes to become an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune and learn to be its main interpreter, but to do so will require much, including keeping secret that she is a girl.
The Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Sixteen-year-old Valerie, whose boyfriend Nick committed a school shooting at the end of their junior year, struggles to cope with integrating herself back into high school life, unsure herself whether she was a hero or a villain.
Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart
After her mother’s death, sixteen-year-old Katie copes with her grief by working in the garden of an old estate, where she becomes intrigued by the story of a reclusive millionaire, while her father, an art restorer, manages in his own way to come to terms with the death of his wife.
Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick
While recuperating in a Baghdad hospital from a traumatic brain injury sustained during the Iraq War, eighteen-year-old soldier Matt Duffy struggles to recall what happened to him and how it relates to his ten-year-old friend, Ali.
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Eighteen-year-old Lia comes to terms with her best friend’s death from anorexia as she struggles with the same disorder.
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
Marcelo Sandoval, a seventeen-year-old boy on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, faces new challenges, including romance and injustice, when he goes to work for his father in the mailroom of a corporate law firm.
Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford
Awkward freshman Will Carter endures many painful moments during his first year of high school before realizing that nothing good comes easily, focus is everything, and the payoff is usually incredible.

by Julie Anne Peters
At the end of high school, Johanna finally begins dating the girl she has loved from afar, but Reeve is as much trouble as she claims to be as she and her twin brother damage Johanna’s self-esteem, friendships, and already precarious relationship with her sister.
Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten
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Two years after the disappearance of her older sister, sixteen-year-old Ellie goes on a quest to find her.
Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud
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When young Halli Sveinsson plays a trick on Ragnor of the House of Hakonsson, he sets in motion a chain of events that will forever alter his destiny, forcing him to leave home and go on a hero’s quest where he encounters highway robbers, terrifying monsters, and a girl who may finally be his match.

Ex-mas by Kate Brian

The author of the popular Private series has a new book for the holiday season.
Ex-mas by Kate Brian
From the back cover description:
“Two Exes. One holiday adventure. Merry Ex-mas? Seventeen-year-old Lila Beckwith’s parents just left for vacation, and Lila’s all set to throw the holiday party of the season. But when her Christmas-obsessed little brother, Cooper, discovers that global warming is melting the North Pole, he and his best friend, Tyler, take off on a runaway mission to save Santa. Lila has to get Cooper safely home before her parents get back on Christmas Eve. But the only person who can help her is Tyler’s older brother, Beau — a.k.a. Lila’s musician, anti-everything ex-boyfriend. It’ll take more than a Christmas miracle for Lila and Beau to overcome their differences and find their fugitive brothers. But could a journey destined for disaster help these polar opposites fall in love…all over again?”
Any book that attempts to mix global warming with holiday cheer is…interesting. This was a quick read, a little bit like the movie Adventures in Babysitting -throw in a road-trip there are hi-jinx. Lila is not a very likeable character, and comes across as a spoiled brat at times, but Beau and her little brother Cooper help to mellow her out. The book has many pop-culture references, mentioning Twitter, Wii, Fred Segal, even Serena and Blair, so it may become dated fairly soon. But it was an entertaining read for a holiday break.
Sharon Long
Teen Servies Librarian

Holiday reading

Some of you lucky teens might be heading off to do some holiday travelling next week and need a good book to take along with you. Or even if you are just going to be relaxing at home, you might need a good book to go with that roaring fire and cup of hot cocoa (and invite me over- I love me some hot cocoa!) In any case, I wanted to highlight some of the new fiction we have currently on the shelf. But act fast, because these titles might be checked out before you know it!
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How to say goodbye in robot by Natalie Standiford
The new girl in town, Beatrice is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, a quiet loner who hasn’t made a new friend since third grade. Something about him, though, gets to Bea, and soon they form an unexpected friendship. It’s not romance, exactly, but it’s definitely love. Still, Bea can’t quite dispel Jonah’s gloom and doom, and as she finds out his family history, she understands why.
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The cupcake queen by Heather Hepler
Who doesn’t love cupcakes? While longing to return to life in New York City, thirteen-year-old Penny helps her mother and grandmother run a cupcake bakery in Hog’s Hollow, tries to avoid the beastly popular girls, to be a good friend to quirky Tally, and to catch the eye of enigmatic Marcus.
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An off year by Claire Zulkey
Upon arriving at her dorm room, eighteen-year-old Cecily decides to postpone her freshman year of college and return to her Chicago home, where she spends a year pondering what went wrong while forging new relationships with family and friends.
The Monstrumologist: William James Henry by Rick Yancey
In 1888, twelve-year-old Will Henry chronicles his apprenticeship with Dr. Warthrop, a scientist who hunts and studies real-life monsters, as they discover and attempt to destroy a pod of Anthropophagi.
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The book of the maidservant by Rebecca Barnhouse
In 1413, a young maidservant accompanies her deeply religious mistress, Dame Margery Kempe, on a pilgrimage to Rome. Includes author’s note on Kempe, writer of “The Book of Margery Kempe,” considered by some to be the first autobiography in the English language.
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Dull boy by Sarah Cross
Avery, a teenaged boy with frightening super powers that he is trying to hide, discovers other teenagers who also have strange powers and who are being sought by the icy and seductive Cherchette, but they do not know what she wants with them.
Enjoy and save me a cup of cocoa…
Sharon Long
Teen Services Librarian

Does This Book Make me Look Fat? – Book Review

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Does This Book Make me Look Fat?: Stories About Loving — and Loathing — Your Body
Edited by Marissa Walsh
Book review by: Hailey Geltman

For any girl who has ever dealt with the inescapable torment of feeling fat, this book is for you. This hilarious and endearing book full of fourteen personal essays and stories will make you feel easily connected. In one essay there is a girl whose mother handed her a diet book and that is where her whole journey began. In another story the word FAT is said at least 100 times, and as the author says it is the word that can “end a friendship”. This wonderful book travels through fourteen different people’s own battle with weight and accepting weight that it will finally make you realize that you are not and will never be alone in this internal war. This book made me realize that although fighting weight is a personal battle, there are thousands of other
people who are at war with the same demon. There is no escaping it, weight is every girl’s worst enemy.

It’s not every day that you read a book that is so honest that you can’t help but love it. These stories are so truthfully told that by the end of each personal essay you feel like you are friends with each of the authors. It is a great book for any girl of all ages who is currently battling or has battled weight. It is a fun book to read and makes you feel a lot better about yourself. Maybe even after reading it you will go and eat that last chocolate chip cookie…
The collection boasts stories and essays from many of the top YA authors out there. For more details, check out the following titles and authors featured in this collection:
“Circumferentially challenged” by Daniel Pinkwater
“Mirror, mirror” by Megan McCafferty
“Alterations” by Eireann Corrigan
“Last red light before we’re there” by Matt de la Pena
“Sweet 16 plus” by Wendy McClure
“Some girls are bigger than others” by Sarra Manning
“Tale of a half-pint” by Margo Rabb
“The day before Waterlily arrived” by Jaclyn Moriarty
“Hello … my name is” by Carolyn Mackler
“The mating habits of whales” by Barry Lyga; illustrated by Jeff Dillon
“It is good” by Sara Zarr
“Pretty, hungry” by Ellen Hopkins
“How to tame a wild booty” by Coe Booth
“Confessions of a former It Girl” by Wendy Shanker.