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Coming This Summer!

May 1, 2015 | Alice | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

TPLTeens_logo banner for alice
TPL Teens: Summer Edition, a fuller, funner version of the blog you already know and love! 

All summer long, we'll be ramping up content around here and adding some new stuff to make summer something to look forward to even more than you already do. 

Summer is all about a relaxed, good times vibe, and we're planning to bring it! Come by often for:

  • hottest books recommendations from our expert YA readers
  • contests and great prizes
  • reviews and articles by teens
  • memes and games to show off your wit
  • awesome workshops across the city
  • discussions with other youth
  • music and movie suggestions

It all starts in July, and we can't wait! 

Don't mug yourself - teen craft @Lillian H. Smith branch

May 6, 2015 | Nancy-Anne | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

sunset watercolour painting
Image by jaboja on

Do you enjoy hot beverages? More importantly, do you enjoy vessels in which to put said beverages, like cool-looking mugs and glasses? Well, so do we! Maybe a little too much, based on how many Starbucks empties can be found in the garbage can at any given time.

If you love coffee and tea as much as we do and have a creative or crafty streak, come on down to the Lillian H. Smith branch (located near College and Spadina)and make your own fancy-schmancy watercolour mug. It's pretty neat how these little guys are made, and the possibilities are almost endless! Check out this one we DIY-ed:

watercolour mug
Cool, right? We promise you'll want to make a million more of these things once you're done and probably start up your own Etsy shop. Either that or your friends and family will have to stage an intervention because of how much coffee and/or tea you'll suddenly want to drink from your new mug. But first things first, come to the program and learn how it's done!

Here are all the deets:

Make Your Own Watercolour Mug
Saturday, May 16th, 2015
1:30-3:00 p.m.Lillian H. Smith Branch, 239 College St.

Registration is required, so give us a call at 416-393-7746 or visit us at the branch to sign up, and don't forget to tell all your friends! Everyone age 11-19 is welcome, and best of all, the program is totally FREE.

See you there!


REBEL HEART reviewed

May 6, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Rebel heart book coverReviewed by Katherine, age 13

Rebel Heart, by Moira Young, is the sequel to Blood Red Road, and it definitely had its similarities and differences, both good and bad. I felt the plot was a little more slow and not paced as well as the first book was - there were sections of slow-burn travelling plots filled with Saba, the main character's inner thoughts and other events while on the road, and then fast parts with a lot of action, not sequenced or paced as well as it could have been. The idea of a quest or an adventure, with Saba travelling in order to meet up with her "heart's desire", or her love interest Jack was lessened and I felt the destination itself was a little uncertain, especially in comparison to the road map being followed by the characters in the first book. The fast-paced bits were definitely exciting though, and those who enjoy moments that keep you on the edge of your toes will definitely enjoy these sections.

The character build-up within Saba was interesting, especially since it was nice in the first book and I didn't know how Young would top it. Her character, after all the traumatic events that occurred previously, was very reflective, both for Saba and the reader. You are also introduced in depth to the character of Lugh, Saba's twin brother who is extremely protective of her and was the one searched for in the quest in the first novel. The reader is introduced more extensively to their relationship, how it has changed after Saba's deep character development in the first book and how Lugh sees it, and how they support and argue with each other whilst on the road. There are many reoccurring characters, and some new ones as well, that were also extremely intriguing. A few to watch for include Molly, Auriel, Tommo, and Maev. I was honestly a little disappointed that there wasn't as much on Jack and Saba as I'd hoped for, but when their moments came, the romance was so well-written.

The world-building lacked a little bit in this book. In dystopian novels, the world-building, its reflection on society, and how it affects the plot is so important, and I rarely felt as if the world the story took place in affected the plot as much as it could've. The writing style, with the southern accent, was a little hard to follow but definitely set up Saba's voice and reflected her personality.

So overall, a generally enjoyable read with minor flaws. It is especially recommended for those who enjoy fast-paced moments and lots of character development. I recommend reading Blood Red Road first, though. Otherwise you will be deeply confused, I promise you.


May 5, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The strange and beautiful sorrows of ava lavender book coverReviewed by Amalia, age 17

Love makes us such fools...

With its main element of magical realism, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, by Leslye Walton, is a story that fills us with excitement, fear, and grips us from the very beginning. Following many generations of the Roux family, we learn of a curse that seems to fall upon all who are fool enough to fall in love. Ava Lavender and Henry Lavender are the last members of the family to be affected by this curse. Henry is a peculiar boy who cannot talk and Ava is an unique girl due to the golden wings she is born with. 

Ava's extraordinary quality alienates her from others. Her burning desire to fit in takes her on a journey of self-discovery that will not only help her, but also the many broken hearts this curse has caused in her family. Naive to the world outside of her house, Ava will encounter the reality of what being different really means.

There are so many reasons why I love this book. Magical realism gives such a fun twist to a story that could have been amazing on its own. One of the main things that bothers me about young adult fiction is the fact that we never get to learn why things are happening; we never get much of a backstory. In The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender we get to explore every generation of the family and discover how the curse affects every single member. I believe this book would appeal to anyone who has ever felt ignored or isolated due to their differences. Ava learns how to love her unique wings and leave the nest *no pun intended*. Ava's adventures leave the reader wanting to know what will happen next, especially since not all the people Ava meets are accepting or even mentally sane. 

If you are tired of dystopian worlds where people just fight against the government for no clear reason then I suggest this book, which will become one of your favorites and you will find your next OTP.

Brave and talented youth gather at Toronto Poetry Map launch

May 4, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

george elliott clarke
Toronto poet laureate George Elliott Clarke

A group of brave and talented professional poets and youth gathered at the Toronto Reference Library as George Elliott Clarke’s Voice rang out across the atrium. “Waaaatermellllonnnns,” he called. This is line from Haljgonian Market Cry, one of the poems George presented at the Toronto Poetry Map launch on April 15. The Toronto Poetry Map is an online resource that looks a lot like google maps but instead of places, this map locates poems that mention places around Toronto. You can access it by going to

But back to the launch. George Elliott Clarke’s contagious happy energy produced smiles all around. But he was not the only one who performed that night. Youth from various library branches expressed rage, pain and love with some original slam poems. The youth were accompanied at the event by their coaches, Mahlika Aweri and Randell Adjei, who were there to support as well as to share their own amazing poetry. Randell even honoured us with a poem “fresh from the laboratory” that had never been heard before. Faith Pare, a grade 11 student from Rosedale performed a particularly captivating slam poem called 'The Anatomy of a Teenage Party' that really spoke to what it is like to be a teenager and the injustice in the way teens are sometimes judged.

Editorial Youth Advisory Group member Anupya
Editorial Youth Advisory Group member Anupya

Since this year is the 50th anniversary for the Young Voices magazine, the Editorial Youth Advisory Group, the members of which select what goes into the magazine, dug back to some of the very first issues of the mag in order to share a few of the best vintage poems at this poetry event. 

Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the evening. I for one thought it was exceptional. The honesty, the courage and the love that comes with poetry – slam poetry in particular – is so heartwarming and made for such a wonderful experience. If I ever lost my faith in humanity, this is the kind of thing that would restore it: people coming together to share who they are. Thank you to everyone who shared, and everyone who listened!

Music Video Mondays - Moby

May 4, 2015 | Cameron | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Moby is an electronica DJ based out of New York. He has sold over 20 million records world wide and is also famous for his animal rights beliefs and vegan-ism. Our first video is his single "Porcelain"


And next is his amazing mash up with Debbie Harry for his song "New York, New York" a tribute to his home town.


And our final video is the one that really shot Moby to fame "Southside" with Gwen Stefani.


The TPL Teen Fanfiction Writers' Coalition is back!

May 2, 2015 | Nancy-Anne | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Back like Schwarzenegger, y'all!


schwarzenegger terminator
Photo by Alberto.. on Flickr

After a too-long hiatus, the Teen Fanfiction Writers' Coalition will be meeting up again starting Thursday, May 28 at the Lillian H. Smith branch at 239 College St. We'll be running all through the summer as part of TPL Teens: Summer Edition and into the rest of the year. Best of all, we're looking for new members. New members like YOU! 

Meetings will take place on the last Thursday of each month from 4:30-6:00 p.m. in the lower level of the library. However, please take note that our May meeting will actually run from 5:00-6:30 p.m.

This group is open to all youth ages 11 to 21 (yes, technically not teens, but we welcome pre-teensand post-teens). Whether you're an internet-famous fic writer or have no idea what AO3 are, we want to meet you and hear your stories. Come join us to gush and talk shop about your favourite movie, book, TV show, game, anime, manga, or otherwise!

We also encourage any original writing you want to share. Most importantly all ships and fandoms are welcome here. So tell your friends. Tell your friends' friends. Then get them to tell their friends' friends' friends.

keep calm and write on
Image by england3 on

To register or learn more about the group, you can call 416-393-7746 or ask for Nancy-Anne. Be sure to sign up early to beat the rush, since space is limited!

Five Frames From . . . May 2nd Edition

May 2, 2015 | Cameron | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

What movie are these images from?






All rights reserved, all wrongs reversed.


May 1, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Outsiders book coverReviewed by Sophia, age 13

The book that I'm reading right now is The Outsiders. I absolutely love this book and finished it in one night! The book is very realistic and I can relate to the characters feelings and the challenges they are faced with. It was very well written and very funny. This book is full of shocking yet sadly very realistic things that teens have had to endure. The book was written and based on teenage life in the 60's . Reading it now more than half a century later is very interesting because I can compare how different yet still very similar life used to be like back then. I can honestly say that this is my new favourite book and I look forward to reading more books from the author (S.E.Hinton)!!!



April 30, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Picture of Dorian Gray book coverReviewed by Judy, age 17

Oscar Wilde, the creator of the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, gives a strong comparison between outward beauty and moral character as the young aristocrat, Dorian Gray, is forced to decide which has greater value. This novel touches on the supernatural as Dorian’s youth and beauty is preserved forever while a painting of himself ages in his place. However, the art work does not age by biological means, but evolves with the actions and decisions that he makes. As a result, Dorian looks at this painting as a mirror to his own soul and sees his sins reflected on the canvas.

Dorian’s conversations in the novel are both witty and informative as he speaks often with a famous philosopher who passes down his bounty of knowledge onto this hopeful youth. Moreover, this tale that is based in London, England during the late nineteenth century, perfectly reflects the time in history during which there was a great appreciation for the arts in terms of music, literature, theater and of course, visual masterpieces. The combination of knowledge and arts enhances the novel as a whole as the novel creates a society that is enthralled by such intellectual and physical beauty.

Similar to Wilde’s work, The Importance of Being Earnest, this novel has strong characters who are easily swayed by the emotions of others. Social stance also plays an integral part in the novel as it did in Wilde’s play. However, both portray the idea that the personality they become far outweighs the labels they were born with. Thus, I highly recommend this novel to young adults as its theme is best appreciated at times where one is on the path to self-discovery and self-identification.

Celebrity Instagram Photos of the Week

April 30, 2015 | Claire A | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

This week's Celebrity Instagram posts include Khloe Kardashian, Tyga, Lucy Hale, Niall Horan, Iggy Azalea, and Zendaya. 

@khloekardashian  @kinggoldchains

@lucyhale  @niallhoran
@thenewclassic  @zendaya

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