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THE WINNER'S CURSE reviewed

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

Reviewed by Geneva, age 15

The winners curse coverThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski is frankly one of the best books I have read this year.

It is a young adult novel with a feel of both a historical or fantasy setting, but does not neatly fit under either category. The prose is beautiful, the romance is believable, and as I was reading, the world felt tangible and real.

The book centers around seventeen-year-old Kestrel, the daughter of the empire's general. Her empire enslaves those it conquers, and basks in its wartime success. In this sovereignty, Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military, or she can get married.

However, she has other intentions. One day, Kestrel impusively buys a young slave during an auction. She is oblivious to the backlash and the unitended consequences that will follow. But when secrets arise and Kestrel's love for the slave begins to grow, she becomes aware of the high price she had paid in exchange for a slave's life.

What I enjoyed most about this book was its political intrigue. I have never read a book with such layers and complexity within its world. I was interested in each characters' role in their sovereignty, and how their decisions could impact more than just their surroundings. They were beyond citizens of an empire; they were pieces in a game of life or death.

In short, I thoroughly loved this book. The Winner's Curse features all my favourite aspects of a book – believable characters, poetic writing, and a setting that you cannot help but to feel you are in. I highly recommend!

Summer Read: Good old fashioned space western!

August 1, 2015 | stephen | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

PolariscoverPolaris

by Mindee Arnett

This one is a bit of a change of pace from the rest of my list but I love sci-fi just as much as I love fantasy.

Polaris (also available as an e-book) is book 2 of the Avalon series so if you haven't read Avalon, I highly recommend you do so. 

It's a great read filled with space battles, smugglers and all kinds of action. 

With the new Star Wars movie coming out on December, why not get started on the space theme early? 

Also if you are a fan of the Firefly/Serenity franchise, Polaris is a must read! 

This week's question has to do with space travel. The premise behind most science fiction stories is the idea of space travel and being able to easily fly to other planets

If you could visit anywhere in the universe, where would you go and why? 

 

Play-Alongs: Venn Diagrams

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

Venn diagrams: not just for school anymore. Instead, people are using them to make biting points and hilarious observations all over the place. 

Not sure what a Venn diagram is? Think two groups of things represented by circles, and where they overlap, you put things that fit in both groups at once. Here, tell you what, let's let Seth Meyers explain: 

They are just as fun in print. Take this for example: 

  Platypus

This one, for sci-fi series fans:

Nerd venn
 

Or, say this pointed commentary: 

Venn of emotions

So now it's your turn. You even have choices here!

You can tell me what you think the solutions for the one below are, or make up your own. GO! 

Popular-Movie-Characters-Venn-diagram1

 

Coming Soon: Get Set, Summer Readers!

July 31, 2015 | Alice | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Required-reading
Here are the books we're talking about for the next couple of weeks! 

August 3-8

Monday  - The Family Romanov, a non-fiction book about a fascinating Russian dynasty

Tuesday - Supermutant Magic Academy, by Jillian Tamaki (we love her!) - a webcomic in a book

Wednesday - Glory O'Brien's History of the Future - this sounds dark and fascinating, about a girl seeing visions of the future

Thursday - Freedom Summer Murders - timely non-fiction book about a horrific event - the lynching of civil rights workers trying to register African-Americans to vote. 

Friday - The Shadow Hero - a graphic novel about the the first Asian superhero, a great origin story

Saturday - The Sin-Eater's Daughter - a novel about a girl who kills with her touch. Creepy? But also lovely. 

August 10-15

Monday - Pride and Prejudice - yes that one, but in manga/graphic novel form! 

Tuesday - Clouded Sky - the second book in Megan Crewe's alien trilogy. The third comes out this fall! 

Wednesday - I Will Always Write Back - an interesting memoir of a friendship by mail

Thursday - Liars, Inc. - Cameron's on this novel, so you know he will have an opinion

Friday - Fig - a girl looking after her mother, who has mental health issues, who is also wrestling with her own 

Saturday - Legends, Rebels, and Icons - non-fiction look at music legends. I can't wait to read this one! 

So if you want to read along and contribute comments, now you know when to shoot for! 

See you there… (if your face isn't covered by a book, that is.)

THE GAME SERIES reviewed

July 31, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Review by Sara, age 15

The game series book covers
I’m doing a review on the series The Game Trilogy by Eve Silver that I recently read as part of the 2015 White Pine awards. This is an amazing trilogy made up of the three books Rush, Push, and Crash. This series is a mix of sci-fi, dystopian, and romance. These books are a thrilling take on an alien invasion, putting into question who the bad guy really is. A group of teens are constantly ripped from reality and brought to an alternate dimension to fight off creatures they’ve been told are their enemy by a mysterious “committee.” The “game” starts to seep into their real lives as the line between reality and this other dimension begins to blur. Their missions quickly go from fighting for the fate of their planet, to fighting against their will for survival. These books are action packed and always leave you wanting more right up until the end.

Book Dominoes!

July 31, 2015 | Alice | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The things you do with all that free time you have in the summer... 

Five Frames From . . . July 31st, 2015 edition

July 31, 2015 | Cameron | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

What movie are these images from? If you are the first to get the answer right you get a prize!!!!!!

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All rights reserved, all wrongs reversed.

Personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the Public Libraries Act, s.20 (a) and (d) and will be used to administer the Library's TPL Teens contest. Questions about the collection or management of personal information should be directed to library manager Jayne Delbeek-Eksteins- 416-396-8858.

Summer Read: Art School Confidential

July 31, 2015 | Helena | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

TruthCommission

Green Pastures is a Nanaimo, B.C. arts school founded by a farmer who achieved late-in-life success as a painter of country life.  It is pretty much a perfect school where the students are engaged (they're there because they want be), the teachers are supportive, and everyone is very open-minded and tolerant.  

It is in this somewhat rarefied environment that Normandy Pale and her two best friends Neil Sutton and Dusk (real name: Dawn) Weintraub-Lee begin a social movement of sorts.  They start asking their fellow students and a staff member pointed questions designed to make them talk about that *one* thing that is bugging them and then hopefully experience a cathartic release.  

At various times, they justify their probing with the old adage that the Truth Will Set You Free. Normandy, however, isn't as convinced of the higher good of their "truth commission" as Neil and Dusk.  Sometimes, she wonders if it isn't all just gossiping ultimately.  And she's on to something.  Because while Aimee Danes, the first person they confront, might feel great immediately after she confesses that she got some plastic surgery over the summer (with an eye to a career in broadcasting), she does have her ups and downs later on.  And so it goes with everyone else they ask.  But, as Normandy finds out on the most personal level, the truth might be painful sometimes, and things might feel wobbly for a while, but, in the end, the truth is worth it.  

Normandy's truth has to do with her older sister Keira, the most special of special snowflakes, who, as a teen, published a blockbuster fantasy graphic novel series called The Diana Chronicles that bowled over critics and readers alike with its incredible illustrations and its imaginative stories, stories that are based on Normandy, herself, and their parents.  In the Diana Chronicles, Normandy and her parents are portrayed as gormless and petty.  Normandy's character, Flounder, is actually described as "dim-witted," "charmless," and "barely house-trained."  The strange thing is Normandy and her parents have done nothing but support Keira.  While she was living at home before she left for art college, they never had people over and spoke in hushed tones, and generally tiptoed around the remote and ethereal Keira - all so that she could have a quiet and peaceful environment to work on her art.  But as Normandy's involvement in the "truth commission" grows, it becomes clear to her that the truth-seeking needs to start closer to home and that she needs to confront the truth about herself and her family.  

By the way, I hereby nominate Keira Pale for top ten worst literary sister.  Are there any characters from books you are not a big fan of?  And why?  Dudley Dursley anyone?  

Did We Mention Prizes?

July 30, 2015 | Alice | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

So, um, we started having some contests and realized that maybe you want to know what else is coming? 

And maybe what people are winning with their great poems and Toronto Stories and whatnot? 

Contest time
So here's the lowdown on what's coming, so you can get yourself ready: 

Mini writing contests - these are short contests with nice little prize packs of a book, a Moleskine notebook, and a nice pen. Perfect for writers! These are happening today (July 30), August 13th, and August 27th. 

My Toronto Story contest - this one is still open! Tell us about a Toronto experience - in any storytelling format you choose. Prize is a pair of sweet Bowers & Wilkins P3 headphones.

Short Story contest - opens August 6th. Prize: did I mention how nice those headphones were? The winner of this one gets a pair, too.

Fan Fiction contest - opens September 3rd. Prize: another pair of headphones. Dang, I wish I were a teen right now…  

RUNNING SCARED reviewed

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

Reviewed by Mahin, age 13

Running scaredThe book I have read is called Running Scared written by Beverley Terrell-Deutsch. It is about a boy named Gregory who is trying to heal after the death of his father in a car collision. Since he has to pass by the spot where his dad died if he walks the direct route to school, Gregory avoids that route altogether and instead takes the long route to school. However, there is a mean and scary dog on the long route that frightens Gregory and he is failing in every subject at school except for mathematics, which he has a natural talent for. Furthermore, the stakes are even higher when Gregory's school is going to be closed and the bus stop for his new school is right beside the spot where his father died while Gregory, his friends and the community attempt to save their school.

Even though this novel conveys a great moral lesson about overcoming your fears, the plot can sometimes be a little bit dull and weak. In some places in the plot, I felt mostly engaged but in other places I lost most of my interest in the book. Moreover, the plot is slightly longer than it really should be with some unnecessary details. However, I did enjoy the support Gregory's friends gave him while he was going through tough times and Gregory's determination to work hard and improve his marks at school. Overall, this book should still be an enjoyable read.

In conclusion, I recommend this novel to anybody between the ages of 10 and 13 who like to read books about everyday life and problems. I give Running Scared 3.1 stars out of 5 and am looking forward to reading its sequel.

Read Mahin's review of Catching Fire!

Review a book and get a free book. My Curved Border

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