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Top Ten Summer Read: All The Feels

September 1, 2015 | Helena | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Fangirl's Guide To The Galaxy: A Handbook For Geek Girls by Sam Maggs

Fangirl'sGuidePotterheads.  SuperWhoLockians.  Tolkienites.  Oatku.   Trekkies.  Star Warriors.  Bookwalkers.  Marvelites.  Batgirls.  YA Book Nerds.  Whedonites.  Disnerds.  Girls Who Game.  

These are some of the popular fandoms described in Sam Magg's informative and witty handbook for anyone with a passion for so-called "geeky" pursuits and supporting women within the nerd community.

So, what is a fangirl?  What does "fangirl" mean?  There are many responses to these questions scattered throughout the book (The book is chock full of Q&As with writers, actors, and creators.) But my favourite one is this, given by author Victoria Schwab, "It's a badge of honor.  It means being passionate enough about something that not only do you want to enjoy it, and connect with others who enjoy it, but you also feel an intense need to introduce it to others."

The book is great at breaking down the what's and how's of fangirl culture, explaining slang, describing how to connect with like-minded people online and in real life, giving guidance on writing fanfic, and providing general etiquette tips on being respectful within the various fan communities. The book is also really great at talking about the feminist and activist values that underpin fangirl culture and coaches the reader on engaging with fandoms in ways that support and empower not only women but people of all backgrounds and to look critically at media. This is the best kind of handbook: it has the foundational information that the uninitiated will find useful but it also looks deeply (but concisely) at the empowering values that the culture promotes, all in an accessible and fun format.

 

Don't judge a book by its cover! ONE HEN reviewed

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

Review by ACD Youth Advisory Group member Tasneem
 
One hen book coverat one point in my life, i was given the opportunity to read the book, One Hen by Katie Smith Milway. it was a childrens book but you know what they say, never judge a book by its cover. the book turned out to be a marvelous book. it had many lessons that i had learned from it such as people need one another to survive and how a small thing can make a huge difference. the story is about a young boy who lived with his mother in the Ashanti Region in West Africa called Kojo. his father had died when he was a young boy. since his father was the provider of the famly Kojo had to quit school to give a helping hand to his mother. they lived a troubling life. they would sometimes even go hungry for days. the villagers had a game that they played. they usually raised money and passed it on to a family. the family invests the money and pays it back while it is passed on to another family. it was Kojo's mother's turn. she sold firewood. with the money she had, she bought a cart that would help her carry more firewood and sell it to the market. one day kojo asked for change from his mother. he promised to give it back. he went and bought a hen. he was very happy for he knew that great things were on the way. the hen laid eggs and Kojo sold them at the market. he even had enough to eat. he paid for his school fees too. years passed and he decided to go to college. he went to a bank and asked for a loan but the manager disagreed. well he did not lose hope. he went to the head manager and the head manager gave him a loan. he went to college and had a degree in poultry farming. as the old men would say, "from rags to riches." that was what turned out for Kojo. as i stated earlier a small thing truly can make a huge difference and for Kojo, it all  started from one hen.
 

Music Video Monday - Little Boots (part 2)

August 31, 2015 | Cameron | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

For the first blog entry in this series please follow this link:

Little Boots has been around making awesome music since 2008. Her debut solo album rocketed into the charts and put her into fame. However, she felt her first album was overproduced and so on her second and third album she decided to have a lot more control. Our first video is from her most recent outing and it is titled: "Better in the morning":

 

Next we have a video from her second album entitled: "Every Night I Say A Prayer":

 

And our final video for this segment is taken from her 3rd album and is called: "No Pressure":

 

Summer Read: 'Super-Roach' to the Rescue

August 31, 2015 | Monica | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen


20708754With a title like that, how could I resist this book? Evil Librarian is a quick and fun read. A Demon posing as a Librarian (Mr. Gabriel), has taken over Cynthia's high school. A war is brewing in the underworld, and in order to win, Mr. Gabriel needs to siphon as much human energy as possible, and a high school is the perfect place to do just that. Cynthia, however, has an immunity to this, and anyone with her ability to resist is known as a 'super-roach' in the underworld (super-roach= the almighty cockroach that can survive almost anything and everything). When Mr. Gabriel selects Cynthia's best friend, Annie, as his main accomplice and brain washes her into assisting him, Cynthia knows she much put a stop to it all, or risk losing her bff. With her crush, Ryan, and the odd, demon-obsessed, wanting to go live in the underworld with his demoness, Aaron, on her side, Cynthia must visit the fiery depths of hell and bring Annie back. Throw in a little one sided romance, with the kind of internal dialogue that will have you in splits, this is one entertaining book.

Also available in eBook format.

 

Summer Read: Collision of Minds

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

Writing mental illness is a strange and difficult task, and even harder when the person telling the story is the one whose mind is interpreting the world differently. Ned Vizzini did a pretty good job of keeping it easy to follow when he fictionalized his own experience of being in a psych ward in It's Kind of a Funny Story. And numerous books have looked at it from the outside. But it is a whole nother thing to get inside the head and look at the world of someone who has a very altered perception of reality. 

Fell of darkHow far do you go? And since so little is really known about mental illness, how much is just stereotypes and semi-fictional tropes? It's a tough line to walk, but if you want your main characters to tell their own stories, you are also going to have to figure out just how unreliable to make these narrators of yours, and how to portray the parts that are creations of their own troubled brains. 

In Fell of Dark, both Erik and Thorn have complicated and painful relationships both with their parents and with their realities. There are parts of each of their tellings that are clearly impossible, but there are also things that strongly suggest true and deeply rooted trauma at their cores. The fascinating part in reading this is the constant struggle to tease apart truth from perception in the tangled lines of text, trying to see the world as we would but having only their eyes as instruments. 

That, and the fact that we are told that the two will come together at some point, and I couldn't help but keep guessing at how that would happen. There are hints of this possibility or that, but in the end, you don't really see it happen until the last handful of pages. 

It makes for a compelling read, but what elevates to a real must-read is the writing. The language is beautiful, and the boys and their stories are made mythic and strangely, heartbreakingly sad and lovely,  even in their struggles. Contradictions are everywhere, and acceptance of them seems to settle over narrator and reader alike over the course of the book, where strange becomes real, even further confusing our world and the one that lives in their heads.

It's a book that makes you think, that makes you feel protective of these two, that makes you full of wonder and curiosity about just what is what, and it makes for a wonderful, dreamlike read that is surprisingly quick, yet sticks with you. I can't think that I've read much like it, and I definitely recommend taking this journey into the unknowable.  

HOME IN TIME FOR DINNER reviewed

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

Review by Anita, age 15
 
Home in time for dinnerHome In Time For Dinner is a book by Kathryn Ellis. In it we meet Chris Ramsey, a 15-year-old boy living a quiet, routine life with his controlling father. One day, Chris's world is shattered when he sees a picture of a little boy sitting on Santa's knee, and the computer-aged image following it makes Chris feel like he's looking in a mirror. It turns out that his mother, who he believed was dead, was looking for him for the past 13 years, ever since he was kidnapped by his father at age 2. Chris takes a leap of faith and leaves his bare home in Texas to try and get to his mother in Kingston, Ontario. He makes choices on the go, trusting strangers and taking risks. Along the way we meet a quirky cast of characters, including nice families, creepy priests, drunken drivers, and a clan of window washing teens. It's not easy to write a good book about travelling from one place to another to reach a certain destination, but this book handles that pretty well, and the plot is generally engaging and exciting, if a little overly detailed at times. 
 
Overall, Home In Time For Dinner is a simple, interesting, and non-obligatory read, good to fill up commute or waiting hours and spare time.
 
Read Anita's review of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series.

THE OUTSIDERS reviewed

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

Review by ACD Youth Advisory Group member Jacky

Outsiders book coverJoin Ponyboy, and his friends and brothers Sodapop, Dallas, Darry, Johnny, Two-bit, and others in a journey of heroism, sadness, romance, and so much more. Ponyboy isn’t your average fourteen-year-old teenager. His parents died in a car crash long ago. Now, he just lives with his two brothers – Sodapop, and Darry. Life isn’t easy with their living conditions.

Suddenly, even more trouble begins to brew when the Socs, the rich kids who live in the other side of town, decide to visit. Bloodied and beaten up, Ponyboy embarks on a long and dangerous journey to escape “the fuzz,” when the tides don’t turn their way. Him and his buddy Johnny, decide to take the run for their lives. Will this story come to a happy ending, or turn into a nightmare of a horror story? All is revealed in S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders.

Check out the movie!

MAD MISS MIMIC reviewed

August 29, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Review by Terese

Mad Miss Mimic Sarah HenstraMad Miss Mimic tells the tale of seventeen-year-old Leonora “Leo” Somerville, who resides in Hastings House, London, in 1872. Although Leo is incredibly beautiful and incredibly wealthy, she continuously fails to find a husband, due to swirling rumors in the high society about her speech impediment: not only does Leo stutter, she has the uncanny ability to mimic the voice of anyone she hears. The latter ability often pops up at inopportune moments, causing distress and shock to those around her; thus, Leo has been nicknamed Mad Miss Mimic. When the handsome and wealthy Francis Thornfax—business partner of Leo’s brother-in-law Dr. Dewhurst—appears in her life, Leo thinks her problems will be solved, until she learns of Mr. Thornfax’s shady business dealings.

What I most enjoyed about the book was the consistency of the characters. Often authors struggle with making their characters believable and relatable, and Ryerson University English professor Sarah Henstra accomplishes both flawlessly. Rather than relying on her characters’ physical looks, Henstra delves into their thoughts, actions, and most importantly, the effect they have on other characters. From the outset of the novel, it’s revealed through speech and action that Leonora suffers from a lack of confidence due to her stutter, and chooses not to speak much at public gatherings; however, for this same reason, her male suitors find her mysterious and alluring. Even though her character did develop throughout the novel—as characters are wont to do—I was satisfied to discover my answers to the question, “What would Leonora do in this situation?” play out reasonably. Leonora didn’t suddenly develop a promiscuous attitude; she didn’t randomly take a fancy to cleaning out horse stables.

Mad Miss Mimic is written in the first person, from Leonora’s perspective, and I was both in awe and jealous of the ease with which Henstra seemed to enter the mind of a nineteenth-century upper-class English girl. I chalk this up to academic research and teaching English courses, but I enjoyed the caliber of language that Henstra used: verbs like emitted and seized and scuttled that one usually doesn’t find in contemporary Western young adult novels. It felt as if I were right beside Leonora while she spoke; the words aptly illustrated her wants and fears, her hopes and insecurities, and, most importantly, her plans.

SarahHenstra
Mad Miss Mimic author Sarah Henstra

While one might immediately shelve this in the romance section—especially upon reading about the existence of a second male suitor, Tom Rampling—I feel this can also be described as a coming-of-age novel. The main theme, in my opinion, in Mad Miss Mimic, is Leonora’s quest to find her voice, not only literally, as a reference to her speech impediment, but also figuratively, as she is often pushed around by her older, more settled sister, and is very shy and unengaged. Discovering Thornfax’s plans encourages her to step out of her comfort zone, to challenge some social norms, to seek out and reveal the truth about the goings-on in London’s underworld. Throughout the novel, many characters seek to silence Leonora: “Who would ever believe talk of conspiracy and murder coming from the lips of Mad Miss Mimic?” Thornfax asks her, while he’s got her tied up in a shipping warehouse. As the novel progresses, Leonora learns to trust herself and her abilities, and to go for what she wants despite pressures from society and family. This theme of standing up for oneself can have a far-reaching and positive impact on youth, and is both endearing and empowering to read about.

With action, romance and an ample serving of nineteenth-century charm, Mad Miss Mimic is an excellent debut novel for teens seeking to find their own voice.

My rating: 10/10.

Play Alongs: Best Plot Twist

August 29, 2015 | Alice | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

We were watching Star Wars with a child who had never seen it. Afterward, we asked if he was surprised by the big revelation that Darth Vader was Luke's father. Nope. He knew. WUT?

Anthony-Davis-shocked

Well, we realized that what had originally been a MAJOR plot twist was so much a part of culture now, he had already heard that without seeing the movie! How disappointing, to not get that momentary shock!

 TayTay shocked

It's exactly why we post spoiler alerts, so we don't wreck that for other people, because a good plot twist can be a lot of fun, and sharing it afterward with others who know is pretty delicious. 

I can think of a few books that really took me by surprise in ways that stuck with me, some of them favourites of mine. Eleanor & Park. All the Bright Places. WingerAnd the book I just finished, the upcoming Six of Crows, which was a great read and was full of twists in a less emotional, more action-y way. 

I asked some teens I knew about their favourite plot twist moments, too. Their answers included The Kite RunnerThe Monkeyface Chronicles, and Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

Shatner shocked
I'm not going to spoil any of those for you because they are all fantastic books, and you should read them without having the endings wrecked. BUT. I am going to ask you to tell about your favourite book or movie plot twists - and remember, if you are going to include a spoiler, ALERT US!! 

THE LOVELY BONES reviewed

August 28, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Review by Danya

The lovely bones book coverI read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold book quite a while ago but I can STILL remember the first line of the book. "My name is Susie Salmon, like the fish." The first few sentences already had me hooked. This book is like NO other I have ever read. Though it does remind me of For One More Day and The Five People You Meet in Heaven both by Mitch Albom, only because all three novels have a main character who has passed away and who are travelling outside Earth. But back to The Lovely Bones... ahh! It was soo well written and descriptive and believable. At times it was very hard to read because of the way the main character died (raped and strangled) and how hard it was for her family. They desperately wanted answers, but Susie couldn't give it to them. Slowly the family starts to crumble, but at the end of the novel they find peace and solace when Susie's murderer, their neighbour, accidentally falls off a cliff and dies. It's so scary how the neighbour acts so heartbroken over Susie's death and even tries to be a friend to the Salmons after the tragedy... but I love each character. And you also get to see them grow up and how Susie's death has affected them all. Another one of my fav reads. STRONGLY recommend to read!

And watch the movie!

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