One of the most exciting developments at the Malvern Public Library this year is the opening of the Digital Innovation Hub, located within the SPOT at the library. The Digital Innovation Hub opens up a whole new world for teens by giving them access to an incredible variety of tech resources. It contains two 3D Printers, several Mac laptops and iMac computers, and even more PC computers. These computers are equipped with state-of-the-art software that allows young people to experiment with photo editing, movie making, and even DJ equipment! The Hub also contains Arduino and Raspberry Pi tools that are open for anyone's use! This is an incredible addition to the library and to the Malvern community at large, because it provides open, easy-to-access interaction with some of the newest and most dynamic digital technology.
However, all of this technology may seem intimidating to a beginner who doesn't know a computer mouse from a real one...Luckily, one of the main purposes of the Digital Innovation Hub is to provide education on the use of these tools and programs. A diverse range of classes are offered weekly at the Hub on a wide range of topics. These include beginner's photo editing, Introduction to iMovie, and many more to come! Not only can here classes be taken for personal interest, but they can also be used to make school projects and presentations look professionally made. The Hub also has open house days and meet ups such as the Arduino Meetup, for people who share a love of technology and digital innovation to drop in and share ideas, trade tips, and help each other out. Finally, one of its most exciting features is the 3D Printer Certification course it offers, which will help teens develop and entirely new skill.
In short, the opening of the newly revamped Digital Innovation Hub is a fantastic opportunity for newcomers and more experienced lovers of technology! It's an amazing resource that should definitely be taken advantage of and explored, and is hopefully only the start of exciting new programs at the Malvern Public Library!
Review by Sakeina, Malvern Branch Youth Advisory Group member.
Review by Fariha, with thanks to Helena at TPL for providing an ARC to read and review!
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
When you’re a thief, you’re also a liar. It comes with the territory.
The Free by Lauren McLaughlin is about Isaac West, a high school teenager with a rough childhood, who landed himself in juvie for a month because he was caught stealing. We follow Isaac through his sentence and his experiences at juvie: the good, the bad and the wishes to just get out of there.
I thought I’d turn to the “Things I Liked” and “Things I Didn’t Like” list that I haven’t done in quite a while for this review.
Things I Liked:
**I really loved Isaac’s love for his sister and everything he was willing to do for her. Isaac was an alright character throughout the novel but I loved this certain aspect of him. We don’t see nearly enough siblings in YA, especially ones who have a good relationship with each other.
**I’m quite glad that there was no romance in here. I mean, there were references to sex and romantic partners but it was not a big deal throughout the novel.
Every once in a while a group of books come along that are all very well received by the critics. These are the books that we look forward to as we have a sense that we are getting something precious, something insightful, something that we will want to read and that will have that certain substance we are looking for. Here are four titles that have been very well received:
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty.
Kirkus says: "Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.This story is necessary. This story is important."
Place a hold on The Hate You Give, by Angie Thomas.
Everything Beautiful is not Ruined, by Danielle Younge-Ullman
Ingrid traveled all over Europe with her opera star mother, Margot-Sophia. Life was beautiful and bright, and every day soared with music.
Ingrid is on a summertime wilderness survival trek for at-risk teens: addicts, runaways, and her. She’s fighting to survive crushing humiliations, physical challenges that push her to her limits, and mind games that threaten to break her.
Quill and Quire says: " . . . is an emotionally resonant, fabulously crafted novel about a young woman figuring out who she is and dealing with some seriously devastating events in her life. You don’t have to be 17 to empathize with Ingrid; her struggles are universal, even if her specific circumstances are not."
Perfect for aspiring coders everywhere, Girl Code is the story of two teenage tech phenoms who met at Girls Who Code summer camp, teamed up to create a viral video game, and ended up becoming world famous. The book also includes bonus content to help you get started coding!
Kirkus says: "What brought the two together for their project was a desire to combine social commentary with their coding, resulting in their successful game. The game (and networking opportunities from GWC) has brought them attention and many more opportunities, but it also took more time and energy than they had to spare. By book’s end, they find themselves evaluating their futures with technology. The psychology of self-doubt and value of persistence are well-presented—the co-authors stress that the greater the frustration, the better the payoff. Tech-centered empowerment for those who feel voiceless. (coding appendix with glossary, sample code, resources) (Memoir. 12-17)"
Place a hold on Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral and Getting It Done, by Andrea Gonzales.
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Boy Bands and their rabid avid fans hold a special place among fans, and the narrator of this novel, a devotee of 80s movie and The Ruperts, is our tour guide into a group of crazy passionate fans known as Strepurs. She and her friends have got themselves close to their beloved quartet, when something goes awry, and they sort of accidentally kidnap one of them. Now what??
Review by Sohinee
King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard, the third book in the Red Queen series, is probably so far the best in the series. The characters have developed so much and the story is more vibrant and electric and the author's writing flows like fine ink. Mare Barrow is no longer naive 16-year-old trying to save her best friend from getting conscripted. Now she is a woman wanting to go home to be with her family, wanting to be with the man she loves, and continuing to fight for what she believes in. Evangeline is no longer a cold-hearted b****, she's a sister trying to protect her brother from Mare's wrath. She is in love with a girl she cannot be with because she is a pawn on her father's chessboard. Maven isn't a boy king who betrayed everyone to be king, no, he's a tortured soul who can't tell right from wrong. The only person who stays disappointingly the same is Cal who makes promises he can't keep. Again chooses the crown over Mare. King's Cage is a fantastic read that I would recommend to anyone... but read the first two books first!
Crush got you crazy? Characters in these books can definitely relate.
Lyla and Tripp alternate days in a coveted music practice room at school, and this sharing arrangements leads to a slightly cranky note, which leads to a conversation where the argumentative tone grows into banter, and then into real sharing. The two, who are pretty different, begin to open up and develop an emotional connection that turns into something real by the end of the book. It's a cute story, centered around music and connection and getting each other when others around them just don't, and a perfect light read for someone who enjoys the sweet side of romance more than the steamy.
Valentine's Day is coming up, but not everyone has a date. Or even wants to have a date. And it sucks when friends are dumped in favour of a new boyfriend or girlfriend. So here are some recommended reads for those who value friendship over romance. Platonic relationships are integral to these stories... even if they don't always end well.
Lillia, Kat, and Mary. Three very different girls all with one goal in mind: revenge. Revenge against the boys who hurt them, the girls who wronged them, the bullies who torment them. These friends bond over their revenge pact, but how strong can a friendship built on hatred really be?
There's a surprising twist at the end of this novel. Thankfully the sequels are already available for those who have to know what happens next! Romantic relationships start to form in book 2 though, and it's possible these friendships won't survive.
Recommended for fans of revenge served cold, hot, and anywhere in between. Also recommended for fans of the expression “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”
This book had me by the cover. And I am not saying that you should judge a book by it's cover, but keep in mind that cover does a lot in selling the book. In Nina LaCour's new title (wonderfully being made to the public on valentines day) we have a beautiful and compelling tale of loss and sadness mixed with lies and betrayal.
It is the first school holiday since Marin started at college in New York leaving behind her life in California, all her friends, many of her possessions and full of secrets that no one knows. Not even her best friend Mable is aware of the baggage that she is carrying. As Marin sits and waits in her empty dorm for Mabel to arrive she begins to revisit and sift through the pieces of the past that she keeps tripping on.
Marin has allowed loneliness take up residence in her soul, but it is possible that the best thing for her is to tell the truth - or will that ruin her facade and actually turn her into a complete wreck?
This haunting novella weaves a tremendous tale and really engages you with the characters. This is a well received book and I can certainly understand why.
Not every love story is a boy-meets-girl love story. Looking for a different pair of protagonists in your Valentine's read? Try one of these picks:
Ash, by Malinda Lo
You think you know this story, but you’re wrong. Her name isn’t Cinderella, it’s Ash. And he isn’t just a prince, he’s a fairy prince. He and his kind are hunted by the King’s Huntress. When Ash and the Huntress meet in the woods, the two become friends, even though Ash hides the truth about her prince. Given the option to leave behind the horrible life she’s known, to live in the beautiful fairy Realm, what will Ash choose? The fairy prince who loves her, or the woman she is falling for?
Recommended for fans of fantasy, fairy tales, or The Wild Hunt.
Orientations/identities represented: lesbian.
Pink hearts everywhere. Candy that says “Be Mine, Valentine”. Pet names and mushy stuff. Maybe it just isn’t for you. So here’s a list of books we recommend that are romance-free-zones (at least 95% romance-free, anyway), with no love triangles in sight.
Steeplejack (A. J. Hartley)
High above the city, Ang works a dangerous job repairing chimneys, towers, and spires as a steeplejack. Death from a fall is a real possibility, and even the best of the best sometimes take a spill. So the death of Ang’s apprentice from an apparent fall isn’t that surprising. But when Ang finds out that her apprentice was murdered, the crime is overshadowed by the greatest theft her city has ever seen. Determined to unravel the mystery and find justice for her friend, it isn’t falling to her death that becomes the greatest danger to Ang…
This novel is hard to put down once you get started, full of action and excitement from the very beginning. Hopefully a sequel will be in store, too!
Recommended for fans of Parkour, bungee jumping, or girls who kick butt.
There’s also a short-story prequel, available as an eBook!
Review by Fariha, with "thanks a lot to HBG Canada for providing an ARC to read and review!"
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
A Tragic Kind of Wonderful follows Mel, a 16-year-old who is dealing with bipolar disorder. The novel explores how the mental illness affects her life and her experiences and her relationships.
I read this book right after reading History Is All You Left Me and I couldn’t ignore how similar the two novels are. They both contain peeks into the past as we get to see what happened before the books started, both explore mental illnesses (that perhaps don’t get as much recognition. Bipolar Disorder and OCD are not talked about or explored as much as some others, such as depression and anxiety), a lot of characters aren’t straight, and both main characters deal with losing a loved one. However, they’re both so incredibly different at the same time, in atmosphere and characters and how the story progresses.
No not this
We're talking about this
February is Personal Finance Month: and it's not just for adults. If you're like me when I was a teenager, the mere thought of anything "financial" makes you yawn. Man do I wish I had known better! Money makes the world go round, for better or for worse, and understanding it is the key to either being in control of it, or letting it control you.
The library has a series of workshops and information sessions this month that are just for teens and youth. Come learn how to make it rain.
York Woods Library Youth Hub
Mon Feb 6
Sanderson Library Youth Hub
Wed Feb 15
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Sanderson Library Youth Hub
Tue Feb 28
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Mon Feb 27
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Cedarbrae Library Youth Hub
Tues Feb 21
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Can't make it out? Read up!
The Sink or Swim Money Program, by John E. Whitecomb (ebook)
I have to admit before reading this book I didn’t know much about North Korea. My knowledge was limited to news reports on nuclear weapons, Communism, a young leader named Kim Jong-Un and that’s about it. I watched The Interview which I thought was funny, but I don’t think that counts for any real knowledge about North Korea.
Every Falling Star changed this for me. As soon as I finished the book I wanted to research more about this complex and paradoxical country. The book is the author’s childhood memoir which chronicles a time when he went from a life of comfort and security to one of extreme poverty and violence. For reasons he cannot disclose, Sungju and his family were moved from the capital of Pyongyang to the poor town of Gyeong-Seong. There his family is eventually driven to the brink of starvation. His father makes the decision to take the dangerous journey to China where he will smuggle back supplies. After a long time without word, Sungju’s mother decides to leave town to visit his aunt where she might find food. Neither of his parents return and so Sungju is forced to live on the streets as a kotjebi or street boy. On the streets he is joined by his former schoolmates and they form an unbreakable bond and undying brotherhood. Together they face horrible street violence, unspeakable military brutality, starvation, drugs and death but through it all an undeniable hope.
What I loved most about this book was that it didn’t seem to be written as an intentional tear jerker, instead it was a realistic depiction of what life looks like when young people are faced with extreme conditions.
The book was co-written by Susan McClelland author of the Bite of the Mango Part of the proceeds of the book go to the Citizens Alliance for North Koreans Human Rights to help North Koreans in China.
Place a hold on Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea, by Sungju Lee or read the ebook.
Review by Fariha, with thanks to "Helena at TPL for sending the ARC my way!"
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Rating: 4/5 stars
History Is All You Left Me follows Griffin as he mourns and tries to come to terms with the death of one of his best friends and his first love. There is guilt and the complex relationships at play, as well as the memories and the things left unsaid.
I read History Is All You Left Me for two weeks and a couple days. As a voracious reader, it is unlikely that I take even a week to read a single book and yet, I read this book over a long period of time and I think I enjoyed it more for it. I feel so connected to the story as it has been actively taking up a part of my mind for the better part of a month and this story is one that will stay with me for a long while yet.
Review by Rifa, member of the Cedarbrae Youth Advisory Group
The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick is a young adult contemporary novel that focuses on Tim Mason’s and Alice Garrett’s story. I anticipated this book to be a light-hearted romance that focused on the relationship between the two main characters. However, this book was much more than that and actually brought up quite a bit of serious topics. In this story we deal with two different perspectives. The first one is Tim who is an alcoholic, abuses drugs, gets kicked out of his home and has an unexpected surprise coming at him a little bit after the beginning of the book. The second perspective is Alice, a girl who struggles to take care of her large family while her dad is in the hospital recovering from an injury.
Review by Tasmi, member of the Cedarbrae Youth Advisory Group
Julia and Dave are longterm best friends that are just about to start their freshmen year in high school. But they aren’t your typical cliché best friends that will end up being a quarterback of the football team, or the cheerleading captain and grow apart like other high schoolers. Right before they embark on their journey towards the next four years of high school, they write a Never List, that includes all the cliché things you could do, and vow to never do any of them. Some of the rules are like, #5 Never dye your hair the colour of rainbows, or #7 Never hook up with a teacher. But of course, rules are meant to be broken, as Dave broke rule #8 Never pine silently after someone for the eternity of high school.
Review by Fariha, with "thanks a ton to HBG Canada for providing me with an ARC! All quotes are from the ARC and are subject to change."
Rating: 2/5 stars
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Frostblood by Elly Blake was one of the 2017 releases I was eagerly waiting to get in my hands because it’s a High Fantasy novel by a Canadian author that involves powers of frost and fire, a deadly tournament and a thirst for revenge. What more could a girl want? Possibly for the book to be actually good, whoops.
As excited as I was, the very first chapters disappointed me. I hadn’t realized that the book was in first person, which is my least favourite of the POVs (2nd person might be slightly uncomfortable but it’s interesting) and I find 1st person to usually be very un-atmospheric in fantasy. I also wasn’t a fan of the writing style, it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t unique or memorable. The events that were occurring seemed abrupt but not engaging. I felt my hopes for the book crashing around me as I read the first couple pages. Also, the beginning of the book required empathy, or at least sympathy, to make any impact from the readers but there was nothing that made the reader empathetic. Oh, look, something terrible that happens in literally every other book happened! I care so much!
In the mystical and magical land of Brooklyn lives Vassa and her not so pleasant stepmother and constantly bickering step sisters. The wealthy and glamorous people put on their absolutely adorable shoes and go out partying often. There is a huge cultural divide between the upper class people and the working class and they don't mix. Magic is often to be found and dealt with but many times it is wiser just to leave magic alone.
The local convenience store is run by Babs Yagg (think legend Babba Yagga) who has no issues with beheading shoplifters or dealing with people with her own personal sense of justice. One night Vassa is sent out by her bickering step sisters to get light bulbs. This is very much a death sentence as she knows what can happen at the convenience store, but she herself has her own little piece of magic that she carries with her. Vassa just may be able to free her Brooklyn neighborhood from Babs but only if the playing field is level and fair.
Vassa in the Night is a thrilling modern take on a fairy tale. Indulge yourself and give it a read.
Place a hold on Vassa in the Night, by Sarah Porter.
Review by Vyshnavi
When one thinks of Disney princesses, they probably picture your average young white maiden, who is a magically talented damsel in distress. Said damsel in distress would obviously need a young, strong, powerful prince to save her. Not to mention both princess and Prince are drop dead gorgeous. How typical of Disney. Moana breaks all of these stereotypes.
Review by Fariha
Leigh Bardugo just became one of those authors whose shopping lists I’d read with this book. While I enjoyed Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, it did not affect me as emotionally as Six of Crows has. Six of Crows is about a heist crew with an impossible mission but there is no better group of misfits fit for the job.
None of the characters here are good, per se. They are greedy, they are recklessly ambitious, they are very much morally ambiguous, sometimes they are cruel, everybody has a past that made them that way and the readers can get behind their goals and, despite the characters’ flaws. Leigh Bardugo clearly has a gift for creating dark, scheming, lovable characters who are not heroes but the readers cheer them on despite that.
I was going to talk about a favourite character here but then realized that I simply cannot choose. I’d have a better luck choosing a single favourite book than a favourite character from this book. What does that say?
What is the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?
Knife to the throat?
Gun to the back?
Poison in his cup?
You’re all horrible.
The easiest way to steal a man’s watch is to tell him you’re going to steal his watch.
Inej is the purest of them all and I love her. Kaz is one greedy bastard but I love how clever he is. I approve of 0% of Jesper’s actions but I want to give him a hug. Wylan needs a hug because reasons. Nina’s sassy confidence is unforgettable and her mistakes only make her human. I LIVE for Matthias’ character development. I love them all so much.
By Hannah, Runnymede Branch Youth Advisory Group member
You don't know what to do this holiday? You don't want to go out in this weather? Too lazy to read a book? The best thing to do is stay home and watch movies - let this post help you decide what to watch!
Want to know the hottest books of 2016? Well, a lot of great teen books were published in 2016 and we've rounded up the most popular for you. These were the top ten placed on hold at Toronto Public Library this year. These books are in hot demand, so place your holds now!
Danielle Paige burst onto the scene a few years ago with her re-imagining of the land of OZ. In her new title "Stealing Snow" she has taken the fairy tale of "The Snow Queen" (think Frozen but the original story" and re-imagined it as a modern day pilgrimage of a young woman finding herself.
The heroine of the book, 17 year old Snow, has been in a mental health institution for most of her life. She suffers from visions and delusions, however she is convinced that she does not belong there and that the things in her head are actually memories and not an affliction. She meets the handsome and mysterious (you have to have some fairy tale tropes) Bale and he helps her to escape.
Once out of the institution and into the woods the line between reality and fairy tale becomes even more blurred as New York City fades and she is in a Narnia like world where there is magic and witches and thieves. Snow may very well belong in this world, but is it a place that she can survive?
The library offers many resources for students to help them improve on their research, studying, skill learning, memorizing, etc. Here are a few items offered from "Safari Tech and Business Books Online" that will make your studying and learning a bit more streamlined.
Critical Thinking Skills for Dummies (2015): Just what are the ingredients of a great argument? What is the secret to communicating your ideas clearly and persuasively? And how do you see through sloppy thinking and flim-flam? If you've ever asked any of these questions, then this book is for you!
Improve Your Speed Reading Skills (2015): Improve Your Speed Reading Skills and breeze through books, newspapers, textbooks, reports, webpages -- whatever you need to read, however you want to read it.
Essay Writing Skills – Essential Techniques to Gain Top Grades (2012): Writing essays is a major part of many further education courses. In coursework assignments, dissertations and exams, a well-written essay can make the difference between a pass and a fail. Essay Writing Skills offers practical and proven ways to maximize your success in all aspects of essay writing. From planning your first essay to assessing primary and secondary sources, this book will help you to write in a systematic way that presents a convincing and academically sound argument. A comprehensive guide, it provides guidance and advice on good research techniques, grammar and accuracy, creating an essay plan and correctly citing your sources. Also including a range of real life example essays and insider knowledge on how your essays are assessed, Essay Writing Skills is an indispensable source of advice, making the writing process clear and manageable to help you improve the quality of your written work.
College Success Guide (2nd ed., 2011): This book walks college students through the steps that are proven to make them successful in college and life.
The Study Skills Guide; Essential Strategies for Smart Students (2010): The Study Skills Guide covers the essential skills that lead to success at university. With advice on how to work efficiently and achieve great results, this comprehensive guide offers practical and proven ways to cope with the challenges you will face. Designed to help you achieve important goals, it offers vital advice on how to get the best out of your study time, including advice on revision and exam techniques; tips on note-taking and writing good essays and dissertations and guidance on how to impress with presentations. With free online downloadable resource material, this essential guide provides a firm foundation to your time at university and a catalyst to success in everything from working with academic staff and getting the most from lectures, to writing good essays fast.