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Teen Review - The Leveller

March 22, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Asifa, Cedarbrae Youth Advisory Group member

The leveller  by julia durangoThe Leveller is a novel about a game that allows a person to play with their minds in a virtual-reality gaming world while they are asleep, or in a sleep-like state. The protagonist of the book, Nixy Bauer, is a girl whose job is to bring kids back from the virtual-reality game if they have been in it for too long. When the game’s developer (who, mind you is quite rich) finds out that his son has decided to “commit suicide” by staying in the game, he decides that Nixy should be the one to go after his son and take him out of the gaming world. Turns out, the guy is actually stuck in the game and cannot get out. It’s up to Nixy and the boy to figure out how to get out of the gaming world.

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Teen Review - The Art of Not Breathing

March 17, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Reviewed by Dawes Road Youth Advisory Group member Marilyn

The art of not breathing  by Sarah alexanderThe Art of Not Breathing, written beautifully by Sarah Alexander, is a lot like the Art of letting go. This book tells a story of a girl's best friend, her twin brother, in a devastating incident. Through all the challenges Elsie, the protagonist, and her family face she still tries to reach her brother and forever let go. Even after her brother was physically gone from her life, she always felt that he was right next to her at all times. Through struggles of growing up herself, Elsie starts to get used to bad habits after her brothers death. When she finds someone to show her a better passion of free- diving, her whole world changes, and she finds a way to reach her brother for one last time to say goodbye.

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Teen Review - Girl Rising

March 6, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Amen, member of the Malvern Youth Advisory Group
 
Girl risingGirl Rising is a book of stories that tell about the lives of girls in underdeveloped countries such as Ethiopia, Nepal and Sierra Leone. In these stories, the girls talk about the hardship and discrimination they face almost every day. Some of the girls in the book are not able to go to school just because they are “girls.” Without proper education, these girls are subject to slavery, human trafficking, and childhood marriage. But with the help of organizations, like Girl Rising, the girls receive an education and have a brighter future in different countries.

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Digital Innovation at Malvern Library

March 2, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Malvern DIH 1One 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.

Malvern DIH 2In 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.

Teen Review - The Free

February 28, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

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 FreeThe 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.

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Teen Review - King's Cage

February 15, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Sohinee

*Spoilers ahead*

King's cage coverKing'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!

Read the ebook!

Teen Review: A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

February 8, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

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

Tragic kind of wonderfulA 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.

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Teen Review - History Is All You Left Me

January 17, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

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 coverHistory 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.

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Teen Review - The Boy Most Likely To

January 14, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Rifa, member of the Cedarbrae Youth Advisory Group

The boy most likely to coverThe 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.

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Teen Review - Never Always Sometimes

January 12, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Tasmi, member of the Cedarbrae Youth Advisory Group

Never always sometimes coverJulia 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. 

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Teen Review - Frostblood

January 10, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (1)

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 coverFrostblood 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!

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Teen Review - Moana: The Perfect Disney Movie

January 5, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (1)

Review by Vyshnavi

MoanaWhen 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.

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Teen Review - Six of Crows

January 3, 2017 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Fariha

Six of crows coverWe are all someone’s monster.

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.

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TOP 5 MOVIES TO WATCH THIS HOLIDAY

December 28, 2016 | Youth Advisory Group | Comments (0)

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!  

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Teen Review - The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn

December 8, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Tahsin, member of the Dufferin/St.Clair Branch Youth Advisory Group.

This is about a Index young girl named Clarissa Granville, who is born to wealthy family in the Edwardian era. She lives a sheltered, privileged life until 1914, when World War I explodes.

What others didn’t like about this book is what made me enjoy it so much.

To be fair, this book is like many other books. Even the name of the romantic interest in this book, Tom, is a common and popular name in WWI books. But as one reviewer once wrote “it’s not what a book is about, it’s about how it’s told.” (Emily May, Goodreads)

The main character is what made this book so good, just because she is so realistic. Most books show us the flaws in our character to make them seem this way, but few show us the worst but most common ones. In this case, the flaw helped to drive the plot: the all too common fear of going after what you want. Clarissa tried to please others in her life and this made her a relatable character to me. In most stories, the protagonist goes against everyone, no matter how stupid or wrong it is.

In this book, we meet a girl choosing between what she wants vs what society and her mother expect from her. She faces prejudice, class distinctions as she falls in love with someone below her station, and pervasive sexism stops her from pursuing a career. All of these are portrayed very realistically in the story.

She does not do the ideal-and the usual-action of doing only what she wishes. Clarissa tries to please everyone, and faces the inevitable outcome of it. While it is not the best decision, it is the one that many us choose.

If you are looking for a story with a perfect happy ending, then I do not recommend this book to you. This book is for people who can read about the gritty reality of human nature.

Place a hold on The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn.

The Trouble with YA Dystopian Novels Today – A Throne of Glass Review

December 1, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (1)

Review by Azeeza, member of the Cedarbrae Youth Advisory Group

Throne of glass CoverLike many youth, my love for YA Dystopian novels took up much of my time and stopped me from exploring other genres of books. Dystopian novels were always so wonderful, why would I want anything else when I already knew what I liked? This ideology worked well for me until what I liked… wasn’t the same anymore. Dystopian novels are often advertised as belonging to the action/adventure genres. As a reader, this is what I had grown to expect and love. The thrill of your beloved characters facing deadly circumstances, the risks being taken and the uncertainty of what would happen next, never failed to capture me… until these elements fell second to one element: romance.

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Teen Review - Hamilton

November 27, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Vyshnavi, member of the Cedarbrae Youth Advisory Group

Hamilton 1On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, I had the privilege to see hit Broadway Musical “Hamilton”. The musical, which originally started playing in New York in the Richard Rodgers Theater, is now playing in the Private Bank Theater in Chicago. Originally based on the biography “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow, the musical has played in New York since August 2015, and has gained nationwide success immediately. During the past few weeks, I had been overwhelmed with the amount of school work I had been getting. I thought grade 9 was hard, but turns out grade 10 is tenfold the difficulty. I have always been a fan of the musical, to a point where it was the only thing I listened to on repeat. I also got a few of my classmates in Spanish class to listen to it, and we are currently working on translating the whole musical to Spanish. I somehow convinced my mom to take me to Chicago to see the exceptional show during my school’s November break.

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Teen Review - Heaven on Earth

November 26, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Zahin, member of the Cedarbrae Youth Advisory Group

Heaven on earth coverA couple of days back I went to my local library and signed out the book called Heaven on Earth by LIFE Books. It is a photography book featuring beautiful images of world destinations, mainly to spark world vacation ideas. The book features colourful photography of beautiful worldwide scenes and professionally written descriptions of each destination. In my opinion, the best part of the book would have to be the rhythmic descriptions. They have a sort of flow that goes through the mind making beautiful images pop up, almost as if making your mind drool over the pictures.

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Teen Review - Red Queen

November 25, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Reviewed by Sohinee

Red Queen coverA world with two races of people: one with red blood and one with silver blood. Silvers, high class people with different abilities. Reds, lower class people slaving away their lives to live and survive Silver cruelty. Mare Barrow, a thief and a Red girl trying to make ends meet. While trying to scrounge up money for her best friend to prevent him from being shipped off to the war, Mare falls into Silver hands as they discover she, a girl with Red blood, has Silver blood. Mare becomes betrothed to Prince Maven when her powers are discovered. She becomes split between who she is and what they are forcing her to become.

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Teen Review - The Rose and the Dagger

November 24, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh
Reviewed by Fariha

The rose and the dagger coverFrom the stars, to the stars.

To be quite honest, I had high expectations for the ending of this duology and not all of them were quite met. However, it was still an enjoyable ride. So, 3.5 stars for the slightly-not-as-epic-as-one-would-hope, magical, lyrical conclusion to the Wrath and the Dawn duology.

The characters were awesome, once again. I loved them and watching their character developments come to an arc made me feel like a doting mother and a proud friend. I also love how some of the secondary characters from the first book had a larger part in the book, such as Irsa, and each character has their own story that intertwines with the main plot. Makes the characters and the world seem more alive, I find.

Give me a meaningful love or a beautiful death!

We also got to explore the magical aspects of the world, which was very interesting and curious. There are some cool things that had me very excited and even though we were given some information, I wanted some more history of how some of the magic came to be.

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Teen Review: The Wrath and the Dawn

November 17, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Reviewed by Fariha


The wrath and the dawn coverYou are not weak. You are not indecisive. You are strong. Fierce. Capable beyond measure.

The Wrath and the Dawn is an intense, romantic and magical book that takes the reader to a palace centuries before. The book is well rounded in nearly every aspect with great characters, relatable and believable banter and relationships, atmospheric settings and lush writing. I flew through the book and all the while, my life was more focused on the story than my actual life.

The story consumed me and took over all my senses because of how vividly Ahdieh painted the pictures. Her writing is woven like a spider’s web, each word is chosen as precisely for the sentence as each strand of silk, each leaf on a tree and she somehow captures smells within words, all the while managing to keep a balance of gorgeous, flowing prose and not straying towards overcompensating, lengthy metaphors or mindless descriptions. I am in awe. She makes me want to knit words that fit together snugly and bring the reader warmth.

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DOCTOR STRANGE - movie review

November 12, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Reviewed by Sohinee

Doctor Strange Poster*Spoiler ahead* (If you haven’t watched Doctor Strange why are reading this review?) All aboard the Marvel Cinematic Universe train, because there is no stopping it. The MCU released its 14th superhero movie on November 4. The movie starred Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams and Mads Mikleson just to name a few.

This is the first time Doctor Strange came to the big screen and the director and cast blew it away! Benedict Cumberbatch played the egotistical, anti-social, Tony Stark persona, Doctor Stephen Strange, a brilliant neurosurgeon who loses his hands because of a car accident. Strange spends the last dregs of his money to buy a one-way ticket to Kathmandu, Nepal, where an alleged healer, healed a paraplegic man. There Strange meets the Ancient One and dives into the world of magic and mystics.

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THE MIDNIGHT STAR reviewed

November 10, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Reviewed by Fariha

Read Fariha's other reviews of books in this trilogy:
Young Elites
Rose Society

*There won’t be any direct spoilers in this review but you should probably have read the first two books, anyway.

You cannot harden your heart to the future just because of your past. You cannot use cruelty against yourself to justify cruelty to others.

Midnight star coverGood News & Bad News: Marie Lu knows how to end her trilogies with a bang but also knows how to kill her readers. I feel as though I am not even alive anymore. I am writing this review after my death, my funeral was yesterday and I’m surprised how good the Wi-Fi is, considering I’m in a coffin. (Okay, this scenario is running away from me, let’s stop.)

Marie Lu’s endings, both Champion and The Midnight Star, have been very bittersweet. I'm usually hesitant to read endings of series and trilogies because it can all go horribly wrong and ruin the series. However, I now know I really don't have to worry about that with Marie Lu's endings. They do not leave things hanging and give readers the proper closure they deserve but oh my gosh, do they destroy the reader’s heart anyway. In my opinion, Midnight Star was even better than Champion, so if you’ve read that and are about to read MS, strap yourselves in! It felt as though my heart had been broken a million and 1 times but has only been healed a million.

I am the nightmare.

This book starts epically. It is intense and dark and gruesome and makes your heart beat out of your chest. It was shorter than The Rose Society and much more fast-paced, which I appreciated. I am not joking when I say that I missed my station and rode the TTC for two more stops before realizing that I had been so caught up in an intense scene that I had forgotten about the real world. I am ashamed (because how Fariha? why?) but I also applaud Marie Lu (because how Marie? Why?).

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GIRLS IN THE MOON reviewed

November 4, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Richview Youth Advisory Group member Elisa

Girls in the moon coverPhoebe Farris was born into a family of rock stars. Her mother, Meg, founded Shelter, the American band famous for their summer cult classics, but now spends her time forging spiky metal sculptures in the garage. Her now-estranged father, Kieran, also was a founder of Shelter, but left the band when he left his wife and daughters to start his solo career as a singer and a music producer. And her sister, Luna, has dropped out of college to start touring the States with her own incredibly successful band, Luna and the Moons.

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UGLIES reviewed

November 3, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Vaishnave

UgliesUglies by Scott Westerfeld is good in my opinion but it didn’t leave me in awe or wanting more. The book is about a 16-year-old girl named Tally who is waiting to have a plastic surgery operation to make her pretty. Everyone goes through this process and she can’t wait to party in New Pretty Town. Her best friend Shay doesn’t want to turn pretty. She runs away to the mysterious camp called Smoke where her boyfriend David awaits, leaving Tally a set of puzzling directions in case she changes her mind and decides to go too. But Tally wants to be pretty and she is excitedly awaiting the surgery and has no wish to run away.

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