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Fiction of the Week

Get Ready to Shiver

August 24, 2010 | Margaret

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Grace is: kind of lonely, living a quiet life with her distracted parents near Minnesota.  As a child, Grace was attacked by a pack of wolves but miraculously survived unharmed.  Now she watches the wolves in the woods beyond her home with fascination, especially one with piercing yellow eyes.

Sam is: leading a double life.  In summer he is the cute boy with strange eyes who works in the bookstore where Grace hangs out.  In the cold winter he must change.  The coming chill marks his transformation into a wolf.

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Sarah Ockler: Insights into Twenty Boy Summer

August 16, 2010 | ED

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Sarah Ockler is the author of Twenty Boy Summer. The novel tells a touching story of love, grief and making the most of life. We had the opportunity to ask Sarah Ockler a few questions. Below are her responses…

Twenty Boy Summer is your first novel and is geared towards young adults. What made you decide to write for young adults?

I don't know that I decided to write for young adults as much as writing for young adults just... picked me! But I was officially encouraged to try YA by a writing instructor from Lighthouse Writers in Denver, Colorado. He'd read an essay I'd written about some trouble my best friend and I got into when we were fifteen, and he thought my writing had a great teen voice. I hadn't considered writing for teens before -- I was actually just wandering around, knowing I wanted to write but not sure where to start -- but Lighthouse had a YA novel class starting up, so I took a chance and signed up. After the first session, I'd found my writing heart. We read other contemporary YA authors like Sarah Dessen, Laurie Halse Anderson, Deb Caletti, and I knew then without a doubt that YA stories were the stories I needed to tell. Plus, I think I never really got over high school. Such a crazy, tumultuous time in life. I wrote Twenty Boy Summer in that YA novel class, and I've never looked back!

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Mouse Trap: lookin for the cheezzze

August 11, 2010 | ED

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The Maze Runner by James Dasher, is a non-stop thriller, that once you start reading it is impossible to put down (well at least in my opinion). In my mind, it is a great cross between Lord of the Flies and Lost.

The book begins with Thomas waking up in a lift with no memory but his own name. He emerges into the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls. Every morning the walls open onto pathways leading to The Maze and every night the walls close sealing the giant openings on every side. Everyday members of the group try to find a way to escape from the Maze but have been unsuccessful so far. The story takes on a sense of urgency when a girl arrives at the Glade with a strange message. From this point the push is on for Thomas, to find out who he is, why they are there and how to escape from the Maze…

At the end of the book, it is revealed that this is just one of the many tests that the group will face. In fact the second book in the series, The Scorch Trials, is coming out in October…

What did you think of the book? Are you planning to read the sequel?

High School Confidential

August 4, 2010 | Helena

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Unlike Luke who is the main character in Surface Tension, I’m not that big of a fan of going to the cottage.  I guess I enjoy life in the city a bit too much to really get into the spirit of things at the lake.  But despite the fact that the book takes place at a cottage over four summers, I found that I easily related to Luke’s story because his growth from a still boyish 13 year old to a more knowing 16 year old reminded me of me during high school.  Like Luke, I remember still really liking hanging out with my parents at 13.  And, if I’m being completely honest, I think, at 13, I was still at that phase where I took a lot of my self-image from my parents’ cues.  And then a few years passed, and I found myself at sixteen and seventeen still getting along with my parents but more independent.  I was also really busy sorting out who I thought I was.  I’m not sure how aware I was that I was changing and maturing.  I guess I was aware of it to some degree.  I remember feeling like grade 10 was hugely different from grade 9 because, at that point, I had developed “better” taste in music and had made some different friends as a result.  I also remember feeling like, maybe, life was a bit bigger than I had thought when my best friend got a car and drove us downtown from the suburbs.  We didn’t do anything crazy.  We mostly shopped and ate at sushi restaurants, but I still got a rush.    

Do you feel like who you are now is very different from who you were a year ago?  If you were writing a book, like Surface Tension, that looks back at your high school years, what would you write about?

Norah McClintock's "Taken" + General Ramblings About Teen Thrillers

July 30, 2010 | Alan H.

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Norah McClintock's Taken is a fusion of two genres I read a lot of in my teen years, the teen mystery/thriller + the teen survival story. 


Part of the appeal of these stories is the unfolding plot (and plot twists), so I won't go into too much detail beyond my original summary for our booklist:

When Stephanie Rawls is drugged and kidnapped, she must escape alone from deep in the wilderness. Both an intense survival story and a murder mystery, McClintock’s novel should appeal to fans of both these genres.

So along with the obvious audience of mystery/thriller enthusiasts (especially those who enjoy any of McClintock's other books) I'd recommend this one to fans of wilderness survival stories like Gary Paulsen's Hatchet or Gordon Korman's Island series.

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Does Arthur Slade have an evil nemesis?

July 19, 2010 | Elsa

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In The Hunchback Assignments, Modo is a hunchback who has the ability to transform his appearance. He has been raised as a secret agent by Mr. Socrates, his benefactor. Modo does not experience the outside world until he turns 14, when Mr. Socrates leaves him at a corner of London one afternoon. In order to survive, Modo applies the skills he learned and somehow finds himself involved in uncovering a monstrous plan like no other.

The mastermind behind The Hunchback Assignments is Arthur Slade. I have been very lucky this summer to be able to chat with Arthur.

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I love satire and you can too!

July 14, 2010 | Cameron

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I'm a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I want to be Your Class President is an awesome satire. For those of you who may not know, satire is a format of humor that pokes fun at the world or segments of culture, society, etc, by making it into an extreme. South Park is a fine example of how satire can work.

Josh Lieb is the author of the book and he does a great job of writing a very extreme situation to make it not only funny but to also use it to convey how difficult the underdogs life can be. Extreme visions of grandeur is a phrase that comes to mind when I think of this book.

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The Science of a Band Name- Struts and Frets

July 6, 2010 | Tatted Librarian

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Struts and Frets is about a guy named Sam who is in the band, "Tragedy of Wisdom, Sam wanted to name his band "Tragedy of Reason," because it stressed how sad it was to be the only thoughtful person in a crowd;  whereas Joe, the front man, wanted the name, "Tragedy of Wisdom," because it sounded cooler. 

*heavy sigh*.  Spending a good portion of my youth in the local music scene, I came to understand the importance of a band name.

A band name sets the tone of the band, and gives a glimpse of into the mission of the band.  If the band is political, socially aware, or just out there for the glory of being in a band, the a good name may project out these intentions.  More importantly, a bad name sets back band and many out in the audience will not take them seriously.  

Case in point:  A few friends of mine back in the the day formed a hardcore/street punk band and decided to call themselves "Tastes Like Chicken."  They ran into problems when they decided to refer to themselves as "TLC."  You can probably imagine the barrage of jokes we laid on them after this move. They changed their name eventually, but the band never lived down the TLC days.  

For any one out there looking for a great band name, I would suggest looking up Jello Bifara's spoken word bit on cool band names.  For those who don't know, Jello Biafra is the lead singer of the influential punk band, the Dead Kennedys. 

Some great band names that come to my mind are:

Propagandhi:  <3 <3
No Use for a Name

Strike Anywhere
The Dandy Warhols
Uncle Scratch's Gospel Revival
Bikini Kill
Sour Keys
Neutral Milk Hotel

What are some of your favourite band names?