ages 11-18

Shakespeare at his finest, or at least at his shortest!

There is something to be said about Shakespeare, and that something might possibly be that it is not possible to get an understanding of the plot of a Shakespearean play in fewer than 10 seconds. Well, now it is, thanks to Brevity is the Soul of Wit!

Want to know what happens to Henry VI in Henry VI part 2? This book breaks it down!

Need to know what Hamlet does in Hamlet? This book gets you the answer you are seeking!

Want to know what happens Cymbeline? Wait...Shakespeare wrote a play called Cymbeline...? Well, not only do know now know the Bard's lesser-known titles, you can also know the overall arc of the main plot!

The art isn't breath-taking, and the prose isn't overwrought, and short and sweet is a whole new way to appreciate Shakespeare's work! If you are a fan of Shakespeare, you'll laugh at the extremely summarized style. The artist clearly loves the work of Shakespeare and it shines throughout the book. This is a great, and quick read and very much worth the time!

It's Banned Books Week! Sept. 27 - Oct. 3

Banned Books Week 2015 posterBanned Books Week 2015 poster

What is Banned Books Week, you may ask? It's an event put on by the American Library Association every year to celebrate the freedom to read! The ALA does not believe in censorship, and celebrating banned or challenged books draws attention to the harm potentially caused when access is restricted. If you haven't already, come check out our Banned Books Week display in the Downtown Youth Department and take a peek at the books we've chosen to highlight - some of them may surprise you!

What does it mean if a book is challenged or banned? Well, it simply means that someone doesn't like it! It could be a parent who doesn't agree with their child's assigned reading list for school, or a teacher who doesn't believe a particular title should be allowed in his/her district's curriculum. Books are challenged with the best intentions - to protect others, most commonly children, from difficult ideas and information. However, banning a book goes far beyond simply expressing a point of view or exercising beliefs. Removing material from a school's curriculum or the public library restricts the access of others who may not hold those same beliefs.

If you've had a chance to look at the display or check out the list of titles that are in it, you're probably wondering why some great books have been challenged or banned. Well, hold onto your hats and find some pearls to clutch, because we're about to tell you!

Survive the Night!

Now that fall is here, Halloween is already on my mind and I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to dive into Danielle Vega's newest teen horror book Survive the Night!

Don't let the cover fool you: this is a seriously creepy novel. In it, Casey and her friends go to an all-night rave called Survive the Night. The secret party is located underground in the subways of New York, and there are crazy rumors about what goes on in the tunnels below. When Casey wanders off down the subway line, she finds one of her friends has been violently, viciously murdered. When she gets back to the party, everyone but the rest of her friends have cleared out and the manhole exit is sealed. Casey realizes that the killer is still in the subway system, and the group is trapped down there with them. What was once a party quickly turns into a frantic fight for survival, as Casey and her group realize they are being hunted by whoever (or whatever) is down in the subways with them.

This book is not for everyone (especially not tweens or those with a weak stomach). Survive the Night requires a little suspension of disbelief and takes a while to get going, but once it does it's a non-stop thrill ride right up until the end. My heart was pounding as I raced through the last few chapters as things kept building and building.

This is Danielle Vega's second book. The first, The Merciless, is another great teen horror novel and the film rights were just acquired by Lionsgate Films. The Merciless isn't available through AADL yet, but can be found through our MeLCat lending system.

Bunny Drop a great manga for teens and older!

There is nothing normal about the beginnings of Bunny Drop, it starts with a death, Daikichi's grandfather dies and leaves behind a surprise for everyone in the family. He has an illegitimate daughter named Rin, who is only 6 years old. Follow the unlikely family as Daikichi and Rin learn how to live together and create a life together.
This manga is seriously cute, but it's not the cute that makes this manga worth reading (though cute is never a bad thing in a josei manga) it deals with the struggles of raising a child, especially one that is not biologically yours. It also deals with issues such as, abandonment, death, unexpected pregnancy, fame and friendship.

The library has all 9 volumes and so you can read the entire story from start to finish! So check out Bunny Drop!

Book to Film: The Scorch Trials

Now in theaters is The Scorch Trials, based on the book of the same name by James Dashner. This is the 2nd of 5 books in the popular dystopian science fiction Maze Runner series, and this new movie looks like another adrenaline rusher!

In The Maze Runner 16 year old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and he realizes he must work with those around him in order to stay alive and escape. Now in The Scorch Trials he and several others face even more obstacles as they struggle to fight for their lives in the Scorch.

New Teen Fiction: Stand-Off by Andrew Smith

Stand-Off by Andrew Smith is the sequel to the acclaimed teen novel Winger. Ryan Dean West is now a 15 year old senior at Pine Mountain Academy, and in his last year he struggles with dealing with what happened last year at school, and is thus convinced that N.A.T.E. (the Next Accidental Terrible Experience) is lurking around every corner. He becomes captain of the rugby team and shares his dorm room with a 12 year old prodigy named Sam Abernathy who watches cooking shows and sleeps in soccer jammies. (I have to admit, scenes with The Abernathy were so laugh-out-loud hilarious!) A lot of things change this year and Ryan Dean isn’t always up to the challenge.

Ryan Dean is a very likeable character with such a great and realistic teen voice. If you haven’t read Winger, read that and then read Stand-Off. I didn't know a sequel was coming and as soon as it fell into my hands I scarfed it down and then wanted more.

Andrew Smith is one author who keeps knocking it out of the park with stellar teen fiction.

Graphic Novels For Jim Butcher Fans

Jim Butcher, of the Dresden Files and Codex Alera series, is about to start his brand new series The Cinder Spires with his book The Aeronaut's Windlass. This is a steampunk novel, and if you can't wait for that to come out, or you want to check out some awesome graphic novels based on Butcher's work, then look no further than the Dresden Files graphic novels.

These graphic novels capture the action and excitement of the Dresden universe in a new and different way. If you've always wished you could see what Bob or Harry look like to others, then here's your chance!

Goodbye Stranger, by Rebecca Stead

Rebecca Stead, author of Newbery Medal winning When You Reach Me, has a new youth fiction novel out, and it’s delightful! Goodbye Stranger is a story of friendship, love, family, and betrayal set in New York’s Upper West Side. Bridge, Em and Tab have been BFFs forever and they Twinkie swore “no fighting.” Then 7th grade hits. The main character Bridge was in a car accident in 3rd grade which left her immobile for a year, and she struggles with wondering why she survived and what her purpose is.

Now that it’s 7th grade things are changing. Em has new curves, Tab is involved in civil rights, and Bridge is enjoying hanging out with a boy named Sherm, but they’re “just friends.” It’s a good mix of teen angst and innocent wonder. Em gets into some hot water over texting things she shouldn’t be texting and it spits fire on the friendship – even though they Twinkie swore.

The novel is told in the 3rd person, with some chapters told in 2nd person from an unidentified character’s POV, as well as a few chapters with letters Sherm writes to his grandfather.

As a middle grade pre-YA novel it does a good job featuring kind adults and teachers, and while some of the kids come from families of divorce it doesn’t overwhelm the novel. It’s a good one if you’re looking for an easy breezy middle grade novel with a bit of teen drama and lots of beautiful writing.

Crossover Graphic Novels September Edition (this ones for teens and adults!)

Now normally when blogging on crossover graphic novels it's youth graphic novels that can be read by any age, this time I'm shaking things up a little bit and talking about teen graphic novels that are so great that adults should be reading them as well! And to further change things up instead of the normal 3 I'm giving you 4 graphic novels that you should be reading, like right now!

The first is Nimona by Noel Stevenson (that's the same person behind the awesome series Lumberjanes that I blogged about a while ago). I could write an entire blog post on why you should read Nimona , but then I wouldn't get to tell you about the other great graphic novels, so I'm going to give you the quick lowdown on everything you need to know about Nimona. Nimona is a shapeshifting girl who decides that she wants to work for this awesome evil villain Lord Blackheart (don't worry his heart isn't as black as he would have you believe). They take on the forces of "the Institution" the totalitarian regime that is seriously up to no good! If you like fantasy, sci fi, awesome strong female characters or sharks you should be already reading this now!

The second is Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon?. Don't worry this story is not really about trying to pick up girls in a dungeon but rather its about a boy who is the only member of the family of a goddess, that's right all of the ancient gods are in this world and have families of adventurers working for them, who is trying to be a hero, the kind that he used to read about as a kid and sometimes that means hard work and almost being eaten by a Minotaur. This is another book that's great if you like fantasy books, or if you like RPG's (role playing games) or if you want to know the answer to the question Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon?

The third is This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. This book has one multiple awards (including an Eisner!!) but if the awards aren't enough to get you to want to read it, and you want to know something like what it's about and why you should read it, I guess I'll oblige! This graphic novel is about two girls on the cusp between adolescence and young adulthood and they find themselves at the same beach for the summer. The artwork alone is breathtaking and worth admiring but paired with the language of the book it's a truly remarkable book. It captures a very particular time in a young woman's life excellently and also brings in so many of the pressures that they go through. If you are a teen and want something to read, you should read this, if you appreciate great art, read this, if you have long since passed from young adulthood into full blown adulthood you should read this, it's not full of so many of the cliches that you find in many "coming of age" stories.

The fourth and final book is SuperMutant Magic Academy is not a traditional graphic novel, instead it is a series of one or two shot comics set in the wonderful world where people with extraordinary abilities go to school. This book is very humorous and almost every page will give you something to be entertained by. The comic originated as a webcomic before being bound into a volume and you really get the feel of that when you read it. It's not the most polished or prettiest graphic novel on the shelf but it's one that will keep you reading.

Zombies and Samurais....sort of

Rot and Ruin: Warrior Smart is a collection of the first five comics of the series Rot and Ruin, based on the novel of the same name by Jonathan Maberry. The story is a post-apocalyptic zombie thriller, and deals with the survivors of the zombie outbreak that happened prior to the start of the series.

The comics follow Benny Imura, a 15 year old boy, as well as his girlfriend Nix, his friend Chong, and a semi-feral girl named Lilah. One night, Benny and Nix see a jet fly overhead, something unseen since the outbreak started. So Benny and his friends decide to set out and find this jet, thinking that whoever built it must be working on putting the world back together. Having been trained by Benny's brother Tom in the ways of the samurai and sword fighting, the group prepares themselves to set foot outside their walled city and into the land of rot and ruin. While zombies are the first thing they encounter, the walking dead may not be the most terrifying thing beyond the city walls. On the run, the group comes across a farmstead village, protected from the zombies. Everything seems peaceful, and the people are happy and value hard work and children above all else. But not everything is as nice as it seems.

If you like Rot and Ruin, be sure to check out the novel series here, or any other of Jonathan Maberry's books.

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