ages 11-18

Hike @ Argo Nature Area tonight!

Join us and a representative from Ann Arbor's Natural Area Preservation on an informative nature walk tonight at 7:00pm at Argo Nature Area. This lovely 22-acre park runs along the Huron River offering beautiful views of the water through the oak, hickory and willow trees. The event will be a mixture of hiking the unpaved trail that runs along the river and learning about ecological restoration and native plants and animals from the NAP representative. Remember to wear comfortable clothing and bring water!

We will meet in the parking lot by the Argo Canoe Livery, just off of Longshore Drive.

The Fault in Our Stars on the Big Screen

Okay, Nerdfighters and John Green fans… Are you ready? For the past year and half John Green’s newest book, The Fault in Our Stars, has been insanely popular. And the book has reached peak buzz since the MOVIE adaptation comes out this Friday, June 6!

Hazel is a teen fighting terminal cancer. She meets and falls in love with Gus at a cancer support group. The book and movie tell the story of their romance along with their various health issues. It sounds like a downer, and it is – I went through a box of tissues reading the book. But the story celebrates being alive and being in love and I smiled as I cried and their endearing story.

Author John Green has been on set, and has been tweeting and Instagramming over the past year during filming and he and the film crew are very excited about the outcome. If the author loves it, will we? Of course when books you love get turned into movies you have to wonder… Will it be any good? Will it compare? Will the characters live up to your expectations?! We’ll find out Friday! Drop a comment and let us know what you think after you see the film!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #460

Being released the latter part of June is Everything I Never Told You * *, the deeply-affecting debut novel by Celeste Ng, a UM grad (MFA, Helen Zell Writers' Program) and recipient of the Pushcart Prize and Hopwood Award. I expect a fair amount of buzz, not just locally. (Check out Vogue's Summer's Buzziest Beach Reads).

"Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet." - every parent's worst nightmare. All her family knows is that the 15 year-old is missing from her home. The local police treats it as a runaway while her mother refuses to accept anything other than stranger abduction of her middle and favorite child - a motivated and exceptional student, pretty, popular and well-behaved. The rest of the family is less certain and in turn, as they each reflects on the Lydia that they know and love (including Lydia herself), a fractured image emerges, casting shadows, laying bare secrets each is desperate to keep.

The narrative flashed back to 1957 in Cambridge when a premed Radcliffe freshman Marilyn Walker met James Lee, a first-generation Chinese-American who was her graduate teaching instructor. They married over her mother's objection, trading in her dreams of becoming a doctor for the anonymity of a faculty wife at a small college in nowhere Ohio where James was able to find a teaching position. Their background (his - immigrant laborers and scholarship student), (hers- single mother from the South), aspirations (his - to belong) (hers - to stand-out), and dashed dreams became means by which their children were defined and measured, but never truly understood.

"As the police try to decipher the mystery of Lydia's death, her family realize that they didn't know her at all. Lydia is remarkably imagined, her unhappy teenage life crafted without an ounce of cliché. Ng's prose is precise and sensitive, her characters richly drawn." Highly recommended as a YA crossover and book group choice.

* * = 2 starred reviews

Celeste Ng will be in Ann Arbor, July 18, 2014 @ Literati Bookstore, 124 E. Washington. Don't miss this chance to meet her. I am hoping she might touch on her take on ethnic fiction, and why she does not want to be the next Amy Tan.

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

Those interested in personal memoirs and stories will love Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin. Six honest teens from diverse backgrounds share their inspirational and often heartbreaking experiences in trying to find and identify who they really are. Each teen describes how they first realized they were a different gender and their transitional experiences since then. With a format based on taped interviews, readers will feel as though they are having a conversation with each teen in person. In addition to providing a great introduction to readers first exploring what it means to be transgender or intersex, "Beyond Magenta" would function well in teen book clubs or group discussions on identity. An extensive glossary and resource guide are located in the back of the book for extra clarification and further research.

Susan Kuklin is well-known for her raw and informative nonfiction books, including No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row and Iqbal Masih and the Crusaders Against Child Slavery. Many of her books, including "Beyond Magenta", feature her own engaging photography. To learn more about Susan Kuklin, visit her website.

Teens Using Drugs: Education Series

The Dawn Farms Education Series, "Teens Using Drugs: What To Know and What To Do" is a free, two-part series that will be presented from 7:30-9:00 pm Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 (part one, "What to Know"), and Tuesday, June 10th (part two, "What to Do"). The programs will be held in the “Exhibition Room” at the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Education Center at 5305 Elliott Drive, Ypsilanti. The presenter will be Brian Spitsbergen, Director, Community Intervention and Treatment (CITx,) Growth Works, Inc.and will be the last one until the sessions resume in October, 2014. This program is targeted primarily to parents/caretakers of teens & young adults but is inclusive of other family members, teens, professionals, students, people who sponsor or support teens, and others interested. Please contact 734-485-8725 or info@dawnfarm.org or see the link to teens using drugs for information.

Calling All Teen Volunteers!!

Are you a teenager 14-18 years old looking to volunteer over the summer? If so, we have some opportunities for you.

You'll have a chance to help with select summer programs, help us get craft supplies ready for events, and/or package Summer Game orders.

Get started by filling out our online application. Your next step is to attend one of our orientations. It's at the orientation where you can sign up for your volunteer shifts.

June 18, 10:00-10:30 Downtown Board Room
June 19, 4:00-4:30 Pittsfield Program Room
June 24, 4:00-4:30 Traverwood Program Room
June 26, 9:00-9:30 Malletts Creek Program Room
July 2, 10:00-10:30 Downtown Board Room
July 7, 4:00-4:30 Malletts Creek Program Room
July 16, 9:00-9:30 Pittsfield Program Room
July 24, 11:00-11:30 Traverwood Program Room

If you've been waiting for your chance to help out at the library, we can't wait to see you!

Best Adult Fiction For Teens (And Adults!)

There are many fiction books written for adults that appeal to teens due to the subject matter or the teen protagonists in the story. The number of adults reading books for teens or featuring teens keeps getting higher as the genre becomes stronger with quality books. There are many good books that fall into this category. A few adult fiction novels featuring teens as main characters that I’ve read this year and recommend are:

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani
In the midst of the Great Depression 15 year old Thea Atwell is sent to a boarding school for southern debutantes as punishment for her role in an unforgivable family tragedy. She ends up there longer than she expected, makes friends, excels at horseback riding, and learns a lot about herself as she tries to sort through being estranged from her family and being racked with guilt and feeling lost. The books is part family drama and part scandalous love story. I couldn’t put it down.

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
Alex is struck by a meteorite at the age of 10. He is a bookish, outcast, son of a fortune teller – so he hasn’t had the easiest life. As the story jumps forward to Alex at age 17, he befriends an cantankerous elderly neighbor Mr. Peterson and the duo bond over Kurt Vonnegut. The book opens with 17 year old Alex being pulled over at the customs border with illegal substances in the glove box and an urn of ashes in the passenger seat as he sits blaring classical music while having a seizure. There’s only one thing to do but be curious enough to read it.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Rosemary is a witty college student still coming to terms with the fact that her sister (who was raised as her twin) was removed from the house at a young age, which led to her brother running away from home, leaving Rosemary and her parents alone with what’s left of the family. What gets talked about? What doesn’t? It’s a beautifully written book based on experiments done in the 1970s regarding behaviorial psychology.

Here’s a list by School Library Journal of the top books in this category for 2013, and here’s a list of books that won the Alex Award this year – given to the top 10 books written for adults that appeal to teens. There's a bunch of good titles to put on your list!

Best New Music At AADL

AADL is constantly adding to its diverse selection of new CDs. If you're seeking some great new tunes, consider the following must-hear material.

"Modern Creation," The Whigs: Hailing from Atlanta, the Whigs are one of the solidest rock bands working today. They didn't quite break the big time with their great 2010 release, "In the Dark," but they've gone right on cranking out fun and unfussy records. The Whigs used to have more punk-inspired fire in their blood, but the band has eased up its average tempo a little to create more laid-back hooks that make for perfect summer driving jams. This record's lead single, "Hit Me," is a standout example of that formula. And if you like this one, check out the band's excellent 2012 release, "Enjoy the Company," also recently added to AADL's catalog!

"Teeth Dreams," The Hold Steady: With their sixth LP, the Hold Steady continue to prove themselves America's most literary (and, perhaps, all-around best) bar band. The big guitars and catchy riffs are great, but if you're not paying attention they can also be deceptively simple. Frontman Craig Finn is a true poet, spinning incisive, wistful and funny tales of barflies, townies and scenesters. Dig the amusing portrait of a girl you just can't take seriously in "Big Cig," or the anthemic "Spinners," which exhorts the weary-hearted to "get back out there" and find love. The songs are great rockers at surface level, but they're shot through with a distinguishing sense of humanity and positivity.

"Tomorrow's Hits," The Men: The Men got their start about five years ago with some pretty wild punk records, but they've since refined their sound to incorporate poppier hooks and some elements of classic Americana. That's still not to say the group is particularly polished; drummer Rich Samis botches a fill within the record's first 30 seconds, and the production is far from slick. But the band makes up for technical precision with sheer energy, recalling Crazy Horse's thundering majesty on "Dark Waltz," the Band's Southern shuffle on "Sleepless" and the shaggy charm of the Replacements in pretty much every track. Behold the piano- and horn-led momentum of "Another Night," and just try to resist.

Find more great new CDs here.

Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun

Summer and no school is just around the corner, and this giant book is full of ways to keep you busy with a variety of subjects. While the book features "serious fun," it's written more on the funny side. It has a great cover and great illustrations, which totally nudge me to like certain books more.

Unbored gives you big ideas and how to start them, including how to grow a science garden, make your own games, zines, and LED graffiti You can also learn how to perform kitchen experiments, blog, fix your bike, and lots more.

The book also features some fun lists! Including a list of banned books you should read, secret history of young adult novels, best ever sports movies, best ever stop-action movies, best ever animal movies, best ever DIY fiction, and the best ever clean hip hop songs.

There’s also informational bits thrown into the book. Learn some weird facts about condiments, or browse a list of kitchen cures, and learn how to train your grownup to be a ninja.

UNBORED! That’s what you’ll be at the end of the book. Be sure to check out the book preview to see examples of what's inside. And check out the awesome website for the book! There is a TON of great stuff to look at.

"It's All Write!" 2014 FINAL RESULTS

If you weren't able to attend the Awards Ceremony on Saturday, the official list of the 2014 Winners of the "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest is now posted! Finalists and winners that were absent from the ceremony will receive their awards in the mail.

Thank you to all who participated and those who support the writers of Ann Arbor and beyond!

Looking for cool writing events to attend now that the school year is almost over? Check out the upcoming Emerging Writers Workshops with Lara Zielin and Margaret Yang on May 15 and June 5!

Happy writing!

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