Teens are complicated. There I said it. You can be sweet, sassy, thoughtful, and rude all in the matter of minutes. And that complexity is what makes working with you such a fun challenge.
I recently attended a training for Mental Health First Aid hosted by the Jefferson Center for Mental Health that reminded me of how quickly the brain is changing between the ages of 12-20, and how those changes can affect mental health. There are some amazing resources out there for you and the adults in your life that can answer questions, spark discussion, and provide background information. One of my favorite sites is Teen Mental Health which has information for teens, parents, and educators on everything from dealing with depression and anxiety to making new transitions in life, like starting colllege. The library also offers access to Teen Health and Wellness, an awesome database, that covers a variety of topics like grief and loss, food safety, and even dating.
So no matter what you're feeling, take a deep breath, talk, do a little research and know that your brain changes will slow down someday, but the way it functions will always be complicated (even as an adult).
*video provided by TeenMentalHealth.org
Aimee Carter, author of the Goddess Test series, has a new book out!
Pawn takes place in a future United States where society is strictly structured into different social classes. Each person takes a test when they turn 17 that determines their class and the kind of life that they will lead. Kitty tests as a III, which means working in a sewer and never having enough food or money to truly be happy. When the Prime Minister gives her the opportunity to upgrade to a VII she agrees without even knowing what she will need to do. The next thing she knows she is waking up after weeks of being drugged, only to find that she has a whole new body—she now looks and sounds exactly like the Prime Minister’s niece. Kitty learns that her world and the people who lead it are more gruesome and corrupt than she ever imagined, and she is now a pawn in their evil plots.
A boy stands in his room and then the world is destroyed. Okay, so that isn't exactly what happens in Homestuck, a web comic written, illustrated, and animated by Andrew Hussie, but it’s not far from the truth.
Meet John and his three friends Rose, Dave, and Jade. They decide to play a game called Sburb only to find out that it destroys their world. Now they need to work together with a group of alien teenagers called Trolls to save, not only their world, but many others, even in other galaxies. Get ready to dive into a world where everything is completely crazy and can make little to no sense. You will laugh the whole way through your Homestuck experience and make new friends.
Still doesn't sound cool enough for you? Come and learn more about this crazy phenomenon at the Standley Lake Library's Homestuck Party, Friday February 7th at 6:00pm.
*youtube video created by EmptyFeet
I just moved to Denver from Kansas City in December, and since then I have undergone a crash course in Broncos football mania. People are sporting orange and blue at work, to school, even on dates (a color combo that in any other context is not recommended). I have never been passionate about a football team (sorry Kansas City Chiefs), but the love and excitement for the Broncos just might make me a fan.
Inspired by the football buzz I decided to read, Pop by Gordon Korman. It must have been the Broncos orange and blue on the cover that sucked me in, or that like me the main character, Marcus Jordan, has just moved to a new town. While training at the park for the upcoming football season Marcus befriends Charlie Popovich, a charasmatic adult prankster. When school starts Marcus is schocked to find out that Charlie is not only the father of Troy, the starting quarterback at school, but is also a former NFL player. Tensions rise both on and off the field as the boys compete over football, girls, and what's best for Charlie.
Sports fiction is not usually the kind of book that I tackle (see what I did there), but I enjoyed the very real characters created by Korman and the fast pace of the storytelling. So, in the spirit of trying new things, this weekend I am going to rock some orange and blue and scream GO BRONCOS!
Do you think re-incarnation is possible? Does the past have an influence beyond explanation on what will happen tomorrow? In this futuristic tale, Eric is a journalist who has come to the island of Blessed to investigate rumors of unnatural occurrences. When he meets Merle, a local girl, he feels as though he already knows her. This gothic tale is told in 7 parts, each based on a phase of the moon.
The Printz is selected based on excellence in literature for young adults. Sedgwick is also the author of the nail-biting suspense story Revolver.
2014 Printz Honor books include:
Bring your suits, your heels, your ties and your gowns to the Belmar Library. The Prom Swap will be Saturday, Feb 15, 10 am - 4 pm, and you can trade in your formal wear or canned goods for new-to-you fancy pants (or dresses). If you aren't interested in attending the swap but would still like to donate, feel free to drop your donation off at any of the Belmar Library service desks now until Feb 15th.
Are you a Gallagher Girls fan? A Heist Society enthusiast? A budding spy yourself? Try Also Known As by Robin Benway. Maggie Silver has never had a chance to be a “real” teen. She has spent her life cracking safes to aid The Collective, a mysterious organization that funds missions for spies to right wrongs.
Her new mission is different though. Instead of just cracking the safe after everyone else does the investigating, info gathering, and other spy stuff, this time Maggie’s going to high school to befriend the son of the man who could expose the agents of The Collective.
Along with keeping her identity a secret, she has to figure out how to properly accessorize her school uniform, go on a first date, and survive a high school party without getting vomited on.
Cassie is amazing at reading people. She can take one look at someone and know things about them that they won’t even admit to themselves. She’s so good at reading people that she gets recruited by the FBI for a top secret training group. The group takes "naturals" like Cassie and helps them hone their skills so they will be experts by the time they’re ready to join the FBI.
The Naturals all live together and practice on cold cases using their special skills. For example, one is a compulsive liar who can always tell when others are lying, and another is an expert at reading other people’s emotions. Imagine living with people like that! Everything is moving along smoothly until one of the serial killers the FBI is chasing starts communicating with Cassie and the Naturals decide to take action.
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes was exactly what I wanted it to be, full of the action, adventure, and danger of a good spy story. I was on the edge of my seat trying to guess how it was going to end. I have always enjoyed Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ books-- she also wrote Every Other Day, about a girl with monster killing super powers that only work every other day, and the werewolf series that starts with Raised by Wolves. Now, with The Naturals, I have a new favorite to add to my list!
I picked up 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil because I loved her last book Ten, which was an excellent horror story and made me feel like I was watching a classic teen slasher movie. 3:59 was just as good, but very different.
Josie’s life is falling apart. Her parents have officially separated and her dad just moved out. Her mother is totally obsessed with work and has no time for anything else, including Josie. Her physics teacher hates her for no good reason, even though she’s practically a physics genius. She was fired from her job. And to top it all off, she catches her boyfriend cheating on her with her best friend—on their one year anniversary.
Amidst all this chaos, Josie starts dreaming of another version of herself; a prettier, richer, less-single version. After a while, she realizes that these dreams occur at exactly 3:59 every time, and that they might not be dreams after all. Could the antique mirror in her bedroom actually be a portal into another dimension? And if so, should she be living that life instead?
Gretchen McNeil has one more book that I haven’t read, Possess. I’ll have to add it to my pile!
More than 150 years ago, a guy named Franz Xaver von Schönwerth decided to spend his life writing down fairy tales, much like the Brothers Grimm. Actually, the Grimm Brothers recommended that he take their job once they stopped working. All his work was put in an archive in Germany and forgotten about for a century and a half. Now they've been rediscovered and published in German. I'm impatiently waiting for the translation to English, because, from the sounds of it, these will be just as gruesome and horrifying as the stories we already know. According to this article, in one story "there is the tale of a maiden who escapes a witch by transforming herself into a pond. The witch then lies on her stomach and drinks all the water, swallowing the young girl, who uses a knife to cut her way out of the witch."
While you wait for the von Schönwerth tales to come to America, here are some other gruesome stories to satisfy.
The ancient gods are still alive in modern-day America, but just barely. Hermes body is consuming itself, and Athena is sprouting feathers inside her body. "She reached into her mouth and grasped the short, exposed quill of the feather. When she yanked, it tore free with a long, meaty sound...Blood drenched her tongue and teeth. The feather hung limply from her fingertips, and she slammed it down onto the bar top. It was disgusting, coated with blood and bits of her skin."
When Joey's mother dies, he has to leave Chicago and go live with a father he's never known in Iowa. His father is known as The Garbage Man and he's no ordinary refuse-collector; he's a modern-day grave robber. Joey is forced to help with the gruesome work. Maggots, rotting flesh, and horror abound. Especially gross are the "rat kings," rats whose tails have become tangled so they move as a single mass. Ew.
If you haven't read this for school yet, read it now! I know, it's a "classic" and "required reading," but really, it's a macabre look into how evil even children can be, if left to their own devices. I'm not going to spoil the ending, but know that at one point, a kid beheads a wild pig and puts the head on a stake and then talks to it. And someone gets murdered.
To wrap this up, my apologies for any nightmares that may occur due to reading these novels. Sweet dreams!