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Read this!

Meghann Henry, Teen Outreach Librarian

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!



Arra, Teen Services Coordinator

The American Library Association has announced the Michael L. Printz Award winner for 2014: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick.  

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:

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Chandra, Belmar Library

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.  

Jessie, Columbine Library

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!

Jessie, Columbine Library

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!

Chandra, Belmar Library


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!

Jessie, Columbine Library

Apparently I love to read about assassins. Don’t think too hard about what that says about me or my character. I took home the book Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, which I had been eyeing for a while even though I had no idea what it was about. I got about 2 pages in and realized that she is an assassin! I knew right away that I needed to set aside all my free time for reading this book. If you also love to read about butt-kicking female assassins, here are a few excellent books to try:
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: Celaena has been imprisoned for a year when the prince offers her freedom in exchange for becoming his royal assassin. But first she has to compete with all the other royal-assassin-wannabes for the position.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore: Katsa lives in a world in which special talents are called Graces, and those with Graces are celebrated. Katsa’s Grace is that she is really great at killing, which she is not very proud of. She also hates the king using her as his own personal killing machine, but she’s not sure she can stand up to him.
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers: Ismae escapes from an abusive father and an abusive husband and hides out in the Convent of St. Mortain. At this convent, women are trained to carry out the wishes of Death himself.  (In other words—convent-trained assassins!)
Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber: Perry's parents force him to take their boring Lithuanian exchange student to prom. After an incident at the dance he learns that she is actually a trained assassin and she needs him to drive her all over the city so she can take out all her targets.


Chandra, Belmar Library

If you have guests staying at your house, wow them with Disney-resort level towel sculptures. The Lost Art of Towel Origami will teach you how to fold ordinary towels into frogs, palm trees, and even a pair of lucious lips!  

Chandra, Belmar Library

Worried about going broke buying gifts this season? I discovered No Bake Makery as I was looking for things that I could give to friends and family. I’ve already made cherry bomb -- which is an amazing mix of chocolate, dried cherries, and almonds -- and mini dirt puddings (and I ate about a pound of extra gummy worms). 

 Most of the recipes don’t require weird ingredients and they almost all take an hour or less to make. For example, Beary Surprise uses butter, marshmallows, Rice Krispies, gummi bears and jam to make a super gooey Rice Krispies treat that, according to the book "you can literally throw...against the wall and they will stick." 

Jessie, Columbine Library

Love to read books by John Green? You’re not alone. John Green is one of my favorite authors, and based on how quickly his books fly off the shelves, I suspect he may be one of your favorites as well. But what to do when you’ve already read all his books? For starters, follow his VlogBrothers channel on YouTube (Tagline: raising nerdy to the power of awesome).  But you might also want to try some of these other books:
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews: Greg is friendly with everyone, but he really has only one friend, Earl. He and Earl spend all their time making movies, knowing nobody will ever watch them (or want to watch them). His mother throws this blissful existence off track when she forces him to spend time with Rachel, a girl he knew as a kid who now has leukemia.
Winger by Andrew Smith: Ryan Dean (Winger, to his rugby teammates) is two years younger than his classmates at boarding school. As a result, he spends a lot of his time trying to fit in and a lot of his time trying not to get beat up. This year, he finds himself living in the troublemaker dorm, sharing a room with one of the biggest bullies at school, and falling in love with his best friend.
Winter Town by Stephen Emond: Evan and Lucy have been best friends forever, but now that Lucy Lives in Atlanta they only see each other when she comes home for the winter holidays. This separation has never mattered before, but this winter Lucy looks totally different and is full of some seriously bad attitude. Will their friendship survive now that they are growing into different people?
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell: Eleanor and Park are two misfits who meet on a school bus and fall in love. I fell in love with them too on every page of this book.


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