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Katie, Teen Contributor

I liked that when the parents came in to sign their children up they ended up singing up too when they found out they could. It got the whole family involved and reading. Also, it was really great to see people excited about getting their free book when they signed up because they already knew what they would start the program. The hours are very flexible and it's nice to be at the table both helping and relaxing with other work when no one is there.


Annamarie, Teen Contributor

Last summer was one of the best summers ever. Everyone was so nice and helpful. I really enjoyed it.


Tennessee, Teen Contributor

Being a volunteer last year was an amazing experience! I had the chance to stray away from my comfort zone and talked and helped lots of people I loved seeing the kids they were so exited to get their book and start reading. I think that it is key to start and learn to love reading at a young age, so you get an amazing feeling when you know you are helping a kid take their first steps towards loving to read. The library is like a second home to me. I met so many other teens, and made many friends, it was great to talk, laugh, and work with kids my age for four hours straight. I felt like I truly belonged there. I also really enjoyed the hands on activities I helped with. This is a great  program! It's something that everyone should try, especially if you have nothing to do during the summer. You don't know until you try! 


Emily, Teen Contributor

I had a great time volunteering last year. It was awesome to be at the library helping kids and parents sign up and log their reading, and it was also super neat to get to see the wide range of people who use the library, and realize the extent of the library's impact on the community. I had a blast, and a nice bonus was getting volunteer hours.  It was an incredible experience, and I encourage others to volunteer as well. 


Destinee, Teen Contributor

Summer reading was really fun! I got to see the best of the community and got to help the nicest people. Watching little kids faces light up when they got their prizes was the best part! I also got to help some amazing people, including a deaf woman! Over all summer reading was a great experience. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to doing it again this summer.

Volunteer Application

William, Teen Contributor

ISEEYOU is a um... Criminal who uses smoke and creepy stuff to his advantage. He lost his parents to an explosion while Rusher (a different hero) was trying to save them. ISEEYOU swore revenge upon Rusher for letting his parents die. He is an adopted kid and creepy. "I see you, you cannot see me" is his catch phrase and way to get revenge and defeat others (you can't see him...but HE can see YOU). He wears a mask to add some more creep to him. He is also a teenager who likes to make wisecracking jokes at his foes. And one more thing... ISEEYOU... (Not really though)


 George Gambol wanted to have fun with some of the experiments he had using robotics. He made a suit to hide his identity and went on a crime spree, taking anything he could find or want using his robotic exo-legs. Of course he was stopped. Later he did more experiments, but these experiments were live or die. He then gained superpowers like Lightspeed, but with one advantage... He could leap to very high heights. Thus gaining the name Leap...


Jeremiah, Teen Contributor

Be warned: this film is rated R. 

When Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele announced that they were ending their critically acclaimed Comedy Central show, Key & Peele, fans everywhere were understandably heartbroken. For those who watched it, Key & Peele was one of the funniest shows on television, continually delivering hilarious sketches every week: their chemistry undeniable and their comedic brilliance evident. Luckily for all us fans, as well as fans of comedy in general, Key and Peele star in Keanu, a hilarious fun film about two suburban cousins and the cutest cat anyone has ever seen.

Jordan Peele plays Rell, a regular suburban man whose girlfriend just broke up with him. Still reeling from the loss, his cousin Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) comes over to help him through his tough time. When Clarence arrives though, it seems like he won’t need to help Rell much; Rell has replaced his ex with a kitten who showed up at his door. He named the cat Keanu, and it is possibly the most adorable kitten that has ever existed. So when Keanu gets stolen by a gang, it’s up to Rell and Clarence to descend into the criminal underworld in order to retrieve Keanu.

Jokes are the most important part of any comedy, and Keanu delivers on this front. Not to say that every joke landed, there were a solid amount of chuckle-worthy lines and a few more jokes that just missed completely, but I laughed heartily many times during the movie. The plot provides a lot of room for jokes surrounding the “thuggery” Rell and Clarence try to feign around real gangsters, as both are as un-thug as possible. These jokes land most often out of them all, and this dynamic is one of the core elements in Keanu.

Speaking of core elements, Key and Peele have some undeniably great chemistry. And how could they not, having worked on together for many years, all the way back to MADTV. Key is the more extroverted of the two and Peele is quieter and more understated in his role. For many duos, the louder character has a tendency to eclipse their quiet counterpart. Key did this a few times throughout Keanu, but a testament to their ability to work together, Peele stands out in several scenes on his own accord.

The film is written well, with the ratio of jokes to serious moments perfect. What’s great about this film is that it isn’t just a stupid movie to hunt down a kitten. It is that, but not just that. The character Rell has no companion, doesn’t have a job he’s emotionally invested in, doesn’t have a present family. To Rell, Keanu is his whole world, and about the only thing he finds meaning in. This deeper, emotional theme is really what roots the film in reality among all the George Michael jokes. Rell’s feeling of dependency on Keanu allows the film to go to some crazy ridiculous places, and it sure does go there, while delivering an emotional basis for the audience to connect with. I truly believe that this dynamic is one of the two secrets that elevate this film from all the other R rated comedies.

The other thing that propels Keanu past it’s competition is the kitten itself. Jordan Peele once said in an interview they at times had seven different cats all used for the role of Keanu. Regardless, the kitten (or cumulation of kittens) Keanu is, as I have mentioned, probably the cutest cat I have ever seen. This cuteness helps people forget the few jokes that don’t land and some of the few subpar elements of the script, like poor pacing. Instead of leaving the theater saying, “that was pretty funny,” people will probably leave saying “THIS part was hilarious, THIS part too, and that kitten was ADORABLE”.

A little bit of cuteness goes a long way, as the saying I just made up goes, and Keanu is a testament to this. With some hilarious moments, a grounded emotional story, and a kitten straight from heaven, you should enjoy Keanu a lot! I’d rate it 8/10

For more reviews, visit my blog

Image credit: you as a machine on Flickr.

Emily, Teen Contributor

This photo was taken during the Denver Botanical Gardens Orchid Exhibit. 


Kai, Teen Contributor

So, it’s the time of the year to plant all of your seeds. But you probably don’t know the first thing about gardening do you? Well, today I will be telling you about starting your seeds. 

The first thing you’ll want to do is buy some indoor planting pots. I got some small plastic pots in a tray. They came with clear dome over them to help the seeds germinate, (or to help the seed sprout into a plant.)

These little seed starter pods might come with discs that expand when you pour water on them, but I personally like to throw them away or find ones that don’t have them. Instead of the pods I like to get some potting soil and mix it in with Bison manure. Not everyone has bison manure so just potting soil will work. Pour the soil into the little pods and label what the seeds pods are what with some tape. To plant the seeds I use a pencil and poke the eraser in just enough to make a hole in it.

Now it’s up to you what seeds you want to plant. I am planting some herbs and leafy plants this year. Now you just have to water and care for the plants until the frost comes, where you can ant them out in your garden. What? You don’t have a garden plot? That’s an easy fix. You can designate a plot of land in your backyard to the size you want your garden to be (with consent). After that, you can put fence or bricks around the garden to protect it. 

To prepare the dirt for planting, mix in some potting soil and manure into your dug up dirt. I have a wood stove so I put wood ashes into my garden and that seems to help as well. If you have a rototiller that’s great, just keep on tilling the garden until it’s all mixed together. If you don’t have a rototiller, you will have to use a shovel, which is a little harder but has the same result.

Congratulations! You have just started your very own garden! This is just the tip of the iceberg though. Soon I will talk about taking care of your garden. Just remember that gardening is a full time hobby. You have to take care of the plants more than you think. However, it pays back tenfold.

Zane, Teen Contributor

Last year really impacted me a lot. I did a lot of volunteer work at Arvada, and I still have been. I have never been a huge fan of reading, but helping people is one thing I have always enjoyed doing. One reason I started doing this, was because I needed service hours for scouting! I never thought I would do so much volunteering. I mean, I did some hours here and there at my school, but nothing like here. The staff at the libraries are very kind, and help out if you needed it. I met lots of people during this, and actually, some people even asked if I was there that day. I had to work around other things, but I got 118+ hours in. It was fun seeing the smiles on people's faces when they successfully got things completed, and they got their prizes. This was the main highlight of my summer last year, and I would recommend doing it to any teen. I honestly would rather be there helping others all day, than sitting around and playing video games all day. I have never been a huge video gamer, and this is much healthier for you anyway. Anyone who is looking to do something besides sitting around and doing nothing all day, should really try it. They always need as much help as possible!

Volunteer Application

William, Teen Contributor

William Specht worked at a science lab to innovate lives. He was working on a genetic enhancer to allow people to react faster to surroundings. At the time the lab was experiencing many break ins. One night while William was working the Virus showed up, (a artificial intelligence robot, more about him later!) telling William to test his genetic enhancer on himself. He was really freaked out because the enhancer could still be unstable. Doing what the robot told him to do he felt a wave of vibration on himself. Also, he saw the world around him going in slow motion. But later, when he could control what was happening to him, he was the one going super fast. So the world around him looked super slow.


Caitlin, Teen Contributor

Book Basics: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken 

Published: January 2016, Disney- Hyperion 

Genre: YA, adventure, historical fiction

Page Count: 

Star Rating: ★★★★ 

Recommended For/If You Liked: PJO fans or fans of historical fiction and adventure

Favorite Quote: “...it matters not who you love, but only the quality of such a love… a flower is no less beautiful because it does not bloom in the expected form. Because it lasts an hour and not days.” 

 It’s been a long time since I’ve read an adventure novel. And Passenger is just that- a good, wholesome adventure story, with a healthy helping of romance and history on the side. Passenger follows the story of 17-year-old Etta Spencer,  a violin prodigy whose only concern is her upcoming debut and what to do with her future. But then a mysterious sound leads her to a passage that takes her to a ship headed towards 1776 New York City. There, Etta is thrown into a family of time travelers, ruled by a power-hungry old man named Cyrus Ironwood and discovers that she too possess the ability to time travel. Ironwood blackmails Etta into finding a special device called an astrolabe, which Etta must find using clues her mother left her and the help of Nicholas Carter, an 18th century privateer. 

It took a couple chapters for the book to get going, but once Etta woke up on the ship the plot picked up quickly. The pacing was a little off throughout the entire book, but it wasn’t a major problem. There were some parts that I had to power through because I knew that the story would get better. Other than the pacing, the plot was nicely developed, with a good balance between romance and adventure. (If you don’t like romance interfering with your adventure then this book isn’t for you. The romance wasn’t overpowering, but it did take up a fair chunk of the story.) 

Nicholas and Etta’s romance was very nicely written and I really liked the added complexity of race as an issue within their relationship (Nicholas is black, and Etta is white). It’s obviously a major issue during Nicholas’s time, but Etta does acknowledge that while people would be much more accepting of an interracial relationship in our time, the present day is still far from free of racism. Sexism was also an issue dealt with in the novel, but wasn’t as heavy as racism. I loved how these issues were repeated and dealt with across the various time periods that Nicholas and Etta traveled to. 

The character development was great and Etta was absolutely perfect as an independent, badass heroine. 

Aside from some minor issues, I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun, adventurous story with complex characters and relationships. And after the ending (spoiler alert: it’s a major cliffhanger) I’m definitely going to read the next book. Anyone who’s a fan of adventure, historical fiction, or both will enjoy this story. 

Don't forget to check out my blog for more YA book reviews and recommendations and follow me on Instagram (@thebookishbookworm) for bookish photography and updates every time I post! 

Jeremiah, Teen Contributor

I stand by the thought that JJ Abrams is a better producer than director, and here to support this thought has come 10 Cloverfield Lane, a wonderful little thriller produced by the man himself. Abrams’ skill comes from the marketing of films, as well as who he gets to work on them. The original Cloverfield was brilliant, the original trailer revealed nothing about the movie, not even it’s name. This intrigued audiences, and led to an 80 million dollar lifetime gross. This new Cloverfield movie (although it hardly deserves to be called that, for 10 Cloverfield Lane has little to nothing to do with the original movie) has had marketing just as ingenious. The first trailer came out mere months ago and the existence of the movie was kept secret until that moment, a feat that’s practically unheard of. JJ Abrams did a good job with the release of the movie, and an even better job with the movie itself.

10 Cloverfield Lane stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle. After leaving her fiance and getting in a car accident, Michelle wakes up in a concrete underground bunker. She’s not alone, for also in the bunker are Howard (creepily played by John Goodman) and Emmet (John Gallagher Jr.). Howard informs her that there has been an attack on the city and the air is poisonous. He saw her in her car, flipped over on the side of the road, and rescued her. As the film progresses, Michelle starts to doubt the story she was told, as well as Howard's sanity, and how safe she truly is around him.

The film really shines when it comes to the acting. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Michelle wonderfully, who is a tough yet fragile character. She is compelling and intelligent, commanding the focus of the audience. Emmet is also played wonderfully by John Gallagher Jr. He is a sweet, charming southern guy who you can tell likes Michelle but wouldn’t dare try anything. The best performance of the film though has to go to John Goodman as Howard. I have never seen him act so creepy or so unsettling. The whole movie, you can tell that there is just something wrong with him, something wrong with his behaviour. Goodman is equal parts frightening and mysterious. With this allure, he steals every scene and is most definitely the standout of the film.

The director, Dan Trachtenberg, did an excellent job with the film. Every moment cranks up the tension, invoking feelings of anxiety and fear from the audience. This is his feature film debut and certainly delivers on all of his promise. Interestingly, he was chosen for the film mainly due to a Portal fan film he made and posted on youtube. Whatever the reason they hired, I’m glad they did because he just does such a great job. There are certainly worst first movies (David Fincher, after all, debuted with Alien 3).

The writing of the film was also very nice. The development of the film is interesting, for it originated as a spec script (meaning that it was independently made and sold, rather than a studio requesting for a specific script from a specific person) titled The Cellar. It was bought by Bad Robot (JJ Abrams Production company) and then given a few rewrites to conform a little better to the world of Cloverfield. One may think, among all those changes, that somewhere along the way the filmmakers would have lost the magic and essence of the script. Luckily it did the opposite. Most of what I read about the original script is less good than the final project.

10 Cloverfield Lane is a great movie. Not just fine or good, but great. I have a few complaints about the ending, which does not live up to the rest of the film, but for the most part 10 Cloverfield Lane delivers exactly what it needed to. I highly recommend seeing it even if you just go for John Goodman (understandable, he’s that good). 9/10

For more reviews visit my blog

Image credit Kate Brady on Flickr

Brooke, Teen Contributor

The walls spun and colors filled my vision. Swirling around with the cyans, magentas, and yellows were horrible thoughts of people making fun of me, Evergreen. As the magic started to work its way through my hair, sparks of light swirled in and out of the strands. Suddenly, I hit the floor and lost my breath. Slowly my vision came back, and I could once again see my old fashioned, white walled room. A slimy, snake-like, savage fairy named Puff slithered out of my room after completing my wish to change my hair.  

   “Thank you!” I screamed at Puff. 

   I got up and admired my new hair. It was beautiful. It was no longer an unnatural color of green. Instead, It was a rich, beautiful, brown. Oh, how I loved seeing the sun kissing my hair, lighting it up with its gorgeous rays. Then, I not so gracefully danced around my room. After a few minutes, I stumbled into my bookshelf, causing my sisters to swarm into my room to make sure I was okay. 

   “Evergreen, are you okay?” sighed my sister Misty.

   “Yeah,” I laughed. “I'm just fine.”

   “You sure?” asked  Ann, my other sister, as she cocked her eyebrow. 

I rolled my eyes. They then proceeded to pester me with their questions about what had happened and why I was so ecstatic. 

   “My hair is no longer that ugly shade of green!” I exclaimed.

   “Yes, it is! It is still the same old lovely color green that it has always been,” replied Misty. 

   After what felt like hours, they left. So I crashed out on my bed with a hand mirror. What could they have possibly meant? I saw light brown hair with touches of highlights and beautiful curls. I ponder on this for hours wondering what they could have meant. Could I still have green hair? Are they pranking me? Did my sisters want to wreck my day? 

   The next day at school wasn't any better. Kids continued to throw weird looks at me, attached notes to my backpack and called me ugly. I sat on the same old rock at lunch watching as my tears created a puddle underneath me. The only good thing was that my sister, Misty, saw me crying and wrapped me in her gentle embrace. While this did allow for a quick mental break, it couldn't have lasted the whole day. This is when I finally realized that I would call Puff back to my house and make him give me the ability to see my hair for what it truly was, and not what I wanted it to be. 

 When I came home I threw my backpack in a corner, raced past my sisters’ rooms and into mine. 

   “Puff!... Puff!... Get out here Puff!” I yelled through my tears, “We need…to talk.” 

   Finally, I give up and laid back on the bed. I was tired of screaming. This time, I didn't watch as the tears fell down my face. This time, I just lay there, letting my emotions take control of me. Now I couldn’t even see why they were making fun of me. All I knew was that they saw something that I couldn't see.

It was definitely something unforeseen when I watched the tips of his devil-like wings start to appear through the window. My whole physique brightened as the slimy, snake-like, savage fairy slid through my door. Puff’s smirk greeted me. He flew around me chanting, and his words put me into a hypnotic daze, until finally, with one last flick of his wrist, it was over.

   This time, I could see my hair for something that it truly was. A gift. People could make fun of me for it, but deep down that's not what mattered. What mattered was that I think that I am beautiful. Others look like the same copies of the same clothes and hairstyles. My hair was something that made me stand out in a world that tried  to make me into something that I was not, because I will never be that brown haired girl with caramel  highlights. I am that girl with gorgeous, green hair and a beautiful face. I learned that all that matters is to love myself, and now I do! 

   At school, I stood up to the bullies, my rock became a place to eat lunch and happily do my homework, and the nasty notes stopped coming. Soon enough people apologized and I made friends. Now I am the happiest person alive because I no longer fret about my green hair. 


Image Credit: Sharon Wesilds on Flickr


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