Teen Pick: Hourglass

Imagine being crazy. No, worse than that, imagine knowing you are crazy. Imagine waking up every morning, knowing that you are missing more than a few marbles, seeing things that you know aren’t there. It sucks right? For the past five years, this has been Emerson’s existence. Emerson sees dead people. That sounds bad, but they’re not ghosts or anything, more like apparitions. Emerson and her brother have tried everything to get rid of the visions, but nothings worked. In a last ditch attempt, Emerson’s brother has called in one last consultant from a organization called Hourglass. Emerson says she’ll give it one more try, but when the person they send is barely any older than her she knows it’s just another phony. That is until she finds out that he can see the weird visions too.

Hourglass by Myra McEntire seems like another paranormal romance novel at first glance. Orphaned teenage girl who thinks she’s crazy? Check. Handsome and mysterious young lad? Check. Suffocating amounts of teen angst? Nope. Wait, what? You’re telling me this novel is missing the key component of all paranormal romance novels? Yep, that’s right.

The thing that makes Hourglass stand out from the rest of the books on the paranormal romance shelf at your local Barnes and Nobles is not its super swoony plot line or supernatural creatures. It’s the fact that if you take away the paranormal aspect it’s full of characters you adore or, at the very least, relate to. Emerson isn’t some sort of beautiful, graceful model-type. She’s short, strong and can flip people twice her size over her shoulder, not because of magic, but because she trained. Michael isn’t dark or angsty. He’s actually a pretty normal guy. He’s funny, nice and at times, he can even be - wait for it  - awkward. The thing that makes Hourglass stand out period, is that when you add the paranormal back in you get an brilliant book with an unbelievable plot.

Myra McEntire’s Hourglass is funny, engaging, intelligent and all the other things you want your books to be (unless you want your books to be sucky, in which case, you're out of luck). If you’re a fan of shows like Doctor Who or books like When You Reach Me, you’ll enjoy this book. If you’re a fan of strong female characters, you’ll enjoy this book. If you’re a fan of memorable one-liners, you’ll enjoy this book. Basically, what I’m trying to say is this: you’ll enjoy this book. Read Hourglass by Myra McEntire.

 Hourglass will be released on May 24, 2011.

Advanced Reader Copy reviewed by Maya J, 8th grade


Teen Tech Week: Book Trailers!

It's Teen Tech Week, which means all of this week's teen programs have a techie-themed spin. At TABs U-Nite, teens competed in the Fastest Text contest, answered technology-related trivia questions, and competed in a high-school vs. middle-school game of Sheen or Gaddafi? (The victors? Middle school!)

Finally, we created book trailers for some of our favorite books using Animoto, a free slideshow creation program. Check them out!

Paper Towns by John Green:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling:

Teen Tech Week: Short Story Tweets!

At Writer's Block this week, we talked Twitter and blogs. What is a blog? What kinds of blogs are out there? Why might an aspiring writer want to start one? Then we wrote some Short Story Tweets -- that is, short stories that are only 160 characters long. Needless to say, it was pretty difficult to write anything intelligible in so few words, but we tried our best! Here they are for your enjoyment:

By Maya J:
Yellow is a color. It is very bright. I had a yellow ball. It rolled out into the street. A car came. I was very scared. The man swerved and swore at me. Yellow.

By Gabrielle M:
Once upon a midnight (Wait! I can't use that. Damn Poe!) there was a girl, a girl who was prompted to write a 160 character story. She was unable, so this is it.

By T.J. S:
"Hello." No answer. The black door taunts me with its golden knob. I step closer, feeling a terrible revelation coming. Knock knock. "Hello." I say. Nothing.

By Savannah M:
Once upon a time, I had to write a really short story and I couldn't think of anything. I thought and thought and thought, but never came up with anything. So sad.

By Julia D:
The once was a unicorn name Bob. He lived in a kingdom under the sea. One day, a zombie came, and a fight ensued. Obviously, Bob won by using the power of rainbows. (OK, even though this one was over 160 characters I had to share it just for the Zombies vs. Unicorns reference!) 

Also by Maya J: Imagine you are sitting in a car. The car is not moving. Do you get out & push? Call for help? Yes? Wrong answer. There's a serial killer behind your car. Oops.

By Sarah K:
This is a pretty short story because it ends right here. (Well played, Sarah K. Well played.)