Staff Picks: Top Reads of 2014

CHPL's Youth Services librarians are taking a look back at their favorite YA reads of 2014.  Judge these books by their covers, and click on the titles for more information!

Fan Art by Sarah Tregay
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

The 100 by Kass Morgan
Every Day by David Levithan

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick


YA Book Club: If I Stay

"Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make." - goodreads.com.

Join us for the debut of our YA Book Club! Teens and adults are invited to discuss If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Light refreshments will be served. 

Saturday, January 10, 2 - 3 p.m.
Joyce Alexander Walker Multicultural Room, Lower Level
Open to ages 13 and up.


Staff Pick: Adventure Time, Vol 1 by Ryan North, illustrated by Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline

 Adventure Time, Vol 1 by Ryan North, illustrated by Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline
Adventure Time, Vol 1 by Ryan North, illustrated by Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline

From goodreads.com:
It's ADVENTURE TIME! Join Finn the Human, Jake the Dog, and Princess Bubblegum for all-new adventures through The Land of Ooo.

The totally algebraic adventures of Finn and Jake have come to the comic book page! The Lich, a super-lame, SUPER-SCARY skeleton dude, has returned to the the Land of Ooo, and he's bent on total destruction! Luckily, Finn and Jake are on the case...but can they succeed against their most destructive foe yet? Featuring fan-favorite characters Marceline the Vampire Queen, Princess Bubblegum, Lumpy Space Princess and the Ice King!

Pick it: if oh my glob, watching Adventure Time on TV just isn't enough! The graphic novel stays true to the Adventure Time tone in sense of humor, fantastic quests, and eye-popping artwork. 

Pair with: Volumes 2 and 3. If you like Ryan North's sense of humor, check out his webcomic, Dinosaur Comics.

Reviewed by: Deena


YA Movies to Watch in 2015

2015 is just around the corner, and it's bringing a bunch of YA books to the big screen. Which movie are you most excited to see on opening night?

March 20: The Divergent Series: Insurgent

From Lionsgate: Insurgent raises the stakes for Tris as she searches for allies and answers in the dystopian ruins of a futuristic Chicago. Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) are now fugitives on the run, hunted by Jeanine (Kate Winslet), the leader of the power-hungry Erudite elite. Racing against time, they must find out what Tris's family sacrificed their lives to protect, and why the Erudite leaders will do anything to stop them. Haunted by her past choices but desperate to protect the ones she loves, Tris, with Four at her side, faces one impossible challenge after another as they unlock the truth about the past and ultimately the future of their world.

Get caught up! Watch the Divergent movie, and read (or re-read) Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant

June 5: Paper Towns

From MovieInsider.com: High schooler Quentin is drafted by the school's queen of cool, Margo, to be her accomplice in an all-night spree of revenge against her superjock ex-boyfriend. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, Quentin makes the most of the opportunity for unrivaled proximity to his dream girl.

Get caught up! Check out Paper Towns and the rest of John Green's titles

September 18: The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials

The Scorch Trials

From hollywoodreporter.com: The story picks up — spoiler alert — after our teen heroes escape the deadly maze called The Glade and are now in the run on an Earth that is a wasteland and ravaged by solar flares.

Get caught up! Watch the first Maze Runner movie, and read the Maze Runner tetralogy (a word I learned while writing this post): The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order

November 20: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

From hollywoodreporter.com: Follows Katniss Everdeen as she leads the districts of Panem in a rebellion against the tyrannical and corrupt Capitol. As the war that will determine the fate of Panem escalates, Katniss must decipher for herself who she can trust and what needs to be done, with everything she cares for in the balance.

Get caught up! Hunker down and get prepped with all of our Hunger Games books and movies.


Staff Pick: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, Book 1) by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, Book 1) by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, Book 1) by Maggie Stiefvater

From goodreads.com:
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

Pick it: if you are a lover of paranormal YA in search of your next series. I have to admit, I glazed over a lot of the romance. I'm here for the tarot cards, the scrying, the weird Latin jokes, and (of course) the ghosts. The Raven Boys is a little slow to start, but Stiefvater builds a compelling world. 

Pair with: the rest of the series - Book 3 in the Cycle just came out, and Book 4 will be here to wrap things up in 2015.


Game Changer: Citations in Google Docs

The reference/works cited page - in my opinion, the worst part of writing a paper. Thanks to Google Drive, the stress of citations is a thing of the past. With Google Drive and Google Docs, you can access a research sidebar that will do (most of) the work for you.

Once you have your document open, click on "Research" in the Tools menu bar. Click the images to see them in a larger version.

The research sidebar will pop up 

You can search in the sidebar the same way you search in Google, looking at the web, images, quotes, and Google Scholar, and preview the site before you click through.

The best part? Google will automatically insert a link and citation footnote for you. Simply click the "insert link" or "cite" options from the sidebar.

You can even change the citation format - they offer MLA, APA, and Chicago Style. Looking for a properly sourced and licensed image? Google has you covered there too. Just select the image filter for images that are free to use, share, or modify to access results with Creative Commons licensing.

Then all you need to do is gather all your footnotes, alphabetize them, and title your works cited page.  

Like the post title says: game changer. 

Thanks to librarian Lindsey for sharing this great tip!


Harry Potter Yule Ball

"The Making of Harry Potter 29-05-2012" by Karen Roe, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

You’re invited to a very Potter holiday party! Enjoy themed activities and the dance the night away! Dress robes (or costumes) are encouraged - you are guaranteed to look better than Ron.

Thursday, December 18, 6 - 8 p.m.
Conference Center, Lower Level
Open to grades 6- 12.

No registration required!


Staff Pick: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE. 

Pick it: for a book that keeps you guessing. I went into this book as unspoiled as possible, and loved the feeling of tension that builds as Cadence questions more of what is happening within her family and in her own past.

Pair with: F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - there are a lot of parallels between the two books in both plot and style. 

Reviewed by: Deena


Guardians of the Galaxy Viewing Party

"Groot" by Newandalice, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Teen Movie Zone meets Crafternoon! We’ll watch the newly released Guardians of the Galaxy (PG-13) while decorating Groot cookies and making Perler bead art! 
Saturday, December 13, 2 - 4:15 p.m.
Children's Story & Craft Room, Upper Level
Open to grades  7 - 12.


YALSA Teens' Top Ten for 2014

The Teens' Top Ten is a "teen choice" list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in sixteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted on Celebrate Teen Literature Day, the Thursday of National Library Week, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year. 

Get ready for your holiday breaks from school and take a look at some of these teen-approved titles! What are your picks for the best books of 2014?
  1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (Macmillan/St. Martin's Griffin) 
  2. Splintered by A.G. Howard (ABRAMS/Amulet Books)
  3. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (Tor Teen)
  4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Penguin/Putnam Juvenile) 
  5. Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends)
  6. Earth Girl by Janet Edwards (Prometheus Books /Pyr)
  7. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  8. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (Random House/Delacorte Press)
  9. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (Macmillan/Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
  10. The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (Random House/Delacorte Press)


Minecraft @ CHPL

Minecraft @ CHPL is back! Experienced 'Crafters are invited to bring their laptops or tablets and take on our latest build challenge. Players will need a Minecraft account to compete.

Wednesday, December 3, 6 - 8 p.m.
Half Conference Center, Lower Level
Open to grades 6 - 12. 


Maker Monday

"3doodler" by Rene Walter, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Join us for the last Maker Monday before Thanksgiving! Try out our 3Doodler for an upgraded version of those hand-traced turkeys you made back in elementary school. Spend time with our button maker and sport some custom badges on Turkey Day to make all your cousins jealous. Stop by after school and make something fun with us!

Monday, November 24 from 3 - 4 p.m.
Children's Story & Craft Room
Open to grades 6 - 12. 

No registration required!


Mockingjay Release Party

Celebrate the release of Mockingjay: Part 1 with a series of games and challenges based on the hit Hunger Games series, like “Dress the Tributes,” “Interviews with Caesar,” “Find the Mockingjay,” and more. We’ll also have crafts, snacks, and a raffle.

Thursday, November 20 from 6 - 8 p.m.
Multicultural Room, Lower Level
Open to grades 6 - 12.


International Games Day!

"Games Controller" by Axel Pfaender, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

November 15 is International Games Day - come get your game on!

Compete in a Just Dance battle, MarioKart tournament, or a worldwide Minecraft Hunger Games challenge! Plus: sample new board games and try hilarious challenges that you’ve seen on YouTube. 

Saturday, November 15 from 3 - 4:30 p.m.
Conference Center, Lower Level
Open to grades 6 - 12

No registration required!


Staff Pick: Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
From goodreads.com:

Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.

To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.

Pick it: if you are looking for a totally different spin on end-of-the-world novels. This reminded me of a YA Kurt Vonnegut book - I'm a big fan. Highly recommended for older teen boys, but I think this book has appeal for anyone looking for a unique sci-fi read.

Pair with: The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier - it's a minor plot point in the book, so you might wonder what all the fuss was about. You could also head downstairs to the adult section and check out Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut for another apocalyptic read.

Reviewed by: Deena


A.M. Teen Spa

"homemade face scrub" by Becky Striepe, licensed under CC BY SA 2.0.

Tired of trying out facial cleanser after facial cleanser? Don't empty your wallet, head to your kitchen! Come learn how to make your own facial masks and scrubs - we'll show you what yummy things are actually good for you inside AND out. 

Saturday, November 8 from 10 - 11:30 a.m.
Children's Story & Craft Room, Upper Level
Open to grades 9 - 12.


Staff Pick: My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf
Halloween is too much fun for just one day. All October, we'll be looking at our favorite horror/supernatural/paranormal/all-around spooky books. 

For the last scary staff pick, we're choosing something a little different: a combination graphic novel and true story.  

From goodreads.com:

You only think you know this story. In 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer — the most notorious serial killer since Jack the Ripper — seared himself into the American consciousness. To the public, Dahmer was a monster who committed unthinkable atrocities. To Derf Backderf, “Jeff” was a much more complex figure: a high school friend with whom he had shared classrooms, hallways, and car rides.

In My Friend Dahmer, a haunting and original graphic novel, writer-artist Backderf creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a disturbed young man struggling against the morbid urges emanating from the deep recesses of his psyche — a shy kid, a teenage alcoholic, and a goofball who never quite fit in with his classmates. With profound insight, what emerges is a Jeffrey Dahmer that few ever really knew, and one readers will never forget.

Pick it: for a chilling but yes, ultimately sympathetic, look at an American tragedy and a sick young man. We have copies of this book both in YA and the adult collection, so keep in mind that this subject matter can be dark. Proceed with caution and judgment.

Pair with: I Hunt Killers by Jeffrey Liga for a fictional look at serial killers and twisted family relationships.

Reviewed by: Deena 


Teen Desk Trick or Treat

"Boylan Lanterns II" by Nathan Walls, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Visit the Teen Desk on Halloween and get some free candy. Costumes encouraged, but not necessary!

Friday, October 31 from 2:45 - 4:45 p.m.
Teen Area, Upper Level
Open to grades 6 - 12.

No registration required!


Teen Sewing 101

"Buttons" by las - initially, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Learn the basics of sewing so you can breeze through future "Make It Sew!" Projects. We’ll provide the sewing machines and all supplies (needles, thread, buttons, pins). Participants are encouraged to bring garments that need mending!

Wednesday, November 5 from 7 - 8:30PM.
Children's Story & Craft Room, Upper Level
Open to grades 9 - 12.


Staff Pick Flashback: The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners by Libba Bray
Halloween is too much fun for just one day. All October, we'll be looking at our favorite horror/supernatural/paranormal/all-around spooky books. 

Today we're highlighting a fun, creepy mystery set in the 1920s that we reviewed a while back.  

From goodreads.com:
Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-tute-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.
Pick it: if you love a good mystery with plenty of spooky-ghosty overtones.

Skip it: if you're quick to blush. Evie is a wild child to say the least!

Pair with: a nonfiction title about the Roaring 20s. We recommend Flapper: A madcap story of sex, style, celebrity, and the women who made American modern by Joshua Zeitz. That's Evie to a tee!

Reviewed by: Melissa


Staff Pick: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Halloween is too much fun for just one day. All October, we'll be looking at our favorite horror/supernatural/paranormal/all-around spooky books. 

From goodreads.com

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Pick it: for a weird, time-traveling story that's more strange than scary. I particularly loved the photography interspersed throughout the book.

Pair with: the sequel, Hollow City, or Asylum by Madeleine Roux for more found photo creepiness.

Keep your eyes out for the movie adaptation! Tim Burton will direct (perfect) and it's due to hit theaters in July 2015. 

Reviewed by: Deena 


Staff Pick: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
Halloween is too much fun for just one day. All October, we'll be looking at our favorite horror/supernatural/paranormal/all-around spooky books.

From goodreads.com:

In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

Pick it: to find out why the scariest part of this book isn't the threat of ghosts, but the seemingly unstoppable Spanish influenza. A beautifully tragic piece of historical fiction.

Pair with: The Dark Between by Sonia Gensler for more early 20th century Spiritualism. This one's set across the pond in England. 

Reviewed by: Deena 


Thrill the World: Cherry Hill

Thrill the World: Cherry Hill has been canceled.

It's that time of year....

Cherry Hill is set to to Thrill the World again! It's time to show off your Thriller dance moves in this worldwide event.

Don't know the dance? We've got you covered.

Rehearsal: Saturday, October 11 from 10AM - 12PM
Conference Center, Lower Level
Thrill Time: Saturday, October 25
Friendship Grove
Registration begins at 2PM and we start thrilling at 5PM.

Bring your family and friends!


It Came...from the Adult Section!

YALSA's Alex Awards recognize ten books a year written for adults that have an appeal for young adult (12 - 18yo) readers as well. These books all have teen protagonists dealing with heavy issues - no fluffy reads here! 

Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas

Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas

I love books with multiple narrators and complicated mother figures, so Mother, Mother was right up my alley. Teenage siblings Violet and Will Hurst alternate chapters as they explore the recent events of their family. Eldest sister Rose has left the family in dramatic and mysterious fashion, Will has been recently diagnosed with autism and epilepsy, and Violet begins experimenting with Eastern philosophy, meditation, and fasting. When a violent incident at the home results in a visit to the hospital for Will and a stay in a psychiatric institution for Violet, the carefully constructed Hurst family begins to unravel. While you are never sure if Will or Violet is telling the true story, one thing becomes clear - everything seems to revolve around their mother, Josephine. A twisty, intense psychological thriller.

Brewster by Mark Slouka

Brewster by Mark Slouka

Sixteen-year-old Jon Mosher spends a lot of time running. Running for track, running away from his emotionally absent family, running towards anything that isn't his current life. Set in Brewster, NY in 1968, this book manages to be both a look at a changing America (Vietnam, race relations, women's liberation), and the story of someone growing up in a small town and looking for a way to break free. Jon, his best friend Ray, and Ray's girlfriend Karen make their way through their senior year and begin to look for a path out of Brewster and into a new life. This is a book that is so much bigger than its plot. I was drawn in by the characters - read this one on a chilly fall weekend.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell

The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell

"Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am 15. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved."

That's how The Death of Bees opens, and readers, it is no spoiler alert to tell you that this book gets grim. Two Scottish sisters deal with their status as orphans after the deaths of their neglectful parents, trying to avoid the notice of the police, social services, and their neighbor's dog that keeps digging in their garden. Told from the perspective of multiple narrators, this book will keep you wondering when the truth will get out - and if we even know what the real truth is.

Learn more about the rest of the 2014 Alex Award winners at YALSA's website.

Why are they called the Alex Awards? 

From YALSA: "The award is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust. Edwards pioneered young adult library services and worked for many years at the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore. Her work is described in her book Fair Garden and the Swarm of Beasts, and over the years she has served as an inspiration to many librarians who serve young adults. The Alex Awards are named after Edwards, who was called “Alex” by her friends."