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Join us for a Hunger Games party!

Posted by kacates on March 14, 2012


Celebrate the release of the Hunger Games movie by joining us for an afternoon of games, trivia, and a chance to win some great prizes! Come show off your knowledge of the books, try your hand at the Cornucopia Challenge, make a mini bow and arrow, and test yourself against opponents in a Tracker Jacker battle!

We’ll meet Saturday, March 17 from 2 to 4 pm at Maxwell Park by Parkside Junior High (we will hold this event in the Community Room at the Normal Public Library if it rains).


Posted in Library events

Teen Craft Club is back!

Posted by kacates on February 4, 2012

After a brief hiatus over the holiday season, the craft club is back in session for 2012! We’ll be meeting this Monday to make yarn-wrapped picture frames. With a few simple supplies and a little patience, you can create beautiful and unique frames that will look great in your room or locker. Or, give them away to someone as a Valentine’s or birthday gift. Hope to see you all there on Monday!

Posted in Getting crafty, Library events

Upcoming 2012 YA Books

Posted by kacates on January 9, 2012

In my last post I blogged about my favorite YA books of 2011. Now it’s time to start getting excited for the books coming out in 2012! Here’s a list of some of the biggest titles coming out this winter and spring. You can also check out YALit for even more upcoming books.



A Million Suns by Beth Revis: January 10

It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He’s finally free to enact his vision – no more Phydus, no more lies. But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier.


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: January 10

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.



Try Not To Breathe by Jennifer Hubbard: January 19

Ryan spends most of his time alone at the local waterfall because it’s the only thing that makes him feel alive. He’s sixteen, post-suicidal, and trying to figure out what to do with himself after a stint in a mental hospital. Then Nicki barges into his world, brimming with life and energy, and asking questions about Ryan’s depression that no one else has ever been brave enough – or cared enough – to ask. Ryan isn’t sure why he trusts Nicki with his darkest secrets, but that trust turns out to be the catalyst that he desperately needs to start living again.

There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff: January 24

What if God were a teenaged boy? In the beginning, Bob created the heavens and the earth and the beasts of the field and the creatures of the sea, and twenty-five million other species (including lots of cute girls). But mostly he prefers eating junk food and leaving his dirty clothes in a heap at the side of his bed. Every time he falls in love, Earth erupts in natural disasters, and it’s usually Bob’s beleaguered assistant, Mr. B., who is left cleaning up the mess. So humankind is going to be sorry indeed that Bob ever ran into a beautiful, irresistible girl called Lucy…



Two Truths and a Lie by Sara Shepard: February 7

My killer is out there. And my sister might be next. Two months before I died, my best friend’s brother vanished. I have no idea where Thayer went, but I know it’s my fault. When I was a live, I did a lot of things that made people hateme, maybe even enough to kill me. Desperate to solve my murder, my sister Emma is pretending to be me and unraveling the mysteries I left behind—my cryptic journal, my tangled love life, the dangerous pranks I played. She’s uncovered my friends’ darkest secrets, but she’s never had the chance to dig into Thayer’s past—until now. Thayer’s back and Emma has to move fast to figure out if he’s after revenge…or if he’s already gotten it.


Dead To You by Lisa McMann: February 7

Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It’s a miracle… at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn’t going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he’d be able to put the pieces back together. But there’s something that’s keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable…



Bewitching by Alex Flinn: February 14

Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn’t. I go to a new school now—one where no one knows my secret. You see, I’m immortal. And I pretty much know everything after so long—except for when to butt out. I want to help, but things just go awry. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. And that little mermaid I found in the Titaniclifeboat? I don’t even want to think about it. Now a girl named Emma needs me. I shouldn’t get involved, but her stepsister is conniving to the core. I have just the thing to fix that girl. Although you never know what will happen when I start…bewitching.


The Disenchantments by Nina Lacour: February 16

Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev’s band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she’s abandoning their plans – and Colby – to start college in the fall. But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while Colby struggles to deal with Bev’s growing distance and the most important question of all: what’s next?

Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer: February 21

Calla has always welcomed war. But now that the final battle is upon her, there’s more at stake than fighting. There’s saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay’s wrath. There’s keeping Ansel safe, even if he’s been branded a traitor. There’s proving herself as the pack’s alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers’ magic once and for all. And then there’s deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is.

Fugitives: Escape From Furnace 4 by Alexander Gordon Smith: February 28Forever altered by his experience in Furnace Penetentiary, Alex has done the impossible and escaped. But the battle for freedom is only just beginning. Charged with his superhuman abilities, Alex must uncover the last of Furnace’s secrets—the truth about the man who built the prison, the man known as Alfred Furnace. And to do that he must stop running and finally confront his greatest fears.




Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick: March 1

When a freakish injury ends his pitching career, Peter Friedman has some major things to figure out. Is there life after sports? Why has his grandfather suddenly given him thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment? And is it his imagination, or is the super-hot star of the girls’ swim team flirting with him, right in front of the amazing new girl in his photography class? In his new novel, Jordan Sonnenblick performs his usual miraculous feat: exploring deep themes of friendship, romance, family, and tragedy, while still managing to be hilariously funny.

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver: March 6

After escaping from Portland, Maine, Lena makes it to the Wilds and becomes part of an Invalid community, where she transforms herself into a warrior for the resistance. A future without Alex is unimaginable, but Lena pushes forward and fights, both for him and for a world in which love is no longer considered a disease. Swept up in a volatile mix of revolutionaries and counterinsurgents, Lena struggles to survive—and wonders if she may be falling in love again.


Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter: March 20

The last thing Cammie Morgan remembers is leaving the Gallagher Academy to protect her friends and family from the Circle of Cavan – a terrorist organization that has been hunting her for over a year. But when Cammie wakes up in an alpine convent and discovers months have passed, she must face the fact that her memory is now a black hole. The only traces left of Cammie’s summer vacation are the bruises on her body and the dirt under her nails, and all she wants is to go home. Once she returns to school, however, Cammie realizes that even the Gallagher Academy now holds more questions than answers. 

Tessa Masterson Will Go To Prom by Brendan Halpin and EmilyFranklin: March 27

Lucas and Tessa’s friendship is the stuff of legend in their small Midwestern town. So it’s no surprise when Lucas finally realizes his feelings for Tessa are more than friendship and he asks her to prom. What no one expected was for Tessa to come out instead of accepting his heartfelt invitation. Lucas feels humiliated and betrayed that his best friend kept such an important secret from him. What’s worse is Tessa’s decision to wear a tuxedo to escort her female crush, sparking a firestorm of controversy. Lucas must decide if he should stand by his friend to make sure that Tessa Masterson will go to prom.



The List by Siobhan Vivian: April 1

An intense look at the rules of high school attraction — and the price that’s paid for them. It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn’t matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up. This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, “pretty” and “ugly.” And it’s also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two.


Black Heart by Holly Black: April 3

Cassel Sharpe knows he’s been used as an assassin,but he’s trying to put it behind him and be good, even though he grew up in a family of con artists and cheating comes as easily as breathing to him. And he’s trying to convince himself that working for the Feds is smart, even though he’s been raised to believe the government is the enemy. But with a mother on the lam, the girl he loves about to take her place in the Mob, and new secrets coming to light, the line between what’s right and what’s wrong becomes increasingly blurred. When the Feds ask Cassel to do the one thing he said he would never do again, he needs to sort out what’s a con and what’s truth.


Fear by Michael Grant: April 3

Night is falling in the FAYZ. Even though it’s been nearly a year since everyone over the age of fifteen disappeared, the sun has continued to shine on the kids of Perdido Beach. Now, though, the gaiaphage has blotted out the sun and plunged the FAYZ into perpetual gloom. Divided and dispirited, the survivors face their greatest enemy yet – the darkness of their own minds…


The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman: April 10

The first time Tucker’s father disappeared, he simply climbed on the roof to fix a shingle, let out a scream, and vanished – only to walk up the driveway an hour later, looking older and worn, with a strange girl named Lahlia in tow. In the months that followed, Tucker watched his father grow distant and his mother slide into madness. But then both of his parents disappear. Now in the care of his  Uncle Kosh, Tucker suspects that the disks of shimmering air he keeps seeing hold the answer to restoring his family. And when he dares to step into one, he’s launched on a time-twisting journey.


Kill Switch by Chris Lynch: April 17

All Daniel wants to do is spend one last summer with his grandfather before he moves away for college and his grandfather’s dementia pulls them apart. But when his dear old Da starts to let things slip about the job he used to hold—people he’s killed, countries he’s overthrown—old work “friends” show up to make sure he stays quiet. Was his grandfather really involved in a world of assassinations and coups, or are the stories just delusions of a crumbling mind? On the run from the police before he has time to find out, Daniel may have to sacrifice everything to protect his grandfather from those who would do him harm.

The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson: April 17

Scotch struggles to fit in—at home she’s the perfect daughter, at school she’s a troublemaker, and thanks to her mixed heritage, she doesn’t feel she belongs with the Caribbeans, whites, or blacks. And even more troubling, lately her skin is becoming covered in a sticky black substance that can’t be removed. While she tries to cope with this creepiness, her brother disappears. A mysterious bubble of light just swallows him up, and Scotch has no idea how to find him. Soon, the Chaos that has claimed her brother affects the city at large. Scotch needs to get to the bottom of this situation before the Chaos consumes everything—and she knows that the shadowy entity that’s  trailing her every move is probably not going to help.

The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting: April 17

Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet’s talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals – including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe – it’s Violet’s job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice. When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by “the girlfriend collector” she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new “relationship” – and Violet may have caught his eye…



Insurgent by Veronica Roth: May 1

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended in horror. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Black Dawn by Rachel Caine: May 1

Ever since the draug—mysterious creatures that prey on vampires — took over Morganville, the lives of student Claire Danvers and her friends have been thrown into turmoil. Using the city’s water system to spread, the draug have rapidly multiplied and vampire Amelie — the town founder — has been infected by the master draug’s bite. Now, unless Claire and her friends figure out how to cure Amelie and defeat the draug, Morganville will become little more than a ghost town…


Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore: May 1

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle—disguised and alone—to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Claire: May 8

They thought they’d already faced the worst that could be thrown at them. But now, the Shadowhunters – Clary, Jace, Simon, Isabelle, Alec, and Magnus – must struggle to piece together their shattered world after a betrayal by one of their own leaves them reeling in the hotly-anticipated fifth book in the Mortal Instruments series.

Posted in upcoming books

Kristi’s favorite 2011 books

Posted by kacates on December 30, 2011

Because I’m sure you’ve all been dying to know what YA books I loved this year, I’ve been compiling a list of some of my favorites. These are all books published in 2011; if I opened the field to all books I read this year, the list would be a lot longer! So what do you guys think? What were some of your favorites from this year?



Chime by Franny Billingsley

On the surface this looks like your typical paranormal romance we’re seeing everywhere these days (And I’m not knocking them – there have been some fun ones published this year). But underneath is the story of Briony Larkin coming into her own and pushing back against what she’s been told all her life, while trying to placate the Old Ones who want her to save their beloved swamp from being drained. The way Billingsley plays with language is just beautiful. This is one to read slowly and savor.



Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

If you’ve read the fabulous Printz-winning Going Bovine, about a boy with mad cow disease, then you know that Bray is a hilariously inventive writer. This is another mad trip through Bray’s brain, featuring the contestants of a teen beauty pageant forced to survive alone on a desert island after a plane crash. A satire full of fun little pokes at pop culture and beauty pageants, plus great characterization, a survival adventure, and even a little bit of romance. And hey, it’d be a great beach read!


Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen

Danny may be a star gymnast at his high school, but he’s still a target for the much-bigger, steroid-fueled football players who rule the school. When an ugly prank war has devastating consequences for one of Danny’s teammates, he finds an unlikely ally in Kurt, a huge, scarred new member of the football team who has a dark past. The harsh and chilling light shown on the business of high school sports makes this one tough to read, but it’s completely worth it for the characterizations, especially of the quiet, misunderstood Kurt.



The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper

This is a sequel to a book from last year that I loved, A Brief History of Montmaray, about the royal family of a tiny island between England and Spain struggling to hold on as those around them prepare for World War II. Now the FitzOsbornes have been forced to leave their island after it’s taken over by the Germans, finding refuge in England and struggling to adjust to their new world. Full of real historical figures and facts but without ever getting bogged down, this is a great example of what good historical fiction can be.



The Shattering by Karen Healey

I read and enjoyed Healey’s earlier book, Guardian of the Dead, but that didn’t prepare me for how much I would love her new one. In the idyllic New Zealand town of Summerton, three teens band together when they discover that all three of them have an older brother who committed suicide under mysterious circumstances. Now they’re beginning to suspect that their brothers’ deaths weren’t suicides at all, and may have something to do with the town of Summerton itself. I can’t recommend this one enough.



Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard

Alex is a student at an all-boys boarding school. When he and his friend Glenn are the only witnesses to what really happened when another boy drowns in the nearby river, Alex hides away in the school library and begins to write the true story in his journal. When the new English teacher, Miss Dovecott, begins to encourage Alex’s writing, Glenn insists that she must know more than she’s letting on about the accident and must be out to get them. Now Alex faces a difficult choice. Blending mystery, literary ambition, boarding school life, and the realities of loyalty and friendship, this book definitely made its way to the top of my favorites this year.


The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

I was already predisposed to like this book because Marchetta is probably my FAVORITE AUTHOR EVER, plus it’s a sequel of sorts to another book I loved, Saving Francesca. Thomas Mackee finds himself sinking under the weight of his family’s grief after a beloved uncle dies. He quits school, turns his back on music and the girl he thought he loved, and deals with his alcoholic father. Now he has to figure out how to climb out of the hole he’s dug for himself. This one broke my heart into tiny little pieces and then painstakingly sewed it back together again. If you’ve never picked up one of Marchetta’s books, you need to do so immediately!



Shine by Lauren Myracle

Cat used to be best friends with Patrick. The two outsiders hung together in their tiny, poverty-stricken Southern townuntil one day several years ago, when Cat withdrew from everyone. Now Patrick lies in a coma after a horrifying gay-bashing incident, and Cat is determined to find the culprits. Myracle creates an attention-holding mystery while exploring some of the harsh realities of small-town America: poverty, lack of education, meth addiction, homophobia, and a sense of hopelessness that threatens many of her characters.


This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

It’s likely that at some point in your school career you’ll come across Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. Kenneth Oppel’s new book is a prequel to Shelley’s famous story, in which Victor Frankenstein is growing up with his twin brother Konrad. All their life they’ve been told that alchemy is forbidden, but when Konrad becomes dangerously sick, Victor is determined to create the Elixir of Life – with devastating consequences. A great read for those who like their books a little darker – plus, it’s supposed to be the first in a series, so there’s more to look forward to!


Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet

Mal Peet is probably one of the best YA writers that hardly anyone has ever heard of, and his latest only solidifies his genius in my mind. Working class Clem was born during World War II in the midst of the German bombing of London, and we follow him through to adulthood and his meeting and falling in love with Frankie, the daughter of a wealthy landowner. Meanwhile, huge events are happening in the outside world, from the Cuban Missile Crisis all the way to 9/11.


The Queen of Water by Laura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango

Virginia was born into poverty in a tiny village in Ecuador – one of many indigenous people who are seen as the servant-class by the ruling mestizos, who can trace their descent back to Spain. When a mestizo family offer the seven-year-old Virginia a job working for them in the city, her family sends her off to what they’re sure will be a better life. But Virginia finds herself working long hours for no money for masters who don’t hesitate to beat her. She struggles to obtain some schooling and escape from her harsh masters. This story is especially compelling when you realize it’s true: the two authors met in the U.S., where Farinango asked Resau to help her tell her own story of an Ecuadorian childhood.


Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

In Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys tells the little-known story (at least here in the U.S.) of the forced relocation of many Lithuanian families to Siberia after their country was invaded by the Soviets in 1939. 16-year-old Lina, along with her mother and younger brother, must make the long trek to a work camp where many die of sickness and starvation. Meanwhile, Lina secretly sneaks out drawings in the hopes that somehow her missing father will find them and learn where the family is. Sepetys is the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee, and her shocking story holds a real ring of truth that makes it one of the year’s best works of historical fiction.


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

On Puck’s small island of Thisby, each year riders participate in the Scorpio Races, in which bloodthirsty water horses emerge from the sea and are raced by death-defying young men of the village. But this year, Puck plans to enter the races herself, becoming the first girl ever to do so. Meanwhile, stable hand Sean, one of the only people who can truly control the water horses, fights for recognition despite his humble background. This has been one of the books with the most buzz this year, and with gorgeous writing and heart-pounding action scenes, it deserves every bit of it.



Blood Red Road by Moira Young

This has been the year of the dystopia in YA lit, but to be honest most of them have left me kind of cold – except for Blood Red Road, which had me hooked from the first page. Saba lives in a tiny village in the dried-up land that’s left after the Wrecker civilization destroyed the Earth and then died out. When her beloved twin brother Lugh is captured, she heads out into the unknown to bring him back home. This is a violent look at one possible future for our world, but I absolutely loved Saba. She might be one of my favorite characters of any book this year – she’s tough, a fierce fighter, and above all, a survivor.


Posted in Book Review, Reading suggestions