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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Just for 6th grade and up

Now that you’re back in the swing of school, you may be looking for activities to do after the last bell rings. The library has loads of fun programs and resources to check out; visit our Teen Page for all the details. Below are a few highlights: 

Teen Advisory Group 

Join the Teen Advisory Group (TAG) to meet new friends and get involved at the library. The group gets together monthly for cool activities and service projects. In September you can help the library plan its teen webpage. In October we will learn about recording music and put on a Monster Mash party for younger children. In November we’ll make Holiday Cards for Heroes and in December teens help with our annual Santa visit! There are so many fun things to do, you’ll be glad you joined the library family. Just fill out a membership form or ask your librarian about getting involved.

Teen Writing Clubs

Do you write poetry or short stories? Are you working on a novel? Do you journal or blog? Join one of our Teen Writing Clubs to meet fellow teen writers, get positive feedback on material and other helpful tips.

Browse the Collection

Not ready to commit to a club? Then drop in to the library and just browse our wide collection of young adult books. We stock the latest bestsellers as well as old favorites and library staff is always ready to offer reading suggestions.

Need research help for school assignments? The library has excellent online databases that provide accurate and efficient searches of hundreds of topics.

Another Young Adult Book to Movie

So many good young adult books are being made into feature films! An upcoming movie release usually creates a surge of interest in the book. The latest book-to-movie phenomenon  is If I Stay by Gayle Foreman. 

Click on book cover to watch movie trailer!

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman  is one I read and loved when it came out in 2009. Filled with raw emotion, the story centers on Mia, who is in a coma after a car accident that took the lives of her entire family. Weaving reality with the supernatural, Mia’s spirit drifts through memories while she is torn between awakening to live with her grief or letting go of life to join her family in death. Choosing life will reunite Mia, a classical cellist, with her rocker boyfriend. But will she be able to live with herself? 

Needless to say, this is a very popular book pick right now, and there is a hefty waiting list. Here are some read-alikes to enjoy during the intermission.

In The Chance You Won't Return, high school junior Alex is dealing with Driver’s Ed and a first crush but what she’s really worried about is the growing disaster at home. Alex’s mother has already had one nervous breakdown and now she’s having delusions that she’s somebody else. This is a sensitive story about keeping a mortifying family secret from going public.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox is a fictional look at biotechnology. In the not-too-distant future, technological advances have made synthetic bodies and brains possible but illegal. Jenna, a 17-year-old, recovering from a serious accident and suffering from memory lapses, learns a startling secret about her existence.

Sisters Kate and Mary take on major life decisions when their father dies suddenly, leaving them with their mother, who has been in a persistent vegetative state since an accident four years earlier. Irises mixes pain and joy in a story about following your dreams.

While their mother recovers from a car accident, 13-year-old Shelby and her three sisters must go to live with their respective fathers. Funny and perceptive, Outside Beauty depicts a family of strong-willed girls who have learned to rely on their looks and their courage.

Happy Reading!

Ann @ the Fauquier Library

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Giver: From bookshelf to big screen

The adaptation of Lois Lowry's classic young adult novel The Giver is being released in theaters tomorrow.

If you haven't read the book, it's one of those rare titles that I would recommend to almost any reader. The Giver follows Jonah as he comes of age in a community without conflict or inequality. When Jonah is chosen to become the Receiver of Memory, he encounters memories of life beyond his community and begins to question the foundations of his world.

The Giver is a quick, powerful read that will stay with you after you turn the last page. I would especially recommend it to readers who are interested in dystopian novels but aren't ready for The Hunger Games or Divergent.

If you've already read and enjoyed The Giver, you might also enjoy the following books:

Armageddon Summer - Jane Yolen & Bruce Coville

Armageddon Summer follows Marina and Jed, two teenagers whose parents have joined an end-of-the-world cult. As Marina and Jed wait in a mountain enclave for the end to come (and police and the media wait below), they struggle with questions of belief and with their relationships with their parents.

Suspenseful and complex, Armageddon Summer is a contemporary take on teenagers struggling with their beliefs and identities.

Fever Crumb - Philip Reeve

Fever Crumb is set in a future London where advanced technologies from the past are hoarded and studied. Young Fever has been raised by the tribe of Engineers to be rational and without emotion, but when she leaves home and starts experiencing the memories of London's deposed superhuman ruler, her life begins to change.

Reeve is an incredibly inventive writer, and Fever Crumb will dazzle science fiction fans with its colorful futuristic world. At the same time, Fever's journey of self discovery is very satisfying. House of the Scorpion - Nancy Farmer

Matteo is a clone of El Patron, the powerful, corrupt ruler of a country that has been carved out of the U.S. and Mexico. Clones aren't considered human, and Matt must leave his sheltered life in El Patron's house to confront his world and his identity.

The House of the Scorpion is a moving, memorable story set in an unusual dark future; if you've enjoyed books like The Giver or The Hunger Games, definitely pick it up.

Enchantress from the Stars - Sylvia Lousie Engdahl

Elana is a recruit for the spacefaring Anthropological Service; Georyn is a woodcutter's son on a planet without advanced technology. When Elana visits Georyn's planet to prevent an invasion, Georyn decides her technology is magic, and she's forced to play along.

Enchantress From the Stars explores this space-age encounter from three perspectives, showing different ways of seeing the same situation. It's a mix of science fiction and fairy tale that will appeal to readers who like their science fiction thoughtful and focused on characters (much like The Giver).

Becky @ Warrenton

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

You're Invited: Grand Finale Party

The Teen Summer Reading Program is winding down and we've had a blast, but we've saved our biggest event for last. Come to our Grand Finale Party and celebrate with your friends. We’ll break out the games and challenge you to a round of Book Charades so brush up on popular titles. Won't it be fun to have a picture taken with your favorite Star Wars character (cardboard cutout, that is)? And it wouldn't be a party without plenty of pizza and ice cream so we've got that covered, too.

Don’t forget, every teen program you attend qualifies you for the Grand Prize Drawing of a Google Nexus Tablet!

The parties will be held at all three branches: Tuesday, August 5

          Book Reviews          

I hope you've kept up your summer reading, logging your books and earning prizes each week. Although I've been extra busy planning and presenting programs this summer, I've still managed to read a few good books.

Since the runaway bestseller, The Fault in our Stars, there seems to be a trend in young adult lit toward books about teens with disabilities or life-threatening diseases. These can be heart wrenching but powerful stories. Here are a few you will want to add to your reading list.

Pieces of Me by Amber Kizer

After a car accident leaves Jessica brain-dead, her organs and tissues are donated to help four other teens survive. What makes the story so unique is that Jessica’s spirit lingers, observing the people she saved as their lives become interconnected. The recipients become the main characters as their lives are forever changed and they each struggle with the meaning behind their salvation. For the teens, it’s an incredible gift to be given a second chance at life. They now have a chance at love and a future that they had never believed possible. Jessica also moves from anger to acceptance that her gift has made a difference. Pieces of Me is a powerful and emotional novel that will have you considering the issue of organ donation.

She is not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

British teen Laureth kidnaps her younger brother Benjamin and travels to New York to find their missing father, using clues from his notebook. Dad was supposed to be in Switzerland but a suspicious voice mail leads Laureth to believe he’s gone missing and she is determined to look for him. Not only does Lareth travel across the Atlantic to a strange city to investigate the mystery, but the fact that she’s blind makes her adventure even more amazing. That’s why she needs Benjamin (she didn't technically kidnap him) as sort of a human seeing-eye dog. The main story is interspersed with excerpts from their father’s notebook and his obsession with coincidences. Isn't it cool when you’re thinking about something and then suddenly that thing appears? It kind of makes you tingle. Coincidence happens often to Laureth and Ben as they get into and out of multiple predicaments. With the authorities bearing down and the bad guys closing in, only Laureth’s quick thinking can save them. This book will make you think about what it’s like to function in the world without eyesight.

Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly by Conrad Wesselhoeft

Guys-guy Arlo is not only a dirt-bike daredevil but he’s also a top-ranking video gamer. His skills at virtual drone warfare have caught the attention of the U.S. military – they want him to come work for them at a secret base in New Mexico. Fearless on his Yamaha 250 and in the Drone Zone, the 17-year-old is covering up his emotional scars. What’s left of his family is barely hanging on – he’s grieving the violent death of his mother, his father has lost his job and is wallowing in depression, and his little sister is suffering from a life-threatening disease and they can’t afford to get the necessary medical treatment she needs. So when the Air Force offers Arlo a substantial income to fly drones against insurgents in Pakistan, he is psyched. At first glance this novel seems made just for guys, all muscle bikes and warfare, but it’s also got emotional depth. There’s strong friendship, a love interest, a family coping with multiple tragedies and even a bit of humor.

Look for these books and more online here and don’t forget to drop in to any library branch to submit your (very short, no pressure) book reviews to be eligible for great weekly prizes!

Happy Reading!

Ann @ the Fauquier County Public Library

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Happy Birthday, Batman

This month, DC Comics commemorates the 75th anniversary of Batman's first appearance in 1939.

To celebrate, here's a list of great comics from our young adult collection. We have something for every reader—whether you like your stories serious, silly, adventurous, or thoughtful.

If you're new to comics, you'll find that the visual element can add a lot of depth to the reading experience. To get started, you might enjoy this helpful essay on how to read comics by a professional comics artist.

Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli

Considering the occasion, I'll start with a Batman comic. Batman: Year One, written by comics legend Frank Miller, tells the story of Batman's first year on the job.

With its iconic portrait of a gritty Gotham City plagued by corruption, Batman: Year One is widely considered one of the best Batman comics ever. It's an exciting action / adventure story but also aims for realism, both in its characters and its stark, atmospheric art. If you're new to superhero comics, this book is an excellent place to start.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff

Selim, an ordinary guy in 19th-century Turkey, ends up as the unlikely accomplice to Delilah Dirk, a high-powered adventuress. Wherever Delilah goes, trouble and mayhem follow (and by "trouble and mayhem," I mean "explosions and beefy guys with scimitars.")

Cliff's gorgeous art will transport you to another place and time, and the adventures of this mismatched pair are gripping and funny. While a sequel is in the works, this volume is very satisfying on its own.

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

This new graphic novel is a great summer read about two best friends and an emotionally intense summer spent in a beach town in Canada. (Half the artists featured in this post are Canadian—there must be something in the water up there.)

While This One Summer tackles serious issues, it's a very warm and funny portrait of two girls moving from childhood to adolescence. The vivid and expressive art pairs well with the thoughtful writing.

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks

The high school robotics club and the cheerleading squad both want funding from student council. Charlie, the head of the basketball team, somehow finds himself in the middle of a full-scale war between the two groups—until they decide to work together.

This is a hilarious, fast-paced story of robots and high school rivalries, populated by believable characters and brought to life by Hick's polished, very funny art.

Making Comics by Scott McCloud

If you want to learn to create your own comics (or are just curious about the process), don't miss Making Comics. McCloud explains the different aspects of comics, including character design, backgrounds, and arranging panels. 

I particularly enjoyed Making Comics because you can learn a lot from it even if you're still developing as an artist or writer. Even with my merely passable doodling skills, I had fun trying out some of the exercises.

Don't forget - once you read one of these books (or any other book), log your books and submit a short book review and enter it into our teen summer reading program "Read, Review, Win Cool Prizes" contest. Drawings are held weekly for great prizes. We also have special events weekly throughout the summer reading program - a full schedule of summer reading program events for teens is available here. 

Becky @ Warrenton

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter (Kiddosphere twitter is here) or online

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Something Fun for Everyone!

The Teen Summer Reading Program is now in full swing; hope you've had a chance to attend some of our events just for 6th grade and up. If not, no worries…we still have six more weeks of exciting programs every Tuesday at all three library locations.

Do you have what it takes to be a volunteer fire fighter? Local fire company members will reveal the rewarding mission and training involved in serving your community. Learn about fireworks safety and see an actual fire and extinguisher demonstration. You could be an “everyday hero.” Click here for dates and locations.

Maybe you prefer something a little less daring…then try one of our creative craft programs. Bring an old, well-loved t-shirt and we’ll show you how to turn it into a reusable, environmentally-friendly tote bag. No sewing required!

If you enjoy building things and knocking them down, perhaps you’d like one of our catapult or engineering activities. In Crazy Bird Catapults, you will create your own sling machine and hurl rubber birds at a wall of blocks.

In Science @ the Library, teams will build engineering marvels using toothpicks and gumdrops. Prizes will be awarded to the team with the strongest weight-bearing structure! This program is presented in cooperation with Wakefield School.

If you prefer a calmer craft, perhaps our knitting class is more your style. Christmas in July participants will learn to knit a simple headband or stocking ornament. It’s not too early to start thinking about holiday gifts! The library will provide yarn and knitting needles but you are welcome to bring your own if you have them.

And remember, for each program you attend, you will be entered into a special end-of-summer grand prize drawing for a Google Nexus Tablet! The more programs you attend, the more chances you will have to win!

For more details about our summer reading program, click here

           Book Reviews          

Reality television seems to have taken over the small screen. So what happens when a sleazy reality show comes to an elite arts academy? In The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer, a group of artsy friends concocts a plan to battle the show and take back their hijacked school. They secretly write and distribute a protest poem, which starts a budding rebellion. But when they are betrayed by one of their own, it’s up to the rest to reveal the high-level corruption.

Not all books of summer are light reads. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is the novel about four cousins spending summers on their family’s private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Born to wealth and privilege, their apparent idyll lives have a shocking twist that will blow you away; the events sure surprised me! After the last page, you’ll want to go back and read it again to see how you missed the clues.

Good Reading!

Ann @ the Fauquier County Public Library

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Reading Recommendations for Teens

Lots of people love to read young adult fiction as much as I do so we've invited library staff to post blogs about their favorite books and genres. This month, I’m pleased to introduce Elizabeth, our first guest blogger. I hope you enjoy her suggestions for great summer reads. I will return later in June!

Ann @ the Fauquier County Public Library 

Summer was made for reading. If you are a student on break, summer means a respite from homework and required reading—not to insinuate that assigned books can’t be great, it’s just nice to be able to choose what to read and on what schedule. But if you don’t have the summer off (I don’t!) the season is very conducive to reading. Whether it is on a beach, in a car, on a plane, or at home, there is no better time to pick up a book and read for fun.

I am a big fan of series books (because some stories are just too good to fit in one volume) and I believe summer is the perfect time to catch up on a series you might have fallen behind on or to start reading a brand new series. So if you are looking for a good series to try, these are good bets.

The Raven Cyde by Maggie Steifvater

* Though she is from a family of clairvoyants, Blue Sargent's only gift seems to be that she makes other people's talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the expensive Aglionby Academy, she discovers that he has talents of his own--and that together their talents are a dangerous mix.

Only two of the four planned volumes have been released so far, but it is already one of my favorite YA series. The prose is beautiful and the characters are all complex and interesting: down-to-earth Blue, charming Gansey, studious Adam, rebellious Ronan, and soft-spoken Noah. I particularly love that the magical elements are not fully explained (or at least they haven’t been so far), which leaves an element of mystery to it. And really, shouldn't magic be a little mysterious? The third volume, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, comes out this fall so now is the time to get caught up!

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

Book 1: Clockwork Angel 

* When sixteen-year-old orphan Tessa Fell's older brother suddenly vanishes, her search for him leads her into Victorian-era London's dangerous supernatural underworld, and when she discovers that she herself is a Downworlder, she must learn to trust the demon-killing Shadowhunters if she ever wants to learn to control her powers and find her brother.

The Infernal Devices is set in the same expanded universe as Clare’s other series, The Mortal Instruments (City of Bones and it’s sequels), but you don’t have to have read one to understand and enjoy the other. Complete at three volumes (Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, and Clockwork Princess) The Infernal Devices is easier to devour than its 6-book counterpart. The mixture of demon-hunting action, paranormal mystery, drama, romance, and steampunk elements is very well-balanced. I know it is a cliche, but this series really does have something for everyone.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman 

* In a world where dragons and humans coexist in an uneasy truce and dragons can assume human form, Seraphina, whose mother died giving birth to her, grapples with her own identity amid magical secrets and royal scandals, while she struggles to accept and develop her extraordinary musical talents.

There’s just one book out, but a sequel is in the works. I confess that I am a huge nerd for dragons and the world of Seraphina offers a really cool take on the mythical beasts. Even though these dragons can take on human shape, their brains still work differently from humans—dragons are very logical and literal-minded—so there is an unescapable sense of other to them. The medieval kingdom invented by Hartman is brilliantly imagined (you can tell she really knows her stuff about music) and the titular heroine is likable and believable.

Of course, not everyone wants to commit to a series. Sometimes you just want a good read that is complete in one book. And as much as I love fantasy, a story more grounded in reality can be very refreshing.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell 

* Cath struggles to survive on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words, and worrying about her fragile father.

What the catalog summary doesn't mention is that heroine Cath is a fanfiction author, devoted to the fictional Simon Snow book series (a not-so-subtle pastiche of Harry Potter). As a fangirl of the same stripe as Cath, I was immediately drawn to this book just by the title and was blown away by how authentically Rowell captures the fanfic-writing subculture of which I am a part. Anyone who writes or reads fanfiction will have moments of instant recognition reading this book, but even those who aren't fangirls or fanboys will relate to Cath’s story of trying to balance the inner world of her hobby with the outer world of family, school, and relationships.

Other Ideas:

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell 
* Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 
* After a family tragedy, Jacob feels compelled to explore an abandoned orphanage on an island off the coast of Wales, discovering disturbing facts about the children who were kept there.

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman 
* Accompanied by her daemon, Lyra Belacqua sets out to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments in the Far North.

Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
* Nineteen-year-old returning champion Sean Kendrick competes against Puck Connolly, the first girl ever to ride in the annual Scorpio Races, both trying to keep hold of their dangerous water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

Legend by Marie Lu
* In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, fifteen-year-olds Day, a famous criminal, and prodigy June, the brilliant soldier hired to capture him, discover that they have a common enemy.

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
* Eleven-year-old Alanna, who aspires to be a knight even though she is a girl, disguises herself as a boy to become a royal page, learning many hard lessons along her path to high adventure.

* Description from library catalog

Summer reading is ultimately all about choice. If paranormal romance is your thing, indulge in werewolves, vampires and fallen angels. If you prefer something more realistic, pick up some John Green. Try a new genre or a new author. A CD book is great if you’ll be spending a lot of time in your car, or if you want something to listen to during your workout, download an e-audiobook. Summer won’t last forever so read while the reading is good!

Elizabeth @ the Fauquier County Public Library

Teens, if you are love to read and have fun, check out our summer reading program, Spark a Reaction.  We start the summer with an author visit from local authors Amie Borst and her teenage daughter, Bethanie, authors of Cinderskella. Other great programs - from crafts to movies - will be part of this great annual program. Sparks are gonna fly at your library! 

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Author Visit will "Spark a Reaction" at Teen Summer Reading Kickoff

To kick off the teen Summer Reading Program, the library welcomes the mother-daughter writing team of the book Cinderskella. The popular middle-grade novel is a slightly spooky, super funny twist on the classic Cinderella fairytale. Amie and Bethanie Borst will talk about the inspiration behind their laugh-out-loud funny story, their experience working together, plotting and telling lots of jokes, and share tips to help you pursue your own writing dreams.

In Cinderskella, Cindy is just a normal 11-and-three-quarter year-old. At least until she wakes up one night and finds out she’s dead. Well, she isn't technically dead—she just doesn't have any hair . . . or a nose . . . or skin. Yep—all bones, no body.

Human by day and skeleton by night, Cindy is definitely cursed. And because her mother recently died, Cindy has no one to turn to except a father who’s now scared of her and an evil stepmother who makes her do the housecleaning with a toothbrush. To make matters worse, the Spring Fling dance is approaching, and Ethan, the cutest boy in sixth grade, doesn’t seem to know Cindy exists. Of course, Cindy doesn’t think letting Ethan find out she’s part skeleton is the best way to introduce herself.

While facing such perils as pickled pig’s feet, a wacky fortune teller, and a few quick trips to the Underworld, Cindy’s determined to break the curse—even for a single night.

The first book of three in the Scarily Ever Laughter series, signed copies of Cinderskella will be available for purchase at the library presentations held at all three branches. And one lucky person at each branch will win a copy of the book!

4 p.m. Tuesday, June 17; Bealeton Library
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 17; John Barton Payne Bldg.
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 24; John Marshall Library

We hope you join us for this exciting kickoff to a summer filled with entertaining events for 6th grade and up. From craft days to movie nights, science programs and even a volunteer fire department demonstration, there’s something for everyone that’s sure to “Spark a Reaction.”

Registration opens June 1 online and at all Fauquier County Public Library locations.

If you need even more incentive, for each program you attend teens can enter into an end-of-summer grand prize drawing. One lucky winner will be randomly chosen from each branch. The more programs you attend, the more chances you have to win!

Happy Reading!

Ann McDuffie, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.