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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.