- find a book
- find video games
- my library
- get involved
Will & Whit
by Laura Lee Gulledge
* * * Stars (Pretty good)
Wilhelmina (Will) has been living with her Aunt Elsie (Ella) since her parents died last year. They live in Will’s grandparents’ house (they are also deceased) and will helps Ella run the family Antique shop, which is next door. Will finds distraction and relief from the loss of her parents through the creation of lamps – her grandpa taught her basic wiring – which she makes and sells. Even though she’s 17, Will is still terribly afraid of the dark. Over the summer, a terrible storm – Whitney – passes through town and causes a power outage that lasts several days. Will and her friends have to find new ways to entertain themselves when their usual outlets (video games, cooking, internet, phones, etc.) are no longer available to them. They get involved with a group of teens who are putting on a carnival – Will does the lighting, and Autumn and Reese help with the puppet show. New friendships are made, fears are overcome, and love is in the air by the time the power comes back on.
Will is a strong, distinctive character with some unusual skills – very likable. Side stories involving her friends and their relationship woes add interest without becoming overly dramatic or gossipy (leave the gossip to Reese!). Fans of Laura Lee Gulledge’s “Page by Paige” and Raina Telgemeier’s “Smile” and “Drama” should appreciate this down to earth, realistic graphic novel. Fun, fast read.
by Jill Wolfson
* * * * * Stars (Amazing!)
Three girls are introduced, all leading separate lives, having different problems, and going to the same school. One thing they have in common is their hot tempers. Very easily do they get mad, and when they do, precautions must be taken. Ambrosia, a classmate, calls all three to her house one day, to get to know them. Instead, she ignites their fury and tries to make them stand up for what they believe in, and do it in the most spiteful way: by getting revenge and getting even. Ambrosia vows to make Meg's (main character) foster mother suffer for making Meg her personal slave. Thinking it's a fantasy game, Meg agrees, not knowing what else is to come. As the book proceeds, the girls find that Ambrosia's intentions are unclear, as well as how they should harness their powers. Soon, the three girls realize that it is their job to punish those who have made others sad, suffer, or lower their self-esteem. One by one they choose their victims carefully, until they too begin to understand what it means to be FURIOUS.
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
* * * * Stars (Great!)
Lily’s brother decides she needs a boyfriend, so he leaves a mysterious red Moleskine notebook among the used books at Strand’s (bookstore) for someone worthy to find. That someone is Dash (Dashiell), who is Lily’s age, loves the OED (Oxford English Dictionary), and has the most swoon-worthy musings. After leading him on a scavenger hunt through the store, Dash is given instructions on how to get in touch with the “owner” of the notebook. Then, the two use it as their only means of communication over winter break – asking probing questions, sharing thoughts and memories, getting to know one another. It goes back and forth between them (they each pre-arrange pick-up and drop-off locations), but they don’t actually meet until Dash tracks Lily down after several promising exchanges. Unfortunately, she’s not at her best and both are disappointed. Can Lily redeem herself, or is it too late?
I loved how Dash and Lily were both so open to the adventure of the notebook – sharing some of their most private thoughts with one another (they were total strangers at the beginning) and visiting the places/trying the activities the other suggests. Part of the fun is how willing they were to play the game they were creating together. Although it’s not as pitch-perfect as John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars,” Dash & Lily definitely has its moments. If you’ve read and enjoyed “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” (also by Cohn & Levithan) this one is even better.
“Oh my,” Sofia said when I was through. “You think you’ve finally found the girl in your head.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, like most guys, you carry around this girl in your head, who is exactly what you want her to be. The person you think you will love the most. And every girl you are with gets measured against this girl in your head. So this girl with the red notebook – it makes sense. If you never meet her, she never has to get measured. She can be the girl in your head.”
“You make it sound like I don’t want to get to know her.”
“Of course you want to get to know her. But at the same time, you want to feel like you already know her. That you will know her instantly. Such a fairy tale… Be careful what you’re doing, because no one is ever who you want them to be. And the less you really know them, the more likely you are to confuse them with the girl or boy in your head.” (pp.130-131)
Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
Abraham Lincoln nominee
* * * * * Stars (Amazing!)
Wade (aka Parzival), 18, spends most of his time in the OASIS, the massive virtual world created by Jim Halliday and Ogden Morrow. He attends a virtual school – which is way better than a bricks and mortar school for so many reasons (not the least of which is that there’s no PvP on school grounds, and you can mute your classmates) – and spends most of his free time searching for Halliday’s egg. When Halliday died, he challenged his fellow OASIS players to find his hidden Easter egg – winner take all (Halliday’s fortune, and control of OASIS). Thus was an epic quest born and undertaken by millions. Because Halliday was such a fan of 80s pop culture (music, games, movies, and more) there was a huge revival in interest in those times, and, in particular, Halliday’s favorites, as “gunters” (egg-hunters) scrambled to decipher his first clue (an obscure riddle that was sure to have its roots in some 80’s ephemera). It is Parzival, however, who finds the copper key – after nearly 5 years of searching – and once his name pops up on Halliday’s scoreboard the Game Is On.
I love this book. It is full of everything I loved as a teenager (and more) with all kinds of insider information and references to the pop culture of that age. *SIGH* I am not much of a gamer or a video game player (and those that consider themselves such – at least the old school ones – will possibly love this even more than I did), but the movie references alone (Ferris Bueller, The Breakfast Club, Monty Python, Blade Runner) were enough to make me quietly squee. There’s action, adventure, suspense, romance, and Cline’s rather terrifying, yet still hopeful vision of the future. I want to start over at the beginning just to experience it again. THAT’S a feeling I haven’t had in a long time.
Drop in and join The Fray! This club is for both novices and experienced needle-workers. Whether you knit, crochet, cross-stitch, or work another needle craft, come to learn and share. Bring your own supplies and projects. For ages 10 and up.
All writers, beginning or experienced, are invited to network and share their writing in a friendly setting. Receive feedback and helpful critique from other members, and use writing exercises and prompts to expand your repertoire.
Please bring some writing to share.
For ages 15 and up.