Natrona County Public Library http://www.natronacountylibrary.org Advocating for literacy, education, and a thriving community. Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:29:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Testing Flickr http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/testing-flickr/ http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/testing-flickr/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 15:38:40 +0000 http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/?p=14711

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Book Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/giver-lois-lowry/ http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/giver-lois-lowry/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/?p=14681 The Giver (The Giver #1) Have you ever wished you lived in a different world? A world in which there was no war, no economic problems, no global warming? No rich, no poor, no one dying of hunger? A world where families were simple and complete with a dad, a mom and two children, a boy and a girl?

Welcome to Jonas’s community. It has no apparent problems or struggles and you never have to worry about what comes next because it is all planned out for you. Every year from age one to age twelve, there is a ceremony. The whole community gathers together to celebrate the yearly milestones that bring you ever closer to being an adult and a productive member of society. This year Jonas will be a part of the Ceremony of the Twelves, and will be receiving his assignment. The Committee of Elders has observed every child during recreation and volunteer hours and has decided on the assignment, or job, each child is best suited for. Jonas is worried because while he has volunteered in many places, he hasn’t displayed an aptitude for anything in particular.

During the Ceremony, each child is called up to the stage to receive their assignment from the Chief Elder. Jonas realizes that something is wrong when his number is skipped and not called. The reason for Jonas’ singling out isn’t revealed until the end of the Ceremony. You see, Jonas has been selected for a special job, the most honored in the community. He will be the Receiver of Memory.

Jonas is being trained to replace the current occupant of the job, the man who is now The Giver. Being the Receiver is a lonely, often painful duty, one that may convince you that your wish for perfection isn’t worth what must be left behind in order to achieve it.

Why I picked up the book: I’ve read it before and really enjoyed it. At some point, I want to read the other three in the series. Both my book clubs were interested in reading it, many of them for the first time, since the movie is being released this month. I know some students read it in 4th/5th grade and I’m looking forward to my older teens talking about their reflections and bringing some experiences to their thoughts.

Why I finished it: I wanted to know why the previous “Receiver-of-Memory” didn’t work out and if Jonas would.

I’d give it to: Readers who like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner so they can get a glimpse of some classic YA, and probably one of the first real dystopian fiction for juveniles. A great read for those who want to see the movie or those who already have and want to make comparisons. 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!

Review by Jenn, YA Librarian (View all my Goodreads reviews)

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Book Review: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/the-last-lecture-by-randy-pausch/ http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/the-last-lecture-by-randy-pausch/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 14:00:03 +0000 http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/?p=14556 Each year at a series known as The Last Lecture, a Carnegie Mellon University faculty member is asked to deliver what would hypothetically be a final speech to their students before dying. It is a wonderful tradition in which both speaker and listeners take a moment to reflect upon what matters most in this life. In September 2007, the speaker, 47-year-old computer science professor and father of three, Randy Pausch, didn’t have to imagine that he was confronting his imminent demise because, in fact, he was. Pausch had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and, at the time of his Last Lecture, had only been given three to six months to live. Pausch’s speech, entitled “Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” was every bit as upbeat and inspirational as the man himself. Rather than focusing on dying, it was a speech about living, about achieving one’s dreams and enabling the dreams of others, about truly living each day as though it were your last.

I read this book because it has been recommended to me various times throughout my years as a high school student.

I continued to read the book because I couldn’t possibly put it down because I was so intrigued to know what this very wise man had to say.

I would give this book 5 stars and name it one of my very favorite books I have ever read.

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!

Review by Kaitlin, high school graduate

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Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by: Khaled Hosseini http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/book-review-a-thousand-splendid-suns-by-khaled-hosseini/ http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/book-review-a-thousand-splendid-suns-by-khaled-hosseini/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/?p=14546 This story is set in Afghanistan during the past few decades. Amidst war and invasions from the Soviets and the Taliban, families and friends are forced into a struggle for survival.

Mariam is a young girl who lives with her mother in a small hut. She is technically an illegitimate child, so she and her mother are not allowed to live with her father, Jalil, in his house. Yet Mariam adores Jalil despite the hardships he causes Mariam and her mother. Unfortunately, as custom, her father eventually gives her away to Rasheed for marriage. Rasheed is several years older than Mariam, who is only in her teens, and he turns out to be less than the ideal husband.

Laila is also a young girl, though a generation younger than Mariam. Though her mother seems to lack room for Laila in her heart because her older sons are fighting the war, Laila has a decent upbringing with her father. He is set on Laila’s education, and Laila is lucky enough to have friends at school and to also fall in love with a boy named Tariq.

Nevertheless, despite all the hope and love these characters have, war tears apart families and friends in unexpected and horrific ways. The courage of Laila and Mariam is put to the test as the lives of characters become intertwined. Life continues as the war beats down on everyone, and laws in Afghanistan become worse. Their only hope is to take care of each other and to keep sight of the ‘thousand splendid suns.’

I picked up this book because it is written by the same author who wrote The Kite Runner, which I have read twice and thoroughly enjoyed.
I finished it because the story is both fascinating and heartbreaking, as I am sure many people in Afghanistan have experienced tragic events like these because of war.
I would recommend this book to any Kite Runner fans or whoever loves well-crafted stories.
I give this book a 5***** rating.

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!

Review by Leslee, high school graduate

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Book Review: Such Nice Kids by Eve Bunting http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/book-review-such-nice-kids-by-eve-bunting/ http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/book-review-such-nice-kids-by-eve-bunting/#comments Sat, 02 Aug 2014 14:00:12 +0000 http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/?p=14537 What happens when you combine Jason, a rule abiding teen, Meeker a thrill seeking adventurist (as demonstrated not only by his very fast car, but the innumerable times he has gotten in trouble) and Pidge the misfit whom these two have taken under their wings? You get trouble. Meeker  was very convincing and Jason fell for another one of his guilt trips when all 3 of them have dates on the same night and all need different cars to get to their date. After their individual dinners they all planned to meet up. After Jason gets reservations at a very special place, provided by Meeker’s dad he feels he has no choice but to loan Pidge the car that he needs for the night. After a wonderful dinner with his girlfriend, Destiny, Jason heads over to the club expecting to see the rest of the group already there since they planned to meet earlier than him and Destiny. What he finds instead is that Pidge and the car are both gone. After some dancing they all decide to go find Pidge, but they find more than they bargained for.They find Pidge hurt and having been in an accident. That’s when Meeker decides he should let his crazy thrill seeking to the test, but will it get them out of a jam or make it worse than it would be to begin with? Find out in Such Nice Kids.

This book was written from Jason’s point of view and was written very well. Although it is an older book many of the problems in it are very relevant event today.

I picked this book up because it looked interesting and was another one of the books on my shelf that was just waiting to be read.
I finished this book because it was very well written and suspenseful.
I’d give this book to anyone who could enjoy a little thrill and how one moment can change someones whole life.
My rating for this book: ****

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold through InterLibrary Loan!
Review by Michelle, college student

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Book Review: Sailor Moon by author/illustrator: Naoko Takeuchi http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/book-review-sailor-moon-by-authorillustrator-naoko-takeuchi/ http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/book-review-sailor-moon-by-authorillustrator-naoko-takeuchi/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/?p=14534  Usagi Tsukino is an average 14 year old girl until she meets a talking cat named Luna, who tells her that she is destined to become a magical sailor guardian and fight evil. Usagi is given the name Sailor Moon, and with Luna’s help, seeks out the other girls that will make up her team, the Sailor Scouts. Together, the scouts are supposed to search for the reincarnated royalty of the now destroyed moon kingdom, Princess Serenity, and a magical item known as the Legendary Silver Crystal. Usagi’s first transformation into Sailor Moon doesn’t go so smoothly, but she is helped by a mysterious and dapper young man called Tuxedo Mask. Even with Tuxedo Mask’s help, evil runs rampant in the streets of Japan, hiding under innocent guises, and it is up to Sailor Moon and the other Sailor Scouts to protect the earth. However, Usagi still wants to live normally, like playing videogames, eating junk food, hanging out with friends, and possibly falling in love. What’s a magical girl to do?

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!

Review by Serina, college student

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Book Review: Unwholly by Neal Shusterman http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/unwholly-neal-shusterman/ http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/unwholly-neal-shusterman/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:00:27 +0000 http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/?p=14418 Again we will follow the stories of Risa, Lev and Connor as they continue to evade the hands of juvenile authorities. We also follow a Stork who wants to be the next Akron Awol, a juvie cop turned part pirate who wants his revenge, a tithe who is saved but doesn’t want to be, and a new form of human made from parts and many other stories.

Mason Starkey was storked. He fought and caused so many problems that his parents finally decided, against the will of his little sister that he would be unwound. He chose to run away before the cops could get him. While being chased he begins to attempt to act out his escape like Connor (The Akron Awol). He kills two juvie cops in the process. The first one accidentally and the second one on purpose. He is thrilled when an underground group takes him to the graveyard where he meets Connor, but will he live up to Starkey expectations and the fabricated stories?

Connor runs the graveyard now. The Admiral has officially handed it over to him, but Connor is not thrilled with the results. With a shrinking number of runaways making it to the graveyard he is not sure whether it is him or his team that is failing him. He is drifting farther and farther away from Risa who cares about him. He is afraid that if she gets too close to him and all his problems he will hurt her more than he already has. Risa cares about Connor, but he is drifting from her. Will a radical decision on her part make him get farther away or will he finally see she would do anything to get him to love her?

Lev the once tithed child turned clapper is on the outside of just about everything. While he will always have the clapper fluid in him he is no longer dangerous enough to be kept in solitary. He is released to go live with his brother, both of whom are outsiders to the family who feels that Lev and anyone else who supports him have disgraced the family and all that tithing stands for. Lev is on house arrest except when he is required to go to the juvenile detention center to encourage troubled teens to turn their life around before their parents decide to have them unwound. He soon discovers that an image far greater than him has been made. When he arrives at a safe house for tithes he feels like they have set him up for failure, but how can he communicate that to people who literally worship him?

And then there is Marcelona who is the complete opposite of the other tithes. She wants to get away from Lev and anyone who wants to keep her from being unwound, but when she discovers that Lev is not all he’s cracked up to be, can the duo form an unlikely team? Nelson was humiliated by the infamous Akron Awol. He was shot by his own tazer and lost his job, but he wants revenge. By catching runaway unwinds he hopes to someday track down the Awol who ruined his reputation and settle the score once and for all. And then there is Cam. He was brought to life by putting together pieces of several unwinds. How will a world so torn about unwinding accept a human made from parts?

I picked this book because it was the next in a very good series.

I finished this book because like all the others there was so much action and information in each page that I could hardly stop.

I’d give this book to anyone who enjoyed the first two in the series.

I rate this book a *****

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!

Review by Michelle, college student

Click here to read Michelle’s review of Unwind and the e-novella Unstrung.

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Book Review: Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/book-review-everybody-sees-the-ants-by-a-s-king/ http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/book-review-everybody-sees-the-ants-by-a-s-king/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:00:26 +0000 http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/?p=14523 Everybody Sees the AntsLucky Linderman’s life hasn’t felt quite so lucky as of late. With a mother swims away her issues (squid) and a father who hides inside himself and his restaurant, no one seems to want to acknowledge the fact that Lucky can’t escape the crosshairs of a bully. Mom finally snaps into action after the latest run-in leaves part of Lucky’s cheek on the concrete and in its place, a scab the size of Ohio. She and Lucky hop on a plane to Arizona, hoping a few weeks away will change things. In the past, the only escape Lucky has ever had are dreams of his grandfather, who he has never really met because Granddad is a POW/MIA soldier from Vietnam. Dreams where Lucky is trying to help Granddad find his way home. Dreams Lucky awakens from, clutching an object that Granddad has given him. What is going on? Is it really possible to just run away and leave your problems behind? 

Why I picked up the book: It was on a “25 YA books for Adults” list that I gave our Never Too Old book club. A few people had read it and loved it, so our group chose it.

Why I finished it: As with the other King book I’ve read (Reality Boy), I could not put it down or leave Lucky alone. I love the honesty and complexity she adds to the characters. They are real and flawed and human. She does a great job of tackling big topics (bullying, suicide, parenting, depression) without harping or preaching.

I’d give it to: fans of Chris Crutcher or Ellen Hopkins. It also reminded me of Leverage by Joshua Cohen.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!

Review by Jenn, YA Librarian (View all my Goodreads reviews)

 

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Book Review: The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/best-of-me-nicholas-sparks/ http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/best-of-me-nicholas-sparks/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 14:00:28 +0000 http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/?p=14414 Dawson Cole and Amanda Collier are from families from opposite worlds.  The Colliers are high-class, while the Coles are full of violence.  There had been a long-standing divide between the two families in the little town of Oriental, North Carolina when Dawson and Amanda fall madly in love.  Unfortunately, like many teens in love, the two are separated and both begin to live very different lives.  Many years later, a man dear to both of them brings them back together.  Unexpectedly, Dawson and Amanda meet again and begin to relive the memories of their love.  They share the stories of their lives with each other, only to realize that they are meant to be together.  Torn between her responsibilities to her husband and their children and the love of her life, Amanda is forced to make a difficult decision while Dawson confronts his past.  Whether separate or together, maybe their love has more power to save each other than either of them could ever imagine.

I picked up this book because I like many of the novels Nicholas Sparks has written, and I finished reading it because it drew me in and held my interest. 

I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good love story. 

I give it a 3*** rating. 

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!

Review by Leslee, high school graduate

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Lockdown: Escape From Furnace Author: Alexander Gordon Smith http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/lockdown-escape-from-furnace-author-alexander-gordon-smith/ http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/lockdown-escape-from-furnace-author-alexander-gordon-smith/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 14:00:06 +0000 http://www.natronacountylibrary.org/?p=14384 Fourteen year old Alex has been accused of a murder he didn’t commit and is sentenced to Furnace, a penitentiary deep under ground that might as well be Hell on earth. The maze of walls and cell doors are splattered in blood, and the screams of the adolescent inmates can be heard echoing throughout the night from all around. Strange things prowl the halls in the dark, mutant creatures with bloody maws, men with gas masks for faces, and the cruel warden, who just might be the Devil himself. Alex learns quickly that if he wants to survive, he has to escape, but it seems that for everyone, guilty and innocent alike, there is no escape from Furnace.

I picked this book up because it was suggested.

I finished this book because it was horrific and intense.

I’d give this book to any fans of Darren Shan’s work.

Rating: **** Really liked it!

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!

Review by Serina, college student

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