Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bayou: Vol. One by Jeremy Love

The story takes place in Mississippi in 1933. Lee Wagstaff, the daughter of a black sharecropper, is friends with Lily, a white girl, in a segregated society. The two girls regularly play by the bayou, where black victims of racial violence are often dumped. One day Lily is abducted by a monster, but Lee’s father is blamed and may soon face a lynch mob. In order to save her father and friend, Lee enters Dixie, a parallel universe of Southern lore. While in Dixie, Lee witnesses the horrors of the South’s racially violent past. She also encounters Bayou, a creature who is troubled by the realities of discrimination. Lee and Bayou learn a lot about one another and work to succeed against racial discrimination.

Love created the story and illustrations for this fascinating story. Originally seen as a web comic at, operated by DC Comics, this is the first book in a three-part series.

The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks by Max Brooks; Illustrated by Ibraim Roberson

Max Brooks has made a name for himself writing about zombies. If there could be an authority on these creatures, Brooks would most likely be it. The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks is an illustrated history of zombie attacks throughout history. There is an old adage that history will repeat itself if we don’t learn from previous mistakes. Brooks considers this in the presentation of his story.

The Survival Guide is full of graphic zombie attacks since the dawn of time. The retelling is presented as a collection of short stories beginning in 60,000 B.C. in Central Africa and traveling to various locations across the globe, such as Feudal Japan (A.D. 1611) to 1992 at Joshua Tree National Park in California.

The overall story is light on character development, since each story is 9-10 pages long. However, the illustrations provided by Roberson assist in making these short stories entertaining and a little horrifying. For a more character-driven zombie story Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead: here we remain (YP Fic Kirkman) is recommended.

Max Brooks is also the author of World War Z: an oral history of the zombie war (SF Brooks), which is also available at the Moore Memorial Public Library in the science fiction section.

Special Edward by Eric Walters

Who likes school? Who likes homework? Edward, a classic slacker, is not a fan of either. In fact, as long as he barely passes his classes he’s perfectly fine with mediocrity. He begins exploring his options when his borderline average is threatened. What can he do to pass his classes, but do little to no work? When he discovers students in “special ed.” classes get longer test-taking times and have little homework, Edward begins to craft a plan to have himself placed in the remedial program. However, he soon discovers convincing people he should be in special education classes is more work than the slacker could have imagined.

Eric Walters is a Canadian author who has penned over sixty juvenile and young adult books. The Moore Memorial Library has several of his young adult books, including Sketches, Laggen Lard Butts, Stuffed, Juice, Grind, Overdrive, Caged Eagles, and War of the Eagles.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

IraqiGirl: diary of a teenage girl in Iraq

The United States’ involvement in Iraq is regularly reported on the news. Lately the news has reported on the approaching elections, bombings and killings, and the United States’ exit strategy. For a young adult these matters may be of little interest, unless you have family and friends who are somehow involved or based in Iraq.
The United States’ occupation of Iraq began in 2003. In 2004 a 15 year-old girl, Hadiya, began blogging about her life in the city of Mosul, Iraq. Her blog was known as IraqiGirl. Recently a collection of her earlier blog posts were collected and published as IraqiGirl: diary of s teen age girl in Iraq (call number 956.704431 Iraqigir). Her firsthand accounts and reflection of the situation occurring in her country provides a unique perspective to everyone living outside this situation, especially young adults.
Hadiya is just like most teenagers. She worries about school, watches television when there is electricity, and discusses her relationships with family and friends. However, her experience is unique because she is constantly surrounded by war and the effects it has on her country. Her blog is an honest recollection of loss, grief, and a determined survival. She loses family members. Friends and family are forced to flee their homes. She is open about her choice to be a Muslim and responds to criticism from comments made by her readership. She also discusses U.S. and Iraqi military enforcements, such as curfew.
Hadiya is still contributing to the IraqiGirl blog. Once you finish this collection of earlier blog posts, I recommend continuing to read her unique firsthand account of the ever-changing political spectrum in Iraq.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mental Health: Teen Health Resources

Another guide for young adults is now available at thelibrary and online.

Mental Health: Teen Health Resources is an overview of library books, databases, and websites that will better inform young adults about mental health issues, such as depression, suicide, and cutting. This guide may be useful for school projects or for personal needs. This is not a listing of all available books on this subject at the library, but acts as an introdction to mental health. The books selected present the facts about mental health issues, including firsthand accounts from those who have suffered from depression. There is also a listing for Galveston Teen Health Center, which has a location at Blocker Middle School.

If you have an additional questions regarding the library's mental health collection, please speak with a reference librarian.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan is the first book of a new steampunk trilogy written by young adult, sci-fi writer, Scott Westerfeld. Steampunk is a genre of science fiction writing that encompasses a unique mix of past and future. The first steampunk novels were written by H.G. Wells (War of the Worlds) and Jules Verne (Journey to the Center of the Earth). Originally, steampunk was set in the Victoria era with futurist possibilities, like flying machines, computer-like contraptions, and weapons. The genre eventually evolved to include sub-genres known as clockpunk (16th Century) and dieselpunk (WWI era).

Westerfeld’s new series begins in 1914 with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which was the event that sparked World War I. Instead of accurately retelling the events of WWI, Westerfeld creates an alternate history, where countries are divided by science and warfare. Countries, like Germany and Austria, known as Clankers, have highly developed war machines. Other countries, such as England, have trusted Darwinists scientists, who developed living war machines and new animals through cross breeding DNA. The Leviathan is part whale, part airship, and it is the pride of the Air Service.

At the beginning of the story we meet young Aleksander (Alek), son of the assassinated Archduke, who is forced to flee his homeland. He is being chased by the Germans and Austrians because he is a threat to the Austrian Empire. The story also introduces Deryn, a young girl who is passing as a teen boy in order to join the British Air Service. She is a talented airman, but women aren’t allowed to fly.

The two cross paths at the start of the war. Alek and his men, who escaped to Switzerland, encounter Deryn and the Leviathan crew when the airship crashes after a German air assault. This book starts an around the world journey and a clash of thinking on man, machine, and science.

Watch this:
Leviathan Book Trailer

Scott Westerfeld has written a number of novels and many of them are available at the library. You may be familiar with the previous series, Pretties, Uglies, Specials, and Extras. Vampire enthusiasts may be familiar with Peeps and The Last Days.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ever by Gail Carson Levine

Ever, the latest book from Gail Carson Levine, is told in two voices. Kezi, a well-to-do mortal girl from the city of Hyte, and Olus, an Akkan god of the winds, tell the story of how they met, fell in love, and the challenges they faced coming from two different worlds.

Olus leaves the mountain of the Akkan gods, to live among mortals. At 17 he is the youngest of the gods by hundreds of years and is often lonely. While living disguised as a herder, he falls in love with Kezi, a beautiful dancer and rug weaver, who is cursed to an early death to her god, Admat. The two meet and fall in love, which is when the story’s pace quickens.

In order to be together, Kezi must become immortal and Olus must become a champion. The power of their love provides each the strength to face fears and fight fate. If they pass, they will have all eternity to be together. If they fail, Kezi will lose her life and Olus will lose his true love.

Levine has created another fantasy tale that is sure to charm younger teens. Although the book does question faith in religion, it is done so in an intriguing, intelligent a manner.

Gail Carson Levine is also the author of Ella Enchanted, which received the Newberry Honor award. She has also written a number of books, which are available at the library. Ever is available in the Young Adult books section in print and audio.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reeves

Teen Read Week 2009 is less than a week away, and its theme is Read Beyond Reality. TO accompany this theme, the next few blog posts are going to focus on science fiction and fantasy young adult stories. Interworld, by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves, is a science fiction/fantasy novel on the suggested Teen Read Week reading list.

Interworld tells the story of Joey Harker, a directionally challenged teenager from Greenville. Joey discovers his ability to “walk” between parallel universes when on a high school field trip. He also quickly discovers that there are multiple versions of Earth in these parallel universes. These different versions of Earth have different versions of Joey, as well.

He, along with the other versions of himself, has special abilities to walk between parallel universes and fight against the evil forces, who want to take over the Altiverse. (The Altiverse contains all of the universes and whatever lies in between.) The evil forces are The Hex, who use magic, and The Binary, who rely on science. Both groups travel in the “Nowhere-at-all”, which is like hyperspace.

Joey finds himself thrust into training at a special school to become a Walker and constantly finds trouble. The Hex, led by Lord Dogknife and Lady Indigo, are out to get Joey because he has incredible power. The Hex use the abilities of Walkers to power their ships, which they need to take over the Altiverse. Joey and his team are trapped by Lady Indigo and her companions, Scarabus, a creature covered in magical tattoos, and Neville, who has transparent skin, while on a training mission.

While Joey is able to escape, his team is captured. Joey faces the consequences of leaving his team behind when he returns to Interworld HQ. The young Walker must then overcome great consequences, including having his memory erased and banishment, to rescue his friends.

Interworld is a quick read and highly entertaining, especially if you enjoy science fiction and/or fantasy. Gaiman does an excellent job describing inter-universe travel and keeps the reader entertained from beginning to end.

Neil Gaiman has had a significant writing career for more than the past twenty years. IN the Dictionary of Literary Biography he is listed as one of the top ten living post-modern writers. In the comic book world, Gaiman’s first huge success was the Sandman series. During its run it won nine Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, including the award for Best Writer four times, and three Harvey Awards. Sandman #19 won the 1991 World Fantasy Award, making it the first comic to ever win a literary award.

Gaiman is also known for his book, Coraline, which was adapted into a film directed by Tim Burton. The library has a print and audio version of Coraline (J Fic Gaiman; J AD Fic Gaiman), as well as the DVD of the Burton adaptation (DVD Coraline).

Other Young Adult books by Gaiman:
The Last Temptation
Marvel 1602
Sandman: Endless Nights
Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes
Sandman: World’s End
Other books by Michael Reaves:
Reaves books are available in the Science Fiction section of the library.
Jedi Twilight
Patterns of Force
Streets of Shadows
Star Wars: Death Star

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Teen Health Bibliography: Body Image

Back in June I posted about a collection of short stories called Does This Book Make Me Look Fat (YP Fic Does). This fiction collection, which was put together for young adults, focuses on body image, eating disorders, diets, self-esteem, and related issues. Body image is an issue that many teens and adults deal with because of societal pressures, including our fascination with celebrities.

A new bibliography, Body Image: Teen Health Resources, is now available online and in print at the Moore Memorial Public Library. This guide is a collection of books available at the library, databases, and websites. The primary focus is body image, but also addresses diet, anorexia, bulimia, and teen physical health.

Please visit the link posted above or pick up a paper coy of the guide, which is available by the online catalog computers in the reference area. If you have any additional questions regarding body image, please visit the library's reference desk and speak with a librarian.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Teen Read Week 2009! Read Beyond Reality...

Teen Read Week 2009 (TRW) is October 18-24, 2009. This year's theme is "Read Beyond Reality," which encourages teens to extraordinary, imaginary books. The purpose of TRW is to encourage teens to read for fun. There are so many things to occupy teens time, like the Internet, TV, and video games, but a good book can be just as entertaining.

There is currently a "Read Beyond Reality" book display located near the Young Adult book section. All of the featured books are science-fiction and fantasy. Scott Westerfeld's new book, Leviathan, is a part of the display. Westerfeld also wrote the very popular Uglies, Pretties, Specials books. Another new releases, Prism, by Faye Kellerman, and Timelock, by David Klass, are also a part of the display.

Here are a few more books currently on display:
The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare
A Resurrection of Magic Series by Kathleen Duey
Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves
The Declaration by Gemma Malley
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
The New Policeman by Kate Thompson
Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund
Dull Boy by Sarah Cross
The Rule of Claw by John Brindley
The Lab by Jack Heath
The Tomorrow Code by Brian Falkner

Please check out the display and pick up a book to read during Teen Read Week. And, you don't just have to stick with the books on display. The Young Adult collection is full of science fiction and fantasy for you to browse.

Local teens are also invited to attend the Teen Advisory Board program on Friday, October 16th at 3:30 PM. The TAB will be painting a science fiction-themed mural, which will be displayed in the library. More information is available here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wicked Lovely/ Desert Tales: Sanctuary by Melissa Marr

Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely was a hugely successful book, which was followed by additional success of the follow-up novel Ink Exchange. The third novel, Fragile Eternity, was released during the summer with equal enthusiasm from Marr’s fans.

Piggybacking the success of the series Marr has released the first of three manga books called Desert Tales. The author states the series is not necessary to read in order to follow stories from the novels, but rather acts as a companion series. The stories involve some characters from the Wicked Lovely books.

The first story, Sanctuary, follows Rika, a former Winter Girl, who finds solace in the Mojave Desert. According to the Wicked Wiki, Rika was Keenan’s fourth Winter Girl and was eventually replaced by Donia. Rika is removed from the Faerie Court, which she prefers. She seeks isolation from the active faerie lifestyle, which is why she chose to live in the desert.

She enjoys her invisibility until she meets Jace, a human. The desert faeries regularly taunt Jace and his friends. Rika is forced to revel herself when she saves him from a dangerous fall prompted by the faeries. There is an obvious spark between Rika and Jace, but similarly to other story lines in Marr’s Wicked Lovely book, trouble is inevitable for a faerie and a mortal from two very different worlds.

Overall, this story is not nearly as captivating as Marr’s original books. Her language, which tends offers lush descriptions of scenes, emotions, and experiences, is completely lost. The art works, produced by Xian Nu Studio, also does not serve the story line well. They are black and white manga-style illustrations, which do not capture the true beauty of the desert, Rika, and the other faeries. Perhaps if the illustrations would have been in color it would have changed the spirit of the story. Overall, the first book of this series is weak compared to Marr’s Wicked Lovely books, but you be the judge…

Wicked Lovely sidebar:
For those who enjoyed the novel Wicked Lovely it was recently announced that the rights to the book were sold to Universal Pictures. They are currently working to adapt the book into a movie.