Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The List by Siobhan Vivian

Every year, on the Monday of Homecoming week, a mysterious list appears in the hallways at Mount Washington High School.  Eight girls are listed, two from each class labeled as Ugliest or Prettiest. 

Each chapter gives readers the first person perspective of each of the girls on the list, how they react to their newfound fame or infamy. Abby is thrilled to be named he prettiest Freshman, but her sister isn't.  Jennifer has gotten Ugliest 4 years in a row.  Candace is dumbfounded by her Ugliest status.  It has always been a mystery as to who makes the list, who posts it each year.  Will the mystery finally be solved? 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Croak by Gina Damico

Lex has been getting into some major trouble lately, lashing out violently at school and home. Here parents and twin sister Cordie are at their wits end. They decide to send Lex to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, supposedly to do farm work.
Mort picks her up and tells her that she won't actually be doing any farm work. She will instead be learning his business, which is reaping. The town he lives in is called Croak, and everyone there has a part in transporting souls from this world to the next. Lex begins work with Driggs, a boy who also lives with her Uncle Mort. They despise each other, but as the book goes on, their relationship grows into more.

The author does a great job creating this town of Croak, describing its residents and the interesting jobs they do. Lex is a Killer. Her touch releases a soul from the body. Driggs is a Culler, he captures it in a vessel. They deposit souls at the bank where they enter the Afterlife. Learning about Croak and Lex adjusting to her new life creates a great story, the mystery plot is an added bonus.

Someone has been killing people who aren't meant to die. They have someone figured out a way to find specific people and kill them. This cannot be done by normal Killers who are transported to the sick and dying. Lex and her ragtag team of friends are helping Mort solve the mystery. But Lex's time in Croak is coming to an end. Will she return home or stay in Croak, the place she's grown to love?

At first, Lex was not a likeable character because of her seemingly random outbursts of violence. However, readers learn that is a common symptom of Killers when they turn into teenagers. She grew calmer and more likeable throughout the book. I really loved the author's imaginative descriptions of the afterlife and how Croak runs. The ending was sudden and sad, so I am hoping for a sequel where the outcome can be changed. This is a great read for teens 13+

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Love? Maybe.

Love? Maybe by Heather Hepler is about a girl named Piper. Piper has given up on love. Her mother is twice divorced and both times, it felt as though they were divorcing from Piper too. She works at a candy store owned by a guy named Jan who lets her have creative freedom with the candies she makes. Right before Valentine's Day, she comes up with the idea for Consternation Hearts. Instead of cutesy love sayings, they are printed with snarky comments. Everyone begins to worry she is becoming too cynical.
Her feelings start to change when Ben Donovan, the guy she has been crushing on forever finally shows some interest. But Ben doesn't seem to be who she thought he was and her friend Charlie needs her more than ever. Will Piper find love or will she be disenchanted forever?

YouTube Video Contest and Cast Party

Have you ever wanted to make movies? Well now is your chance. Create and upload an original video to YouTube and attend our Libraries Together Cast Party. This year we have decided you or your team can choose your own theme. Below is a list of examples we thought up, but feel free to make the movie you want to make!
·         Live action video games, such as a reenactment of an epic Minecraft session.
·         Infomercials for your favorite book, library program, or fictional product.
·         A flashmob.
·         Incorporate Skype or twitter interview with your favorite author.
·         Reinterpret classic literature with a healthy dose of teen angst.

Who can create a video? Quad-city Teens ages 12-19. Work alone or with friends. Be spontaneous or be scripted. Keep it fun and library appropriate. Upload the video to YouTube and return this form with the URL or email it to your librarian. Then come to our Cast Party held after-hours at Bettendorf Public Library.

Need a video camera? Call your local library or school to see if a camera is available for use and if they have Windows Movie Maker or iMovie editing programs. You can always use your cell phone or digital camera video modes.

Need to edit? Before or after you have created your video, you can visit your local library to use the editing software.

After the video is edited, please create an account at YouTube so you can upload it. All videos are subject to the YouTube terms of use found at

After uploading, please email or return the attached entry form to your library with the title of your video, its URL, your name(s), phone number.

Entries will be judged by area library staff. We will choose one video as the Library’s Choice and attendees at the Cast Party will choose one as the Viewer’s Choice. Both will win $100 cash. Other awards will be given to the makers of the most creative, entertaining, and best quality videos.

Entries due Saturday, February 25th

Participants and cast are invited to the After-Hours Cast Party and Screening where we will mingle, serve refreshments, and give awards. The Cast party will be at the Bettendorf Library on Friday March 23rd at 5:30 p.m. Please register at


Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Late Bus

The Late Bus by Rick Jasper is a short, spooky novel about Lamar. He takes the late bus home after football practice. The driver had always been a nice older lady named Miss Robin. Miss Robin suddenly dies so Lamar and his friends attend her funeral. Suddenly, Miss Robin sits up and tells Lamar that someone is in trouble. No one else seems to have seen what happened and Lamar has no idea who or what she is talking about.
Then they meet the new bus driver, Mr Rumble. He doesn't talk much and he seems to be hiding some dark secrets from the kids. Bad things begin to happen on the rides home. Can Lamar figure out what is haunting Mr Rumble?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns)

This book is a collection of essays written by the adorable and honest Mindy Kaling. You might recognize her from The Office. She is a producer and writer, as well as actress.
Mindy talks about happy and innocuous issues like weight, fashion, and friendships. She tells the story of a recent photo shoot where the stylist brought her a bunch of outfits in size 0 and one ugly dress in her size. This caused her to break down in the bathroom, but she decided the photo shoot was going to go her way. She insisted that one of the small dresses be altered for her size and ended up feeling and looking great.
Mindy also talks about her journey to Hollywood and the people who helped her get there. It's an interesting look at how to become a Hollywood writer/actress without losing oneself. This is a cute and lighthearted read that will appeal to aspiring actors and writers.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bad Island by Doug Tennapel

Bad Island is another fun graphic novel by Doug TenNapel, author of Ghostopolis. In Bad Island, we meet a family preparing to go on vacation. The son, Reese, would rather stay home than spend time boating with his parents and little sister Janie. Nonetheless, he joins the family and they have quite an adventure. A dangerous storm shipwrecks them on an island. The plants and animals are very foreign and unlike anything they have ever seen. The family keeps running into these mysterious stones with symbols on them. When strange creatures begin to attack them, they realize that they are safe when they are near these stones. The family also runs into a skeleton of a man who has a map. They try to decipher what the map may mean and where they are safe on the island.

There is another story in the book that details how these creatures came to the island and what their back story is. The story flashes back to a war between two factions and of course, the two stories intertwine and come to a satisfying conclusion.

The story was fascinating and the illustrations are fantastic. I love the artist's style. Very vibrant and expressive. This is recommended for fans of Amulet and Ghostopolis!