OH MY CLARK GABLE, you guys. I cannot describe how amazing this book is. I mean, usually I dedicate these blog posts to at least four or five different books, just so that everyone can find something they like. But this book…this book gets its own post. It's that great.
So, for one, it has a really weird narration style. It has these twins, Jude and Noah, who alternate telling their stories. But, the half told from Jude's perspective is four years ahead of Noah's. So there are all of these plot elements, like a major family tragedy, that would be spoilers in Noah's half, but because of the way its told, you actually already know what happened. At the same time, though, there are four years of the story totally missing, so you get to spend the entire novel putting the pieces together. Really, it's just cleverly done.
For another: the characters. They have such vibrant personalities. Noah, in his chapters, is constantly painting these crazy rainbow portraits. It colors the world red and green and blue and allows you to see into the mind of this extremely talented artist. That alone would make his chapters worth the read, but he is also twelve years old, and trying to figure out who he is. This is sometimes a painful plot to try and read, but I promise you that Jandy Nelson treats the matter in a truly beautiful way. And Jude. What can I say about Jude? She is a sixteen year old girl who has had to live through the family tragedy that has not yet happened to Noah. She is lost, and doesn't really know where she is going. Also, I should probably mention that she frequently talks to the ghost of her dead grandmother. These two are so alive in their respective chapters, they have such strong, unique personalities, it is impossible not to fall in love with them.
For a third, it treats real topics. Noah is trying to sort out his romantic attraction to the boy who moved next door, and Jude is still trying to cope with that family tragedy (which I don't want to spoil, even though it isn't much of a spoiler). There are also many other emotions swirling about, making I'll Give You the Sun an honest and beautiful read.
And it also won the Printz Award this year. If you don't know a lot about the Printz, it is an award given out once a year to the best book in young adult literature. So, if you don't want to take my word for it, some super-duper committee also thinks it is pretty awesome.
As for my rating, I obviously give it five out of five stars. However, when I keep track of books for myself, I have to add another category, because sometimes five stars just isn't enough. For these books, I assign it to my "Favorites" shelf. And if you didn't hear some sort of music in the background when you just read "Favorites" then you didn't read it right. So go try again until you hear that weird music that tells you the word is ridiculously important. And now that you understand the magnitude of that shelf, know that I'll Give You the Sun is one of the few books to have actually made it to that particular shelf. So it is dang good.
Go and read it.
You'll thank me later.
HEAR YE HEAR YE ALL BOOKWORMS, FANGIRLS, FANBOYS, OR ANY FANDOMINIONS OF THE SORT:
The time for the Teen Fandom Contest is nigh!!
Now that you are out of school (hopefully), you finally have the freedom to spend the days reading to your heart’s content, or binge watching shows on Netflix until three in the morning. Why not express that freedom by representing your favorite fandom?
Starting June 17, you can represent a fandom you love by entering the second annual Teen Fandome Contest. This contribution can be in a variety of formats:
- or something else!
This is your chance to release your inner fangirl or fanboy through a creative project! Please submit your entry in person to the Lakewood Library’s Teen Librarian between June 17-July 17. All of the entries will be judged by the Teen Advisory Board on July 22.
But of course, what’s a contest without a celebration? Join us at Lakewood Library for a Costume Party (come in a cosplay as your favorite character!) on Wednesday, July 22, at 6 p.m, where there will be food and the winner of the Fandom Contest will be announced. The winner will receive a $50 visa gift card. Imagine how many books/fandom merch you could get with that!
*Lets out a long, loud sigh, which contains several months’ worth of stress, as well as various dates, facts, and figures that I will never be required to know again* Summer. It is finally here. And if you are anything like me that means one thing: you have no idea what to read. Seriously, the entire school year you are probably making it by on a book a week, if you're lucky, and those are probably presets: sequels that have just been published, or favorite authors who have finally released a new book. (Shadow Scale and Hellhole, I am looking at you.) But now it is summer, and you are not constrained by tedious projects or dry textbooks. You are free!
So, now what?
I'll tell you: Kid's books. That's right, kid's books. Don't forget about all of those J Fiction books out there, just because you have technically, probably, aged out. (And we all know that secretly, at least some of the time, we are all still six. Or five. The point is, you never actually grow out of the J Fiction section.) So, if you are in that awkward phase where you look to old to be looking in the kid's section by yourself, but not quite old enough to have your own kids to be looking for, here are some recommendations.
1. Don't forget about your old favorites. No, I'm not talking about Harry Potter, we all know you probably re-read that once every few years anyway. Well, most of you anyways. I'm talking about books that you read in single sittings, laughing, getting weirdly attached to characters, but for some reason you never picked them up again. For me, this brings to mind A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Seriously, these were great books as a kid, but now reading them after a few years, they are almost funnier. They are extremely dark, but with a sort of humor that I imagine was directed towards teenagers. I liked them as a kid, but now…I have to say that I am even more impressed. I might not be able to speak for all kid's books, but I guarantee that if you go back and read some old favorites, you are going to have a great time, not only in remembering why you loved them in the first place, but also likely in discovering some tidbits that make more sense in your older, wiser* brain. Definitely give these (or any of your old favorites) 5/5.
*Wiser, mostly in the sense that I am using it in a cliché phrase. I'm not sure that any of us should actually ever be considered wise.
2. Now, for some recent finds on the J fiction shelves. If you like fairy tales, especially those that seem to combine stories from all sorts of backgrounds, you might want to try The Sisters Grimm. And I do apologize if you have already read these. Sometimes I am behind on the times. Back when moving to the "New World" was a thing, the Grimm Brothers packed up all (most) fairy tale creatures and moved them to the East Coast, a town called Ferryport (formerly Fairyport, haha, so clever), which allows no one to leave its borders. (Holy cow, I never realized how much this sounded like the show Once Upon a Time before.) Now, I will warn you that the first book is not the best written, but the story intrigued me enough to read the second. The writing does seem to improve, and the story seems to get more interesting. My favorite part: Puck. Such a sassy little fairy, who believes he rules the world, but he is really still a child who, eventually, somehow gets talked into coming and living with Granny Grimm. How do you think that is going to work out: the trickster king being, for lack of a better word, domesticated? I certainly wouldn't want to live with him. So, pretty much an easy read with some rewritten fairy tale characters, who keep butting into each other's universes (also each other's business, but that's sort of obvious). This may not be my number one recommendation, but it only takes a couple of hours. I'd give these ones 3.5/5, though do note that the low score is lower because of the first book.
3. New find: The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch. I'm not really sure about you, but I am willing to read this book just based off of its title, and the name of the author. I mean, how awesome is the name Pseudonymous for a pseudonym (or nom de plume, or penname, or alias, or whatever)?! Also, the back cover is written entirely in backwards words. Like, if weird word jumbles are not your favorite thing, you might actually need a mirror to read the cover of this book. So, apparently I am in fact, telling you to judge a book by its cover. Well, more specifically, all of the writing that appears on said cover. And if all of that isn't enough for you to want to read this awesome book, it has one of those narrators who aren't supposed to be telling the story. And (s)he keeps talking to you! I find those narrators the best. Fourth wall? What fourth wall! I feel like I should tell you more…but it's a secret, right? Nah, I'm not scared of any super-secret organization (well, maybe, we will get to that later). There is a missing magician, and a mysterious box called the Symphony of Smells. Mmm…synesthesia. One of my favorite literary thingy-mabobs. It just makes all the descriptions so much better. I mean, how can you taste the cold? How can you hear the color blue? Seriously, the next time you write, try to use some synesthesia. The style of this book probably fits right in there with anything written by Lemony Snicket. Less morbid, but still that same wit and great narrator. Definitely a 5/5.
4. Now…secret organizations. Imagine that there was a school that took the best and brightest of today's children. Geniuses who might be sabotaging Prime Minister's speeches, or who might be world class diamond thieves. Or maybe someone who was simply dared to hack into the government…and did it. These are the kind of people that go to H.I.V.E. The Higher Institute for Villainous Education. (I told you there was a secret organization I might be scared of. Wouldn't you be? All the little twelve year old geniuses in the world being trained to be super-villains?) Also, there is some pretty cool AI (artificial intelligence) going on here--and you know, every time an AI comes around, there are always weird existential questions (feel free to ignore those or not, depending on your mood). And…I actually don't think I need to say more. It is a secret school for SUPER VILLIAN CHILDREN! So, 5/5 for Mark Walden.
Okay, guys, that's all I've got for now! It should keep you busy for at least a couple of weeks (or days, or hours, depending on how fast you read…). Enjoy! There will be another post later this month so check back in!
We want to make YOU a star by showing off your writing, art, and more. All you have to do is be between the ages of 11 and 18 and send us your work. We're looking for:
-Fanfiction (1500 words or less)
Have something amazing that's not on this list? Send it to us anyway! We want to show the world how awesomely talented Jeffco teens are!
Volunteering for the Summer Reading Program was a great experience. I was able to really help out with the young kids by showing them how amazing reading is. When volunteering for the summer reading program I got to know other teens, librarians, and the young kids of the library. Volunteering for the summer reading program was a great way to spend the extra time during my summer break.
And after everyone’s hard work and dedication to the summer reading program all the teens were able to stay at the library after hours and play games with all the other volunteers.
To learn more about being a Teen Volunteer this summer, contact Tana Lucero.
The sky splits in half
This stillness in the air
By roaring thunder
And jagged, blinding light.
In the blink of an eye.
Another bolt of energy,
Another deafening clap.
Droplets fall from the heavens,
Travelling hundreds of miles
To give life.
Once I did dare
To go down the stairs
When everyone was sleeping
I slipped out the door
And then felt the air
Upon my arms and face.
It was cold, that night,
But my eyes, they were bright
With not a bit of sleep.
I looked at the stars
I thought I saw mars
The night was clear and dark
The porch, it was cold
And I felt so bold
As to sit on it at midnight, that time.
The air felt so clear
It hid all my fears
And I felt as if I could sing.
I flung my arms out and began to dance
As if I was in some kind of trance
Beneath the cold and bright moon.
I laughed and I twirled
I thought I held the world
In the palm of my hand at that moment
Then I stopped my feet
In the middle of the street
Not caring for safety or caution
My face turned to the sky
I did not know why
But I felt a compulsion to look.
Then I saw it streak by
Yes, it did fly
Above the moon with its brothers
The shooting star
It was very rare
For a girl like me to see.
Just a blink, then it vanished,
But it was not tarnished
Within my mind filled with wonders.
I closed my eyes then
And again and again
Repeated a wish in my head.
A wish for peace
A wish for joy
A wish for candy and toys
A little girl's wish
A little girl's problems
Wrapped up in one little wish.
I was that small girl
Standing in the road
With stars in her eyes
And moonlight in her toes
She'll never forget that moment, oh no
The wish of a lifetime,
The shooting star.
This is a reminder that any teen between the ages of 11-18 can become a contributor to our teen page! We want to hear from you through your words, pictures, and art!
Check out this inspiring image submitted by Aliyah who notes, "This is a picture of me and Spike. He reminds me to be adventerous with those big eyes!"
If you are inspired by this picture you might like to read, Redwall by Brian Jacques!
Have you ever wondered
Why time seems to stretch and shrink
Depending on the time?
School is long, summer is short,
Vacations have no end.
Events last for years, months just mere seconds,
On the sands of time.
Maybe it's just the people at fault,
The ones who see the things changing.
For some it's short, for some it's long,
And time just stays the same.
Maybe it's the time, maybe the people,
But I think it's different.
I think in some places there is a space
That time is warped and changed.
It's a wormhole, plain and simple,
I hope you understand.
You step right through it, and that's all,
Time is now all relative.
When you leave, the time has not changed,
But you yourself have been aged.
Not a moment has passed, and yet you find
You've been in there for years.
Maybe the people, maybe the time,
But I'm sure it's a wormhole-
What do you think?
* Anglada, Paul, "Eye of the Wormhole", flickr creative commons, accessed Feb 2, 2015.
Has their own Universe
Of wishes, missions, thoughts.
An entirely unique place
That belongs to only one.
Others can peek,
But never see much,
Or get to stay long.
I ask to enter yours
You can’t let me -
By no fault of yours -
Speak your mind,
Expose your weaknesses, secrets,
And trust I shan’t hurt you.
You are right to trust,
For love is trust,
And in return
I give you my heart
And my Universe.
*photo (c) Richard Smith, "Best Laid Plans", September 8, 2014