aka YA Literature

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Teen Ink

We recently received an email about Teen Ink celebrating their 20th anniversary. Usually, I just ignore those sort of emails, but I am a big fan of Teen Ink. At my library, we have several copies of various Teen Ink compilations. Back when I was the YA librarian, I would use them on book displays for poetry month or when promoting our writing club. What's neat about Teen Ink is that it is all written by teen writers (hence the name). I am planning on getting the magazines for my Reading classroom because I think my struggling readers might be more interested in reading short stories and poems written by their peers than some of the other materials I use.

As part of their 20th anniversary celebration, Teen Ink is offering a 2-for-1 subscription package to any new library subscribers. If you just want to see what the magazine looks like, you can request a free copy from their website.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Title: Tyrell
Author: Coe Booth
Rating: C+

This month, School Library Journal did a cover story on Street Lit; since I had never really read anything in this genre, I scanned their recommended list and decided to read Coe Booth's Tyrell.

Tyrell is the story of a teenage boy growing up homeless with this mother and younger brother on the streets of New York. With his father in prison, Tyrell must step up and be the man of the family. Although his mother wants him to sell drugs to earn money for the family, Tyrell, instead, decided to DJ a massive party. While Tyrell works to organize this party (mostly through illegal doings), he must also work to balance his love interests and family needs.

The Good: I'm sure many urban teens would have an easy time relating to Tyrell's situation; I'm also sure that many non-urban teens would love this story merely for the "coolness" factor (probably in the same way that gangsta' rap is so popular in suburban American.) I also liked the fact that the author made the main character rather strong; although he has definite flaws, his continued effort to support his younger brother and his complete refusal to partake in drug dealing served to make him a somewhat unlikely hero.

The Bad: Anyone in a library where harsh language, poor grammar, and/or graphic situations could be a problem will probably want to stay away from this book. I also had a little bit of a problem with the book's portrayal of domestic abuse; although brief, it's almost as though the main character thinks it's a husband's responsibility to keep his wife in her place. Finally, although the book does provide an good view into the mind of young urban American, for the most part the actual plot is extremely weak.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

breaking dawn

I went to the midnight release of breaking dawn last night. I didn't even do that for Harry Potter. I just don't do crowds. But the lure of Bella and Edward was just too great. I know Cody attended a release in Phoenix and I hope he blogs about it so we can compare notes! My sister in law went with me even though she had already pre-ordered the book online. We arrived at 10:30 and there was quite the line just to get into the store.
Once inside, it was so crowded that it was difficult to find the different activities planned. Rosie and I participated in the trivia and then she made me a "Team Edward" banner. I plan on sporting it to a Twilight party I am attending next weekend.
You could even get a Polaroid taken with models posing as Edward and Jacob. They were really these young high school boys that looked NOTHING like I imagined Jacob and Edward looking. No way was I going to wait in line to get a pic with those young punks. The real craziness began at 11:30 when we were told to line up to get our copy of Breaking Dawn. Yikes. As happy as I was to get a copy of the book, I think I will not be attending any release parties in the future. Whew.

I spent my day reading breaking dawn amidst interruptions from my two year old. It does not disappoint (well, it disappoints a little). Early on, the book took a turn that I did not expect. Also, the whole thing is not written from Bella's point of view. I won't say any more because I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but I will say that I am sad to say goodbye to Bella and Edward. Also, now that the Twilight saga is over, we are going to need to find something/someone else to fixate on. Perhaps we should return our attention to my boyfriend, John Green?