by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on February 25th, 2017
Mine was New Kids on the Block. Theirs were the first concert I attended (Hilton Colosseum in 1988) and, if I’m being honest, the last one, too. (My friends and I attended one of their reunion shows in Minneapolis in 2015. Nelly and TLC were the opening acts. It was the 90s all over again and it was awesome!)
My point is, you never forget your first boy band obsession. Or, if you’re Stella Samuel in Ali Novak’s The Heartbreakers, you never stop mocking your sister for her boy band obsession, also called The Heartbreakers. Stella is more indie music, not the pseudo-punk her sister loves, yet she’s on a mission to secure autographs of the hottest band around for her sister’s birthday present.
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by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 24th, 2016
Young adult titles used to dominate our Best of the Best book list. In fact, our most recommended books of 2012 and 2013 were YA titles: Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park in 2013 and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in 2012.
Will it happen again?
You need to check back on December 31 when we release our Top Picks of 2016 in all genres. For now, check out the young adult titles staff members enjoyed.
ICPL’s BEST YOUNG ADULT BOOKS OF 2016
- Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
- A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
- Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
- Heartless by Marissa Meyer
- Cherry by Lindsey Rosin
- Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
- Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach
- P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Have you explored our young adult collection? It’s on the Library’s second floor!
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on July 13th, 2016
Receiving a letter in the mail was a big deal when I was a child. It didn’t happen often, so the days I’d come home from school and find an envelope with my name sitting on the kitchen table were treasured. I’d rip it open and start reading before taking off my coat, devouring the words the sender shared with me.
I think it’s my love for mail that launched my love of epistolary novels – books written as a series of documents, such as letters and journal entries. There’s something real about these stories because the reader instantly becomes part of the character’s personal life. Then again, there’s also a thrill that comes from reading another person’s journal – even if they are fictional.
You can check out some of my favorite epistolary novels on the new pop-up display on the Library’s first floor, located near the Help Desk. Choices include everything from young adult fiction, such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chboksky, to fiction titles, including Attachments: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell.
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by Candice Smith on June 10th, 2016
I’m just a week into the 2016 Summer Reading Program, but I am happy (actually, quite pleased with myself!) to say that I’ve got four activities in the works. Doing so many at once might not be the norm, but I’m confident I’ll finish all of them soon. Here’s what I’m reading:
- Revival by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton. The story spans several days in Wausau, Wisconsin, where some of the town’s deceased residents come back to life. It has a dark, somewhat gothic feel to it, and it’s beautifully illustrated. This book meets activity ‘V,’ read a graphic novel or comic book
- The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer by Skip Hollandsworth. Recounts a series of ghastly murders in Austin, Texas, during the 1880s. Lots of great detail, about the history of Austin, the people there, and of course, the murders. Similar to Devil in the White City. This book meets activity ‘X,’ read a book from the New Nonfiction shelves.
- Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. Bone Gap is a dull, small, midwestern town with some very mysterious places, if you know where and how to look. Finn and Sean are two brothers living on their own there, Finn a 17-year-old somewhat awkward kid with a couple good friends, Sean is his older brother who tries to hold down the home. When their friend Roza disappears one day, all of their worlds are turned upside-down in a multitude of ways. There’s an element of magical realism that gives a bit of a fantasy feel, but it’s a pretty serious YA book, with some violence and mature themes. This meets activity ‘T,’ read a young adult book.
- True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray by James Renner. I first heard of Maura Murray from the Missing Maura Murray podcast: a student at UMass who has a car accident on a dark road, tells someone she doesn’t need help because AAA is on the way, and within minutes is gone, never to be seen again. James Renner comes upon the story while looking for something to focus on after losing his job at a newspaper, and gets sucked into the mysteries that surround the case. This book meets activity ‘Z,’ read a book only during your lunch hour.
Where are you in your summer reading?? If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s still time…stop by the Library and get ready to read!
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 24th, 2015
The Library’s pick for Best Book of the Year in 2013 and 2012 were young adult titles: Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park in 2013 and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in 2012. We love the rich variety of stories in this genre, even if some of us are past the suggested reading age.
(OK. A few of us are way past the suggested reading age. Thank goodness the books don’t care, they only want to be read!)
ICPL’s BEST YOUNG ADULT BOOKS OF 2015
- The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
- Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
- Pretending to Be Erica by Michelle Painchaud
- Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles
- An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
- The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
- Mosquitoland by David Arnold
- A Prince Without A Kingdom by Timothee de Fombelle
- Winter by Marissa Meyer
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Have you explored our young adult collection? It’s on the Library’s second floor!
by Mimi Blankenship Coupland on June 23rd, 2015
It’s officially summer and that means lovely weather and longer days! Such conditions are favorable for reading these enthralling books. “Just one more page” actually translates into missing my bus stop and an unexpected hike home.
The first culprit was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline in the summer of 2011. To escape his awful Real Life, Wade Watts spends a lot of his time immersed in an online world called OASIS. His goal is to locate an Easter Egg, an object much like Charlie’s Golden Ticket, that upon redemption will make him the heir to the eccentric founder’s estate. After discovering the first key he must battle enemies, real and virtual, to claim the prize. Although this novel is written by a self-proclaimed gamer geek, the pop culture references and intense action appeals to a diverse readership.
Each book in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer feature a well-known fairy tale character with a science fiction twist. For example, Cinder (2012) is a 16-year-old girl with an evil stepmother and a life of drudgery. . . and part cyborg. She lives in New Beijing where she meets Prince Kai when he patronizes her mechanical repairs stall. The second book introduces Scarlet (2013) who lives on the other side of the world. How do their stories intertwine? When will they meet? How do I get to my house from here? Needless to say, the third installment Cress (2014) was read safely at home.
Lastly, Loop (2014) by Karen Akins is not a run-of-the-mill time travel book. In the 23rd century, the ability to move through time is biological and regulated. Bree Bennis is a clumsy 16-year-old Shifter who, during an ordinary mid-term exam, accidentally takes a 14-year-old boy hostage. When she goes back to try to fix the blunder, she doesn’t go far enough. Finn is now 17 and “totally hot”. To compound the situation, he then follows her back into the future. Naturally, this messes up the time-space continuum and they must work together to save their worlds.
I suggest reading these addicting novels featuring debut authors and imaginative stories tucked away in a cozy place; if not, the friendly bus drivers give excellent girl directions!
by Mimi Blankenship Coupland on May 26th, 2015
Underneath my mild-mannered librarian persona, I must be a covert criminal. Not only do I revel in action movies where lots of things get blown up, I also read a fair amount of fiction from the “Dark Side” point of view. Therefore, contrary to our Summer Reading Program‘s superhero theme, these books offer a fun way to be a felon vicariously.
When a title begins with “A Good Thief’s Guide to. . .”, a certain plot is expected: something will be stolen and complications will occur. After all Charlie Howard, whose day job is writing novels about a burglar, is only a good thief, not an excellent one. What is unexpected is the wry humor that Chris Ewan uses to navigate the various circumstances in each specific location.
The Heist Society series by Ally Carter also mixes humor and action with criminality. After 15 years of a larcenous lifestyle with her family, Kat Bishop uses her skills to escape to an elite boarding school where she believes she can have a normal life. Very shortly thereafter, her best friend Hale arrives with the news that her father has been framed for a theft, allegedly one only he has the skills to commit. Can Kat and her crew make things right and save the day? Most likely. But it’s the daring escapades used to accomplish this that will keep the pages turning and make you wish you could join the team.
At age 12, Artemis Fowl II is already a master villain, definitively overshadowing his father’s modest criminal enterprises and earning millions in the process. He uses his ill-gotten gains to fund his obsession with fairies. When he tries to and succeeds in kidnapping one in order to prove their existence, mayhem ensues. Artemis must use his formidable intellect to outwit the magical realm and gain his heart’s desire. This initial book in the eponymous series by Eoin Colfer caused me to check out the next one immediately for more shenanigans. The first four are also available as graphic novels.
Lastly, this blog would not be complete without a mention of the Fast and Furious movie franchise. The story begins with Paul Walker as an undercover police officer tasked with locating a gang of high-speed thieves. After acquiring a tricked-out car, he successfully infiltrates the street racing scene and “the family”. The action accelerates from there and into each subsequent film. Fueled by fast cars filled with pretty people, this series is a joyride.
Check these out to see how the other “evil” half lives!
by Mimi Blankenship Coupland on April 28th, 2015
What if Colors were nouns instead of adjectives? These three trilogies explore the wondrous possibilities. In the first two listed below, colors are used as rankings in a social hierarchy. The last one has colors manifest as weather events affecting moods.
In 2009, Jasper Fforde stepped away from his Thursday Next series to write Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron. Eddie Russet is a lowly Red who can only see color in that spectrum, reminiscent of the Kim Anderson photographs so popular a while back. On the other end of the spectrum are the Purples, a royal color that surely means they are “destined to lead”.
I thought this book was outstanding as it was the first one I’d read to treat the rainbow in such a fashion. Every year I’ve anxiously awaited a sequel and, according to Goodreads, the next book in the Shades of Grey trilogy [AKA the Chromatacia novels] will be published next year.
- Shades of Grey (2009)
- Painting by Numbers (expected publication 2016)
- Gordini Protocols (2017)
The Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown also uses colors to define a person’s place in the universe, primarily through occupations. It follows Darrow, a Red miner on Mars, who discovers that he and others are being suppressed. Upon his “transmutation” into Gold, he realizes it is even more brutal at the top.
- Red Rising (2014)
- Golden Son (2015)
- Morning Star (05 January 2016)
The Colours of Madeleine trilogy by Jaclyn Moriarty treats colors a little differently. In these refreshing books, colors are whimsical but still have a material effect. The plot bounces back and forth between two separate realities: Elliott Baranski in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello and Madeleine Tully in Cambridge, England, the World.
- A Corner of White (2013)
- The Cracks in the Kingdom (2014)
- Unknown as not yet listed on either Goodreads or her website
I invite you to enter these fantastic worlds where color means much more than just what shirt you wear. In them, you can imagine what color you’d like to be and discover which one you really are.
by Ella Von Holtum on April 9th, 2015
The 15th anniversary has come and gone, and I myself haven’t read a word of Harry Potter since I finished The Deathly Hallows in 2007. The teens in Iowa City’s Home School Assistance Program have a monthly book club in the library, and we’ve been discussing Harry Potter books every other month. A lot of small things have accreted to plant the seed. Last weekend I got a cold and I decided it was finally time to reread Harry Potter.
We have all the books (and Ebooks!) here at ICPL, so after work on Friday I grabbed the first two. I’m on book three, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s great how little time it’s taken me to get this far – the books are an effortless read, and hours zip by as chapters unfold. Admittedly, the books are about to get long, so I’m savoring these fast reads while I can.
Part of what makes them an easy read for me is the ways they are so familiar.I came to Harry Potter a little late, starting in 2003, and was too old to have grown up with them. I was an adult living in Scotland, and after some P.G. Wodehouse and Stephen Fry it felt like a logical leap. Winter in Glasgow was really the perfect moment for the story to take root in me, but it’s been awhile since I started and finished the series. So I was less surprised at how many details and plot points I’ve forgotten. Things as major as who opened the Chamber of Secrets or as small as the name of the Weasleys’ perpetually exhausted owl were all new to me this time through. I can’t wait to see what surprises await me as I continue reading!
It’s funny, too, how many conversations I’ve had in the last week about my re-read, entirely with people in their 20’s, who grew up with the books. One friend is rereading them for the first time too, and loving it. Another friend had been pondering a reread and posed an interesting question: “how do you think HP’s gonna age?” Not the character, but the series. How will it weather in the cannon?Will it be for kids in the next few generations and beyond like The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia were for me? Will children get excited when they are finally tall enough to reach the shelf where the books live on their parents’ shelves? Will people read them to their young ones as they fall asleep, maybe skipping over the real nightmare material? Or will they fade away, another momentous but momentary cultural phenomenon, something that people who were kids at a certain time remember so well, and everyone else just doesn’t get -what’s all this fuss about Quidditch and Wingardium Leviosa?
I gave my copies away the last time I moved – they were just so much book to haul around from apartment to apartment – so I won’t be loaning them off my shelves. And I wonder too how appealing the series would be to a hesitant young reader when they can clearly see just how long the last four books really are. Maybe only the most dedicated will undertake the quest. On the other hand, they are still so ubiquitous, and so much has been made of Harry Potter’s role in introducing reading to so many kids of a certain generation. And the series still circulates in all the libraries I’ve visited. These marks are indelible for now, and I do wonder, how indeed will HP age?