2008 Twilight

2008 Winner - Twilight
 by Stephanie Meyer

How many of you here have already read Twilight?

[Wait for a response: If no hands go up: "I can't believe it! You don't know what you're missing," if they do go straight to:]

Apparently, the good folks at Hollywood think this is a killer novel: Paramount and Maverick have optioned the movie and a guy named Mark Lord is writing the script!

Here's the story:

Isabella's parents are divorced, her mom has remarried, and so Bella finds herself relocated to Forks, WA. Does anyone know what Forks big claim to (Washington) fame is?

[Wait for a response]

Yep. Forks gets a lot of rain. As much as 160 inches—that's 13 feet, every year. Now, if you were a vampire, and had to stay out of the sun—and if nice grey cloud-cover was just as good as nighttime--where would you relocate?

[Wait for a response]

Right again. Forks second claim to fame, if anybody knew about it, would be the nest of vampires—the "Cullen family"—that live there—several of whom attend Isabella's new high school, and one of which, Edward, has taken a dangerous interest in Isabella's blood. Scary stuff, right?

[Wait for a response]

Yes. And no. It's not (quite) that kind of story. These vampires—the Cullens—have sworn off human blood. They only hunt wild animals. What Edward is, is deeply attracted to Isabella, and Bella can't believe that the most beautiful, irresistible guy imaginable has the hots for a seemingly-ordinary girl like her. Bella just has no idea how good she smells to a predator.

Edward may look 17, but he's older, a lot older. He knows how dangerous it is to get involved with a human. Bella and Edward are falling in love, and half the time Edward is trying to stay away from her—for her own safety.

But he may not have a choice. Because the Cullens aren't the only vampires around, and most of them--? Are a lot more old-fashioned about their menu choices.

Read Twilight: A hot story of dangerous, forbidden love.

Booktalk by Kirsten Edwards, Teen Librarian
King County Library System

Code Orange
 by Caroline B. Cooney

Smallpox is a disease that isn't around anymore. Doctors and scientists eliminated it from the face of the earth. But before that, it was like chickenpox, every kid got it at some point. But unlike chickenpox, it could kill you. It killed a lot of kids. And if it didn't kill you, you would have deep scars all over for the rest of your life.

Mitty doesn't know any of this when he picks smallpox for his research project. Mitty is the kind of guy who likes to wait for the last minute to do his homework. The kind of guy who will pick up a book at the library the night before a paper is due, read it that night, and write the report on the way in to school in the morning.

But before the assignment is due, his family goes to their vacation house for the weekend. Mitty can't go to the library. So he goes through the boxes of antique books in the vacation house garage. He finds a 100 year old medical book. Well, maybe he won't get a great grade, but he won't flunk. When he looks up smallpox, out falls an old, yellowed envelope. Inside the envelope is some brown crumbly stuff. Mitty sneezes as it tumbles into his hand.

He's found 100 year old smallpox scabs, the most infectious part of a person with smallpox. Mitty has become a biological time bomb. It's time to get scared.

Booktalk by Sarah Hunt, Teen Librarian
King County Library System

by Carl Deuker

How would you like to be living on a sailboat on Puget Sound while going to high school? How about if the sailboat is rundown, can’t sail? How about if your father is an alcoholic and can’t hold a job?

Chance Taylor holds life, boat and dad together with a job washing dishes at Ray’s Boathouse, so when the owner of the marina offers him $250 simply to drop a package--under a bush--while he is jogging--Chance figures that it is probably illegal.

The money though, means that he can concentrate on school and even find time for the girl he likes, Melissa. He could not have been more wrong however, because the job is every bit as Illegal as Chance has suspected--but in any way you might have thought!

There are lots of subplots that move this already fast paced story along: Chance’s father was a Gulf War hero; the man who hires him is found mysteriously dead; Chance finds he has opinions for the first time in his life as he discusses them with Melissa, who is also the editor of the school paper. The story never slows--we all keep running until the end.

Booktalk by Mary Jo Heller, Teacher-Librarian
Einstein Middle School

The Ruins of Gorlan (Book 1 of the Ranger's Apprentice) 
by John Flanagan

His friends support him—his rivals mock him—but teenage Will is determined to win the glory and adventure of being a knight, just like his dead father did. Of course, being an orphan, living on the Baron's charity, Will doesn't really get a choice about what he's going to do, and he is kind of small and skinny...

So when the final selection is made, Will breaks all the rules. Alone, at midnight, he scales the castle walls and breaks into the Baron's private chambers; he sneaks up to where the list of candidates is written down-and is caught!

Will isn't thrown in prison—but he sometimes thinks that might have been easier. Instead Will is given to "Halt," one of the fearful "Rangers," to be his apprentice. Will has to do everything Halt tells him to do—chop wood, fetch water, clean pots, learn to cook, clean the tiny cottage they both must share--and Halt never has anything but harsh words and criticism for whatever Will does.

The glory and adventure of knighthood have never seemed further away.

But Halt also trains Will in some of his own mysterious skills: How to use the shadows to move undetected, sneak through the forest, shoot and throw knives with deadly accuracy and silence. The Rangers are the Kingdom's eyes and ears, moving secretly, telling no-one what they can do.

Now deadly Kalkara monsters have begun murdering the Kingdom's war-leaders, and Halt is sent to find out who—or what—sent them, and stop their next assassination. 
From his castle home to the haunted ruins of Gorlan, one young apprentice will find that all his training will be tested in the defense of his kingdom.

Maybe knights do get all the glory, but nothing beats the wild adventures awaiting this future Ranger.

Booktalk by Matt Laxton, Teen Librarian, Sno-Isle Regional Library System and 
Kirsten Edwards, Teen Librarian, King County Library System

 by Pete Hautman

Andy Morrow and I are best friends. Best friends share everything, especially secrets.

I am Douglas MacArthur Hanson, but Andy calls me Dougie.
I am 17 and go to Fairview Central High. I am kind of shy, a lot different then Andy.

It doesn’t matter that we live in completely different realities—that Andy is the quarterback of the football team and stars in school plays while I spend most of my time working on an HO train set I have in our basement. If you asked Andy to name his best friend, he would say, “Dougie Hanson.” 
I am pretty much invisible except when I am with Andy.

Do I strike you as a little obsessive? My parents and counselor think so.
But the truth is I am just very focused. So focused I built a whole town around my train set. Right now I am building a suspension bridge out of matchsticks.

Like I said, Andy and I share a secret. We had some bad luck with fires when we were kids. There was the tree house and the then the Tuttle Place.
But everything turned out all right. I don’t see why everybody thinks my friendship with Andy is such a problem. Dr. Ahlstrom says I need to forget Andy. But I can’t. You see we both made it out of that fire alive. That’s our secret. Andy is alive and he is my best friend. No matter what, he will never leave me.

Booktalk by Tom Reynolds, Teen Librarian
Sno-Isle Regional Library System

Booktalk #2

Doug Hansen is a loner and a geek. He is obsessed with his model train, and has been building a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge for it for 3 years in his basement by carefully scraping the phosphorus ends off of match sticks. He has used over 22 thousand sticks, all precisely glued, neatly arranged, all done to scale. Doug's one friend is his next door neighbor, Andy Morrow, popular actor and football quarterback. Doug and Andy talk every evening from their bedroom windows about the events of the day--

Or do they?

From early in the book, you know that something bad happened in the past. Something really bad. Doug admits he and Andy had some bad luck with fires when they were kids, but they are more careful now. He really doesn't like to think about that time. But--why do Doug's mother and his psychiatrist both think that Doug is talking to himself when he is in his bedroom?

And, why is the book called Invisible?

As Doug's life at school becomes more unbearable as the book progresses, he retreats to what gives him comfort--his train and the bridge, his friendship with Andy that his parents seem to not want to hear about, and his fascination with fire. His repressed memory of that bad time he and Andy had won't stay stuffed, and when it breaks through, Doug's parents realize he must have help.

All aboard?

Get ready for a whole new train ride.

Booktalk by Kathy Caldwell, Teacher-Librarian
Woodward Middle School

13 Little Blue Envelopes 
by Maureen Johnson

Props needed: Two blue air-mail envelopes.
Two note with the first and second letter (p. xxx)

I was going to ask you what was the "wildest" thing you'd ever done. But that's too easy. What's the wildest thing you've ever convinced your parents to let you do?

[Hold up the envelope]

There are 13 of these. Each one is written by a Ginny's Aunt Peg, who is, by the way, dead.

[Open the envelope]

[Read the first letter]

Ginny convinces her parents to let her do it. Go solo to Europe. I know. I know: Lots of people think this is kind of unrealistic; but I can put your hands on the true story of a teenage girl who talked her parents into letting her sail around the world ALONE.

[Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi, if anyone asks you: It's a great read.]

[Read the Second Letter]

And those, as you know, are just the first two envelopes. There are 11 more, each one giving Ginny a new command, each one taking her to a different part of the world, and each one a puzzle piece, revealing the secret truth about what happened to her Aunt Peg.

Where will the next envelope take Ginny? What will happen to her?

Pick up 13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson, and let the adventure begin.

Booktalk by Kirsten Edwards, Teen Librarian
King County Library System

Booktalk #2 

Ginny Blackstone and her Aunt Peg were mirror opposites. Ginny lived a very safe life, while Aunt Peg was a free spirit. Ginny liked to stay in the background, but being with Aunt Peg made her feel more interesting. Ginny loved Aunt Peg. That’s why her aunt’s disappearance and death were so confusing. After all Aunt Peg was only 35. But Aunt Peg had a final gift for Ginny--13 little blue envelopes and an invitation to play one final game with her. A game like the “today I live in” game they had played when Ginny was little. 

She would have to travel to Europe, and follow Aunt Peg’s rules—even though Aunt Peg seldom followed rules herself.

 But Ginny had never quite believed that Aunt Peg was dead. She was the liveliest person Ginny had ever known. In Ginny’s mind Aunt Peg was still somewhere out there. She had disappeared, for who knows what reason, and now Ginny had an invitation to go to find her.

Aunt Peg had a plan, and Ginny wanted to believe in the game and that somehow she could find Aunt Peg.

So 17-year-old Ginny who had never been outside the United States and never anywhere by herself followed Aunt Peg’s rules and flew to London. Each envelope gave Ginny a task to do before she could open the next and with each task she came closer to finding out what Aunt Peg wanted her to know and to do. 

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Booktalk by Tom Reynolds, Teen Librarian
Sno-Isle Regional Library System

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie
 by David Lubar

Welcome to Scott Hudson''s freshman year of high school.

He isn't the handsomest or most popular guy around and he doesn't have a clue as to how to talk to Julia, the girl who once shared his peanut butter crackers and has morphed into the hot chick over the summer. 
Seniors smack him on the head on the bus. He doesn't have classes with his best friends. His Spanish teacher has a thick French accent. His gym teacher is seriously demented and is surely out to kill him. And his homework load? Enormous.

Then, while trying to get Julia’s attention, he finds himself covering sports for the school newspaper, working on the school play and running for the student council. And on top of all of this, his parents have announced that they're having a baby. He's so in over his head—there aren't enough hours in the day for everything!

Will Scott eventually find his place in the confusing world of high school? Will he ever win Julia’s heart? And most importantly, will he ever get any sleep?

Booktalk by Amy Rodda, Booktalking Colorado

Booktalk #2

Ah, 9th grade. Freshmen year. New beginnings. Scott is looking forward to it and yet he is a bit nervous. As he readies himself for his big year, his home life seems to get complicated by the return of his older brother and the announcement that his mother is having another baby. Scott's year doesn't go as planned and through a series of hilarious misadventures, we see him change and grow. Throughout it all, he writes a series of letters to his yet unborn sibling as a manual for how to survive your freshmen year. These include lessons in lost friends, unattainable girls, new friends and unexpected secrets from the family.

Booktalk by Nancy Keane, Booktalks Quick and Simple

by Andy McNab

Anyone here have family in the military, serving their country?

[Wait for responses, let teens tell you about what their family members have done]

Danny Watt's grandfather was an SAS explosives expert for the British Army. Pretty cool, yes? No.

Because Fergus Watts was a traitor, one of the worst ever. He betrayed his country and his Regiment for money—drug money. Fergus was arrested and left for dead in a Columbian jail. As far as Danny was concerned that's just fine—Fergus got what he deserved!

Until, at seventeen, when Danny tries to win a scholarship to the Sandhurst Military Academy. Danny's got the grades, but more importantly he's got the will and he aced the physical tests. But in a private interview with a sneering officer, Danny learns that the grandson of a traitor will never be allowed to serve!

But...Danny has found out something the army doesn't know: Fergus isn't dead, and he isn't in jail. He's alive and living secretly with fake I.D. in England.

Determined to get revenge, Danny sets out to hunt Fergus down and bring him to justice.

But-there's something that certain people in the army know that Danny doesn’t: Fergus's treason wasn't all it seems, it went deeper than anyone suspects; and they'll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.

Soon Danny is both the hunter and the hunted.

Packed with cool, true stuff about Special Forces procedures, this page turner will keep you reading through every twist and turn in the plot.

Don't miss Traitor, by former SAS officer Andy McNab (whose real name is still a secret!).

Death Note, vol. 1
 by Tsugumi Ohba, art by Takeshi Obata

Light Yagami is a serious student, studying for his college entrance exams, until he finds the Deathnote. This curious notebook was dropped in the human world by a Shinigami Death god. If someone writes a name in the notebook while thinking about what that person looks like, that person dies.

Light recognizes the amazing opportunity the Notebook presents- he can rid the world of evil!

As Light proceeds to kill off criminals, he mystifies the authorities who consider him to be a murderer. They suspect a student is behind the strange deaths, and send the legendary detective L out to track him down- a man that no one has ever seen, so Light has no way to get rid of HIM via the Notebook.

Since Light's father is the head of the Japanese National Police Agency, he can hack into his father's computer at home and glean information about more criminals and elude detection.

But how long can he stay ahead of the law?

The artwork in this graphic novel is not to be missed, especially the wild depiction of the Shinigami...

Booktalk by Kathy Caldwell, Teen Librarian
Woodward Middle School Library

The Glass Castle
 by Jeanette Walls

Let’s look into the future: do you see yourself in a limo, dressed for the evening in a gorgeous gown? As you step from the taxi, really, do you see your mother rooting through a dumpster?

So begins Jeanette Walls’ memoir of her childhood, a tale of a childhood spent wondering if you were going to eat at all that night.

Memories emerge from a girl-hood with an alcoholic, but adored, father, whose desire is to build a glass house (castle) for his family and his favorite daughter. Without money for Christmas presents, he takes each of his children into the Arizona desert and “allows” them to “choose” a star.

However, home is not easy or sweet. Jeanette remembers her mother, an artist who can’t seem to deal with the day-to-day activities, or even help her children. Jeanette feeds herself at school by going through the garbage cans after lunch, or outright stealing food from other childrens’ lunch-bags.

This tale of sinking into the depths, of escaping, and of an incredibly dysfunctional family is not for everyone. Dad has a horrible, swearing style that may not be appropriate for some students. This is a memoir, and while honest, at times funny, at times sad, it is at times shocking.

Booktalk by Mary Jo Heller, Teacher-Librarian
Einstein Middle School

Booktalk #2

Don't take that thermosat for granted! Running water is very nice too, and electricity--Jeanette Walls is a sophisticated gossip columnist who gets invited to Hollywood premieres, and she's hidden the truth about where she came from for years.

Jeannette was raised in California, Nevada, Phoenix and Welch, West Virginia and her parents were not interested in holding regular jobs or having normal conveniences. Day-to-day living for her and her family was an adventure: eating out of dumpsters; sleeping on cardboard boxes; homemade orthodontia. and "doing the skedaddle" whenever the bills came due.

Her father, who ran their whole crazy, homeless lifestyle had big dreams and big plans: including building a fantastic "glass castle" for his family. But he also drank and swore and stole!

So each of the kids must make their escape to New York in turn: this is their bizarre, but true story!

Booktalk by Matt Laxton, Teen Librarian
Sno-Isle Regional Library System