Monthly Archives: December 2014

We Were Liars: Wealthy Amnesiac Liar Seeks the Truth

wewereliarsTItle: We Were Liars

Author: E. Lockhart

Six Word Review: Wealthy Amnesiac Liar Seeks The Truth

Summary: During the summer, Cady lives on a private island owned by her family. She is a Sinclair, a mantra drilled into all members of the family from the day they were born. Sinclairs have blond hair and square jaws, they are ambitious and driven, and most of all, they are normal. But they lie. Cady tries to be normal and fit in with her family, but her severe migraines that developed after a mysterious head trauma two summers ago make it difficult to remember exactly what happened. Whatever it was, she knows it was awful, but no one will tell her the truth. When the story takes place, she is 17 and her parents have finally allowed her to return to the island after keeping her away the previous summer. With the help of her two cousins and a family friend (a group she nicknames the “Liars”), she sets out to remember her past, however terrible the truth may be.

I liked the lyrical descriptions of the island and Cady’s eccentric family members.

I hated how sometimes the story would be written in straightforward, first person prose and then suddenly
with no explanation
it would be
like this
with punctuation…

I rate this book 6.5/10 stars, because the suspense kept me interested and I liked the unexpected twist but I really got annoyed by the random poetry thrown in.

I kept reading because there was a ton of suspense built up and I really wanted to see what dreadful thing had happened to Cady that she couldn’t remember.

Anything else? There is a surprise ending! The entire book basically builds up to the last few chapters. When I found out the truth, everything fell into place but I was still left with some unanswered questions. I liked that this book kept me guessing and really made me think.

— Gabriella, Ballard Teen Blogger

Win $150! 2015 Teen Video Challenge

Teen-video-challenge-bannerThe Washington State Library and the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) have launched the 2015 Teen Video Challenge, a national video competition for teens to get involved with reading and their public library’s summer reading program.

Teens are invited to create a 30 to 90 second video with their unique interpretation of the 2015 teen slogan “Unmask” in combination with reading and libraries. The idea is to involve teens in summer reading, before and during the summer months, by being part of the process. This is an opportunity for teens to showcase their creativity and have their ideas heard before a national audience. The winning video will be named one of the CSLP 2015 Teen Videos to promote summer reading nationwide.

$150 will be awarded to the creators of the winning state video and their associated public library will receive prizes worth at least $50 from CSLP and Demco/Upstart. Winners will be announced by CSLP in April 2015.

For full details about the CSLP 2015 Teen Video Challenge and to find out how to enter Washington’s competition, please visit

Want to see the 2012 winner, representing Tacoma Public Library?  Teeler won $150 – why not you?


Mockingjay Part 1: Book-to-Movie Adaptation Review (Spoiler-Free Until Mentioned)

MockingjayAdaptation Rating: 9.5 out of 10 stars

Overview of What I Was Thinking Going In:
I must say, preemptively, that I did not enjoy the book Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I thought that though Katniss’s depression and unwillingness to interact with many people was entirely realistic and in character, it made for a very boring point of view for the story to be told in. That problem started setting in around Catching Fire and just kept getting worse as the books went on. It was so frustrating for me to read such an epic conclusion to a series in such a narrow point of view. I hoped that the movie would remedy this problem since the other two movies thus far were told in a third person omniscient perspective, showing us what’s going on in the Capitol while Katniss is going through everything. I was so spectacularly right.

What I Thought Was Done Best:
The way the movie cuts between Katniss and what she’s doing and the riots that start up in other districts is amazing.  It feels so seamless and fitting that I don’t understand how it could have been done any other way.  The scene where Katniss sings The Hanging Tree, a long-awaited moment for many of the book readers, was my favorite scene by far.  It shows how directly Katniss’s actions impact the people in the districts and gives an amazing action scene to boot.

Common Criticism:
One of the main criticisms that people had with this movie was that “it’s just set-up for the next one.”  And you know what?  They’re right.  The Hunger Games and Catching Fire were build-up to this one too.  Does that mean it’s not a good movie?  Heck no!  Mockingjay Part 1 has its own story arc of exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution just like any other movie.  Is it a bunch of kids fighting to the death?  No.  But this movie definitely has the most impactful action of any of the three movies out so far.  The movie ends a bit after what book readers call “The Rescue,” so most of the buildup is to that event.  For book readers like me, this event is a very big deal.  However, I can understand how people expecting the epic ending of a final installment would be disappointed with how much of the “let’s take over the government” goal is accomplished.  It’s worth watching anyway, trust me.

Things to Note Going Into the Movie:
If you are sensitive to strobe lights, close your eyes when people start running down a triangular staircase. It’s safe to look back once the “blast doors” are closed; it’ll be announced. It would be a shame to have your time watching such a great movie ruined by a splitting headache or worse. Please take the precautions necessary to keep yourself safe.

The movie jumps right in where Catching Fire ended. There are a lot of small gestures and references to it that aren’t re-explained for people who have forgotten such things. I recommend re-watching or reading Catching Fire before going to see this new masterpiece. Luckily, both the book and the movie are available through the Seattle Public Library!

My Favorite Scenes (SPOILERS START HERE): Continue reading

22 Jump Street – today at Northgate! 1pm! Join us!



Or add yourself to the long, long hold list for the dvd.

(Last count 772!)


Speak: Important lesson about rape culture

speak–Title: Speak

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Summary: Melinda is a new freshman in high school. This year should be about a fresh start and new beginnings, but an event that happened over the summer is keeping Melinda from enjoying high school as much as she should. She was invited to her first party and after trying a drink and becoming a bit unsteady, a boy takes advantage of her and rapes her. She doesn’t tell anyone at first. She isn’t even able to name the event or admit it to herself. She spends the year contemplating the event and trying to come to terms with what happened. The ending is powerful.

Six Word Review: Teaches important lesson about rape culture.

I started reading because: The cover really caught my eye. It has a tree on it. Melinda is good at art and she spends the year working on a project that depicts a tree. It’s very fitting because her personal growth coincides with the growth of her art tree.

I would give this book 10/10 stars because it was so good I couldn’t put it down. I read it all in one sitting. The message is so powerful and especially relevant to our culture today.

I loved Melinda’s hippie art teacher. The things he tells Melinda are some of the most quotable lines of the book. I hated that not everyone in the entire world had read this book.

If the lead character Melinda was in a high school yearbook, he/she would be voted Most Likely To: Become A Famous Artist

Anything else we should know? There’s a movie based on this book, but I think it’s really important that you read this book just because so much of the story is told through Melinda’s inner thoughts. It’s titled Speak because Melinda becomes so quiet after being raped and finally speaks out at the end of the book. It’s a powerful component of the story and it’s lost in the movie.

–Regina, West Seattle


Maid of Secrets: Pickpocket becomes spy for Queen Elizabeth

maidofsecretsTitle: Maid of Secrets

Author: Jennifer McGowan

Six Word Review: Pickpocket becomes spy for Queen Elizabeth.

Summary: Meg Fellowes is an orphan, who makes her way as member of a touring acting troupe, and is also a talented pickpocket. One day, she picks the wrong pocket and ends up at the last place she imagined, not in the dungeons, but in Windsor Castle. She has been selected to be a part of the Queen’s Maids of Honor, a secret and select group of girls who protect the queen with their unique talents (a psychic seer, a code breaker, a flirtatious beauty and an assassin).

Meg’s abilities as a spy and to remember entire conversations word for word are put to the test when the Spanish Court visits and she begins to fall for a dashing young Spaniard. Not everyone is who they seem, and she isn’t sure who she can trust. Can she keep all her missions straight, protect England, the Queen and herself?

I started reading because: I read a summary of the book online and it sounded intriguing.

I kept reading because: I had to find out what would happen to Meg in the end!

I would give this book 6/10 stars, because I liked concept and it had lots of potential. Sadly, it fell short in my opinion, the writing style was a bit confused, it was caught in-between the language of the time period and the way we speak today. A lot of words and phrases seemed to be added on in an effort to sound old-fashioned. But there were parts that I enjoyed (see below).

I loved Meg’s strong and witty personality and her sense of humor. Also, the plot had lots of twists and turns that kept things interesting, and I appreciated that Meg was not a damsel in distress and didn’t need a man to protect her.

I hated the contrived “love at first sight”, it just felt excessive and too abrupt in the story line. I also hated the cover of my book, it was not how I imagined Meg at all and it looked too artificial and photoshoped.

If the lead character Meg was in a high school yearbook, she would be voted Most Likely To: work for the FBI.

Anything else we should know? I felt like the word choice and pacing was aimed at a younger YA audience than I expected, which made me wish it was a little more grown up, but that’s just me.

–Gabriella, Ballard Teen Blogger


Here’s to a relaxing day with time to spend by the fire. :)