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Teen Review:Requiem by Lauren Oliver

samantha photoSamantha – Hi! I’m a 6th grader and really excited to be blogging. I LOVE to read and write so I’m most likely going to have a lot of posts. I’ll give you the most honest reviews possible. I hope you read them!



Requiem-Lauren Oliver

In our modern day world, we have many non-concrete things, like peace, friendship, and most of all, love. But, in this story there is no love. Love is claimed to be a disease, deliria. To avoid the spread of deliria, every citizen must get a procedure once they are old enough, but it doesn’t always work.  This is the world in the Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver.

A girl named Lena grew up around deliria. Her mother was killed because of it. The first book, Delirium, begins with Lena wanting nothing more than to get her procedure and be an emotionless zombie like everyone else. Lena was so set on her brain-dead goal, until she met Alex. Lena and Alex fell in love. They planned to escape to the wilds, the only place where love is allowed. When their plan went wrong, they got caught. Alex died, but Lena made it out.

A lot of stuff happens between then and the third book, but, to sum it up, Lena thought Alex died.  She fell in love with another boy named Julian in the second book, Pandemonium, and helped Julian come to the wilds with her.

Requiem begins when Lena and Alex joined a new group and discovered Alex was there. He never died, and he felt betrayed by Lena. Requiem is all about Lena and Alex coming back together, whereas, the first two books are all about their earlier time together and apart. Lena and Alex’s group decided to attack the love-free zombies. Throughout the rest of the story, they met new people and slowly fell in love again.

Do they love each other in the end? Read the story to find out.

I liked this book because it flipped back and forth from different people’s point of view. One thing would happen, and you got to hear several sides of it. Lauren Oliver really knows how to grab a reader’s attention, I couldn’t put the book down!

Love or Not.

Falling in love, falling out of love, being admired, being rejected. What a bunch of fun.

It’s the time of year to celebrate love or feel bad about it!  Sometimes it feels like Valentine’s Day is just a plot to separate people from their money.

So let’s not talk about Valentine’s Day with all the guilt and conspicuous consumption! Instead check out one of the many books they library has on all things love and heartbreak.

No love. Friend Love. Paranormal love. Gay love. Zombie Love. Naive Love. Poet Love. All below. Click to order or visit your library!

dizzy in your eyes boyfriends with girlfriends girl meets boy kiss me deadly love selected poems who am i without him warm bodies twilight street love perfectly dateless

Teen Review:Upstate: A Novel by Kalisha Buckhanon

Fatimia blog photo

Hey, my name is Fatemia but i prefer to be called Temia. I am from Rochester NY. I love sports except hockey my favorite sport is track. I go to school at Pittsburgh Brashear High school. I love to read and write. I’m 15 years old and determined to finish High school. I love to go to the library to spare my time. When i finish high school i want to go to college to become a prosecutor.


Upstate: A Novel by Kalisha Buckhanon

This book is about two young teenagers male and female that really love one another. Antonio is the male teenager his mother is in a physically abusive relationship with Antonio and his younger brother’s father. Antonio’s father was eventually killed, and the question that everyone is asking themselve is who did it and why was he killed? Natasha who is the female is in a relationship with Antonio , their love for each other is put to a test. Why is their love put to a test? Why don’t you find out?

In certain parts of the book it got kind of boring but then it got exciting.  Other than the boring parts I really loved this book. If you would like to know more about Upstate, well, you have to find out yourself.

Fictional Elections

There’s a big election coming up in November. I’m sure you’ve heard about it. And if you’re 18 or turning 18 before November, you might want to look at Corey’s post about voting and voting resources or our library’s Voter and Election Information page.

While you’re waiting for election excitement, here’s a list of fictional stories about school and national politics, and all the drama, backstabbing and stress that such things entail:

All’s Fair in Love, War, and High School / Janette Rallison

When head cheerleader Samantha Taylor does poorly on the SAT exam, she determines that her only hope for college admission is to win the election for student body president, but her razor wit and acid tongue make her better suited to dishing out insults than winning votes.

My Perfect Life / Dyan Sheldon

Ella has no interest in running for class president at her suburban New Jersy high school, but her off-beat friend Lola tricks her into challenging the rich and overbearing Carla Santini in a less-than-friendly race.

Vote For Larry / Janet Tashijian

Not yet eighteen years old, Josh, a.k.a. Larry, comes out of hiding and returns to public life, this time to run for President as an advocate for issues of concern to youth and to encourage voter turnout.

I am a genius of unspeakable evil and I want to be your class president /Josh Lieb

In Omaha, Nebraska, twelve-year-old Oliver Watson has everyone convinced that he’s extremely stupid and lazy, but he’s actually a very wealthy, evil genius, and when he decides to run for seventh-grade class president, nothing will stand in his way.

Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she’ll have to get over her fear of public speaking—and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes—until now.

Schooled by Gordon Korman

Homeschooled by his hippie grandmother, Capricorn (Cap) Anderson has never watched television, tasted a pizza, or even heard of a wedgie. But when his grandmother lands in the hospital, Cap is forced to move in with a guidance counselor and attend the local middle school. While Cap knows a lot about tie-dyeing and Zen Buddhism, no education could prepare him for the politics of public school.

The Misfits / James Howe

Four students who do not fit in at their small-town middle school decide to create a third party for the student council elections to represent all students who have ever been called names

Popular Vote / Micol Ostow

In an election year, sixteen-year-old Erin Bright sets aside her familiar supporting role as daughter of the mayor and girlfriend of the student body president to stand up for what she believes in and protect an historic park from being replaced by a gas station.

Confessions of a First Daughter / Cassidy Calloway

Unfortunately for high school senior Morgan Abbott, every mistake she makes ends up as a front-page headline because her mom is the President of the United States. When her mom has to slip away on secret business, Morgan acts as a decoy in her place.


First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover & First Daughter: White House Rules / Mitali Perkins

During her father’s presidential campaign, sixteen-year-old Sameera Righton, who was adopted from Pakistan at the age of three, struggles with campaign staffers who want to give her a more “all-American” image and create a fake weblog in her name.

Once sixteen-year-old Sameera Righton’s father is elected president of the United States, the adopted Pakistani-American girl moves into the White House and makes some decisions about how she is going to live her life in the spotlight.

Dragged into the political turmoil of a presidential election year, fourteen-year-old Cooper Jewett, who runs a New Hampshire dairy farm since his grandfather’s death, stands up for himself and makes it clear whose first boy he really is.
A sophomore girl stops a presidential assassination attempt, is appointed Teen Ambassador to the United Nations, and catches the eye of the very cute First Son.
When Samantha, the seventeen-year-old daugher of a wealthy, perfectionistic, Republican state senator, falls in love with the boy next door, whose family is large, boisterous, and just making ends meet, she discovers a different way to live, but when her mother is involved in a hit-and-run accident Sam must make some difficult choices.
Sixteen-year-old Jessica discovers that her mother, a charismatic presidential candidate, sold Jessica’s soul to the devil in exchange for political power.
In the not-too-distant future, when a gay Jewish man is elected president of the United States, sixteen-year-old Duncan examines his feelings for his boyfriend, his political and religious beliefs, and tries to determine his rightful place in the world.
Fifteen-year-old Isabelle loves her impoverished North Carolina beach community, but when her grandmother must enter a nursing home, Izzie is placed with distant relatives she never knew–a state senator and his preppy wife and children.
Emma’s senator-father is running for president, and when her rebellious style and indifference to rules and convention create problems, she relies on her good friends, who are also the daughters of well-known people, to help her gain perspective
Lenny Flem Jr. is the only one standing between his evil-genius best friend, Casper, and world domination as Casper uses a spectacularly convincing fake mustache and the ability to hypnotize to rob banks, amass a vast fortune, and run for president.
Tired of not being noticed, fifteen-year-old Milo decides to run for president of the United States, and through the course of the campaign, he discovers that he–and other teenagers–can make a real difference.
Fourteen-year-old Zach learns he has the same special abilities as his father, who was the President’s globe-trotting troubleshooter until “the Bads” killed him, and now Zach must decide whether to use his powers in the same way at the risk of his own life.
When sixteen-year-old Hope and the aunt who has raised her move from Brooklyn to Mulhoney, Wisconsin, to work as waitress and cook in the Welcome Stairways diner, they become involved with the diner owner’s political campaign to oust the town’s corrupt mayor.
Happy reading! – Tessa, CLP – East Liberty

POW: Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Hi! Welcome back to Poetry On Wednesday.

Do these lines sound familiar to you?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

That’s the first line of a sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, part of a book of sonnets about her love for her husband, Robert Browning (he was also a poet).  The sonnets are collected under the title Sonnets From the Portuguese, because “portuguese” was Browning’s affectionate name for E.B.B. (yeah, I don’t know,  but it’s kind of cute?)

Elizabeth-Barrett-Browning, Poetical Works Volume I, engraving.png Elizabeth Barrett Browning, photographed September, 1859, by Macaire Havre, engraving by T. O. Barlow.

These are some of the most passionate poems you’ll ever read… they also get a little creepy at times.  Here’s the conclusion of the “How do I love thee?” sonnet:

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose / With y lost saints, — I love thee with the breath, / Smiles, tears of all my life! –and, if God choose, / I shall love thee better after death.

(To be honest, that last line reminds me of two other lovers who loved better after death… Click on the link to find out who.)

There’s much talk of death in these love sonnets.  In fact, in East Liberty‘s copy of her complete works, some enterprising reader has tried to separate each sonnet between the two, and mark “love” or “death” in pencil next to every one. Even without knowing any details, you can gather that Barrett Browning’s life must have been depressing before she found her love.

In fact, although she had a happy childhood, she was struck by illness when she was 15 and was considered a permanent invalid, especially after her brother’s death by drowning in 1841.  In 1845 she received a letter from Robert Browning, who had read a book of her poems and felt compelled to tell her how much he admired them.  Their correspondence led to an anguished courtship.  Although Barrett Browning was by then nearly 40 years old, her father would not hear of any of his children marrying.  So they married in secret and eloped to Italy! *

Obviously,  Barrett Browning comes to see her husband as her savior from death itself, and is accordingly gushy.  She gushes through sonnets, a smart choice, as the sonnet is a short form of poetry that, by its definition, deals with two ideas that cause tension between each other but are related in some way.  Barrett Browning was conflicted about her relationship with her husband.  She loved him but felt unworthy of love at times.  She was a creative person who wrestled with the idea of revealing herself to the world through her works.  She had to elope AS AN ADULT.  Heavy, sonnet-worthy stuff.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning

I do wish that she thought more of herself and her writing.  According to the intro to the sonnets in her complete works, she gave her husband the collection she had made of them, told him to read them and destroy them if he didn’t like what he read, and “fled again to her own room” (p. 214).  Luckily, Robert Browning knew how talented his wife was and made sure that the sonnets were made public.  Here’s sonnet XXIII, a typical representation of tone and theme:

Is it indeed so? If I lay here dead,
Wouldst thous miss any life in losing mine?
And would the sun for thee more coldly shine
Because of grave-damps falling round my head?
I marvelled, my Beloved, when I read
Thy thought so in the letter.  I am thine —
But… so much to thee? Can I pour thy wine
While my hands tremble? Then my soul, instead
Of dreams of death, resumes life’s lower range.
Then, love me, Love! look on me–breathe on me!
As brighter ladies do not count it strange,
For love, to give up acres and degree,
I yield the grave for thy sake, and exchange
My near sweet view of Heaven, for earth with thee!

Note the mention of “your letter” –after she and Browning got together they wrote to each other almost daily, and produced a whole book’s worth of love letters, also available for checkout here at East Liberty (and other libraries).  They are very sweet.  Here she describes herself to Mr. Browning in  a letter from 1845:

“When I had an Italian master, years ago, he told me that there was an unpronounceable English word which absolutely expressed me, and which he would say in his own tongue, as he could not in mine – ‘testa lunga’. Of course, the signor meant headlong! –and now I have had enough to tame me, and might be expected to stand still in my stall.  But you see I do not.  Headlong I was at first, and headlong I continue–precipitously rushing forward through all manner of nettles and briars instead of keeping the path; guessing at the meaning of unknown words instead of looking into the dictionary –tearing open letters, and never untying a string, –and expecting everything to be done in a minute, and the thunder to be quick as the lightning.” (p. 5)

That’s my kind of poet.

If you need some burning love poems to chew over while the rain drizzles down around you, look no further.   If you can’t wait to get a copy from the library, I will mention that the Sonnets are available in full at Google Books.

*All info in this paragraph is paraphrased from the Preface of How Do I Love Thee: The Love Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett, ed. V.E. Stack)

– Tessa, CLP -East Liberty

P.S.  Doesn’t Barrett Browning resemble another headstrong lady of letters (and music)… Patti Smith?  Decide for yourself:

Photo of Elizabeth Barrett Browning with her son Pen (Robert Wiedemann Barrett Browning)

Patti Smith at the Bowery Ballroom, by flickr user kimbospacenut

Teen Intern Review: Love Poetry Out Loud

Today I gave my summer intern a chance to write a review for the blog.  Victoria is a poet, going into her senior year of high school, and she’s been assiduously reading a book of poetry from the Sheraden branch. 

Here’s her review:

Well, considering I like to write poems, I use poems others made as a reference; even if I have not written any happy poems to show how I felt at the current point moment in time.

The book I’m reading, Love Poetry Out Loud (edited by Robert Alden Rubin), mostly contains poems about a happy subject (love). I mostly write dark poems so reading this was quite new to me.  Now I know love even has a dark side to it.

One of my methods for figuring out if a poem is dark or happy is looking at the title. For example,  my poem “Where Am I?” it gives the sense of self-awareness like most poems I made. Some poems tell of good and the bad in relationships, like the poem “When We Two Parted” by George Gordon and Lord Byron.  It has a strong sense of the narrator’s longing for his/her lover to return to him/her.  Here are the poems I mentioned as examples of the two types of poems… dark and light:



Where am I?

by Victoria Jones

Where am I?
I can’t see
Am I in the dark?
As my heart and I depart…
What am I?
Am I a loner?
Am I am friend… or a fragment of my own suffering…?
I can’t see my life

Where am I?
There’s no love here…
As I curled up into a ball
Because I’m scared to be alone here again
Am I dead or am I alive?
I want to go home away from their grasp
I feel like something is feeding off of my pain…
Someone help! Please save me…!

Where am I?
I ask over and over
But no answer
I don’t know what to do
I can’t do this
As days goes by
I grow more and more lonely
As I remember the things I once had

Now I only have time to think of my mistakes


When we two parted

 by George Gordon and Lord Byron

WHEN we two parted

In silence and tears,

Half broken-hearted

To sever for years,

Pale grew thy cheek and cold,

Colder thy kiss;

Truly that hour foretold

Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning

Sunk chill on my brow—

It felt like the warning

Of what I feel now.

Thy vows are all broken,

And light is thy fame:

I hear thy name spoken,

And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,

A knell to mine ear;

A shudder comes o’er me—

Why wert thou so dear?

They know not I knew thee,

Who knew thee too well?

Long, long shall I rue thee?

Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met—

In silence I grieve,

That thy heart could forget,

Thy spirit deceive.

If I should meet thee

After long years,

How should I greet thee?

With silence and tears

But in the end the only thing all poems in common is understanding how the writer feels towards everything around them. The things we share can be understood by others if you just give them some time.

Let us know what you think in the comments–what’s your favorite love poem?  You can click on the book jacket to see what other poems are contained in Love Poetry Out Loud, and you can check out these other books of love poems from the library:

Love: Selected Poems by e. e. cummings, illustrated by Christopher Myers 

Some great poetry with just as great oil paint and collage illustrations.

Crush: love poems by Kwame Alexander

What does it feel like to fall in love for the first time?  Kwame Alexander describes it through poetry.

Dizzy in Your Eyes: poems about love by Pat Mora

Each poem in this book has a different narrator, and they are all about being in love.

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