• Recent Posts

  • CLP_Teens

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

  • Blog Categories

  • Archives

  • September 2017
    M T W T F S S
    « Feb    
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    252627282930  

Teen Blogger: Stargirl Review

bookcover

Today I will be reviewing Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. This is the first book in a set of two books, but it can be read as a standalone novel. Overall I did enjoy this book, but if you are looking for a more in depth review you can read below.

Characters

The two main characters of this book were lovable and quirky. Leo, the main character felt a bit bland to me at first, but after the plot picked up I did enjoy reading about him. While most of the book focuses on Stargirl, I really loved his character. Stargirl (yes, her name is actually Stargirl) was really unique and fun character. Her quirkiness might have been a little overplayed, but I loved her message of being your own person. I give this area an 8/10.

Setting

I loved the fact his book took place in the desert instead of the typical Midwest town or city. The parts that were the most descriptive, like the part about the desert flowers or the large cacti, were interesting because you don’t normally hear about that kind of beauty in a desert. I do wish the school was described more. I am going to give this area a 7/10.

Plot

This book was simply heartwarming. There wasn’t any epic quest or week-long journey across the US.  It was simply a book that made you feel happy on the inside. Plus, the book was so short, (180 pages) I don’t think there could have been a long, involved plot. Normally I don’t enjoy plots lacking complexity, but this book was really sweet and satisfying. I am giving this area an 8/10.

Writing Style

I did enjoy the author’s writing style. While the book wasn’t very long, he did manage to make each and every one of those pages meaningful. I zoomed through the book, and dreaded every moment when I had to put it down. I though overall the writing was pretty good, though it did have a few small issues. I am going to give this area a 9/10 because I did enjoy his style.

The Final Verdict

Once the scores are tallied up, I get a 7.5/10!  I agree with that score, as the book did have a few problems, but overall was put together well. If you enjoy books with a heartfelt message, you will most likely enjoy Stargirl! My one warning is that for some Stargirl might feel too quirky. Please know these are just my opinions. I respect yours too, so why not leave a comment?  Please mark spoilers for new readers.

Happy Reading!

-Laurel

Riptide With Bubbles

Laurel is an overly creative person that is looking for good books to read. While she fills her spare time with crocheting, filming, editing, drawing, sewing, writing, and crafting, she always has a little time to read. She enjoys books that have an intricate plot and fresh new characters, but does not like books with a lot of romance. Hopefully she will find what she is looking for.

Welcome To America’s Most Livable City?

The number of stories praising Pittsburgh keep piling up. From Most Livable to Best Places to Retire, from Top City for Geeks to Best Place to Buy a Home, Pittsburgh seems like the new cool place to be. But if everybody all over America saying Pittsburgh is so great, why is Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X calling Pittsburgh “Clicksburgh, Pistolvania?” Is it true, as Jasiri X says, that Pittsburgh has the highest rate of Black poverty among 40 comparable US cities? Is Pittsburgh the “Most Livable City” in the United States?

stopshooting

These are important questions to ask. Jasiri X is talking about Black poverty, and since almost 30% of Pittsburgh’s residents are African-American according to U.S. Census data, that’s three out of ten people.  That’s a lot of Pittsburghers. U.S. Census data shows that the rate of African-Americans who live in poverty in Pittsburgh is around 35.6%– certainly among the highest rates in the country. People who live in poverty have a harder time paying for housing, food, transportation and even the things that would help to lift them out of poverty, such as getting a college degree.

To make matters worse, in some of Pittsburgh’s poorest neighborhoods, there has been an increase in gun violence recently. In 2013, little Marcus Lamont White, Jr., a baby in East Hills was killed when somebody started to shoot at a community barbeque. Wiz Khalifa’s uncle was shot and killed outside the Steak ‘n Shake at the Waterfront in January, 2014. Late that same month, Hosea Davis, the man who saved a girl at the East Liberty Target from a man with a knife was shot ten times with a high-powered gun in the back. Four of the nine homicides in Allegheny County as of January 29, 2014 were African-American. In 2013, 42 of the 62 lives taken were African-American.

Gun violence and poverty levels in Pittsburgh beg the question: if Pittsburgh is the Most Livable City, who is it most livable for? How would the levels of Black poverty and gun violence in Pittsburgh affect national praise for Pittsburgh if they were taken into closer consideration? Is Pittsburgh still “Most Livable” in spite of its challenges? What do you think? How do we explain the differences between some Pittsburghers’ experiences with poverty and gun violence and national articles about how great Pittsburgh is? And finally, what are Pittsburghers doing about these problems?

There are many groups and individuals who are trying to stop gun violence in our city. One of them is Vanessa German, a spoken word artist who lives in Homewood. She exhibits her visual work and performs internationally. Vanessa created the signs that say, “Stop Shooting-We Love You” that you might have seen all over Pittsburgh. They are one of her responses to shooting in her neighborhood and beyond. Vanessa also runs ArtHouse—an after-school house where kids can come to do art alongside her. You need to hear Vanessa German if you want to better understand the strengths of Pittsburgh. She’s amazing! Here is a link to a recent performance Vanessa did about the beauty and challenges of Homewood: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aktAjeFqtvw

Another is Sharon Flake, the Pittsburgh author of The Skin I’m In, Bang!, You Don’t Even Know Me and Pinned, among others. Sharon writes about kids who are dealing with poverty and violence. Sometimes reading about situations like yours can make you feel less alone. Reading about kids unlike you can help you to understand the world from many perspectives.

Bang!

Check out some of these great books about gun violence, growing up poor, and how in spite of hard circumstances, people find strength through their connections to other people. And if you want to read more about Pittsburgh’s best-of lists, gun violence in our city and other ideas in this blog article, here’s a list of links:

“30 Years of Hell With The Lid Off to Most Livable: How Pittsburgh Became Cool”

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2013/10/20/30-Years-Hell-with-the-lid-off-to-Most-Livable-How-Pittsburgh-became-cool.html

“18 Reasons Why Pittsburgh is the Greatest City on the Planet”

http://www.buzzfeed.com/zoetsiris/18-reasons-why-pittsburgh-is-the-greatest-city-on-d56b

Forbes.Com Rates Pittsburgh No. 1 “Most Livable City”

http://www.nationalurbanmedia.com/FORBESCOM-RATES-PITTSBURGH-NO-1-MOST-LIVABLE-CITY/

WYEP Gun Violence in Pittsburgh:

http://www.wqed.org/tv/gunviolence/

Vanessa German:

http://lovefrontporch.com

Sharon Flake:

http://www.sharongflake.com/

Sheila-Hill District

Teen Blogger: Life of Pi Review

LifeofPi

The Life of Pi is a movie that came out last year.  It is based on a book of the same name by Yann Martel.  The movie is basically about a teenage boy who is the only one who lives after his boat crashes.  He has to try to survive by floating on a lifeboat.  Except he is not by himself.  There is a tiger on the boat with him!!  This sounds crazy, but the tiger was being sent to a new zoo and was on the same ship.  Pi has to learn to deal with both the tiger and the rough ocean weather.

I really enjoyed this movie and is showed how friendships can survive anything even tragic accidents.  It is a good movie for the whole family, and I would recommend it to all of my friends and anyone who enjoys movies.

Aaron is a seventh grader at Langley.  He enjoys playing video games, drawing and sports.

The Selection

bookcoverCANTCU9F

Today I will be reviewing The Selection, Book One of the Selection Series by Kiera Cass.   Here is a summary of the book for anyone curious:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime.  The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth.  To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels.  To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.  But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare.  It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her.  Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want.  Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.  Then America meets Prince Maxon.  Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.”

Characters

This book combined stereotypes with a breath of fresh air. I really loved America, Maxon, and Marlee.  My one complaint is that some of the characters do lack a developed personality and backstory, but this is the first book in a trilogy.  This book was jam packed with interesting character relationships. A secret love interest is unveiled early on, which definitely complicates the plot. I very much enjoyed the relationship between Maxon and America, but you will have to read to see how that plays out. The relationships between America and the other Selected really was intriguing. While some simply don’t get along with her, she instantly makes a few friends. At the same time America is technically competition, so we are never too sure about how things will end up. I really enjoyed this element of suspense.

Setting

The setting of this book at first confused me.  After a bit of investigating I learned that this books takes place in America.  While we don’t know how far into the future this book takes place, it seems like it has been at least a hundred years.  Now royalty is the main form of government and rankings determine your income, social class, and job.  It‘s very interesting to read about.  At the same time this author didn’t elaborate on the surroundings well.  It might just be me, but I like a very vivid setting to think about.  I like to know the colors of the walls, the little flaws in the architecture, and that sort of thing.  While we did get small descriptions of the setting, I just feel it could have been stretched out more, especially with the castle.

Plot

The plot of this book took old clichés and made them new.  I enjoyed discovering the little details of the government, and trying to figure out what would happen next, yet parts of the book seemed so close to many other dystopian novels.  Mainly the book reminded me of The Hunger Games.  Take out the death in The Hunger Games and replace it with broken hearts, and you have the majority of this plot.  I am not going to complain about this more than I need to, as there were plot twists, original characters, and many events that were completely original, but you might get the same feeling I did when I read it.

The Final Verdict

I really enjoyed the authors writing style!  I thought dialog was realistic and humorous.  The actions the characters took were interesting to read about, and were described in a way that I felt like I was witnessing them.  My one complaint was sometimes it was hard to figure out who the speaker was.  I get a 7.5/10!  This falls right in-between decent and good for me, but you should make up your mind for yourself.  I recommend this book to anyone looking for a book that has interesting characters and plot, with the warning that any Hunger Games fan might find themselves bored with the story.  And if you like love stories, you will like this much more than I did!  The book itself isn’t all that long (only about three-hundred pages) so I recommend you get at least halfway through before you decide.  The beginning can be hard to follow, but it picks up towards the start of the actual Selection.  Thankfully the library systems has lots of copies in print and digitally.  Please let me know what you thought of it! I’m always interested in hearing opinions.  But please, mark spoilers for anyone trying to see if they are interested.

Happy Reading!

-Laurel

Laurel is an overly creative person that is looking for good books to read.  While she fills her spare time with crocheting, filming, editing, drawing, sewing, writing, and crafting, she always has a little time to read.  She enjoys books that have an intricate plot and fresh new characters, but does not like books with a lot of romance.  Hopefully she will find what she is looking for.

“You’ve Got Homework. We’ve Got Help.” @ CLP

Winter break is quickly approaching, at least that’s how it feels to me.  Maybe you feel like it can’t arrive fast enough.  Either way, the weeks before winter break usually mean assignment due dates, tests, and/or finals.

We know it can be hard to study and work on assignments at home.  There are so many distractions–the television, things on your bedroom floor, the refrigerator, your phone!

study-meme1
That’s why Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh offers Quiet Study and Homework Help sessions at some of its neighborhood locations.  Check out the session closest to you!

Teen Quiet Study @ Downtown & Business
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 | Other Dates
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Are you a teen and looking for a quiet place to read and study? Join us at the Library for Teen Quiet Study time. Staff will be on hand to show you databases and books that will help with your homework needs.
Location:
Downtown & Business
612 Smithfield Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

CLP – Knoxville Teen Homework & Study Hours
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 | Other Dates
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Hey Teens! Did you know that where (place) you study or do homework at matters? Having the right resources and materials can be the difference between a good or bad grade. SO WHAT OTHER PLACE IS BETTER TO UTLIZE THAN YOUR LOCAL AND FREE LIBRARY?  Snacks provided every Tuesday!
Location:
Knoxville
400 Brownsville Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15210


Teen Homework Help @ Allegheny
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 | Other Dates
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Teens, stop in and get help on your everyday homework. Join us in the Teen Space every Wednesday from 4-5 PM.
Location:
Allegheny
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Are you one of those people who studies late at night?  CLP has you covered too!  Check out Live Homework Help from Tutor.com.

tutorcom_web_banner

It provides live one-to-one help every day from 3pm – 10pm.  After 10pm you can access the SkillsCenter Resource Library:24/7 which features worksheets, study guides and videos!  You’ll need your Library Card in order to access this service from home.  Don’t have a Library Card yet?  Here’s how you can get one.

–Kelly, CLP – Main, Teen

Teen Winter Reading Raffle

Forget Ned Stark- winter is HERE.  And rabid readers should be rejoicing.  The blustery weather provides the perfect excuse to just burrow down, deep into blankets and snuggle up with a good book.  Winter break provides you with the time off from school to spend the entire day and night reading to your heart’s content.  And all of those “best of” lists that get published at the end of every year provides a zillion new titles to add to what is probably already a very long “to read” list.

If you plan on spending your winter break with a huge stack of awesome books, then you need to know about our Teen Winter Reading Raffle!  How it works:

  • Beginning Sunday, December 15, 2013, visit your CLP Teen Specialist and pick up a reading log.
  • Fill out one reading log for every five hours that you read.
  • Return the reading logs to your CLP Teen Specialist by Wednesday, January 15, 2014.
  • For every 5 hours you read, your name will be automatically entered into a raffle for your chance to win prizes including books and gift cards!  The more you read, the more chances you have to win!

To be eligible, you must be between the ages of 12 and 17 or in 6 through 12 grades.  For more information, contact CLP Main- Teens.

Happy reading!

This is your last chance!!! For a little bit

westend

The West End branch of the Carnegie Library will be closing for renovations on October 19th.  They will be closed for a few months while air conditioning and an elevator and a bunch of other cool stuff is installed.

But before they close you have one last chance to visit their Teen Lounge!  The last Lounge will be held on Tuesday, October 8th from 5-7pm.  You can play XBox games, create a craft or make your own cake pop!!  What is a cake pop you might ask.  Well, it is a delicious mini cake on  a Popsicle stick.  And you get to create your own with your favorite toppings.

cakepops2

Cake Pops!!

So if you might be interested in cake, games and fun you can call Ms. Annica at the West End at 412-921-1717.

Ms. Annica!!

Ms. Annica!!

%d bloggers like this: