Oh, By the Way

Free Admission to the Art Institute for Teens

Starting next year, your list of excuses for not visiting the Art Institute of Chicago is going to get a little shorter. After January 2nd, entrance into the museum will be totally free for kids age 14-17. So, pack a lunch, hop on the Blue Line, and go see some art.

If you're older than 17 and you want to get in for free, well, if you live in Norridge or Harwood Heights and have an Eisenhower Library card, you can!

Just check out one of our Art Institute passes. These passes can be borrowed for a week will get you and three friends into the Art Institute fee of charge. Place a hold on a pass, or look for the Special Collection display in Library services the next time you visit Eisenhower.

A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron

Months after Lane's disappearance, Katherine's mansion is attacked by strangers who threaten her peaceful life with Uncle Tully. Running out of options, she makes the difficult decision to fake his death and move him to a house owned by Marianna in France, built with a secret room for Tully. Katherine is determined to find Lane there. But this plan is not going to be easy. Uncle Tully panics around unfamiliar people, so how will he handle waking up in another country? What happens if he is found, and what if Lane is truly gone?
I have to admit, I was scared to read this book. I got so attached to the prequel that I was afraid of disappointment. But boy am I glad I read it anyway! Things may have been tough for our heroine in the first book, but she really gets tested in A Spark Unseen. Cameron created some nice twists and turns that I never expected, and it was hard to put this book down. In fact, I spent hours at a time reading it, which is a lot coming from someone with a pretty short attention span. I also like how the title plays into the storyline so well, with the "invisible" spark Uncle Tully creates and how it affects everyone. This book seems a little bit darker to me than its predecessor, especially where Uncle Tully is concerned. He is still uncomfortable with the fact that Lane is away, and bringing him to a different country triggers him to panic, more than we've seen before. He goes so far as to inflict harm on himself, and Katherine has to handle it alone. In The Dark Unwinding, she is surrounded by people there to help her make decisions. But in this novel, she has to rely on herself. What I like about her character is that despite how much she has lost, and the situations she has to face, she continues to fight. She is one tough cookie.
This book takes place in France, so plenty of new characters are introduced (mostly shallow high society folk), one of them being Henri Marchand. I found Henri to be quite charming. I mean, he's tall dark, and handsome, and on top of that he has an accent. Who doesn't love an accent?! When he started getting close to Katherine, it immediately became Team Henri vs. Team Lane for me. If Lane turns out to be dead, then will Katherine turn to Henri for comfort? If he's alive, does he still love her? Cameron narrowly avoided making him another Ben Aldridge, which I appreciate. It appears that besides the fact they are both handsome outsiders that seem to have feelings for our heroine, they are polar opposites. Henri seems genuine, but Ben Aldridge, or should I say Charles Arceneaux, is dirty to the core. Another character is Mrs. DuPont: shady, but good as an ally. Even though she is cold and quite menacing, her family definitely softens her. I started off hating Mrs. DuPont, but by the end of the book I had grown a liking to her.
I was eager for Lane and Katherine to reunite, imagining it to be an explosion of love and hormones because that's what happens in most YA romance novels. It didn't quite meet those exact expectations, but it is really sweet. Lane's sense of humor always gets to me. Instead of using a cliché scenario, Cameron showed us that what Lane and Katherine have is not just physical attraction. Their relationship includes trust, compromise, and patience. It's unique and a little refreshing. But I feel there is more to be explored with this story. I would have definitely liked to see more of the emperor's family. We only get to see glimpses of characters like Therese and the emperor's current wife, and the book ends with us barely knowing them. In addition, I feel like the reveal of Lane's relationship to the emperor was rushed. Katherine figured it out at the very end before anything could become of it, so I'm curious to see if this secret will appear in the next book, if there is a sequel coming. I sure hope there is, because I am HOOKED on this series.

Young Adult Nooks

Hunger Games Catching Fire poster featuring our heroine Katniss firing a bow and arrowWith the second Hunger Games movie coming out this month and Divergent hitting theaters in April, now might be a good time to make sure you know that we have all the eBooks from both series (and a ton more) loaded onto our Young Adult Nooks. They're available for Norridge and Harwood Heights residents to borrow. You can see everything the Nooks contain on our Pinterest board.

Litworks Teen Book Fest

litwoks logoYes, it's true. LitWorks is coming.

But wait. It won't be here until April 5th, 2014. Why should you care?

Because we've just created a Facebook page where you'll get the newest information.

And a Twitter page for fast updates.

While we're at it, we might as well have a Tumbler blog.

And of course there's the  LitWorks home page for your browsing enjoyment.

Because we've got books by all our LitWorks authors waiting for you on the shelf. Authors are the Newberry and Printz Award winner Jack Gantos, ABE nominee Antony John, Kody Keplinger who published her first book in high school, New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu, Ignatz award winning graphic novelist Dave Roman, and Goodreads Choice Award nominee Jennifer E. Smith.

So like us, follow us and get all the latest news. Including the newest news right here - LitWorks books, both electronic and audio, are now ready for you on three iPads, courtesy of a grant from Best Buy and the Young Adult Library Services Division of the American Library Association.

Read a book. Use an iPad. Listen to the audio. Whatever you do, get ready for LitWorks.

Bubble World by Carol Snow

Freesia Summers is a bubbly and Barbie-like girl living on a seemingly perfect tropical island called Agalinas. Every day she ziplines to classes such as Spanglish and Korean Immersion to gossip about the latest news and eat ethnic food with her "friendlies". Freesia doesn't want anything to change; she thinks life is great just as it is. But that doesn't keep her from noticing some weird things happening around her. Sudden blackouts occur that no one else seems to remember, and she starts to become curious as to why she hears strange voices talking about her and why this island is so secluded in the first place. Freesia's life is about to be turned upside down when she finds out the truth about this place she calls home.

Review (with some spoilers!):

I found Bubble World by Carol Snow to be a refreshing read because of its unique storyline and characters. The book’s main character Freesia started off as being dependent on others and acting pretty shallow. However, the difference between Freesia and the strong female protagonists seen in YA novels these days is what made me want to read more. Seeing everything through her perspective was interesting as she can be both serious and comical. Her quirks started to grow on me and she became more and more likable as the story progressed, especially once she decided to brave up and face reality. Ricky's character was quite a contrast to Freesia's in the fact that instead of growing throughout the novel, more of his flaws (his stubbornness!) came out. At first, Ricky seemed perfect, but as the story developed, he became more suspicious and guarded and less like the guy he appeared to be. His refusal to leave Bubble World left me angry, yet somewhat sympathetic. I felt for the guy, and I wanted him to see his situation like Freesia did, but I also understood his wanting to turn the other way and live in ignorant bliss. Adam, I feel, was an essential character. He isn’t some super hot and unblemished guy like the avatars in Bubble World, but Freesia chose him over her virtual utopia in the end. That makes a pretty clear statement, doesn’t it? Todd Pilosky, the mastermind behind Agalinas, is despicable. Every story needs an antagonist, I suppose, but I couldn’t help but cringe at him, especially with some of the methods he used to talk to Freesia. As Freesia would say, he’s “odious”. Angel, Freesia’s younger sister, annoyed me when she was first introduced, mostly due to her early teen moodiness and the stark contrast between her and her Bubble World self. Despite that, she grew on me when her insecurities and closet adoration of her older sister were revealed. Pardon me for the Shrek reference, but Angel’s character is like an onion with many layers. She started off irritating, but became more lovable as the layers of her façade started peeling away. Aside from the characters, this book really got me with its plot. It would lead me down one path only to pull a twist I didn’t expect. Carol Snow, you devious mind… But it also brought up a bunch of ideas worth thinking about. Like education, for instance. Should there be a limit to its evolution? And is it really better to live in a utopia rather than with the rest of society in this imperfect world? What do you think? One thing I didn't like about Bubble World, however, was the ending. It seemed too rushed and strung together and I would have loved to see more development rather than such an open ending, especially after the previous drama. And perhaps some more Adam? His interactions with Freesia never failed to amuse me, what with me being such a sucker for romance. But despite my objections, I think this book is a gem worth indulging in and I highly recommend reading it.

Find Bubble World in the Library

Aneta, the Anonymous Writers Group

Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Teenage girl with back turned toward viewer. Wearing a blue dress.Katharine Tulman has been put in charge by her aunt to put her “lunatic” uncle in an asylum, securing her cousin’s inheritance. But when she arrives at the estate, nothing is as she expected, and she realizes this may not be as quick or simple a task as she originally planned it to be. The estate looks more like a village, inhabited with hundreds of families working under “Mr. Tully” and functions around his many rules and schedules. Playtime and teatime must start at precisely the right time each day, every clock must be wound on the same day each week, and any spinning or turning must be done clockwise. If done incorrectly, Mr. Tully becomes upset and goes into a child-like tantrum difficult to fix. But beyond this exterior is the mind of a genius, materialized by the many contraptions and toys in his workshop that seem to function impossibly. After seeing its many oddities, Katharine starts to see a sense of balance on the estate and begins to doubt her original purpose. Can she really destroy this place as she initially intended to?

Review: *CONTAINS A FEW SPOILERS* Click read more to continue reading.

Rapture Practice: My One-Way Ticket to Salvation: A True Story by Aaron Hartzler

yellow entry ticket with title and author. ticket is ripped in half over a blue background."Something you should know about my family:
We believe that Jesus is coming back.
We believe heaven is a real place with gates of pearl and streets of gold, just as hell is a real place of eternal fire and torment."

Aaron Hartzler grew up in a home where he was taught that at any moment the Rapture could happen - that Jesus might come down in the twinkling of an eye and scoop Aaron and his family up to heaven.  This was pretty thrilling.  Every day could be his last one on earth.

This is Aaron's journey from a true-believer child to a curious, questioning teen who starts to wonder about the things his family believes in, and gives up for, the Lord.  It's a funny, and often terrifying, coming-of-age memoir in which Aaron learns that he's the only one he can trust to make himself into the person he needs to be.

Find Rapture Practice in the library.

Free Books for Teens

Free Books for teens logo with an airplane pulling a yello wbanner across the skyJuly 12th is Free Books for Teens Day at Eisenhower. We're giving teenagers our extra LitWorks books and copies of last year's Abraham Lincoln Award winning books. We'll throw in a few extra surprises too. (Psst! Think comic books and other cool things.) Come early to pick the best of the best teen lit. Limit - two books and/or 5 comics per person.