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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Literary Playlist: I'm Glad I Did

The year is 1963. JJ Green is only 16 years old, but she already graduated from high school. She's going to college in the fall, but for the summer, she gets a job at Good Music, in the same building in which her "music industry no-goodnik" Uncle Bernie works. Her mother cuts her a deal: If JJ can get the label to buy a song of hers in three weeks, she'll allow her to continue working toward her songwriting dream. If not, she has to become a lawyer.

JJ loves her new job at Good Music. She can be close to professional songwriters--and hopefully their talent will inspire her own songwriting. She's working on a song when she meets a music icon: Sweet Dulcie Brown, who happens to be working there as a custodian. She and Dulcie spend nights working on JJ's song. She also gets surprising help from an aspiring lyricist, Luke Silver, son of the recently departed George Silver, music producer extraordinaire. They eventually cut a demo of "I'm Glad I Did," which will hopefully

JJ gets tied up in the lives of those she meets: Dulcie, Luke, music producer Bobby Goodman, elevator operator Nick, her estranged Uncle Bernie, and his young wife, Marla. When one of her new friends turns up dead, she doesn't believe it was a suicide. JJ has no choice but to find the killer--and unravel the lies behind the music industry.

Hit play to set the mood for I'm Glad I Did by Cynthia Weil:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Books + YouTube???

Young Adult books have found a new outlet: YouTube! Tons of kids, teens, and adults are reading YA books and posting video reviews in all forms.

Some people have even gone further with book videos. Book trailers are great new ways of giving the plot of a book in a video. Even book publishers are releasing official book trailers! Here are some great examples.... (Can you tell the official trailers from the fan-made ones?)

(Do you have a book trailer or an idea for one? Send it to us!)

It's not just book trailers and reviews that go online. Authors make videos and post them. Some are related to their books (before its release, John Green read chapters of The Fault in Our Stars--and it's hilarious hearing him talk about how cuuuute Augustus Waters is). Other videos are just for the fans. Maggie Stiefvater (who was born in Harrisonburg, thank you very much!) posted a video about how a car looked in her book The Dream Thieves:

One channel, with over 100 million views, is itself a YA book! Nick Hagen and Mercedes Rose released a video series called The Haunting of Sunshine Girl. It's about a girl who finds out she lives in a haunted house--and tries to fight off all the scary, terrible things that happen to her. Now they've adapted it into a book, which was released this month, and the Weinstein Company will be adapting that into a movie series! That's a lot of adapting. Here's the first video of the first season, but--WARNING!--it's a seriously scary series, so watch at your own risk!

And speaking of adaptations on YouTube, check out the Paper Towns trailer (which just released today!!!):

So there you have it: YouTube is the new library. (Just kidding! Please don't stop coming to the library!)
Have fun--and be safe!--on the Interwebs!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bonus Post: Paper Towns Movie Poster!!


via E! Online

And here's a behind-the-scenes look about the photoshoot, from the director's (Jake Schreier) Instagram--
A video posted by Jake Schreier (@jakeschreier) on

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month! What does that mean? All month long, organizations across the nation will be advocating and celebrating people with developmental disabilities. There is a local organization--The Arc of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County--that offers support, help, and programs for people with disabilities. You can even visit their website and volunteer!

They're holding two events this month for DD Awareness Month:

A book that was on a lot of best-of lists for 2014 features two girls with different types of "dys." Quincy and Biddy graduate from high school and are put together in a home with 61-year old Elizabeth. She needs help getting around and fixing meals, so Quincy cooks and works at a grocery store while Biddy cleans the house from top to bottom. As the three women learn more about each other, they realize they're not as different as they seem. If you can't make it to the HR-Arc's events this month, celebrate DD Awareness Month by checking out Girls Like Us.

You could also go to DisabilityinKidLit.com! Read reviews and articles for books about people with disabilities of all types.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Teen Tech Week!!!!!

Happy Teen Tech Week!!! We had an awesome kick-off party on Saturday. Thanks to everyone who showed up!

And now...the moment you've all been waiting for (even if you didn't know it): The YA March Mayhem Book Bracket is online! Vote for your favorite YA books online or at Main. Each week we'll narrow down the favorites until only one book is left standing! It's like The Hunger Games, only much less violent and much more...well...literary! I'll update this post each week with the new voting link.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

March Book Club Post!!

We're doing a super special book club post for March! Since we have four YA authors coming to the library on March 19, all their works are March Book Club Books!

Joy N. Hensley 
Rites of Passage
*The Harder You Fall

Jodi Meadows 
New Soul series: Incarnate, Asunder, Infinite, "Phoenix Overture"
The Orphan Queen series: *The Orphan Queen, *"The Hidden Prince," *"The Glowing Knight," *The Mirror King, *etc.
Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves (with several other authors)
*My Lady Jane (with Brodi Ashton and Cynthia Hand)

Lisa Maxwell 
Sweet Unrest
*Gathering Deep
*The Stars Turned Away

Cristin Terrill 
All Our Yesterdays series: All Our Yesterdays, *Tomorrow and Tomorrow, *etc.

* = not published

Our event: 

Young Adult Author Panel @ Main Library

Join a panel of young adult authors March 19 from 6-8pm for a discussion on their works and the YA genre. Authors include Joy N. Hensley (Rites of Passage), Jodi Meadows (Incarnate series, The Orphan Queen), Lisa Maxwell (Sweet Unrest), and Cristin Terrill (All Our Yesterdays). We will have copies of their books available for signing. If anyone age 11-17 signs up for L.O.L., they'll get a free copy of Sweet Unrest!

Main Library - downtown Harrisonburg

More about the authors: 

Four YA Authors to Discuss YA Popularity, Their Books

Massanutten Regional Library has noticed the popularity of young adult novels, and has invited four YA authors to visit its Main Library Thursday, March 19, 6-8 pm to discuss not only their published works, but the popularity of YA fiction.  This event is free and open to youth and adults alike.

It comes as no surprise that young adult novels are not just for teens anymore.

According to an ongoing biannual study of Bowker Market Research, fully 55 percent of buyers of YA novels are 18 years or older, with the largest segment aged 30 to 34, a group that alone accounted for 28 per cent of YA sales.   Typically YA books are written and published for kids aged 12-17.  When asked about the intended recipient, 78 percent of the time consumers stated they were purchasing for themselves.  These statistics are courtesy of Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer in the Digital Age.

 “Obviously dystopian YA fiction has become a booming genre,” says Emily Correa, Youth Services Assistant at Massanutten Regional Library.  “Book series such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, and The Giver have only gotten more popular with the release of their film adaptations. Most of the books that were turned into movies and released last year (The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, The Giver, If I Stay, and The Fault in Our Stars) barely reached our shelves.  As soon as one of these books got checked in, they were put on hold for another patron.  Right now, these books are still getting checked out.”

Jodi Meadows, an Elkton resident, is the author of four dystopian YA fiction books and will return to MRL as a member of the YA panel and discuss her writing and publishing experiences on March 19.  Her Incarnate novel, the very first novel in her Incarnate trilogy series, made the Top 10 Young Adult Fantasy Books in 2012 as recommended by Lisa Parkin, a columnist for The Huffington Post, along with such national favorites asDivergent, by Veronica Roth, and The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.

According to Meadows, fantasy comes naturally to her when writing.  “Fantasy is where my heart is. I've always loved the idea of magic, how people might use it, and the ramifications of that,” says Meadows. “Every now and then I think I might have an idea for a more contemporary story -- but it never really seems like mine without an element of magic.” 

A prolific reader, Meadows mainly focuses on YA material when reading since that is what she writes.  She tries to keep up with what is popular and hitting the best seller lists.  Meadows advises aspiring writers to be prepared for negativity. 

“Writing is not an easy career to have.  There’s a lot of heartbreak and rejection, and all of it feels personal, but if you love writing and telling stories, then there’s nothing else quite like it.”

Northern Virginia author Lisa Maxwell’s first book, Sweet Unrest, combines the present with the past and follows its main character through a paranormal adventure.  The setting of the novel is New Orleans, a place she visited and did research for the YA novel.  She also went to Oak Alley (the plantation that the fictional plantation LeCiel Doux is based on) and toured the house and grounds.  Upon her last trip to Oak Alley, Maxwell wrote her last third of the book there.  The book has a dark setting and eerie tone.

Maxwell will join the panel and discuss not only her novel, but what it is like to work as a college professor and write novels on the sideline.  Her second book, Heartless Things, debuts in 2016.

Joy N. Hensley’s debut novel, Rites of Passage, creates a strong female student who enters a military school.  Reviews of the novel describe it as “intense, hard-to-put-down, and a surprising” read.
The idea for the book came from a dare of one of her high school friends. 

“After my freshman year in college, she dared me to go to military school for a year.  If I survived, she’d give me $25.  That was right after VMI started accepting females.  I ended up being accepted to two military universities and decided on Norwich University in Vermont since they’d had females since the 70s.  Rites of Passage comes from my experiences there.”

Hensley presently is writing another YA for HarperTeen.  “I’m also working on a new adult book (a story where the main characters are college-age), and an adult romantic suspense,” says the young author.

 Hensley will join the panel and discuss her experience of writing and publishing.

The last guest panelist, author Cristin Terrill, says her love of science fiction started when she was young and read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.  Her debut novel,  All Our Yesterdays, is classified as science fiction and has been described by one reviewer as a “masterpiece.” 

Terrill’s writing ritual is set with a daily word count she prescribes for herself daily.  “Sometime I hit my goal in an hour and other times it takes me most of the day.  On average, though, I spend about three hours writing per day,” states the young author.  “I didn't really choose to write YA. It's just that the stories in my head all happen to be YA!”

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Literary Playlist: If I Stay

 In If I Stay, Mia and Adam meet at a special high school for musically talented teens. Mia is a cello ingenue, and Adam is the front of a band. They bond over music and fall in love, but their relationship is tested when Mia is involved in a car accident that puts her in a coma. She can see everything her friends, family, and even Adam say to her. But she has to decide: Will she wake up from the coma or not?

Author Gayle Forman made a list of all the songs mentioned in the book--mostly classical and rock, with a little Bette Midler and Bob Marley thrown in. We put them all on a handy playlist for you. Hit play and enjoy:

Friday, February 20, 2015

Bonus Post: Calling All Writers!

The Virginia Festival of the Book is coming up! After our YA Author Panel here in Harrisonburg on March 19, Charlottesville will be packed with authors from March 17-22. One of the very cool panels will be for teen writers. Submit a short story and get feedback from three authors! One of the authors is Jodi Meadows, who will be at our YA Author Panel. (How many times can I promote our YA Author Panel in one post??)

Here's the information about submitting a story: 

StoryFest & Pub Day: First Pages for Teen Writers
Sat. March 21, 10:00 am - 11:00 am
215 E High Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902
Hosted by: Charlottesville-Albemarle creative writing teachers and Young Writers Workshop of the University of Virginia

A StoryFest and Pub Day Event! Are you a teen (13 to 18) who likes to write? Teen writers may each submit one page (no horror or erotica) to receive anonymous feedback from authors Jen Karetnick, Jeff Martin, and Jodi Meadows. Priority will be given to pages submitted to VABookTeenWriters@gmail.com by March 16. You may bring a page to the panel, but we cannot guarantee that it will be discussed. 
Important! To make sure that we have time for as many entries as possible, each page must be no longer than 250 words AND properly formatted. (Se example here: Teen 1st pages submission format.) We will return improperly formatted submissions.
Why Should You Attend?
You will have a terrific opportunity to learn from the authors' feedback, but only if you submit!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Adaptation Newzzz!!

  • In case you haven't heard, The Duff is out in theaters this weekend! It's based on the YA novel The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger. The movie's got a crazy good cast, and the trailers look pretty promising.

    Unfortunately we don't have The Duff in our library collection, BUT you can always request that we purchase an item you want to check out! We love to hear what people want to read. We may not purchase the book, but if we do, we'll put you on the holds list and you can check it out as soon as we get it in! You can get a purchase request form at your local library branch. Check out the synopsis from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face. 
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Take three friends. Add an old cookbook. Combine with cute boys and a pinch of magic…and see what kind of chaos ensues! When Kelly Quinn and her two BFFs discover a dusty old cookbook while cleaning out the attic, the girls decide to try a few of the mysterious and supposedly magical recipes that are inside. To their surprise, the Keep ’Em Quiet Cobbler actually silences Kelly’s pesky little brother and the Hexberry Tart puts a curse on mean girl Charlotte. Is it possible that the recipes really are magic? Who wrote them and where did they come from? And most importantly of all, when boys get involved, what kind of trouble are the girls stirring up for themselves?
This is another book we don't currently have in our collection, so if you'd like to read the book before you watch the show, be sure to request it!
via Deadline.com

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Do you have plans for Valentine's Day, or are you thinking of boycotting the holiday? How about doing both! We're having an Anti-Valentine's Blacklight Party! Come to the Main branch (Downtown Harrisonburg) on Saturday, February 14 from 1-2:30 PM and dance in the dark! We'll have glow-in-the-dark everything, heart (pinata) breaking, sock volleyball, hi-liter t-shirt signing, and more! It's going to be da bomb dot com. (Do kids still say that? I guess only the cool ones do.)

Anti-Valentine's Blacklight Party @ Main Library

Join us for a non-Valentine's Day glow party from 1-2:30pm! We'll have dancing with glowsticks, highlighter t-shirt signing, and blacklights! You could even win one of the books from Amy Kathleen Ryan's Sky Chasers series (Glow, Spark, or Flame).

Ages 11-17

Main Library - downtown Harrisonburg