CLP Teens Blog

 

life after theft

Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

It is hard enough changing to any new school, but when you go to high school, it is so much tougher. To make friends you try to fit in and try not to cause a fight at least on the first day. Imagine if you were Jeff Clayson. His family came into money and now he is a student at Whitestone Academy, a very exclusive private school in Santa Monica, California. Jeff did exactly what you would not want to do, call attention to himself and get in a fight. The problem was who he got into a fight with.

Now everyone thinks he is absolutely crazy! Apparently, Jeff is the only one who can see a young lady name Kimberlee Schaffer. She’s beautiful, dressed very trendy and apparently from a very wealthy family. The problem is; she’s dead. She died a year ago and no one but Jeff can see her. Kimberlee was the epitome of a mean girl and she was also a thief. Kimberlee is not sure why she was left on Earth and why Jeff is the only one who can see her. Possibly it is to correct some past wrongs. In an attempt to cross over, she solicits Jeff’s help in returning the stolen merchandise to the rightful owners. Easy peasy right. . .? Jeff finds out that it was probably easier for Kimberlee to steal the items than it is for him to return them. Follow the mayhem that ensues in Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike.

 

Reviewed by Andrea, CLP-Homewood

 

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fake id

Fake ID by Lamar Giles

     When Nick Pearson shows up in the tiny town of Stephon, Virginia, not of his own accord, a chain of events that coincide with his family’s arrival began to happen.  It started out pretty normal, Boy eyes Jock’s girlfriend and promptly receives his welcome to the New High School in the form of a beat down.  Eli rescues Nick from a pretty terrible start by befriending him.  As it turns out Zak the jock’s girlfriend is Eli’s sister, Reya.  Nick finds his new best buddy of a week dead in the journalism room with his wrists cut; an apparent suicide. But even though he hasn’t known Eli long, he knows there is more to the story than his friend’s “suicide”.  Eli was working on a project that he called Whispertown.

Eli was going to let Nick in on the secrets. It is hard to tell secrets when you’re dead, but, not impossible.  Eli left evidence and Nick seemingly is the only one who can put the puzzle pieces together.  He doesn’t know who to trust and, no one in the town trusts anyone.  The dead boy is hiding secrets, the town mayor is a crook and Nick’s father is up to his ears in trouble.  Nick is not even Nick. In fact, his name is Tony Bordeaux. He and his family are in the WitSec program.  WitSec is similar to Witness Protection Program.  Tony’s father has blown it so much that this is their last placement.  It happens to be their fourth location and his federal agent, Bertram, has assured him, the Feds will no longer assist them if there is any more trouble. ‘Nick’ has a dead student; a flash drive full of evidence and a father who can’t seem to stay out of trouble and that’s not even the half of it.  Read FAKE ID by Lamar Giles if you want an adrenaline rushed Read.

 

Reviewed by Andrea, CLP-Homewood


The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez

As many of you start a new school year, senior themes and projects are looming in the months to come. When I was in high school, many eons ago, the topic of most interest was a new disease called Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia. Social issues, health and environmental issues always make great theme project topics. But, 17 year old Gaby Rodriguez decided not to go the traditional route. Her senior project shocked students, teachers and the administration of Toppenish High School in the tiny town of Yakima, Washington. Gaby, herself a product of an unwed mother, decided to fake her pregnancy in high school. Yakima has a high rate of teenaged unwed pregnancies. Her sisters and her mother and many folks in the town have lived that harsh reality of becoming mothers before they were emotionally, financially and mentally ready for the demands of parenthood. Gaby wanted to personalize and call attention to the stereotypes, criticisms and just the sheer magnitude of your life turning upside down that teen mothers experience. Why? “It’s worth it if one person thinks twice and takes responsibility for her body and doesn’t wind up pregnant because of it (the project). It’s worth it if one person realizes he doesn’t have to believe the stereotypes that other people have about him and that he can exceed everyone’s expectations. “ p.142.

Her story is one that took enormous courage and fortitude. It received national attention and Lifetime made a television movie from her project and its findings.

The Pregnancy project: a memoir by Gaby Rodriguez with Jenna Glatzer inspires hope that you can overcome generational and societal stigmas and not end up a statistic.

Review by Andrea, CLP-Hill District

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book jacket
Disasters: Natural and Man-Made Catastrophes Through the Centuries by Brenda Guiberson

This book is sick! Disasters goes in-depth into catastrophes that you’ve probably already heard of. But it opened my eyes to details that aren’t revealed in you social studies or history books at school.

There are two super gross disasters covered in the book: smallpox and the flu pandemic of 1918. None of us have experienced smallpox, since the virus was eradicated in 1977 thanks to the invention of vaccines. Today, the virus only exists in the form of a few samples kept on lock down in three uber-guarded science labs. Since it’s just not around, I had no idea just how nasty smallpox is. It makes chicken pox look like a walk in the park! The photos in the book literally made me jump with disgust because the virus covers your whole body with thick scabs. Sometimes the scabs all fall off leaving you with deep scars, known as pox marks, but most of the time you just die. In the 1900s alone (and keep in mind there have been no cases since 1977) smallpox killed 300,000,000 people. Brutal.

One of the man-made disasters covered in the book happened just 70 miles from Pittsburgh – the Johnstown Flood of 1889. A flood, caused by a dam that took on too much water and broke, took out an entire city. It was like a tsunami hit – a wall of water came tearing through and no one knew it was coming. The faulty dam was meant to hold a 10 foot deep lake up in the mountains, but when the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club wanted a bigger lake for its robber baron wealthy members to fish in, they built up the lake to be 65 feet deep with no changes to the dam. Duh, ya think it’ll burst?

The awesome accounts of these disasters will have your jaw hanging. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

Review by Annica, CLP-West End

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Graceling, by Kristin Cashore

In the land of Middluns, one of the Seven Kingdoms, 18 year old Katsa is an enforcer for her uncle, King Randa in this medieval-esque fantasy novel by Kristin Cashore. Whenever any of his subjects crosses him (or sometimes if they even talk or think about it), Katsa is sent to subdue the offender. Now, exactly how scary and intimidating could an 18 year old girl be to a noble who has, say, neglected to pay his taxes you ask? In most cases the answer would be “not very;” but Katsa happens to have two different colored eyes (one blue, one green) which signify that she is a “graceling,” a person who has a special talent or “grace.” Now many graces are quite ordinary, like being able to climb trees really well, or being a wonderful baker. But Katsa has the rare grace of excelling in combat: she can take on 8 armored guards with only her bare hands and beat them into a pulp, and hit a target with a knife or bow with unerring accuracy. As Katsa carries out her uncle’s orders, she begins to question whether or not she should be using her grace to hurt and bully, rather than ad those in need. So Katsa starts a secret underground organization providing assistance to the helpless, but will she be able to get away from her uncle’s powerful grip?

Graceling is a fast-paced, exciting fantasy novel with a richly imagined world, as well as a scary, compelling villain. Once you’ve devoured Graceling, be sure to check out its companion novel, Fire, and its just-released sequel, Bitterblue.

Review by Ian, CLP-Homewood

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Stoner & Spaz by Ron Koertge

This is a classic tale of two different kinds of misfits who find solace from their everyday lives in each other’s company. Ben has Cerebral Palsy and is incredibly self-conscious about it. He has turned to movies to escape life and to find out about what ‘normal’ people do. Colleen is a girl with a messed up home life, drug dealing boyfriend, and uses drugs to escape her reality. They meet in a darkened movie theater and slowly but surely become friends. Ben falls for Colleen right away because she treats his C.P. like it isn’t even there, but it takes a little while for Colleen to admit her feelings for Ben. In order for her to admit her feelings she’ll also have to admit that her drug use is out of control. Even though this book doesn’t bring anything new to the table, it’s the age-old tale of boy falls for girl, girl thinks she falls for boy but eventually breaks his heart, Stoner & Spaz is a quick, delightful read. If coming-of-age stories about people who live on the outside of mainstream society are your cup of tea than this book is for you.

Review by Leah, CLP-Downtown & Business

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The Chosen by Carol Lynch Williams

Thirteen year old Kyra is child number four in the birth order of an existing 20 children with two more on the way. She lives with her father and his three wives in a community in Texas. But this is no ordinary community. They are set apart literally and figuratively. Literally in the desert of Texas, and figuratively in a religious compound that believes that a man will only go to heaven if he has at least 3 wives. The community members consider the outside world as the devil’s playground. Only the Apostle Child can make decisions for each family. Obedience is the rule. No reading, no fraternizing with the opposite sex and absolutely no disobedience! But Kyra has never been the type of child that followed every rule in the community. No reading anything except The Bible–Kyra found her way around that. The Ironton County Bookmobile makes a stop each week. There she has met Patrick, the driver and librarian who offers wonderful choices to the information starved Kyra. No fraternizing with the opposite sex, she has a friend of her own that she wouldn’t mind being one of his wives, Joshua.

So when the decree comes down that Kyra is to be married and Kyra promptly disobeys, everything is at stake. It’s the way of life for the girls to be wives even at the tender age of thirteen. The problem lies with the choice. Kyra has been chosen to marry her father’s brother, Hyrum. Kyra is to be wife number seven to a man that is almost 60 years old and her uncle!

The Chosen by Carol Lynch Williams takes an insider look at a way of life that many of us have no idea about the inner workings of. It is a story of tremendous courage and strength of a girl who chooses to try to change the only way of life she has ever known.

Review by Andrea, CLP-Hill District

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The Silver Kiss

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause

This type of book was not me; I didn’t enjoy the book like I thought that I would. I thought that it would be a romance but it had so many twists and turns that it made the book hard to follow. Maybe the book would be better for a older age group than myself.  They would appreciate it a lot better.

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True You by Janet Jackson

True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself by Janet Jackson with David Ritz

When you think of Janet Jackson, words like talented, dancer, actress, Grammy winner, beautiful may be what enters your mind. But what about overeater, self conscious, and inadequate?

In Ms. Jackson’s new book, True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself, she shares her insecurities with readers.  Performing since she was a child and being in the shadow of her famous brother, “Mike,” Janet recalls what it felt like to be afraid of failure. We also discover that Janet has had problems with her weight—binge eating; using food as a crutch and yo-yoing up and down even while exercising. However, she lets us know that there is hope—even for those of us who can’t afford personal trainers and chefs.

This book gives us a glimpse into the world of super stardom. It is packed with pictures of Janet and her family and friends.  Also included are some healthy recipes (provided by her personal chef—just for this book).

Review by Barb – Allegheny

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MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

Oracular Spectacular by MGMT

MGMT’s strange sound is hard to fit into any one genre, but the best way to describe it would be experimental/Psychedelic Pop/New Wave. Their Music is based on 60′s rock and weird sounds.

In this album you will find that every song has a different sound to it, and it is very difficult to get sick of  because every time you listen to them you hear something different in it, maybe a different sound in the background, or maybe a different feeling to it every time. In this album it seems they really grasped the ability to make you happy no matter what mood you start off with.

The lyrics have very deep meanings, but also have a tint of humor to them. This album can please any body’s tastes, because every song is so different and give off very strong feelings.

To say the least, it’s a musical adventure.

I would recommend this album to anyone that enjoys anything different or exciting…..and strawberries. I would not recommend this album to anyone  boring, suffering from extreme stupidity, or that has no taste of adventure. You can pick this album up, and listen to it every day for 3 years and never get sick of its AMAZING sound!

Bonnie
CLP, Main – Teen Dept. volunteer

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