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Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker CoverCheck out Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. Nailer works as a ship breaker along the decimated Gulf Coast in a dystopian future devoid of oil. Nailer and his fellow crew of hardened orphans and urchins pick apart old ships in search of bits of copper, brass, and the ultimate scavenge, deposits of oil. His life is dangerous and hard, and his drug-addicted, abusive hustler of a father doesn't make it any easier. When Nailer stumbles upon a pocket of oil in an old tanker, he thinks that life may start to get better. However, when a brutal hurricane washes a luxurious clipper ship ashore, a scavenger's dream, Nailer knows that his luck really is about to change. It's not until he discovers a beautiful and wealthy lone survivor aboard that he begins to question what kind of luck that will be. Can Nita offer him a better life, or will she just lead him to unimaginable danger?


Dystopian science fiction like The Hunger Games continues to stay popular among teen readers, so it's not surprising that the Printz Award, which is given annually to a young adult novel of distinction, was awarded to Ship Breaker for 2011. The gritty setting a post-oil wasteland unfortunately feels somewhat plausible, which makes it more compelling. You can find plenty of news stories about global scavenging, or check out Trash by Andy Mulligan for a fictional account. If you enjoyed the non-stop action of Ship Breaker, stay tuned for The Drowned Cities, with expected publication in May 2012.

LGBTQ Books for Teens

There are so many new experiences, emotions, and responsibilities as you move from childhood to adulthood. Sometimes it feels like you're all alone or that no one really understands what you're going through. For teens that are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or maybe still questioning, it can be even harder to navigate through adolescence due to ignorance, bullying, and exclusion. No matter what you may encounter on your journey to self-discovery, don't forget to be true to yourself and love who you are.


Check out these novels featuring LGBTQ characters coming to terms with their identity, falling in love, grappling tough issues, and more. Whether you're gay, straight, or still not sure, reading stories like these will open your eyes to the experiences of others.


Almost Perfect by Brian KatcherBait cover

The Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge

Bait by Alex Sanchez

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Down to the Bone by Mayra Lazara Dole

Empress of the World coverEmpress of the World by Sara Ryan

How They Met, and Other Stories by David Levithan

Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters

Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger

Skim by Mariko Tamaki

Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend by Carrie JonesWill Grayson cover

The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd

What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan



If you're seeking additional support, the DeFrank Youth Space is an excellent local resource in San Jose that offers counseling, support groups, classes, volunteer opportunities, and fun events just for teens, such as their annual Masquerade Ball for Halloween.

Suicide? Why?

Book cover of Thirteen Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher explores the social effects of suicide. In the story, Hannah Baker, who had killed herself, reaches out to her friends and acquaintances through the mode of a tape recorder, where she speaks to them and explains why she did what she did. Her friends and acquaintances, devastated by the result, can not believe the things they hear and are guilt-stricken by her words. She takes them on a journey to death, both, literally and figuratively, as they wander through the destinations on her map which she planned for them to visit, all the while, hearing her gut wrenching tale of how she felt and what she saw. The story is at once touching and haunting, sure to absorb you.


My own reactions to the book at the outset were: "I do not want to read the book" because I already knew what it was all about, but once I started, I could not put it down. After I finished, I could not forget the characters and the story, for it reminded me of my own high school experience--the petty fights, the naivete of youth, the idealism, and the fears and hopes we had for the future. Thirteen Reasons Why is so beautifully written that it haunts you. Now, I know why so many people are talking about and requesting this book.

Teen Booktrailer Contest - And the Winner Is.....

Teen booktrailer contest winner Nathan.....Nathan Verdonk, age 13. Congratulations Nathan!!!


Audio Appreciation Month

August is Audio Appreciation Month! Celebrate this event by checking out various audio book and music titles at your library! Here are a few recommendations for children and teens.
* indicates Series


Books on CD

The library has audio book versions of many popular titles shown below in audio compact disc format.


Children's Audio Books


 Cover of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Harry Potter* by J.K. Rowling

One of the most popular fantasy series about a young wizard named Harry Potter. Harry attends the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and makes new friends, learns new magic spells and goes on a quest to defeat the dark wizard Lord Voldemort.  



Cover of the Chronicles of Narnia


The Chronicles of Narnia* by C.S. Lewis

Another popular fantasy and adventure series about various children exploring the mysterious and mythical world of Narnia. 




Cover of 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones


39 Clues* by Various Authors

A series of intriguing adventure stories written by today's popular authors such as Rick Riordan, Gordon Korman, Peter Lerangis and more. These audio books will engage readers by combining card collecting, reading and online gaming.




Teen Audio Books


 Cover of The Alchemyst


The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel* by Michael Scott

Sophie and Josh are caught up in a deadly struggle between two rival alchemists over the possession of an ancient and powerful book containing the secret formulas for alchemy and everlasting life. 




Cover of Shiver


Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

A moving, paranormal romance story about Grace and a mysterious wolf that often watches her from a nearby distance. Later, Grace discovers a wounded boy near her home and makes a shocking discovery that this boy is that same wolf in human form. 




Cover of Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment


Maximum Ride* by James Patterson

An exciting adventure and science fiction series about six genetically enhanced children being imprisoned in a laboratory. Eventually, a sympathetic scientist helps them escape and they use their special abilities to survive on their own.   




Digital Audio Books

Besides compact disc, you can also download audio books to your digital audio player, including your iPod, smartphone, or home computer via OverDrive Digital Library or MyiLibrary. Using your digital audio player, you can transition or navigate to other chapters of the book without having to change discs. Here are a few recommended digital audio book titles:


Children's Digital Audio Books


Cover of Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex


Artemis Fowl* by Eoin Colfer

A popular fantasy and action series about a young master criminal named Artemis Fowl. Artemis gradually develops his moral character as he works with the fairies to help defeat enemies and save the world.




Copver of Percy Jackson and the Olympian: The Lightning Thief


Percy Jackson and the Olympians* by Rick Riordan

A young boy named Percy Jackson discovers that the legendary Greek Gods still exists and goes on an adventurous quest to prevent a devastating war between the gods. 




Teen Digital Audio Books


Cover of Hunger Games


Hunger Games* by Suzanne Collins

In a post-apocalyptic world, a powerful government called the Capitol selects a boy and a girl from each district to participate in an annual televised event called the "Hunger Games", where they would fight each other to death. However this time, both participants defy the rules and face dire consequences.



Cover of Graceling


Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Katsa, a young warrior lives in a world where some people are born with unique special skills called "Graces". Katsa however has a dreaded skill of killing and in this adventurous story, she goes on a journey of self-discovery and redemption by trying to save her land from a depraved king.





In addition to audio books, the library also has a substantial collection of new music CDs and downloadable new eAudio and eMusic for all ages! Please see a librarian at your library for more details.

"You Are Here" Reading List: Central & South America

¡Buen Viaje! We are arriving at our last international destination for our series of “You Are Here” summer reading lists for teens. Before we head home with our cool souvenirs and many more stamps in our passports, we are exploring the rich history, mythology, and culture of Central and South America in this week’s list of titles.


San José Public Library’s Summer Reading Celebration ends tomorrow, but we hope that you’ll continue to explore the world through the many materials the library has to offer. Thanks to all of you that participated this year, and congratulations to all of the winners! Enjoy the rest of your summer…We hope that your next “You Are Here” destination will be at your local library, but not before enjoying a restful night’s sleep in your own bed, which is always the best part of returning from vacation, right? :)


You Are Here: Central & South America


Chasing the Jaguar coverChasing the Jaguar by Michele Domínguez Greene

After having unsettling dreams about the kidnapped daughter of her mother's employer, fifteen-year-old Martika learns that she is a descendant of a long line of curanderas--Mayan medicine women with special powers.


City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende

When fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold accompanies his individualistic grandmother on an expedition to find a humanoid Beast in the Amazon, he experiences ancient wonders and a supernatural world as he tries to avert disaster.


Go and Come Back by Joan Abelove

Alicia, a young tribeswoman living in a village in the Amazonian jungle of Peru, tells about the two American women anthropologists who arrive to study her people's way of life.


Go and Come Back coverKeeper by Mal Peet

In an interview with a young journalist, World Cup hero, El Gato, describes his youth in the Brazilian rain forest and the events, experiences, and people that helped make him a great goalkeeper and renowned soccer star.


The Queen of Water by Laura Resau and María Virginia Farinango

Living in a village in Ecuador, a Quechua Indian girl is sent to work as an indentured servant for an upper class "mestizo" family.


Useful Fools by C.A. Schmidt

A fifteen-year-old Peruvian boy, whose mother runs a clinic for poor village children, becomes caught up in the war after Senderistas bomb the clinic, killing his mother and throwing his family into turmoil.