Thirteen 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.
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
The library has audio book versions of many popular titles shown below in audio compact disc format.
Children's Audio Books
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
¡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 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.
Keeper 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.
G’day mates! Pack a Vegemite sandwich, because we’re heading to the land down under in our second to the last “You Are Here” summer reading list. There is no shortage of great books coming out for teens from our neighbors across the Pacific, including these titles below. If you’re looking for some laughs, you can also check out Flight of the Conchords, my favorite comedic musical duo from the island nation of New Zealand.
The clock is ticking…Just a few more days left to finish writing your Summer Reading Celebration reviews in order to claim your free book and get entered into our last raffle drawing for a $50 book store gift card!
You Are Here: Australia & New Zealand
Beatle Meets Destiny by Gabrielle Williams
When superstitious eighteen-year-old John "Beatle" Lennon, who is dating the best friend of his twin sister, meets Destiny McCartney, their instant rapport and shared quirkiness make it seem that their fate is written in the stars.
Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Year Eleven at an exclusive prep school in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, would be tough enough, but it is further complicated for Amal when she decides to wear the hijab, the Muslim head scarf, full-time as a badge of her faith--without losing her identity or sense of style.
Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks
Young prodigy Cadel Piggot, an Australian antisocial computer hacker, discovers his true identity when he enrolls as a first-year student at an advanced crime academy.
Finding Grace by Alyssa Brugman
Undecided about her future after graduating from high school, an Australian girl takes a job caring for a brain-damaged woman.
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
Eighteen-year-old New Zealand boarding school student Ellie Spencer must use her rusty tae kwon do skills and new-found magic to try to stop a fairy-like race of creatures from Maori myth and legend that is plotting to kill millions of humans in order to regain their lost immortality.
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
High school student Taylor Markham, who was abandoned by her drug-addicted mother at the age of eleven, struggles with her identity and family history at a boarding school in Australia.
The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera
As her beloved grandfather, chief of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, struggles to lead in difficult times and to find a male successor, young Kahu is developing a mysterious relationship with whales, particularly the ancient bull whale whose legendary rider was their ancestor.
In this next installment of our “You Are Here” summer reading lists for teens, we are heading south to the continent of Africa. This list features teen fiction that explores some serious contemporary topics, but I’ve also included an uplifting non-fiction memoir. Stay tuned…There are just two stops left on our international journey before we finally head home.
This is the last week of the Summer Reading Celebration, which officially ends Saturday, July 30. Read some books, write some reviews, and you might just win some prizes!
You Are Here: Africa
Afrika by Colleen Craig
Thirteen-year-old Kim travels to South Africa with her journalist mother and must come to terms with the country's diverse and often shocking history with the realization that she is not as removed from this powerful story as she thought.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
This engaging memoir relates how an enterprising teenager in Malawi builds a windmill from scraps he finds around his village and brings electricity, and a future, to his family.
Child of Dandelions by Shenaaz Nanji
In Uganda in 1972, fifteen-year-old Sabine and her family, wealthy citizens of Indian descent, try to preserve their normal life during the ninety days allowed by President Idi Amin for all foreign Indians to leave the country, while soldiers and others terrorize them and people disappear.
The Door of No Return by Sarah Mussi
Heeding his grandfather's dying words, Zac is off to Ghana to track down his family's history. But what did his grandfather mean when he said that Zac had the map to the family treasure? Following every clue he can find and escaping danger at every turn, Zac begins to suspect that the treasure is real.
Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You by Hanna Jansen
The only survivor of her family's massacre, Jeanne witnessed unspeakable acts. But through courage, wits, and sheer force of will, she survived. Based on a true story, this haunting novel by Jeanne's adoptive mother makes unforgettably real the events of the 1994 Rwandan genocide as one family experienced it.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
This classic story traces the growing friction between village leaders and Europeans in an African village.