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Review: The Obsidian Blade

by Jilliane - 0 Comment(s)

Reviews by YAC

Tucker Feye had been living in Hopewell County ever since he was born with his father, a reverend, and his mother, but suddenly, during his thirteenth year, while his father was working on the roof he fell off and vanished! Where could he have gone? Later that day, Tucker’s father came walking home as if nothing had gone amiss, except that he looked worn by time and had with him a little girl named Lahlia. At that point, life for Tucker became more ominous: since his return, his father disregarded his religion and abruptly stopped believing in God; his mother slowly succumbed to madness which progressed into a form of autism; and then his father told him that he and Tucker’s mother were leaving for an indefinite time period. Could Tucker’s life become any more paranormal?

Once he moved in with his uncle Kosh, Tucker began to hypothesize where his parents had gone and how he could get to them. One possibility was the invisible, disk-shaped rift above his house –he had seen his dad fall through it once before, after all. Soon enough he discovered a similar rift above Kosh’s barn! Could these disks be the reason for his dad’s eerie disappearance? Could they be the path Tucker takes to retrieve his lost family? As Pete Hautman weaves this novel, time is no longer a constant, it is a manipulative.

Hautman has written an intriguing genesis to his Klaatu Diskos Trilogy. I absolutely adored the book and its abstruseness; he wrote it so that it is a constant page-turner. The Obsidian Blade, although quizzical to an extent, will be loved by those who often utilize the full capacity of their brain and exercise focus. Also, because of the immense amount of content, there is a huge space to be filled in by the imagination. To all bibliophiles or anyone just looking for an enjoyable, enticing read, I would whole-heartedly recommend The Obsidian Blade.

Reviewed by Sahad

Publication Date: April 10, 2012

HUNGER GAMES CONTEST

by Alexandra - 13 Comment(s)

Okay. So here are two newsflashes for you just in case you've been hiding under a rock:

1) The Hunger Games is the biggest thing since sliced bread (from the Mellark Bakery): if you haven't read it, you must be crazy, AND

2) We have a killer new Teen Website! (Oooooooooh... SHINY!)

In celebration of both these things, we are holding ANOTHER Hunger Games Contest. Your entry will be up for one of these sweet prize packs:

And we've made it so that ANY teen (ages 12-17) can enter! There are three different categories; Art, Physical and Written, and the possibilities inside those categories are pretty much limitless. All you have to do is submit your work to TEENS CREATE and then post a comment on this blog!

Art

Draw a Picture of Katniss' "Girl on Fire" Dress, or

Create an image of what you think Panem looks like, or

Make an alternate book cover for the trilogy, or

Draw a portrait of one of the characters, or

Do anything else artsy that will blow us away with your talent!

Physical

Video a demo of the skills YOU would bring to the Hunger Games arena, or

Create a rap about the Hunger Games and send us a recording, or

Dramatize a scene from the book and send us the YouTube clip! (Act it! Stop Motion! Animation! Anything!)

Or choose your own ending and wow us with what you come up with!

Written (1000 Word Max)

Write a poem (Limerick! Haiku! Epic Ballad! Anything!) or,

Write a Hunger Games FanFic! or,

Create an alternate ending or missing scene from the books or movie!

Or... well. You get it. We just want to see some cool Hunger Games stuff, okay?

HERE ARE THE RULES:

1. Don't PLAGIARIZE! Use all your own ideas when making these, don't copy anyone elses' work (except Suzanne Collins, whom we are paying tribute to)...

2. You HAVE to use the word "Library" somewhere in your entry, or, if you are making an image, use the CPL logo () somewhere in it. This is how we will know you didn't copy something off the internet!

3. Upload your entry to the TEENSCREATE website

4. Write a comment on THIS blog with your Name, Teenscreate Screenname, and contact information. None of this information will be published.


MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOUR, and happy gaming!

Contest Ends April 6th at 5:00 pm

Beauty Becomes the Beast - What kind of Animal are you?

by Adrienne - 1 Comment(s)

"Deeper meaning resides in the fairytales told to me in my childhood than in any truth that is taught in life." -- Johann von Schiller

Fairytales are of the old world, right? Witches, beasts and warlocks, goblins and leprechauns galore! Princesses in glass slippers, super skinny fairies, evil old ladies... Sometimes I do ask myself what any right-minded 20th century woman would be doing worshipping the ground that these tails (or tales ;0)) walk on... And it's true that some fairy tales DO seem to promote domestic violence, Barbie-esque physiques and a general "Rescue Me!" syndrome. Take Beauty and the Beast, or Rapunzel as prime examples. Others, like Little Red Riding Hood, are all about the "Listen to your mother - don't think for yourself" mentality... Not that listening to your mother is bad... However folk and fairy tales are truly alive - they are ever changing and evolving - just like language: Did you know that slang and swear words are actually the words that keep our language alive? It's true! Just check with any anthropologist of linguistics. Ever try swearing in Latin (the epistemological DEAD language?)?... didn't think so. Fairytales are the same way -- they're constantly being twisted and changed to reflect modern tastes and inclinations. Nowadays there's a whole trend of re-vamped fairytales - AKA Twisted Tales - the library is basically EXPLODING with them! Check out these books if you're interested in these neo-classics:

What if you could be the Beastly Bride? The Beast rather than the Beauty? What kind of animal would you be? The Beastly Bride - tales of the animal people edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling is an anthology of twisted tales involving various were-beasts, she-cats (The Puma's Daughter by Tanith Lee), elephant-brides (Jane Yolen's poem is not for the weak of heart), and enchanted individuals that reverse roles, choose to stay as animals rather than marry because they like their snake-like natures (Rosina by Nan Fry), outwit each other, find true love (The Selkie speak by Delia Sherman) and surprise and inspire us.

Terri Windling says, "I never outgrew these "children's" tales; rather, I seemed to grow into them, discovering their hidden depths as I grew older -- for just as nightly dreams reflect the realities of our waking life, the symbols to be found in folklore and myth (the collective dreams of entire cultures) provide useful metaphors for the journeys, struggles and transformations we experience throughout our lives. So deep was my love of folklore and myth that I went on to study the subject during my university years, which is when I learned that historically these tales were intended for adults, not children."

Take another quote from Terri Windling's website: "Long ago the trees thought they were people. Long ago the mountains thought they were people. Long ago the animals thought they were people. Someday they will say, long ago the humans thought they were people..." from a traditional Native American story recounted by Johnny Moses.

If you think that's thought-provoking, try THESE twists on for size:

What if Red Riding Hood took the situation with the wolf into her own hands? (Red Hood's Revenge)

What if the werewolf was female? ... and a Dingo not a wolf?

What if Beauty ran away from her abusive husband WHILE pregnant; married a woman AND started a safe refuge in an abandoned castle? (Castle Waiting)

What if the twelve dancing Princesses weren't married off to a happenstance prince, and one of them never kissed the frog but took him as a pet and when she got older HE kissed her instead? (Wildwood Dancing)

What if the Beast was actually a gentle prince from Persia more interested in language and roses than hunting?

These are all plots taken from current YA novels and they are how folk and fairytales evolve. Historically, in fact, fairytales have always changed with the times to reflect the values and mores' of the current culture they reside in. Red Riding Hood only became a cautionary tale to warn little girls to obey their mothers in the Victorian Era, and was a much less innocent story before that - in the French Revolution it was a cautionary tale for WOMEN (not girls) to warn them about the kind of men they should be wary of... and BEFORE that, as a french folktale passed on by word of mouth, it was actually a tale about how young women might inherit their grandmother's wisdom. Weird eh? Who woulda thunk? But its true- check it out for yourself.

We also have a great series in the juvenile section, The Sisters Grimm. In graphix we have Rapunzel's Revenge (wouldn't you LOVE to turn your hair into a lasso?) and in movies we have Red Riding Hood, by Catherine Hardwicke, the director of Twilight. Plus Alex also wrote a great blog about all that's currently going on with Snow White.

It's fun, try it! Let's see...What if Cinderella decided she didn't want a prince but a life of her own; no prince, no step sisters... what would she do? Or what it Cynder lived in New York in 2012... and was a gay boy? How would THAT story unfold? Do some research using our spiffy new catalogue (it's fun -- I swear! You can save lists of say "Red Riding hood" as a search term, limit it to YA books, save it as a temporary list and then re-name it and email/fb/twitter it to all your friends... imagine the research possibilities!) Then write/re-write your own fairytale -, twist it around, have fun and THEN... submit it to our TEENSCREATE page and get it published. Presto! Just like that! In fact, bring your writing to our Write Now! program on March 24th and you might even win a prize! (and get feedback on it from published authors!) We may not be fairy Godmother's, but here at the Teenzone we do possess our own special blend of magical powers ;p

As the famous Froud's say, "As artists, Brian and I are merely part of a long mythic tradition—giving old faery tales new life and passing them on to the generations to come."
- Wendy Froud

HUNGER GAMES CONTEST!

by Alexandra - 3 Comment(s)

Yes. You read that right... Movie Maniacs, the TeenZone and our friends at Alliance Films are offering a FREE Double-Pass to "The Hunger Games" movie screening at 7:00 p.m. on March 22nd at Chinook Theatre. The movie isn't actually released until the next day, so you'll get to see it before anyone else!

Now, this contest is going to be a little trickier than usual, since this movie has a little more buzz than usual. To enter, you have to tell us WHY YOU DESERVE TO GO TO THE HUNGER GAMES -- and be creative! We're going to pit your entries in a battle-to-the-death (well... kind of...) to see who the champion is. That person will be informed on Wednesday March 21st -- exactly six days from now.

To enter:

1) Go to MOVIE MANIACS to tell us why YOU deserve to go to 'The Hunger Games'

2) Make sure to include a way to contact you- we need your name and library card number (which will not be posted). It would be awful to miss out on this chance -- make sure you include this info.

3) Be creative! Competition is stiffer than that in the 74th Hunger Games!

Good Luck! And may the odds be ever in your favour!

This photography really speaks to me...

by Jocelyn - 0 Comment(s)

The Central library just got more beautiful.

And Speak is the reason why. Speak? you ask. Yes, Speak, I say. Speak is the mesmerizing new show of student photography from Calgary’s Sir John Franklin school, which is on public display at Central on the 2nd floor until April 28.

These stunning photographs look like they belong on book covers. There are many different types of photographs – photographs of people, of objects, of landscapes, and of old machinery. Some are action shots, some are stills. Some are realistic, and some are distorted. Some are black and white, and some are in colour. All of them look as though they belong in an art gallery.

One is a mind-bending angle of what turns out to be, with a closer look at the photograph, a chain-link fence. Another is an action shot of a dancer on a rooftop. A third is of a girl’s back, with her spine and vertebrae highlighted by what appears to be paint (pictured). Yet another is a sepia-toned image of a boy hugging his knees – this photograph, entitled Bullying Sucks! is a strong visual statement on the emotional impact of bullying. Other photographs are abstract (When I look at Dreams in particular, I question whether it is of paints mixing together in water, or of an alternate world.) Freedom is where you discover is more realistic, yet whimsical –- it is clearly a portrait of a girl with balloons giving a coy look to the camera. And Everyone follows the flow is a beautiful landscape shot, in this case the landscape of a snowy world that encases a river.

You can also read about the photographs in the gallery book, located in our Teen Zone. This is where the young artists give eloquent Artist’s Statements that explain their work. Be sure to check out these beautiful images next time you check out books at the Central Library!

Kick A$$ Heroines!! Who's Your Favourite?

by Adrienne - 3 Comment(s)

In honor of International Women's Day here some kick a$$ heroines! Who's your favourite? Fictitious? Real? If you like the Hunger Games (cause we all know Katniss kicks some a$$) check out these other titles + join us for lunch!

Battle of the Bands

by Alexandra - 3 Comment(s)

I have a confession to make -- I am totally and completely in love with made-for-TV Disney movies. It's a sickness, I know... but I can't help myself. There is just something about these totally-formulaic, always shiny movies that sings to my soul.

Especially the ones with, well... singing!

That's not true; for every Camp Rock (wooo! JONAS!!!) there's a Cheetah Girls (uggggggg). Every High School Musical (flip yes!) has a Starstruck (that guy's FACE! Really!?!??! And his name is STERLING KNIGHT?!?!?! You have to be kidding me).

Don't get me wrong, I love real musicals too. But Disney Channel captures my childhood in a way that a gritty Sondheim Song can't.

I picked up Lemonade Mouth the other day on a whim. I'm currently suffering from Bridgette Mendler OVERLOAD (I think Disney put her in every single thing they made over the last two years...) and hadn't heard anything -- good or bad -- about it. But when I popped it in, I was INSTANTLY HOOKED. The formula works: High school setting that is too huge and gorgeous to ever exist in real life + Kids that aren't ACTUALLY kids cuz no one going through puberty looks that good + clearly defined cliques and 100% self-aware protags + a problem that isn't a real problem = smash hit.

It doesn't hurt that the rag-tag team of misfits that makes up "Lemonade Mouth" comes along with just as diverse of music tastes -- their band is this pop/rock/punk/indie/ballad/dance/rap/ska mix of everything -- why doesn't a band like that exist in real life!??!?!

Anyways, suffice it to say Lemonade Mouth is worth a watch. It's cheesy, fun, musical and colourful.

But if you're just into 'up-and-coming-underdog-garage-band-takes-on-established-musicians-who-are-usually-jerks' as a theme in general, here are some other titles from Calgary Public Library that you HAVE to check out:

School of Rock - I'm sure you've seen this classic Jack Black offering, but if you haven't in a while, go check out Miranda Cosgrove before she was a Nickelodeon superstar (thankfully just not one of the ones who sings...)

Scott Pilgrim vs The World - Watch Scott's indie band, 'Sex Bob-Ombs' as they make you 'think about death and get sad and stuff' -- and defeat the evil Gideon Graves, corporate meanie and overall weener. BONUS POINTS for starring a Canadian in a Canadian Setting!

Bandslam - Two previous Disney starlettes, Vanessa Hudgens and Aly Michalka duke it out in a high school garage band, and try, unsuccessfully, to shed their goody-goody days of the Family Channel.

Freaky Friday - Oh mannnnn, ANOTHER Disney Starlette! Okay, if you're just tuning into the program already in progress, Lindsay Lohan is a real hot mess. But if you want to know why people even give a care, it's because she USED to be pretty adorable and reasonably talented. Guys... just be thankful I didn't put a Hilary Duff one in here....


And since music choices are so important to identity, and being in a band (or being obsessed with one) is such a quintessential part of teenagerhood, we've got about a bajillion books about it too: