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Check It Out

Courier Article by Cheryl Soper
Sunday, June 6, 2006

Teen Reading Program Stocks Shelves for Summer

For young people who love to read, summer can be filled with the books they don't have time for during the school year. The Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library makes it more fun by offering our Teen Summer Reading program for grades 6-12. There will also be plenty of opportunities to talk about books, as every location of EVPL hosts book discussions for young adults. Here are some of the books that have been selected for discussion this summer.

Odd Girl Speaks Out by Rachel Simmons

The companion to Simmons' Odd Girl Out: the Hidden Culture of Agression in Girls, this book tells stories of bullying and cliques in the girls' own voices. Central Library Teen Zone will host this book discussion along with a showing of the Lindsay Lohan film Mean Girls.

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

A murder that shocked and mystified the Adirondack Mountains in the summer of 1906 provides the background for A Northern Light (The same murder inspired Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy). Mattie Gokey is a "shining light" for many others in the novel. Besides being many things to many people, Mattie must make decisions concerning her own future. She must be true to herself, listen to the voice inside her, and do what she knows is right at the right time. After all, isn't that what we all must do?
(Becky, Stringtown & West Branch)

Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris

It's easy to see why this is a Young Hoosier Award nominee. Written in a fairy tale style, this book is a quick and witty read. Readers will enjoy the plot and twists on classic tales. Christian, six, has run away from home and is determined to live in the forest. Edric, a troll, finds him and gives him a home for the next 16 years. Content with his pet dogs, he grows into a fine young man, but is curious about the world beyond the forest. He is especially curious of a Princess Marigold that he can see through his telescope. After getting a job at the castle, Chris learns of a strange curse and an evil plot of murder. But what is a commoner to do? You'll have to read this creative tale to find out. (Tina, Oaklyn Branch)

Buddha Boy by Kathe Koja

Justin doesn't like controversy. He just wants to sit with his small circle of friends at lunch, make passing grades, and exist under super-jock McManus's radar. Then he is assigned to a class project with Jinsen, whose shaved head and oversized tie-dyed T-shirts make him the object of ridicule. Justin discovers Jinsen's exceptional art talent and encourages him. McManus and crew torment Jinsen with attacks on his art. What Justin does for Jinsen will ultimately cost him more than he imagined.

My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult

What if your sister has leukemia and you knew that you were born to be her organ donor? 13-year-old Anna is not ill, but she has endured a lifetime of pain and surgeries to keep her older sister Kate alive. Now Kate needs a kidney and Anna is forced to make a tough decision that may tear her family apart. A very compelling read that will bring up many questions about how far human ethics can be pushed. (Karen, North Park Branch)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Erroneous first impressions cause suspicion, create barriers to romance, and jeopardize the Bennett sisters' happiness. Austen's classics have been called the original "Chick Lit." To be sure, the popular Gossip Girls and similar contemporary series cover much the same territory (albeit much more graphically) of romance, class snobbery, gossip, and social climbing. If you'd like to move your daughter up a notch from The A-List, try Pride and Prejudice. North Park Branch Library is planning an English afternoon tea as the setting for discussion of this book, followed by a showing of the recent film adaptation starring Keira Knightley.

Cheryl Soper is the teen services librarian at Central Library. She can be reached at (812) 428-8229. The opinions expressed in this column are personal and do not reflect policies or official recommendations of the library.