2017 Build a Better Website Teen Art Contest Winner!

The Henrico County Public Library is proud to announce the winner of the 2017 Build a Better Website Teen Art Contest: Maddie E.

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First Place Artwork by Maddie E.

8th grader Maddie has been awarded top honors for her whimsical colored pencil and watercolor design that will be incorporated prominently into the HCPL Teen Scene (www.hcplteenscene.org) website header.

Maddie will receive a $100 Barnes and Noble gift card for her effort.

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Second Place Artwork by Ethan S.

26 submissions in total were received over the summer. On September 27th, HCPL teen librarians met to review the submissions and select a winning piece that would work well in an online format and capture the awesomeness of being a teen in Henrico. We encourage everybody to view the album of all submissions: 2017 Teen Art Contest. The creativity displayed by our teens is incredible!

2nd Place and Honorable Mention winners were also awarded.  These individuals will each receive a gift card for Barnes and Noble.

Honorable Mention Artwork by Shivram R.

Here is the full list of winners for the 2017 Build a Better Website Teen Art Contest:

1st Place – Maddie E. (8th gade)
2nd Place – Ethan S. (7th grade)
Honorable Mention – Shivram R. (10th grade)

The Teen Art Contest was made possible through the generosity of the Friends of the Henrico County Public Library.


September is National Suicide Prevention Month

“Mental health conditions are all around us and among us. By knowing more about them, we can encourage each other to speak up and build better lives” (National Alliance on Mental Illness). One in five teens lives with a mental health condition, less than half of youth with mental health conditions receive treatment, and suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth and young adults. Henrico County Public Library is joining with Henrico Mental Health and numerous other organizations this September to raise awareness during National Suicide Prevention Month.

Teen librarians are a great resource for information. Check out our Self-Care book list and additional resources from our teen webpage.

Statistics do not capture the pain and isolation experienced by those living with mental health conditions. If you, a family member, friend, or classmate are in need of support, please speak out. You are not alone. One Henrico teen said this about his struggle to get help, after he tried to commit suicide:

“It would only matter to me, because only I felt this way. I didn’t know that other people felt the same way. Not everything can be done by yourself. You can have help if you need it.” (source: NBC)

In an emergency, call the Henrico County Mental Health + Substance Abuse Crisis Line at (804) 727-8484. Or, text HOME to 741741 to chat with a trained Crisis Counselor about any type of crisis.

Read + Review is Back!

Happy first day of school everyone!  The first day of school is also the first day of Read + Review – so you can start earning community service hours for submitting your reviews of our New YA books.

Visit our Read + Review page to learn more, and check out our handy guide to getting awarded the maximum two hours service credit for your reviews below.

Happy reading from your HCPL Teen Librarians!

Read Review Infographic

Read + Review: Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean by Payal Dhar


The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella… we’ve all heard of these stories, these fairytales… but where’s the heroine? From the lands between Australia and India, authors all around the world are coming together to create feminist stories to empower young girls to become the next generation of leaders. Women can now envision a world where females are equal, where they are treated like heroes. In this collection of short stories, from “Cat Calls” to “Memory Lace”, we see the importance of women in everyday life.

In all honesty, I had very high hopes for this book, but it simply didn’t meet my expectations. I found many of the storylines hard to follow, and they didn’t make sense whatsoever. However, there were a few that I enjoyed, such as “Little Red Suit” and “Cast Out”. Perhaps the graphic comic strips could’ve had a theme that was more apparent, since it took me a while to truly grasp the meanings behind them. I do have to admit, though, that the short stories were centered around feminism and women empowerment, so there is some truth to the book when it claimed that it focused around female heroines. Overall, if you have the time to dig deeper into each story, then this is the book for you. Otherwise, I don’t think it would be very enjoyable.

I love the idea behind the title because it is a great representation of the idea behind this book. It isn’t possible to eat the sky or drink the ocean, and that’s what these stories are all about. The authors are trying to break boundaries, to make the impossible possible. They are trying to show that you can transform imagination into reality; it just takes a little thought.


Reviewed by Mitali, Grade 10, Twin Hickory Area Library

Read + Review: Be True to Me by Adele Griffin


Jean and Fritz are fierce competitors over love. Gil Burke, the hottest guy in town, has a serious relationship with Fritz, but still has sparks with Jean. Not only do both girls fight over Gil, but they also are competitors in tennis. They will do anything for Gil, even if it means going over the limits. At first, it starts off with an undercover, suspicious friendship, but slowly, the tension between the two girls over Gil increases. As the rivalry intensifies, who will win over Gil in the end?

Be True to Me is a very cliché book, bringing in high school drama and romance which is a very likable aspect of this book. The way the author shapes and describes the characters makes it seem like a very intense relationship and love triangle. What was not put into perspective was the humor and uniqueness of the book. It seemed like the ordinary “life of a teenager” book, but it did explore how far a girl must reach for something she desires.

What really stood out was the strong, broad features of Gil and how he dealt with both Jean and Fritz. He showed his compassion and love to both girls, and the author really brings out his personality and characteristics. Another thing was the fights between the two girls. Each page brings a new level of intensity which will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat!


Reviewed by Allyson, Grade 9, Twin Hickory Area Library

Read + Review: Buried Heart by Kate Elliott


A rebellion is brewing in Efea. For too long, the Efeans have been ruled by the Saroese and now they are ready to take back their land. For Jes, it is a fight that threatens to tear her apart. Caught between her Efean mother and her Saroese father, between her love for her Efean friends and her love for Kalliarkos, the Saroese future king, Jes finds herself at the center of a revolution. From a dusty Fives Court in a rural Efean village to the Royal Fives Court itself, Jes struggles to decide where she stands in the fight that is sweeping through Efea. And all the while, foreign enemies bring war to Efea, putting those Jes loves most in danger.

The first two books in the Court of Fives series were among my favorite fantasy reads this year, so I was surprised to find myself less than enamored with Buried Heart. There were just too many plot lines up in the air at any one time, and none of them got the attention they deserved. Additionally, Buried Heart was missing the complicated interactions between the Saroese and Efeans that made the previous two books so interesting. It led to the Saroese as a whole coming off as singularly evil, rather than complex people with lives of their own. That’s not to say I hated the book. Jes was as spunky and clever as ever, and the interactions between her and Kalliarkos were as tender as they were fraught with tension. That simply wasn’t enough to counterbalance the often sluggish plot.

I think the most memorable thing about Buried Heart was the ending. It was a little bittersweet, but it was also hopeful and rather unexpected. With everything that had happened over the course of the book and the series, Buried Heart ended with a more positive note than I would have thought possible.


Reviewed by Stephanie, Grade 12, Glen Allen Library

Read + Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber



Scarlett Dragna and her sister have never left the tiny island of Trisda, where they live with their cruel and forceful father. Now her father has arranged a marriage for her and she thinks that her childhood dreams of seeing the magic of Caraval, the faraway, once-a-year performance, are over. However, this year her long-dreamt invitations finally arrive, and with the help of a mysterious sailor, she and Tella are whisked away to the show. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens in Caraval is just an elaborate performance, but she is still put through a game of love, heartbreak, and magic.

It was a well thought out story consisting of awe-inspiring detail, that created a spellbinding tale of sisterhood, love, and betrayal. The story was exceedingly engaging, and like the characters, I was lost in the dangerous, and enchanted world of Caraval. I enjoyed all of the plot twists in the book that made me wonder what was going to happen next, and added to the mystery and suspense of the story. The one thing I disliked about this book was that it did not have any humor to contrast from the overall writing style.

One memorable thing about the book was the immense amount of detail that the author included when describing all of the extraordinary things inside of Caraval. This made the book so hard to put down, and I felt as I was experiencing all of the situations alongside Scarlett.


Reviewed by Ilakkiya, Grade 7, Twin Hickory Area Library

Read + Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera


They Both Die at the End is set in an alternate version of reality where people get advance notice of their own deaths. When two teenage boys, Rufus and Mateo, get the call, they each do what any teenager does: turn to an app. The Last Friend app connects people in need of a companion on their final day, something that definitely applies to Rufus and Mateo. As Rufus and Mateo careen around New York, saying goodbye to friends and trying to heal a few old wounds, it becomes about so much more than just living your last day well. They Both Die at the End is a story of friendship and fate, of living and dying, and of how it’s never too late to change.

For the first half of the book, I was mildly intrigued by the concept of knowing when you were going to die, but I was not all that hooked by the characters. However, as Rufus and Mateo stop being strangers and start to become friends, I found myself utterly captivated by their story. While I am not sure I believe that two people can become such good friends in such a short amount of time, Rufus and Mateo almost had me convinced. I also love Adam Silvera’s writing style. It’s impossibly, often heartbreakingly, earnest, at times humorous, and always capable of showing the reader life through his character’s eyes.

The thing about They Both Die at the End that I think will stick with me for a long time is the relationship between Rufus and Mateo. There is a purity to their relationship, perhaps because they have neither secrets nor history, that is unlike anything I have seen in other books. It gives their relationship more weight, because even though they will only be friends for one day, they have the kind of friendship I think everyone wants to have.


Reviewed by Stephanie, Grade 12, Glen Allen Library