Happy first week of school everyone! Read + Review is now open – so you can start earning community service hours for submitting your reviews of our New YA books. You can earn up to two credit hours for each review, up to ten hours a semester. Check out our website for the latest reviews!
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.
Best wishes for an excellent school year, and happy reading from your HCPL Teen Librarians!
In celebration of our music themed Summer Reading Club, we will be featuring a series of songwriting challenges over the next month and a half. All aspiring teen songwriters are encouraged to get creative and participate.
Each week from June 18 to July 23, we will introduce a different musical genre. We will give a little background history of the genre and its Virginia roots. We will then provide you a writing prompt and you will have a week to submit a song (no more than 300 words).
All songs submitted must be the original work of the person who is submitting. That means they need to be written in your own words; do not plagiarize.
The winner will receive a songwriting book appropriate for that week’s theme.
Check in with us during the next six Mondays to learn about and enter the weekly challenge. The winner will be announced the following Monday.
Like comics? Do you have a favorite fandom? Like to read? Do you like to dress up as your favorite character? If you answered yes to any of those question, then you will want to go to Henrico County’s LibraryCon that is happening June 30th from 1-5 PM at the Twin Hickory Library! (5001 Twin Hickory Road, Glen Allen, VA 23059).
There are going to be events for all ages! Including an all ages costume contest, green screen photo booth, door prizes, teen gaming, anime screenings, karaoke, andHarry Potter and Star Wars themed escape rooms! There will also be local vendors you can buy comics and fan gear from. Plus there will be a special appearance from local storm trooper squad, the 501st Legion. You are not going to want to miss this event! For more info call the Twin Hickory Library at 804-501-1920, or ask your teen librarian! Check back here or at henricolibrary.org for more info leading up to the event.
In an alternate version of the classic 19th century novel “Jane Eyre”, the brilliant minds of Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows come together to tell the adventures of a young woman named Jane, who was as plain as could be. Between her miserable childhood as an orphan in poverty and her considerably bland appearance, there was nothing amazing nor remarkable about her whatsoever. Well, actually, there was one thing: she could see ghosts, and was, in fact, best friends with one. It doesn’t take long for her after discovering her abilities to decide that no one can know about them, not even her other best friend, Charlotte Brontë (who was very much alive). Despite all her attempts to keep her abilities a secret, however, she comes across and gets found out by an organization called the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits. Even though women were not allowed to join the society, Alexander Blackwood takes an interest in her abilities, and wants her to become an agent. Miss Eyre, not wanting to spend her days hunting down ghosts and sucking them into talismans, even for an incredibly high pay, refuses the job offer, and instead accepts a job as a governess in a wealthy home, and promptly falls in love with the head of the household soon after. It almost seemed like this poor orphan was actually going to get a happily ever after. Sadly, life has other plans for her, and when fires start, people get possessed, and a sinister plot that would affect all of England goes underway, she might just have to use her wits, connections, and unique abilities to bust some ghosts after all. Who are you going to send a letter to? The Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits!
This book was, without a doubt, a worthwhile read. It provided an interesting commentary on the social norms of the 19th century while also providing its own sparks of literary, and sometimes entertaining, brilliance, such as the explanation for King George the Third’s notorious madness, which is important for the setup of the story. I especially found it creative how the writers were able to insert elements from the original story, while at the same time telling an entirely new one of their own. Even if you’ve never read or heard of “Jane Eyre” until now, you should definitely read this, as it has enough content to stand as a story on its own.
I’d say without a doubt, that if you read the original beforehand, then the most memorable parts about this book would be the creative twists it had on the elements of the original. If you haven’t, like me, then the most memorable parts would probably be the underlying sense of humor, which gives it its own unique charm.
When the son of a famous scientist, Jules, and scavenger Mia get trapped inside of the Undying’s ancient spaceship, they discover the upcoming consequences of humanities greed. Plunged back to Earth, they start in a desperate race against time to warn the rest of world of the dangers yet to come. Competing for the attention of the public with the Earthen politics and the schedules of the Undying, they attempt to find time juggling the affection they feel for each other. This fast-paced, page-turning novel will leave you hungry for more as the duo travel from mountains to cities trying to spread the word about the approaching crisis.
The book was well written, with author Ami Kaufman showing her incredible prowess in imagery and beautifully scenarios. As the sequel of the original book, this book was interwoven with the complex storyline of the previous book: Unearthed. The first book consisted more of an alien-like texture and feel and we get, literally, thrown back down to earth with a race against time with the aliens among them. Kaufman’s elegance in creating a world filled with complicated yet intense backstory was displayed with vigor in this book as the main characters struggle with opening the eyes of the oblivious public. Although the book was a brilliant finishing touch to the series, I felt that the first book gave more of an exhilarating feeling to the readers. In Unearthed, the abundance of cliffhangers and action-packed scenes were beautiful and made the original book unique while keeping to the Kaufman styled books, such as Illumina with the space-styled theme. Kaufman strayed from her main theme with this book, returning to Earth in a more political styled series for an interesting take on the new book.
The most memorable part of this book would definitely be tricking two others into accompanying them into the spaceship. The moment was humorously written but didn’t stray from the serious tone of the event. Although many other parts of the book were just as well written as this scene, this one is a personal favorite.
In the summer of 1982, a box in the middle of the woods, one that has been buried for a long, long time, is unearthed in storm. The mysterious stone box has but three rules: never come to the box alone, never open it after dark, and never take back your sacrifice. One night, September Hope hears these rules in a dream, giving him an idea for something he and his four friends can do together before the summer ends. They each bring a sacrifice, either something that holds sentimental value or is symbolic, put them in the box, and recite the rules aloud. This was a symbol of their friendship, an unbreakable bond that they gave up something important for. That was what it was supposed to be, and yet they still found themselves drifting apart immediately once school started up again. Now it’s four years later, and somebody broke the rules of the box. When people start dropping like flies and their old troubles come back to torment them, can they learn to work together and mend what has been broken? Or will death come for them all?
I must admit, the story was pretty creative, even for a horror novel. A fault I often find in the genre is similar plots and repetitive use of generic plot elements, so it was a bit of relief for me this particular book didn’t turn out that way. There were some parts that seemed a little bit rushed, and I do wish they gave us a little bit more time to get to know the characters and get used to them before being thrown right into the midst of the conflict, but regardless it was still an intriguing story from start to finish. I recommend this book for any horror novel enthusiasts looking for something different.
The most memorable parts for me were the ways the box enacted its revenge on each individual person. It wasn’t just some generic “going to kill all your loved ones and then you” kind of revenge, they all were tied into their sacrifices and their significance somehow.
Unpunished Murder by Lawrence Goldstone is the story of one of the most tragic mass murders in United States history, and how this crime went almost unpunished, despite the best efforts of the many lawyers and attorneys who worked to bring the almost 200 dead justice. This crime was the tragedy at Colfax, where many black men were massacred for no reason at all apart from their skin color. The story not only focuses on this one event but also goes back to the evil roots of slavery in the U.S, and brings to light the dark, underlying theme of racism that that this country was built upon.
Honestly, I really enjoyed this book, and would highly recommend it. Even though the book is non-fiction, the author still finds a way to keep the book from becoming too bland. The story is masterfully written, and is well paced, instead of like a lot of these types of books that I have read, where all the information is just thrown at you at once. There is actually character development, entertaining plot lines, and much more, while the author still keeps the book 100% realistic and clearly presents the facts. The only problem I had was that near the end, the book was a little slow, with all of the court cases, but that too was still entertaining. The grim tone of the events in this book are presented in a way that anyone can understand, and I think that is perfect in a book like this, which is trying to inform the everyday person about the awful things that have gone down in history.
The most memorable parts were probably the ones leading up to the tragedy. I thought the small details were quite interesting, and the way the characters interacted were sometimes amusing, but other times completely horrifying and disgusting. This added elements to the story that made it seem more realistic, and I even found myself rooting for the lawyers trying to jail the men who committed the murder.
Archenemies is the sequel to Renegades, a duology-turned-trilogy series set in a war-torn city brought back to its former glory by a collective group of humans with superpowers, known as the Renegades. Nova, a part of the anti-Renegade group called the Anarchists, has her reasons to hate the Renegades. She infiltrates the Renegades by joining them undercover and meets Adrian, a boy hiding his own his alter-ego- the Sentinel. Nova won’t admit it, but she’s starts to develop feelings for Adrian. As the sequel unfolds, a new bioweapon is being developed by the Renegades, which can permanently take away one’s power. This presents a new problem to Nova, the Anarchists, and Adrian, as their lives are on the line, allies being taken away one by one.
I thoroughly enjoyed Archenemies a lot, with the unanticipated twists and superhero antics rarely seen in actual novels. The plot was incredibly deep, with almost all the pieces from the first book finally coming together in Archenemies. The characters developed a lot of personality, though I felt that the focus on Nova and Adrian, and the budding romance between them, was too much to the point where the rest of the diverse cast was largely ignored. Sadly, Archenemies was missing some of the fun interactions between the minor characters seen in the previous book. I also felt that the majority of the most compelling events in the book were packed into the ending of the book, with the middle just full of filler and fluff to make the book seem initially stuffed with content. With the lack of non-superhero graphic novels in the market nowadays, this is one of the most solid books I’ve ever read. As someone who enjoys reading superhero-themed graphic novels, I would definitely recommend Archenemies for those who enjoy similarly themed books. However, readers should read Renegades before Archenemies, otherwise they may be confused.
To be fair, the most memorable part about the book was during one of the patrol missions, in which Nova and Adrian are the only ones awake while the rest of their teammates are sleeping. This put me at ease, mainly because up until that point, the book’s events were fast-paced and had me at the edge of my seat. Thus, it felt like a momentary break from their life-risking vigilantism. The casual interaction in this scene made me remember that they were still regular teenagers, although with enhanced superpowers.
Reviewed by Allyson Tham, Twin Hickory Area Library