Wednesday, May 17, 2017

TBF 2017 Map and Schedule

TBF is THIS week! Are you guys excited?!

If you are like me, I'm a planner. I love to look ahead and start planning. Today, I have very helpful links for anyone who wants to see where our wonderful 27 TBF authors will be throughout the day.

For the awesome and useful *color-coded* map AND schedule, click HERE!

In addition to the author sessions, there will be special workshop sessions that are open to all teens. Check out programs and the times HERE!

I can't wait to see you all there!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My TBF Experiences

Greetings fellow bookworms,
In light of the the rapidly approaching Teen Book Fest (17 days and counting), I’ve gathered a couple of tips and tricks from both my own experiences at TBF and that of my friends. I know it’s really easy to get caught up in the sheer awesomeness of what is happening all around you (Fav authors! Presentations! BOOKS!) but just making sure to keep in mind a few things can be particularly helpful in making sure your day is just as amazing as a new series by your favorite writer- or at least at close as it can get to that level of euphoria.
  1. Plan in advance. Yes, there may be tests and APs but just taking a few minutes to plan can make sure you don’t get hit with any nasty surprises on festival day. The TBF site has both a map and schedule for anyone who wants to look at them so consider taking a couple moments just to figure out which authors you want to see and where you have to go BEFORE you hit the festival grounds.
  2. Don’t forget your books. You’d think this would be obvious but I can (shamefully) tell you that I have, indeed, left them before at home. This is one of the worst feelings in the world so make sure you have all the books you want to get signed. Put them in the car, your bookbag, duct tape them to your leg, it doesn’t matter; just make sure you have them at TBF.
  3. Bring water and snacks. A tip from someone who’s been to TBF a couple of times before: you will do a lot of walking and chances are, whether you want to go to all the author sessions or not, you won’t have a ton of time to grab any lunch. So bringing some food and a water bottle can likely both save you some time and possibly prevent the very embarrassing scenario of having your stomach grumble right in front of your favorite author.
  4. Get there early. Again, maybe this is obvious but I know I’ve showed up late once before and really regretted it. Part of the fun at TBF is seeing the rally in the morning and not to mention showing up late can put you in jeopardy of missing an author’s panel. So don’t make the same mistakes I did- get there on time.
  5. Finally, don’t be nervous. I know that when I see a favorite author, my brain tends to kind of blow up right on the spot and I begin to babble all over the place. It’s ok. Calm down. Authors are really, really cool people. Just be yourself and you'll have a much better experience.
So in conclusion, TBF is going to be great, guys. We’re all going to have a lot of fun, meet our favorite authors, and probably bankrupt ourselves buying books. Hopefully, all of these tips are
going to be helpful but remember not to get too caught up in the planning. Just have fun- that’s what TBF is all about.
Happy Reading,


Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

When I started reading this book for my review, I had already read it once before and loved it. But like test corrections, telling jokes and pie, it somehow was better the second time around. I’m a big fan of Sarah J. Maas (who isn’t?) and like all of her high-fantasy feminist novels, A Court of Thorns and Roses doesn’t disappoint.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin--one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin--and his world--forever.

First, Feyre. What can I say? She’s fantastic. At the beginning of the book she’s a huntress who would do anything to protect the family she both loves and resents for leaving their survival on her shoulders. As the book progresses, she loses none of that loyalty but learns to move beyond the bitterness and explore who she really is. Feyre is fascinating, intelligent and at times, hilarious given Sarah J. Maas’s fae-given gift to write snarky dialogue. Her mutual attraction with Tamlin brings out many of both her own and the fae’s best personality traits, and, in time, develops into a fierce and fiery mutual love. So, if you like courageous heroines with a talent for wisecracking, Feyre’s for you.

The second thing I found amazing not just in this book but all of Sarah J. Maas’s novels in general was the world-building. In her writing, she gives us a window into the Spring Court of the Fae world. You can practically see the flowers blooming within the faerie lands and smell the fresh scent of springtime rain (both of which are a nice break considering the current climate in New York). Sarah J. Maas makes the faerie land of Prythian both real and intimately appealing to the reader in a way that show her ability to, if almost by faerie magic, whisk worlds of fantasy right out of thin air.

So in conclusion- read A Court of Thorns and Roses. Not only is it a beautiful book (and, incidentally part of a completed trilogy) but you’ll get to fangirl all over Sarah J. Maas at TBF on May 20th!
Happy Reading,

Book Review: Dan vs. Nature by Don Calame

Before I start off this book review, I believe I should give you due warning. It is highly likely that none of what I say will be able to accurately describe the hilarity and sheer weirdness of everything that goes on in this book. The only truly effective way to enjoy it to the fullest is to read it yourself.

Anyway, the front cover describes the book as “an outrageously funny and wickedly raunchy romp in the woods” (Here, see for yourselves).

This is an understatement.

Shy and scrawny Dan Weekes spends his time creating graphic novels inspired by his dream girl and looking out for his mom as she dates every man in the state of California. Then his mom drops a bomb: she and her latest beau, Hank, are engaged, and she’s sending her "two favorite men" on a survivalist camping trip to "bond." Determined to trick Hank into showing his true — flawed — colors on the trip, Dan and his nerdy germaphobe best friend, Charlie, prepare a series of increasingly gross and embarrassing pranks. But the boys hadn’t counted on a hot girl joining their trip or on getting separated from their wilderness guide—not to mention the humiliating injuries Dan suffers in the course of terrorizing his stepdad-to-be. With a man-hungry bear on their trail, no supplies, and a lot of unpleasant itching going on, can Dan see his plan through now that his very survival depends on Hank?

The first thing I tend to look at when reading a book is the characters and these were spot-on. Dan is a sympathetic hero (progressively more sympathetic as the poor kid is subjected to more and more disasters in the woods) and relentlessly hilarious in his descriptions of everything going on around him. For example, “The entire wrestling team lunges at once, gripping my arms, my legs, my shirt, my hair, stretching me out like da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.” Charlie, his germaphobe wisecracking best friend, is similarly hilarious and almost terrifying in his prank-planning skills and, Hank, the poor stepdad in the picture, is the most awkward mountain man/dentist in history. And of course, there’s Penelope, the aforementioned “hot girl” who has snark to match Charlie blow for blow and is unexpectedly an adept marks-woman when it comes to hunting squirrels. In her characterization especially I have to give Calame kudos because she proves herself both smart and capable in a way that’s not subverted for plot or any other purposes throughout the book.

Similarly to the characters, the plot of this book is hysterical. The pranks are gross and whether they work or not, basically are page- bound laughter just waiting to happen. Just when you can’t think the trip could get worse, it does. Multiple times. As the book progresses, it really is surprising that for what they’ve been through, the characters are still (mostly- I’m not giving any spoilers) in one piece.

Finally, I believe this review would be a farce if I did not at least mention Baby Robbie. What is Baby Robbie, you ask? This unfortunate child is Dan’s Life Skills class Real-a-Lot doll who, although unmentioned in the blurb, goes under several very unfortunate circumstances throughout the survivalist trip. Let’s just say, this fake baby is going to be having fake nightmares for weeks.

Anyway, I doubt that I’m really able to do it justice in this review but if you’re looking for a book hilarious enough to make you laugh out loud in the middle of a quiet study hall, this is the one. And come see Don Calame and all of your other favorite authors at TBF on May 20th!
Happy reading,

Thursday, May 4, 2017

My Experience as a TBF Attendee

Hey guys! Katie C. here. Today,instead of reviewing a wonderful book by one of our lovely TBF authors, I’m going to talk about my experience actually attending the festival.

I first started going to TBF back in 2014. I attended with a group from my school. We would meet every Thursday after school to read and discuss books by authors that were attending that year. When the event finally arrived, we all met up at Nazareth in matching t-shirts and went in together to experience the event!.

TBF starts right off with a red carpet entrance where you can stand right outside and watch all your favorite authors walk into the festival. They all arrive on buses and other slightly bizarre vehicles with their own band playing right in front. It’s basically like a parade. After that small event is over, you’re allowed to walk in and hang around the gym for roughly an hour. During that time, you can by books and merchandise, as well as reserve a seat for the next huge event: truth or talent. From my past experience, I suggest that if you plan to buy anything (t-shirt, books, food, etc.) you do it during this time, since there’s only so much stuff and a lot of it is sold out by the end of the day.

Truth or talent is one of the funniest and best parts of the day. For another hour, you get to sit back as all the authors are introduced and watch them tell strange stories about themselves or show off one of their many (if weird) talents! This part of the day has always been a blast in my experience. Authors have clapped with one hand, sang part of your world (while another pretended to be seaweed during this), sweared in danish, and even written the first line of their next book!

After truth or talent, there are four sessions to go and see your favorite authors all across the campus. Some will be grouped together while others will be on their own. This is where you can go see your favorite authors and watch them speak and ask questions. During this time, lunch is also served and there are food trucks available as well. If you want to eat at a food truck, I suggest that you leave the session before a bit early since the lines get long fast!

After all the sessions are done, all the authors will be available for signing. While most of them will be in the gym area, a few will be scattered around the campus in different places. While authors won’t leave until everyone standing in line gets to see them, they will leave once their line ends. So tip of the trade: get in the shortest lines first and wait for the long lines to die down.

This year will be my fourth time attending TBF. in the past, I’ve met some great friends, meet authors that I knew and loved, and learned of one’s that I’d never heard of before, all while making great memories the entire time. And after taking a look at some of the amazing authors coming and reading their books in preperation, I know this year is going to be just as great, if not better, than the years I’ve attended in the past! See ya there!

Katie C.

Book Review: You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Leviathan

“The thing about possibilities: there are some you want much more than others. Or only one you want much more than everything else.”

This is my last book review for 2017 Teen Book Festival and I am finishing with such a good book. You Know Me Well is by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, both who are coming to TBF this year!

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really? Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed. That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way. When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

You Know Me Well is a story of first love and heartbreak and everything in between. One of the main things that stood out to me about this novel was the beautiful writing. The characters were incredibly real and well written and the whole novel just seemed poetic and beautiful. The friendship of Mark and Kate was really the main focus of this novel, and although I really enjoyed the sub-plots about their different relationships and heartbreak, I loved how this novel focused on how important friendship is. Despite only really knowing each other for a week they had a deep connection and I know that even after the story ended and their lives continue to progress the two will stay close. The book is told in alternating perspectives every chapter and the two characters perspectives easily mesh together and it feels as if you’re simply listening to the two tell the story instead of just reading about it.

Overall I really enjoyed this novel, as well as the other of David and Nina’s books that I’ve read and I strongly recommend you check out this one, as well as their others before TBF! Teen Book Festival is only a few weeks away and I know it’s going to be an amazing time for everyone.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

My Attendee Experience

Hi everyone! I’m here to tell you about my personal experience attending Teen Book Festival. Last year’s festival was my first and attending it was amazing! I loved all of the workshops I attended for all of the different authors, as they’re all so different from the one you went to before, and all of the authors are such amazing people. A couple tips I have are:

  1. Plan out your day beforehand, so you know which workshops you’d like to attend, their locations, and where authors are having signings.
  2. Carry a schedule and a map of with you as you attend the different workshops around the campus.
  3. Bring some sort of bag, to carry the books you either bought or brought to get signed, as well as some other necessities for the day.
  4. When buying books from the Barnes and Nobles stand, I’d recommend going while a workshop is in session, as during the in between times, as well as right before the signings the store is going to be packed and the lines will be super long.

Overall, the festival is all about having fun and celebrating books, and you can trust me that you’ll love the whole day. Look forward to a few more reviews leading up to the festival in a few weeks!


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Guest Blogger Book Review: Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

Hi TBF fans, I’m sure you know the adage, “no one lives forever,” but can you honestly say, “you are not afraid that the time you have is limited?” This is a question Mara and her classmates have to answer for themselves because one-by-one the seniors at Covington High are spontaneously combusting.

Aaron Starmer has written a book like no other.

The main character, Mara serves as narrator and major player in the effort to find out why the kids are being completely obliterated. Is it the kids who do drugs? Did the government do something to them when they went to visit D.C. in eighth grade? Can Mara’s best friend Tess confirm her scientific theory which will explain the phenomena? No one can say for sure. 

This is a story of a class of seniors from suburban New Jersey who are trying to figure out who they are and what matters most to them at this pivotal time in their lives. Here’s how Mara tries to explain it at the start of the novel:

To describe how you feel after a girl explodes in your pre-calc class is a tad tricky. I imagine it’s similar to how you feel when any tragedy comes hurtling into your life. You’re scared. You’re fragile. You flinch. All the time. You may have never even thought about what holds life together. Until, of course, it comes apart (p. 9).

TBF readers, if you are someone who has a sense of humor which can run a bit dark and twisted, this is a book for you.

I have to admit, I never got used to the kids meeting their demise by spontaneous combustion. Also, you should know that Mara has a penchant for curse words – rarely does she share with you what’s going on in her world without using an explicative to make her point.

On the other hand, I would say these volatile elements are really just the backdrop to the seemingly more significant issues facing them as they count down the days until graduation -- issues like, what about senior prom? Should I take the SATs? Will I pass pre-calculus? Will we all still be friends after high school? Is this what love feels like? How do I know for sure?

I promise as you read Spontaneous you will be rooting for Mara and her friends all the way.

Happy reading!
Dr. Jones

Dr. Laura Jones is a literacy education professor at Nazareth College and serves as a member of the planning committee for the annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival. She is proud to be a part of this community partnership working to connect middle school and high school students from across New York State with authors of young adult literature.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Guest Blogger Book Review: Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan

Click here to find this book at your local library!
Tragedy is something that affects us all in different ways. David Levithan uses three different characters to take readers on a journey that explores the emotions involved following the tragic events of 9/11. Each chapter of the book is told by a different character giving the reader an inside glimpse to the characters true feelings and emotions.

Claire, Jasper and Peter are all impacted by the events of 9/11 however their feelings range from complete disconnect to wanting to be right in the center of it all. Although these three characters are on a different journey looking for some kind of peace or closure they are all connected in some way. As the story unfolds the connection between these three becomes deeper and more profound. This does not happen without each of them encountering a hurdle with one another and/or alone.

Claire is a high school senior. She lives blocks away from the Twin Towers. Claire is at school when the first plane strikes and her instinct to help others kicks in. She rushes to her brother’s school where she offers support to his teacher. This isn’t where here need to help others ends. Throughout the story her quest to helps others is what helps her ease her own pain.

Jasper is home from college. His parents are visiting his grandmother in Korea. Jasper sleeps through the entire thing and wakes to NYC being devastated by the terrorist attack. He struggles with feeling connected to the events that occurred. Jasper is unsure about how he can help and when he decides to go give blood he is shot down because of his sexuality. This disconnects him further from the events that have occurred

Peter is the only character that actually witnesses one of the planes strike a tower. Ironically he is waiting in line at Tower Records to by a CD. It is Peter’s connection to music that helps him cope the 9/11 tragedy. Songs that he heard previously now hold new meaning to him and he finds a peace in coming together with others because of music.

This isn’t a story about the history of 9/11 so if that is what you are looking for you will not find it here. This is a story about humanity and the connection we all have to one another when tragedy strikes despite our differences. I enjoyed reading this book especially since I remember 9/11 so vividly myself. However you do not need to have lived through 9/11 to find yourself engaged or connected to these characters or the book.

"This, I think is how people survive: Even when horrible things have been done to us, we can still find gratitude in one another"
-David Levithan p. 76

*Yarritza Delgado is a graduate student at Nazareth College. She is also a third grade teacher in RCSD. She enjoys reading young adult literature in order to find ways to connect to her students and she encourages her own children to read them as well. Yarritza hopes to one day use her literacy specialist degree to help continue to educate and encourage young adults to read.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Book Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige is a great book. It is dark and gripping. Danielle’s books always make me laugh. I can’t wait to meet her and hear more about these amazing books.

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero. But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still a road of yellow brick—but even that's crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas. I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I've been trained to fight. And I have a mission: Remove the Tin Woodman's heart. Steal the Scarecrow's brain. Take the Lion's courage. And—Dorothy must die.

I would recommend this for anyone who likes fractured fairy tales. Lovers of Marissa Meyer will enjoy this series. I absolutely love fractured fairy tales and this satisfied that part of me very well. Can’t wait to see you all at TBF!


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Book Review: Sidescrollers by Matthew Loux

Hello fellow readers! I'm back for my last book review before TBF in may. this week: Sidescrollers by Matthew Loux!
Brian, Brad, and Matt are best described as lovable, perpetual losers. They're good guys who just lack direction and are all too happy to be enjoying that lazy time after high school. Their favorite thing to do in life is to play video games, eat junk food, and kick around the suburban town they live in. All of this tranquil laziness is interrupted when Brian, Brad, and Matt discover that the new girl, Amber (of whom Matt is sweet on), is going to that night's big local rock show with Richard, the bully football jock. Determined to steer her away from Richard, the boys are launched of of their lazy rears and forced into a grand adventure. Chased by an irate football team, a vengeful troop of Girl Scouts, and a stalking evil cat that may actually be possessed by Satan, our heroes are thrust into a giant rock 'n' roll video game adventure.

While i love reading regular books, I have a special place in my heart for graphic novels and was really happy when I found out that Sidescrollers was one. Overall, this book was just a blast to read. The three main characters, Brian, Brad, and Matt, jumped off the page with every panel and their actions throughout the book had me laughing and rooting for them the entire time.

The art style was really pleasing to look at, which only made the book all that more enjoyable. It's a quick read (i read it in about a day or two), but it's worthwhile none the less. The plot was super engaging the entire time, making this book really hard to put down. The entire story takes place over one day, but so much goes on that it really does feel like a "rock 'n' roll video game adventure" the blurb described above.

In conclusion, if you're a fan of graphic novels or a quirky high school adventure, then you should definitely pick this book up next time you're at the library!

Happy reading TBF friends. this is Katie C. signing off. Peace!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Guest Blogger Book Review: Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

Can't wait to read this book?
Click to rent it at your local Monroe County Library!

Have you ever wondered about the journey of the person standing next to you? How did they get here? What are the experiences they have been through? Have you ever wondered the lengths people have to go to survive another day in the world? If so, Tricks by Ellen Hopkins will fulfill your curiosity. This book’s five story lines had me grappling over my own questions about life, love… and the value of the human body.

Tricks takes an in depth look at five young teenagers from different parts of the country in this free-verse novel. Eden, Whitney, Ginger, Cody, and Seth all come from vastly different backgrounds with different motives as to why each of them want to leave their homes. However, there is only one underlying reason why these characters create trouble for themselves-- love.

Eden’s parents think she has been overcome by the devil after being caught riding in a car with a boy. Seth’s dad refuses to accept his son’s sexuality. Whitney falls for the bad boy after being brutally dumped. Cody is trying to keep peace in his house after a tragic loss. And Ginger, she is just longing to finally find the happiness she deserves.

I have always been told in my life love makes people do crazy things. This motto was put to the test in this book! You will read about the ups and the very lows of finding, or thinking you found, that special someone. What was most intriguing to me was my ability to understand why the characters acted the way they did, yet to still be left puzzled by their actions at the end of the book.

Hopkins discusses a “hot lava” topic in this book, prostitution. The best audience of this book would be older teens in their last year or two of high school. While this book is chalk full of vulgarity, the language and descriptions of scenes in the book are not for the faint hearted. Each character’s journey leads them into prostitution for one reason or another. Because prostitution is a central theme to all of the characters, many topics which come hand in hand with prostitution are mentioned. Topics such as addiction, sexual assault, homosexuality, and HIV/AIDS all find a way into at least one of the characters’ stories. Intermittent humor and quick, fiery mouthed characters keep the book from seeming overly dark and gloomy. Tricks helped open my eyes to the lengths people go to in order to survive and the value people place on love.

Happy Reading!
Shannon Hickin

Shannon Hickin is a seventh grade health teacher in the Rochester, NY area. She enjoys discussions about controversial topics and opens her doors to all positive, productive dialogue! In her spare time, she practices what she preaches and lives a healthy, active lifestyle that her students can look up to!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Guest Blogger Book Review: Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King

Hi TBF readers!

I just recently finished reading Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King. Do you like mysterious, unexplainable phenomenon, science fiction adventures, or heartfelt stories about finding one's own identity? Then this book is for you. Follow Glory and her friend Ellie on their own journeys of self-discoveries and a quest for knowledge that will change their lives forever.

One of the things that attracted me to this story is the image of the girl on the front cover. Who is she? What does she see as she peeks at me? As I started reading about this girl, Glory O'Brien, I discovered there is a lot more to her than meets the eye. Who is this daughter of Darla O'Brien, the photographer? Who is this friend of Ellie Heffner, the girl next door? Who is Ellie Heffner, the girl with the hippie parents? Who are these girls who can see the future? These are questions that Glory has to answer for herself in the midst of some unusual circumstances in her life.

One crazy night in the summer, after drinking the dust remains of a dead bat, both Glory and Ellie find they can see everyone’s infinite histories and futures. These “transmissions” show them the details of people's lives in the past, present, and future, which ultimately leads them to discover there will be a Second Civil War in fifty years. Glory realizes the upcoming events are important for future generations to understand about society, and thus begins to write down all the relevant visions she sees in a book titled, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future. However, she does not realize until later that she will also be a key player in the upcoming war, which changes her whole perspective about her identity.

This is the story of a girl who is trying to figure out who she is, why she matters in this world, and what her future will be. Here's how Glory explains her quest for truth in her own life in the novel:

I saw Ellie looking at Dad and I could see she was seeing his infinity and I wondered if she saw any future. I wanted him to have a future. I wanted me to have a future...I wanted to know if my grandsons would be part of the machine. I wanted to know if my granddaughters would be stolen. I wanted to know everything…if there was anything. I was so tired of empty. (p. 155)

This book is written for a mature reader, both because of the narrative style as well as the themes presented.

Overall, I believe you will find this book intriguing and engaging as you travel with Glory to discover the hidden truths behind each scene. To find this book at your local library, please click here.

Happy reading!
Anna Antonik

Anna Antonik is currently a graduate student studying to become a Literacy Specialist at Nazareth College. Fascinated with books from an early age, she has always been the bookworm in her family, and enjoys reading new novels to add to her home library. She has the pleasure of taking a Young Adult literature course this semester, and is excited to share her newest read from class, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A. S. King.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley

Hey TBF readers! its April now and there's a month left before the Teen Book Festival is upon us. That means just a few more posts from each of us bloggers before you get to meet this years authors! To make sure you're all ready I have another great book for you this week!

176327For Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, life has not been a fairy tale. After the mysterious disappearance of their parents, the sisters are sent to live with their grandmother--a woman they believed was dead! Granny Relda reveals that the girls have two famous ancestors, the Brothers Grimm, whose classic book of fairy tales is actually a collection of case files of magical mischief. Now the girls must take on the family responsibility of being fairy tale detectives.

I think Fairy-Tale Detectives is a great book to be my last book review of this blog season. As great as the various teen genres are, for me at least, I need to take a break from time to time and read something silly and fun like this book. 

Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are two young sisters who have been bounced between foster homes since their parents disappeared. Suddenly out of the blue their presumably dead grandmother, who lives in the seemingly sleepy farm town, Ferryport Landing, files for custody. They would quickly discover that Ferryport Landing was far from any ordinary town, with all the fairy tale legends living quiet lives unable to leave. I really thought their adventure was silly and fun, with the three little pigs as police men, snow white as a school teacher, and Prince Charming himself leading the town as its mayor. It was fun to watch the two siblings grow and learn through the story, as they work through their mistrust of supposed Granny Relda and take on the responsibility it is to be Private Investigators of the fairy tale community. Michael Buckley did an amazing job of writing the classic fairy tale characters we all know and love so that they could interact with his own new and exciting additions. 

I thought this book was a nice one to sit down and read for my last post of the season and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! This is the first book in a whole series and like many other blogging books before I'm excited to sit down with the sequels and see these books through. That's it for now! 


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Guest Blogger Book Review: Identical by Ellen Hopkins

Click here to find this book in your local library!
"We are exact
Kaeleigh and me.
Mirror image identical
twins. One egg, one sperm
one zygote, divided,
sharing one complete
set of genetic markers.

Good, bad. Left, right.
Kaeleigh and Raeanne.
One egg, one sperm.
One being, split in two.”

To anyone who has read an Ellen Hopkins book, you will know that her writing style strongly portrays the dark, dirty truths of strong issues facing many teens. Ellen Hopkins writes her books in free verse. As you read, be sure to take note of where the words are located so you don’t miss any of the hidden parts of the story (don’t only read left to right).

This book follows identical twins, Kaeleigh and Raeanne, as they move through life with an alcoholic father and a mother who lives out of the home while she is on a campaign trail. These sisters are dealing with the issues of eating disorders, cutting, strong sexual urges, sexual abuse in the home, drug abuse, attempted suicide, drunk and high driving, and mental illness.

I don’t want to give too much away in the story, but I’ll give you a little insight. Kaeleigh and Raeanne were in a horrific car accident a couple years prior to this story with their parents—their father at the wheel. This led to an estrangement between the mother and father, as well as some barriers in the relationship between the twins. As you read from the perspective of both twins, you never see them interact with each other directly. Instead, you are tuned into their thoughts about their own lives as well as their judgments on the choices of each other. As a reader, you are brought along as the girls face life-altering situations, addictions, and disorders. Though mysteries are solved and some situations are bettered, Identical doesn’t exactly hold a happy ending—though it is still very worth the read! (The plot twist is extraordinary and unexpected!)

Though not for the faint at heart, I would recommend Identical particularly to those interested in psychology. This book definitely has some trigger warnings for the issues I mentioned above, and there is a lot of strong language throughout the book. Both are things I would be glad to know before reading, but are not things that would keep me from picking up this incredible book by this amazing author!

I promise as you read, you will be digging for an explanation and constantly surprised by the events our main characters live through.

Happy reading to all!


My name is Paxton Brewer and I am a graduate student at Nazareth College in the Literacy Education program, though I have a degree in mathematics and teaching certificates in birth through sixth grade, inclusive. I am an avid reader, especially of Young Adult books, and am thoroughly enjoying the secondary literature class I am currently taking that pushes me to read YA books I might not normally pick up. I am looking very forward to this year’s TBF!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Guest Blogger Book Review: Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

Sending My Love to Astrid Jones and A.S. King

Hi, I’m April and I’m a graduate student at Nazareth College studying Literacy Education. I am so excited to begin my career as a teacher after I get my master’s degree in August! I was immediately drawn to Ask the Passengers after reading a review stating that it was about a teenager struggling to fit into her small town due to their narrow-minded ways. I immediately related to that message, as I also grew up in a small town with people who struggled to love and accept each other as easily as I did. After reading the book, there is no doubt that Astrid and I are similar in many ways, and I know that many other readers will connect with her too.

Feeling defeated by her narrow-minded town and perfectionist mother, Astrid Jones spends her time sending love to anyone she can. Able to escape from her own reality, she imagines the lives of people in the planes she see’s soaring across the sky. While trying to find peace and self-acceptance in her own life, she is constantly feeling pressure from her mother, best friend, and girlfriend to take actions that they want her to do. After getting busted at a gay club with her friends, Astrid is forced to face her challenges head-on and she suddenly struggles to send her love anywhere.

Ask the Passengers provides readers with an authentic portrayal of the lives of a group of LGBTQ teenagers who identify as being gay and questioning. Some of the teens are more comfortable and accepting of their sexuality, while Astrid finds herself continually questioning hers. The teens struggle to find acceptance from the people in their small town where some people are not quite as accepting of the LGBTQ community. Forced to come out not only to their families, but to the entire school, the teens find strength from each other and within themselves to overcome negativity and hate. A.S. King’s masterful portrayal of teens who accept their sexuality in different ways and on different levels provides readers with a variety of characters they will relate to and empathize with.

While told from Astrid’s perspective, Ask the Passengers shows a variety of behaviors and actions taken not only by the teenagers, but also their families. These relatable representations of family dynamics and high school struggles, paired with the theme of acceptance and love, are what make this book such an important and valuable read for young adults.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially high school students who are feeling like their thoughts and actions make them different from their peers. Any reader can find a friend in Astrid Jones. You are not alone.

Go here to find information about Ask the Passengers and where you can check it out from the Monroe County Library System!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Guest Blogger Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Hi! My name is Jenny, and I am studying Young Adult Literature as part of earning my M.S. in Library Media from St. John Fisher College. The best part of this program is reading great new books that I will be able to share with students when I am a teacher librarian! I am very excited to participate in the Teen Book Festival. I have always been a book lover; I wish there had been TBF when I was younger!

I recently read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, and I am happy to share my first book review with you.

Do you remember meeting your best friend? That feeling of, “oh, yeah, I get this person!”? Ari and Dante meet at a swimming pool during the summer of 1987 in El Paso, Texas. And these 15 year olds become friends almost instantly, despite their different personalities. Dante is a confident artist, swimmer, and lover of poetry and books. Ari…is not sure about anything … his family, school, and friends. They bond and form a deep friendship…sharing books and laughter as Dante teaches Ari to swim. Both boys have interesting relationships with their parents. Dante is close and affectionate with his mom and dad, while Ari has difficulty communicating with his Viet Nam War veteran father and his mother who is grieving for the imprisonment of Ari’s older brother. The contrasts between the boys tessellate… they sometimes seem very different from each other, yet they both question themselves, their parents, and how life works. Over the course of two summers, Ari and Dante’s friendship grows as they learn to trust and communicate with each other and also to accept themselves for who they are as they figure out the secrets of love and friendship.

“When I got home, I sat on my front porch.
I watched the sun set.
I felt alone, but not in a bad way. I really liked being alone. Maybe I liked it too much. Maybe my father was like that too.
I thought of Dante and wondered about him.
And it seemed to me that Dante’s face was a map of the world. A world without any darkness.
Wow, a world without darkness. How beautiful was that?”
I loved the language and pace of this book, and how Saenz carefully unfolded the story of two friends. This is a love story, and not an easy story. Set in 1987, LGBT was not widely accepted. The main characters are Mexican–American, and there are hints of prejudice in their lives. However, those issues are not the focus of the novel; it is more a story of self-awareness and acceptance.

Benjamin Alire Saenz masterfully creates convincing characters with beautiful dialogue interspersed with brutally honest and painful scenes. Like the characters, Saenz is Mexican-American and gay. The authentic voice that his characters speak with rings true to life. And like all teenagers, Ari and Dante have fun together; this book is funny and tragic at times. Just like life.

I highly recommend Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. It is a thorough and satisfying read. It might make you laugh. It might make you cry. It WILL make you appreciate the beauty of friendship and falling in love.

P.S. After writing this, I heard “Tear in My Heart” by Twenty One Pilots playing on the radio. I listened to the lyrics and thought, “wow, I bet Ari would have liked this song better than “Alone” by Heart. On the first page of the book, Ari turns on his radio, hears “Alone” and is “miserable”. But then I started thinking…and I looked up the lyrics to both songs. And both songs fit with Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Ari is miserable because he is alone. Pretty simple symbolism, and when you read the lyrics, you will get it too. (F
ace palm for me because I missed it!) After you finish reading, listen to “Tear in My Heart”, and read the lyrics. And then sing it for Ari and Dante.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Guest Blogger Book Review: We Know It Was You by Maggie Thrash

My name is Debbie and I am excited to contribute to the Teen Book Festival Blog this year. I am a teacher going back to college for Library Media Science after 23 years in the classroom. I reviewed the book We Know It Was You by Maggie Thrash. I was spellbound with this book, not wanting to put it down until I found out who was behind this terrible tragedy. If you like mysteries, you will love this book too.

It was a typical Fall Friday night at Winship High. The school had come together to watch the Wildcats Football game. The Pep band played and the cheerleaders were getting ready for the half-time show. That’s when it happened! The school mascot started spinning out of control on the field and than took off running for the woods. Everyone started to follow the Wildcat only to see it jump from the bridge into the water below. The students are in shock and the small private school in thrown into commotion. The cheerleaders rally everyone together and put on a brave face.

The schools Mystery Club jumps into action and are on the case. They were there that night and found one key piece of evidence before the police arrived. Tracking down new leads, watching their fellow classmates and getting into sticky situations. There are many twists and turns that will keep you guessing who is up to mischief at Winship.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Book Review: Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Image result for everything leads to you
“We love films because they makes us feel something. They speak to our desires, which are never small. They allow us to escape and to dream and to gaze into the eyes that are impossibly beautiful and huge. They fill us with longing. But also. they tell us to remember; they remind us of life. Remember, they say, how much it hurts to have your heart broken.”

I read Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour and I absolutely adored it. It focuses on both the magic of films and movies in Hollywood as well as an adorable romance and interesting mystery pertaining to an old famous actor who had recently passed away leaving a legacy behind.

A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.
Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.

There were so much in this book that I loved, and it was all intricately woven together into one story about loving movies and about love. The writing was so beautiful and real, and it was easy to get into Emi’s mindset and see her view on the world. While reading I was engrossed in the main character Emi’s life, and her passion of set designing. The novel showed a whole other side of Hollywood that I’ve never seen portrayed in a novel before, and I just found it incredibly interesting. And then there is the whole mystery aspect of the plot that was woven throughout the novel, and just when you thought you had it figured out, it would surprise you again. The romance of this book was adorable and beautiful, while also seeming realistic as if you were actually watching the two fall in love. While I adored the romance, I also loved how important friendship and family is to Emi, and throughout the story.

Overall, I was easily captivated by this book, leading to me reading it in one sitting, and I have the feeling I will read this one again, in hopes to experience the happiness this book causes you to feel. Look forward to another book review about another amazing book next week!


Monday, March 20, 2017

Guest Blogger Book Review: Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Hello readers, I’m Jocelyn. I am a teacher who has always wanted to be a librarian. So, after 30 years of teaching I am back in school to become one. I chose this book because it was identified as “humorous”. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

16 year old Cameron Smith describes himself as a slacker and is getting through high school by doing very little. Cameron begins to have hallucinations, and finds out he is dying from the human version of mad cow disease. The doctors don’t give him much time to live. While he is in the hospital Cameron meets a winged angel, by the name of Dulcie, who convinces him that there is a cure for him, if they go on a quest to find a Dr. X who has the cure. He sneaks out of the hospital with a classmate, a dwarf by the name of Gonzo, and they begin their journey.

On this crazy and humorous journey, they meet strange characters and have wild adventures and Cameron begins to appreciate his family and most importantly, learn about himself.

At the conclusion of the story, Cameron wakes up and realizes that he is still in the hospital and the nurses are disconnecting his life support and all his family is mourning his death.

This book will have you laughing and will make you sad at the same time. It leaves you wondering if his journey was a hallucination or was it real.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

 Greetings from Jamaica! I reread this
week's book on the plane. Let's just
say that during out layover all I wanted
to do was get on the plane so I could finish
reading it! Which is saying something because
I am not a big fan of planes.

A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J.
Maas is a gripping, high fantasy book. It
is the first book in a series. So far book 2 is
also out. Book three comes out May 2cd.
Just in time to read before tbf!

When nineteen-year-old huntress 
Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like
 creature arrives to demand retribution for it.
 Dragged to a treacherous magical land she
 only knows about from legends, Feyre
 discovers that her captor is not an animal,
 but Tamlin--one of the lethal, immortal faeries 
who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for

 Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery 

passion that burns through every lie and warning

 she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous

 world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow 

over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must

 find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin--and 

his world--forever.

First let me point out there is a key in
the back to help you pronounce the names,
which I didn't figure out until the end. It
would have made it alot easier had I known.
I do wonder how she comes up with these
names. As in all of Sarah J. Maas' books.

This is a great book if you love Game of Thrones
as well as of Throne of Glass lovers. This is also
 great if you like Kristin Cashore, and George R.R.
Martin. It also kind of gave me a Beauty in The Beast 
meets Cinderella vibe, with a unique spin.

Overall I loved this book and would totally
recommend it! See you next week for
another exciting book review. Only 2 more
months until tbf!


Monday, March 13, 2017

Guest Blogger Book Review: After the Woods by Kim Savage

Hello to the TBF Readers! I have a shocking, page turner to share with you today! I never could have predicted the shocking ending to this thrilling book!!

Kim Savage, a Massachusetts native who is directionally challenged, will captivate you with her mysterious, realistic fiction, After the Woods. She wrote the book based on the area she grew up in and her own fear of getting lost in the woods. (Who hasn’t had that fear at some point??)

“Statistically speaking, girls like me don’t come back when guys like Donald Jessup take us.”

After the Woods begins almost one year after two best friends survive a horrible incident in the woods in their town. Read to find out how two high school girls cope with (or try to forget) being kidnapped (or barely getting away) from a man in the woods. As Julia, the narrator, discovers the truth about what happened and what her best friend has been hiding she struggles to cope. Will she ever find the truth? Can she really trust anyone? Who is her enemy- her perpetrator? The press? Her best friend? As new information begins to surface, Julia remembers more and more details about her two days in the woods and tries her best to understand what really happened.

This book will capture you from the first page and keep you hooked until the very end! I couldn’t stop reading! Can’t get enough of Savage’s page turning writing? In February 2017, Kim Savage is releasing her next book, which is sure to be as much of a suspense as After the Woods! The book will be titled Beautiful Broken Girls. Make sure you come out to TBF to meet Kim Savage and learn more about her suspenseful writing! If suspense and plot twists pull in in then be sure to find After the Woods at your local library. I hope it intrigues and keeps you guessing as much as it did for me! Happy reading!

~Brandie R. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Book Review: We Know It Was You by Maggie Thrash

Hey guys! Katie's back again with another book review! (and will now stop speaking in third person). This week: We Know It Was You by Maggie Thrash.

Image result for we know it was you maggie thrashIt's better to know the truth. At least sometimes.

Halfway through Friday night's football game, beautiful cheerleader Brittany Montague - dressed as the giant Winship Wildcat mascot - hurls herself off a bridge into Atlanta's surging Chattahoochee river. 

Just like that, she's gone

Eight days later, Benny Flax and Virginia Leeds will be the only ones who know why

This book was quite interesting to read! Before I picked it up, I thought it was going to be a sci-fi supernatural type of book. However, it's actually more of a realistic mystery novel, so it was nice to read something that was outside of my normal go-to genre.

One of the most memorable things about this book was the two main characters, Benny and Virginia. What I loved about these two wasn't just their personality, but how they interacted with each other. There were multiple times when their personalities clashed together and formed conlict that kept me glued to the page. And yet, they were still able to interact and work together as a team to solve the newest mystery at Winship Academy. Both Benny and Virginia were likable and easy to cheer on, and at the same time they both had huge flaws in their character that made them seem all the more realistic and relatable (even when you wanted to scream at them at times).

While this book was mainly from the point of view of  Benny and Virginia (third person though), there were some chapters that were from the POV of other secondary characters involved in the mystery. This factor added so much more to the story since it gave me a glimpse into the heads of different characters to look at their motivations and wants as well.

Overall, this book was an unexpected, but great read. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm heading back to the library to see what else Maggie Thrash has written. See y'all next time and happy reading!