Monday, January 28, 2013

Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Pena

I’ve been meaning to read Matt de la Pena’s books for years it seems. I finally got around to it a few weeks ago, and I still cannot believe that I didn’t try reading any of his books earlier.

Danny has always felt alienated. He doesn’t speak Spanish like the rest of his father’s family, and he’ll always be the one Mexican boy in his all-white private school. And his dad hasn’t been around in years. So he figures he doesn’t really have much of a reason to talk. Like every other summer, he’s living with his father’s family. Only this year, he’s decided to earn enough money to visit his dad in Mexico; the only issue is that he has to find a way to earn that money, since the only thing he’s really good at is baseball. Uno needs money badly too, so he can leave his mother and stepfather to live with his dad’s new family. When the two boys meet, at a home run derby, they couldn’t be farther from friends. But their love of baseball brings them together, and they become best friends. And although they don’t realize it at the beginning, both will grow because of it.

I don’t usually enjoy “sports” novels, which was why I was a bit hesitant to read this book, but after a few chapters, I realized that this book was not just a sports novel. A large part of the book is centered around baseball, but so much more is based around Danny and Uno’s relationships with their families and friends and their own personally growth. You can’t help but love both of them by the end, and wish to hear more, even though the story ends very well and feels very complete.

I’d strongly recommend Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Pena, as well as his other books. Check out his website, and stop by the festival in May to see him!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Beautiful Creatures by (Kami Garcia and) Margaret Stohl

When Beautiful Creatures first came out in December 2009, I immediately bought it and devoured it. Today I'm a huge fan (one fan name: Casters) of this series and I almost passed out when I heard Margaret Stohl, co-author of Beautiful Creatures, was coming to TBF. Anyone seen a trailer for the movie, Beautiful Creatures? It is based on this book! If you haven't seen the movie trailer, you can watch it here. I highly recommend this book to anyone. I think readers of gothic romance, drama and paranormal will love it:

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.

At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

How can I possibly describe the awesome-ness? First thing is that I love how the book is in Ethan's perspective, a male narrator. For readers who like a female narrator (my personal preference) or third person (he, she, they etc.), I promise you, you're going to love being inside Ethan's head. His sense of humor reminds me of Percy Jackson. Another thing is the characters in this novel are wonderful! Lena and Ethan are just amazing. I love that the secondary characters are fleshed out like the main characters would be. They have their quirks that makes them unique from everyone else, so you know who's-who. I think my favorite secondary character is "Boo Radley"...he's just mysterious and has a dark aura.To any non-romance readers, this is not just a Romeo and Juliet romance novel. It has action, suspense, drama, fantasy, history and so much more. Also, I like that the authors tied bullying into the book.

That is the best I can describe Beautiful Creatures...when you read it, you'll be speechless too!

Beautiful Creatures the movie is in theaters 2.14.13 aka Valentine's Day!

Here is the Beautiful Creatures book website and here is Margaret Stohl's website.


Monday, January 21, 2013

A video of Kevin Emerson...

Hey guys!

I hope that you're enjoying the day off. For those who are taking midterms or Regents exams sometime this week, good luck! Elizabeth and I are rooting for you!

Today, I came across a video of TBF author Kevin Emerson, writer of The Lost Code. Aside from being an author, he's a musician. The Lost Code inspired Kevin to write his original song, Question Mark. How awesome is that?! I think he's an awesome singer but don't take my word for it, YOU decide.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

Martin Luther King Day is coming up soon which means: long weekend! What a perfect opportunity to sit down and read a good book. For older teens, I recommend The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade. Take a look:

Alona Dare–Senior in high school, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, Homecoming Queen three years in a row, voted most likely to marry a movie star… and newly dead.

I’m the girl you hated in high school. Is it my fault I was born with it all-good looks, silky blond hair, a hot bod, and a keen sense of what everyone else should not be wearing? But my life isn’t perfect, especially since I died. Run over by a bus of band geeks—is there anything more humiliating? As it turns out, yes—watching your boyfriend and friends move on with life, only days after your funeral. And you wouldn’t believe what they’re saying about me now that they think I can’t hear them. To top it off, I’m starting to disappear, flickering in and out of existence. I don’t know where I go when I’m gone, but it’s not good. Where is that freaking white light already?

Will Killian–Senior in high school, outcast, dubbed “Will Kill” by the popular crowd for the unearthly aura around him, voted most likely to rob a bank…and a ghost-talker.

I can see, hear, and touch the dead. Unfortunately, they can also see, hear and touch me. Yeah, because surviving high school isn’t hard enough already. I’ve done my best to hide my “gift.” After all, my dad, who shared my ability, killed himself because of it when I was fifteen. But lately, pretending to be normal has gotten a lot harder. A new ghost—an anonymous, seething cloud of negative energy with the capacity to throw me around—is pursuing me with a vengeance. My mom, who knows nothing about what I can do, is worrying about the increase in odd incidents, my shrink is tossing around terms like “temporary confinement for psychiatric evaluation,” and my principal, who thinks I’m a disruption and a faker, is searching for every way possible to get rid of me. How many weeks until graduation?

Alona and Will, two words: sizzling chemistry (even if one is dead). The best type of chemistry is the I-hate-you-but-I-secretly-love-you kind.

After Alona's death, she cannot go to "the light" but notices that Will can see her. It's the perfect opportunity to annoy Will into helping her (again but she's dead this time). Will, on the other hand, hates helping ghosts but can't resist helping the beautiful Alona Dare. Being constantly around each other, they get into fights. I love the how Alona and Will interact with each other. Alona brings the sass while Will brings the snark. Together, they make amazing entertainment and sizzling chemistry. Despite the arguments, Alona and Will slowly realizes that there's more to a person than meets the eye...

For more information about Stacey and The Ghost and the Goth, go to her website.

Enjoy the long weekend!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Interview with TBF Author: Amy Ignatow

Hey guys!

Oh my goodness, TBF is only 4 months away! Are you excited?!

If you're a little bit excited, I have a cure for that. I had the pleasure of interviewing Amy Ignatow, author of The Popularity Paper series. To jog your memory, here is the book review.

Miranda Reads:Your books are about two girls, Lydia and Julie, who want to be popular or have "cool" friends. When you were a teenager, did you want to be popular as well?
Amy Ignatow: I thought that I was popular. There are probably people in my high school who would say I was crazy for thinking so, but I had a wonderful group of friends that I'm still close with today (real friends that have stayed in regular contact for years, not just people that I reconnected with on Facebook). When you have real friends it doesn't matter if other people think you're a great big weirdo (which I probably was).

MR:A lot of teens struggle in school whether it's academically or socially. Do you have any words of wisdom for them?
AI: Find your friends. Find your friends, be a good friend, and you'll all get through together.

MR: I love the people Lydia and Julie talk about in "The Handbook" like Mike, Jane, Chuck, Roland and Gretchen. Are they based on classmates you went to school with?
AI: Kinda sorta not really a little. Like most writers, I start out with ideas for characters that are loosely based on people I've known, but they really take on lives of their own as their stories are told.

MR: One of your five fun facts says that you were trapped inside the Philadelphia Zoo after closing time. Can you tell us a little bit more of what happened?
AI: I was hired to help out a woman who ran a company that provided gift bags for big events. We were working an after-hours Bat Mitzvah at the Philadelphia Zoo, and after spending 8 hours stuffing bags in front of a sullen gorilla in the Monkey House I was beat. Now I could have left through the employee entrance, but that would have meant a lot of walking at night in a not terrific neighborhood, so I chose to cut through the zoo to get to the main entrance, which would take me straight to a well-let trolley stop. Big mistake! Zoos are DARK at night. I may have tripped over a peacock.

MR: If you could choose one celebrity (actors/actresses, singers etc.) to be your best friend, who would it be? Why?
AI: Tina Fey or Rowlf the Dog. I think she's a hilarious genius, but if push came to shove, I might go with my favorite muppet.

MR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 8th annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
AI: Tom Angleberger! Tom Angleberger!!! Okay, I already know him and we're buddies. But that's what's great about being a kid's book author--you get to go to great festivals, meet new people, become friends with them, and then hang out with them at future conferences!

Thanks for the interview, Amy. We're looking forward to meeting you! Amy sounds pretty cool, don't you think? So are you excited now?


Friday, January 4, 2013

The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow

Happy New Year, TBF readers!

I hope you had a great and safe holiday. After the snow storm we had, I was trapped inside my house. I decided to sit down and read The Popularity Papers: Reasearch for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang. Whew! The series, The Popular Papers written by TBF author, Amy Ignatow, is mainly targeted at middle school girls but anyone can read them! This series is similiar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, only it's a girly version of it. Take a look:

Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang are best friends with one goal: to crack the code of popularity. Lydia’s the bold one: aspiring theater star, stick-fighting enthusiast, human guinea pig. Julie’s the shy one: observer and artist, accidental field hockey star, faithful recorder. In this notebook they write down their observations and carry out experiments to try to determine what makes the popular girls tick. But somehow, when Lydia and Julie try to imitate the popular girls, their efforts don’t translate into instant popularity. Lydia ends up with a bald spot, their parents won’t stop yelling, and Julie finds herself the number-one crush of Roland Asbjørnsen. Worse, they seem to be drifting farther and farther from their goal—and each other.

Amy Ignatow’s hilarious debut novel introduces the intrepid fifth-graders Julie and Lydia, whose quest to understand popularity may not succeed in the ways they want, but will succeed in keeping readers in stitches.

I loved the things Lydia and Julie dealt with like being popular were things I onced cared about. When I went to middle school, I wanted to be popular and hang out with the popular crowd. I always wondered what it took to be popular. In my perspective, one way was to gossip, make fun of other people and wear a lot of makeup to look pretty. Eventually, I learned that I didn't need to dye my hair or wear exspensive clothing to be popular. It even didn't even mattered if I was popular or not. Yes, I admit it was hard not to feel a little bit jealous when it looked like the popular girls had more fun. But I didn't want to hide behind a mask and pretend to be someone I'm not. I learned that excelling in school, making new friends and being kind to everyone was the only thing that mattered. Sadly, I learned all of this after I left middle school. So learn from my mistakes and be true to yourself.


Find all of Amy's books in the Monroe County Library System here.

2013 Design Contests: T-shirt Design Contest

2013 t-shirt design

1. Artwork must be printable in a single color of ink (black or white)
2. Design should fit in approximately 8.5x11 inches (either direction)
3. Design should include the following information:
9th Annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival
May 17, 2014

The deadline for the shirt design contest is April 22.

To enter, send an email with the following information to
1. your name
2. your grade
3. your school or public library
4. your phone number
5. a .jpg attachment of your design

Members of the Teen Book Festival Committee will select several designs for festival attendees to vote on. The winning design will be sold on t-shirts at the following year's festival.

Thanks for sharing your talents and GOOD LUCK!

All artwork must be the original work of the artist. Copying images from the internet or any copyrighted source will be automatically disqualified from the contest. When using reference material to create your work, make sure you alter your images or use copyright free references.

2013 Design Contests: Program Cover Contest

Artwork must be black and white
Artwork must be in portrait format
Artwork must be 4x6 inches
Design should include the following:
Eighth Annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival
May 18, 2013
9 am-5 pm
Nazareth College, 4245 East Avenue,
Rochester, NY 14618
TBF logo (available at

The deadline for the program design contest is March 1.



To enter, send an email with the following information to
1. your name
2. your grade
3. your school or public library
4. your phone number
5. a .jpg attachment of your design

Winning design(s) will be selected by the Teen Book Festival Committee and published as the Teen Book Festival program cover in May 2013, which is distributed to several thousand
people! Winners will be informed via email and recognized during the Opening Assembly.

Thanks for sharing your talents and GOOD LUCK!

All artwork must be the original work of the artist. Copying images from the internet or any copyrighted source will be automatically disqualified from the contest. When using reference material to create your work, make sure you alter your images or use copyright free references.