Saturday, April 27, 2019

Tribute to Stephanie

        Hi everyone, it's Laura. I hope that you are having a lovely April. For this post, I'm going to talk a little bit about the truly inspirational Stephanie Squicciarini, the founder of Teen Book Fest, who sadly passed away last year.
I did not have the privilege of knowing Stephanie well, being a new blogger last year. However, I still remember getting to meet Stephanie for the first time and being so impressed by her obvious passion for Teen Book Fest. I met her at the George Eastman 5k, where I was running on the Teen Book Fest team. The mood was cheerful and fun, certainly permeated with the feeling of kinship between a group of people wearing caps (because authors are superheros- yes, we had the best costumes) and joined together by their mutual love of books. Stephanie welcomed me into the group and introduced herself. Immediately, she noticed that I was not wearing a Teen Book Fest t-shirt (I did not own one at the time). That certainly wouldn’t do, as the TBF kinship was trying to showcase our mutual love of all things Teen Book Fest that day, so she gave me a TBF t-shirt. I remember thinking that it was so kind of her to welcome me into the group in such a way.
I knew that I was meeting an extraordinary woman, but I wish that I knew at the time just how extraordinary she was. I later learned all about Stephanie: a veritable hero and legend for all that she did for the teens of Rochester. Stephanie was the one to found TBF, in an effort to give the teens (and adults) of Rochester a chance to meet with their favorite authors. I wonder if she knew from the beginning what a wonderful gift she was giving to Rochester’s population of bookworms, allowing us to meet some of our idols, such as Roshani Chokshi, who came last year (and is incredibly friendly) and Marissa Meyer, who came a few years ago. Stephanie also was instrumental in the establishment of the Irondequoit Public Library, which I got a chance to visit last year. I was blown away by the beauty of the library and completely awestruck by Stephanie’s hard work to make the library such a lovely place. However, it was the stories about Stephanie that really showed who she was. During that day at the library, I heard so many heartwarming stories about Stephanie advocating for the new library because she recognized the power of books, Stephanie showing resilience to make the library a reality, and Stephanie showing great kindness to her friends and companions. One story that stuck out to me was that Stephanie would always send chocolate in the mail along with her letters. It seems like such a small thing, but it truly shows Stephanie’s spirit of kindness.

Stephanie was an incredible woman and a true superhero. The gift that she gave to the teens of Rochester was remarkable: a chance to hear stories and be empowered by their content. Stephanie recognized the true beauty of words and shared it with everyone who knew her. The Rochester teen community will always be indebted to Stephanie and will never forget her. Stephanie left a rich legacy that will live on in a Rochester community forever grateful for her.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Book Review: This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Hello everyone! I recently read This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada, and I can’t wait to share it with you! If you like YA science fiction and post-apocalyptic worlds, this is the book for you.

Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.

That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.

When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.

Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?

First of all, I love the concept of This Mortal Coil. In this futuristic world where gentech can manipulate DNA, apps and devices exist with the ability to amplify the senses, accelerate healing, or, at the other end of the spectrum, shut down the entire body. Needless to say, I found the science behind this book fascinating. With gentech, you could code yourself cures to rare diseases, hack your genes, etc.- just imagine the possibilities. And not only is the world futuristic, but it's post-apocalyptic as well. A cruel and devastating plague is decimating the earth, which creates an intriguing backdrop and a much more dark and complicated side to the story.

I also love how this novel makes you reassess the line between right and wrong. In dire circumstances (e.g. deadly plague), what would you be willing to do to survive? To ensure the survival of humanity? To what extent should individual people be allowed to decide what the best course of action is? And finally, should we tamper with what makes us fundamentally human? These are all fine lines to walk, and ultimately, who the heroes and villains are all depend on which side you’re on. 

In the end, This Mortal Coil is about a fight for survival. Power is constantly shifting, the people you’re rooting for are constantly changing, and so many plot twists… If you like post-apocalyptic worlds with science, humor, and romance, or novels such as Angelfall by Susan Ee or Warcross by Marie Lu, you’ll love This Mortal Coil. And the sequel, This Cruel Design, is out already, so you can look forward to that too!  


Find This Mortal Coil in the Monroe County Library SystemGoodreadsBarnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Friday Fun Post: Tribute to Stephanie

Hey guys, Katie C. is here, and for today's Friday fun post, I’m actually going to talk a bit about the founder of TBF, Stephanie Squicciarini, who unfortunately past away last year. 

I’ve been going to TBF for years now, but it wasn’t until my first year of being a volunteer blogger that I learned who the real mastermind behind all the craziness and fun that is TBF as well as the intense organization and planning that not many people know about. Making TBF a reality is no easy feat, especially back in 2006 when TBF first began. But Stephanie loved books and reading so much and was determined enough to start a tradition that last year, roughly 2500 teens participated in. 

This is my third year as a book blogger for TBF and honestly, my biggest regret was not taking the time to get to know Stephanie better while I still had the chance. All throughout her life, Stephanie was super involved with the Fairport public library, but because I’m a Canandaigua native, I never really got the chance to say hi or attend a library program. However, while I may not have gotten as close to her as I wanted, I still have some really amazing memories of her.

I remember Stephanie from my very first year attending TBF, back in 2014. The theme that year was steam punk, and she was right out in front of the crowd with red curly hair and a top hat with goggles on the front. I thought it was the coolest hat I'd ever seen. I remember just last year when I asked Stephanie if there was any chance I could get an extra TBF shirt and instead of handing me one, she took me and some of the other book bloggers to the back of the library and gave us each multiple shirts any color we wanted. All out of the kindness of hear heart. I remember seeing her sometimes at festivals. No matter what she was doing, she was doing it with a smile and with a heart full of passion.

Its been almost a year with out Stephanie in our lives, and TBF hasn't, and will never, be the same without her. But while Stephanie may no longer be with us, she lives on through the things she did for so many teens and the wonderful tradition she started and kept going for 13 years. Stephanie Squicciarini will always be missed, but never forgotten.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Book Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Hey everyone, happy April! I am so excited for this weeks review, as it's of one of my all-time  favorite books that I recently reread. After seeing the new movie adaption for the second time recently I was hit with the need to reread the book. Emily M. Danforth's The Miseducation of Cameron Post is one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful stories in the world so I figured I'd share it with all of you. Here's a little about it:

When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl. But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship — one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to ‘fix’ her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self — even if she’s not exactly sure who that is.

The first time I read this book I think I cried about 30 times. While the movie is very strong and beautiful, this book is so incredible on its own. Maybe its the fact that this book is over 400 pages long but the whole time it feels as if you are on this journey of discovery and acceptance with Cameron. You fall in love for the first time with her and get your heart broken too. And that brings me to one of the two things that makes me love this book so much: Danforth's incredible characterization.

For the whole story, you are rooting for Cameron, even through some of her more questionable decisions and the fact sometimes she isn't fully likable. She reminds me of myself and of my other teenage friends in her wit and her passion, and in the way she thinks and loves as she meets the world outside her small town. But Cameron has flaws, as do her friends and her love interests and her family, they are all developed deeply in this novel, something that makes it stick with you even longer.

My other favorite thing about this book is the writing and the feeling it brings on upon you. While Cameron's thoughts and narration let me live in her mind, Danforth's writing let me live out and see her life for myself. The opening chapters of childhood innocence and summertime first love, the way she writes about music and movies, the simpleness of Cam's small town, all resonated so deeply in my heart, even if I hadn't experienced it myself. This book is beautiful inside and out and I hope if you haven't read it yet you will check it out, before seeing the movie, and hopefully at least some little part of it will resonate with you, and it will live deep inside your heart like it does in mine. 


find the book here
goodreads amazon barnes and noble