Loft Blog
Thin Space / Jody Casella PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 02 February 2015 00:00

titleMarsh has one goal; find a way to connect with his brother again.  Several months ago Marsh’s identical twin brother was killed in car accident, which Marsh survived.  Now Marsh is determined to get back to his brother.   Marsh is putting all his faith in thin spaces.  Thin spaces are created when someone is born and dies in the same space. Thin spaces allow you to reach the people you’ve lost in life, at least that’s Marsh’s old quirky neighbor used to claim.  In fact before she passed away she promised she would leave him a thin space, except now a new family has moved into her house.  Lucky for Marsh one of the two teens that moved in is exceptionally friendly and seems to look past his withdrawn, depressed, quick to anger nature and that he no longer wears shoes in the dead of winter.   (You need bare feet to find thin spaces) Marsh is desperate to find the thin space in his neighbor’s house and might even be willing to spill his secrets to this new girl to do so.  Thin Space is a dark, realistic read, with a touch of paranormal and an ending you’ll never see coming. 


(Renee, the Loft) 

How Long Will I Cry? : Voices of Youth Violence / Miles Harvey PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 15:58

Cover image for

How Long Will I Cry? : Voices of Youth Violence is the first book published by the relatively new Big Shoulders Press. BSP is an off-shoot of the DePaul Masters of Arts in Publishing program, and aims to integrate the community into its works.

How Long Will I Cry? is a collection of 35 first-person interviews of violence and turmoil from youth living on the South Side of Chicago. The stories are deeply personal and are edited sparingly, leaving the speaker’s voice and style intact.

The intimate retelling of these stories allows the EPL teen readers to dive deeply into a world that is, quite literally, in their own backyard. As I read them, I felt moved and unsettled. It made me want to get involved and learn more about ways to help. I think that this book is a powerful, evocative text that was highly educational as well as entertaining. The stories read like small films, for the details are etched so fervently in the readers’ heads. I would recommend this book to not just teen readers, but adults alike.


(Kayla, The Loft)

Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Poetry Awards PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 24 January 2015 00:00


Fancy yourself a poet? Submit your best work to the thirty-seventh annual competition for the Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Poetry Awards

The competition is open to Evanston elementary and middle school students and all high school students and adults in the Chicago area. Awards will be made in four categories: elementary school, middle school, high school, and adult. The three winning entries in each category will be awarded: First Prize: $100; Second Prize: $50; and Third Prize: $25

Submissions are due Friday, March 20, 2015. You can submit up to five original unpublished poems online, in person, or by mail (Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Poetry Awards c/o Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201). Before submitting, make sure to read the complete rules!

Tell the Wolves I'm Home / Carol Rifka Brunt PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 12 January 2015 00:00

altJune Elbus is 14 years old in 1987. She is unapologetically different from her classmates--she is obsessed with medieval history, wants nothing more than to be a falconer at a renaissance fair, and her closest and only friend is her Uncle Finn, who appreciates all of the unique things about her. When Finn dies of AIDS, June is heartbroken and feels unmoored with a family that doesn’t seem to feel Finn’s death as deeply as she does. She feels completely alone until she strikes up a friendship with Toby, Finn’s partner, who is struggling with Finn’s death as much as she is.  

Tell the Wolves I’m Home explores June’s growing relationship not only with Toby, but with her estranged sister Greta and, through flashbacks, her beloved Uncle Finn. June grapples with these personal connections while attempting to navigate what kind of person she wants to become. Carol Rifka Brunt explores the painful process of growing up with beautiful language that will leave you feeling punched in the gut and uplifted at the same time. This is a great realistic fiction read for those looking for relatable characters dealing with important issues.

(McKenna, The Loft)


Salvation / Anne Osterlund PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 10 January 2015 13:23

altAt school, Salva Resendez is the popular student body president of Liberty High, an admired athlete and, of course, dreamily handsome. But at home, he struggles to please his well-meaning, but demanding Mexican-American father against his own dreams and future ambitions. Beth Courant is one smart girl...yes, she's pretty, but a bit geeky and disordered. To boot, she lives in an unkempt trailer with a bitter alcoholic mother. When handsome Salva asks geeky Beth for help in passing his AP English class, she reluctantly agrees, despite the secret crush she harbors for him. The twists and turns from here on out will keep you riveted to your seat! Salvation was a finalist in the 2014 International Latino Book Awards. 

(Russ K., Reference)

Smile / Raina Telgemeier PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 January 2015 15:08

Raina Telgemtitleeier's debut graphic novel, Smile, tells the real-life tale of Raina's middle school years. Shortly before she was scheduled to get braces, Raina tripped and fell, knocking out her two front teeth. The novel starts here, and follows Raina through a series of painful and embarrassing dental procedures including surgery, root canals, fake teeth, braces, spacers, and retainers. Don't think it's all just dental woes, though. Smile follows Raina through her struggles with bullies, boys, and growing out of old friendships. She deals with the same insecurities, longings, and struggles to find her teenage identity that many readers can relate to. Telegemeier's art is characterized by bubbly features with big eyes, a style that many teenage girls might find similar to their own notebook doodles. Also, this comic is in full color which is a great delight. Raina Telegemeier is an fast-rising artist in the graphic novels world, sort of like Alison Bechdel for teenagers. Smile is an excellent introduction to Telegemeier's books, and a quick, fun read for all ages.

(Kayla, The Loft)

The Naturals / Jennifer Lynn Barnes PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 January 2015 00:00

altSome people are naturals at sports or the arts.  What if you were a natural at reading emotions, lying or profiling?  Cassie has always been really good at reading people as soon as they cross her path. She thought it was something she picked up from her mom, before her mom was murdered. At least everyone thinks her mom was murdered, but police never found a body.   Turns out that someone has picked up in Cassie’s talents, FBI Agent, Briggs, and he has a proposal for her.  Briggs invites Cassie to join a select group of teens who are being groomed to help solve FBI cold cases.  Cassie agrees and in the back of her heads she’s hoping she might get some clues into her mom’s death.  Working with a bunch of “Naturals” isn’t as awesome as it first seems.  Cassie’s never sure if she can trust them or they’re just manipulating her with their abilities.  However, when a new murders start popping up close to home Cassie and her new cohort find themselves in the middle a very dangerous and maybe even deadly case.  The Naturals is a great suspenseful mystery and thriller. Keep an eye out for more titles in this new series. 


(Renee, the Loft)

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