Loft Blog
Dark Retellings PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 December 2015 00:00

How about some dark twists to old classics:


altSplintered by A.G. Howard

A descendant of the inspiration for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, sixteen-year-old Alyssa Gardner fears she is mentally ill like her mother until she finds that Wonderland is real and, if she passes a series of tests to fix Alice's mistakes, she may save her family from their curse.



altDorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Amy Gumm, the other girl from Kansas, has been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to stop Dorothy who has found a way to come back to Oz, seizing a power that has gone to her head -- so now no one is safe!



altWendy Darling: Stars Vol. 1 by Colleen Oakes

Wendy Darling has a perfectly agreeable life with her parents and brothers in wealthy London, as well as a budding romance with Booth, the neighborhood bookseller's son. But one night, while their parents are at a ball, the charmingly beautiful Peter Pan comes to the Darling children's nursery, and dazzled by this flying boy with god-like powers they follow him out of the window and straight on to morning into Neverland, an intoxicating island of freedom. As time passes in Neverland, Wendy realizes that this Lost Boy's paradise of turquoise seas, mermaids, and pirates holds terrible secrets rooted in blood and greed. As Peter's grasp on her heart tightens, she struggles to remember where she came from and begins to suspect that this island of dreams, and the boy who desires her, have the potential to transform into an everlasting nightmare.

If You Could Be Mine / Sara Farizan PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 December 2015 00:00

altSahar and Nasrin have been best friends their whole lives and they're also in love.  Sahar can't wait for a time that her and Nasrin can really be together because right now that's not a possibility.  They live in Iran and if anyone figured out the truth of their relationship the girls could be put in jail or even sentenced to death.  When Nasrin's parents decide to arrange a marriage for her, Sahar is heartbroken and has to decide how far she's willing to go to be with Nasrin forever.   If You Could be Mine is a fast read or great listen, it's honest and full of emotion.  

(Renee, the Loft)

Nichols Recommends PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 November 2015 00:00

Here's what teens at Nichols have been reading:

altI'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

A story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal told from different points in time, and in separate voices, by artist Jude and her twin brother Noah. 





altThe Selection by Kiera Cass

Sixteen-year-old America Singer is living in the caste-divided nation of Illéa, which formed after the war that destroyed the United States. America is chosen to compete in the Selection--a contest to see which girl can win the heart of Illéa's prince--but all she really wants is a chance for a future with her secret love, Aspen, who is a caste below her.



altWill Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

When two teens, one gay and one straight, meet accidentally and discover that they share the same name, their lives become intertwined as one begins dating the other's best friend, who produces a play revealing his relationship with them both.


Mockingjay--Part 2 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 23 November 2015 14:25


In the final installment of the Hunger Games Saga, Katniss makes it her final mission to finally kill President Snow. Katniss understands assassinating Snow might be a suicide mission, even if successful. Instead of telling her propaganda team what she intends to do, Katniss leads them deep into the Capital on the assumption that Alma Coin sent her there to shoot simple, safe, propaganda pieces for the front lines.

Snow isn’t dumb and either is Alma Coin. Both use Katniss in a calculated game of manipulation and strategic violence. Each is so focused on reaching an end-goal that the bigger picture is lost all-together. The same is true for the film where the moral implications of each character’s actions are blurred over by big explosions and unnecessary close-up shots followed by ridiculous plot points.

The love triangle between Gale, Katniss and Peeta takes center stage and unrightly so given that so much more is at stake within Panem.  Mockingjay--Part: 1 was rife with a political sub-plot that made viewers question who the greater evil was. The momentum of the first film loses wind here, muddled by things that don’t matter (A wedding!  Too many mandatory Capital TV spots! Peeta in and out of handcuffs!), and it’s a slow slog to a bittersweet ending. Though it’s commonplace to split the final installment of young adult movie adaptions into two movies (think Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), it doesn’t always payoff.

For those of us who’ve committed ourselves to watching The Hunger Games play out on screen, it’s almost a necessity to watch the final act on screen. There’s something to watching a character evolve on screen and mature along with us. So, in the words of Effie Trinket,” May the odds ever in your favor.”

 (Ashley, the Loft)

The Accidental Genius of Weasel High / Rick Detorie PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 22 November 2015 17:51

Larkin Pace is a self-described "accidental genius" -- a person with a unique aptitude for an ultimately useless skill.Cover image for The accidental genius of Weasel High

Larkin's genius is in the form of his acute memory of all things film, be it quotes or tropes, scenes or screens, theory or technique. Perhaps because of Larkin's interest in the visual art of film, the book, written and illustrated by Rick Detorie, is punctuated with comic illustrations of Larkin's world.

Larkin takes the reader through his everyday life through a series of short vignettes or explanations, rather than chapters like in a traditional narrative. Some of these vignettes have titles such as "How I Got Stuck With Larkin", "Why Weasel's Library Lady Hates Me", and "Ten Things About My Dad". The blocks of text are just a couple lines of text at a time; it feels conversational and light. 

Larkin is 14, so he can't really drive or get a job, but he longs to have the freedom and money to obtain his own video camera to make his own films. He hates being a student, both high school and the anticipation of college, and he fantasizes about the booming film career he could have if only he had the big budget to make his dreams a reality. The giant gap between fantasy and real life is a theme I think we can all relate to, as well as the feeling of being  *this close* to making all your wishes come true -- if only. 

Fans of  Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian or Liz Prince's Tomboy, will find this graphic novel/novel hybrid to be a Readalike.  Rick Detorie's The Accidental Genius of Weasel High is a fun, funny and swift read for readers of a wide range of abilities who enjoy realistic fiction.

 - Kayla / Loft Staff

Nichols Recommends PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 November 2015 00:00

Here's what the teens at Nichol's Middle School recommend: 

altBeyonders: A World Without Heroes by Brandon Sanderson

Fourteen-year-old Jason Walker is transported to a strange world called Lyrian, where he joins Rachel, who was also drawn there from our world, and a few rebels, to piece together the Word that can destroy the malicious wizard emperor, Surroth.



altAll The Answers by Kate Messner

Twelve-year-old Ava finds an old pencil in her family's junk drawer and discovers, during a math test, that it will answer factual questions, so she and her best friend Sophie have a great time--and Ava grows in self-confidence--until the pencil reveals a truth about her family that Ava would rather not know.



altReady Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One takes place in the not-so-distant future--the world has turned into a very bleak place, but luckily there is OASIS, a virtual reality world that is a vast online utopia. People can plug into OASIS to play, go to school, earn money, and even meet other people, and for protagonist Wade Watts it certainly beats passing the time in his grim, poverty-stricken real life. Along with millions of other world-wide citizens, Wade dreams of finding three keys left behind by James Halliday, the now-deceased creator of OASIS and the richest man to have ever lived. The keys are rumored to be hidden inside OASIS, and whoever finds them will inherit Halliday's fortune. But Halliday has not made it easy. And there are real dangers in this virtual world.
Ana Recommends: All the Bright Places / Jennifer Niven PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 15 November 2015 00:00

altAll The Bright Places is about a girl named Violet Markey and a boy named Theodore Finch. When they meet in the most ridiculous place, a bell tower, Violet had just lost her sister and Finch is looking for who he really is. They are up there for the same reason but when they meet they save each other from that very reason. As they get to know each other they slowly start realizing that they need each other.

    I really liked this book. It’s a great book at first it was going at a slow place, but by the time you get further into the book it starts to really bring you into the book. I think the end of the book is really sad, and I wished it ended in a different way. I give it a 3 out of 5 stars because it's a good book but it’s not my favorite.

 (Ana, Evanston Teen)

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