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Sarah’s Reviews: This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready

Published April 2014 by Simon Pulse

384 pages

A death in the family affects everybody differently. After David’s brother, John, is killed serving insalvation2 Afghanistan, the members of David’s family cope in different ways. David is consumed by anger, his sister throws herself into being the perfect daughter, and their parents turn from piety to fanaticism. When they become convinced that the Rapture is going to happen in the form of “The Rush” on May 11th at 3 a.m., David finds himself questioning the faith he’s clung to his whole life.

Told in an alternating sequence of flashbacks and in real time, This Side of Salvation is suspenseful to the last page. Smith-Ready reveals different aspects of the character’s lives and stories like puzzle pieces that appear at just the right moment to keep the reader hooked as David and the reader both have to figure of what happened at the time of The Rush.

This book does a fantastic job of exploring the tricky subjects of belief in god and the place of religion in modern society. Religion has begun to split David’s family up, rather than unite it, and all parties are left to ponder the benefits and drawbacks of unadulterated faith. David struggles to connect the dots and hold his family together when it seems it is already broken. As each new revelation hits, David’s character becomes even more complex and relatable as he fights an internal battle about his beliefs, love, family, loyalty, sex, and friendship.

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Keywords: Family, Religion, God, Rapture, love


Best Quote: “It would suck if the world ended then. Sweeps week starts on the twelfth. I’d hate to miss the Amazing Race season finale because of an apocalypse.”





The Ripple by Laetitia Duler

Yesterday I was reading a book about how to slam and a tip was

try not to shake.

Don’t stammer.

As if this wasn’t about letting you see me feel.


I am not calm, cool and collected.

I am not wired to be calm, cool and collected.

I burn.


We all know high school is about being cool.

It’s how we learn to cope

with the things we don’t understand.

How to master the art of hurting with style.

How to keep a smile plastered on your face

and keep it there

after a shitty grade, a shove in the hallway.

How to look pretty with a hangover,

to roam in packs,

how not to cry when you feel like a ghost.

This is how to dip your head down like a wilted flower

when you blush,

how to shut up when you start stuttering,

how to hold your own hand when an earthquake

begins to grow under your skin.


is how to not let them see you feel.

We all know feeling isn’t cool.

This is how you hide every doctor’s appointment,

every psychiatrist and therapy session.

Pretend you’re going shopping

when really you know the only thing you’ll be coming home with

is new pills and some tips on how to handle yourself.

This is how you pretend your armor is stronger

than their insults and remarks.


This is how you let them break you apart

and this is how you pick up the pieces alone.


It’s always easier not to talk.

as if the best way to stop the bomb

is to hide the ticking

as if the explosion won’t happen

if you bury the dynamite deep enough.

The only strength is being tough, right?

And just pray no one sees your cards and calls your bluff.

Pray no one can hear your bones shake,

pray no one can hear the skeletons rattling in your closet.


Denial is pretending you know how to swim

Secrecy is drowning alone

but honesty is learning how to grow gills.


I know that some words are easier than others

it is easier to say tired than depression.

But what I have learned is that the nameless pain is the heaviest.

and to go forth and give words to your wounds

requires a strength that is sometimes hard to reach alone.


Your story is not a cake.

You will not become lesser with every slice you share.

What I know now is that the pain has to ripple before it can fade.

Every time you reach out, every stone you throw out

will echo your hurt until it disappears.


What I know of the darkness is that it does not exist;

the darkness is merely an absence of light

and there is no shame of seeking that light in the hands of others.

There is no shame in asking for help.

There is no shame in feeling like a stray dog begging for scraps of attention in a junkyard

you are strong for doing this.

I am strong for ripping off my muzzle.

What I know is that not everything can be fixed

but pain fades and scars heal and it is never too late or too early to speak.


And this is how to let your friends hold you when you tell them.

Tell yourself

it still counts if you speak better with a little alcohol in your blood.


is how to stand in front of 250 people and tell them.

Tell them “I am strong because I let myself feel and that is such a brave thing to do.”


And what I know of my friends

is that in them is a well of strength

deeper than the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean

and what I know is that I will always be able to draw from that well

when I let them hold my battered heart in my palm

until all that remains is a shadow,

until I can barely remember what it was like to fight alone.


This is how to heal.

One word at a time

one ripple at a time.

First Thursday: The Art of Comedy

The Art of Comedy with  Dhaya Lakshminarayanan

Thursday, February 6th at 7:00 PM

dhayaarmsWhat is comedy? It’s stand-up, humorous story telling, making liquids come out of all the holes in your friends’ faces. In this interactive workshop comedic storyteller and stand up comic, Dhaya Lakshminarayanan, (SF Bay Guardian’s Best Comedian, 2013; frequent storyteller on NPR’s Snap Judgement and Katie’s totally awesome friend) will help participants explore the various facets of comedy as well as share her (hilarious) challenges and triumphs in the world of professional comedy. Registration required. SPACE IS LIMITED, SO REGISTER ASAP! Register here.

Check out this video of Dhaya telling a hilarious story at the library here.

I had to include this picture just because it makes me laugh.

I had to include this picture just because it makes me laugh.

You can find more of  Dhaya’s stuff here

After Hours Triwizard Tournament Pictures


We gathered in the Creekside Room, where there were plenty of delicious snacks…

those who were brave enough to dry the drink were pleasantly surprised...

 And participants submitted their names to the Goblet of Fire…

Goblet of Fire

striking a pose when necessary…

Kate is always so camera shy...

Kate is always so camera shy…

First Challenge: Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans…


Second Challenge: “Quidditch”Quidditch1

Third Challenge: Name that Muggle…


Fourth Challenge: Get the Key Out of the Frozen Ice Cube…

this is mostly me looking astonished that the teams thought of BREAKING the ice. the teams were waaaay smarter than any of the librarians planning the event

this is mostly me looking astonished that the teams thought of BREAKING the ice. the teams were waaaay smarter than any of the librarians planning the event

Fifth Challenge: Unlock the box and find the book written on the piece of paper in the box…


 Sixth Challenge: As a team, complete the Harry Potter Crossword Puzzle located inside the book…


Quiz3 Quiz2

In the end, the Durmstrang Team won, but everyone had a great night. Thanks to everyone who spent the evening Triwizarding with us!

First Thursday: Slam Poetry Workshop with Jazz Hudson (pictures)


This video was amazing, and I can't remember the name of it. I will find out and caption properly when I figure it out...

This video was amazing, and I can’t remember the name of it. I will find out and caption properly when I figure it out…

What did that video say about identity, words, self-esteem?

What did that video say about identity, words, self-esteem?How does staring at someone for five minutes make you feel? Write an "eyewitness" poem...How does staring at someone for five minutes make you feel? Write an “eyewitness” poem…Picking our best lines to create a new poemPicking our best lines to create a new poPick a line, any line...Pick a line, any line…Slam Poetry Workshop with Jazz Hudson: Remember the 5 senses...what does fear taste like?Slam Poetry Workshop with Jazz Hudson: Remember the 5 senses…what does fear taste like?Writing....Writing….


20 YA Literature Heroines (in Response to Flavorwire’s Bonkers List)

The other night I came across a post on the delightful website Flavorwire titled “20 Classic YA Literature Heroines, Ranked.” The post immediately pounced on one of my pet peeves: the inability to understand the difference between “Juvenile” and “Young Adult” literature. It’s not always a clear line, to be sure, and I have been known to take some liberties with what I consider “Young Adult.” That said, my general rule is this: if the protagonist is a teenager and the book would be relatable/interesting to a teen audience (subjective, I know), then it’s YA. It’s by no means a perfect definition and while there are a many other factors to debate and consider, for the purposes of this list, I’m just going to keep it to my definition (mentioned above).

However you define YA, a quick glance at the Flavorwire list should be enough to give you some indication of the difference between Juvenile and Young Adult Literature (Eloise? Pippi Longstocking? I beg to differ). While these ladies could certainly be on a list of heroines of Children’s/Juvenile Literature, the majority of them don’t make sense on a YA list. Hence, I bring you my own list (based only on the YA books I have read. I am sure there are plenty more out there and I would love to hear any suggestions in the comments). One last note, it was hard enough to decide on 20 heroines, I can’t possibly imagine ranking them. So here they are, in alphabetical order:

  1. Alex from The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

  2. Alice from Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

  3. Astrid Jones from Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

  4. Cat from Shine by Lauren Myracle

  5. Door from Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

  6. Eleanor from Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

  7. Elle from Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde

  8. Frankie L. Banks from The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart

  9. Hazel Lancaster from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

  10. Ismae from Grave Mercy by Robin La Fevers

  11. Joi from How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kristen Miller

  12. Judy from Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoski

  13. Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore

  14. Lee Fiora from Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (I know most people don’t consider it YA, but it fits my criteria, so I am going for it). 

  15. Maddie/Julie from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

  16. Meg Powers from The President’s Daughter by Ellen Emerson White (I love love love this book but what did they do to the cover? I much prefer the original.

  17. Melinda from Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

  18. Noa from  Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

  19. Sophie from Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

  20. Yessica from Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum

Honorable Mention (as a sort of anti-hero): Sheenie from Youth in Revolt (she’s a little evil and manipulative, but also pretty hilarious and hard not to love…at least through the eyes of Nick Twisp).

Honorable Mention: Leisel in The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (she’s only 10 when the book ends, so she doesn’t really fit the criteria I agreed to adhere to, but damn if she ain’t a hero).

So, those are my thoughts. Feel free to share if you think I have missed something, gotten something wrong (I’m expecting some hate for not including Katniss and Triss, so don’t be shy) or, even better, you agree with everything I say! 


New YA Books


hspace=2Living with Jackie Chan
by Jo Knowles 
Published 2013 by Candlewick Press (MA)Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780763662806

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

After fathering a baby, a teenager moves in with his karate-loving uncle and tries to come to terms with his guilt — and find a way to forgive. 

This isn’t how Josh expected to spend senior year. He thought he’d be hanging out with his best friends, Dave and Caleb, driving around, partying, just like always. But here he is, miles from home — new school, new life, living with his Jackie-Chan-obsessed uncle, Larry, and trying to forget. But Josh can’t forget. So many things bring back memories of last year and the night that changed everything. Every day the pain, the shame, and the just “not knowing” are never far from his thoughts. Why is he such a loser? How could he have done what he did? He finds some moments of peace when he practices karate with Stella, the girl upstairs and his one real friend. As they move together through the katas, Josh feels connected in a way he has never felt before. He wonders if they could be more than friends, but Stella’s jealous boyfriend will make sure that doesn’t happen. And maybe it doesn’t matter. If Stella knew the truth, would she still think he was a True Karate Man? Readers first met Josh in “Jumping Off Swings” which told the story of four high school students and how one pregnancy changed all of their lives. In thiscompanion book, they follow Josh as he tries to come to terms with what happened, and find a way to forgive.

hspace=2Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design
by Chip Kidd 
Published 2013 by Workman PublishingHardcover, English. ISBN: 9780761172192

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

An excellent introduction to graphic design through [the author s] own excellent work. Anyone interested in the subject, including most practitioners, will find it delightful. Milton Glaser

Kids love to express themselves, and are designers by nature whether making posters for school, deciding what to hang in their rooms, or creating personalized notebook covers. Go, by the award-winning graphic designer Chip Kidd, is a stunning introduction to the ways in which a designer communicates his or her ideas to the world. It s written and designed just for those curious kids, not to mention their savvy parents, who want to learn the secret of how to make things dynamic and interesting.

Chip Kidd is the closest thing to a rock star in the design world (USA Today), and in Go he explains not just the elements of design, including form, line, color, scale, typography, and more, but most important, how to use those elements in creative ways. Like putting the word go on a stop sign, Go is all about shaking things up and kids will love its playful spirit and belief that the world looks better when you look at it differently. He writes about scale: When a picture looks good small, don t stop there see how it looks when it s really small. Or really big. He explains the difference between vertical lines and horizontal lines. The effect of cropping a picture to make it beautiful or, cropping it even more to make it mysterious and compelling. How different colors signify different moods. The art of typography, including serifs and sans serifs, kerning and leading.

hspace=2Guardian of the Gate
by Michelle Zink 
Published 2010 by Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersHardcover, English. ISBN: 9780316034470

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

The ultimate battle between sisters is nearing, and its outcome could have catastrophic consequences. As sixteen year-old Lia Milthorpe searches for a way to end the prophecy, her twin sister Alice hones the skills she’ll need to defeat Lia. Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim her sister’s role in the prophecy, and that’s not the only thing she wants: There’s also Lia’s boyfriend James. 

Lia and Alice always knew the Prophecy would turn those closest to them against them. But they didn’t know what betrayal could lead them to do. In the end, only one sister will be left standing.


hspace=2I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
by Malala Yousafzai 
Published 2013 by Little Brown and CompanyHardcover, English. ISBN: 9780316322409

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. 

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. 

Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. 

I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. 

I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.


hspace=2Reality Boy
by A S King 
Published 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersHardcover, English. ISBN: 9780316222709

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

In this fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, highly acclaimed Printz Honor author A.S. King explores the desperate reality of a former child “star” struggling to break free of his anger.

Gerald Faust started feeling angry even before his mother invited a reality TV crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he’s still haunted by his rage-filled youth–which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle–and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school. No one cares that Gerald has tried to learn to control himself; they’re all just waiting for him to snap. And he’s starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that…until he chooses to create possibilities for himself that he never knew he deserved.

by Veronica Roth 
Published 2013 by Katherine Tegen BooksHardcover, English. ISBN: 9780062024060

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

What if your whole world was a lie?What if a single revelation–like a single choice–changed everything?What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.


hspace=2Just One Year
by Gayle Forman 
Published 2013 by Dutton BooksHardcover, English. ISBN: 9780525425922

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, “Just One Year “is Willem’s story, picking up where “Just One Day “ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.


hspace=2Eye of Minds
by James Dashner 
Published 2013 by Delacorte PressHardcover, English. ISBN: 9780385741392

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

From James Dashner, the author of the “New York Times” bestselling Maze Runner series, comes an all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure. The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares. 

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific–the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker. And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team. But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom–and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

by Tom Leveen 
Published 2013 by ABRAMSHardcover, English. ISBN: 9781419708053

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

Brian and his friends are not part of the cool crowd. They’re the misfits and the troublemakers–the ones who jump their high school’s fence to skip class regularly. So when a deadly virus breaks out, they’re the only ones with a chance of surviving.

The virus turns Brian’s classmates and teachers into bloodthirsty attackers who don’t die easily. The whole school goes on lockdown, but Brian and his best friend, Chad, are safe (and stuck) in the theater department–far from Brian’s sister, Kenzie, and his ex-girlfriend with a panic attack problem, Laura. Brian and Chad, along with some of the theater kids Brian had never given the time of day before, decide to find the girls and bring them to the safety of the theater. But it won’t be easy, and it will test everything they thought they knew about themselves and their classmates. 

by Steve Watkins 
Published 2013 by Candlewick Press (MA)Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780763655099

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

Heart-wrenching and real, “Juvie” tells the story of two sisters grappling with accountability, sacrifice — and who will be there to help you after you take the fall. 

Sadie Windas has always been the responsible one — she’s the star player on her AAU basketball team, she gets good grades, she dates a cute soccer player, and she tries to help out at home. Not like her older sister, Carla, who leaves her three-year-old daughter, Lulu, with Aunt Sadie while she parties and gets high. But when both sisters are caught up in a drug deal — wrong place, wrong time — it falls to Sadie to confess to a crime she didn’t commit to keep Carla out of jail and Lulu out of foster care. Sadie is “supposed “to get off with a slap on the wrist, but somehow, impossibly, gets sentenced to six months in juvie. As life as Sadie knew it disappears beyond the stark bars of her cell, her anger — at her “ex”-boyfriend, at Carla, and at herself — fills the empty space left behind. Can Sadie forgive Carla for getting her mixed up in this mess? Can Carla straighten herself out to make a better life for Lulu, and for all of them? Can Sadie survive her time in juvie with her spirit intact?


It’s Here!

After months (OK, years) of planning, we’re excited to announce the opening of our brand new Young Adult Area! The new space is on the main floor near the graphic novels and is sectioned off from the rest of the library, creating a private space for studying, reading chatting, etc. This area is reserved exclusively for teens Monday through Friday from 3 pm until the library closes as well as all day on weekends. It’s the perfect place if you’re looking to study with some friends, work on your computer, or get lost in a good book. This new space is complete with beautiful wooden shelves paid for by the Friends of the Library, plenty of seating, and of course a wonderful selection of books. As funds become available, we will get new furniture and update the lighting. Stop by and see your new space–we hope you’ll love it as much as we do! 

UPDATE: Check out Marley Townsend’s article about the move.





First Thursday: Revolution Zine (pictures)

Thanks to Elly Blue and Joe Biel from Microcosm Publishing for a ridiculously fun evening!

So many zines for us to check out

So many zines for us to check out

Learning ThingsJoe and Elly Tell Us About ZinesDance Party TimesRevolution Zine


Anna looks fancy pouring water

Anna looks fancy pouring wat

Markita and Kate get their hands on Katie's camera
Markita and Kate get their hands on Katie’s camera

Blurry phone picture of Katie and Kate
Blurry phone picture of Katie and KateZines!

The best picture ever taken of Bob

The best picture ever taken of Bob

How to make a zine from a 8.5x11 piece of paper.

Camille makes a zine and it makes her happy

Camille makes a zine and it makes her happy