Welcome to the Slant, where you'll find reviews and original writings by the members of Martin Library's Teen Advisory Board.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Julie Schumacher's Black Box: A Review by Alexis M.

Elena and Dora are sisters, best friends, and complete opposites. Dora is loud, fun, and unpredictable while Elena is more quiet and calm. After Dora is diagnosed with depression and has to stay in the hospital, Elena isn’t sure who her sister, or herself, is anymore. Elena doesn’t really have any friends since she went to a private school until high school so the only people that really acknowledge her are friends of Dora and Jimmy Zenk. Jimmy supposedly has failed at least one grade and wears black every single day. He has his own secrets and advice for Elena. Dora and Elena’s parents have started to fight in the kitchen every night after the think Elena is in bed. Once Dora is discharged, Elena has even more responsibility and has to figure out what secrets she needs to keep and which she needs to tell.

Black Box was addicting. It was full of surprises I wasn’t expecting and was impossible to put down. Not only did it deal with depression, but it also had a lot of moments about trust. How far should you keep secrets and that not everything is it seems. It also shows that sometimes knowing the truth is better but sometimes it’s worse. Elena’s thoughts about everything added humor and drama to the novel. Overall, it was an amazing book.

Book Review: Banewreaker (Jacqueline Carey)

by Jesse B.

In a world torn asunder by the very gods who shaped it, the line between good and evil is difficult to discern; such is the world, Urulat, in Jacqueline Carey's novel Banewreaker. Haomane, the first-born Shaper, has deceived the majority of the populous into believing that only one of Haomane's younger brothers, Satoris, is to blame for the Sundering. The truth of the matter is that Haomane is jealous of the gift Satoris possesses – desire.

In an attempt to obtain the gift of desire for his Children, the Ellylon, Haomane sparks a war among the Shapers' Children that spans millennia. The irony is that at the Ellylon's creation, Satoris offered his gift to Haomane's Children freely only to have it rejected by Haomane out of pride. Still it would be offered, had Haomane not in his wrath wounded Satoris in such a way that his gift could no longer be given.

Banewreaker, book one of two of The Sundering duology, chronicles a key portion of the war waged by the races of Urulat due to Haomane's deception. The key question asked by Carey in her novel is whether desire is as valuable as intelligence. A deeply philosophical text, Banewreaker forces the reader to reconsider what it means to be human.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Battle of the Bands 2008 Pictures

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bad Advice Column - By Allen

Dear Bad Advice,

Just yesterday, I was publicly humiliated, for a random man came up to me and began yelling incomprehensible words at me. After about 10 minutes of this nonsense, he had the nerve to pants me in public!!!! What do I do?!?!


Pants’d in public

Dear pants’d in public,

Well, well. You’ve got quite a problem, eh? I’ve just the solution! Simply staple your pants to your buttocks. It worked for me, and though you won’t be able to sit for a few years, anyone who attempts to pants you will severely fail. It’s a foolproof plan!


Bad Advice

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dan and the Bean Stock

by Calvin Miller

Once upon a time in a far away land called San Francisco, there lived a little boy called Dan. Dan was a multi billionaire, and he hated it. He had everything he ever wanted, except his parents. They were dead…to him…but actually they were hanging out with their broker friends down at the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange).

One day, Dan was shooting his paint-ball gun at passing cars when he decided he wanted to check the stock his parents gave him 2 years ago for his birthday. He had stock in SBUX, GE, LG, MCDS, COKE, PPSI, WMAR, BOEING, EGY, GEMS and even ASIA. As he continued to browse the immense index of his personal stock, he saw one he never heard of: BEAN. BEAN was up 572 points, which was amazing.

He did some research on BEAN and apparently, he could send away $20, and then receive an informative brochure that would answer all his questions. So he sent a crisp twenty-dollar-bill to this address:

Ikant B. Leave

Usent 20 bucks

2 New York City

10044, USA

So he waited and he waited and he waited and he waited and he waited and he waited and he waited and he waited and he waited and he waited and then he got fed up of waiting. He sent the letter out 3 months ago! Well, then again, it does have to travel all the way across the USA.

He told his butler to prepare the leer jet and get ready to fly to New York. They arrived in New York after a quick (8 hour) flight. Dan booked a hotel, the Waldorff=Astoria. “Wow” said the butler, “The Waldorff=Astoria!” “Yep, I never heard of it” said Dan. So they got in their room, which by the way is freakishly large, and decided what to do. The butler fell asleep, and the stock market already closed. Dan, not knowing what to do, goes out of the room. Dan might be rich, but not all rich people are stupid. Dan was very tricky, he went over to the room across the hall, and he pulled out his magnetic key-card, and before he tried to break into the abandon room, he spied a video camera at the end of the hall, he knew it was a short circuit camera and could see the wires running into a room labeled “janitors closet”. Dan went up to the camera, and waved the key card’s magnetic strip in front of the camera’s lens causing the camera to short out. Now that the camera was taken care of, he went back to the room. He knew that one false move, would make him have to do it again. He carefully placed the magnetic key-card on the side of the handle and in one swift move, kicked the handle right off the door and shoved the card into the hole alongside the alarm sensor, stopping the alarm.

Now that he was in, he decided to hit the mini-bar. He opened it up and peered inside. All that was in there was beer, some wine and a shot of peppermint schnapps. “Awe man, all that’s in here is alcohol, where’s the milk?” he exclaimed in disappointment. He wanted to peruse. He peered out the window, and couldn’t even see the side walk because of the clouds. He went over the bed and saw a box of complimentary mints. Wait a minute, mints from hotels don’t come in boxes, they come in individual packages. He picked up the box, and read the package

Dontcha’ wish your bean stock was as up like me?

A free informative packet,

Complete with a pouch of magic* beans.

*Beans may or may not grow, or be magic. If they do grow, will be poisonous

He decided to keep the brochure…and the beans…and the box it came in. he heard footsteps a ways down the hall, he could tell they were running because of the sound the feet made on the hard-wood floors. Dan dashed into the bedroom, and dove under the bed. Only there was a problem, the bed was connected to the floor all the way around the bottom. Dan hit his head on the wood casing, and was left unconscious.

Dan woke up in a plane, a BAe 125 Hawker to be exact. Dan was cuffed to the plane’s armrest, although whoever put on the hand cuffs was either drunk or very, very stupid. Dan could slide the cuff off the armrest. Dan was still a little woozy, but he could still see. He peered across the aisle and saw a rather large “bodyguard” playing with a box of Lincoln Logs® and giggling profusely. Stupid, not drunk, well, yah never know these days. Dan called the bodyguard over, and the bodyguard took a step over Dan’s way. “What’s your name?” asked Dan “My name is jimmy and I like apples” “oh,” said Dan “what a coincidence, me too!” “Whats is coinc…coincetic…coinki-”

“-Coincidence?” said Dan.

“Yeah what you said” spouted jimmy

“How ‘bout we play with your Lincoln Logs®”


Jimmy stood up and grabbed the box of Lincoln Logs®. He came back with a huge tub of Lincoln Logs®. Dan knew what he was about to do was wrong, but he had to do it. He looked around and saw a parachute. That’s it! That’s my ticket out! Dan picked up a large log and was about to execute his move, just then jimmy said “do you want to help me build a house?” and Dan couldn’t hit jimmy with the log

“Umm, how about we play hide and go seek?”


“Ok, jimmy, you go count to 75”


“The bathroom, and lock the door, and don’t come out until you get to 75”


and off went jimmy to the bathroom, locked the door and started counting “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9…” and Dan sprung out of his seat, ran over to the parachute, and kicked the red lever up. Dan put on his ‘chute, and made sure he had his bank book. Dan nervously peered out the open door that was sucking the air out of the cabin. He saw what looked like Lake Erie. Good, if I jump now, I could still make it back to New York! He jumped, and could feel the tingly-jingly in his stomach he waited several seconds too enjoy the feeling of falling, then he decided to wait until he got to 500ft. he flipped, and twisted, then the tingly-jingly in his stomach went away. Ok now’s the time and he pulled the rip cord.

Funny thing actually, why is it called a rip cord? It’s not supposed to rip is it? Well the rip cord broke off (or ripped rather) and the parachute didn’t deploy, he pulled the emergency cord, which also broke. Dan started to panic, he stuck his finger into the hole where the emergency cord came out of, and felt a metallic ring. He pulled and the chute deployed. Dan grabbed the handles and drifted. He arrived right behind a large tower and hopped out of his parachute harness. He hailed a cab and told the driver to take him to New York City. Dan decided to take a long rest. Once at the Waldorff=Astoria Dan hopped out of the cab. The driver told Dan the fare, $452.58!

Dan said “I’ll tell you what, you drive away without looking back, and I won’t have my mafia friends come and kick your a-butt”

“You know,” said the cab driver “its ok to bluff, but sometimes you have to have all the cards” and he pointed to a black van and a bunch of big me jumped out in suits.

“Ok…well…umm, here’s 500 bucks, BYE!” and he took off running. Dan arrived at the hotel just in time to see his butler exit the building.

Dan went over towards the butler and told him to get in the car.

“But why, you just lost a lot of money because that hotel stay was $1,000”

“There’s more where that came from, now drive to 385 W. 5th St.”

“Whatever” spouted the butler.

And off they went to the BEAN Corporation. A large skyscraper, well, actually the empire state building.

“The brochure says floor 1,078,235,472,105,783…sounds unlikely. Especially considering that the empire state building only has 102 floors.”

“Whatever” spouted the butler.

Dan gets out of the car and walks into the building. Gets in the elevator and looks for floor 1,078,235,472,105,783, which of course he doesn’t see. So he decides to screw around and hit the floors individual in the order of the “floor”. So Dan pressed floor 1, then G (for ground floor or 0), then 7, and 8, and 2, and so-on and so-forth. So he finally steps out on floor 3 and a big bluish purple circle is floating in the air. He examined the circle and decided to call it a portal. Dan took a flying leap into the portal and popped out walking on a cloud. A long path led to a mansion, and Dan took the long walk. 20 min. later Dan was at the door of the freakishly large house. Dan entered, and saw a receptionist at a desk.

“Excuse me. Umm, what is this place?”

“Well this is the house of amazing stocks in the sky”

“I must be dreaming”

“Nope” said the receptionist and slapped Dan across the face “did you feel that”

“Yep,” said Dan and reached over the desk and slapped the old receptionist “did you feel that?”

“Touché” replied the receptionist

“Now seriously,” said Dan “what is BEAN?”

“BEAN?” the receptionist gasped “well there is only one stock holder for BEAN, and whoever has it is the owner of the entire company. The BEAN Corporation has a net worth of $3trillion and is still rising. Why do you ask?”

“Well, I own the share, so I own the company, I guess. So… technically… you just slapped your boss!”

“You are the owner of BEAN? And you didn’t know about it? please follow me.” and the receptionist led Dan down an long corridor, he walked, and he walked, and he walked, and he walked, and he walked, and he walked, and he walked, and he walked, and he walked, and he walked, and he walked, and he walked, and he walked, and he walked, and he walked, and the he got fed up of walking, so he decided to get a piggy-back ride by the receptionist. 3 hours of walking led them to the end of the hall, which was where a freakishly large door was.

Dan opened the door, to find Jimmy waiting on the desk with a gun in his hand.

“Why did you leave me on the plane locked in the bathroom counting to 75?”

“I think a better question would be ‘why are you pointing a gun at me, when I was hiding from you like the way the game is played’ or maybe even ‘what the heck are you doing in my office, pointing a gun at me?’”

“Hey don’t get snippy at me, just climb the dang staircase”

“Why so you can shoot me?”

“No, so they can shoot you.” and Jimmy snapped his fingers and a bunch of midgets on segway surrounded him with M16s.

“Why are there a bunch of midgets preparing to shoot me with M16s?”

“We prefer little people, numskull” shouted a ‘little person’

“Whatever, now I guess you want me to climb the staircase?”

“Yes,” shouted Jimmy “now get to stepping!”

Dan decided to climb the staircase. Up the staircase Dan went. The staircase was a long staircase, lost of twists an turns. Once Dan reached a curve where the heavily-armed-midgets couldn’t see him, Dan peered over the side, than dove straight down. Now if you think about it, what holds up the mansion, and the staircase? Something solid right? Dan didn’t consider this before he dove. As he plummeted downward, he realized he was probably going to hit that solid thing. And, he did, head first. But, Dan was so worried about being shot up by a bunch of tiny humans riding futuristic vehicles, wielding the most powerful civilian-obtainable gun in the history of mankind. So Dan shrugged off the side splitting headache (no, seriously his skull was split down the side) and ran as fast as he could towards the spiraling bluish-purple portal.

Dan reached the portal in what seamed like 30 seconds, but that was probably because the memory part of his brain was hanging out of his head. Dan took a running dive for the portal and popped out of level 3 of the empire state building. As soon as he emerged from the portal-still in mid dive, mind you- landed head first into an elderly lady, that strangely resembled the receptionist at the BEAN Company. Dan was immediately rushed to the hospital to have his skull pieced back together.

Dan now resides in the P. S. Y. Cotic Mental Institution For Major Head Injuries. Every day he wakes up and ponders his escape. I'm not crazy, he thinks, But i have to get out of here.




Friday, August 8, 2008

Youth Empowerment Summit 2008 Pictures

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Beach Party 2008 Pictures