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

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Poem: On the Outside Looking In

by Ashlee W.

I’m trapped inside myself.
I scream internally where no one else can hear.
I cry silent tears but they don’t understand why.
They just see weakness, not my struggle to go on every day,
Not my need for a friend or just someone to listen,
And not judge me because of what I have to say.
Because if you knew what I knew,
Then you would scream for me.
If you could just catch a glimpse of what I’ve seen,
Then you would understand why I cry.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Staff Reviews: Graceling by Kristen Cashore

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Review by Clio, TAB's advisor

Katsa is a Graceling, blessed (or cursed) with the ability to kill with her bare hands. Since she is the niece of the King, she is used as an enforcer, sent out to torture or kill those who have wronged him in some way. Although she doesn't particularly enjoy her job, she is very, very good at it. What the King doesn't know is that Katsa is also the founder of the Council, a group of nobles and commoners who work together to protect those who are vulnerable to the often cruel and frequently capricious whims of the powerful. When a prince from another kingdom is kidnapped, the Council sets out to rescue him and discover both the person behind the kidnapping, and its purpose.

Enter Prince Po, the kidnapped victim's grandson, whose Grace makes him almost a physical match for Katsa, and whose personality makes him endlessly fascinating to her. After Katsa refuses to carry out one of her uncle's orders, she and Po set out to discover the reason behind his grandfather's kidnapping. On the road, they discover more about their unusual skills, and encounter a King with a Grace so powerful it could literally destroy their universe.

Graceling is, quite simply, one of the best fantasy books I've ever read. Katsa is a fantastic heroine. Her relationships with family, conspirators, and Po unfold naturally, and her journey from enforcer to protector is well-crafted and believable. The concept of some people having superpowers is not, of course, new, but the Graces in this book are presented in a very unique, original way. One of the things I particularly enjoy is that not all of the Graces mentioned would be useful in any real way, which adds a touch of realism. Graceling is followed by a prequel, Fire, which came out in October 2009. Check each of them out immediately - you'll be glad that you did.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Poem: Music

by Nick W.

Music can determine many things about people.
Usually it can determine ones personality.
Sometimes it can describe ones mood.
It can express how someone feels about certain things.
Comparisons with music and life are also beneficial.

Comforting a person with music could cut some tension.
Images can also be express through music.
Singing and searching for certain elements in music could determine things.
Understanding different music genres and types could affect a persons mindset.
Most of all music is a like a lifestyle.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New Books!

Are you looking for something new to read? Here are a few of the things we've gotten in this month. If you can't get them right away, put them on hold!

Blue Bloods: The Van Alen Legacy (Melissa De La Cruz)
With the stunning revelation surrounding Bliss's true identity comes the growing threat of the sinister Silver Bloods. Once left to live the glamorous life in New York City, the Blue Bloods now find themselves in an epic battle for survival.

Catching Fire: The Second Book of the Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Fire (Kristen Cashore)
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.

Going Bovine (Libba Bray)
All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.

Hate List (Jennifer Brown)
Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

Liar (Justine Larbalestier)
Micah will freely admit that she’s a compulsive liar, but that may be the one honest thing she’ll ever tell you. Over the years she’s duped her classmates, her teachers, and even her parents, and she’s always managed to stay one step ahead of her lies. That is, until her boyfriend dies under brutal circumstances and her dishonesty begins to catch up with her. But is it possible to tell the truth when lying comes as naturally as breathing?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Game Review: Resident Evil 5

by Conan S.

If you have a friend and want to have endless fun, get Resident Evil 5. This game is perfect for cooperative play whether it be local or on Xbox live. My friend and I have already beaten this game three times and are working on it a fourth time. You will be sucked into playing it multiple times to unlock all the treasures, weapons, upgrades, and unlimited ammo for each of the weapons you have unlocked and upgraded. This may seem monotonous and boring, but once you’ve played it once you will want to play it again and again. And if you really want a challenge you can play veteran and then unlock professional mode. It is very hard (especially once you get into the later levels), but if you have a good friend next to you then masochism cannot be made any more fun.

There is no doubt that this game was made for two, but I have played it alone a few times, and it is definitely not as fun as cooperative, but it is still worth playing at least once. I usually just put on some music or a movie I have already seen on the side while I play by myself in a game, but I have a short attention span and usually have to multi-task. There is also a mini-game you can play with a friend or by yourself called The Mercenaries. In this game you have to kill as many “zombies” as you can within a set time. This is great for killing time and get some points on the side.

The campaign plot is also great. You are Chris Redfield, a member of the North American Branch of the BSAA (which not even Wikipedia has a vague reference to what it stands for, but is an anti-bioterrorism organization across the world). You team up with Sheva Alomar who is a member of the African branch of the BSAA. You are to investigate some reports of the use of neurotoxins in Africa. You soon find out that Wesker (a former teammate from STARS who was infected with a biochemical and is now super strong and fast). You also find out that another former teammate, Jill Valentine, has been captured and you also must save her. You are taken all across Africa to combat this virus and find Wesker. This is just the tip of the iceberg in a very detailed plot, which will take you on a great adventure.