Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Lily W's review of "The Problem with Forever" by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Heya everybody I know it's been a while since I last wrote a review, sorry about that I will try to do better. So last night I finished The Problem With Forever! I want to say first that this review will have spoilers later on and I will warn you before I get to that section but here is the no spoilers review.

I found this book to be extremely cliche, but not in an awful way. The ending did surprise me somewhat which is good! I thought the whole book would be cheesy and predictable! I didn't hate it, which you all know takes a lot for me to say especially for sappy romance novels since the genre usually leaves me wanting to vomit. (Good news I didn't this time!) Some things you should know about this novel before you read it: if you have experienced a very rough childhood and don't wish to be reminded of somewhat similar circumstances do not read this novel (at times there are vivid descriptions of abuse physical and verbal), if you cannot stand any amount of romance don't read this novel (I really hate romance and this book was filled to the brim with it), and if you hate reading don't read this book (really needed a third thing to make the commas worth it guys).

So I personally sorta liked this book. I took two school days to read it but I started reading later on the first night (to give you an idea how long I think it was a little less than five hundred pages or so but I wouldn't swear to that). I was first drawn to it by the super cute clover with these rainbow water colors because water colors are one of the most fun things to work with and it just brought up so many happy memories (but no water coloring in the book I felt so cheated!). When I read the inside flap summary thing I decided to get it because (no spoilers yet this is all on the inside cover flap thingy) it said it was about a girl who had gotten out of an abusive family but had been taken from the foster child she'd grown up with and who protected her from a lot of beatings and stuff like that. They were really, really close. So since then she's been adopted by great parents and has gotten better through therapy and homeschooling, but decides to go to her senior year of high school at a public school where she ends up seeing (cue the drums!) the boy she grew up with who she somehow doesn't think of as a brother but as a love interest and that isn't creepy at all!!!!! Seriously puke worthy for me anyway, but this story isn't awful and I think you guys should check it out I think you'll be happily surprised by the ending! If you can get past the thought of them sorta being like brother and sister...that was hard for me.


So ok now I can just get my true feelings out without being vague. What the heck? Ok so Mallory is in love with Rider? Like how did they not see each other as brother and sister? I mean they grew up together and took care of one another like siblings, I mean it doesn't matter if you aren't related by blood you are still brother and sister. I guess they didn't see it that way because as we all could tell from the story they are happily doing things siblings just should do not do to one another. It took me a while to get past this and accept it because it was clear these guys were lovey dovey from the get go but I tried, I already get grossed out by romance normally I don't need to think about incest being thrown into the mix. Blech! Gross! Ok still getting over that image...onto the next topic!

I felt as if this wasn't the worst love story I've ever read. Like it was nice that they weren't trying to be up in each other’s business every five second and all which lately in teen novels seems to be a common theme. Speaking of common themes, why is it always that the girl is the inexperienced dater? I mean for once can we have the boy in the novel be more nervous than the girl? I mean I understand Mallory is a nervous person and all but come on! I mean every freaking book, the girl is so nervous about it all and the guy is just like “lemme show ya how to smooch sweet cakes” and the girl’s like “but I'm nervous” and he's like “then I'll take it slow honey bunny no rush” then she's like “well even though I said I'm nervous I'm just gonna throw myself on top of you now...because you were so kind and said we'll take it slow.” That's not at all how the dialogue was in this book but this is just how stupid romance novels sound to me all the time!

But anyways, onto the positive! So remember when I mentioned that I liked the book (you know way at the beginning before I said all these mean things) it was not for the new found love and crap, or the fact that they killed off the one sane person in the book...as usual. No I liked it because as stupid as the story seemed, I was vaguely interested enough in reading it and was pleasantly surprised when Mallory stood up for herself at the end of the novel. To her beloved Rider too!!! I was all like “YOU GO GIRL YOU ARE A STRONG INDEPENDANT GINGER WHO DON’T NEED NO BOYFRIEND WHO HAS NO SELF ESTEEM! YOU TELL HIM THAT HE IS WORTH WHILE! WHOOP!” And she also stood up for her career dreams to her parents or whatever...less important. But I was honestly happy! Like she understood that she could fight for herself and did, she screamed love and affection (the only way to express these emotions if you ask me) to Rider and told him he needed to get a grip and realize he deserved happiness, family, and love, that he was isolating himself from these things. I loved that this was not an immediate change for Rider or Mallory. That at the end of the novel they were each still working on believing they deserved happiness! I loved that their happy ending didn't even happen in the book, that it was established they were in a good place but needed to improve and would. On a different note, I was also surprised when they got back together because I thought this book might have wanted to focus on the fact that sometimes no matter what you try, you can't change people even if you love them. But nope, they just had to get back together didn't they?

Overall I like how this book focused on self growth and realizing that you are worth it. That no matter what is in your past you can have a positive impact on others, and can make a good life for yourself. I love positivity and try my best to be positive in real life (just wanted to say because these reviews can be pretty brutal). I know a lot of people take for granted everything they have in life, while they don't even realize that while their parents might give them a ten o'clock curfew to make sure they are safe, somebody else in their school has to deal with extremely brutal situations of their own. Yes we all have our flaws, and I most certainly have a lot I'll be the first to say so! But I believe that we shouldn't take for granted the opportunities our lives give us, because like this book stresses, we don't always get a second chance.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

John goodbye blog post

So, for one year and eleven months, we had an awesome, loving, caring, and sharing Mrs. Jennifer Billingsley.  We had our ups :) , downs :( , and our OK times :\.  We also had our Teen Advisory Board Meetings, our Teen Advisory Board Book Discussions, Game Days, Anime, and so many, many more awesome, fun-filled events.  I think everyone had a blast with the awesome events that were planned by us and hosted by Mrs. Billingsley.  WE, THE TEEN ADVISORY BOARD, WILL DEEPLY MISS YOU, BUT WE APPRECIATE ALL THE LOVELY EVENTS THAT YOU PUT INTO OUR MEMORIES.
From your secretary,

A brief noted from the librarian in question: when I said in our last meeting that I would take reviews of anything, this is certainly not what I expected! I guess this one is a review of the librarian. 
。゚(TヮT)゚。 Nicely played John ... I'll miss you guys too! <3 <3 


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

GadgetJax Reviews: Tadpole Treble for Wii U and Steam

Image from the games page on Steam
What defines a video game? Is it the thrill of action that you get from a complex (or in some cases, simplistic) battle system? Is it the invigorating narrative that gives a game an engaging story to tell? Or maybe it could be the excitement of competition, where several players go head-to-head for one to arise champion and proclaim him or her self the victor?

Now, how would you feel if I told you that it's entirely possible to design a great video game that features none of those traits? For some, this might not sound like a video game at all, as most games feed from the concept of challenge. Yet, today's game does just that.

Our review for today is Tadpole Treble.

But just what is Tadpole Treble? The name of the game is unlikely to ring any bells. So, I present a quick bit of backstory on the development of this uncanny title.
Tadpole Treble was primarily developed by Matthew Taranto. The name isn't immediately recognizable, though, because good ol' Matt isn't known for game development at all! Rather, Matthew is renowned for writing Brawl In The Family, a Webcomic series primarily about Super Smash Brothers and the games each Smash character comes from.
The original strip ran from 2008 to 2014, mostly focusing on Kirby from the Kirby Dream Land series. Perhaps one or two of you have heard the line 'I'm gonna get you, Kirby' online at once. Or, maybe you've noticed the immense popularity of Waluigi as an internet meme icon - yep, you have Brawl In The Family to partly thank for that.
Development for Tadpole Treble started with an online Kickstarter to raise funds for the game's overall development. Thanks to the loyalty of dear readers, Tadpole Treble was successfully Kickstarted, eventually releasing in 2016 for both the Wii U and Steam services.

Tadpole Treble has no major plot, so to speak; It's about as simple as any game you might have played from the 80's. You play as Baton, a young Tadpole who gets washed away from the rest of her family and must return home by swimming through excess lines of sheet music. Nothing special, but a thick story could have detracted from the rest of the game, so I won't complain.
Gameplay is simple as well: Just guide Baton through the musical score, dodging obstacles that represent the notes to each song. You press up or down to move Baton, and hit any button on the controller to slap your fin. This fin slap can hit bamboo chutes for extra points, whack cymbals for a quick jump, or knock away pesky mosquitoes. It couldn't get any more simple than that.
The music of Tadpole Treble is the driving soul of the game, but it isn't of the 'over-energetic' style you would expect in your usual game. Each land you swim through uses new instrument styles, like pianos and flutes. Not exactly something you would expect in the digital age, would you? A few of the lands you visit even feature songs with full vocals; there are only about three of them, but they're some of the most memorable parts of the experience. Thunder Creek is the best of the three.
I must compliment the art direction of this game as well. Matthew's track record as a web cartoonist really shines through here. It has vague similarities to a children's picture book, in both style of art and animation. A new dimension of experience is opened up by the picturesque style achieved here.

The most annoying thing about this title, though, is its length. Tadpole Treble is a very short game, totaling at just a bit over an hour. Short games aren't bad, but the $9.99 price tag may have you thinking twice before you invest in this title.
There are plenty of bonus challenges to take on, as well as a fun level designer mode that lets you compose your own music and swim through it, but the base game is still a bit on the light side. If you aren't a bit of a 'completionist', you'll find yourself putting down Tadpole Treble once the main quest is through.

Don't take the small story mode as a disincentive, though. Tadpole Treble satisfies not as a game, but as an experience. It has a unique gameplay premise, as well as flavorful music and graphics to match. Fans of Brawl In The Family will get an extra kick out of the game, as there are several continuity jokes peppered throughout the adventure.
If you're in the mood for something new, Tadpole Treble is right for you.

...drat, did I just unintentionally make a rhyme? Suddenly it's like a 'discount rhyme warehouse' in here.

Read the Brawl In The Family comic strip at this link: http://brawlinthefamily.keenspot.com/

Here is the trailer for game: 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

What This Book? What This Film?

Can anyone guess what these titles are from these 6 second summaries?

First person to guess each movie or book title (who was not at the meeting) wins a BOOK from the SLC prize cart here at Highland (as long as you can come pick it up here at the library before August 10th 2016).

I will update this post if guess correctly and the answers will be revealed in a post next week!

Book 1:

"What This Book:  A time traveling cowboy has to repeat the same mistakes over and over again in the hopes of eventually getting it right."

Book 2:

"What this Book: Distraught twin goes college. Writes book. Not really book. Feels, feels, feels, feels, feels, feels, feels, feels, feels!"

Film 1:

"What This Film: Guy's computer and pill addition causes him to be stuck in slow motion."

Film 2:

"What This Film: Sad dad gets a job as a night guard and hallucinates about dinosaurs and small people."

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Library Night Live: Curtain Pants

"Curtain Pants" from Library Night Live: filmed 7/13/16

(A parody infomercial inspired by the Snake Oil game.)

A video posted by @lcplibrary on

Milly Bays as Himself
Bobbie as The Pantless Wonder
Lottie as The Girlfriend
Tater as The Magic Hands
RedgieMcEdgy as the Introduct-inator/Camera Operator

Captions/audio description:
Setting: Infomercial set
Introduct-inator: "Snake Oil products presents a librACME product”

The Girlfriend: "I don't love you anymore. Your pants don't work."

Milly Bays: "Don't you hate it when this happens to you? Hi, Milly Bays here with another fantastic product. Introducing the Curtain Pants™ an extra pair of pants you can keep if your pants fall down while on stage. Just grab them from the curtain and apply them, they look just like your normal pants. Buuuut wait. It’s only 19.95 you said? There’s more! Order today and you can get TWO pairs of Curtain Pants™ for the price of TWO pairs of Curtain Pants™ yes that’s right, two pairs of pants for the same price as two pairs of pants. Call today! Plus shipping and handling."

Saturday, July 9, 2016

NOVUS LARP group at the Library!

The NOVUS Live Action Role Play group (a Medieval Fantasy LARP in Northwest Indiana) came out and did a presentation/demo for our community today. It was most excellent.

A photo posted by @lcplibrary on

One of the combat demonstration LARPers was fighting while wearing petticoats and a floor length skirt.  ðŸ‘ðŸ’«⚔ 

A video posted by @lcplibrary on

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Hikaru no Go at Highland ALL MONTH LONG

Some serious Go players today at Highland... Teens read the manga of Hikaru no Go for the our July book discussion and we are watching the anime later this week! 

A video posted by @lcplibrary on

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Giant Games at the Library!

If you miss our Giant Games library program, don't worry, we are having another one at the end of Wednesday 7/27 at 3:45 PM. Next month we will be playing Live Action Angry Birds.

Sadly, you did miss the chance to play life size foosball. (This was a one time only kind of program, those cinder blocks were HEAVY!)

A video posted by @lcplibrary on

We also had GIANT Jenga! Check out this epic play:

A video posted by @lcplibrary on

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Library? There’s an App for That by Lily

Hey everybody I have a different kind of review for you guys. Today I am going to review some apps that the library offers for us for free! And we all know that free is good right? So I’ll be talking about Mango as well as Hoopla. I've been dying to write this review so here it goes!

 So I’ll start with Hoopla because it is honestly great! I'm able to check out up to five books, movies, or music (I guess albums I haven't checked that out yet). It's really cool because they have a really nice selection and I can bring it on the go. I don't know what else to say other than this app truly rocks! I think it is perfect for people on the go!

Now onto the amazing app and website Mango! Mango is probably the app I use most, it is this lovely way to learn conversational languages (and a LOT of languages). I am learning Japanese and German in classes at school and this app helps me practice my speaking skills and changes up my usual curriculum by teaching me new grammar that isn't always covered in the textbooks. It focuses on conversational stuff like greetings, asking directions, and other really important materials. It's helpful to review and really great to learn some new tricks! I'm also practicing French (it's not offered at school so I wanted to try it out) and it is just as great for starting a language having no practice in as it is for helping me practice ones I study at school! I love practicing languages with this app! They have a lot of interesting languages I would love to look into and the only other language app that even comes close (free that is I'm broke so free=good) is duolingo. It's not that great in comparison though and only has a few western languages (that is ones that mainly use the English alphabet) and its audio is very robotic and doesn't give you a proper sense of the actual language but it still helps. Also Mango offers lessons in English as a second language in a LOT of languages! It's pretty awesome! One thing is that I wish Mango would also offer is sign language. I feel as if it would be a wonderful language to add because it's focus is on spoken languages and by adding sign languages they could really expand their customers (is it called customers for an app payed for by the library?). There are some good free online resources online and one or two free sign language apps too but I feel like Mango is so awesome and could be even cooler but that's just me fishing to find anything negative about the app!

 So overall I believe these are great programs and I am so happy to see the library offering these to the public! I love this because the library already does so much for the community by offering so much. I mean where else can you borrow the latest movies, music, books, and educational tools? There's a room you can use to tutor as well! I used to tutor some kids with disabilities that had trouble focusing with even small distractions and by using the tutoring room (don't know what it is actually called sorry) they really improved in school! Not to mention all the programs offered to kids, teens, and adults! The library has been a great place for my family to go throughout the years and I am extremely happy to be a volunteer there (and not just for the free snacks though those are a big incentive). It's great to see that apps are being integrated into the programs they offer to everybody because technology is a big part of our everyday lives. So thank you Highland library and everyone in it for being so gosh darn awesome for everybody!

(Librarian note: Mango is working on offering classes in American Sign Language (it is in beta right now)! For people with Full Access or Digital Access Cards at Lake County Public Library in Indiana, you will need to know your card number and your PIN to access Mango and Hoopla. If you live somewhere else, check your local library's website!)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

GadgetJax's Lightspeed Analysis: 'Homestar Runner' by Mike and Matt Chapman

Today we're going to review a cartoon, and boy, have I wanted to write about this for a while. If we're going to tackle any cartoon, it's gotta be a special one, and I'm not talking about the world-renowned mascots like Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny... no, we're talking about the pioneer of the Flash Cartoon revolution: Homestar Runner!

"If I had to pick one word to describe myself, it would probably be... Fluffy Puff Marshmallows. Or Homestar. Either one, really. They both fit."

Homestar Runner is a Flash Animation series written and produced by just two fine blokes: Mike and Matt Chapman (oh, and Missy Palmer voices one character, but that's not important). The series first started as a children's picture book titled 'Homestar Runner enters the Strongest Man in the World Contest', and soon spawned off a mini-series of cartoons. There are currently over 300 different shorts on the official website, all of which are free to watch. Yeah, who needs a monthly subscription to Netflix when the creators just throw out their show for all to enjoy?
     Our cartoon stars 'Homestar', a lovable athlete with no arms and no clue, and his many companions. The most popular of Homestar's companions is Strong Bad; this guy is ruff, gruff, tuff - and actually spends all his free time pranking others and checking fan eMails. Homestar and Strong Bad share the spotlight, but the rest of the cast includes:

  • The Cheat; Strong Bad's clever pet henchman. He's always there to help him check an eMail, plot his next big shenanigan, or throw a light-switch rave.
  • Marzipan; Homestar's on-again and off-again significant other, and self-proclaimed 'girl character'.
  • Strong Mad; Strong Bad's older brother, known for having gigantic muscles and miniscule intelligence levels.
  • Strong Sad; Strong Bad's younger brother, revered for his vast knowledge and etiquette... but is usually too busy being bullied by Strong Bad to be noticed.
  • Coach Z; the captain of the local sports teams, though his personal hygiene and vocabulary are much under par.
  • Bubs; the only friend of Coach Z and the owner of the local concession stand. He's a smooth-talker and shrewd businessman, though his store's inventory is of questionable taste.
  • Pom Pom; Homestar's best friend. He's round like a beachball, cool as a bag of grapes, and somehow only able to communicate through a gurble of bubble noises.
  • The King of Town; the gluttonous, self-proclaimed king of the land. He would and will eat just about anything, including full mountains of salt.
  • The Poopsmith; his job is obvious.
  • Homsar; a strange little man indeed. His identity stems from a typo of Homestar's name - I'm not kidding.

The Homestar Runner series is split into many segments: The main cartoons, Strong Bad eMails, holiday-themed cartoons, Marzipan's Answering Machine, puppet cartoons, Strong Bad's Teen Girl Squad comics, and The Cheat's personal Flash Animations. The most popular of these are the Strong Bad eMails, in which SB himself answers mail from the fans with chaotic results. Sometimes, a question as simple as Strong Bad's movie-going experiences can lead to Homestar getting blasted in the face from a bazooka.

...and that leads me to why I love the Homestar Runner series so dearly: The humor is always fresh.  There are two distinct styles of hilarity used by the show: reactive comedy and physical comedy. Jokes made in the first style are unexpected and play against the usual comedy medium. Homestar Runner also avoids the all-too-common stereotype of comedy that revolves solely around insults; what's the point of watching two cartoon characters just yell at each other?
      The other comedy style, physical, is also a spin on the usual comedy mechanics. Strong Bad is usually the one dishing the pain, but because the rest of the cast is rather clueless, the after-effects of his practical jokes either leave no blemishes or come back to bite him in the end. Strong Bad could send The Cheat to go pummel Homestar with a nunchuck, and Homestar wouldn't even care because he's too busy singing songs about bread.
That's all I really have to say about Homestar Runner; it's hilarious, it's free, and you should watch it right now. You can take this all-too-obvious link to see the cartoons right now ( www.homestarrunner.com ). Or, you can check out this cartoon to give yourself a basic impression of the cartoon's style before diving into the rest of the series:

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Library Night Live: Why is that Phrase: “Tabling a Discussion”

Our first Library Night Live was so great!
The teens had 1:15 total to create this masterpiece: 
  • 20 minutes to brainstorm, make an outline and cast/assign production roles
  • 20 minutes to create props and set dressings out of material on hand (in our case, tape, construction paper, markers, and Legos 
  • 20 minutes to rehearse and film

$Ben Franklin$ - Lily
Announcer - Jackerax
Washington - Jayden
Adams - Zack
Hamilton - Hayden
Jefferson - Nick
Washington’s teeth’s hands - Jackerax
Table flippers - Jackerax and Ms. B
Camera operator - GadgetJax
Captions/audio description: Why is that Phrase: “Tabling a Discussion” Library Night Live: Filmed 5/11/16
 Burger King George’s
Announcer: “It’s time for Revolutionary America's  favorite game…”
 “Why is that Phrase”
 “…with your host, the electrifying, Ben Franklin!”
*announcer waves kite with key behind Ben’s head*

 “What a nice declaration, it be a shame if anything …happened to it!” *spills drink*
 “Achoo!” *sneezes out teeth*
Off camera, spoken sound effect:
 *flips table*
$Ben Franklin$:
 “And that’s why it’s called Tabling It!”

Monday, May 2, 2016

Superfight Tournament Rules!

Hayden, (most recently seen singing to us in April's Quote of the Month post) came up with a set of Tournament Rules for the game Superfight. A debate style card game that we play at LEAST once a month at our Game On programs here at Highland:







Saturday, April 30, 2016

GadgetJax Reviews: Cave Story (PC, Wii, 3DS)

   After two months of doing shortened reviews, I think I would like to go back to a more explorative review. This time, we won't be covering a book OR a movie. Rather, we're going back into the wonderful world of video games, and the game of today is Cave Story.

What is Cave Story? Well, of course it's a story, and it's probably about a cave, right? Or, maybe it's a story about Cave Johnson from Portal 2. Nah, I take that back: It's probably just about a cave.
      Before getting to the actual game, though, I would like to cover a bit of Cave Story's history: This game was independently created by just one man, Daisuke 'Pixel' Amaya, and released completely free of charge in 2004 (In Japan, the game is subtitled as 'Dokutsu Monogatari'). The game slowly garnered attention from the western gaming community when it was given an English translation. Within the following years, Cave Story amassed a huge fanbase, as did 'Pixel'. This fad continued to grow as 'Pixel' teamed up with Nicalis Inc to develop updated versions of the game for WiiWare, DSi, 3DS, and Steam. In some respects, Cave Story could be considered one of the first and most influential Indie games ever created!
      To avoid spoiling any of the game's story (haha, get it?), I'll just be covering the first bits of monologue during the game. You wake up in a large cavern with no idea who you are (you won't learn your name until later) and where you came from: after searching around, you meet a village full of rabbit-like denizens known as 'The Mimiga'. These creatures tell you that an evil Doctor has been kidnapping their kind, and you head out to rescue them. Of course there's much more story than that to find in the game, but I recommend living that story yourself: This is NOT the game you would want to spoil. Really, don't spoil it for yourself or anyone else.
      Now, onto gameplay: Cave Story is known by many as a 'Metroidvania' title. Unlike traditional platformers, a Metroidvania platformer does not have segmented levels. Rather, the entire game is linked together as a singular world that can be independently explored at any time - as long as you can access that area in the story, anyway. Your main character can run, jump, and shoot in any horizontal or vertical direction.
      Upon booting up, you'll start with just a single weapon, the Polar Star, but you'll slowly collect more and more. Your arsenal expands to include a missile launcher, a fireball blaster, and more. What makes Cave Story's weapons different is the unique Experience System: Every time you bust an enemy, they drop EXP for you to collect. If you pick up enough EXP, your weapon will eventually level up. Each weapon maxes out its power when it reaches Level 3. The catch? If you receive any damage, your weapon will lose some of the EXP you collected for it. You'll want to play carefully to get through the caves with your weapons still at max power. Here's a diagram to see how the EXP system works for your first weapon:

      Cave Story's weapon system is more dynamic than just its experience system, though: some weapons can only be unlocked by trading certain weapons away, and some needed to be crafted by fusing together one or more weapons. There are a total of 10 weapons to be found: 5 of them are found naturally, and the other 5 are optional through trades or combinations. The extra weapons are fun to find because they add lots of replay value to each Cave Story experience.
      Advice to new players: this game is incredibly challenging. There are no difficulty options in the freeware version; only the versions of the game on Steam and Nintendo include Easy Mode. Cave Story will infuriate you to no end if you aren't up for a fight. Cave Story also features a secondary ending, but accessing it without knowing where it is in advance is nearly impossible. Even if you do manage to find it, you'll have to fight your way through an extra dungeon. Oh, that last dungeon is a heartache and a half.
Final Thoughts:
Cave Story is awesome. Why use words to describe this great game when you can just play it right now? You can download the original freeware version at this link: http://www.cavestory.org/download/cave-story.php - The updated versions of this game on Nintendo and Steam will cost a bit more, but are worth it for players who want the definitive Cave Story experience.
Recommendation Level: Maximum (Worth every penny - or, try the original version: you won't regret it either way.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Quote of the Month April 2016- Hayden

Soooo Hayden Rick Rolled us at the last Teen Advisory Board Meeting when I asked them to introduce themselves to the new member. The text reads:
When introducing themselves "My name is Hayden and I'm....Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down” 

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Review of High School (by High Schoolers Lily W and Melanie VT)

A Review of High School (by High Schoolers Lily W and Melanie VT)

Who better to ask about the stresses of high school than high schoolers themselves?

We are both two honor roll students in high school, one a junior, the other a sophomore. We are writing this article to stress how important it is for us to have our lives back. We both have about four or more hours of homework on a normal day of school, not including our clubs, rehearsals, and practices we both take pride in participating in. All around us, our classmates are breaking under the pressure of the impossible expectations that high schools make for us. Some
classmates regularly have panic attacks, medically recognized anxiety, and related eating disorders due to the stress of homework and the expectations put on our shoulders to stay on top of our class assignments. We are writing this article to bring attention to a problem that teachers and administration for many schools overlook the well being of their students’ mental and physical health.
(Infographic from Teens suffer from chronic stress due to homework, 2014 Stanford study finds) 

On a typical school day for me (Melanie), I receive about 4 hours of homework. I try to
start right when I get home from school at 3:30 and work on it. Add on to that amount of time
dinner and a shower and the general preparation for bedtime and that takes away another hour or
so from my working schedule. Now my schedule is work from 3:30-5:30, dinner and a shower,
and then homework from 7-9.

Afterwards I get ready for bed and try to get one word in with my parents on how my day is going. Not to mention I haven’t had any time for any type of social life whatsoever, yet this is the expectation we are supposed to hold up without any snags or problems with our homework, making it take longer than 4 hours (Often times I spend more than 4 hours on homework because I am a slow learner/worker, which puts me at a disadvantage against quick working kids). My schedule allows me no outdoor activity, jobs, or sports. Sunday should be a day of rest without homework, and I never have the time to simply sit back for one day because of the excess of homework. Studies show teenagers need 9 hours of sleep, which rarely happens for me. Most nights, I get about 6.

On my typical school day (Lily) I arrive before the 7:45 start time for first hour. I have no
study hall and a short lunch after 12. After school gets out (2:54 usually except for Wednesdays
when we leave at 2:25) is club meetings, rehearsals for music or plays, or volunteering at my
local library. Generally I won’t get home until after four o’clock but sometimes it won’t be until
dinner. On a usual day I will begin homework and studying as soon as possible, usually spending
as much as 4-6 hours on it, leaving me no free time to spend doing things I enjoy or time to spend with my family and friends. Being a good student means that I have to give up any chance of my social life on several days of the week including the supposed “weekends” in which I still have a whole lot of homework and projects to complete for these hardcore classes (which are honors and advanced placement). So basically I have eight hours in school + at least one hour of after school extracurriculars + 4-6 hours of homework = very little sleep, incredible amounts of stress, and more time working towards education than adults work on in a full time career! Can you see our frustrations?

We aren’t even the kids who are worst off because of high school. All around, kids are feeling high levels of diagnosable anxiety, depression, and even eating disorders because of the levels of stress placed on us to do so well in school or else face a life where we are “doomed” to never make it into college or to have a successful career and happy life. We are pressured to give up all our free time and our childhoods in order to make sure that our futures are amazing, even if our present situation is not right! Students who are trying to prepare for their future now are applying for jobs which they don’t have time for. This situation haunts millions of teenagers every day and they are just trying to save some money. Some students are expected to keep up a high grade point average while supporting their family financially. Going to college obviously requires a lot of money, and not all parents can easily afford sending their child to whatever college his/her heart desires. Students therefore need to help pitch in by getting a job and supporting their future career. That is, if they had time.

Studies show that more than two hours of homework is counterproductive to the education of highschoolers. Giving only two hours of homework is an attainable goal for teachers. Many teachers do not realize our workload is so bad, not considering that the other six classes in their day also assign plenty of homework. We’re already busy we don’t need the busywork. If only they could take into account that we take their instruction seriously and they can be just as effective without assigning an unreasonable amount of homework. Please remember that we are still children, we need to have a strong social and family life, and having so much busy work really affects how we interact with others. It can be very hard to make friends at this age for many teens, but consider having no time to make or keep those friends what then do you think happens to teenagers emotionally?

(Chart from Homework around the world: how much is too much?)
Several students suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and eating disorders. Many different studies show that about half of high school teens feel stressed about high school (These studies can be found in our works cited). It is suggested that high schoolers should have no more than 2 hours of homework daily, or else it will become counterproductive, but the average American teenager has 3.5. In comparison, adults do get frustrated when they are forced to do an excessive amount of overtime for any job how is this any different? If an adult had literally no time to be themselves don’t you think they would become stressed, burnt out, and upset? No wonder students are so negatively affected by high school’s unreasonable standards.

Many countries, in fact, do not emphasize the need for homework. Finland has even passed laws to ban homework in some areas. Now I know what you’re thinking: Don’t those kids in reaction to less homework have poorer knowledge and ability to take what they learn and apply it to new situations? Surprisingly, no. Because of more student teacher interactions in school, the kids require less take-home busywork. Teachers on the other hand are held higher expectations before they’re even allowed to become a teacher. They must have a master’s degree and be in the top 10% of their class. Class size in Finland is about 12 students per teacher, which makes for better one-on-one interaction time and personal help. Not only that, but most students actually prefer smaller class size.

The purpose of this project we have taken on is to bring light to a subject that a lot of teachers tend not to consider when assigning homework the students’ emotional well being. While you may think that we are all perfectly coping to these high levels of stress and higher expectations, you are completely wrong. We want a life! We are still kids, so while we may be mature and starting to make adult decisions like taking on more responsibility like jobs, we aren’t adults quite yet. You can’t expect us to take on so much work and not have negative effects on our mental and physical health. We just want you to hear us. We hope that this article can make a positive change for kids like us.

Works Cited:
CNN . Cable News Network. Web. 23 Apr. 2016.
"Education in Sweden." Sweden.se . 11 May 2015. Web. 23 Apr. 2016.
"A High School Student's Perspective on Homework." ASCD
Express 4.26 . Web. 23 Apr. 2016.
"School Stress Takes A Toll On Health, Teens And Parents Say." NPR . NPR. Web. 23 Apr.
"Teens Suffer from Chronic Stress Due to Homework, 2014 Stanford Study Finds The
Redwood Bark." The Redwood Bark . 02 Apr. 2014. Web. 23 Apr. 2016.
"Teens Suffer from Chronic Stress Due to Homework, 2014 Stanford Study Finds The
Redwood Bark." The Redwood Bark . 02 Apr. 2014. Web. 23 Apr. 2016.
"There Is No Homework In Finland." Content Marketing Blog . 04 Mar. 2013. Web. 23 Apr.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Jax's Lightspeed Reviews: 'The Reckoners Part 1: Steelheart' by Brandon Sanderson

Welcome to Jax's Lightspeed Reviews. These are just like any other of my regular reviews, though they're much quicker to read through and write - hence the title. The review is split up into 5 pieces: The story overview, the positive elements of the book, the negative elements of the book, a final verdict, and a recommendation level.

Today's book: 'The Reckoners Part 1: Steelheart' by Brandon Sanderson

I've seen Steelheart bleed, and I WILL see him bleed again.

The Story:
     Life is modern, and it's great. Of course, with any book that starts great, something bad will happen. America is struck by a natural disaster known as 'Calamity', which causes random people around the world to gain a variety of superpowers, thus turning those people into 'Epics'. Unlike your typical Marvel or DC story, though, these powers corrupt the souls of those who are blessed by them, and soon the Epics wreak havoc on the world, causing an apocalypse. The most high of all Epics is Steelheart, who rules Chicago (now called Newcago, for some reason) with an iron fist.
     For any story featuring villains, there needs to be a hero to combat such a being, and that character is David - haha, how ironic. As a young child, David's father was murdered by Steelheart, so he does the usual 'high-and-pompous' thing among heroes and vows revenge against Steelheart. As he grows up, David learns as much as he can about Epics and their weaknesses, hoping that he can one day get rid of Steelheart for good. Along the way, David meets up with The Reckoners, a group of rogues who fight Epics for a living. David joins up the Reckoners in an attempt finally kill Steelheart.

The Good:
     The Reckoners may be another Post-Apocalyptic book, but it is a good one indeed. The story is suspenseful from start to finish, with many plot twists within - and unlike last month's book, they're actually done very well. I obviously won't spoil them here, though. David isn't like other heroes in Apocalypse stories, where he tries to be this big darn hero: Instead, he has a very goofy personality that clashes well with the rest of his Reckoner partners. The other Reckoners also play well as 'mentor' figures to David, which leads to some strong character development on David's part.
     Steelheart is written from the narrative of David instead of the author, which seems to work best for this genre. When you here all the details from the characters themselves, you're given a better idea of exactly what's going on. I wish this style was used more frequently, though I guess I can't be one to judge because I haven't read too many Apocalypse-themed books. David also provides enough commentary to give you a perfect picture of what's happening in the story, but he leaves enough details out so you can interpret the story's tiniest details to how you see fit: Whether or not you think David is ruggedly-handsome is up to you.

The Bad:
     I mentioned earlier that David provides a realistic sense of humor to the story. Does it work throughout the entire story, though? Nope. One of David's many defining traits is that he can't come up with good metaphors. Trust me, it really isn't as hysterical as it sounds. In most cases, this is used as the defining 'awkward' trait for him, which gets tiring after the second or third time you read it. It's a little detail, but it can occur upwards to five times within a chapter.
     You know what else I don't like about this book? The beginning. The book starts with an incredibly satisfying Prologue - which I have to say might be one of the best ways to introduce any book (READ IT), - but once that passes, you're left with a couple filler chapters before the intensity starts up again. Again, I'm mentioning this as a warning rather than as an insult to the book.

     Steelheart does many things right that other Post-Apocalyptic stories have failed at: it takes the usual 'Super-powered Heroes VS Ingenious Villains' tale, swaps the roles around, and mixes in some other genres to boot. The tale is long, and has a couple speed bumps along the way where the story stops to relay useless backstories, but if you can tolerate a thick tale now and then, you'll find a lot to like with Steelheart and the rest of the 'Reckoners' franchise.

Recommendation: Above average (Read it as soon as you can!)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

March Cosplay Contest!

Our second annual Cosplay Contest was Saturday and we had some EXCELLENT entries this year:

They did a great job! And our two winners (Stephanie and Mariana) are going to C2E2!

A photo posted by @lcplibrary on

Monday, February 22, 2016

Jax's Lightspeed Review of 'Book Scavenger' by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Welcome to Jax's Lightspeed Reviews. These are just like any other of my regular reviews, though they're much quicker to read through and write - hence the title. The review is split up into 5 pieces: The story overview, the positive elements of the book, the negative elements of the book, a final verdict, and a recommendation level.

Today's book: 'Book Scavenger' by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

"Life is a game, and books are the tokens."

The Story:

Book Scavenger is split into 3 main plot pieces that work around each other. In this story, a fictional game exists called 'Book Scavenger', where patrons can hide books for others to find in the real world, then pinpoint their book's location using a clue system built into the 'Book Scavenger' website. The admin and leader of the Book Scavenger games, Mr Garrison Griswold, is often considered the self-proclaimed 'Willy Wonka' of the book industry. Griswold starts plans on a new sub-competition of the game, where players will have to track down one of many copies of 'The Gold-Bug' (which is a REAL book by Edgar Allen Poe), which contains clues to where a special prize is located in San Fransisco. However, Griswold is mugged by a group of thugs prior to the start of the competition, causing the new game to be postponed.
      ...then we get to the other main character of the story: Emily Crane, a passionate player of the Book Scavenger game. Emily's family has a dream to live in each state in the U.S. at least once for a full year, and their next stop is - coincidentally, - San Fransisco. Once Emily and her family arrives, she meets up with James, a puzzles enthusiast, and they find a mysterious Gold-covered version of 'The Gold-Bug'. Emily doesn't make much of it at first because nobody actually knows of Griswold's cancelled game, but once she finds out a secret lying within the book, she starts a quest to complete the game - with the help of James, of course.

The Good:

Book Scavenger is the best kind of Fiction because it's a completely plausible story. The whole tale is obviously made up, but because of how clever the Book Scavenger game within the story actually is, it could easily be played in real life. In fact, the official website for this story has a mini-'Book Scavenger' built into it that you can play right now! Check this link: http://bookscavenger.com/hide-find-books/   Sure, there aren't many books hidden around our Lake County area as of right now, but we could change that, couldn't we? I challenge all of you readers to hide at least 1 book within the next few weeks and record it on the website. Think you're up to the challenge?
      The primary genre of Book Scavenger, 'mystery', is implemented to perfection here. It's fun to keep up with all of the puzzles that Emily and James encounter on their quest to finish The Gold-Bug's hidden adventure, and it's not very hard, either. There were at least 2 or 3 times within the book where the main characters stumbled upon a new step they couldn't solve, even though I already had a hunch on how to solve it. I like this style of the 'mystery' genre better than the stereotypical 'Sherlock' kind of mystery because they feel interactive.

The Bad:

I didn't have any immediate distaste with Book Scavenger, but on the other hand, not too much about the story really struck me. In easier terms, I couldn't find any flaws in the book that detracted from the experience, but aside from the fun setting of the book and the mystery aspects, the writing itself is rather run-of-the-mill. Not much about the story stands out from other tales of this caliber.
      As a side note, there's a very weird mis-match of plot twists near the end of the book. I don't mind plot twists, but in this case, at least 3 twists occur within the same chapter. This kind of writing can throw you off, and it should especially be avoided during the climax of the story.


Book Scavenger is a simple story at face value, but the simplicity of the story helps contribute to how fun it is to read. Pick this one up if you can, and if you get a spare book and some time, try out the Book Scavenger game online! Or, perhaps you should wait for another month to do that, since it is still winter right now...

Recommendation Rating: Moderate (Read it if you can!)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ashley's Review of Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Do you like to reading fantasy books with a twist? Then you would like to read the book, Cinder. It is easy to like and easy to read. Reading also helps improve your learning skills. It is important to read and learn about books.

About The Author
Marissa Meyer is the author of The Lunar Chronicles. This series is a four book series with one novella. It is also a bestselling series. Before she became a author, she was a book editor. The other stories she wrote are short stories. She is 31 years old now. She is now writing a new book based on super heroes. Now that you know about the author, you should learn about the book.

About The Book
The first book in The Lunar Chronicles is Cinder. It is about a cyborg girl named Cinder. It takes place in a time that war may come. The setting is mostly in New Beijing. Humans, androids, and cyborgs all live together on Earth. Also, people with magical abilities live on the moon. They are called lunars. There is a lot of tension between the lunars and people on Earth, enough to cause a war. Now that you know about the book, you should know how much it has in common with its fairytale.

How Close The Story Cinder And Cinderella Are Related
Many books are based on something. In this case, the whole series it is based on fairy tales. In the book Cinder, she has two step sisters and a step mother. She had a nice step father who died. Also in the story, a ball is hosted. In all of the book in this series they each have something similar happen to them as it did in the fairytales.

About The Fairytale
In the fairytale Cinderella a girl named Cinderella’s mother dies. Her father then remarries. When Cinderella’s father dies her new stepmother and step sisters becomes very mean. They make her do all of their work and chores. Then she goes to a ball that she is forbidden to go to, with the help of a fairy god mother, and meets a prince. Then after the ball the goes back home leaving the prince behind the palace. Later on, the prince comes looking for her using the shoe she left behind. In the end, they get married and live happily ever after .

That was my book review on the book Cinder and the fairy tale that goes along with it.
Thank You
For Reading
This Review

Wikipedia.com, “Marissa Meyer”
Lcplin.org, “Cinder”
Comedyimprov.com, “Cinderella”

Google Images 

Want to read more about the world of the Lunar Chronicles? Check out Lily's review of the last book in the series: "Winter"