Friday, January 11, 2013

GreenBeanTeenQueen: Read Just One Day in a One Day Marathon

GreenBeanTeenQueen: Read Just One Day in a One Day Marathon: Penguin Teen has an awesome new promotion for Gayle Forman's latest book, Just One Day . Starting on Friday, January 11, you can read...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Department 19 Series by Will HIll

To get started on this series, check out the books below. (And stay tuned.)

Book 1 - Department 19
Book 2 - The Rising

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Secret Lives Of: Fanfiction 101

A New Take On It: Fanfiction

For children and teens, interest in a TV show or a video game usually denotes a limited reading resource. Sometimes the same holds true for a book series - hype may interest someone into reading one series, but that interest may not carry over into branching out to read other books. Fanfiction creates a bridge between the non-literary and an impossibly vast world of literature.
While “fanfiction” may not be considered by all to be literature, it is words on a page - words that may be more interesting to a reluctant reader than a published writing. Fanfiction brings     characters to life in a whole new way that is more understandable to struggling readers because they might have been written by that reader’s peers.
Fanfiction not only encourages reading, but it can inspire writing as well. Fans of a series will often want to know more about characters and events - and fanfiction gives them a chance to decide what that “more” is for themselves.
What IS Fanfiction?
Fanfiction refers to writing created by fans of a particular series. They can be short drabbles or epic-length, and now they can be found mostly online and for free. Fanfictions encompass a range of topics: They can be written about books, comics, TV shows, video games, real life, and more.

Fanfiction encourages developing both reading and writing skills and is a great way to introduce reluctant readers to enhanced language arts skills.

Essential Skills

Advanced Writing Skills: Anyone can write fanfiction. Many aspiring writers in their teens and early 20s began their interest in writing by dabbling in extending their favorite stories when they were much younger. They are given characters and settings they already love, which makes it easier to jump into writing. They are given building blocks that they can take and use to learn good characterization, plotting, pacing, and other skills.

Writing fiction encourages a larger vocabulary and more complex syntax. Students learn to use active voice over passive voice, how to use grammar in tricky situations, and how to vary paragraph and sentence lengths, all of which pay off in writing nonfiction such as essays and papers for school. As with reading interest mentioned earlier, practice makes perfect, and the more a child writes, the better his or her writing over all becomes.
Taking Critique:  Writing any work means someone is likely to read that work. Fans can be tough critics - but they are often friendly toward fellow fans. Because of that, praise is given as often as critique, making the critique easier to swallow. Learning to take critique in this way shows that it is necessary for growth and makes it much easier to hear - even desirable as writers strive to flourish and become better at their craft. It also makes it a little easier to see red marks on school work and want to fix those mistakes as well.
Reading Interest: If it exists, there is fanfiction of it; that is an unwritten rule of the internet. Because of that, if a reluctant reader shows interest in a series, be it book, TV, or otherwise, further reading can be encouraged through sites like These sites often have a rating system so parents can find suitable reading material. Since they build on material the reader has been shown to enjoy, it is easier to entice him or her into reading. Practice makes perfect, and reading more makes reading easier and, hopefully, more desirable.
Community Discussion: There are large communities for fanfiction writing, like and These communities offer messaging between users, forums that encourage sharing ideas about writing and fandoms, and comment sections where readers can communicate with their favorite writers. All of the above can help young people learn to communicate on a large scale and individually in a respectful way. They also provide encouragement for writers - fans give a great moral boost when they ask for more writing from an author, giving even more incentives to write.
Interested in More?
A New Take On It: This is a series of brochures, with at least one issue found on the desk outside of the Teen Room, and other issues available upon request (there are currently three issues, covering Tabletop RPGs, Graphic Novels, and Fanfiction). They are designed to show the benefits socially, academically, and personally of areas that might not seem to have a true educational bend to them.
Fanfiction Workshops: The Palm Harbor Library will be offering Fanfiction workshops, exercises, discussions, contests, and more through the website Figment. We are running a private group called The Secret Lives Of, in which we will promote reading, writing, and sharing. You can find it here: The group officially opens on January 1 with shared books, discussions, and a contest! Please feel free to sign up today and get ready to start the new year off with a bit of magic and wonder.

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's a Mystery!

Far from extinction, the mystery genre is as fresh as ever. In today's mysteries, however, you're likely to find a mash-up of genres. Some established writers of adult mysteries are taking a stab at the young adult market, and there are always mysteries published for adults that have plenty of appeal for teens. Here's a rundown of some 2012 titles:

Young Adult Audience

The Edge of Nowhere
by Elizabeth George
Elizabeth George has been writing mysteries for an adult audience since A Great Deliverance was published in 1988. She's well known for her Inspector Lynley mystery series, which has been made into a BBC television series. In her first book for teen readers, we meet Becca, a young woman who is able to hear the thoughts of others. This is a double-edged gift, as Becca learns after hearing some frightening thoughts from her stepfather. Becca is forced to flee, intending to leave their island home with her mother. But things work out quite differently.

Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator
by Josh Berk
Guy has two reasons for joining the forensics club at his school: To meet girls, and to help him deal with the recent death of his father. Guy is used to being the class clown (so expect plenty of hilarity in this one,) but when one of the students is murdered, it stops being funny. As a matter of fact, the murdered student could be Guy's dopplelganger, which means that Guy could have been the actual target.

Cat Girl's Day Off
by Kimberly Pauley
Nat's family is gifted - seriously gifted. Her older sister can levitate, divine the truth and see through walls, while her younger sister is a super genious who can blend into the background like a chameleon. Nat also has a gift. She can talk to cats. And that's it. In her family, that's embarrassingly unimpressive. But Nat's day comes when the cat of a celebrity blogger calls out for help.

Mister Death's Blue Eyed Girls
by Mary Downing Hahn
Surely you remember reading ghost stories written by the prolific Mary Downing Hahn. In this book she returns to a memory from her own childhood, when two girls were brutally murdered. Hahn brings back the 1955 setting and recalls the terrible tension in her town. But in this telling, friends Nora and Ellie are determined to solve the murder, but at what cost?

I Hunt Killers
by Barry Lyga
You might expect that the son of a serial killer would inherit some bad seed tendencies, but it's far from the truth about Jazz. Jazz finds the crimes abhorrant, and yet, he is the one people turn to when it seems his father has killed again. This leaves Jazz with two options: Suffer the blame that spills from his father's crimes, or solve the murder on his own.

The Butterfly Clues
by Kate Ellison
Penelope - or Lo, as she calls herself - is tormented by her obsessive-compulsive rituals, which have grown worse since the death of her brother. She begins roaming the seediest Cleveland neighborhoods at night. One night, Lo is almost hit by a stray bullet. Then she discovers that a girl was murdered that night, and soon Lo finds that she must find the murderer.

Adult Audience

An Appetite for Murder
by Lucy Burdette
Haley's boyfriend, Chad, lured her to follow him to the warmth of Key West. There could be a job for Haley as a restaurant critic, if Haley can make the make the right connection. When the connection turns up dead, Haley becomes the main suspect.

The Gods of Gotham
by Lyndsay Faye
Timothy Wilde lives and works in Manhattan. He plans to marry the girl of his dreams, Mercy. All of this is cruelly taken away when a fire sweeps through, destroying Timothy's home, work, and face. Desolate, Timothy accepts a job as a police officer from his estranged cousin, Valentine. Timothy's life tilts into dangerous territory as he faces a serial killer who has murdered 19 children.

The Girl Next Door
by Brad Parks
Newspaperman Carter Ross is skimming through the obituaries when he recognized the name of a newspaper carrier for his own paper, Nancy Marino. It's described as a hit-and-run, but Ross decides to investigate further. This novel is described as,"...funny, fresh, and informative about the state of newspapers across the United States."

Have you read a good mystery this year? Tell us about it in the comments!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Sometimes our "new" books are the next volume in a series. It seems the trend these days to publish  books that are either the first in a new series, or part of an already ongoing series. This can get tricky for libraries to keep up. Our members help us by requesting the books in their favorite series. But generally we select the ones that are getting a lot of press and hope that those are the ones you are following!

Passenger by Andrew Smith
This is the sequel to Smith's popular novel, The Marbury Lens. Not a gentle story, Jack and his friends try to break the lens that took them to an alternate world. Read it if you dare.

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia
The Castor Chronicles continue in this third installment. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand and control the impact of Lena's claiming, which is even causing her family members' abilities to dangerously misfire. Fans won't need to wait long for Book 4, Beautiful Redemption, which has already arrived on the library's shelves.
Free-Fire Zone by Chris Lynch
Lynch's Vietnam series is a bit slow to pick up readers, but they are fast-moving, action-packed war stories. This is the third installment. In this one, Rudi is a newly drafted United States Marine in Vietnam, and he likes being part of a squad--but the way some of his fellow soldiers behave toward their officers, the Vietnamese, and the war itself, is starting to trouble him. 
Reached by Allyson Braithwaite Condie
Another Book 3, this one in the uber-popular Matched series. In search of a better life, Cassia joins a widespread rebellion against Society, where she is tasked with finding a cure to the threat of survival and must choose between Xander and Ky.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Figment - Write Yourself In

Social media has become the way to share ideas. Facebook keeps us in touch with the daily lives of our friends, Pinterest gives us a place to collect bookmarks in a fun new way, Tumblr shows off all the great things we find the moment we find them - no more forgetting to share a picture later!

Social media websites to share writing have existed, but never in so bright and fun a way as currently offers. In the past websites, like sister sites and, have provided a place for anyone to share what they have written in a very efficient manner, but websites that provided a place to share and a cozy and fun atmosphere have been lacking., however, is changing that, one young writer at a time. looks like how one might imagine a teen-based coffee lounge would appear. Many writers on the site are tweens, teens, and young adults, and reading works by your peers and sharing your own work with your peers seems to have made a boom in the writing world.

Encouraging writing in any form - be it nonfictional essays for school or fantastical fiction on the side - improves language skills at any age, and Figment definitely knows how to make it fun. Add to that their daily offerings of inspiration and idea springboards and a multitude of writing contests, and there's little that Figment can't do to encourage people of all ages to write every day.

There's a Samma Lynne on! I'll slowly be sharing writing from all stages of my writing career under that username, if you would like to explore my little worlds, or share with me any of your own stories!