California Young Reader Medal Nominee Part III

I have been dragging my feet on writing a review about this book. I really wanted to love it. It is nominated for the California Young Reader Medal, it has great reviews, it is a New York Times bestseller, and the kids rave about it. It has everything going for it – adventure, suspense, a believable magical world, a plucky heroine and a determined hero. The author, Colin Meloy, is the lead singer and songwriter of the popular indie folk rock band The Decemberists, and the illustrator is the amazing Carson Ellis. I took the book home full of excitement and eagerness to start reading. And then I just couldn’t get into it. I am not a lover of fantastical worlds, and Wildwood is nothing if not fantastical. I did try. I made it halfway, and then had to skip to the last chapter, to read what turned out to be a rather satisfying ending.

Prue McKeel lives an ordinary life in Portland. Until the day her baby brother is kidnapped by a murder of crows and taken into the “Impassable Wilderness” – the impenetrable forest world called Wildwood on the outskirts of Portland. Prue and her friend Curtis set out to rescue her brother. On the way, they get separated and the book follows their stories alternating chapter by chapter. There are magical creatures, warring armies, dark magic, and a battle for the survival of Wildwood itself. 

The story does wrap up nicely with lots of room for a sequel. Actually, there has been not just one sequel, but two. Wildwood continues to entrance readers of all ages. I do encourage you to read this book. There is a reason it is so popular and is nominated for the California Young Reader Medal Award. It just didn’t resonate with me. So give it a go and let me know what you think.


Read to the Rhythm - Older Teen Music Themed Books

This year's "Read to the Rhythm" music themed summer reading program is nearly over. But the music themed fun doesn't have to end; this list of older teen music themed books will guarantee great reads all year long.


Yes, Please!

I have a new best friend.

Her name is Amy, and she’s smart, funny, warm, wise, honest, and so down-to-earth. She tells me stories from her life and makes me laugh, and think, and even cry a little.

I have a new best friend, and so can you.

You may already know my new best friend, Amy Poehler, from her years on Saturday Night Live, her classic “cool mom” from Mean Girls, playing Tina Fey’s unlikely Baby Mama, or as Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope, and of course as the voice of Joy in this summer's animated movie, Inside Out (read along storybook).
 Sure, you could read Yes, Please (eBook); I’m pretty sure it will still be funny. But why sit alone when you could enjoy this book as an audiobook (eAudio)? Poehler narrates, cracking herself up along the way, with guest appearances by Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even her parents. It’s the kind of audiobook that makes you look for excuses to sit in your car for just a few more minutes.

Make some more funny, new friends:


Read to the Rhythm - Music Themed Books for Younger Teens

With just under two weeks left of the Summer Reading Program, you still have time to sign-up for the program. Contact your local library to sign-up! Once you've signed up, you'll need some books to read. Earlier in the summer, we posted lists of primary, intermediate, and upper level children's books. We also posted a list of books of interest to adult readers. But what about teens! Here are our recommendations for some great music themed books that may interest younger teens.

The Musician's Daughter
Susanne Dunlap
In eighteenth-century Vienna, a young teen investigates a murder.

Rachel Hartman
Seraphina, an excellent young musician, hides her shocking true identity. The sequel to this book just came out, so be sure and read this book and pick up the next book!

Lemonade Mouth
Mark Peter Hughes
A group of high school students form a band.

My Year of Epic Rock
Andrea Pyros
A high school student with a severe peanut allergy changes her life when she forms a band called, The EpiPens.

Alecia Whitaker
This book describes the trials and tribulations of Bird Barrett, a young country music star.

Have you read any great books this summer? Leave us a comment and let us know what you read!


Read to the Rhythm - Music Themed Books for Adults!

With all the posts about music themed books for children, we were worried adults might start thinking, "What about me?" but don't worry we've got a great list just for you!
Many of the OC Public Libraries branches offer a Summer Reading Program for adults. Check with your local library and sign-up! To get you energized to start reading we have created a list of music themed or music inspired books for adults. Check one out today so that you too can start reading to the rhythm! 
A Song of the Lark
Willa Cather
The story of an opera singer from a small town, written by one of literature's greats.

Telegraph Avenue
Michael Chabon 

A great piece of fiction written by Pulitzer prize winning author Michael Chabon, set to a backdrop of music and pop-culture.

The Awakening
Kate Chopin
A classic story of self-actualization.

The Commitments
Roddy Doyle 

A group of Irish kids from working class backgrounds form a band.

A Visit From the Goon Squad
Jennifer Egan

A prize-winning tale of punk rock and redemption.

Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
Oscar Hijuelos
The musical story of the Castillo brothers.

High Fidelity
Nick Hornby
This highly funny story contains love and music and was turned into a fabulous film.

The Unconsoled
Kazuo Ishiguro

The haunting story of a renowned musician.
Phantom of the Opera
Gaston Leroux
The classic story of a man who uses music to win the love of a beautiful opera singer.

Toni Morrison
Rather than being about jazz music, the book embodies the jazz age and Harlem in the 1920s. This a lyrical and beautifully written book by another one of literature's greats.

Bel Canto
Ann Patchett 

A beautiful and literary book about a group of people at a party taken hostage by terrorists.

Accordion Crimes

Annie Proulx
A piece of fiction by an award-winning author that uses accordion music to link the past and present.

The Soloist
Mark Salzman

The story of a cellist whose life has taken an alarming turn.

Equal Music
Vikram Seth

The beautiful story of two musicians.

Do you have a favorite book written by or about a musician? Do you have a favorite book that was inspired by a musical great or by a type of music? Leave us a comment, we'd love to add it to our list!


Printz Award Honor Book

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

Emily Beam has been shipped off to boarding school in the middle of her junior year. Rumors abound as to why, but the truth is sadder and darker than any of the gossiping girls imagine.

Emily’s ex-boyfriend brought a gun to school and shot himself. Emily had just broken up with him the evening before. She was pregnant and wanted an abortion, but he wanted to keep the baby. In his despair, confusion, and anger, he put the gun in his backpack and lives were forever changed.

After his funeral and her abortion, Emily feels lost, alone, and terribly guilty. Her family puts her into boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, just streets away from where Emily Dickinson lived. Like her namesake, Emily works through her pain, guilt and grief through poetry. Her poems are sprinkled throughout the book, helping bring her past and inner turmoil to light.

This is a story of despair and hope, depicting the sorrow and healing process of those who are touched by the tragedy of a suicide. I pulled for Emily, felt pain for her situation and sadness at some of her decisions. I wanted to reach through the pages, yank the cigarette from her lips, dump her ever-present coffee down the sink, and make her see the value of her life and her poetry. And when she finally did find peace, I felt relief and happiness for this girl who had come to mean more to me than just a character in a book.

And We Stay is one of this year’s Michael L. Printz Honor Books for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. It is a poignant story that I would certainly recommend to a teen girl…or an adult woman.


Happy 4th of July!

All branches of OC Public Libraries will be closed on July 4, 2015
in observance of Independence Day.
But don't forget our eLibrary is always open!
You can download a book
and keep reading to the rhythm even when our branches are closed!