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Bibliographic Info:

Title:  The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries, Vol. 1)

Author: L. J. Smith

ISBN:  0061963860

Publisher: HarperTeen

Copyright date: 1991

Plot Summary

When high school senior Elena Gilbert meets Stefan Salvatore, she like all the other girls at school are intrigued by him and he ignores them all and goes to class and play football.  What everyone doesn’t know is that Stefan is a vampire, born during the Renaissance in Italy.  Elena pursues Stefan and is shocked that goes out of his way to avoid being near her.  As it turns out, Elena is the exact image of Katherine, Stefan’s first love and the vampire that turned him, and consequently he has a strong urge to feed from Elena.

Elena and her friend Caroline have a competitive friendship and when Caroline goes to the homecoming dance with Stefan, she hides her hurt by leaving the dance with two other boys and heads to the cemetery with them and another girls.  After a heavy amount of drinking one of the boys assaults Elena and Stefan comes out of nowhere and hits him until he stops fighting back.  Stefan takes Elena home when they notice the girl who was with them earlier wandering around in the road, saying she was attacked by something that wasn’t human.

Damon retreats from Elena as she continues to pursue him.  Meanwhile there have been a number of bloody deaths in their small town and people begin to put together that Stefan arrived not long before they began happening.  Elena confronts Stefan and he tells her the story of how he was turned, how he loved Katherine, but she also loved his brother, Damon; Stefan continues with the tale of his brother and their mutual dislike.  When Elena leaves, Stefan summons his brother who confesses to the local murders and then turns on Stefan when he refuses to give up Elena.

The next day Elena learns that Stefan has disappeared and she attempts to summon Damon.

Critical Evaluation

The Awakening isn’t the most complicated of books but it is a fast and addicting read.  The human characters are slightly spoiled and seem much less moral than the vampire, Stefan, but not as ruthless as his brother Damon.  The tone of the book is light and there are hints of foreshadowing, as every time there is a conflict with Stefan, the character seems to die soon after.

Reader’s Annotation

Elena is used to getting whatever boy she sets her eyes on, but Stefan is different and she can’t figure out why he goes out of his way to avoid her.

Who Should Read It

The Awakening is definitely a guilty pleasure read for those who enjoy a good supernatural story.

Why I Read It

This book was a recommendation from a teen at my local library.

Author Biography

L. J. Smith resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and is most well known for writing The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle book series which have both been turned into a CW television show.

Genre

*Young Adult Fiction

*Supernatural

*Vampires

Curriculum Ties

N/A

Booktalking Ideas

*Why do you think Damon kills anyone who goes up against Stefan if their not very close?

Reading Level/Interest Age

14+

Challenge Issues

*Supernatural

*Magic

*Drinking

*Sex

The Awakening

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Bibliographic Info:

Title: The Virgin Suicides

Author:  Jeffrey Eugenides

ISBN:  0374284385

Publisher: Picador

Copyright date: 1993

Plot Summary

The Lisbon family of Grosse Pointe, Michigan have five daughters aged 13 to 17, and when one summer the youngest of the girls, Cecilia, attempts suicide the families fate is altered.  Cecilia recovers but not long after during a party hosted by the Lisbon girls, she jumps out of a window from the second story and dies.

We are told about the Lisbon girls by an unknown narrator that could be one or all of the neighborhood boys, over whom the girls hold some kind of fascination over.  The 14-year-old daughter, Lux, begins dating one of the neighbor boys.  Lux misses a curfew one night because she was having sex and her parents close ranks and take the girls out of school, believing that their behavior is a reaction to their sisters’ suicide.  Though Lux continues to sneak out of the house every night to have sex with her boyfriend, her parents never know until she has a pregnancy scare.

As a result of Lux’s actions, Mr. Lisbon leaves his job to stay home with his daughters, as the neighborhood watches the family sink farther into themselves.  The Lisbon house begins to smell and falls into a state of disarray but none of the neighbors can bring themselves to talk to the Lisbon’s about it.

The girls are no longer allowed to socialize so they begin call the neighborhood boys on the phone to play records back and forth.  One night the communication stops and the boys are desperate for word of the girls.  Three days later Lux calls and invites the boys over.  As they sneak over after midnight the house is quiet and dark.  Lux tells the boys to wait in the living room for her sisters while she waits in the car. After awhile the boys realized there are no more sounds, the walk through the house and find Bonnie, the middle child hanging, Therese, the oldest of the Lisbon girls had overdosed of pills, and Lux sat in the car and died of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Only Mary, the second oldest survived her attempt to put her head in the oven, but only for a month, after which she took a handful of sleeping pills.

Mr. and Mrs. Lisbon sell their house and move away, leaving all their possessions behind.  The narrators then go through the Lisbon’s trash to see if they can find anything to suggest why the girls killed themselves.

Critical Evaluation

The plot of The Virgin Suicides though dark is very clear, and I found it interesting that Eugenides used the neighbor boys on the outside of the Lisbon household to tell the story of what was going on within in.  The tone of the book wasn’t overly melancholy which I had assumed it would be, which helped with the subject matter.

The impact that the Lisbon girls had on the boys is what I found to be most intriguing.  The group of boys kept in touch with each other throughout adulthood, still discussing the girls and always looking for new “evidence” to help them understand why the girls committed suicide.

Reader’s Annotation

The Lisbon girls fascinate the boys in the neighborhood and when the youngest of them commits suicide, the family closes ranks, only increasing the affection of the boys.

Who Should Read It

The Virgin Suicides should be read by people with an open mind, the subject matter can be a bit disturbing but the frank language keeps it from going into depression mode.

Why I Read It

I saw the movie The Virgin Suicides as a teenager and have always wanted to read the book.  The Lisbon girls intrigued me and I wanted to get a better idea of who Eugenides wanted them to be.

Author Biography

Jeffrey Eugenides is an American writer whose debut novel was The Virgin Suicides in 1993, though he has since published the Pulitzer Prize winning Middlesex in 2002, and then The Marriage Plot in 2011.  During his time between his first two novels, Eugenides published short stories in The New Yorker.  The Virgin Suicides was turned into a movie in 1999, directed by Sofia Coppola.

Genre

*Crossover Fiction

Curriculum Ties

N/A

Booktalking Ideas

*Why do you think the boys still searched for evidence of the Lisbon girls even when they were grown men?

Reading Level/Interest Age

16+

Challenge Issues

*Suicide

*Sex

The Virgin Suicides

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Bibliographic Info:

Title:  Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Author:  Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters

ISBN: 9781594744426

Publisher: Quirk Books

Copyright date: 2009

Plot Summary

The plot of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters deals with the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, their mother a new widow, and their younger sister Margaret.  The book is set in the Regency Era of England after “The Alteration” happens which somehow turned all the sea creatures against the human race as well as creating a number of monsters from the sea.

When the Dashwood’s father dies after being attacked by a hammerhead shark, their house is left to their half-brother from his father’s first marriage and they must find another place to live.  Mrs. Dashwood then receives word from a distant cousin, Sir John Middleton, that he has a cottage available for her family, but it is on an archipelago where there is a large number of sea monsters.  The Dashwood’s have no choice but to accepts and the ladies move into Barton Cottage where they are welcomed into the home of the Middleton’s and are introduced to a close family friend, Col. Brandon who has the tentacles of a squid growing out of the bottom half of his face.

As the elder Dashwood sisters meet and fall in love with two men, they are left defending themselves against the violent sea creatures with both men disappointing the girls.  When an invitation to Sub-Marine Station Beta is offered the girls use it as an excuse to clear their minds, but it is there that both Elinor and Marianne find out that their former attachments are both engaged.  Meanwhile, a school of swordfish, a narwhal, and a number of other sea creatures begin to tap at the glass dome of Sub-Marine Station Beta and the glass begins to crack, causing an emergency evacuation.

The onslaught of sea creatures continues and the Dashwood’s are saved by Col. Brancdon who Marianne begins to see for the good man that he is.  Elinor’s previous hopes of marrying her love are ignited when she discovers that he, Edward Ferrars, has broken his engagement and loves her still.  The two couples are married and live happily ever after, except for the frequent attacks of sea monsters of course.

Critical Evaluation

Unlike Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters doesn’t seem to blend together as nicely and the setting of submarine stations in Regency England is not as believable when they are still taking horse and buggy’s from house to house.

Though the plot was silly enough to keep me entertained, I found that I had too many questions to fully keep my attention.

Reader’s Annotation

What happens when the creatures of the sea turn against the human race?  And can you truly love a man who is part squid?   These questions and more are answered by Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.

Who Should Read It

Fans of Jane Austen should read it because the gist of the story of Pride and Prejudice is still there, and fans of zombie lore should read it because it could be a good introduction to a classic author.

Why I Read It

Being an avid fan of Jane Austen I was interested in how Seth Grahame-Smith brought zombies into such a classic book.

Author Biography

Jane Austen is the English novelist whose novels on social commentary and independent female characters has kept her in the hearts of many for over two hundred years.  Her most popular novels are Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma.

 

Ben H. Winters is an American novelist most well known for his mash-up novels Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Android Karenina.  He also writes young adult fiction, horror, and mystery novels and was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for an Edgar Award in 2011.

Genre

*Classics

*Science Fiction

*Supernatural

*Mash-up

Curriculum Ties

N/A

Booktalking Ideas

*Do the sea creatures in the story distract from the plot or is it a seamless inclusion?

Reading Level/Interest Age

14+

Challenge Issues

N/A

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

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Database

Title:  Proquest

Who Uses Them:  High school students and up

Website: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/

Why Subscribe

ProQuest is a company that publishes electronic texts and microfilms and provides the database for subriscribers to search through.  Its texts include, but are not limited to periodicals, dissertations, and newspapers.  With so much information being published purely digitally, this is a database that is a must have for most libraries and universities.

ProQuest

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Database

Title:  Oxford Reference

Who Uses Them:  High school students and up

Website: http://www.oxfordreference.com

Why Subscribe

The Oxford Reference database has over two million entries and over 125 different subjects. The Oxford Reference Database is attached to the Oxford Publishing house, one of the largest and most trusted houses.  The database itself is easy to use and is a cross-searchable resource.

Oxford Reference

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Database

Title:  EBSCOhost

Who Uses Them:  High school students and up

Website: http://www.ebscohost.com

Why Subscribe

EBSCOhost is one of the most used databases for research used by students.  As most schools and universities have subscriptions to the database, it should be important for a library to also maintain the same level of access for students if we hope to have them use the services we provide.

EBSCOhost

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Bibliographic Info:

Title:  Sports Illustrated

Published: 56 issues per year

Critical Evaluation

Sports Illustrated is a must read for die hard sports fans.  Covering not only professional sports such as baseball, football, hockey, and basketball, Sports Illustrated also follows college sports as well.  Many articles discusses issues of sportsmanship, rule changing, challenges to the sporting world, and they highlight young athletes as well.

Sports Illustrated