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October 21, 2017

Scrawl: Rockland Teens Write 2018


The Teen Librarian Division of the Library Association of Rockland County is proud to announce that they will be publishing their third collection of fiction, non-fiction and poetry written by teens in Rockland County. Submissions are open to anyone in grades 6-12 that lives in Rockland County. Submissions may be no longer than 2500 words in length.  Graphic novel pieces may be no longer than 5 pages. This will be a juried publication featuring published guest editors! The book launch will be at a Rockland County Library (tba) in May 2018.

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, January 16, 2018. Please submit entries to

Girls Like Us

October 14, 2017

I have never read a book that is told from the point of view of a mentally disable person and I think that this book is a good introduction to the idea: Girls Like Us by Gail Giles about Quincy and Biddy who are both graduates of their high school’s special ed program.

They coindexuldn’t be more different: suspicious Quincy faces the world with her fists up, while gentle Biddy is frightened to step outside her front door. When they’re thrown together as roommates in their first “real world” apartment, it initially seems to be an uneasy fit. But as Biddy’s past resurfaces and Quincy faces a harrowing experience that no one should have to go through alone, the two of them realize that they might have more in common than they thought — and more important, that they might be able to help each other move forward.


A moving and thoughtful book. The perspectives of Quincy and Biddy bring to light the prejudices that exist towards those that are different and the dangers that come with being vulnerable. Just a warning – there are some intense and mature situations in this novel.

The Wrath and the Dawn Series

October 11, 2017

The Wrath and the Dawn and its sequel The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh were two very popular, and very entertaining fantasy novels that I recently read and will review. However, I must take issue with a major part in the book which I will do at the end:

The series begins in a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.



Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?


This book has romance and adventure and lots of beautiful scenery but here is what the book also has, but refuses to mention: rape. Shahrzad, at the beginning of her deception to the King, still follows through with her “wifely duties” and consummates the marriage. She does not want to do it. This is never mentioned again. I take issue with books, especially Young Adult books, which portray sexual relationships in this way and portray a skewed view of consent, love, and sex. So beware: although this book is filled with fantasy and delight, more seasoned readers may be disturbed.

When Dimple Met Rishi

October 1, 2017

OKAY, let me start off by saying that this book (When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon) is very *cute* and overall very good and entertaining. It has romance, it has humor, it has like-able characters, and it has a great premise.

Dimple is a teenage geek-girl who loves to code and wants to become a web/app developer. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right? Sort of. They actually send her to camp to meet their ideal-husband candidate Rishi, who is a hopeless romantic and actually wants to go along with his parents’ wishes. Of course when Dimple discovers this plan she promptly throws coffee at poor Rishi and berates him. Except then….she doesn’t. She finds that she likes Rishi and decides to at least be his friend for the duration of camp.

I don’t want to give too much more of the plot away, but I will tell you the downsides to this novel:

  1. Dimple starts off as this bad-a**, independent, and free-thinking indexintelligent girl. But she pretty much gives this up right away. Why?
  2. She is so mean to Rishi….why?
  3. The book glosses over the “Coding Camp” part. Coding is Dimple’s passion and the camp is the setting for the entire book. Yet, as far as actual “code-speak” goes…there is none. The author completely skips her actually doing her supposed obsession in favor of drama with her fellow snobby camp-mates. This would have been a chance for girls who actually code to geek out and read about their hobby.

Despite these things, this book is very charming. The multicultural angle is different (although also underutilized) and refreshing. If you’re looking for something that isn’t too deep, then this is a good book for you.


September 28, 2017

Wonderstruck the popular Middle-Grade fiction book by Brian Selznick (Ben and Rose secretly wish for better lives. Ben longs for his unknown father. Rose scrapbooks a famous silent actress. When Ben finds clues and Rose reads enticing news, the children independently run to New York for what they are missing. Ben’s story in words, Rose’s in pictures, come together in deafness.) has been made into a film! If you have not read the book then its movie trailer will certainly intrigue you. The film is in theaters on October 20th!

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