by Howard Shirley, Teen Department
It’s Teen Tech Week, and to celebrate we consulted a panel of teen readers about their favorite techy stories, featuring fantastic technology they wish was real, and creepy technology they’d rather never see. And then we rounded out the whole thing by selecting a few books we love featuring tech both real and imaginary—as well as tech you may someday create yourself!
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Ender’s Game begins after humanity has barely survived a genocidal war against technically advanced alien invaders, and Earth fears that race’s eventual return. The last invasion was defeated almost solely by the action of one heroic military officer, and the leaders of Earth are desperate to create soldiers who can mimic that hero’s instinctive skill. Potential candidates are selected as children and trained in an orbiting military academy, featuring a recreational battle game, sort of a cross between laser tag and Red Rover, played in zero-gravity inside a huge sphere. The eventual victors of this tournament, led by the novel’s young hero, Ender, also train in a complex computer simulator, learning to command the space fleet that must confront and destroy the enemy—with unexpected results. Our panel of teens loved the idea of the battle game in its weightless environment, as well as the computer simulator.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
For creepy tech, our teens brought up the Divergent series and the technology used in the novels to identify and control the members of a dystopian future society. At sixteen, everyone is divided by law into five distinct factions, ostensibly chosen by the individual. The choice, however, is influenced by a complex personality test run in a virtual reality environment, which uses the individual’s personal fears to direct that choice. Secretly, one of the factions develops a serum that allows them to use the VR tech to control the minds of others and launch a bloody coup. “Divergent” refers to those who can’t be easily regimented by the VR test and who can recognize the VR world as not being actual reality, thus becoming immune to the effects of the mind-control. Everyone agreed that this sort of technology was one they’d never want to see come into reality.
Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama
This popular manga (Japanese comic book series), features another dystopian setting, where humanity has been reduced to a tiny population living in an immense walled city to protect itself from roving, gigantic “Titans” whose only apparent desire is to eat humans. The warriors assigned to defend humanity are equipped with “vertical mobility devices,” which are arrow-tipped grappling hooks fired by gas canisters. The cables allow the warriors to swing through city, forests, and even from the Titans themselves, “just like Spiderman” as our teen panel put it. The soldiers also use flexible swords which are the only weapons capable of killing the monstrous Titans. The blades, however, are destroyed when they strike a Titan, and the hilts must be reloaded from a supply cartridge worn like a scabbard at the warrior’s waist. Our teen panel loved the idea of being able to swing through the air with the grappling-hook harnesses, and who doesn’t love a techy sword?
Our teen panel then rounded out the discussion with recommendations for books and videos featuring Doctor Who—because TIME TRAVEL! (Which is hard to beat as tech goes.)
Our Honorary Best Book for Teen Tech Week:
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer by Sydney Padua
Part part non-fiction, part fiction, this highly amusing and intelligent graphic novel tells the adventures of (the real) Lady Ada Lovelace and (the also real) Charles Babbage in an “alternate pocket universe;” the alternate part being that the two actually build the invention they collaborated on in real life—the fabulous Analytical Engine, a steam-powered Victorian-era computer! If you’ve ever wondered what the Steampunk phenomena is all about, these two historical persons are at the heart of it. (As one of the book’s characters quips about the pair, “Oh look, we’re present for the invention of the geek.”) The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage mixes silly adventures and fabulous Victorian engineering with real history about the development of computing, programming languages, and a dash of women’s rights, all nearly a century before anyone made the first computer chip. If you love steampunk, history, computers or just laughing out loud about any of them, there’s no better book to grab for Teen Tech Week.
Other Teen Tech books in our collection include:
Time Travel Tech (because Doctor Who!)
- Loop by Karen Akins
- Hourglass series by Myra McEntire
- The Time Machine by HG Wells (the father of them all)
- Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz
- Gallagher Academy series by Ally Carter
- The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp Series by Rick Yancey
- Feed by MT Anderson
- The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyers
- Blue Screen by Dan Wells
- Avalon Duology by Mindee Abnett
- Dove Arising by Karen Bao
- The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
- Existence by David Brin
- Illuminae Series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
- Dragonback Series by Timothy Zahn
- Maximum Ride Series by James Patterson—teens bio-engineered with angel’s wings, pursued by teens bio-engineered as wolves.
Tech That Never Was (But Should Have Been) Tech
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
- Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel
- Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld—featuring steam-powered walking tanks and bio-engineered flying whales!!!
Almost There Tech
- Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld—featuring a hoverboard that floats over metal rails, or water with a strong iron content. Real efforts to create hoverboards have in fact produced two workable versions- one that operates only above a metal surface, and another that operates (using superconductors) over a magnetic surface. Aside from the lack of any ability to float over water, this tech really does exist.
- Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams—the tech is as silly (and impossible) as the novel, but who wouldn’t love to own the spacecraft Heart of Gold?
Actual You Can Do This Tech
Technology just isn’t something in books or something made by other people. If you love tech, why not make it your career? Check out these non-fiction books to kickstart your quest!
- Careers for Tech Girls in Engineering by Marcia Amidon Lusted YA 620.0023 LUS
- Preparing for Tomorrow’s Careers Series:
- Powering Up a Career in Robotics by Peter K. Robin YA 629.892 RYA
- Powering Up a Career in Software Development and Programming by Daniel E. Harmon YA 005.12023 HAR
- Powering Up a Career in Nanotechnology by Kristi Lew YA620.5023 LEW
By Erin Holt, Teen Department
It’s officially Teen Tech Week ! Libraries around the country are celebrating in many different ways, combining crafts, technology, and more! Here at WCPLtn, we celebrated by hosting our final Lego Mindstorms Club meeting, playing the Wii U, and even putting technology to the side one afternoon by playing various board games!
Our Teens did a great job under the guidance of Middle Tennessee State Community College professor Alan Fisher. They started out learning the various parts of the Lego Mindstorm, moved to building their own robot, and finally learned the intricacies of programming the robot! By the end they had their robots sensing colors, objects, and even doing dances to various pop songs! Everyone had a blast and some even used the sessions to aid in earning their merit badge for boy scouts!
If you’re interested in attending an upcoming Lego Mindstorms program, follow us on Twitter @wcplteen14 and keep your eye on our website http://www.wcpltn.org where we’ll post slides to let you know when registration opens for the April session!
What did you do to celebrate Teen Tech Week?
By Erin Holt, Teen Librarian
So many teens come in saying they have read The Hunger Games and Divergent and want MORE just like it! Check out this awesome list of titles and check our shelves or talk to our Teen Staff!
If you want another book about the little people sticking it to “the man”:
- The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley–The origins of Robin Hood explained with a girl-in-disguise among the Merry Men, longbows, and an insane fight to the death with Guy of Gisbourne. (Shelved in Adult Fiction. Very YA friendly.)
- The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner–There is no better questioner of authority than Eugenides. Much like Haymitch he is always at least three moves ahead of his opponents.
- In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez–A fictionalized story of real sisters who worked in the Dominican Republic opposing Trujillio’s dictatorship as the Butterflies much in the same way Panem comes to rally around the Mockingjay. (Shelved in Adult Fiction.)
- Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys–In 1939 Lina and her family are forcibly taken from their Lithuanian homes and moved to Siberia by invading Russian forces in this quiet tale of resilience and resistance.
If you could care less about Peeta/Gale (but, seriously, Team Peeta!) and want more heroines as awesomely tough as Katniss:
- Uglies by Scott Westerfeld–Minus the Twilight Zone references to perception and beauty, this book basically IS The Hunger Games. If you like one series you’re basically required to like the other.
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore–Katsa’s name sounds a lot like Katniss. She is also a lethal, killing machine ready to do more than her share of the rescuing in this fantasy adventure.
- Plain Kate by Erin Bow–For Kate, being a skilled wood carver is dangerous business as she must survive accusations of witchcraft and the loss of her own shadow in this grim tale. (eAudio file only)
- The Bride’s Farewell by Meg Rosoff–Pell running away from her wedding in 1850s England takes as much strength as it does to survive the Hunger Games. Don’t let the genre shift fool you. Pell is tough as nails. (Shelved in Adult.)
- Bonus: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman–Half-human, half-dragon, Seraphina is a talented musician and possibly her kingdom’s only chance to divert an all-out war with the neighboring dragons.
If you like action, action, and action with more action thrown in:
- Legend by Marie Lu–This is my #1 read-alike pick for The Hunger Games. Action, violence, revolution. And it’s a dystopian set on the ruins of the United States of America to boot. (Leiper’s Fork, Nolensville, but not us.)
- Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber–Perry knows taking his family’s dowdy exchange student, Gobi, to her first dance is going to be a drag. He doesn’t realize that will largely be due to all of the people Gobi plans to assassinate before the night is over.
- Bonus: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow–Set in post-9/11 San Francisco, Marcus is on a quest to hack his city from the sinister clutches of a Homeland Security.
If you like stories about ruthless characters learning how to be “real” humans and engage with the world:
- Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi–Nailer eeks out a living tearing down ships for scavenge. When he finds a clipper ship–and its owner–Nailer has to decide if he wants to claim the scavenge of a lifetime. Or do the right thing.
- The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan–Nick and Alan have always been on the run from magicians. Nick has never liked anyone. A final confrontation with one of the fiercest magicians in England might explain why both of those things are true. (eAudio only)
- Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers–Ismae could have died when her mother tried to abort her pregnancy. Instead she was marked by Mortmain and now she serves him as an assassin nun in 1485 Brittany. (College Grove. We do have eBook and eAudio)
- Bonus: All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin–Paper is scarce. Coffee and chocolate are illegal. It’s a bad time to be a mafiya princess and heir to a chocolate empire in 2085 New York. It’s an even worse time to consider dating the new District Attorney’s son.
If you want more crazy competitions:
- Divergent by Veronica Roth–Being marked as divergent means Tris can choose to join any faction. Choosing Dauntless means embarking on a grueling, harrowing initiation process that she might not survive.
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas–After a year of hard labor, assassin Celaena Sardothien has a chance to reclaim her freedom. All she has to do is win a competition against other cutthroats and killers to become the champion of the king who first arrested her.
- A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix–Khemri is a Prince–faster, stronger, smarter. But is he fast, strong and smart enough to survive against the thousands of other Princes all intent on becoming Emperor of the galaxy? (eBook and eAudio)
- The Selection by Kiera Cass–America Singer is one of the Selected, a lucky girl with a chance to compete for the prince’s affections in this cross between The Hunger Games and The Bachelor.
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Sean is a boy with everything to lose in this year’s Scorpio Race while Puck is a girl with everything to gain. But in a deadly race with lethal water horses there can only be one winner.
- Bonus: Princess Academy by Shannon Hale–One of the girls from Miri’s village is going to become a princess. But before that can happen all of the girls will need to learn what being a princess really takes.
If you’re in it for the dystopian or post-apocalyptic vibe:
- Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry–A zombie apocalypse with a wild west sensibility and some very gruesome trading cards.
- Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi–A dystopian that’s part X-Men, part jailbreak, all action.
- The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch–Two-thirds of the population are dead from a vicious influenza strain. People called it the eleventh plague. (Shelved in Adult. eAdio also).
- This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers–Zombies are here and, frankly, Sloane is ready to let them eat her. Unfortunately the students trapped with her in the local high school want to live. (eAudio only)
- Bonus: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund–Post-apocalyptic retelling of Persuasion. You know you want to.
If you want epic world building:
- Incarceron by Catherine Fisher–Finn knows he belongs Outside Incarceron. But in a prison so vast that nothing ever enters or leaves, how can one inmate ever find his way out?
- Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson–Long before Wendy came to Neverland, a fairy and a girl with feathers in her hair had their own stories to tell. (eBook only)
- The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud–In a world where London is ruled by magicians with demons doing their bidding, a djinni and a young magician strike an uneasy detente to see if both of them can survive the machinations they have set in motion.
- The Blue Girl by Charles de Lint–Imogen would never want to be normal. Even if that means she has to deal with a lonely ghost, dangerous angels, and an imaginary friend who just might be real.
- Bonus: Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox–An alternate history/fantasy set in 1906 New Zealand where dreams are tangible things that can be scavenged and put on view and nightmares are very, very dangerous thing.
If you want an impossible romantic relationship:
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer–A sci-fi retelling of Cinderella with aliens, cyborgs, plagues and a whole lot of trouble.
- Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel–Steampunk zombie romance with a post-apocalyptic setting and the ultimate star-crossed pair. (eBook and eAudio only)
- City of Bones by Cassandra Clare–Clary can see parts of a hidden world. But when she starts looking into that world, it looks back.
- Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl–There was a curse. There was a girl. And in the end, there was a grave.
- Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan–Friends don’t let friends date vampires. Too bad Mel’s best friend just fell in love with one.
This post was written by Emma Carbone for her blog. An updated version can be found on her blog, Miss Print.
By Erin Holt, Teen Librarian
There’ve been so many times that our Teen staff have been asked for “safe” romance novels for their teens, starting at the age of 12. So we decided to create this awesome list of safe teen romance titles. Check it out!
The Summer I Turned Pretty, It’s Not Summer Without You, We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han – Follow Belly on her journey over several summers, including a best friend, two love interests, and a love triangle
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith – When four minutes changed everything in 24 hours.
The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg – What happens when Penny decides to give up boys and dating…
All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin – NYC in the year 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal and teen Anya’s mafia family is accused of poisoning chocolate that they have been distributing
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler – BFFs Frankie and Anna spend a 20 day vacation together, making a bet that they can meet one boy per day.
Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn – A sweet fun read involving books, New York City, and teen love interests.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – A beautiful love story, taking place in 1986, between 2 misfit teenagers.
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen – A story about a girl…and the cute guy next door…
Just One Day by Gayle Forman – The lives of Allyson and Willem is transformed in just 24 hours
*See the Teen Library staff for a complete list of titles*
By the Library Reference Assistant
- WHO WERE YOU AS A HUMAN? WHEN DID YOU LIVE?
- OR DID YOU CLAW YOUR WAY OUT OF A GRAVE?
- ARE YOU FRESHLY TURNED, WEEKS UNDEAD
- WAS IT A CURSE?
- DID YOU CATCH A RAGE VIRUS?
- WERE YOU BITTEN?
- LIQUID LATEX
- TOILET PAPER
- WHITE CREAM FACE PAINT
- FLESH-COLORED CREAM FACE PAINT
- AN ARRAY OF CREAM FACE PAINT IN WOUND COLORS (BLUE, PURPLE, RED, BLACK, YELLOW, ETC.)
- PAINTBRUSHES, COTTON BALLS AND/OR COTTON SWABS
- FAKE BLOOD
- MILK CARTON (OPTIONAL)
- APPLY LIQUID LATEX AND RAGGED TOILET PAPER FOR DEEP GASHES. RIP OPEN ONCE DRY.
- FOR SHALLOW CUTS, APPLY THIN LAYERS OF LIQUID LATEX, ALLOW TO DRY AND TEAR OPEN.
- BLEND WHITE OVER WHOLE FACE.
- FILL WOUNDS WITH RED AND BLACK. BLEND OUTWARD WITH BLUE, PURPLE AND DASHES OF YELLOW FOR A ROTTING EFFECT.
- BE SURE TO APPLY DARK COLOR UNDER YOUR EYES FOR A SUNKEN LOOK.
- APPLY FAKE BLOOD TO WOUNDS AND MOUTH.
- FOR ADDED EFFECT, USE MILK CARTON CUTOUTS AND LATEX TO SIMULATE BONE.
What a great summer we’ve had at the Library! Our Teen Department had over 450 book reviews submitted and 13 awesome teens won various prizes, including an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire tablets, and Barnes & Noble gift cards! Everyone beat the heat at the library, stopping by our 2nd floor Teen Fiction room to cool off with a good book, play on the computers, and meet up with friends. We’re looking forward to fall and have some exciting new programs including Lego Mindstorm, Minecraft, and Wii gaming! Keep reading and we’ll see you at the Library!
By Robin Ebelt, Reference Department
What game gives you constant feedback, shows your psychological strengths and weaknesses and gives you great possibilities for self-improvement? It’s chess, of course. You don’t play? No problem! It’s never too late to learn how to play chess. The Williamson County Public Library has a Chess Club that meets monthly in the Young Adult fiction room. All levels are welcome!
Why should you play chess?
- Chess is cheap!
- Chess is a game for people of all ages.
- Chess develops logical thinking.
- Chess develops memory.
- Chess improves concentration.
- Chess develops analytical, synthetic and decision-making skills, which they can transfer to real life.
- Chess shows that success rewards hard work.
- Chess is part of the curricula in nearly 30 countries. In Venezuela, Iceland, Russia and other countries, chess is a subject in all public schools.
- Chess is always changing. There is always new theory, new players, new puzzles and ALWAYS new game.
- Chess is fun!
Come join us! The Chess Club will meet August 2 at 2:00 PM in the Young Adult fiction room. All levels are welcome!
By Howard Shirley, Teen Library Assistant
Did the release of The Fault in Our Stars get you craving more quirky teenage love stories?
Here are five more titles you might enjoy…
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell [YA F ROWELL]
This 2013 release beautifully tells the story of two high school misfits who develop a surprising mutual affection during their bus rides to and from school in 1980’s-era Omaha. Though the description may sound trite, Rowell’s writing elevates a familiar story to must-read status.
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson [YA F MAT]
Matson’s debut novel, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour is an ode to traveling and new experiences—a love story just happens to pop up along the way. Like in The Fault in Our Stars, dealing with mortality is a theme of this book, though less directly. It’s an entertaining read that will make you appreciate little bits of Americana along the characters’ road trip.
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan [YA F COH]
The same duo who paired up for Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist team up again in this fun back-and-forth story of two bibliophiles who exchange thoughts via a notebook in a bookstore. Of course, the suspense and excitement leading up to their potential real-life meeting is the central purpose of the book, but these two authors know how to keep the pages turning throughout.
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler [YA F ASH]
A teenage romance with a slight sci-fi bent, The Future of Us tells the story of two teens in the nineties who happen to discover their future Facebook accounts when they access the internet for the first time. The future they discover on Facebook is not the one they envision for themselves, which leads to an interesting pursuit of how to reconcile the past, present, and future.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli [YA F SPI]
Stargirl is aimed at a slightly younger set, but it remains an elegant story of the ups and downs of high school popularity and teenage love. Spinelli draws you in and doesn’t let you go as he writes about two very different people who are nonetheless drawn to one another. It’s a quick-read, but it’s worth checking out for the quintessential quirky character, Stargirl herself.