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YA fiction

Style By The Book: Percy Jackson and the Olympians

With only 9 days left in the semester, I bet most of you are spending every second dreaming of your fun upcoming summer adventures.

(For those of you who are in fact Demigods trying to pass yourselves off as normal college kids, this is the time of year that you are secretly packing up your things to return to Camp Half-Blood. Feel free to skim over this next paragraph, and check out the photos below for some fashion inspiration as you plan your first-day-of-camp outfits.)

For the rest of you, let me recommend that you add Percy Jackson and the Olympians to your summer reading lists! The five-book series follows a group of entirely fictional Heroes and Demigods who spend their summers training to fight completely made-up monsters at a definitely fabricated place called Camp Half-Blood. This “Style by the Book” is inspired by the story’s two main protagonists, Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase.


Do you have a favorite book that you want to see featured on Style by the Book? Share your suggestions in the comments!


Open eBooks: Books for Low-Income Children

On February 24th  2016 Open eBooks, an initiative to make thousands of books freely available to children in need, was launched nationwide.

Open eBooks is an app containing thousands of new and popular reading titles that can be accessed digitally by low-income children who may not have access to materials at home, in school, or in their communities. This app will empower children to expand their knowledge, improve their reading skills, and develop digital literacy.

open ebooks

Open eBooks in the App Store

President Obama first announced the Open eBook initiative in April of 2015. Since then, literary
organizations from around the country have worked tirelessly to make the project a reality. The app was developed and curated by the Digital Public Library of America, The New York Public Library, First Book, and digital book distributor Baker & Taylor. It received funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, as well as contributions from many major publishers, including Bloomsbury, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, National Geographic, and Candlewick.

At the Wheelock College Library, we are excited about this new advancement in digital access to children’s books, not only because it goes a long way towards improving the lives of children and families, but because it supports one of the core values of all libraries. After all, aren’t libraries the original open eBooks? Providing public access to information is hugely important to our society, as is summed up by this quote from the America Library Associations’ website:  “Libraries help ensure that Americans can access the information they need – regardless of age, education, ethnicity, language, income, physical limitations or geographic barriers”. Projects like Open eBooks create additional opportunities to reach communities that are geographically isolated from a public library system.

Are you involved with an organization that serves low-income children and are interested in getting access to the Open eBooks app? Learn more about eligibility requirements HERE.

Go on a Blind Date with a Book!

Tired of wasting your time with the wrong books?

Hate being led on by a fancy cover, just to find out there’s not much inside?

Maybe you’re still a little caught up on that book from your past? (*cough Harry Potter cough*)

If you’re ready to take a chance on literary love, then stop by the Wheelock College Library and go on a Blind Date with a Book! We guarantee that every book in this display has the potential to make it to the top of your Amazon wish list.


How it Works:

  • Each wrapped book has a catchy (ok, cheesy) pick-up line which also hints to the book’s contents.
  • Browse the pick-up lines on each library book and select your perfect reading match—NO PEEKING!
  • Take the book to the Library Service Desk to check it out
  • When you get home, unwrap your blind date to meet the book of your dreams

The best part is, if things don’t work out, just bring your failed fling back to the library and drop it off. No waterworks, no messy public breakups, and no getting dumped via text message at 4 am. These literomeos will only be around through Valentine’s Day, so come in soon so you’re not left wondering what could have been.

Of Winter and of Winners

I was tempted to write a library blog about beach reads, or at least books that featured spring.  Not Boston spring, mind you, but real spring where flowers bloom, trees bud jewel-bright leaves, and the warm breeze tickles your face.  However, whenever I set upon a course to list even one book that might fit the bill, I fell into deep existential despair.

“Be hearty,” whispered Boston spring.  “This is the weather that forged a nation.”  I ignored it and continued to weep bitterly.  I tried to dry my dampened cheeks with the soft, inviting pages of summer reads, but the tears had already frozen to my face.

Cover of The Crossover by Kwame AlexanderTo cheer myself, I instead turned to the 2015 American Library Association youth media award winners.  (To check out the entire impressive list, go here.)  This year, the winner of the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature was “The Crossover,” written by Kwame Alexander.  A beautiful song of a book, Alexander juxtaposes brotherhood, growing up, life, death, and basketball with a meter that ranges from lyrical to frenetic.  Two Newbery Honor Books also were named: “El Deafo” by Cece Bell, and “Brown Girl Dreaming,” written by Jacqueline Woodson.  Don’t feel badly for the two runners-up, particularly Woodson’s book.  It has already won so many awards that you won’t be able to see the cover through the stickers that will cover it.



The Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults went to “I’ll Give You the Sun,” written by Jandy Nelson.  The year 2015 was a good one for books about twins, as both books feature them as protagonists.  Told by two narrators in two different time frames, Nelson’s novel also shows the delicate strands that knit family’s together may be repaired no matter how frayed they become.  Four Printz Honor Books also were named: “And We Stay,” by Jenny Hubbard, “The Carnival at Bray,” by Jessie Ann Foley, “This One Summer,” by Mariko Tamaki, and “Grasshopper Jungle,” by Andrew Smith.




I admit that I had picked “Grasshopper Jungle” as my bet for the Printz winner.  I loved it because it is so deliciously twisted.  Though maybe it now appeals to me because it shows that the human will is pretty weak compared with the raw power of the environment; a feeling with which I am currently well-acquainted.

“See,” whispered Boston spring anew. “Are you sure you want the natural world to wake from its frozen sleep?”

Touché, Boston spring. Touché.

Where Do You Keep Your “Fun” Books?

Floor 1 by the whiteboard columns and they’re organized by the author’s last name.  It’s our new and exciting Popular Reading Collection!

Not that our children’s lit on Floor2M or our literature books on Floor 4M can’t be fun. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is absolutely filled with hijinx.

The Popular Reading Collection was created in response to our patrons who come to the Library looking for something to read outside of their academic lives. We selected books for this collection based on recommendations written on our whiteboard columns. The books were then purchased with part of the proceeds from Better World Books donations.  You can add further title suggestions to the whiteboard column labelled “Books Worth Reading”.

This Fall, we’ve started the collection out with about 30-something titles. Here are just a few of them:


bookthiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Death tells the story of Liesel, a young German girl, who loves books so much that she steals them. She shares their stories with her family, the Jewish man hiding in her house, and her neighbors, providing respite to the horrors of World War II.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
In a future dystopian Chicago, members of society must dedicate their entire lives to one of five personality-based factions. After taking an aptitude test, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior finds out that she is “Divergent” and does not fall neatly into one group, making her a threat to the status quo.

eleanorparkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
New girl, Eleanor, is overweight, weirdly dressed, abused, and bullied.  Park has always been a bit of a loner. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, the two teenage misfits fall in love over comic books and mixed tapes. Fans of John Green’s Fault in Our Stars may want to check this book out.

Feed by M.T. Anderson
The story takes place in a hyper-computerized future where most people are connected with a computer network through a feed, or transmitter, implanted in their brains. The narrator is a teenage boy, Titus, who has lived his entire life communicating using the feed. He meets a girl, Violet, who has decided that she wants to resist the feed.

knifeofneverlettinggoThe Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Todd lives in a small dystopian colony where a germ has killed off all the women and as a side effect of the germ, everyone can hear each other’s thoughts, described as “Noise”. One day, Todd discovers a spot of silence.  Once everyone hears about it, they set out to capture him. It turns out that the colony’s past is not what it seems.

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
This book contains seven stories that are mysteriously linked and all take place on a Scandinavian island inhabited by Vikings, vampires, ghosts, and a curiously powerful plant.

peculiarchildrenMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
After his grandfather’s unexpected death, Jacob is given a letter that leads him to a Welsh island where his grandfather grew up. He finds an abandoned orphanage where he meets a girl who uses time travel to take him back to 1940. He discovers disturbing facts about the children who were kept there. The author’s incorporation of vintage photos of children really drives the eerie atmosphere.

Paper Towns by John Green
Quentin “Q” Jacobsen has a crush on his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, since they were kids.  Margo shows up one night at Quentin’s bedroom window dressed like a ninja and takes him on an adventure to get revenge on people who have hurt her. She then mysteriously disappears. Q searches for her using clues he believes she has left behind.

Proxy by Alex Londonproxy
The story takes place in a world of wealthy Patrons and poorer Proxies.    When a Patron breaks a law, the Proxy takes the punishment in his place.  When Knox, a Patron, kills someone in a car crash, his Proxy, Syd, is sentenced to death. Syd flees and Knox, realizing how unfair the system is, joins him. Together, they try to beat the system.

Reality Boy by A.S. King
Seventeen-year-old, Gerald Faust, has been struggling to control his anger, a result of suffering from a dysfunctional family. When he was 5, his family signed up to take part in a reality show where a nanny would come teach the family how to behave healthily and properly. The entire world watched as Gerald defecated in anger and he was given the nickname, Crapper. He meets a no-nonsense girl, Hannah, also from dysfunctional family, and she helps him put his anger to rest.