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Ender's Game - Discussion Questions

EndersOn March 28th, the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book Club will discuss Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Here are some of the things we will consider.

About Ender & His Family

What kind of person is Ender? What kind of person would he like to be?

Ender never loses, but he is sometimes defeated. Discuss why this is not a contradiction. 

Peter and Valentine are polar opposites, but at the end of the story they work together. What do you think happens in the relationship between those two after Ender leaves for Battle School?

How does Ender make friends? How does he convince the other students to follow his leadership?

Society & Choices

All the characters in the story grapple with moral dilemmas and choices. Let's look at some of the characters (other than Ender) and their choices. What difficult moral conflicts do Ender's parents face? His brother and his sister? The military? The school staff? The students?What do you think about the actions of the adults that related to Ender and his peers?

Was it ethical for the adults to lie to and manipulate the children?

What do you think about the adults' attitudes toward the deaths and injuries suffered by the children at the Battle School?

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Superhero Stories

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Ever wish you had a superpower? (I think the answer is an obvious YES!) So, tie on your cape, get your super senses ready, and dive in to one of these superhero stories suggested by Walter H., one of our teen volunteers.  And don't forget to let us know if you have suggestions of other great superhero books to add to this list!

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Sick by Tom Leveen

sickbookcoverAt an average high school in Phoenix, Arizona, strange things are happening. When a “virus” breaks out in the area, Brian and his group of friends watch as their classmates and teachers start to turn into grotesque, flesh-eating predators with super-human strength. With their school on lockdown, surrounded by a prison-style, spiked fence and awaiting the help of the United States armed forces, Brian and a group of theater geeks must figure out how to save their other friends, who are stranded across the high school campus, without getting captured by the predators. Fast-paced, violent, and oh-so-bloody, Sick is a suspenseful, thrilling read for zombie lovers and those just looking for an adrenaline-pumping good time.

Graphic Novels

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Looking for a read that tells a story both through its pictures and its text? Try one of these graphic novels suggested by Walter H., one of our library's teen volunteers:

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Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

far far away Jeremy Johnson Johnson lives in Never Better and he's a strange boy. There's his name of course.  Well, both his parents were named Johnson.  When his mother disappeared his father took to his room and has barely come out. Jeremy mostly keeps to himself and studies, guided by the ghost of Jacob Grimm who narrates Far Far Away.  Jacob, who died hundreds of years ago but woke  up as a  ghost in the Zwischenraum - the space around us mortal beings, is protecting Jeremy from "the Finder of Occassions."

When beguiling Ginger comes along, despite her friend's thoughts that Jeremy is not a worthy boyfriend, she invites him to join them.  But mostly she brings him into dangerous situations, and Jeremy, flattered to be invited by such a charming girl, and despite Jacob Grimm's warnings, goes along.   Is this the case of a demonic girl "luring" Jeremy into evil or an innocent girl just playing pranks?

This amazing small town modern tale, meshes with the haunting tales of the Brothers Grimm. It is full of surprises, plot twists and hidden places.  I thought  I knew where it was heading and was totally wrong.  It's a seat of your pants thriller, but in an old fashioned, Grimm sort of way.  Far Far Away is being released today, June 11.

Scarlet by Merissa Meyer

scarletScarlet, the sequel to Cinder is every bit as good as Cinder was. Scarlet Benoit is a farmer living in rural France.  Her grandmother has been missing, she'd disappeared without leaving a message or sending a comm.  She'd missed Scarlet's 18th birthday, even though she'd bought the ingredients for Scarlet's favorite lemon cake. No one had seen her go and Scarlet had found her id chip. And now the police has said her grandmother had wanted to leave, but Scarlet knew that was wrong, she knew grandmere been kidnapped.

In Rieux, the town where she goes to deliver vegetables to a tavern, Scarlet happens to meet a man, a ferocious street fighter, named Wolf. Though she doesn't know if she can fully trust him, she is attracted to him and when he tells her he will help her find her grandmother, she goes off with him to Paris.

Having escaped from prison with a dashing daredevil prisoner Cinder arrives in Paris, just when Scarlet is at her lowest. Their fight to stay ahead of Queen Levana and the Lunars is exciting and the book ends on a cliffhanger with you anxiously waiting for the third book in the Lunar Chronicles.

The Teen's Top Ten

ttt2013   Every year, teens ages 12-18 from throughout the country vote for their favorite books from the previous year.  Here are the 2013 Top Ten titles:

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Every Day by David Levithan

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

Butter by Erin Jade Lange

Let us know what you think about these choices, and what book(s) you would include in your Teen Top Ten for 2013!                       

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

I thought Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass has one of the best titles and covers I can think of and should draw in a lot of readers.  I liked the way story is told in the voice of Piedad, Piddy, Sanchez about the year she and her mother move to a different part of Queens and she has to start her sophomre year at a new high school.  It's not far from her old apartment, where she can visit her "aunt" Lila, and friend Joey.  But as far as school is concerned, it's a lot rougher.  Suddenly she's attracted unwanted attention from Yaqui Delgado and a gang of tough girls. Piddy has no idea who Yaqui Delgado is when she's given a threatening note, but Yaqui doesn't like Piddy.  Piddy doesn't hang out with the Latino students, they weren't exactly inviting, and she takes honors classes.  Piddy also shakes her ass when she walks and seems to have attracted Yacqui's boyfriend's attention.  
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After threatening her, Yacqui and her group start to throw things at her.  Things keep escalating till Piddy stops going to school and is falling behind and lying to her mother.  On top of that she's angry at her mother for being so uptight, working so hard and never telling her anything about her father.  And her best friend Mitzi who moved to Long Island seems to be forgetting all about her.

As the bullying escalates and all these other problems compound, Piddy begins to isolate herself more and more and even lose her sense of who she is.  She begins to dress and act differently. She starts to meet Joey Delgado in the basement of her old building; Joey, whose father beat his mother and him as well.

Other characters around her provide needed joy and color.  The ladies at the salon where Lila does champu and Piddy works on Saturdays are a great cast of secondary characters, as is Lila with her Avon business.  Around them there is always music and dancing.  In fact, it was learning to do the merengue from Lila that got Piddy "shaking her stuff" that got her noticed by Yaqui Delgado.

I loved the scenes in the salon and at Lila's as much as I dreaded the scenes at school.  The ending where everything is wrapped up a bit too fast and neatly.  Other than that it's really a good read.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

It was such a pleasure to read Rachel Hartman's Seraphina. The story is original and fresh and wonderful in light ofseraphina reading so much dystopia lately. Seraphina is half dragon, though she does not know this at first. She only knows that her mother died giving birth to her and that her father, a lawyer in the royal court, has always been fearful for her safety. At a young age, Seraphina discovered her gift of music and taught herself the flute against her father's wishes, and then began to study with a saar, a dragon in human form named Orma, who turned out to be her uncle.

Again, against her father’s wishes, Seraphina leaves her home to become the assistant to court musician, Viridiu, just in time to play for the funeral of Rufus, prince of Goredd who was killed by dragons. Phina becomes embroiled in these human-dragon struggles and in the hunt to find the killer in the meantime falling in love with the Captain of the Guard, Prince Lucian kiggs, fiancé to the new heir to the throne, Glisselda, Serafina’s one friend at court.

 The kingdom of Goredd has had a treaty with dragons for 40 years; dragons are known for their logic and analytical thinking, and do not grasp human emotion. They are thought not to understand music either, but Seraphina’s mother was a musician and Phina inherited her talent. There are those who wish to destroy the treaty and there are worries as the treaty’s anniversary approaches and the leader of the dragons, the Ardmagar , is expected to visit Goredd.

Hartman's background in music and knowledge of Renaissance music informs her writing. It is a complex story with numerous characters, dragon and human, and bears close attention, but the rewards are many.

Seraphina was a 2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Fiction Honor Winner.

Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Rosko

James Whitman is a "depressed, anxious kid."  He loves to recite the poet Walt Whitman, and to yawp Whitman in the morning, which irritates his dad, the Brute.  He's depressed about a lot of things, but mostly  because his sister was expelled from school and thrown out of the house and is barely making it as a waitress with no car or decent place to live and she can't even keep a phone.   

This could have been a real downer, but Roskos finds humor in the situation which he uses in just the right measure.  dr._Birds_adviceFor a year James has been seeing an imaginary therapist, Dr. Bird, a large, human sized pigeon.   "Pigeon's strike be as good listeners--they discern the voices of mates over the cacophony of the natural world.  They move the right way too.  A pigeon's head-tilts suggest the kids of things that I imagine therapists say: "Really?" or "How did that feel?" or "Tell me more."  Plus: one intense, glassy black-eye staring at me, the neck-bob of agreement, the puffing of feathers when I'm being evasive."

James has a real friend Derek, who maintains their long friendship with James and they help each other, despite Derek being a popular guy.  There's also Beth, a smart girl who heads the poetry journal.  James is attracted to her and almost gets run over by a bus trying to save a bird, all to try and impress her.

With the help of Dr. Bird, Derek, Beth, a real therapist and his sister Jorie, James works his way into dealing with his anxiety and gaining the ability to "Sing the Body Electric" and write his own ode of himself, "America! I Sing to the tiny part of you that I call home."

In case like me you're not really familiar with Walt Whitman and don't know where the word comes from,  he used it in Leaves of Grass,

                                            I too am not a bit tamed—I too am untranslatable;    
                                            I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

Plus, Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets has got to be one of the best covers ever.

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