brookline teen librarian

the official tumblr of the brookline public library teen services department. Features teen literature, people reading, comics, anime, manga, and more!
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Here in Brookline, our Halloween festivities are Hogwarts bound!

Join us all day on October 31st for a trip back to our favorite fantasy adventure (now almost 17 years since the publication of the first book!).  With more movies on the way, mysterious tweets from J. K. herself, the love for Potter never fades.  So, if you were a kid who grew up with Harry, an adult who got swept away with everyone else, or a new reader who’s just discovered what happens at Platform 9 3/4, welcome back to Hogwarts for the day.

All day, staff and patrons are invited to show off their House colors and strut their stuff as favorite characters.  Grab a button to declare your house.  We’ll have trivia going on throughout the day, as well as potions identification challenges.  Depending on your score you could win chocolate frogs or your very own wand!

From 3:00-4:30pm we’ll be hosting a Three Broomsticks Afternoon Tea with all kinds of tasty treats, crafts for all ages, and a festive way to relax before or during trick or treating around town.

The votes have been tallied, and we’ve got our next year of selections for the Shelf Respect Teen Lit Book Club!

Our first six selections are:

The Shelf Respect Teen Lit Book Club meets every month, on the second Wednesday, to chat about teen literature, eat tasty treats (themed of each month’s selection, of course), and dig in to just what makes YA literature tick.  The club is open to teens 7th grade and up through to adults.  Copies of each month’s title are kept for one month before the meeting at the Main Library Circulation Desk for anyone who wants to join in the discussion at the next meeting.

For more info, check out our full page over here.

To get text reminders about meetings, text @brklibteenlit to 23559 or sign up here.

Did you know you can get text reminders about upcoming teen events at the Brookline Public Library?  Well, you can!

We have three options — sign up for reminders for all teen-centric events and news, for just the manga & anime club, or for just the shelf respect book club.  If there are other types of reminders you’d like to see from us, just send me and email or send in an ask and let me know!

All text reminders are sent through  Our lists are announcement lists. You may text back to us with comments or questions, but only us, and no one else will see your message.

We will never share your information. can be used via their app, texting, or online.  Standard text messaging and data rates from your phone carrier may apply when sending messages via SMS. 

  • To sign up for reminders about all teen events and author visits, text @brklibteenevents to 23559 or sign up here.
  • To sign up for reminders about the Shelf Respect Book Club, text @brklibteenlit to 23559 or sign up here.
  • To sign up for reminders for the manga & anime club, text @brklibmanga to 23559 or sign up here.
  • To sign up for reminders for the Panels & Pages graphic novel book club, text @brklibpanels to 23559 or sign up here.

For more info, go to

Just to whet everyone’s appetite for our upcoming author visit from Gail Carriger, please enjoy the delightful trailer for the first book in the Finishing School series, Etiquette & Espionage.

To have the honour of meeting
one-time archaeologist and accomplished author

Gail Carriger

The Public Library of Brookline

in association with the Friends of the Brookline Library
requests the pleasure of  your company
at evening tea at the Main Library in Hunneman Hall
on Monday 10th November 2014 at 7 o’clock p.m.

We invite all attendees to dress accordingly — in the spirit of the Finishing School series — although we request you leave your more lethal parasols at home for the evening.

The evening’s gathering celebrates the release of the third installment in the Finishing School series (@finishingschoolbooks) :

Class is back in session…
Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style—with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what—or who—they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all. 
Gather your poison, steel tipped quill, and the rest of your school supplies and join Mademoiselle Geraldine’s proper young killing machines in the third rousing installment.

New York Times Bestselling author Gail Carriger (@gailcarriger) writes comedic steampunk mixed with urbane fantasy. Her debut novel, Soulless, won the ALA’s Alex Award. The following books were all bestsellers. She was once an archaeologist and is currently writing her YA Finishing School series. She is overly fond of tea.


Happy Ada Lovelace day! Read the rest of my favorite take on her origin story over here on 2D goggles! which is a great comic in its own right, and shows Lovelace and Charles Babbage fighting crime (street musicians and poetry)(same difference)

So yes, Ada Lovelace Day was yesterday, but I wanted to post my love for the excellent Lovelace: The Origin comic by Sydney Padua aka 2D goggles.  It is so excellent, and I cannot wait for it to come out in book form eventually so I can hold it in my greedy little hands.  I cannot WAIT until 2015.


Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

Ada Lovelace Day is an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The more I write stories for young people, and the more young readers I meet, the more I’m struck by how much kids long to see themselves in stories. To see their identities and perspectives—their avatars—on the page. Not as issues to be addressed or as icons for social commentary, but simply as people who get to do cool things in amazing worlds. Yes, all the ‘issue’ books are great and have a place in literature, but it’s a different and wildly joyous gift to find yourself on the pages of an entertainment, experiencing the thrills and chills of a world more adventurous than our own.

And when you see that as a writer, you quickly realize that you don’t want to be the jerk who says to a young reader, ‘Sorry, kid. You don’t get to exist in this story; you’re too different.’ You don’t want to be part of our present dystopia that tells kids that if they just stopped being who they are they could have a story written about them, too. That’s the role of the bad guy in the dystopian stories, right? Given a choice, I’d rather be the storyteller who says every kid can have a chance to star.

Paolo Bacigalupi, Straight-Laced Dystopias  (via malapropsbookstore)

Love this.

(via elockhartbooks)


(via yahighway)

(via yahighway)


Every so often I have this conversation at a school visit.

After my presentation, a student drags a beleaguered English teacher to my side.

STUDENT (always with a rather mocking tone): So, Maggie, when you put red curtains in a scene, does that mean that the characters are angry and stuff?
ENGLISH TEACHER: That’s not quite—
STUDENT: —Because we are supposed to analyze all of these books and I don’t think any of the writers actually put in an ocean in the scene just so that two hundred years later we could read it and think the ocean stands for longing.
ENGLISH TEACHER: Sometimes a literary device—
STUDENT: I think we’re just looking for stuff that isn’t there. The writer just put in an ocean because the book TAKES PLACE BY THE BEACH. And the rest was invented by evil English teachers.
ENGLISH TEACHER: If I were evil, I’d—
STUDENT: —So, you’re the writer: do red curtains mean anger?
ME: Curtains do make me angry.

And then I was at LeakyCon, sitting in on a panel called “Is YA Literature?” to find out if I was writing literature, and this (summarized) conversation happened:

The panelists have just been asked to define what is meant by literary fiction.

SMART ADULT WRITER: All I know is, I know literary fiction when I see it.
SMART YA WRITER: I got a look at the guidelines for assigned school reading and they suggested it be a book with enough content to be analyzed. Enough depth to support multiple interpretations.
ANOTHER SMART YA WRITER: I think literary is a ridiculous term and value is assigned by our readers, right here, right now: do they like it or not? There’s no such thing as a good book or a bad book. There’s a book that matters to a reader.

I think you can talk in endless circles about what constitutes “literary” fiction and whether it’s good or bad or has no value or can be traded for a gallon of milk. And I also think you can talk in endless circles about whether or not there are “good” books and “bad” books and who gets to decide which is which. And if you do ever find an end to these circles, you can finish up with a indefatigable dessert course of the literary writing versus commercial writing debate.

So I’m instead going to talk about the one thing that interests me about fiction: getting into your head and moving stuff around. I am in the business of changing people’s moods and making them see scenes the way that I see them and feel things the way I want them to be felt. You may consider me Very Interested in learning everything I can about doing all that more effectively.

Sometimes, dear reader, this is going to mean making the curtains red.

Please know that I’m not much for literary writing for the sake of literary writing. I enjoy a nice turn of the phrase, sure. I do enjoy picking apart novels to see what makes them tick. But my academic pleasure runs out very quickly (now there is the least sexy sentence I’ve ever written). As a writer, I am delighted to be given literary prizes, but they aren’t on my list of goals. I’m chiefly interested literary devices insofar as they allow me to more effectively get inside your head and move around the furniture.

 And they do. Allow me to demonstrate.

Here are two paragraphs from one of my favorite sequences from The Dream Thieves*:

 *these are not spoilery, although they are from the middle of the book, so if you want to be totally uninformed on the action of Book 2, I suggest you wander to another corner of the Internet.

bits and bobs from The Dream Thieves

Oh, I had such plans for this party scene. I wanted the reader to see it just like I did. The all-encompassing luxury, warm and old and unquestioned. The complexity of the political world, the beauty of wealth, and the stagnation and corruption of old, unchallenged value systems. Adam, as my point-of-view character, is feeling and thinking about all of these things, and I wanted the reader to experience it with him.

I could have told the reader all of those things. Point blank. I could have gone with a barebones description of the driveway: The circular driveway was packed with so many elegant vehicles that the valets had to turn cars away.

And then just had Adam muse in italics about his feelings on being there. But then you would only know it. You wouldn’t have experienced it. I wouldn’t really be getting into your head and moving things around unannounced. I’d be walking in, hanging up a mirror, then pointing and saying “there’s a mirror. It’s yours now.”

 Here’s another snippet from later:

bits and bobs from The Dream Thieves

Okay, the curtains aren’t red. But the runner is purple. How noble!

Man, I was working hard in this little section. In reality, the hallway of the house is lush and content and established. But inside our two protagonists, trouble brews — you can see it in the mirror. The side table, on the outside of the glass, is docile. But the mirror-image of the tidy hallway is crazed and twisted and rakish.

Again, I could’ve just told you: on the outside, the boys look foxy and orderly in suits, but on the inside, they are hot messes.

But I don’t want you to know. I want you to feel. And our old friends, those countless literary devices of simile, metaphor, allusion, figurative language … that’s the way in. It’s not about fancy literary prizes. It’s not about seeming impenetrable or smart or high fallutin. I’m not trying to impress anyone. I am trying to make you feel a story, that’s all. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t believe in the literary/ commercial divide. And I don’t believe that literary is good or bad. I believe that good novel makes readers feel, and the more readers I can make feel, the more successful I will consider that book.

I also believe that sometimes that means making the curtains red.    

As someone who often struggles with just how to define literary, this is an excellent read.  As always, really, from Maggie Steifvater.


This Wednesday’s meeting will be everyone’s chance to vote in person for the next year’s selections! 

If you’d like to read up ahead of time, or vote online, check out the titles and summaries for each category here:

All members may vote online before the meeting here:

Everyone will have until this Friday, October 10th, to send in their votes either on paper or electronically.

Once we’ve tallied all of the votes, we’ll announce the next year’s reading!  Thanks to everyone who sent in suggestions, and let us know if you have any questions about our voting or the titles in the running.

The deadline is fast approaching!  Please vote by midnight tomorrow night.