The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer

vigilante poetsIt’s not getting stuck in a locker after school that’s the final straw re: reality TV for Ethan (to be fair, the locker thing was just poor planning).  Or the fact that For Art’s Sake, the reality show stalking the halls of his Minneapolis fine arts high school, is making his dream girl Maura Heldsman look like a vapid, if enormously talented, philanderer of a ballerina (to be fair, she kind of is.  Enormously talented.  And vapid.  And a heartless cheater.).  It’s when his best friend Luke calls foul on reality TV, and decides that not only is he going to get even, his friends are going to help, Ezra Pound-style.  Because how else would a bunch of fine arts kids get even?

Ethan would be content to hang out in Luke’s basement after school teaching Luke’s genius gerbil Baconnaise color-coded circus tricks, but Luke has other ideas.  Together with brilliant math nerd Jackson (who takes notes in binary on Thursdays) and Luke’s funky hippie chick cousin, Elizabeth, the four decide to fight back against the invasion of reality TV and return Selwyn Academy to its true purpose – the pursuit of art.  With their English teacher to inspire and advise them (covertly, since the administration would be none too pleased with attempts to sabotage Hollywood funding), the foursome write a long poem in the spirit of Ezra Pound’s Cantos skewering the show, and distribute it to the student body.

Instant chaos, rebellion, and fame.

But all is not as it seems in the land of poets and rebels.  Just when Ethan finds himself inspired for real, and by more than Maura’s insipid smile and Baconnaise’s acrobatic talents, Ethan finds his small world upended.  Loyalties will be tested, rhyme schemes abandoned, and gerbils deployed in an epic battle for truth.

This book was just so much fun!  Witty and clever, twisty and smart, you’ll cheer Ethan on as he and his friends (and one intrepid gerbil) do everything they can to upend the power of Selwyn’s administration and the evil, grasping tentacles of Hollywood.  For fans of John Green, Andrew Smith and last year’s The Beginning of Everything, don’t miss your chance to feel like a poetic rebel and check this out today!

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

Gabi is the fourth of this year’s crop of five Morris nominees (a book award for the best debut book of the year for teens), and I am so, so, so glad I read it.  I’ve been kind of on the fence about the cover, but after devouring this amazing, important book, I am over the fence, through the door, and hanging out with this book on weekends.  Check it out!

gabiSenior year.  Gabi Hernandez is just trying to keep it together, but it’s hard when you have so many roles to play.  Good and responsible daughter, patient set-a-good-example sister, supportive friend, poet and lover of poetry, less of a lover of food, not-too-Mexican girl and not-too-American girl, good student who is going places (teachers) but not too far (mom).

Gabi’s journal tells the story of her last year in high school in a small California town, and new author Isabel Quintero doesn’t pull any punches.  From her dad, who she loves a lot even though he’s a drug addict, to her mom, who she also loves a lot but who seems to think it’s 1954, to her once-perfect brother who is now getting arrested for tagging, to her best friend Cindy’s unplanned pregnancy, to her other best friend Sebastian’s difficulties with his family after he comes out to them, Gabi finds her voice – and herself – with the help of her journal, the love of her family and friends (crazy as they may all be, but who doesn’t have that?), an extraordinary teacher, and a lot of poetry.  As Gabi struggles to figure out who she is, who she wants to be, and where she wants to go, you’ll laugh, cry, cringe, get angry, roll your eyes, hold your breath, and try really hard to block out all those memories of that one time your crazy aunt tried to get you to wear a really ugly prom dress.

For anyone who is or ever has been eighteen, whose life isn’t perfect (even if other people think it is), or has ever wondered how to be a person in a world that doesn’t quite seem to fit your edges (or curves), read a few pieces of Gabi’s story – you won’t be able to resist the rest.

World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters

book jacket for World of TroubleThe long awaited conclusion to the Edgar Award winning Last Policeman series. Detective Hank Palace is desperately trying to find his sister, Nico, in the last days before a massive asteroid is expected to hit Earth, quite likely spelling the end for humanity. Not only it is a compelling mystery, but a thought provoking novel – how would you act if you knew the world was ending soon? I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book where I wanted to get to the ending as quickly as possible to solve the mystery, but wanted to hold it off as long as possible because I dreaded what it would be. The first two books of the series are The Last Policeman and Countdown City (and they really should be read in order). Highly recommended!

Announcing Flipster!


We are happy to announce that the Library now has a subscription to the digital magazine service Flipster! A product of EBSCO Information Services, Flipster allows library patrons to read high quality digital versions of popular magazines on a computer or mobile device.  The service is free to use with a Red Wing Public Library card. Download apps, which allow users to read content later when offline, are available for both Apple (iTunes) and Android (Google Play) tablets (an iPhone app should be available soon).

Magazines now available for online reading from the library’s subscription are Beer Connoisseur, Climbing, Cooking Light, Cosmopolitan, Dwell, Prevention, Real Simple, Rolling Stone, and US Weekly.

Flipster is easy to use and has been very popular in other public libraries. If you have any questions, check out our FAQ page or their help section (or please give us a call!)