Teen Book Reviews: The Unhoneymooners and Eleanor & Park

Teens: did you know that you can earn community service credit for writing a book review and submitting it to us? Today, we’ll hear from someone who did just that. Find out more about how to earn community service hours from home at cheshirelibrary.org/teens/.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. Reviewed by Caroline O.

Meet Olive, a nerdy science loving girl who is shy and awkward. Olive has a twin, Ami, and even though they are total opposites, they still have an unbreakable bond. That is, until it is broken. Olive has the worst luck and everything that can go wrong, goes wrong. On the other hand, Ami gets everything to somehow go her way and she may be the luckiest person on Earth. Any contest that Ami has ever entered in, she has won, so it is no surprise when Ami wins a free, non-refundable honeymoon trip to Hawaii. This luck seems to last up until her wedding day when everyone that ate out of the free, buffet style meal that she won, gets food poisoning. Everyone, that is, except for Olive, who has food allergies, and Ethan, who is a germophobe and refuses to eat out of buffets.

Ami and her husband suggest that Olive and Ethan go on the trip together, since it is non-refundable and the newlyweds are too sick to go. This sounds like a great plan, besides the fact that Ethan and Olive hate each other! Not to mention that these two would have to act as if they had just gotten married. Ethan is the groom’s brother, who can come off as being cocky and arrogant. This was exactly Olive’s first impression of him when they met at a family event awhile back. With Ami being the pushy older twin that she is, Olive and Ethan reluctantly board the plane. Bickering of course. The trip is going somewhat smoothly until Ethan realizes he may not hate Olive as much as he thought.

This book is an amazing read, especially during the summertime. The author does an exceptional job at using imagery and emotional appeal to drag the reader further and further into the book. Not to mention that the book never gets old, and is never boring. The book starts and ends with pure chaos, which is unlike a lot of books that I have ever read. I personally like how the Christina Lauren duo writes their books. In their pieces, they tend to write at least an excerpt from every single character in the book, whether it is a small character or a main character.

5 stars.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Reviewed by Caroline O.

Eleanor & Park is a phenomenal book that captures the life of two characters, Eleanor and Park. Eleanor is someone who is not as comfortable in her body as most of her sixteen year old peers at school. Eleanor also has an unstable home life with an abusive step-father and a mother that has no control. Eleanor’s family is quite large, including her four little siblings, three of which are biological siblings and one step-brother. This does not seem to be an issue except for the fact that they live in a 2 bedroom apartment, meaning that all of the kids have to share a bedroom with one bath. On the nights that Richie, the step-dad, gets extra abusive and wakes up the kids, with the excessive crashing of objects getting thrown outside their bedroom, Eleanor has to sit there and comfort every one of them. To escape her reality, Eleanor loves to read, but this only makes her an outcast at school. Will she ever find somewhere safe where she can be herself?

Park lives down the street from Eleanor which means that they are on the same bus, where he notices and later meets Eleanor. Park finds that he is actually quite similar to Eleanor. Despite the differences in home life, they are both misfits in their school and begin to bond over that. Park begins to look forward to talking with Eleanor on the bus until there is a period of time when Eleanor does not come to school. This raises Park’s curiosity and he asks his parents if they have ever heard of her family since they had to have lived near each other. Both his parents look at each other and tell him how her house is not necessarily the safest place. Park immediately puts the pieces together and is determined to find her. Through this journey he learns that he may like her more than just in a friend way.

I enjoyed this book a lot because of how quickly the audience can feel as if they are there and in the same room as the characters. The book also is not a hard read, I have found that certain books can be hard to get into for the first few chapters, but this book is different. I was able to enjoy the story very early on in the book and it was upsetting to learn that there was not a sequel to go along with it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a romance novel that will take you through all of the emotions including guilt, happiness, sadness, and curiosity.

4 stars.

What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in October

Our Event Calendar is jam-packed in October, sign up for programs early to make sure you get a spot!

October Art Show

October 1 – 28. 2022

The October Art Show features the photographic works of Cheshire resident Albert Pascual. He has received top awards at several local and state competitions and has been showing and selling his images at juried art shows around Connecticut as well as on his website. View his photos in the Mary Baldwin Room until October 28.

Movie Matinees

Join us in the Library Loft for a movie on the big screen! No registration is required and movies begin at 1pm. Both movies this month are rated PG-13.

Good, Cheap, and Healthy Cooking Demo

Tuesday, October 4, 2022, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Chef Nadine Nelson will show us how to eat well on $4 a day in this interactive cooking demo, based on recipes from the cookbook Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown. Registration is required.

TAB: Teen Advisory Board (Grades 6-12)

Thursday, October 6, 2022, 3:45 – 4:45pm

Thursday, October 20, 2022, 3:45 – 4:45pm

The Teen Advisory Board is a group of teens in grades 6-12 who want to take an active part in helping the library and the community. Giveaways and snacks will be provided. Registration is required.

What does the TAB do?

  • Help run library programs.
  • Write book reviews.
  • Create social media content.
  • Recommend items for the library collection.

What’s in it for you?

  • Use your creativity to create fun programs.
  • Make your voice heard by sharing ideas with library community.
  • Make new friends.
  • Grow your leadership skills.
  • Earn community service hours.

Lights Out Connecticut: Help Save Our Migrating Birds

Thursday, October 6, 2022, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Each fall and spring, millions of birds pass through Connecticut on their way to and from their summer nesting grounds. Most migratory birds travel at night, when temperatures are cooler and skies are less turbulent. However, artificial lights from buildings and other structures can attract and disorient birds, leading to fatal window collisions. The result is catastrophic: Almost 1 billion birds killed in the United States every year. Come find out more about how you can help millions of birds migrate safely through our state. Registration is required.

Open Art Studio

Fridays from 1-3pm

Bring your works in progress and supplies to this weekly drop-in art program. This is an opportunity to create in a collaborative environment with other artists. No formal instruction will be provided, but informal critiquing for those who want it is encouraged. Table covers will be provided. There is a sink in the room for basic cleanup (please do not bring turpentine).

Dodd Drop-Ins (Grades 7-8)

  • Tuesday October 11, 1-4pm
  • Thursday October 13, 1-4pm
  • Tuesday October 18, 1-4pm

All teens are welcome to hang out in the Mary Baldwin Room and enjoy socializing and snacks on early dismissal days for Dodd Middle School. Registration is not required.

Stonewall Speakers (Grades 6-12)

Tuesday, October 11, 2022, 5:00 – 6:30pm

Stonewall Speakers is an all-volunteer speaker’s bureau comprised of members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Speakers will include two or more panelists and combine personal life stories with a question and answer session. All are welcome. Light refreshments will be served. For teens in grades 6-12. Registration is required.

Bird Walk @ Brooksvale Park

Wednesday, October 12, 2022, 9:30 – 11:00am

Grab your gear for an educational walk around Hamden’s Brooksvale Park. You’ll learn the basics of birdwatching and – with any luck – see some interesting avian species! Dress for outdoor activity and meet at the Sugar Shack. The library will provide binoculars and field guides to share, but feel free to bring your own. This even takes place at Brooksvale Park: 524 Brooksvale Ave, Hamden, CT 06518. Registration is required.

Adult Loft Knitters

Wednesday, October 12, 2022, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Come socialize, learn, and share your techniques with other knitters.  Experience the relaxing and calming effect of knitting. All levels of adult knitters are welcome. Please bring your own yarn and knitting needles (crocheters are also welcome!). This group meets monthly, please register in advance.

Cat Tales Writers Group

Thursday, October 12 2022, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Join us for a monthly open writing group that can help answer your questions on writing, editing, grammar, and publishing. Read a selection of your work to the group for general constructive feedback, or discuss a book you’ve read that might help someone else. Registration is required.

The End of “The End of History”: Why Ukraine Matters

Thursday, October 13, 2022, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Join historian and Yale professor Dr. Marci Shore for an informational talk on Ukraine’s history, its relationship with Russia, and the ongoing war that began in February of this year. Registration is required.

Mixville Family Halloween Bash!

Friday, October 14, 2022, 5:00 – 8:30pm

The Cheshire Library, Artsplace and Cheshire Parks & Recreation Department are working together to bring you a fun-filled Halloween event! Bring your own pumpkin to turn into a Jack-O-Lantern and display on the Mixville hillside before you take it home (pre-registration required for this portion of the event). Pumpkins will be lit by 6:15pm. To add to the fun, Parks and Recreation are sponsoring a Howl-o-ween Dog Costume Contest from 5:30-6pm!  Bring your dog on a leash and in costume to the Mixville Halloween Bash to participate.  Dogs must be friendly with other dogs and up to date on all of their shots. The movie Monsters Inc will start at dusk. Bring a picnic dinner, your blankets, chairs and some bug spray! RAINDATE FOR THE PROGRAM AND MOVIE IS OCTOBER 21 AT 5:00PM.

Special Effects Makeup Workshop (Grades 6-12)

Monday, October 17, 2022, 4:00 – 5:30pm

Want to learn how to make your halloween makeup super scary? Decimated Designs will teach you how to transform into a creepy character! We’ll cover the do’s and don’ts of special effects makeup, hygiene, how to get started, and some tricks you can use to improve your costumes or makeup at home. For teens in grades 6-12 (no younger siblings, please). Registration is required.

Witches of Salem (ONLINE)

Monday, October 17, 2022, 6:30 – 7:40pm

In January of 1692, a strange illness seized control of five young girls living in Salem Village, a contentious and divided town in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Events soon spiraled out of control with local divisions and a splintered colonial government feeding the frenzy.  Archivist Mickey DiCamillo unravels the events with archival documents from the period, and program participants will interact with transcripts from the 1692 interrogations of suspected witches. Registration is required for this online program.

Chopped! (Grades 4-9)

Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 4:00pm
Tuesday, October 25, 2022, 4:00pm

Join Food Explorers for a round of Chopped! You’ll split into teams and create a delicious recipe each week. Select from a limited pantry of ingredients, being mindful of which flavors and textures go together. When each team is done, you’ll taste test! Recipes will be nut free and vegetarian. Please register once to attend both classes.

Create Digital Music With Logic Pro X

Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 7:00 – 8:00pm

This class will teach you how to record digital instruments, write songs and create beats using the software Logic Pro X.  You will get hands on experience learning the same methods that profession music producers use. After this class you will have the basic skills needed to create music at the library’s all new AV Studio. Registration required.

Caregiver Support Group

Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 12:00 – 1:00pm

A support group for caregivers to share tips, strategies, challenges, and successes. Caregivers of all types are welcome, including spouses and adult children caring for relatives, caregivers to children, and professional caregivers. This group will meet both online and in-person, please register for the group you want to attend.

Home Recording Basics in Logic Pro

Monday, October 24, 2022, 11:00am – 12:00pm

Have you ever wanted to record an original song at home?  Or maybe you want to start a podcast but don’t know enough about the gear and software?   Then this class is for you.  Learn all the basics of home recordings to get the best quality for the lowest price. Registration required.

Living History: Lizzie Borden (ONLINE)

Monday, October 24, 2022, 7:00 – 8:10pm

Join us virtually via Zoom to see award-winning actress Leslie Goddard, Ph.D., as she brings to life Lizzie Borden, accused of the brutal hatchet murder of her father and stepmother in 1892. Hear Lizzie’s story come alive as she talks about her life growing up in Fall River, Massachusetts, her estrangement from her stepmother, and her troubled relationship with her father. Registration is required.

Know Your News: Become a Media Expert

Thursday, October 27, 2022, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Not sure if a new source is fact or fake? Learn how to tell the difference in this hands-on workshop. You’ll learn tips and tricks for finding reliable and credible information in any format and get a chance to practice your new skills. Registration is required.

What the Stars Read

Do you ever wonder what the movie and TV stars read?

After too long a break, I traveled once again to a multi-media convention in the Baltimore area as both a panelist and guest, giving me unique opportunities to learn about books, movies, television, actors, and other forms of popular media.

Among the topics discussed were the interactions of cyberpunk (tech-heavy stories) and the modern world, stories that cross genres and copyright laws (Is there anyone Scooby Doo didn’t meet? Why is there a Terminator in Wayne’s World?), trends in speculative fiction (Lunarpunk, anyone?), and more. And those were only the ones I was able to attend.

The best part of such gatherings is meeting the guests of honor. Guests can change at any time due to filming schedules or illness (Robert Duncan McNeill was replaced at the last second by John Billingsley, a phenomenally entertaining actor in person, due to McNeill testing positive for Covid), but there are always a number of interesting people making appearances. This year, among many outstanding actors, the guests included Adam Baldwin (Firefly, Chuck, The Last Ship) and Summer Glau (Firefly, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Sequestered, Arrow), and I was able to speak with both of them.

Summer Glau has put acting on the back burner for the moment as she home-schools her children. She herself was home schooled due to an overriding love of ballet, and thus was able to pursue dance more in depth with the flexibility of home schooling, though she admits there are gaps in her learning. I asked her who her favorite authors were, and what she likes to read. Glau is a fan of Steinbeck, especially East of Eden, as well as the classic Russian novelists like Tolstoy, and of course Jane Austen. She prefers her children have a more classical education, and that includes classical literature. She’s been reading books on farming, with daydreams of someday having a small farm (she is originally from Texas).

Adam Baldwin was a delight (No, he is no relation to Alec Baldwin and brothers). At 23, he appeared in the classic Kubrick film Full Metal Jacket, which is one of my favorites, and we discussed different war films we had each seen. He told me to watch The War Machine with Brad Pitt, I told him to watch 9th Company, an excellent Russian film about their 1980 invasion of Afghanistan. We talked about the WWI epic 1917. Baldwin admits he never made it to college, going into acting by the age of 18. His favorite authors? He likes reading Michael Crichton‘s best sellers such as Congo and Sphere, as well as Tom Clancy, and classic Stephen King, such as The Shining. By his own tale, he informed Stanley Kubrick that his film adaption of the The Shining was not as good as the book, which didn’t put him into Kubrick’s favor (Stephen King has been rather vocal on how much he himself disliked the film, despite it being ranked among the greatest horror films of all time).

In public, actors are always answering questions about their work, things they’ve done or would like to do, or nitpicky trivial questions about a single line of dialogue from decades ago that they can’t remember. Finding out what they like to read is a question they haven’t heard a thousand times, and brings out different aspects of the person behind the tabloid reports. Actors are more than just the roles they play, and finding something in common with them reminds us that off camera, they are people just like us!

The New AV Studio at Cheshire Public Library

Do you have a lot of precious memories sitting around on outdated media formats like VHS tapes, audio cassettes, or photo slides? Digitize those memories in our new “AV Studio”, a fully equipped digital media lab for audio and video creation as well as digital conversion. 

Digital conversion is taking an old format like a VHS tape and converting it to a digital format, which can then be saved as a file on a computer or USB drive. We currently have equipment available with the capability of digitizing the following formats:

  • VHS Tape
  • VHS-C
  • HDV Tape
  • Mini DV Tape
  • Hi 8
  • Digital 8
  • Vinyl Record
  • Audio Cassette Tape
  • 8mm Film
  • Super 8 Film
  • DVD
  • Film Negatives (135, 110 and 126)
  • 50mm Slides

The equipment in the AV Studio is available for public use, by appointment. Call our Tech Coordinator Jared at 203-272-2245 ext. 33019 to book time with the equipment. Jared will walk you through using the equipment and get you started.

Another feature of the AV Studio is audio and video creation. We have a Mac computer equipped with professional quality software for creating and editing digital content. We currently have the following software available on the Mac:

  • Final Cut Pro X
  • Logic Pro X
  • Premiere Pro
  • After Effects
  • Photoshop
  • Audition
  • Animate
  • Lightroom
  • Media Encoder
  • Illustrator
  • Handbrake
  • VLC Media Player
  • Wondershare DVD Creator
  • Indesign

This gives creators free access to expensive, high-quality software to make professional quality content. This computer is available for use by appointment, call our Tech Coordinator at 203-272-2245 ext 33019 to book time.

The AV Studio was made possible by funds from Friends of the Cheshire Public Library.

One Book, Two Readers – Teens Review “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo”

Teens: did you know that you can earn community service credit for writing a book review and submitting it to us? Today, we’ll hear from two teens who did just that, and get their different takes on the same book. Find out more about how to earn community service hours from home at cheshirelibrary.org/teens/.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Reviewed by Anja J.

Hands down. All time. Favorite book. I honestly don’t even know where to start with this book. I had heard about it all over social media and a few people had recommended it to me. After reading, it was so clear that this book deserved, and lived up to, all the hype. The story starts by introducing an aspiring magazine writer named Monique, who is offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to chronicle the scandalous life story of the infamous Hollywood star, Evelyn Hugo. Evelyn makes a deal with Monique that she, and only she, will be the one to interview her and write about her. Evelyn starts with the very beginning of her career, including clawing her way out of her small life in Hell’s Kitchen. The rest of the story entails the insider details, good and bad, of how she climbed her way to the top and her journey there. This (obviously) included one of the things that she was most well known for, her seven husbands.

Taylor Jenkins Reid had truly outdone herself when she crafted Evelyn’s character. My love-hate (although mostly love) relationship with her had me dying to read just one more chapter. Evelyn’s determination, ambition, internal conflicts, and just overall complex personality made her such an intricate character where we never really knew what her next move would be. It was simply fascinating to read about her, her actions, her choices, and her unfiltered thoughts. Through this story, Reid depicts the life of Hollywood fame and the prices one pays to live such a luxurious, yet fraudulent, life. Although the the public and newspapers says one thing, reality is a completely different thing.

The plot quite literally sent me on adrenaline highs of rollercoasters. The story had me thinking one thing, and then a different thing the next chapter. Then it had taken a gigantic turn that I never saw coming. The twists that kept on coming just kept on getting better every time, especially toward the end, where it is revealed why Evelyn was so persistent on only having Monique write her biography. The way their lives crossed paths was totally unexpected. I highly recommend this book to everyone (high school and up), it is written beautifully and eloquently and nearly had me in tears multiple times.

5 stars.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Reviewed by Ella K.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid that you have likely heard of if you are a watcher of BookTok. The book has attracted a lot of attention recently and that attention is well deserved. I read this book because I heard from one of my friends who likes to read that it was worth it to look into. Despite not knowing anything about the book or its plot line, I loved this book and was hooked immediately.

The book follows Monique Grant, a journalist who is not very famous, but was hired to work for a relatively famous publisher. She is told by that publisher that Evelyn Hugo wants her for an interview about a charity gala that she is throwing to raise money, and that she would only do the interview if it was Monique who was sent over, no one else. When Monique goes to talk to Evelyn, she reveals that it is not just an interview. Evelyn wanted Monique to write her exclusive biography. Evelyn had been a very private person up to this point, so the opportunity for an exclusive tell-all would work wonders for Monique’s career. Like the title suggests, Evelyn has had seven husbands, but she has not revealed the causes for her divorces.

This book is filled with intrigue and suspense. The story telling is impeccable and despite the sheer amount of information that Evelyn has to convey, the author does well at making the story clear and not confusing. Add that to a surprising twist near the end of the book and you have a book well worth reading for teen readers who love any genre. There are some mature themes in this book and I would advise younger readers to wait to read this book.

5 stars