Tag Archives: YA

Locke & Key

I stopped reading off my controversial book list for a while because I needed to buff up on modern comics for a graphic novel club I’m planning on launching at my school and thus I became totally obsessed with the Locke & Key series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez.

Locke & Key cover

This story has got everything that lovers of fantasy and horror look for in a good novel. It’s fast paced, super scary, has huge cliffhangers, and takes place in a verse that is totally realistic and easily imaginable.

The story follows the lives of three sibs: Tyler, Kinsey and Bode Locke, who just moved to their family’s rural New England home. What they don’t know is that the house is full of secrets, and most importantly secret keys, which unlock doors that make the impossible, possible.

From turning into a ghost to super strength to gender bending, the keys that the Locke family uncovers offer endless possibility. There is a dark force afoot though, something evil that is terrorizing the family, in search of the Omega Key, and who knows what door that will open. 

A few people have told me that the first book is über confusing and that keeping the characters straight is a total pita. I cannot disagree, the first book is hard to follow, there’s a lot going on. If you can hold out though– if you can make it to the second book you are sure to be hooked on what I think it one of the greatest horror stories of recent memory. Perhaps that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as Joe Hill is the progeny of famous horror novelist Stephen King.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes scary stories! Be careful though, this is a graphic novel and as such there are pictures of violence, blood and gore, and other scary stuff.

You know what’s next: stay uncomfortable, keep reading!

Empire Records

empire records

Empire Records. Dir. Allan Moyle. Perf. Anthony LaPaglia, Liv Tyler, Renee Zegweller. Warner Brothers, 1995.

Reader’s Annotation

Life is changing for everyone at Empire Records. The independent music store is about to be sold a to a chain, and the employees are each embroiled in their own (and each others!) personal troubles. In this hilarious and heart felt story you’ll find out what happens when six young people set out to “damn the man and save the empire!”

Plot Summary

When Lucas is employed with closing the record store for the first time he run across some paperwork on his bosses desk that suggests that the beloved indie record store will soon be turned into a corporate franchise known as Music Town. In a desperate attempt to save Empire Records Lucas takes the daily deposit to Atlantic City where he lays it all on the craps table and shoots snake eyes.

The next day while the rest of the crew is preparing for Rex Manning Day, a middle aged rocker who recently released a new hit single that he’ll be signing copies of all afternoon, boss Joe is trying to figure out how to explain to store owner Mitchell Beck that Lucas gambled away the deposit.

Meanwhile employee AJ spends the day gathering up the courage to tell Corey (played by an adorably young Liv Tyler) that he’s in love with her. Corey on the other hand is trying to figure out how to seduce Rex Manning and Corey’s best friend and fellow cashier Gina lashes out at Corey in a fit of jealousy and that sends Corey into hysterics.

The movie is packed with criss-crossing story lines, with too many subplots to go into futher depth here. What remains most important to the team at Empire Records is that they save Lucas from whatever trouble he’s gotten himself into, Joe from himself and the record store from closing down.


High School, College

Curriculum Ties


Reading Level/Interest Age 


Challenge Issues

Empire Records is rated PG-13. The movie touches on sensitive topics like drug abuse, self harm, and suicide. We suggest that users exercise caution when consuming material they might find objectionable. This library supports the ALA Library Bill of Rights and defends our users right to privacy.

Reason for inclusion

This is a fun movie that should prove amusing to young men and young women.

Little Big Planet

little big planet

Little Big Planet 2: Special Edition. 2011. Playstation 3, Sony Entertainment.


Sackboy, the main character pictured above, is back for an all new adventure in Little Big Planet 2. There are more costumes to dress your sackboy in, more puzzles to solve, more tools to design your own levels and more opportunities for creative online play than ever before. LBP2 is a visually stimulating wonderland where the opportunities never cease. You can play the game conventionally, straight through, using your SackBoy to save the world from the various enemies you face, or you can play online with other players to achieve goals and unlock worlds that you can’t manage alone. The game is completely customizable, you can actually design and build new levels and worlds for players all over the world to enjoy. Needless to say the only limitation is your imagination. That’s the best thing about this game, it’s not particularly violent or gory, it’s really nice to look at and it involves more than staying numbly at the television for hours, you actually get to use your brain– though it’s by no means required 

Curriculum Ties


Reading Level/Interest Age 


Reason for inclusion

This is a game everyone will enjoy.