Teen Book Club: The Eyes of Minds

The Eyes of Minds 
by James Dashner
Release Date: Oct 2013
Pages: 323

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

Share it, Skim it, or Shelve it?
Most of the teens thought this was a share it, but I had one or two that thought it was more of a skim it.

What you think of the Virtual Net? Would you be willing to own a coffin?
They all thought the Virtual Net was pretty cool and would totally own a coffin. They did think the wires going into the skin was kind of creepy, but would be worth it it to be part of the network.

Ending: Shock or saw it coming?
No one (besides myself) saw it coming. They knew something was up, mainly because of the parent issue, but they didn’t think it would be that Michael was a Tangent. The teens thought it was an interesting twist that made them rethink a lot of the actions of the book.

Do you think Michael’s friend’s knew he was a Tangent?
No, the teens are deciding to believe agent when she told Michael his friends didn’t know the truth. (I myself am not as trusting and wonder if they thought something was up.) They are interested to see how the information/body swap will change their friendships.

What did you think of Devils Destruction?
They were a bit disappointed with the game. The teens thought it would be so much more and thought these scenes were just meh. We all expected something like Halo or Call of Duty and didn’t understand why anyone would want to enter a game like this. The discussion when in many directions, but eventually the teens thought maybe the game only exists as a test from Kaine and that none of the other participants were actually real. They thought this could explain why an “adult only” game wasn’t garnering more attention.

We also had an interesting discussion on game time vs. real time. In the game, several days passed, but we aren’t the sure the same was true for the real world. The teens thought that days could equal just a couple of hours in the real world and would explain why none of their parents were concerned about them staying hooked up for days. (Although, we never see anyone’s life beyond Michael’s, so it could still be possible. We don’t even know if someone else can make you leave the game.)

Michael and Sarah: heat of the moment or think there is feelings?
All but one thought it was merely in the heat of the moment. One of those, we’re both going to die so I’m going to kiss you now kisses. One of the girls thought there were other moments of build-up, but she couldn’t convince the other teens to see the same way. They all agreed, though, that if it wasn’t a heat of the moment, Sarah would not feel the same once she learned the truth.

What did you think of the Path?
The teens thought some of the aspects were cool, like the creepy zombies, but they thought it got a bit tedious after a bit. They just felt like it was one thing after another and were glad when they were passed it.

Favorite Scene?

  • The mirror scene when Kaine is trying to scare them away
  • The creepy zombies on the path
  • The night club with Ronkia and the Kill Sims
  • The volcano scene during the path

Program 4-1-1

  • When: December 19th, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
  • How Many Teens: 13 teens; 2 boys/11 girls ranging from Grade 8 – 10
  • Cost/Supplies: $54 for 14 pints of ice cream; $168 for 15 books (graciously paid by the friends of the library)

Teen Program: Cupcake Creations

The 4-1-1:
When: June 10th & 11th, 6:00 – 7:30pm
Resource(s): None
How many teens: 49 teens; 7 teens @ Main, 42 teens @ Branch

Cost/Supplies: $128.71

  • Cupcakes (112): $54.85
  • Frosting (7): $11.48
  • Food Coloring: $1.94
  • Sprinkles (5; 4 small, 1 large): $7.24; these were barely touched
  • Spoons (100): $ 2.84
  • Small cups (200): $3.96; little under half left
  • Sandwich Baggies: $0; already had
  • Milano Pirouettes: $4.98
  • Oreos (2): $5.96
  • Cookies: $1.34
  • Graham Crackers (2): 4.36; still had a pack or two left
  • Pretzels: $1.98
  • Wafers: $1.96; half of package left
  • Marshmallows: $1.25
  • Baking Chips; half a bag of each left
    • Chocolate (2): $3.76
    • White Chocolate: $2.50
    • Butterscotch: $2.50
  • Candy
    • M&Ms (42 oz): $8.98
    • Gummy Worms (2): $3.24
    • Licorice (2): $3.76
    • Dots (2): $2.00
    • Nerds: $0.98

The run-down:

I did this a bit different each day, but overall it had the same effect. I knew I was going to have a large crowed the first night and wanted to be sure I had enough variety for the next night. So, for the first night, I took the more popular supplies and divided them among all the tables. This included a cup of frosting for each person. I kept the extra frosting, food coloring, and extra food up by me and had the teens come up and ask for supplies as needed. I taped up some pictures for inspiration, but most of the teens decided to do their own thing. I did try to make it a little more interesting by making it a competition where the top 5 would get a small prize. This night went exceptionally well. The only time it got a little crazy was when I had teens coming up to get their cupcakes photographed and other teens who needed more supplies.

The second night was much smaller, so I didn’t need to divide everything amongst the tables. Instead, I put everything in one big pile and let them pick and choose that way. Since I had plenty of supplies left, I was a bit more free with how much they could have. There were some things like the candy and cookies that I tried to limit them on still since I could use those in other activities. Surprisingly, this group was way more wild than the night before. I think it was mainly because they were so much smaller and they could goof off together easier. Plus, I had several younger teens (going into 6th), which always throws off the dynamics more since they’re new and learning my rules.

Take-away/lessons learned:

  • I probably bought more supplies than I needed. I wanted to give a variety, but I overwhelmed them more than anything. I could have easily cut back on things like the sprinkle, pretzels, graham crackers, and wafers as they were barely used. Still, I’m happy with the $2.60 average per teen, especially since it was a food event.
  • Plastic table cloths are a life saver. I didn’t use them the second night, but wish I had. They made clean up faster and easier.
  • 90 minutes is too long. An hour is more along the perfect time. Both nights, the teens were done and out the door around this time.
  • I was scared to bump my first night as high as I did, but I think this event worked better with the higher numbers. Of course, I may have gotten lucky and just had a good crowd, but I won’t be afraid to let registeration cap at 50 should I do this one again.
  • The only other thing I may consider, if we do this again, is hiring someone to teach them how to do professional looking decorating. I haven’t looked into this option, but it would be something I would throw out to my teens to consider.


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Teen Program: Dry Erase Boards

The 4-1-1:

When: October 17th, 5:30 – 7:00pm
Resource(s): DIY Magnetic Dry Erase Board
How many teens: 6 teens
Cost/Supplies: $15.68

  • 5×7 frames (3): $2.85
  • 4 x 6 frames (2): $1.90
  • 8×10 frames (3): $5.88
  • Scrap Book Paper: $5.00
  • Duct Tape: $0, already had
  • Ribbon: $0, already had
  • Hot glue guns: $0, already had

The run-down:

The is another one I feel a bit silly posting, but I couldn’t resist posting the teen results. The actual construction of the frames is simple. You put in a piece of scrap book paper/fabric/brightly colored paper in place of a photo and then decorate the frame. That is literally it. I’m pretty sure this was my easiest craft to date, but the teens loved it and had a lot of fun making them.

Take-away/lessons learned:

  • 90 minutes was a tad too long, but most of the teens weren’t finished too much before the end. I would say 60 minutes would be a better time frame, especially if you don’t have a lot of talkers. (Mine LOVE to talk and are basically all friends with each other now.)

  • Don’t worry too much about what to decorate the frames with. All I did was go through my left-over craft supplies and pulled anything I thought would be useful. It was a random hodge podge of things, but the teens had plenty of things to choose from.

  • Glitter ribbon is as bad is regular glitter.

  • This craft is really on the teens. If you have a group that needs precise step-by-step directions/are not overly creative, this may be one you want to skip. For example, I tried to make my sample while in a non-creative mood and basically ended up with a black frame with glitter on it. (I wouldn’t even show the teens mine, lol) So these can either end up super cute or a super fail.

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Teen Book Club: Cruel Beauty

Cruel Beauty by Roasmund Hodge
Release Date: Jan 2014
Pages: 342

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Rate the book: Share It,  Skim It, Shelve It

All the teens agreed they would totally Share It with their friends. In fact, several of the teens have already started to pass their ARCs to people they think should read it. Even the boys, who granted didn’t finish it in time, really liked what they had read. One of the boys does better with audio and he’s hoping there will be an audiobook so he can hear the whole story.

Shade or Gentle Lord?

Again, they were all in agreement that the Gentle Lord was their favorite. We did discuss how they had like Shade for a while, but once his true personality starting coming out they were done with him. Although, a couple of them said they never truly trusted Shade. They did think the hate you-like you struggle Nyx had with the Gentle Lord snapped from hate to love really fast, but they still enjoyed their relationship.

Skip to next question to avoid Spoilers:
I asked what they thought about Shade and the Heart of Fire and if the scene made them like him any less. They thought over for about a minute or so, but they all agreed that it wasn’t a defining moment to any of them. They believed he truly thought she could handle it and needed to know the information it would give. Even though he had said it before, they didn’t think he was trying to deliberately hurt her/using it as a line to kill her.

 We also talked a bit about the Gentle Lord and his deals. No one blamed him for deals going wrong. After all, everyone knew that asking a favor from the Gentle Lord was dangerous. The asker may get what they wanted, but there was always horrible consequence.  In fact, he even tells you that when he is making the deal. Also, learning that the Gentle Lord was basically a puppet made it hard for the teens to see him as an evil man.

What did you think of her family (sister/father/aunt)?

Oh man, this is where the teens ranted the most. No one had anything really good to say about any of her family members. They all thought her sister was incredibly selfish the entire book. None of them could relate to her at all. They had a hard time seeing her as Nyx’s twin as she acted so much younger. They did agree a lot of her problem was that she was too sheltered, but none of them understood why she had waited so long to find out information about what was really to happen to Nyx.

As for her father, the teens thought he was number one jerk. They thought he was extremely cold hearted for never loving his child. Even when I asked if it was maybe because he knew she would die/gave a few scenarios, they wouldn’t would change their minds. They felt that knowledge should make him shower her with more love as their time would be cut short. Of course, considering he knew from the start he would have to give up one of his daughters didn’t help any with his likability

Skip to next question to avoid Spoilers:
The aunt was another one that had them ranting. They hated that she was the mistress. Even though she was only related to the father via marriage (dead wife’s sister)  they were a bit grossed out, especially since in at the end she was pregnant with his baby. I’m not sure why this creeped them out so much, especially since this isn’t that uncommon, but they were very adamant that they hated it.

Favorite Scenes?

  • When Nyx saves the Gentle Lord from the darkness and then asked her to stay. And that he came to her every night after. (This was a top fav)
  • Nyx and the Gentle Lord at her mother’s grave and she threatens to hit him over the head with the bottle
  • When Shade shows her the Heart of Water. I really like how it was described.
  • When the Gentle Lord takes her to the Heart of Air. It’s the one thing she could never get to on her own and showed how much he trusted/loved her at that point.
  • At the end, when she clings to him. She can’t remember anything beyond that fact that she should hold onto him.

Let’s talk about the ending.

I’m going to try to be as vague as possible here, but there will be some spoilers mentioned. The teens were a bit confused by the ending, but overall they really liked it. They were worried he wouldn’t remember her and were glad that wasn’t the case. I did ask if they were upset that he didn’t stop and listen to her solution, but most of them felt like it was a now or never situation. That if he had stopped and not acted he would have never had the courage again to do what was right. Although her solution may have been easier, they felt it had to happen how it happened.


Program 4-1-1

  • When: October 24th, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
  • How Many Teens: 10 teens; 2 boys/8 girls ranging from Grade 8 – 10
  • Cost/Supplies: $42 for 11 pints of ice cream; BIG THANK YOU to HarperCollins for supplying us with ARC copies.

Teen Program: Friday Night Madness – Humans vs. Zombies

The 4-1-1:

When: October 11th, 4:30 – 8:00pm
Resources: Teen Librarian Toolbox , Zombie Survival Kit
How many teens: 21 teens
Cost/Supplies: $0

  • Socks; left over from a previous craft
  • Scarves/Bandanas; used the scarves that we use for baby storytime
  • Print outs for Zombie Kit

The run-down:

The first half an hour was spent creating “Zombie Survival Kit”. I printed and cut out pictures to form a packet for each table. There were 22 items in all, but they could have have 7 in their “pack”. I did allow them to work in teams (no more than 2) if they wished. I had them write down their choices and come to me to get a score. I did reward the highest score with a zombie t-shirt (left over from summer reading) and those who scored the lowest where my starting zombies for my Human vs. Zombie game.

Once the library closed and I explained the rules, we took over the library for the game. Each round typically lasted about 15- 20 minutes and ended where there was only one human left. That person got the first choice of being human or zombie for the next round. Each round I tended to either give the humans or the zombies a head start/chance to hide. I tended to let the Zombies hide more, though, since it gave them the chance to sneak attack a little more.

Take-away/lessons learned:

  • Socks were a great ammo and more than enough, but I think the teens would have enjoyed a little variety. In the future, I’ll add in nerf guns and rocket launchers.

  • Having someone to collect the ammo was great, but my library building is a bit small and wasn’t really needed. Teens usually had enough ammo and we collected it as a group between rounds.

  • “No running” is a rule my teens HATE to follow. They find every single way around it. So, even though I told the Zombies they had to “shuffle” they still managed to pull off a “fast shuffle”. I had hoped the sped/movement would help distinguish who was human and who was zombie even more, but eventually, I just gave up and let them jog/run.

  • I also should have had them change the location of their scarves once they became a zombie (hand/arm to head). I thought about doing this, but thought it would be easier just to have them remove it. That way the teens wouldn’t be confused/ask a million questions about which location was which, etc. However, some of the teens tried to be “sneaky” and would hide their scarf hand so it made them look like they had already been tagged. It worked on more than one occasion, so I have to give them mad props, but it also threw off the game a bit/made it a bit unfair.