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Summer Boredom Buster

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When summer rolls around, your schedule opens up and the days get longer. Find some fun ways to pass the time with helpful quizzes and games to keep you entertained during break — whether it’s a great new book, the perfect swimsuit, a new sport, or a cool song to start your summer soundtrack.

What's Your Summer Jam?

The right song can set your summer mood. Find out your summer jam and get your playlist going.

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From an author known for her ability to make language sing, comes a new young adult novel. Bee is a quiet, lonely girl living in a lovely California coast town, in a ramshackle beach cottage with her therapist mother and her mother's astrologer boyfriend. Like many Block characters, Bee is wispy and a bit fragile, and certainly different. She often finds herself waking in the middle of the night to find a strange girl in her room, who looks exactly like her.

When Bee makes friends with Sarah and Haze, together they work out that Bee is actually what is known as a changeling -- a child who was switched at birth with an elf child very similar to her -- and who has apparently been visiting her bedroom late at night. Where, Bee wonders, does she belong? And what does the girl want?

As compact as Bee herself at just 107 pages, this small novel is powerful enough to keep you curious long after you've finished it -- and might leave you feeling as light as Bee herself.

Available Now. Or, find it at your local library.

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Robin "Birdy" Perry enlisted in the Army after September 11th because he wanted to do something for his country. Or at least that's what he tells his uncle, the Vietnam Vet, when he sends him letters from Iraq. Now that's he there, however, he finds himself questioning why he really decided to enlist, and why the U.S. is in Iraq at all.

A member of a Civil Affairs unit, he and his comrades are charged with interacting with and finding out what the Iraqi people need as they, more often than not, become collateral damage to what the American military needs to do to find WMD's and secure the country in a post-Saddam environment.

As he's confronted with the realities of war, he and his buddies are charged with protecting themselves and the people they've been sent to serve, while finding a way to still believe in their country and in their own humanity.

Meyers' (who is also a veteran with two children in the military) apolitical stance on the war and relatively tame depiction of life as a soldier (there are only a few brutal, but powerful, scenes) make his excellent novel a must-read. Available now. Or, find it at your local library.

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Imagine sitting in history class, listening to your teacher drone on about the Civil War. Then suddenly, without a "poof" or puff of smoke, your teacher -- and everyone over the age of 15-years-old -- disappears. That's exactly what happens on the first page of "Gone," Michael Grant's novel about the lives of a group of teens who must literally fight to survive the fall out of the mysterious disappearance of every adult, now out in paperback.

Sam Temple's your average guy. He's not too popular, but he has friends. He has a crush on Astrid "The Genius" Ellison. Yet, he pretty much stays under the radar at his Perdido Beach, California high school -- well, except for the time he saved a school bus load of kids from crashing when the driver had a heart attack -- but other than that, he's a pretty normal guy. Except when he's angry or scared, of course, but no one knows about his close kept secret.

Sam's not the only confined by his secrets. As it turns out, the entire area he lives in is covered by an impenetrable barrier. What happens when there's no internet, cell phone or adults -- and two high schools full of teens are left in charge? Discover the secrets of this small beach community, where children of engineers at the local nuclear power plant, surfers, townies and students from the wealthy Coates Academy mix together -- forced to survive until their fifteenth birthday when they will inevitably vanish.

Filled with action, suspense, a cast of interesting characters and a splash of romance, this "Lost" meets "Heroes" story also encompasses a bit of "Lord of the Flies," making it a page turner that will make you crave the second book of this series, "Hunger."

Available now. Or, find it at your local library.

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In Eff's world, which is much like our own with some small, and some big, differences, being born thirteenth in any family is not a good thing.

It's especially daunting when your twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son, perhaps the most fortuitous order of birth possible, so much so that everyone around makes a huge fuss over the magical talents he must possess and runs in fear the bad luck you must possess. Things don’t get any simpler when Eff and her family move to the frontier, where magical (mirror bugs) and ancient (wooly mammoths) creatures must be held off from settlements using powerful spells produced by magicians like her father.

When the frontier setting comes into play, the story morphs into Little House on the Prairie meets not quite Harry Potter (the magic in the story is not nearly as clever), appealing for it’s adventure and because it encourages readers to look at their world in a slightly different way as Eff and her family truly become a part of this fantasy American West.

The first in a trilogy, available now. Or, find it at your local library.

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Ready for a beach read? Written by the same ladies who brought you the New York Times Bestseller, "The Nanny Diaries," Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, this guilty pleasure, "The Real Real," takes place during a winter in the Hamptons. Follow the superficial saga of Jesse O'Rourke in this steamy story about a group of high school students whose lives are taken over for a reality show by a TV network called XTV.

Jesse's an average girl living an average life, yet when XTV comes to her school to film the glamorous life of teens at Hamptons High, surprisingly they pick her, though she finds no glitz in her Old Navy sweaters and after school job at a bakery. No biggie -- the network edits those facts and replaces them with designer labels and new friends who happen to be the wealthiest teens in town. Well, except for Drew, Jesse's long time crush, but he's so out of her league. Or is he?

Discover what happens to Jesse as her life is turned upside and inside out as she sloughs through the snow facing challenges she never would have encountered in REAL life. Find out what happens when reality becomes a set and who you are becomes a commodity. To get your own copy, head to Amazon. **Please note, this is a fun novel for older readers.

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Dog-gone it, she's at it again! The canine-loving author of Hotel For Dogs, Lois Duncan has brought pet owners another special treat for tweens. Sit and stay for a hilarious and adventure-filled romp with Andi and Bruce in Duncan's latest novel News For Dogs, where a brother and sister duo start their very own newspaper called "The Bow-Wow News."

Join Andi, Bruce and their friends, as they get the scoop on the tricks and traps of becoming journalists in their effort to earn money to keep Bruce's dog Red Rover. Yet, when gossip becomes scandal and the subjects in their paper are dognapped, "The Bow-Wow News" must turn to Andi and Bruce's Aunt Alice for help. Will her sleuthing skills help them solve the mystery in time to save their neighbors' pets? Or, will their newspaper tie them to the dognappings?

You won't have to beg to find out once you get your copy of News For Dogs at Amazon.com.

We promise this summer read will have you rolling over with laughter -- even if you're a cat person. **Please note, this book is recommended for middle grade readers.

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More books coming soon!

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