Fairfax County Public Library Digital Programs: August 22 – 31, 2020

compiled by Emma Shacochis

Finish off your summer vacation – with the library! These events, while no longer in person, are still being offered to provide Fairfax County teens with plenty of fun.

Cozy Crafts to Go: August 22-31, pick up at Great Falls Library

Grab one of three kits with instructions from Great Falls, and get crafty in your own home! Among the activities offered are pom-pom trees, magazine strip art, and a Harry Potter-style origami Sorting Hat.

DIY No-Sew Face Mask, August 22-31

Need more masks for returning to school in the fall? Check out this video on how to make your own simple yet effective face mask! No registration required; video is always available.

Teen Graphic Novel Book Club, August 24, 1-2pm

George Mason’s Graphic Novel Book Club will be discussing Noelle Stevenson’s fantasy graphic novel, Nimona, at their next meeting. Register online to receive the Zoom code.

Avocado Pit Carving, August 25, 3-3:15pm

This on-demand program will demonstrate the delicate and obscure art of carving, painting, and preserving avocado pit art! No registration required; video will be available on FCPL’s YouTube channel.

Teen Otaku Club, August 25, 4-5pm

Discuss your favorite manga or anime and participate in an activity with Pohick Regional’s Teen Otaku Club. Register online to receive the Zoom code.

Rainbow Teen Book Club, August 25, 7-8pm

LGBTQIA teens and allies are invited to join Reston Regional’s Rainbow Book Club. This month’s discussion will be about Mark Oshiro’s Anger is a Gift. Register online to receive the Zoom code.

Online Yoga, August 26, 10-11am

Begin your day with FCPL’s virtual yoga class, for teens and older! Register online to receive the Zoom code.

Women’s Suffrage Digital Escape Room, August 26, 11:00am-12:30pm

To honor the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s ratification, which gave some women the right to vote, enter this digital escape room that’s informational and fun for all ages! Register online to receive the link.

Percy Jackson Virtual Book Club, August 27, 3-4pm

Demigods and Olympian fans are invited to join Dolley Madison’s Percy Jackson Book Club! This month’s discussion will be of the original Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Register online to receive the Zoom code.

Baking Basics, August 28, 3-3:15pm

Collect some cooking confidence in this on-demand class on the basics of baking. No registration required; video will be available on FCPL’s YouTube channel.

You can register for all of these programs and more here.

TAB Recommends: August 2020

compilation and summaries by Emma Shacochis; titles recommended by members of the Board

Despite having to miss this month’s meeting, TAB members still decided to share what we’ve been reading and enjoying this August!

The Zeroes trilogy, by Deborah Biancotti, Margo Lanagan, and Scott Westerfeld

Six teenagers, all possessing their own unique superpower, must learn to work as a team to keep the normal world safe – from themselves.

The Candymakers, by Wendy Mass

A boarding school for spies, a boy who speaks backwards, and candy harmonicas abound in this mouthwateringly magical tale of friendship, secrets, and lots of candy.

The Nowhere Girls, by Amy Reed

In a moving tale of female friendship and empowerment, three girls team up to bring change to the passive treatment of sexual assault at their school.

Read Between the Lines, by Jo Knowles

A small-town high school sees its fair share of drama over the course of a single day, through the perspectives of nine very different teenagers.

Things We Know By Heart, by Jessi Kirby

After her boyfriend dies in an accident, Quinn goes out of her way to find the recipients of his organ donations.

Red, White, & Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston

After rivaling one another for years, the First Son and the prince of England find themselves thrown into a media-friendly friendship that gradually evolves into more.

A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas

In an action-packed retelling of Beauty and the Beast, a mortal girl, Feyre, finds herself kidnapped to a fighting for survival in the world of faeries after accidentally killing a High Fae.

The Young Elites, by Marie Lu

In a dystopian future ravaged by a plague, the scarred survivor children have the potential to develop magical abilities. Adelina Amouteru, a girl with the ability to create illusions, is invited to join the ranks of the Young Elites, a group who work to protect the rights of malfettos (children who survived the plague), and to put Enzo, another Elite, back on the throne.

An Enchantment of Ravens, by Margaret Rogerson

Isobel makes her living as an artist for the immortal, cursed creatures: the Fair Folk. But when she makes an error in a portrait of Prince Rook, she’s forced to stand trial in his kingdom, which they find to be torn by violence and betrayal.

Place a hold on any of these highly recommended titles at Reston Regional today!

Review: Ami Polonsky’s Gracefully Grayson

Amazon.com: Gracefully Grayson (9781484723654): Polonsky, Ami: Books

Grayson Sender is a boy. Or at least that’s what everybody else sees. Inside, Grayson is a girl. Ever since she was a child, she’s known that she wasn’t who everyone thought she was. She pretends that her sweatpants are skirts, and draws princesses in her notebooks with glitter pens. Grayson is desperate to not let anyone know her secret, and it’s not very hard. You see, Grayson has no friends. She spends all her time either in thrift stores or in her own room.

When the school play auditions start, Grayson tries out for the lead. The female lead. And she gets it. Of course, because Grayson looks like a boy to everyone else, this poses some issues, issues that end up breaking Grayson’s arm. When the PTA considers firing the teacher that gave Grayson the part she has dreamed of, she knows this has gone too far. Once she gets on stage for that final performance, she shows them all that who you are on the outside doesn’t match who you are on the inside.

Gracefully Grayson is a beautiful story that will drag you along with it, making you pull for Grayson, and soon you will fall in love with the amazing character that Ami Polonsky has created. Gracefully Grayson will teach you that it’s OK to be yourself, that what you look like doesn’t define who you are, and that if you reach out to someone, you can change their world.

Review: Josephine Angelini’s Starcrossed

Starcrossed: The Starcrossed Trilogy 1 - Pan Macmillan AU

     Helen has lived her whole life as an outcast in her town. She is tall, super strong, and fast, not to mention gorgeous! So when a new family moves in that seem to have the same “problems” like her, she is immediately intrigued. Except, of course, when she sees them. Whenever Helen encounters any member of the Delos family, she is thrown into a murderous rage and then immediately gets terrible cramps. What she doesn’t know is why.

     Suddenly, after Helen saves one of the boys’ lives, she doesn’t feel the urge to murder anyone anymore. Especially not Lucas, whom Helen can’t seem to stay away from. As she spends more time with them, she learns more about what they are – herself included. The Delos’ and Helen are one of the remaining few Scions – descendants of the gods. While Helen is developing her normal Scion talents, as well as a few extra rare ones with the help of the Delos’, she soon learns that no matter how badly she and Lucas want each other, they can never have each other or they will start an eternal war. And to make matters worse, Helen soon learns that the rest of the Delos’ relatives are coming to kill her. Will she be able to stop a war that will destroy civilization as we know it and herself?

     Josephine Angelini has written a gorgeous tale of starcrossed lovers trying to save themselves and the world at the same time. The perfect mix of Twilight and Percy Jackson & the OlympiansStarcrossed will pull you in and never let go. Learn to love yourself and others alongside Helen and find out what Fate truly means.


Review: Natasha Friend’s How We Roll

How We Roll by Natasha Friend

Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that makes your hair fall out. It sucks. Especially during high school. When Quinn McAvoy’s hair starts falling out the summer before 8th grade, her whole life starts falling apart. She no longer fits in with her school, especially not with her friends. So when her family decides to move Gulls Head, Massachusetts, she has a chance to start over. A chance to start a new life.

On the first day of school, Quinn wears a wig to school. How would anyone know that that’s not her real hair? When the popular girls take her in as one of their own, Quinn thinks she may have finally found a place for herself in this new school, until a boy in a wheelchair turns her world upside down. Ever since his accident, Nick has had a hard time fitting in. When Quinn decides to become friends with him, she changes both their worlds for the better.

How We Roll tells the story of Quinn McAvoy, a girl with many things that go wrong in her life, including everyone finding out her secret, a brother who has autism, and friendship that could possibly fall apart at one touch until one day changes it all. How We Roll is a story of how to deal with whatever life throws your way, how one person can change your life, and how friendship will make you a better person.

Review: Joelle Charbonneau’s The Testing

The Testing (The Testing Trilogy Series #1) by Joelle Charbonneau ...

     In the future, The Seven Stages War has destroyed most of the planet. Only small areas have been revitalized, and it is all still in the works. To make sure that the future of the planet is in good hands, the government has set up The Testing. The Testing is these students’ one chance at a good education and career. Otherwise, they would be stuck in their colonies around the country, never to amount to much.

     When Cia is chosen as a candidate for The Testing, one of the first students to be chosen from her colony in a decade, she is ecstatic, excited to become a future leader of the United Commonwealth, just like her father. However, her father gives her some advice as she leaves, and it’s not all good. There seems to be a darker side of The Testing, plus the fact that all Testing candidates are never heard from again.

     Cia starts off to the capital city, trusting only one person – her friend from her colony, Tomas. As she and Tomas start to endure the horrors of The Testing and the candidates’ numbers start to dwindle, Cia soon starts to wonder if she can truly trust Tomas and her newly found friends or if she needs to leave them behind to survive.

     The Testing is a thrilling book, full of suspense, and perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent. Cia will quickly become one of your favorite characters, and you will watch and try to help guide her along her path. The Testing is a great story about love, adventure, and trusting yourself.

Review: Mariko Tamaki’s Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me


review by Emma Shacochis

Frederica “Freddy” Riley feels like she’s lucky. Her girlfriend, Laura Dean, is the girl of her dreams on paper: confident, popular, and beautiful. The only issue is that, almost every time a holiday rolls around, Laura finds a reason for the two of them to break up.

Frustrated by her devotion to Laura’s lies and infidelities, Freddy seeks help in the from emails to Anna Vice, an advice columnist; her group of best friends, none of whom are particularly keen on Laura themselves; and the Seek-Her, a fortune teller whose verdict on the situation is that Freddy must be the one to break up with Laura Dean. As she’s drawn in again and again by Laura’s charm, Freddy begins to feel more and more distant from her loved ones, her best friend Doodle (whose struggles she’s oblivious to), and her sense of self.

As a graphic novel, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me features two elements that make the medium so enamoring: easy-to-read, naturalistic dialogue, and gorgeous illustrations. Mariko Tamaki has created a cast of characters that you’re allowed to see both sides of: like Laura Dean’s understandable draw and her dismissive abruptness, or Freddy’s happiness when she feels in love and the ways that her romantic relationship hurts the people who care about her. The dialogue between the high school-age characters flows well, without falling into the all-too-easy trap of stereotypes or buzzwords. The majority of the main characters fall on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, making the story less of a coming-out one and more about the difficulties that come with feeling “othered” by your identity. Among the dive into how abuse in same-sex relationships can be easier to overlook, Tamaki also addresses the frequent dismissal of those who don’t “come out right,” and how parental support plays such a large role in the comfort LGBTQ youth have in their own identities.

Rosemary Valero-O’Connell’s illustrations elevate the story further, as she adds beautiful shades of light pink among the typical black and white illustrations found in graphic novels. The characters are expressive in their joy and sadness, but Valero-O’Connell is also skilled at creating expressions that are hiding emotions, as Doodle draws away from Freddy or Freddy tries to play off her irritation at Laura. The quirky restaurants and stores that pepper the story’s setting in Berkeley, California (such as the organic restaurant Freddy works at, where all of the dishes are named from famous lesbians) all sport a unique, fun, and above all authentic charm. Freddy’s habit of sewing stuffed animal-hybrids is also made clear by the undeniable adorable mashups Valero-O’Connell fills her room with (a half-mermaid, half-Santa is a key player in one emotional scene).

For a story that doesn’t shy away from the angst and pain of unhealthy teenage relationships, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me doesn’t wallow in pain. Instead, it builds to an ending that will leave readers with a sense of catharsis – and the message that no one is defined by being an “ex-” of someone else.

Fairfax County Public Library Digital Programs: August 11 – 21, 2020

compiled by Emma Shacochis

Spend your next two weeks online – with the library! These events, while no longer in person, are still being offered to provide Fairfax County teens with plenty of fun.

Cozy Crafts to Go: August 11-21, pick up at Great Falls Library

Grab one of three kits with instructions from Great Falls, and get crafty in your own home! Among the activities offered are pom-pom trees, magazine strip art, and a Harry Potter-style origami Sorting Hat.

Summer Photography Club – Mission: Places and Travel, August 11-21

Enter your best travel photos for FCPL’s slideshow! Submissions are accepted until August 21st, and the slideshow will be posted on the library’s YouTube channel at the end of the month.

Online Yoga, August 12 & 19, 10-11am

Begin your day with FCPL’s virtual yoga class, for teens and older! Register online to receive the Zoom code.

*Teen Advisory Board Meeting, August 13, 7-8pm*

Reston Regional’s next TAB meeting will be held this Thursday evening! Come discuss your summer reading and upcoming school year with us. Register online to receive the Zoom code.

Summer Writing Workshop, August 13 & 20, 3:30-4:30pm

Teen (aged 12-14) can share and get feedback on their writing through this online workshop hosted by McLean High School upperclassmen, as well as learn about opportunities to publish pieces on McLean’s The Highlander site. Register online to receive the Zoom code.

Teen Otaku Club, August 11, 4-5pm

Discuss your favorite manga or anime and participate in an activity with Pohick Regional’s Teen Otaku Club. Register online to receive the Zoom code.

Herndon Book Club, August 18, 6:30-7:30pm

Herndon’s Teen Book Club will be discussing the historical drama Between Shades of Gray at their next meeting. Register online to receive the Zoom code.

Superfight, August 21, 2-3pm

If you’re a fan of absurd mash-ups and playing “who would win in a fight,” join FCPL’s online Superfight tournament! Register online to receive the Zoom code.

You can register for all of these programs and more here.

The Newest and Best YA Books Reston Has to Offer!

compiled by Emma Shacochis

Are you eager to pick up some of the most recent and most buzzed-about young adult titles? If so, Reston Regional’s Teen Section’s shelves are packed with options for your reading appetite. Here are a few that you can head over and check out for yourself!

When We Were Magic, by Sarah Gailey

Alexis and her five best friends are your typical, close-knit group of high school girls. Oh, except for the magical powers that they share. And the fact that they have to help cover up an accidental murder on prom night.


Lifestyles of Gods & Monsters, by Emily Roberson

For fans of Greek mythology comes a retelling of the myth of Theseus and the minotaur…by way of reality television and The Hunger Games. Princess Ariadne agrees to help contestant Theseus win her family’s competition show, The Labyrinth Contest, but will helping him bring her family’s empire to ruins?


Someday We Will Fly, by Rachel DeWoskin

In 1940, teenage Lillia flees with her father and sister from Shanghai to escape persecution that Jewish people were facing in her home of Warsaw, Poland. Lillia embarks on a journey to help raise her sister, learn Chinese, make a living – and find her missing mother.


Freaky in Fresno, by Laurie Boyle Crompton

Cousins Ricki and Lana find themselves Freaky Friday-d during an unfortunately electrifying argument. Their journey to returning to their own bodies (as well as saving Ricki’s beloved drive-in theatre and Lana’s appearance at an online convention) is paved with crushes, convertibles, and chihuahuas.


Little Universes, by Heather Demetrios

Sisters Mae and Hannah winters are made to move from one coast to the other for their senior year of high school after a tropical storm claims the lives of their parents. Both struggle to deal with their losses, as well as stay tied to one another even as their circumstances pull them apart.


Place a hold or come check out these new titles today!

Review: Gloria Chao’s American Panda

American Panda by Gloria Chao, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

     Mei is a 17-year-old in college, and she should have her whole life planned out, but she doesn’t. Then again, it doesn’t matter as her parents have planned it for her: pre-med at MIT, become a doctor, marry a Taiwanese Ivy League students (preapproved by her parents of course, and have children with him, preferably starting with a son. And if Mei doesn’t follow this plan, well, then she’ll end up like her brother: disowned, left on his own, with no financial or emotional support whatsoever. However, the one thing Mei does know is that she doesn’t want to be a doctor. She hates germs and everything related to medical school, but she still tries to convince herself it’ll be okay by shadowing a doctor on campus, but it’s hard to make yourself into the person you least want to be.

     As Mei starts to figure out what she wants and who she is, away from her parents (mostly), she also discovers what really happened with her brother. He got disowned because he started dating the wrong girl. Mei starts to reconnect with them, and she starts to wonder if lying to herself and her family is worth it. She doesn’t want to end up like her brother, but she also doesn’t want to become the perfect Chinese girl, especially with her love for dance, and this new boy that’s caught her eye – a boy that is not Taiwanese. Can she fix everything before it all blows up in her face?

     Gloria Chao has given us a heartfelt novel that shows us how to find the best of every situation and how to be true to ourselves, no matter what anyone says. American Panda will have you rooting for Mei all the way through, crying with her, laughing with her, and hoping for the best. American Panda is a story about acceptance and loving yourself, even in the face of adversity.