Category: Blogs

FAN-tastic Fest: Pop Culture Con & Costume Fair

Are you a Potterhead or a Browncoat? A Tribute or Duelist? Where do you stand on the topic of capes?

Celebrate your inner hero (or villain) at FAN-tastic Fest on Saturday, April 7, at Douglas County Libraries in Lone Tree. Learn how to defeat your enemies using just your hands at our karate demonstration, strike a pose in your cosplay finest and capture the moment at our green screen photo booth, and generally geek out with your fellow fans. Plus, comic artists Morgan Beem and Jen Hickman will be live and in person. Don’t miss meeting them!

FAN-tastic Fest is for all ages from 1-5 p.m., and then teens take over from 5-8 p.m.

Register here for the teens-only evening events. No registration is required for events running from 1-5 p.m.

Top 5: Their Own Voices

An own-voice story is one that reflects the author’s own diversity or experience, giving readers an authentic perspective. These kinds of stories often provide much-needed representation in the publishing world for marginalized groups.

Here are five of the most popular own-voices books published in 2017.


The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Everyone wants to know what really went down that night, and the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. Ages 14 and up.

Ramona Blue

by Julie Murphy
In small-town Mississippi, Ramona lives her life the best she can. Being a 6-foot-3-inch lesbian with blue hair is her style, but it doesn’t help her much in the town. Her world is turned upside down when her sister gets pregnant and her old childhood friend moves in next door; these events will make Ramona question everything she ever knew about her life and herself. Ages 14 and up.

American Street

by Ibi Zoboi

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find “une belle vie” — a good life. But after leaving Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, the grittiness of Detroit’s West Side, a new school, and a surprising romance all on her own. Ages 14 and up.

History Is All You Left Me

by Adam Silvera
When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing someone else, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course. If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life. Ages 14 and up. 

Wild Beauty

by Anna-Marie McLemore
Estrella’s family has tended the magical garden of La Pradera for almost a century. When a strange boy stumbles into their territory with no knowledge of who he is or where he’s from, Estrella helps him pick up the pieces of his life while also trying to protect the secrets of her family. Ages 13 and up.

Peter Pan Retellings – Never Leaving Neverland

Peter Pan will never grow up, and we’ll never grow tired of reading about him. Whether you’re looking for a light escape or a dark interpretation of this childhood classic, these Peter Pan retellings show Peter, Wendy, Tinkerbell, and Captain Hook in a whole new light.

Lost Girl

by Chanda Hahn
Wendy doesn’t remember Neverland, but Peter Pan and the Lost Boys will never forget her. They come to Wendy’s rescue when the shadows come for her. But can they trust each other enough to save the day, when they all have secrets to hide? Ages 12 and up.

Tiger Lily

by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Tiger Lily focuses on the shadowy side of Neverland, where good doesn’t always triumph and things don’t always turn out happily ever after. This is the story of the doomed romance between Tiger Lily, warrior of her tribe, and Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, when a visitor from another land changes everything. Ages 12 and up.

Always Neverland

by Zoe Barton
Peter Pan has been bringing new Wendy girls to Neverland, but Ashley’s not like the other girls. She’d rather hang out with the mermaids and fight pirates on her own. Change has come to Neverland, but not everyone likes change. Ages 10 and up.

The Wendy Project

by Melissa Jane Osborne
When Wendy wakes up after a horrible car accident, she’s told that her brother Michael is dead. But she knows the truth: Her brother is in Neverland. Fantasy and reality collide, as Wendy works through her feelings in her sketchbook (as recommended by her therapist). Graphic novel for ages 12 and up.


by Wendy Spinale
In a London that’s a little bit steampunk and a little bit dystopian, Gwen and her siblings scavenge for scraps and stay one step ahead of the invading German army, led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer. But when Gwen’s sister is taken, Gwen will have to team up with Pete and his gang of Lost Boys to outwit the cutthroat Captain H.O.O.K. Ages 12 and up.


by Lisa Maxwell
Gwen didn’t choose to come to Neverland; she was kidnapped. And it’s a lot more dangerous than the fairy tales made it out to be. As her memories of the real world slip away, she’ll have to decide who to trust: the charming boy who says what she wants to hear or the dreamy pirate who promises to keep her safe. Ages 14 and up.

Another Pan

by Daniel Nayeri
Wendy and her brother John are obsessed with the Egyptian Book of Gates. But when their obsession unleashes a dark underworld, they’ll learn the same hard lesson as Peter: Immortality always comes at a price. Ages 14 and up.

Never Never

by Brianna R. Shrum
James Hook was lured to Neverland by the promise of eternal youth, but the promise was denied him. Now, he will do anything to get his revenge on Peter Pan, the boy who stole his life. Ages 14 and up.

Top 5: 2017 (Still) To Be Read

True librarian confession: I didn’t meet my 2017 reading goal of finishing 30 books. Yes, I love books. I enjoy reading. But somehow there’s never enough time. The current state of my to-be-read (TBR) pile is kind of stressing me out, especially since there were so many tempting books published in 2017.

These are the top five on my still-TBR pile published this past year.

5. Strange the Dreamer

by Laini Taylor

Description: In the aftermath of a war between gods and men, a hero, a librarian, and a girl must battle the fantastical elements of a mysterious city stripped of its name. Grades 9-12.

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Why it’s on my pile: Taylor’s world building in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy made her a go-to author for me. It will be strange, but in a good way.

Current status and excuse: Suspended hold. I’m debating whether to wait for the second book to come out (and it’s only a two-book series!) so I can finish the whole thing in one go.

4. Always and Forever, Lara Jean

by Jenny Han

Description: While helping plan her father’s wedding, senior Lara Jean struggles with choosing a college and questions how graduation will change her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter. Grades 9-12.

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Why it’s on my pile: Third and final book of the series. And sometimes you just need a sweet romance with a side of cookies.

Current status and excuse: The hold on OverDrive came in while I was in the middle of another book so I didn’t get to it. Back on the waitlist.

3. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

by Mackenzi Lee

Description: Henry “Monty” Montague was bred to be a gentleman. His passions for gambling halls, late nights with the bottle, or waking up in the arms of women or men have earned the disapproval of his father. His quest for pleasures and vices has led to one last hedonistic hurrah as he, his best friend and crush Percy, and his sister Felicity begin a Grand Tour of Europe. When a reckless decision turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything Monty knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores. Grades 9-12.

Release Date: June 27, 2017

Why it’s on my pile: The reviews say things like “hilarious” and “sassy” and “ridiculous,” and, most importantly, “fun.” I like all of the above.

Current status and excuse: On hold. Just what I’m in the mood for currently, but, alas, it’s not on the shelf. Did you check it out?

2. All the Crooked Saints

by Maggie Stiefvater

Description: When Daniel Soria, the current saint of Bicho Raro, Colorado, violates the family’s greatest taboo, Beatriz and Joaquin, along with the pilgrims, must drive off the darkness. Grades 8-12.

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Why it’s on my pile: A stand-alone (so no series commitment) by one of my favorite authors? Yes, please!

Current status and excuse: Signed copy on the bookshelf. Started listening to the audiobook, but had a hard time with the reader.

1. Turtles All the Way Down

by John Green

Description: It begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward. The story is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, “Star Wars” fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. Grades 9-12.

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Why it’s on my pile: It’s John Green. Need I say more?

Current status and excuse: Signed copy sitting on my nightstand; but a John Green novel takes a certain frame of mind, and I’m not sure I’m ready for his particular brand of heart-wrenching at the moment.

World War II Historical Fiction for Teens

World War II often inspires historical fiction at its finest and most raw. Most of these novels will make you cry, and many reflect the violence and horrors of the times they convey. All are powerful tales of a dark time.

The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak
In World War II Munich, a girl steals to get by. She shares stolen books with her foster father, with her neighbors during bombing raids, and with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. 1939 Nazi Germany. Ages 13 and up.

Salt to the Sea

by Ruta Sepetys
The greatest maritime disaster was not the Titanic, but the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German cruise liner carrying wartime personnel and refugees to safety at the end of World War II. This tale follows four refugees through that dark night in 1945. Ages 13 and up.

Number the Stars

by Lois Lowry
As the Germans prepare to “relocate” the Jews of occupied Denmark in 1943, the Danish resistance organizes a mass evacuation, smuggling nearly 7,000 people across the sea to safety. Ten-year-old Annemarie helps to hide her best friend. Ages 10 and up.

Between Shades of Gray

by Ruta Sepetys
Fifteen-year-old Lina is an ordinary Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life, until Soviet officers force her and her family onto a train to the Siberian work camps. A side of World War II history not often explored. 1939 Lithuania. Ages 12 and up.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

by John Boyne
When Bruno’s father gets a promotion, the family moves to a new place surrounded by endless fences. He befriends a boy who lives on the other side of the fence, the boy in the striped pajamas. 1942 Berlin. Explores the horrors of the Holocaust from an unsuspecting angle. Ages 12 and up.

Code Name Verity

by Elizabeth Wein
When a British spy plane crashes in German-occupied territory, the captured spy doesn’t have a chance. Her Gestapo interrogator offers a simple choice: Confess, or face the consequences. Her scribbled story is a tale of friendship, failure and hope from the spy code-named Verity. 1943 occupied France. Ages 15 and up.

Prisoner of Night and Fog

by Anne Blankman
Gretchen has been raised in the National Socialist Party, where her uncle Dolf keeps her protected. But when a Jewish reporter whispers tales of violence and murder, she’ll have to look beyond her sheltered life and discover the truth for herself. 1939 Germany. Ages 13 and up.

The Devil’s Arithmetic

by Jane Yolen
Hannah has heard the stories of Holocaust survivors before. This Passover, she finds herself transported back to a small village at the beginning of the war, to live the stories for herself. 1940s Poland. Ages 12 and up.