Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Death by Chocolate

Being a YA Librarian can definitely have its perks, and this summer I have had no shortage of incredible moments and programs. RPL had a tasty summer following the Reading is So Delicious theme. Even though, our program was over on August 4th, I just couldn't resist doing one more delectable event.

Welcome to the Death by Chocolate Party!

I wanted to have multiple kinds and ended up deciding on a white, a milk, two darks and then two flavored chocolates. I bought one large bar of each. To prepare them for the party I cut them each in half and then used those squares. One square was left whole and the rest were cut into tasting sized pieces.

Each attendee was able to use the square to smell the chocolate before they tasted a separate piece. We started the tasting with the 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate (Valor Chocolates), then moved down to the 51% Cocoa Dark Chocolate (Perugina). Now it was time for the milk chocolate and after looking around the store I learned that most milk chocolates are 31% Cocoa. For variety, I chose the Godiva bar. Then it was the White Chocolate (also Perugina), which contains vanilla flavor and cocoa butter.

Then it was time for the two flavored chocolates. There were so many different flavors in the store to chose from, but everyone loved the two that I did pick. Because it was creamier, and more like the milk chocolate, the next one sampled was the Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cabernet Matinee. Everyone tasted the fruit, but only one boy guessed correctly that it was blackberry. As in the name, it also contains the flavor of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The last one (and my personal favorite) was a 50% Dark Chocolate with Pear and Almonds (Heidi Grand'Or).

It was a great program, and everyone was able to taste the differences between the bars and note the texture as the level of cocoa decreased. We all learned something today. Of the 10 attendees, I took an informal poll and the Cabernet Matinee was the favorite with a three way second place tie for the 70% dark, milk and white chocolate.

I am so thankful for having a store like For the Love of Chocolate close by! I could have spent hours in there picking out different kinds of chocolate to taste. It was hard enough to decide on the 6 bars that I did. Maybe next time I will be brave enough to get the Chili flavored one.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Here Lies Bridget

Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

Publication Date: 1-18-2011

Young Adult, Ages 13+

ISBN-13: 978-1-373-21028-2 used for review.
Personal Ranking 3/3.5 out of 5

"What do you do when the five people you meet
in limbo all want you to go to hell?"

Bridget Duke has it all; a famous father, loyal followers and the rule of the school. Then the new girl threatens to destroy the balance of her power. The whole school seems caught in Anna’s spell, which seems to zap all of Bridget’s control. Now that everything seems to be going wrong for Bridget, and being expelled from school seems like an all too possible reality, in a desperate moment she ditches school and ends up crashing her car into a tree. But could this situation possible get any worse? If waking up dead wasn’t bad enough, Bridget wakes up to face the five people she has hurt that mean the most to her. But will her last chance at redemption be enough?

It has been a while since I’ve written a review of an already published book. But about halfway through reading here lies Bridget, I knew that I had to. As soon as I saw the title on the Richmond Public Schools High School summer reading list, I was curious. Then a few weeks later when I was creating the “What do I read?” chart, I knew that I would have to read it!

Bridget is the queen bee that every school has and everyone hates. Kinda like Regina George in Mean Girls, she is completely aware of her power and rules by fear of both the teachers and fellow students. As you get to know Bridget in the days leading up to her death, you realize that she has lost her true friends, her boyfriend and has caused untold amounts of trauma to those around her. While you don’t find yourself wishing she would die, you do want her to learn from her mistakes and make things right. In the end, I do believe that she got what she deserved. She learned a valuable lesson that many teenagers today would greatly benefit from. Your actions have consequences, even indirectly. All too often, this lesson is learned the hard way, just like how Bridget learned it in the end.

This is one of those books that you wish every bully and queen bee would read. I would love to use it as a teen book club selection. Over the past few years I have been lucky enough to participate in some really great book discussions at some of our neighborhood high schools. Based on all the themes in this book, I would love to hear what they would have to say about Bridget, her actions and the resulting punishment.